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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Sun
23
Jan '11

Old Fashion Sunday.

Used To Be Old Fashion Friday With Dancing Bear.

It is nice to have a guest bedroom. I think I would miss that were I to live in a smaller apartment. That and the BBQ on the deck.

Also nice when the guest gets up before me and makes coffee. Not quite as good as getting coffee in bed, but close.

This morning’s breakfast was a nice scramble of ham, smoked gouda, and eggs – with a little sparking cranberry juice cut with seltzer water to cut the sweetness.

Did my quarterly taxes… I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that you made so little that the state rebates all your taxes. That and the fact that I grossed $24,000 less than last year means it’s time to get off my tuckus and get more clients, or goddess forbid… a… j o b.

But instead I was spending money on-line. For those of you with ATT or T-Mobile service, this will be of interest to those who also travel outside the US.

I’ve been looking at these phones on Geeks.com (see link in the right hand column) for several months… it’s an unlocked (means it can use anyone’s SIM cards) quad-band, dual-SIM phone. In practical terms that means that you can keep your US SIM card in your phone, but also pick up a pre-paid local SIM card for cheap in-country calls, and in most of Europe, free text messaging. Sort of like a two-line phone strapped to your thigh.

Or maybe I just got it thinking about the Colonels on Frog Hollow Farm. It will be nice to have an emergency spare again since I gave my Dash 2G to a pretty young man (and no, not in exchange for sex – though I certainly would have been willing). When I saw them at $99 (plus shipping) I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger… but apparently the white and red models weren’t moving, so they knocked them down to $59… SOLD. So, anyone who is headed overseas is more than welcome to borrow my new “space”, with the exception of when I’m using it… like Dublin from the 22nd to the 28th of February. And Mexico in April… and Lima… wait, I haven’t booked that trip, yet

So, tonight is dinner with Dancing Bear. We used to do this dinner on Friday after work, but we’ve found it’s easier on Sunday when his children (the dogs) have had is company all day, rather than him not getting home from work until much later than usual.

The dinner…

  • Salad
  • Fresh rosemary challah pull-apart rolls
  • 1# + beef rib steaks – grilled
  • Twelve Apostles Australian Syrah

But, of course, it being Dancing Bear, we almost booked a “cruise to nowhere” for May, when all the boats are repositioning from the Mexican Riviera to the Alaska summer routes. Well, we thought about it, but it hasn’t happened yet, the one I wanted conflicts with the one he already has. Now I’m thinking about inviting someone from the East Coast… just not going to happen tonight.

Cruise whores we are.

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Used To Be Old Fashion Friday With Dancing Bear.

Tue
21
Sep '10

Back To Working On The Deck, Part Two.

And Dinner With Swanda And Dancing Bear.

Sounds like a repeat of yesterday, just new people at dinner. Today I finished the stairs, now just have to decide if I want a railing …

Items remaining … built in bench seating with will be more stable. More work to be done.

Dinner tonight with the boyz – Swanda and Dancing Bear. A starter of sushi, then the main is a soup (chicken vegetable) and salad with a couple of loaves of home-made bread. Sour cream for those (like me) you like it in their soup.

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Thu
13
May '10

A Day At Sea.

Or How To Spend $150 Or Lose It.

The day started way too damn early. Had to be on a train at 7:40am which means to get a decent seat (we didn’t) it’s almost an hour before that. Totally full train, but at least the tickets were free because of my Amtrak points – still have enough for a couple more round-trips on the Cascades (Eugene to Vancouver, BC).

Train ride uneventful – read the paper, finished a New Yorker, napped.

Customs was a pain on the Canada end as ours was:

  1. The last car to unload though we were closest to the station, and
  2. There was a ton of luggage, another delay.

Train in the station at 11:40, through customs almost an hour later – totally amazing that we made it to the boat a little after one thanks to Sky Train (would have been earlier but one machine was broken, and one had a lady in front of it that had apparently never used any sort of mass transit automated ticketing machine.

Lunch on the Lido deck was uninspiring, even according to Dancing Bear, my partner in this adventure. The room, however, was stunning. No need to ever leave…

Wow, double doors opening onto the deck with two chaise lounges, a table and four chairs.

After the mandatory lifeboat drill, this one sans life vests… apparently a new policy, too many accidents on the stairs, it was off to the Crows Nest for the GLBT event – which for some stupid reason they scheduled in the same bar as the bon voyage party. No signs, and no sign of any gay ship board life.

We checked out some of the ship, did some duty-free shopping for booze for tonight, swung by the Neptune Room (the private lounge for Deluxe Veranda Suite guests, had some nibbles, and decided on what the dinner plan was going to be. Answer? A catered meal in the suite, lounging on the deck in our bathrobes. The menu:

  • 2 orders of the Mariner Seafood Cocktail
  • 1 order of the Captains Antipasto Plate (which was missing its Pate)
  • 1 Gourmet Green Salad with Sesame French dressing
  • 1 Caesar salad (for me)
  • 1 Roast Tenderloin of Beef (Medium Rare for Dancing Bear)
  • 1 Leg of Lamb (ordered medium rare, came medium, for me)
  • 1 Yukon Sour Dough Bread Pudding (for me)
  • 1 Upside Down Apple Walnut Tart (for Dancing Bear)
  • 1 cheese and cracker platter (for me)
  • 1 double espresso (had to throw it out it was so bad)

It took the waiter two of those huge trays to unload all the stuff onto the deck. But what a way to dine.

Didn’t make it to see the stage show… but did manage to go through $150 worth of room credit because it was use it or lose it:

  • 1 welcome old-fashion for Dancing Bear
  • 2 minis out of the fridge for me, plus 1 mixer for Dancing Bear
  • 2 bottles of Absolute from duty-free
  • 1 double espresso with Cointreau after dinner (for me – our concierge when down and got it for me personally)
  • 1 bottle of 2007 Chateau Nuef de Pape with dinner.

Here is the scroller bar with all the pictures:

With the food and the booze we were in bed and snoring early.

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Or How To Spend $150 Or Lose It.

Tue
17
May '16

Trip Report: Oahu With DancingBear

Such a deal! $423.77 round-trip for BOTH of us Bellingham to Honolulu. And parking in front of the airport is just $12 a day, a mere 100 feet from car to counter.

A beautiful day to fly, especially when you get upgraded to First as a freebie:

And the meal that comes with that seat:

Alas – because of a last minute airplane swap, no DigiPlayer Tablets, just our own laptops which take up a TAD more room – almost pushing out the black cod with bok choy.

The first two nights we are staying at the Royal Kuhio, in a one-bedroom:

Our room is on the third floor over the garage in, oddly enough, room 911. Hard to forget what room you are in with that number.

The view by day:

The view by night:

The room:

And a really cool alarm/clock/outlet/USB port device on the nightstand:

Our first full day (we got in at 9:45pm on flight day), first stop is the Honolulu Salvation Army Thrift Store to hit the rack of Aloha Shirts. Tuesday is Senior Discount Day (25%), though half of what we found was 50% off since it had been on the racks for over a month. $55 for 6 shirts and a sweater – DancingBear made out better with 4 compared to my 3:

Several of those are Tommy Bahama shirts that usually run $70 and up. Here is DancingBear in one of his finds:

Next up is a walk to the Aloha Tower:

While waiting for the Waikiki Trolley (tip – buy your tickets online and save 25% during certain sales) we did a little fish watching:

Luckily the Trolley shows up fairly quickly considering that the Purple Line only runs every 50 minutes:

That’s the last shot you’ll see of me in my Mount Gay Rum Yacht Race hat – it blew off on the Trolley – made more ironic because I bought the hat at the Salvation Army on a previous trip to Honolulu.

And some scenery shots:

We swung back by the condo (very close to the Trolley Terminus) for a quick nap for DancingBear and a quick snack for me – can you say poke?

Clockwise from upper left, edamame, ahi, shrimp, octopus. Yum.

Speaking of food – my dinner:

I got the Polish, mild sauce, star fruit relish, and Hawaiian Guava Mustard on a purple bacon taro sweet bun.

Those metal spikes next to the dog roller are to toast the bun from the inside out.

Our final day in Waikiki we took Uber to the Dollar Rent-A-Car and picked up wheels for our island tour over the next two days – and it turns out we have a mutual friend in Honolulu – Rick – and he works in the governor’s office so we are off for lunch and a tour!

Burger and fries for Rick.

Lobster roll for me.

Chicken Cobb for DancingBear.

It was a great lunch at Café Julia, nestled inside a 1920’s YMCA building. And soon it was off for a personal tour of the Hawaii State Capital.

The Senate Chamber:

The Governor’s Formal Office (for bill signing, ceremonies, etc.):

And a great shot of us all, with a giant mangrove in the background (and me in one of my Sally Ann
Tommy Bahama finds):

After our tour, off we went on a circle tour of the island, starting headed south:

Thanks to Hawaii Activities for the image – and I’ve toured with them on previous trips. Since we were in a car, no commentator other than me! Please notice my back-up hat – my Hello Kitty hat that I bought a couple of months ago in a Maui thrift store.

We are staying at the Marriott Courtyard (founded by the Mormons) right next to the Polynesian Cultural Center (founded and run by the Mormons):

The place is only nine months old, and has some very good design elements like a huge lobby for hanging out with some workstations:

And a dedicated stand up “business center” for printing boarding passes:

But in the end, it’s really only about the room comfort:

I grimaced at the $200+ a night price (and that they charge for parking), but it really was a nice place to stay, and almost one only hotel on the North Shore.

Dinner tonight is takeout from these folks across the street – Kauula Korean BBQ:

Thursday brings more of the driving tour around Oahu:

That would be Sunset Beach – famous for surf contests.

Lunch down the road at The Beach House restaurant at Haleiwa:

DancingBear went for the Black Bean soup and he talked me into the Lobster Cobb Salad.

Seriously good food for a restaurant that’s only been open three weeks!

Stopped at an old sugar mill turned coffee roaster/souvenir place…

…on our way to the Dole Plantation for a Dole Whip and a train ride:

Time to return the car and return to Bellingham – but, I have lounge access in the American Airlines Admiral’s Club at Honolulu which they share with Japan Air Lines (soon to be a codeshare partner with Alaska Airlines):

Big, and they are expanding it. Spam Musubi anyone?

A great view from our workstations…

And because it’s shared with Japan Airlines, fancy bidet toilet seats in the bathrooms:

The Honolulu Airport was originally built in 1962 and still has some remnants:

Yes, that is a non-working mechanical flip-number clock – and some working (though I didn’t check) payphones – another dinosaur technology.

Time to board and take our favorite seats – though on both legs we’ve had to swap seats with other people in row 1 to sit together (note DancingBear’s
Sally Ann find):

Not much in the way of food on the return flight – I guess they expect you to sleep since it’s a red-eye! At least the DigiPlayer Tablets are on board this leg.

Thanks to DancingBear for this flight takeoff photo (and a couple of other photos in this post):

And my arrival photo…

Got to Bellingham around 7:30am, and I’ve decided (after sleeping the entire drive home) that I’m done with red-eye flights. Luckily, June 4th is the last of the BLI-HNL flight.

And a final thanks for DancingBear for driving home while a snored (and driving there as well).

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Wed
22
Jun '11

Home And Working On Stuff.

Just a day of getting lots of things done… like additional birthday plans. The list is now:

  • Seattle to Vancouver on the train with Dancing Bear
  • Vancouver to San Pedro on the Carnival Spirit with Dancing Bear in a suite
  • Long Beach to Seattle on the plane with Dancing Bear
  • A couple of days later a Frequent Flier ticket to Santa Fe
  • My actual birthday at the Dia Foundation’s Lightening Field site
  • Fly back to Seattle
  • Pick up Joe from Tucson the next day and check us into the Camlin Penthouse suite
  • Return Joe to the airport following Monday
  • Following Saturday fly to Tucson to celebrate Joe’s birthday
  • Return following Tuesday.

Once again I’ve managed to turn my birthday (55) into a several week occasion. Out of pocket? Less than a grand.

And dinner — just a small steak:

And then onto getting the new wall mount for the TV as the stereo equipment stack keeps getting bigger and cutting off part of the screen when I swing it to watch from bed.

As you can see, to boost it up to bolt it I’ve got it stacked on a bunch of stuff. No wonder the installation instructions say to use two people.

But it’s all done. Now all I have to do is redo the table top making it longer. Might even move the bar to the living room in a final attempt to find a place where it works.

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Wed
17
Aug '11

The Straight Folks Leave As The Faeries Arrive.

With the cabin to myself it was easy to sleep in past breakfast and make a pot of coffee at my leisure. Of course I should have done it on the front steps as I managed to momentarily set off the CO2/Smoke Alarm in the cabin. Being in the trees, the cabins that is, also means not a lot of direct sunlight.

Pre-lunch of cheese, lunch meats and marinated olives and mushrooms led to a lunch of a large plate of salad. A low carb diet at Breitenbush is a challenge — which my guess is that most of my meals will be pre-meals followed by salad.

Around two I wandered up to the parking lot to await the arrival of Dancing Bear with all of the photo directories stuffed into their envelopes with the bamboo towelettes. By the time he arrived several hours late at 4pm, I’d already checked in a dozen or so people, which would have been much easier with the packets arranged in alpha order. Oh well. Basically my job is done as far as organizing the gathering is concerned. Dancing Bear will be handling who does what for the fashion/auction/talent shows planned. My job is to sit and relax.

Sorry the photo is so washed out. I took this as a still picture from my tiny video camera, tried it with my phone as well, but it was as washed out as well. So much for leaving the decent camera a home.

Once Dancing Bear was set up at the gate I was able to get back to put the cabin together. I had to move out of B3 at 1pm and wasn’t allowed into B2 where I’m staying for the gathering until 4, leaving my pile of bags, blankets, coolers, electronics piled between the cabins.

Here is a shot of the cabin all set up:

With Mark and Onyx cancelling at the last minute, my new cabin mates are Hummingbird and BamBam. They arrived around 5 just as I was finished setting up.

Dinner was the same routine of pre-dinner meats and cheeses, but with more of a cocktail party setting. It seems that I have a reputation for breaking the Breitenbush rules.

More sticks and twigs (as they say) in the buffet line — I just headed straight for the salad.

After dinner was Breitenbush 101 (don’t plug in your curling iron, you’ll bring the system down), followed by Faerie 101 (what’s this all about) and finally the Opening Ritual, which I missed as it was a) really short and b) was waylaid by someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.

I’m already starting to get tired of all the “thank you for all your hard work” comments, and it’s only the first day.

[? ? ?]

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Fri
7
May '10

Dinner With Friends, Again.

Exciting news… might have located a yellow Western Electric phone to go with my Charlie’s Angel Speakerphone Set.

Today was scholarship reading at the Washington Athletic Club. Started at 11am on a stack of 35 applications, finished a little after two. Luckily lunch and soft drinks were supplied. At least two of the people’s applications I read had applied for my scholarship as well.

Other news… taking a hiatus from my major client. Guess I’d better get to work developing a new one (or two). Spent the afternoon and part of the evening after guests left working on the transition document. You know:

  • Which passwords need changing
  • Which email address need to be deleted
  • Status of all the projects I was working on
  • Unreviewed alerts that need dealt with
  • Open issue on trademark issues
  • Recommendations for the future

Tomorrow will be archiving all my working files and sending the off to the owner.

And speaking of friends for dinner – yes, again. Dancing Bear and a friend of his that was in town. No Old Fashions tonight, no orange. Just wine to go with the bacon wrapped filet mignons (yes, I know, twice in one week), salad, bread, roasted potatoes – Dancing Bear loves his starch.

Up too late, but what’s new about that.

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Mon
26
Mar '12

Stuffed To The Gills On The Big Island.

The Jeep That Is.

Too funny. Dancing Bear and I are sitting in First Class, side-by-side across the aisle (1C and 1D) as the rest of the passengers are boarding and I look up to see my friend Kaloha who lives in Santa Cruz. Once we landed we had some time to catch up while he waited for his friend on a United flight and we waited for Lightning to arrive from his direct flight.

It was also nice to be able to change into shorts, t-shirt, and sandals.

We soon realized that his friend’s United flight landed at the next terminal which isn’t connected and that his buddy was on the way to the Thrifty Rental Car counter, which oddly enough is where we are picking up our Jeep, so off we go and we’ll come back for Lightning. That and I seriously need a little food in my system, and now that we are beyond security, there are nothing up vending machines.

Down the road a bit we find a TDM as Dancing Bear calls it: Taco del Mar. Fresh Mexican in Hawaii.

A quick bite, and back to the airport to pick up Lightning: who try to his name arrives in the middle of a torrential downpour. I’m drenched just getting out to let him get into the back seat of the Jeep. It is then that we realize we maybe should have gotten a bigger car. Three big guys (four by the time we pick up BreticusMaximus in Hilo), all their stuff, and we haven’t even been to Costco yet for the supply run.

Speaking of this: this is what the Jeep looks like after said Costco run and picking up BM.

Not even any room for the boxes that things came in. But we are well stocked with food and booze and lots of fresh local vegetables that BM packed along.

We took the Saddle Road which is now legal to take rental cars according to the nice lady at Thrifty — even though the on-line contract I read said it was a no-no. Interestingly enough it used to be printed in big letters on the contract that you had to initial. Apparently (and it’s true) they have significantly upgraded the road. It was nice to do some driving on the island on roads I hadn’t been on.

By the time we got to our rental house it was after 5 and the owner was patiently waiting for us.

First order of business. Make more ice. Second order of business, make cocktails.

And then it was time to deal with dinner:

  • Prosecco
  • Caesar Salad (pre-made from Costco)
  • Scalloped potates (pre-madefrom Costco)
  • Filet Mignons wrapped in bacon (seems we ended up with 7 pounds of bacon for 4 days)

Luckily I found skewers in the kitchen drawer — actually the house is fairly well stocked with unusual ingredients like chilies, curries, etc.

And here is the gang in action at the kitchen table (the dining room table has been given over to flowers and electronic gadgets):

The only downside was the lack of propane for the outdoor grill (and the lack of cell service for T-Mobile, but the boys on ATT are fine).

Aloha.

[? ? ?]

Mon
27
Jun '16

Trip Report: Greece Reunion – Part Six, Hello Sifnos

On the boat after the chaos is “freestyle” boarding – assigned seats so I’m upfront (not “Comfort Class” which is upstairs) in 6A, and Nigel and Reuben are separated by a row in the back near the snack bar – and in this picture, totally absorbed in their zeros and ones:

Speaking of the snack bar….

It’s about two and a half to three hours from Piraeus to Sifnos – with one stop – and it’s a cute little port town to arrive in:

Just as with boarding, there is a scrum for cabs – all four of them on the island (just kidding). There were twelve of us on the boat that are attending the party – which is clocking in at 120+ people. Talk about a “destination” anniversary!

I think we (Nigel, Reuben, me) were the last out of the port, but we are already on “Greek Time” so no worries.

We are booked into the Hotel Alexandros at Platy Yialos which is a beach town (though we are on the hill overlooking the beach). More money that I wanted to pay (315 Euros for the three nights, single occupancy). That said, the place is really nice:

View from my bougainvillea shaded deck followed by the view up the hill to the breakfast room.

This would be my deck on the right…

And the pool area…

This anniversary is planned down to the last drachma…with buses arriving to take guest to dinner at another beach town, Vathi Beach.

Good to see old friends and meet new friends – I was last here 15 years ago for their 10th Anniversary Party.

GREAT breakfast spread in the morning…

And the view isn’t too shabby either…

A sampling of my usual breakfast over the next couple of days…

Complete with fresh squeezed orange juice…

Just a little housekeeping note here, the Greeks aren’t big on providing wash cloths, and they have a very odd (by US standards) way of disposing of soiled toilet paper – one that I will not miss.

I’d think if that was you plan you might put bidets (France) or wands (Vietnam) next to the toilet. Luckily, the shower (with wand) was right next to the toilet.

With nothing planned during the day Friday (most people are arriving today), pool time sounded good…

And maybe a little lunch as well…

With a Gin & Tonic (or two)!

I shouldn’t say there were no daytime activities planned – there were Greek dancing lessons for tomorrow huge celebration:

Here is a short video to give you the idea:

The evening activities are a reception at 7pm with free wine – and you know how I feel about my free wine:

There was white in there as well – but I think it’s locked in my ViVino account pictures. Nothing to write home about on the wines, frankly we have better Greek wines at the shop, but everyone was having a good time.

No official dinner tonight so Reuben, Nigel, and now daughter Jasmine and I hiked down the beach a bit for food. Man are the portions BIG! I had two starters – the grilled octopus and the fried cheese:

Reuben and Nigel both had the calzone (the size of a cow’s head) which they could have easily split one

And Jasmine had the burger which came with fries and a big salad – being gluten intolerant at least she could throw out the bun.

But wait! Dessert. Unfortunately, I spied waffles on the menu – not so much for me but out of amazement, which turned into Reuben ordering the Nutella Waffle:

Nigel the Fruit Waffle:

And Jasmine, the gluten-free Banana Split – honesty, where do these people put this food?

As for me – like my mother, I’ll just drink my dessert….

I think we will all be sleeping well tonight – the only downside is that at 10am the buses leave for the tour of David and Ethimios’ 13-acre farm.

[216.2]

If you got to this post directly from FaceBook, you can find the rest of the trip in chronological order at https://blog.unclemarkie.com.

Tue
9
Aug '11

Meetings And Packages.

Well, we finally got into the space that the wine shop is going into. Wow. Stacked floor to ceiling with “stuff”. One the upside, there is more storage room than we expected in the bathroom, which means room for the dishwasher in there as well.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes him to clear out the mess so we can get in and sanitize.

After that adventure and a little fooling around with a rosè and the latest logo version it was off to the apartment to pick up three printer cartridges, the most important being the black one for the 4100 so I can finish printing, folding, and stuffing the directory.

Here are my merry little hands at work:

Too bad Dancing Bear won’t be by until Sunday to relieve me of all the boxes of gathering stuff that are starting to pile up.

[224.9]

Sat
30
Jul '11

Saturday Of Drop Bys.

Drop by number one: Me

Reason: Dropped about 20# of frozen meat to Missy who lives on the corner. With her recent rounds of surgery she hasn’t been working. It’s easy to grow vegetables, it’s not so easy to grow veal chops.

Drop by number twp: Dancing Bear

Reason: To go through all the gathering registrations and make a list of who’s doing what (talent, auction, clean-up, love lounge, etc)

Drop by number three: Jill

Reason: To drop of a seriously cute salt and pepper set. Actually, they are both pepper grinders, I just put Kosher salt in one of them

I added a black dot to the one with pepper in it. She found them on some sale rack and instantly thought of me. And they are MAGNETIC which means they will stick to the range hood.

All I had for Jill was a handful of letterpress advertising slugs.

After all the company was on the road, so was I with a run to the Eastside to pop a check in the bank and grab some bottles of salad dressing at Trader Joe’s — my basket of dressing was down to three partial bottles and the basket holds six.

Quiet dinner at home, just me, some pork cutlets, a salad, and a couple of glasses of wine. It seems that I’m moving back towards an Atkins style diet — trying to cut out carbs, and still taking the Alli to stop some of the fat absorption. Seems like most people I know are headed that way, some because of diabetes, some just to shed pounds. Protein and salad, my kind of dinner.

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Thu
26
Aug '10

Much Ado About Nothing.

Funny how the people you found annoying ten years ago – are still annoying ten years later. Time, apparently doesn’t heal all wounds – maybe time wounds all heals.

Today’s activities have included a seitan making workshop – that’s a gluten-based meat substitute which is often used for things like mock duck. Next up was the making of “flapjack” – which is butter, brown sugar and oats, baked up into a “sweet”, what the Brits call a dessert – and then some sort of Caribbean meal… I’m just the dish witch. I just clean up the mess afterwards.

I missed the business circle – missed the heart circle – spent my time hanging out in the smoking tent listening to the rain on the plastic, reading a silly John Grisham novel, waiting for a whiskey delivery, wondering the meaning of life, and not really worrying about what that meaning is.

At the moment (late afternoon blog time in my schedule) Miss Michael is doing his warm-up exercises – he is a professional dancer (modern/interpretive) from New Orleans who is leaving tomorrow to rejoin his company for a performance in Estonia. The dining room where I’m plugged in has this wonderful feeling of a group house from my youth where folks are just doing the things they need to do, like practicing, writing, cooking, or just hanging out smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.

It’s a strange and wonderfully calm atmosphere. Maybe it’s the music Miss Michael is dancing to, maybe it’s that it’s not a performance, just the exercise that he needs to get ready for tomorrow. Maybe it’s just people wondering in from bicycle rides in the rain. Maybe it’s just much ado about nothing.

Watching Miss Michael dance, I wish my mother and Helene were here. They are both dance fanatics and would enjoy the behind the scenes rehearsal, somehow made acceptable by the fact that we are both working at our trade at the moment. To hear him panting between numbers gives me a new appreciation for the physicality of what dancers go through. It is rare that I pant at the keyboard.

Tonight is the talent show… and there are several faeries making noise about me doing something for the show… but what. Not really my strong suit. I haven’t looked to see if Miss M is on the schedule. I do know that one of my roommates (I’m in a four bed bedroom) has been working on his makeup for two hours (at least). I’m sure that it will yield some amusing photos – but those will have to wait until the weekend.

So, it’s just a drizzly but not gloomy day around the house. I’ve only taken two calls so far since arriving… one from H20 Blanco, about the thermostat replacement for the Wolf ranges, and to return a call from Curtis who butt-dialed. An interesting calm when you “internet time” is the 30 seconds it takes to upload the blog.

I am realizing that I’ve missed the EuroFaeries… ten years was too long a break, but until you take that break, you never know. Maybe there is hope for my reconnection with the US faeries as well.

Or maybe it’s time to sell the house and hit the road.

[? ? ?]

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Tue
15
Nov '11

New Shoes For The Old Man.

It’s official, I’m now MVP Gold on Alaska Airlines for next year:

Member Name: MARK STEPHEN SOUDER MVP Gold
Mileage Plan Number: XXXXXXXX
Available Miles: 183,118

Elite Tier Status Qualification

YTD Alaska Miles

Flown:   40,232          34,768 Miles to MVP Gold 75K

YTD Alaska/Qualifying Partner* Miles

Flown:   40,232       49,768 Miles to MVP Gold 75K

YTD Alaska/Qualifying Partner* Segments

Flown:   24           66 Segments to MVP Gold 75K

* Air France, American, Delta, KLM, and LanChile

Not going to make it to MVP Gold 75K unfortunately with only one little trip to Berkeley planned on Alaska for the rest of the year.

But back to the shoes. Headed to the dentist at 11am for the thrice-yearly cleaning. Stopped by UW surplus on the way back across the bridge — the printer I didn’t buy two weeks ago was no longer there. Once I saw it posted on their site I knew it was a goner. So I bought shoes instead:

Nothing like a couple of pair of subtle shoes. Converse had a 25% off on custom shoes today only that will arrive by Christmas.

Dinner with Dancing Bear and Swanda, and talk of what we are doing for Turkey Day which at the end of the meal of steaks, pasta, and ensalada caprese still wasn’t resolved. Worse coming to it I can go to the Faerie Potluck Thanksgiving.

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Tue
31
Aug '10

Welcome To Fall.

Cold And Rainy In Both Frankfurt AND Seattle.

Before I get around to today’s post, I stole this off the FaceBook comment of my friend Aster:

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Back in the swing of things – travelling west is sooooo much easier on my body. That and being exhausted at midnight which is my usual bedtime. Woke up at 8am ready to face the world, and a stack of mail, clippings to send, bills to pay, restocking the fridge – the usual stuff after two weeks of not being around.

So, what got done while I was on holiday? The concrete pad got poured and the oven thermostat was replaced. Nice to have a key box by the back door so that I don’t have to be here.

I should have had MoonSong put a big R.I.P and some fictitious details on the slab – it does sort of look like a mausoleum slab. And speaking of slabs – below is one of the slabs from the South Park Bridge…

Dinner tonight is with Dancing Bear… a peppercorn pork loin, roasted potatoes, salad, and a blackberry pie (leftovers from the freezer) for dessert.

It was an early night for me, but it was nice to walk around the neighborhood after dinner – lots of people and families out, some even using the new off-leash doggie park.

[229.4]

Thu
23
Apr '09

Travel Plans Firming.

So, today is the weekly marketing meeting… and I have a ton of projects on the plate… but then there are the upcoming travel plans.

Item One:

Pre-Olympics 2010. We (the Royal we) have 8 nights in the Victoria Hot Tub Condo, followed by 7 nights outside of Port Townsend (a short ferry ride away), and then the actual 3 nights at Whistler Sundance, after most of the Olympics stuff is done. I should cancel it all.

Item Two:

Graduation for my niece Emily. Just got confirmation that the Corvette is on for the road trip from Denver to Santa Fe. When I ask about how he likes it washed, he said just return it full “it drinks the good stuff”. When I asked for pictures he sent me to a link of his type corvette for sale. I feel better now knowing it’s a daily driver rather than a “show car”. Here is what it looks like, in theory….

gajakevette

Item Three:

I found an interesting place that I’d like to have dinner in the Bay Area this weekend….

saf_0000416167_tonga_room_hurricane_bar

Here is the gig on this place:

 

The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar
The Tonga Room offers a tropical and festive atmosphere with live entertainment, dancing and a rain storm.  The Tonga Room serves exceptional Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine in a tropical setting. It is the perfect escape after a busy day of meetings or shopping along Union Square. Be sure to try the Mai Tai, regularly recognized as the City’s best!The Tonga Room is the ideal spot to celebrate memorable occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and other special events.  Rainstorms, thunder and lightning enhance your dining experience and will turn moments into memories for your guests.  The Staff at the Tonga Room will work with you to create a memorable and unique event. 
 

Here is the link in case you want to check it out:
http://www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco/guestservices/restaurants/thetongaroomhurricanebar.htm

Long day and night today. More chicken for dinner (after chicken, chicken, chicken yesterday for breakfast, lunch and dinner).

[217.0]

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Wed
13
Mar '13

Disney Day!

Today is all about Hong Kong Disney.

Started out with an “odd” breakfast. What I ordered:

What arrived…

Yes, that is macaroni soup. Too bad the eggs weren’t in the shape of Mickey Mouse, everything else seems to be.

Met Michael at the front gate at a little after eleven and it was lunch followed by a couple of Buzz Lightyear rides followed by a couple of Space Mountains, followed by It’s A Small World, the teaups, then the new Slinky Dog ride, than the parashoot ride, then the river cruise and then another new ride (for Michael), the new mine coaster ride, then Autopia and another Buzz and we were out of there at a little before five. I think we did our 10,000 steps today.

Here are some of my favorite photos:

 

And in the weird signage category, apparently, no disco dancing on the ride:

And you must be sober to ride this ride:

All the photos are on FaceBook for those who do that.

Posting this now so I don’t run out of minutes on plan.

More about this day tomorrow.

[? ? ?]

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Sun
7
Aug '11

Fold It, Collate It, Stitch It, Stick It, Repeat.

Before I get to today’s workaholic post, here is a picture from yesterday when Jeffey stopped by:

With both of our toys out in front of the house. His is a little more expensive than mine:

And now back to the little afternoon party to fold, gather, stitch, stick and stuff.

Sorry it’s a little blurry, I was too by the time we were at this point. Dancing Bear showed up at 2:30, J.Steve and Brian about 6 and it was all done before a steak dinner for those still around. We had two people cancel on us, but not a big deal.

And now I just need to print the last 25 directories when the new black toner cartridge arrives on Tuesday, and then I’m done with 99.9% of all the work dealing with the gathering.

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Wed
8
Sep '10

BRK-SFO-SEA.

With the girls gone from the house, calm returned and all was well.

More leftovers for breakfast as I packed to the return trip home. And I’m leaving behind leftovers, chicken stock for chicken-barley soup, lamb, hunks of chicken… it’s a good thing they have guest arriving later today to help them eat all the food.

Lunetta gave me a ride to the BART station – nice. Means I didn’t stink up my clothes walking, and it was a bit chilly this morning. I love and envy a city that has decent public transportation (that lets out Seattle and LA).

Got to the airport three hours early – yes, that’s even early for me – but it gave me time for lunch, and even more time when the flight was delayed for an hour from the morning fog that tends to roll through the schedule all day – a reason I don’t like flying in/out of SFO. Oakland doesn’t seem to get the fog like SFO does.

This morning I snagged an upgrade to first class at the six-hour mark. By the time I boarded, every seat was booked in first, unlike the trip down when half were empty. Why pay the $70 upgrade fee – maybe it’s the massaging, 35% reclining seat:

 

The second picture gives a great shot of their “mood” lighting. And speaking of mood – Erik, the flight attendant (unfortunately in the back) in his birthday party glasses:

Swung by Safeway on the way home, slim pickings in the clearance bin, but did pick up some essentials.

Rest of the evening was spent (well, it felt like the whole thing) Skyping with Spiral about his 40th B-day celebration. All I really wanted was as yes or no is it going to happen in Las Vegas and who is invited so I can plan my travel to use one of my $99 companion fares (probably with Dancing Bear who can afford to pay half of the total).

Early to bed after a hectic day.

[? ? ?]

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Fri
13
Jan '12

The Libboo Project Continues.

Unfortunately, with my continuing sniffles, I can’t visit Swanda in the hospital. There is some relief in that I don’t really like hospitals having stayed twice when I was young (three if you count delivery). When the AIDS epidemic started to hit Kansas City, I spent way too much time in hospitals in “protective clothing” since little was known about the disease at the time. Dancing Bear spent the afternoon, and I’ve been handling updates to friends and family.

Spent part of the afternoon wrestling with images from Volume Five, Number Three for the cover, back cover, and graphics for the last printed issue of Sign of the Times, A Chronicle of Decadence in the Atomic Age. Oddly enough this issue brings up all sorts of questions about rights management. I’m still in contact with two of the writers and one of the photographers. The Photographer (Mark I. Chester of San Francisco), is very concerned with copyright issues (as well as he should be). Since rescanning the original pieces of photography and drawings is out of the question (many simply just don’t exist anymore), they are scans of the printed pieces. I’m happy to share whatever revenue the project generates with the writers & artists, but electronic media is especially sensitive to easy copying. We will see how this plays out, at the moment, the decision to add the graphics that were originally in the magazine is up in the air. Updated links could easily link to the artists website, but will the quality of the scanned pieces be good enough for artists, or do I take the route of the anthology edition, and not deal with having any artwork other than the front (and hopefully back) covers. It may be a moot point if I can’t figure out how to get graphics into the guts of a Libboo eBook.

Tonight is “date night” with a guy I saw a couple of years ago. It actually went better than I was expecting. Good conversation. Who knows where it will lead, I’m not sure that I’m up for a 35 year-old buff boyfriend.

Lamb chops, salad, and fresh bread, though that might be the last fresh bread in a while since I broke yet another bread machine.

[210.4 and I don’t think it was just the lobster roll]

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Sat
31
Mar '12

Early Morning At The Airport.

Late Night At The Shop.

Rolled over this morning at 7:45am and panicked. We needed to leave the house at 8am for the airport and no one was up, including me. I had starting the morning in panic mode.

Luckily it’s the Oakland Airport so it’s not that big a deal.

After a little breakfast burrito at the gate, slept through the first half of the flight, then revived for a cheese plate.

Into a cab at noon, home a few minutes after that with the cab continuing on to Dancing Bears place in the north end.

Yes enough time for me to take care of a few things before jumping in the car and heading to the Wine Shop for my 1:30 shift. Talk about cutting it close, good thing all the flights were mostly on-time. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I missed the tasting, but it would annoy Jimmie, and that isn’t good.

Nice crowds through the store today, Jimmie didn’t get out of the place until a little after five, and I didn’t get out until almost 7:30 since a couple of customers came in right at 7. The joys of a merchant.

With stops on the way home for Scotch to trade for yet another printer, I didn’t get dinner into me until well after 8 and all I can say is “what happened to network TV on Saturday nights?” Paid programming and crap. I ended up watching Alfred Hitchcock presents in Black and White on one of the upper channels. I guess you get what you pay for, and since it’s free HDTV over the air, this is what I get.

Maybe I should have stayed in Hawaii where there was no TV.

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Late Night At The Shop.