Sunday, May 28, 2006

What a man was 2000 years ago means nothing at all to me today

My road trip included 3 visits to In-N-Out Burger in a week. This is hands down my favorite fast food place, though their fries suck, their menu is limited and I don't even eat their burgers. What I get isn't on their menu: Grilled cheese with grilled onions and no "special" sauce, ketchup and mustard instead.

It's a bit nontraditional - the bread isn't grilled, it's just a hamburger with no meat patty. But they use really fresh ingredients - the bun is nice and squishy, it's real cheese, and the lettuce and tomato aren't those wilted, over-engineered imitation vegetables you'd find at McDoof's or one of those other lower-quality places.

In-N-Out is a family owned chain, which doesn't franchise, and they tell you that on their paper bags. The other thing they print on their bags (and cups and other paper products) is a Bible verse - a different one on each product. Not the entire verse, just the reference to the verse. Normally this sort of thing would bother me, since I'm really opposed to having religion shoved in my face when I'm not expecting it.

However, in this case it doesn't bother me. It's unobtrusive - you usually have to look at the bottom of the cup, or the bottom seam of the bag to find it, plus, the fact that it's just the reference to the verse makes it kind of cool, like a puzzle. Sort of like "hey, if you want to know more about it, go look it up yourself." Not being too familiar with the Bible (though it made for interesting reading during super-boring Religion class lectures in high school), I don't know what the verses are. When I was working at Deloitte, a group of us went to In-N-Out for lunch, and Nicole, one of my teammates, told us what they all were - she had this incredible photographic memory of Bible verses.

Not all companies are this subtle about expressing their religious views. Our very own Alaska Airlines here in Seattle has a really annoying practice of giving you a small card with a Bible verse on it with your meal. Not just a reference, mind you, but an actual verse, and one that refers specifically to Jesus, usually. I could almost forgive a general "Be good to others" or "God is great" verse, as that would cover most religious beliefs. Fortunately most Alaska flights are so short that you don't get a meal, so I haven't seen one of these in a long time. When I did get one, I made it a point to return it to the flight attendant.

This practice irritates me to no end - I've actually written to Alaska Airlines to complain, as have a few of my non-Christian friends, and we got a totally flippant response from Customer Service that said something to the effect of "A lot of people like it so too bad for you" and no apology. Apparently others have complained as well.

Do they not realize that it might come across as offensive to non-Christians, who aren't exactly a small percentage of people in this country? I'm all for private companies pushing their own beliefs and not hiring those who don't adhere to them, but when you're providing a service, is it really necessary to foist those beliefs on your paying customers? (Now if you're a Christian bookstore or some other religion-based business, that's a different story since your customers are actually interested in your religious values.) Unfortunately, Alaska's hub is in Seattle and their prices are often the lowest so I can't boycott them without majorly inconveniencing myself.

I'm not opposed to religion - I just don't want other people to try to convert me or shove their beliefs in my face. To me, religion is very private, and if you want to share it with other people, wait for them to ask, or share it with those who you know have common beliefs. I have friends who are deeply religious and yet don't ever mention that they think I'm going to hell, or that I really should think about going to church/accepting Jesus as my savior/watching the xyz religious movie with them. I really appreciate those friends - I know their faith makes them who they are, and it may be telling them to share it with others, but they seem to "get" that it's not something I want to address in our relationship.

So, did I stir up a hornet's nest with this topic? :)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My dog won't bite if you sit real still

Woo hoo! Spike and I made it home safely after our fun-filled, nearly 2000-mile round trip to the Bay Area. We had a great time exploring three states and visiting old friends.

I had intended to blog during the trip, but my fabulous husband suggested I leave my laptop at home since I have an email addiction and wouldn't be able to leave work behind. Unfortunately, I can also check my email from my phone (very cool thing that my team worked on) so I did use that a couple of times just to "peek". And of course, Leslie let me use her computer to check too. I guess I really am addicted but it didn't take away from my relaxation as much as my laptop would have.

So here's the quick recap of the highlights of the trip, starting with last Saturday:

Saturday - Spike and I visit WA State Capitol in Olympia (outside, of course)
Sunday - Spike sees the ocean for the first time; fabulous stay and amazing meal at Hotel Carter in Eureka
Monday - Spike and I wander around Eureka, then finally get to Leslie's house
Tuesday - Leslie and I get our nails done at the very cute Pinkies Nails in Burlingame
Wednesday - Spike and I hang out with Debbie, Zach and Slammer in Piedmont; shopping at H&M in downtown SF (drool)
Thursday - Lunch with Maya and Leslie at the *awesome* Marnee Thai in San Francisco, and a trip to Fort Funston, the BEST dog park EVER with Lola and Spike
Friday - "The way Mt. Shasta explodes into windshield view, and my hands steady on the wheel"
Saturday - "I'm on my way, just set me free, home sweet home..."

I'll post my pics in the next couple of days, and entertain you with Spike stories from the trip. But now it's time for bed. G'night!

Monday, May 15, 2006

99 in the shade

Wow, it was wicked hot today in Seattle - I think it got up past 80 degrees. Yes, it's sad but true that we consider that hot here. Considering most houses don't have air-conditioning, it's not surprising. Fortunately, work is air-conditioned.

Well,our trip to Eastside Dog yesterday actually turned into a trip to two Petco stores since at 7pm on a Sunday, Eastside Dog was already closed. The first Petco, near Redmond Town Center, had only one small Squeaker, and it was a sad-looking, dirty white one. I didn't even know they came in white. Not wanting to go home empty-handed, I tossed it to Spike and he gave it a disdainful look and walked away. So I put that one back on the rack, and we set out for the Crossroads Petco.

There was a plethora of Evil and Good Squeakers at the second Petco, though no blue ones to replace Special Needs Squeaker. Spike still loves him, so we still keep him around, even though he can't stand up anymore. I chose an Evil purple one and a Good green one for Spike and he happily chased them down the aisle. I asked the cashier to cut off the tags , and Spike played with Evil Purple Squeaker vigorously all the way home. Somehow Good Green Squeaker got lost under the blanket in the back of the car and I had to dig him out when we got home.

Now Evil Purple Squeaker (EPS) is Spike's favorite toy ever. He spent an hour in the backyard playing with him - I'm sure our neighbors loved that. TJ decided he had enough of the squeaking so he carefully washed EPS, and sat down to perform the centuries-old ritual of squeaker removal. It was a little bit sad, but Spike didn't mind at all, and now he's allowed to play with EPS as long as he wants to.

All three Squeakers will join us on our road trip next weekend. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to meet them in person, please let me know. When talking to Special Needs Squeaker, please be sensitive about his missing foot. He is still undergoing counseling and has not yet come to terms with the loss. Also, please do not call attention to the fact that Good Green Squeaker still squeaks. The other two are sensitive about their lack of squeakiness.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm driving all night, I end up in the same old place

Spike and I are going to hit the road next weekend and drive down to see some friends in the Bay Area! I've already made a list of what I need to take with me, and bought some supplies for him today (food, small rawhides, Nature's Miracle in case of any accidents).

Today, Dave, TJ and I watched the Metallica documentary "Some Kind of Monster". It was hilarious, and so un-metal. The best part was the $40,000 per month "performance coach"/therapist they hired. I need to get into that line of work - spout random garbage about freeings yourself of inhibitions and talking about feelings, and get paid "squillions" of dollars by rock stars who don't know any better. He drafted a mission statement for Metallica, for cryin' out loud!! If you have a spare 3 hours of your life to waste, and remember the badass days of Metallica that are long gone, watch this movie. Oh, and pay special attention to Dave Mustaine getting all weepy about being kicked out of Metallica in 1983 for being too much of a drunk. Priceless!

I'm sad to report that Squeaker lost a foot. Ginger decided to perform foot surgery on Squeaker without consulting the rest of us and by the time we found out, it was too late to save him. Beagle still loves him, though. I'm taking Spike to Eastside Dog to get a few more of Squeaker's buddies for our trip - maybe one of the Devil squeakers, and a dinosaur one?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I'll share them all for a cup of coffee and to wear your ring

Another significant anniversary today - TJ and I have been married for exactly 1 year! A lot of people are surprised to realize it's been that long. I guess it's gone by pretty quickly, but we have done a lot in the past year:

  • Wedding reception in Savannah (May)
  • Party in Las Vegas and An's 30th birthday (June)
  • Leslie, Jorge and Lola's visit (July)
  • Dre's baby shower at our house *and* Kenny Rogers concert on the same day (August)
  • Trip to Tucson for TJ's grandmother's birthday (September)
  • My customer event at work (October)
  • Thanksgiving dinner at our house with my family (November)
  • TJ quits his job at Active Voice (voicemail sux!) (December)
  • Spending a few weeks sick at home getting addicted to Project Runway (January)
  • My trip to Caltech (February)
  • TJ starts his new job at Microsoft and our trip to Hawaii (March)
  • Caltech soul harvesting party at our house (April)
  • First anniversary celebration (May)

And those are just the highlights! All in all, it's been a good year for us, in no small part thanks to our family and friends.

We went to Canlis last night to celebrate. Really, where else would we go? Here's a picture:

gorgeous flowers

Click on it to see a few more pictures from our evening.

We had a great time as usual, the food was amazing, and we came home and drank a bottle of the John Jos. Prumm Riesling (Auslese) that TJ had hunted down at Seattle Cellars when he couldn't find the Happy Monk (not its real name) Riesling we had once at Canlis. So an all around yummy evening.

sharing is nice

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