Sunday, July 30, 2006

I am a constant satellite of your blazing sun

For some reason, everyone who I had ever seen Vienna Teng with in the past (4 times!) was busy last night. So I dragged TJ to her show at Chop Suey, a small, cheesy, fake-Asian decor club on Capital Hill. I think he has earned "good husband" points for quite a while now.

I bought the tickets on Friday so arranged to pick them up at Will Call, which they claimed opened at 8pm, and the show started at 9. I wanted to get there a bit early, to get a seat (if such a thing were possible) and sort out the ticket business. So we got there around 8:25 after circling several blocks to find parking. (Now I remember why I live on the "dreaded" Eastside.) Well, as it turns out, Chop Suey changed their story. Doors opened at 9, and show didn't start until 10. Boo to Chop Suey for posting inaccurate info on their website!

TJ was being quite a trooper at this point, since he had been out jet-skiing on Lake Washington all day and was pretty tired. (In Old Man Creath-land, a show starting at 9pm is a late night...) So we went across the street to Piecora's Pizza (original NYC Pizza, apparently) and got some Coke to fuel our wait.

We got in line in front of the club and at 9pm they finally let us in. The club was pretty tiny, just a huge open floor with a few tables in the way back, a huge bar on one side, and some barstools along the other side. Tiny stage, full of the musicians' equipment. Not anywhere near as lovely as the Triple Door, where she played the last 2 times I saw her. Oh, and no food served here either. I guess that's what the pizza place across the street is for. We found a couple of stools right in front and hung out for the next hour.

I thought the crowd was very Microsoft-ish - a mix of different ages, lots of Asian folks (me included) and rather mellow and well-behaved for a show. There were at least 2 identifiable groups: the young software engineer contingent (us included) and the NPR contingent (older, conservatively dressed, seemed vaguely uncomfortable to be in a club with no seating). Props to the very nice bartender, the yummy Lemon Drop Martini he made me, and the policy on free refills on Coke-like products.

Promptly at 10pm, Vienna took the stage with her small band (3 people total including herself). When I was a teenager, I used to write down the setlist for each show right after I came home so I'd remember it.

Now that I'm old, I just went straight to bed last night, so here's my recall of last night's show:

Enough to Go By
Blue Caravan
Whatever You Want
Unwritten Letter #1
Now Three
Love Turns 40
Nothing Without You (**LOVE** this song, made me weepy)
City Hall (cute dancing by Marika and Dina)

They came back for a quick encore (didn't leave us hanging for too long!):

That last song totally made my night. Last time I saw Vienna, I met her briefly at the end of the show and told her we played Harbor at our wedding (during the time the guests were arriving and mingling, for those of you who were there). So that song is my absolute favorite of hers (not least because she described it as her foray into progressive rock). Woo hoo.

After she was done, we left, so I don't know if she played with Duncan Sheik at all. Several other people left as well, so I guess we weren't the only ones there just to see Vienna.

Oh, and I saw Michael Kaplan there but felt like a dork so didn't go over and say hi, since I know him (or rather, know about him) only through the Internet. Except for that one time he snarked at me about a Windows bug assigned to him, but that was a long time ago...

Now, if only would get their act together and ship me her new CD, already! I pre-ordered it and it's still not here. (Defeats the point of pre-ordering it, doesn't it??)

Anyway, I'm really happy I went. I was resigned to not going, cuz I couldn't find anyone to go with, but thanks to my sweetpie husband, I thoroughly enjoyed my fifth Vienna Teng show. She's almost up there with Toad The Wet Sprocket (6 times) and Queensryche (7 times), both of whom I'll see this year.

Party on, Wayne.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Soon turned out had a heart of glass

Fun day today! We met TJ's Uncle Rick and Aunt Jane in Tacoma at the Museum of Glass.

The Museum's building and plaza is pretty cool, nice and modern, lots of open spaces and light. The weird thing is that they have only one gallery with a couple of rooms, and they were running a few exhibits, only one of which was actually glass.

This was true the last time I went there, a few years ago with Kristin. I mean, if you're going to call yourself 'The Museum of Glass', I'd expect a much larger exhibition of actual glass. (duh). If I wanted to see weirdo mixed-media/film/scary paintings, I'd go to any one of the zillions of regular museums around here.

They did have a cool piece in their open lobby area, called 'Banketje' by Beth Lipman.

She recreated a 17th century Dutch still life painting of an overflowing banquet table, completely in clear glass. There were even a few broken pieces on the floor, and we couldn't figure out whether they were supposed to be there or had fallen off. (Turns out, after reading the fine print, they were supposed to be there, representing life's excesses or something...) From the description, it took 15 people to make the 400 objects on that table.

And that's what I think is pretty neat about glass art - it seems to be a team effort (though I guess the primary artist gets all the credit, much like Nobel Prize-winning science). Dale Chihuly, the famous glass artist who created the amazing ceiling sculpture at the Bellagio's lobby (with over 2,000 individual pieces!), has three huge installations on the Bridge of Glass, right outside the Museum. Each of those has a ton of individual pieces, which must have been created by a huge team, judging from the complexity of what's there. I wish I had my camera, but I'll have to be satisfied with the photos I stole from the Chihuly website:

Bridge of Glass Seaform Pavilion

Bridge of Glass Seaform Pavilion

But the absolutely coolest part of the museum was The Hot Shop. It's a live glassblowing studio, with real artists and their teams making new glass sculptures. You can sit right in front, enough to feel the heat from the 6 furnaces and various ovens, and watch them do their intricate dance to work quickly with the glass while it's malleable, while not poking each other with the 2000 degree metal implements. We were there for over an hour, watching them create a stripy worm-like vase, which was supposed to look like a 70s striped stocking. One of the guys even talked to us a little bit, answering our questions.

It reminded me of sitting at the "Chef's Counter" at Alan Wong's restaurant in Hawaii and watching those guys prepare the meals. The Hot Shop and Bridge of Glass were well worth the trip to Tacoma. That, and seeing family, of course!

We ate lunch at Blue Olive, the ultra-hip restaurant and lounge right by the museum. It was pretty good, not spectacular. Nearby was also Urban Dogs, a very cool pet accessory boutique, but TJ wouldn't let me go there since our dogs have too much "stuff" already. (Spike disagrees, and wouldn't mind some new treats every now and then.)

After we returned home, I collected the dogs in our air-conditioned bedroom and we napped and hid out from the heat for the next several hours. It's been a nice lazy day. I even managed to get to the gym, and read half of the chapter about binomial distributions for my online Statistics course. What more could a girl ask for out of a weekend day?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Don't you wish you knew better by now

I'm feeling conflicted by an incident that just happened at the dog park. It's not even an incident, really, but you be the judge. Spike and I were walking around the dog park to get some exercise. One time around is 25 minutes, so I decided to go around twice, and call that my exercise for the day.

The end of the second lap, we were passed by a couple of guys running by us. They weren't dressed in workout clothes, but in street clothes, and had no dog. A little weird for the dog park, but I didn't think much of it. One of them slowed down to pet another beagle in front of us. They were Latino, with shaved heads, muscle Ts and some tattoos.

As Spike and I were getting ready to leave, we saw 2 police cars pull up. Two cops got out and walked into the park (not near us), clearly looking for something and not sure which way to go. Here's the conflict. My first thought was that they must be looking for those two guys. But that's a pretty racist thought and that bothers me. For all I know they could have been looking for the nice (white) family with the Basset hound who was leaving at the same time.

I decided not to do anything. The cops didn't come over and ask me anything, and I didn't feel the need to approach them. I do have a certain mistrust for cops in general (maybe another prejudice?) but that has to do with my vague distrust for "The Man". I'm more troubled by the thought that I automatically assumed they were looking for those two guys. On the other hand, if those were two white guys, with tattoos, muscle Ts and no dogs, running out of the dog park, I would have thought the same thing. So maybe I'm not as much racist as I am likely to judge those with a certain "look".

What would you do/think?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I once was lost but now am found

TJ and I went to Savannah this past week for the "13th day" ceremony for my grandfather. My parents had invited a Hindu priest to their house to conduct the puja, and several of our relatives and their friends attended. Afterwards we had a pretty amazing South Indian vegetarian lunch cooked by my mom (who must have been cooking for days). Thanks to her, I can't eat at any South Indian restaurant because their food is crap compared to hers.

But I digress. The real reason for my post is to tell you about a new friend we made in Savannah:

On Wednesday night, we went out to dinner with my parents. Upon our return, we saw a dog wandering around near their street - an adorable little beagle guy. Their subdivision doesn't usually have dogs running loose, so we stopped to see if he had any tags. He had a tag for a microchip, as well as his county license, but no nametag. Since he was little, and mostly friendly (but very nervous), TJ scooped him up and we took him home. It was around 10pm, and the county licensing office was closed. I called the Avid microchip number, and they told me that particular chip was registered to a vet, but they didn't have an owner's name. And of course, the vet was already closed. So we decided to hold on to the little guy that night, and then call the vet in the morning.

TJ had the idea of walking around the neighborhood to see if anyone was out looking for him. So we set off, TJ, the little guy, and myself, along the main road through my parent's giant subdivision. We walked for about 35 minutes, and I thought the street we were on would loop around back to the subdivision entrance.

Well, I was wrong. We kept walking, and another 20 minutes later, saw the Savannah police cruiser that monitors the neighborhood at night. We told him we were a little bit lost, and he recognized us because my mom had called him to tell him about the dog we found, in case someone had called the security patrol looking for him. He thought it was hilarious we had walked so far from home and offered us his cell phone so I could call my parents to come pick us up. (I had left mine at home, and TJs had no juice - not smart...) We couldn't get a hold of them, so the nice policeman drove back to my parents house (a good 3 miles away!) and asked my dad to come and pick us up.

During this whole adventure, the little beagle stayed calm and was really enjoying his nice long walk. He had a ton of energy.

When we got back home (thanks Appa) we put the little guy in the screened-in porch outside, since we didn't know if he was housetrained. By then it was pretty late, and time for us to go to bed. I hung out with the dog for a while, and he was just the sweetest little guy. When I left him on the porch, he just started whining this sad little squeaky whine.

Well, I couldn't take it. I asked my mom if I could bring him inside (somehow that made me feel like I was 10 years old again) and she reluctantly agreed. I brought him up to our bedroom, on the leash and after a little coaxing, he jumped right up on the bed, and curled up by me to go to sleep. An hour or so later, he got a little anxious, so we went outside (quickly!). After that, he slept with TJ, all curled up in a little beagle ball. Apparently, like Spike, he was wiggly and kicked TJ a lot, so it was a long night for them. I slept well. :)

I woke up early and we fed him because his stomach was growling. He happily ate my parents' dog's "senior" dog food. I took the little guy for a short walk and hoped that someone would recognize him. Though, honestly, at that point, I hoped he didn't have a home, and we could keep him! Around 7:15, the vet called us back (I left a message with his chip number) and let us know the name, address and phone number of his owner. I called them, and the wife was happy to hear we had her dog. I was sad to hear they were looking for him because I was already making plans to figure out how to get him back to Seattle. About 20 minutes later, her husband came to pick him up.

We found out the little guy's name was Bogey, he was about a year old, and he liked to go golfing with his person, and he jumped out of the golf cart to chase something, and got loose. They had found him as a stray, so he seems to have a bit of a wandering personality, just like most beagles. From the looks of him, and his boundless energy, I suspect he's a beagle/Jack Russell mix, because he was much smaller than Spike and his ears were a slightly different shape. Unfortunately the guy was using a shock collar to train Bogey, which I really think is WRONG for such a little dog, and one who seemed eager to please people.

Later in the day, Bogey's person dropped off a $25 gift certificate to Petsmart for us, which was nice, and totally unnecessary. I got to say goodbye to Bogey again, and so did TJ. While I would have loved to bring him home, I'm sure Bogey is happy to be with his people, and shock collar notwithstanding, he seems to have a pretty good life.

That's the 3rd dog I've found, and returned home. The first was Abby, a black lab who was wandering down the road near our rental house in Bellevue, and the second was a giant malamute belonging to one of our neighbor's visiting sons. That's a pretty good record.

Goodbye Bogey!!

In a darkened room

So I've seen 3 movies in the theater in the last 4 weeks, which is more than I've seen in the last 6 months, I think. I'm just so picky about movies, because a bad one makes me feel like I'm wasting time *and* money. And TJ and I don't like the same kinds of movies, so it's pretty hard to find one that we both want to see.

TJ and I saw 'Cars' a couple of weeks ago, and it rocked. Yes, it was predictable, and the characters were stereotypes. (e.g. the flashy lowrider was voiced by Cheech Marin, with an obvious Mexican accent) But it was a fun movie thanks to the attention to detail that comes in Pixar films. The scenery was gorgeous - there were scenes where the animators were just obviously showing off what they could do. The soundtrack was actually pretty good, too, with a kickass cover of "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts. Since it was a kids' movie it wasn't too long, either, and we came out of the theater happy. We'll buy that one on DVD when it comes out.

Next I saw 'The Devil Wears Prada' with Dre last weekend. It's definitely a chick film, and TJ knew that, and didn't want to go. I had read the book - definitely not a literary work, but quick and enjoyable nonetheless. I liked that the book and the movie focused on the main character's career, and not about her trying to get a man. There was some peripheral relationship stuff in there, but it wasn't the central plot. The movie was a lot of fun - amazing fashion, good music, and lots of witty banter. The best was Meryl Streep as the evil Miranda Priestly - she was so elegant and so disdainful - it was delicious. She also reminded me of a certain professor I had in college - mind you that professor wasn't as mean, but also exuded that ice queen condescension at times, and commanded incredible respect. I'd buy this one on DVD as well and would happily see it again.

Last night, TJ and I saw 'The DaVinci Code'. I know, we're a little behind the times, since the movie is on its way out here - there were only a few theaters still showing it. Neither of us was impressed. It was ok, about as good as 'National Treasure' which we saw last year. Tom Hanks looks like a dork with that long hair, and the movie was way too long. I guess it's hard to condense such a long, detailed book into a 2.5 hour movie, but it was mostly not very believable because Tom Hanks' character would just suddenly come up with answers to the riddles, etc. I guess it's hard to convey that process on-screen. It reminded me of the oh-so-annoying Vincent D'Onofrio's character on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, who just "intuitively knows" things, out of the blue. There were some cheap attempts at suspense and surprise when the evil monk would just pop out and try to kill someone, but otherwise, I kept checking my watch to find out how long we had left. And that's definitely not a good sign for a movie. I don't plan to buy this on DVD, but would still like to read the book.

And speaking of movies, we're going to buy a projector for our living room to slowly begin the process of making that room a better space for us to hang out in. Woo hoo!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Con te partiro

TJ got me a new toy for my birthday last week:

I held out for a long time, and didn't get an iPod because I thought they were overpriced and I could find a player more compatible w/ MS and Windows. Well, I was wrong. 4 unsatisfying MP3 players later, and here I am at the fantabulous 60 GB video iPod. I'm in love.

I had already downloaded a bunch of songs on iTunes (love the idea of buying one song at a time, and their selection is *huge*), and had the 1GB iPod Shuffle for the gym, but I wanted the big one to store my music collection. So I chose the 60GB and even now, with almost all my music on it, it's not even half-full.

I'm getting ready for our trip to Savannah, so I'll write more later on how I got my iPod all set up with my music, some podcasts, pictures, a TV show and some random videos. Should keep me entertained on the 2 5+ hour flights I have coming up in the next week!

One last thing -- Happy Birthday Amma!

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