So it’s late, and I should probably be in bed considering I have a big day yet tomorrow… but I just had to share.

I just got back from Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, and it was amazing.

Cirque's Grand Chapiteau

Our seats were almost a little too close to the stage, but it was fantastic, being up close and personal with the performers. There were some incredibly memorable performances, and the audience participation moments are fantastic.

Of course there was all too much I wish I could of bought in the merchandise area, including some fantastically gorgeous masks, but I did manage to convince myself to get the program guide and CD at the very least.

Program Guide and CD

All in all this will be a night I don’t soon forget.

We’re heading out tomorrow for the Seattle grand tour… the Art Museum (which I absolutely love), the Japanese Garden, and of course the Apple Store. There may be a quick run to Chinatown for lunch as well, and a walk through Pike’s Place market and possibly the Aquarium. All in all a packed day really.

The show must go on!

Photo Hunt Week 8: Keys

Keys in an unmarked door.

This is just an everyday door at work… with my work keys in them. I had some grand ideas for this shot… but the image in my head was much harder to achieve than I first expected. I do like the look of this shot though… taken from an angle most of us don’t see anymore. Kind of a kid’s eye view.

I love what Vicky has done for this week’s update, as she has some really sexy keys in her collection. Yes, keys can be sexy. Like spoons.

I have to apologize for the lateness of this photo hunt entry, as well. Domestic bits have beaten me down lately it seems. I have yet to get those floss bundles together as well, and have at least made the solemn vow to get my ass in gear this weekend.

You hear me, ass?

I, Floss Fairy.

Today I shed the frail, common exterior I usually haul around during the doldrums of everyday life, and became my alter-ego.

Today… I was a floss fairy.

So I thought I would let those interested have just a little peek into a day in the life of a floss fairy. Complete with pictures!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it...My day starts with waking at about 11am or so. Because fairies need their sleep, you see. After performing all the proper morning rituals, I finally get around to printing out my mission dossier. This has all the targets I need to acquire for a successful floss fairy mission, and, as you can see, there are usually quite a few. But I am a professional. No list will phase this fairy, no matter how long. And, of course, coupons always help. ¡Viva la frugality!

A certified Fairy Transportational Vehicle.After perusing the mission objectives, it’s time to head to the Floss-mobile. Which is currently the fine vehicle you see pictured here. Transportation is key for a floss fairy, especially when the craft stores are several miles away. But you know what they say… neither snow nor rain stays this fairy from the swift completion of my appointed stashing.

Raindrops keep falling on my... windshield.And it did rain.

I'm makin' mashed potatoes!But thankfully my trusty companion Gir kept the gloom away.

And then he baked a cake.

Joann's FabricsAt any rate, eventually I found my way to my first stake-out location… Joann’s Fabrics. At the risk of life and limb, I now bring you a picture that my scare some of you…

How do you hunt floss?  Track it to it's lair!Floss in it’s natural habitat.

It takes about an hour or so to get all the floss collected and tucked away in a shopping basket, checked out, and paid for. Now, for the most part, floss fairies have no natural enemies and can live in harmony with most other craft-minded people. There are, however, one subset of individuals that look on floss-fairies with true fear and dread.


When you walk up to a check out aisle with a basket of over 200 individual skeins of floss, you can see that look of doom in the cashier’s eyes. A cold sweat breaks out over their brow, and they frantically begin worrying about things such as if there’s enough tape in the machine for the huge receipt that it will have to print out, or if they accidently drop a skein of floss into the waiting bag without scanning it, robbing the store of another precious 20 cents. And, of course, calling down the wrath of the inventory manager.

The outgoing signs of all this worry is, of course, inane chatter.

Although, granted, there’s not much else to do when scanning in 200 items for over 10 minutes.

One of these days I will just completely break a cashier and they will run, screaming in terror from my waiting basket of floss. Mwhahahah!

*ahem*… Anyway, my purchase completed, I generally find that visiting just one craft store is generally not enough when it comes to floss. The first place you go to is always missing some of the skeins you need… which means that you have to head to the next stake-out location…

Michael'sMichael’s. Thankfully here I was able to fill in most of the gaps in my mission objectives list, save for a few pesky skeins I just couldn’t hunt down. These will be marked as missing when the bundles finally ship, with a heartfelt apology and feeling of sorrow in not being able to be quite as thorough as a floss fairy longs to be.

Floss!At the end of the day, though… I can still take pride in a job well done and several large bags of floss… as well as a receipt a mile long to go with it. This is my calling. My purpose.

I am a floss fairy.

I can only aspire to one day earn my wand and my wings.

Tomorrow… the bundling process!


Chia herb garden!

For Christmas this year, Danie’s mom did something I wasn’t expecting… and bought me something. Evidently she overheard at some point that I wanted to have my own little herb garden. This desire in itself is somewhat strange for me. I’ve always been in denial when it comes to gardening. Growing up, I felt at times like I was used as slave labor in the garden. And my parents had a huge one. No 40 acre farm or anything, but the garden and the produce that came out of it was nearly a daily thing I had to deal with in some form. So for a long time I swore to myself that I would never do any gardening.

I’m finding, though… that I miss it. Having fresh vegetables handy is something I wish I had at times now that I’m starting to cook again. And I figured a good first step in that respect would be to start growing some herbs indoors.

And here is the start to that endeavor! It’s not a lot yet, but I’m hoping to add to the selection of herbs at a later date, after I see how these go. Plus I figure it’s a good start to getting my feet wet with taking care of plants again… before I take on a bonsai like I want to. The kit Danie’s mom bought is pretty simple. It’s four terracotta pots with these funky soil sponge thingies. The only scary part is that it’s a Chia Herb Garden… the same Chia as those really scary Chia pets that get advertised over here.

So here’s to fostering and nurturing a green thumb again. Hopefully I manage not to kill all of them like I’ve done in the past.

The Blackest Friday

This has been the longest weekend ever.

It’s bad enough when you have a holiday based around having as big a meal as possible. But when you add the biggest shopping day of the year into the mix as well, and then mix in a little familial gathering, you have a recipe for a weekend that seemingly stretches on infinitely.

Thanksgiving Day itself was kind of nice, really. It was me, Danie, Shawn and his mom all together, and Danie went really out of her way this year to prepare food for our little feast. Instead of turkey, we had a really yummy glazed ham. I’ve found out the secret to Danie’s ham is that she actually uses coffee in the baste. Whatever she used though, it was delicious. Combine that with your traditional Thanksgiving victuals, including stuffing, veggies, cranberry sauce, and, of course, the ever so evil candied yams, and it was a fantastic evening all in all. We followed up dinner with some traditional card and board game playing, and then started preparing for one of the craziest things I’ve done in a long, long time.

Black Friday.

The plan was to get to Best Buy early enough to not miss out on a few critical deals we were trying to get. The main item we were going for was a 32″ LCD TV, that was about half off its regular price. This is basically me and Shawn’s Christmas gift to each other. The other item I personally wanted to get was a 7 mega pixel Kodak digital camera, mainly so I can start posting pictures to this blog.

So, doing our calculations and thinking things through, we figured that if we left no later than 1 AM, we would be okay. That would get us to Best Buy at about 2 AM, and not many people would be that crazy to wait in line for that long, right?

Whenever I try to judge just how crazy people are, I always sorely underestimate in my calculations.

Sorely, sorely underestimate.

By the time we walked up to Best Buy at 2 AM, the line not only went all the way along side the store, but ran across the Office Depot that was right next to it, across a ritzy clothing outfit next to that, and around the corner. When we got in line, we couldn’t even see the entrance to the store.

For some reason, though, I was in good spirits. It was amazingly cold, which always makes me happy. And I was optimistic that we would still be able to get something, though I was starting to doubt that we would get the major items we had came for. Danie was smart and had brought her Nintendo DS, and proceeded to spend that first hour playing the new Super Mario Brothers. Shawn, on the other hand, was just tired, and was already starting to complain about aching muscles. I think he had already written off the whole enterprise at this point, because when I mentioned that we could just go back home, half jokingly, his eyes seemed to light up.

There was no way I was going back home at this point. I was on a mission. I would not be deterred by some measly line.

So… the first hour passed by fairly quickly. Shawn and I talked to pass the time and Danie played her DS. At one point we decided to pull the folding chair and thermos of coffee from the car. This is why going in a group of at least two is an absolute must. You need someone there to hold your spot in line while one of you goes to do simple things like sit in the car to warm up for a few minutes. Though it never came to that for us. We’re professionals. We just winge and moan and hope the time goes by faster. While sipping coffee from a thermos.

3 AM rolls around. There’s some activity ahead of us, but we’re mostly frozen in spot from the cold at this point. At this point, we have just an hour to go before the Best Buy staff start handing out vouchers for the limited quantity items. We look over the flyer and confirm the items that we want to try to get a hold of. An hour waiting in line can do odd things to your optimism, though… and I was doubting whether we’d be able to get any of the items we came for.

But something miraculous started happening. The line began to move. Now I knew something had to be up because the store didn’t open for another hour and a half. But low and behold, not only were we moving forward, but we moved past the corner of the building! We moved so far forward that not only were we past the corner of the building, we had moved past the ritzy clothing store and were standing in front of the Office Depot! You could even see the entrance to Best Buy. It seemed too good to be true.

It turns out that a good portion of that line ahead of us were people with tents. And once the time drew close for the vouchers to get handed out, they started breaking camp. So things weren’t as dire as we thought, and suddenly my optimism was renewed.

But damn. Tents? I found out these people had actually started camping out the night before. Some of them had likely even skipped Thanksgiving dinner entirely, just to get the best deal possible on a desktop computer or LCD monitor.

And I thought I was crazy for wanting to be there by 2 AM.

The next half hour went by relatively quickly, and soon the moment of judgment was upon us. It was 4 AM, and the handing out of the vouchers began. This was a fairly simple process, with Best Buy staff starting at the start of the line with manila envelopes full of color coded papers calling out for certain items and people in line holding up their hands if they wanted one. This is where one of my theories in regards to the campers was proven in full. Most of the people there were waiting for computer equipment. Desktop computers, laptops, LCD displays… these things went fast. Vouchers for these items never made it anywhere close to our spot in line. TV’s and cameras, on the other hand… they were hard pressed to even get rid of some of them. Shawn got his voucher for the 32″ LCD TV we wanted, Danie got a voucher for the 5 mega pixel camera she was going to get for her grandmother, and I got my voucher for the 7 mega pixel camera I wanted.

Success. All our plotting and scheming for the past two weeks paid off. We were basically guaranteed to get the big ticket items we wanted.

We just had to wait another hour to get into the store.

That was probably the slowest hour out of all of them. Having the vouchers in hand, a little bit of that anticipation and adrenalin slips away, and all you’re left with is the cold. And the wait. Danie brought out her iPod shuffle and started listening to music. Shawn just looked dead on his feet. I just tried to keep busy looking around. We were still in front of the Office Depot at this point, and it was amusing how much smaller the line of people was for their opening sale. I began to envy them in a way. They seemed to know what they were doing, waiting at a store that was much less in demand, even if the bargains weren’t as good.

Of course, most sane people would consider going out on Black Friday a crazy thing to do at all. Myself included on most days. I would of written the whole thing off if it wasn’t for the deal on that TV. We had been looking at a TV very similar for a long time, but could never justify the cost. But for half price?

I think there’s a logic center of the brain that handles things like basic finance and money. When this logic center is presented with such sundry deals as ‘half-off’, it seems to seriously affect other portions of the brain that deal with such things as knowing that waiting in line for three hours in the cold is a crazy thing to willingly do. Some people are more affected by this than others.

5 AM approached. We got excited. We went over our game plan. We were going to split up, get the few additional items we needed, make our purchases, and meet close to the entrance.

The doors opened.

The line moved forward.

We entered the store.

Chaos ensued.

I have never seen so many people packed into a small area. What seemed like a manageable line of people ahead of us turned into a traffic jam of crazy shoppers as individuals headed for deals and begun waiting in line for items they had vouchers for. It was literally impossible to get to certain portions of the store without being presented by a wall of shopping carts and people. This was the craziest thing I had seen in a long time, and is the one thing that would keep me from doing a Black Friday sale ever again.

I don’t like people. People packed in a store like sardines in a tin? Probably one of my least favorite things.

I valiantly made my way to the computer section of the store, though… I had made Jim a promise that I would try to get him a 17″ LCD display for a computer he was building for his family. By the time I actually got to the monitors, though… they were gone. I was in the first group of people let into the store, and they were still already gone. I toyed with the idea of getting a larger display, but none of them were sale items, so would be twice as much as he was expecting. I came to the conclusion that it was a lost cause and resigned myself to calling him later to give him the bad news.

Everything else I wanted to get I had no trouble finding.

Danie and I got in line to buy our digital cameras while Shawn stood back and watched for the most part. The line for the televisions didn’t seem too long, though we would find out later that was a major deception. After we had our cameras, we grouped together in one of the less populated aisles (computer software, ironically) and decided to start the long wait for the television.

And my god, it was a long wait.

The TV line had to be the slowest moving line in the store. Many of the people there were buying large televisions on the order of $1000 or more. And were woefully unprepared. They were applying for credit at the counter, which can take 5-10 minutes or more. Some were smart and had applied for credit the day or two before, but were finding they hadn’t given their bank enough time to process everything, and their cards weren’t working in the store. After waiting for an hour and seeing Shawn barely move up the line, Danie and I decided to go purchase the rest of our items and see if we could head into another part of town so that I could complete another mission: floss.

Not only were we able to snake our way through the 8 aisle line of people waiting to buy their items at the main counters, but we were able to head to Joann’s Fabrics, assemble together all the floss I needed to get, wait in line there, get checked out and head back to Best Buy… all before Shawn was done with his transaction.

The poor sod. I actually feel quite bad for him. He had the worst time out of all of us I think, with having to wait in line for nearly two additional hours just so we could get our hands on a TV.

Though, admittingly, it’s beautiful.

Even Shawn thinks it was mostly worth it at this point. All he had to do was hook up his DVD player using component cables and pop in Serenity to be converted. Who needs high definition DVD’s when just watching them in progressive scan is a major leap in viewing pleasure?

So that wraps up Black Friday, 2006. I apologize if this post is tremendously long, but it was quite the ordeal all in all, and giving it a paragraph or two coverage didn’t seem to do it justice. How did we make out in the end? You be the judge:




Having a frightful story to tell about the evils of Black Friday – priceless.

Next year… stereo audio equipment! *shoots himself in the head now*

Black Friday

I have waited in line for three hours straight. Followed by more waiting in line. And then more waiting in line.

And I have returned… victorious.

Tired… but victorious.

The lines were long. The people were crazy. This is not an experience for the faint of heart. I’m hoping to have an update later with all the details and maybe even a picture or two of our haul.

All in all it was a good wait though. I’d say the deal of the day would have to be a spindle of 100 DVD-Rs for $5. That’s right. $5. I did a triple take when I finally saw that in the ad.

I’m happy because I finally have a digital camera I can do point and shoot photos with. No more dealing with film camera, though it will still be nice to have it around if I want to get really serious about photography again.

But for now… sleep.

Sweet, sweet sleep.

Ciao, Black Friday. We hardly knew ye.

There and back again.

I’m officially back from Australia.

It’s a bit strange, really. I had two fantastic weeks away, and now that I’m back, I’m realizing that this place really doesn’t feel like home anymore. It was kind of surreal stepping off the plane and having to remind myself that this is where I started my journey.

I need a change. A serious change. I’m not happy where I’m at right now, and its past time I moved out, stood on my own once more, and faced my life.

I’ve known this for a while, but have never had it driven home quite as sharply as after getting back from Australia this time. I can honestly say that this last trip was a bit of an eye opener into myself in many ways… and a trip I am not likely to forget anytime soon.

Even more surreal at the moment though is the weather here currently. I’ve gone from an area under drought conditions to the worst flooding this area has seen for years. Almost 12 counties in Washington have had flood alerts issued, and there are quite a few cities that have been overtaken with water. My flights into Seattle were delayed for over two hours as they put flights on a rotational delay due to the inability to handle the usual amount of air traffic into the city with the torrential rain.

Simply driving back from Seattle last night was an adventure, as parts of I-90 had fairly deep water on the roadway and had suffered from washouts here and there. Traffic was slow due to numerous accidents, and the driving conditions were terrible. I have to sincerely thank Danie for getting me home. I was in no state to drive, and she did an excellent job negotiating the rough driving conditions, even if she did have a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel at moments. From what I understand they stopped in North Bend on the way to pick me up to get gas, and almost ended up stuck there in the process. North Bend has been one of the harder hit communities, with the flooding there actually closing the voting poll location.

This brings me to my final point for today: voting day. Thankfully I didn’t miss the general election for this year, as I had almost feared. Today is voting today, and I was able to get my ballot filled out and turned in. I voted pretty much straight Democrat this year, as I’m not impressed for the most part with the political views of the Republicans. I did have some time today to at least go through and do some research on the referendums up on the ballot, and look at the unknowns in the different legislative and judicial offices opening up. As time goes on, I feel the need to get more and more politically involved as I watch what I once thought were rights and freedoms we had as individuals being taken from us. I am frustrated a lot of the time in being in such an obviously right-wing, religious community. I’ve found that a lot of my political views differ by a large margin to the people around me. Shawn, thankfully, is an exception to this, and our similar viewpoints have been one of the things that keep us amused in our friendship.

For the most part, I’m just relieved that I can no longer be held responsible for everything that’s wrong with America now that I’m actually an active, voting citizen.

Now if I could just stop being ashamed for the country I live in.

Where am I going?


It’s hard for my brain to wrap around the reality that I will be flying out this coming weekend. I’m getting nervous, though I know I have no reason to be, really. I’ve done this trip twice before, and had a blast both times. And this time I get to go during Halloween. Vicky has always thrown a magnificent Halloween bash, and this time I actually get to be there for it.

I am, of course, bringing loads and loads of Halloween goodies with me. I’ve taken some photos of the stash, and hope to post them tomorrow. It really is… a lot. I’ve bought a second bag to put everything in and will be incredibly amused if my check-in luggage gets a thorough searching at the airport. You know… disemembered foam arms sticking out of the side of my bag and what not.

Maybe I can bribe the security guards with the loads of candy I’ll be hauling with me.

Vicky has promised me that I will have access to her digital camera while I’m there as well, so I fully plan to make use of it as much as possible. You’ll hopefully be able to check both our blogs for lots and lots of updates in the weeks to come. Or actually, after I head back home. Who has time for updating blogs when there’s fun to be had?

Those of you that read this blog and are in the area, I fully intend to see you at some point. That first week I’m there is going to be hectic, but I do hope to get some time to just unwind and enjoy myself as well. This whole work thing has taken a lot out of me of late, and I’m looking forward to a vacation. A much deserved vacation.

I’ve also been told by Danie that I have to bring something back for her. I think she’s a little jealous of Shawn’s didgeridoo and boomerang. Any suggestions?

There is Sauerkraut in my Leiderheusen.


That magical time that comes every year when I get to succumb to two of my greatest vices.

German sausage and sauerkraut.

We took a quick jaunt up to Odessa this morning to participate in the festivities. Honestly, though… if you’re not a fan of German food, there’s not much for you to do at Deutschesfest. There was a flea market, though there was maybe only a dozen stalls total, and an art show… which we had some difficulty finding for some reason. We also just missed the parade, which I understand is typical small-town fare… with a German twist, of course. And we didn’t stay long enough to enjoy the Biergarten, which, generally, scares the hell out of me anyway.

The food was excellent, though, as always. And the flea market had some entertaining bric-a-brac. There was some sculpture work that was rather pretty, including some dragon pieces that caught my eye. And there was a guy selling Grandles, which are interesting pieces of work. There were some that had a really pretty gold inlay of Celtic patterns, including a triskele, which caught my eye.

But, of course, were also severely overpriced.

So I escaped Deutschesfest with empty hands and a full stomach.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.

What a dearth of entries lately. 🙁

I can only blame inordinate amounts of work stress and lack of time. And generally not wanting to be around a computer when I do get some time. Except maybe for World of Warcraft.

Even World of Warcraft weekend isn’t looking like it will happen this week, which is depressing to no end.

I’ll have to explain work bits in a separate post at some point. I don’t really feel up to geeking out about it tonight. Maybe when things are actually in place and working.

I did have some excitement tonight, however. Shawn and I drove home today to find the roads blocked off to his house. And lights flashing.

His neighbor’s house had caught fire.

Evidently they’ve been working on putting it out for the past few hours. There are still fire trucks humming outside as I type this. The house is still smoldering, but I don’t see any visible licks of flame at this point at least, so they’ve kept it fairly well contained.

Still a bit worrisome though. Don’t know what I would of done if it had reached our house as well.

Probably huddle in a corner somewhere, cursing myself for wondering if my day could of gone any worse.

It will be interesting to see how bad the damage is tomorrow during the daylight hours.

Honestly, though… this neighbor across the street from us is definately the ‘crazy neighbor’. They house has always been just overloaded with stuff. Boxes and boxes spewing from the hallways and doorways of the house into the garage, sometimes even into the lawn… and their cars. Shawn even told me a story about a time he watched the neighbor guy walk out and relieve himself on one of the tires of their car. Possibly because the bathroom was full of boxes of junk. Who knows.

It wasn’t a complete surprise to find out their place had caught fire.

It’s just a little disconcerting.


It’s that time of year. Spring is sliding into summer, and schools across the country are having graduation ceremonies. Last night was not only the graduation ceremony for Royal, but for Big Bend Community College as well, where Danie has been studying.

I skipped the Royal graduation and decided to join Shawn and his mom in going to support Danie.

The ceremony was alright. It went by relatively fast, with two speakers that sounded as if they were reading their entire speech from note cards. Big Bend is a relatively small school as well, so the graduates went by pretty fast as they picked up their diplomas.

And Danie looked pretty happy it was over.

We had a small celebration afterwards, heading to an excellent Mexican restaurant in town. I was able to see Danie’s parents again, as well as her employers for whom she watches over triplet babies. How she manages that still boggles my mind sometimes. I can only guess that it’s helped her in the whole multi-tasking portion of her programming degree.

All in all it was a good night.

I’ve also received my invitation for my 10 year class reunion. This I’m having a harder time coming to grips with. There is this rather deep seated fear about going to my reunion, as I’ve always been the self-conscious type. Plus, honestly, I don’t see a lot on the agenda I take much interest in. The first night they’re having a cocktail and steak dinner evening at a trendy restaurant. The cocktails will be appreciated, since I think getting roaring drunk would be the only way I’d really appreciate the evening, but sitting down to a steak dinner relatively by myself just doesn’t seem that appealing. And even if I do get roaring drunk, I’d have to find a way home afterward.

The day after they’re having a golf meet. I don’t golf. I don’t plan starting to golf in a public game. Self-conscious, remember? And then that evening they’re having a family picnic where everyone can bring their kids. Very not interested in this. I have little desire to see the spawn of my old classmates.

So… that about sums it up. I’m only vaguely interested in going to the first night, but the logistics of getting home when I know I’ll want to drink a bit catches me up. And the $30 price doesn’t help.

I asked Shawn if he wanted to go with me as my life partner, but he didn’t seem that interested in the whole idea.

Though I thought it would be amusing.

Ah well.

Memorial Day

They say that this a holiday to remember all the men and woman that have died in military service.

I say that’s only partially true.

The deeper purpose of this holiday is to give the typical American household the chance to fire up their barbecue.

You couldn’t go outside today without the smell of roasted meat and barbecue sauce assaulting your senses.

Which brings me to something peculiar about American holidays. It seems they have all begun to revolve around one predominate facet.


After all, we are the only nation to have Thanksgiving, a holiday edifying the mass destruction and consumption of large poultry.

Of course, I’m just as guilty as anyone else. Don’t dare deprive me of my Halloween sweets, or the miles and miles of goodies that come with Christmas.

And they wonder why America has an obesity problem. We worship food. We glorify it… even celebrate it.

Which kind of brings me to the movie I went and saw tonight.

Yes, another movie. I think in ways it was an attempt to wash away X-Men 3 from last night.

Anyway… we went and saw Over the Hedge.

It’s cute. And rather entertaining. It’s also slow at times and rather methodical. It strives too hard to be a kids movie a large portion of the time, even though there is some content there for the older crowd as well.

And there’s an entire scene explaining human’s strange obsession with food.

In reality, though… there’s only one reason to watch the movie.


How can you resist an adorable, hyperactive squirrel?

You can’t. It’s just not possible.