It snowed last night, so I took the bus into work thinking that it wouldn't last long enough to justify staying at home. Most of us made it in and getting home wasn't much of a drag either, as downtown was clear and only after you got out into the neighborhoods were there any problems. I saw a couple of cars had gone off the road as my bus decended Beacon Hill. Man, that must've been scary!
If I was one of those people who tried to look for meaning in every event, I'd be scratching my head over this one. The Last Day of The Year. Good riddence. 2003 had some highlights, but sucky-ness ruled this time.
I had breakfast with my lovely ex Mercedes on Monday. She said: "I have two things I want for you next year. 1) Get out more! 2) Stop working nights!!"
I think I agree. There comes a time when a man has to stop accepting the status quo and shake things up. Never before has my place in this world been called into question as much as it was this year. By that, I mean my feelings towards my country and my attitude towards it. I viewed cynicism as the refuge of the unimaginative and the lazy, but goddamn, I sure understand it now.
Nonetheless, I go on. I think the key is to be more pro-active and less re-active, one can still practice 'no mind' and get some bidness done...right?


Anyway, the plan for NYE is to head to Stu's around 4. Tess is supposed to join us for a little pre-functioning before we head off the CHAC for the festivities there.
I'm gonna try not spend too much cash but really, I feel like bein' BAAAAD.

So, maybe I'll see you tonight. Or, if'n I don't-I wish you a Happy and Safe New Year. May it be better than this last one...for real.


Some stuff to think about.

I started here (via Metafilter). Then went here. Then landed here.



Do you remember a time, perhaps when you were 7 or 8 years old -- maybe older (or younger) , and you started to become aware of just how big the world is, and that there are forces out in it that would crush you like a bug if you weren't careful? Or maybe even if you were?
Somehow you got used to it. You told yourself that if I pay my taxes and bills on time, save money, eat right, get an education, exercise, go to church, recycle, see a doctor regularly, brush and floss, regard my parents, work hard, do onto others as I would like done onto me, it'll be alright.
But you're not so sure, are you?


Even though I was raised Jehovah's Witness and am now a declared Agnostic, I still have enjoyed Christmas. I think they meet a basic human need, hope for the new year and disctraction from the drabness of winter.
When my sister and I were kids, the parents sat us down and explained the pagan origins of The Holidays and why JW's didn't celebrate along with the rest of the world. I was pretty cool with it, actually. In third or fourth grade, I was asked to give a short speech about "my beliefs" and I did so happily. But by the time I was in junior high and I had started questioning the things my parents told me, I found the matter a bit embarrassing.
I went my own way around 18 or 19. I didn't feel I had a personal relationship with god. I wasn't convinced that any "religion" had figured out the right path to god AND I wasn't sure that god was necessary for me to be a decent and moral person. But still, Christmas remained.
In my twenties, I made half-assed attempts to celebrate it with friends, since most of my local family are Witnesses, but it felt forced and stupid. And since I wasn't family, I couldn't expect much, even when I went all out with presents. So I dropped it, instead deriving pleasure from the sounds, sights, hustle and bustle of the season. I'd join friends for shopping trips or just wander around downtown, taking it all in. Vicarious-like. That was enough.
But this year seems a little empty. It's like people are going through the motions, meeting obligations and generally not feeling it. Reading the news today is just as depressing as it is on any other, with the ideas of Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards All Men, etc. ringing hollow. I'd be depressed if I didn't feel there were things to look forward to!
However, I am eager to see what 2004 brings...hopefully change of a good, soul-cleansing, head-sorting sort. Maybe we'll get a new and better government. Maybe I'll meet the girl of my dreams or take a nice long road trip on my bike.

I'd like to say thanks to Tab and Maria for stopping by and convincing me to hang out with them yesterday. I was enjoying the quiet, but I haven't seen youse broads in ages and it was all good. Sorry to Ji-Huyn for missing dinner. I somehow got it in my head that it was today! Now I've got more ice-cream than I could ever hope to eat...but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna try!

2004 Ho!!


Weekend Recap:

Stu's party was a hoot. I got there around 10 and walked into a house fulla people. Some folks I hadn't seen in yonks: Alison C., Muz, Casey, Mike W., Marcus and his lovely wife, Tina, Cinnamon and Andy, X-tina, Rob and Annie and Stu's mom and brother. Most everyone bailed by one, so me, Stu, Muz, X-tina and her friend sat around and watched season 1 of The Office (which was my present - Frito gave him Herbie Hancock's new box set). X-tina gave Stu a hilarious lecture on how now that he was a home owner, more women would find him attractive. "'Cause you got EQUITY!" she said. By 4AM most everyone had fallen asleep. I was feeling sober enough to drive so I rode home through empty street to the empty house - Frito's gone for the next 10 days!
On Saturday, there was a Beatles' White Album cover night at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard. Fey Ray was slotted to play "Long Long Long." We got to the bar around 8 after eating dinner at Hattie's Hat. I think we were a bit intimidated by both the crowd and all the other bands there. There were A LOT of ol' skool sceneters in the the place: John Ramburg, Kurt Bloch, Ben London and Scott McCaughey to name a few. We pretty much hid out in the back of the dressing area while we waited our turn. The club was packed! You could'nt even get to the bar without serious effort, so after a few beers we decided to chill. Everyone was in a good mood, the musicians and their friends were all cheering each other on or discussing their instruments. Hannah Levin from The Stranger was the MC and she was hanging around back, looking sexy in a 60's style dress and go-go boots. At one point a gorgeous raven-haired young lady sat next to me to talk to a friend of hers. He went to get them some beers and she introduced herself to me as "Jesse." She asked if I was playing and I said yes and introduced her to all the guys. Then she wanted to know if we were from around Seattle. I told her yes, that we'd been playing gigs for the last couple of years but we'd just spent the last six months working on our album. She seemed somewhat befuddled that she'd never heard of us before.
"We're not really scenesters," I said. "We don't drink at The Cha Cha." Turned out I was talking to Jessie Sykes!! Had I known, I would've been gushing all over her-so it's probably good that I'd only heard her music up to that point.
The performances were pretty cool. Most bands did fairly straight covers or rocked out. Sanford Arms' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" kicked ass, as did Jake London's "I'm So Tired" and Paul Hiraga's (from Downpilot) "Julia" was cool. I thought the most interesting cover was "Blackbird" done with trumpet and bass in a Miles Davis style.
We finally got on around 1AM and nailed it! I didn't allow myself to get nervous and the fellas were quietly confident, which helped 'cause we feed off each other's energy. It was over so fast, I barely remember it! We got mad props as we came offstage and hell, if Kurt Bloch liked it, it's good enough for me! I bailed during "Revolution 9" and rode home. HAPPY!!


And we're back. My machine went tits up awhile back, so I used Frito's. But his is all shiny and hi-techy with a big window innit so's you can watch the fans spin and whatever.
I had to get my baby back up and running. So Frito and I were running 'round the Southland (Tukwila) last Saturday and stopped in at ComputerSonics and I purchased an Athlon 2800+, heatsink, fan and 512 RAM. Frito bought me a mobo as an X-mas present and to thank me for watchin' the dog. (aww, shucks!)
It took a little futzin' but we got Pally up and stable and she's workin' jest fine!
Then I got sick.
By Monday I recovered and now all is well.
El Stu's birthday is tomorrow...the geezer is gonna be 38!


This is just poor. While not illegal, they certainly aren't telling folks about it. Watch yr ass...(via allaboutgeorge.com)


Like Matt, I was eagerly anticipating the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on The SciFi Channel. I remember eagerly waiting to see the original (much the 'rents consternation) back in the 70's. But even then, I hated all the cheesiness and similarities to Star Wars (UN-like Matt, a series that doesn't really turn my crank). I like lots of layers (DS9 was my favorite Trek, y'know.)
Suffering through Galactica 1980 was even worse and I could totally understand why the series failed.
I've watched both movies twice now (Thanks Replay TV), reading the posts on Metafilter and Slashdot and all the nitpicky comments tangents. But I daresay it the BG miniseries eclispes the original in every way. (SPOILER ALERT):

Starbuck as a woman? Big deal. I thought Katee Sackoff did a really good job. She wasn't too macho, and definitely showed some depth with what she had to work with.
Edward Olmos as Adama. Badass. 'nuff said.
Apollo? I thought the conflict between he and his father was a little cheesy. And Jamie Bamber acted like he had a stick up his bum. But later, when he see The President standing her ground against his father, he starts to loosen up. If the series developed, that would be a great storyline to develop.
Boomer? I could take or leave. If she doesn't know she's a Cylon, I wonder if she'd accept it?
Laura Roslin (The President of the Colonies), superb job, tough, pragmatic and compassionate.
I thought the plot with Baltar and Number 6 was well done. A lot of the yobs on the boards thought the sex scenes were gratuitous. Duh. I never thought I'd hear geeks complaining about sex...life gets weirder every day. Next they'll complain about Madeline Stowe going topless too much!

The space battle scenes were some of the best I've seen. I was really psyched to see missles used as much as lasers, and using manuvering jets on fighters in space combat was a brilliant idea. This was the best space combat show since Space: Above and Beyond.
I hope they make it a series of movies, or at least do some well-plotted story arcs.

Damn cool.
Today is Dan The Man's birthday. I'm trying to decide if I should stay in town tonight and give him my tradition gift - a bottle of Maker's Mark (yick!) or go hang out in B-Town with the gang. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post another picture...


I've known her for years, and still manage to maintain a crush through all of it. She seems happy, though she's working her ass off (Jeez, don't work that hard - I like yr ass!) and although we don't see each other as much, I wanted her to know that I was thinking of her today.



Man, didjaya'll miss a good time last night! I spent most of it in a booth with a lovely on each arm, but hey-the tunes were slammin', the dancefloor was packed and it looked like everyone was having funfunfun!

Now it's back to work...and rest.


So, the guitar toss was cool. I went to visit my mother and then went down to Stu's place. We got to the Sunset around 7:30 and there was plenty of grub left. I had a pork sammich, cole slaw and three slices of brisket. The BBQ sauce was Frito's Calrolina Style, which I think he's finally perfected. Later, on I walked up to Jake and said, "Dayum, that was some good shit!"
I think he was pleased.
Stu and I stayed for about an hour, chatting with Laurie and her friend, then we bailed and went to Graceland to see Heather Duby, The Swords Project , SushiRobo and The Dirtmitts.
Neil joined us as did Trish and Tracy. We stayed for all but Ms. Duby and Stu, the girls and I went to The Hurricane for some grub. I got home around 3AM.
Last night, my friend Tracy and I met up with some of my friends from the Westsiiide at the Pink Door. We were surprised to find that it was Burlesque night! WHOO HOO!!


I was wondering how long it would be until the Ol' Thug raised his ugly head. Jeez, this isn't even remotely funny anymore. More here.


She did it AGAIN!!

My Mother (who is notorious for withholding information) is in the hospital recovering from a surgery that she somehow forgot to mention when I talked to her at length last week. I called her yesterday to 'check in' and she casually drops it on me. Thanks. Grrrrrr.

(My aunt just called. Mom's doing fine. I'll drop by tomorrow and give her a hard time...as usual.)


Sun|Tzu Presents: Bugz in the Attic!!

West London is home to the broken beat scene, where DJ's, producers and musicians collaborate to produce music that I can only describe as the collision of dub, bossa nova, funk, house, jazz and hip-hop. This shit is complex and nuanced. What's even better is that you can work up a sweat on dance floor or enjoy ya drink and nod ya head...it's all good. Seattle has been sleeping on this stuff for quite awhile, but the Sun|Tzu crew has been constantly bringin' it, week after week at The Baltic Room, putting on some great shows and bringing some truly world-class talent to our little burg. NEXT SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7th, they're doing it again, bringing BUGZ IN THE ATTIC to Seattle.
Along with Kyoto Jazz Massive and the mighty Jazzanova, Bugz in the Attic represent the best of the genre.
I don't work for these people, but I do know a good booty-shakin' time when I see one, so I will be there.

I suggest you be there, too.
At work, we sometimes listen to The Daily Show clips they put up on their website. I was looking around for stuff to play by the late, great Bill Hicks and landed here. There's not a lot of his material here I haven't heard before, but you should check it out!

BTW-Comments are working, thanks to Blogspeak. They rule.


Gotta Email from Jake:


Just a quick heads up to remind you about the 3rd annual Guitar Toss at the
Sunset Tavern. As in years past, it's a benefit for the Boomtown Cafe in Pioneer Square. We've got a great lineup of folks joining us. The list is below. I hope you can make this the official start of your holiday party season.
Please note the following important info too:

*The event is on Friday night this year (December 5th).

* The event starts early this year, during the 6 O'clock Soft Rock Happy Hour Slot. So the doors will open around 6:30 and we'll get the music going around 7pm. From there, the event continue it all night long.

* As an inducement to get you out here early, my good buddy Scott Balikian and the rest of the folks at BlueDisguise Records are graciously assisting us in providing a HAPPY HOUR BARBECUE BUFFET (while quantities last).

That's right, Scott (AKA Frito) and I will be cooking up a large batch of Pork Shoulder, Brisket, and a very special veggie Sloppy Joe for your enjoyment. I expect we may have some slaw and a few cookies hanging around too (courtesy of Kelli Ramberg). So plan to arrive early and stay all night long.

Hosts: John Ramberg and Jake London

Guests: Robb Benson, Braden Blake, Larry Barrett, Mia Boyle, Earl Brooks, Christy McWilson, Jeff Fielder, Michael Hill, Paul Hiraga, Phil Hurley, Jon Hyde, Jared Clifton, Jennifer Potter and Chris Cline, Grant Johnson, Kwab Copeland, Ben London, Steve Mack, Andrew Mckeag, Rick Miller, Ron Nine, The Graze, Fred Speakman, Britt Speakman, Kurt Bloch, Scott Sutherland, Marc Olsen, Steve Turner, Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher, Mike Katell, Rusty Willoughby, Sheryl Wiser, Mark Pickerel, and Jen Wood.


Strike Me Down
Reindeer Section
I'd always thought of someone else, before I only think of you. I could always take the years away, before I struggle with it, can't you see I have no choice, other than to leave you, All these years i've lost my voice, shouting over nothing, It never would be easy to hear babe, but you have nothing to fear babe, just think of all the things that i've done to you, and anytime you want to be bad girl,(ba ba ba ba ba ba) I haven't noticed much has changed, drinking everyday now, I used to hope the phone would ring, and now I'm glad it doesn't. Loving someones hard enough, but leaving them is torture, don't think I don't think of you now, i'm with you everyday dear. Never would be easy to hear babe, but you have nothing to fear babe, just think of all the things that i've done to you, anytime you want to be bad girl. (ba ba ba ba ba ba x3)

If you think that one's for you, you're probably right.


Orphan's Thanksgiving was a blast, though it wore me out! On Thursday, Frito and I cleaned and did some shopping. I finally crashed for awhile in the late afternoon and got up to find Scott making Kufta, which we ate while watching wrasslin'. I puttered around some more until I finally went to bed around 3AM, getting up at 6 to get the turkey on.
The plan was to smoke it, which we guessed would take about 9-12 hours. We had to keep the temperature between 200 and 250 degrees. We took turns watching Scott's digital thermometer and since we weren't using direct heat, it took a lot a fuel! We went through almost two big bags of charcoal.
Around noon I made the garlic mashed potatoes, I peeled 10 pounds worth! I added about five bulbs of garlic, ricotta cheese, butter, onion salt, kosher salt and fresh parsley.
Then I peeled and boiled some sweet potatoes (Scott wanted 'em...?) and added salt, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, allspice, maple syrup and nutmeg. Since I never measure anything I can't pass on any recipes, but they both turned out great!
Laurie was the first to arrive, she brought bread and Maria showed up with antipasta and Frangos! (This is sad-btw)...I was good and crocked by then, thanks to the bloody mary and screwdrivers I'd made myself and Frito. Aaron and Oani showed up and Aaron tried to get me to play Halo and Crimson Skies, but I was too busy trying to stay upright!
Finally, the turkey was ready and I was told I was nominated to carve it. Great. I hacked at it and got about three plates of meat off it.
The meat was differently colored than oven-baked, but it had a salty-smoky flavor that was wonderful! I got a mess of my potatoes, cranberry sauce and some of Frito's apple-cornbread stuffing and parked on a couch. I got totally stuffed and wanted to crawl into bed but I stayed up and had some beers. I was totally wiped when Stu left around 2 (I think). Clean up went pretty smoothly and I spent the rest of Saturday sleeping...and eating leftovers.

On Sunday, The Chadster and I headed downtown. We had dinner at the Alibi Room then walked over to catch Norwegian black metallers Dimmu Borgir. Opening the show was Nevermore, Children of Bodom, and Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy was on first and I was not impressed...what did blow me away was the Showbox was fuggin' PACKED. I think I was the only person not wearing black (slaps forhead, wails "What was I thinking?!!") All night, this one guy kept bugging Chad and me, wanting us to boost him into the air during Dimmu's set...we tried to humor him but he kept going on and on about it!
Anyway, Hypocrisy...then only thing memorable about their set was the synchronized head banging. Which made me chuckle. Honest, I hadn't seen that since like, 1985! Fortunately, they weren't on long.
Chad told me that he'd downloaded some Children of Bodom and wasn't expecting much, but they came out and kicked ass! Gritty and Melodic, they were easily the most impressive band of the night, even more so when I found out that they're from Finland!
Nevermore bored me and I wanted to smack their smug singer upside the head. I'd seen them years ago when they were starting out during the grunge years. By the time Dimmu Borgir came on, I'd had enough, though I was impressed with Nick Carter's masterful drumming. The guy who wanted us to launch him disappeared sometime after COB set, I didn't see him again all night...weird. I guess "metal" is back!

You heard it here -- first!