Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Kite Runner

The Vikings managed to lose to the Bronco's today to finish the season 8-8 which is a little better than Vegas expected. I took a prop bet in Reno that the Vikings would win more than 7 games this year. Because of the Vikings I managed to turn $5 into nearly $10 so thank you for that. As much I enjoy checking the mail for my $10 check I'm a little annoyed they managed to blow there chances at the playoffs between this week and last. I am less than impressed than impressed with the Brad Childress era but then again I don't have a vote since I live too far away to make my displeasure known.

After I got sick of watching the Vikings lose I decided to go see a movie. For some reason I decided to see The Kite Runner, which is a pretty interesting movie. It is fictional and not a memoir but it feels like a true story while you watch it. At times it gets a little hard to believe with some of the events and the neat conclusion but it was a good movie. After the movie ended nobody talked for a very long time and nobody left their seat for a good minute. Always the sign of a good movie.

I wonder how many other people realize there are two separate movies about Afghanistan (at least indirectly) at the same time. The Kite Runner begins in Kabul prior to the Soviet invasion and returns during what appears to be the horrific Taliban years pre 9/11. Charlie Wilson's war, which I haven't seen, is some sort of comedic drama about how Senator Wilson funneled Billions of $$ into fighting the Soviets. This begs the question; did the former Soviet republics end up better off in the long run or did Afghanistan which managed to fight off communism with the help of the Americans? To be sure neither would be ideal but it's a fair question.

After returning to laundry and cleaning post holidays I sat down to watch some TV and ended up with The Sound of Music. I'm watching it as I type. Maybe it's because I'm reading a book on WWII right now but some of the references to Nazi's and the political climate have a whole new meaning once you start to pay attention. Rolf and Liesl Von Trapp were just discussing the joys of being 16 going on 17... according to IMDB Julie Andrews character doesn't have a last name, she's just "Maria". That's pretty odd.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Philly Cheese and Two Fights

Friday was a very low key day at work. Most people were still on vacation and the holiday rush was over so the team took a lunch. Success!! I have found a good Philly Cheese place in Seattle! It is called Tats (like tattoo's) and is run by some Penn State grads who really know how to make a good and authentic cheese steak with Whiz. Now to find a good Italian beef and possible a good corned beef / pastrami place. Finding the great local places has been particularly enjoyable.

After work I had to drive to the FedEx Ground hub to the south of town in order to pick up my Christmas present from my aunt. The package contained alcohol (wine) so that added to the difficultly because the package can't be left without a signature and age verification. Apple JalapeƱo Pepper wine. You read that right, JalapeƱo is included in the wine, so I think I'll take it to work and have a tasting session to see how this tastes in wide audience.

When I got home I walked a few blocks to Key Arena and watched a Junior league hockey game, the Seattle Thunderbirds were talking on local rivals the Everett Silvertips. It was a decent hockey game with some solid play but with a Junior league you have 16 - 20 years old learning how to play so for the price it was a solid deal. At about the 5 minute mark of a 3 - 0 Seattle lead 2 separate fights broke out at the same time. You don't see that very often so I was glad I stayed until the end. Key Arena is awful. If the Sonics do stay I 100% support funding a new arena for them.

At some point I need to make the drive and spend the money to go to a Vancouver Canucks hockey game. They are crazy about hockey and it's just a few hours up the road. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Is there a Dr. on the plane?!"

Yep, they really do say that when something crazy happens. I went home for Christmas, and since I use the word home to mean different places (ND, MN, WI) I'll be specific and say I went to my parents house in MN. The plane ride out to MN was pretty boring but I sat next to crying kids and a fidgeter with an overactive bladder. I can't wait to fly first class someday. Someday being the operative word because it means never in this case.

The ride back on the other hand had good seat mates but some serious excitement for once. Based on the time in the air we had to be somewhere over Montana when a guy 4 rows behind me had a pretty serious seizure. Someone repeatedly hit the call button to alert the attendants all the way in the front of the plane (I was in row 41 of the cattle car) that something was up and then a different attendant announced "Is there a DR. on the plane?!" As it turns out the guy ahead of me was a firefighter or EMT and a surgeon or surgical nurse showed from somewhere and worked through the seizure. I was sitting 1 row back from one of the intercom phones and they were discussing an emergency landing somewhere in MT for a while. The guy came out of it and medics met him at the gate so everything turned out OK or now. It was pretty wild but it makes me wonder how often something like that happens because lots of people fly so it can't be that rare. Just new to me I guess.

Totally unrelated to flying excitement is the homemade wine experiment. I would call the results mixed to positive. My buddy in ND made two kinds of wine, one was pretty traditional using Welch's frozen grape juice, the other used a variety frozen juices (Apple, Cranberry, etc). In Fargo the results of the grape based wine came out a little tart but very drinkable. The mixed fruit varietal was not so good and I cannot recommend this option without serious reservations about how it will taste and smell. The batch of Welch's based wine I made at my parents house turned out a little less tart and tasted good enough for my mother to say "I've had much worse" at some wine tasting club she belongs too. Success!! We are now in the process of doing a postmortem to figure out why we had such variety in the taste of the grape juice based wines. For $7 we ended up with some pretty good wine.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

The holidays are upon us. After spending some time with my distant relatives in Seattle last weekend I'm headed to the Midwest to spend Christmas with my family. My brother will be home from college and I'll be seeing as many relatives in a 3 day period as possible. That means driving back and forth to Fargo but that's cool. I'll get to try my homemade wine in Fargo.

I leave for MN in a few hours and I'll be taking a camera with me to maybe take some photo's of huge snow piles. Seattle hasn't got any snow while I've been in town. There was an inch or three a few weeks ago when I was in Portland but nothing that I've been able to find. I actually am I going to get my winter coat out of the closet just for this trip home because Seattle doesn't even get weather that I would call winter.

Here's to Northwest having an on-time flight.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Uneventful

Work was about all that happened this week. I spent a lot of time working with the 4th quarter issues that about in the retail industry. It's been pretty exciting but I'm looking forward to the craziness being over and things returning to the normalcy of the non-christmas time of year.

I spent time on both Friday and Saturday with the relatives I have in the area. I might have even found someplace to spend New Years Eve, which is very exciting. I did get to play a lot of catchphrase and Great Great Uncle Gordon does a good job explaining/gesturing on what a stripper does.

I fly home in a few days for the holidays. This is my first X-mas flight ever so it should be interesting but I'm leaving late on Saturday so hopefully the rush would be over by then. It looks like a lot of time will be spent in the Fargo/Sheldon/Casselton areas and that should be very cold. I'm not sure if it's been below freezing here yet. HA ha to everybody who has snow on the ground.

In basketball related news both MU and UW (Huskies) won the weekend. Go Marquette!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Marquette Wins!

All is right with the world!



Marquette defeated UW Badgers on the road this Saturday and birds sang, flowers bloomed, and people rejoiced the victory over the evil empire. A Marquette win over Madison is great, especially on the road, as it allows in state bragging rights for a little while and Marquette got another big non conference win. I think I'll be flying home next year for the game in Milwaukee, it was hard watching this game in a bar with quiet audio and uninterested patrons. It was the clearest day in Seattle in months so the snow capped mountains were visible everywhere it was a pretty great weekend. Oh yeah, it was about 45 degrees too. I don't miss cold temps and snow.

On Friday after work I met a friend from Chicago who was in town to visit her brother. I met Liz, her brother, and some of her brothers friends out at a bar after work for happy hour and that led to dinner. It was a good times (like the video) and I enjoyed laughing at everything happening. I found a place with decent baked Zitti as a by product, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

Earlier in they day I went to UW Husky game. The final basket of the game was disallowed or the Huskies would have beat one of my least favorite programs after the Badgers (the Pitt Panthers). It was not to be however as the basket came after time expired. Pretty good game but I'm glad I went to MU the student section and general fan support was not what I would have expected. A massive state school and huge metro area should equal a sell out for most games and I'm just not seeing that here. I little disappointed actually.




Here is a halftime shot of the Hec Ed (The Husky Fieldhouse). Pretty awesome little arena, small, loud at times, close to action everywhere. I really like the windows at the west end as well.













Here is the chaos the follows a shot that may or may not count. See the cops standing near the UW logo? They weren't needed.












Here is a shot of the Refs deciding the shot. Notice the guy who has a santa beard on the upper left. He must have had today off from the Macy's Santa suit.









This the Rogue house we visited on the Portland/Van Halen trip.














This is a shot looking at the Van Halen fans inside the Portland Rose Garden. Who knew Van Halen would still have so many fans. I guess Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth were worth the price of admission for these people.










I really hate my cable. I got this message in the middle of a big game the other day. Nothing like giving this message during the final minute of a close football game or basketball game with 10 seconds left. I was not impressed. Broadstripe Cable stinks. Stay away!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thanksgiving and Van Halen

Long time since I've posted so I'll do a high level approach. Basically my internet has been spotty and I've been a little less than motivated to post... no real reason either.

I think my last post was the 15th so I'll pick up around there. I flew home for Thanksgiving on Wednesday afternoon and got picked up at the airport around 9pm which was a little problematic because there was a Marquette game going on against Duke in Maui (I would have been in Maui had I not moved to Seattle) and I missed part of the game because of the late arrival and the subsequent drive home. MU lost and that sucked. My aunt and cousin were already there when I got home, they arrived a little early to assist in the meal prep in the morning and because of obligations later in the day somewhere in North Dakota.

Thanksgiving was pretty standard. Lots of relatives were in town and it was pretty fun. I don't get to see a lot of my aunts and uncles very often because I live pretty far away and because we're all a little older and a little busier. Lots of people about to graduate high school and go onto bigger and better things. Minot State and Valley City State seem to be popular destinations going forward - maybe I can talk a few into Marquette.

On Friday I drove to Fargo and spent a day with one of my best friends from high school. We had a good time and it was pretty low key. It's not everyday when rummicube is the game of choice, it was the first time I ever played and it was certainly a challenge. Left to our own devices on Saturday we decided we would make wine out of Grape Juice. It was cheap and pretty entertaining but I won't know how t tastes for several weeks / months. (I also made a batch at my parents for them to babysit.) I flew home on Sunday with little fanfare but the security line at the Humphrey terminal in Minneapolis was incredibly long. I haven't done a ton of air travel over the holidays and it was kind of shock. Christmas comes next.

This weekend was a drive to Portland to see Van Halen fronted by David Lee Roth. A couple of buddies from college were having a mini road trip for the concert and invited me to join them since I lived pretty close. Portland is a pretty nice town and I think I'd like to spend more time exploring the city. We ate lunch/dinner at the Rogue House - a brew pub of the microbrewery Rogue. They make a lot of tasty beers, a couple of stouts and one ale in particular are pretty popular. Van Halen followed dinner and they put on a very solid show. It's probably not quite as wild and crazy as it would have been 20 years ago but it was still pretty fun to watch. When your son, Wolfgang, is old enough to play Bass in the band sharing your last name you know you've been around the block once or twice.

I made a detour on the way home to have BW3's. I haven't had any since March and it might have been worth the detour to get some extra tasty chicken wings. I don't know when I'll have it again so maybe that will be the catalyst for my next trip to Portland. Vancouver should be next on the list.