Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Magic Shed of Mystery

Tonight I mowed our lawn for the first time.

Along with the house, the seller sold us a toolshed full of stuff, a living room couch set, and a queen mattress. Jer's been having all the fun with the electric mower (from the shed) and tonight the weather was nice, we were between storms, and the grass looked shaggy. So I took the bull by the horns, so to speak. And charged the battery.

There was a brief panic when I forgot to plug in the safety key, which was quickly averted by going inside and reading the instructions.

After I finished mowing I decided to go for broke, seeing as how it was still daylight. The seller left behind a pair of green aerating shoes. (They might have a more technical name, I can't be bothered to look.) You buckle them to your feet and walk around in the grass to aerate the lawn -- at least I hope that's what you do because that's what I did.

And that's about when my life became another "I Love Lucy" episode. Me. In the backyard, falling over, trying to walk with metal spikes on my feet. Gouging dirt holes in my lawn.

So, I grew up in southern California, which is important as I continue with this story. I grew up in a place where moss does not fill in the thinning areas of your lawn like an opportunist. Apparently if moss shows up it means you have not been taking care of your lawn properly. And yeah... we've got moss.

I bought some grass seed and fertilizer and next I plan to use a rake and a grass spreader from the shed (we really should take an inventory I have no idea what's in there, it's like magic -- like Mary Poppins' purse) to agitate the soil a bit and lay down some seed.

I don't actually know if any of this will work because I've never done it before. But hey, I've kept all the plants alive so far. Maybe my luck will continue. Also, I trust the Internet and this is what I said it should do. Well, this, or hire a gardener.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sorry, Thoreau, no dinner for you

The gym was moderately crowded when I arrived tonight, which surprised me since I waited until about 7pm to leave the house. Something in the air, I guess.

I don't have a problem exercising when I am physically present inside a gym, but getting there often requires a monumental effort of mental trickery... Maybe I should change into something more comfortable? What if I stretched a little bit? Oh, look, filling the water bottle... maybe I'll just get in the car and drive a few blocks. Surprise! Why not go inside since you drove here? Oh hey, treadmill.

As I played Sisyphus and walked up a steady incline forever, I watched Ace of Cakes. They were decorating Shrek the Musical cakes. I understand that fancy cake decorating is an art -- and the cakes looked fantastic -- but I just don't understand how people eat them. Are they even for eating? One guy made a whole layer out of styrofoam. While I've never tasted styrofoam, I imagine it contains only a few more nutrients than a Big Mac and probably tastes worse. Not even appetizing a little bit.

Maybe because I've never wanted to eat a statue.

I am now in this post-gym mellow haze where words don't string together ... they sort of trail off into this weird fuzzy sea.

I've been reading Walden. That dude sure does have opinions. You know that question: if you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be? Definitely not Mr. Thoreau. I don't care how eloquent he is or how content he is with solitude. Thoreau is JUDGE-Y. Total mood ruiner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Best expressed through an unordered list

Time for a list. In the last month I:
  • Played racquetball twice with Jer. The second time we gathered an audience of about 8 people... I assume they enjoyed watching me run into the wall repeatedly and hitting myself in the face with the ball.
  • Dyed my hair "chili." It's reddish.
  • Registered to attend a conference for work in May.
  • Saw Mike Doughty perform his Question Jar show at the Triple Door.
  • Worked out at the gym a few times. After a two-year hiatus.
  • Saw "Alice in Wonderland."
  • Ate at a tasty new BBQ place called "Rainin' Ribs BBQ & Smokehouse. It's on Bothell Way, between Kenmore and Lake Forest Park. The dining area has a beautiful view of Lake Washington.
  • Ate at a tasty new delicatessen called Delicatus in Pioneer Square. It's where Longhorn Barbecue used to be.
  • Read a couple of books on meditation.
  • Played too much World of Warcraft.
  • Did our taxes.
  • Found a new bus route that involves a transfer but is much faster.

In general I've been thinking too much or not enough, attempting to focus on things I can control, like breathing. Or laundry. Speaking of which...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Music and Life" - Alan Watts

I think this is brilliant. I saw it a year ago and have thought about it often since then. I consider it a bonus that it was produced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Please watch.

If you can't see the video embedded in this post go here.

A couple other flash videos in the same style available to view here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus

A really interesting video on all the cool things you could be doing but aren't, but maybe you should because TV no longer has to drain your cognitive surplus.

Or maybe you should just watch it.

If you can't see the video embedded in this post go here.

I found the link on Seth's Blog (Seth Godin has written many books including Purple Cow and Linchpin.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On how to be Human

Racquetball was just as fun as I remembered it. Unfortunately when you use parts of your body you haven't used in many years, the aches and pains can be considerable.

I'm sure we'll do it again though.

On the drive over I skimmed the copy of the rules that came with my new racket. "When a player makes a good hit, be sure to compliment him or her."

Which prompted the comment: What is this? Racquetball tips for sociopaths?

For the rest of the game we kept coming up with other tips for sociopaths. The subject really deserves its own series of books. Workplace tips for sociopaths, Sustainable gardening for sociopaths...

Gardens aren't just for hiding the evidence! A concealed weapons permit does not give you permission to shoot the boss!

That sort of thing.

If you happen to be in or around Seattle, Elliott Bay Book Co. is moving from its Pioneer Square location up to Capitol Hill. All used books are 80% off. If you are not good at math that means the books are practically free. If you are a sociopath I will put it like this: if a book was a body, you would only have to pay for the feet.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A fast decade

Jer and I have a big anniversary next month, so my thoughts gravitate to 10 years ago, when it all started.

In particular I think about how rich we felt with our newly disposable incomes -- fresh out of college, employed by the college -- and all of my debt. I think about our friends, what we did for fun, and where we worked.

I won't get too sentimental on you. We lived in Santa Barbara, California. A couple of months after we started dating we shared a poorly insulated townhouse apartment next to the 101. The pilot light on the stove blew out daily, so every time I wanted to cook I had to get down on the floor, say a little prayer, and strike a match.

The weather was pretty fantastic, if predictable. We carpooled to work at the university and ate many of our lunches at the small restaurant on campus. The campus overlooked the beach. If I wanted I could walk a few minutes and watch the tide cut into the seawalls that surrounded us, the smell of ocean never far away.

That's starting to sound sentimental. The truth is, I didn't like living there much. Never a true change in season. Never a hope for career advancement. No Target or Arby's. It wears a person down.

So here we are 10 years later. Besides the fact that we're still here, somewhere, I'm proud to say the debt I had back then is down to about $600. I think it's also safe to say we found what we were looking for in Seattle, as far as city temperament.

And today for the first time in a decade we've got an appointment to play racquetball again. This is notable because playing racquetball was how we got to know each other, and after we knew each other we stopped playing, even though we both enjoyed it.

I found a community center in Mountlake Terrace where you can rent a court for $8.50/hour and last night we dug out old gear and then purchased some new gear. We'll try it out and try not to fall over -- though a whole hour might be asking for it. Hopefully we won't give the other patrons too much cause to laugh at us.

Oh, well. Gotta start somewhere.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'll meet you in Reykjavik

Dear the world. So Jer and I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. We've even gone a few times together, which has been nice. It's nice to have company.

Last Saturday we skipped the gym and walked around Green Lake. It's 2.8 miles around, flat, paved, and pleasant. We saw ducks. I don't understand the rules of movement since everyone seems to do their own thing. One side of the path is supposed to be for wheels and the other for feet -- according to the signs -- but pedestrians here make their own infuriating way.

At lunch I walked over to Pioneer Square and into Art Walk. First, unrelated to Art Walk, I found an illustrated Book of the Dead on a streetcart and picked it up for $3. Then I bought a small matted ink drawing. I'm not sure what it is. I think I'll hang it upside down once I figure out what's right side up.

Now I am looking up Panic at the Disco videos on You Tube. I haven't found one I don't like yet. What a fabulous future we live in.

Okay, this is probably my least favorite video because it's entirely video clips from Jennifer's Body -- though you know, Megan Fox -- and yet I totally dig the song.

To see the video embedded in this post go here.

Maybe I should go to Iceland.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

So... if I survive layoffs for three years I get a 401(k) match?

After reading about vesting programs it occurred to me:

Employee loyalty programs lose their oomph when employment is out of the employees' hands.