Monday, July 31, 2006

Chicken in a bucket

I've been meaning to take a picture of the plastic chicken in a bucket that sits neglected next to our neighbor's house. Our neighbor is basically houseridden and looks out her window all day. She'd think it's peculiar for me to be taking a picture of her forlorn plastic chicken in a bucket. Though she may be right, I'll keep waiting for the right moment.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tall bike

Yesterday, a few of us were chatting about Floyd Landis's Tour de France win. It spurred a conversation about the Amish and the vast number of sub-cultural groups that exist, and the groups (unlike the Amish) who you aren't remotely aware of until you run into them by chance.

I remembered this conversation today, though thankfully I did not literally "run into" this group.

While driving home, I saw a guy riding a triple decker bike. By triple decker I mean it had 3 bike frames welded together, one atop the other. I was driving down a busy 3-4 lane arterial, and watched him as he tried to cross another busy 4 lane arterial. He was sitting about as high up as if you put a folding chair on top of a full size van. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no helmet. While I admire the ingenuity of this contraption, and his guts to ride it, it also seemed pretty stupid to ride something like this in heavy traffic. If you were close enough to him, you may miss that there's a bike near you, since the rider is well above the top of most cars. And how would he dismount in a hurry without landing on his head? At best and with some luck, he may have a moment to throw one leg over the middle of the frame, and aim to jump on some nearby grass.

When I got home I googled "tall bike" and come up with this wiki on the subject. "Bike hacking" is apparently somewhat common outside of the carnival circles, and there are several clubs in Puget Sound and Portland. Who knew.

It makes me feel very old to dwell on the dangers of this bike and its use on busy city streets. But really, Dude, I respect your bike hacking skills and all, but think about where you're riding next time. And eat your vegetables.

(The bike I saw today was taller than this one.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Looking around my office space at home, I am disgusted by all the crap that I really don't use or enjoy. I already have a big stack of stuff to go to Goodwill, but maybe it'd be more fun to trade or give it to someone who will at least marginally appreciate it. Or use it in some art project.

CDs up for grabs, for a few weeks anyway before I go to Easy Street. I'll mail it if you feel like trading for something funky or interesting of any value.

PJ Harvey, Uh Huh Her, 2004

Her album before this one was so good, and this one seems so mediocre to me. But reading the Amazon reviews, I guess a lot of people really liked it.

The Vines, Winning Days, 2004

This is a pretty good album, but I never listen to it. It's pretty rockin' alt-punk-whatever, and the best song is "TV Pro".

Otto, Samba Pra Burro, 1998
Brazilian techno...interesting.

Ennio Morricone, Morricone Aromatico, 2004
A compilation of the composer made famous by his movie scores, including The Mission. Everything is listed it Italian, and I didn't recognize a lot of it.

Joan Osborne, Righteous Love, 2000
Where did this come from? I don't think I've ever listened to it.

Joan Osborne, How Sweet It Is, 2002
Huh? Did I have some kind of Joan Osborne blackout? I couldn't hum a thing on here. I don't even know what Joan Osborne sounds like.

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967
Classic! I own 2 of these, so I'm willing to part with this one. But what if I need a backup one day...?

Phil Collins, Serious Hits...Live!, 1990
I suppose this is good for 80s reminiscing, but I don't need this CD to do that.

Dan Fogelberg, Greatest Hits, 1982

I think someone loaned this to me 15 years ago, but I have no idea who. Never listened to it. Who was Dan Fogelberg?

James Taylor, Dad Loves His Work, 1981
Same as above...except I do like James Taylor. I've just never listened to this album.

And the gem...

Kenny G, Breathless, 1992
Oh my god. I've been listening to this while writing this up, and it is disturbing. This is so boyfriend-in-1992-ish. Maybe I should find him and send it to him. We went to the Kenny G/Michael Bolton concert together at the Puyallup Fair. Oy! If I could've gone on stage and touched both of their long wavy mullets, maybe it would've all been worth it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Multi-purpose melon

I was driving though the east edge of the International District this afternoon, as I do every day when I work. I had my windows rolled down since it's hot and my air conditioning is on the fritz. While stopped at a light, I heard a lot of yelling coming from a large, fenced Asian produce market on the corner. Two guys -- I assume they were employees -- took off around the fence and headed down the street after someone, yelling in high pitched voices in Mandarin or Szechuan. Behind them was a cashier woman, also running and yelling. She stopped suddenly, turned around and ran back to one of the produce bins. After scanning the bin quickly, she picked out a perfect, palmable little watermelon. She turned around again and jumped back into the race down the street, holding the watermelon next to her head, ready to launch it at the perpetrator as soon as she was within range.

I didn't get a chance to see what happened next, as the light changed and a mini-van virtually stopped in the intersection to watch the action, blocking my view. Anyway, I hope her great idea was accompanied by good aim.

Note to Miss D: A few minutes later I stopped at that DeLite Bakery on Beacon Hill and bought some rolls. Now I get what you were telling me about those relatives who came to visit and their bread fixation! So evilgood.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Ray: "You know what would be cool? At the end of the triathlon, you should turn around and headbutt the person right behind you."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dream learning

I have two recurring themes in my dreams: houses/architecture and flying. I'm glad I dream these things with some regularity since I rarely want them to end.

Last night I had one of the flying dreams. In it, I was helping some federal law enforcement friends deal with a nasty spurt of organized gang violence. Somehow the flying skills made me especially helpful, though I couldn't tell you what exactly I did that was useful in this situation.*

The gangsters figured out I was helping the cops, and they weren't too pleased. I went to the top of their take-down list. For a few hours I flew around some unknown city (I think it was Manhattan), trying to hide from these guys. I wasn't scared; rather I felt the excitement of flying coupled with some slight but tolerable worry. I later discovered I knew some people in the gang, in fact had been friends with them at some point, which made the entire situation a little more dicey. Ultimately the dream ended as I went to this tiny boutique spa where I met up with Jana and we each bought a pair of these cute pink slippers.

Anyway, the point is that while I was flying around Manhattan, weaving around skyscrapers and trying to find alcoves where I couldn't be seen by the gangsters in hot pursuit (in cars, on the ground...?), I was actually noticeably better at flying than in previous dreams. Usually during the dreams, I do fine until about 3 or 4 stories up, at which point the height makes me a little anxious and I bring it down a little bit. However, this time I was way above 4 stories, and my height anxiety didn't factor until at least 50 floors up.

Fascinating. Has my sub-conscious been "learning" how to fly and practicing with all these dreams, or was it just a fluke and next time I'll be back to the jitters once I'm several hundred feet in the air? Maybe this is my brain's way of demonstrating a kind of plasticity since we've been talking about it in class and in the lab lately. I don't know, but I hope I get more flight time soon to find out!


*Ray: "Wow, it's like I married a superhero!"

Me: "Except that I wasn't doing anything hero-like."

Ray: "Yeah, but you were helping out the cops with your superpowers."

Me: "I don't even think I was helping them. I think I was more just like their super friend."

Ray: "Ah-ha, you're a Superfriend!"

Friday, July 7, 2006

Learning curve

Me, on phone to Ray: "Hi, got a quick question. Do you know of any good websites with basic list of commands for Unix? I'm in the lab and we're trying to convert the fMRI data to this cool new program that runs on Unix."

Ray: <laughter>

Ray, muffled, to others: "Check this wife's on the phone asking for a quick tutorial on Unix..."

Ray, to me: "'s like you just asked for a website on how to fly a plane."

Me: "Oh."

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Summer Concentrate

Lucky me...a sampling of summer over the last four days:

- bike ride on Alki
- swim in Lake Washington
- drinks on deck with friends
- fish tacos
- overnight road trip
- sitting around a camp fire
- shopping for lawn furniture
- BBQ chicken
- potato salad
- burgers from the grill
- walk on the beach
- shish kabobs
- home improvement projects
- yard work
- 4th of July fireworks
- and, roasted marshmallows, which inspired this s'mores alternative...

Bananas Gorilla

Roast marshmallows.
Put over sliced bananas.
Add chocolate syrup.