Thursday, July 19, 2007



I used to nanny for a family of three boys. When I quit nanny-ing for them, the boys were 15, 13, and 8. I know.

Mr. and Mrs. X were about to leave to go on a trip to someplace extremly fabulous and outside of the country. It was around 8ish in the morning. Mrs. X was having a problem locating the keys to the van that I was to drive the boys around in while they were gone. She had finally given up and decided she was just going to have to have another set made at the dealership. The following is their conversation (i only was able to witness Mrs. X's side of the conversation so I had to embelish the other side a tiny bit).

Mrs. X: Hi, I've lost my keys and I need to have another set made. When will they be done?

Car Guy: mumblemumblemumble

Mrs. X: I'm not going to be able to come to the dealership today, I'm leaving to go out of town today. Is it ok if I send someone else? Also, is it possible to have the keys made today?

Car Guys: mumblemumblemumble

Mrs. X: No, we are both going out of town. Can't I just have someone else come down?

Car Guy: mumblemumblemumble

Mrs. X:(starting to sound impatient): Look, I am leaving the country in less than an hour. I need those keys TODAY or else my nanny isn't going to have a car to drive my children around in.

Car Guy: mumblemumblemumble

Mrs. X: (sounding flat out angry now) No I don't understand! If you don't get those keys made today I will return the van immediately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr. X: we need to leave right now!!!

Car Guy: mumblemumblemumble


Car Guy: (i'm sure totally confused, bewildered, panicky) mumblemumblemumble

Mr. X: (walking up the stairs to the front door)I'm leaving with out you!

Mrs. X: THIS IS TOTAL B. S.(except she totally said it)!!!!!!I'M NEVER BUYING A CAR FROM YOU EVER AGAIN!!!!!!!! (hangs up phone in a huff)

Although they are very wealthy,they didn't usually have to break out the "I'm richer than you and should therefore have and get whatever I want" pimp slap except for very special occasions. It was all I could do to hold back the enormous need, not desire, but need to roll all over the floor laughing at how ridiculous Mrs. X was acting on this VERY special occasion.

Now, a couple of points must be noted, first off, she never even said who she was. Secondly, she had accidently packed the car keys with her youngest son's stuff who was going on an over night trip with his school, so they totally turned up the next day. Thirdly, b/c they have a bunch of minions doing what ever they want, they totally had an extra set of keys made for them while they were gone. Evidently before they left on their private jet, she hurridly wrote a note giving who ever the permission to take the van down and have keys made AND had it notarized for authenticity.

I sure wish I could throw tantrums like that. I suppose that just explains where her kids got it from.

Here are the boys at 13, 10, and 6. Don't let their good looks fool you, when they want to be, they are the Devil's spawn. Times 1,000,000,000,000.

Any other ex-nannys with crazy stories out there?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Do you think I'm sexy?

Last Friday afternoon my co-worker Ms. Quah and I were engaged in our usual pre-weekend banter. Plans for the weekend were discussed and work was avoided. Somehow we ended up on the joy and mirth of searching through Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" pages. Whether it be women searching for men, men for men, women for men, women for women, or men for transexuals; the ads and sometime photos are hilarious. (But they are most certainly not safe for work) During the course of our conversation we began to wonder how different cities used this illicit and somewhat pathetic portion of Craigslist. This idle wonder turned into an idea for action, or as we now call it, "The Craiglist Project".

We first had the notion of placing the same W4M (woman looking for a man) ad in 5 different US cities and then comparing the responses. The cities that we settled on were Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Tulsa (we were curious how a 'buckle' of the Bible belt would fare). Some things that we talked about looking at in the responses were:

- How many responses the add received

- How including a picture effected the response

- The number of pictures we received

- The ethnicity of the folks who sent the picture

- Age of the sender

- Any other trends that may appear that we had not thought of.

(I wonder how many responses this photograph would get?)

Our excitement grew at the prospect of so much trashy, entertaining, and perhaps even enlightening information. Our excitement became such that we expanded the scope of our special project. We decided that it would also be very interesting to explore arrangements other than W4M. M4M, M4W, and W4M would also to be included in the comparative special project. On top of that goldmine of information; Ms. Quah brought up the point that Craigslist is not only in many, many American cities, it is also in most major world capitols. So we decided that after finishing up our American portion of the study we would cast our net out to the rest of the world and see what their appetites were. We wanted to hit every continent without including every city or country, so, now also included in our study are Paris, London, Sydney, Japan (Tokyo), Rio De Janeiro, and Egypt (Cairo).
We kicked off our first round in America yesterday afternoon. Our first case was W4M. The add that we placed in each American city is a very close approximation to:
"I have recently moved to ____ from Denver. I haven't had time to really meet anybody and I am lonely. I am not looking for any commitment right now while I'm settling into my new home here. What I am looking for is an extremely good time, where we can both just forget ourselves and have fun. I promise that you won't be disappointed. I am a 5'7" brunette with an athletic build. I'll be much more likely to respond if you attach a picture. I'm not too particular, I just want to know who I'm getting into. If I like what I see I'll respond with a picture of my own and my contact info. Don't be shy, drop me a line."
We also decided early on that we were not going to reply to any of the emails sent to us since we could not think of any further information that could be gleaned. The only drawback for this approach is that our postings will most likely be flagged for removal after 4-6 hours. The effort involved in responding to the emails was such that we were willing to accept flagging. The vast majority of responses come in this first time period anyways.
The plan for now is to update the results of our endeavors on Monday weekly. So, check back here on the 23rd for the first set of results. I hope you are as excited as we are.
PS - If you have any ideas for the project that have not been outlined above, drop me a line.

Monday, July 16, 2007


This week was officially Harry Potter week for Vesper and I. We saw the new movie and events on Tuesday night, and on Friday the 13th (insert scream here) we attended a Harry and the Potters wizard rock show at the Seattle Public Library with Isabel, The King, and Baboo. Also attending were a couple of my old coworkers and their friends. So, with our group of 10 we were set to help battle the forces of evil, namely, Lord Voldemort.
To ensure top performance and enjoyment of the show Vesper and I met Isabel, The King, and Baboo at the Westlake Center foodcourt. After fueling up we then made the 5 block stroll to the Library. The doors opened for the show (Which was in a library! How cool is that?) at 7pm and we arrived at 6:30PM. The line was already starting to snake around the building by the time we got there.

There were the usual cast of dressed up characters in attendance. From the Professor McGonagall hand puppet to a pair of fully garbed house elves. I guess it only makes sense since all 700-800 of us were there to see a trio of rockers dressed up like Harry Potter 4th year, Harry Potter 7th year, and baby Hagrid. Once we got inside while merchandise was being purchased and the crowd was waiting for the show to begin I wandered around and took some pictures.

(I know that this isn't a Harry Potter get-up, but I enjoyed the sperm guitars attempting to impregnate a LP)

(Vesper and I both appreciated that this kid even nailed the Stan Shunpike expression)

The Seattle Public library is a great venue to have a show. The main floor that we were all on is a series of diamond windows (I'm sure there's a proper word for the structure, but I don't know it) and our beautiful city was the backdrop for the show. Now, I know Harry and the Potters plays shows in libraries and other civic buildings all over the country, but I have to imagine that there is no better venue, or crowd (they mentioned it was their largest of this tour) they encounter.

(One view of the city. On many of the other shots taken within the library, you can see the city in the background.)

(The crowd milling around before the show.)

After a while chants of "Harry, Harry" began to break out and before long everyone's wizard heroes emerged on stage.

As you can see the Harrys emerged in full Hogwarts gear. Their opening number was "Voldermort Can't Stop the Rock". After the opener they had a "2 year old baby Hargrid" join them on the drums to fill out their 3-piece punk group. Due to the immense wizard heat they were putting off the sweaters were quickly shed and madness, only the likes of which you see when a rock show is played in a library, ensued.

(Notice the mic chord wrapped around the head of the Harry on the left)

If pictures aren't enough for you we even took a couple of quick videos with our camera. The sound was removed because it was all fuzz. (This show was LOUD. And, like all mediocre sound systems, the treble was far too high. The high-hat and crash cymbal were out for blood...dribbling from our ear drums.) Video

Isabel and family took off about an hour into the show because, quite frankly, Baboo was uber-tired and I'm sure that the piercing treble was not good for his tender little ears. But, those who stuck around (Us and my old coworkers) were in for quite the treat. Seeking to live up to the good Harry Potter name, the Harrys stuck around a signed merchandise and took photos with those who were patient enough to get to them, and not bothered by sweaty fake wizards.

(From left to right: Ms. Logic, Vesper, HP4, Gawain)

(Note from Vesper: How cool for HP4 that he is having people clamoring for his autograph and a picture! How cool for us, his fans, that we actually get to meet one of the lead singers of a band, get an autograph, and get a pic taken! I bet I could never in my lifetime get to do that with The Edge.)

All in all the show was a grand time. Lots of crowd participation, and humorous lyrics based on the books. If you have read the Harry Potter books and Harry and the Potters ever make it to your neck of the woods, attendance is a must. You will have a blast.

(From left to right: Ms Logic, Vesper, Gawain, Meg, Phinneas, Vivika, Matthew. And honestly, the person who took this picture is lame. Who doesn't get the entire name of the library?)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Flight of the Phoenix

To commemorate going to the 12:01AM showing of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” at the IMAX theater in Seattle I decided to keep a running journal of the evenings events. (ala Bill Simmons) Between the beautiful weather, using a flex car convertible Mini Cooper, Jihan and Staton joining us, and the rabid Harry Potter fans I had high hopes for an entertaining evening. (As a note I would like to point out that all of the driving portions of this journal were recorded after the fact.) (To view all the photos from this night's adventures visit Flickr)

8:00 PM – Left the house for the movie. Still feeling a bit surly from my nap. It feels like it might be one of those times where it takes a couple of hours to shake it off.

8:06 PM – Just noticed that our car has an ungodly amount of sap on it. Why do some trees pee so much?

8:30 PM – Finally got into the car. I think Vesper may start lactating she is so excited for the Mini Cooper. (She has wanted to buy one FOREVER and this is the first time that we have ever driven one.) 8:50 PM - Just passed one of our favorite store front displays on 99. Behold! The lightup wheelchair! 8:56 PM – Almost caused an accident taking a picture of Vesper driving the Mini Cooper. For some reason on the one picture I decide to take straight on of her the flash goes off, momentarily blinding her.

9:03 PM – This is one of those warm summer nights where the air just feels wonderful.

9:08 PM – Still feeling surly. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to pull me out of this.

9:21 PM – Listening to “Black Holes and Revelations” by Muse on 4th and Seneca downtown with the top down. The air temperature 87 degrees, a warm breeze is blowing, and the city looks beautiful. It doesn’t get much better than this.

9:28 PM – Got back to the Flexcar spot in time and the gas gauge is just this side of a quarter full. Love it when that happens.

9:37 PM – While driving from Belltown to Seattle Center Vesper squeals and noticed that they’ve turned the 7-11 into a Kwik-E Mart. 9:46 PM – Back at the Kwik-E Mart taking pictures. I can’t believe how much glee I’m getting from a bunch of cut-outs of Simpsons characters and Krusty-O’s cereal. 9:52 PM – We are in line at the IMAX and raring to go. We can’t wait until Jihan and Staton get here. Their ETA is currently 11PM. 9:56 PM – Some dufus in plain clothes is walking up and down the line trying to sell pizzas in unmarked boxes. $1 for an entire pizza. $.25 for a slice. No thanks. I prefer a sedate and orderly digestive tract.

10:02 PM – Got antsy and walked up to the front of the line. The 2 girls in front got here at 3:30 this afternoon, when it was still 93 degrees outside. (The temperature would be like if Topeka had a high temp of 783 degrees. This heat is just unheard of prior to August) They said they were the only ones in the line until 5PM or so. 10:06-10:15 PM – Walking around taking pictures. There is a very Halloween feel to a lot of the female costume wearers tonight. The theme seems to be “Slaggy Hogwarts Girl Extraordinaire”.

10:18 PM - Is that a seance?

10:23 PM – Just got done speaking with Jamie. She’s the one in the red Gryffindor Quidditch robes, Quidditch arm guards, sweet broom, goggles, Gryffindor sweater and boots. Let me tell you, they teach some good things at the drama department a Western Washington University. She made everything on her body except the Gryffindor patch on her robes and the goggles. - Broom: Walking stick procured from her Scout master father combined with straightened wreaths from Jo-Ann’s.
- Arm Guards: Made them from scratch herself.
- Robe: Bought a sewing machine for the express purpose of making these robes.
- Sweater: Knitted it herself.
- Simply an insane amount of time poured into a Harry Potter outfit.

10:30 PM – We have our first tired tuckus alert. Had to run back to the car to get a jacket for Vesper to sit on. My underlying surliness is still present. I’ve been awake for 3 ½ hours.

10:46 PM – Vesper is bored enough to make videos on my cell phone of us disapparating. (Here they are on YouTube -- VesperGawain) Surliness, petulance, and impatience are unleashed. Glad the Vesper loves me enough to put up with my crap. The movies turn out pretty well though.

10:50 PM – We have identified a Class-1 Alpha-Bitch directly behind us in line. We cannot understand why none of her teeny-bopper friends is pimp-slapping her.

10:55 PM – Everyone starts cheering as line the begins to move, then stands around for 13 minutes to wait for the line to move again.

10:57 PM – Apparently Jihan and Staton feel asleep and lost track of the time. They are just leaving Bellevue for Seattle now.

10:59 PM – Determine that no matter what it is time for the surliness to depart.

11:07 PM – Alpha-Bitch’s toy wand sounds suspiciously like a light saber when swished and flicked.

11:08 PM – Line starts moving for real. Surliness gone, a blessing for everyone involved.

11:10 PM – Going to a movie at IMAX is so much more fun than going to a regular theater. Since they don’t show feature films very often, when they do they go all out. (See pictures below) The decorations, staff and facilities, were awesome. It’s also very nice to be able to listen to real music and not have to watch the same stupid ‘20’ before the movie. 11:15 PM – Vesper and I have to split. She’ll wait for J&S outside while I go and find seats.

11:18 PM – That was quick. J&S have arrived.

11:20 PM – I have finally ceased to sweat.

11:30 PM – These IMAX 3D glasses are righteous! 11:45 PM – I may have knocked over my popcorn, glasses, and almost the soda; but I caught a Dumbledore’s Army hat for my love.

11:50 PM – Wow. The stats on this (and I imagine all) IMAX theater are impressive. All figures are for Order of the Phoenix.
- 12,000 watts of sound.
- 18 miles of film
- The film weights 1,000 lbs.
- The screen is 6 stories high.

12:01 AM – The previews begin.

12:03 AM – I almost feel nauseous watching this “Dinosaurs Alive” preview in 3D. Seriously disorienting.

12:05 AM – Okay. Now I’m used to it.

12:06 AM – The movie has begun!!

2:24 AM – The movie is over. Overall it was great. The entire trip to and fight at the Ministry of Magic was in 3D. Once I got used to the 3D it was pretty incredible. The threstrals looked kind of funky in 3D though.

3:04:23 AM – Climb on top of bed and underneath ceiling fan.

3:04:27 AM – Fast asleep.

6:15AM – Please kill me! Don't make me wake up! I want to die!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Found Ourselves On a Walkabout

As the weather turns downright paradisaical here in West Seattle Vesper, Froggy, and I take a lot of long walks around our neighborhood. There are many little trails along greenbelts, a couple of ponds with plenty of shade trees and fowl, and like any good neighborhood, lots of crazy things in yards and on the street. So, to take a page from Marie's Gadabout series we decided to take the camera with us on our walks this past week, and this is what we saw.

This hideous fence is near our house. Some new folks moved in a couple of weeks before Halloween last year and proceeded to paint the fence white, then yellow and orange. We were duly impressed with their holiday spirit, until several months past and they never painted over the jack-o-lantern colors. Thankfully our cones have been burned out by the wildly vivid colors so we hardly notice it anymore.

Our next selection of pictures is a group of catholic shines. For such a notoriously "unchurched" city, there are a fair amount of such shrines on our street.

Our best guess is that this is St. Nicholas of Tolentino or St. Francis of Assisi due to the animals at the foot of the statue. Unfortunately the owners of the home are never out and about when we are so we haven't had the chance to ask them. On a less faithful note. I went up to the doorstep today to check out the flower vase since it always has lovely, fresh flowers in it. They are fake, the heathen dogs.

These are the 3 Virgin Mary statues that live on our street. Of the 3 I enjoy the colorful one in the glass case most. This is primarily because the baby Jesus doesn't look like a stunted man-god. He especially has this syndrome in the first VM picture due to his quickly receding hairline. And since I don't want to make the second VM picture feel left out, I do appreciate the fact that baby-man-Jesus is standing upon the world in his dwarf state.

Another strange trend we noticed was an absolute cornucopia of out of date holiday trappings. Keep in mind that these pictures were taken on the week preceding the 4th of July.

Harvest Greetings?

Vesper noticed that the skeleton had been on the door for so long that it had worn scratch marks into the door. How long does that take? Weeks? Months? Years?

This picture gets special notice. We have lived in our home 3 1/2 years now. According to this corner house, it has been the Lord's birthday every single one of those days. That brings some new meaning to "The Great I AM".

This poor confused home had waring factions of Christmas and St. Patrick's Day decorations.

This lump of rocks spray-painted gold got lumped into the holiday decorations because we had no idea where else to put it. The pile is as ugly and out of place as it looks. What is being attempted here?

The rest of the snaps are in categories all their own.

I'm not exactly sure what joy is found in having a little boy statue that has to go pee in your front yard.

This is a delightful front porch combination spitoon and garbage can. A lovely sentiment for all visitors to contemplate before entry.

Nothing like crawling out of a dumpster to get the blood going in the morning.

We've been debating whether or not to call the police on this homeless man. He himself seems harmless enough. He is the only person we've seen sleeping on the streets in West Seattle and whenever he is awake he is nice enough to talk to. It's his dog that is the menace. Last Sunday morning when I was walking Cole by his sleeping carcass his Boston Terrier was untied and came bolting out of nowhere and attacked Froggy. I was able to fend him off with the prodding of my feet until I was able to stare him down and scare him off. It took all of my self control to not punt that little dog.

All that's missing from this graphitti is "ANTOJC".

And what tour of a neighborhood with people of Asian heritage would complete without fake granite lion statues. If we took a picture of all of these that we had seen this post would have trebled in length.