Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Fun Day 2009

In a similar vain as our tendency to end up at random festivals and county fairs during the spring and summer, Tonja and I at some point five or six years ago started the tradition of our Fall Fun Day (yes, this is some-what cheesy, but fun). It usually involves a pumpkin patch and a corn maze or two. And this year, since it was our first time in two years not doing this down in sunny California, we threw in a drive around Skagit county to check out some of the fall colors. It was a fun day, even though for the first time that I can remember, it rained during our pumpkin patch visit, so we passed on the mud bath that would have been the corn maze. A few pictures.

Some Fall color. The trees were a little passed their peak of color, but still nice to see. We hadn't seen as much fall color down in California the last two years, as the leaves kind of just turn brown and then fall off at some point around Thanksgiving.

A reminder that winter is just around the corner.

Tonja managed to bag a nice looking pumpkin.

This pumpkin was a fighter and took some time to reel in, but I showed it.

A note on the umbrellas...so, I realize we kind of look like idiots or city slickers or californians or something standing out in a pumpkin patch with umbrellas, but first, let me assure you it was raining pretty hard and we wanted to not get the camera all wet. Second, we're still trying to adjust to being back in the Northwest. We've forgotten that you need to take a rain jacket everywhere that you go here, even if the sun is shining when you leave home. Don't worry, it's all coming back to us. By November, our webbed feet will be fully developed.

For some reason we end up at petting zoos a lot...the pumpkin patch we visited had one, so just what this blog needed...more farm animal pictures!

Three strips of pig.

This goat was actually very talkative.

I'm not even sure what to say about this guy.

Black sheep of the family....ha ha h...I know, not funny.

And if pumpkins, farm animals and fall foliage wasn't enough, we topped the day off by baking an apple pie. Tonja made the crust from scratch and I made the filling from some apples we picked up in Green Bluff a couple weeks back, so yes Tonja did most of the work. But, it turned out really well for our first apple pie.

What? You don't photograph everything you bake or cook?

Husky Football Saturday: October 24, 2009

We attended the second of our four Husky football games this past Saturday. And as I had expected it was a far cry from the excitement of our first game against USC, as the Ducks (boo) seemed to have all the answers in a 43-19 victory over the Huskies. I still enjoyed being at the game, the atmosphere of college football can't be beat, but it was a tough game to watch. Not to mention, Oregon (boo) fans seem just as obnoxious as ever.

In case you needed proof this was a rivalry game, someone took the time to buy a bunch of tiny rubber ducks (as in Oregon Ducks [boo]) and drop them in all the urinals of Husky Stadium. Pretty funny.

But, I'm going to take the blame for this loss. I think it came down to one reason and one reason only. Pre-game preparation. Unlike the USC game, Tonja and I failed to have pre-game beers on the Ave. Instead we had pre-game sub sandwiches and cokes. Clearly the change in our pre-game routine was the game changer. So, I can assure you that for our next game (November 28 vs WSU, Apple Cup), we will be partaking in pre-game beers at Big Time Brewery.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So, I had to post a link to this film. It's free to watch. It's about the Seattle SuperSonics. Or more directly the events leading up to their departure from Seattle to OKC.  No matter your opinion on it or your opinion on modern day pro sports, it's an interesting movie. Although, I'll admit the movie is somewhat biased.  But, here's the trailer:

Preview from sonicsgate on Vimeo.

Full movie here: Sonicsgate.org

For me, it was frustrating as all hell to watch. I've been a Seattle sports fan since elementary school. For whatever reason, The Sonics were even more of an obsession for me, perhaps because basketball was a sport I loved to play, or because the Sonics of the early to mid 90's were so good. Either way, between those early impressions and having the opportunity to intern and then work full time at the Sonics as my first job out of college, it's really frustrating that this team and it's 41 years of history have been taken out of the Northwest.

I like what this film is trying to do, by preserving the history of the team, and by trying to make people aware of the reasons the team left. And perhaps hold someone accountable. Its pretty remarkable how so much of this was mishandled by team owners and local politicians.

As much as I miss the Sonics, I won't support the return of another NBA team to Seattle. The first reason is because, the only way Seattle will get another team is by a team moving here from another city. And as Sherman Alexie points out in the movie, why would you want to put another city's sports fans, through what Seattles' just went through? And secondly and most importantly, I refuse to support the NBA. Why would I pay to see an NBA team, when they treated Seattle fans the way they did?

I guess this is just another example how the business and politics of modern day sports has taken so much of the joy out of the games. It's tough, because I still love sports and will continue to watch them. As I talked about in my UW vs USC post, it's truly exhilarating to be at a game where something magical happens and you can enjoy it with everybody else in the stadium or arena. There has and always will be an emotional connection between fans and their teams, it just a shame that so many people are looking to take advantage of that emotional connection for financial gain. At some point, something has  to give.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pet Posting

Smithers-September, 2009
Believe it or not, this is his happy to see you look.

I've read a few blog postings over the last couple of weeks discussing pets. This got me thinking about one cat in particular. The one and only, and amazingly still very much alive Smithers (Geez, I hope that doesn't jinx it).

Smithers was our pet cat in college. Imagine 10 guys and one cat living in a huge old house together. I'm not entirely sure how we ended up with Smithers, although I recall it required a house meeting or five to determine who and how we were going to take care of this cat. And there were a few idle threats about how this cat was going to end up homeless, and on the streets with a drug addiction, if we didn't step in. Even with that, looking back on it it, I'm surprised we agreed to it, considering during college most of us were barely managing to feed and take care of ourselves, yet alone taking care of a pet. The fact that we agreed to take money out of our bee....um....tuition funds for cat food and cat litter is impressive. But, it actually all worked out as Smithers became somewhat of a mascot for our house...and by mascot I mean he was pretty representative of our house, as he mostly sat around, slept, ate, bothered people at 2:oo in the morning and occasional tried to break stuff.

Smithers (and me) circa 2001. I'm not sure who is more hungover.

Smithers at his best was amazingly entertaining (Granted, we once had a cardboard box as a TV, so we were easily entertained) and at his worst shockingly dumb. Falling both into the entertaining and dumb category, Smithers had a nasty habit of climbing out the windows of the house and walking around on the roof. He once climbed out my third story (25 feet high?) bedroom window, walked around the edge of one of the eves of the roof (maybe a foot wide, and angled steeply) to the third story bathroom window. Realizing a return trip would be difficult, he sat outside the bathroom window and waited to be let in. Who knows how long he waited. But it was a bit of a surprise to encounter a cat sitting outside a closed window of the third floor.

He only ever actually fell off the roof once (that we know of). And fortunately that happened to be the roof of the front porch. One day, he went out on the porch roof and curled up in the rain gutter on the edge of the roof and went to sleep. Much to his surprise and ours, his weight caused the rain gutter to rip off the front of the house sending him falling 12 feet through a rose bush onto the ground. A few of us heard the racket and looked out the window just in time to see Smithers go falling past the window. Quite the site. He clawed the siding/window the whole way down. Amazingly he was unharmed. Which is good, because we couldn't of afforded a vet visit. A shot of whisky, maybe, but a vet visit, no.

In addition, there was the occasional report by various people of Smithers narrowly avoiding traffic on any of the numerous busy streets around our house. It's a good thing he only lived in Seattle for a couple of years. He wouldn't of survived much more.

As college ended, and each of us moved out of the house, we realized none of us was going to be able to take Smithers with us into our various new apartments or houses. The answer? The Russell Retirement Home for Lost, Confused, or Mildly Deformed Felines (No really, they have a Poloydactyl Cat.)..or in other words my parent's house. So after college, we took Smithers to Spokane (that was a long car ride) and for the last seven years, he's been well fed, comes and goes as he chooses, and is generally living the good life on an acre of land chasing mice, birds and climbing and falling out of trees. Believe it or not, every time I visit home and first see Smithers, he always acknowledges me with a meow or by running up to me. So, I guess that means he's not mad at us. And that in a nut shell is the story of Smithers, or as much as I can remember. And I can't believe I just wrote that much about a cat.

May, 2009-Smithers trying to look cute or like road kill? You decide.

May, 2009. Look carefully. Smithers in a tree.
I swear, about 30 seconds after this photo was taken, the branch he was standing on broke. My dad was standing under the tree and caught him. So, basically Smithers hasn't changed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nonsensical Mundane Posting

Have a cup of coffee first...then you can read this post.

I feel like I should be blogging more often, especially since I have some free time. But, to be honest there hasn't been much going on. At least nothing I consider entertaining or interesting enough to blog about. ( I don't want to bore people who are kind enough to take the time to read this) But, I gotta write about something. So, here's a cliche and mundane post.

The last two weekends we spent in Spokane. So nothing terribly exciting to report about our last couple of weekends. Not that seeing family isn't exciting. But the circumstances aren't great.

Well, on our way home last Sunday, we did have to take a 50 mile detour off of I-90 between Ritzville and Moses Lake due to a dust storm. Which was kind of strange. Because when the hell did Moses Lake start having dust storms? But, noting really surprises me any more.

So, with no crazy weekend adventures, this leaves my weekedays. But my unemployed weekdays are currently dry as toast. Looking something like this.

Stumble out of bed just in time to see Tonja go to work

Eat breakfast, read the news....curse the news. Shower.

Job Search (& Rescue)

In this economy, I'm not just considering this a "job search". Due to the record number of lost jobs out there, I'm conducting a "job Search & rescue". I'm going to find one of those millions of lost jobs that we constantly hear about in the media. I'm going to rescue it and I'm going to bring it home and give it some warm milk and keep it as my own job. (I guess one could debate that finding a job actually rescues the job seeker, but I'm going to stick with my idea of rescuing a job, as it makes me feel more in control)

Currently, the "job search & rescue" involves any combination of internet searches, e-mailing, sending resumes, or calling former coworkers about current jobs or potential future jobs. Or contacting companies that at one point used to have jobs and may again have jobs in the future, but currently don't have jobs. However, they are happy to take my resume and burn it, shred it, line a catbox with it, or generally make it disappear into that void that all unsolicited resumes go into, especially in this economy. But fear not, I will find and rescue a job for myself. It will work out for both me and the lost job. Although, one of us may need therapy before it is all said and done.

Come on, lets form a posse, light some torches and go rescue some of those lost jobs...

12:30PM: Lunch

1:00 Pm: Consider drinking a beer.

1:05 PM: Don't drink a beer, but opt for another cup of coffee. (Coffee is an upper)

There is a reason I don't keep any of this close at hand.

1:30 PM: Waste an hour on the internet.

2:30 PM-5:30 PM: My afternoons are usually pretty open, they can involve leaving the house in an attempt to network with people in various networking groups, which may or not provide much networking help. Hence, I've concluded that networking with a bunch of unemployed people isn't necessarily the best type of networking. Only problem being, is that it's difficult networking with employed people, because for some reason they are always busy with their jobs. Go figure.

Other afternoon projects have included, unpacking the basement (yes, still unpacking over a month later), winterizing our house (applying that shrink fit film to our single pane windows, which is strangely exhilarating), brewing beer (just on Mondays, I mostly watch), exercising (okay, this isn't happening a lot), contemplating the meaning of life (happens a lot), or if in doubt posting a non sensical blog posting....

Hours of fun. Who knew?

I think 2009 has been my least productive year, since....since....um....well..........wait...............one of those lost jobs just ran past the window....I'm on it!

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