Archive for June, 2008

That’s just how I bowl

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2008 by poojaland

Went to the Garage on Capitol Hill last week for a work event. It was the first time I’d been there, and my first time bowling in…jeez, probably at least eight years. Interestingly, I got my best score in the first of the four games we played: 127. I think I got two strikes. It was a ton of fun; I hope I go bowling again in less than eight years! Just seems like it’s hard these days to get enough people together to make it worthwhile. I actually had my 16th birthday party at the somewhat seedy Kenmore Lanes by my parents’; my main memory of that day is from when it was my turn to bowl, and in the process, I accidentally stepped over the line into the lane. I fell right on my ass! That sh*t is slick! And my parents got it all on video — niiiice.

Anyway, here’s a shot of me mugging for the camera (as always), snapped by someone else on my team. Can you tell which ball was a wee bit (four pounds) heavier? ;o)

I’d gotten a ride to Cap. Hill from a friend at work, but then I decided to be adventurous and hop the bus home. I’d written down the timing/bus number, and the intersection I need to go to, but I walked three blocks in either direction on Madision, but couldn’t for the life of me find Boren. I usually am paranoid and make myself a little map so I can easily find my destination, but I was overconfident in this occasion, largely because on all my previous bus adventures, the stop is within a couple blocks — or sight distance — of where I’m leaving from. Luckily my sister was by her phone and a computer, so she pulled up a map and informed me that I was close — just needed to go an additional block or two in one of the directions I’d already gone. This was an unusual bus situation in that the walk was longer than usual (I’d also obviously forgotten to write down the walking distance Metro’s Trip Planner had given me). The bonus part was that the bus I caught only went another few blocks/stops into downtown, and then hopped the freeway, making it only about a 10-minute trip back to the Northgate Transit Center (which is walking distance from where I live). Most buses I take from downtown or Cap. Hill wind back to Northgate on city streets, and usually take about half an hour, so that was quite a speedy trip.

Did you go #1 or #2?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2008 by poojaland

Was in training for a couple days last week in a newer building on campus. They have these awesome efficient/water-conserving toilets where you flush it one of two ways depending on whether you went #1 or #2. It was so funny, I had to take my phone in there to snap a picture of the instructions on the back of the stall door. Oh, and for those who are curious (I certainly was) — it sounds the exact same when you flush, no matter which way you “push” the lever. Yes, I did a little test ;o)

30 is the new 24

Posted in restaurants on June 20, 2008 by poojaland

Last week, I turned the big 3-0. It was definitely daunting; I felt like it was sort of a milepost marker, prompting me to review my life up until that point, and compare it to where/what I thought I’d be as recently as five years ago. Instead of wallowing in thoughts of what I feel my life is “missing,” I’m trying to focus on the good things, because on paper, I really do feel proud of what I’ve accomplished so far in my life, and the type of person I am.

Aaaanyway, I took a couple days off from work, which was nice — especially since the weather cooperated. Anuja came over on my actual birthday, and we bused down to the U District to get my birthday bubble tea at my favorite BT spot (it’s kind of silly, though; for your “gift,” you buy a BT and then get a coupon for a free one on your next visit). I went there last year, and asked the owner (who knows me by name) how old he thought I was. His response? 22. I still chuckle over the memory of the look on his face when I said “Actually…I’m 29” I gave him a little leeway as I was wearing a ballcap, had my hair in a ponytail, and was wearing glasses. This year, though, I didn’t have any of those things going on. And his reply to my “How old do you think I am?” query? “24”!! He was completely shocked — again — when I revealed my true, advanced age. Hilarious.

Saturday night, some girlfriends and I met up at the Zig Zag Cafe in downtown Seattle to celebrate. It was a really fun time, as you can see.. I never met a camera for which I didn’t ham ;o) A friend was nice enough to give me a ride to and from ZZ, so I didn’t have to turn down any of the three martinis I was urged to drink. I didn’t get drunk, but I definitely had a good buzz going. I highly recommend the ZZ for anyone looking for a chill, funky place to do an outing like this — or even just drinks/light dinner — though the setup was a bit weird, as they only have round tables, so our “table” for 12 was four round tables shoved into a chain-bubble line. Oh, and as far as parking — there’s a parking garage on the right as you go down Western behind the market that only charges $3 if you park after 5 p.m. ZZ is about another blog down Western, off the Pike Place Hill Climb stairs. Originally, my outing was going to be at the Purple Cafe downtown, but by the time we called to make a reservation mid-week last week, the only one we could get would’ve been for 10:30 (yawn); apparently they were overrun with reservations due to UW’s graduation being earlier that same day. I was bummed to miss out on Purple — always a great time — but still had a fabulous time at Zig Zag. Here’s to a new, exciting decade of life!

‘WFL,’ Sweeney’s ‘God’ and the Twilight Court

Posted in Movies, tennis on June 14, 2008 by poojaland

Last week, we had a work party at Lincoln Square in downtown Bellevue, where MSN has some offices on I think the top half of Lincoln Tower. The food/drink portion of the party was held in the cafeteria, which is on the top (28th) floor. They have an AMAZING view up there, looking out over part of Bellevue, and across the water to Mercer Island and even the Space Needle. Here’s a shot from the patio outside the cafeteria:

We were all invited to go downstairs to Lucky Strike to either bowl or play pool, but I decided to cruise out at that point to hop the shuttle back to my office (my smaller team has a bowling outing next week as well). Anyway, Josh and I decided that we’re going to start a new triend: WFL. That means “Working From Lincoln,” an offshoot of the more traditional WFH (Working From Home). Though I don’t think I’d ever get used to that view..

Friday, I went to see another movie at SIFF: Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God.” It’s a film of her one-woman show about her journey from being Catholic to being an atheist (or, as she calls it: a “naturalist”). Though the format (just her, in a living-room setting) got a little tiring at times, I was pretty absorbed the entire two hours, as was the sold-out audience. Julia was there herself (she’s a native of Spokane) and got two standing ovations, one after the film, and one after the Q&A. For me, it was just kind of comforting to be in that sort of environment with other non-believers. I just get tired of how god-centric the world is, even in relatively liberal, open-minded Seattle.

Finally, Anuja stopped by on her way home from work this morning for some tennis. We played at the courts at North Seattle Community college. The funky benches they have there never fail to crack me up. How can more than one person sit comfortably on this thing??

Here’s Anuja and me, posing for what Anuja dubbed a “Wes Anderson shot”:

And then.. in yet more weirdness.. on the adjacent court, there’s a green, wood backboard with a white horizontal line to simulate the net. It’s a practice area if you want to “play” solo. There was an envelope taped up backward on the backboard — with nothing inside, and nothing written on it. Then, a couple feet away, was a blank Post-It. Maybe the writing washed off in recent rains (though you’d think either or both items would’ve fallen off).. weird.

Non-bulked ‘Hulk’ and the dreaded ‘overreactor’

Posted in Movies, Weather on June 10, 2008 by poojaland

Saw “The Incredible Hulk” last night. Overall, it was okay; a good popcorn/matinee flick. I enjoyed the scenes with Norton as Bruce Banner, but I couldn’t get into the over-the-top action scenes when he was Hulk. It was also a little hard to remember that Norton was the Hulk, because he’s super scrawny (especially from the waist down) and the Hulk bears no resemblance to the actor. I’ve never seen the TV series, or 2003’s “Hulk,” so I can’t make any comparisons there.

We had the misfortune of sitting in the row in front of the type of moviegoer I’ve decided is an “overreactor” — after a fight scene ended, she would loudly sigh “Whoa!” and during a funny part, she’d laugh (again, loudly) and then still be laughing two seconds after the crowd’s laughter died. She would make exclamations; i.e., when Stan Lee appeared for his standard cameo, she guffawed and said “Stan Lee!” When there was a cameo at the end of the film by the star of a current box-office draw, she was laughing and exclaiming so loudly that we completely missed all of the guy’s lines. The worst outbursts, though, were before the movie when they showed the trailer for “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” Only five seconds into the trailer, she yelled “YEAH! HELLBOY!” and then was “woohoo”-ing every 20 seconds throughout the trailer.

After the movie, in the restroom — the door of my stall randomly opened before I was ready for it to be open. I sat there dumbly (I won’t go into further detail about what I was doing at the time) for about a second, and then stood and lunged for the door. Luckily I was in the end stall, furthest away from the line of ladies in waiting, so no one came wandering over to enter the suddenly available stall.

Finally, I must comment yet again on our crazy weather. It felt like October last night! I had to wait for the bus outside Pacific Place downtown for about 10 minutes. It was super windy and really cold (I’m guessing 40s). Everyone at the stop had their hood on, even though it was (thankfully) not raining. I wore a scarf this morning — on freakin’ June 10! Thankfully it’s going to warm up the next couple days. The Times said last week was the coldest first week of June in Seattle since they started recording the weather in the early (?) 1800s.

Cherry pickin’

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2008 by poojaland

In my previous post, I forgot to mention another funny weekend event — I went to Fred Meyer on Saturday afternoon to get some groceries. I went to the fruit section to pick up some cherries. They had the cherries out in little bags. I grabbed a plastic produce bag and started rifling through the bags of cherries, picking out small handfuls to transfer to my own bag. All of a sudden, this 40-ish man appears at my side and says in a semi-accusatory manner: “What’re you doing?” I was sort of taken aback, but replied: “I’m picking out cherries. They’re for sale by the pound, not by the bag.” Then I pointed to a rotting cherry in one of the bags and said, “See, you have to be careful.” He paused, and said, “Oh.” Then he randomly picked a cherry, popped it in his mouth, said “Mm!” and was gone. A minute later, a lady came up next to me to look over the cherries. She started shooting me these angry glances. I was so tempted to say “Lady! You buy them by the POUND, not by the BAG!” Jaysus!

The story popped into my head a few minutes ago as I was eating some cherries with my lunch. None of them had bruises or holes — who’s laughing NOW, bitches?!

SIFF reviews and more bus talk

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2008 by poojaland

Took a day off last week, and hopped the bus downtown in the morning to take in a SIFF media screening of “The Great Buck Howard.” The draw for me was mainly the cast: Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks, John Malkovich and Emily Blunt. I was a bit bored during the film, though I thought both of the Hanks and Malkovich did a good job with what they were given. The plot, in short, is that Colin Hanks is a law-school student who has dreams of being a writer. He drops out of law school and takes a job as the road manager for “The Great Buck Howard” (Malkovich). Howard is a “mentalist” whose main claim to fame is that he was on the “Late Show With Johnny Carson” like 60 times. The film follows Howard as he does shows around the country. I decided later that it was either truly a boring film, or so deep and metaphorical that it was over my head and I didn’t get it. I’m scratching my head a bit over the Seattle Times’ critic’s review of the film in the Times’ SIFF blog; the woman said she predicted it would be audience favorite, and also called it “short, snappy, and unexpectedly sweet.” Well…. OK! We’ll see what the public thinks.

Saw a couple more SIFF films over the weekend — “Man on Wire” was a fascinating documentary about French high-wire artist/tightrope walker Philippe Petit, who put up a tightrope between NYC’s Twin Towers and walked across it in August 1974. The film tells of his early days getting into his passion, but mainly focuses on the planning of his big feat, his accomplices (it was, of course, completely illegal) and how everything went down in the end. The film was successful largely due to the unique nature of its topic, along with the sparkling charisma of Petit and everyone else involved. It was really, really eerie to see the footage of the Towers being built, though, knowing what was in store for them some 30 years later. Too bad the documentarian never asked the film’s subjects to speak on that. Anyway, Petit was arrested immediately after his feat — after going between the towers eight times — and the film’s title comes from a phrase written in the arresting report.

The other movie I saw was “Be Like Others,” a documentary about Iranian men who are gay (though they carefully skirt around that label; they claim to be women inside men’s bodies, basically) and undergo gender reassignment surgery to reveal their “true selves,” as homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran. It was quite sad to see the process these young men (mainly in their early to mid 20s) go through. Most have no support from their families — one was nearly poisoned to death by his father — and are disowned by their parents after the surgery. Post-operation, one “woman” told of how she had to do “business” (aka prostitution) to make money. When the interviewer asked if she ever thought she’d fall in love she said “No. I’ve killed all the love in my heart.” Truly heartbreaking. But … I guess that’s the price they pay if they want to become their “true self.” One funny part was when one of them talked about how he heard (and this is my best paraphrase here) “they [gay/transsexual people] can do anything they want in America. But getting it from behind is still wrong.” That got a good laugh from the crowd.

Got in some hiking (St. Ed’s) yesterday with Chrissy, and then some tennis with Anuja right after. It ended up being a pretty gorgeous day, but it was windy, and this white cotton-type stuff was coming off trees everywhere — it looked like it was snowing! I must admit I was kinda glad to get indoors in the early evening so my allergies could subside.

So I’m trying to take the bus a lot more these days when I have the time to, just because it’s more relaxing and of course, saves on gas/parking money and hassle. Plus, I have a free bus pass from work. On Wednesday, when I went to the screening downtown, a woman across the aisle from me was cutting her nails; it was really grossing me out. Every time I heard that “click,” I almost physically cringed. She cut them for like 20 minutes, and then stopped. But about five minutes later…it started again! Yew. Then there was this other guy on another bus I rode who was blasting his Discman (yes, Discman) really loudly, and said “Hi!” to every person who got on the bus. The two screenings I went to over the weekend were at the Egyptian on Capitol Hill. It was my first time taking the bus over there, and though I had to take two buses, it only took about half an hour total. After the last screening, I decided to walk several blocks down Broadway and do some window shopping. Once I got to the end of Broadway’s main drag, I approached a construction area (not a rare thing on Capitol Hill right now!). I saw one of those temporary bus-stop markers — the short, bright-orange stantion thing with a white sign on top that said “Bus only.” Now, I’ve never stood at one of those temp. stops before, but the thought did cross my mind that maybe it was a bus layover area, and not an actual stop. That thinking was confirmed when a few minutes later, the bus I wanted breezed on by me. Whoops! So I walked back another block and found the true stop, which was unfortunately right outside this Pho restaurant that was loudly blasting top 40 hip-hop/R&B. Lovely.

Anyway, that’s the recap on recent events. Tonight I’m seeing “The Incredible Hulk,” which I’m cautiously optimistic about…