bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
This weekend [personal profile] gmjambear and I have been busy exhuming the pond in the backyard. The pond was constructed of a Rubbermaid 150-gallon stock tank, a length of drain pipe that goes we know not where, a whole lot of dirt (backfilled against the fence, which is why it all has to come out) and a retaining wall. We'd gotten most of the retaining wall removed over the year or so since we made the decision to replace the fence.

Yesterday we managed to get most of the remaining bricks from the base of the retaining wall moved, and the dried mud and gravel out of the tub itself. As we worked I noticed a tall and muscular young dude at the house behind us across the alley, who was wearing a pair of really tight, stretchy gray shorts and no shirt; and also a small poodle-mix dog (perhaps a cockapoo) who left us a present in the small patch of lawn between the temporary fence and the alley.

After sifting a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt and rocks, we were done for the day and decided to have dinner at Buzz Inn on Evergreen. We saw a number of cute daddybears and their kids passing by our table as they left. Cue Gary: "aw, hell no." After dinner we finished up some laundry and surfed the net a bit before I decided to call it a night.

I woke up about quarter to six to find Gary had made an excursion downtown. When I came downstairs for breakfast around nine-thirty, I saw Gary was back, but had been up all night, so I gently encouraged him to get some sleep. After breakfast I picked up the present the dog had left, and while doing so had a nice chat with Eric, the young dude with the tight shorts, who had come to retrieve the dog (his name is Puddles) as he'd wandered into our yard. They are busy building a new back porch to go with the addition on their house.

After that I swept up the tub and sifted another wheelbarrow load of dirt, then went inside and caught up with Dad by phone. My sister Sheila's youngest son was scheduled to graduate from high school this afternoon, and my sister Colleen's youngest is preparing to move to Boston in the next month so she is managing separate parties for his friends, for our side of the family and for her husband's side. She had to work this evening so I guess I'll have to call her later tomorrow.

Once I got off the phone with Dad, I decided to pick up a few more buckets from Home Depot, grab lunch, and pick up some groceries at Costco. At Home Depot I asked a cute ginger otter if he knew of anyone who deals in bulk dirt, as we'll probably have 4 or 5 cubic yards left over when all is said and done. He suggested Craig's List because if people are desperate enough for fill dirt they'll come over and dig it up. Another possibility he suggested is the sand and gravel place a couple doors north on the same side of Highway 99. I ended up picking up three 5-gallon buckets and two 18-gallon plastic planter tubs with rope handles. I checked out beside a cute daddy bear with a wife and two girls. He had some nice ink on one arm.

Lunch was at Heaven Sent Chicken on 112th Street. I had the three-piece special with corn and an extra side of collard greens. As I ate I texted Gary to relay the results of the morning so he could read them when he got up, and he suggested I pick up some fruit at Costco as well: grapes, blackberries, and bananas. I was surprised he was awake. At Costco there were at least two cute daddybears shopping; one I kept crossing paths with was tall and dark, perhaps Native American or Hispanic, with elaborate, somewhat faded ink on both arms.

After I got home and got the groceries put away, Gary and I watched part of the Memorial Cup (Canadian Hockey League) final between the Erie Otters and the host team, the Windsor Spitfires; then we started in on the sifting and sorting. Toward the end we traced the PVC drain pipe to an elbow in the middle of the back lawn well outside the perimeter of the retaining wall, and decided we should dig no further but rather get a plumber to trace the pipe so we don't ruin the lawn unnecessarily. Then I fixed dinner: bratwurst boiled in beer (a local microbrew called Scuttlebutt) and finished off under the broiler (unfortunately, we have construction debris piled up too close to the outdoor gas grill to use it at the moment), and fresh coleslaw. After dinner we sort of vegetated in front of the TV until Gary decided he'd better get to bed and catch up on sleep.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I didn't need to be in the office until 8 AM so I left a bit later for the bus than I usually do, and found the parking lot at South Everett freeway station was full. So I drove to Ash Way and managed to find a spot in the back relatively close to where I usually park. The ride in was uneventful. At the office I saw Seshu, both Matts from Cricket (the tall bearded one and his shorter, bald manager, who sound much alike), Veronica (who had an interesting proposal for me which unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to pursue), and Mike the Republican from my old days as an SA. Outside the office there was a big bucket truck parked close to the building to trim the trees.

Having gotten an early start, and guessing (rightly) that [personal profile] gmjambear would be downtown, I wrapped up about 3:30 intending to catch the 522 downtown. Having missed it by a minute or so, I caught the 535 northbound to Lynnwood to connect with the 512 there. At Canyon Park a dude who can only be described as a giant (at least 6' 7" and 400 lbs, but with no facial fur) boarded and sat on the back bench. The artic bus was fairly full but no one was standing. There were a lot of Asian kids on the bus, of high school or college age. As we crossed I-5 I noticed the northbound lanes slammed with traffic. The kid sitting across from me looked like he has potential to be a panda bear in about 10 years. He left at Alderwood (my phone's predictive typing suggested Aldershot, which is a stop on the train from Rochester to Toronto, so I found that amusing) and the giant came and sat in his place.

On the 512 I sat across from John, a chorus member who commutes from the U district to Lynnwood; he was on our bus the previous Thursday as well. At Mountlake Terrace a tall bear with long curly brown hair, in a throwback Mariners jersey with Ken Griffey Jr.'s name and number on the back, grey shorts and flip-flops boarded and sat on the turntable on the opposite side of the bus. A young dude sitting just forward of John had a long red beard and a severe haircut. By the time we hit the bulk of traffic at Northgate, I saw John nodding off; obviously it had been a long day. Downtown traffic was awful, more so than usual but not the worst I've seen. As we crossed Seventh Avenue on Stewart, we had to run circles around a #7 bus sprawled across the intersection; it was a tight fit, and I thought surely we'd snap off a rear-view mirror or something. We also had to wait at least three light cycles before we could make the left turn onto Fifth. Once we arrived at the stop at Westlake I ducked into the mall and through the lower food court, meeting Gary at the top of the steps by Wells Fargo. Someone had scrawled graffiti on the entrance doors to the bank in what looked like blue greasepaint.

We went in to BWW and were seated toward the back of the bar area. I checked the menu and noticed they were offering two different sauces in the Sauce Lab, without dates specifying when each would be available (normally they have one flavor at a time), so I asked the waiter and he said both were available. The one had a bit of a kick to it, but the other, the Scorpion with Myers' Rum in it, was on a whole new level. It wasn't all heat though; like the Mango Habañero I often order, there's a lot of flavor in it. I noticed a bit late that the new sauce came with a warning sticker not to touch your eyes, and to wash with plenty of water afterwards. ;) Still, I managed to finish the meal with vision intact and no upset stomach. And it was good.

The ride home was uneventful. We got out at Ash Way and I drove Gary to pick up his car at the far side of Everett Station.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Due to the anticipated chaos in downtown Seattle for May Day, I agreed to pick up Bob rather early for rehearsal, about 3:30 PM. (The usual routine is that I drive to the home Bob is sharing with Neil and Don, pick up Bob and continue to South Everett freeway station, where we board the 512 together and walk to the rehearsal space, then Bob goes in and I go off to grab dinner before returning to rehearsal.) When I arrived, Don informed me that on Friday nights, the Fireplace bar in Everett has a Bear Night which he wanted to check out. The place is normally considered a biker bar, but the owner is cool with it.

We arrived at the church about 4:30 PM, two hours early for rehearsal, so Bob suggested we enter the church through the main doors and take the elevator upstairs to the rehearsal hall as the doors at the top of the hill would be locked. That accomplished, I left through those doors and went in search of dinner. Since I needed to top up my ORCA card anyway, I walked the three blocks down the steep hill on Seneca Street to University Street Station and took care of business at the machine, then returned to Third Avenue. Since I didn't feel like climbing the hill, I walked down Third and, not seeing anything to my liking, descended to the other end of University Street Station and caught the train one stop to Westlake Center. Unfortunately, again due to the anticipated chaos, not only was the mall closed early for the day (except for Zara which has its own entrances), but also BWW where I intended to have dinner. Westlake Park was still pretty chill then, but dozens of bike cops in armor were just waiting for someone to start something.

So I decided to walk to the Pacific Place mall a couple of blocks away, reasoning that they were far enough away from the commotion that they were still functioning. In the food court on the fourth floor I selected Johnny Rockets hamburger joint, where I was served by a cute, twinkish dude with red plugs in his earlobes and a rather flirtatious manner about him, as well as a cubbier dude with a goatee behind the counter. I had a nice dinner of onion rings (served with a lion head drawn in ketchup on the bottom of a paper "monkey dish" for dipping) and a big burger. There weren't a whole lot of customers but I suppose you take what you can get under the circumstances.

Satisfied, I returned to the rehearsal space via Sixth Avenue, taking my time ascending the hill (which is longer and therefore less steep than Seneca). I suppose I could have used the escalators at the Convention Center but I didn't want to risk going out of my way and finding them closed, adding to my walk. Rehearsal went well if a bit sparsely attended. We rode home with Neil as usual.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
Christmas was fun. [ profile] gmjambear and I each got some video footage of the family's "Jingle Bell Rock" gift exchange (everyone stands iin a big circle and you pass packages to the right on "Jingle" and to the left on "Rock") and hopefully we'll get some more from my sister and edit them all together.

Boxing Day brought a significant snowfall, after which we went outside and played in the snow with my grand-niece Alyssa and grand-nephew Aiden; there's a big hill behind my dad's place and they had sleds already waiting for them in Dad's garage. After Alyssa's mother came by to pick her up (as she got off work early due to the weather) we headed out for chili for lunch.

Thursday we had lunch at White Castle and did some grocery shopping with Aiden in tow, and that evening Gary and I headed for downtown Cincinnati to see the Cyclones play hockey against the Elmira Jackals. As usual, lots of bears in the stands and a few on the ice. Unfortunately for the 'Clones, Elmira won 4-3. As a promotion, they had the Stanley Cup out on the concourse so we got our pictures taken with the Cup.

Friday I went to get my hair cut and beard trimmed since I was done with my Santa impersonation for another year. Later we did some photo processing on Dad's computer so he's got copies of our Christmas snaps, and then hit the YMCA on Winton Road which I'd visited last time I was in town. We were pleasantly surprised to find our ActivTrax accounts work there too, since the old FitLinxx system was specific to the facility where you signed up. Unfortunately one of my contacts washed out in the pool so I have to wear my glasses until we get back home.

Yesterday we attended my nephew Andy's wedding. A good time was had by all, even if there was a slight misunderstanding when it came time for family photos, but that was cleared up by the time the party was over.

This morning I took Dad to church, where a very nice-looking otterish/bearish fellow was the lector (reader). Afterward we had breakfast at Dad's favorite restaurant, First Watch, did a bit more shopping and came home to watch the Bengals beat the Ravens, 23-14. The late game is still in progress and I'll catch up when I finish this post.

We return to Everett tomorrow evening just in time to ring in the New Year. Wishing you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year!
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Watching The National with Peter Mansbridge tonight, I was rather amused to hear the question with which I've titled this post.

As it happens, it's a reference to the fact that Cold Stone Creamery's peanut butter chocolate milkshake has the equivalent amount of saturated fat as the mentioned 58 strips of bacon (and 1600 calories). But considering what some of my LJ friends have posted about bacon in the past, I wonder if some of them would, if they could, drink 58 strips of bacon.

[ profile] gmjambear chimed in with Kelis' "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard..." :-) I think it would make a good music video played behind the scene of There Will Be Blood where one oilman threatens another with the words "I drink your milkshake!"

Update: It appears this has been done more than once. An embedded version of this video along with an explanation of the meme may be found at Know Your Meme.

And immediately following the segment, Claire Martin's triumphant return to the weather desk after a week's absence was greeted with "Hey wait! that doesn't look like Nick Cernkovich!" from Mansbridge, to which she responded "Oh, Nick's just gone out for a milkshake." ;-) I LOL'ed.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
My brother used to say that to my niece (whose name happens to be Erin) many St. Pat's Days ago.

Kind of an uneventful day. I'm still coming down from the weekend. I've taken on the lead producer role for the SMC's No Talent Show at retreat, and this weekend's show turned out just fabulously, despite the change in venue from a working theater to a hotel ballroom.

[ profile] gmjambear told me I'd worked a little too hard on the show, as now I have a minor chest cold (mostly a cough triggered by postnasal sinus drainage). Still, I was able to get through a somewhat grueling dental visit and yet another SMC rehearsal before virtually collapsing Monday evening. This week I am also taking on overnight patching and upgrades once more, which means I am working split shifts again.

In honor of the occasion I decided to make Pig's Ass and Cabbage the way my mom used to (fun fact: at one point in my childhood I hated cabbage and Mom would substitute green beans; nowadays I rather enjoy the cabbage). Unfortunately, the third ingredient in the traditional boiled dinner -- potatoes -- had all sprouted or rotted in the pantry. So instead we made noodle soup of the ham and cabbage. It turned out very tasty and filling.

As my folks always say, "Top o' the morning to you!" (to which the proper response is "And the rest of the day to you!")
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Didn't do much Friday night other than one last overnight maintenance call for work, nor yesterday as [ profile] gmjambear finished off some schoolwork. Made up for that today though. Read more... )

Another fun day.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
On Monday December 14, starting at 6:30pm on the day of the concert only, at Benaroya Hall’s box office, all remaining tickets to that evening’s concert (Santa Baby) will be sold for $20 with every non-perishable food item donated. Tickets regularly sell for $25 - $65 so this can mean a possible discount of up to $45, or 70% off. Seating is subject to ticket availability and is on a first come-first served basis.

This offer is NOT available online or over the phone. Available in person, day of show only.

Ticket buyers are asked to donate one non-perishable food item per $20 ticket. Food donations must be made at the Benaroya box office starting at 6:30pm.

See this page for the full details.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[ profile] gmjambear and I went to the Everett Silvertips game vs. the Seattle Thunderbirds at Everett Events Center. The game was rather full, the ticket seller noted there were only tickets in pairs in about five sections of the arena, most of them upstairs and in the corners. He then recommended seats in the club section, which for a few dollars extra permitted use of the Club Lounge at the top. We went for those seats, then settled to wait in line for entrance to the arena to get our promotional cowbells sponsored by Monster Energy Drink. Cowbells in hand, we went to find our seats. They were about halfway up on the aisle.

With an hour to face-off, we decided to check out the lounge. There was a large bar with tables around it. There was also a separate door for folks with club and skybox seats to enter from Wall Street at the top of the hill, and we picked a table right by the door. So I sat facing the door and pointed out the many bears that caught my eye to Gary. We ordered dinner: Gary had linguine alfredo with chicken, while I had a cup of chili and a French dip sandwich. It appeared the kitchen was backed up as we did not receive our food until just before face-off, so we missed much of the first period. It was very good food though so I had no complaints.

The game was not as exciting as the previous game we attended, although there were a few moments: the Tips' goalie scoring an own-goal in the middle of the second period (which is credited to the last T-bird player to touch the puck), a couple of fights (not nearly as many as last game, and two of them occurring at or after the period-ending whistle), one of the T-birds charging after one of the Tips, checking him a bit high, losing his balance and sailing head over heels before landing flat on the ice, and watching Zack Dailey use some fancy stick work to try to dislodge the puck from the corner nearest us.

By the way, it does not matter who the Tips are playing, the opposing team is still treated to a rousing chorus of "AND THEY STILL SUCK!" whenever it is announced they are back to full strength. Even if, as was the case tonight, they are beating the snot out of the Tips, who ultimately lost 4-0.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Before dinner: a long day... )

Dinner was a blast. We had lots of good conversation and there were congratulations for [ profile] gmjambear and me signing up for NaNoWriMo. I had a cup of minestrone and a red curry with chicken; Gary had the roast chicken. I asked Gary if he wanted dessert but he declined. I had the caramel flan, partly so we could re-enact the scene from Real Women Have Curves (Gary: "Don't eat the flan!" Me: [chomp]). Pictures up at my Gallery.

The trip home... )

A fine evening if I do say so myself.

Food Pr0n

Oct. 11th, 2009 02:52 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Last night [ profile] gmjambear and I invited a couple of friends from Federal Way up for dinner. Since this is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend we went with the Thanksgiving theme.


Tossed salad of iceberg lettuce, sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, chopped celery, and canned mandarin oranges; choice of dressing
Roast turkey breast with gravy
Harvest rice medley prepared with chicken broth
Whole-berry cranberry sauce with Splenda™
Steamed fresh broccoli and cauliflower
Apple pie with no sugar added

Gary roasted the turkey breast, shredded the carrots, and made the cranberry sauce; I tossed the salad, steamed the veggies, and prepared the rice and gravy, and the pie we bought whole from Shari's restaurant and bakery.

Our guests thoroughly enjoyed the meal and I think we outdid ourselves.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Yesterday [ profile] gmjambear and I puttered around the house a bit and did some shopping. We picked up a workbench and tool rack to help organize the garage and make more room for our tools; also, we put up some more artwork and awards on the walls in the office and master bedroom.

This morning we went to Bear Brunch at Yo's Bistro in Burien. We had a very nice conversation with a couple of bears from Los Angeles who had just disembarked from a week-long Alaska cruise, and who plan on attending next weekend's bear run in Portland. For a short while the proprietor joined our conversation once he had a break in the stream of patrons.

L to R: Harry and Randy from L.A., and Yo, the proprietor of Yo's Bistro.

Afterward we stopped off at the Public Market in Seattle where a street fair was going on. We picked up four small wildlife prints (a falcon on the Seattle skyline, some salmon in a stream, a big brown bear fishing, and a couple of playful wolves in the snow) from the same artist, a bearish fellow judging from his picture, as he wasn't running the shop today; and also some totem-style T-shirts from a lady whose work I've always liked and have purchased before, for our own wear and as gifts. The bridge from the parking garage offered a unique perspective in which Mount Rainier appeared to rise from the middle of Qwest Field.

On the way back we picked up frames for the new pictures and some supplies for dinner. Then when we got home Gary completed the mowing while I unpacked the workbench. (Side note: it takes an entire weekend to mow the entire lawn because the cordless electric mower's battery runs out of juice and has to be recharged overnight between sessions. I find this annoying but Gary doesn't seem to mind.) Then we assembled the workbench together and re-parked the cars in the garage. It's a tight fit but we managed to keep enough room in front of the workbench to retrieve things from it fairly easily.

After dinner, which consisted of salmon burgers with mac and cheese and coleslaw, we tackled the new prints we'd just bought and hung them on the bedroom wall. They look nice with the Four Seasons view of Multnomah Falls we put up yesterday.

So in sum, it's beena nicely productive weekend.


May. 2nd, 2009 08:10 am
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Didn't get a chance to blog about Thursday yet. I took the bus in from South Everett Park & Ride, and after work made my way to Cafe Septieme on Capitol Hill.

On the first leg of the run from Bothell to Cap Hill on Route 372, I sat behind a clean shaven, long haired dude who was crashed out in his seat. He woke up and carried on a mostly one-sided conversation with me the rest of the way to UW main campus. He introduced himself as Dave, and told me he was about my age and had an 18-year-old son. Having spent most of his career cooking, he was currently taking odd jobs in landscaping and studying for his Commercial Drivers' License test. One of his obvious interests was muscle cars of the 70's, I also discovered. But he had a habit of speaking in non sequiturs, jumping from topic to topic as though his mouth wasn't keeping up with his brain; on several occasions he mentioned he'd "burned out", perhaps due to a bit too much 420, which caused him a number of problems.

We parted company at UW and I hopped on the 49 electric bus to Cap Hill, stepping off a block from the restaurant. Click here if you don't mind a little name-dropping... ) It was also Dining Out for Life day so some of the proceeds of our meal would go to a worthy cause, Lifelong AIDS Alliance. We chatted about art, gay culture, President Obama, and Lord only knows what else, and had some great food.

After dinner we said our goodbyes and caught the 43 bus downtown to catch the 510 bus back to South Everett. Gary had parked right next to me at the Park & Ride. When we got home I fell asleep on the loveseat.

[Edited to remove an unnecessary observation. Thanks and apologies to [ profile] bitterlawngnome, and thanks to [ profile] gmjambear, for pointing out the correction.]
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
My response to a recent post by [ profile] chrishansenhome over on soc.motss, with respect to corned beef and cabbage as the quintessential Irish dish:

I was told by no less an authority on the subject than my mother (whose parents both emigrated from Ireland, in contrast to my father's side of the family who have lived in the States for a couple of generations longer) that corned beef and cabbage is Irish-American fare much more so than Irish, and that the substitution of corned beef for ham or bacon (the latter being more like the Canadian version than what one finds served with breakfast in an American diner) owes much to the influence of the Jewish community. (My surmise is this would have taken place in New York and Boston.)

She said cattle were relatively rare in the Ireland her parents left, due in large part to the scarcity of land on which to graze them, and pigs and sheep were the preferred livestock of those that kept them. Thus a true "Irish Stew" would normally involve lamb rather than beef, although Mom's modern recipe works well with either.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the culinary inventions of the Irish in America have made the trip back to the Emerald Isle. My parents were much amused that the entertainment of the day, in one of the Irish pubs they visited on a trip to Dublin and points northwest, was a band playing music one might describe as "rockabilly".

[Oh, and by the way...] Guinness Stout looks remarkably like cola once the foamy head has been consumed.

Now I suppose that last remark is just me being a comment whore, but it's so true. ;-)

I'll add here that as a child I did not much like cabbage, so my mom would often substitute green beans in the traditional boiled dinner. Now that I've grown I rather like it on occasion and will bring "Pig's Ass and Cabbage" -- as my late aunt called it -- to potlucks when an Irish or St. Patrick's Day theme is called for.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I forgot to mention that I made some more of [ profile] vaneramos's recipe for banana bread this holiday season: three loaves that went to work and to church, and one loaf at my folks' place in Cincinnati. I've been making the simple substitution of Splenda for sugar, since my dad is diabetic and, although I'm not as of yet, my doctor advises me to avoid sweets so I don't become diabetic.

It's been going over really well, and the loaf I made for my folks turned out the best of the ones I've done so far.

Thanks Van!

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