Sunday, November 30, 2008


Grayson and I won National Novel Writing Month this morning! We are both official novelists, with 50,000 word novels under our belts! Finally, it's all over! :D

In other news, Grayson officially submitted his last applications to Graduate school yesterday. He sent four in total, and now we play the waiting game until March. If he does not get in, we are postponing our trip to Europe to the low season (and thereby allowing ourselves more time to save money), and we will both be engaging in research projects and undergraduate classes so that Grayson can present some papers at conferences to bolster his C. V., and to improve his GPA, and so that I can also present at conferences in order to bolster my own C. V., and hopefully finish my Literature degree, with plans of going on to graduate school myself.

If Grayson is accepted, we will be off to Europe in June, followed by a move to either South Bend, IN., East Lansing, MI., Boston or Chicago. And I will go into a post-baccalaureate program in Literature. Either way, it will be exciting times.

Thanksgiving Dinner

This year's Thanksgiving was a unique one. For both Grayson and I, it marked the first Thanksgiving away from family. We designed a menu for only two people, and I got to shop for ingredients at Pike Market!

Total cost for ingredients and supplies: $84.76*
Total cost for Hobbes' dinner: $0.69

Observe the slideshow:

Full slideshow, with captions

*the port cost more than the turkey.

Like most great things in modern times, the success of the cupcakes was due to efficient division of labor. Natasha and I pooled our efforts on this one, with great happy success.

The sweet potato cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese icing were a compromise dessert between pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows.

Observe the slideshow:

Full slideshow here, with captions.

Dinner was comprised of:

Salad/vegetable: Frisée Salad with red bartlett pears, pomegranate seeds and manchego cheese, with a vinaigrette. High-fallutin' eh?

Main course: Spiral-stuffed turkey breast with apple cider gravy and mashed potatoes.

Dessert: Sweet potato cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting.

We made the cupcakes the night before, and started dinner at 4:30 p.m. Grayson had to work until 7 p.m. (he works from home), so we were aiming to eat at 8 p.m. Everything went swimmingly, the only mishaps were the lack of a dutch oven, which caused the turkey's cooking time to exceed plans by half an hour. Also, I sliced my finger when I meant to slice a pear for our salad. Hobbes enjoyed turkey and giblets kitten food while we ate our dinner. We both tried port for the first time with dinner. It was really good, but definitely packs a punch. Hyah! All in all, a small, super-delicious dinner. And, we were really good and did our dishes as we went, so there was no clean up afterward (except for two plates). Awesome!

Observe the slidesow:

Full slideshow with captions here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

\m/ also: tea, novels and sammiches!

Actual In Flames

Perceived In Flames
For those of you who don't know but somehow still care, In Flames is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden (same place Dark Tranquillity (sic) is from), who started out in the 90's and put out several albums with a relatively low following until the last few years, when their popularity has spiked with the mainstream metal community. On the short list of bands that I need to see before I die, this one has been elusive - I've missed them several times (the first time being too young to go to the bar they were playing at - and this was when they were small-time enough to be playing in bars). We finally got to see them, at the Showbox Sodo, which is a huge place (Big Easy times four, easily) near Safeco field. While we stayed in the beer garden for the show, it was *awesome* - the band didn't play my favorite songs, but they have so many good ones that they did play it didn't matter much. They also had some really cool stage lighting, which is unfortunately beyond the humble powers of my cellphone camera. Still on the bands-to-see-before-death list: Lacuna Coil and Rammstein, who are probably going to break up before we catch them :(

In other news...

Grayson and I fell a little behind on our writing this week, what with the concert and some flagging energy afterward. We tried to mix up the writing a bit this weekend for catching up on our word count (I am currently 4,000 words behind, and Grayson is currently 2,000 words behind. That will change today). We went to Shinka Tea, a tea shop on the Ave and had some nummy black tea and exotic Pocky-esque sticks:

and hand wrote our writing for the day, to give a change of pace.

Grayson was also excited that there is now yet another food establishment on the Ave that allows you to hyper-customize your food order without speaking to a person, as, for example, this new sandwich shop:
There is also a burger joint down the street that does it the same way. You check the boxes for what you want, hand it off, and get your food back, exactly as you want it without any errors, all while remaining in the comfortable cocoon in spite of social anxiety. And the Montecristo ain't half bad either! (They include grape jelly and the powdered sugar, but it doesn't get grilled french toast style)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rallying together

On Saturday, Grayson and I headed downtown. We made a stop over at REI to pick up my awesome new urban-ready messenger bag (thanks mom!) I am now the proud owner of a bag that I do not have to remove or struggle to hold on to when I get on the bus, a bag that will hold all my usual crap, plus a huge book, a whole lunch and French textbook and binder, or my laptop for writing. I am also the proud owner of a bag that is waterproof, and will no longer saturate my books, notebooks and papers when I am out and about in the rainy city. Yay! We then headed downtown, I got a couple new shirts for work (totally sweet couponage!) And then we wandered through Pike Market, which still, after living here for five months, is an awesome thing to be able to do whenever we want. Yay! We then took the bus through Pioneer Square, past the Underground Tour office, and checked out FOUR bookstores in a row. Woohoo!

We then made our way back to Westlake to the Anti-Proposition 8 rally, observe our shaky cell phone videos of the awesome signs and huge crowds:

The weather was favorable to the cause, and the mayor dubbed November 15 as "Marriage Equality Day" for the city. Much of the vitriol in Seattle was against the LDS church, which contributed a great deal of money towards defeating Proposition 8 in California. This made for an interesting time for me, especially being from Idaho, and seeing how Seattleites reacted against the Church. Case in point:

There were a bunch of other silly signs, for what else could you expect from a city as tech-savvy and caffeinated as this?

The home of LOLcats:

There were some other signs we didn't capture, PROP 8 FAIL, and another: < / prop8 > which means "End Prop8" in html code.

All in all it was a huge event:

Afterwards it was back toward the homestead for hair cuts, reading, novel writing and sleeps. Today, we started chores, made breakfast (nums!) planned our impending Thanksgiving menu, did some writing, shopping, and headed to the cinema.

We saw Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which had very gross and very funny parts, but was mostly hokey and unbelievable. Even for a movie. Who was Kevin Smith's intended demographic? Raunchy 18-35 males would have gagged at the schmoozy plot, and no girl that I know of in existence could have really identified with Miri...meh. It is really crazy that I can walk to the movie theater. Wee!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Election (with commentary)

You get to hear from me this time! I'm charged with writing about the election since Natasha wants to keep her posts politically neutral (but she agrees with me on everything anyway, so, alas).

So there was this election...I think something important happened, but who knows?

It was an historic election, as the pundits never tire of saying. First black President, a sweep of Congress by the Democrats, all good stuff for us blue voters.

More importantly, we got to vote for some pretty cool ballot initiatives. Washington, with our help, became the 2nd state in the Union (after Oregon) to legalize a right to death - doctors can now prescribe patients with less than 6 months to live an overdose on pain meds so they can end their lives with dignity. It felt so good to finally vote for something important. I always knew voting in Idaho that my voice would be drowned out by the deafening mob of angry Mormon Republicans. It's such a refreshing thing.

Not such good news elsewhere in the country, however. Proposition 8, a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, passed. The strange thing was that it passed with a huge majority amongst minority voters, which is sadly ironic. It's so sad that these people claim to follow Jesus and can't even abide by his most basic teachings - to walk a mile in another's shoes, for example.

Also, in Minnesota Al Franken is behind a few hundred votes in the recount for his Senate bid. If you don't know who he is, think back to Saturday Night Live - he's the Stuart Smalley character ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me"). He's written some excellent, funny books in recent years, although a run for Senate was perhaps out of his league. The pundits I trust most are still calling it a tossup.

NaNoWriMo is going swimmingly for Natasha and I - we fell behind a day or two, but caught up with a last minute blitz on Saturday. Four hours of writing in the posh community room in our building. We might post some pictures of it at some point, because it's a very nice amenity to have.

The perpetual rain that Seattle is famous for has begun, and stayed with us. I never realized how inadequate my clothing is for this reality. I might have to shell out some duckets for some waterproof clothing.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Novelin' fools!

A great thing about Seattle are the hills that jut up all around the city. These steep hills all around several lakes make for amazing views of the city, huge, sweeping picturesque swaths of trees and gorgeous houses, which in autumn are all dotted bright read and vibrant yellows, surrounding the greyish blue lakes flecked with white boats. Such a beautiful time of year, and then, with the intermittent rainfalls, it makes for perfect novelling weather. This year, I've roped Grayson into my crazy novelling shenanigans. We are, together, united against evil (or with evil?), writing our own 50,000 word novels (about the size of Gatsby or Brave New World) in 30 days. Already, Grayson and my novelling styles are really rather markedly different, but it's fun to have a built in partner in literary abandon. So far, we're both on track, too!

Here are photos of Grayson and I setting up at a coffee shop on 1 November:

In other November goings-ons, this Tuesday is an election, which I fully intend to vote in. Floating around Seattle is the ubiquitous
Stranger alternative newsweekly, which this week (surprisingly, because it's a third party candidate) is endorsing my favored pick for the Presidential race on their cover:

Any and all copyright violations are fully apologized for,
and at request the image will be removed forthwith.
The artist is here. Also, read The Stranger.

I for one welcome our new, adorable kitten overlord.

Here is another kitten overlord...for five minutes on Halloween, Hobbes was the fabled Hobbesian Avenger:

He then promptly tore off his uniform, revealing his kitten-disguise.

Now get out there and vote VOTE