Up the ladder to the roof

Happy May, everyone!

The raccoon? Oh, yes. Well, she stayed away for a few days, but last week I started hearing those dreadful scratching noises in the walls again. A couple nights in a row of standing outside locked in battle with the little rascal and it was time to do something else; a “panic” trip to Home Depot and I had myself a little fiberglass ladder, a huge X-Files–sized MagLite, some chicken wire, and some nails: basically everything I could grab that looked halfway relevant in the fifteen minutes before closing. I wasn’t sure what I could do with any of that stuff — the closest I’ve gotten to construction work is watching Trading Spaces — but if some kind of hack was going to get me some uninterrupted sleep, well, it would be worth it.

Of course, the only ladder that would fit into the car was far too petite to get me on the roof — I’m terrified of heights anyway — but it got me close enough to the action to discover a series of shakes that the raccoon had torn away to get access into the house! After a moment of panic, I realized that the only access from that point was not into the attic proper, but into a separate roof structure that exists mainly to keep the area outside the front door dry. Still, the thought of coming home one day to find drywall scattered inside the door and unwelcome visitors crawling on the furniture was just too awful, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep well until that hole was closed, scratching or no.

The plan:

  1. crawl out the window of the bedroom.
  2. walk around the second floor with flashlight, chickenwire and nails in hand.
  3. wedge into small corner under overhang, dodging small, rabid fuzzies.
  4. seal entry shut with minimal self-inflicted wounds.

The reality:

  1. crawl out the window of the bedroom.
  2. take one look down.
  3. suppress vomit.
  4. desperately dive back in through window.

Well, what can you do? I told you I wasn’t handy.

(It’s fixed now, by the way. When all else fails, leave it to the pros!)



It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

I’m the timid type, so when the server started getting hammered by outside linkage to the Fat Kreme Photo Essay, I figured it was best to lay low for a bit. Besides, you never can tell where the hackers are hiding.

Here we go, rapid-fire:

Movies: Le Pacte des Loups was fun. You can totally tell that Christophe Gans is a fan of Hong Kong wuxia films, and there’s a real look to this film that evokes the pre-Raphaelite movement. X2 had a lot for a fan of the 80’s books to bite into, and set up even more for the next go-round. Also, eye candy. Seriously. Identity was creepy and played with enough intriguing concepts to distinguish itself from the pack, despite uneven direction. Better Luck Tomorrow was much, much better than I was expecting.

Upcoming travel plans: Off to Chicago this weekend for some family catch-up time and other hijinx. The end of the month will see me in New York City, but probably not at Nobu. In between, the docket includes a puzzle hunt, freesia’s show, a dinner expedition or two and hopefully some quality time with friends.

Meme watch:

Apropos of nothing, but something pretty I came upon while web-surfing:

Wall-Painting of Ladies and Papyri (det.) | 17th-c. BC
(from the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Santorini, Greece)

Finally, word is that Ginger Altoids are starting to hit the shelves again, at least in Seattle. Perhaps it’ll be a seasonal thing. At any rate, keep your eyes peeled!


Culture clash

Toshi's Grilled Teriyaki/Indian Curries
Culture clash | April 2003


Blown away

Chicago was, for once, a Very Windy City, and more than once I thought that my parents’ house would blow down from the gale. It also meant fun at the airport, as the entire population of the city seemed to be present, waiting to rebook flights that had been cancelled by the windstorm. Mine hadn’t been, but I still had to wriggle through this mass of humanity to get checked in. Once I got through security, it was a completely different story: total ghost town. Glad I got there two hours early, though, because I barely squeaked by in time.

On the other hand, there were lots of thunderstorms, a phenomenon I miss dearly in the northwest. And it’s always good to see family.

Note to self: do not confuse needs with wants. You don’t need a cute & sexy new digital camera. You don’t need a cute & sexy 30GB iPod. You can’t possibly need a cute & sexy new car.

Hmm, this little exercise doesn’t seem to be working too well, because I’m drooling again.

Things are happening at work — portentious, perhaps? — but I don’t think I should talk about them yet. Keep posted.



“What is it you speak of, exactly?”
“Everything in this room. Empty jars, tins, these dust jackets — even the painted eggshells. Empty vessels all. You collect these things, things without soul.”
“They have souls, Frederick. Just because they were created subservient to some other reason does not mean that they are without individual worth.”
The young man picked up a scrap, tattered and faded. “What use can this possibly be, without the volume it was coupled with?”
“It gives me pleasure. Is that not use enough?”
“Pleasure? This?”
“It is about power, my dear boy. This existed for a purpose, and in its absence I have become it.”
Frederick wished for a glass of whisky, acutely aware that every bottle in the room had long since been emptied. “I despair of ever knowing your mind, Uncle.”
“Are you aware of your own?”


Still life with dam

[The Tyranny of Shape and Form]
Still life with dam | August 1997



A touch of nirvana, procured at the British Pantry at lunchtime: Ashbourne Chocolate & Ginger Biscuits (to quote from the packaging: “Pieces of the finest quality stem ginger are used to create these delicious biscuits which are fully coated with pure luxurious, rich dark Belgian chocolate.”) A drum of eight set me back more than five dollars, so care is advisable — they are eminently wolfable.

Other tidbits of Anglophilia: Norfolk Manor Wine Gums, a Nestlé Lion Bar, even a bottle of Barr Irn-Bru (ah, memories of Ediburgh!), as well as two meat pies to throw in the oven at a later date.

As far as cultural food crazes go, the current lunch fad among my coworkers is ikura-don, a japanese dish consisting of steamed white rice topped with salmon roe (ikura), flying fish roe (tobiko), and wasabi. Even among the folks who despise sushi, it seems to have gained quite a foothold; a quick experiment earlier today found pavlovian drool reactions in more than one test subject on the mere mention of the dish.

Now we’re having weekly Japanese lunches, and have even reached a critical mass where there’s a non-trivial chance that there won’t be enough ikura for everyone at the table, sparking discussions on perhaps setting up a formal challenge system to determine who gets the goods (cf. The Shotgun Rules).

Not me, of course. I’m not obsessed.

Speaking of tobiko, John Howie’s new restaurant, Seastar, offers oysters on the half-shell with tobiko and wasabi. Now that has me drooling (and dig the Kobe beef steaks on the everday menu!).

There’s a new Seattle Weblog Portal, and it’s extremely well-done. If you’re out here in the Emerald City, check it out.


Trucks don’t just happen, Loren

It’s so cute!!!

Lost in SIFF listings. More later.


Door buster

Door buster | May 2003


“Love - such a little word for such a big thing!”

Kicked off my SIFF experience this year with Doing Time, a Japanese film which just may be the most adorable prison film ever. Okay, maybe the only adorable prison film ever. Imagine Shall We Dance? populated with convicts, starring Tsutomu Yamazaki (Goro in Tampopo) as an eccentric among many, and you kind of get the idea… against all expectations, it’s contemplative, funny and heartwarming at the same time.

Madame Satã,, from Brazil, was something bleaker, at times brutally hard to watch but scattered with moments of tenderness and hope. A bit of a misnomer, it chronicles the desperate and sometimes violent early days before João Francisco dos Santos became Satã, and as such features far more in the way of grit than glam. Still processing the film, which only ended an hour ago — however, sure things include Lãzaro Ramos’s powerful performance as the titular lead and a killer soundtrack, which I may have to locate post-haste.

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