Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Powerful Women: Not Just Oprah Anymore!

In my internet browsing (read: homework avoidance) I was looking at an article on the 25 highest paid women. There a few women I'd heard of (Ebay's Meg Whitman and uh... Meg Whitman), and many that I hadn't. I thought it was great that they weren't all white; for example Pepsi's Chairman and CEO--Indra Nooyi, or Avon's Chairman and CEO--Andrea Jung. And I said "Chairman" because that's what it said for their titles in the article.

And it seemed like they were making bank too! Andrea's total compensation for 2007 was $11 million. Indra took home $14.7 million. Sharilyn Gasaway at Alltel made $38.6 million in 2007! (Too bad about her name.) But when I clicked on the link to see the 25 highest paid men, well, there wasn't really any comparison. Steve Schwarzman topped the list with $350 million. In fact, the lowest paid out of all of them still made more than Ms. Gasaway at $41.9 million (Larry Fink of BlackRock). Additionally, only one of the men is not white (#20, Kenneth Chenault of American Express). Trust me. I Googled the three in the article that didn't have headshots to make sure. Compared to the (at least) three women top 25 earners who weren't white, I thought that said something.

But I'm too tired to really figure out the ultimate significance right now. Instead, I will go make some sketch models out of paper and leave you, gentle reader, to come to your own conclusions.

The Phone of my Dreams

Yes, this is the phone I want. Available through Hulger (whatever that is). It is made from walnut and brass and only costs $300. Oh yeah, and it is made to work with Skype, so I'll have to figure out how that works too. But whatever, I'll switch. It would totally be worth it. Maybe.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Flu Cometh!

Bryn came down with the flu on Saturday. Or maybe it was Friday. Either way, he's been sick all weekend and I've been hoping against hope that I don't catch it. (Which is no mean feat when you share a studio apartment.) So far I haven't had anything worse than a headache and some lethargy, but that wasn't really cause for alarm. It seemed closer to normal.

In order to amuse himself while spending copious amounts of time in bed, he bought Robot Chicken on DVD. If you aren't familiar with it, Robot Chicken is a short stop-action animated show. Watching it is akin to being attacked by 1200 spider monkeys with attention-deficit-disorder. It is non-stop in your face. I should also add that it is pretty freakin' hilarious too. It's the perfect show for Bryn, albeit when he is well. In his sickened state, even he was no match for the visual and audial onslaught.

Anyhow, I've been trying to drink anything I can get my hands on that says it has antioxidants in it while avoiding caffeine and finishing my seven trillion things-to-do. (I originally only had four trillion things, but Bryn's illness added on to the list.) I'm seeing a brief period of respite coming this week though. Hopefully. As long as I don't get sick!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Uhhhh. Wow.

If asked, I would have suspected it was out there. But I had no idea. My friend Laura in NYC texted me today to say that she had a client who'd had a "little person" stripper at her bachelorette party. Curious about where you would find this service, I Googled it. Yep, it exists all right! Above is "Bridget the Midget" who was in the industry for at least a decade, although her site no longer exists. And then there was www.dwarfentertainment.com which I assume is where the NYC bachelorette party found their small stripper? I really don't know what else to say. The site speaks for itself!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Inspiration = No Sleep

Due in part to too much coffee at too late of an hour (5 pm) yesterday evening and a general tendency towards getting involved in new projects while avoiding the ones that have looming deadlines, I was up until 5:30 am this morning tinkering with my website and hashing out some art ideas. The website is looking better (www.anthonycallaway.com) but I still have to go into school and power through the stuff I really should have been doing. Namely, the digital presentation and physical process book that is due tomorrow. *sigh*

What I'm kind of excited about though, is the possibility of taking some of the prints I made at Pilchuck this summer (see example above) and creating postcards and magnets for resale. I could sell them directly on my website and also market them wholesale to gift stores and bookshops. I've taken the first steps toward putting this plan into action (which is what kept me up so late) and today will sneak in some time to work on getting better quality images of the pieces I like best. At best, it could turn into a venture that brings in some income while also shamelessly self-promoting my work. *crosses fingers* At worst, I wouldn't have invested too much into it and would have a bunch of things to gift to friends, family, and strangers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Seattle Sunset

Although I am happy that Fall has finally reared its ugly head and we will only have grey skies and rain for the next 9 months, I was happy to get these sunset shots last week while it was still nice out. Taken from the rooftop deck of my building. They aren't nearly as good as the real thing! I had happened to go up there one evening on a whim and made it just in time to watch the sun go down behind the Olympics. I'm a sucker for mountains.

Construction Update

Been awhile since I've posted any photos of the construction going on outside our window. They are making good headway it looks like. And there are even a couple of scary cranes that I am hoping do not fall on our apartment. *crosses fingers*

Hard to believe there used to be the old Broadway QFC there. And Bartell's. And Taco Bell. And a house and four-story apartment building.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Start Carrying Some Change (Or Else!)

Well, since I haven't bothered to come up with any particularly original blogs lately, I'll throw up another recycling of a news item. I just read about a panhandler who shot a man who refused to give her spare change.

Why is this significant? I can totally see this happening in Seattle at some point too. In fact, I distinctly recall a homeless guy muttering, "F**k you," at a group of us last week when our class was out taking photos in Pioneer Square looking for project sites and none of us gave him any change. (Perhaps cussing is a gateway activity to shooting?)

There's plenty of activity on the streets of Seattle as far as homeless people are concerned. I think it has to do with the fact that Pacific Northwesterner's are so passive-agressive and don't want to actually deal with any problems that don't involve rainbows, smiles, and sunshine as an end result. Until we get enough pissed-off Easterners out here to take matters into their own hands, we will be asked for change about forty-seven times a day.

Plasticized Palin

I'm sure this is going around already but I didn't want to be the LAST person to blog about these stupid dolls. Anyhow, if you weren't aware of this yet, you can buy Sarah Palin action figures here and here. Scary. (Note: the second link also features "Beach Blanket Obama!")

Don't ask me WHY anyone would want a doll of Sarah Palin dressed up like Britney Spears in her very first video. I can think of reasons myself, and I would rather not dwell on them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fluff: Celebrity Observations

In an attempt to soothe the pain of my stressful day at work (it was actually pretty easy) I was recklessly wasting time in the "Entertainment" section of www.msn.com and ran across the above photographs.

I have to say that Victoria Beckham looks really scary in the first image. Compared to JLo, she looks like an alien or some sort of strange bird. Or maybe she looks like a street urchin? I mean, put a cap and some knee breeches on her, hand her a stack of newspapers, and have her start yelling: "Extra! Extra!" and she would totally fit in on a street corner in the early 20th century. Plus, she looks either really pissed off or really hungry. Or both. Feed her! Her arms are going to snap!

Do you recognize the lady in the second photo? I sure didn't. Even though her famous husband was next to her in the original image. Jada Pinkett-Smith. I'm sure that part of it is that it was an unflattering pose, bad lighting, etc. Poor Jada. Not that I really have an opinion on her one way or the other. She just looks really old there, and I don't think she's actually THAT old. Is she? Oh, and she might want to go a little easier on the tooth whitener. Unless, that is, she has a deal with Crest that I'm not aware of--which is completely possible.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"McCain and the POW Coverup"

Ran across a reference on Slate to an article by Sydney Schanberg about McCain's involvement in the covering up of evidence of U.S. prisoners of war left behind in Vietnam. First paragraph is below. The rest of the article is really good if you feel like reading it... AND it is by a really well-respected journalist as well.
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a
Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the
public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike
him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly
sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the
most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents.
Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined
crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the
strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

And from CNN's Cafferty File was a great blurb about how the Wall Street Journal is blasting McCain's position on the economy. And it appears that McCain graduated 894th out of a class of 899? Not so great...

Maps & Legends

After a long and stressful day at school, finding the book above provided just the pick-me-up that I needed. I really love Michael Chabon's books, especially The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. His later books can sometimes be harder to get into, but eventually pulled me into places I never thought I'd be. I wasn't sure about The Yiddish Policeman's Union or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay when I started reading them. And yet, they ended up being amazing reads.

Since I'm not really a voracious reader of fiction anymore (I blame school), I didn't know that this book came out this past May. And it isn't even fiction, but a collection of essays. Non-fiction essays by one of my favorite writers? And they are packaged in a super cool hardbound book with a really cool title (Maps and Legends) and awesome three-piece bookjacket? Count me in!!! In fact, there was no price on the book that I could see, and yet I immediately took it to the register knowing that it didn't matter, that I would buy it anyway. (Well, as long as it was less than $30. Which it was.)

And thank God it will give me something else to read when I'm burnt out from design stuff!

Snugglydog: A Tribute

I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF UGLYDOLLS' UGLYDOG! In fact, I've taken to calling him Snugglydog. I got the 2nd largest one in the photo for Bryn since he really liked Uglydolls, but then I took him over. And since then, Bryn has gotten me the other three pictured. The largest one just joined the collection last night, and I didn't even realize I had four of them until Bryn was dragging them all over to me while I was at my desk this afternoon. I've got an Uglydog Ranch?!?!?!?!

Anyhow. Here's what the official word on Uglydog is from the makers of Uglydolls:

Uglydog likes to help. He helps Jeero operate the rope tow and helps OX help
himself to different types of snack foods. He thinks you could use some help.
Isn't that sweet? Bowow? Uglydog is the ultimate pet too. He won't fetch the
paper for you, but he'll make your day feel like a front-page story! Uglydog
doesn't really like to sit or fetch or roll over and all that stuff. Beg? No
thanks. What he really likes to do is stand on his tail and live out his big
dream to be just like you!!! Except for the waking up early part.
(Notice that he helps OX with snack foods. And I don't have to clean up any poop or tell him to stop barking. This is definitely my type of dog.)


I'm not sure what to think about steampunk overall, but I do really like the anachronisms that exist within the genre. The nostalgia of the aesthetic also is fascinating when combined with technology. A nice counterpoint to the fear of robots/computers taking over that is so prevalent in things like The Matrix or I, Robot.

Today I went to the show Anachrotechnofetishism: Artifacts by Pioneers of American Steampunk at Suite 100 Gallery in Belltown (2222 - 2nd Ave). The gallery is small and cozy and one is easily able to get up close and personal with the objects. There were paintings, photographs, drawings, jewelry, and constructed "things" all over. One of my favorites was a keyboard that had been redone in brass, wood, and old typewriter keys. Oh yeah, and the show closes on October 3rd, so if you want to see it you should hurry!

But the piece that really stood out for me was the one pictured above, which is Mechanical Womb with Clockwork Fetus by Seattle-based Molly "Porkshanks" Friedrichs. Moving beyond most of the objects there, this one seemed to have something extra to say. I'm still thinking about it tonight, which is more than I can say about most of the other pieces I saw. What I'm really left with are questions:
  • What is a clockwork fetus and what will it grow up to become?
  • Does this come from a world where humans are obsolete?
  • Would a male artist have ever decided to deal with this type of subject matter?
  • What would Sarah Palin think about this artwork--would she want to ban it?
I like that this work deals with themes of procreation and artificial intelligence in a way that is both romantic/tender/sweet and also uncomfortable/scary/weird. If I had a spare $8500, I'd buy it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cerebral Cereal

A Snotty blog recently included the word "cerebral" (among many, many others) and it struck me as I read it how similar the spelling is between cerebral and cereal. I left her a blog comment but it was still bouncing around in my head until it suddenly hit me that there ARE cerebral cereals!!! Like Post Alpha-bits!!!

Now I'm struggling with the question of whether frosted Alpha-Bits are more or less cerebral than regular Alpha-Bits. Sugar = Smart or Stupid?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Painters of Light

Our lecture today in my Modern Art History class today was focused on (among other things) Impressionist painters. Of course we talked about Monet and how the Impressionists were focused on using paint to explore light, color, and atmosphere. Which got me to thinking about the phrase, "Painter of Light" that is bandied about by that great painter of the "Mall Art" genre: Thomas Kinkade. It even appears on his official seal. He has it trademarked. Yikes.
Don't even get me started on Thomas Kinkade. His artwork impresses me about as much as all of the Wyland killer whales did/do. Which is to say, not much at all. It seems like the type of artwork that appeals to few other than evangelical Christians. Or other such groups that (and I'm generalizing here) prefer the comforts of blindly following religious-based doctrines than of intellectual exploration and growth. And did I mention that Kinkade is a devout Christian? And his four children all have "Christian" as their middle names for just that reason?

I think we all know who the real painter of light was.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Is that Donatella?

As much as I generally abhor celebrity gossip (don't believe that), I do dabble in it from time to time. I've given up my PerezHilton.com addiction, which is a good thing. Mainly because he's becoming a celebrity himself now, albeit a very terrible one. He just seems like a silly, vapid, famewhore for the most part. Anyhow, I was browsing on MSN's fashion photos and when I saw this shot of Christina Aguilera on the red carpet I seriously thought it was Donatella Versace. Which is NOT a good thing! Or maybe she's really trying to channel Barbara Eden and go for that whole "Genie in a Bottle" thing again. I don't know.

I'm worried about her skin and hair. How many chemicals does she have to put on her body to get those specific shades of platinum locks and bronzed epidermis? And the eye makeup is so very... well... drag queen. The dress is nice, but it has to fight for attention. I just feel like she's trying a little too hard, you know?

Okay. Time to leave the poor girl alone. I feel much better about myself now that I've taken her down a peg or two.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cool Architecture...

Yesterday was difficult. I've got this class on Friday's that goes from 9:30 - 3:50 with a one hour lunch in the middle. We only meet once a week. Let me tell you, it makes for a looooong day. We are also working in groups right now on a project that we have to present in two weeks. Getting eight people to focus on the same thing for fifteen minutes is hard to do, unless you pay them. Sadly, a lack of funding means that this is not a viable option for me at the current moment in time. Having a panic attack at the end of my second week of school does not bode well for the rest of the semester. Still, I shall try my best to prevail!

The image above is something our teacher showed us yesterday during her lecture. (I have to say, this teacher is AMAZING!) The photograph is of the Sony Center in Berlin. No, it is not in Las Vegas or Singapore, nor does it have anything to do with the Disney franchise. That thing in the photo is an illuminated, suspended oval roof. It's an interior shot of one of the buildings at Sony Center! Helmut Jahn was the architect on that project. Crazy.

She also told us about David Fisher's Dynamic Tower currently being built in (where else?) Dubai. It features rotating apartments built around a central core so that the skyscraper undulates with movement. If you choose to click on the "Dynamic Tower" link above, you will also be able to view digital renderings of how the tower will move and even fill out a reservation form if you want to get in on the action and relocate to Dubai. (Or maybe just a seasonal home to add to your real estate portfolio.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I created a new word last night in the chip aisle at the grocery store downstairs: Ameradox. There we were (Bryn and I), surrounded by a veritable plethora of snacks. A wall of salty pretzels, chips, and puffs before us with our backs to another wall filled with sugary cookies. Unsurprisingly, Bryn didn't know what he wanted. When faced with an abundance of snacking choices, it suddenly became difficult to find one that was appealing enough. Fritos are too salty, and Cheetos are either too crunchy or too puffy. Regular Lay's potato chips are too boring, but Tim's Cascade Jalapeno Potato Chips are too spicy.

Do you think our ancestors really ever had to deal with this problem? You know, our hunter-gathering forefathers? I can't imagine them saying, "Gosh I don't think I want any wildebeest. Too tough and stringy. Do we have any frozen White Castles instead?" And so we are left with the American Paradox (or Ameradox) of wanting as many choices as possible while finding none of them to be satisfactory. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we are a bunch of self-indulgent spoiled brats! We want it ALL! NOW! GIMME! MIIIIIINE!!!!

Snotty wrote a blog yesterday about becoming desensitized to violence in the media. I think all of this is somehow tied together. Our news options are also so full that they are running out of compelling stories anymore. It's all been exploited so much that nothing is actually new anymore.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Blurb to the fishes in the deep blue sea

After (finally) placing an order for and receiving my book last night, I can report that www.blurb.com offers an easy and convenient online self-publishing service. While at Pilchuck this summer, our instructor was busy extolling the virtues of Blurb in creating extremely polished portfolios and instructional manuals. I ended up starting to compile the photographs I was taking on campus with images of the work I was creating in order to play around with their publishing software. It turned out that I put together a cool little book!

I meant to order a copy earlier, but life intervened and I never got around to it until last week. The box was waiting in front of my door when I got home yesterday evening and a real, actual, professional-looking book was inside. You could even buy your own copy of my book if you were interested. (Not that I think you should. I didn't bother to set the price to a level that would kick any cash back to me.) There's a free preview section that allows you to view the first fifteen pages online too.

Definitely will be using Blurb again for projects like this. I love being able to archive a project or experience in this manner!

When life gives you lemons...

...make gourmet lemonade!

In the past week I've discovered two really, REALLY good lemonade products that almost make me hope that summer sticks it out this year into October. (Yes, I'm that person. The one who is pissed off that it is the middle of September and still sunny and 70 out. Where is the grey, rainy weather that I love/hate?)

The first one is Adina brand "Le'mon Amour," which combines lemons and lavender. It is described by the company as being: "Reminiscent of a summer afternoon in Provence..." I don't know that I would go that far, but I like it a lot. Probably because of my continuing love affair with lavender as a flavor (in ice cream, chocolate bars, stuffing, hot cocoa).

The other one is the Limonata del Rosmarino at Tutta Bella. This is a "hand crafted concoction" of lemonade, fresh rosemary, and soda. And it tastes AMAZING! (On the sweeter side, but that's never been an issue for me.) I love rosemary in breads and now I've found another great place to put it. Plus, it is refreshing to see another restaurant lemonade option besides the ubiquitous strawberry/raspberry lemonades that's so readily available. Strawberry lemonade is so early 90s.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Here's my long overdue post-haircut photo. I still can't help feeling like it is a little "Eva Gabor Wig" looking, but I've gotten used to it by now and don't care. I'm just not used to it being so puffy and voluminous.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Passion of the Manicurist

After a recent (small) exodus of employees at Julep, I wasn't surprised to see an ad on Craigslist yesterday looking for new "Vernisseurs." I didn't think much of it at the time, but this morning when I (shockingly) got up early and went for a walk, I remembered it and mulled it over a little more.

My conclusions were that advertising for "Passionate Manicurists" is great, but I'm not really sure how they expect to keep them. The team we had started out with was pretty passionate about doing a good job. Unfortunately, that collective passion was neither nurtured nor maintained. So I went back for another look at their ad and noticed a few more major flaws.

  • NATURAL NAILS ONLY: At Julep, we care about the health of our
    and our guests. That’s why we offer only natural nail
    services (no artificial nail services). (
    If the health of Vernisseurs is such an issue, why are the ergonomics so bad?)
  • INNOVATION: Julep leads the industry in innovative
    like the Girlfriend's Glycolic Manicure and seasonal
    treatments like the fall Pumpkin Spice pedicure and winter Cranberry
    There is nothing innovative about switching in different products to make a normal service into a "special" or "seasonal" service. It has been done before. Many times. All over the United States.)
  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: From our commitment to minimizing our environmental impact, to our efforts to support the schools and nonprofit organizations in our local community, Julep is a company that you will be proud to be part of. (Although there is a great deal of lip service given to how "green" Julep wants to be, I didn't see it being practiced. There were many opportunities for reducing environmental waste that were blatantly ignored. I'm really tired of companies that jump on the sustainability bandwagon. That isn't being responsible. It's called being a tool.)
  • OUR COMPENSATION Julep offers a highly competitive “total pay” package. (Don't even get me started. The only people that would find this compensation competitive are the folks who are just starting out in the industry or have spent their life working at places like InSpa or worse. Not only was the pay and benefits lower than what I had made previously, it also didn't even come close to matching what I was offered for my new position.)

I could go into much greater detail and pick apart every little thing they posted. Does it mean I'm cynical? Well, about Julep, yes. I went into it with the best of intentions and really tried to make it work. The really positive beginning gave it enough momentum for a while. And once that momentum wore out, I still attempted to keep a positive outlook.

But unless things change significantly, I predict it will eventually run into the ground. The initial rave reviews that were garnered from the press aren't going to do anything in the long run. Have you seen the reviews on Yelp or CitySearch? (I question how CitySearch gives it a 4.5 star rating with the amount of negative reviews that are on there.) The customer feedback that I see on those sites leads me to the conclusion that it is a great idea on paper, but the actual experience is way too inconsistent for the prices they are charging.

Am I chewing on this unnecessarily? Am I bitter? The answer to those questions: a firm, "Yes." I have been hurt by actions that the owner took towards me and I know that much of my negativity towards Julep at this point comes from that. But even when I separate out my personal experiences and look at the situation more objectively, I come to the conclusion that the business has been poorly managed from the start. I encourage anyone to come up with their own opinions about Julep, but I'm not going to tiptoe around and talk about what a great environment it was when the truth is, working there really sucked.

But now that I've gotten that out of my system, I also have to be willing to put it behind me. What have I learned? Valuable lessons about personal integrity, business ethics, emotional abuse in the workplace, and how to disengage from a negative situation.

So. No more ranting about Julep. I may not wish the business owner any luck with her future, but I also don't need to put any more of my energy towards thinking about Julep. She doesn't deserve it. (Besides, Snotty already summed up all of the angst and frustration I feel in an incandescent open letter on her blog.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

School is Cool.

School started this week. Yay. Yay? Yay!

It is actually a good thing. I've gone to three classes so far and they've all been really great. Plus, we have a new teacher for our studio class and she's awesome! (And an alumni, which is refreshing.)

As much as the summer always speeds to a close I was definitely ready for it to end. Not only is fall my favorite season, but I was anticipating going back to school. Sure, another week might have been nice. But would I have done anything constructive with it? Probably not.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


This was the best thing that Bryn got me at Powell's this weekend. It is a folder with a unicorn spinny-wheel, enabling the spinner to confront a variety of situations with such advice as:

  • Majestically gallop
  • Nuzzle a newborn
  • Race the wind
  • Frolic in a meadow
  • Pose on a windy cliff
  • Impale evil things

It gets even better though. On the inside is printed "The Unicorn Code." For those of you who might be unfamiliar with this Code, it goes as follows:

  1. Unicorns never cheat on tests.
  2. Unicorns always lend a helping hand. (Shouldn't it be "helping hoof?")
  3. Unicorns are never tardy.
  4. Unicorns pick flowers for their teacher.
  5. Unicorns respect school property.
  6. Unicorns aren't conceited.
  7. Unicorns don't judge people.
  8. Unicorns turn in their homework on time.
  9. Unicorns only use their horns if they have to.
  10. Unicorns don't do drugs.

Yes, you too can be a unicorn if you follow these ten simple rules. This folder is almost better than an amazing snack! Almost...

In the Land of Port

Just got back last night from a quick trip to Portland (Oregon). Bryn and I were going to spend one night, but on the way down we decided to add an extra night. We had a few places and things we wanted to see, like the Japanese Garden, the Planetarium at OMSI, and the Zoo; however, the only place on our list we both made it to was Powell's Books. And let me say right now that it was TOTALLY worth the trip. In fact, for Bryn it was probably one of the highlights of his year, especially Powell's Technical Bookstore.

I hadn't been to Portland in years and even then, I'd never spent a significant amount of time there. It was interesting. Of course I felt right at home in the up-and-coming Pearl District with its Whole Foods, yuppie-vibe, and new condo buildings. The rest of the city that I experienced had a rather depressed air to it. I enjoyed the architecture though. It seemed like Portland retained more of its old buildings than Seattle has, although that may not have been entirely by choice. The scale of the city is also much more pedestrian friendly. It invites walking in a way that Seattle doesn't.

There was a definite coffee-culture happening. Almost as many coffee places as Seattle, although the one that was recommended to us (Stumptown) was terrible when we went. Could have been a one-time fluke? But I have to say that it was the loooongest line I'd ever waited in for a medium (medium?) mocha before. I also observed equally long lines at many other coffee places, so it does seem like they are attached to their coffee. There was also a proliferation of little gift shops with windows filled with clutter. All of those places have long since been priced out of Seattle's downtown core.

I did make it to the Portland Art Museum (without Bryn), which was really cool. You can tell that Portland was a booming city with lots of wealth during the late 19th/early 20th century. I was surprised at some of the artists and pieces represented for a relatively new, West coast museum. They have some definite strengths that the Seattle Art Museum doesn't seem to have. I was also especially pleased by their Native American art/artifacts. They had a collection with pieces from across North America, which is refreshing in a Northwest museum. I mean, I really like Northwest Coast Native art, but there's a whole slew of cultures out there to see. It was nice to see and contrast pieces from different geographical areas.

As for the hotel, we stayed at Hotel Modera, a refurbished Days Inn near the Cultural District. It was nice enough. The remodel had been done quite well although when I booked it on Hotwire it was touted as a four star hotel, which I don't agree with. It had some four star characteristics, but lacked the ammenities I would expect (no in-room snacks or on-site restaurant/bar). $27-a-day valet parking with in/out privileges isn't enough of an ammenity. But the rooms were nice (if small) and the bed was really comfy. Bryn particularly enjoyed the fire pits they lit in the garden every evening. I'd stay there again.

On the way back we stopped at an outlet mall near Centralia (or somewhere like that). It was a sad little place. The most puzzling place I saw there was a Christian Outlet. I was confused. Is it a place where overstock from all the other little Christian gift stores ends up? Or did they just buy in bulk and offer really good deals on things? Bryn went in to check it out and I opted for a shoe store instead. The shoe store was terrible and while I was waiting on a bench outside the Christian Outlet I observed many things I did not want to buy through the window such as plastic angels and plastic eggs with bible sayings carved into them.

It was good to get home last night. There is nary a Christian Outlet to be seen in my neighborhood and plenty of good coffee. In fact, I'm sipping a Vivace mocha right now!