Apr 10, 2009

How Long Could YOU Survive?

Continually, we learn new things about ourselves. Today, I learned how long I could survive while tied to a bunk bed with a unbreakable, seven-foot chain alongside a velociraptor. How long could you survive?

I could survive for 1 minute, 3 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Feb 4, 2009

Before He was a Hero

While doing a photo search on Getty I happened across these photos which I am pretty sure are of Ando Masahashi from Heroes. Before he was Ando, he was apparently James Kyson Lee, stock photo model.

"Every hero is on a journey to find his place in the world. But it’s a journey. You don’t start at the end. Otherwise, they can’t make a movie about it later."

"I wish destiny would lose our number"

"You start talking about capes and tights and I’m out of here."

Jan 22, 2009

Sweets on the Streets

So last night Andy and I were coming home from dinner when I noticed a cupcake on the railing of my apartment steps. It was exactly the size and shape of a real homemade cupcake, with fluffy pink frosting and a little flag stuck in it.

A nicer, better person might have been curious but minded her own darn business and left the item alone. I've left boxes or bags on my front steps when going up to retrieve my coat or cell phone before, so maybe someone stopped mid-cupcake to go get their scarf or something. Or maybe someone had left it as a little birthday surprise for a resident. The fact is, I had no business picking up what looked like somebody else's pastry.

But I'm a jerk, so I totally picked up the cupcake to examine it. It was heavy like stone, and clearly not made out of sugar, spice, or anything particularly nice on the digestive tract. In it, I saw a little flag that said "You deserve a treat!" And I have to be honest, in my head, I was like "Yeah, I do! Where's the cake?!" On the back of the flag, it said Cakespy.com.

I happen to be a prior fan of Cakespy.com, the cupcake website with the cute little pink watercolor cupcake artwork which I've loved since before I moved to Seattle. I particularly enjoy their Queen Anne Cake Walk Guide and whenever Cyndi finally comes to see me I plan to take her on the Seattle Donut Tour. Although disappointed about the whole not-being-edible thing, I was right pleased to have found the adorable little cake. I'm jerk enough to inspect the frosted goodies of strangers, but I know better than to disturb public art, so I took a few photos of the sweet and then left it where I found it.

I went upstairs to check the website, and sure enough, there was a post featuring my own front door. They are running a little experimental Cupcake Street Art Installation by depositing plaster cupcakes with uplifting messages in neighborhoods in Seattle, and my apartment just happened to be a lucky recipient.

When I came home today I was sad to see that the cupcake was gone. I intended to move it to a new place, take a photo, and leave a comment on Cakespy. But hopefully someone out there has their Deserved Treat sitting on a desk or table and making them happy.

In LA I often felt like the art was yelling at me, competing for my attention and preaching a political message, but I like street art that serves merely to amuse and add whimsy. I like not knowing the exact intent of the work because it leave me free to make up my own meaning. I sometimes miss seeing the little Berds hanging at busy Los Angeles intersections.

Perhaps because of tighter geography, street art in Seattle comes knocking on my door much more often, and when it does, it's usually just to say some like

"Hello there..."

"Aren't people so wonderfully creative?"

"Isn't the world a strange...."

... funny place?"

"Isn't life full of the most exciting possibilities?

"And you know what? You deserve a treat!"

Jan 10, 2009

Andy Plays the Bethy Song for Bethy

Apparently Andy has a little song for me, and apparently I have figured out how to use iMovie and upload videos to my blog. Double yay!

Dec 23, 2008

I Shall Not Want

This is totally how Beth prayed when she was a little girl and she really really wanted something:

Dear Father God, Thank you for being such a nice God, and being so generous to me. Thank you for letting me have plenty to eat, especially rice because I love rice. God, if you let my flight not be canceled on Christmas Eve so I can go home and spend Christmas Day with my family and friends and people who love me I promise to give up Facebook for the whole month of January. Maybe February too. And I promise to stop biting my nails, and to always signal when changing lanes. Thank you again for being so good to me, and I also promise to call home more often.


Dec 18, 2008

Hoping to Find My Feet

It has snowed in Seattle, time to celebrate!

Before I could even dial the emergency number for my work, my boss phoned me to suggest that I stay home. What a dear sweet man! Safety first! As long as I send an email saying I am "working from home" I won't have to take a sick day to cover it.

I have yet to attempt to drive in the snow because I feel that my California upbringing lacked the chapter on "Using Credit Cards to Scrape Windows, Farting as a Defrosting Mechanism, and Other Useful Snow Tips." On Sunday I attempted to drive up a very slight incline on a very slightly slushy road and slid backwards maybe 20 feet and it left me a little shaken.

One thing, I need to start having kitty litter on hand at all times, because if you get stuck apparently:
1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
4. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.

I personally believe this KOMO5 news report was generated specifically so that employees could send the link to their bosses and say "See? I better stay home!"

It says "Traffic was completely stopped at times on parts of State Route 520 on the Eastside as snow covered the highway, and some drivers abandoned their cars and began to walk down the freeway." First of all, that's like the number one thing that WikiHow says NOT to do in inclement weather, since your car provides shelter and is much easier to find than your small frozen body. Secondly, most of 520 is a two lane highway, and a lot of it encompasses a bridge that floats on Lake Washington. You put just two abandoned cars there, and pretty much no one is going anywhere, unless they're driving a Duck. Lastly, between the credit crunch and the possibility of the Big 3 shutting down, I don't know where those people think they're going to get a new car if anything happens to their good old Hybrid Roadblock LX.

Lucky for me, I live 5 blocks from 3 different price levels of groceries, so I'll be fine. The neighborhood record store, used book store and indie theater are also sounding attractive. I am wondering if Pike Place will be a mess today. Or there's always the monorail to the mall.

Nicole sent me this song which she randomly found and thought might be appropriate, maybe as a snow shoveling soundtrack.

Also from Nicole:
Is "working from home" what you kids call it now? Puts a new spin on "business time."

Dec 17, 2008

I eat filet mignon and I'm nice and young

Best believe I'm number one
~ ~ ~

Once every 12-18 months or so, Wieden + Kennedy starts a new school year with twelve talented people from all over the world who are brought to Portland as a sort of artist-in-residency-meets-postdoctoral advertising boot camp. My understanding of the very mysterious and prestigious little “experimental school” is that you function as interns but collaborate on everything as a group, and get to work on actual W+K clients as well as special projects.

I would love to attend the program. I would love to soak in that creative whirlpool for a period of time and let it wash over me.

In order to be considered, I have to apply to the program by sending in something that fits into a 9x12 envelope. The brief specifically is “surprise the shit out of us!” but I know from looking at the last round of submissions that made the cut last year that one thing that tied them all together, aside from creativity, was wit. I can’t just send crazy creative shit. I need to prove I’m clever-ish.

The concept I like so far is:
“I like 40% of my ideas, and follow through o 20% of those. I hope by attending WK12 I can improve those numbers.”

The execution therefore will consist of 100 ideas, 60 of which are creatively and humorously bad, 40 of which are worthwhile, and 8 of which I will need to actually execute.

Bad ideas so far (and this should be easy, but it’s not):
Honey mustard cupcakes
Homeless chow

Ideas I liked but never executed:
Breakfastar Galactica made of waffles with sausage landing bays
Pencil skirt actually made of pencils

Ideas both liked and executed
Sending the mayor of Los Angeles elephant origami to ask him to send Billy the Elephant to a nature sancturary
Watercolor portrait cards of all my friends that hold matching earrings
Gun cookies, which we made for Andre for his birthday in March
My portfolio will maybe function as one “executed idea”

Idea leads
Something to sell ads through non-traditional outlets
Rock opera about the Smurfs
Finger puppets that are regular puppets that hang from your fingers by strings
Crafty stuffs: tea cozies, arigumi and felting and embroidery.

Or maybe it should be 100 ideas for what to send to WK12?


Where are all my ideas?! I have more. Where are they?

The benefit of working in a collaborative environment is that the sum is greater than the parts. Being in class and working with a partner has always made my ideas better. But in this I am completely alone.

I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m scared and excited, but mostly scared. Being timid is part of my personality too. I can’t really be someone I’m not, but I do need to be the best version of myself. Generating ideas for idea’s sake is exhilarating, but with a deadline like this it is only nerve-wracking.

Anyways, I do need to put pen to paper. When Andy flies out on Sunday I guess I’ll have the apartment to myself for the first time ever. I have to finish Twilight book one and make some presents, but mostly I need to actually work on this.

~ ~ ~

Yes, I am aware that this post makes no sense.


This blog makes me sad because it was supposed to be joint, but clearly it’s just mine now. I sort of give up on sharing a blog with someone. It always ends badly.

Another reason why it ends badly:
andy: this is still my favorite youtube video of all time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3mw49mk_x0
me: You love the 70s
andy: sure. why not

Nov 6, 2008


me: It's bad news when the dictionary keeps defining all the words you don't know with other words you don't know.
me: Recondite: Not easily understood; abstruse. Abstruse: Difficult to understand; recondite.
me: I hate you TheFreeDictionary.com. I should just get a paper dictionary.
ben: haha. when dictionaries become relational databases

Oct 23, 2008

Don Quixote was a steel driving man

Beth: It's 1234
Ben: What?
Beth: Andy likes to point out when it's 12:34. You know. 1234. He also likes to point out 1:23. He just pokes his head in and goes "1234!"
Ben: You've found yourself your own little Michael Cera.
Beth: I know, I totally have.

Squinched up your face and did a dance
You shook a little turd out of the bottom of your pants
I don't see what anyone can see,
In anyone else but you

Oct 20, 2008

The Camera Adds

There is nothing more challenging to ones ego than having to do photo searches on a stock photo website. Other than I guess going to a photoshoot with a bunch of hot models. But it's surprising the things that come up on Veer or Getty when you look for something like "plus size" "middle age" "overweight."

Oct 18, 2008

what do i believe, exactly?

I haven't blogged in a million years, and I'm not about to start now. Given how little attention I've been paying this blog, the reader will hardly believe me when I say it is my new goal to write and submit an essay for NPR's "This I believe" series. But it's my new life aspiration, and having just accomplished two major goals: Getting a full time job in Seattle, and getting into CMYK Magazine; I think I can accomplish this one too. Doesn't mean I'll get picked, but at least it gives me sort of an interesting writing prompt. Like college essay writing. I don't think it's ever a bad thing to get clarity on what you believe.

Jul 29, 2008

Swarley's Birthday Recap

I feel like I should blog my birthday weekend in LA, but part of me wonders what for, since everyone who reads this was there. Partially I also feel sort of like I should adopt a Vegas attitude towards it, and let what happened there stay there.

It was definitely one crazy weekend. I think compared to an average weekend for my wild LA friends it was actually pretty normal, but to us converted Pacific Northwesterners it seemed like a lot. The short list of events includes a studio tour of Sony, hamburgers at Father's Office, karaoke and a lot of free alcohol at Rosen, fish tacos at Wahoos, Batman on IMAX at the Bridge, margatinis at Mexicali Cantina, laser tag at Ultrazone, breasts galore at V Lounge, food stealing at Google, sore feet at Glow at the pier, marshmallow ice cream and kittens at Cyndi's place, economic stimulus checks & hugs with my parents, barbecue & edible hedgehogs at the Wilshire Restaurant, victorious Ben & Beth in Imaginiff, tears at the airport, and sleeping all day Monday.

The first time I went back to visit LA in May I felt kind of disillusioned by it. I had missed it so much, and then there it was in real life, and it was not as shiny and magical as I had remembered it in my homesick daydreams. It was dirty, and grey with concrete, which is not the same thing as grey with rain, because rain goes away. It was colorful in a harsh way, warm in a cold way, and vivid in a deadened way. And I felt like a slobbery puppy who is overly thrilled to see her owners at the end of the busy work day. I was moved to tears at the sight of my friends, and they in turn seemed surprised to see me. "Weren't you supposed to move to Seattle? What are you doing here?"

I guess in light of that, it was kind of weird to elect to go back again so soon, but the thought of spending my birthday in Seattle seemed sad. By June I was missing LA again and ready to go back. But by July I finally began to hit my stride in Seattle too. Probably right around the time the sun came out.

I don't think I'm alone in that respect. All of Seattle seems to come to life around June 30. Outdoor cinemas pop up in every corner and project onto every flat surface in the city. I could spend the entire summer watching Hot Fuzz and Juno over and over for free. The baby farmers markets fill in the rest of the urban space not covered by ourdoor cinemas, and in between those weave all manner of parades and street fairs: Pride Parade, Solstice Parade, Seafair Parade. Seafood Festival, Folklife Festival, Beer Festival. Everybody who's ever made anything out of felt or glass or silkscreen is out selling their wares. Quick. Before the rain starts up again. It's not an abnormal amount of culture for a city this size, but it's an abnormal amount of culture for a season this short.

And then there's the mountains. And the rivers. And the oceans white with foam. You can climb, ride, kayak and fish in all of them. Everyone is in good spirits and it seems easier to make friends. The Seattle Thaw you might call it. Endless beauty and sipping wine from a pouch will make you fast friends. Something about being locked up in a tent with yourselves and your hiking socks bonds you together. It's the next best thing to a summer of intensive military-sci-fi geekery for discovering accord in your souls. Almost as good an ambrosia as touching toes in a bed in a free suite that looks out over the Bellagio fountain, giggling after a drunken night making out with strangers.

Not that that ever happened.

For my birthday, I thought it would be a fun social experiment to take my new friends in Seattle, combine them with my old friends in LA, douse them with alcohol, shake them, and then expose to Glow. Actually, I just selfishly thought it would be a nice way to make up for two seasons of loneliness by overloading on wonderful companionship for 72 hours straight. Nothing in moderation when you're two years away from 30-year-old doomed adultdom.

There were some standout moments:
Ben & Dorina performing a knockout duet of Come What May; I sort of stood there watching with a glass of soju and hated them both for being so damn talented and hot. It was wonderful to see Courtney burst onto the scene in her blue dress, all fresh and bright and delicious like blueberry pie. I treasure the few moments of one-on-one that I had with people at dinner and wherever else we could spare them. I loved watching Benji dance DDR, exchanging numerous amused looks with Spaznik, and laughing at Andrea's little witticism during Imaginiff. Although I use to argue that movie-watching is not a good bonding experience, it made me very happy to sit in the IMAX surrounded by my favorite movie buffs close enough to overhear their gasps and quips. And I don't know what it is about Andy and Allen and Jana, but they have the ability to make even the most mundane activities like mini-golf and Battleship seem like epic adventures.

All in all it was a seriously memorable birthday. I loved it, and with the wisdom that can only come from someone embarking on her 29th year of life, I can say that I wouldn't have changed a single thing or person or detail, because all of it was precious.

I am most of all grateful to Jean for hosting us and coming up with the idea to begin with. And for being one of the people I feel the most missed by. I have so many things I need to thank Jean for. I wanna end this sentence with a proposition too to. I'm sure I should be thanking her for concrete things like loaning me her car, driving us to the airport at 5am, lending us her towels, letting us hook up on her sheets (kidding!), inviting people, keeping us fed and inebriated, and planning and coordinating the whole ordeal. And of course Dorina for co-hosting us (and by that token Brennan as well), and Ben for everything and He Knows What. But really, the thing I am most grateful to Jean for is just the simple fact that she wanted me there. That she wanted to see me, and Andy, and that she is someone who will always be glad to see me. We had a great time, and we always have a great time with Jean, and hopefully many more to come, including Thanksgiving Birthday Cake – Now With More Turkey!

Cooking with Beth

Beth: I made the chicken with red wine because you refuse to throw it away. Let that be a lesson. If you don't throw it away, I'll feel compelled to cook with it.
Andy: That's why I always flush.

Jul 23, 2008

The Budos Band - Live at the Nectar Lounge

This is a tad over-due, but back on June 27th, Seattle was treated with a visit from the Budos Band. I was quite excited (pretty sure Beth was too). Over the past year and a half I've become quite a fan of their brand of afro-soul/funk and wasn't going to pass up a great opportunity to finally check them out live. And thanks to the wonders of Beth's Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digi Efph, you can too.

The Budos Band - "Scorpion"

"Black Venom"

"Unbroken, Unshaken"

"Aynotchesh Yererfu"

We were quite lucky to snag the seats we had. Front and center on the balcony with a comfy place to eat too. It was a great night and I felt very lucky to be able to share it with Beth and Andre.