It's been a year since I arrived there, in case it dawned on anyone else.
Thinking back, and recalling my story, it's interesting to see where I've been since then, both emotionally, and physically.

When I left for Noo Zeelund, it was severely needed, and there were high expectations as well. Perhaps really, the highest expectations. My choice to go down there was a need for a break from my then-life, one of recovering emotionally and physically. I was beat. I was broken.
The fix? A return to the place I knew I was happy (as long as I wasn't working at the Skyline!) and where I could be in a world that was separate from one that had seemingly closed in on me, consumed me. And my return was joyous- the experience was in many ways what I needed. And, it failed, in so many ways- things that I wanted to happen.
The latter meaning that my desire to move to NZ, start a business and new life was, and still is, one of the more confounding questions in my life. I am still in the immigration system. I even sent an email to the woman (the one who gave me many headaches) in London earlier, telling her I still planned on pursuing that course. But it is not resolved yet; success is grey at best. The story hasn't been written yet, for sure.

But in terms of giving me what I needed, I had the time away from all the shit that pressed upon me, a decompression that my soul required. I was afforded the time to relax, see my friends, and camp in places that have no parallel in beauty. But above all, it was an opportunity to think. To think! What a luxury in our modern world. When we can escape all of our daily distractions, a person is allowed to go over an idea on multiple paths, allowing a comprehension or revelation. Our lives have too many distractions that can derail success in obtaining wisdom of life. I am a wiser man than I was. I have learned from my mistakes, and my triumphs, which there were actually some of.

Regrets? One can't languish in the past. Learn and apply the lessons to the future. It's not a new, original, or wild idea. But I learned it on my own, and I know it well.

With the return from New Zealand to the states, which, obviously isn't the short time I had originally hoped it to be, I've had some pretty trying times, mostly in the job searching realm. But now that I have a position that actually pays me an adult wage, and I can once again turn my mind towards the future. I have no idea what that choice is, actually, but I do know that I will be continuing along with NZ Immigrations easy 95-step process/hoop-jumping.

Because, why not?



I've got some pics here from Bef's recent trip to Seattle for Thanksgiving with her friend Nat. They rode the greyhound down (late again), and we hit the P-I for a late snack.
Other highlights were Wednesday running around Seattle, notably Volunteer Park, its greenhouse, and the gumwall (pictured below).

Turkey day was grand; lots of food, cooking, fine drink, a rousing game of Balderdash, and a failed "1st Rebuttal" by Kenji and I in shuffleboard against the newbies from the North/South.

All around a relaxing time preceding the holiday madness that will consume me the next few weeks.....


Shake and Strain.

And so thus begins a week of little work (work work), out of town house guests enjoying their first American Thanksgiving (sorry folks, Take Me Out To The Ballgame is not usually sung around the turkey-table.), and multiple gravies.

But some odds n ends:
I drank 2 new cocktails last night, both featuring Rye whiskey.
Deshler's Cocktail: Rye, Dubonnet, Cointreau, and Peychaud bitters
Brooklyn Coctail: Basically a Manhatten with Rye instead of bourbon.

I'm finding that in general, I like rye whiskeys. But also, in general, I like whisk(e)y. So there.

I have also begun the search for the vehicle that will replace the world-renowned Dodge Dart from service. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that whatever I buy, it will be less reliable, more expensive to insure, fix and run. It will also be built less well, and probably contain less mass (unless I get an old Mercedes diesel or something of that ilk.....) that will make it feel like being in an aluminum can. But whatever I do get will be more fuel efficient, safer and quieter.

The Dart will be continue to serve as a "parking" car though......


Bumsville Man.

I want to tell you about my night on Thursday.

First of all, I went to see my friend Kenji's band play (for the 1st time, which was a point of contention between him and I, but that's another story...), who are called Olympus. I would describe them as a cross between Bob Dylan, Oasis, and Yes. Yes, that's right. (I have to say I am more than amused by Yes, the band, btw....)

After the show, I went to get some late-nite dining in Chinatown with my friend, as my actions earlier in the evening cancelled the planned dinner-before-the-show, and an exercise.
Jade Garden: Honey walnut prawns (not my choice), Hot 'n sour soup (my choice), and Peking duck (unanimous choice).

So after the feed, we decided Karaoke was in order, at the place where you sing in the booths. There you can drink. But we needed beer, so we went to the one place open in Chinatown- the bum gas station. It's the only one I know that after dark, all transactions are done through glass. There's a bum who thinks he knows me, and wants my change, but also an argument going on between some dudes in a car, where there's a guy in the back seat won't get out, and that's distracting the worker in the aquarium, who doesn't speak English well, who can't understand what I want, so I'm grateful for the 6 pack of Coors Light he gives me, and then I add on two singles as an afterthought, the fight is still going on, and now the transaction is taking waaaaaay too long, and another bum comes along to try to get my change, and then the car drives off, and now the two drunk bums start bickering over who deserved what, and now I'm leaving and being gang pressed for a beer, and it's desperate, and in a moment of either generosity or being devious- I haven't decided, I give the bums a single beer and tell them to share.

They are like seagulls fighting over the can of beer. Me and my friend, who's scared/concerned, says we gotta get outta here.

Entering the karaoke place, they have just closed apparently. It's 3 minutes after midnight, and they close at 12, but people can sing until 2. I ask "Seriously?" The dude replies, "well it's our policy..."
I reply, "well it's my policy to sing karaoke tonight!" That doesn't go over very well....
And all because of the dang gas station menagerie......


Big Kahuna!

I had an impromptu weekend off, as you may know.

I surprised my little sister (and mom) by going down to Oly, and being around for my little sister's 11th birthday. I was there for the last year's insanity, and guess what? This year was equal in it's craziness, but it had a Hawaiian theme.
So the cake, which was a group effort (I tried to take credit for it as Executive Chef....)

Iris and her dog, which puked on me on the way home in the car, then whose puke I tried to put out the window, but instead blew back into the rear seat and my face. True story. Furious and funny.

The girls playing "Light As a Feather, Stiff As a Board." I was too heavy for them, it turns out.

My lei crown. I am the big Kahuna!

And then a return to Seattle for a football Sunday/Chicken Fried Steak dinner (with bacon gravy). Seriously. Slap yo mama good!



Well, I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee. I have the weekend off surprisingly, and nicely.
Yesterday, I worked at a winery out in Woodinville (Efeste, fyi). I cooked hors d'oeuvres for a wine tasting that included, but was not limited to:

crispy pork belly with a ginger-soy glaze, on mustard dressed celery slaw
seared rare beef on fennel crostini with herb goat cheese mousse
chicken confit on crispy potato cakes (cooked in the chicken grease too!) with tomato jam

It was nice to cook in a super deluxe kitchen- as seriously equipped and nice as the best home kitchen; indeed I would be happy to have that space at my home. Not to blow my own horn, but more than a few people asked me if I was Tony on Tony's Events and Catering (the company I work for). I said, "No. I'm the dishwasher." Ok, no I didn't.

But here's a little thing for you Southern Hemisperoids: A mention of NZ on the biggest sports site in the US, so probably, and not humbly, the world, ESPN.

a mention on the front page! (right above the prisoner remake series, which I'm pretty excited about- as far as I get for tv shows anyways.....)



I've got to go to the bank and get me some walkin' around money.
But before that, I've got a long, fantastic bike ride in store here. Today is one of those days where the sun is fighting the clouds- and barely winning....

So a couple of things: Heard this on KEXP yesterday while working (or slaving away...). I loved it. The whole idea makes me wonder why I didn't continue trombone playing.

Also, returning to the library Hemingway's Islands in the Stream. If you haven't read it, you're crazy or lost. What can I say about the author that hasn't been said? Nothing. So I show you an example of prose that I appreciate:

"Her plans were always made in secret, like those of a good general, and they were as rigidly enforced. A compromise might be effected. But never a basic change in a plan whether that plan was conceived in a sleepless night or on an angry morning or on a gin-aided evening."

When I read him, I'm fully astounded at the melancholic world of bourgeoisie coming-to-terms with the trappings of failed relationships past.....alright. Literary review over.



Last night I checked out the former industrial wasteland that is Georgetown.

There was a wedding there, in a very cool, retro space, that I worked for my job, then afterwards, I went around the corner to check out this bar called the 9 pound hammer (named after old railroad spike hammers I think), an unusual spot down there on the main drag.

I want to like G'Town. I do. The problem is that it's sooooooo far from the northern neighborhood that I live in. So why drive 20 minutes down the freeway to go to a few bars when, well, 20 minutes to Ballard (a more latitude-y move) to a lot of bars?
It's definitely an experience, but I also noticed a "cliqueyness" about the bar. You've gotta be from that hood. Outsiders served, but not afforded much else.
There are some other attractions too, and the old brick buildings appeal to me, but did I mention the large amount of trains and the fact its right next to Boeing Field with it's planes?
I'd go back. I don't know if I'd move down there though, in the end.


Soup Cures.

I got sick today.

Not the swineflu sick of hyped-out media, but the good ol' fashioned, take a nap, and eat chicken soup variety.

So that's what I did.

After fixing my car* in the rain, which really sucks I must add, I drove to Ballard and bought a rain jacket/super-deal (Beth, 2nd ascent is the place to go!), I ate at SeƱor Moose Cafe, the cafe that has Morgue as it's patron saint. Those enchiladas put me in the sickness zone I reckon. I had been toeing the line, and then, blam-o, I was ill.
So then I made matzoh ball soup; competition-style soup is the cure. Lots of big matzoh balls, rich chicken broth, love. And some parsley.
Please know I am fine now.

*Car acted up last night before the Kenji and Wani Steak Night Man-Date. Which had 3 others show up. Which consumed both 3 T-Bones, as well as some spicy stuffed cabbage. And lots of wine. And lots of Bourbon. Thinking about that just made my head spin.....but the problem was the alternator which shorted on one of the connections. A simple repair, though wet. I hate to announce this to the world but: I am beginning the thinking process of a more practical, safe, efficient, comfortable car. So something made in my lifetime, as opposed to say, my father's....


I hate the Yankees.


Hold 'Em.

Searching for a new rain coat this evening. Finally found something nice; but of course website's ordering system is down....suck

Currently drinking Wescott Bay Orchards' Medium Sweet Hard Cider while listening to vintage Kris Kristofferson. Locally produced on Orcas Island, it's a fine tasting example, although really, I'd prefer a sharper carbonation. Recommend if you can find it, although I doubt you'll be able too....

Really a slow day for me in terms of interesting things happening, so I direct you to the brilliant Mr. Walken:


Pure Gold.

I am back after a very fun, yet exhausting weekend.

Thursday night, I had a well-lubricated Pumpkin Disembowelment Party, thus ensuring that I was hungover for Friday. That might have been the reason why I forgot my passport, remembering that it was sitting in my desk after driving about 45 miles north on I-5.....so I had to turn around. That put me almost 2 hours behind, as traffic then became an issue.

The rehearsal night went smooth. Dinner afterwards was an epic 10 course menagerie of Mandarin delights. Plenty of shredded sesame jelly fish, crab, black fungus and pork soup, bamboo hearts and other interesting things went down the gullet.

Yesterday was a marathon though. Up and running around at 8 am, taking care of errands, then getting Beth, as she was my date for the event. All dressed up, we had somewhere to go: the church to watch Chris and Larissa get hitched, and hitched they did indeed get.

Afterwards, I was subject to a sadistic photographer that thought that 3 hours of photo taking was fine. Really, if you can't get a good shot in half an hour or less, you're really not that good. That's like me making a bunch of dishes, then serving only a few of them to the customers. I'd be a hack.

The reception had a nice buffet, but of course, the highlight was the dancing. Specifically, me dancing. In a claret 1979 Disco Hustler costume I had acquired for the event. I shocked a few people, specifically the bride, but the fact I got so many people dancing and excited made it great in the end. I of course also forgot my camera with the power of the vermouth-made hangover, so I rely on others photo taking to make up for that. Visuals will be here, when I have them.

Returned today, after helping Beth move into her new place. It's very nice and respectable-like. Parents, siblings and friends: she's doing well for herself. No crackheads are running around those streets.

So I'm back and heading to bed. Adios.