Thursday, January 31, 2008

wish me luck...

My friend Mo and I are trying out for Jeopardy tonight. There's an online test for west coasters at 8:00 pm. (do they realize this is too close to my bedtime ?) This will be my third attempt - two online tests and one on-site test in New York city a few years back. At the test in NYC, 65 attempted in my group - 3 passed. It's pretty tough. But I'll give it another shot. Wish me luck...

Monday, January 28, 2008

so much for the clear blue skies...

(January 28, 2008) Credit: Mike Kane/P-I

Snow showers this morning and another 3-4 inches predicted for overnight. I hope not. This town doesn't deal with snow very well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

she's been out all week !

It's been so clear and cloudless here this week - Mount Rainier has been "out" since Monday. I'll never get sick of this view:

photo was taken Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008, by UW Photographer Mary Levin

Happy Friday everyone !

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mount Baker goodness...

Dan and I took a drive up to Mount Baker on Monday for a snowshoe run. We didn't find our original intended hike, but ended up at another sno-park location whose trail runs along the north fork of the Nooksack river. It was a perfect day too - not a cloud in the sky.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

how time flies....

It's hard to believe that it has been a month since we went back east for the holidays. My sister-in-law sent this photo of my niece and nephew - I miss them a bunch !

Thursday, January 17, 2008

a visit from Joyce...

Dan's cousin Joyce lives in Korea now, but is back in the States for a few weeks visiting family. She stopped in Seattle first to spend a few days with us. We had a great time with her - Dan hadn't seen her in almost 20 years ! A few pics from the visit...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Congratulations Eddie !

Eddie Vedder won a Golden Globe tonight for best original song in a movie for "Guaranteed", from the soundtrack to Into the Wild. Well deserved...

Friday, January 11, 2008

am I blue ???

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire officially proclaimed today "Blue Friday" in honor of the Seahawks, coach Mike Holmgren, the loudest fans in the league and for 43 consecutive sold-out home games.


Monday, January 7, 2008


Eddie Vedder will unveil his first solo music video for “Guaranteed,” taken from his Into the Wild soundtrack, on VH1 tonight. The song has already been nominated for a Grammy and a Golden Globe, and is a frontrunner for an Oscar nod.

Here it is, thanks to YouTube:

from Feature film writer/director Marc Rocco conceived, directed and produced the video for "Guaranteed" in just a few days - and shot the project entirely on 35 mm film in three hours - as a way for the typically video-shy Vedder to pay tribute to Sean Penn's film and Chris McCandless's journey. The video uses a series of floating, illuminated images from Into the Wild to capture Vedder's intimate and poetic performance, weaving striking silhouettes of Vedder with translit still frames from the film in a powerful and simple way.

"To me, Eddie is the most compelling musical artist of our generation," explains Rocco. "His songwriting pounds you on a visceral level and his storytelling always stands apart in the same way a great film does - each time you hear his words, they engender a different experience in your heart, soul and mind. It has been a privilege and honor to collaborate with Eddie in a medium that he so rarely visits. I hope that I've portrayed visually the song 'Guaranteed' in a way that leaves the viewer as emotionally moved as I was the first time I heard Eddie's music for Into the Wild."

Friday, January 4, 2008

Dan and I visited the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford one afternoon while we were back east for the holiday. We didn't participate in the tour of the interior, but I took some nice shots of the house. The brickwork was amazing.

"Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life"
Mark Twain

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why Iowa? And what's a caucus, anyway?

Question: Why does Iowa go first?

Answer: Because for years no one much cared. Iowa has been holding some form of caucuses since the early 1800s. (The word caucus is American Indian in origin, referring to a gathering of tribal chiefs). After McGovern's surprise showing, another long-shot candidate, Jimmy Carter, used the 1976 Iowa caucuses as a springboard to the White House. Other candidates began coming to Iowa seeking a similar breakthrough. A tradition was established and once that happened, few wanted to alienate Iowa voters by challenging the state's privileged status. Eventually, Iowa and New Hampshire, which holds the first primary, reached an accord that cemented their one-two placement on the nominating calendar, which has been recognized by the national political parties and, more importantly, those seeking the White House.

Q: What is a caucus?

A: It's a gathering of voters at the precinct level. There are 1,781 precincts in Iowa's 99 counties. A caucus can be held in a community center, at a fire station, a library conference room, or somebody's living room.

Q: Who gets to participate?

Anyone who will be 18 years old by Nov. 4, the date of the general election. The two major parties are fairly flexible in their rules. Basically, if you are willing to register with the party on caucus night, you can participate. There is no entry fee.

Q: How does a caucus work?

A: The two parties conduct their caucuses differently. Republicans operate in a fairly straightforward fashion. Participants vote by writing their candidate's name on a blank sheet of paper, or sometimes by a show of hands. Shorthand or nicknames ``Huck'' for ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, or ``Rudy'' for former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani will be counted. Democrats have a much more complicated system. Participants break into groups based on their preference. If a candidate fails to reach the ``viability'' threshold at least 15 percent of the vote he or she is eliminated. Supporters of eliminated candidates can fall in with another candidate or go home (though leaving is considered poor caucus form). The voting is done in the open, and debate and persuasion are very much a part of the process.

Q: So that's how Iowa awards its delegates to the presidential nominating conventions?

A: Actually, no. The caucuses elect delegates to county conventions in March, the first step in a process that will end with the selection of Iowa's national delegates in June. By then, no one is paying much attention.

Q: How are the caucus results used in picking delegates to the county conventions?

A: For Democrats, delegates are allocated through a mathematical formula involving how the than one candidate to walk away with a share of delegates. On the Republican side, the caucuses are simply a presidential preference vote. Delegates are awarded in a separate process.

Q: It sounds very complicated and confusing.

A: It is.

Q: Why the fixation on Iowa?

A: Because it votes first and the political news corps, the candidates, donors and others who follow politics are desperate after years of campaigning for some measure, however abstract, of popular sentiment.

Q: Given all the attention, an Iowa victory must pretty much ensure a candidate will win the nomination, doesn't it?

A: Not necessarily. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both finished third in Iowa en route to winning the White House. Republican Robert Dole and Democrat Richard A. Gephardt won their respective caucuses in 1988 and failed to win their party's nominations.

On the other hand, in the last two presidential elections Iowa proved decisive for the Democrats, paving the path for Al Gore and John F. Kerry to win the nomination.

Q: So whoever gets the most votes wins?

A: Not necessarily. In 1976, Carter actually finished behind "undecided.'' But since he came from seemingly nowhere, it was seen as a huge accomplishment. Walter Mondale beat Gary Hart 49 percent to 17 percent in 1984, but because Hart did better than anticipated he was showered with favorable news coverage that helped propel him to an upset win in New Hampshire.

By Mark Z. Barabak

Los Angeles Times