Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Turns out there is such a thing as too much Christmas cheer

Photo courtesy State Trooper Mark Francis (who is really cool and says this elderly couple got off with a warning)

That photo has a lot of Christmas cheer! Unfortunately, the decorations are illegal, which is what I found out when I spoke with Trooper Mark Francis with the State Patrol. There are strict regulations when it comes to Christmas decor. It's not a grinch move - it's actually all about safety.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Last-minute Christmas gift ideas (probably for the hipster in your life)

So I see you googled some version of what to get a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/hipster life partner/friend/crush/dog for Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus (really guys, is that still a thing?). Here are my suggestions for gift ideas that nobody else will be giving them. If you have suggestions to add, let me know in the comments!

1.  Maps Urbane - $29.95

Created by Hipster-Foodie-Intellectual Renaissance Men, these maps describe famous cities through their neighborhoods; and there are plenty of witty jokes for locals.

From decoding San Francisco's transit stops to making fun of Seattle's taco-toting-kayakers, it's a smart gift that says, "Hey! I have good taste! Aren't I witty and a thoughtful gift-giver?"

2. Private Anti-Piracy Navies: How Warships for Hire are Changing Maritime Security - $85

For the intellectual who might be interested in pirates, security, military, maritime trade... or just wants a coffee table book that makes them look really smart, this is an incredibly well-researched debut book by Claremont McKenna alumnus and Harvard graduate student John-Clark Levin.

3. Betabrand Reversible Smoking Jacket - $195-$225

For the hipster who has everything, this is the jacket equivalent of a mullet: it's reversible with a colorful brocade side and suave work-appropriate interior. Kick it up a notch. Live life on the edge, knowing that under your conservative work blazer a daring gentleman rages beneath.

4. For the Whiskey lover:  Blood and Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel ~ $21.95

One writer called the legendary tales of Jack Daniel taller than "Paul Bunyan on a step stool." This book charts the life of the legendary whiskey distiller from his poor upbringing to the elegant southern gentleman he became, with Civil War drama to boot. You can get the book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Half Price Books (for under $10)

Throw in a bottle of hooch and maybe some drinking accessories, and you have a great gift or a generous stocking stuffer.

5. Erynn Rose Photography Tilt-Shift Photos of Seattle ~$10 - $250

Tilt-shift is all the rage in photography, but Erynn Rose does it better and locally; he shoots both iconic and less famous Seattle landscapes, and even the most classic Seattle scenes are new again with his tilt-shift technique that makes people and skyscrapers look like they're doll house models.

I bought a metallic print of Gasworks Park for my sister's birthday and framed it with a vintage frame I got at Goodwill in Bellevue, so it was an affordable and really unique gift.

6. For Seattle movie lovers: Scarecrow Video gift card - ~ $25 - $50

The largest independent movie rental company in the COUNTRY, Scarecrow is a Seattle icon. They have new releases - even in 3D - and classics that are hard to find anywhere else, including Netflix.

If they're too lazy to make the trek to Scarecrow, you might consider buying them a subscription to Hulu Plus, which has holiday classics streaming online and gives you access to the Criterion Collection.

7. Dinner from Portillo's po' boy beef sandwiches - ~ $73.95

I personally have enjoyed these delicious, juicy sandwiches. Portillo's sends them to you frozen and vacuum-packed in Styrofoam with instructions on how to heat the gravy, the shredded beef (mouthwatering), and saucy green peppers. It also comes with hot pickled veggies. There are other options, but this is my favorite.

How could a sandwich that comes with two pages of instructions be a good gift? Let me tell you: it's worth it, and it's not something anyone else will get them. The food will also keep so they don't have to eat it right away.

8. "Gift certificate" for a fun activity

This is pretty obvious, but if you either don't have time to buy a gift or want to plan time to spend with someone, give them a gift certificate for day of fun - but plan it out, and have an itinerary written that comes with dates and times that you are available.

Video: The most epic Christmas yule logs of all time

Drama. Suspense. FIRE.

It's the Netflix Yule Log:

Very sassy, Netflix. I like it. Hulu for the Holidays and Amazon Instant Video both have their versions, but neither give you the same sense of danger and adventure.

If you're ready to make a nice cup of cocoa and hibernate for the winter, here are some more great fireplace dramas for your holiday season. Let me know your favorite in the comments below:

Yule log for cat lovers:

A new take on the classic cozy sitting room fire:

For country music fans - Brad Paisley Yule Log MTV series:

Christmas "fireplace" for Chemistry nerds:



Spangler effect dramatic lighting (and then kind of boring) "fireplace":

Sam Harris sexy music time Yule Log:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bunk beds are not as awesome when you're a grown-up

When you're five, bunk beds are awesome. They pretty much guarantee you a spot at the cool-kid table. And they're a status symbol - especially if you're on the top bunk. Even at ten, at fourteen a bunk-bed is the coolest bed (short of a hammock or living with wolves) you could ever hope for.

At 23, not so much.

 For one thing, the bunk bed that's been around since you were a kid has gotten creaky. So when you come home at 2am after a night out it's impossible to quietly drift off - you wake up the other person in the bunk bed: your 21-year-old sister, who happens to have the bottom bunk.

And it's not ideal to bring friends home... or a man friend...

 ("Want to come back to my place? I have a really sweet bunk bed...")

 And sometimes you have to deal with ladder malfunctions. (coming up next)

So I live in a bunk bed. I could move out. I could get a normal grown-up person apartment... but........

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The growing Sharknado threat

The Global Sharknado Threat
by johnmnelson.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Film studio The Asylum has been warning us for years of the growing threat, and only now in a time of global crisis when hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes are in the news daily have scientists taken heed.

The graphic above is a result of years and thousands of hours of manpower researching global weather trends and the possibility of hurricane-tornado updrafts resulting in the transfer of marine life to coastal land areas.

Scientists have warned of the cataclysmic results of global warming and climate change; thus, the growing threat of the Sharknado:

And while we're at it, let's not forget Asylum's other cautionary tale, Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bees are jerks

I'm laying awake now reflecting on my three swollen, stinging welts and the conclusion is this: bees are jerks.

They make hives in weird places and get freaked out at the slightest deviation in their routine. In some ways they're even worse than rattle snakes: rattlers don't strike unless bothered, and at least it's all over soon after that. But bees are the aggressive kamikazes of the insect world and they'll get macho right up in your grill if you're within smelling distance, much less stinging distance.

I was out in the backyard watering the plants when I tugged the hose around a corner to the side of the house and it strained around a wooden railroad tie-style barrier. That happened to be the home of some seriously jerky bees.

As I was watering ten feet away I felt a stabbing pain in my left hand, on my thigh; two yellow jackets attached themselves there.

As I screamed and waggled away in my floral capris, dress short, and blazer, I realized I was being stung.

Worse, bees were stuck flying around between my shirt and blazer so I scrambled into the house tearing off my clothes.

And as my dad told me to run cold water over my hand... I felt something in my hair.

There were bees in my hair.

Those jerks were in my hair!

I tore not one, not two, but three yellow jackets out of my scalp before my dad administered the Wild West bee sting cure-all: baking soda paste, and liquor.

So now, after icing my wounds, applying baking soda, and drinking carefully prescribed glasses of Rioja, I'm sitting up in bed just thinking about how I will take my revenge.

Because bees are huge jerks. Are they as bad as mosquitoes? No, but they're still jerks.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This educational moment of the day brought to you by the Sarcastic Fringehead

The Sarcastic Fringehead has got to be one of the strangest and most entertaining fishes I have seen in a long time; they look like short, big-mouthed eels and live in abandoned turban snail shells. The fish are very territorial and try to scare off rivals by out-fabulousing each other, waving their neck-fringe around to get the best shell. So next time you need a weird fact to break the ice at a party, or you just want to sound smart - remember the Sarcastic Fringehead.