Oi! It's snowing again!

I peeked outside a couple of times early this morning to see if there were any snow flakes to worry about. Nope. Nope. And Nope.

Then I actually got up to looked carefully: stealth snow! Small flakes that zing by quickly without getting enough attention to be seen out the window from across the room.

I took Bella out for her morning walk and the stealth snow quickly changed to big fat fast falling cover everything again snow. And it’s still going. Okay, Northwest metropolitan snow is supposed to cover everthing, be ooooh’d and aaaaah’d over, and then quickly melt and disappear. We’re going on a week with snowy, icy roads and the promised rain to melt all this away is no longer promised.

It makes no sense to slip and slide around on the icy roads, so, it’s another day remoting it in for me.

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Eric's Favorite Quotes, IV

To understand God is to listen, listen to Jesus and Muhammed and Buddha; but don’t get caught up in the names. Listen beyond them; listen to God’s breath.
– Zen Saying

All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.
– Kabir

A clearly enlightened person falls in the well. How is this so?
– Zen Koan

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate – that’s my philosophy.
– Thornton Wilder

“Who is there?” asks God.
“It is I.”
“Go away,” God says.
“Who is there?” asks God.
“It is thou.”
“Enter,” replies God.
– Western Mondo

Begin at once to live.
– Seneca

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Movies – Hard Candy and The Descent

I watched two DVDs this weekend while Elisa is visiting her Mom:

  1. Hard Candy – tables turned on a suspicious adult who might be a sexual predator.
  2. The Descent – adventurous ladies spelunking running into mishaps and horror.

Both are kinda horror movies. Well, okay, The Descent is 110% horror. I recommend both, but you have to be into subjecting yourself to the subject matter.

Hard Candy is certainly horror for any adult indulging their naughty side in chat rooms with young people (perhaps it is this generation’s Fatal Attraction, meant to scare them back onto the straight and narrow road). Hard Candy is also a wonderfully filmed and put together movie. I cannot believe the focus control used in the movie. It is super human. There are scenes where the focus point can’t be more than four inches wide, and the camera is moving and the actress is moving and still, it all stays in focus.

If you’re into understanding movies and movie making, its behind-the-scenes extras is fantastic. Just like the movie, the discussion of getting the movie funded, how it was made, and how post-production and the premiere went is tight and well put together.

And the movie had me squirming in my seat and exclaiming “Holy crap!” several times.

And I loved the dialog. The writer, Brian Nelson, said he thought of Buffy The Vampire Slayer as a strong female role and you can see that in the dense, fast, smart dialog that Hayley had.

The Descent didn’t need the Crawler cave adversaries to make me any more scared or exhausted. After seeing news reports of Vietnamese soldiers who would squirm along tunnels just wide enough to hold a body, I started having nightmares of being caught in a tunnel – like having to turn around when there wasn’t enough room.

Scenes like that, where the cavers were crawling and twisting through tight spaces, had me curled up on the couch in suspense. Then it goes to all hell.

A cast of powerful, all women adventurers was refreshing, too.

Both of these movies are a bit of a change for me, too. I’ve been focused on safe flights of fantasy in my movie watching for years now. When I was in my early twenties, I was focused on movies full of angst and the terrible trials of being human. Then I had my own trials. Those movies offered no escape, no lessons that I didn’t already know. So now, bit by bit, I’m gravitating to more challenging movies. And I’ve got some catching up to do.

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The Snow Makes Everything Beautiful

It’s mid Saturday afternoon and it’s snowing again in Redmond. Just a light snow, but it wasn’t predicted. I went to Redmond Town Center to see Pan’s Labyrinth and when I emerged I was a bit surprised to see the air full of meandering flakes.

“Cold enough to snow, eh?!?” said an enthusiastic movie-goer, holding the exit door open for me to follow him.

“Indeed!” I replied. I edged over to the railing to look down on the street: nothing much was sticking. It was fluffy, dry, slow snow. Fine. Off to Borders and then QFC for some groceries. The new snow is accumulating on the roads now, putting a fluffy, slippery layer ontop of all the compacted ice the previous snow has been turned into.

The snow that hit this past Wednesday, though… that was a different story.

A week before the event happened, the weather service put out a severe weather warning. I use the weather feature in My Yahoo! and I’ve become accustomed to looking for that little asterisk next to the town’s weather prediction for the day. Asterisk means: better check this warning out! Usually it’s about flooding. But sometimes it’s about high-winds. Or snow. Or icy roads. Or (as it was this morning), tsunamis.

So I was at work Wednesday, checking in on the North Seattle radar time to time, when I noticed a big mean blob in the Everett / Mulkiteo area edging around the protective boundary of the Seattle rain-shadow (from the Olympic mountains) and moving towards the south: right towards Woodinville and Redmond. That didn’t make sense. Our weather out here doesn’t move like that. I kept an eye on it. Direct hit, in the making.

I had a lot of reading to do so, as soon as I saw the blob was intent on descending upon the Eastside, I grabbed my laptop and headed out, stopping by the QFC on the way home. Looking to the north towards home, all the sky was filled with a wall of dark, thick, grey clouds.

I arrived home just as it hit. It was a snow squall. I didn’t know those things existed, but it helps to explain how snow can stick to the ground and roads after having a 50 degree day: a snow squall comes along and unloads fast accumulating graupel. That’s something like big, soft, snowy-hail. Everything was covered in white in minutes as the graupel pummeled everything. I parked the Subaru at the neighbors and came through the back-fence, Bella happily bouncing along side of me as I made a bee-line for the back-door.

I noticed that I missed a call from Elisa about right then. And I realized while I made it home this time and avoided a hellish commute in the middle of the snow event, Elisa was out in the worse of it.

It was a long night. After the snow subsided, I went out and shoveled snow so that Elisa would have a path to get the van up to the house. Even though the van has four-wheel drive, Elisa had done the smart thing and got off the road for a couple of hours to let all the frantic drivers either get home or abandon their cars (lots of hills and icy roads mean lots of cars that can’t get anywhere).

I took a break from shoveling our long drive to talk to Elisa as she made her way home. Right after we disconnected, I heard a loud snap coming from up the hill, behind our poll barn. Then a series of serious snaps, following by a deep walloping sound that thundered through the trees. Some poor tree couldn’t take the load of clingy, wet snow. I took a quiet moment to eye the trees surrounding me.

Elisa made it home safely. Right before bed, it started snowing again.

The morning was glorious. A sunny day with snow everywhere. Here’s a picture looking out of our sunroom off the deck across the valley. The trees behind Chateau Saint Michelle are all lit up with the emerging sun:

Snowy sunrise behind Chateau Saint Michelle

Our hilly road leading to the house was passable by the Subaru. As the road got more traffic, the compacted snow got denser and denser, but the sunshine helped to melt the portion that meets the highway (well, the sunshine and a dosing of ice melting pellets). Thursday night I took Elisa to the airport and while the side roads getting to the highway had their moments, the highway was tooting along at 65 mph no problem.

The only issue I had was on the way back, as the roads freezed more and more, and I slowly came up on a patch of thick ice in front of a red-light. The ABS on the Subaru went crazy doing its job of keeping the car on target and not slipping. Then I saw a van coming up behind me that was going to hit the same patch. I flashed my brake lights and they slowed down before hitting the patch.

I love looking at the snow covered trees around The Tree House. I haven’t made it back behind the poll barn to find the poor tree that fell. Yet. Between the windstorms and the snow we’ve certainly culled the weak trees.

Oh, and I feel guilty about not telling people (and Elisa) to bug out and get home when I saw that big blob headed our way. I have a strong desire not to be Chicken Little. Microsoft was a complete mess, from what I was told, as everyone tried to leave and barely no one could get traction up the hill leading to one of the main exits. Roads were closed off. Trucks with tow-lines were helping: one car at a time.

If anything, we’re becoming more rugged people out of necessity. And for a reason I can’t quite explain… that makes me happy.

Noise – sweet, sweet Thousand Island… I hate you.

Time to add some noise to the signal and rant about just a little annoyance.

Thousand Island. Kraft Thousand Island, in particular. First, a diversion.

Sometime when I was in college, I read an article that ranked your fanciness in society according to the dressing you put on your salad. Oil and vinegar was at the top. Thousand Island was at the proletariat bottom. I was a Thousand Island man my whole life. Up to that point. In a silly attempt to fancify my life, I moved up the dressing ladder. I couldn’t stand oil and vinegar (ick!) but could make it as far as Italian dressing.

And there I stayed. For many, many years. Until recently, when I rediscovered Thousand Island, buying the fancy cooled jar of some top-notch brand when it was on sale. Mmmm! Good stuff. And then Elisa whipped some up from scratch. Double mmmm! I was indulging in the tangy-goodness of Thousand Island, my social standing be damned.

Then recently Elisa did a quick good deed, picking up a bottle of Thousand Island for me. I loaded up a spinach salad and dived in. Ick. Did the Thousand Island go bad? It didn’t taste like any Thousand I had ever had in my whole life, which was strange, because it was Kraft brand. You’d figure if anyone could nail the taste buds of the proletariat, it would be Kraft.

I gave it a second try a couple nights later. Ick. Definitely ick. Sweet, sweet ick. So I opened the fridge and squatted down to read the ingredient list on the back of the bottle: tomato puree was #1 (aka, ketchup) and #2 was high fructose corn syrup.


Why in the world does Thousand Island need a massive dosing of sweetening, let alone the public enemy #2 high fructose corn syrup? I’m very fed up that the America diet over the past two decades has become more and more dosed with sweetening. Enough with making everything sweet! Please.

So now when I shop and I’m not shopping on the edge perimeters of the grocery store (edge items that tend to be safer and better for you) I’m having to squint at the back of every item and ensure that the dietary boogey men of MSG and HFCS are not present.

Makes a guy want to make his own Thousand Island.

Eric's Favorite Quotes, III

People with opinions just go around bothering one another.
– The Buddha

Who is content with nothing possesses all things.
– Nicolas Boileau Despreaux

Wealth is the number of things one can do without.
– Feodor Dostoyevsky

The fire-fly
gives light
to its pursuer.
– Oemaru

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

The trouble is that you think you have time.
– Zen Master

Great doubt results in great enlightenment, small doubt results in small enlightenment, no doubt results in no enlightenment.
– Yuan-Hsien

No, no, you’re not thinking, you’re just being logical.
– Niels Bohr

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Great King County Map Resource: KC Virtual Map Counter

King County has some awesome online map references. In addition to the “where did the past three hours go” power of iMap, there are a number of excellent downloadable maps for the region, including my favorite: Sammamish Valley.

More here: KC Virtual Map Counter: Topic Index

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Heroes Spoilers!

And if you look at the symbol on the hilt of the sword, you know that Hiro is destined to own that sword: Heroes Spoilers! | Just Jared .

And don’t forget that the downloadable graphic novels continue to be updated (including what happened after Eden confronted Sylar): Heroes TV Show on NBC NBC Official Site.

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