Seattle Northwest Folklife 2007

Saturday my Sweetie and I went to our… 2004, 2005, 2006… fourth Folklife festival at Seattle Center.

It was a mixture of seeing bands, going through the vendors, getting some food we usually don’t have access to (sambusa! beignet!), listening to the street performers, and enjoying the very nice day. One of the bands I loved from 2004 showed up again: Skweez the Weezle. Fun! Well, except for the fact that they sang the song with the chorus “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” and now it’s stuck in my head.

We got there early and by 5pm is was some kind of packed:

It was a smaller festival this year, and dancing was off the menu for us. So, it wasn’t quite the tragedy that the Big Bamboo Hall wasn’t opened for day long swing dancing. Maybe next year.

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Recent Movies

Some recent NetFlix delivered movies I’ve watched at home, from best to worst.

The Departed

We watched this Friday night. Sure, it was violent but still a nice story, though a bit contrived in places. The ending was a bit of a surprise. We watched one of the extras and it’s interesting how a tightly-knit community will resort to self-policing.

I scanned through the plot summary of Internal Affairs, the Hong Kong movie this was based on, and I’m surprised at how much the two fit together.

HD-DVD notes: I didn’t really get any sense of increased quality given that this was on HD-DVD.

Children of Men

Another dystopian society movie, though not too far in the future. I never really connected with the main character. Two things I appreciated was the high-tech touches of the future that they didn’t dwell on (mostly interactive ads playing on any flat surface) and a deep appreciation for the terror of occasional random bullets passing through an old building.

HD-DVD notes: a wee bit increase of quality. Funny thing was: this started out very jumpy and slow in my Xbox HD-DVD player. This was after being paused for a long time. I ejected & started over and all was well.

Clerks 2

Profane. Very very profane. Though touching, too. I didn’t have high expectations for this and it delivered more than I was expecting. I’ve sort of exited my Kevin Smith man-child fanboy phase and this was a nice way to wrap it up. I first watched Dogma and then Chasing Amy, Clerks, Mallrats, and Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back.

My favorite scene was Star Wars fan vs. Lord of the Rings fans fighting it out – verbally – which was a better film trilogy. Anyway. A film specifically for the View Askew film universe fans and no-one else.

HD-DVD notes: wow, I noticed a lot of increased video quality here. Second to V for Vendetta. Which is kind of strange for a movie pretty much all shot in a fast-food restaurant.

The Grudge 2

Another movie I had very, very low expectations for. The original The Grudge had succeeded in creeping me out… to the extent anytime I heard my squeaky door leading to the garage I’d think of Kayako’s croaking haunting.

Wow, this movie sucked. How does something like this get made, let alone edited and finalized and released? And under Sam Raimi’s watch? It was a mess with no chance for any sort of redemption avoiding the curse. I was getting more and more pissed off as the movie went that I really didn’t care for any of the booga-booga supposed-to-be-scary moments.

It could have been so much better with just one story line vs. three. Of course, The Grudge 3 is going to happen. Oy.

What's *That* Bird?

It’s strange when you drive for just a short bit and start to see animals that aren’t local to your home area. Well, once you get into the Cascade Mountain range, let alone east of it, you’re in an entirely different eco-system than moist, verdant Puget Sound.

The first thing I noticed: a black and white bird that swooped like a jay and had a striking white semi-circle pattern along its back when it flew. I kept watching these birds trying to figure out what they were. Related to the crow?

Then I noticed some dark blue feathers along their back. Hmm. My one picture of the bird didn’t turn out so well:

So finally I started looking for it. What do I think it is? A black billed magpie. See National Geographic: Lewis & Clark—Animals—Black-Billed Magpie or Black-billed Magpie. It would see that it is indeed in the crow family.

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Yakima Valley Vacation Weekend

Last weekend, my Sweetie and I took a vacation trip over to Eastern Washington to discover the Yakima Valley region. It happened to be the Spring Barrel tasting weekend, so that worked out for getting some early tastes of upcoming wines. Here are a few notes regarding what all we did.

First, I was impressed out how quick the trip to Yakima was. Just over two hours and we were in a totally different climate, with open, rolling hills and sage brush.

We stayed the first night at Whistlin’ Jack’s Lodge. It is right on the Naches River and very down home. I could see this as an idea base for lots of hiking and other trips. Everyone there was super-nice to us (especially when we shared we were having an anniversary weekend celebration) and Don Forgey in the lounge was a delight, especially when he sang us a song in celebration of our three years.

The next day was big. We enjoyed breakfast at Whistlin’ Jack’s and talked to the wine steward about which locations to visit in Rattlesnake Hills and Zillah that day. She holds vintner appreciation dinners and we ended up incorporating her recommendations into the following list:

  1. Sagelands Vineyard (71 Gangl Road, Wapato, WA 98951)
  2. Masset Winery (620 East Parker Hgts. Rd., Wapato,  WA 98951)
  3. Bonaire Winery (500 S. Bonaire Rd., Zillah, WA)
  4. Two Mountain (2151 Cheyne Road, Zillah, WA 98953)
  5. Agate Field Vineyard (3321 Roza Drive, Zillah, WA 98953)
  6. Portteus Vineyards and Winery (5201 Highland Drive, Zillah, WA 98953)

(Overview map created as a shared Windows Live Maps collection.)

Here’s a very high-level panorama from Sagelands:

Agate Field was my favorite wine selection out of them all.

That night we stayed in downtown Yakima. That’s an interesting city to me just because it would seem to be in transition towards revitalization. Our downtown hotel was attached to what used to be the area’s mall. We walked around and saw pretty much closed store after closed store. The big box retailers had moved in near the highway and downtown, well, it’s not a ghost town, but it certainly seems empty.


  1. Columbia Crest Winery (Columbia Crest Dr, Plymouth, WA 99346)
  2. Desert Wind Vineyard (2258 Wine Country Road, Prosser, WA 99350)

Saturday our big trip / pilgrimage was to Columbia Crest Winery given that our house-wine is usually a Columbia Crest vintage of some sort. Columbia Crest is a sister winery to Chateau Saint Michelle. While we’ve experienced many a friendly tasting room, nothing compared to the absolute overly generous and friendly service that Columbia Crest brought out for us. And it wasn’t too crowded so you didn’t have to deal with the pointy-elbow wine crowd.

We managed to get back just in time to enjoy the tasting at Desert Wind Vineyard in Prosser. We had enjoyed their Ruah recently. They have a new building right off of 82 and a very nice deck area to relax and enjoy. After Desert Wind we wound our way through the country side to find our 3rd place to stay, the Cozy Rose Inn B&B (where I have to say I enjoyed the most awesome sauce ever to accompany a filet mignon).

Sunday was my dry-day given that we were heading back to Redmond. We visited:

  1. Kestrel Wines (2890 Lee Road, Prosser, WA 99350)
  2. Hogue Cellars (2800 Lee Road, Prosser WA, 99350)
  3. Hinzerling Winery (1520 Sheridan Avenue-Prosser, WA 99350)
  4. Silver Lake (1500 Vintage Road, Zillah, WA 98953)

(Another overview map collection.)

Silver Lake has a wonderful tasting room / picnic area. And we ran into someone I knew from my Office days: Brian Jones! It was a great surprise. Brian is a wonderful guy with a very hard and interesting job helping to spearhead XML document standardization.

And we learned something from the gentleman running the entry-way barrel taste at Silver Lake. While driving around, we say these little rusted cannon-looking devices scattered about the fruit orchards. My Sweetie figured that they must be heaters for the trees. Yes. They are known as smudge pots: a little pot belly pot filled with diesel and a chimney furnace attached to the pot. The diesel is lit. The gentleman said it looks like fields of jack-o-lanterns… jack-o-lanterns that turn the air black. It was just a few weeks before our visit, so future travel heed this: don’t visit before the Spring barrel tasting.

Panorama from the Silver Lake outside dining area:

After Silver Lake we went into downtown Toppenish because of their legendary Western-theme murals. We parked downtown and just sort-of wandered about, coming across mural-after-mural showing local history. I liked the humor in the Irish Dick mural. If you like pictures of Western history, go to the Come See Toppenish’s 70 Murals page, click on the first one, and just keep going “Next.”

(Oh, and my Sweetie tracked down a nice taquirra near the Irish Dick mural, on Washington, between Beech and Alder.)

Then we headed home. The trip home always seems longer than the trip to get there. I’m very much looking forward to visiting the Yakima area again – and beyond.

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Woodinville Farmers Market and Then Some

Both the Woodinville and Redmond Farmers Market opened Saturday May 5th. I was really curious about the Woodinville Farmers Market because they said that they had relocated to the new Woodinville Village site… which is still under construction and pretty much just flattened earth with plumbing and electrical runs.

So, I jumped in the Subaru Saturday morning and shortly saw, yes, they had relocated. On a section of field, right off of RedWood Road.

RedWood 003.jpg

So, I bought some flowers, a loaf of bread, and a medium bag of Kettle Korn (my summer-time vice). I dropped those off at home and then headed to Redmond. The Redmond Farmers Market was going full swing, too, with a bit of a change: the parking lot right next to the market is totally secured now, I assume by one of the Marriott buildings nearby, so there’s no right nearby convenient parking. A quick view:

RedWood 006.jpg

(The elderly lady all the way to the right sitting down has been at the Redmond Market since it opened.)

No lettuce yet, though lots of veggie starts and some interesting decorations for the outside (I’m trying to think of what to hang along the small trail in the back of our property to help blaze where the trail leads when things are a bit overgrown). I’m pretty use to the Redmond market and there are plenty of familiar vendors setup in their usual spots.

To top off the afternoon, I went by Red Hook Brewery’s pub and sat outside (the outside seating area is already open! Although the resident black birds have been causing quite a mess.) and had a California Burger and Blackhook on nitro while reading the Saturday Wall Street Journal. Very nice. After that, I went for a walk around the buildings to enjoy the sunshine and decided to take a picture of the carbon overflow spouts that occasionally erupt with berry smelling foam:

RedWood 008.jpg

…looks like it must have happened recently because the ground underneath looks pretty moist. Happily moist, I’m sure. I walked some more and noticed a lady park in a curious out of the way place back near the break-area of the Red Hook. Soon, she was out of her car and catching up to me as I walked along the back way to The Barking Frog. I looked over and it was Carrie Van Dyck of The Herbfarm Restaurant. (!) I shared with her that I realized it was just over two years now since I’d been to The Herbfarm. “What are you waiting for?!?” she kindly replied. We had a quick chat and parted ways.

I wrapped up my walk by looking over the Challenge Course down the river from The Willows Lodge. First, I looked at the loop challenge, quite happy that I accomplished that part on my trip to the zip-wire descent. Though I needed some advice to swing once I reached the mid-point. Then I looked at the one challenge I had to back-off of: the individual, hanging swinging steps. The trick was to move to the next one by swinging your free leg behind you, getting some balance, and then cross over your other leg quickly to the next step. Easy to think about.

And with that, I called it a day and headed home to chill with Bella.

(Started within Word 2007 but that hung trying to post [bucket 342245435], let alone being unhappy with my inserted pictures. Let’s try Windows Live Writer and see how things go… wow, that was fast. So fast that I doubted it actually published! Okay, time to strip out two of those “…” auto-corrections from Word and publish again)

WoodinvilleRedmondFarmers MarketRed HookThe Herbfarm