Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Day at Archie McPhees

What a cool store. Full of useless stuff that you can't help but want to buy. That's a pic of Clara with her siamese twin brother.

More pics of us swatting giant bugs, dodging archers, poses with giant chickens and gorillas, and sitting on a dentist chair. Good times had by all at this Ballard institution.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


OMG! If only I still lived in Japan, then I could see this next spring!

I watched this as a TV show (cartoon) in the late 70s when I lived in Japan. I loved it. Best TV show ever about a robotic dog. No question.

Clara update: She's been home and jaundice free for over a week. Check out the flickr pics on the left side of the blog and click on a picture to hit my flickr site. It has many pictures of her and the family.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clara at "In-Home Phototherapy"

Great news on the baby front. Clara's blood levels went up this morning, meaning they had to put her back under the lights. Now, that may sound like bad news, but the doctors at the hospital said that it was still good enough to take her home and do "in-home phototherapy". Thus, Clara is now at home (finally!) and enjoying her new life. She needs to be lit up as much as possible, but she's at home, and that's all that matters. This is a picture of her at home in her snazzy bassinet!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Clara Under the Lights

Clara Under the Lights
Originally uploaded by gatchamark
Apologies for the lack of postings on the blog, but as you can tell by this picture, Deonn and I have been busy of late. We had been busy preparing the condo and our lives for the arrival of our daughter.

Please welcome Clara Gena Hunt into the world. She was born on Sunday, October 12 at 2:33pm. She is a precious little girl with a slight jaundice problem. Hence, this picture of her under the awesome blue lights! She has since been removed and will have her blood tested tomorrow. If everything checks out OK, we should finally be on our way home. We are super excited and can't wait to bring her home.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. Been doing my husbandly duties. Gotta stay with the wifey as she is expecting any day. Yep, any day. She's got a Dr. appointment tomorrow, and they may "strip the membrane", whatever that means. That's technical Dr. speak. Supposedly, that may bring on labor. This blog will certainly have pictures when the big event happens.

So, right now, Deonn's tired and getting fairly immobile. We have big plans tomorrow. We're going to watch the VP debates. We're calling it a party and having "The Hong" come over and watch with us. Then, we're hitting Jack in the Box for a wonderful dinner. Ultimate Cheeseburger. Mmm. I know I do burger reviews periodically, but thus far, my fave is still the Ultimate. Meat, cheese, bun, and nothing else. How do you beat that?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Conversation of the Day

So, on Saturday, we celebrated Luke's 6th birthday party at the Everett Imagine Children's Museum. Personally, I think it's the best children's museum in the Puget Sound area. They have such cool activities and great attention to detail. This photo is taken from their "Glow Room", which has awesome fluorescent colors with glowing blacklights. We set up some ghost puppets in front of a mirror and took this really colorful picture. Pretty spooky, eh? Just like Halloween!

Anyway, it was the next day that we had the conversation of the day with Luke. It was Seahawks football Sunday, and we had just gotten off the ferry at Bainbridge. There was amazingly a person wearing an Arizona Cardinals jersey, to which Luke said, "Remember the last game against the Cardinals and we (the Seahawks) scored 41 points?"

I reminded him that we scored 42 points that game, and we had an endless argument about this. He insisted 41, but I knew it was 42. He was getting frustrated and threatened me by telling me that "he was going to tell mommy." In response, I said, "Oh yeah? I'm going to tell my mom too!"

His response to this? "Grandma's not going to care! She's probably just gonna kick you!"


Monday, September 15, 2008

Joker, Joker, Joker!

No, I'm not talking about Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight. He seems to be brought up frequently on this blog.

No, if you know that phrase, you know I'm referring to the game show called The Joker's Wild! Don't really have much to say about it, except I was watching old YouTube clips of it, and just finished watching the shortest match on the Joker's Wild ever. It just reminded me that that was actually the BEST GAME SHOW EVER. That's it, nothing more to say.

You can find anything on YouTube. We were watching all the openings to TV shows we used to watch. But hey, those pale in comparison to The Joker's Wild.

Oh, yeah, and Real People. Y'all remember Real People?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I've always been spiritual in some form or another. I don't know what's out there, but I typically believe that justice will be served in its own way.

I don't know if you've heard, but Tom Brady of the New England Patriots may be out for the season. We should know for sure in the next couple of days. I feel as though I need to apologize for this on behalf of my friend, because he caused this. You see, we play fantasy football in a league. He dropped Michael Turner (the new running back for the Atlanta Falcons) in our league, and I had put in a claim for him. Granted, I should have NEVER told him I intended to pick him up, but nonetheless, I did say that to him. So, what does he do? He tells someone else in our league to pick him up before me so that I can't get him. He does this simply out of spite. He even admits this.

So, what does Karma have up its sleeve? Well, as punishment for blatant interference in the normal flow of a fantasy football league, Karma decides to injure his star player for the season. And yes, as you've probably guessed, that player is Tom Brady. He also owns Randy Moss. I don't think he will get the ball as much anymore either. So, if you care about Tom Brady and why he's done for the season, now you know. Please send me your hate mail, and I will make sure to forward it to him with your blessings.

Let's hope Tom Brady recovers quickly. I hate to see these things happen because someone can't be honest in fantasy football...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shrek: The Musical

I'm usually excited to see new musicals. Tonight, Deonn and I got to see Shrek: The Musical at the 5th Avenue here in Seattle. There were 2 problems with this musical going in. First, I'm not really that big of a Shrek fan, so I wasn't excited to see it. Second, I've had this back and neck ache, and sitting for long periods of time is extremely uncomfortable (although not as bad as standing for long periods of time).

So, the first thing I can say is that the musical is too long. My neck didn't appreciate it. They managed to make a 80+ minute movie into a 2.5 hour musical. That takes talent... and not the kind I like. My opinion? They could probably cut 5 or so songs. They could shorten the musical. The flow is not good, sort of like this blog, but with more ballads. Really, there are some really funny and clever moments. The problem is that they are few and far between. Just when you think the pace is quick and fun, they throw in a ballad. Shrek sings many ballads. Wouldn't you think his character would sing some up beat comedic hoe-down? Nope, he gets ballads.

The best thing about this musical? Lord Farquad. Holy moly. That guy is freakin' hilarious. His role is well done. You get some major laughs every time he's around. His costume is wonderful! His songs had very clever lyrics, although none of the music in this musical is particularly memorable. Still, there are good laughs with Farquad. Space Invaders. Hilarious!

Donkey - less annoying than Eddie Murphy, and to me, that's not a good thing. He was not used well, in my opinion. Fiona - she was OK. I mean, I liked Sutton Foster in Young Frankenstein, but I think they wasted her talent. She's good, and they didn't really give her great songs. She can sing, but they don't let her. Shrek - wasted again. I mean, he's good, but he's not loveable. Too much potty humor. When you do a "fart dance", that's too much for me.

Funny thing is, the crowd loved this. They hooted and hollered. So, I didn't think it was that great, but the crowd sure seemed to. How will it do on Broadway? I don't know. Really, it's not that good. But, if it's like The Little Mermaid, people will go just because it's Shrek. It will appeal to people who are fans of Shrek but are not musical theatre goers. To those who see lots of musical theatre, I imagine you will be disappointed. It's probably a little better than The Little Mermaid, but only cuz Farquad is so good and they're not on Heelys.

I don't think it's easy to make Shrek into a musical. They took the humor out of Shrek, just like they took the heart out of the Little Mermaid. People really need to learn to leave well enough alone.

Overall: D+

Since I really haven't rated other musicals, here's my quick rundown so you can see if you should listen to my review:

The Little Mermaid: D
Young Frankenstein: B
Xanadu: A
Avenue Q: A-
Damn Yankees: B- (but Sean Hayes is super funny)
Mary Poppins: C-
Curtains: C
Me and My Girl: A+ (it is my favorite musical, and this was the Roosevelt High School production, but I saw it at the 5th Avenue a long time ago)
Les Miserables: A
Phantom of the Opera: C+
Cats: C
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: B+
Parade: A (gotta love Jason Robert Brown)

OK, I've seen way more than that, but I'll stop there. Take this for what it's worth (as Buffalo Springfield would say).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Burger Review: Twede's

Ever been to North Bend, WA? It's out there, for sure. But, being that I live in Issaquah, it's not too far. You know it's far when you can drive 70mph on the freeway here in Washington State. We only go to North Bend for two reasons. Either we need to visit the factory outlets (hence, meaning I need pants), or when we want to get a great burger at Twede's (which I believe is pronounced "tweeties", only cuz there are so many stuffed animals of Tweety Bird in the place).

So, I had never taken my son there, and have talked it up a bit. The original Twede's burned down, but they have re-built it, and it's pretty nice inside. It has the feel of a 50s diner. Nice blue vinyl booths, so cocktail arcade machines, and lots of Twin Peaks memorabilia. Heck, the first time I went there, I had the "Twin Peaks Burger". That has 2 patties, cheese, and stacked with ham. It's sizeable, and delicious. Tonight, I had the "Dog Burger". I was in the mood for hot dogs and hamburgers, so why not combine the two? Once again, quite a delicious burger, and the fries are great.

What's impressive is the sheer number of burgers they have on the menu! Take a look at some of their offerings here.

So, if you're in North Bend, WA and are hankerin' for a burger, stop by Twede's! Excellent burgers, and if you're into Twin Peaks, you'll love the history that goes with this cafe. It also offers excellent views of Mt. Si from the parking lot. When you're done, head to the Factory Outlet Mall to get some pants a few sizes bigger. You'll need it after you munch on the food here!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Zipper

Best ride ever invented = The Zipper. You'll find it at any real carnival. If there's no Zipper, it's not a real carnival. You've been duped! Deonn, she hates anything that makes you inverted. Still, the Zipper isn't for everyone. I remember the first time I went on that. It was at the Camp Pendleton Rodeo in California with my friend. We must have been in sixth grade or something. When you're that young, that ride is intimidating! They have one at the Evergreen State Fair, and they'll have one at the Puyallup State Fair. Anyone up for some fun? I'll meet someone there, and we can ride it! w00t!

What makes the Zipper the best ride, you ask? Well, it's the pure randomness. It's never the same ride twice. The G's you experience are intense, and if you time it just right, you'll flip over and over like there's no tomorrow. Plus, it's pretty to look at. For example:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gatchamark's Mail Bag

I've received many emails, so I figured I'd answer a few:

An interested imaginary reader writes:
Hey Gatchamark!

You have THE BEST BLOG IN THE WORLD! Anyway, I was totally fascinated by your Ariel vs. Belle post. I'm totally in the Ariel camp too. Belle, she's too intelligent and likes to read. I like the chicks with no legs and red hair. Keep writing awesome things, bro!

Your avid reader,
Mr. Bob Imaginary Reader

Why, thank you for the kind words, Bob! Readers like you are what makes this blog function! I'm so pleased you agree with the Ariel thing, but I must admit, I have to revise the order of Disney chicks. Deonn and I watched Tarzan last night (and I know most people haven't seen this), and I've determined that Miss Jane Porter is now the hottest Disney chick. Why is she better than Ariel? Well, she's human (has legs), has this sweet British accent/voice (provided by Minnie Driver), and wears this cool yellow dress with a butt pad. She is now #1 in my book. See Tarzan if you haven't! To see this fascinating lady who has replaced Ariel at #1, click here!

Email #2:

That post on Commodore 64 music was super wicked. I loved C64 games as a kid. I'd kick your butt at MULE! We should meet up and play on a C64 emulator someday. Those would be some good times... good times... You know, you could show me some of your moves in Commando too!

Your Nonexistent Dream Girl

Once again, thank you for the kind words. It's not often one finds women who played Commodore 64 games, let alone, one who loves the music! Anyhoo, I found this awesome site that has ample mp3s to satisfy your C64 music fetish. Click here.

Email #3:
Might Mr. Marky Mark-

I hear you're having a baby girl. What are some good names for a baby girl?

Someone who doesn't really care

A truly intiguing question. I think the baby will be named something like Ariel, Belle, or Jane. Perhaps Xanadu. I've also been fond of Siobhan, just for the Celtic background. If the baby somehow ends up being a boy, we've decided on Hasselbeck. No better name than that.

Email #4:
Gatchamark is the coolest! You're so awesome! How can I be like you?

Answer: You can't. It's not possible. There can only be one Gatchamark.

Thank you for reading! Perhaps we'll answer more emails in another post, if and when I actually receive any.

*Publisher's Note*: These emails are not real.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Movie Box Office

For some strange reason, I've always had this fascination with the box office. Here are two sites I hightly recommend if you have the same interest:

Box Office Guru summarizes the weekend's box office totals. It puts it in nice readable terms. The best thing about this site, in my opinion, is his amazing prognosticating abilities. I've not seen another website online that makes as accurate of box office projections as Gitesh Pandya.

For a great box office database, you can do no better than:

This site has it all. Daily box office summaries, box office showdowns, rankings via genre, and any other box office statistic you could think of. I could spend hours at a time on this site.

What is it that fascinates me about the box office? I don't know, really. It's just one of those things that interests me. This has been a great year of box office wonder. The Dark Knight opens to the largest weekend total in history. Then, people actually wonder if it can beat Titanic's impossible gross of $600.8M (in case you're wondering, the answer is a resounding "NO!"). The Dark Knight will have to settle for the silver medal and be the only other movie to ever break $500M.

This reminds me of a website that used to exist years ago called Mr. Showbiz. They used to run a game twice a year called the "Box Office Challenge". It was run like a stock market based on movie buzz. You bought movies low, sold high, but eventually, you needed to hold as many movies as you could that grossed as much money as possible in it's first two weekends. Sounds confusing, I'm sure, but if you were interested in the box office, this was the ultimate challenge. I was always a top 20 player, and proud of it.

Anyway, this is yet another one of those traits that makes Deonn go "huh?". I wonder how long it will take for her to realize what a freakazoid she married. That reminds me: "Can Freakazoid come out and play? Can Freakazoid come out and play? Can Freakazoid come out and play? Can Freakazoid come out and play? Can Freakazoid come out and play?...." Does anyone remember that commercial?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Commodore 64 Music

For one reason or another (and it might mostly have something to do with the Bushmill's Irish Whiskey), I was reminiscing about the good old days of the wonderous Commodore 64 computer. In my honest opinion, that was perhaps the best computing system ever created. They had the best games with the best music. Come on, now, y'all know what I'm talking about. Really, for a chip (you may remember this as the SID chip) that only had 4 channels, what the C=64 did with music was simply amazing. Who could forget the classic soundtracks to games such as Aztec Challenge:

or Archon:

or Forbidden Forest:

Now we're getting to the big boys of the best music for a video game. These last ones have perhaps the best video game themes EVER. The runner up is M.U.L.E.:

How can one ever forget loading up MULE on a floppy disk and hearing the wonderful theme song appear? Such great music for what was probably the best multi-player game on the Commodore 64. However, in terms of the best music on the C=64, I would have to say that it was the Ultima series, hands down. The pinnacle of video game music came from Ultima III: Exodus.

Yes, I could play that game for hours and never have to toggle the music off!

Does anyone out there remember the glory days of the Commodore 64? Am I forgetting another game that had a masterpiece theme? Am I the only old person that remembers this era?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Riddle of the Leaky Fridge

So, our refrigerator had been leaking water for some time. You'd just open the fridge, and boom! There was a puddle of water on the bottom shelf. Tonight, I had finally had enough of this nonsense. Deonn phoned her Home Depot savvy mom and asked what might cause this. She suggested a clogged hose that should drain at the bottom of the fridge. It should be under the produce drawer. I remove the produce drawer... Nothing! Well, I didn't know where to look, so I pulled out the fridge from the wall. Never in my life had I seen such a dirty floor/wall. It was pitch black, as if someone had spread coal dust everywhere back there. "Great!", I thought. After a massive cleaning project in which we had to scrub the disgusting floor and wall, I proceeded to look for a hose. Success! In a cage at the back of the fridge is a hose. I remove the cage. What has been causing us all this grief for all these months? Nothing more than a chunk of dust blocking the drainage hose. I try to remove it, but I push it down the hose instead. Oh no! Now, I have to take the freezer portion apart to see where the hose begins! After clearing out the freezer and cleaning it, we find the entry to the hose. It's impossible to blow air down or anything, so I have Deonn pour a glass full of water down the drain to see if the hose is still clogged. I smile as water drains out this hose. Problem fixed! Hose unplugged. Now, we just wait and see if there's another puddle in the fridge later this week. If not, we have succeeded with this puzzle.

Moral of the story: Refrigerators are lame, especially if getting clogged by dust causes major leakage inside the fridge. We should get a better one, but if this fixes the problem, then it's saved us a chunk of $$$.

Second moral of the story: I'll blog about anything and try to make an exciting story out of it.

BTW, anyone see that stud Justin Forsett tear up the Chicago Bears? If the Seahawks can't find a place on the team for this guy, they're just lame, and I will lose more respect for them. He's a stud. Keep him. Find a role for him.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tiger Mountain Grill

I just need to put a plug in for what I consider the best restaurant in Issaquah, the Tiger Mountain Grill. It always seems to be empty when we go in, and I don't understand why. They have impeccable service, excellent food, and brilliant original cocktails. I ordered the "carnivore" pizza today. Nothing but meat and cheese on a deep dish crust. It was wonderful. Deonn ordered the French dip, which she devoured. So, why is this place always empty? I can't say, and I don't think it's right, so I need to get the word out. GO EAT THERE if you're ever in Issaquah. They are in Gilman Village. Let me know what you think if you go. I'm sure you'll agree with me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In the Heat of the Night

So, this flood that we had at our condo sucks. In case you need the play-by-play, this is what happened.

The side effect of the flood? Our condo is being heated and fanned and de-humidified. The plumbing people or whoever they are are supposedly drying our walls. However, until tomorrow night, we get what I can only describe as anti-air conditioning. Instead of nice cool air circulating, we have ridiculously sauna hot air flowing through the condo. As they say in Avenue Q, "It Sucks to be Me" (and Deonn). Aren't you glad you aren't us? Aren't you more glad you read this?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

2008 Whidbey Island Highland Games

Crazy Scottish Mark
Originally uploaded by gatchamark

Well, I'm still trying to be Scottish. There's no Scottish blood in me at all, but this wig/beret thing gives you a picture of what I'd look like as a Scot. Charming, no?

So, as a quest to become as Scottish as possible without actually being Scottish, Deonn and I attended our second Highland Games of the season, this time on lovely Whidbey Island! This one was much smaller than the Seattle one (which takes place in Enumclaw), but it was kinda cool to have the laid back atmosphere. I did find out that my name belongs to the Clan Hunter. That's a stretch, if you ask me. I don't see how Hunt is related to Hunter at all... So, then, I tell my father the good news over the phone, and he says, "No, you're not part of Clan Hunter. The only Scottish people in our family are named Brockie." I need to look that up now. I liked the Clan Hunter tartan...

Look! I befriended another not-Scottish, yet trying to be Scottish person. Let's call him not-Scot:

Mark Befriending a Scot

On another note, Deonn and I managed to take some time out to listen to some bands. We really enjoyed this group from Seattle called Ockham's Razor. They had a very energetic sound with a total Celtic flair. They're not as hard as a Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys, but they play a mean beat and have great songs. We ended up buying their CD "Ten Thousand Miles to Bedlam". It's really good. Check them out on the web. I have hyperlinked their name.

Ockham's Razor 2

If you get a chance, they have upcoming performances in the Seattle area at El Corazon and Kell's Irish Pub. If you like Celtic rock, you'll love Ockham's Razor. They ended their show with a rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". It was sweet. 'Nuff said. The fiddler, Katie, was highly skilled, and we chatted a little afterwards. She's really nice too. That's my shameless plug for the night.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prepping for Baby

We started childbirth classes tonight. I think the point of these classes is to scare the soon-to-be mom's to the point that when they actually experience childbirth, they'll think it wasn't so bad. Of course, this is coming from the man, so how can I really know? I do know that it will be painful, and I know that I have to do my best to keep my wife calm and focused. Still, if the point of these classes is to help relax and to avoid tension, then why tell everyone how painful it is? Can't they be like one of those doctors that says, "You may feel a little discomfort?" Maybe this technique is actually better. If you think it's the worst thing you'll ever feel and prepare to relax through that, then you'll be totally prepared. OK, never mind, I just convinced myself that their method is probaby best.

My bet is that childbirth is still better than being stung by an Irukandji. And, the best part is that you have a precious little child once labor is over. Not so with the jellyfish.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Marky Mark and the Quest for the Perfect Watch

Much like Indiana Jones, I have my own adventures in life. I needed a new watch, because my battery died in my old watch. Now, normally, most people just replace their batteries. I usually just get a new watch. BUT, I was trying to be frugal this time and just replace the watch battery, but I tried to be SO frugal, that I thought I could replace it myself. Long story short, the watch hands fell off my watch as I tried to replace the battery, and, well, fate decided that I did indeed need a new watch.
I'm one of those that can't live without a watch on my wrist, so we ventured to the Overlake Sears to pick up a watch with a gift certificate from our wedding. Man, did they have the selection of bargain watches. The problem was, all of the watches I liked had lame-o chain-link bands that have to be sized by a jeweler. So, it took a long time to find a watch... I felt sorry for the lady behind the counter. She took out many watches because I'm the type that has to put the watch on and see how it looks on me. And then I have to ask Deonn how it looks on me. When the response is, "It looks like a toy" or "If you worked on the Starship Enterprise, that would be perfect", that's probably not the right watch. The lady there was kind and took out every watch I wanted to try on. She seemed to have a good sense of humor, and even mustered a courtesy laugh when I asked how late they were open.

The trip was a success, though. Within two hours, I had found a watch I liked for a mere $30. Now, 3-5 years from now when the battery dies, we'll go through this ritual again.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

White Guy and Banana

White Guy and Banana
Originally uploaded by gatchamark
We spent the day on Bainbridge today. We hadn't been there in a while, and Luke, well, he just loves Deonn's mom. We hadn't seen the kittens since they could barely walk. The white kitten, who is named "White Guy" is totally mellow, as you can see from the picture. We put Luke's frog "Banana" on his head, and he didn't even move, although it made for a cute photo op.

Once we dropped Luke off, we finally saw Mamma Mia! I gotta be honest, when it first started, I found the movie kinda weird and annoying. But, once the guy actors showed up and got involved, it really picked up and was actually a sweet story. I didn't think it would end the way it did, but I was satisfied. As everyone has said, it was a happy, feel-good, ABBA music infested movie. I'd give it 3 stars out of 4. The bad? Pierce Brosnan sings like he has Banana in his throat. Maybe even worse than that. And, honestly, it's weird to listen to popular ABBA music with other people singing it. Still, definitely worth seeing if you like feel good musicals, or ABBA music, or black lines running down the screen the entire movie. Well, if you like the latter, see it at Crossroads in Bellevue.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stupidity is NOT a crime

But murder is. Check out this guy's shirt as they book him. Gotta love the irony:

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Opening Credits

OK, I finally did it. I made the mp3 playlist I wanted to make with all the ending credits to movies. I have the ending credits to all 6 Star Wars movies, 2 Indiana Jones movies, Superman, and Tron. Wow, just those 10 pieces, and you get like an hour and a half. Great themes. I even played it a little for Deonn tonight. She was thrilled.

While I was listening to this new playlist of mine, I reflected back to when movies had opening credits. I mean, really, do any recent movies take their time to blow you away at the beginning with opening credits? No, they expect you to wait until the end, and then everyone walks out anyway. Remember the opening credits to Superman: The Movie? Is there any better way to possibly open a movie? I don't think so. They're so good, that's all I need to watch of that movie. The first 5 and a half minutes. Yep, that's excellence right there. Or, how about when you watch Star Wars? Don't you get goosebumps when you hear the 20th Century Fox fanfare and then see the "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." I'm telling you, movies are missing that critical element now. There's no buildup; no excitement. Movies just start now. I think they could build up that excitement from the start.

Anyway, I'm going to go to work and drive home tomorrow to my new ultimate playlist. You should think about making one of your own.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ariel or Belle?

Well, this has been an argument I've had for a long time with my friends. Yes, I know it's a lame argument, but when you used to have a Disney animated film infatuation, this used to be an important topic.

Why do I bring it up? I dunno. Perhaps it's because I still like Disney. Sure, I don't have the passion for the movies like I used to, but I still like most of their animation and I love Disneyland. Anyway, I'm in the Ariel camp. To those who know me, that's a ridiculously obvious statement. Ariel or Belle? Ariel, duh! Why? Well, she's prettier, she sings better songs, and she's a mermaid. Also, the Little Mermaid was the movie that started my Disney fetish. So, how can it not be Ariel? Perfection would be Ariel with Belle's personality. Ariel is too stubborn for my tastes, but we all have some faults. Nonetheless, Belle would be #2 in my book.

Funny thing, though... Deonn recently joined Facebook. You can take weird quizzes on that site. She took 2 Disney princess ones. Who did she end up being? In one quiz, she was Belle. The other, she was Ariel. If that's not proof that she's the perfect one for me, then I don't know what is.

Side note: I have still yet to see Dark Knight. It's still kicking butt at the box office and the crowds are still crazy. However, we did get around to seeing WALL-E on Sunday. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and go. My son loved it, so he wanted to see it again and wanted us to see it, so we went. I'll just say, never has a movie made me want to hold hands as much as that one, and we did so through much of it. Such a cute and sweet story.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Biggest Geek News of the Year!!!

First off, my apologies for not blogging yesterday. Comcast was giving me grief with my internet connection and I could not log in to blog.

OK, on to the biggest geek news of the year. This was just announced at the San Diego Comic Convention, and this is a bootleg video of it:

Yes, it's true my friends. There is a sequel to Tron, at this point called Tr2n. Anyone know where I can get my ticket for this?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Day at the Highland Games

If there's ever an excuse to go to Enumclaw (if you're not into horses), this is it. I've been looking forward to the Highland Games for months now. You must understand, I don't have any Celtic blood, but I've always loved the Celtic traditions. Heck, even the wedding ring I chose has a Celtic Trinity Knot engraved in it. So, what's better than watching ultra-buff men wearing kilts and tossing cabers? Nothing.

Caber Tossing

First off, let me say that I had NO idea how big this event was. We're all driving down the road, and when you get close to the games, BAM! Cars and people and RVs and tents are everywhere! Oh, BTW, if you're planning on going and are reading this, make sure you have cash. They don't take cards for entry, and the ATM line is always 30 minutes long.

The Highland Games themselves consist of several events: caber toss, some weight throwing thing, the hammer toss, some other weight throwing over a goal post thing, and shoving a 20 pound sheaf with a pitchfork. Come on! Are these the best kinds of games you could ever have? I think so! When are these going to be in the Olympics? That was good stuff. Harrison Bailey was THE MAN in the sheaf throwing. Dude, he hucked the sheaf over 33 feet. Amazing.

Harrison Bailey Prepping for the Sheaf Toss

Afterwards, we wandered through some shops and found a spot to watch the closing of day 1 with the Massing of the Pipes and Drums. That was quite a spectacle to see a dozen or so pipe bands march in unison. Then, they all played Amazing Grace. Wow.

A couple of interesting notes from the games. Most of the men in traditional Scottish attire carry daggers in their socks. There were a lot of leather shops. I did not know that they wore so much leather in 80 degree weather. I've never seen so many weapons for sale in such close proximity.

There were some parties at the end of the day, but we had Luke and Deonn's pregnant, so what's the point? Next year, we totally plan on going back and drinking and celebrating Celtic style!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Box Office for The Dark Knight

So, the 7-day tally for The Dark Knight ended up being a mere $238M. It couldn't even get to $250M in seven days. Is this the blockbuster that everyone thought it would be? And, more importantly, am I the only one who hasn't seen this movie yet? OK, so, The Dark Knight has the biggest 7-day tally ever. The second biggest seven day gross was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at a paltry $196M.

OK, truthfully, I just don't like crowds. No matter how great this movie supposedly is, and no matter how gripping Heath Ledger's legacy is, I will probably wait another 2 or 3 weeks to see this. It gives me that much time to convince Deonn she wants to see it.

Maybe we'll see Mamma Mia! soon, or maybe Wall-E since I have my son this weekend. I'll let you know how those are if I end up seeing them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Musical Dreams

Most of us wish we had a talent that we pursued when we were younger. Some of us were lucky enough to do that as kids. Me? Well, I wasn't really pushed to do anything except get good grades. It made me learn how to get good grades by understanding what my teachers expected from me. I never really studied all that hard. Nonetheless, my grades were good so I could avoid a beating. But, I wish that my parents had pushed me to do sports, or music, or acting, or something. Maybe I'd be talented and famous by now. Maybe "Hamster Eater" would be a literary phenomenon.

I'm thinking about pursuing a new talent. Recently (well, for the past year or so), I've really wanted to learn to play the didgeridoo. It's not easy to play a didgeridoo. I once had the breathing technique down, but I've not been able to replicate it recently. I used to be able to breathe out constantly through my mouth, yet breathe in and out through the nose. I don't know how I did it, and I don't know how I forgot it. Thus, I'm led to believe that was not my true calling. Oh well, there must be some hidden talent I have. Maybe I should just publish "Hamster Eater" and just consider that my high point. I'm sure that it will end up published on this blog someday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Mean, Who Doesn't Like Movie Soundtracks?


So, I have what I consider a phenomenally good idea. I'm going to make a playlist with the Ending Credits to some of my favorite movies. You know, movie themes from Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Superman (which also has the best OPENING credits EVAR!!!), and the like. I'm proud of the idea, and figure Deonn would know good music when she heard it. Alas, I was mistaken. "I don't like movie underscoring", she states. Really, who in their right mind wouldn't think that the Star Wars theme is awesome? You know what's the best thing about ending credits in a movie? They give you brief glimpses of all the major themes played in the movie. Sort of a nice medley. It's not like I was making her listen to the entire instrumental soundtrack to Star Wars, although she probably felt that way. Granted, I might play this in the car when she's not around, and Luke will regularly request it. Well, I guess he is my son.

You know what else? She doesn't think it's a talent to differentiate the difference in the ending credits of the different Star Wars movies. I mean, come on, if you hear the Imperial March, you know that's from the Empire Strikes Back. Ewok Theme? That's Return of the Jedi. Aw hell, this is pointless. Everyone else reading this thinks I'm lame too, but you know what? I don't care! This mp3 playlist is better than yours!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don't Walk Away

As I lay in bed listening to "Don't Walk Away" from Xanadu, I realize, I'm not blogging tonight. Still, Xanadu was the best show we saw on Broadway during our honeymoon, and our own baby "Xanadu" is enjoying it as well. And on that note, I bid everyone goodnight.

And to my sweet girl out there, who might be reading this (now even), "...and now your Joe, has to go!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fatburger = Fat Mark

My quest to find the perfect cheeseburger has slowed down somewhat, ever since I had to put myself on the "restricted burger" diet. I only allow myself one cheeseburger a week, so I have to make sure I'm having a burger worthy of the weekly honor. Today, I was starving. Given that I had only had a red velvet cupcake from Cupcake Royale, a diet Rock Star, and a measly serving of yakisoba, I was starving for a manly meal. I wanted beef on a bun, and so we ventured to the local Issaquah Fatburger. Well, for those of you who don't know, Fatburger is themed like a 50s diner and lets you choose the size of the burger and the toppings. I ordered a "kingburger" with cheese, bacon, and eggs. A kingburger is a half pound of beef. Not nearly enough in my book. Deonn, on the other hand, had a "baby fat". I think that is the only one ounce burger in existence. I've never seen anything so small.

On the overall burger scale, I would rank Fatburger "burger-rific". Not sure what that translates on a scale of 1-10 or anything, but it was pretty darn good. I dare say that I think it was even better than the famed XXX Drive-In, even though Fatburger is a chain. Fatburger's burgers go down so easily, like a smooth Patron tequila shot. Hence, the name. Fatburger will make you FAT. But, eaten in moderation, it's well worth it. They have this contest at Fatburger about who can eat a triple king the fastest. I think I'll try that sometime soon. Although, that is a pound and a half of beef, and the record in Issaquah is an astounding 3 minutes and 29 seconds. A far cry from the overall record of 1 minute and 59 seconds. I've got some training to do and some weight to gain (not to mention my cholesterol). Perhaps this wasn't the best place to eat with a cholesterol test coming up Wednesday morning... Oh well.

Check them out at:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday In the Park with Mark

Today was almost a carbon copy of yesterday, except that we didn't go to the Bite of Seattle. I had such a fun time on the paddle boat yesterday, that Deonn and I decided to head back to Green Lake park. The weather was perfect, and this time, we rented a rowboat. Deonn and baby got to kick back and relax while I rowed us to the middle of Green Lake. We then chilled out and enjoyed the view. The boat rental rates at Green Lake are very reasonable. $14/hour for your choice of paddle boat, row boat, kayak, or canoe. We re-lived the classic scene of "Kiss the Girl" from the Little Mermaid. It was really nice.

I did a lap around the Green Lake loop on my hockey roller blades beforehand. It was a nice, flat trail. Nice views. After the boat ride, we put on our swimsuits and went swimming in the lake. It was so nice and warm in the water, and I went to the swim dock and jumped off the diving boards.

How did we cap off the day? We drove back to Ballard and enjoyed some great burgers at Zak's Burger Joint. I'm learning how to have a great time in Seattle without spending a lot of money. There's just so much to do that's so inexpensive.

Glorious Saturday in Seattle

Funnel Cake at the Bite
Originally uploaded by gatchamark
Today was the second day of the Bite of Seattle. Needless to say, I ate way too much... in 30 minutes. Seriously. Within the first 30 minutes, I had Alligator on a Stick, Red Beans and Rice, 6 "mini" meatballs, and a mint chocolate chip ice cream sundae. Obviously, that wasn't enough, so 30 minutes later, I had to have some funnel cake covered in powdered sugar and then I washed it down with a Wired Cola with 144mg of caffeine. You ask me, it was a completely successful afternoon of gluttony. If you had kicked my stomach afterwards, I would have ended up like that guy in Seven.

After the Bite, my friends left to see the Dark Knight with that dead Heath Ledger. Being that I haven't been taken in by the hype yet, Deonn and I spent the rest of the day/night in Seattle. I took some great shots from Queen Anne hill and Green Lake and Alki. Here are some favorites.

Late Sunset at Alki
Space Needle with Ferris Wheel at Fun Forest

By the way, we tried to see Mamma Mia! at the Majestic Bay Theatres in Ballard. I was SO looking forward to seeing this movie at this theatre that Deonn has raved about. But, since it only holds 5 people, it was sold out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Princesses and Frogs

So, Disney has apparently thrown themselves into hot water again. Finally, Disney is trying to broaden their horizons, and they can't avoid a controversy. Check out this article:

Funny how that happens on the day after Disneyland's birthday, eh? They just like being in the news all the time!

There is news from the Magic Kingdom, however. On Disneyland's birthday, it was announced that the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough would be reopening to the public. They're working frantically to refurbish it and make it look sparkling new. This particular attraction has been closed since the 9/11 attacks for security reasons, and many feared that this attraction would become a part of Disneyland history. So, this is indeed good news. Here is a link to the press release:

And, for anyone interested in Disneyland history and the rides of the past:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Heath Ledger and the Dark Knight

Hey, everyone! Did you hear that Heath Ledger died? Look, I admit, aside from The Patriot, I haven't seen a Heath Ledger movie, and that was an underwhelming film at best. And, despite my picture with Mario Lopez in a previous post, I have NOT seen Brokeback Mountain. I'm puzzled by the eerie fascination with his death. Why is it that people are ready to hand him an Oscar when "Oscar season" hasn't even started? Am I missing the point here? From what I understand, Heath was a great actor, and his life was sadly taken too soon, but where does this fascination come from? Other actors die. Who remembers Brad Renfro? He was a young actor that passed away around the same time. No one wants to hand him an Oscar. They even forgot him in the Oscar tribute! Someone, PLEASE tell me what it is about Heath Ledger... PLEASE!

Anyway, I am excited to see his final movie. I understand that he brings creepy to a new level. And Katie Holmes isn't in it anymore. That's gotta be a plus. I mean, does anyone remember Denise Richards playing a rocket scientist in The World Is Not Enough? Talk about poor casting! However, I am one of those people who shudders at the thought of seeing a major blockbuster on the opening weekend. I'll see this on the big screen, but I'll bide my time. Perhaps I'll see Mamma Mia! this weekend. That probably won't be as crowded. Oh, and by the way, have I mentioned that I have NOT seen Brokeback Mountain?

If you see the Dark Knight this weekend, I'd be interested in what you thought. If you're interested in Mamma Mia!, let me know and we can swap reviews! I have mentioned that I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain... not that there's anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Sleeping Beauty Castle
Originally uploaded by gatchamark

Tomorrow (July 17, 2008) will be Disneyland's 53rd birthday. Yes, on this date in 1955, Disneyland was born. I have such fond memories of the place. Disneyland is really is one of my true loves. I've had a passion for the place as long as I can remember. My family used to make an annual pilgrimage to the Disney mecca on my birthday, and even though I live in the Seattle area, I am still an annual passport holder. I always stop by when I visit my parents, and every time is truly magical. I've even convinced Deonn to love the place. And yes, I've even convinced Ariel to drop her restraining order against me. It's like we're back in the good ol' days.

If anyone reading this has a special memory of Disneyland they'd like to share, please do so with a comment. I have attached some pictures in honor of this annual event.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle, or how to be a tourist in your own city

Have you ever noticed when you travel somewhere that there are all kinds of things to do? We just got back from our honeymoon in New York City, and I can't tell you how many times I must have said, "Boy, would it be great to live here!" But, then you think about it, and if you lived there, would you really do all the things you do as a tourist? Would you visit the statue of liberty, take a carriage ride through Central Park, or see Xanadu? OK, I'm sure I would have seen Xanadu regardless, but other "touristy" things? Probably not.

On a side note, did you know that Mario Lopez is the "star" of A Chorus Line on Broadway? If not, check this pic out...

On yet another side note, I'm really not gay. I just got married, went on a honeymoon, and have a knocked up wife. Besides, as Deonn herself points out, no gay man would ever be caught in white socks like that!

Back to the topic at hand. The first picture is the house they used in Sleepless in Seattle. I never knew where that was in Seattle, other than somewhere on Lake Union. I guess the movie takes place in the winter, but I found out that they filmed the fireworks on the 4th of July in intense heat. How do I know this? I took a tour in my own city. I highly recommend the Argosy Locks Cruise if you're ever in Seattle (or live here and haven't explored the city). You'll get all kinds of trivial useless information like that. Deonn and I plan to do more touristy stuff in the near future to learn more about the Emerald City.

Why did we decide to do this? Well, I personally have never been to Green Lake, done the Underground Tour, or seen the Statue of Liberty at Alki. I have, however, been to the Sci-Fi Museum at the EMP. Luckily I went for free, and I still felt ripped off.

So, enough of this long post. I had no point to make.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Picnic at Lake Sammamish State Park

American Gladiators
Originally uploaded by gatchamark
Well, it was an absolutely beautiful day in the pacific northwest, so Deonn and I decided it would be fun to have a picnic at our local park. We invited some friends to come join us and made a mini-party out of it.

So, what happens when you let Mark have some fun at a picnic at a park? Well, you play a game of American Gladiators, of course. You know me, I love taking down 13 year old girls. I must admit, my shoulders are a bit sore... Aging sucks. I'll probably blog something about that later, when I really hurt myself doing something stupid.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

First Post: Creating a Blog!

Creating a Blog!
Originally uploaded by gatchamark
I was told by my physical therapists to never ever sit like this after I tore my MCLs. But, it's so comfy that I do it anyway. What do they know? Not comfort.

This is a pic of me setting up my blog! w00t! I put a shirt on just for the occassion. I GUARANTEE that there will never be naked pictures of me. EVER (unless Deonn finds out my password). No one should see that.