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