Visit from the parents

April 30th, 2007

My folks were up in Seattle visiting this past week…. and while they make up about half of my regular readership, I’ll still provide a few details on their recent visit. They mostly came up to see my house and do a few odd fixes that needed attention. Fixing loose plumbing fixtures, electrical boxes and door locks were typical changes needed for this 23 year old house. Besides getting the house in order, we also got a good helping of home-cooked food…mmm, quiche was good. We made a Costco run while they were here and added a highly anticipated device to my kitchen arsenal…. a deep fryer. With this new equipment, I’m looking forward to having a deep-fry party, where everyone brings something to fry up…. whether it’s something normal, like meat or veggies, or weird like twinkies and sushi, there’s gonna be some good ol’ frying happening in this house. If you have interesting ideas on what I can drop into the fryer, let me know.

Hoyas down the Tar Heels

March 25th, 2007

The showdown was inevitable…. my March Madness bracket had Georgetown winning the entire tournament, and Lee’s bracket had his UNC boys winning it all.  The confrontation would happen in the Elite 8 round, sending either the Hoyas or Tar Heels the Final Four.  It was tough to not root for the Heels, since the LeFever household is true Carolina Blue and I’ve grown to root for UNC (when they’re not playing my Penn Quakers).  Georgetown was down almost the entire game, by as much as 11 points midway through the second half.  Based on how the game was evolving, I figured I would end up losing my bracket.  But in a glass-is-half-full mentality, it would make the LeFever house happy, so a UNC win wouldn’t be that bad.  Fortunately for the Hoyas, they began playing better near the end of the game and hit a 3-pointer to tie the game in the last minute to send it to overtime.  UNC was the better team all day and arguably has the better set of players, but for almost the entire overtime, they could not buy a bucket.  Front rim, side rim, nothing…. the ball was doing everything in its power to not go through the net.  The Hoyas pulled out the comeback-overtime victory much to the dismay of the higher seeded Tar Heels.  While an unfortunate end for UNC, they played well throughout the tournament and had a good season overall.  On the bright side, my bracket is still in contention for the victory, as long as Georgetown beats UCLA in the finals next week.

The new home sweet home

March 23rd, 2007

Finally moved in.  It took about a week to slowly bring things over box by box, but I’m now living in my house.  After living in a small apt during MBA school and living at Lee & Sachi’s house for the past 18 months, I’ve finally got my own place.  The walls are white, the place is lacking furniture, but it’s perfect for me.  If you’re expecting a housewarming party, don’t get your hopes up…. there’s currently nothing to sit on, no chairs, no couches, no coffee tables, nothing.  That’ll eventually change, but for now it’s a blank canvas.

Lee & Sachi came over a few days ago to help move some stuff.  They brought the black dog with them, since Amos may on occasion need a babysitter and it’s good to introduce him to the new surroundings.  He didn’t like the hardwood floors, since it was slippery under his paws, so he mainly stayed in the carpeted rooms.  When we all went outside to the back deck, he was going around sniffing everywhere, which appeared to be normal investigatory activities for a dog.  What we didn’t realize though was that Amos is trained to go outside to pee/poop, and by walking out to the back deck, it triggered the need to pee/poop.  The back deck has a locked gate that connects to the grassy yard area.  Amos was searching desparately for a way to get to the grassy area before something came out.  We didn’t realize this and all of a sudden…. uh oh, Amos just pooped on the deck.  It was more funny than anything else, since he really tried to find grass, but couldn’t.

My new home base is in the Montlake area, so I’ve got a new neighborhood to explore.  If you have my old address, don’t worry, that still works, since it gives me a reason to visit Lee/Sachi to pick up my mail.   BTW, if you’re watching March Madness, root for G’town to win it all!!! Go Hoyas!


March 2nd, 2007

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Nintendo Wii, a video game console released in Nov 2006. The Wii is so much different than a regular video game console. Instead of just pressing buttons, you move according to the actions of the game, whether it’s throwing a ball as in bowling, or swinging a bat or club for baseball or golf, the Wii provides a sense of actually playing the game, rather than pushing buttons on a controller.

Our favorite game so far is Wii bowling. There is a side game for bowling where you bowl 10 times, each time the game adds a row of pins to the stack…. so for round 1, you have the normal 10 pins, round 2 adds a row to make it 15 pins, round 3 is 21 pins.. and so forth. Round 10 has a mammoth 91 pins that you must knock down with 1 throw… and that is difficult. You get points for each pin you knock down, and double points in that round if you get a strike. The record in our household was previously 662, held by my sister, but I have since crushed that record and earned a jaw-dropping 740 points to reclaim the top spot in this sport.

If you have the opportunity to get ahold of a Wii, I highly recommend it. And if you have a higher score than 740 on power bowling…. bring it!

California Speedin’

February 28th, 2007

Vroom Vrooooom - What an incredible weekend! I just got back from a fantabulous time at the California Speedway in Fontana, CA. The whole fam came together and met up to watch a little Nascar. Now I know what you’re thinking…. “Nascar??? really? Ain’t that for dem hicks in Alabama?” Well this isn’t your father’s Nascar anymore. It’s certainly becoming the nations most popular sport (fanwise) and by the crowds over the weekend, I can see why.

We got setup in fine style, sportin’ a 35ft Class-A RV in the first row of the infield (at the end of turn 2). See, RVs are parked in the infield of the track, as many as 10 rows deep. Being that we wanted to see the cars up close, we got a spot about 30 feet from the track. That was close. Some of the pics on the flickr links on the right show shots from our vantage point sitting on top of the RV. This was my first time in an RV and I was surprised how much room it offered. There was even plenty of room to bust out some Wii bowling.

During the weekend, we had lotsa time to wander. I was particularly impressed with the access we had to visit the pits and walk around on the track. We got up close to many of the cars prior to the race, which doesn’t mean much to non-fans, but it’s similar to walking around the Safeco infield prior to the Mariners taking the field. One thing that is somewhat lost in watching Nascar on TV is the sound. It’s as loud as an airplane engine with more of a biker muffler sound. Even with earplugs on, it still rang my ears.

Part of the weekend was the choosin’ of drivers by each of my family members. Each person then had to wear the hat of their driver all weekend and subject themselves to the praises and high-5’s from fans of that driver, as well as the jeering from other fans who wish your driver would hit the wall and flip upside down. My driver was Matt Kenseth, driving the #17 DeWalt Ford. DeWalt makes power tools, so how much more of a typically manly Nascar sponsor can you get? It’s not like the Betty Crocker Cheerios car, which looks about as fruity as the rainbow color Jeff Gordon car. After the 500 mile race on Sunday, the winner was none other than my boy, Matt Kenseth. I sported my winning driver hat the rest of the night.

If you have the inclination to visit a Nascar race, I would HIGHLY recommend the whole infield experience. Instead of fighting traffic, lines, crowds, and overpriced vendors, you can enjoy the race from your own seat on top of your RV. And if it’s cold or you need another beer from your fridge, you can go inside your kitchen/dining/bedroom vehicle and watch the race on your TV while sitting in your captain’s chairs. I think it’s the only way to fully enjoy the racing weekend.

(Photo courtesy of Lee LeFever)

Me cheering on my driver

Crash boom bang

February 20th, 2007

The five hundid’ was rocky like a possum in a cotton gin. It was smokey like a pack of pall malls in the hills of north cackilacky…. and fast like dem’ duke boys being chased by Sherriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. In the end, the Vegas born Harvick leaned his car’s nose ahead of the old-guy Martin to take the grand-daddy race of the year. I guessed wrong, but there was a good crash in the last lap, so racers and fans alike were all happy and up against the fence tryin’ to see if anyone other than Bowyer could slide across the finish line upside down on their roof.

Nuff with Nascar for now… greetings now from the sunny SoCal where palm trees made way for starlets and overpriced pizza with gouda and goat cheese are the norm. Been chillin’ at the local starbucks, doing the people watchin’ and page surfin’. Visiting some fam and friends while here, catching the tail end of winter here, which don’t go much below 50 from what i hear. Yay for that. Now if the traffic would die down a bit, it’d be paradise. Get the sunscreen out from last summer and bust out those flip-flops (or Crocs if you got ‘em, since they are the new craze, and comfy too) cause I know warmer days are ahead. Tonight I’m off to Marina del Ray to reconnect with friends, so hopefully I’ll start putting new pics up as well. More from SoCal to come….

Punahou Wins!

September 6th, 2006

My high school came up to Seattle this past weekend to play in the feature game of the Emerald City Football Classic against Eastlake high school. Punahou came out strong and beat up on Eastlake, winning 23-16. The game was close score-wise, but Punahou was definitely winning both sides of the ball. My cousin Adam is actually on the team and he played phenomenally. As co-captain of the team and an awesome linebacker, he sacked the Eastlake quarterback in the endzone for a safety and also recovered a fumble. He was all over the field kicking butt and taking names. Adam’s family also came up to Seattle and I had a wonderful time reconnecting with them all. I no can speak local kine all the time, so when get chance, I no stay all haole-mainland, but I go back local way and tro’down my pidgen with slippahs on and ono luau grinds in my opu. I didn’t see many classmates of mine, but I was able to run into former teachers, friends and parents of friends who were there watching the football game. I wasn’t able to go back to Hawaii for my 10th reunion this past June, so this was a good alternative. Punahou football is currently ranked #1 in Hawaii and #10 in the Western U.S., not bad, eh? Besides the football team, the cheerleaders, volleyball team and band also made the trip. Having everyone come up from Hawaii, as well as the many many Seattle folks that came out to root for my team, it was just like being at Aloha Stadium. Congrats to the team for a good win and for representing Punahou and the Aloha State with much pride and class.

I pick, you pick, we all pick

August 19th, 2006

U-pick farms are local produce farms that allow visitors to pick their own fruits/vegetables. Personally, I think it has it’s pros/cons… Pros are that you can pick the particular produce right off the vine/stalk/tree and get super fresh fruits & veggies. Cons are that we’re doing all the work for the farmers and it’s more trouble than just going to the grocery store. We went this morning to South 47 Farm in Redmond and picked up a good cross section of the product aisle. It’s August, so there almost everything is ready for harvest. We got some eggplant, yellow squash, blackberries, some sort of summer crisp romaine lettuce, a watermelon with an orange flesh and sweet onions. There was also a bunch of apples, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower and a variety of leafy green things that all look like salad to me. This is totally the urban-version of gardening, where the farmer does all the work and we swoop in and pick it right when it’s ready. Good deal, as long as you know what to do with the veggies you get. Me, whatever I don’t use will slowly expire in the crisper drawer in my fridge before I get convinced to throw it away. If you have a U-pick farm in your area, I suggest you try it out before the harvest season is through for the year.

Give a man grilled food and feed him for a day…

August 3rd, 2006

…give him a grill of his own and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime. Over the past few months of spring/summer, I’ve been using Lee & Sachi’s backyard gas grill to remind me of good ol’ manly outdoor cooking. Nothing fancy, just steaks, ribs, the usual sort. Well, ol’ bessy (I just named it) ain’t doin’ so well and was on it’s last legs. Even with the gas fully on, meat would barely get warm, let alone cook. I think the grill is just gettin’ old and wants to be put to pasture already.

In comes the replacement. Even though I’m just squatting till Lee/Sachi get home from their trip, I couldn’t resist getting a grill that I really liked. This must be how women feel when they need a new pair of shoes….. I first went to a few stores to scout the options, then went online to read reviews and expert opinions. After determining that the $6,000 grill (which included a sink, refridgerator, and I think a garbage disposal) was too over-the-top, I found a grill that met both my features criteria, quality criteria and price limit. Also, it was the biggest grill that would still fit in the back of my SUV. I’ll include pictures later on, but this grill is a stainless steel 5-burner, 60,000 BTUs (British thermal units), with a rotisserie and a side station burner for a sauce pan. One of the cooler things it has is a pop up light that allows me to grill at night and lights along the knobs on the front panel. The guy at Home Depot said that it should take about 45 minutes to put together…. hmmm, not really. It took me about 2 hours, but that’s probably because the 2nd hour was in the dark. Thank goodness for the pop up grill light. I had to install the light before other grill components, since the sun had gone down and i needed to see what I was doing. It’s all done now and the old grill has been put aside. I showed the grill to Sachi by using the “Amos-cam” and she’s excited about the new backyard addition…. granted, she and Lee are in Macau right now, so a new grill can hardly compare to the exitement over there. Let’s go grillin’!!!

Neck infection

July 18th, 2006

About a month ago, Amos got his semi-annual check-up. He passed with flying colors, including the blood tests done. Because he’s a hairy dog, they had to shave about an inch of hair from his neck to get the blood sample. I don’t know if he scratched it, or if it was the collar rubbing against it, or what the reason, but about a week ago, I noticed his neck was infected and not looking too good. Luckily, I was working from home that day and was able to take him to the vet. The doc said it wasn’t too bad and that he’d get better in about 2 weeks, undergoing antibiotic treatment of 3 pills/day and a twice/day antibiotic spray on the infection. Sounds simple… doesn’t it? So the regiment for the past week has been to take him into the bathroom and wash his neck with soap/water 3 times per day, before he gets his pill. He’s pretty good about sitting there while I clean his neck, since I use warm water and it’s pretty painless. After the neck cleaning, he gets his treat, otherwise known as his antibiotic pill (wrapped in peanut butter, since he hates medicine). Following the peanut butter treat, he knows what’s next….. the hated hated spray. It could be the smell of the spray, or the cold mist on his neck, or the spritzing sound…. but whatever it is, he HATES it. Since he’s dialed-in to the routine already, he know to scurry away and hide when the spray bottle comes out. Luckily, I’m still the boss (alpha-male) of the house and I can always make him walk over to me, no matter how anxiously he does it. He’s getting better and for the most part, he doesn’t scratch at his neck, so I’m thinking he’ll be 100% very soon. Amos now sports a harness when going on walks, since it wraps around his stomach, rather than his neck. And don’t worry Lee/Sachi, costs for medicine, vet visits, and the new doggie harness will be added to the Amos bill awaiting you on your return… hahaha.