A new twist on a barber shop

July 30th, 2007

The average guy probably goes to a barber shop to get his hair cut. Why a barber shop? Well because it’s a place where sports is talked about, it has little frills, and it doesn’t smell like a flowery perfume shop. Most guys don’t go to salons or to a “stylist”… since we’re not looking for a new dew, we’re looking for a chop…. so we don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. I was looking for a new barber shop the other day, since the one I usually go to has inconvenient hours. And I found a place called “Sports Clips”.

Sports Clips is a franchise haircut shop that caters to guys. The same reason why most guys get drawn to the tool and television departments in Sears, Sports Clips has found a formula that seems to work. As you can probably imagine, the decor is sports-themed. Jerseys, helmets, and memorabilia line the walls and the high-school locker fashioned cabinets store the haircutting supplies. When you sit in the chair, instead of pointing you to the mirror to watch yourself (like every other hair cutting shop), you face a personal tv showing ESPN, or whatever local sports program is on. Nice touch. After a typical barber haircut, the barber would brush your neck…. but all those little hairs would still make your neck itch. At Sports Clips, they wash your newly cut hair and get rid of all those pesky loose hairs.

While your hair is drying, a clean hot towel is placed on your face and it makes you feel like you’re at a spa…. without the smelly scented oils that can make you smell like potpourri. After a minute or two with the hot towel, they use one of those hand-held vibrating back massagers that you’d find at the Sharper Image. Very nice and totally needed after a long day at work.

If you get the chance, I recommend trying this place…. if anything, to tell your barber that he’s got competition.

Trivia night winners

July 20th, 2007

A few times each year, I get together with friends for trivia night.  There are a bunch of bars around Seattle that hold a trivia night once a week, which consists of someone reading trivia questions over a microphone while teams of 4-6 people at each table attempt to answer the 40 questions.  Each city has bars with trivia nights, in Philly we called it quizo nights.  So last night, I met some friends at Norm’s, a chill Seattle bar in the Fremont district.  The previous quiz night at Norm’s was back in December, when Lee & Sachi came to play as well.  We didn’t do too well that night… I think we got 23 points out of 40, resulting in 7th place out of about 20 teams.  This time was a different story.  After round 1, we were a perfect 10 points out of 10.  Round 2 had a couple hiccups, but we still pulled 8 points…. resulting in a halftime score of 18 points, tied for 1st place.  The third and fourth rounds were a bit harder and we only squeezed out 12 out of the possible 20 points in the 2nd half.  Figuring we had enough for a top 5 place but probably not enough to win, we paid our bill and were ready to leave…. but wait….. we ended up winning by 1 point.  WOOHOO!  This is the first time I’ve won, and I’ve played about 20-30 times.  The cash prize was $165, split 5 ways.  A $33 payday ain’t bad for answering a few questions.

Just to see if you’re smart enough to play trivia, here are a few questions from last night:

  1. Measuring over 3100 square miles, what is the largest U.S. city in terms of area?
  2. What Tammy Wynette hit was sung by Jake & Elwood Blues in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers”?
  3. During the 1980’s, name the only two Chicago Cubs to receive the MVP award?
  4. In the 2004 movie “Dodgeball”, what are the five “D’s” of dodgeball?
  5. What songstress has a museum dedicated to her in Kentwood, Louisiana?

If you know the answers to these questions (without looking on the Internet), then you’re probably great at trivia since you’re filled with useless knowledge.  If you can’t answer these, then consider yourself among the normal, since most people shouldn’t know all these weird facts.

How to pick a Presidential candidate

July 10th, 2007

There are 219 days till the Iowa caucus, which means it’s getting into prime political campaigning time.  The question though is, how do I learn about the different candidates and find one to support?  I guess you could watch the many different talking head programs to hear sound bytes on each candidate…. or you could read transcripts of speeches to learn about candidate views….

Instead of doing all that work, just go to www.MyElectionChoices.com.  This site will allow you to select the national issues that are most important to you.  For each issue, you will then review a series of statements or opinions made by various candidates and determine which ones you agree with.  The candidate identities for each statement is withheld to remove all artificial biases toward specific candidates.  After determining the statements you agree with, the site then tells you which candidates you have most in common with.
The results may shock you…. even point you to a different political party…. but it provides a launching pad to learn about candidates you may have ignorantly overlooked.

I think if people use this site to really find out about candidate positions, it will educate voters to think for themselves and not just vote for who the media tells them to vote for.  Try it and see if you truly agree with the candidate you intend to vote for.

Griffey’s return to Seattle

June 23rd, 2007

Last night was Ken Griffey Jr.’s first game back in Seattle, after leaving 8 years ago to play for Cincinnati.  The Reds and Mariners are in different leagues and only play when the Interleague schedule pairs them together.  Prior to the game, there was a special presentation for Griffey, highlighting his years in Seattle and bringing back past teammates, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner, to help him celebrate.  Safeco field was soldout, the first time this season.  When Griffey walked onto the field there was a good two-minute standing ovation.

Once the game started, the Mariners were out of it pretty much from the start.  After a few innings, the Reds were leading something like 8-0.  Griffey was up to bat and the Mariners decided to bring in a new pitcher.  Out comes Ryan Rowland-Smith, a rookie pitcher that was just called up from the minors.  I gotta hand it to the Mariners.  They bring up a kid and force him to make his major-league debut against one of the best hitters of all time.  Rowland-Smith showed real signs of greatness though… in 5 pitches he strikes out Griffey Jr. and ends the inning.  Of what ended up being a 16-1 final score whoopin’ of the Mariners, the emergence of Rowland-Smith as a possible future pitching phenom salvaged the spirit of the Friday evening fans.  Griffey ended up with 3 strikeouts and 1 hit in his return.  Not a great showing, but he still impressed the fans and everyone still had a great time.

Inspecting bridges in Hawaii

June 12th, 2007

When I saw the news headline, “Half of state’s bridges fall short of standards“, it reminded me of my first college internship, working for the Hawaii State Dept of Transportation. One of my duties as an engineering intern was to perform high-level bridge inspections. Basically, we weren’t trained bridge inspectors, but we could provide structural insight on areas of failure or gross neglect. This article talks about how Hawaii bridges are not meeting federal standards… and how they haven’t been meeting standards for years. I think that’s a little overblown though. The bridges aren’t going to fall down, but apparently they aren’t as good as they should be. When I was inspecting those bridges in 1997, what I most remember was that there were cracks everywhere in the concrete…. which is expected from a 50 year old bridge. I’m sure the federal inspectors are finding some of the same cracks I saw…. which is probably what caused them to get a failing grade, since you can’t expect concrete to not have some stress cracks in it. It’s a tough job inspecting bridges, with the unknown people, rodents, and other things found in the dark, damp underworld of concrete crevasses. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but for one summer, it was a fun experience.

Baby Hannah - June 2, 2007

June 12th, 2007

Just before 1am on Saturday June 2nd, Rachel and Michael delivered their first kid, Hannah. After a week of rest and relaxation (and poopy diapers), Mike and Rachel were ready to have visitors. Hannah was a little sleepy when I saw her, as you can see in these pictures. We distracted Mike enough for him to watch a baseball game on his new LCD flatscreen. However, we could tell that no matter how much joy came with getting a new big HDTV, their gift of a little girl made all other material needs insignificant. Having a kid may be the end of Mike & Rachel’s wild ‘n’ crazy social life, but think of the positives…..now they get to receive Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. Congrats to Rachel and Mike!!!

Look at the size of that collar

June 6th, 2007

I stopped by McCormick & Schmidt’s happy hour before the Mariners game yesterday. They’re known for great happy hour deals, especially their $1.95 burger/fries. Instead of getting the standard burger, I opted to order the halibut collar, assuming it would be something like fish ‘n’ chips (without the chips). When they brought it out, it seemed like the whole crowd gasped at the size of it. It barely fit on the plate and it must have been the WHOLE collar off the halibut. Just so you know, halibut runs about $10-15 per pound at the supermarket, so this collar (including bones), which weighed at least a pound and a half, should have cost about $20. Thanks to happy hour prices, it was only $3.95. Yay for happy hour!

Saturday softball tournament

June 4th, 2007

This weekend, my co-ed softball team played in a 1-day tournament up in north Seattle. Being June, the weather in Seattle is 80 and clear skies. The whole field consisted of 5 teams playing double-elimination. Our first game started at 9am and we whooped the other team… something like 22-8. The next game had a similar result, which put us into the championship game. Since we hadn’t lost yet, we were able to relax for a couple hours while the other teams played each other to earn the right to play us for the championship. In the final game, we played against a team that didn’t like us, since we already beat them once earlier in the day. Down 4 runs in the final inning, my team fought back and scored 5 runs to win the tournament. We all got t-shirts… yay, free stuff.

One thing we all noticed was the differences between most other softball teams and ours. Part of the difference is age and part of it is our demeaner. My team is between 28-35 yrs old and we all have higher education backgrounds. Not to sound snobby, but other teams seem to be more whiskey-tango usually with one or two guys in their fifties, trying to relive their thirties. Other teams also tend to have tattoos, or have women with legs the size of bridge abutments. We don’t fit in when compared to other teams… especially those that are competitive enough to play in weekend tournaments. Instead, we fit the mold of teams that play at Greenlake for fun with the other Seattle urbanites. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Seattle tournaments, so I guess we’ll have to keep venturing out to play the crazy-competitive and trashy teams that seem to be in every tournament.

2 hours of my life wasted watching Spiderman 3

May 23rd, 2007

On Monday I went to watch Spiderman 3, following an evening out at Refresh Seattle, where Lee spoke about how online communities are like parties waiting to happenSachi and I had collected free movie passes from a Safeway promotion a few months ago that had to be used in the next month, so we figured it would be nice to catch a current flick while out with friends.  The tickets were essentially free, but even that was paying too much.  I had seen Spiderman 1 and 2, which were both somewhat cheesy and predictable… what else do you expect from a comic-book character?   This third installment brought it to a whole new level… a new low.  I’m not giving anything away by revealing that Spiderman wins in the end… of course, he’s the comic hero.  But outside of some of the special-effects of spiderman swooping around buildings on his webs, there wasn’t much else to get excited about.  In fact, there were whole sections of the movie that were just absurd and made me think they brought in a bunch of 4th grade writers to create the story.  One thought that entered my head while leaving the theater was, “this isn’t even Netflix worthy”…. meaning that I wouldn’t want to waste a spot on my queue for this movie that’s more of a drawn out velveeta-ized sequel than anything resembling a new or worthwhile story.  Save your money and when it finally comes out on free tv, turn off your tv and go outside and do something productive…. like wash your car.  It’ll be 2 hours of your life you’ll be happy to not have wasted watching Spidey 3.

This softball game is sponsored by…

May 21st, 2007

After a few years of playing softball in Seattle, my co-ed team (Bottom of the Fifth) finally has a sponsor.  Instead of paying the $80 per season (typically 2-3 seasons during a year), we now have a full sponsor.  A friend of ours, Tate, owns a bar/club in Fremont called Nectar.  Besides the paying of our league fees, Nectar has also provided us new uniform shirts and there’s even talk about team hats.  But best of all, Nectar provides us with a post-game hangout where they serve tasty pizzas.  Big thanks goes out to Tate and Nectar for what hopes to be the beginning of great relationship.  Check out Nectar if you’re around Fremont and itching for a bite & a drink.  FYI, so far our Nectar team is undefeated after our first two games.