Friday, August 29, 2008

Tina Fey for V.P.!

I know I'm not the first person to come up with this comparison, but it is the first thing that I thought of when I saw John McCain's V.P. Candidate this morning.

Sarah Palin or Tina Fey?

The resemblance is striking. I'm just guessing that that's where the similarities end.

I'm also guessing that Saturday Night Live is going to have a field day with this! (I realize that Tina Fey no longer writes for them, but you gotta believe that they'll have her come in for a special guest appearance for this.)

Even funnier, a quote from my friend, Mike Gaines:

"I can't decide if McCain's VP choice is Tina Fey or Karen Walker"

"Hey, Poodle...."


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Miguel!!

Dinner this evening with Miguel, David and Christopther at "South" in
Mission Bay.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pint for a Pint

or, "what I'll do for free ice-cream"

Today I donated blood at my local blood bank. I've been donating every 2-3 months for about 3 years now. It's something that I feel really good about doing. I know that for one-reason-or-another, many people are unable to donate blood, and that blood bank levels are still quite low. I'm happy to be able to take an hour or so out of my day every couple of months to do my part to help.

...but every once in a while, we get extra perks! Movie tickets, a free t-shirt, etc.,

Today: free ice cream from Baskin Robbins! (whoo-hoo!)

"Pint for a Pint"

Clever slogan, isn't it?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chihuly Exhibit at the de Young Museum

I went to the de Young Museum on Friday afternoon with Kathy, my parents, my sister and Graham to see The Dale Chihuly Exhibit.

I've seen a few Chihuly pieces at various museums before, but none of those smaller, individual pieces could prepare me for this exhibit. I was overwhelmed by it! Seriously, we all gasped in amazement as we entered each room.

Chihuly's pieces are so amazing - the colors, the size, the creativity. It was truly inspiring.

If you are in the area and have a chance to see this exhibit, I highly recommend seeing it. It's here until September 28th. It seems to sell out quickly, so I'd recommend buying tickets early. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Now with 95% More Cowbell!!

This is a new record for Dick and me on "Rock Band"!

95% for each of us, both of us playing on Expert Mode: Trina on Guitar, Dick (alias "Spark") on Bass on (Don't Fear) the Reaper!

Dick and Trina Don't Fear the Reaper!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rockin' Momma!!

Tubular Tiff on Bass, and Bodacious Barb on Drums!

Today is my 5 Year Bloggiversary!

I just realized that today marks 5 years since my very first blog post.

Wow. That's a long time. How'd that happen?

Two years ago, on my 3rd Bloggiversary, I wrote a list of my top 5 favorite blog posts up to that time. I'm re-reading that list now, and think that they still may apply as some of my favorites.

I should probably skim the last couple of years to see if I have any other posts that might make the cut.

Blogging is an interesting thing. I'm still surprised how much I enjoy it, even after all of these years. It's funny, because I rarely have those "Let's see, what should I blog about today..." moments. It's more just what comes to mind at the moment. I suppose that's what makes it so enjoyable to me: it's not work. It's more like writing down a thought. And because it's been documented here on the blog, I now remember more fleeting moments or funny stories that I probably would have otherwise forgotten.

I often joke about my blog saying, "Who knew I had so much to say, without ever really saying anything!"

My cousin, Bruce, was recently called a narcissist just because he keeps a blog. I thought that was awfully harsh criticism. Now granted, he's in public position where he'll have to endure all kinds of criticism left and right, but still.... It did make me think about my own blog, and what it is that I gain from it. What I came to realize is that I'm still blogging for the same reasons that I started it 5 years ago: I blog for myself - it's my own personal online journal, that I don't mind sharing with the world. I never put anything too personal on it, and also make sure that I don't post anything that may get me in trouble. It provides an outlet to vent, a place to document day-to-day happenings that I would otherwise forget, and funny tidbits that simply make me laugh. I feel very fortunate that over the years, I seem to have picked up a following of family, friends, and even people who I've never met who seem to be somewhat interested or amused with what I have to say. What's wrong with that? If keeping an online journal of random thoughts and happenings of my life make me narcissistic, then I guess I'm okay with that.

So, Happy 5th Bloggiversary! Thanks to all of you who have sent comments over the years, and given feedback on my blog. I really love the interaction and sense of community that it has created over time.

Now, let's see if I can keep it up for another 5 years! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beach Blanket Babylon

Tonight is Kathy's last evening with us before heading back to NC.
While she was researching things to do while visiting us, she came
across Beach Blanket Babylon. She asked if we knew of it, and we both
simultaneously chimed in, "Of course! It's a San Francisco institution!"

Dick and I haven't seen the show in at least 8 or 9 years, so we
agreed that we should all go while she's here. I'm sure it'll be a lot
of fun, and i know there will be a lot of new things since we last saw
it. My parents and Christopher are joining us, too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marcel on the Stairs

I like this photo that I just took of Marcel. What a cute kitty. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lost & Found

Came home this afternoon and found this hat hanging from the posts of
the side gate of our house.

It strikes me as funny for so many reasons.

Anyone want to lay claim to it?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Birthplace of Seattle

We're in Seattle with Martin! First stop: Alki- the place where in
1851, the Schooner Exact landed, and Captain Folger established the
little colony which developed into the City of Seattle.

Butchart Gardens and the Last Day at Sea

What a wonderful trip that was! We pulled into port in Seattle around
7:00 this morning. We disembark at 9:30. Time for one last vacation
blog entry!

Yesterday evening, we were in port in Victoria, BC, only from
6:30-11:30pm. Dick and I went on our excursion to the gorgeous
Butchart Gardens! I'm happy to say, it's just as beautiful as I had
remembered. We were not disappointed. We had abou two and a half hours
to stroll the gardens in total. We got a little more than an hour of
daylight and dusk, and the gardens were lit wirh lights after that.
Two totally different ways to see the gardens. It was beautiful!
Unfortunately, they only do the fireworks show on Saturday evenings,
so we missed out on that. It was around 75 degrees or so in the
evening, which, compared to the weather we experienced in Alaska, was
quite balmy!!

Before we pulled into Victoria, we had our last day at sea. Dick and I
did all those things one is supposed to do on a cruise: we lounged on
our veranda, had some cocktails on the deck, and later in the Crow's
Lounge, shot some hoops, tossed the pigskin, played some shuffleboard,
and I even managed to squeeze in an art auction, and a game of BINGO!
(I won $185.00!!)

We really enjoyed the cruise, and especially loved sharing the
experience with Dick's family!

We're getting ready to get off the boat now. We're going to hook up
with Martin for a bit before we fly out is SEATAC this afternoon.

Homeward Bound!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ketchikan, AK

Welcome to the Salmon Capital of the World!!

Greetings from Ketchikan. We pulled into port at 7:00 this morning.
We'll be leaving at 12:30. Short stop.

We decided against any excusions today. Instead, we decided to stroll
around town on our own.

We walked through town, and eventually found our way to the Totem
Heritage Center, and a local fish hatchery. Both were very
interesting. We were glad that we decided to walk the extra distance
to find them. It turns out that we're here, in the Salmon Capital of
the World during the salmon spawning time, so we've seen tons and tons
of salmon swimming through the creeks.

This will be our last stop in Alaska. We sail for the rest of the day
today and tomorrow, before we port in Victoria, B.C. I'm really
looking forward to that. I haven't been to Victoria since I was a kid,
and I remember really loving it there. Unfortunately, we'll only be
there from 6:00pm through Midnight, but we'll make the most of it. Our
one scheduled excursion there will an evening tour of Butchart
Gardens, which I expect will be quite spectacular.

Since we're leaving Alaska early this afternoon, I'll be "unplugged"
until we're back in port in Seattle early Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Tail of a Whale!


So far, we've spotted several Bald Eagles, Sea Otters, deer, and even
a whale or two!!

Just as advertised. ;)

It was a really great excursion, but unfortunately, it's raining
pretty hard. We're in an indoor/outdoor catamaran, so we do have the
option of staying inside if we want. Dick and I have braved going
outside a bit. We're really glad that we bought a couple of GREAT
gortex raincoats right before we left. They're doing a great job of
keeping us warm and dry!

Sea Otters!

A School of otters? A gaggle?

Just found out: a "raft" of Sea Otters! :)

On the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest!

In Sitka, AK.
On our way to see the Sea Otters (and maybe even an eagle, bear, or a

Hubbard Glacier

We spent a couple of hours sailing by the amazing and enormous Hubbard
Glacier yesterday!

Unfortunately, the cameras couldn't fully capture the enormous size
and beauty.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dog Sledding!!!

OMG. This was one of the most incredible experieces ever. I'm SO glad
that we did it!

This is a picture of a picture that the staff of the dog camp took
while we were out sledding! I'll scan it when we get home.

So awesome!!

The Dog Sled Camp

The glacier from the helicopter

Trina in the Helicopter!

Dick in the helicopter!

All geared up and ready to go!!!

Ready for our helicopter ride to the glacier!

Greetings from Juneau, Alaska!

Here we are! We spent the entire day at sea yesterday, and this
morning, we pulled into port in Juneau. We just docked (around
10:30am) and we'll be here 'til 8:00 this evening.

Dick and I have one excursion planned while we're here, and it's a
doozy!! We're going to take a helicopter to the glaciers, then (as if
that wasn't already cool enough) we'll be going to a dog sled camp!
Super cool! (I'm very excited)

The weather seems nice so far - I'm sitting on our veranda at the
moment with a jacket on, and I'm quite comfortable.

The cruise has been great so far. I'm surprised just how relaxing it
is to just be on a big boat all day. We had scalp massages yesterday
morning, then just hung out for the rest of the day. I talked Kathy
and Adrianne into playing a round of BINGO with me in the morning (I
confess: I'm a sucker for BINGO). We didn't win, but had a ton of fun.
Other than that, I've mostly been eating or exercising, ;) I think the
two go hand-and-hand when you're on a cruise. :) The food has been
quite good, as expected.

Really looking forward to our excision, and to exploring Juneau a
little. I'm sure I'll touch base again a little later.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

"We're going to Alaska!!"

That's a whole lot of Craddock!! (and some Cohen, a Patnaude, and one
singular Chow. : )

It's Official: we are *That* Family

This is hysterical.

We're in Seattle now, and we leave on a big boat bound for Alaska today.

We hooked up with Dick's family last night, freshly in from North
Carolina. We're all very excited!

There are 8 of us total: Dick, me, his Dad, his two sisters, and our
two nieces (ages 25 and almost 8) and one nephew (age 10).

Last night, after we all met for drinks and dinner, Kathy and Adrianne
surprised us all with these very funny "Craddock Family" t-shirts!

So, yeah. We're one of "those" families now: the ones who wear
matching shirts while vacationing together. :)

Very Funny.

Friday, August 08, 2008

One of my favorite things about staying at the "W" Hotel in Seattle

Sad, but true. I love this stuff. I always make Dick bring this home
for me when he stays here.

Happy Birthday, Virgin Air!

Well, what do you know? Today just happens to be the First Birthday of
Virgin America Airlines!

When we checked in at the counter, they told us that there would be a
party at the gate! I love this airline!

All Packed and Ready to Go!

Yep, we're all set! We're going to Alaska!!!

This is the first cruise that either of us have ever been on.
It turns out that it's kind of tricky to pack for a cruise.

First of all, you know you're going to need at least two outfits per day. 3 if you're planning to work out (which I am).

There's the dinners: two of them are formal, and the other 5 are semi-casual, but no jeans. In my world, that's means that it's still dressy. That means cute little dresses, and nice dress shoes.

There's also the pool. That requires a swim suit. And sandals.

Plus, there are all of those excursions.
In Alaska.
The excursions will include going to a glacier and going dog sledding! (whoo-hoo)
That means, layers, winter coats, scarves, hats, gloves and (in my case) Doc Martins.

Then, there's every thing else. The casual stuff. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sweaters...

Plus, there's the bonus that once you're on the ship, you don't have to schlep around your luggage anymore.

Oh, and we're also borrowing stuff from my parents: a couple pair of binoculars (for when we cruise through the glaciers) and their camera (larger than mine, but with image stability and higher zoom).

Dick and I are usually pretty good about packing, but this one kind of stumped us. I believe this is the most luggage we've ever packed on one trip.

The good news:
We're flying on Virgin America to Seattle.

Among many, many other perks, this also means that their weight restriction for luggage is 70 lbs. versus 50 lbs. on other airlines.

This is pretty darn helpful, as one of our suitcases is tipping the scale at around 55 lbs.

I make it sound like we're traveling with all of our clothes. It's actually not all that bad.

We're checking in two bags (one large, one medium) and carrying on a garment bag and a small carry on bag. And my purse, but I don't think that counts.

Now that we're all packed and ready to go, we're getting really excited!

We leave for Seattle today, then board the boat tomorrow morning.

The house and the kitties are being left under very good care. Thanks to Uncle Christopher, Graham and my sister! (Thank You!)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New Neighbors: The Xmen are moving to San Francisco!

Wolverine, walking along 24th Street in Noe Valley

The mutants are coming!

I love this. The X-Men are moving West to the Bay Area!

This isn't a small deal in the world of comic books. The X-Men, who settled in the Bay Area in the just-released 500th issue of the Uncanny X-Men, are arguably the most popular and recognizable superhero team in comic book history. And they've spent most of their 40-year existence based out of a mansion in Westchester County, N.Y.

But it should be no surprise. The trials of the X-Men, who discover at puberty that they are mutants, and are often forced to hide their true identities out of shame, have a lot in common with left-leaning causes, most notably the gay rights movement. In the comics, the X-Men have had gay and bisexual team members and associates, and their numbers were once decimated by a virus that had strong similarities to the AIDS epidemic.

I've read a few of the X-Men comic books, but know the X-Men more through the cartoon series and from the movies. This makes me want to go to my local Comic Book Store and check out what the new neighbors are getting into around town!

Noe is especially excited that Wolverine is moving into town. She thinks he's dreamy! :)

I Covet this House

I've admired this house every time I've walked by it over the past 12 years or so.

It's an amazing house: it sits atop Liberty Hill (a mile or so away from our house), and (must have) the most amazing views of the City. The outside (the only part I've actually seen) is beautiful, and unique in this area. The front garden and fountain are gorgeous, and always catch my eye.

...and now it's up for sale.

...for $3,745,000.00.

It even has an interesting history:

It’s a French Chateau inspired home (at least on the outside) atop Liberty Hill (3690 21st Street) which was built in 1930 by banker and entrepreneur James “Sunny Jim” Rolph for his mistress, silent-film actress Anita Page. Three years later, “Sunny Jim” became mayor of San Francisco, after twenty years in office he became governor (of California).

I had never seen the interior of the house before, and I'm so glad that the listing has a lot of photos. I have to admit: I'm still enamored! It's not a style that I would usually go for, but it seems to suit the building so well. It's almost like a miniature Hearst Castle.

Darn it.

Where's that extra 4 million dollars when you need it? ;)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

AT&T Cell coverage while in Alaska

Dick and I are leaving for vacation on Friday! Yay!

We are flying to Seattle Friday evening, spending one night there, then boarding a cruise ship to Alaska on Saturday! We'll be traveling with Dick's family (his dad, two sisters, two nieces and one nephew), celebrating his Dad's 75th Birthday! (a little early - his birthday isn't actually until November.)

We are very, very excited. Out of the whole group, only one person (our oldest niece, Adrianne) has been on a cruise before. We all figured that this would be a great trip to take together - easy to plan for a large group of people, and something for everyone.

Dick and I are both planning to go "unplugged" for the week. (Gasp!) I also assumed that we wouldn't use our cell phones either, due to enormous roaming charges.

But, I thought I'd better call AT&T just in case.

Here's the deal:

While on the boat, we would be charged the standard $2.49/minute.
Okay, won't be doing that.

However, because we have a Nationwide calling plan, when we dock and are at port in Alaska, we won't be charged any additional fees!

Whoo Hoo! That's big news!

This will enable me to touch base with my family while we're away. Plus, you know, I can do other important stuff like check my email, check all of my friend's Facebook statuses, and perhaps even squeeze in a blog post or two! ;)

I'm sure that Dick will have to remind me that we'll be in Alaska, and certainly, I can find better things to do than to play with my iPhone.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Times of Harvey Milk

Dick and I watched "The Times of Harvey Milk" this weekend. I had heard that it is a very good documentary film - it won Oscar for Best Documentary in 1984.

The movie was outstanding. I'm so glad that we watched it.

But, here's what got me...

I've lived in the Castro for nearly 10 years now, so I've learned a lot about the the history and culture of our neighborhood. I think I know a fair amount of about Harvey Milk, and of his achievements, and his untimely death.

However, I'm just a little too young to remember the details of any of these things when they actually happened. I was only 8 years old, and my family had only just moved to the Bay Area in 1978 - the year that Harvey Milk (and SF Mayor George Moscone) were assassinated. I don't remember it at all.

What struck me about watching the documentary was that even through I knew most of the historical facts, I had not seen any of the actual media footage from that time period. That's what got me. I had seen photos of the candlelight memorial march, but seeing the footage of it nearly brought me to tears. I had heard of the riots after Dan White's sentencing, but I had never seen the footage of the police cars set on fire, or the riots outside City Hall.

It was very moving.

I found that I went through the gamut of emotions while watching this film: I was intrigued and inspired by watching the footage of Harvey Milk, during his election campaign, and seeing how much he accomplished in his very short time in office. I was brought to tears watching the footage following his assassination, and I was ANGRY at the verdict and light sentencing to Dan White.

As I said, I knew all of the facts and chain of events before watching the film, but it was done so well, and utilized the media footage in such a way that really moved me.

I wanted to watch this documentary before the "Milk" film comes out in the fall/winter. I really hope that they do as good of a job on the feature film as was done on the documentary.

I don't think that many people outside of San Francisco or the gay community really know who Harvey Milk was, or how much he did for Human Rights in general(not just Gay Rights). If you have a chance, please rent and watch this documentary. I think there's a lot of important history to learn here, and you'll be glad that you did.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Total Solar Eclipse

My parents are on vacation in China right now.

They are not there for the Olympics (which start in a week). Nope, they went to see the solar eclipse!

My parents have a couple of close friends who are part of a group of astronomers who plan their vacations around solar and lunar eclipses. My parents joined them several years ago for an eclipse in Australia!

They've been gone for almost two weeks now, but today is the actual day of the eclipse.
I just found this article on Sounds like they had great conditions, and I assume a successful viewing!

My parent's trip started out in Beijing, where they had an all-day excursion to the Great Wall outside of Beijing. They were able to visit the Mutianyu section of the Wall, which apparently is less crowded than other sections that are more frequently visited by tourists.

Here's a great photo that my Mom and Dad sent to us last week.

Mom and Dad on the Great Wall

I think that's a great photo!

Tomorrow, they leave for Shanghai, and will spend a couple of days there before coming home on Tuesday.

It's been a nice surprise to my sister and me that my parents have had occasional access to the internet during their trip, and have been able to send us a few emails and photos. It seems they're even taking the time to read my blog when they can. :)

So, (assuming they see this) here's a big shout out to Mom and Dad! Have a good trip home! We miss you!