October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I never know how many trick-or-treaters we'll get at our house. Logic says we should get a lot given our North Slope Historic District location and relatively high concentration of children in the neighborhood. Tonight's weather report is dry, something I haven't seen since moving here in 2005. This is my first rain-free Halloween. However, it's 7:15 and we've had exactly two groups of kids totalling six trick-or-treaters since I flipped on the porch light on just after six.

What a bummer. And we have so much candy. I'm literally giving it away by the handfulls. Way to miss out Tacoma kids.

I've been entertaining myself by dressing up the dogs instead.

Devil Dog Matches:

Halloween Matches.jpg

Lobster Dog Pharaoh:

Lobster Dog 1.jpg

Lobster Dog 2.jpg

Pharaoh, pouting like a little girl. He hates it when we put any sort of "clothing" on him and his reaction is to run and hide. Sorry bud. It was totally worth it for the pig tails.

Witch Hat.jpg

God I need a hobby.

Posted by Ensie at 06:22 PM | Comments (450) | TrackBack

October 26, 2007

Witch Creek Fire Day 6

My family drove home to Ramona this morning. The house is indeed standing with minimal damage. There is a nightmare of a mess - dirt, dust, soot, and ashes have worked their way into every crevice and covered absolutely everything. My Mom spent the day cleaning out the refrigerator and large freezer that have been without power in the 90 degree heat for several days while my Dad tried to get the garage back into some kind of order.

My Dad noted that the 4-stall barn appeared to have burned on the inside and will need some repair. This was confirmed by my parent's next-door neighbors who stayed during the fire and used dirt and a shovel to put out the fire. The neighbor also used a hose to put out smoldering leaves and brush that had blown up against a fence near the house and were threatening to catch fire. My parents are taking them out for a four-star meal once things calm down.

Due to the lack of water and electricity, my family is staying in a hotel in nearby Poway tonight. Interestingly, their phone is still working.

I'll be flying down to San Diego tomorrow morning and will spend the next several days helping to clean the house and volunteer where I can. Internet access will likely be iffy and I have no idea what type of schedule I'll be keeping. I'll definitely take lots of photos.

Posted by Ensie at 09:29 PM | Comments (67) | TrackBack

October 25, 2007

Witch Creek Fire Day 5

Ramona residents are finally being allowed back home tonight after the Ramona Municipal Water District has held the evacuees hostage for an extra 24 to 48 hours. I'm too exhausted to write about the near riot that occurred, but you can read about it on the Union-Tribune's blog. I totally agree with the first comment on the blog -- It is dangerous, but it is all kinds of awesome.

Go Ramonans!

I was able to find a picture of the Oak Tree Ranch Mobile Home park on the Ramona Fire 2007 Blog that show a corner of my parent's house peeking out in the background. Friends have walked the property and say the house is in good condition without damage. I'm nervous though, especially after finding my parent's address on the San Diego County Confirmed Damaged and Destroyed Homes Assessment. It's listed as "moderately" damaged. My parents are waiting until tomorrow to go home, as the rush of 30,000 plus people tonight will be crazy, especially since IDs will be checked for every single car entering town.

Ramona still has no drinkable water and is under a boil order. No one is supposed to flush toilets and they are trucking in a couple hundred port-a-poties. That could get ugly really soon. Using OSHA calculations, the town should require about 2,000 portable toilets - we'll see how long the few hundred last. Bottled water will need to be brought in, and animals will require water from somewhere as well. It will be an interesting situation.

Our horses are going to move to my sister's work site tomorrow in Rancho Santa Fe. Until the situation improves in Ramona they will stay "down the hill" where resources are more readily available. Feed is still scarce and no one knows exactly how things will go over the next few days. The national guard is armed and patrolling the streets.

I'm going to attempt to fly down on Saturday, although my parents are going to make sure that they will be able to stay in their house tomorrow when they go back. If it is too badly smoke damaged they will be back in their hotel in Del Mar while it's cleaned. We'll all be volunteering to assist with evacuees, either human or animal for the next few days. My parent's church has remained open throughout the entire ordeal, providing food and shelter to firefighters and national guardsmen and women in Ramona, and now will do the same for those who have lost their homes.

I've heard from a few friends. My sister's best friend lost her home, as did her father. Several old horse friends have checked in - things are looking pretty good on that front. Most people I know had horses who were evacuated or are safe and have homes that are still there. My horseback riding instructor that lost her home in the Cedar Fire in 2003 stayed in Ramona and her house survived.

One of my close friends in Ramona appears to have lost his house. It's on the destroyed list. I believe his parent's home is also on the list. They live just a half mile from my parents. I haven't been able to connect with him and am trying to find someone who can tell me he and his family are safe and well. I'm sure they are, but I just want to hear his voice to know. Y'know? If anyone has spoken with Leonard Bowman in Ramona, or his parents, please send me an email and let me know if they are OK.

Posted by Ensie at 10:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 24, 2007

Witch Creek Fire Day 4

UPDATE (9:29 PM):

7:20 p.m. - Residents of the Oak Tree Ranch community in Ramona who would like information on their homes are being asked to call (760) 789-1382. Approximately 54 homes have been destroyed there.


111 PENN



Map of most current fire activity and evacuee areas.

For those of you looking to go home (and I'm sure many of you are), Ramona is still without drinkable water and many areas are still without power. With luck, water pressure should be restored within the next 12 - 24 hours and water will be chlorinated and clean. The boil water order should be able to be dropped at that time.

The fire danger appears to be largely to be East and North of Ramona at this time. I can't imagine that CAL wants to keep 36,000 residents out of their homes any longer than they absolutely have to. I'm crossing my fingers that Ramona residents start being let in by tomorrow as long as water pressure comes back up and is safe to drink once again.

UPDATE (4:14 PM):

Linda Morley, Ramona resident who lives in Ryland Homes, reports the following homes on Pile Street in Ramona were destroyed in the fire:

448 Pile Street

534 Pile Street

744 Pile Street

918 Pile Street


Ramona resources can now be found in the following areas:

The Ramona Sentinel has set up a page for damage reports here. At this time there is no damage reported. The Sentinel's main page has three addresses listed on Pile Street as destroyed. All future damaged and destroyed property will be listed on the damage report page.


There is now a Ramona Relief page where information can be posted. This includes information about yourself and your property, weather you are seeking info. or wanting to inform others.

The Ramona Sentinel has opened a Witch Creek Fire Blog page at Blogspot. Again, no postings have been made at this time, but please be aware that it is there.

The Los Angeles Times has an excellent article on fighting the fire in Ramona as the water ran out.

Jim 2.0's Blog with lots of excellent links to fire information.


The Poomacha Fire has merged with the Witch Creek Fire and is threatening the Palomar Mountain area.

The best source of general information I've found continues to be the Sign on San Diego Fire Blog.

New map of the fires from 4:30 AM this morning. This shows the old burn areas as well as the ACTIVE fronts on the the fire.

Another map showing time stamped activity of the Witch Creek Fire.

Electricity conservation is crucial in the San Diego area at this time. The Harris Fire in the South has burned through transmission lines that will not be repaired for 24 to 48 hours. Northern transmission lines from San Onofre in the North have also been interrupted and may take 1 or more days to repair. Brown outs or black outs could occur because of the limited electricity available. Evacuees returning to their homes are encouraged not to use electricity unless absolutely necessary.

From the SDG&E Website:

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has declared a transmission emergency in Southern California. The ISO will assess this morning whether the declaration is still in effect. SDG&E has only two major transmission corridors that link San Diego to the rest of the western power grid. The Southwest Powerlink, which extends from the Otay Mesa area to Arizona, has been in the heart of the Harris fire and as a result is currently out of service. The other transmission corridor from the north currently also has major transmission lines threatened by the fires. We are hopeful that we will be restoring power to the crucial Southwest Powerlink in the next few days. In order to return this key transmission line to service, SDG&E crews will need to gain access to it and wash the smoke residue from it, then re-energize it. The restoration will be dictated by the fire’s progress.

The boil water order for Ramona is still in effect. Water pressure is increasing due to the generators working to pump water for the Ramona Municipal Water Station. Those in Ramona are encouraged to conserve water.

The fire in Ramona is being battled in the Highland Valley and Mt. Woodson areas. Due to the lack of water, planes are being used to fight the flames.

Posted by Ensie at 11:56 AM | Comments (46) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

Witch Creek Fire Day 3

Over half a million people have now been evacuated in San Diego. There have been over 650,000 reverse 911 calls made to homes in San Diego County.

The Witch Creek Fire seems to have slowed its progress through Rancho Santa Fe. Residents are now being allowed back into the Del Mar Heights and the Torrey Pines area on the West side of the 5 Freeway. My family is still in their hotel and have not needed to move again.

The horses are in San Juan Capistrano and are doing OK. All are showing signs of stress and are being given electrolytes and other supplements to keep their vitals as close to normal as possible. My Mom's horse, Snowy, is showing signs of colic - they are giving him bran mashes with mineral oil and are debating calling a vet.

Reports from the Ramona Sentinel newspaper indicate that 20 homes have burned in the Magnolia Road area of Ramona. Magnolia becomes Black Canyon, the street that my parents live on. I'm sure that the damage is much worse the further you go down Black Canyon Road.

The Sentinel is also reporting that the Ramona Municipal Water District pumping station in Poway is now without power. This is reducing water pressure in parts of Ramona and will eventually drain the town of water if power is not restored soon. SDG&E is estimating that it will take two days to restore power. There are generators on their way to hopefully restore some power by this evening. All drinking water must be boiled for the time being in Ramona.

My Mom just received a second report that my parent's house is still standing. Good news, although no one is fully believing anything until they are standing in front of it, seeing it with their own eyes.


Posted by Ensie at 11:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 22, 2007

Witch Creek Fire Day 2

I can no longer get access to KOGO's news online and the national news is being unhelpful. I've been given information on the statistics of teacher's sexual misconduct, the two bus drivers in Florida dealing with the super-bug, and the fact that the Republicans are on the attack. They reference the fact that the Witch Creek Fire is the most dangerous, however, the only fire that they are reporting on is the Malibu Fire. It's the most glamorous. Fuck you CNN.

Seriously, a half dozen neighborhoods under evacuation advisory trumps 250,000 people actively fleeing a racing fire in San Diego? There are now 8 fires burning in San Diego County and they are running out of places to go.

New map of the burn areas is up. It appears that the fire covers my parent's home, however, the edge of the fire runs just behind their property. Ramona is in terrible shape. Half the town, if not more, is gone.

UPDATE (7:50 PM): Flames started coming over the hills in view of the Del Mar Polo Grounds over an hour ago. My parents and younger siblings are still in their hotel room for the time being, but the horses are on their way to another large-animal shelter in San Juan Capistrano. The stress of moving time after time is driving my poor sister to hysterics. I feel for her. She was ready to leave for her in-law's house in Yuma this morning if not for the high winds that would have been dangerous to the horse trailer.

The fire currently has eaten over 145,000 acres and destroyed over 600 building. There is currently 0% containment at this time. You can see another map of the destruction
here. This map gives an idea of when and where the fire has traveled. There is a lot of info. missing, but the fact that you can see when the fire reached downtown Ramona...erie.

All schools are shuttered in San Diego County tomorrow. All businesses should have the sense to close. Moving a quarter of a million evacuees through the city while trying to shoulder a normal commute is a ridiculous idea.

Praying that Katie and her husband will find a hotel for the night near the horses in San Juan and that my parents and younger sibs will be safe for the evening and won't need to evacuate again.

Posted by Ensie at 01:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 21, 2007

Witch Creek Fire

Living in inland Southern California, evacuating one's home becomes a weird sort of right of passage. I had to do it 3 or 4 times over the course of my life. Most of which while living with my parents and one time while in my own home in downtown Ramona during the Cedar Fire that ravaged San Diego in the late part of October in 2003. That last one was scary - the fire seemed to be everywhere at once, starting in the east and ending up in the west, taking out all lines of communication and closing the roads in and out of the city.

The Witch Creek Fire started around 12:30 today. I knew things were bad when CNN mentioned that the road was closed at my parent's street. They were given the mandatory evacuation order about an hour ago and are now holed up at my sister Katie and her husband's house about 9 or 10 miles away.

Katie was able to evacuate her horse out earlier today to her work site (she's a therapeutic riding instructor, for new readers) and was only allowed back in to my parent's house because of her horse trailer and old driver's license with their address. The fire department's official instructions, "Get in and get out - fast!" My Mom's horse is now on his way to a safe place for the night.

I feel so unbelievably helpless at this moment. I can only provide support through brief phone calls every so often, and the most actual "help" I've given is to guide my Dad through the set up of KOMO's streaming online news. If you're looking for news on the Witch Creek Fire, I'd suggest you listen there.

Fire is just a short distance (less than a mile) from my parent's home and moving toward it. The Santa Ana winds are getting worse, not better. Please send prayers and good wishes.

UPDATE (9:45 PM): Fire is cresting the hills at the SD Country Estates and climbing the hills in Black Canyon.


UPDATE (7:29 AM): The area where my parent's house stood burned last night. They heard from a friend that the property was in flames, no word on the status of their house itself. The answering machine is ceasing to pick up, but that could be because the phone lines are down, not because it no longer exists.

The evacuation of Ramona was incredible. The majoity of people were out by 1 AM with the turnaround of the incoming lanes into outgoing lanes. Katie called me at seven this morning panicky because they are going to have to move the horses again as the fire is heading toward their evacuation site in
Rancho Santa Fe. Their overnight hotel room is also becoming an unsafe site and they will need to find another place to go tonight as the fire continues to travel and eat up miles.

The 15 Freeway has been shut down in the Rancho Bernardo area. People attempting to get into work this morning have clogged the freeways and having the freeway shut down are causing additional problems. I'm continuing to feel helpless here, but I know that flying to SD would not help anything.

UPDATE (1:25 PM): My family is still in their hotel in Del Mar, hopefully safe for the time being. Their small pets are with them. Our horses, now three as we had loaned my horse, Padre, to my sister's riding program had to be moved this morning as the fire bore down on Rancho Santa Fe. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law, along with volunteers moved all the horses to the Del Mar Polo Grounds as the Racetrack is full and they are beginning to double-stable the horses together. With Lakeside now under danger from fire, San Diego is running out of places to move large animals.

Over 250,000 people in San Diego are fleeing fires, the Witch Fire and San Pasqual fire have caused the Wild Animal Park to evacuate. The 15 Freeway is still shut down and the 5 Freeway is likely next.

The National news is disgusting me with a focus on the Malibu fire that is burning "expensive homes belonging to the famous". Good information can be found at the FireBlog at Sign On San Diego.


Currently, the San Diego Country Estates and the Black Canyon are in Ramona are under MANDATORY EVACUATION. If you are any closer to the Witch Creek area, consider yourself evacuated.

UPDATE 9:45 PM: Evacuation is MANDATORY FOR THE NORTH OF RAMONA TO MAIN STREET and RECOMENDED FOR ALL OF OF RAMONA. Traffic is bad, however, the CHP is directing traffic and moving people as quickly as possible. Highway 78 through Escondido, Highway 67 through Poway, Highland Valley Road, and Wildcat Canyon Road are all evacuation routes. IF YOU LIVE IN RAMONA YOU NEED TO GET OUT NOW PER THE DIRECTION OF SD EMERGENCY. INCOMING LANES MAY BE TURNED AROUND TO BECOME OUTCOMING LANES. DO NOT WAIT. GO NOW.

Large animals can be evacuated to the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. Staging grounds for horses is available at the Poway Rodeo Grounds.

You must have a permit to rescue large animals - you may be forcibly stopped if you attempt to rescue without a permit.

Small animals may be evacuated with you. Many San Diego area humane socieities are staying open throughout the night and will accept small animals if your shelter will not accept them.

Find more information at sdcountyemergency.com.

Posted by Ensie at 07:29 PM | Comments (208) | TrackBack

October 19, 2007

Kitty Wake Up Call

Posted by Ensie at 11:07 AM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

October 15, 2007

DTWOF Quiz: Clarice!

Totally awesome, and I fully agree with the result that I got. I tend to rant and rave just like Clarice, while not always having the time or energy to do what I'd like to do. When I do have time, I tend to want to channel it into video games.

Which Dyke to Watch Out For Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Clarice

You are Clarice, a driven, liberal, workaholic lawyer. The Bush Administration has caused you a lot of anxiety lately. You have orders to cut one volunteer commitment and spend more time playing GTA3 with your son Raffi.














Posted by Ensie at 12:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 10, 2007

How Does Our President Denying a Genocide Make Him Any Better Than Ahmadinejad?

OK - technically, Ahmedinejad denies that the Holocaust ever happened at all. And our President is still saying that a lot of people died in Armenia, but he doesn't want to call it a genocide and piss off ever-so-helpfully-geographically-located Turks. And lets face it, he needs all the friends he can get in the "coalition of the barely existing" right now.

These are totally different points.

But the fact that President Bush is willing to deny that genocide occurred for political reasons makes me wonder how he sleeps at night.

Then again, I suppose must be pretty used to it at this point, having ignored it in Sudan for most of his presidency.

Posted by Ensie at 05:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 09, 2007

I Will Never Own a Convenience Store

No. No. No. And no.

Seriously? Convenience stores are the answer to groceries downtown? Or at least, to some groceries downtown? Who wants to have a convenience store located on every street corner across from their hip, downtown condo? Who wants to have a convenience store located across the street from their business? Who wants a "slew" of convenience stores to open in the downtown area?

This would be piss poor planning on the part of Tacoma to allow for ghetto grocers to move into buildings all over the downtown area. Now, if we're talking about small time grocery stores, like Tacoma Boys, or Dave's Meat and Produce (on Steele and North I), I would support these. These are not convenience stores, they are actual small, locally owned grocery stores with fresh meat, produce, and the like. You can shop there for a whole meal, or just pick up some essentials. They are charming places and do not attract bad elements in their various neighborhoods. But the majority of "convenience" stores are ugly blights that lend themselves to loitering and crime. Drive by the corner of 9th and Commerce one evening and you'll see what I mean.

Putting a real grocery store downtown is a fine idea if there are enough residents in the area to support it. But in the meantime, get used to driving for your groceries, just like pretty much everyone else does in the South Sound. I live in the North End and, believe it or not, I also DRIVE to get my groceries. I chose a home a few miles from the grocery store, and therefore, I drive. It's that simple. I didn't move here expecting a grocery store to be built next door. I don't complain about not having a cheap grocery store within walking distance.

And that brings up another point - the "affordable" downtown grocery store. Urban-centered grocery stores are a different animal than your suburban stores. When was the last time you saw a Fred Meyer or a Top Foods open in a truly downtown setting? Everyone who is convinced that you're going to get one next to the Tacoma Convention Center let me bust that myth right now - it's never going to happen. If the downtown demographic swings far enough in the family direction you might see a Safeway or the like, but otherwise places like QFC, Metropolitan Market, Thirftway, and Whole Foods - grocery stores that excel in urban environments - will be the companies that will be looking at setting up shop in Tacoma's downtown.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a vibrant downtown with a mixture of small time, independently owned grocers selling their wares, along with a good sized grocery store that coexists to meet the needs of all that live downtown and in the Upper Tacoma area. I think this would bring more people downtown on weekends and after business hours as well as allow for more businesses to stay open longer hours, which is good for everyone in the downtown core.

I cannot see any need, however, for a ton of hideous convenience stores. In fact, I would happily get rid of the ones right now that aren't attached to gas stations. In the meantime, understand that we've created a suburban world where most everyone drives for their groceries and start working on building a population density and identifying a demographic that is conducive to the type of business (read: type of grocery store) you'd like to see in the downtown area.

Posted by Ensie at 08:30 AM | Comments (133) | TrackBack

October 08, 2007

Tacoma Film Festival Outing

Braved the rain yesterday with Frinklin, Kevin, and Sarah to see Inlaws & Outlaws at The Grand during the Tacoma Film Festival.

We arrived with plenty of time at 3:50. The movie was scheduled to start at 4:15, however, we were told that it would not start until 4:30 because an earlier movie was running late. We headed over to One Heart Cafe next door and enjoyed some coffee in their comfy back room. When we returned at 4:25, the film was already underway. I HATE being late to movies, so this was really annoying. I felt like asking them to restart the film, "Hey - you told us to wait, so we did, and now you screwed me out of the first 5 minutes!" So irritating.

I really enjoyed the film, a documentary interviewing people about their love stories in a way that you didn't know if they were gay or straight until later in the movie. You just knew that they were telling their story about falling in love, sometimes talking about their childhood and various teen crushes, eventually getting to the love of their life (or in one case, a marriage that ended in divorce). Their narratives were so similar, you couldn't separate the gay stories from the straight, which showed exactly how similar gay and straight love stories are. By the end of the movie I was in tears listening to an elderly lesbian couple talk about their love for each other. There is also a heartbreaking story of an older gay man who describes the death of his partner of 50 years and subsequent struggle with heartbreak, desire to kill himself, and redemption at a North Everett church that welcomes him into their fold.

There is plenty to laugh as well. An odd, divorced woman keeps attempting to name her "life philosophy" and comes up with "all of life is grieving" and then states that "you should try to be happy." The elderly lesbian couple shares a little too much about their sex life in a G-rated way, "I lifted my pajama top and..." A few people come off as idiotically homophobic, "Can we get off this 'gay' topic please?" begs a single straight guy who doesn't think gays should be able to get married. There is a creepy, bald, unnecessary piano player to shows up a few times who stares unnervingly into the camera who gave me the giggles.

Overall it was very enjoyable, save for the odd musical cut-aways that did nothing for the movie. The music was good, but the singer was distracting. The film is offered for public viewings to communities and the like. A good starting point for people looking for a way to spark discussion about gay relationships. I think that this would be a fantastic film for high school gay/straight alliances (or possibly all high school students) to view.

Posted by Ensie at 01:23 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 07, 2007

Peeved at the Secondary Comic Book Shop

Frinklin likes to joke that I should have a regular (daily) column on my blog called "things that piss Ensie off" or "things that are annoying me". The list of things that irritate me is huge. I just think I would overwhelm people with my whining and kvetching constantly. Everything seems to bug the shit out of me sometimes, and I tend to hold a grudge against random people that have no idea who I am.

Today I had to go to the Secondary Comic Book Store to look for the second volume of Empowered that was released this week. Unfortunately, like my First Choice Comic Book Store, they were out of it.

Frinklin and I were discussing the merits of various comics and laughing at the artwork on covers, as we usually do, enjoying our time inside the store. At First Chice CBS this will solicit commentary from Alex, the best clerk in the universe, which keeps us in the store for sometimes as long as an hour as we chat about the merits of various storylines, writers, art, artists, etc. In the Second Choice Store things went a little bit differently:

First, before we had even approached the counter, Lame Clerk decided to tell us, "Must have this week are Umbrella Academy, Unmen, and [something else I can't remember because it sucks]!" Um, no. A) Frinklin already has Umbrella Academy, B) I would never read Unmen and Frinklin hates it, and C) Why are you pointing your finger at me and telling me what I should buy before you even know what type of comics I'm interested in? If you wait until I'm up there and see what I'm buying and then make recommendations based on my purchase, that might make the slightest bit of sense.

Then there was this exchange:

Me: Dude, a Howard the Duck Zombie cover? Howard the Duck blows.

Clerk: Howard the Duck is silly!

Me: Howard the Duck is the lamest thing ever. The creator of Howard the Duck has disowned him. Howard is dead to his own creator.

Clerk: But he's funny!

Me: No. He's not. Howard the Duck is the essence of lame. Everyone knows that. It's the ultimate truth about Howard the Duck.

Clerk: He's funny.

Me: (internal: WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!)

Now, to you, this may seem like a simple exchange with a misguided clerk. But to me, this screams that the clerk is correcting me, a paying customer, as well as a simple truth of the universe over and over again like an idiot. And he would NOT let it go and allow me to be right. Because, obviously, I was right.

Witness another conversation:

Me: The Ms. Marvel zombie alternate cover isn't nearly as scary as the puppet-master cover. Puppets trump zombies for creepiness any day.

Clerk: But clowns are creepier than everything.

Me: ?!? (internal dialog: Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.)

I totally realize that I am overreacting in a major way to someone who was just trying to do his job. However, I have high customer service standards after working in customer service and retail for over 10 years. But there are simple rules for customer service, the first of which is DON'T BE FUCKING ANNOYING.

I like the owner of Secondary CBS, but I will never shop there when Annoying Clerk is handling the place again. He is dead to me.

Posted by Ensie at 10:40 PM | Comments (55) | TrackBack

Stop the World! I Want to Get Off

Angelina Gains Ten Pounds! Film at 11.

Angelina Jolie.JPG

Posted by Ensie at 09:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 06, 2007

Nalley Valley Explosions

One of my greatest fears is not being home when there is an emergency. My dogs and cats would be lost without someone to comfort them in a moment of chaos, not to mention the possibility that they may become lost, as they are all indoor beasties.

Today I felt a moment of panic while Frinklin and I sat in traffic on 38th Street wondering why there was so much traffic while were were running errands. Eventually I had the idea to switch from the Cougar game to the news on the radio where an explosion at the Atlas Foundry was being discussed. Or rather, being mentioned briefly. Almost an hour after the event took place, only the traffic problems were being talked about, the actual explosion itself was barely mentioned, except to say that it had been felt up to five miles away and that there was a 500 foot fireball.

Immediately we swung around and headed for downtown and an alternate way home. I heard Sprague Avenue being mentioned, which isn't far from my home, and doubled my efforts to get home quickly. Down Pacific, over the 5 (totally stopped), up 11th, down Fawcett, up Division, down Sheridan, and HOME.

Fortunately I completely overreacted and everything was fine at my house. All the pets were relaxed and happy to see us home as usual. Unfortunately, we are short numerous items we desperately needed on our errand run.

But household needs pale in the face of disaster, and I pray that everyone in and around the Atlas Foundry stays safe. There is still an unexploded propane tank that the firefighters are working around.


Video of the explosion is available here. 4:15 is the big explosion.

Posted by Ensie at 03:47 PM | Comments (63) | TrackBack

October 03, 2007

Wii Have Broken Down


The Wii has stopped communicating with the Wiimotes. Or is it the other way around?

The Wii itself seems to be working, so I'm not sure if it's the receiver bar or the wiimotes. It seems like it would be a weird coincidence that they would both stop working at the same time. So, I'm off to buy a new receiver bar this afternoon to see if that will help.

In the meantime, I'm being driven slowly crazy not being able to take Wii breaks from work...

Posted by Ensie at 11:51 AM | Comments (235) | TrackBack

The Middle Floor Merchants

I have to start off this entry by apologizing to Deidre Norris and Jennifer Foster, who I promised I would write about way earlier, except that my life got in the way. So here is the blog entry that I should have written a week and a half ago...

Despite having lived in Tacoma for over two years, I had never visited the often talked of, almost mythical Sanford and Son. I'd head tell of the Middle-Floor Merchants, but didn't really understand how the whole thing worked. Turns out you walk into Sanford and Son on Broadway, viewing their amazing collection on antiques, then follow the signs downstairs. At that point you are at the "middle floor" deciding to go left or right, where there are amazing shops tucked away in stalls of varying sizes.

Deidre Norris' one is awesome. Deirdre was so much fun to meet and talk to about her art. She was in the middle of reorganizing her shop, so things were a little chaotic at the moment, but she still gave us the back story on several pieces she had put together ("I'm a dumpster diver!") and how she changed things from tossed trash to amazing art.

Currently Deirdre is "offering one-of-a-kind yard art, birdhouses, chair flair, unique & vintage chairs, pillow talk, custom headboards/wall panels, and many other unusual, vintage and quirky home decor items". She gave me a big hug as I left, encouraging me and my Mom to venture across the street to The Helm gallery, "Look! I just go goosebumps when I mentioned it! You must go!"

I bought this from Deirdre:


Bingo 2.jpg

I'm thinking of mounting it on the wall.

Another of my favorite of the Middle Floor Merchants is Jennifer Foster who owns Country Girl Gardens where I stocked up on hemp washclothes (4 for $12!) and bought a gorgeous, handmade wool scarf that I've been using everyday for the last week. Jennifer handmakes the soaps she sells and has a great selection of items that make excellent gifts or just items to spoil yourself with. Decadent, environmentally-friendly products, as well as cool clothing that you'll want to buy.

Jennifer also let us into Folie A Deux, a space which sells art and old, (sometimes) refinished furniture, which was closed for a few days while the proprietor was repainting her house. I recognized the furniture - she used to sell it on the side of the street on North 21st. and had told me she would be moving into a Sanford and Son space some time ago when I had stopped to admire her work.

Also of note in the Middle Floor Merchants are Mondo Bizarro, a toy/comics shop that caters to the indy comics collector. My Mom purchased the Maus comics for my brother there (OK - so that's not so indy...) but don't go expecting to find a bunch of X-Men and Batman comics.

Sisters is a Muslim clothing shop that has fantastic scarves at great prices. You can find everything from tunic tops to burquas there if that's what you're looking for. The woman who owns the place runs a Muslim halfway house for women and is extremely friendly.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Re-Fine Clothier is where I met Nannette and, in a vintage pram, her daughter Natalie. Vintage clothing (and an especially fine selection of gorgeous coats!) at bargain prices. Mom bought a beautiful red sweater for only $5.00 and has been cursing the warm weather in San Diego that hasn't allowed her to wear it.

The entire list of Middle Floor Merchants is here, but I truly recommend that you check them out in person at 743 Broadway. Several of the Merchants have odd hours, but Saturday seems to be a good day to catch most of them open at one time.

Posted by Ensie at 10:44 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack