Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa's been here!

This year for Christmas, we decided to forgo buying each other a lot of gifts, and instead got a few items for our home that we'd been wanting for years. Mainly, we wanted to get rid of our old bedroom furniture. The dressers and headboard we had were the ones my parents bought me when I was around 13 years old...that's some old furniture! It was sturdy but had gotten pretty beaten up. So we headed out to the furniture stores of South Puget Sound, and after some shopping, found a lovely craftsman-style set at Macy's. It was a little more than we wanted to spend, but so nice; we decided that we'd check one more store, then come back and get the set.

New bedroom furniture
That last store was Dania. We've bought a few things from them and always had a good experience. So when we walked in to the Tukwila Dania and saw the exact same bedroom set that we'd already fallen in love with at Macy's, but for hundreds less, we were thrilled! It was so much less that we decided to get a new dining room table, in a matching style, and still spent less than at Macy's!

New dining room table. With cats.

So we spent a few days re-organizing the rooms, and getting ready for New Year's. We're having a few people over, so I'm glad to have things clean and nice. We didn't get a tree this year; time just got away from us, with all of the other things going on, so we decorated our little ficus and strung a few lights at the last minute. Jupiter didn't seem too disappointed with the unconventional tree.

This year's tree is a little unconventional.

Today we'll go visit Brett's mom for a bit – I have to work tomorrow, so we can't stay late – and then, I have to admit, I'm going to be glad Xmas is over. I get very little time off around the holidays, so it's never the magical event I remember as a kid. But we do our best to make it special for each other; really, though, I think we do a pretty good job of making all our time together special.

Anyway, happy holidays and happy new year to all!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Two more wood block prints, done

And that should be the end of them, for a while. They were fun to do, and I'm not unhappy with how they turned out (the colors here are very bright, unfortunately). But I'm looking forward to getting back to more leisurely projects. I started a pastel painting a week or so ago, and I'm anxious to get back to it:

And it should take a good long time, too,.

In the meantime, I may take a break from classes for a quarter. I've committed to teach Introduction to Photoshop at SVC, and may have a lead on teaching a class at the Art Institute...if I feel like I have the time. If not, I may take one class, possibly online.

And, it's almost Christmas, and sadly, I work every single day of the holiday season except
Christmas day and New Year's Day. At least I'll have weekends free of homework for a while.

Ah well. We did get some snow this weekend! It turned to cold, windy, wet slushiness today, but it was quite pretty for a while there. By the time I venture out again tomorrow morning, it'll probably be a full-bore crap-weather day and traffic will suck. But really, I can't complain; I don't have to spend any time out in it, except the 10-foot walk to my car.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

They speak French there

Oh boy...this is apparently some chick from American Idol, on a game show that purports to determine if she is smarter than a young child. Guess what - she's not.

I laughed a lot watching this, but afterwards, I felt really sad. What did we learn here?

1. If you're young and blonde and pretty, you get to be on TV! You don't have to be even as smart as a box of sausages, just cute.
2. According to the idiotic host, if she asks a question, yes, it is likely to be stupid.
3. Also according to the host, women aren't interested in anything but their own opinions. Not just her, mind you, but women in general. They only hear what they want. Apparently, this gal is fairly representative of all women.

This is why I can't stand to watch much of anything on TV any more. We really are approaching Idiocracy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cabela's, madness

Last Saturday we went to the new Cabela's store that opened in Lacey, WA. That place...it's crazy! Full of camouflaged people and dead animals, taxidermied to the side of a big fake hill (the people, not the animals). I left feeling sick, because of the crowds and the killing atmosphere and the long drive in the back seat of our friends' car.
At Cabela's you can buy such fascinating items as "youth guns" - one in Hello-Kitty pink, and a "blood trail light" - for tracking the drippings of your wounded but not dead game.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Home, and a little time off

I think it might be a while before I feel like flying again. It's sad: when I was a kid, and later as an adult, I loved to travel. I lived to travel. After the last couple of airline experiences, I think I'm starting to dread it.

We were delayed out of Dutch Harbor, and didn't get home until after 1 am. Our luggage didn't make it, and isn't here yet. We are rigorous about traveling with carry-ons only, but for the hop from Dutch to Anchorage, we let them load our bags into cargo - or so we thought. When we got to Anchorage, we were told that luggage had been "bumped" and ours would not be there until the next flight. And, of course, it wasn't there with the next flight. They assured us that when it arrived, it would be delivered to our house. Hmm - it's been over 24 hours since we last saw those bags; wonder if we'll ever see them again? Thanks so much, Alaska Air (and PenAir).

But otherwise, the visit to Alaska was pretty nice. I saw dozens of nearly-tame bald eagles, a couple of pods of humpback whales, some curious sea lions, and some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. It never got unpleasantly cold (at least for the gear I brought). And the people were unbelievably friendly.

Seriously: everyone I met there was chatty and nice. I've heard about the so-called "Seattle Freeze" which implies that we Pacific Northwesterners are a little distant...this was like going to the anti-Seattle. It was strange, but strange in a good way. They say that the best part of travel is meeting people, and I felt this to be really true for the first time.

I took over three hundred photos, and some of the better ones are viewable on my Flickr stream here.

One thing I wasn't able to photograph: we were in close proximity to most of the "Deadliest Catch" captains while we were there, and Brett even got filmed by the crew, as he was assisting with the "fish tickets" for one of the captains. There's a small chance that he'll be in the show when it airs in April. Even if he's not, we should see several of the people he worked with.

There's a big scandal going on in the world of crab fishermen right now: crab icon Sig Hansen has allowed his name and image, and his boat's name and image, to be used for the packaging of some King crab that's actually from Russia. Everyone was talking about it while we were there, and no one was happy. Poor Sig is going to be the black sheep of that industry for a while. Remember, people, crab that only costs $9 a pound is NOT fresh Alaskan Red King. Bleah.

In other news, I got my CueCat while we were gone! Do you remember in the late 90s or early 2000s, when they tried to sell these goofy barcode scanners, intending that you'd scan a product label and get more info about it online? Well, for various reasons, the program failed. But the millions of CueCats that were produced are mostly still out there. I bought one from LibraryThing, because they've got their site set up so that with a CueCat, all you have to do is swipe a book's barcode and it will enter it into you library. Here's mine, as of right now. I'm probably going to try and find some time to enter all of our books (or Brett will) eventually. Tagging them might take a while, but it's still fun.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This place...it's really something!

I'm sitting in the lobby of the Grand Aleutian, after a tiring day. This morning, I went out for a walk around the loop that encompasses the hotel and surroundings. Crossing the road towards the bay, I saw the breaching fins and tails of several humpback whales in the water! There were two groups, with what looked like two or three whales in each group. I stood there, watching, with my mouth literally hanging open in awe, for several minutes. As I watched, I heard someone behind me yelling, "Do you see the whales?" I turned around, and a woman was waving, running towards me. It turned out that her name was Janice, and she lives here in Dutch Harbor. We started talking, and she asked if I wanted to take a walk around the area. Absolutely! And having a local as companion was ideal.

We walked, and she told me all kinds of interesting stuff about the area. Her husband works for one of the main employers here (as does mine), and they've lived here 15 years or more. She knew most of the people we passed, and waved or stopped to chat with most of them. It was a really pleasant time, walking, taking pictures (which, damn it, I still can't upload. But they're good!) and chatting. She's incredibly nice, and volunteered to take me on a longer tour of the island tomorrow. So maybe I'll do that; I ran the batteries of my camera down and replaced them, so I'm ready for more.

The weather was gorgeous this morning: a low, bright sun that gave everything that perfect yellow light. Then, as we were heading back around 11:30, it started to hail - actually, it was what they call "corn snow" - hard little bits of snow that hurt when they hit your skin. I met up with Brett and a co-worker of his, and we had lunch at "the Galley" - the company-run cafeteria where everyone who works there can eat for free. After we ate, he took me down to the docks where the "Arctic Lady," a crab boat, was unloading its load of red crab. We watched for a while, then went to see the next step in the process: the line where live crabs are cut in half and dropped onto a production line for further processing.

Right now, I'm in the hotel lobby, and sitting across from me is at least one crew member of the "Time Bandit" - one of the ships shown regularly on the "Deadliest Catch" tv show. We saw the film crews coming in last night. Janice said that the guy who does the Discovery show "Dirty Jobs" is here too, filming an episode of that show, so I suppose it could have been his crew. In any case, it's been a very interesting day! I hope the weather clears up tomorrow morning.

Dutch Harbor, AK - isolated, pretty, a little strange...

So we're up in Dutch...to my immense frustration, I can't upload even the smallest JPG, even though I can connect fairly normally in other ways. Yesterday, when we came in, the sun was shining off the tops of the mountains, and it was just incredible. I took nearly a hundred photos before the sun set, and I can't upload any at all! Oh well.

There are eagles everywhere, just as promised; they sit on rooftops and craggy cliffs, glaring down at the human activities below as if planning a really gory new production of "The Birds." I walked up to a couple sitting on a dumpster and they could not have cared less that I was there. I backed down long before they even thought of turning a yellow eye on me.

We had a drink in the bar, and then dinner in the nicer (very expensive) restaurant here at the Grand Aleutian. I had yummy fresh crab, Brett had a steak with crab, and we shared a bottle of wine and a berry-with-vanilla-sauce cakelet dessert. Since we'd gotten up around 4 that morning to leave on our flight, we went to bed early, and slept well.

This morning, it's still pitch black at 8:30 am. The sun doesn't rise until 9 or so, and goes down around 5. As we walked out the hotel front door to grab some breakfast at the store next door, we held it open for a camera crew lugging in their gear: I can't imagine that it's anything other than the Deadliest Catch crew - who else would be filming up here?

Today, when the sun finally comes up, I want to walk around the area some more. It's raining a bit now, but who knows; it might get better. I have pretty weather-proof clothes, so I'm not afraid to go out in the cold, windy rain. And if not, I'll hang out here and read or something.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm in Anchorage

...at the Chili's, the only restaurant that appears to be available at the airport. And, like smaller airports around the US, there's free wifi - yay! We looked up some Dutch Harbor facts while we ate, and looked at the websites of some of the fishing boats (how strange is it that they have websites at all?).

Our next flight is in a couple of hours, so I'll have time to get another book: I finished nearly 3/4 of what I was reading on the flight over. Hopefully I'll be able to upload some photos when we get to the hotel at Dutch Harbor. It's snowing here; strange to come to a place where everything's white, when it was fairly temperate at home.

Shown here are the little planes that PenAir flies out to Dutch. They're Saab planes, and they are pretty darn small.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


5:00 - Leave work.
6:00 - Arrive at home. Eat a piece of toast.
6:15 - 7:30 - Jazz history homework. The 1960s: Avant-garde jazz and the mainstream.
7:30 - 8:00 - Cook dinner. Tacos!
8:00 - 8:30 - Eat dinner.
8:30 - 10:40 Art class homework. Two-color woodblock reduction print.

I'm tired.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I posted the previous post, "Findableness," to my Vox blog less than 12 hours ago...and already Google has found it and there's a fourth hit on a search for my maiden name. Amazing!

(And, interestingly, I'm one of only 8 hits for the word "findableness"!)


I was just reading about a new search engine that's in the works, called "Powerset," which led me to this blog post by one of its developers. In it, he mentions that an acquaintance gave him his business card, on which was printed only his first and last name, and nothing else. When the developer asked what his acquaintance's email address was, he said, “Just put my name into any reasonable search engine and my homepage will pop right up.”

I think this is interesting. Used to be, companies would list their websites as "http://www.company.com" on advertising materials. Then it became "www.company.com" and then just "company.com." So now, I think most people just go to Google and type in the company name, rather than all those extra characters; I know for a fact, and without trying it, that if I enter "Adidas" into Google, the first result will be the company website.

So why not have that convenience for people? I have a fairly uncommon name (the blog post above is titled "The Tyranny of the Common Name"), so when you type "Sonya Reasor" into Google, my LinkedIn profile comes up first; in Yahoo's search engine, my homepage comes up first. Either way, I'm findable.

But the other day, a friend and I were talking about how sometimes, when you're bored, you type in the names of people you went to school with, or knew earlier in life, to see if they have any online presence. I feel sure we've all Googled the names of our elementary school friends, right? Well, if I was hoping for my long-ago friends to find me, they'd have to know my current, married name. There are, as of me typing this, only three Google hits for my maiden name, "Sonya Hash." (Yeah, that's a hell of a last name to grow up with).

But by typing that just now, I've probably added a fourth hit, and this one will lead to the real me, not the Sonya Hash who lives in another city and who appears to only be 27 years old. It'll possibly help friends from Kent, where I grew up, locate me - maybe people I knew when I was going to Kentwood High School, or Kentridge Highschool, or even Sequoia Junior High (or Jr High) or Meridian Elementary.

You see what I did there.

Do I want to be "findable"? Sure, why not. It would be nice to hear from someone I knew as a child. Not sure what we'd talk about, but it would be interesting to see what people are up to, especially since I've always avoided high school reunions and the like.

Anyway, the internet is an interesting thing, isn't it? Maybe I'll get some of those cards printed up that have only my name on them.

Goodbye, Vox, howdy Blogger

Ok, it's official. I've broken up with Vox.com - it has a sweet interface, but it lacks a few important features that Blogger does have. Primary among them is this: Blogger allows comments from non-registered readers.

I also see it as fitting in better with third-party apps, as well as the rest of the Googleverse. And I believe that over time, it will be a better fit for me personally. So with an afternoon of fiddling with the template, switching over my web links, and testing various means of posting, I'm now officially a Blogger blogger. My old vox posts will still be there, until Vox decides to delete them, at http://sonyaseattle.vox.com/.