Elsewhere Me

Here are some recent and upcoming irons in my fire. So to speak.

Dave Niehaus, 1935-2010

Seattle residents have the pennant at half-staff today, after the death of local legend Dave Niehaus. Dave was the color commentator for the Seattle Mariners from its inception in 1977 until … well, until yesterday, pretty much.

You may not care about baseball. But if you lived here, you’d have cared about Dave Niehaus. I don’t, and I did. He was that kind of guy.

Here’s a typical Dave Niehaus moment, that I excerpted in 2002:

Co-announcer Rick Rizz: We just got word that White Sox are leading the Royals 14-0 in the eighth inning.

Niehaus: I’ve been following that game. The White Sox need only three more runs to tie the record for the most lopsided shutout in the history of baseball.

Rizz: Man, I wonder what the scorecard looks like for that one.

Niehaus: I’ve seen it, and it’s a mess. The turning point in that game was the National Anthem.

There’s so much Dave in that exchange. He’s following one baseball game while narrating another. (That the dude liked baseball was well beyond dispute.) He had some esoteric but fascinating fact queued up and ready to roll. And even after 25 years of commentary, he could still pony up a witticism you’d never heard before.

For fair-weather baseball fans (and that includes me; sorry, dad), Dave was about as essential to the game as the bats. It’s like: have you ever seen a movie in a crowded theater and found yourself swept up in the collective sentiment, enjoying the hell out of it even while recognizing that it wouldn’t usually be your cup of tea? For me, that’s what watching a Mariner’s game was when Dave was announcing. He had a full-cinema quantity of enthusiasm for the game, and it was crazy infectious. When he declared a play “amazing”, your jaw dropped. When he got excited, you leaped from your chair. Listening to Dave call a game was like watching an appreciative kid open Christmas presents for three straight hours.

Dave was one of very few sports constants around here in the last 30 years: the Kingdome got blow’d up, the Sonics left town, people started caring about the Sounders. But Dave was as dependable as rain on the weekend.

Hell, he was one of the few Seattle constants, period. The loss of the Space Needle from the Seattle skyline would be felt no more keenly.

RIP Dave. Fly, fly away.

Halloween Postmortem, 2010

I spent Halloween this year as I have many others: sugar-high and wide awake in bed, staring at the ceiling until 4 AM, and vowing to rid the world of the evil geniuses behind Banana Laffy Taffy. That stuff seriously needs to stop existing. The first nation to weaponize Banana Laffy Taffy will have its boot on the throat of the world.

Prior to that we were at the home of our friends on Capitol Hill, as has become our tradition in recent years (2008, 2007). They live in the epicenter of a three block area that kind of goes nuts for the holiday, giving out obscene amounts of candy, larding their homes with decorations, and even setting up special attractions such as “Haunted House!” and “Dude Dismembering Other Dude with a Chainsaw on the Front Lawn!” (Protip if you decide to do DDODwaCotFL: using a real chainsaw makes for great sound effects, but also leaves your entire home cloaked in a incapacitating cloud of gasoline fumes. That’s still less toxic than Twizzlers, admittedly.)

Squiggle went as a fireman.


I wanted to dress as something that would go along with his outfit, but– okay if we were talking in person, this is the moment where I would shout “not a dalmatian!” because you’d be opening your mouth to say “dalmatian” and I only wear my dalmatian costume to Special Conventions, thanks.

I considered going as a burning building, but I was worried people would get the wrong idea (although it probably would have been fine, so long as I wasn’t clutching toy airplanes in my hands). Then I considered going as a “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” box. Then I realized that it was 5:43 PM on October 31st and we were late for our friend’s house.

In the end I decided to go as Sexy Technical Writer. All I had to do is wear my work clothes.


We took Squig trick-or-treating for about an hour, threw him in bed, and then manned the battlestations for the remainder of the evening. Overall we had somewhere in the vicinity of 1500 visitors, as evidenced by this photo in which you can make out nothing whatsoever:

Street Crowd

Lots of witches this year, perhaps to compensate for Christine O’Donnell’s loss. Lots of Iron Men. Lots of pre- and post-adolescent girls with kitty ears and whisker facepaint. In fact, the latter was in such abundance that I’m going declare “cat” to be “not even a costume anymore”. Halloween Cat Costume joins the ranks of Christmas Target Gift Card as the hallmark of someone who’s not even trying.

Fortunately, there was no shortage of unMAZING costumes as well. This was my favorite:

Toaster: Before

Toaster: After

Here is an eyeball. And a board game.



This girl had both a beautiful costume and a comical series of mishaps while on our porch. She accidentally dumped out some of her candy, and then accidentally dumped out the rest of her candy while bending over to retrieve the previously dumped candy, and the whole debacle culminated in her ripping off her own arm after ensnaring a claw in a giant artificial spider web. Imagine The Little Mermaid as directed by Lars von Trier.

Crab (?)

I dislike the trend of young girls dressing as sluts for Halloween. That said, I am perfectly fine with them dressing as S.L.U.T.s.


Here is Shaun White. And his snowboard.

Shaun White & Snowboard

These kids showed up on the porch and I said “are you John F. Kennedy and Jackie O?” and they said “yes”.

JFK & Jackie

That happened exactly one time, by the way: where I thought (but wasn’t sure) I knew who a youngster was supposed to be, and hazarded a guess, and was right. Every other time I’d be like, “are you Harmony from the Bugaloos?” and the kid would roll her eyes and deign to inform me that, no, she was some tertiary character from book 9 of a 21 novel fantasy/anime/horror/romance series for young adults that I had never heard of, after which I would promptly die of old age.

Wait. I take that back. There were a few other kids dressed in recognizable (to me) outfits:


This group played “Let’s Get Physical” on a Walkman the size of a briefcase and performed a jazzercise routine for our benefit. We gave them all the remaining candy and some wine coolers.

All and all another successful year, if success is measured by the number of candy wrappers I pulled out of my jacket pocket during a work meeting the following morning. (Seriously, I was like a magician producing scarves.) And if I start now, I can probably complete that burning building costume in time for Thanksgiving. Good times.