Sunday, January 27, 2008

A is for Amazon post-holiday party

Layla and I decided to do something for each letter of the alphabet in 2008. So here is our activity for the letter "A."

Last night we went to the Amazon post-holiday party. We don't do anything special during the holidays since it's the most hectic time of year for retail, and that includes e-tail. The event was held in Seattle's own Frank Gehry work of blobitecture, the Experience Music Project/Sci-Fi Hall of Fame. I enjoyed walking around and looking at the exhibits (seeing Jimi Hendrix's cream-white leftie guitar in particular) but the main event for me was the fuzz rock band Presidents of the United States of America (singles include Lump and Peaches, as in "millions of peaches, peaches for me...").

PUSA is great because they are one of the few alternative bands from the 90s that rock hard but don't take themselves too seriously. Throughout their performance, for instance, they called out Jeff Bezos to come up and stage dive ("c'mere little jeffy! c'mon JB!"), although Jeff never came out. We were treated to new songs and old songs alike, including a super-extended versions of Video Killed the Radio Star, Kitty, We're Not Going to Make It and Kick Out the Jams. After finishing, the band genially shook hands with many-a-Amazonian.

The band playing Kitty with a special guest meower from the crowd

The guitar nerd that I am, I had to steal a shot of lead guitarist Dave Dederer's pedal board. I was really impressed by the throaty, creamy, fuzzy tone that the band had. Of course, a lot of their tone also comes from their unsual instruments (a basitar and guitbass).

After the concert Layla, Alan (a co-worker) and I roamed around the museum seeing what other people were up to. We watched some clinically drunken karaoke in front of a projected montage of classic sci-fi movie scenes. We also watched some people playing Rock Band, a game akin to Guitar Hero.

After waiting an hour and a half in the coat check line, we headed back to our car. Layla and I reflected on the evening and decided that seeing PUSA was our favorite part. As we were walking to our car and talking about what we liked about it we realized that none other than Chris Ballew, the lead singer and basitarist, was walking behind us with his date. Our cars were also parked in the same remote corner of the parking lot across the street, so I wished him a safe drive home and thanked him for the music.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pasta Freska

Layla and I went to Pasta Freska on Friday for a friend's birthday dinner. The most striking thing about it is that there is no menu. The chef comes to your table, talks about what you absolutely will not eat, and decides what he will make for you. What followed were a series of curious but delicious courses from eggplant, salad, spaghetti, stuffed chicken, and halibut. The chef came over to sing happy birthday to our friend Matt and told him to blow out the candle. Right as he began to blow, the chef mischievously covered Matt's mouth with his hand. Imagine, if you will, a Greek Tom Selleck look-alike clamping your mouth.

As we pulled into Renton to take our friends home we saw a street fight in the middle of the street by Fred Meyer. All I saw was a big Asian guy in business attire sparing with a younger guy in gansta attire and someone's white SUV several feet away with the doors wide open. I kinda ducked as we drove by hoping no one was packing heat (luckily it was just fisticuffs). You gotta love this place.