November 2009


Did the title draw you in? Mission accomplished. One of my good friends and I have birthdays merely a day apart and decided to go all out. Our party is a masquerade murder mystery set at the Academy Awards. Do you see the waves of epicness radiating from that description?

It’s beyond difficult to plan such an elaborate party. Participation is key and gosh darn it, our guests need to participate. At least 9 people are needed to pour their hearts and souls into fictional characters to set the scene. *dims lights*

Advice for those who want a murder mystery party in the future. Try host party for ideas. We actually had to purchase the game itself although all the materials were electronic. How times have changed. Scripts, black butcher paper and chalk, basic plastic masks for those unmotivated enough to buy their own. Me thinks the birthday gals are emptying our wallets but it’s all in the name of fun.

Party venues in Seattle are hard to come by unless you want your own residence to be the scene of the “crime.” Work those connections, we were able to score a banquet room downtown for no moolah whatsoever. I still wonder if event planning is my cuppa tea. I’m leaning towards “yes” since it gets the adrenaline rushing and the creative juices flowing. Who knows if it’s in my future.

The photo above was taken in Venice at the same time as the header image to this blog. I must have been standing with masks worth well over thousands of dollars. Every one was hand-stitched, painted and molded. Swarovski crystals, antique lace, and beyond. Eager tourists could also rent out their own costumes at extravagant prices from these shops to parade around the Ponte dei Sospiri (otherwise known as the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ – how romantic sounding but not so charming when you hear that it refers to prisoners who used to sigh at the breathtaking sight of Venice before taking literally, their last breaths.)

And that’s your history lesson for the day!

This logo has struck fear or complete elation into the hearts of business owners everywhere. Well, in the U.S., Canada and U.K. anyway. Restaurants proudly sport them like boy scout badges while those without, are probably working towards the day when they finally receive the notice in their inbox. Why this obsession with an almost entirely consumer generated website?

Those wielding spatulas like to follow food blogs of which there are bajillions, only slightly exaggerating. Those of us who like to eat out 8 times a week? We cling to Yelp! like a life preserver.

According to smSmallBiz.com, “Yelp drew nearly 29 million unique visitors in September.” Now those are some impressive looking stats. Not surprisingly, a lot of visitors use the site to check on which restaurants they should eat at when they visit a new city, what the local tips are for a particular venue or bar and so on. It’s actually a smaller percentage that take the trouble to create accounts and actively review on a regular basis. And that’s where I come in.

You see that screenshot to the right? —> Dagnabit, I sweated blood and tears to earn that ’09 badge. It’s not the sporadic Yelp! users you should watch out for but the the ones knighted with the coveted red elite badges. Elite are intense – hundreds of reviews, dozens of uploaded photos, the first to review the 100,000th Starbucks in Seattle and all over the “Talk” pages (basically message boards for Yelpers.) And business owners take ’em (er, *us)  seriously. 2-star reviews with constructive criticism alert owners to quickly backpedal and ask the community what they can do better next time. Some owners get a tad too unethical and try to offer cold hard cash or comps in hopes of getting better reviews.

Yelp! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1.  Obviously fake spam reviews are almost immediately flagged, pitchforks are raised and then taken down.

2.  You can review almost anything. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. so go ahead and add the new hot dog stand that opened up down the street. Unless someone else already beat you to it.

3.  Elites are real. From glancing through our reviews alone, you can tell what nightlife haunts the reviewer likes to frequent, whether they’re vegetarian or hard-core carnivores and if they’re willing to endure flippant service for dirt cheap happy hour prices.

Elites are invited to exclusive wine and dine type of events which only further bolsters the community feeling you get out of being a regular. New transplants to Seattle and other cities even join Yelp! as a way to meet others and feel welcomed. And I can honestly say that I’ve seen a romance blossom b/w two Yelpers. *wink*

And last but not least, Yelp! can boast of being the iPhone’s first augmented reality app. I’m not sure if it’s still in Easter egg mode (sorry, I’m a happy android user.) You download and shake shake shake to activate. It then layers nearby venues, you can point at a restaurant and it’ll show details and so on. Insane right?

My URL: faithy.yelp.com

Current ♫: Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns. Now I know where the theme from Edward Scissorhands might have gotten its roots.

I love the 90’s sites are a dime a dozen. But who cares eh? It’s fun to reminisce! After reading a thread that someone started on Yelp! (they started it for me apparently – ridiculous!), let me share my wise observations of the years of yore. Born in late ’87 qualifies me for a solid 90’s child status.

FASHION:

  • Flowered leggings – atrocious but frackin’ comfortable!! Perfect for flipping on bars at the playground
  • Jelly shoes – they were the summer-time Uggs of the day. Every girl had to have a pair and if you didn’t, you were shunned (my elementary school was cruel).
  • Anything that the Fresh Prince wore

TOYS:

  • Skip-its! They started getting fancy and had ones with lights and those that counted how many times you skipped. When children actually exercised outdoors.
  • Tamaguchis and any electronic pets: so out of control that teachers had to ban them. But then how would my dinosaur be happy?
  • Marbles and Pogs – so many were lost on playgrounds
  • Polly Pockets when they were still POCKET-sized. Geez Mattel, get with the program.

I WANT CANDY:

  • Warheads made everything so much more gravy. No matter how much pain your mouth was in, you still had alollipop a day to make your doctor your best friend.
  • And heck yes, I collected Spice Girl stickers from those Fantasy Ball lollipops and slapped them in my sticker book, all 24 baby!

And last but not least, Sweet Valley High which probably made me the bookworm I am today. Don’t hate. I read more stimulating novels now, thank you. But SVH sparked it all.

I read every Sweet Valley series, not exaggerating. Every. Single. One. Sweet Valley Kids, The Unicorn Club, JuniorHigh, Senior Year, University, Elizabeth … and imagine my reaction when I find out the lovingly kooky Diablo Cody (the she-goddess of “Juno” geniusness) is making a SVH movie with a tentative 2012 release date. Move over, I’m first in line.

Are you ready for this? Are you?

can one quietly dazzle their brilliant smile? / we haunt the naked shadows over time & rhythm / they blaze in the wild

Brought to you by Twitter Magnets. The only time I would be able to put together a poem is when I have a bank of words to choose from. I think I refreshed the page for half an hour to grab the symbol “&.” Shut it. I’m productive and wildly creative. =)

Dear person who took my photo at the Seattle Symphony on Nov 1st,

PLEASE SEND SAID PHOTO TO ME. I am pining for it! Lang Lang breezed into the grand halls of Benaroya at the strike of November & lo and behold, I got to say hello the literally the most famous pianist in the world. (No really, CNN says so and don’t you believe everything CNN says?) But you know how it goes. Faced with a world famous celebrity, I find myself sans digital camera & phone. So I desperately turned to the aid of a stranger with a camera and scribbled my e-mail address and gave it to two different people.

3 weeks tick by …

My inbox looks forlorn and dusty – electronic dust that is. *sigh* I do hope to receive the photo soon. This guy’s 27 and a classical powerhouse with charm and a dash of the unconventional. Here’s the CNN article basically proclaiming him the god of all things with black & white keys. Oprah, the Olympics, the Grammy Awards, the White House – he’s rocked each and every venue. In the classical world, most admired composers are long gone so it’s the deft artists who bring decades – centuries old sheet music to life. Well done Lang Lang, I couldn’t tell one opera singer from the next but your name rocks and you brought down the house (so to speak.)

The Google wave that is! Woke up this morning to a fresh new invite in my e-mail box. Flashback to nearly 5 years ago when I was one of the first of my friends to get Gmail and everyone scoffed at me and continued to wrestle with AOL (remember AOL? Because I try not to) and Compuserve. And Gmail had limited invitations too! Sneaky Google, making something restricted totally ups the demand – good job!! That’s web-economics for you. That being said, I have no idea how to send invites to my friends, they must not be activated yet. There’s 5 contacts in my wave box and that’s a pretty sweet start. Will I ever be disconnected from the web at this rate? I feel my skin getting paler by the second.

Totally snatched from an old Facebook note I posted. Can I plagiarize myself? I thought not. Here’s 5 and there’s a couple more I wrote on a day I must have been extremely bored. But I bet you have a short attention span and don’t want to read a big long list so here you go:

1.) Biting my nails to the quick have earned me dagger-filled glares from manicurists.

2.) My dad won a lawsuit on my behalf from when I was 6 that I vividly remember, its a good bedtime story if you’re ever that curious.

3.) As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t type all “aZn ^O^ oh-em-gee” and such nonsense. I will use periods and commas even on AIM with (mostly) proper spelling. That being said, I never use AIM or even Facebook chat. I can’t multi task that way but I’ll make exceptions for G-Chat

4.) One thing that will never appear on my resume is when I slung hot dogs and made coffee at a Lowe’s warehouse one summer. Those are memories best left forgotten. Along with the time I worked under the table at the age of 14 at the Pike Place Market but it was actually quite fun.

5.) I was invited to play the flute at Carnegie Hall when I was 10 – till my dad announced we were moving to Washington State 2 months beforehand. And now I work at a classical radio station to make up for it.

Hm … maybe my first post should have been this one. Ya know, so you can feel the warm and fuzzies that you know 5 random facts about me.

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