Monday, January 30, 2012
YouTube video was posted on January 18, 2011 and in just over one year garnered more than 35.7 million views. Incredible! Legions of fans are clearly enamored of the hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is, profane-but-educational clip; it was written up in tons of popular media and went mega-viral. Randall subsequently was tapped for voiceovers for Grasshopper and Mythbusters and even a pistachio commercial! I was unaware that he had also written a book, Honey Badger Don't Care: Randall's Guide to Crazy, Nastyass Animals, until Chris noticed a post about Randall's book tour -- and I saw that Randall was going to be in Seattle this weekend, speaking at a bookstore within walking distance of our house. How could I not go? Doesn't Randall look just how you pictured him? He could not have possibly been nicer or more charming. He graciously spent time with every fan -- and there were tons. The store was packed, mostly with University of Washington students, many wearing Honey Badger Don't Care T-shirts or carrying honey badger and cobra stuffed animals. One girl brought a gigantic honey badger poster for him to sign. One group of students asked him to speak at their commencement. The woman in front of me purchased books for each of her (many) siblings, and had Randall write a personal message to each one. The signing line snaked through the store, and went excruciatingly slowly. I was there for more than an hour and was about at the midway point in line to start. Perez Hilton's: hearts, word balloons, and enhanced photographs. In one photo, a honey badger has its hair in curlers and her claws painted red, with the caption, "OMFG--Did this honey badger get her claws did? How fierce!" All the i's in the caption font are dotted with hearts. I have to say, I laughed aloud at several points and actually did learn some animal facts; the book covers not just the honey badger but also the aye-aye, the Tasmanian devil, the emperor tamarin, the pink fairy armadillo, the tarsier, the opossum, the solenodon (I had never even heard of this one!), the wombat, the American bullfrog, and the sloth. It's a light read, though -- like an educational comic book. Whatever your opinion on Randall's narration skills or book, you gotta hand it to the guy for making the most of his fame. He's got an iPhone/Android honey badger app, and is in talks to produce kids' books and possibly a TV show. It's a sign of our times that a funny YouTube video can launch a new career.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Nordic Heritage Museum, which also had a few examples of Frank's chairs, sofas, lamps, and other furnishings. They even have a few Frank pillows for sale in the gift shop. If you have lots of money, you can still buy Frank-designed furniture, textiles, and accessories at the Swedish shop Svenskt Tenn, which recruited Austrian-born Frank in 1934. (Multitalented Frank was also an architect. He was born in Austria, but became a Swedish citizen.) Besides the Frank exhibit (which, unfortunately, is small, but definitely worth seeing), the Nordic museum has an exhibit on immigration, which has visitors step through life-size dioramas that take them on a journey from the 19th century Scandinavian countryside to passenger ships to Ellis island and the dwellings and workplaces in New York, the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. These "buildings" and artifacts do an excellent job of giving you a sense of what life was like for these people. The visuals work on their own, but the explanatory signage provides great context as well, and happily, it's not dumbed-down for the masses. On another floor, there are rooms of clothing, folk art, household items, and bric-a-brac from Denmark, Island, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. There are also exhibits on the logging and fishing industries, which provided employment for many Nordic immigrants in the Seattle area. Like the Swedish Cultural Center, the Nordic Museum has classes, films, and events. But if you want to catch the Josef Frank exhibit, visit before February 19!
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Cafe Besalu in Ballard. They are so good that when her aunt visited from the East Coast she tried to buy them all. Cafe Besalu restricted her to just twelve.We joined the long line of patrons this rainy morning and ended up buying not just ginger biscuits, but most of the pastries they had, including pain au chocolat, almond croissants, almond schnecken, plum rolls, and more. I took a bite of most of these (okay, in some cases more than a bite...) and the pain au chocolat was definitely the best I've had since visiting France (still warm, with melted chocolate). The ginger biscuit was indeed delicious as promised: light, fluffy, not overly sweet, with a very subtle ginger flavor.Despite the massive quantity of sweets we purchased, there were still more items there that I'd like to try, including the onion and gruyere pastry, the cornmeal apricot sage cookie, and the leek and goat cheese quiche. I will be back! But I'm actually glad I don't live closer to this place. Even though it's open only 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, it could be dangerous!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Bavarian Ice Fest, Leavenworth offers lots of entertaining winter activities. My friends took their toddlers on a sleigh ride. Oscar and I tried cross-country skiing, which was a little frustrating due to icy conditions and lack of patience, but I had fun. I also enjoyed tromping around on my friend's snowshoes. All the kids enjoyed sledding on the super-slick hills. We stayed at Sleeping Lady Resort, which has so much stuff on its grounds that you really don't even have to leave the property. It's situated by the Cascade mountains, with a creek running by. Buffet breakfast and dinner are included, so you don't have to worry about where and what you're going to eat every day. The food is excellent, and there are many vegetarian and healthy options, but I think everyone I was with ended up overeating. I routinely took multiple desserts. Yikes.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Leavenworth -- was on the top of our list of Washington must-sees. Purely by magical accident, we came on the weekend of the Bavarian Ice Fest, so we got to see ice sculptors, snow sculptures, sled dogs, and lots of faux Bavarian events such as smooshing, which is a race where teams of four strap 8-foot boards to their feet -- like cross-country skiing with four people on the same pair of skis. Chris and I entered the Bavarian mug relay. One person had to run to a hat, put it on their head and say "Welcome to Leavenworth," then run to a table, grab three beer steins in each hand, fill them with ice, spin around, dump the ice, put the mugs back on the table, run to a chair and yodel, and then to their partner, who had to complete the sequence in reverse order. We didn't win.The village itself is filled with all manner of shops selling T-shirts, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and all the usual tourist crap. But on the plus side, all hotels, motels, shops and restaurants -- even the McDonald's -- are on theme and have Bavarian-style signage, so you never lose the feeling that you're on vacation. Also, it may be mid-January, but it's still Christmasy. The Christmas trees are still up and decorated, and there are lights everywhere.I found it interesting that Leavenworth was a former logging town headed to becoming a ghost town in the early 1960s. The citizens Bavarian-ized the town, and voila -- instant tourist destination. Willkommen!
Monday, January 9, 2012
Pie, a tiny shop offering a range of individual servings of pies for both your main meal and dessert. It's a great stop for a quick lunch or dinner when shopping in the Fremont district, or to grab takeout for a fast-food experience without resorting to eating fast food. As for the pies, they're delicious, and also pretty enough to make your meal feel like a special treat. (I guess technically since they're in a pie crust, they actually are a special treat.) Chicken pot pie, English meat pie, and mac and cheese with peas pie are always on the menu, but other flavors rotate in and out. My favorite so far, a cauliflower gratin pie, seems to be rare, but I also love the veggie curry pie. Other varieties include smoked salmon with goat cheese, channa masala, meatloaf with bacon crumble -- there's bound to be something you'll like. There are also breakfast pies, which we haven't tried yet; this Sunday they had peppered bacon and potato or cheddar egg scramble. And of course, there are all manner of sweet pies. I love that some also come in a mini mini size so you can have just a bite of dessert after eating your pie dinner. (A regular sized cherry pie is next to the mini mini Berry Awesome pie in the picture below.)
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford, but you can place custom orders for these fantastic showpieces at her website. UPDATE: I just learned that Patricia will be holding a "Vintage Valentine" keepsake box class at Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford Center on Sunday, January 22, from 2-4 p.m. $65 includes instruction and all materials, including German glitter glass! To sign up, call the Trophy Cupcakes Party Room at 206-390-0900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.