April 29, 2006

Kelly Jennings


Cornerback Kelly Jennings from Miami (FLA) is the Seahawks first-round pick. This was a deep draft for corners and it was glaringly obvious that was the Hawk's biggest need. In the second they hit with DE Darryl Tapp, an undersized speed rusher from Virginia Tech. A pretty nice first day.

Hey, EA, could you have picked a lamer pose for Jennings?

Posted by Frinklin at 06:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2006

Take your kids to work day strikes!

Take your kids to work day strikes!

Today was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and doesn’t that roll off the tongue. Take Our Kids to Work Day might be better, but that’s apparently that works in Canada. It was a bit freaky this morning with about half the people aboard under 12, and I couldn’t completely figure out why until I got to the office. My office does this well. We had about two-dozen kids rampaging around the office. Weirdly, nobody on my team brought a kid in, so my contact was limited. Not totally limited though.

I was in the lobby -since the break room was taken over by children- reading, and I had my iPod on. I was a bit zoned at the time, so I must not have noticed the small boy edging closer to my seat. I did notice when he started pulling my earpiece out. He had it about halfway when I noticed it and turned to him. He was very intent on my ear, which was only kinda sorta freaky. I said “Hello” to him and he sort of nodded. His mother came scurrying around the corner and dragged him away, leaving me sitting there with my earpiece half out and almost certainly with a befuddled look on my face.

Secondly, I must call a moratorium on people naming their own children. What I saw today proves to me that we need some sort of government program that chooses names for children, since their cannot be a repeat of this. One of my co-workers had a friend from another unit visit. She brought with her young daughter, a completely adorable 3-year old. Her mommy had named her after her favorite movie star.

The kid’s name was J-Lo.

No, that wasn’t a nickname.

Again, let me repeat: this beautiful little girl is named J-Lo.

That is her given first name. Worse, this woman plans on reproducing again.

We cannot allow this to continue.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Chronicles of Bill, Part 3

An occasional series in which we examine the surreal adventures of Mediocre Fred and his co-worker, "Bill," who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. All conversations are real, as hard as it may be to believe, though names have been changed to protect the galactically stupid.

It's high pollen season here in the Fedroplex, and I happen to be afflicted with terrible allergies. So I rolled into work today, nose running, eyes watering, sneezing to beat the band. One of my more perceptive co-workers, noticing my plight, gently inquired, "What's the matter with you?"

"It's [sneeze] allergy [sniff] season," I replied.

"Oh, you have bad allergies? That's too bad," the co-worker said.

Along comes Bill, clutching a pad of paper, trying very hard to look important. He overhears our conversation.

"Wait, you have allergies?" Bill asks me. I nod.

At this point, Bill takes a step back, holds his pad of paper in front of his face, and says, "Well, then don't breathe on me!"

Apparently, Bill believes that pollen allergies are contagious.

I should point out that, legally, not only is Bill allowed to vote, he is allowed to father and raise children. If the Bush administration wants to spend its lame-duck years doing something more meaningful than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, it should start here.

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April 25, 2006

No Wounded Rodents in Sight

After his adventure last night, Jeffery was clearly excited to go outside this morning. While he and Matchbox were eating I checked the backyard and found no sign of wounded opossum. Upon his release, Jeffery made a beeline for the sight of his epic tussel and spent a solid 10 minutes sniffing for his prey. I finally called him in, offering a milk bone. He scrambled about halfway up the back stairs and stopped. He scrambled back down and for a second I asked myself why the damned opossum would come back. No, actually Jeffery must have remembered why we let him out in the first place. He really had to pee. Once back inside it seemed he was finally comfortable in his victory. He crawled under the covers with Ensie and fell dead asleep.

I sure hope this is over.

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April 24, 2006

The Great Attack of '06

Tonight I found myself ruminating on a lack of bloggable topics. My life it seems, despite Ensie’s improvement drive, had settled into some semblance of domestic tranquility. We’d settled down to watch The Daily Show, and Matchbox, as he always does, demanded to go outside to pee. I volunteered and let both he and Jeffery out the back door to do their dirty business. I knew something was wrong as soon as closed the door behind me. Matchbox has this thing that Ensie and I call “Big Mean Man Dog”. Matches, despite being a consummate coward and a toothless one to boot, tries to threaten things when he gets scared. He’ll arch his back, give his toughest bark back-to-back-to-back and fake a charge at whatever it is that freaks him out. At that point, he’s done, free to hightail it to safer ground. He knows this because little brother Jeffery almost always snaps and goes after whatever seems to be threatening his big brother.

To recap: I just closed the door. I heard Matchbox’s “Woof-woof-woof” and the unmistakable sound of puppy claws tearing at the freshly cut grass. I came back out to see what was the matter, and all I saw was Jeffery, Matchbox and in between them, a flash of gray fur.

Gray? Oh hell….

I hesitated a second as I didn’t have shoes on. Anyone with a dog and a backyard can understand why. At that point though, puppy poop was the least of my worries. I ran across the backyard, scaring away Matchbox. Not a difficult thing to do, he ran back to the door at top speed. Jeffery didn’t scare as easily though, and he was so consumed with prey he probably didn’t know I was there. Whatever this gray thing was, Jeffery had caught it and was swinging it side to side in his mouth. At first I was worried it was one of the innumerable stray kittens that haunt our neighborhood, but that wasn’t it.

It was an opossum. This wasn’t totally surprising. It was the right season and Ensie and I saw them quite often around our neighborhood. We’d worried they would find their way underneath our house. This opossum wasn’t fairing so well. I snapped at Jeffery, trying to get him on-command, but he was only paying attention enough to keep away from me. The opossum, though playing dead, was making a rather eerie rattling noise as Jeffrey swung him around. I managed to grab Jeffery’s collar but he slipped out of it. I snatched at the back of his neck and grabbed him by his ruff. I had his front legs off the ground when he finally realized what I was doing. He dropped the opossum. I didn’t take any chances so I picked Jeffrey up and carried him back inside.

Ensie, who has this eerie ability to remain glacially calm when I’m pulling my hair out, came to the door to see what was the matter. I sputtered out something about a dead opossum and she immediately decided to go check it out. Jebus is my wife good at times like this. She gets all steely-eyed and makes quick decisions. Now, when we’re trying to pick a restaurant…but that’s a different story. I finally put some shoes on and joined her. This poor thing looked like it was toast. He had a puncture wound on his throat and was missing a pretty large stretch of fur. We couldn’t tell in the dark how much skin he’d lost too, but we did see he was missing a toe. I don’t even want to know what happened to that. We did see that he was breathing. Well, now what do we do?

We wait. We went back inside and watched from the laundry room as our battered opossum rolled over onto his feet and sat there, much like you or I would to catch our breath. He limped away. Now I just hope he doesn’t find his way under the house.

We checked on the Jeffrey. He doesn’t seem to have any bites or scratches, but he did have a large tuft of opossum hair stuck in his teeth. He was so wound up he couldn’t stay still, so we ended up having to give him a tranquilizer to get him to sleep.

And me? I’m wondering why nobody warned me about this stuff.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2006

Really? Zubaz?

It isn't every day when we have a tie in The Most Ridiculous Item of Clothing Seen During My Day Contest.

I had that today. First, I was getting coffee in the morning, and happened upon a man in his mid-twenties wearing a Ryan Leaf Charger jersey. Don't see those much. Then this afternoon I looked out the window and saw a young woman wearing Zubaz pants. Boy, I hope THOSE come back.

I know it's National High-Five Day. I was unaware that is was National Wear the Last Thing in Your Closet Day as well. Let me know next year and I'll wear a flannel tied around my waist

Posted by Frinklin at 12:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

Madden 07


I can't really believe that ESPN was willing to televise this on Sportscenter, but the WWL is quite the whore these days. Seeing Shaun Alexander on the cover is awfully cool, but the Madden Cover Jinx is lurking.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

China Rocks!


Hu Jintao, President of China has been in Seattle the past couple days. He toured a Boeing plant in Everett (where the title quote and this oddly-disconcerting photo came from), he met with various luminaries at a dinner reception at Bill Gates’ house, he flashed a surprising sense of humor -at one point joking with our Governor that he would find hotel rooms for all 6 million Washington residents for the 2008 Olympics.

I should be commenting on the odd, multi-tiered relationship we have with China: rival, business partner, debt-holder . Or I could mention the various human rights violations that China is accused -and almost certainly guilty - of. But I won’t.

I’m going to bitch about how much this screwed up my week. President Jintao stayed at a hotel on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. My office is on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. You can imagine the motorcade and security-based fun this entailed. Even more fun, on Monday I went out to lunch and stumbled on to a protest by the Falun Gong. This isn’t anything unexpected. Century Square is where everybody protests. I was impressed by the organization and focus though. Most protests, especially the anti-war ones, usually degenerate into pointless grandstanding and bile-spewing pretty quickly.

Or performance art. That’s much worse.

Posted by Frinklin at 12:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 19, 2006

Amateur Movie Review: Thank You for Smoking

Yeah, it’s a little dated. Christopher Buckley’s slyly cynical little book came out in 1994, when spin was just entering the public consciousness. Now that spin also comes in DIY flavors, and the anti-smoking forces are funded by tobacco taxes, the worry was that the movie might lose some of its bite.

It does, but just a little bit. Buckley fans should rest easy.

Nick Naylor is the cheerfully amoral “yuppie Mephistopheles”, spokescreature for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. Aaron Eckhardt, blandly handsome and endlessly slick, is perfectly cast as Naylor. His job is to confuse the issue, and he does it very, very well. Along the way he tangles with a do-gooder bureaucrat and his handpicked “cancer boy”, the do-gooder’s unctuous boss, anti-tobacco terrorists and one very lovely (and very lifeless) newspaper reporter. There is also much commiseration at lunch with his friends in the M.O.D Squad. That’s MOD as in Merchants of Death. Naylor is cigarettes; the others are guns and alcohol. He even re-connects with his son.

But that isn’t the important part. Hell, the plot isn’t important much at all. What is important, and what works about this movie is Buckley and young director Jason Reitman taking aim at some very easy targets. The blowhard Senator? Check. Oily Hollywood agents and their suck-up assistants? Check. Self-important doctors? Check. Backstabbing bosses? Check. It’s all there, and just about all of it works. Reitman proves himself a natural, and he helms this movie with a confident hand. He’s aided by a brilliant cast, led by Eckhardt and William H. Macy as his nemesis, the Birkenstock-wearing know-it-all Senator from Vermont. As with the book, the MOD Squad moments are brilliant. Fans of the book will be disappointed at the paring of some of the relationships between the three, but it works anyway. The only misstep is Katie Holmes as the conniving reporter. Can someone remind me why I thought she was a fine actress at one point? She’s clearly trying too hard here to give a sexy, coquettish vibe. It falls flat.

Thank You for Smoking is light, breezy and very funny. It’s well worth seeing.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Adventures in Marketing

A couple weeks ago, I was in Eddie Bauer looking for a pair of khakis. After navigating my way around a display of polo shirts in supposedly macho pastels and a couple racks of belts wide enough to rope cattle with, I located the pants section. In the midst of a reverie about why the world needs so many minutely different shades of tan pants, my eyes lit upon a shelf of khakis with a reasonably proximate sign reading, "$19.99."

20 bucks for a pair of pants? I was so dumbfounded by this apparent bargain that I actually summoned a salesperson, which for me is like requesting syphilis. The salesperson confirmed that yes, the price was correct. Well, I am nothing if not an incredible cheapskate, so I grabbed a couple pairs and bolted for the register, in the process nearly knocking over a mannequin dressed in a purple plaid shirt that would have made Mr. T look effeminate.

The cashier was a pleasant middle-aged woman, and she approved of the value I had found. I replied, "Yeah, can you believe it? I wonder why they're so cheap." I began to wonder if these pants had been fashioned from recycled soda bottles, or if they'd been shoplifted from Banana Republic.

"Oh, we had to get rid of these. We just got a new shipment in. They changed the name back from Rustom Fit to Relaxed Fit. I guess people didn't know what Rustom Fit was."

Well, of course they didn't know what "Rustom Fit" was. It was a nonsense term made up by the marketing people at Eddie Bauer. What I want to know is, how did "Rustom Fit" get approved in the first place? I mean, everyone knows what "Relaxed Fit" means. It's polite advertising-speak for "pants big enough to fit your fat ass, because it's easier to buy bigger pants than it is to put down the Twinkies, right, Porky?" But "Rustom Fit" doesn't mean anything, except in the demented minds of the Eddie Bauer marketing department. Why discard a perfectly reasonable and widely-understood phrase for a piece of marketing gibberish that no one understands, and if they did understand it, would find pretentious and idiotic?

Let's say you sell Brillo pads. Everyone knows what your product is, they like it fine, and your sales are steady but unspectacular. So, one day, some bight light decides to rename your product the "Zoombax 3000Q," because it's new and different, and this will ignite new interest and generate more sales.

Will this happen? Of course not. Sales will fall through the floor, because no one knows what the hell a Zoombax 3000Q is. People who are shopping for scouring pads don't want novelty; they want something they know will remove the baked-on cream sauce from their casserole dish.

The same thing applies to khakis. People don't want something new and exciting; they want pants that they know will fit. I know that Relaxed Fit pants will work for me. Rustom Fit? No idea. Maybe that would be enough to get me to buy my pants elsewhere, unless they're marked down to 20 bucks and my inner cheapskate takes over.

Essentially, what I'm proposing is that every marketing department in the country hire me as a consultant. I don't have any special knowledge or skills, which is what makes me so necessary. What I would do is something like the following:

CLEVER MARKETING GENIUS: Hey, Fred, we've got a brilliant new idea!
MEDIOCRE FRED: What is it?
CMG: We want to change "Relaxed Fit" to "Rustom Fit."
MF: That's a stupid idea. You're fired.
CMG: But it will really spark interest in our-
MF: No.
CMG: But we need to-
MF: You've got fifteen minutes to clean out your desk before I call security.

The problem with marketing is that it's all cleverness for its own sake. These leeches need to justify their existence and their no-doubt-obscene salaries, so they come up with pointless "improvements," many of which do more harm than good, and which drive our shallow and trivial society ever closer to an ennui-induced coma which will ultimately lead to the downfall of Western culture.

On the bright side, I got my pants for cheap. So it all evens out in the end.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 10:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 14, 2006

Well, this isn’t the nastiest thing I’ve heard all week… Wait, yes it is.

I’ve often wondered how fans would react to an owner who’s really, really evil. Not a Steinbrenneresque blowhard or a Carl Pohlad-style greedy bastard, or even your everyday franchise-moving cretin like Bud Adams. I mean someone who does really bad things. When one complains to a non-sports fan about an Art Modell or Peter Angelos, you end up getting some weird looks. In the grand scheme of things, demanding a new stadium isn’t really that big a deal.

Now, chasing down Jews in government and barbequing puppy dogs, that might get a reaction. And soon, you and baseball fans across America might find out. The saga of the Washington Nationals and their possible ownership group has stumbled on for months, and be settled any day now. One of the finalists is a fella named Fred Malek. Recently, his activities as one of Richard Nixon’s henchmen has been chronicled in Slate. It was his job to find the Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also has come to light that as a young man, he was arrested for killing, gutting and barbequing a dog on a spit.

Quality guy, isn’t he?

Thanks to Deadspin for pointing this out. I think.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 13, 2006

Amateur Book Review: Prayers for the Assassin


The year is 2036, and the Islamic States of America, born from the shattered wreckage of the USA, and following a bitter civil war that settled nothing, is no longer the world’s leading superpower. It is a pale shadow of former greatness.

Okay, that’s either an intriguing look at a possible –if completely improbable- future, or the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever heard. If you believe the latter, then Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin is probably not for you. That would be too bad, since this book, beyond its fanciful premise, is an exciting and engrossing thriller. Assassin is brisk, slick and would make for terrific airplane reading.

For those who haven’t read the book, the question is obvious: How did this happen? More importantly, does it make any sense?

About as much as it possibly can, it does.

The housing market collapses, and propels the economy into a serious recession. Popular culture continues to grow more abrasive, and the moral certainty of Islam begins to make sense to many Americans. A few high-profile celebrities make very public declarations of their new faith. Then the unthinkable. It’s called the Zionist Betrayal; Israeli agents detonate nuclear weapons in Washington, New York and Mecca. This was an attempt by rouge Israeli agents to pin blame on radical Islamists. It backfires. Much of America converts, and an Arab and European force wipes Israel of the map. Christians unwilling to convert head to the Deep South, declare independence and a brutal civil war follows. Cities across the country are devastated, left uninhabitable. Eventually the war ceases without a victor, and the ISA and Bible Belt are left with a hard, edgy peace.

Our protagonist is Rakkim, recently retired from the Fedayeen, the ISA’s covert military wing. He’s an orphan, raised in the house of the fearsome Redbeard, head of State Security. Redbeard is a legendary figure in the Islamic States, a man who used any means necessary to protect the nascent country after the assassination of his older brother James, the first head of State Security. James became a great martyr, and his daughter Sarah was raised by Redbeard as well. Once out of their teens, Rakkim and Sarah become lovers and Redbeard refused to let them marry. Now she’s disappeared and Redbeard is desperate enough to find her he calls on Rakkim. Sarah hasn’t disappeared; she’s on the run.

Prayers for the Assassin hits the ground running and never lags. It’s a breezy read that seems shorter and quicker than 416 pages. Despite the showy premise, this is more a character driven book. The young lovers, Rakkim and Sarah, sometimes delve into caricature, but not often. Rakkim is hardened and agnostic, Sarah is naïve and idealistic, but Rakkim has moments of unexpected tenderness and Sarah has more steel than you might think. A thriller is only as good as the villains and Prayers is blessed with three. The young and fanatical Mullah, Ibn-Azziz, is the leader of the Black Robes, the religious secret police. The Old One, a shadowy figure who seems himself as the Mahdi, bent on creating the world caliphate. The Old One’s assassin, the nihilistic Darwin, is also ex-Fedayeen, and very much Rakkim’s twisted mirror image.

Ferrigno is also very adept at filling in the history of the ISA, and many of the smaller moments focus on the differences between the USA and ISA. Seattle is the capital of the ISA and Ferrigno, a Northwestener himself, uses the geography well. The Space Needle, toppled and rusting in the rain, is a recurring, mournful image. A pivotal scene takes place in the abandoned ruins of Disneyland. The ISA flag, a replica of the stars-n-stripes with the crescent moon replacing the stars, is a poignant presence throughout the book. That flag also makes for a striking cover image, though the effect is lessened by the huge logo. It’s a bizarre misstep for a well-marketed book. Does a picture of this flag really need the words “A Novel” front and center?

Again, overall enjoyment of the book will center on how much the reader can get lost in the alternative world Ferrigno conjures. Do that, and Prayers for the Assassin is a very enjoyable read.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 10, 2006

The Missus Returns!

My lovely wife Ensie has come back to blogging. This would be cool enough, but her first post back is all about how I'm slowly... very slowly turning her into a baseball fan.

I would like it noted that we bought her a Mariners cap as well. And while I did buy the BA Prospect Handbook, I have yet to buy Baseball Prospectus 2006.


Posted by Frinklin at 07:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2006

I would like this more if I could figure out if I like this guy...

You scored as Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo). You have spent your life trying to life up to and impress your Dad, shame he never seemed to notice. You are a stickler for the rules. But in matters of loyalty and honour you know when they have to be broken.

Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)


CPO Galen Tyrol


President Laura Roslin


Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)


Dr Gaius Baltar


Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)


Tom Zarek


Col. Saul Tigh


Number 6


Commander William Adama


What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Seen at Bill's

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April 04, 2006

Local Dog Placed on Waivers

Jeffrey, a five-year veteran dog with the Frinklin household, has been placed on waivers due to what the club termed “excessive barking and almost inconceivable flatulence.” Ensie Frinklin, the family’s managing general partner, advised reporters that the family attempted to trade Jeffrey over the weekend, but a possible deal with a neighboring family fell through when that family requested a draft pick in addition to the veteran Shepard/pit bull mix.

“We thought we had the deal done –Jeffrey for a young hamster and a kitten to be named later- but at the last moment our unnamed trading partner demanded a 3rd-round draft pick, “ explained Mrs. Frinklin. “That was just more than we were willing to deal.”

Jeffrey, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2001, inked a 9-year extension following the 2003 season. He will remain on waivers for the next 48 hours. If claimed by a new household they will be on the hook for the remaining seven years on Jeffrey’s contract. If no team claims the dog, he will be able to sign a new deal with any interested team.

Posted by Frinklin at 03:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Chronicles of Bill, Part 2

Remember my thick-as-a-brick co-worker, "Bill," star of the Kansas quarter anecdote from a while back? Well, he's at it again. I swear this happened, even though it sounds like a Bill Engvall routine.

Bill and I are collaborating on a report. Bill left it on my desk, with a note asking me to look it over and return it to him. I did as he asked. Later in the afternoon, he came by, report in hand, asking, "Were you the one that looked this over?"

I figured a little sarcasm was called for, so I stared at him and said, "No, Bill. You put it on my desk, with my name on it, and I returned it to you. But it wasn't me, it was Sharon."

Bill paused. He said, "Oh, sorry." And he walked off to find Sharon.

(Cue Engvall: "Heeeeeeeeere's your sign.")

Either my deadpan is a lot better than I imagined, or it's a miracle Bill finds his way to work five times a week.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 01:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 03, 2006

Okay, so not quite everything went right today.


The forces of all that is good and decent lost today to the hated invaders from the godless south. Still had a great time, and Kenji Johjima is everybody's favorite Mariner from here on out.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2006

Anakin’s really let himself go, or our day at Emerald Con

Saturday the Missus and I hit Emerald City Comic Con. As I’d mentioned previous, this was the first non-San Diego convention either of us had ever attended. This was the biggest Emerald Con yet, with an attendance over 7,000 expected. It was –if such a thing exists- a relaxing convention. Full, but not terribly crowded; busy but never frenzied. We enjoyed ourselves. A few things we noticed:

-I’m not able to confirm this, but I swear the only costumed attendees were dressed as Jedi. The best was a detailed Anakin outfit from RoTS, scars included and the hair pretty close to perfect. The only noticeable flaw was the wearer. He was about the same height as Hayden Christensen, but about 50 pounds heavier. This led to a running joke between Ensie and I. It was like Anakin hadn’t gone to the darkside. He just let himself go a bit. Instead of slaughtering the Jedi, why not a couple donuts and a nap?

-For the first time ever I had a creator sign a book I bought. It was Kurt Busiek and I got all fanboyish on him, stammering about how much I like the “Up, Up, and Away” storyline. As well, I should, it’s pretty close to awesome. My wife mocked me for this. Next to Busiek’s table was Pia Guerra, the artist and co-creator of Y the Last Man, which my wife and I both read. Ensie flipped through an advance copy of the next issue while Kurt Busiek sang an impromptu song about Y the Last Man. I can’t put in to words how surreal this was.

-Our best find was a print Ensie spied going through Artist’s Alley. She burst out laughing, and the artist, without looking up from his sketch says, “It’s the penguin, right?”

Yes it was. You can see it here. And you’re damned right we bought a copy.

-The Qwest Field Events Center must get the workers that wash out from the Stadium and Safeco Field. While I’ve never had a difficulty with anyone at Qwest or Safeco, the concession workers at the Event Center were unbelievably rude.

-Beyond that, it was a great time.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack