Friday, May 9, 2014


It started several years ago when we found a new burrito restaurant in Seattle's Oak Tree complex, and it had a bit of a weird name. We decided to try it out with a few friends, and my first time in there, I remember jokingly commenting, "Yo quiero Taco Bell." One bite of Qdoba's burritos put to rest any desire of going to Taco Bell instead.

We then discovered there was a branch right near Lynnwood's Alderwood Mall, and we became regulars. The Oak Tree branch was fairly close to church, and the Lynnwood branch was pretty close to home. Especially at the Lynnwood branch, we were very impressed with the service. Pedro comes to mind as one manager who was particularly friendly. He got to know us well, knew what we liked, and sometimes even surprised us with special deals, or he would randomly bring chips and salsa we hadn't ordered to our table. One time we had a minor fire in our house (which was quickly put out), and somehow the subject came up the next time we went to Qdoba. Pedro, not knowing the extent of the damage, offered to come help clean up! One time my parents were visiting Colorado and went to a Qdoba there. They got talking to the manager, who was mopping the floor, and they mentioned Pedro and how amazing he was. When they got back home, they went to the Lynnwood Qdoba. When they mentioned to Pedro they had gone to Qdoba in Colorado, he said, "I know." That surprised them. It turned out that the manager they had talked to in Colorado (where the chain is based) was one of the company bigwigs. He had sent a message to the Lynnwood branch, commending Pedro for his amazing customer service, and calling him a legend. Sadly, Pedro eventually moved on, but others stood out for their legendary service.

Francisco was just as amazing as Pedro. He was very friendly, and had a remarkable memory. Eventually, he moved from the Lynnwood branch to the Oak Tree branch, where he still works. Since we don't go to the Oak Tree branch nearly as much as the Lynnwood branch, we don't see him nearly as much, but I have still been amazed at his memory. He has remembered what I like to get after a year of not going to that branch! Also, one time I went to the Oak Tree branch with a fractured arm, and for the next few times we went there (several months), he would ask about it. Since we didn't go to that branch all that often, it was all the more impressive. He recently told us he still remembers his childhood address in Mexico. He has an amazing gift of memory. I was also impressed on a recent visit to see Francisco come into the restaurants with treats (I think they were slushies) for the other employees. That's a mark of a great manager.

Since Francisco left the Lynnwood branch, it has had some great servers, and some not so great. By far, Pedro and Francisco were the best at that branch, but Juan, Olga, Rufino, and more recently Caleb, have been particularly outstanding.

I have also been very impressed with the corporate office. I like to commend servers who have been particularly amazing. On several occasions, I've done that for Francisco and Caleb (the others were before I started doing that). Allison in their corporate office has always responded with promises to pass on the good feedback to the branches in question. Whenever I've had a negative experience, I've sent a message to them, and they quickly responded with an apology and an assurance that they would pass on the feedback to the branch in an effort to improve. Recently, we went to the Oak Tree branch on a day when Francisco wasn't on duty, and I had to tell the servers four times what I wanted. I got the feeling they didn't even hear me the first three times, though I was speaking loudly. As with other times, when I sent a message on Facebook to the corporate office, Allison responded and gave me a free entree on my card, in addition to promising to pass that feedback on.

Just recently, Qdoba opened a brand new branch in Lynnwood. I got my aforementioned free entree there, and the service has been amazing. Everyone welcomed us in a friendly manner, and has gone out of their way to help. The second time we went to the new branch, earlier this week, they were having their grand opening celebration. I tried the new mango mojo burrito, which is amazing. Sarah checked with us several times to make sure we were doing all right. She cheerfully answered our questions, and even brought us some freebies, as it was their grand opening celebration. As we were about to leave, she brought us coupons for a free mango mojo entree. We went back for dinner today. I got my dinner for free, thanks to the coupon! Rahwa recognized us, since we'd been to that branch all of twice before that. I was impressed. Sarah arrived while we were in line, and she said, "You're back!" I was also impressed to observe that Jake, who rang us up, was still helping customers during his meal break. He was sitting at a table eating, and he asked a nearby customer if she was doing all right. Qdoba has lemons and limes in containers by their silverware, napkins and soda machine. I like to get some to put in my drink. When I opened the lemon container, I noticed they looked dirty and pointed that out to Sarah. She immediately emptied the container and went and got fresh clean lemons. Meanwhile, I put some limes in my cup and filled it with water. When she came back, she brought the lemon container to our table and offered some to me!

Needless to say, Qdoba is an amazing restaurant. Over the years, I've had positive and negative experiences with them, but their food is amazing, and their service is usually incredible, both on the local level and the corporate level.

Five stars.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Common Confusion

I've noticed that spelling, punctuation and grammar seem to be less and less important to people, causing them to say things that don't make sense or are not what they want to say. Thus, I thought I'd write a helpful blog to point out the differences. Sometimes people legitimately don't know the difference, but with the frequent "helpful" nature of autocorrect, these mistakes are sometimes thanks to machine error.

Accept = to choose to agree
Except = indicates exclusion
You just need to accept that all mammals, except for whales, dolphins and a few others, live on land.

Ado = bother
Adieu = French for "good bye" (with the expectation of never seeing the person again)
Without further ado, I fear I must bid you adieu.

Affect = a verb
Effect = a noun
If you are going to affect change, it's going to leave an effect on people.

Alumni = the plural form (at least one person among those mentioned is male)
Alumnus = the singular masculine form
Alumna = the singular feminine form
Alumnae = the plural feminine form
John is an alumnus of Harvard. Alice is an alumna of Yale. Mary and Sue are alumnae of Princeton. They are all alumni of Ivy League schools. It's a Latin thing.

Are = present tense plural and second person of "to be" (We are, They are, You are)
Our = belonging to us
Are you sure that's our octopus?

Asterisk = a punctuation mark (*) commonly used for footnotes, bullet points, and other purposes; also called a star
Asterix = a French comic book superhero with super strength and speed (That is, the comic strip is from France. Asterix is a Gaul, but then technically, the Gauls are now called French...)

Caesar better be careful not to use so many asterisks when writing about his laurel wreath*, or Asterix might steal it!
*See Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, which doesn't technically involve an asterisk

Bazaar = a market, often involving crafts
Bizarre = very strange
I thought it was bizarre that they were selling knitted platypi at the bazaar.

Blonde = a female with blond hair
Blond = a male with blond hair

Brunette = a female with brown hair
Brunet = a male with brown hair

Desert = a large expanse of hot sand; deserts sometimes have plants such as cacti and others, or they can be full of sand dunes and no vegetation
Desert = to abandon
Dessert = something people eat after a meal
No need to desert us to eat your dessert in the desert!

Draught = the British spelling of "draft"
Drought = a period where food and water are scarce
In periods of drought, people often wish for a draught of water.

e.g. = exempli gratia, Latin for "for example" - giving an example
i.e. = id est, Latin for "that is" - explaining what you mean
Science fiction often uses robots; e.g., R2-D2, #5, WALL-E, etc. As our society becomes more automated, we may end up using them more and more in reality. But will they look humanoid; i.e., like us?

Grammar = the proper way to construct sentences
Grammer = an actor known for his portrayal of Frasier, Beast (X-Men) and others
Kelsey Grammer has excellent grammar.

It's = short for "it is"
Its = belonging to it
It's interesting how a snake sheds its skin.

Lose = the opposite of "to win" or "to gain"
Loose = the opposite of "tight"
I wish kids wouldn't wear their pants so loosely. They're liable to lose them!

Loser = one who loses (doesn't win or gain)
Looser = more loose (not tight)
Losers of weight often find their pants get looser and need to get smaller pants. Maybe certain teenagers would enjoy the looser pants.

Metal = an element that clangs when you bang on it; e.g., gold, tin, silver, steel, copper
Medal = a reward that is often made of metal
All the medals given out at the competition were made of metal.

Pallet = a portable platform used for hauling freight
Palette = a small board used for mixing paint
Palate = the top of the inside of the mouth
The artist specializes in unconventional paintings. This one shows a forklift lifting boxes on a pallet. As you can see, the boxes are full of fruit that looks like you could just reach out and taste it. The canvas might be tough on the palate, though, so I don't recommend it. The painter's palette clearly got a lot of use.

Precedent = an event that affects future decisions
President = the head of a government or company
The president's poor choices may set a bad precedent. (Note: This is not a commentary on any specific president!)

Role = the character someone plays in a play, or a person's job
Roll = to turn over and over, or a kind of pastry
I played the role of the baker in the opera. I baked lots of rolls. My character also enjoyed rolling down hills.

Sight = something seen
Site = a location
Cite = giving credit where credit is due
The construction site is quite a sight! Just be sure to cite your sources when writing about it.

Stationary = not moving, perfectly still
Stationery = paper used for writing letters
When writing letters by hand, it's best to hold the stationery stationary. Otherwise, it might be difficult to read.

There = in that place, over there
Their = belonging to them
They're = short for "They are" or "They were" (usually "They are")
They're right over there with their geoducks.

Through = indicating transit
Though = in spite of
Threw = past tense of "to throw"
Thru = finished
Even though he knew better, that kid just threw the ball through the window! As a result, his baseball days are thru.

To = indicating transfer, from one to another
To = precedes the infinitive of a verb (e.g., "to eat")
Too = also or excessively
Two = the second number, 2
I want to come to the two concerts too!

Were = past tense plural and second person of "to be" (We were, They were, You were)
Were- = the first syllable of werewolf; in this case, "were" means "man"
We're = short for "We are" or "We were" (usually "We are")
Where = an inquiry about the location of someone or something
Wear = to be clothed, or to slowly decay from frequent use
We're sure those were the werewolves you were looking for, but where did they go? They were wearing our shirts. I just hope they don't wear them out!

Whose = belonging to whom
Who's = short for "Who is"
All right, who's the wise guy whose dog just barked the rhythm of "Jingle Bells" in May?

Your = belonging to you
You're = short for "you are"
You're sure that's your aardvark, right?

A lot = two words!

All right = also two words!

OK = an acronym that stands for "Oll Korrect." When it was coined, they changed the spelling of "all correct" to form a new term. While "okay" is not technically wrong (see the article linked in this point), "OK" is more correct.

Wherefore = why (not where). Thus, Juliet is not wondering where Romeo is. She's wondering why she had to go and fall in love with a member of their rival clan.

Edmonds Sunset

Since I missed the spectacular sunset on April 30 when I was on the beach at Golden Gardens, I was determined to get sunset pictures while the weather was clear. So the following evening, May 1, I went to the nearby beach in Edmonds. I was not disappointed. "Spectacular" is putting it mildly. I am constantly amazed at God's artwork broadcast across the sky for the world to see.

All photos © 2014 Steven Sauke

The first two pictures were taken with my Android:

The following were taken with my camera:

The moon was just a little sliver.

Two ferries crossing the Puget Sound in opposite directions
It reminded me of the line "Two ships passing at a distance, through the darkness, one going from, one coming to, America!" from the song "Journey On" in the musical Ragtime.

A ferry reflected in the water beneath the spectacular sunset

I took the following two pictures with my Android and ran them through Instagram:

I also posted this picture on KING 5's website. It can be viewed here.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Golden Gardens

On April 30, 2014, my gym closed. That evening, many of us who worked out there had a bonfire at Golden Gardens, a park and beach in North Seattle. It was a beautiful day. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the bonfire started due to evening plans, but I was able to enjoy the beach and friends for a few minutes, anyway! Following are some of the pictures I got.

I took these with my camera:

I took these with my cell phone and ran them through Instagram:

Incidentally, Golden Gardens was one of the locations where I filmed my epic short movie The Heirs of Djeek last year.

The Empire Striketh Back

In celebration of Star Wars Day and Revenge of the Fifth, methinks I shalt perchance blog about, yea, e'en review, William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back. As may be known, said masterwork was penned by the bard himself, Ian Doescher.

It was last year when I didst learn about the first play in the classic trilogy, William Shakespeare's Star Wars, and I didst hasten unto yon to download the Kindle version of the newly discoverèd work of Shakespeare, which George Lucas didst rudely pilfer to make his 1977 movie. I read the first tome with great mirth. Behold, I was e'en delighted to discover that such characters as R2-D2, thus set free by the iambic pentameter and the frequent use of asides, was able to communicate his thoughts unto the kind audience, while portraying to his fellow players a façade of beeps and bleeps. The play didst delve deeper into the characters, while making frequent use of the Chorus to explain the action unfolding before our play didst begin, as well as the continuing action as the play continuèd. Shakespeare's language didst delight me, and I have thus endeavour'd to replicate it here. But a lowly blogger am I, so it is my lot to forego the iambic pentameter and instead bring unto my kind readers a review in prose.

So delighted was I with the first tome that I did eagerly await its sequel, e'en The Empire Striketh Back. Hark, disappointed was I not. The second was improvèd o'er the first. In his afterword did the bard explain how the feedback from his first master work didst inspire the ongoing work of penning the saga. Less was the Chorus used, in favour of the characters revealing that which could not be shown onstage due to the limitations of the medium.

In this new play, the gentle audience doth learn more than in the movie how the character of Lando of Calrissian conflicted feels to thus betray his sworn ally Han Solo. With further use of asides does Lando tell how he repulsèd is to deal with the likes of Darth Vader while betraying Han to the carbonite freezer.

While R2-D2 continues his sarcastic yet informative asides, he does not do so as much as he did in the first play.

With great joy did I learn that the character of Yoda, in an effort to speak differently than the rest of the ensemble, speaketh backwards, yet also in haiku. Thus do we get classic lines such as:

In troth, I understand, and I shall try.
Nay, nay! Try thou not.
But do thou or do thou not,
For there is no "try."

When introducing the character of Boba Fett, the bard didst express that he employed a technique yet unexplorèd in the Star Wars universe, e'en to speak in prose. This was a technique employed by Shakespeare to indicate the lowest of the low, and this bounty hunter, though determined, is yet low.

In the first volume didst the audience's hearts break when Princess Leia sang a lament for her belovèd planet Alderaan. In this second play, she and Chewbacca similarly sing a lament for Han, thus alive yet frozen in carbonite. Though Wookiee I speak not, I would that I could hear a Wookiee sing. Though I know not what it means, yet these lines do bring a lump e'en to my throat:

[sings:] Egh, auugh, auugh, auugh, egh, egh, muh, muh,
Auugh, egh, egh, auugh, auugh, mu, muh.
Egh, auugh, auugh, grrm, auugh, egh, muh, muh,
Muh, wroshyr, wroshyr, wroshyr.
[sings:] Now he is gone, and so's my life,
All frozen in a moment.
He my seiz'd lov'd one, I his strife,
Sing wroshyr, wroshyr, wroshyr.

From the last line of each stanza do I gather that "Muh," when used in a certain way, meanest "Sing." However, it is possible that in other lines, it may mean otherwise. A tribute it is to their friendship that e'en Leia employeth the Wookiee language into her song.

More jovial is the singing of the "merry band of UGNAUGHTS", who deliver all their lines in joyful song "as they pass around parts of C-3PO's body." While like them we do not, they either enjoy their work or choose to sing to pass the time in a more jovial manner, thus to lighten the load of their slavery. I know not their motivation, as they use not the asides that other characters employ.

Further twists does our plot take, as a character that I shall not name (thus shalt I avoid overmuch spoilers) telleth Luke, "--No. I am thy father." Unto this unexpected turn doth Luke reply, "Nay, 'tis not true! It is impossible!" But aforementioned character rejoins, "Pray, search thy feelings, Luke. Thou knowest it/Is true." Luke can only reply, "--Nay!"

As with the movie, with a cliffhanger doth our play end, and as the Chorus instructs,

Ye must leave empty, sighing lack-a-day,
Till we, by George, a brighter play compose.
Our story endeth, though your hearts do burn,
And shall until the Jedi doth return.
                                                                             [Exeunt omnes.

So endeth this blog post, with a hearty recommendation that ye read the play, yea, e'en perform it. Worth your time it is, and greater do I feel for the reading. May the Fourth be with thee, and eagerly shall we wait until our trilogy's conclusion in The Jedi Doth Return.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Superheroes to the Rescue!

The day finally arrived! It was Free Comic Book Day, and as a responsible nerd, it was my duty and pleasure to make a pilgrimage downtown to procure my very own free comic book. I arrived at Golden Age Collectables, a fine upstanding comic book establishment in Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market. It is one of my favorite spots in the market, and I like to browse there whenever I go. Upon arrival, I was greeted by none other than Black Widow herself! While I was there, Spider-Man arrived! I couldn't believe it! I had no idea when I arrived at the Pike Place Market that I would in fact be meeting the incredible Natasha Romanoff and the amazing Peter, I mean, who in the world could Spider-Man be? I have no idea who is under that suit! After selecting my Thor comic book and doing further browsing, I left.

Right outside the door to the shop, our heroes were dealing with a brewing storm. A young citizen was threatening to turn into the Hulk! I don't know what anyone had done to make him angry, but I'm sure I wouldn't like him when he's angry. Indeed, Spider-Man expressed concern that his spidey senses were tingling!

 What happened next will likely go down in the great feats of superhero history.

Spider-Man discussed the situation with the citizen, who was already beginning his transformation into the Hulk! Meanwhile, Black Widow had some words with the citizen's parents.

Once she was done discussing the problem with the parents, Black Widow joined in the conversation with the citizen. Both superheroes showed utmost respect and remained calm the entire time, despite Spider-Man's spidey senses tingling.

It was a tense situation, but between the two of them, Black Widow and Spider-Man were successfully able to diffuse it, ending with an amicable solution. The citizen did not transform into the Hulk, and everyone was happy. The citizen even got his picture taken with the brave souls who saved him. This boy will surely grow into a fine upstanding citizen, thanks to the timely intervention from Spider-Man and Black Widow.

However, I am somewhat concerned about the citizen behind said citizen (not pictured), who was wearing a Hulk hoodie.

After seeing such amazing heroics with my own eyes, I had to get a picture with them! It was a wonder to behold.

Closer view of Black Widow and Spider-Man. 

I will not soon forget this day, where I witnessed history in the making, when a boy became a man.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Black Lake

This past weekend, I went to Black Lake in Tumwater, Washington for a men's conference. That's near Olympia, the state capital, a couple hours south of Seattle (or four hours in rush hour, as my friend Charlie and I discovered when we carpooled down). I got some pictures, and I thought I'd share a couple here. Two are the same photo, but I applied different filters. I couldn't decide which filter I liked better.


All photos © 2014 Steven Sauke

The lake was stunningly beautiful when we arrived Friday just before sunset.

There were daisies all over the place.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Fandoms Are Flashing Before My Eyes!

My gym closed yesterday. I have been going there regularly since the end of last January, and this brings to a close a big part of my life for the last year and 4 months. Yesterday, I borrowed quotes from several of my favorite shows and books to express my feelings about Vision Quest closing:

I don't want to go! I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me. May the force be with you. Live long and prosper. I'm glad you're with me, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things. 
My fandoms are flashing before my eyes. Thank you, Vision Quest! May your swords stay sharp.
(References to Doctor Who [10th and 11th Doctors, respectively], Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings [more specifically, Return of the King - said by Frodo] and the Inheritance Cycle [Eragon])


Today I will be working out at the new LA Fitness, beginning a new phase in my weight loss journey, and I look forward to working out with many of the same people. In the same vein as yesterday's thoughts, my regeneration into a thinner and healthier person begins!

I give you air from my lungs. It'll be fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo! Kidneys! Do you know how to drive this thing? Use the Force, Luke. Live long and prosper. Before we begin our [workout], I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! I think I'm quite ready for another adventure.
Let the regeneration begin!
(References to Doctor Who [9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors, respectively], Star Wars [said by Obi-Wan], Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [slightly modified quote from Albus Dumbledore] and Return of the King [said by Bilbo])