The 4-inch snowstorm, and other milestones

A number of milestones in 2004 already. Today is the single largest dump of snow I can recall since moving to Seattle. Meteorologists predicted it would arrive last night, and since I was up late fighting a head cold I'd occasionally glance out the window. By 1:30 in the morning, not a flake had fallen and I passed out, thinking that perhaps it was all a false alarm.
In the morning, my alarm clock woke me at 6:30 with a female voice reading off school closings. I gazed out the window...

View out my window

In the Midwest, of course, 4 inches is a winter rounding error. In Seattle, with its hilly terrain and snow plow and salt truck fleet of approximately two, 4 inches qualifies as the storm of the decade. Local newscasts dubbed it the Snow Blast, and I was snowed in.
It's not just the snow; the Northwest has seen record lows in temperature recently. This is bitter cold, bitter because everyone who goes outside wears a frozen grimace as if they swallowed something bitter.
On a warmer note, last Friday the boys had a night out at Key Arena as the Lakers were in town to play the Sonics. It was by far the best Sonics game I've seen in my six years here. It was the first time back in Seattle for Gary Payton, and he got a huge ovation when he was introduced.

Key Arena during the National Anthem

Sonics girls hold the American flag during the National Anthem

Shaq left at half-time with a hamstring injury, opening up the middle for the Sonics to attack the basket against the Lakers zone which in turn set them up for a ton of wide open three pointers. The Sonics are a jump-shooting team, and they live and die by the outside jumper. That night they were hot.

Shaq shoots a free throw

Kobe led a furious comeback. His Colorado trial aside, he's really really good on the basketball court, clearly the best player on the court that night. With under a minute left, Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer to put the Sonics up by 3 and send the crowd into a frenzy.. Then Kobe, one on one against Allen, faded into the Sonics bench and swished a 3 to tie it. He was feeling it and came back down court wagging his index finger like Mutombo. Then Allen drove in and hit an acrobatic double-clutch jumper under the basket among three Lakers with about five seconds left. After a time out, Devean George picked off Kobe by mistake, and so the inbounds went to Horace Grant who fumbled it. By the time Kobe got it, he was six feet behind the 3-point line. His desperation jumper was straight on but hit front iron and that was it.
Anyone who was anyone seemed to be at the game that night as we ran into all sorts of people exiting the stadium. We'll do it again on the 13th when King (Lebron) James visits with the Cavs.