Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The unfriendly skies

Cliche as it may be, I have to rant about a recent experience trying to fly home from a business trip to Washington D.C. (and boy are my arms tired).

I could reasonably expect delays if I were flying during the winter. But this was the last week in July. I was a direct flight leaving at 3:17 p.m. EDT from Dulles Airport. It was hot in D.C. Temperature was hovering around 95 degrees. I arrived at the airport about an hour and a half early. I was giddy because I got a random TSA PreChk boarding pass and didn't have to strip down before going through security.

At the gate I was waiting patiently in my boarding group 3 line when the gate agent called my name. She asked me if I was ok with changing seats to an exit row. It offered more legroom so I felt like I was on a roll. We boarded.

That's when my apparent good luck started fading. I had the window seat, but a customer of size wedged himself into the center seat next to me. There went the armrest. Still, I had legroom.

The airplane pushed away from the gate and we began taxing toward the runway. We proceeded for awhile and then the airplane pulled over and ominously stopped (never a good sign).  A few minutes later, someone from the flight crew in the cockpit came onto the PA systems and announced that they had received notice from ATC (which I assumed was air traffic control) that they needed to program an alternate flight path to avoid a storm pattern.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The sky is falling

What do you write when the world seems to be tearing itself apart? But I suppose the world always seems to be tearing itself apart. For some reason, it is human nature to hate. And none of the platitudes from politicians, activists, religious leaders or the Twitter rabble really changes anything.

Social media just seems to fan the flames. We all become eyewitnesses to violence and bigotry. And everyone chooses sides and starts throwing stones.

I am amazed at how quickly the outrage at police killing two black men was eclipsed by a black man killing five police officers. And his justification was that he was upset by the killing of the two black men.

It is the same irony I find in spanking a child for hitting a sibling. Violence does not stop violence any more than throwing gas on a fire will put it out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

To the moon, Alice!

"To the moon Alice!"--Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason), "The Honeymooners"
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
--Neil Armstrong 
Forty-seven years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists who think it was all a hoax). I was 11-years old. And I was about as thrilled as you could get.

I was a fan of all the NASA programs. I followed Mercury, Gemini and the Apollo flights that led up to Apollo 11 and the first moon landing. I wanted to be an astronaut. But that would have entailed becoming a pilot and I was told by a recruiter from the Airforce  Academy when I was a senior in high school that I could never become an Airforce pilot because I wore glasses.

So instead of an astronaut I became a marketing professional. It doesn't matter how bad your eyesight is in marketing. In fact it is better to be blind as a bat when you do marketing.

But I digress.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Me, myself and George

My great-great grandfather was George D. Knox. He was born around 1832, spent some time in a mental institution, fought in the civil war for the Union, married my great-great grandmother Amanda (20 years younger than him) and had six kids before moving to Idaho. He died there in 1911 when he was 79.

That's about all I know about him. I have three photos of him. Including this one with Amanda and my grandmother (who was born in 1901 and was raised by her grandparents):

For whatever reason, I find myself thinking about my great, great grandfather when I look in the mirror these days. Maybe it is my beard (though George's is much fuller than mine ever will be). Or maybe it is the eyes. I'm guessing he had blue eyes. 

Friday, July 01, 2016

Gone tomorrow

As if you hadn't heard enough about my hair, I would be remiss if I didn't report that I found another hair salon nearby that I could also make an online appointment. I booked a haircut yesterday evening at 6 p.m. arrived five minutes early and they actually gave me a haircut.

It was a nice salon opened up in an old house in downtown Edmonds. And it was actually one of the owners who cut my hair. She was quite personable, but also quite the sales person. I had forgotten one of the things I hate about hair salons versus cheap barber shops is that the salons always try to sell you "product."

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hair today

This isn't the first time I've written about hair...well actually my hair. I am in my late 50s and I still have a full head of hair. Albeit, it is silver. I used to pay large sums of money to have my hair cut and styled. But I used the Great Recession as an excuse to stop paying $50 to have it cut and styled and start paying $14 just to have it cut.

For the several years now I have forgone the luxury of high priced salons that offer you coffee while you wait, have separate shampoo stations where they wash your hair (with warm water) and give you a head massage. I traded the modern clean salon for a small barber shop in a strip mall staffed entirely by Vietnamese stylists that seemed to change every time I went in for a haircut. No reservation was ever required. And a shampoo cost extra. Though occasionally, depending upon the stylist, they would give me a head massage.

When I went to higher priced salons, there was a certain predictability in how my hair would look. I'd always have the same stylist and she would always know how I wanted my hair cut. At the barber shop, I rarely have the same stylist and my hair was seldom cut the same each time. Plus it was a haircut. There wasn't much in the way of style. But it was only $14.

Not too long ago, my wife pointed out that I have always had nice hair and it was a shame that I was getting consistently bad haircuts since I lowered my standards. So I decided to give a higher priced salon a go of it again. I searched online for local salons and found one in downtown Edmonds that seemed reasonably nice and was close enough to walk to. It had an online scheduling system that I thought was pretty cool, because, being an introvert, the less contact I have to have with people the better. So I scheduled a haircut for last Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thrower in the wry

I watched a documentary about J.D. Salinger the other night on Netflix. And I have to say, I came away from watching it knowing more about J.D. Salinger than I had ever really wanted to know, but with less of an understanding of why people are obsessed with Catcher in the Rye.

Now granted, it has been more than 40 years since I read Catcher in the Rye. It was required reading when I was in Junior High. Holden Caulfield, the book's main character,  is recognized in the literary world as a symbol of teen angst and rebellion. But I just didn't find him relevant.  I grew up in Boise and Holden Caulfield, the main character was growing up in New York. I can state with great conviction, these are two very different cities.  Coalfield's attended prep school and his family had money. I attended public school, my father was a janitor and my mother worked part time in a grade school lunch room. So you get a sense of where my family was on the money spectrum.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Condo of Blues

"House of Blues" has been franchised, so I thought I'd think smaller and go for "Condo of Blues." It seems more suburban and middle class anyway.

"Condo of Blues" was inspired when I put on my House of Blues cap this morning and thought of the irony that I'd purchased it at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Because nothing says the blues like Orange County (though apparently the one in Downtown Disney has closed and is moving to the Garden Walk a few blocks away). Oh, I've been to House of Blues in New Orleans, too. But still, it is a franchise bent on serving up the blues in a nicely packaged way for mainly white tourists.

But being being white, aren't we all tourists when it comes to the blues?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mock of ages

Maybe it is because I watched The Intern, the story of a 70 year old interning at an e-commerce start up (starring Robert Deniro). Or maybe it was the physician's assistant at Group Health telling me the antibiotic he was prescribing for what he thought was pneumonia worked best on young people in good health (implying I was neither).  Or maybe it is just the weariness of being an aging Baby Boomer in a Millennial world. But my world view is becoming pretty pessimistic.

The Robert Deniro film was actually kind of entertaining if not a bit trite and predictable. It painted an image of a youthful world actually coming to respect the wisdom and experience of a senior citizen. That doesn't happen in the real world. Shoot my seven year old son insists he knows more about everything than I do.

The visit to the medical clinic wasn't the high point of my weekend. But after five weeks hacking up things that polite society would cringe at, I gave in and went to the doctor. Okay it was only after coughing to the point of throwing up that I couldn't ignore the fact that whatever I have wasn't going away. Of course, this was on Memorial Day and my regular doctor wasn't working. So I had to go to a walk in clinic in the back of a Bartell Drug Store. The "consultation" room was the size of a broom closet and the sole physician's assistant wasn't overly friendly or optimistic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not measuring up

1. the use or study of poetic meters; prosody.
2. a method of measuring something, or the results obtained from this. "the report provides various metrics at the class and method level"
I check my blog stats more regularly than I post on my blog. It's a bit like cutting open a chicken and staring at the entrails in hopes there will be some epiphany there. But all I see are chicken guts.

Now granted I rely on the stats provides for free. So I shouldn't look a guest chicken in the entrails. But Blogger tells me I have had 219 page views on Friday, but only 41 posts were visited. So am I to assume 178 visited and had no interest in actually reading anything.

I still suspect that many of the disappointed visitors didn't actually visit any pages were somehow lured from the slew of Russian sites shown in my traffic sources metrics. But according to Blogger, only 32 have come from those sites.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dream weaver

I've always been fascinated by dreams. I wish it were possible to actually record them (i.e. like a video, not write them down). Something tells me they would be binge watching worthy.

Or just meaningless crap.

My dreams seem to revolve around geographic locations out of my childhood. I'm often find myself at the house I grew up in. Occasionally it becomes a mutation of the first house I bought on my own. I lived there for about 18 years alone. I don't dream about any of the places I rented along the way.

The odd thing to me about dreaming about the house I grew up in is that it no longer exists. Even seeing photos of the interior of the house now sets off weird pangs of sadness and nostalgia. Because the only place I can see the place anymore is in old photographs or my dreams.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Sick and tired

I am not a person who is prone to sickness. This is not to say I never get sick, I just don't use a great deal of sick days.  For the past several years, the only time I've called in sick is to stay home with a sick child (who more often than not were just sick of school). But last week I missed two days of work because I was sicker than a proverbial dog. Not that I know why a dog is called out for being any sicker than any other animal.

But I digress...weakly...because I am still not feeling a 100 percent well.

I've made no secret that I was raised Christian Scientist and didn't go to doctors until I was in my early 20s. So for much of my formative years, being sick was severely frowned upon and met with very little sympathy and no OTC medicines.

I've gotten past not using OTC medicines (which are for the most part useless). But I haven't gotten over the guilt of being sick. And I avoid doctors like the plague.

Ironic statement.