Thursday, October 01, 2015

Planning travel is a trip

The best part of travelling for me is planning it. For the most part, I plan all of my trips both for my family and for work. According to (which I've been using for a couple of years), I've traveled almost 21,000 miles this year alone, most of it for business.

I am also a top contributor to, which, BTW is a great place to get real reviews of hotels and destinations that haven't been paid for. I know no one has paid me for reviewing anything.

Of my trip planning, I enjoy picking a hotel the most. Renting a car is okay, and usually the easiest. Booking an airline is my least favorite thing to do. Mainly because the options usually suck. And there isn't much pleasant about flying these days unless you can get a first class upgrade. Even then, you basically get what you used to get ten years ago in coach.

The reason I like shopping for hotels is because I basically love staying in hotels. And since a stayed in a hotel for the first time (when I was 14 on a road trip with my was a dingy hotel outside of Rock Springs, Wyoming and you had to pay extra for color TV), I have been in search of the perfect hotel room. Some have come close (The Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington or the Dreams Resort in Cabo).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mr. Toad's wild ride

I survived the awesomest place on earth (Legoland) and the happiest place on earth (Disneyland). Two days in Legoland followed by three in Disneyland is not something I would necessarily recommend to anyone. Both places are better parsed out in small doses. There is only so much of being herded into 45 minute lines that anyone should be subjected to.

But I did it all for my kids. Not that they expressed a great deal of delight in the overall experience. I only hope they don't repay the favor by dragging me back to the theme parks with their families in my twilight years. We got stuck behind more than one person in a walker or wheelchair barely looking as though they could navigate a sidewalk, not to mention the Matterhorn.

I do think this is the first trip I've taken to Disneyland since I was 16 that the Matterhorn was actually running. Being one of the original rides, it always seemed to be closed for repairs. But it was working fine this trip and my kids insisted on riding it three or four times.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Trump card

When Donald Trump first threw his hat in to the Republican candidate ring, I just ignored it like I ignore his reality shows. What was one more monkey in the cage smacking his butt and flinging feces at spectators? But as the endless polls continue to show the monkey is climbing to the top of the tree and threatening to get out of his cage, I'm getting a little bit nervous.

Okay I can forgive the fact that the guy's hair looks like someone created a bad toupee out of a dead badger. Obviously his image people solved that by getting him to wear a ball cap in most of his appearances. And so what if he is a billionaire who claims to know what the common people need. But seriously, listen to the guys idiotic ideas to "make America great again." 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A decade here, a decade there....

It dawned on me that next year marks my 40th high school reunion. Not that I've heard anything about a reunion. I blew off the 30th, but they did have a website (now defunct) where I looked at the photos of people I didn't know in high school and definitely don't know now.

Note to self (and anyone reading this post): Why go to a high school reunion to catch up with people you didn't care enough to stay in touch with anyway after high school?

A forty year reunion sounds pretty painful anyway. Most of the people I went to high school with are likely grand parents. Some are probably even great grand parents. And I would have to explain why I have two kids in grade school.

Not that I would have to explain. I'm willing to bet no one would know who I was even after I gave them my name. No body looks like they did in high school.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Talking the talk

With as much as I blather on in my blog, you'd think I was a talkative person. But just the opposite. I abhor small talk. It's not that I don't enjoy interesting conversation, but there needs to be emphasis on the "interesting."

I know some people talk to fill the silent voids. This is the catch 22 for me. Since I don't talk much, people who do tend to gravitate to me. And they make up for my silence in spades.

I am not sure whether it is hereditary or not. My mom was quite a talker as were (and are) her sisters. Though my mom was very soft spoken. So was her mother. They talked, but they were not emotional talkers. In my grandmother's case, I imagine all of the emotion had been drained out of her by raising 13 kids and weathering an abusive husband. Pepper her life with poverty and more than her share of tragedy and I suppose the bubbly side of your nature pretty much goes flat.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Blog or bust

A 19th Century "selfie" of  John D. Rockefeller from the National Portrait Gallery
This creepy bust of John D. Rockefeller just proves that having great power and wealth doesn't make you an attractive person. Or a particularly normal one. Millionaire oil magnate J.D. had a habit of handing a dime to everyone he met. I imagine the average response from someone getting a dime from a multi-millionaire was, "Gee, thanks."

But I digress.

My original intention for this post was to break my bad habit of sporadic blogging. I realized that I haven't even been posting on a weekly basis. So although I posted yesterday, I decided there wasn't any reason not to post today as long as I could think of something to write about. And since going through my digital photo albums usual inspires me I opening up one from my recent trip to Washing D.C. and was drawn to this image I snapped of a bust of John Rockefeller. It made me think of the signs pioneers used to paint on wagons as they headed west like, "Oregon or bust." Thus blog or bust.

It is unfortunately how my mind works.

I took quite a few photos of statues and busts of famous and not so famous Americans when I was in the museum. It is kind of ironic in a way that I was converting three dimensional art works (20th Century Virtual Reality) to a two-dimensional digital image.

Bust of Thomas Edison from the Museum of America History
I also find it odd that some artist produced a bust of Thomas Edison in a Roman toga.  I didn't even know he was in a fraternity.

Bust of Andrew Jackson
I think this post was a bust. Maybe I should go back to posting sporadically.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

Lights, action, camera!

Okay, disregard all of my musings about multiple universes and realities. And suppose for a minute that our lives are fixed by whatever fate that controls such things. Let's say the omnipotent screenwriter wrote the script of our lives and that's all he or she wrote. You read your lines. The other characters read their lines and it all ends with "The End." Maybe there are some credits, but who really watches those.

The thing about this script is that you'd kind of like to offer some notes to the writer. Maybe the plot line is a bit too convoluted. Or maybe it is boring. Maybe you don't like the other characters. But the writer just looks at you with that blank stare and frozen smile and you know he or she isn't going to accept any rewrites from the lowly characters.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Time travel

I just got back from a whirlwind business trip to Washington D.C. I flew out on a Tuesday night redeye and returned the following Saturday. The worst part about travelling from the west coast to the east coast is passing through three time zones. I left Seattle at 11 p.m. and arrived in Dulles at 6:45 a.m. D.C. time which was 3:45 a.m. Seattle time. Conversely I left Dulles at 5:35 p.m. D.C. time and arrived at Sea-Tac Airport at 8:15 p.m. Seattle time or 11:15 p.m. D.C. time.

Travelling through time can get confusing.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Unsafe and insane

Is it just me or did anyone else notice the unusual number of news stories of people killing themselves over the 4th by trying to set off fireworks on their heads? It is sad in a very stupid kind of way. And all of the stories I read mentioned their may have been alcohol involved.

You think?

Now I'm as big as a pyromaniac as the next guy. But it never really occurred to me to place a cardboard mortar on my head and light it. Logic, even liquor fueled, dictates that this would not be a good idea.

Not that I necessarily believe in an accounting of our lives, but could you imagine having to approach St. Peter or whoever else checks you in after you die and when asked how you died you say, "I put a 40 shot, mega mortar on my head and lit it. Blew my head off."

To which St. Peter would likely reply, "That was a dumb shit thing to do."

Could you imagine back in prehistoric times a caveman looking at a flaming tree that was just set fire by lightening and grabbing a blazing branch and placing it on his head yelling, "Hey Og, look at me!" Then, "Ouch, " before running off into the night screaming.

You know, life is really short enough as it is. It is just pitiful to waste it. And word to the wise, living your life to the fullest doesn't mean popping an explosive on top of your head to either prove how much of a man you are or to entertain your friends.

In this case, you can't even say, "Live and learn."


Monday, June 29, 2015

My own riddle of the Sphinx

Riddle of the Sphinx: What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?
Answer (Spoiler alert): Man 

Although I wrote a post called Riddle of the Sphinxes back in 2006, I am not repeating myself. I have just been thinking about the stages of life that the riddle refers to (crawling on four legs as a baby, walking on two legs as an adult and hobbling along with a cane as a senior citizen).

First, the Sphinx oversimplified a great deal. I think there are quite a few stages in between but the riddle would have become quite long if the Sphinx had tried to cover them all (i.e. What is the creature that lies there crying most of the wee hours of the morning and smiles when it has gas, walks on four legs in the morning,  stumbles along on two legs at mid-morning, has awkward hair and bad skin just before noon, walks on two legs at noon, sits on it's butt in front of the television mid-day, is still in front of the television eating from a TV tray at early evening and walks on three legs in the evening before stumbling and calling out, "help I've fallen and can't get up."

Oedipus would still have replied, "man."

But I digress.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Food for thought

Okay, I confess, I'm one of those people who post photos on Instagram of the food they are about to eat. And as pointless as that seems, there is a method behind my mundaness.

First, I think that presenting a well-plated meal is an artform. If you want to scarf down mounds of shapeless globs of food on a platter, go to a buffet. A sign of a great restaurant is how the chef places the food on the plate.

When I take a photo of my plate, I am paying homage to the chef artist. Or I am shaming a hash slinging hack if the plate is unappealing (like most meals served at our local diner, Claire's).

Friday, June 19, 2015

It's nothing impersonal

I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say the Internet has made over sharing a National pastime. I'm just as guilty of it as the next person. Although I don't write much about work and I try to respect the privacy of my family, I still open up about more than I probably ever would have shared with anyone but friends, family, or a private journal prior to the Internet.

Part of it is the semi-anonymous nature of it. I can blather on about my various insecurities safe in the knowledge that the odds of anyone I know reading it are about the same as if I'd written the crap on a note, placed it in a bottle and cast it out into the ocean (unless I've invited someone I know to read my blog).  But it is also a way to put yourself out there without the awkwardness of watching the other person glaze over and look at their watch (which is why I don't like to go to parties and make small talk).

But it occurred to me this morning while I was standing at the train platform killing time before my train arrived by making up unflattering nicknames for the other people waiting for the train (in my head of course), that so much personal information is shared now via the Internet and social media that everything has become impersonal.