Monday, October 16, 2017

The devil is in the details


I generally consider myself an "idea" person. In an ideal world (i.e. mine and mine alone), I would sit around thinking of ideas and outlining them to a bevy of hovering assistants who would scurry away and implement them without question. Then they would return with praise for yet another brilliant success spawned from my brilliant idea.

But I unfortunately don't live in an ideal world (i.e. mine and mine alone). I live in a world of details. I don't get to sit around thinking. I don't have a bevy of hovering assistants who marvel at my genius. Instead, I'm surrounded by people who stand poised with a club ready to put most of my new  born ideas out of their misery not unlike Alaska seal hunters swarming a baby seal.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Take it to the limit one more time...on getting old



And it's so hard to change
Can't seem to settle down
But the dreams I've seen lately keep on turning out
And burning out and turning out the same.
So put me on a highway and show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.
  
--"Take it to the limit" The Eagles
Aging baffles me. It's this cruel trick of the mirror that seemingly over night started showing me someone who isn't me. Or at least not the me that my mind's eye sees.

So far for me, aging is a physical thing. I still, for the most part, have a young mind. Oh, I have moments where I can't remember things. But that has pretty much been with me all my life.

I'm not as flexible physically as I used to be. Even though I workout almost every day, I can tell that I'm slowing down. Rising from a sitting position on the floor after playing a board game with my kids isn't accomplished in one fluid moment any more.

Ok, I likely have another 25 or 30 years to live but the reality that I'll be living those years in an old body is pretty daunting. It's not like when I was in my 20s or 30s and didn't really see an end. I could easily rely on "somedays". Now someday seems like a diminishing possibility.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mad in America


Seems like crazy in the US these days is the new black. Trump tweets new Twitter-babble almost on a a daily basis. And it garners more attention than the natural disasters ravaging the Caribbean.

It doesn't seem to matter to his "base" supporters (and I mean base literally).

Even the whack job North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un seems rational compared to Trump. He probably didn't expect to encounter someone crazier than he is who is willing to drop the bomb to prove America has bigger cojones than any other country.

The hypocrisy of all is also maddening. Trump rails on NFL football players for kneeling while the Star Spangled Banner is played at games. This sparks more protests and entire teams skip the Star Spangled Banner. This incites a segment of the population who think this is an insult to Veterans. Then photos emerge of Trump standing while the Star Spangled Banner is played but he doesn't have his hand over his heart.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

El dia de los muertos Cerdo


All of those Day of the Dead skulls I painted on river rocks motivated me to clean off this derelict cement garden pig ornament that we had inherited when we bought our house and give him a new paint job. He had been hidden in some ivy. When we uncovered him, he'd lost most of his snout and his front hoofs.




It was actually my daughter's idea. She also helped with the intricate paint scheme. I think he turned out pretty cool. So cool that I cleaned off a derelict garden gnome and I'm going to turn him into a Day of the Dead gnome next.

So beyond painting rocks and garden statues being relaxing, I realize it's not high art. But for a little while, it helps fulfill my need to be creative. I just need to remind myself to keep it all in perspective. Just because I like it, doesn't mean other people like it or understand it.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Painting rocks


I just returned from two weeks vacation and though we spent 8 days in Los Cabos, my biggest discovery from my time off (other than I don't like working) is that I like to paint rocks.

I learned this by helping my ten-year old daughter gather rocks from the stream that runs through our backyard. The rocks are exceptionally round, smooth and for some reason are all black. I had gathered some before to fill in steps that lead down our hillside towards the stream. But this was the first time I'd gathered rocks for their artistic potential.

Apparently painting rocks isn't a new phenomenon in Western Washington. There are groups popping up on Facebook with people who paint and hide rocks around for other people to find. My daughter had found some and that inspired her to paint her own rocks.

I decided to join her. She had a bin full of acrylic paints including some metallic paints that really popped when applied to the black rocks. I started by painting a heart shaped rock gold with bronze accents. Then I painted gold angel wings that looked cool on the black rock I'd chosen.

That hooked me. I launched a "day of the dead" series that I'm still kind of obsessed with.




Friday, August 11, 2017

Kettle calling the pot black

Ted has left a new comment on your post "Night of the Living Beach Boys!": 
You're an idiot for saying derogatory things about these fantastic artists. Sounds like you're jealous... 
Oddly enough, in my 13 years of blogging I have had very few trolls sending me love letters like the one above. Whoever Ted is (and I know he isn't my brother Ted...he doesn't use the Internet), he took umbrage at a post I made several years ago about the Grammy's. I'm assuming he is calling me an idiot for dissing on what's left of the Beach Boys for lip syncing  and shuffling across the stage while young performers actual play and sing.

Normally, I just delete comments like this and move on. But although Ted has an account on Blogger and left his name, he didn't provide any means of responding. Because if he writes a blog, he doesn't publicize it with his profile. Probably because trolls don't like to be trolled.

My problem with this is that when I comment on some stranger's blog, I at least have the cojones to not be anonymous. People can respond to my comments. But then again, I don't call strangers idiots. If I take issue with their opinions, I at least engage in civilized debate rather than leading with an insult. It tends to put a damper on communication.

That being said, Ted, I'll respond in a way I hope you understand, "I know you are, but what am I."


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Game of Thrones on!



My latest binge-watching accomplishment has been watching all the past seasons of Game of Thrones just in time for the new season to start. I know I was late to the game, but once I got through the first season, I was hooked big time.

Not like other Game of Throne fans, I've encountered though. I didn't read the books. I can't remember half the names. But I am blown away by the amazing, intertwined plot lines. The production values and acting are pretty amazing, too.


The beauty of Game of Thrones is that it transcends time. It's a period production, but not of any period that actually existed. And the politics of the people who jockey to sit on the Iron Throne and rule the seven kingdoms is a bit too much like politics in general today.

The thing about Game of Thrones is that even the good people can be exceedingly bad. And the good don't always triumph. But the bad are more or less pretty consistently bad. But even they have their likable or vulnerable moments.

Unlike Twin Peaks, which I binged watched to prepare for the reprisal, Game of Thrones seems to have only gotten better over the years. The new Twin Peaks is just bat shit crazy and incomprehensible (but of course I still watch it).

I hate that this is the last season of Game of Thrones.  I could have been enjoying it for years.

Oh well, I always have the Walking Dead to catch up on.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Toys in the attic

Crazy
Toys in the attic, I am crazy
Truly gone fishing
They must have taken my marbles away
Crazy, toys in the attic he is crazy

--Pink Floyd, The Trial
Unless you totally avoid social media, the news, talking to co-workers and never leave your bed not to imagine that the world has truly gone crazy. It seems as though on a daily basis that violence erupts, some new scandal breaks and the lunatic in the Oval Office is tweeting gibberish.

Police seem to regularly be shooting unarmed people on routine traffic stops. Others are shot by stray bullets as they sit in their cars or walk down the street. Hatred seems to be the norm. Tolerance is low on both sides of the political spectrum.

For the most part, I am used to odd behavior. Seattle's weather has always been a magnet for the unhinged. I walked past Starbucks yesterday and a woman stood with outstretched arms spinning slowly. A supersoaker water gun sat on the table next to her.

No one around her paid any attention.

The homeless seem everywhere. Tent cities crop up under freeway overpasses. There is hardly a exit and entry ramp onto a major roadway that doesn't have someone standing there with a sign pleading for help.

And bipartisan politicians point fingers at each other and slip through legislation that broadens the gap between the haves and the have nots.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Come on baby light my fire

This photo will make more sense when you read the end of this post.

Having the Fourth of July fall on a Tuesday pretty much sucks, because, unless you took off Monday and Wednesday, you essentially had the equivalent of two Mondays. I didn't take off the Monday before the 4th or the Wednesday after the 4th since I was taking off the following  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to go camping. So my Independence Day was little more than a speed bump at the beginning of the work week.

I've taken to scanning old posts before writing new ones to avoid cleverly repeating myself and retelling the same stories of my faded childhood over and over. I have written several times about my pyromaniac childhood and my love for setting off fireworks on the 4th.  I'll spare you this year.

I will say that my desire to buy any fireworks has faded substantially in my old age. It has gone the same way as any vestige of patriotism I had in my youth. I was quite content with just building a fire in the fire pit in my back yard and watching my kids incinerate marshmallows.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Social is killing blogs


I blogged much more before social media turned many of us into over-sharers and shifted all of the cats on trampoline photos from e-mail to Facebook. While I post to Twitter and Facebook a few times a day, I am lucky if I post a couple of times a month to my blog.

It's just so easy to snap a photo of your lunch and post it to Instagram with five or six random hashtags than it is to think of something profound and expound upon it on Blogger. Now granted, whereas 28 people have voluntarily followed me on my blog, the people who like photos of what I'm eating tend to be random strangers who are trying to lure me to sketchy sites to look at porn.

Now I do have about 1,127 followers on Twitter (Blogger's note: A day after posting this, I was down to 1,125...who said social media marketing wasn't effective). A bulk of them are complete strangers whose primarily reason for following me is so I would follow them. I fell for this Ponzi scam for awhile until I began to figure out Twitter. Now I tend to only follow news and travel outlets. But even those inundate my Twitter feed with 20 different versions of the same headline. At least I was one of the first to know that Carrie Fisher's autopsy showed she had traces of alcohol, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy in her system when she had a heart attack (to which I retweeted that she had something more than the force strong in her).

And not one of the 1,127 people following me and hanging on my every Tweet liked my snarky comment. Now if I'd posted that on Facebook, at least one of my 161 closest Facebook friends would have at least liked it or given it a smiley face.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Twin Peeks


I didn't watch Twin Peaks when it originally aired in 1990. I was 32, just a year older than Kyle MacLachlan who starred as Agent Dale Cooper in the series. I have more in common with MacLachlan than just our ages. Besides both being Pisces, both of us have the state of Washington in common. He was born in Yakima, WA and went to college at the University of Washington and graduated in cum laude in 1982 with a BFA in Drama. I  went to college at Seattle University and graduated in 1982 with a BA in Journalism.

Uncanny isn't it.

The similarities basically end there. He went on to star in several movies and television series and moved to LA.  I went on to do marketing for a transit agency and stayed in the Seattle area. MacLachlan is also a bit taller than me. But I've been to Snoqualmie Falls where some of Twin Peaks was filmed.

Even more uncanny.


Monday, May 22, 2017

So funny everyone forgets to laugh


I'm not sure when I began to think I was funny (funny, ha-ha, not funny odd). I suppose like many shy, sensitive kids, I turned to humor as a defense mechanism. It was probably junior high when it really started to come out. I was always a pretty quiet kid. I would sit in class and kind of mumble comments to the kids sitting next to me. Eventually they would laugh and I felt like they liked me. I was hooked on my own brand of stand up at that point.

Though it did get me in trouble in this accelerated math class that was taught by a emotionally stunted guy who had been a whiz kid in math. He may have done well in college math, but he sucked as a teacher. He was always throwing tantrums in class and being early teenagers, we pushed as many buttons as we could find. Anyway, one day I was doing my usually covert (or so I thought) monologue to the kids around me and the teacher suddenly was in my face telling me to shut my fat mouth.

Apparently he didn't think I was funny.