Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The power and the glory (not)

More wind, as powerful as the wind that took out part of my fence, knocked out power to our house last night. It didn't come back on until 3:30 in the morning. And although you would think that I'd learned something from when we lost power in late August for almost 26 hours and had stocked up on flashlights and batteries, you would be wrong.

But I did muster up a few camp lanterns and had enough juice in some of our random supply of flashlights to at least hold back the darkness and get the kids to bed. Then I hunkered down with my phone and sporadically watched a documentary on World War II by Ken Burns.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No, really, now is the winter of my discontent

We've set the clocks back and plunged my morning and my evening commuter in darkness. The cold has returned. The rains pummeled me all weekend and the winds knocked down a section of my fence. So I'd say it is definitely approaching my winter of discontent. Of at least the late fall of major annoyance.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to me that a section of my fence fell down. It has been threatening to do so for several years now. I've cobbled it together with nails, screws and odd bits of metal in an effort to keep it standing as long as possible. But it was old and rotting when we bought the house and now it is beyond mending.

It was all I could do to prop up the sections that fell down so at least it fills the gap in the fence. Now comes the fun of discovering how much it costs to replace a fence. I'm sure I will suffer sticker shock.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

They doth protest too much, methinks

My British friend Baggy suggested that I should blog about Amazon opening a brick and mortar bookstore in Seattle's University Village shopping center last week. At the time I was less than enthusiastic about the idea. One, I visit the University Village about once every five years because unless you live near the University of Washington, it's a major pain to get to. And two, I am baffled as to why the company responsible for pretty much putting bookstores out of business with it's online trade in real and virtual books would opt to open one.

What finally prompted me to mention anything about the new baffling bookstore was a photo on the front of the Seattle Times last week about a group of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks marching on Amazon's Lake Union headquarters in Seattle to protest corporate greed. The protesters were loosely associated with a Million Mask March organization that tries to get people to protest various things on November 5th each year. November 5th BTW, is Guy Fawkes Day so thus the Guy Fawkes masks.

Friday, November 06, 2015

On aging well

I occasionally succumb to these terrible posts that draw you in to see a slide show of plastic surgery gone bad or 25 celebrities who haven't aged well. It's a terrible thing, but the siren song of such web ploys to get you to look at such scab picking sites and expose you to as many ads as possible is hard to resist.

Don't judge me.

It is sad to me that many of the stars they show are ones who have tried in vain to stave off time with plastic surgery. And they have become tragically unrecognizable. Others show the ravages of drug or alcohol addictions presumably brought on by the pressures of being famous. And still others have gained massive amounts of weight. But realistically, these are pretty common things that happen when anyone ages or has uncontrolled addictions.

I have to say that it is an unfortunate price people pay for celebrity. And I wonder if it is worth it.  A celebrity just has the misfortune to have their before and after photos viewed by millions of people. For the most part, nobody really cares about how the rest of us age.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bad binge watching

Okay, I've been scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel lately for shows to binge watch on my Fire Stick. I watched the entire first season of Jane the Virgin and now I'm rolling my eyes through one season of Accidentally on Purpose.

Jane the Virgin has had some critical acclaim. I have to admit that it has a unique plot. A 23-year-old virgin by choice gets accidentally artificially inseminated with a wealthy hotel owner's sperm and becomes pregnant. The doctor who makes the mistake is the alcoholic lesbian sister of the wealthy hotel owner. The wealthy hotel owner's wife was the intended recipient of the sperm that had been banked before the hotel owner became sterile as a result of treatment for cancer.

Meanwhile Jane decides to have the baby but give it to the wealthy and very handsome hotel owner who has fallen out of love with his wife who BTW is cheating on him with his best friend. The best friend is a suspected drug dealer under surveillance by the detective boyfriend of, you guessed it, Jane. The boyfriend, who has been dating Jane for several years without getting any is very put out that his virgin girlfriend is pregnant. His solution: ask Jane to marry him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why buy the blog when the posts are free?

At various times in the decade or so since I started writing a blog, I have attempted to monetize the bloody thing to attempt to sooth my delicate ego with hard cash. Because if someone is willing to pay to read what you've written, you must be good.

This logic has been proven wrong so many times that I can't believe I would ever believe such drivel. People pay to read things because they have been led like sheep to believe they are good. Some of the most prolific and monetarily successful writers crank out mindless crap to feed a massive audience of people who really don't want to think about what they are reading. They want to escape.

Being a writer in the digital age is both a blessing and a curse (complete with rashes and oozing boils). There is so much content out there being produced by anyone with any kind of digital device that the craft of writing has been left sitting by the side of the Internet Highway picking at calluses on it's literary feet. My dream of being a great writer is sitting there with it.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Maybe it really isn't so great being great.

Despite being admonished by a barfly in a tavern in St. Thomas many years ago to remember seven words to live by (, I am coming to the conclusion that I'll never be great or great at anything. This is not a festive pity party, just an observation.

Maybe it was inspired by watching one of those motivational videos that goes viral ever now and then on Facebook. It cleverly tells the story of all these famous "great" people who failed or were told they were failures but eventually they became "great." The list included Lucille Ball, The Beatles, Michael Jordan, Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Abraham Lincoln.

I know this is supposed to give me hope that it is never too late to be great, but I would argue here that Lucille Ball is not really my definition of a great actress. I Love Lucy was popular at the time because it was one of the few television shows available at the time. Let's face it, Lucy eventually got on everyone's nerves and was major league bitchy in her golden years.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Is there such a thing as truth?

That's a rhetorical question. Though I'll answer it anyway: I'm beginning to think no.

This is in part in reaction to beginning to watch Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States. It's a series on Showtime that basically tells you that pretty much everything we've been led to believe about our country's involvement in everything since World War II is a smelly load of reeking bull pucky.

The series contends that just about everything our government tells us is an outright lie or at least a distortion of the truth that even it's own mother wouldn't recognize. None of this came as a major revelation to me.

But, I have always wanted to believe that deep down America was on the side of right and had principles. Stone pretty much shot that fantasy to hell.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Survivor: I was without my smartphone for almost 12 hours

I just got back from a business trip to LA and had taken a shuttle from my hotel in Burbank to the airport, an airplane to Seattle, light rail to downtown Seattle, worked on some stuff at the office and than hightailed it with my suitcase to the evening train home. In all that I left my office with my phone plugged into a charger at my desk. And I didn't realize it until I was on the train.

Now I work right next to the train station and I had a good 20 minutes until the train was scheduled to leave, so I thought about leaving my suitcase on the train and running back to get my phone. But the conductor of the train who has seen me just about everyday for the ten years I've been riding it refused to let me leave the suitcase unattended because that would be a major security risk. Okay, I could see if I was wearing a hoody, sweating and just chucked the suitcase on board and ran. But I'm the marketing director of the agency that runs the freaking train.

But rules are rules and as risky as my dirty laundry and shaving kit would be to the passengers of the train I didn't want to make a stink. Throw at all reason that, even if someone did report the unattended luggage to the conductor, he would have been the one I told that I was leaving my suitcase to go back to my office to get my phone. Forget also that I see people all the time plunk their suitcases inside the door and run up to the second level of the train to get a seat. My mistake was in asking.

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."