Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out with the old year...

It is time once again to do my annual Dizgraceland year in review. It was an interesting year for me. I shed my Tim-Elvis personae and became Tim Id. I hosted Egyptian Week and Circus Week. I hosted Wild West Week. Fun was had by all. Okay fun was had by some. But here are some random highlights of the year.

January 30, 2006
My Monkey Myself It was the year of the dog, but the Monkey Playing Cymbals was still on my back.

February 5, 2006
Stuporbowl
The Seahawks went to the Superbowl for the first time in history. And they were history.

March 3, 2006
Self-indulgence


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

April 3, 2006
A match made in heaven
I celebrated my first wedding anniversary.

May 25, 2006
Free us from torpid heaviness
I got lost in blogdom.

June 15, 2006
Victoria's Secret
I took on royal airs...or heirs...or hairs.

July 24, 2006
Don't try this at home
I proved that happiness is a warm gun.

August 21, 2006
Looking for a good mime

:(

September 7, 2006
Shiek Tim Flash
I introduced Fine Ass Tim Sweetness.

October 20, 2006
Monsters
I helped create a monster.

November 16, 2006
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful
I discover that beauty is more than skin deep.

December 14, 2006
Blown away


I survive the curse of Seattle's winter.

So that's it for another year of Dizgraceland. Let's just hope I find some new things to Photoshop my face on or 2007 is going to be pretty dismal for me. Regardless, I wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I just flew in yesterday...

....and boy are my arms tired.

Tess and I were out of town for the holidays. We flew at the busiest as worst time of the year to fly. And once again I am baffled as to why, in this day of computers, the airlines seem incapable of determining how many people their airplanes can hold.

I may be naive. I may not understand the airline industry or the nuances of selling seats on an airplane. But it would seem to me a simple thing to figure out how to do without being totally f-'d up when it comes time for the plane to take off.

Maybe the airlines could commission educators to design a story problem that would help them sell seats on an airplane. It could be something like:

Joe has an airplane that is leaving Houston at 5:30 p.m. bound for Seattle. Joe has 150 seats to sell on the airplane before the plane takes off. How many seats should Joe sell?

Uh...150?

WRONG! Joe must sell more seats than the airplane has. That way, Joe can have more people show up than he has seats so that he can offer free flights and cash to people to give up their seats to make up for him selling more seats than he has on a his airplane. While he does this, he can make everyone on the airplane wait wondering why the plane won't take off even though it seems more than full.

Maybe I am stupid. Maybe there is some financial formula that explains why selling more seats than you have on a flight actually makes you more money, even if you do have to pay off the ones you bump from the overfull flight. Maybe I'm the only one who pays for a ticket that he is told that is non-refundable with the assumption that the airline gets paid regardless of whether a person shows up or not. Maybe I'm the only one who finds it odd that it is legal to sell more of a product than you have.

I've expressed this confusion before. And I'm still waiting for anyone to explain it to me. I really want to understand. So this is an open plea to the airlines. Please, just tell me why you never know how many seats you have on an airline that, as far as I know, is subject to the same laws of physics as the rest of the world.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!


Okay, maybe cannons aren't Christmasy in the true sense of the word. But Santa has Christmas written all over him. Especially this giant one we saw in Cozumel years ago on another cruise.

Maybe not.

Anyway, I hope all of you out there in Blogville are liking Christmas a lot (even THE Michael...because all the bloggers down in Blogville liked Christmas a lot...but THE Michael, who lived in Florida, did not).

Oh, and here's another cannon shot for Kristy from St. Thomas.

I bring you tidings of great joy!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Cannon


A couple of years ago, Tess and I were on a Caribbean cruise for Christmas. I got a kick out of how, even in a tropical setting, people did their best to decorate and keep in the spirit of the season. This cannon decked out in lights was in front of an old fort on St. Thomas.

Hey, nothing says Christmas like a cannon. You have to admit it takes balls.

Ho, ho, ho...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fragile


There were an estimated 1 million people in the Puget Sound region who lost power in last Thursday's storm. Some are still without power and another storm is supposed to be on its way. As I drove around this last week, I marveled at how fragile our world is. In one day, all of those things we take for granted -- lights, heat, fuel, food -- were suddenly scarce.

I can only imagine what the poor victims of Katrina experienced. Theirs wasn't just a temporary loss of power.

But all this seems to be an appropriate topic right on the heels of my temporary panic at the thought of losing my computer files. Jane Poe pointed out to me that it was symbolic of "the ultimate impermanency of everything" and that "life is a series of lessons in loss and change."

Truer words were ever typed.

But Seattle's recent series of minor disasters drove home that feeling that everything is subject to the whims (or design) of nature and that we should be less smug when we take our surroundings for granted. It would only take one meteorite hit to send us all the way of the dinosaurs.

At least then we wouldn't have to worry about global warming.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Does not compute

I was one of the first people to work on a personal computer at our office back in the early 80s. It was pretty basic. You ran software from a big floppy disk that sometimes required you to turn it over to access more commands. It seemed pretty amazing at the time. We mainly used them for word processing and spreadsheets.

Now we have gigabytes of memory that allows us to store music, photos, journals and basically our lives in an electronic box. Computers have come a long way, but what hasn't changed is the frustration of losing tons of stuff when the piece of crap PCs crash.

My desktop computer automatically updated yesterday. This morning it automatically stopped working. I did the logic thing. I tried rebooting. Nothing. I turned it off and turned it back on. It sits there with the blue HP Invent screen and does nothing.

I have my laptop, and I've got backups of most of my photos and family tree information, but I discovered that you iPod can only be synced with one computer at a time. All of my music was on my iTunes on my desktop. And you can't export from you iPod to another computer. So I am screwed. If I want to continue to add songs to my iPod I have to resync it with my laptop but it will wipe off all of the songs currently on my iPod. This means I will have to recopy all of my CDs to my laptop and reload them on my iPod.

Besides a lesson in backing up everything several times, I've learned a valuable lesson. Nothing is permanent. You can create CDs, but they only last a few years. Portable hard drives are fragile and even your primary PC is only a temporary repository for your life's work.

Sigh, I'm going to start keeping everything in shoeboxes again.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Blown away


It wasn't bad enough we had floods and record rain fall in November followed by freezing temperatures and snow. Now we are having rain and wind storms with 65 mph wind gusts. We went to the Seahawks game against the San Francisco 49ers tonight. It was interesting watching Hasselbeck pass into a 65 mph headwind while the stadium flooded.

They lost.


The real bummer about weather in Seattle is that no matter what it is, it somehow manages to knock a tree down onto power lines. Nothing like a power outage in the dead of winter. The lights in Qwest Field were evening flickering.

I think someone is trying to tell the residents of the Puget Sound Region something (like we are cursed).

Monday, December 11, 2006

The truth about toys

As much as I loved Christmas as a child, it did teach me an important lesson about truth in advertising. There is none. Or at least there wasn't when it came to ads for toys.

I think it was 1968 when I finally saw the light. It was one of those transitional years. My oldest brother Ted was a hunter and asked for duck decoys and a duck call. My other brother Dan asked for a telescope.

I was 10. I was convinced that what I really needed to be happy that Christmas was this Mars lander spaceship that from what I could judge from the television commercials was a fully operational space ship that I could control. It would take off and land based on my piloting skills. I had to have it.

As you can almost see from the photo, we all got what we asked for. Ted got his duck decoys. Dan got his telescope (you can see one leg of it on the right of the photo) and I got my Mars spaceship.

The problem was the spaceship turned out to be a stinking balloon you taped onto a plastic gondola. The remote control turned out to be a cheap fan you controlled with a handle. If you moved it at the right angle, you could make the balloon float around the room.

Even at 10 I knew it sucked and I'd been lied to. It was fun to play with for about five minutes. Even my the underwear and socks my mother always managed to slip under the tree as a Christmas present were more interesting in comparison.

Okay, you can slip into your lectures now about commercialism and toys not being the true meaning of Christmas. BS. The reality is that we all want things. And it is the wanting that is sometimes more satisfying than the getting. The bummer is that I fell for the dream and got sideswiped by the reality. It was one of those Sea Monkey moments.

But I learned my lesson. Apparently all of those people who fall for the Nigerian spam scams didn't.

Who said there isn't magic in Christmas?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas past

One of the most important thing about Christmas to me is the memories it creates.

Seventeen years ago, I got a call from a friend of mine who I'd known since we were about 16 years old and working at the Boise Public Library. Jan and I kept in touch when we both left Boise to go to college. In November of 1989 she called me and told me she was engaged to a fellow graduate student who was from England. The were getting married the day after Christmas in the small village of Talaton in Northern England. She invited me to the wedding.

I had never been to Europe. I didn't even have a passport. I jumped at the chance, applied for a passport and booked my airfare to London. My friend's fiance Simon met be at Heathrow and we took a train into the where we stopped at his flat in Brixton to pick up Jan and headed to Victoria Station to catch a train to Talaton. After a minor misunderstanding with a ticket salesperson (due to the language barrier...I must have spelled my name to him five times) I was issued a British Rail Pass.


Talaton is located in Devon. The nearest city is Exeter. It is a farming community that dates back to the 1500s. Simon's parents owned a 16th century farmhouse called the Old Manor that they operated as a bed and breakfast.The wedding party and many of the out of town guests were staying there. Simon's father picked us up at the train station and drove us to the Old Manor.
We were met at the front door by Corky the cat, one of the most British looking cats I've ever seen.

Behind Corky was Simon's mother, an equally British looking and very gracious woman who welcomed us warmly and herded us into the dining room for a quick supper of bangers and eggs. Then I went to my bedroom and collapsed in a jetlagged coma until 1 p.m. the next day.


We went Christmas shopping the next day in Honiton, a small town in Devon known for its lace and antique shops. The only thing I could afford was an old top hat from the 1800s that was a few sizes too small.


But at tea time that day I experienced my first "cream" tea. When I'd first heard the phrase "cream" team, I thought it implied some flavored tea. What it really referred to was teas served with scones, jam and plenty of Devonshire heavy cream to spread on the scones. Fortunately I was a skinny young man at the time and learned the art of piling on the cream and jam. The result of a cream tea was a sense of euphoric immobility and peace unlike any I've ever achieved since.

On Christmas Eve, we ended up at the local pub listening to the locals converse in a Devonshire accent that was thicker than their cream. I'm convinced I was perceived as a deaf mute or an idiot because all I could was nod and grin because I didn't understand a word that was being said to me.

We returned to the Old Manor and opened presents and toasted with some Christmas cheer. And although I was far from home and away from my family, I will always remember that Christmas as one of the most peaceful and warm I had experienced as an adult (until I met my wife of course).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Blog be not proud

I want to apologize to you all for writing about kimchi stew. I mean, it is not exactly a pithy topic worthy of a full blog post. It was not thought provoking or even particularily interesting.

But on the plus side, at least it was short and didn't include one of those Photoshopped photos of me that THE Michael seems so threatened by. Though I've never Photoshopped my face on kimchi stew before. That would be unique. Not like the ham and cheese quesadilla with my face on it.

In my defense, I wrote about the kimchi stew right after eating it for lunch. And it was good. Real good. And it was around the full moon. Those full moons mess with me. So it seemed like a good idea at the time. Lots of things seem like a good idea at the time.

Not like the orange beef I had for lunch today. I mean, it was good, but not as good as the kimchi stew. Though if you are looking for something really good, you need to try Laksa Noodle soup. Now that is good. But it has coconut milk in it. And that is really full of fat. Kimchi is actually good for your system. It's like draino for the bowels.

I'm doing it again. I'm starting to sound like my 82-year old mother. She spends a lot of time talking about what she had to eat that day. She still has fond memories of a Malibu Chicken she had at Sizzler about 12 years ago. I personally find the Malibu Chicken kind of dry.

Damn, there I go again.

Anyway, sorry about the kimchi stew post.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why I like kimchi stew

I order the #10, the kimchi stew, with sticks, to go. I order it with the kimchi, not the salad. It's made to order so it takes a little longer, but it is worth it.

The less adventurous order the spicy chicken or pork. It's more like teriyaki and makes them feel more comfortable. But I like the kimchi stew. It's very hot. It's hot as in temperature hot and hot as in spicy, burn through your bowels hot. You know you are alive when you eat kimchi stew.

It it is red like a chile pepper explosion. It has shreds of pork and cubes of tofu. And of course there is kimchi. Kimchi is cabbage with a hot Korean attitude.

And there is the kimchi on the side. I like it, too. I like eating it with chop sticks and chasing it down with a swig of the scalding stew. It opens my senses and my pores.

I like kimchi stew.

But I'm not sure it likes me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rockin' Round the Elvis Tree


Last January I posted a photo essay called Deconstructing the Elvis Tree. This Christmas it seemed only appropriate to show you how the Elvis Tree is created. The Elvis Tree is an artificial white tree (from K-Mart of course) decorated with blue lights, blue bulbs and all Elvis themed ornaments. A model of Graceland under the tree is the final touch each year.

So here, in entirely un-Photoshopped photos is the construction of the Elvis Tree:






























Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas 1964


We were too tired after shopping to put up our trees, so the Elvis tree will have to wait until tomorrow. We use artificial trees anyway. Although I like the way a real tree looks and smells, I have always felt guilty about killing a baby tree for decorative purposes. This is a bit hypocritical considering I am surrounded by wood based products in a house built primarily of wood. But I don't eat baby animals either.

But I digress.

Most of my early childhood, we had an artificial tree. It was one of those aluminum jobs that you couldn't put lights on. It was illuminated by a spotlight shining through a motorized color wheel with different colors of celephane on it. The colored wheel made the aluminum tree glow alternately green, blue, red and yellow. In retrospect aluminum trees were kind of lame, but in 1964 they were pretty high tech.

I loved Christmas in 1964. I loved the decorations, I loved the tree (aluminum or not) and most of all I loved presents. I know that sounds superficial, but I was six years old. The sweet siren song of wrapped presents was almost unbearable for me.

My oldest brother used to orchestrate these elaborate plans to hijack one of our presents in the wee hours of Christmas morning. He diagramed the living room where the tree and presents were and coached my other brother and I on a game plan to defeat our home security system -- my father.

We had a shoebox that contained our burglar kit. In it were three balls of yarn with paperclip hooks tied to the ends, three pairs of slipper socks, a flashlight and the plan diagram.

The plan was simple. My middle brother Dan would get up and pretend to go to the bathroom to create a distraction. At the same time, my oldest brother Ted would crawl into the living room and the Christmas tree. He would hook one end of each of the balls of yarn to one of each of our Christmas presents and then crawl back to our bedroom while unrolling the balls of yarn. Dan would flush the toilet to cover up any noise while Ted and I would drag the presents to our room using the yarn.

It seemed like a pretty good plan, but the minute Dan got up to go to the bathroom, my father, who I swear slept with one eye open, yelled, "GET BACK TO BED!" We never got to see if the rest of the plan would work.

So, we had to lay in bed wide awake waiting for our parents to get up and give us the signal that it was okay to raid the tree. Then we'd tear into the living room in our pajamas and wait patiently while my mom took photos of us posing with our packages (I'm reminded of those people who train dogs to sit there with a dog biscuit on their noses until they are given a signal that they can eat). Finally my mom would let us open the packages.

Funny, I can't really remember what any of the presents were, but I can remember the painfully pleasant anticipation of waiting to open them.

There is a life lesson in there somewhere.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Santa Elvis


We will be decorating our Christmas trees this weekend. And keeping with tradition, one of those trees will be the Elvis tree. It is my white artificial tree with blue lights and all Elvis themed ornaments (I weep just thinking about it).

It's going to be a blue, blue, blue Christmas!