Monday, December 28, 2015

Another old dang eyes


Once again I marvel at how quick a year has past and I wonder what I have to show for it.  I did take my family to LegoLand and Disneyland (I have the bills to prove it). But 2015 won't be one of those years that stand out in my memory.

Not that my memory is that great anymore. Which is sad. Because memory is one of those few things you can hold onto that doesn't require filling up your garage with plastic bins. It's just that the older you get, memories seem to overflow and run together. But it is only logical that that would happen when you layer yet another year of memories on top of the old ones.

So sifting through memories becomes more and more like an archeological dig as you drill down through the many layers to find that one memory you are looking for. Though there are some things I'd just as soon leave buried.

But I digress.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Tis the seasoning...


Even though I was a bit taken aback that Christmas stuff hit the shelf at the stores before Halloween I must admit I have been looking forward toward all of the Christmas traditions we've established. We put up the Elvis tree on Thanksgiving and I had most of the holiday lights up on the house the following weekend.

I even ordered the photo holiday card from Costco early. But I tell you, I'm getting a bit pissy about us sending out about a hundred cards and only getting a handful in return. The unwritten rule is that when you send someone a card they have to send you one in return.

So send us a holiday card or you are off our holiday/Christmas card list. You can kiss your personalized photo of my family either on vacation or with a fake Santa goodbye.


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 (Never...forget...how...great...you...really...are), 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 TripIt.com (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 tripadvisor.com, 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 parents...it 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.

Sigh.

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."

Sigh.

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.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A vacation from vacations

Every year I try to take my family somewhere memorable for a vacation. Last year it was Puerto Vallarta. The year before that it was Cabo.

Now I am planning this year's big family vacation that will include Legoland and Disneyland. In doing so, I am violating my own guidelines to never go to a place that has "Land" in the title.

It's not like I have never been to Disneyland before. I must have been there at least ten times since I was 15. I even took my kids there three years ago when they were probably too young to appreciate it. We made the mistake of taking them in the Haunted Mansion and the minute the lights went out in the initial "is this room getting bigger or are you shrinking" introduction, my then two and a half year old son burrowed into his mother and cried out, "I want to go home."


Friday, June 05, 2015

The good ol' days


Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting  
And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet, I don't know nature's way
So I'll try to see into your eyes right now
And stay right here, 'cause these are the good old days. 
--Carly Simon, Anticipation
It is human nature to wax poetic about the past. After all, what else do we have? The future is tomorrow (despite all the hype about the future being now). And very few people spend much time in the now. Because that's where we reminisce about the past or wonder about the future.

I watch with bittersweet fondness as my children live their now. It reminds me of my then and how permanent it seemed at the time. But I know that the cliche about the fleeting nature of youth is cliche for a reason. It is truth. But we don't accept it until we are plodding the path of our parents.


Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm just messing with you


I read an article online this morning by Time (the magazine, not Time, my online persona). It's title was "Are my devices messing with my brain?" The answer is of course they are. Duh. The biggest problem being we have become Pavlov's dog and slobbering uncontrollably when we hear a beep or bell signalling that an e-mail or text has arrived or someone has updated their status on Facebook or Twitter. If you don't get the reference to Pavlov's dog, Google it. I'm tired of explaining cultural and intellectual references that you should know if the education system was doing it's job.

But I digress.

The point that most fascinated me about the article was the concept that focusing on too many apps, sites, or messages affects our ability to focus and finish things. The article quotes Dr. Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT:
“Every time you switch your focus from one thing to another, there’s something called a switch-cost,” Dr. Miller. “Your brain stumbles a bit, and it requires time to get back to where it was before it was distracted.”
If you've read more than a fair amount of my posts, then you've seen the effects of "switch-cost" on writing demonstrated. I punctuate my lapses in focus with the phrase, "But I digress."



Friday, May 08, 2015

My name is not Steve


Okay, if you are older than 12 or don't have children older than 12, you probably have never heard of Steve or Minecraft. It is a video game available on PC, X-Box and Android that allows you to enter multiple worlds, and create your own environment while battling Mobs (short for mobiles who are really bizarre monsters like zombie pigs and creepers). You also mine for minerals that you can craft into tools and rocks that you can craft into buildings (thus the name Minecraft).

The main character in Minecraft is named Steve, though you can change his name to anything you want. Steve starts out in whatever environment or "biome" the game randomly generates with nothing but his bare hands. He has ten minutes of daylight before the mobs begin spawning and trying to kill him. In that ten minutes, he needs to try and find the right materials to craft a weapon to defend himself against the mobs or create a shelter to get him through the night that descends quite rapidly. The good news is that the zombies and skeletons with bows and arrows catch on fire in daylight. The bad news is that the Creepers (monsters who rush up to you and explode after an annoying amount of hissing), giant spiders and Endermen don't.

Monday, May 04, 2015

It IS all in my head


Typically when someone tells you something is all in your head they are implying that you are delusional. But if you think about it (in your head), everything you experience is technically all in your head.

This post was inspired in part by an article I just read about Microsoft's new hologram product HoloLens. It is essentially a virtual reality headset that projects 3-D holograms directly in front of the user in a "seamless blend of fantasy and reality." I am going to be so bold as to posture that creating a "seamless blend of fantasy and reality" is redundant. The human brain does this everyday.

Friday, May 01, 2015

May Day, May Day!


I understand that May Day loosely became associated with labor protests in the late 1800s, but I don't understand why it has now become a lightening rod for every fringe cause there is and the centerpiece for their protests are marches aimed at screwing up traffic. Even if I wasn't an experienced marketing person I would put two and two together and realize that making sure people sit around for hours stuck in traffic isn't the best way to win their hearts for your cause.

I also don't understand the costumes people who march in these protests wear. I passed three people sporting butterfly wings who I assume were heading to the park where Seattle's protests were scheduled to begin in. At least I think they were headed for the protest. I do work on the border of Seattle's Pioneer Square and International District neighborhoods and people wearing butterfly wings isn't really an unusual thing to see on any given day. But these three looked like they were headed somewhere with a purpose, so I'm pretty sure they were socialist/communist anti-capitalist anarchists of some kind and not the usual colorful crack heads I see.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Profoundly lost


"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
Ecclesiastes
One of the beauties (and sad things) about getting old is my memory isn't worth crap.  Why this can be a beautiful thing is that I can read blog posts I've written from a few months ago and not remember I've written them. And then I can marvel at how profound they are. So profound, that I originally going to title this post "Lost and profound," but then discovered I'd already written a post called "Lost and profound" back in September 2006.

See what I mean about the memory?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Living in a digital world

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

 --Peter Brown & Robert Rans, "Material Girl."
 I think Madonna should remake this song with these lyrics:
Living in a digital world
And I am a digital girl
You know that we are living in a digital world
And I am a digital girl
.
 Because material things no longer matter. No one wants a big car, big home, fancy watch, diamonds or designer clothing any more. Prestige now depends on how many followers, virtual friends, likes, retweets, favorites, hits, views, click-thru's, and pins you have.

What the fuck is wrong with the world?

I say this as I type on my laptop streaming my latest binge watching on Netflix (Gilmore Girls...don't judge) and check my Smartphone. I've got Twitter, Facebook and two e-mail accounts open. I'm bartering on Craig's List, watching on eBay and finding the cheapest deal on Amazon with free shipping with Prime. I pause to like a photo on Facebook posted by a friend I haven't seen in person for at least five years.

I have honed my ADD to be able to flit through my Twitter stream stopping only briefly to see which childhood star has aged poorly (duh, which hasn't). Come to think of it, has anyone truly aged well?

I don't read books anymore. I download them on my Kindle Fire. I still don't read them because I'm too busy playing the weekly Angry Birds Friends Tournament. And then only when I'm not respawning on Mindcraft (using pointers given me by my six-year old) while listening to my Amazon Prime music from the Cloud (because Spotify makes you listen to commercials and Pandora is so 2010).

It is hard to believe that I am Baby Boomer.




Thursday, April 09, 2015

Mind fog


The airport of my mind is socked in with fog right now and not too many planes of thought are landing. It is one of the symptoms of whatever crud I have come down with, likely spawned on a 5 and a half hour flight from Washington D.C. last Friday. Thus the airport analogy.

I am normally a pretty healthy person. My two young children are constantly coming down with coughs and sniffles bred at the Petri dish of a public school. But up until now, I have managed to avoid coming down with anything serious.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm not bringing you down, am I?

"I'm not bringing you down, am I?
--Marvin the robot, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
I will confess that I have this fear that deep down (or not so deep down) I am a Marvin, especially in my blog. I harbor paranoid thoughts that people become regular readers and then irregular readers (readers who stop reading my blog very often, not readers who have a touch of constipation) because they get turned off by negativity.

Now granted Marvin had the brain the size of a planet and I'm not saying I have the brain the size of a planet...well maybe Pluto now that it has once again achieved near planet status although a dwarf planet. I don't consider myself superior to other people except for most Republicans and right-wing Christians. Oh, and people who shop at Walmart on a regular basis. I also consider myself superior to anyone who would wear a Utilikilt.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On being cool



At the risk of repeating myself, yet again, I've been thinking about being cool. I wrote about it several years ago in a post called "Way Past Cool." And I made it pretty clear that I don't think it is possible to be cool by design. But I have always wanted to be cool.


I grew up in Idaho in a lower-income, working-class family. Neither of my parents had gone to college. We lived in a small rambler build in the early 1950s. I had two brothers. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, there wasn't a great deal of discretionary income. My father worked in a  hardware company warehouse and my mother juggled a variety of jobs over the years (school lunch cook, house cleaner, convenience store clerk and several years working at a company that produced plywood panels for mobile homes).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ten things never to say or do in an elevator


I have made it clear on many occasions that I am not big on small talk. I tolerate basic courtesies such as saying hello and asking someone how they are doing (provided they don'take this as open-ended invitation to actually tell me how they are doing). But that's pretty much where I draw the line.

 Unless there is a hurricane or tornado headed my direction, I don't want to talk about the weather. And after the Superbowl, I don't want to talk about the Seahawks for several months.

 But it is in an elevator that I really don't want to engage in small or large talk, especially with strangers. The only worst places I can think to strike up a conversation with a stranger is when you are sitting in a toilet stall or changing your clothes in a locker room at the gym.

An elevator is a small, enclosed space that is intended for vertical transportation, not conversation.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Write like there's no one reading and other tips to achieving obscurity


Since my forays into social media began, I have woefully found myself pandering to the trends and topics that I thought might increase my followers, likers, friends, readers, pokers (which is a bit disturbing) and whatever else you call strangers who interact with you on the Web. I have done so thinking I would engage the masses and become THE next blipping hashtag trend. And I have failed miserably.

Maybe it's because I am a Baby Boomer and not a Millennial. Though according to a quiz I took on Facebook, I am more Millennial than Millennial's are. Or maybe I came to the social media party late with a box of wine. More likely, I think it is that I have begun thinking of my blog posts as content versus me just writing whatever the hell I feel like and not caring whether anyone reads it or not.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Magic moments


"This moment isn't going to define this team."
--Pete Caroll, Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks
Not to belabor the fated final call of the Seahawks on Superbowl Sunday, but I was struck that both Pete Caroll and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson have made public statements that they weren't going to let their lives, futures, or careers be defined by that one moment when they passed instead of running the ball. Pete Caroll even went so far as to state that it wasn't a bad play call, just a bad result (i.e. the ball was intercepted and they lost the Superbowl).

You've got to love that kind of point of view. As Caroll pointed out, if the pass had been successful, no one would have given it another thought. The Superbowl would have been won. The Patriots would have slunk away whining about them being the better team anyway and we wouldn't have to rehash that one moment over and over. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Monday, February 02, 2015

This too shall pass (even if they shouldn't have)


In the grand scheme of things, the Superbowl is just a blip on the cosmic radar. Despite all the hype, it is really just a game and an opportunity to see major (and some not so major) companies' advertising budgets go up in smoke for a 30-second spot. But I couldn't help but take it a bit like a kick in the stomach (or parts south of it), when the Seahawks lost the Superbowl in the last 30 seconds or so because of a bizarre decision to pass the ball when they were on one-yard line with major momentum behind them.

But that would be second guessing a coach who has much more experience at these things than I do. I am pretty sure he was probably thinking they weren't expecting them to pass. They were very likely expecting Beastmode to pop some Skittles, grab the ball and try to avoid getting got (which I'm betting would have been successful and I'd be writing a completely different post here).


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Buttered rolls and responsibilities


It is not often that I am able to spout an original pun. I've whined before about Googling my original ideas only to find out hundreds if not thousands of people have already had them. But I am proud to say that I think I am the first one to use the pun, "rolls and responsibilities" on purpose. I think it would make one bitchin' name for a socially responsible bakery.

I am staking claim to this pun after a Google search that turned up 73,900 references to "rolls and responsibilities." Now I didn't scroll through all 73,900, but after going through the first three or so pages that all of the uses of "rolls and responsibilities" were made by people whose intentions were to refer to "roles and responsibilities." Of particular note were pages by firearm safety program supported by the NRA and one called "Rolls and Responsibilities of Academy Governors" out of the UK prepared by education advisor consultants (who might want to rethink their career paths).

So now I hereby claim "Rolls and Responsibilities" as my sole pun. No other shall be the first.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Talking trash and Sisyphean tasks


Garbage Man (sung to the tune of Rocket Man by Elton John)
I filled my trash bags up last night, alright.
Pick-up hour, six a.m.
But the Garbage truck won't be by 'til ten.
I hate taking trash out so much, just ask my wife
I carry it out at a snails pace
Cause the bag ain't light. 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
Can't believe all the waste you generate when you have kids
In fact it really starts to smell
And no one would pick it up, if you didn't.
And it's recycling, I don't understand
Why don't they pick it up, every week?
A garbage man, a garbage man 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash tryin' not to bitch and moan. 
Now, I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
This song came to me the other night when I was taking the trash out on a cold and rainy night. I seem to make an inordinate number of trips to the trash can with bags of trash. This is even after the even more inordinate number of trips to the recycling bin. Trips to the yard waste receptacle have subsided with the advent of winter.


Friday, January 09, 2015

Twitter me this, Twitter me that


A few year's ago, I wrote about Dan Zarrella's book about contagious ideas. In his book he reveals a list of words and phrases that analytics have shown get the most retweets on Twitter:

"you, twitter, post, blog, social, free, media, help, please retweet, great, social media, 10, follow, how to, top, blog post, check out, new blog post"

I kind of poo-pooed the book, but ironically my post about it is probably my most read. So maybe Zarrella was onto something.

At the time I read Zarrella's book, I wasn't really actively using Twitter. But my day job forced me kicking and screaming into the land of 140 characters and I've recently immersed myself in the fire hose of tweets that spew through my feed each day. In the process I have tried to figure out what grabs people's attention enough that they will either follow me, retweet me or favorite one of my Tweets.


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

So funny I forgot to laugh

I read this article on Gawker (one of those blogs that isn't supposed to suck) the other day call Time to Retire, Dave Barry. It was written by Hamilton Nolan, a writer I've never heard of writing about a writer I'd grown up wanting to write like. And the bold statement Nolan makes about Barry is that he is no longer funny.

Okay, normally I would just shrug and say, "Whatever," after reading someone's critique of a relatively famous person. I am sure it isn't the first time Dave Barry has been told he wasn't funny. Humor, after all, is a very subjective thing. We all laugh to the beat of a different drummer.


Friday, January 02, 2015

Top ten reasons to ignore top ten lists


As someone who grew up in an era when journalism required you actually had to write about something based on facts and research, I've become increasingly appalled that news has been reduced to what you can fit into 140 characters with a link to a list that usually contains some version of a ten ranked items.

So I've come up with my own list of reasons why you should ignore any top ten list someone tries to lure you in to read (including this one):