Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Alexa..Alexa...Alexa...can you hear me...hear me...hear me?

I started talking to Alexa, Amazon's AI assistant, when I purchased a new Fire TV box that was bundled with Echo Dot. I didn't really know what an Echo Dot was until it arrived and I set it up next to my easy chair where I watch television. My first question for Alexa (at the urging of Amazon Customer Support that I'd called to help me set up my Echo Dot) was, "Alexa, where is Chuck Norris?"

In reality, I don't really care about Chuck Norris, but she answered, "If Chuck Norris wants you to know where he is, he'll tell you. But when he does, it will be too late."

Okay, an AI with a sense of humor. But what else can she/it do? I asked her to play independent rock music and she sampled some songs from Amazon Prime Music. I asked her to turn on Netflix on my Fire TV and she complied. That saved me about three clicks on the remote. I then ask her to pause and eventually play whatever I am streaming on my Fire TV.  Again, this saved me from reaching over an pressing a button on my remote.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

May all this old year be forgot and never brought to mind....

I will not miss 2017. It has not been my favorite year. I'm hoping 2018 will be better. I like the even numbered years better for some reason. Perhaps it is because I was born in one.

I turn 60 in 2018.I'm still not sure how I feel about that. I have honestly never thought about turning 60. I thought about turning 30. And then about turning 40. I gave a little bit of thought to turning 50. But 60 just wasn't on my radar. But now it is jitterbugging in my face.

On the plus side, 60 puts me a little closer to retirement. I am definitely weary of working. Having taken off a week for Christmas, I am very conscious of the energy it takes to shift from being home into the work persona. I am longing for the day when I no longer have to think about work.

I wonder, though, what I'll do when I retire. Didn't seem to be a problem on my week off. Time slipped away quickly.  Most of it was consumed by basic things you do around the house: make breakfast and lunch for my kids, empty and fill the dishwasher, take out the garbage and recycling, repeat.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Bulbs in the socket but not all my lights are blinking

I've written in the past about my love/hate relationship with Christmas lights and decorating my house. Usually by the week after Thanksgiving I've unpacked crates of lights and headed up to my roof and undertaken the arduous task of clipping lights to the gutter and trying not to slip off the roof or electrocute myself.

This year I decided to only put up lights in places that didn't require going up on the roof. And the world did not end.

It's not that I don't enjoy the beauty of Christmas lights. But thinking about the labor required to put them along my gutters just made me depressed. I've invested hundreds of dollars in lights but there never seemed to be enough. And even if I tested them before I put them away for the year, it never failed that once they'd come out of storage, passed another test a section would inevitably fail once I'd attached them to the roof.

Then there was the complicated system of extension cords, timers and outside power outlets. And there are the blown breakers. I also have bags of spare bulbs I've accumulated over the years. Regardless of what the light manufacturers say, all of the other lights don't stay lit when one burns out and you have to test each bulb in a patch of lights that have gone out in order to find the bad one.

Even just putting lights on my deck railings and my shrubs and trees took a great deal of effort and a few trips to the store for more lights (despite all of the lights I own for the roof most of the sets had burned out sections and I just could deal with the mind numbing process of trying to find the bad bulbs).

But still we have enough lights out to stave off the neighborhood shaming for not decorating for Christmas.

Monday, December 04, 2017


Saw "The Man Who Invented Christmas" this weekend.  It is the story of the internal struggle Charles Dickens went through when he was writing A Christmas Carol. I left the movie theater with a kind of "embrace your inner Scrooge" feeling.

Apparently, Dickens had many inner demons he struggled with. And A Christmas Carol became his personal tale of his rocky path to redemption.

The beauty of A Christmas Carol to me has always been that tipping point where Scrooge transforms from the dark, dismal miser into a man who once again has hope. Dickens does a wonderful job of revealing the journey that the man went through that turned him into the cold, heartless figure of Scrooge and then chips away the blackness to give him a second chance at life.

I don't know enough about Charles Dickens life to know how much of the movie was based on truth and how much was artistic license. But I know enough about writing to know that the characters you bring to life are often parts of your own psyche. It doesn't stretch the imagination to think Scrooge was a part of Dickens that he struggled with. And according to the movie, Dickens wasn't quite sure if Scrooge was capable of redemption. Fortunately, Dickens was able to give his demons the benefit of the doubt and let Scrooge turn his life around.

I hope it was an epiphany for Dickens. It's a message that we need in our current times where politics have turned our culture upside down.

I think Tom Robbins said it best when he stated, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." Of course then Sees Candy ripped it off and used it in their advertising for awhile.

But the sentiment rings true.

God bless us, every one!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Over the river...

It has been about five years since I subjected my family to Boise for Thanksgiving. I've been there a couple of times on business since my mom died. But I've avoided Thanksgiving trips there since she died.

This year my daughter proclaimed she wanted to see more of our extended family at times other than funerals. So I broke down and booked a trip to Boise for Thanksgiving.

I left Boise for Seattle when I was in my early 20s. And there has hardly been a time when I've visited there that it didn't depress the hell out of me. This trip was no exception.

Despite the rain (and probably because of it), Seattle is a place filled with green and majestic views of the water. Boise is a flat, barren strip mall with majestic views of the surrounding sage brush deserts and gray foothills. To get anywhere in Boise you basically have to get on the freeway and then transfer to major arterials with complicated four-way intersections that take forever to navigate.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gray, gray, go away

With rain and wind already battering the Pacific Northwest, I am fighting my winter blues a bit earlier than normal. Daylight Savings Time doesn't help. It's barely 4:40 p.m. and it is already dark.

I don't like winter and I believe the feeling is mutual with winter.

I don't like the rain much. Snow sucks. I've looked at clouds from both sides now and I really don't like clouds much either.

So why do I live around Seattle? It's not because it is touted as a cool place to live. That's only if you are under 30. It's not even because it is near water (which is why I thought I moved here in the first place). The water is as gray and dark as the sky.

I live here because I ended up here. Not sure where else I'd go. Once you reach the west coast, it doesn't seem practical to go eastward.

Perhaps climate change will eventually make the Pacific Northwest tropical. That would be nice. Even if it kept raining, it would be a warm rain.

Regardless, I sometimes just feel like pulling the covers over my head until it all passes.

It can't rain all the time.

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

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, it is  not hard 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.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Never the Mark Twain should meet

Up until a few weeks ago, I had read a few of Mark Twain's books, but I never really knew much about him. Then my son opted to be Mark Twain for a school project and I was suddenly immersed in the man's life.

Of course his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He used Mark Twain, a nautical term from his steamboat pilot days, as his pen name. I'm not sure why a pen name was necessary. Samuel Clemens seems like a perfectly fine author's name. But name aside, he was a complex person.

I watched a two-part Ken Burns documentary about Samuel/Mark's life. It was fascinating. And it drove home how influential he was in not only literature, but in the way people viewed the world. He was also a tragic character. He rose from a humble background in the small riverside town of Hannibal, Missouri and rose to worldwide fame as an author, humorist and lecturer. He amassed and lost a fortune during his lifetime.

Basically Samuel/Mark was a brilliant thinker, but a lousy business man. Although he accumulated large amounts of cash and married into a wealthy family, he was never satisfied with how much money he had and made poor investments to try and accumulate more but they only led to bankruptcy. That in turn led him to go on the lecture circuit and earn more money. Which led to time away from a family that was tragic in its own right. He buried several of his children and his wife before he died.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Does not compute

You know I can't resist a good "end of the world" story. And since Howard Camping let us down on the rapture and the end of the Mayan calendar didn't really mean end of days, all we have is Trump wagging his nasty rump at the North Koreans to give us doomsday fears.

But I ran across a new one the other day on Twitter. An article about the world running out of data space caught my eye. Apparently the dire predictions have been around for awhile. We are creating so much data posting photos and videos of our pets and kids on social media that even the mysterious cloud can't hold everything. The article said that even if we figured out a way to store data on every single atom, we'd run out of data space in a matter of years.

I don't claim to understand how we can run out of space for something that doesn't physically exist, but it started me thinking. I've been blogging away thinking that after I post my last post before heading off into the great unknown some day, it and the rest of Dizgraceland would hang around forever helping people solve the riddle of  Leon Spinks and determining whether clams are really happy. Now I find that we could run out of storage space and my life's work will likely be erased to make room for more videos of cats on trampolines.

BTW, my last post will likely be something whiny about repeating myself, being invisible and wondering why my blog never went viral.

Pause for a lugubrious howl.

Friday, April 14, 2017

April fools

Can't believe April Fools Day snuck by me without so much as a Whoopee Cushion or joy buzzer. I guess April Fools Day just feels redundant with you know who squatting in the White House muttering and tweeting jibba jabba.

Not that I had any practical jokes in mind. There is quite the write up about practical jokes on Wikipedia if you are interested in why they are called practical jokes. I think the article also is a practical example of people with too much time on their hands.

Sometimes I miss a time before Wikipedia and not being able to immerse myself in the minutia of useless things.

Pause for lugubrious howl.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Spring into inaction

I didn't post on my birthday as is my usual custom. Generally I get a bit down around then because birthdays have usually been a let down for me. But this year I was treated to a farm stay at a working farm in Sedro Woolley, Washington and it made me forget about me pushing 60.

I won't go into too many details since I posted more about it on my daddy blog.  But suffice it to say I had a blast just feeding cows and driving tractors. It was simple. It was good, hard work. And none of it involved a committee or an hour and a half meeting.

One of the cool things about the farm was that the owner bought it about eight years ago when he was the age I am now. He was this vibrant, smart guy who was patient and full of life. And he made me think about the direction of my life.

Monday, March 13, 2017

If a blog falls in the forest and there is no one there to read it, does it make a sound?

Dizgraceland ko·an: a paradoxical blog, used in cyberspace to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment. Or not.
I suppose I could have titled this post, "What is the sound of one blog clapping?" but that wouldn't make any sense. Nor would "Show me the blog you wrote before you were born." I think I'm fine with wondering if a blog falling in the forest with no one to read it makes a sound.

I remember having to write an essay in an 8th-grade creative writing class about whether a tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it would make a sound. I blathered on for a page or two about there always being something to hear it (animals, insects, plants) so yes, it made a sound. It wasn't a very creative essay.

Yet here I am, 44 or so years later blathering on about the proverbial koan and its proverbial sounds. I have to admit I was feeling a bit maudlin about blogging today. Every now and then I check my stats and reread some of my posts from the early days of my blogging career that have been getting hits recently and marvel at the number of comments. The comments were from a group of regulars that I grew to think of as my virtual entourage.
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la, Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
Oh my god, I'm breaking into maudlin songs mid blog post which is worse than my normal digressions or lugubrious howls.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feral hog apocalypse now

In between doom and gloom tweets about Crooked Donald, I've been seeing a great deal of stories about animals acting out of character. A bull escaped from a slaughterhouse and led police on a chase through New York. He was shot with multiple tranquilizers before he passed out (and eventually died).

I found it very sad.

Then a coyote in South Carolina followed a doctor into his office. The doctor panicked and led the aggressive coyote on a ten-foot chase before it got distracted by a squirrel. There is no information about whether or not he caught the squirrel.

Now Texas is launching a full-scale effort to stave off a "feral hog apocalypse." Apparently as many as 2.5 million feral hogs are roaming Texas helping themselves to what the Texas Agriculture Commission claims is $50 million worth of crops and Aunt Betty's petunias each year.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I had a dream

I think I dream a lot. But, most of the time I forget my dreams soon after I step into the shower. Sometimes though, the dreams are pretty vivid and stay with me.

Like the other morning, I had a dream that the neighbor had cut a door in my fence and built a play structure for his kids on my property. I only noticed it when I saw his kids building a snowman in my back yard.  So naturally I went outside to confront my neighbor. By this time the snow was gone and he seemed to be having a party in his backyard.

I asked him if he'd built the play structure in my yard after cutting a hole in the fence. He got belligerent when I threatened a law suit and said he wasn't the mortgage payer for where he was living. He was a renter. I told him he needed to remove the play structure at once or I'd call the police. Then I said I'd remove it myself with an axe.

At that point he picked up the main structure and wheeled it through the fence along with what seemed to be an endless amount of other crap that he'd dumped in my yard.

Then the dream got weird(er).

The guy starts up this huge construction machine and is lifting stuff out of the front of my yard with it. And he is carting stuff out of my garage that he'd placed there. I was yelling at him about what gave him the right to put his stuff in my garage (I think this portion of the dream was based on fact since our garage is full of all kinds of crap right now and none of it is a car).

Then I woke up.

The funny thing about the dream was that most of it took place at my mom's old house that was torn down several years ago. I don't have a yard with a fence that borders any neighbors. But I do have a garage full of crap as I mentioned.

Not sure what the point of the dream was. Maybe I feel as though my boundaries in life have been violated by Crooked Donald and his team.

Could be those spicy pistachio nuts I ate before going to bed, too.

We'll probably never know.

The north wind doth blow

I do not like snow. Oh, I'm okay with it if it snows Christmas Eve and looks pretty for a few hours. But then I want it to go away.

I will not bore you and rehash anecdotes of how people in Seattle haven't got a clue how to drive in the snow.  Truth be told, people in Seattle are pretty crappy driver's no matter what the weather. They just treat snow as an excuse to slide into each other and blame it on the weather rather than their own inadequate driving skills.

My children like snow because they rarely experience it here. I imagine if it rarely rained here, they would like the rain as well. I, on the other hand, grew up with snow on a fairly regular basis during the winter. There are only so many snowmen you can make before it loses its appeal.

I don't like to be cold. So naturally snow falls with an automatic strike against it in my book. It reminds me of learning to ski when I was 17 and having to get up at the crack of dawn every day for a week during my Christmas break to catch a bus to Bogus Basin Ski resort. There I'd stand in line at the rental place to get my skis and trudge to my beginner's class that lasted all day. I had secondhand boots that didn't fit right and absorbed water. So basically I was miserable the entire time.

Snow for my children inevitably means no school. When I was a kid they never shut the school down for snow. It was just a few blocks from my house anyway. Even then snow stressed me out because our school had a strict policy forbidding you to throw snowballs. The penalty was a spanking by the principal. And he was this sadistic bald guy who had this big wooden paddle on display in his office.

Now I wouldn't have thrown a snowball because I was deathly afraid of authority at that age, but for whatever reason, the snow still stressed me out since who knows whether I might have unintentional tried to wipe snow off my glove and have it perceived as throwing snow. It wouldn't have been the first time I'd been punished unjustly in grade school for crimes I didn't commit. Teachers in that era had a tendency to be judge and jury.

Oh well, since I started drafting this post the snow came and went. It was followed by torrential rain and winds. And now the snow if a mere melted memory.

Now I can go back to complaining about politics.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Darkest before the dawn

Suffice it to say, it is not the best time to be an American. Not that I have ever overly identified myself with my country. I liked it when it kind of went off and did its thing and didn't bother me too much.

But now the inmates of the insane asylum have literally taken over Bedlam and social and pseudo media are abuzz with riveting stories about how Trump is deadly afraid of stairs and ramps and his press secretary chews and swallows two packs of gum before noon every day. And those stories seem normal in comparison to the flurry of Executive Orders the idiot has issued in his first week in office.

Meanwhile the protests go on and on. And I search my soul, wondering if it does any good. It's like a bad science fiction movie where the Nazi's won the war and America is part of the third or fourth Reich.  There's only so many times you can scream, "No fair, not right" before you realize the people in power don't care.

At first I thought all of the protests were a sign that a majority of the people in America realized Trump and his Toadies are pond scum. Then I started seeing the polls start popping up citing that 50 percent of the population supports his outrageous orders to build walls, ban Muslims and block immigration. But why should I be surprised. Almost 50 percent of the population voted for him. Why would I think they would wake up now?

It all comes down to what people choose to believe. Once they have ingrained something into their heads, it is almost impossible to dissuade them of it being the truth. Because they have made it their truth. And most people will go out of their way to constantly adjust their reality to hold onto their truth. No number of facts will change their minds. Because as we are discovering "alternative facts" are quickly becoming the norm.

I'm no different. Nothing anyone can tell me will ever make me think there is anything positive that can come from Trump running the country (into the ground). And even when he is gone, the Republicans will blame it all on the Democrats anyway.

I wish the sun would come out soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hollywood spirits

I've been to Hollywood a few times in my life. Mostly as most people go to Hollywood--as a tourist. This time I was in Hollywood on a business trip. I was in town for a few days to shoot some television spots for work. And since the production company's offices were in Hollywood I stayed at a hotel in the heart of tinsel town, the Hollywood Roosevelt.

The Hollywood Roosevelt was built in 1927. It is seeped in old Hollywood history. One of the first Academy Awards ceremony took place there. It is even supposed to be haunted by Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Cliff. Marilyn had one of her first photo shoots as a model in the hotel pool.

I didn't see any ghosts at the Hollywood Roosevelt. But I could understand why they would be there. The place had atmosphere oozing out of it in spades. I could understand why I didn't see any ghosts though. My room was barely big enough for me let alone a ghost.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You take the high road and I'll take the circuitous road...

I started to write this post about how romanticism begins to wane the older you get and the more experience you've had. That got sidetracked as I meandered down memory lane recalling my own experience. Experience is the operative word here. Because being hopefully optimistic seems to be something that feeds a romanticized view of life. And experience tends to squash both hope and optimism.

Jaded perhaps. But pretty much true.

Pause for lugubrious howl.

Or perhaps experience begins to create self-fulfilling prophecies that squash both hope and optimism. Regardless, I find it difficult to maintain a cheery attitude about things, especially with the current political realities.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Clickbaiters are the new spammers

noun informal 

(on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.
I am struggling to stick to my resolution to not succumb to the siren song of clickbait. This is particularly difficult on Twitter since the primary purpose of most tweets is to get you to click on them. Facebook is not much better. Though I have blocked some of the worst offenders from my news stream. For awhile there I was constantly being pulled into tabloid like headlines reading things like "Mother and toddler discover time machine in Walmart." Turned out to be a mother snaps a photo of a geriatric shopper dressed in the same outfit as her three year old.

Clickbait preys on that aspect of human nature that just can't help but open a container of cottage cheese in the fridge that is several months past it's pull date. It uses the same principal of newspapers like the National Enquirer to lure hapless shoppers to throw it in the cart at the checkout stand because they were dying to read an article about a boy trapped in a refrigerator who eats his own arm.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Repeating myself

I feel like I have told all of my stories. Some of them one too many times. I've even written about repeating myself several times and waxed less than poetically about my theories of why we repeat ourselves so much as we age.  And I find repeating myself terribly annoying.

Yet I do it.

It is disturbing when I catch myself repeating myself. It is even more annoying when someone else brings it to my attention. It happens at work. I'll be pontificating to one of my staff and they'll fill in the ending of what I'm ranting about. Because I've said it to them before.

Then I panic. Because it means I've become one of those people. The ones who are pompous bores that repeat themselves because they don't have anything original to say. It also means I've become unaware. And one thing I've always clung to throughout my life is that I take great pains to be aware of everyone of my faults. I like to beat people to the punch when it comes to pointing out my deficiencies.

I'd like to think that I also tried to correct my faults when I become aware of them. I don't really like to be annoying. And nothing is more annoying than little things like repeating ones self.

Well making grunting sounds for no reason is pretty annoying.  Or sucking your teeth. Muttering to yourself is annoying, too.

Pause for lugubrious howl.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Another day, another year

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the end of 2016, a truly sucky year if there ever was one. I am not even going to rehash (or re-hashtag) the setbacks on the political scene

(Pause for lugubrious howl)

I did manage to post more posts than I have posted since 2011. I think that may have had something to do with the fore mentioned political developments. But I am resolved to ignore all of that for the next four years.

Not that I am much on New Year's resolutions. Though I am going to make as much effort as possible to avoid Internet click-bait. I am also resolved that, once I finish binge watching the sixth and final season of Glee, I will not rewatch it again. Because, although I enjoy the music, I found the writing on season five and six to have sunk to the sub-moronic level. Plus they have run out of gender benders to weave in and out of the weak plots.