Thursday, August 22, 2019

Daddy Dearest or being a papa isn't always pretty

Okay, disturbing as this image is, I just use it to spoof on another of my roles in life (and for me, late in life) -- being a father. The Internet being what it is, I won't share too much information here about my children or show photos. Suffice it to say I married late in life and had children when most people my age were anticipating being grandparents.

There are pros and cons for being an older parent. On the pro side, I've just about exhausted all those things that distract you in your 20s and 30s. My career is established and doesn't monopolize my time. And I make an okay salary and have excellent benefits. That is definitely a plus if you are going to have kids. My patience level is also much better than it was when I was younger.

The cons: helping out at one of my kid's classrooms and being referred to as "that grandpa dude." I also dread going to curriculum nights and being the oldest person in the room by at least 20 years. In addition, although I'm in fairly good shape, it still is a challenge physically to keep up with young children.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Funny Man

I am not sure where my sense of humor came from. Neither of my parents were particularly funny (though my father, like all fathers, thought he was). Nor are my brothers funny. In fact, I can't think of a single person from my formative years who was funny.

Regardless, my sense of humor is one thing I hold on to as part of who I am. Despite my insecurities about my blog not going viral because of my rapier wit, I am a funny man (and I mean "funny, ha, ha," not "funny, not right in the head").

I am not sure when my sense of humor started developing. I remember sitting in our family room watching television and my father asking me what was on the TV and I'd say something like, "A light, some plastic flowers and a TV guide." He would of course be irritated with me and tell me not to be smart (which is kind of an ironic thing for a parent to say to his kid."

One time at dinner, my father asked me to pass the butter. I pulled the cube off from the butter dish and tossed it to him. On retrospect, although a bit funny, that wasn't a good choice.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Mr. Green Jeans

You have to be a certain age now to know who Mr. Green Jeans was. He was a supporting character on a children's television program I watched as a child -- Captain Kangaroo. It was on the air from 1955 through 1984.

But this post isn't about Captain Kangaroo or even Mr. Green Jeans. It is about yet another aspect of my life that, although not ever considered as a career path, takes up a great deal of my free time -- gardening. Actually, it is less gardening and more yard work than anything else.

I actually wrote a post back in April called Dirt and weeds, that gave the history of my life pulling weeds. So I won't rehash it here. Suffice it to say, hardly a weekend goes by that I'm not mowing grass, pulling weeds or cutting back some invasive species of plant. And like Mr. Green Jeans, I often wear overalls. Though mine are not green.

The irony is that I wouldn't say I'm particularly good at it. I definitely don't have a green thumb when it comes to planting things. This is the third or fourth year that I've planted pumpkins and I've yet to actually have more than one or two by Halloween.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Mad Man

No, this isn't a post about Trump. It is another in my series of posts about my career choices. And although I've never actually worked at an ad agency, I have worked with ad agencies on the client side for more than 20 years.

I'm also nothing like Don Draper (though I wouldn't mind looking like him). But I like to think my role as a marketing director is close to being a creative director at an ad agency. And like a creative director at an ad agency, I don't actually come up with creative ideas any more. I just review them and creatively nudge them in a direction I think will work the best.

There was a time in my career that I was a freelance copywriter. I wrote several radio scripts and one television script. And in my day job, I wrote ad copy and campaigns on a very small scale. But I found myself in my true element when I began managing my first advertising agency contract for the company I work for.

For the most part, the attitude the ad agency people on Man Men, the television series, have about clients is pretty spot on. The creatives at an ad agency think working at an ad agency would be great if it weren't for the clients.  And it truly is the account people's job to make the clients think they are well liked, smart, funny and highly respected.  The operative phrase is "make the clients think."

In my early days working with ad agencies, I believed they liked me and thought I was incredibly witty. I also thought, as the client, I wielded the power to mold the creative work that placed before me. After a few years, I realized that the creatives  barely tolerated me and the account people actually thought my jokes were as funny as my children think my dad jokes are. And I realized that I was often being steered towards creative that the agency wanted to produce rather than the creative that would be the most effective.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


"I suspect that most authors don’t really want criticism, not even constructive criticism. They want straight-out, unabashed, unashamed, fulsome, informed, naked praise, arriving by the shipload every fifteen minutes or so."
~Neil Gaiman

I feel like I'm doing one of those theme weeks I used to do back in the good old days of Dizgraceland when I had my little band of people who commented on a regular basis. The theme seems to be career or talent paths I've taken or avoided.

Since I never made art or music my career path, I suppose I identify most as a writer. I have a degree in Journalism. I have written a blog for almost 15 years. My career path has mainly relied on words.

I think I can turn a pretty good phrase. I'm good with puns. I've always been good at writing headlines and I am a fairly creative copywriter.

I wrote a humor column for my college newspaper. I have written several unpublished short stories. I started a novel once but never finished it. I've ghost written articles for trade journals. I've written greeting cards (but only for family) and I've self-published several photo and travel books (but again only for my family). I have been a freelance copywriter and written umpteen brochures, newsletters, radio scripts and ads. I have also posted some pretty spiffy reviews on

But I have never been what anyone would call commercially successful. One of the biggest disappointments of my life is that I never finished a novel and had it published (the key obstacle being never having finished writing a novel).

I know that the optimists out there would tell me that there is still time for me to write a novel and perhaps get it published. The pessimist in me says that having written more than 1300 blog posts with very little positive (or negative for that matter) feedback, no one wants to read anything I've written.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


I can't remember a time when music wasn't a part of my life. But I don't think I ever really considered making music my career. I'm kind of glad of that. One, although I have played guitar for a little over 50 years, I am a good player, but not a great player. Two, I enjoy music too much to make it a job.

I got my first guitar when I was ten years old. I asked for one because I was inspired by watching the Glen Campbell Show on television and was impressed by his guitar playing. People also said I looked like a 10-year old Glen Campbell.

I had the guitar, but it took several years before I could figure out how to play it. I taught myself because my parents didn't have enough money to get me a guitar teacher and I don't take criticism well so having a teacher or tutor for anything makes me break out in sweat.

Not a great trait, I know.

I started band in 5th grade playing the soprano clarinet. I chose clarinet because my dad owned one and there was no way they would spring for a new instrument. I went on to band in junior high, but switched to the contra alto clarinet in 8th grade. I switched because the band director told me that I could only make it in concert band if I switched to the contra alto clarinet, because I wasn't a great clarinet player.

I stayed in band in high school. My sophomore year I played bass clarinet in the marching band and contra bass clarinet in the concert band. I became the drum major in marching band my junior and senior year. I also started playing bass guitar in the jazz band.

On the guitar front I had bought a better acoustic guitar while in junior high and I learned a few more chords. Then I bought an electric bass guitar from Sears. I figured it would be easier to play since it only had four strings and you didn't actually play chords. So I sort of taught myself to play it. This gave me the opportunity to play bass for the jazz choir when it performed in a music competition. It also gave me an opportunity (or so I thought) to appear sort of cool.

Monday, August 12, 2019


There was a time that I toyed with majoring in art and becoming an artist instead of a writer. I suppose I ended up being a writer because I wasn't certain how you actually could support yourself being an artist.

Not that you can support yourself being a writer unless you followed the meandering career path I did and became a copywriter and then a marketing person. Growing up in a relatively poor family instilled in me the desire to be gainfully employed. Being an artist or an artistic writer doesn't lend itself to gainful employment. The term, "starving artist" wasn't created for nothing.

Over the years I've known a few artists. And none of them were able to support themselves strictly through their art. And as I've said, I only supported myself through writing by writing what other people wanted me to write. This blog is the perfect illustration of what happens when you simply write for yourself.  No one reads what you've written and certainly no one pays you to read what you've written.

But even the writers who have a certain amount of success have done so by selling out. I follow one of my favorite current authors, Garth Stein, on social media and the guy always seems to be hawking himself like literary snake oil. His most famous book, The art of racing in the rain, has just been released as a movie and Stein is still marketing himself.

So I'm starting to think that true art isn't commercially successful. Or at least it isn't successful when you are producing it. Case in point Vincent Van Gogh.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

I love technology

I do. I really do love technology.  But I question it at times.

For example I am a bit baffled when my Apple Watch reminds me to stand to achieve my daily goal of standing up. I wouldn't have understood the importance of standing up a few years ago. But once you hit 60 it seems more like a reasonable goal.

The thing that really baffles me, however, is that I can ignore my watches reminder to stand up and then 10-minutes later it will congratulate me for achieving my stand up goal despite the fact that I have remained sitting.

The watch does the same thing with my daily move goal (and by move it is not referring to exercise, but to simply not remaining comatose). I can be sitting in a meeting and the watch starts heaving platitudes to me for achieving my move goal even though I've been sitting at a table for an hour.

I wear my Apple watch while I do my daily hour of elliptical exercising. But even after an hour working out the watch sometimes chides me to do a brisk ten-minute walk to achieve my daily exercise goal.

I also love Amazon's Alexa and my Echo devices, but Alexa can be a bit troublesome at times. Because every time my 12-year old daughter asks for some music like say, "Alexa, play the soundtrack from Disney's Descendents 3" Alexa will respond with, "Playing Fat Daddy's Get Bent album three." And of course the songs Alexa misunderstands and plays all have explicit lyrics.

My watch just congratulated me on achieving my move goal and I've been sitting here for 20 minutes typing this post. Maybe it admires my typing speed.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate how far we've come with our devices. I would be lost without my phone (literally without its GPS function). But I wonder at times whether we depend too much on it. I mean really, do I need to ask Alexa to pause the video I am watching when the remote is literally two inches from my hand?

I just have to sit back and appreciate that I live in the future that used to be just science fiction when I was a kid. But at least back then no one had to remind me to stand up or move.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Time after time

I've posted this image of a contact page I made from negatives shot with a large format camera I bought years ago. These were the only photos I ever took with the camera. It is locked away in a foot locker in the garage. It's been there for years.

The photos were shot in the late 1980s. I'm guessing when I was in my early 30s. I was growing my hair out in another rebellious phase. And I still fancied myself as an artist trapped in an office worker's body.

The photos were black and white. I hand-colorized them in a style made popular at the time on Saturday Night Live. I hadn't yet discovered Photoshop. And this was long before digital photography and long, long before smart phones.

I ran across the digital version of these photos the other day and started playing around with my smart phone and Photoshop to recreate the photos now. So I converted them back to black and white and reposed my 61-year old self in similar shots.

First I have to say I miss my long hair (at least how it looked, not taking care of it). And I want to go on record that it takes courage to compare your aging self to your young self. Time makes things shift. My nose and ears seem bigger. I grew extra chins.

But one thing I learned from this exercise is that, although I don't always recognize myself when I look in the mirror, there are certain parts of expressions and my eyes that confirm that I'm still in there.

Some where.

Monday, July 29, 2019

You dirty rat!

Fifteen years ago, I wrote about the dilemma of trying to get some dead thing removed from the crawlspace under my house. There simply do not seem to be businesses who dedicate themselves to removing rodents who inconveniently die under your house (or in the attic for that matter). Back in 2004, my only alternative was to either go under the house and remove the dead thing or wait it out until it decomposed to a point where it stopped smelling.

I chose the latter. It was only when I sold the house and an inspector crawled into the crawl space and noted there were bones from a small animal there.

So now, 15 years later, I smell that familiar smell of something dead and decaying. But this time it was in my garage. And since I am now married and have two children, the option of waiting it out until whatever it was rotted away didn't seem to be prudent.

We detected the smell on Friday afternoon. I kind of hoped it was just the cat's litter boxes. But by Friday night, even I couldn't deny the unmistakable odor of something dead. While I was eating my breakfast Saturday morning my wife reminded me I needed to go in search of the source of the odor.

Our house is a split level with a daylight basement. So there is no crawlspace. The garage is built upon a concrete slab, so that further narrowed down the possibilities for where the smell was coming from. Our first thought was the attic. There was a small access hatch on the ceiling of the garage.

So I donned work clothes and retrieved my extension ladder and reluctantly ascended to the attic.

Friday, July 05, 2019

The reluctant runner

I have never been an overly athletic person. This is not to say that I don't attempt athletic things, I'm just not particularly good at them. One of the few "C" grades I ever received was in 7th grade Physical Education. Part of it was that PE involved running a great deal and I have always been of the mind that a human shouldn't run unless they are being chased by a wild animal.

I did go out for various sports in junior high. I was on the 7th grade wrestling team but never won a match. I played intramural volleyball. I played basketball in 8th grade but was on the 5th quarter team. We only played after the regulation four quarters were over. They threw in the extra quarter so we got an opportunity to actually play. No one stayed to watch us however. Even the cheerleaders packed up when we were playing.

I was on the tennis team in 9th grade. But again, I don't think I ever won a game.

I was also on the Junior Varsity Quiz team in 9th grade and I was president of the chess club, but those don't count as athletics.

I had to take PE again my sophomore year in high school. I got an "A" grade in it because the instructor believed in grading on effort not skill. I didn't go out for any sports, but I was in the marching band and was the drum major my junior and senior years.

I didn't do much athletically my first few years in college. When I moved to Seattle to finish my education, I did participate in intramural volleyball again.

After college I played tennis occasionally. I also played on my office softball team. But I pretty much sucked at baseball. I blew out my ankle trying to slide into third base. I got the "Rodney Danger-in-the-field, I deserve no respect" award that year at the end of the year party.

I did manage a work volley ball league for a few years.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hobby hoarse

My entire life, I have dabbled in hobbies but none has ever really stuck. Oh, I suppose you could say Elvis is my hobby. I have a massive collection of Elvis Christmas ornaments that I use to decorate my annual Elvis tree. But it isn't something I do year round.

As a kid I tried collecting stamps for awhile. But I got bored after awhile. And I collected a bunch of stuff related to the Apollo space program around the time Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. It is in a box in a trunk.

My brothers and I build famous monsters of film land models. They, like much of my childhood toys, didn't survive.

I collected antique bottles for a brief time. It was something I did with my dad while he was using his metal detector to discover hidden treasures in ghost towns. I dug up some really cool old bottles. Not sure where they are now.

I collected shot glasses and snow globes from places I traveled for awhile. The shot glasses are packed somewhere and the snow globes dried up.

During later vacations, my wife and I started to collect native American masks and masks carved by indigenous people in Mexico. Some still hang on our walls.

I went through a phase of collecting vintage restaurant ware many years ago before I was married. I'd visit antique malls and thrift stores looking for Homer Laughlin crafted dinner ware and the like. I had cupboards full of the stuff for awhile. Most of it returned to the thrift stores. I do have a pretty good collection of Coronado stuff that we sometimes use on holidays.

I collected troll dolls including a two-headed troll for awhile that lined a shelf at work. I haven't a clue where they are. I have a hunch they ended back at the thrift store, too.

I did have an expensive hobby of collecting guitars for awhile. I think it was because I was searching for one that would improve my guitar playing ability.

I have a ton of Star Wars bubble gum cards somewhere from 1977 when Star Wars first came out. I assumed at the time that they would be worth something. Every now and then I go on eBay to see what they might be worth today and discover that lots of people had the same assumption and they really aren't worth much.

That describes most of my Elvis collection as well (including a limited edition Elvis themed Epiphone guitar).

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

No stopping

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

--The 5 Man Electrical Band

There is something about signs that trigger me.

I was in L.A. last week shooting some ads for my agency. And there were so many signs. One was on the video monitor I was watching the shoot on.

Signs just beg me to challenge authority. Signs are created by petty people to try to control other people. And the irony is that, when there are too many signs with too many words on them, people just ignore them.

I just can't stop myself.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Flying monkeys

I saw on Twitter that Trump told world leaders today that the U.S. has the cleanest air and cleanest water in the world because he had been elected. I couldn't help but re-post the claim with a comment that first he had monkeys flying out of his butt.

But of course, CNN reported a poll in which 54 percent of Americans believe Trump will be re-elected. And I read another report that said his administration was working to open up national game reserves and fisheries to hunters and fisherman because there weren't enough places where American's could be introduced to those wonderful past times of killing fish and endangered animals.

I want out of this bizarro universe in which crap like this keeps happening.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Tending your own garden

Learn to cultivate your own garden.
It is largely believed that when Voltaire had his character Candide state, "Learn to cultivate your own garden," he was sending the message that people need to mind their own business.

Or that is what I like to think he meant.

It is the season that I spend most of my free time on weekends cultivating my own garden...literally. Or perhaps more accurately,  I spend most of my free time weeding my own garden, and mowing my own lawn.

It is back breaking work. And my body aches when I'm done. I won't say I ache more at my age, because when I was younger, I didn't put much stock in yard work.

But now, with a family and a home that begs for constant yard work, I accept my fate. Part of it is that I don't seem to be able sit idle at home. I wonder in fact, how I filled my time when I was younger. Now I feel compelled to always be doing something.

Though there is Fortnite. That can easily occupy any time in between projects.

But I digress.

Unfortunately, the world is full of people who want to cultivate everyone's garden. And ironically, they do so while their own garden is choked with weeds. If they only knew how much relief they would feel if they just got back to tending their own garden.

And don't get me started on fertilizer.

Friday, May 31, 2019

So long Mr. Redbone

Leon Redbone died yesterday. Although he went through most of his performing life avoiding revealing who he was behind his characteristic Panama hat, suit, tie and dark glasses, (including his age), it was revealed after he died of "complications of dementia," that he was actually 69 years old. His real name was Dickran Gobalian. He was born in Cyprus, the son of an Armenian orphan.

But Leon Redbone was Leon Redbone. He appeared out of nowhere in the early 1970s and made a couple of appearances on Saturday Night Live.

As with Andy Kaufman, we loved him because he was certifiably weird. He sang old songs that most of us had never heard before (other than a few Hank Williams covers).

The really weird thing is that I swear I saw him in concert in Boise around 1975. I have this image of him sitting on the stage playing with only a spotlight on him. Some people came in late to the concert and Leon pulled a flashlight out of his suit pocket and guided the people to their seats.

But now, forty-some years later, I wonder if I didn't just see him do that on television and now imagine I saw him in concert.

I worry that I'm experiencing my own struggle with dementia.

But I digress.

Regardless, I am sad that Leon has “crossed the delta for that beautiful shore” as a family spokesperson put it. And I am sad that it took his death to remind how much I appreciated his quirky music. Rest in peace Leon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Still "not" Laugh In

The critics were kind to the Netflix tribute to Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, Still Laugh In. But to me it was no laughing matter.

Laugh In was on television between 1968 and 1973.  So I watched it from the time I was ten until I was a Sophomore in high school. It was kind of the Internet meme of my era bringing us catch phrases like, "Sock it to me," "You bet your sweet bippi," "Very interesting," "Fickly finger of fate," and "Here come da judge."

It was hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.  And that was the first weird thing about the Netflix's tribute. It was hosted, for no apparent reason, by Neal Patrick Harris and Tiffany Haddish. I at least recognized Neal Patrick Harris. But I have no idea who Tiffany Haddish is. The other weird thing about the tribute is that it never really mentioned Dan Rowan and Dick Martin (both are dead and couldn't make an appearance).

In fact none of the male stars of  Laugh In made it to the reunion. And again, it is because most of them are dead (though Artie Johnson is still alive but at age 90, probably wasn't up to making an appearance). (Bloggers note: Artie Johnson has since died) Three of the female stars of the show, Ruth Busby, Lily Tomlin and JoAn Worley did make it. Goldy Hawn, who's career was launched by the show, didn't make it.

Maybe it is because the tribute brought in a slew of today's stars that I'm not familiar with that made it seem totally convoluted to me. Or maybe it was intermixing them with clips from the original show that made it seem too surreal. It was like a collision of generations. Because I'm willing to bet any millennial that watched the show (if any did) wouldn't recognize the stars who made cameos on the original like Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr., John Wayne, Orson Welles or even Richard Nixon.

What's even sadder to me is that in many of the write ups of the show they made it clear that it is the type of show that could be reprised today because there were so many restrictions on the topics that could be mentioned on television today.

So much for progress. It was Laugh In's ability to laugh at the taboos of the past that made it successful.

Maybe it's time everybody lightened up and laughed again.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Blog posts from the edge

I'm still baffled by Bloggers stats page. It still shows me getting fairly high traffic from Russian porn sites. I still imagine it is some sort of hacker slight of hand that tricks people into going to the porn sites, but I'm not sure how it shows up as the jumping off place to get to my blog.

I suppose I shouldn't think too much about it. Despite the stats showing that I've had a couple of hundred visits, they also only show two views of my most recent posts. And I imagine one if not both of those are me.

Metrics seems to rule our worlds these days. Its all about hits, likes, follows, thumbs up, comments, shares and views. It is the same at work in the digital marketing world. The irony is, I don't think people really like things they click on social media. It just helps break up the monotony as we scroll mindlessly through our news stream.

I have 173 "friends" on Facebook. Honestly, they are mostly just acquaintances.  Some like my posts. A few even comment now and then. But other than the ones I work with, I rarely see any of them in the real world.

Twitter is even worse. I have 925 followers. And I probably only really know maybe three of them in real life. Instagram is about the same. But as with my blog, I don't really like people who know me to follow me. For some reason, it stifles my creativity. Because it is easier to be judged by strangers than by people who actually have met you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Twittering your life away

I kind of got sucked back into Twitter looking for the latest dead celebrity. It reminded me why I stopped looking at Twitter. It is just depressing.

I am just sick of politics. The thing on Twitter now is the back and forth about whether the House Democrats are going to start impeachment proceedings against that buffoon that is in the White House.

The problem is, it's all this hopeful blathering that the man will be kicked out of office. And impeachment or not, I don't think it's going to happen. If it did, it would probably take as long to get him out of office as he has left in office. And it would just fuel the fire with the whack job's supporters that the liberals are usurping the will of the people.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the man booted out of office. But the whack job Vice President isn't much better and he'd just pardon Trump anyway and he'd get off scott free after gutting the White House.

It is an embarrassing time to be an American.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Oh my GOT!

And so the Game of Thrones is over (until they make a movie).  None of my predictions about who would sit on the Iron Throne were realized.  Though Jon Snow does make Daenerys his ex-girlfriend but with a dagger instead of a "It's not you, it's me" text. And the last dragon melts the Iron Throne anyway so no one will actually sit on it.

Bran Stark ends up king of the six kingdoms (there were seven, but his sister doesn't want to play anymore so she pulls Winterfell out of the mix). Jon Snow is banished to the other side of the wall and Arya sails off into the sunset and presumably an HBO movie sequel when everyone runs out of money from the residuals.

I guess I'm okay with it all. I was late to the Game anyway. I started binge watching it after it had been out for five seasons. So it's not like I invested seven years in it like some people. There's not really a final scenario that would have pleased everyone anyway. Though Daenerys did go off the deep end rather abruptly in the end and killing her with a dagger while kissing her and professing your love to her does seem a bit harsh.

Twitter is all a buzz about the finale. There is probably more mourning going on for Daenerys than there was for Doris Day, Tim Conway and Grumpy Cat (I'm really going to miss those memes).

I really hope they don't come out with a movie or sequel. That would just unravel all of those nice loose ends they tied up to finish the thing off.

Though I wish Tyrion had become the king. I think the writers were pretty short-sighted when they passed him over.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The power of three or not dead yet

I checked Twitter (since so far no one has taken me up on the challenge to create OBITTER)  just now to see if the curtain closed on anymore celebrities. So far, no one else has checked out. But since these things seem to happen in three's, I think it is just a matter of time.

Twitter, BTW, is just chock full of the typical political churn about abortion and women's rights, how much of a twit Senator Lindsey Graham is and some breaking news about the Spice Girl's double-decker bus being available to rent.

I'm not sure why celebrities seem to die in groups of three. One could conjecture that they don't like being upstaged and want to steal one more headline from their peers when they see one of them giving up the ghost. Though Tim Conway was reported to have dementia when he passed, so he probably wasn't aware of the day that Doris Day died.

The day that Doris Day died. No disrespect for the dead, but that would have made a great headline. And if Doris Day had married Morris Day and hyphenated her last name, she would have been Doris Day-Day. Then she could have had a renewed singing career as a rapper.

But I digress.

I realize that joking about celebrities popping off in three's may be offensive to some, but that is one of the few perks to writing a blog that no one reads. I don't get a lot of complaints. In fact no one has commented on any of my blog posts since April 18, 2018. And if someone does complain, what's the worse that could happen? Are they going to stop reading my blog? Puleeze....I don't get paid to write it. I don't have sponsors. What do I care if some one who randomly found my blog doing a Google search for how to write the perfect blog post gets offended and threatens never to read my posts again.

Don't let the browser hit you on the way out.

Still no third dead celebrity yet.

Check back tomorrow.

Blogger's note:

Twitter reported that Internet sensation Grumpy Cat has died. She was seven years old.  So the trinity of celebrity deaths is complete. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


It dawned on me yesterday when I learned of Doris Day's death through social media that Twitter is one of the main places I check these days to find out who died. Actually to find out what celebrity died. No one seems to Tweet when some ordinary person dies.

So I wonder why no one has created a social media app that just has posts about who died. I was thinking, "OBITTER" would be a good name. A Google search does show the urban dictionary definition of Obitter as someone who "starts the day twittering the obituaries finding comfort knowing that people of lesser age are being consumed by the reaper."

The definition kind of captures the spirit of what I'm proposing, but I was thinking more of a literal app where people post actual obits and information about dead celebrities. I would be a way to cut through all of the other crap on Twitter that you don't want to see or read.

Speaking of Doris Day, I was actually surprised that she was still alive. Not too many Hollywood stars live to be 97-years old. And I just saw that Tim Conway died at age 85. Apparently he was holding out until Doris Day died. But we would have found all of this out sooner if there was a OBITTER app

There is a Dead People Server where you can look up whether a celebrity is dead or alive. It's a bit clunky and reminds me of list pages on the Internet in the 1990s, but it has lots of celebrities listed. Since it seems to be maintained by one person by hand, it isn't all that up-to-date. It still shows Glenn Campbell as being alive (he died in 2017). And Doris Day is still listed as alive. So I wouldn't rely on the Dead People Server to let you know the latest on who is dead or alive.

All the more reason for some bored developer to create OBITTER. I think people would be dying to use it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

GOT Snow?

If you are a Game of Throne fan, then you know that this is the last season and everyone is trying to predict who will ultimately end up on the Iron Throne. If you aren't a GOT fan, then it "sucks to be you," (as my son likes to say).

At the beginning of the season I assumed Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons would sit on the throne. After all, she had good intentions and is a strong female role model. Then we found out that Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Since he is in love with Daenerys and doesn't really like being in charge, he says he doesn't care and professes his love and loyalty to his queen.

Then Arya Stark destroys the army of the dead by killing the Ice King and makes you wonder if she should be on the throne.

And of course Daenerys goes bat shit crazy in episode five and pretty much destroys King's Landing with her last remaining dragon. So you can bet that Jon Snow is thinking of making her is crazy ex girlfriend and reluctantly accepting the throne (which is pretty much toast at this point).

So who will take what's left of the Iron Throne (now literally a hot seat)?

I'm hoping Jon Snow, but it will likely be Arya.

Or not.

You heard it first here at Dizgraceland.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How to write the perfect blog post

  1. Study the Craft. No one no matter how talented they are is just born a great writer. ... 
  2. Set Goals & Be Consistent. ... 
  3. Just Write. ... 
  4. Keep It Simple. ... 
  5. Write… then Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite. ... 
  6. Get A Second Opinion. ... 
  7. Stay Passionate.
--List found when search for "how to write the perfect blog post."
Why was I searching for "how to write the perfect blog post," you ask? Because I saw that headline in some e-mail I deleted from the umpteen junk e-mails I receive on any given day. And after it was gone, I decided it would be interesting to see how you do write the perfect blog post. So I'm glad Google led me to a list to follow to write the perfect blog post (though I don't understand why the writer used so many ellipses).
An ellipsis (plural: ellipses) is a punctuation mark consisting of three dots. Use an ellipsis when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage. Ellipses save space or remove material that is less relevant. 

1. Study the Craft. No one no matter how talented they are is just born a great writer. ... 
True. You can't become a writer unless you actually write. And you can't become a great writer unless you actually write great. And that, my friend, requires talent. No one can teach you how to be talented. But none of it means squat unless somebody wants to read your great or not so great writing.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

A funny thing happened on the way to the blog

I've admitted that I have come to the realization that I'm not as funny as I thought I was. Now I think that one of the symptoms of aging (besides shrinking, having to pee a lot, and growing hair on your ears) is losing your sense of humor (in addition to losing your hearing).

Oh, I still think some things are funny, but I find myself suppressing the one liners that used to pop up uncontrollably in most situations. I used to think that meant I was witty. Now I see that it makes me annoying.

I am not sure when I developed a sense of humor in the first place. I remember humoring my father when he would tell very bad jokes, even for dad jokes. But I laughed to preserve his feelings.

I don't think I was funny in grade school. But junior high was when I started to see the humor in things. I took a creative writing course in 8th grade and wrote humorous essays. I also began mumbling funny observations in classes that could only be heard by people next to me.

This did backfire once in my 9th grade accelerated math class. The teacher was a high strung mathematical prodigy. He came over to me one day when I was cracking up the person next to me and told me to shut my big fat mouth.

This was obviously before it was considered inappropriate for teachers to scream at students in the classroom.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Mile-post 1300

This is my 1300th blog post. My first post was August 4, 2004. If I had written every day since then, I would be writing my 5439th post.

I feel like such a slacker.

Still, 1300 blog posts is something. I don't know too many bloggers who have lasted 15 years. Of course, I don't know any bloggers any more. All the ones I did know quit after a year or two.

Sticking to a blog isn't easy. I can honestly say that, if I was being paid to blog, I probably wouldn't have lasted as long as I have. Getting paid would mean I would be under pressure to produce quality content on a regular basis. And I likely wouldn't be able to write about anything I wanted anytime I wanted. There is a lot to be said for not having any readers to disappoint.

And I have said a lot in 1300 posts, generally in 1000 words or less.

It would be a lot to expect to have had someone follow my blog and have read every post from day one. If they did, however, I imagine they could have begun formulating a psychological profile of me and begun to recognize my up and down moods based on my topics.

I tend to write about being invisible, my lack of readers and my tendency towards self-delusion when I'm feeling in a funk and lacking in self-confidence.

I write about the past when I'm feeling maudlin. And I write about things I think are funny when I'm feeling manically witty.

I think 90 percent of my posts have been in the first category (which explains my lack of readers).

Regardless, I write. So I think I can legitimately call myself a writer.

Even if no one else does.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wild Bill KODI

I have begun to accept that apps have become a basic part of our lives despite the fact they used to be called programs or applications that ran on our computers. Now we have apps for our phones and our televisions. I have a multitude of apps on my Fire TV just so I can watch the 300 or so channels that I pay for as part of my cable. The apps, in theory, just allow me to watch things anytime I want.

My sister-in-law introduced me to yet one more app that in theory provides all of the movie, television and music content available anywhere at anytime. Not sure how she discovered it, but her intent was to free herself from cable bills and simply stream everything through the Internet. She told my wife about the app with the hopes that my mother in law could use it to get rid of her cable.

The app is called KODI. There is a YouTuber who has a whole channel devoted to explaining how you download and install KODI. Along the way, he also tries to get you to install and subscribe to various other things like a VPN service. I don't know much about VPN, but I think it is a service that intercepts your web activity and reroutes it through their servers and hides your trail. It sets off a series of red flags as to why you would need to hide your Internet trail if you are downloading and using KODI.

Anyway, I followed the YouTuber's very detailed instructions and installed KODI on my Fire TV. The app included something called a "build." I don't proclaim to understand it, but the build is how the programmers package everything for a program or app to work. It apparently contains all of the tools that work together to make the program work.

Monday, April 29, 2019

I'm being followed by a moon shadow

I watched the biopic First Man over the weekend. Actually I finished watching it. I started watching it on the airplane flying back from Memphis at the beginning of the month. First Man is the story of Neil Armstrong's journey to become the first man to set foot on the moon. Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong.

Ryan Gosling plays a very unemotional Neil Armstrong. Which is, I guess from what I've read about him, was basically true. There aren't many overly emotional test pilots and astronauts. Though it would have been kind of fun to see him take his first step on the moon and say, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind...Whoooee...momma, I'm on the moon MoFo's!"

I was 11-years old when Armstrong walked on the moon (followed by Buzz Aldrin who apparently no one in the astronaut program particularly liked). I'd followed the space program since its inception and wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid and didn't know it would involve lots of math and having good eyesight.

I was obsessed with Apollo 11. I have a box somewhere buried in a trunk that contains newspaper clippings and other memorabilia from the time. I even have a bronze medallion with the Apollo 11 mission theme that I wore to school around my neck until school bully John Zior knocked it off me on the playground.

The movie talks a bit about the controversy over the amount of money NASA was spending to get a man to the moon. Lots of talk about how much good they could have done with that money on earth. But as a kid, I thought it was worth every penny. I would think the same thing today, especially since Trump wants to spend more than it cost to go to the moon on a stupid wall.

And don't get me started on how much the U.S. spends on the military.

Friday, April 26, 2019

TikTok is not a clock but it ticks me off

"TikTok is the world's leading destination for short-form mobile videos. Our mission is to capture and present the world's creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter in everyday life." 
--About TikTok from
I only downloaded the TikTok app because my kids were talking about it and said all of their friends were using it.  I wanted to preview it in case they lobbied to use it.

Okay, there is no way I would let my kids use TikTok. Despite the creators lofty mission statement, the app is nothing but a forum for right wing rhetoric, depressed teens looking to hook up, cosplay groupies, people posting short videos of their cats, dogs and lizards, and random shit that couldn't make it on YouTube.

TikTok is like a low-rent version of Vine. And I'm ashamed to say, I watch it like watching a train wreck just to pass time on my commute or during my workout.  I wouldn't think of posting on TikTok because the community seems to use piranhas as their model for commenting on people's posts. It embodies the worst of social media's troll mentality.

Trust me, middle aged or older people will never be welcomed on on TikTok, creative or not. The prerequisite for content seems to be that you are redneck attractive, excessively tattooed, into Japanese anime or like to video stuff being blown up. Oh, and an excessive number of people who are a bit to attached to their pets.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

An Easter to dye for

I suppose I don't need to reiterate that I am not at all religious. I don't go to church. I don't pray. I don't believe in god. I've read portions of the bible and I know many of the stories, but I take no stock in them.

Yet I partake in the secular rituals that are based on religion like Easter.

Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ after he was crucified by the Romans. As a kid I enjoyed the ritual of dyeing eggs and putting out an Easter basket to get it filled with candy. And now that I have children of my own, I've continued the ritual.

But still, it seems like an odd holiday if I stop to think about it. Dyeing eggs seems to have little to do with the resurrection (although eggs are a symbol of rebirth). And I suppose the Easter bunny is another nod to pagan rituals of Sprint and fertility. Not sure where candy fits into the symbolism though. I imagine it was a marketing idea to make money off from the holiday.

Same with Easter brunch.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Amazon jungle

I got an e-mail from Amazon Associates today telling me my account was being closed because none of the ads I have allowed on my blog have generated any sales in 365 days. I was also told I must immediately remove all of the code that generates their ads from my blog. Then they thanked me for being an Amazon Associate.

Okay, I will be the first one to admit that my blog doesn't generate enough traffic to be a good place to advertise. I only do it out of this stubborn belief that some day I might actual get some revenue from blogging. Google has never cancelled my account because the Google ads that appear on my site don't generate traffic. I imagine they operate on the assumption that it doesn't cost them anything and even the occasionally hit on their ads on my site help drive the bottom line.

Amazon apparently has some standards and I don't live up to them. But don't blame me if your shitty ads don't get any attention. I'm just the messenger.

The irony is that I've pumped thousands of dollars into Amazon over the years. I actually think they they offer a great alternative to ever having to leave your home to buy anything. And I talk to Alexa all the time.

I do think Amazon has lost site of what they are in business for. Although I use them to buy lots of things, I've given up on them for last minute gifts for holidays like Valentines Day and Easter. One, their search function seems wacky and dredges up random items that don't match your search criteria. And although you can get crap you don't need delivered in one or two days, good luck having them save your procrastinating butt if you didn't buy Valentines or Easter gifts in advance.

I also don't like that you can't actually complain to a real person at Amazon. They have managed to successfully hide any avenue of providing real feedback to them. Oh, they are good at offering refunds or returns, but its all automated and you can't really tell them what you think or bitch about something taking a couple of weeks to get to you when it was supposed to arrive in two days.

Oh well, I got my resentment for being rejected by Amazon Associates off my chest.  But they will really regret it when my blog finally goes viral. I just need to consult the Mayan calendar to see when that will be.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dirt and weeds

Growing up, some of the chores I was required to do around the house included mowing lawn and weeding. Most of the weeding involved digging dandelions out of the grass. I didn't mind the weeding so much when it was in the vegetable garden, because I enjoyed planting things and nurturing them until they were grown plants. My favorites were corn and pumpkins.

I didn't like digging out dandelions because everyone who deals with weeds knows you pretty much have to get most of the root of a weed or it will simply grow back. Dandelions have huge tap roots that extend a remarkable depth into the soil. And our lawn was pretty dry most of the time, so getting a dandelion out with its tap root was near impossible for me. So I cheated and pulled the top part of the dandelion out so at least there was the appearance of being successful.

I also didn't much care for mowing the lawn because we had this old gas mower that was extremely temperamental and required cleaning spark plugs and messing with a choke. I don't do well with combustion engines, especially when there is a choke involved. Come to think of it, I don't even know what a choke is or does. But it could mean the difference between a gas mower starting and staying started.

I also didn't like mowing lawn as a kid because we had dogs. and inevitably you'd mow over dog crap. And in the summer heat, the smell of dog crap being mowed over just about made me toss my cookies.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Okay, I'm not that funny

It has only taken me almost 1300 blog posts to admit to myself that I'm really not as funny as I have always thought I was. I've mused about this over the years, but I really think I only did so that someone would pop up and tell me that I was just being silly and that I was the wittiest person alive.


My children have confirmed my lack of humor. On an almost daily basis they roll their eyes and mutter, "Not funny," when I spout some of my patented witticisms. For awhile I just figured their senses of humor just weren't mature enough to get my comic genius.  But the older they get (and I get), the less funny I seem.

It has become evident at work as well. I became annoyed at all of the random notices that were being posted next to the copy machine/printer. So I post my own sign reading:

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
These are part of the lyrics from a group called Five Man Electrical Band that was released in 1970 when I was in 7th grade. I consider it pretty iconic. But none of the people at work seemed to get it. One person thought it was a poem someone had written and posted. Eventually someone just tore it down.

Friday, April 12, 2019

There is no future in the pasta

There are carbs, however. So that's something. And they do weigh heavily on our future.

But I'm already digressing.

If you've followed any of my meandering ramblings about living in the now and time being an artificial construct you'll know I am fascinated by the concept of life being a series of "now" and no "then." Though I struggle with letting go of then. Sometimes it seems like a better place then now.

There was a time (even though time doesn't exist) that I fantasized that all of my past "now's" were playing out simultaneously and all I would have to do was figure out how to slip into them to relive great moments. And who knows, maybe shift things around a bit to correct a few mistakes.

But "now" I pretty much believe there is no then to go back to. And let's face it, what would be the point. You'd have a few good now's that would quickly become then's and then you'd be right back where you started.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Walk into the night

I think we should replace all of the existing euphemisms we use for death with the simple phrase, "walk into the night." It sounds so much better than "passed on," "kicked the bucket" (which makes no sense anyway), "bought the farm" (also senseless), "croaked," "departed," "called home" (which happens to mean a lot when one of my kids is sick), "no longer with us" (which is something we also say after someone in the office is fired), "with the angels," "gave up the ghost," "left this mortal coil," "went belly up," "cashed in," "bought a pine condo," "cashed in," "is pushing up daisies," or "crossed over."

"Walk into the night," sounds gentle like slipping into a slumber. And it sounds so much better than "walk into the light," with its connotation of harsh light. I would rather slip softly into darkness, like the embrace of an old friend.

It also sounds better than, "What happened to Fred?"
"Fred's dead."
"Oh, what's for dinner?

Instead, "What happened to Fred?"
"He walked into the night."
"Oh, that sounds nice."


Not that I spend a lot of time thinking about euphemisms for death. I did briefly when I was with my mother when she died. None of the euphemisms seemed appropriate. I was there. She didn't pass on or get called home. She died.

I didn't think much about it when my father died 21 years before that. I wasn't with him. So it was less that he died and more that he wasn't there any more. It's a subtle distinction, but you'd understand it if you'd experienced it.

We tend to say we are putting pets to sleep when we have them euthanized. And in fact the vets do put them to sleep before they kill them with a lethal injection. Hopefully it insures that they aren't suffering. But it is a sleep they never wake from.

Sort of like walking into the night.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

How much is a thousand words really worth?

My post about my recent Elvis pilgrimage illustrates (no pun intended) that I tend to take a lot of photos. On my trip to Memphis, I took more than 450 photos with my Canon digital camera alone. And I must have taken another three hundred or so with my iPhone.

That's a lot of photos.

I have photo storage accounts on Amazon, Flickr and Apple. I gave up on physical drives to store images because I've had bad luck with disk failures. But I think I have close to 90,000 images in the Cloud.

That's a lot of photos.

I've made physical books using some of the photos, mainly highlights of big vacations. I made a huge book of the photos from my first trip to Graceland in 2018. I didn't think I'd be going back to Memphis the following year, so I'm not sure what to do with my new photos.

I accept that not all of the photos are great. Some are. I especially cherish the photos I've taken of my family. I'm less enamored of the photos of myself. Though that tends to be all I share on my blog. I do share lots of photos of my family on Facebook, however, but that is more of a protected environment.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019


"Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland"
Graceland by Paul Simon 
I have spent years denying that I am a hard core Elvis fan. This is despite years of posting on a blog called Dizgraceland and a having a past where I went by the name Tim-Elvis for a lark. And I protested that I wasn't an Elvis fan despite a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to visit spots where Elvis had been including Landmark Drugs where he had his prescriptions filled.

I suppose not everyone has an Elvis tree every year with a miniature Graceland at it's base.  And there is the bookcase chock full of just about every book ever written about the man. Okay and there is that complete collection of Elvis liquor decanters depicting the various stages of his life.

But the one thing that I felt separated me from the rest of the Elvis followers was that I'd never been to Graceland. Oh, I'd passed through the Memphis airport a couple of times, but I never had visited the holiest of all holy sights to those inflicted by King worship.

I stopped being able to claim that distinction when my wife surprised me last year on my birthday with a trip to Memphis to visit Graceland. And I'll be the first one to admit that I was pretty awestruck to take the VIP tour of the mansion and the museums across the street, marveling at the cars, memorabilia and minutia that are on display highlighting his short life.

And let's not forget the feeling of visiting the Meditation Gardens and the King's grave.

It was kind of a once in a lifetime experience that I thought I'd never repeat. And then low and behold circumstances led me and my family back to Memphis again this year and another trip to Graceland. And on this trip I also added a road trip to Tupelo to visit the birthplace of Elvis.

So I've pretty much run out of excuses for my fascination with the King.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Walk into the light

It is no longer dark when I stand at the station waiting for my morning train. I wish it was, because lately I've been on autopilot in the morning and sort of just want to sleep standing up while I wait for the train. It doesn't help that I've been listening to Moby's Long Ambients 2 album on my Calm meditation app. It was written to help you relax and sleep.

When the train finally arrives at 7:10 a.m., I am generally the first one through the second doors of the second car. It is less crowded than the first and last car and my favorite seat, one that doesn't require you to sit next to anyone, is usually open. My latest morning ritual is to grab the seat, swap my baseball cap for a stocking cap I keep in my backpack, remove my glasses and pull the stocking cap over my eyes. Then I settle back and let Moby sooth my commuting soul.

It is only a 25-minute commute. The last mile or so is through a vintage train tunnel under downtown Seattle that pops you out on the border of Pioneer Square and the International District. I usually pull off my stocking cap just as the train is pulling out of the tunnel and drifting by an acre of graffiti littered walls that face the train platforms. I rise and slip out of the door still listening to Moby and join the rest of the walking dead as we shuffle towards the stairs that rise from the train platform to the street level.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Seeing through me

I wrote my first post about turning invisible in 2005. I've repeated the sentiment umpteen times since. Considering I started fading in my early 40s, I am pretty much not here now.

I got my haircut Sunday at one of those franchise haircutting places. It's a cheap and quick haircut without frills like coffee, shampooing and head massages that tack about $40 onto the cost. The downside is that, like Forest Gump's box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get.

But when you are invisible, it doesn't matter.

I checked in on line and drove to the place. When I walked in, this person who has cut my hair several times greeted me and took me right back to cut my hair. There was no acknowledgement that she recognized me. But I imagine they cut quite a few heads of hair in any given week and they only see people every other month or so.

To her credit, she tried to make small talk (which anyone who knows me knows I love). At one point, she asked me what I did for a living. She had asked me this same question on an earlier visit and I thought when I responded she'd remember cutting my hair before, because I'd gone in greater depth than I like about being a public transportation marketing person.

But she didn't remember me or anything I'd told her before. She asked the same questions and seemed totally oblivious to what I did or the company I work for.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Who do you think you are?

Okay, it's is another philosophical question. I admit I don't really know who I am. I thought I did for years, but I kept surprising myself. It's part of the aging process. Enlightenment comes when you realize you don't know anything, including yourself.

Part of it is that the self we grow up believing in is, according to Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, is an illusion. Of course, so is everything else. If you accept that, then you have to wrap your illusionary brain around both creating the illusion and being the illusion.

Sometimes I think I'm pretty deep. Other times I worry that I'm just a windbag. I just came out of a business meeting with a consultant. At times I imaged I was witty and engaging. Everyone laughed at my jokes, nodded and took notes. But stepping out of myself, I realize they pretty much do all those things because I am the client. Inside they were probably thinking about what they were going to have for lunch.

Part of my anxiety about finding out who I am or who I am not is that I'd find out that I am no one. But if I engage in a bit of Zen word play, finding out you are no "one" could mean that you are many.

What's that? You heard the sound of one hand clapping? I did too. And it usually only happens when I show people the face I had before I was born.

It was 20 years ago, today...

I spent my 41st birthday in New Orleans, by myself. It was an odd time in my life. I'd weathered the milestone of turning 40 and wasn't quite sure what to make of things. I didn't have a relationship. I was on a career path I wasn't sure I wanted to be on. I felt lost.

I'd been to New Orleans three times. Two of the three was just to board a cruise ship bound for Cozomel. The other time was to attend a conference. I'd never really explored the city. So I decided to book a week in the French Quarter. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Chateau Lemoyne which ironically turns out to be just a block away from the Dauphine Orleans which I stayed at a few weeks ago.

I had no real itinerary. I knew I wanted to see what St. Patrick's Day was like in New Orleans. Other than that, I had no plan. And that is how I discovered that no plan is sometimes the best plan.

Every day I'd sleep in. Then I'd set out and just walk. Most times I'd head for Royal Street and enjoy the street musicians. Then I'd usually end up in Jackson Square. That's where I spotted the photo above of a street busker. I found out later that the performer was Amanda Palmer. Palmer was the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the duo The Dresden Dolls. But she'd started out as a street performer in San Francisco and New Orleans. I only found out that the performer was Palmer years later when I saw her on a TED talk about connections.

That kind of sums up the trip. I walked. I ate great food. I watched the St. Patrick's Day parade. I turned 41 and celebrated alone on the balcony of a restaurant on Bourbon Street. It was one of the most memorable unmemorable trips I've ever taken.

Now, 20-years later, it is my birthday and I am turning 61. I am married now. I have two children. I stayed on the same career path and can glimpse retirement down the road (but still several years away). But sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that I was strolling up Royal Street enjoying those unscripted moments of my life.

After all, they led me to where I am now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Blogging like it's 2006

As I stare forlornly at my blog stats, I regularly see posts I wrote back in 2006 being viewed now, thirteen years after they were written. And as I reread them, I can't help but think they were pretty darned good. I think 2006 was my peak year as a blogger. Which is pretty sad considering I was not quite two years into this medium that was relatively new at the time.

I suppose part of it was that it was a new type of writing and I was still having fun exploring the options. And I hadn't been blogging long enough to have started repeating myself. I had, however, been alive long enough to start repeating myself.

As much as I'd like to believe that I blog for myself and don't need an audience, in 2006 I had an active group of people who regularly read and commented on my blog. Their positive feedback did influence my writing at the time.

For whatever reason, all of the people in my blog community at the time moved on, dropped out, or found other outlets to amuse themselves. It's not like there were thousands of people who read my blog anyway. I think at the time there were maybe ten regulars at the most. So it's not like I ever went viral or was discovered.

This was before social media really overshadowed everything, too. In retrospect, I never really rose to any degree of success as a blogger. So I can't really lament languishing in relative obscurity now.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one with a lampshade on my head at a pity party.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Me, myself and eye

Everything I've been listening to philosopher Alan Watts say about reality and enlightenment pretty much nixes a sense of self and individual existence. This adds to my confusion about figuring out who I am and puts a dead end sign on my road to self discovery.

I don't pretend to totally understand what Watts is explaining. He tends to use a lot of Greek and other ancient language words that he spells out in his lectures (as if spelling them will make them any more comprehensible). I tend to listen to Watts lectures during my morning commute on the train. And I am usually half asleep while I listen to them.

Not that being fully awake would matter (in a literal, not a spiritual sense). Most of what I glean from Watts' explanations is that most of us mistakenly assume we are separate from the world around us. Watts conjectures that we are all connected to everything. So there isn't any "you" or "I."

That is the hardest part for "me" to accept. Because I have struggled my entire life with feeling pretty much alone trying to figure out what I am doing here.

I can't say that what Watts is saying is new to me. I have been fascinated for years with the concept that time isn't really linear. Our mistake is connecting a non-existent past with a non-existent future. In doing so, we ignore the infinite now. But it is hard to comprehend an infinite now because it seems impossible to pinpoint when now is. Because the moment you utter the words now, it has slipped into a seemingly non-existent past to make room for the new now.

I'll catch that tail some day.

Monday, March 04, 2019

I ain't afraid of no ghosts

I just got back from a business trip to one of my favorite cities, New Orleans. I've visited the city seven times in the past 20-some years. And although it has a reputation of being haunted, I have never seen a ghost there. I have seen some scary people there. And I've seem some people who seem haunted. But no spirits.

When I booked the Dauphine Orleans for this trip, it was said to be haunted. It was the site of a former brothel and was said to be haunted by some of the women who worked there. There was also supposed to be a civil war soldier who appeared now an then. But with the exception of a lot of screaming coming from the streets outside my balcony windows (it was Mardi Gras time), I didn't hear or see anything remotely supernatural.

I have pretty much given up on believing in ghosts anyway. I've stayed at many supposedly haunted hotels including the Del Coronado in San Diego, the Queen Mary in Long Beach, the Geiser Grand in Oregon, Thornewood Castle in Washington and the Bourbon Orleans and the Chateau La Moyne in New Orleans. All were supposed to have ghosts. And all of them snubbed me. Though the Geiser Grand felt haunted.

I shouldn't be surprised. All of the Alan Watts philosophy lectures I've been listening to speak to death as just a respite between living. The concept of a soul trapped between living and dying doesn't really make sense.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

If you meet the Buddha by the side of the Information Highway....

I am still listening to Alan Watts' lectures on YouTube every morning while I wait for the train. And while I still have very little clue as to what he is talking about, I sense that it is very profound.

I do like that Watts seems to constantly remind us that the truth is that there is no truth. He repeats things like, "trying to bite our own teeth" or "using a flame to set fire to itself." He also pretty much takes a dump on religion.

But I could just be reading things into what he is saying. We all hear what we want to hear even if we don't know what we want to hear.

Watts does talk a great deal about our desire to hold onto our sense of self and how futile that is. He does allude to the fact that death is simply a respite from living (or something like that). And he implies that everything is an illusion. He also points out that everything exists because it's opposite exists (i.e. you can't have good without evil because you wouldn't know what it was without its opposite).

So Watts does keep you chasing your own tail a great deal. But I like that. It somehow helps me to know that there is no concrete truth and that we are better off just living than worrying about dying.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Snow way

The Puget Sound region is slowly recovering from a series of snow storms that dumped close to a foot of snow in an area that rarely gets any. And these storms hit in February with spring visible on the horizon.

I don't like snow. I don't like being cold. I don't like not being able to leave my house. I don't like having to shovel snow and clear patches of my lawn so the dog can poop. I don't like having to walk through snow drifts to get to the train station to get to work and then wonder if I'm going to get home again. I don't like getting two phone calls, a text and an e-mail from my kid's school district telling me school has been cancelled.

I live in the Puget Sound region partially because it rarely snows. So having to endure almost a week of this crap has made me think that moving to Costa Rica may not be a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The Last Laugh

I watched a bad movie (The Last Laugh) the other night on Netflix starring a 75-year old Chevy Chase playing an even older ex-manager of comedians including one played by 71-year old Richard Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss looks like he is 85. It was your typical coming of old-age film that tries to instill faith that we still have it in us as we age. Chevy Chase hooks up with Andie MacDowell playing a swinging artist who had attended Woodstock. Thing is, actress MacDowell is the same age as me.

The film was pretty depressing. For one, it's audience demographic are people my age who know who the hell Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfus and Andie MacDowell are and remembers what they looked like in their younger days.

I suppose I could start posting positive posts about how aging isn't really so bad. The thing is, there isn't a lot positive to say about aging except that you aren't led around by raging hormones anymore. I suppose that is something.