Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm still on vacation and trying to enjoy it. I have a bit of year end paper work to do at the store, but other than that I'm tring to organize and fix the house, relax and have some fun.

RO's arm is getting better. Sometimes it itches badly and he'll bang his cast or shove a coat hanger down it. But, mostly he's doing fine.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day is over. The store is busy. RO and I are planning for the future. We want to get a great sign for the store, but those cost as much as a good new car. On the flip side, it may just be the thing we need to attract more business. Customers have told us that we don't look open.

Christmas Day its self was good. We had dinner with RO's extended family. For me, a day with RO's family is never relaxing. They love arguing and fighting.

The family has a gift grab where you bring a gift and place it under the tree. Then names are drawn. When your name comes up you have the choice of picking a gift from under the tree or stealing a gift from someone else.

Or, at least that's the way it's supposed to work. In reality the gift grab involves a half an hour of arguing over the rules-- how often and under what circumstances gifts can be stolen, how long the game goes on, stuff like that. The game starts when everyone is tired of arguing over the rules. Notice I said "tired of arguing over the rules" and not "agrees on the rules." The gift grab then proceeds until someone figures out how to game the system. All hell breaks loose. Gifts are given out, taken back. Turns are undone. The rules are corrected. This proceeds for hours until all the gifts are gone and everyone is through arguing.

After RO's family, RO and I went over to our neighbors for drinks. It was good to see them. They live a much more calm life.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On Thursday, RO broke his arm in three places. He is doing well. His ego was hurt more than his body.

Thursday, morning we had breakfast at Andrea's. Then I took RO snowboarding for his first time.

I feel a little responsible for his accident. When I teach someone how to snowboard, I usually spend an hour with them on the bunny hill, so they can learn important but frustrating things like how to fall.

RO didn't want to spend time on the bunny hill. He felt the shallow decent and the slow speeds would frustrate him and that he would learn faster on a real hill. I made him promise that he wouldn't stick out his arms when he fell.

The first few times down the bigger hill went well. He fell often, but that is to be expected for a beginner. By the fourth time down, he only fell once.

We had dinner and beer. Then we hit the hill again. RO decided to go fast. Half way down he faltered and instinctively stuck out his arm. He said that the moment he stuck out his arm, he knew it was the wrong thing to do. Before he could pull his arm in, he hit the snow. He heard his arm crack.

At first he hoped it was just a sprain. So we went home and he tried to sleep it off. His arm throbbed all night and he slept poorly.

The next morning he went to his doctor who confirmed his arm was broken. Fortunately, the bones were properly set.

RO's arm is now in a cast. We are still going to the store. I think he's having fun telling customers how he broke it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

RO has regained contact with one of his kids.

Many years ago, RO went through a very bad divorce. I'm not sure of the details, but he lost everything including permission to see his children.

Months ago he ran across his eldest daughter on MySpace. He emailed her. Last week she responded. They are exchanging emails.

She is a bit confused and doesn't understand why RO never kept in touch. From what I understand RO's ex-wife was very well connected to various judges in the Family Court Circut. Every time RO had custody of the kids, his wife would haul him back into court and accuse him of violating some detail of their divorce agreement. Eventually RO ran out money and could no longer defend himself.
I am about to take off for three weeks of vacation. I am looking forward to this. I haven't taken enough time off this year. I will still help around the store, but I won't need to attend to my day job.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The cards did arrive, but two days late. Yes, we used the internet mailing service, but I think we submitted the order too late. It's hard to judge how long mail will take to be delivered. In this case we tried to time it so that the cards would arrive on a Friday, but we misjudged.

The rain has subsided here. Don't get me wrong, it's still raining, after all this is Seattle. But we are back to the regular drizzle, not the four-inches-in-one-day down pour.

On December 3rd, Bremerton, a city accross the sound from Seattle, received between seven and ten inches of rain.

Monday, December 10, 2007

We had a stressful/bad weekend at the store. We brought two jewelry designers in and we spend a few thousand dollars sending out a mailer to promote the event.

The postcards didn't get to our customers.

We feel so stupid. Sales were ok, but they should have been spectacular.

Friday, December 07, 2007

We got a In-This-Year-Of-My-Life Christmas letter from our neighbor, Bates.

One of the low-lightes---

Bates is a train engineer. This year his train rain over two people, making a career total of eight. He's said that suicide by train is not uncommon. It's easy and it can be carried out by fence-sitters. I'm not commiting suicide. I'm walking down a train track with my tunes cranked up.

One case was more tragic. Two sets of train tracks were next to each other. A lady put pennies on the right most tracks. She then walked back to the left most tracks to watch the train squash the pennies.

The train was actually on the left set of tracks tracks.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Steven's company is being restructured and has layed off much of his devision. The severance package sounds generous. But, loosing your job still brings stress.
I just got a text message from Steve

"Hi buddy. Things a little hectic. Job going to be changing soon. Fired team on Friday and interviewing for other jobs myself now. How you? Wanna have lunch at 11?"
The rain here is starting to get lots of attention. Some of the low areas are flooded-- roads washed out, buildings under two or three feet of water.

Some coworkers have no way home because the needed roads are closed.

Monday, December 03, 2007

We've had heavy rains here in Seattle. About two inches of rain in just over a day. I'm OK-- home is high up a hill. Some people have flooded houses. Others can't make it home because of road closures.

I had diversity training today. The class was very small. Only six people showed up. I actually enjoyed the course and got something out of it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I have a Zune. (Pause for for laughter) I've had it for about a year. One of the new things that Zunes do is keep track of all the songs you listen to. It can post your most-played artists and songs to a web page so that you can find other people who listen to the same kind of music as you.

One day, I accidentally left my Zune on while it was playing a Julio Iglesias album that I downloaded for RO. It played the album hundreds of times before I stopped it.

Now, when you go to Julio Iglesias on Zune, I am one of his top listeners.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving has been very good for the store.

In two days, we've sold more than we usually sell in two weeks.

In one day, we've sold more than all three days of Thanksgiving 2006.

This is a big comfort. Sales were flat in September and October and I was worried that we would have another year of barely earning enough to get by. Maybe it was the so called credit crunch. Maybe it was the old staff that quit and the new staff we hired. Maybe it was the mailer and hype. Maybe it's the wine and mimosa's that we offer our customers at our store. Whatever it is, people are now shopping in droves.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Turkey Day everyone.

Thursday RO and I spend that afternoon with his family and then the evening with Matt and Sandy. Much food was consumed.

Friday is Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. We started it off as we usually do-- with confusion and misunderstandings.

I had to run some errands before the store opened so I left in the truck and let RO take the van so that he could open the store.

While I'm half way through my errand, I get a call from Co whom I haven't talked to in years. He relays a message "RO left his keys and cell phone in the truck. He's stuck at home and needs you to return ASAP!"

I quickly returned home and picked RO up. He said that when he realized where he'd left his keys and phone he knocked on all our neighbors doors, but no one answered. Then he signed onto Bear411 and frantically started messaging everyone he knew.

RO was angry at himself for leaving his keys in the truck. I secretly felt smug. Sometimes RO has this habit of letting others pick up after him. If he gets angry at himself, hopefully he'll learn to watch after himself a bit more.

The rest of the day was very busy. The store had one of it's best days ever. I like that because rent and sales tax are due tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas is uppon RO and I. The store is decked with seven huge Christmas Trees and thousands or orniments. Every week till the 25th, RO and I have holiday parties.

It feels a bit strange.

Last night RO and I went to a Thanks giving party hosted by one of his closets friends. About twenty people where there. At one point we went around the room and said what we were thankful for.

Three guys broke out in tears when they said their part. What's that about? I can't imagine welling up from talking about the good things in my life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My neighborhood is going through some kind of near-gentrification. But, instead of transitioning from run-down to high-class, it's topping about half way at "Box Store"

On the down the hill from my place, there used to be great views of Lake Washington. Now, a huge athletic center is going in. The center is prestigious, it's the trainging facility for the Seattle Seahawksb But it must really piss off the neighbors. The area used to be a quiet water front community.

Just down the street we have new Lowe's, Fry's and Target stores. It's more difficult for me to be irritated by them. They land they are on was formerly Boeing parking lot.

The thing I regret is that this area could become a world class waterfront district. Instead it's all about shopping. Yes there is a nice park on the lake, but you wouldn't know it's there from the Target parking lot.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Last night RO and I mailed out 5000 post cards.

We found this great website ( that lets us easily do all sorts of bulk mailings. It has made one of store's the biggest chores easy.

The only advertising we know works is direct mailings to our customers of about 5,000 people. Unfortunatly few bulk mailers will touch bulk orders for less than 10,000 addresses. Mailing out 5,000 post cards by hand is big pain in the ass

First you need to find a printing shop who can do a mail-merge-- take your address list and print the addresses on each post card. I'm suprised how difficult that is. The last company that did it for us, wrecked so many post cards when they went through the 2nd printing pass that the told us they would never do a mail merge again. At another print-shop only one guy know how to do the mail-merge. When he went he left, we were SOL.

After you have 5,000 addressed post cards, you have to buy 5,000 stamps and affix them to said postcards. This is tedious. It takes four of us hours to complete the job.

Post office people look at you funny when you ask for 5,000 stamps.

Then we stumbled upon CardStore. Now all we have to do is upload our mailing list and a couple of images, enter a credit card number and voila-- instant junk mail. In less than an hour we can do what used to take two days and four car trips.

One day this internet thing is going to catch on.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I've been on a leadership trainging course for the past fews of days. It was very intense, 8am in the morning to 9pm at night, plus homework. Plus Homwork! at 9pm on Thursday evening I was told that I had to give a 20 minute presentation at 8am the next morning.

I think half the point of the program was to place me under stress, and ensure I delt with it professionally as opposed to blowing up. To paraphrase the instructor, everyone knows how to speak clearly, to validate, to give and ask for freedback and to deal with agressive people. But, unless you actually practice, you won't do it well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Hallowe'en! Many kids and parents come tricker treating through our halls.

It's funny how international my job is. Many of the trick-or-treaters-- the kids, don't speak English. So far I've heard French, Chinese and Spanish.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In a weird quirk, two of my old university friends, JM & GS, were in town. JM was here visiting family, GS is here for a conference.

Saturday night we had dinner together. JM's wife, JM's brother and I all work for the same company. GS's is here for a conference hosted by that company. The end result was a lot of shop talk that RO couldn't participate in.

I enjoyed the shop talk. RO's friends are far more artsie than my old friends. Sometimes I miss that.

Sunday GS and I tourned around Seattle. We went to the Pike Street marked. I really enjoy that area and would love to live there. Too bad the commute makes it prohibitive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This past weekend I flew to Toronto for my youngest brother's wedding.

It was a Medieval Wedding. My brother wore a suit of armour. The bride was a princess. The whole wedding party dressed up in period costume. It ended up being lots of fun. I'm trying to find a great picture of the wedding, but none of turned up yet. I'll post one as soon as I can.
The night before the wedding, we groom's men took my youngest brother out to the Zanzibar, a strip club on Younge Street.

One of the women in the wedding party also came a long. At first we thought nothing of it. It turned out she was bi.

One of the guys bought her a lap dance. She gladly accepted it. She and the stripper were all over each other! Kissing! Licking! Pinching! Pulling! Our jaws dropped and we couldn't stop staring.
My middle brother was at the wedding as well. That one is still an idiot. At one point he needed to borrow a car. My dad loaned him his car. It was low on gas so dad gave my middle brother his credit card and told him to fill it up. Well, not only did my middle brother fill the car up, but he used dad's credit card to buy himself a new tattoo.

He's thirty five years old and he's steeling from his father to get new tattoos. Then he told dad, point blank, "Oh by the way, I also used your card to get a new tattoo." as if nothing was wrong!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My blog and what it's for....

At no point did I ever set set out to be a famous blogger, or create a popular blog. I started it for three prosaic reasons: to move my journal on line, to have a place to vent and rant and to keep me writing something fun and non-technical.

I've always kept a journal. They are very useful for jogging your memory. It's amazing the number of things that I've wanted to remember, but didn't-- my brain is only so big. Do you remember what movies you saw five years ago? Or great restaurants you ate at? Or fun places that you discovered?

Seven years ago I kept my journal on a computer. The computer died. It was the height of the dot com bubble and I ran into this little website called "Blogger." This was before Google bought them out. In a fit of whimsy I moved my journal online and made it public.

And now you know.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Last night RO and I watched Air Force One. We were very disappointed. For all the big names attached to it, it's never anything more than a luke warm action flick.

There is so much over acting and it was very predictable After the bad guys were introduced, I guessed the number and types of fights that the movie would need to dispatch each baddie. At the end of the movie, my guess was right. No suprizes. No twists. How boring is that?

Friday, October 12, 2007

My blog is 7 years old. Happy birthday blog!

Reading over it is somewhat humbling. Much of my life revolves around entertaining myself. Little of it involves doing anything important.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Our store manager has quit. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me is glad she has quit. At times she was difficult to work with. She didn't like working with our best sales woman. She also didn't like hiring sales people. She prefered to hire teenage girls who helped, but mostly had to refer to her.

She didn't give us any notice. So, we are a bit short handed right now. Things will work out fine though. We can easily spread the load around. Some of our employees want to work more.

Monday, October 08, 2007

RO and I have moved our bedroom. I am suprized what a great idea this was.

We live in a log cabin with a daylight basement. The basement has a very modern look-- white walls with an orange peel texture. The upstairs, of course, is a rust log cabin.

For the past four years I put the master bedroom in the large room in the basement. And I enjoyed it very much. it was quiet and cool, a perfect place to sleep.

When our last roommate moved out, RO said he wanted a change, he wanted to live upstairs. I was a bit wary-- the rooms are a bit smaller and it wouldn't be as quiet. We moved up anywas. And it's turning out great.

First off, it's like we've moved into a whole new house. The log cabin bedrooms have a very different feel than the down stairs.

The upstairs is also better designed. A stretch of the downstairs hall is too short for me so I always had to walked hunched over. Upstairs has proper halls. Also, the bathroom is right next door so I don't even have to use a hall.

We are also using the opportunity to clean up and throw out all the clothes and crap that we never use. We move things up from the old bedroom as we need. What's left should be garbage such as old shirts that are still wareable, even though I haven't worn them in years. I want to throw all that out.

Between the flea treatments and our moving, our cat is getting angry at us. It has shown us its disappoval the only way it knows how-- it shits on the carpet.

But, I like the changes, so the cat will just have to get used to it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The flea problem may be bigger than we thought. Our cat was flea free for about a day, then he started scratching him self again.

Tonight while RO and I were watching TV, RO saw a flea on his arm. Tomorrow we are going to spray everything again.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Our cat had fleas. For weeks now he's been scratching him self like crazy and developing lots of little welts. We tought it came from being outside and fighting with other cats. Two nights ago, RO looked at the cat's belly and saw fleas.

We gave him a flea bath and put a flea coller on him. The cat stopped scratching him self.

The cat usually sleep on our bed. Now, RO and I are looking over each other for fleas. The very sight of the cat causes us scratch.

Even though I changed the bedding last night, I'm going to change it again tonight. I've also got out cat a proper cat bed, and put it at the foot of the bed, so he can sleep near us, but not with us.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

HR Violation #2.

Last night, after hours, RO went to our warehouse to pick up some tools. RO stumbled upon our warehouse guy have sex with someone. The warehouse guy was very, very embarrased.

We are unsure how to handle this. We could fire the warehouse guy. But, he works hard. He is one of the mature employees-- someone we can trust to do his job without supervision.

We are probably not going to fire the guy. But we need to be more strick with him. RO and I understand the impulse to have sex in different places. Hell, RO is kind of jealouse that someone else had sex at the warehouse before we have. But, at the same time, we can't permit that behavior. It could get us into too much trouble.
It's been an odd week for the store. We had two HR issues.

HR Issues #1...

At the martini party last week we all wore stick on "Hello my name is ..." badges. A female part time sales clerks put her badge on her breast-- unintentionally. A male designer seeing the badge, and without asking permission, pulled the badge of her breast and stuck it higher on her shoulder. The female was very uncomfortable about being touched without her permission on her breast by a man.

This particular male designer can come on strong and the clerk is on the shy and private side, so I can how this could escalate to innocent-but-handled-all-wrong.

We got the designer to apologize to the clerk. We are trying to schedule things to keep the designer and the clerk apart. We also told the clerk that we are open to any suggestions from her on how to make the store a better place.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's been raining all weekend. Such is fall in Seattle.

The big maple in our back yard is dieing. There is a soil fungus going around. Most maples in the area are infected. There is not much we can do but cut the sick trees down and plant something else. Which is too bad. I like the maple. In the summer it provided excellet shade from the sun.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Unintentionally, I have started using the phrase "Its all grand like" I use it mean "Relax.. everything is ok."

More specifically, RO and I got Halo 3. When I play, RO loves coaching me and chearing me on. He can be very intense. Sometimes I think he wants to rip the controller out of my hands and take over. When he is very worked up I say. "Calm down. It's all grand like."

Monday, September 24, 2007

On Sunday RO and I worked on the yard. We are installing a brickwork border around the front lawn. I think I'm going to like it. RO really wanted slate, but slate would have cost us thousands of dollars. Instead, RO is combing craigslist for free and cheap bricks. It is hard work to haul the bricks around and to install them. But I think it will be worth the effort.
Saturday night we had a martini party at the store. It was the birthday of two of our employees and we wanted to celebrate.

The party went well, though too much alcohol was consumed. RO's brother in law got sick and RO himself was hunger over the next day.

I was fine. A long time ago I promised myself that I would never get sick from drinking again. And, for the most part, I have stuck to the promise. Occasionally I will have a headache from drinking too much wine. But I never need to vomit and my headaches are nothing that can't be cured with a cup of coffee and a couple of asprin.

My secret? Alternate between drinks and water. For every drink I have, I drink a glass of water. It fills my stomach up and flushes my system out. It also allows for time for the last drink to take effect. So I can feel how much I've drank, rather than having it hit me all at once.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On C2's blog I read about a tactic that Iraqis insurgents are using. It's smart and scary.

During the night the insurgents set up a mortar with the trigger held back by a block of ice. Then they leave. Sometime later the ice melts and the mortar fires. Of course the insurgents are long gone.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Vic and Steven have split up. RO is angry at them. He's considers them a model of a long term gay relationship and wishes they would have tried harder.

I think I understand why they split. I am sadened by it. I want both of them to be happy.

Steven lives in Seattle. Vic lives hours away in Victoria. Then spent most every weekend together, but it's tough. They got married in Canada, but Steven's career is taking off in the U.S. If he moved to Canada, he'd loose much of what he has worked so hard for.

Vic of course can't move to the U.S.

RO wishes that Vic had moved to the U.S., even if he worked under the table. That's so risky. Vic's children are in Victoria and not being able to visit them regularly would be hard on him. RO also wished that Steven gave up his career and moved to Canada. If you really love someone, you'll do what it takes to be with them.

I don't see things the same way. If you really love someone, it doesn't mean that you give up on your self.

Of course the truth is somewhere in between.

For seven years every week Steven has commuted four hours to Victoria to spend the weekend with Vic and then four hours back for the work week. It's taken a toll on him.

I wish both of them the best.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

There are many hidden rules with interior design. No one can ever explain them to me other than "It looks better that way."

The latest rule I've learnt is that groupings and displays must contain odd numbers of items-- one, three, five, seven. Never an even number. I found that out when I put two candles next to each other.

After RO told me the rule, I said "I'm going to build a whole new philosophy of art based on even numbers."

One of the designers drying responded "That new philosophy will have nothing to do with interior design."
Everything I need to be happy.

I started writing another eassy about how much stress is in my and RO's life and how it's affecting us. But it was too depressing, so I filed it. Instead I wanted to write something more upbeat.

So, this is my fantasy. If I had to start over with minimal possessions, what do I think I need to keep happy and healthy

I say "what do I think" because all too often what I think makes me happy, will only make me happy in moderation. I need variety as much as I need a consistent set of things I love.

Housing... I don't need much. My bedroom would have to be quiet and cool. I'd need a place to cook, a place to eat, enough space to hang out with some friends and enough space to store the rest of my stuff. A two bedroom apartment would be great.

My stuff.

I enjoy cooking and don't want to give that up. But I have too many gadgets that I don't use. I could easily get by with a stove, refrigerator, a small set of pots and pans, a few place settings some decent knives and a work space. I am amazed at all the gizmos and brick-a-brack the kitchen has picked up. I don't need the mini muffin tin. Yes, there are times when only a mini muffin tin will do, but the rest of the time, it just takes up space. Same for the bunt cake pan and the spring form pan and so on.

I enjoy working out at home. I'd need my weights and a bicycle. Recently we got a free treadmill. It could stay, but it's really just an eye sore. I'd be better off running in the streets.

Electronics. I really only need one laptop and a backup computer. I don't need the Media Center and the XBox 360, and the TVs. I'd like to keep my stereo but to be honest I listen to most of my music in the truck or on an MP3 player. A much smaller sounds system would do.

My camera. I am a bit of a photography buff. I would like to keep my camera and lens. It gives me the excuse to do weird and wonderful things.

"Why are you doing that ?!?"

"Because it will make a great picture!"

My camping equipment. I enjoy camping. I would keep my tent and sleeping bag, the air mattress and the rest of the camping equipment.

Besides, it's so easy to combine camping trips with great picture trips.

Would I keep my truck? If I could somehow live and work someplace interesting, then the answer may be no. For the amount I pay in insurance and maintenance, for the amount I lose in depreciation, I could easily rent a car for a weekend or two a month.

Of course that may not be realistic here in Seattle. The city has poor public transit and many great places that require driving to see. But, do I need my truck to be happy and healthy? No. Especially if I had a friend that I could mooch off.

I could easily get rid of most of my clothing. Much of my clothing is warn to the point where it should be thrown out. Much of it I never wear. I could easily get rid of two thirds of my clothing.

What's next? I'm not sure. I am mentally walking through all the rooms at and realize I have so much crap that I could throw out.

I think I'll go to the dump tomorrow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

RO and I spent another wonderful afternoon at Lincoln Park.
We swam in the heated salt water pool. A couple of very good divers were showing off, doing all sorts of flips and twists from the high board.
After that we laid in the sun.
They day wasn't totaly lazy. We also got six hundred bricks We are bricking part of the front lawn and have been scrounging around for free and cheap bricks. The truck drives weird with that much weight in it-- it bounces and fishtails easily.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I saw "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" the odd ball Bond starring George Lazenby as 007. It's actually one of the better James Bond movies.

It is also the Bond movie that Autsin Powers spoofs the most. There is a scene in On Her Majesty's Secret Service where James Bond is wearing a cravatte and talking to the bald bad guy-- Telly Savalas. Seeing that was another "Experiencing Culture Backwards" moment. Watching James Bond, I recognized Austin Powers. It's should be the other way-- watching Austin Powers, I'm supposed to recoginize James Bond.

So we laughed at what otherwise was a serious scene.
I've watched "Gone with the Wind" for the first time. I'm kind of mixed on it. Since it has the reputation of being the best movie ever made, my expectections were high. I wasn't thrilled by the movie, but at the same time I was never disappointed or bored. Which is good since the move clocks in at just under four hours.

The cinematography is great.

But, the story was a bit too soapy for my tastes. RO mentioned that this was probably the film that spawned the soap opera. So, in that way it get's points for innovation.

That's the problem with great art of the past. Unless you first experience it when you are young, it comes off as cliched and done. I have to remind my self that this was the film that others redid that created the cliches.
According to C2 there is are internal Military chat rooms. The chat room's have names like "Becky's Pool Party", "Bitches and Bitching" and, most important to C2, "The Rainbow Gang"

This very much pushes the limits of don't ask don't tell.

His impression...

I've spent a few hours each of the last few nights in the chat room and
SURPRISE, it's nothing but boring gossip and bland chat punctuated sporadically
with DRAMA. Sound familiar? Eh, so no real surprise there

Friday, September 07, 2007

What is it about Guitar Hero? I am bad at playing it. I have no ambition to own the game. But I can stare mesmerized at the screen while others play it. I've even dreamt about it.

It's one of the first successful party video games ever. People enjoy standing around watching others play fake guitar listening to old hit songs. It gives us a reason to sit around and listen to music.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We watched the new "Hairspray" It's a fun movie. Very much a musical. It's been a long time since I saw the old Hairspray. I have a feeling that the old Hairspay was more twisted (Since it was a John Waters Movie) But still, in the new movie the mother is John Travolta in drag.
As if on queue, as if Labor Day was the offical end of summer, here in Seattle it has turned cloudy and gray and has started raining.

We had a great weekend though.

Saturday we went to RO's sister's on Mason Lake. We boated, swam, inner tubed and played with their jet ski.

Sunday we went to the Coleman Pool at Lincoln Park. The Coleman Pool is a salt water pool. I had a great time there. The salt water feels much better on your skin then clorine.

Monday was free stuff day. Thanks to Craigslist, we found free brinks nearby and are using them as pavers in our front lawn. We also got a free treadmill and a nordick track. They appear to be high quality. Hopefully we will use them.

Small world story-- On Sunday our neighbors new that we went to Mason Lake. It turns out that RO's sister's ex-brother in-law's daughter is dating our neighbor's son. The ex-brother in law has stayed good friends with RO's sister. He was at her place on Saturday. When he showed the pictures of the day to his daughter, the daughter recognized us as her boyfriend's neighbors.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Last night we had a martini party at the store. I over heard that one of the attendies thought I was always changing my hair style. That confused me a bit and made me laugh, because as far as I know, I never change my hair style.

Then I thought about it. I cut my hair once every three or four months, and then when I do cut it, I get a buzz cut. So, if you only see me once a month, then I will have different hair every time-- sometimes very shot and sometimes very long.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I got a promotion today. It includes a 11% raise and a 12% bonus. Yay me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Neighborhood gossip.

The couple next door is getting divorced. He met a new girl friend and has moved out.

For a couple of months now, we've noticed that he hasn't been taking as much care of his yard as he used to. His wife noticed as well.

The wife worked days. He worked odd hours and had days off. He would usually take care of their yard-- it was pristine. When the wife noticed that their yard wasn't kept up as usual, she started digging into the situation, to find out what he was doing with his time.

And that's when he moved out.
Last night was Biz Talk night. Once a month RO and I get together with a few friends who are, or want to, run their own business. It's always interesting.

Elle runs a landscaping business. About six weeks ago her appendix burst. Afterwards two hematoma's formed. The result was that she's been in bed for the past month and half. She is better now, but it was scary for her business. She is still getting caught up on the bills.

Monday, August 20, 2007

For the past three days Seattle has been cool and rainy. This morning I put on a sweat shirt. When RO saw it he said in a very acusing tone "Those are falls clothes. Are you giving up on on summer?"
I had a day off yesterday. RO went to a Gift Show to buy for the store. I stayed home to clean, cook, watch TV and run errands.

It was relaxing.

I made a nice dinner for RO and I. But, when he got home, he had already eaten dinner. Oh well.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Today RO and I went to the warehouse to let a cutsomer was pick up a sofa and love seat. The customer turned out to be an old highschool buddy of RO's

ROs old buddies can be a bit odd. They (and RO) did a lot of drugs and alcohol back then. Over time some of them did overdose or burn out. The rest, individually, decided to leave gang, clean up and have a normal lifes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We've bought a new dishwasher. It won't be installed for a couple of weeks. So we have been cooking more one-dish meals.

We are getting a KitchenAid Architect II diswasher. We almost got a Bosch. The Bosch had better exterior styling and the engineering was simplified-- less to go wrong. But the KitchenAid felt better-- less wiggle in the racks and or more firm, solid and precise feeling to the door. The KitchenAid also has a built in food desposer so it is more forgiving if we don't pre-rinse the dishes.

KitchenAid says the the dishwasher eliminates the need for pre-rinsing. We'll see about that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Our dishwasher has died. It's seven years old, so it's had a good life. But still, we really didn't need to have another expense right now.

The dishwasher had been leaking for a while. RO and I replaced the seals on Sunday. But, it kept leaking. Then, it conked out completly. We debated fixing, but then we found out that the average dishwasher lasts five to seven years. So, now we are dishwasher shopping.
Yesterday RO and I went to Matt's birthday. It was the first time in months that we've seen Matt and Sandy. Things went well.

The've redone their yard. It looks excellent.

One of the guys at Matt's party was a former rock star. He never made it big. But, hedid play with the Marshall Tucker Band and co-wrote songs with Kris Kristofferson.

He had a good summary of why so many rockers drink and do drugs. For months on end, every day you travel for eight hours and then play the same twelve songs. It slowly drives you crazy. At times he felt he would explode if he had to perform "Can't You See" one more time. Then he would thing about the alternative-- flipping burgers for $2.00 and hour-- and he would carry on.

To pass the time while traveling, he would doodle and draw. Eventually this lead to a job as an illustrator. He's drawn a few "Archie Comics" and much commercial stuff.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My work is starting to get under control. Last night was the first nigt in weeks that I didn't work till late.

The warehouse has moved, but RO has hurt his back. He's not a good patient. I can't get him to stretch regularly or go to the doctor. He is getting better though.

We watched Babel last night. Babel is a good movie, but I didn't enjoy it. Early on I determined that Babel is one of those movies where good people are bady hurt by stupidity and carelessness. I don't enjoy watching that.

It does have a sort-of-happy ending-- no one dies. Instead they characters are left badly injured, in deep emotional pain, or deported.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I just reread my "Harvey Birdman" post. It made me laugh, not because it's funny, but because it slightly pathetic.

What wonderful memories, what deep thoughts, do want to preserve in my blog? How about the cancellation of an obscure, late night, cartoon!

My real life is very stressful right now. The store is switching warehouses and RO has been working dawn to dusk to move the inventory. I have big deadlines at my day job. Deadlines that I can't make. And, the store is just about broke. We are earning enough to pay bills, but that it. We have to pay for Christmas is September. Coming up with the money will be challenge.
Harvey Birdman is Dead. Sigh.

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is a show that I watched, mostly because we share the first name. It's a spoof of those 60's and 70's Hanna Barbera Super Hero cartoons. Harvey Birdman is a B Grade superhero who becomes a B Grade lawyer.

It was on for six years. The last episode was Saturday night. The episodes were 15 minutes long, so even if they were bad, you didn't feel like you waisted much time.

But, usually they were good. They made fun of interesting issues like gay marriage, corrupt courts, sexual harassment, evolution, the law, and of course, the absurdity of cartoons.

One episode spoofed Jonny Quest. Dr. Quest and Race Bannon are 'partners' fighting over the custody of Jonny Quest and Hadji. It was all played very straight as if the Quests really did appear in a serious lawyer drama. But there was soo much gay subtext and innuendo that you had to laugh the whole time.

Anyways. I have one less way to waist my time now. Maybe I will blog more.

Monday, July 30, 2007

In 2005 I made an error on my tax returns. About a week ago I received a letter from the IRS stating that I owed tax on over one hundred thousand dollars of income.

I've had a knawing feeling in my stomach since then.

But, today, I found the paper work I needed. I don't owe the owe tax. The hundred thousand dollars was an option exercise that netted me a few thousand dollars and I have already and correctly paid the tax on that.


Friday, July 27, 2007

We just signed a new lease for a warehouse. The new warehouse is less expensive and has more space than the old warehouse. This is good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our BBQ was fun. About 15 people showed up.

The threesome was there. The third fits very well. He is like a clone of the original two.

The rain helt out for long enough that we could eat and drink outside. I enjoy our back deck. It overlooks a forest and raveen so even though you are in the suburbs of a big city, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Our new lawn is growing. The grass is very pretty. Part of thinks the lawn will never be more perfect than it is now-- there are no weeds, no bald patches, no moss.

Other than that, it was hot, humid and rainy this weekend. I like that weather. RO likes it cooler. But I like being out side in the warm rain.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

C2 is back in town for a week. It's good to see him, though he is not really happy to be here. His family always tires him out. And also, oddly enough, Iraq is now his home.

I think he likes the structure and services that he has in Iraq. He loves the money. The end result is that his day is fulled with an easy job. He doesn't have to cook or do laundry. And since he's very cut off from the world he doesn't have to dwell on dating or finding a boy friend.

Monday, July 16, 2007

RO and I are have having some friends over for a BBQ-- a few of the couples in the area. One of the couples are actually a threesome. S&D are usually a twosome, but they would rather be a threesome. Every now and then they will add a third to their relationship. After a few months, it stops working and they will dump the third.

This makes for weird conversation. "S&D are single again. Well, no, they are a couple again. Well, I mean the third guy moved out." Should you feel sad for a threesome that has become a twosome? Should you tell them to grow up?

There are threesomes where there is a core couple that adopts a third. Then, there are threesomes that end when the original couple splits up, one staying on with the third, the other getting the boot.

This raises the possibility of a "perpetual relationship" that lasts longer than any of its husbands. For example-- Alan, Bob and Colin are a threesome. Eventually Alan cheats on Bob and Colin and leaves the relationship. Distraught, Bob and Colin go out drinking. They meet Dave, shack up and get married. Bob eventually gets bored and dumps Colin and Dave. To comfort them selves for their loss, they shopping. At the mall Colin and Dave meet Ernie, fall in love and become a threesome. Colin dies a tragic death. At his funeral Dave and Ernie meet Frank. Frank is so caring and loving but also has no common sense. Within a month, Dave, Ernie and Frank are husbands.

At this point Dave, Ernie and Frank are in a relationship that was started by Alan, Bob and Colin. It's very strange. Could it happen?

This could also happen with a harem-style relationship that guys marry into or divorce out of over the years.

This makes marriage sound like a club with secret initiation rituals.

The whole concept of a romantic/emotional relationship with more than one guy is very difficult for me to grasp. When you start balancing someone's emotional needs against another's, when you put yourself in situation where your partner may put the emotional needs of a third ahead of yours, then it stops being a real romantic relationship-- at least in my eyes. A relationship between two people is a lot of work. Adding thirds and fourths just sounds like a recipe for disaster-- unless you take your heart out of the equation. At that point the relationship is really just a convenience. The sex may be nice, but you are really just hanging out with friends with benefits. You may think that your heart is open and loving of all. But really you are being selfish. You are being polite and friendly. But your heart isn't really in the relationship-- it's staying with you. You are neglecting every one equally and you aren't allow your heart to fully attach to any one person.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It is Kent Cornucopia Days. Cornucopia Days are basically the local fair. The store is very busy.

My problem with local fairs is that they are becomming very corporate-- many booths are for cellphone, cable, car or other such vendors. I'd like to see more of the little guy. There are a few, but the are the exception.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

RO may have a milk alergy.

RO has had bad back pain for a long time. About a weeke ago, he had a day with very little pain. That night for dessert we had a creamy home made pudding. Within 30 minutes his back pain flaired up. The same thing happened the next day.

So, RO stopped drinking milk until this morning when he had a latte and a bowl of cereal. Again, within 30 minutes he was cramping up.

So, we are going to try soy milk and see if that makes a difference.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sunday after 2pm, RO decided that since we can't slate the front lawn-- too expensive-- he wanted to grow grass again. We quickly got edging and a couple yards of soil. By 7pm, we had shoveled and leveled 6 bails of peat moss and 2 yards of topsoil. Monday night we added another yard of top soil.

Tonight we will double check that the grass is level. Then we will seed it.

There is enough of a border around the new, smaller, lawn that we can affordably add some slate.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I've been cleaning up the yard-- weed pulling and wacking. The house is starting to look good. I still have to clean off the roof.

RO and I need to figure out what to do with the front yard. We originally wanted to slate it, however the price goes up every time we call and get a quote. We may brick areas of it, put a bench in, and a bunch of smaller gardens.

Friday, July 06, 2007

RO and I are back from camping. It was a great break. The weather was sunny and warm every day.

We camped at Camp TRC in the Robe Valley. We hiked. We lay by the river. We ate and we drank.

It's amazing how much doing nothing tires you out.

The river was glacier fed-- very very cold. We did swim in it, but no one lasted more than two seconds.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

So RO and I are going to a gay camp ground. We talked about going to a state camp ground, but with it being a holiday week, those camps will be full of partiers and children. Camp TRC should be much more quiet. We won't show up till Sunday afternoon, so that should make it extra quiet.

This is the first vacation RO and I have had sinde the store opened. I told RO that on Monday all I am going to do is listen to the babbling river.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Next week RO and I are going camping. This means I get to plan the trip.

I don't know why, but I like planing and preparing for camping. Actual camping is OK. Playing with camping gear and planning the trip-- that's my money shot.

Where should we camp? What can we do while we are there? I can spend hours researching camp grounds and going over maps.

And the gear. There is something comforting and fun about camping gear. Thanks to camping gear, I know that if worse comes to worse, if my home burns down and I loose my job, then all I need is a tent, a sleeping bag, a cooler of food and my crate of camping gear.

Even more comforting-- if worse comes to worse, if my home burns down and I loose my job, if I had the above plus an inflatable mattress, a rubber dinghy and great hiking boots, then I could camp in luxury, sleep great and have adventures!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We've also watch Heatstroke by the same director that made the Working Man Trilogy. The tape was a copy of a copy taped over something else. Every now and then the programs originally on the tape would break through the porn and make the situation surreal and silly.

Half of the final orgy scene was taped over by some drama that took place in a Church.

Right in the middle of an cum scene, a chewing gum comercial appeared. A happy women announced "Long Lasting Flavor!" and then the video cut back to the porn.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've been reading more about 70's gay movies, both porn and non. The Boys in the Band for example. Going over cast lists, I see that the majority of the actors died of AIDS related complications. A few died of suicide, others of drug overdoses. One, Divine, died of a sleep apnea induced heart attack. It sounds like being gay in the 70s was a very hard and fast life. Depressing.

The appearance of AIDS in the 80s has greatly shaped gay culture-- for the better I think. AIDS has given gays a good short term reason to stay in a relationship. All relationships go through good times and bad times. In the 70's if your relationship was going through a bad time, it was easier to play around and find someone new. After AIDS, that someone new brought the risk of troubling disease and large health care costs.

AIDS indirectly encourages you to stay with your boyfriend for a little longer. And maybe that "little longer" is all you need to get back to the good times.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Our neighbors loaned us "The Working Man Trilogy" a set of three porno's from the 70's. "Kansas City Trucking Co." "El Paso Wrecking Co." and "LA Tool and Die." All three center on a man named Hank who moves from job to job and has lots of sex.

Our neighbor insist that these porono's are generation defining works of art. They were all made pre-HIV. He also says they were the first gay porn's that depicted gay men as men and not as effeminate.

The Trilogy is well filmed and directed-- which in many ways works against it. The mark of a good porno is that you pay attention to the sex. When I watched the trilogy, I kept looking at the director's style-- his use of low key lighting, fondness for saturated monotone colors his love of a JO crotch shot.

The director also extensivly shot on location and in the outdoors. There are many extras in the film which makes me wonder how many of them knew they were going to be in porn, and how many were filmed on the sly.

There are also women in the trilogy. Not for sex, but for ambiance. I think the directory was trying to create the impression that this porn was for straight men who played around on the side.

The trilogy contains much plot, at least for porno. For all the wrong reasons I will remember the plot more than the sex. The acting is bad. The actors speak unconvincing lines that serve no purpose than setting up the sex scenes. On top of that, the non-sex scenes are not small. It's not five seconds of chit-chat and then sex. Minutes will go by with dialog and establishing shots.

The sex scenes are homogeneous enough that they form a blurry back ground. Similar to an action flick that has too much action. To some extent, that's expected because, hey, it's porn and porn is full of sex. But, the non-sex scenes and dialog stick out relative to the sex, which is not a good thing for porno.

For example, what do I recall about these films? I remember the girl friend nagging her boy friend "Come on Joe! You'll be late for work Joe!" I don't fully remember who Joe was or how he was showing off his naked body at the time. I remember the music. It's fairly good. Some original tunes and much country. Very different from modern "Bad Porno Music" I remember Hank saying "Let's Eat." in an overly masculine tone. I don't remember the sex Hank had before or after he went to the restaurant. If parrot the line "Let's Eat." to RO. He breaks out gigling.

If you like gay porn, these films are worth watching. Even if you like old art-house film, they may be worth a peek. These aren't great, but they are fun to watch. They are pre-bad-porno-music, pre-video and pre-HIV. Seeing the differences between then and now is interesting. Gay culture has changed a lot since the 70's. The working man trilogy show cases the difference.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This morning I played UNO on Xbox live. UNO is a 'camera-enabled' game so you can see the other players.

One of the other players was a teenage girl who kept shaking her ass and breasts in front of the camera. I cheared her on. Then she looked at my camera. She asked "How old are you? Is that a cat in your lap? You're a slob!"

I felt bitter. Now I'm the old slob who plans with cats and watches girls on XBox live.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Our online store got it's first order today. It was made in Louisiana. When I heard the state, I expected the customer to be Tommy Boy. RO checked and it wasn't!

It feels good knowing that an actual customer is buying from us. Not that I would mind if Tommy used our store. It's just that we need more customers than our friends.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Last night before dinner RO said he was hungry-- to hungry to wait. He wanted to have a junk food snack. I told him "No. Have a banana instead." I gave him a banana. He threw it back at me and said he wanted junk food. I was firm, said "No." and went back to cooking

A few minutes later RO walked behind me and got a glass of water. When he walked out of the kitchen he had a big grin on his face. When he grins like that, I know something's up, so I kept watching him. He looked back at me and his grin got bigger and bigger.

Then he caved. He showed me that he smugged a box of crackers out of the kitchen while he got his water. He said that once he started grinning, he couldn't stop and he couldn't control it. I took the crackers away.
They have installed security cameras in the halls at work. They appeared very quietly

When they installed the wireless access points there were days of wiring and construction. You knew where the wireless access points were because contractors would spend hours outside of your office installing the cables and mounting the antenna.

The cameras are different. When you arrive in the morning there is a new camera on the ceiling. The next day-- another new camera in a different location. If you don't notice, you won't know.

In some ways I understand the need of the cameras. Our offices contain valuable computers and software that are occasionally stolen. When that happens security will have little evidence to go on and we bitch them out because they aren't doing their job.

At the same time, this feels like big brother.
I am reading "Mountains Beyound Mountains" It's the true story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a brilliant man who has dedicated his live to improving the conditions of the poor in Haiti.

It some way's it's inspiring-- here is a man who really is making a difference to the lives of thousands of people.

In some way's it's depressing-- much of what Dr. Farmer has accomplished has only happened because Dr. Farmer made it happen. When he dies, some one just as pasionate, caring and brilliant as he will need to take over. If that doesn't happen much of what Dr. Farmer has accomplished could come undone.

In all fairness Dr. Farmer is taking steps to make his projects sustainable.

I'm less than half way through the book, but I still recomend it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A commentor wrote...
I'm eating oatmeal with fruit and coffee for breakfas, coffee. Lunch - a
deck of cards sized chicken breast, a measuring cup of vegatables and potatoes
with water Dinner- salmon salad and rice. For dessert, 1 slice of whole wheat
bread with a sliced strawberry and half a bannana, coffee. Total calories for
the day is 1600. Walk 4 miles every day. Bike ride 3 times a day. Weight lift 3
times a day.

WTF! Where do you find the time? You sound like a professional athelete. I need a program that fits with my career. Not a fitness program that the rest of my life revolves around.

Althought I admit that I could eat less.

A for effort though.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Our new roommate is a mixed blessing. She is a good and caring person. She is also a food broker who who brings home lots of food. Yes, I appreciate free food. But, it's mostly processed and prepared food, sauces and desserts. So, that's the mixed blessing.

To maintain weight, RO and I always try to eat lean. Our meals are cooked from ingredients and not pulled out of a box. It tastes better and makes it easy to eat more vegetables and to control the portions, fats and sugars.

Last night we ate pate, cheese, crackers, tuna salad and chocolate cheese cake. Very tasty. But...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I feel like I am slowly going crazy. Without planning it, or perhaps because I didn't, I somehow ended up with two stressful careers. By day I am a middle manager at a large software company. By night I own, with RO, my partner, a furniture, design and home decor store. I try to keep the store's paperwork and finances straight, but I don't always do a good job. When the money is tight I tend to close my eyes. The ostrich method of stress management, so to speak.

I've noticed that I have so many things to do, that I have no time to reward myself. This has put me in a bad situation where goofing off is my reward. I think RO is the same. We've taken on so much that the only way to relax is to ignore the store.

That's not sustainble. It burns you out. It makes you look at your responsiblities as the cause of your problems and not the source of future happiness.

I've got to turn that around-- for our own sanity.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

RO and I have a new roommate. She is a 60yo food broker. It's a little bit strange living with a 60yo woman. It feels a bit like my mom moved in with me. At the same time, she is very plesent.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It was a busy weekend. Saturday evening we went to a fundraiser for our bowling league. We donated some gift cards from the store to the league for the raffel.

All in all, it was fun, but RO and I ate too much cheese, wine and crackers.

Sunday we headed out to Mt. Reiner for a house warming part. Or rather, an estate warming party. A good friend of RO's bought 200 acres of view property with a large house. Mind you, it is two hours away from Seattle, but it is a beautiful setting. We ate more cheese, wine and crackers.

Monday we hung out at our place. Worked on the lawn, played video games, and sat in the sun. In the evening, we drove down to the lake front and watched the sun set. A good relaxing day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The weather is beautiful out and I need a vacation. RO and I have both been burning the candle at both ends for too long. A week off would do us good. At the same time, so many things need to be done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The 10 year party was fun. It was also big. There were hundreds of people.

Ten years ago, I worked for a company that was bought out and moved to Seattle by my current employer. It was my first real job after I finished school. I ran into most of my co-workers from then. We've aged.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tonight is my 10th years party for my day job. Well, it's not just me. The company is big enough that many people have been here for 10 years. So, they rent a large space and through us all a party at once.

It feels weird to be a middle manager at a large company that I have been working at for a decade. I remember when I was going to be a beach bumm in Australia. I have become the man that youth rebels against.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Some kind of ass-kicking cold has been going around. You never feel very sick, but you have a runny nose, scratchy throat and are tired all the time. RO and I have had it for about a week. Several of my co-workers and friends are also sick with it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

RO hired someone to re-do our front lawn. He came and gave us an estimate. Then, a day later he called back and said his estimate was a thosand dollars more. RO agreed with the new estimate and paid him half down.

He did a day's work. The next day he called again and said his estimate was still to low. We canceled the contract. We have not got our money back.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Last weekend I got rid of my front lawn. I roto tilled it under. The grass was half dead. Large parts of the front lawn had no top soil under neath the turf. Plus, the firs that surround the lawn shead too my needles which make the spoil too acidic.

We are going to put in some kind of low maintenace garden. RO knows what he wants.
Last weekend I roto-tilled the lawn under. The lawn was half dead. Large parts of hit had no topsoil under the grass. Plus, the big fir trees all around it shead too many needles and make the soil too acid.

We are going to put in a low maintenance garden. I'm not sure of all the details, but RO knows what he wants.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Uusally I eat my lunch in the cafeteria with same group of co-workers. Today brough my lunch in from home and ate it in my office.

I didn't realize it, but there is a bring-your-lunch-from-home clique. Mostly they are frugle people-- those trying to save every last sent to retire early or put the kids the college. When one of them saw me reheating my lunch at the microwave he said, half joking, "So you decided you needed more money in your 401K?"

After lunch one of my cafeteria-clique co-workers walked by my office. She saw the empty plastic container and asked me if I was going to abandon my cafeteria friends.

Ah, the strange politics of work.
I am not improving at bowling. This is frustrating. I have my own custom fitted ball now and my last game was my worst. Oh well.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Last night RO and I went to Sandy's "Mankind Project New Warrior Training Adventure "welcome home" celebration" Basically last weekend Sandy went camping with twenty initiates and fourty councelors. They went through some kind of proprietary secret retual were they all achieved a personal transormation. The following Friday, yesterday, they had a graduation ceremony and now Sandy is a full member of that community.

They really like to talk about their feelings, never anything substatnive They talked about their feelings for hours. Dozens of people took the talking stick and gabbed about their feelings.

And hugged.

That also laughed at anything that was vaguley funny.

It was very very strange. RO whispered to me that he wanted to grab the talking stick and run.

I have problems with these new-age self help kind of things. They are so damn selfish. They don't help you grow up and be a better persion. They help you feel like you are a better person through mantra's and rituals where you say over and over again how much of a better person you are.

As RO said. "If you want to be a better person, go volunteer for something. Feed the homeless. Spend time with the elderly. Be a big brother. Don't spend your time stairing at your navel and telling others you won't understand unless you spend the bucks and attend your own New Warior weekend."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Loves Landing.

Loves Landing is a neighborhood bar off Airport way in Renton. Mark says the crowd is like a high school crowd that forgot they had grown up.

Loves Landing has two claims to fame. First claim are their burgers. They are excellent. Big, tasty and on a fine and fresh bun.

Second claim is that they have kareoke every night. Some of the singers are not that bad.

I recommend it.
Grilled Asparagus and Chicken Salad for two.

Wash and oil about 8 stocks of asparagus. Cut to get rid of the woody parts. Wash and oil a shitaki mushroom. Cut into eights.

Wash and oil and season four chicken thighs.

Warm up the grill. Set it to indirect heat.

Start grilling the chicken and asparagus. Close the cover.

Three minutes later flip the chicken and asparagus. Add the mushrooms to the grill. Close the cover.

Three minutes later flip the chicken, asparagus and mushrooms. Close the cover.

Three minutes later, check that the chicken has hit 160F.

Slice the chicken.

Arrange the chicken, mushrooms and asparagus on two plates of mixed greens. Add a few orange slices. Dress with a good dressing.

Friday, April 13, 2007

For the past two days I've been on a leadership course for work. It's ok-- a bit stressfull. I'm not used to being in work mode from dawn to dusk.

We got to hear a few interesting speakers, learnt about some of the 'visionary' aspects of our company and how our business actually earns money. It was fun.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sunday evening RO and I went to his sisters for Easter dinner. We played pictionary. That family, RO in particular, loves to argue.

At one point we spent a good twenty minutes arguing over the exact protocol that the teams would use to prove they guesed the correct mystery word and not some phrase that contained that word.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

At my day job we are planning and scheduling. I don't enjoy this part of my job. The slightest unknown can through all my plans out the window.

Plus, it's very boring to spec out, cost and prioritize dozens of little features.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring has hit Seattle. The weather is beautiful out and I am feeling, well, "All work and no play..." Being a middle manager at work and then having to help out with RO and the store, it sucks up so much of my time and energy.

It's hard finding a balance. I'd like to do less at the store, but RO needs someone to prioritize and coach him. He gets so caught up in the day to day work at the store, that he sometimes neglects important things like paying bills.

My day job is going well. I have large amounts of freedom. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. If I do something wrong, work on the wrong things for example, no one will notice for months, maybe even longer. If it was just me, then I would be fine with that. But, people report to me and look to me for guidance. I could tank their careers.

I guess this is just whining. Once I remember hearing "No matter how great your triumphs or how deep your sorrows, approximately five billion people have never heard of you and don't give a shit. So get over yourself." My life is good, and I have no one to blame but myself for taking on so much responsibity.

It's still sunny out. I think I will go for a walk.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Years ago, C3 brought two east coast friends of his to Friday night dinner at Siam's. The friends were thinking about moving to Seattle. The dinner was nice, but I didn't keep in touch with the couple.

Skip forward six years. RO and I are in a bowling league, but we need two more players for our team. RO sent out many messages to locals on Bear 411. On Sunday, we met a couple who were interested in bowling.. They thought I looked familiar but couldn't place where they had seen me. Then Monday, before bowling, they remembered where we met-- dinner at Siam's many years ago. RO was a little disappointed. He was hoping we met at an orgy or a bath house.

Monday, March 26, 2007

RO and I attended a suprize wedding reception. One of the girls who works for the store, very quietly got married. Her boy friend is in the military and is heading back to Iraq in a few months. They got married at a court house. No fanfair, no reception, no gifts.

When our design manager found out, she decided to throw them a small party. Everyone brought a small gift.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

RO has been sick with a cold for the past few days. The cold has been going around. I feel very lucky that I haven't caught it. I'm usually the one that catches every flue and cold while he stays healthy.

We both been away from the store for the past few days. I like it. It was the first weekend I've had off in a long time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Last night was our second evening of League Bowling. RO is still a decent bowler. I am still mediorcre.

Having said that, I did better last night than a week ago.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Yesterday I took a big trip to Good-Will and the dump get rid of Earin's stuff. I wanted to bring all of it to the dump. RO stopped me and picked out the valuables.

We kept some of the stuff for us. Four big boxes went to Good Will. The rest went to the dump.

Friday, March 09, 2007

One of the fun things about listening to all my music on my Zune, is discovering albums and songs that I didn't know I had.

I have a medium sized jazz collection that I knew nothing about. Looking back, I vaguely remember receiving a few Jazz box sets for gifts. Although I never listened to them I apparently ripped them into the computer. Jazz regularly pops up on random play.

I have a fair number of songs from obscure bands that posted free songs on the internet.

I have much more Eurythimcs and Corey Hart than I would have thought. Until today, its been at least five years since I listed to either. They both give me flash backs to high school.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I've had a Zune mp3 player for a while now. All my music is on it. It's been ages since I've listened to any of my older music. In fact, I don't musch like my older music. It's unsettling being irritated by songs I know I used to love.

I know my tastes have changed, matured, in many ways. In depth news magazines used to bore me to death, now I skim through them every day. I used to listen to retro 80's and Art Bell style talk radio. Now I listen to NPR and some college music radio.

Sigh. And I'm only 36. It makes me wonder what I'll be like when I'm 46.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Earin couldn't make it on Saturday. She text messaged us that the plans had changed, she would now show up on Sunday.

On Sunday, Earn showed up with a mini-van and 3 guys. She loaded up about a 3rd of her stuff and left. She said she would be back in about 30 minutes. That didn't happen. RO and I messaged her, but she didn't respond to the messages.

RO went through her remaining stuff. He said most of it was garbage. The valuables were things that she had bought through RO, or RO had given her as a gift. After RO pointed that out, we figured she is never comming back for the rest.

I'm going to do a dump run tonight. We may try and sell the valuble furniture, or we may keep it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I got a text message from Earin

"Will be there on sat @ 11 am to pick up stuff plz dont b there"

What the hell? How do I react to that. I can't wait to tell RO.
More news about Earin. Much of Earnins stuff is still at our place-- a bed and dresser, desk, table, boxes, tv, armour. RO called Earin's sister to try and figure out what to do with all of it.

Earin's sister was not aware that Earin had just abandoned us. She also said that Earin lost her job. During the first week of training, Earin was fired.

From what we understand she already as anew job and has moved in with her girl friend. But, the two of them have a very rocky relationship.

I hope Earin will be ok.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ryan is in a new band. They are an Irish Drinking & Pirate songs band. Last night was their first gig. RO and I went. It was fun, if a little weird. I've had "Kiss me I'm Shit Faced" running through my head all morning.
Ryan is in a new band. They are an Irish Drinking & Pirate songs band. Last night was their first gig. RO and I went. It was fun, if a little weird. I've had "Kiss me I'm Shit Faced" running through my head all morning.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Last Saturday was the store's one year anniversary. We had a martini party to celebrate. It was fun. Many people showed up.

Next Saturday is our big sale. It will be interesting to see how much we've grown since last year.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Over lunch we were discussing Alaska, and how many who move to Alaska only do so because they need to escape something in the lower 48. One co-worker said that it's not uncommon for bars to post signs like "No photographs allowed." because their patrons do not want to be known.

The lead to... "What happens outside of Alaska stays outside of Alaska." It's the anti-Las Vegas.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

They caught my gas thief!

He is in his early 20's. His parents kicked him out of their house because he was constantly stealing things. Rather than completely lose control of him, they let him live in a shack in their back yard.

He has promised to make resitution, but the police doubt anything will come of that. He has no job and no real means of supporting himself.

I also heard some of the neighborhood gossip from the cop. The neighbor who noticed the gas thief has been trying to clean up our street. Not that our street is high crime. Basically he's been calling the police when a house has too many cars parked in front of it. He also wants to have street lights installed.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

We changed the keys to the house yesterday. Between the gas theft and Eavin, RO and I have been thinking about security. Many people have had a set of our home keys-- three contrators, old house cleaners, old room mates, the previous owners-- so we felt it was time to change the locks.

After we changed the locks, RO went out and had duplicates made. Of course they don't work.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I told my neighbour about the gas theft. He told me he was very glad to know that-- for weeks now he's suspected that someone has been siphoning gas from his truck.

On Saturday, while RO and I were at the store, Earin took much of her stuff. Only the big pieces of her furninture are left. RO and I have decided to change the locks. At this point too many people have or have had keys.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Gas Theft.

This morning around 5:30am, I heard a loud banging at the front door. It was a neighbor. He told me that someone tried to steal gas from my truck! The neighbor said he scared them off.

I went outside and took a look at my truck. Gas was dripping out of it and into a gas can underneath. I thanked the neighbor. We chatted a bit and he drove off.

I called 911 and reported the incident. While I was on the phone, the neighbor drove back and said he spotted the theives and got the license plate number! I relayed the info to the police.

After a while, the police showed up and took my information. We looked around the tank and couldn't see any obvious damage. I poured some of the gas from the can into the truck. It poured out of a few very well drilled holes in the truck's tank-- damage spotted.

The officer told me these thieves were not that bright. The proper way to steal gas is to put a tray or can under the vehicle, punch a hole and then leave. After ten or fifteen minutes you return to collect the gas. That way no one sees a stranger hanging around a neighbor's vehicle.

Around 7:30am I called to have my truck towed to the service center. The towing company told me to call back after 8:00am. Rather than wait I decided to risk the drive. The service center was only five miles away. Worst-case, I'd run out of gas and need a tow.

I actually enjoyed the ride. I kept telling my truck "Come on baby, you can make it. I love you. I know you can do it." The truck drove smoothly despite the empty tank. We made it without hitch.

As it turns out, I was the second gas-tank-puncture the service center had that morning.

I got a small loaner car and headed home. On my way back I retraced the route to the service center. You could see the trail of dripping gas left by the truck. Bigger at stop signs. Smaller when going fast.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's the end of Jan now. RO is down in Las Vegas for the week. He's at the World Furniture Market buying for the store. Part of me wishes I was there. The other half of me is very happy being up in Seattle. I don't enjoy buying at all. On top of that, the time off is kind of nice. I forgot how much I like puttering around, doing my own thing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

January has hit the store hard. Sales this year are less than half of what they were last year-- and we just opened up last year!

Fortunatly we have some money left over from Christmas, so if this keeps up, we will be ok for a couple of months.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So Earin just left for her new job without saying good bye. She get's every 2nd weekend off, so hopefully we will get to see her then.

I'm tempted to move her stuff into the garage and find a paying room mate right away.

Earin has started receiving mail from Check-Masters and other fast-cash places. I hope she's not in too much trouble.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

We've had another storm. Last night it took me three and a half hours to get home. I kept getting stuck half way up the hill behind cars that couldn't make it all the way, or were abandoned. It was very frustrating after the fourth hill.

Many drivers were frustrated. I overheard a couple of shouting matches between stuck and unstuck drivers.

Right now I am very happy that I sprung for 4x4. I had few problems dealing with the hills.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Earin isn't a great a room mate as we had hoped. She has only paid one month of rent since mid October-- she's had a number of ligitamite finiancial problems since she moved in, but I am still disappointed.

She's starting a new job next week and will be traveling a lot. The new job pays well, so hopefully she can catch up.
I'm officially a middle manager at my day job. It's affecting the way that I work. I'm trying harder to look like a good roll model-- though blogging at work obviously doesn't fit in that category.

The weather forcast says another bad storm hits tonight. This winter has had three bad storms so far. We are starting to label our past project deadlines by the related storm-- we worked on that during the flood. Jesse and I completed that during the snow storm. That was due during the windstorm, but we had to punt it to the new year.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Conversations I want to remember...

"I hate this Seattle weather"

"Then move to California. They have nice weather."

"Oh dear Lord no! My sister lives there. and that state is not big enough for the two of us."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'm back. It was a good trip, but I'm glad it's over. I spent too much time with too many kids. They are very nice kids, but after you spend time with 12 or 13 of them, it get's old.

The friday after Christmas was my mom's family Christmas get together. In any year only about a 3rd of the cousins make it. Still, I talked to many people that I hadn't seen in over ten years.

On New Years Eve I drove back to Toronto to see my old friends. They are almost all married and with children.

Pancakes-- New Years Eve morning I had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. That evening I drove up to G&J's for dinner. There kids were sick, and not eating anything so they served them comfort food, pancakes and sausage, to encourage them to eat. So, I had my 2nd meal of pancakes and sausage in a row.

New Years day I drove over to J&J's, for brunch. Wouldn't you know it, but J&J made pancakes and sausage. I felt gross after my third straight meal of them.

Other than that, the kids are growing big. I only get to see them once a year, so I really notice the difference.

Toronto-- It's still growing. A huge number of hi-rise condo's have sprung up in the ten years since I left-- many along the Young Street subway. It's feels weird to see the miles and miles of new hi-rise buildings.