Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday Cold with Jeff Bridges and Cocktail Umbrellas


It is not uncommon for me to stay up late and rise at 5 AM after four hours sleep. Of course the downside to that practice is the much needed evening nap of an hour or so.

When I try and go for a good eight hours rest, like last night, I am up and wide awake by 3 AM. All I can do is watch TV. As I dislike most TV, I seek out a movie to watch.

This morning, in addition to being wide awake at 0300, I found myself suffering a terrible cough and head cold. I ventured into the living room where I could sit up, which helped the cough, and turned on the TV. Do you remember back when we all thought TRON was cutting edge movie technology? And remember hanging out at the arcade with a pocket full of quarters, how cool that was? I had not seen the movie in maybe twenty years, around the last time I walked into an video game arcade with a pocketful of quarters. On viewing it at 4 AM this morning, TRON did not seem as cool and cutting edge as it had in 1982.

Now they are bringing back Jeff Bridges and the Troncycles for a sequel. I was thinking about this around 6:30 this morning, when I went back to bed, my stomach full of expectorants and decongestants.

I awoke later that usual and dragged myself to the breakfast table. My daughter, who had squeezed a pitcher of fresh OJ this morning from ten pounds of oranges, took notice of my cold and prepared for me the juice from half a grapefruit, freshly squeezed and poured up in a shot glass with a paper umbrella.


I am pleased to report that my cold is gone, and that I have seen Tron: Legacy, and found it better than the original.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Goodbye Old Friend

I said goodbye to my friend the other day. Strange how attached we become to our cars, particularly those that have been good to us, that have provided us with memories.

Several years ago we moved out of the city and bought a house in the burbs to raise our child. We were moving out when it occurred to me that I would have no way to get to work, as I had for several years enjoyed walking to work in downtown Seattle every day. My neighbor told me that he had just gotten a company car and was selling his little Geo, so I bought it for cash and his wife and I went down to the DMV and transferred the title. I drove that little green car until it would drive no more, rolling to a stop at my mechanic’s for the last time. Walt told me how many thousands of dollars it would cost me to get the Geo back on the road, when the blue book value was about $800. Next door, at the Ford dealership, a blue Mustang caught my eye. It had been ordered by someone whose financing fell through, and I bought it.

I tried to hide it from my wife, but that didn’t last long. I was in my driveway with my friend Matt when my wife came out and said, “Whose car is this?”

Shortly thereafter I got the Tahoe, which I drove to work every day. The Mustang stayed in the garage until the weekends. On Saturdays I would take her out and drive her around while I ran errands. I’d wash her and drive her to my standing Saturday night movie date with Mike.

Last summer Mike and I took the Mustang on a 4,000 mile road trip down the Pacific coast, across the desert to Texas, and around the Gulf of Mexico before heading north to South Carolina. I opened her up on the Pacific Coast Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and she handled like a dream. It was the best driving experience of my life, one I would heartily recommend.

Last Friday I began to cross an intersection near my home on a green light. I saw a truck barreling towards me and stopped my car, but he was going too fast to stop, and never braked. The 62-year-old driver of a purple Ford F-150 ran a red light going about 50 miles per hour in a 35 zone and plowed into the driver’s side of the Mustang before losing control, leaving the road, crossing the sidewalk through the landscaping of a shopping center before crashing into a tree. The force of the impact spun my car around and propelled me in the same direction he was travelling. I came to a stop 40 feet away.

I recall dialing 911 on my cell phone and pressing SEND, but never lifted the phone to my ear. Debris was everywhere. Despite a sore leg and hip, I was able to get out of my vehicle. I could see that the driver of the Ford truck was slumped over his steering wheel, immobile. I would leave his fate to others. The next few minutes are a blank, but then there were three police cars and an ambulance parked nearby. The EMT, I recall, was most annoying. I wanted him to go away. There was no way I was going anywhere in an ambulance. I was worried about my car.

The Mustang was bleeding heavily. There was radiator fluid everywhere. I picked up the grill off the street. The hood was hanging against the passenger side door. I noticed that the frame was bent about 30 degrees. There will be no repairing her.

The real tragedy is this: I found out the gentleman who hit me has passed away. I thank God that I am walking and breathing right now. My prayers and sympathies are with his family.

I had some great times in that car, many with my daughter, who patted me Friday afternoon and offered sympathy as only a child can. “You’ll get another car, Daddy, but I don’t think you’d like a truck. Maybe another green car like you had before.”

If anyone has a 1996 Geo Prism for sale, let me know. I'm buying.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Celebrating the Fourth

Independence Day for many means a day of independence from work. The coffee bar where I work is closed tomorrow, so I will be enjoying Independence Day as I have for many years: with my family.

About seven years ago I started preparing beef ribs for the Fourth of July using a recipe I found in Esquire magazine, and another July 3 has rolled around and I am dug in yet again for the long haul. Each rib goes through a a process that takes about 4-5 hours before it hits the grill in order to be flavorful and fully tender. I expect to remove the last batch of ribs from their bath in the roasting pan around 4:30 in the morning. More or less par for the course.

I always enjoy having ribs and corn on the cobb on the 4th, partially because my daughter loves both, and it's always a pleasure to prepare the meal for her. This year, however, there will be no cherry cobbler for dessert. I left my cherry trees behind in Seattle, so I have no freshly picked cherries. This year we'll adopt a Southern tradition and add peach ice cream into the mix.

This year I'll get to celebrate the holiday with the extended family, which I've not been able to do in years past. It should be a lot of fun. Oh, and I assume there will be a couple of episodes of "The Twilight Zone" tomorrow as well.

Friday, July 02, 2010

National Champs

Celebrating the College World Series champions at the South Carolina capitol building with my daughter, the Hill Company and 40,000 others.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A Man of Action (Verbs)

As great hope and change continues to wash over our country (not unlike the torrential rains we have experienced these past few days), I decided today to peruse my box of President Obama clippings and tally up the hope and count the change.

While leafing through the clippings what struck me as profound were the headlines themselves, more specifically the action verbs used in headline after headline following the name “Obama.” As agent of change the President must also be a man of action, and I hoped to make a list of these action verbs as a way of gauging the man’s personality and as a summation of the man’s accomplishments while thus far serving in office.

Here are the headlines, arranged alphabetically. I have included only subject, verb and object, dropping prepositional phrases and contextual references. Read into them what you will, though each is an actual headline.


Accused Republicans
Angry at Energy Department
Angry at Fox
Angry at Netanyahu
Fires Back at Cheney
Goes Nuclear Over Sarah Palin
Lashes Out at AIG
Lashes Out at Arizona
Lashes Out at “Audacity of Banks”
Lashes Out at Banks
Lashes Out at “Big Media”
Lashes Out at BP
Lashes Out at CNBC
Lashes Out at “Fat Cat Bankers”
Lashes Out at Fox News
Lashes Out at Generals in Afghanistan
Lashes Out at GOP
Lashes Out at Haliburton
Lashes Out at Health Care Bill Opponents
Lashes Out at Health Insurers
Lashes Out at Hilary
Lashes Out at Honduras
Lashes Out at House Republicans
Lashes Out at iPods
Lashes Out at Iran
Lashes Out at Kanye West
Lashes Out at Lawmakers
Lashes Out at McCain
Lashes Out at New Media
Lashes Out at Oil Drillers
Lashes Out at Oil Industry
Lashes Out at Oil Company executives
Lashes Out at Opposing Viewpoints
Lashes Out at Republicans
Lashes Out at Sarah Palin
Lashes Out at The New Yorker
Lashes Out at US Banks
Lashes Out at Wall Street
Lashes Out During Golf Trip
Lashes Out Over “Cash for Clunkers” Analysis
Mocks Arizona Law
Mocks Bush
Mocks Cable Chatter
Mocks Cheney
Mocks Conservatives
Mocks D.C.’s Reaction to Winter Weather
Mocks Disabled Children
Mocks Entrepreneurship
Mocks Fox
Mocks GOP
Mocks GOP Doomsday Predictions
Mocks Health Care Bill Opponents
Mocks Leno
Mocks Limbaugh
Mocks Marijuana Question
Mocks McCain
Mocks McConnell
Mocks Media
Mocks Opponents
Mocks Palin
Mocks Patrick Henry
Mocks Plumbers
Mocks Presidential Seal
Mocks Private Insurance Companies
Mocks Rallies
Mocks Republicans
Mocks Scott Brown’s Truck
Mocks Special Olympics
Mocks Teabaggers
Mocks Tea Partiers
Mocks the Bible
Mocks the Handicapped
Mocks the iPad
Mocks US Military Personnel
Scolds Republicans
Struggles with Smoking Habit
Unleashes Frustration

Indeed, the President has not been sitting on his laurels. Between the lashing and mocking, he’s had time for unleashing and scolding, and was able (with justification, no doubt) to accuse a Republican or two.

We’ll check in again at mid-term elections. There’s bound to be some additional lashing come November.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


At a recent food show I had the privilege to meet someone who has been part of my life since I was a child: Poppinfresh, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, whom I affectionately refer to as “Pills.”

Pills is a pastry chef of the highest order. His biscuits are flakey, his cookies perfectly sweet, and his baked Alaska – wow!

Although we could not reach an arrangement for Pills to bake goodies for me at the coffee bar, we parted friends. He will always have a place in my heart. And yes, when you poke him in the stomach he does emit a high, squeak-like laugh.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Promises of Hope and Change

It’s been more than a year since the nation kicked George Bush out of office, so I spent some time looking back at campaign interviews and speeches and thought I’d take a moment to celebrate the promises of hope and change that have come to pass.

The end of the war. As pledged repeatedly before and during the 2008 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama pulled our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan prior the deadline he submitted to the Senate in 2007. With victory declared and apologies to Muslims mailed out on White House stationery, American soldiers were all on their ships and planes on or before March 23, 2008, bound for America. Our men and women in uniform are back home where they belong, gainfully employed in our prospering economy, and Iraq and Afghanistan are well on their way to becoming important international allies.

Evil influences. Echoing a repeated campaign promise to rid government of the putrid influence of lobbyists, Obama took the oath of office and promptly hired more than 40 lobbyists for his own staff in order to keep them off Capital Hill, where their stench might influence members of Congress.

Saving the economy. The dire recession years of Reagan-Bush-Bush are but a memory due to the Obama stimulus package. Unemployment has plummeted to over 10% and fear and anxiety have left the American people, all of whom are now fat and happy and getting free gastric bypass operations.

Free health care for all. In the afterglow of Obama’s having brought the politically divided country together again in economic prosperity, both Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly passed the health care bill in late 2008, which provides free medical treatment to all Americans at participating Social Security offices nationwide. Small business and the elderly poor have stepped up to the plate in their willingness to fund the trillions of dollars needed to create the eleven new government agencies required to support the bill.

Deficit spending. After slamming the Bush administration for its out-of-control deficit spending, the new President put a halt to all new spending in favor of using five trillion new “no minimum payment” government credit cards which don’t have to be paid off until the President and Congress are long dead and buried.

Guantanamo Bay. The President’s pledge to close the ill-conceived and human rights-violating prison at Guantanamo Bay by the end of 2009 came to pass just after Christmas and was celebrated in the streets across the Muslim world. The fathers, sons and brothers illegally imprisoned there were reunited with their families live on CNN. Most have already found gainful employment with militia groups in places like Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A Cleaner Earth. The Obama administration unveiled a plan that will require communities across the nation to spend billions of dollars in 2011 cleaning the smog from the air, with no help from the new government credit cards. Fortunately, because of the stimulus plan, there are piles of cash lying around city halls and state capitols, which will make compliance easy. Besides, the EPA says, the billions spent sucking fog molecules out of the air will be offset by the billions of dollars saved in annual smog-related deaths, which I assume result from soot cancer and smog toe.

Unkept promises? The President indicated yesterday that any promises he has not kept were due to a particularly harsh Winter. We are merely thankful that Obama has yet to take any responsibility for this country and wish that former President George Bush, who, as an ex-President apparently retains enormous influence over the current administration, would just go away.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Looking Forward to Some Good Coffee

There is a new coffee bar opening up soon not far from us. They are building now, and plan to open in April.
I look forward to getting a nice dark roast or an espresso drink, and maybe a frap or Italian soda for my kid. Oh, and a slice of red velvet cake.


Back in the early summer a strange little creature I first thought was a dragon appeared on the rear of my car. He seemed like a happy fellow, and he was causing no harm, so I allowed him to stick around.
He traveled with me from the west coast to the east, and at some point in July disappeared.
Just the other day, shortly after discovering a snow being had taken up residence in my garage refrigerator, the happy little leech reappeared on my car.
Something is going on. And I intend to find out what.


I found this creepy little guy lurking in the garage refrigerator yesterday. But like all creatures, he's doing what he needs to do to survive, I suppose. I will continue to give him sanctuary so long as he doesn't start raiding the fridge.
Strange that he has cocktail umbrellas for arms...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


On Friday we played basketball while it was snowing.

I did not know snow could accumulate on a basketball. Cold, wet snow stuck to the basketball as we dribbled and shot, and it formed into little hard patches on the skin of the ball. Soon the ball lost a bit of its bounce.

We played until the basketball was covered with snow and our gloveless hands were numb.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Pants Monster Strikes Again

In 2006, I blogged about a traumatic pants experience with my Korean dry cleaning people. Two years later I blogged about finding a new Chinese cleaning outfit (read about it here) and was pleased... for a while.

There is a dry cleaners on the corner that I walked into last week with a sweater, dress, pants and pile of shirts. I had never been there before, had they had not been recommended. They were merely convenient.

The first thing to raise an alarm in my mind as I walked in the door was that the attendant was Caucasian. Now, please don't think I have anything against Caucasians - I don't. I am sure there are many fine Caucasian dry cleaners out there. The fact is, I used one non-Asian dry cleaner in the past twelve years and the results were less than satisfactory.

When I turned in my ticket and retrieved my clothes an astonishing thing had occurred: the dry cleaner had duplicated a pair of my pants.

Same pants, same brand, same size, identical in every way, the only difference being that one pair was pressed better than the other.
I don't know how they were replicated, and a phone call to their store provided no answers. They were as confused as I was.
I am keeping the pants.