Saturday, September 27, 2008

Early 70s ... (Archive Project)

Recently provided to me from my mother. These would have been from K or 1st Grade ...

The top two were a card to my Grandma Rose ...

The lower item had a poem on the back in my mother's handwriting that reads:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are the nicest Grandma I
Jeff have ever had

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Canvas ...

After doing so much pen and ink art this year in school I decided I wanted to try something a bit more challenging. So, I got some canvas and did a little painting. The next step is oils, these are acrylics that I have painted over the past few weeks ...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Beautiful Day ...

This morning out front ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


To say that I am bummed just doesn't sum it up and feels like I am being flip. In truth, I am sad and angry at and about someone I never met.

On September 12, 2008 David Foster Wallace committed suicide at age 46.

See, I never met DFW. But, I have read virtually everything he published since I stumbled across Infinite Jest in 1997. He was near the top of a very short list of writers whose work I would read simply because his name was on the it.

Sometimes there are artists whose work we appreciate more than we enjoy. Wallace's work was challenging to read at times, but I actually enjoyed his writing. I cannot say the same thing about everyone whose work I read.

Why am I angry?

I know why I am sad.

I have had the opportunity to meet artists of various types whose work I admire. By meeting them it has given me a human emotional feeling about them. They are real to me more than simply as words on paper or photos on a dust jacket.

Wallace had everything I would want from a writing career. He wrote fiction and non-fiction; both short form and long. In addition, he was a college professor. We are only a handful of years apart in age.

It had been a few years since a new collection had been released. I often look for writers I like online to see if anything is scheduled. This weekend I saw the story of his suicide at about the time I was looking to check on any new releases.

Suicide is not something I understand. Wallace's reasons for ending his life are his own and likely his artistic and career successes are separate from the choice he made. It would be too easy to dismiss his death by pointing at his successes and commenting that someone successful should simply be happy. Life isn't that simple and neither is death. I will simply have to accept that I cannot understand it.

I think it comes down to something very simple. We can understand when someone with tragic circumstances takes their life. We may not like it and we might still be sad about it, but at least it can make more intuitive sense to us. When a successful and talented person dies young, especially someone as artistically talented as Wallace, it simply makes no intellectual sense to us. Wallace did not only take his own life, but he took future works that will now never be written. It is somewhat selfish of me to view the death of someone I did not personally have contact with that way, but it is how I feel. It is not the first time I have felt that way. Tragically, it likely won't be the last. I have been closer to some situations than this one, yet it seems to bother me just as much as those others.

I am not going to go further in this posting to discuss mental illness and creative genius beyond noting that it seems that too often they go hand in hand.

David Foster Wallace was a brilliant and unique talent.

Rest in peace.

Against my desire to avoid this damn election season ...

I just had hoped to hibernate and then vote and be done with it ...

To that end I had ceased listening to talk radio and NPR this year.

The Biden choice had me feeling and thinking that this was the right course of action. I decided to avoid the conventions this year as much as possible. Then John McCain threw the true monkey wrench into things by selecting Sarah Palin and "Poof!" I am interested again ...

Big Blue made the comment during our recent Scrabble Night that, "I want a gun toting, moose hunting woman as President." Interesting. But, not enough for me to vote for her.

Whether or not she is qualified or has enough experience is a valid issue. I do find it humorous that people are saying that being mayor of a small town prepares one to be POTUS, not out of disrespect for the office of mayor but because it sort of implies that being mayor of Edmonds makes one qualified to be in the Oval Office. The splitting of hairs over "executive experience" and the like is getting a bit annoying. I am not certain ANY job in and of itself qualifies someone for the Oval Office.

I find myself in the odd position of LIKING the candidates of the other party. I like John McCain and think he is an interesting person. The same can be said for Sarah Palin. However, liking them has nothing to do with public policy or what I would like to see from my government.

Despite my best intentions, I am being drawn back into this election. It has become the most interesting election of my lifetime.

I am interested enough in the election now to watch the debates.

I am interested enough in the election now to find out more about Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. The very real possibility is that one of them could become POTUS within the next four years.

Talk radio is still off limits though ...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seahawks Receivers ...

Conversation between a sports agent and an unemployed wide receiver overheard this week ...

Sports Agent: I lined you up a work out.

Unemployed Wide Receiver: Great. Which team?

Sports Agent: Seattle.

Unemployed Wide Receiver: ...

Sports Agent: You there?

Unemployed Wide Receiver: You ever see This Is Spinal Tap?

Sports Agent: Yes. Years ago.

Unemployed Wide Receiver: Remember what happened to those drummers?

Sports Agent: I think so.

Unemployed Wide Receiver: Seahawks Wide Receivers are like Spinal Tap drummers.

Sports Agent: I told them you would be there tomorrow morning for a physical.

Unemployed Wide Receiver: You're fired.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Years ... Really?

The number of things that have happened in my life in the last 7 years is staggering ...

I cannot imagine what it has been like for the families of the victims ...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Flying over the handlebars ...

What it feels like to ... Fly over the handlebars of your bicycle ...
(In the spirit of Esquire Magazine)

I was in sixth grade and I had my first job; paperboy.

Every day the papers would be dropped off at the 7-11 down the hill from my elementary school; some days we would walk and carry the bag, others we would take our bikes and either ride with the bag on or hang the bag from our handlebars.

The ride down the hill to the 7-11 is a pretty good one. In retrospect, it was never one we should have been riding down. It was a fairly busy road and the light at the bottom had people zipping around and through the intersection all the time. There were apartment complexes along the way that had driveways attached to the street and the 7-11 itself had a lot of traffic. It was a dumb idea to head down it full tilt on either side of the street. But, in 1978 we were always told to ride facing traffic. The consensus back then was to see what was coming at you and that they could see you better.

One day, I was probably a few minutes behind and worried. I flew down that hill on my ten speed facing traffic, right along where the apartment complexes came out. About halfway down a Z28 approached the end of the driveway. I remember seeing him and starting to slow down, but it seemed like he was stopping so I kicked it harder instead.

He pulled out of the driveway and hit my back tire. He claims I simply lost control of the vehicle and that he missed me. There was someone who he claimed witnessed it from up the road. I think he hit me. It wasn't a big hit, but a tap nonetheless.

I wobbled.

I panicked.

I tried to slow and hit the brakes.

Apparently, I hit the front brake too hard and the front tire stopped.

There is a distinct feeling and sensation one gets when gravity wins. It must be what it feels like to fly. However, it was involuntary and not what I was trying to do. I was trying to hold myself back. I was trying to stay on the bike. I did not want to hit the pavement.

I was in jeans. I was wearing my paper bag.

The paper bag was canvas. It was a big and heavy thing that would hold a few dozen papers in both the front and back and rested on my shoulders. You don't see those anymore. They made lighter nylon ones that my fellow paperboys preferred. I was very lucky to have the canvas one.

As I went over I can vividly remember thinking I needed to keep my head up to not let it hit the pavement. My arms started to come up to protect my face. My feet did not get too tangled as I went totally over the front of the bike. The bike clanked to one side and was still usable later. I recall landing on all fours; knees and elbows and feeling a sharp pain in a knee and a burning sensation on an arm. My chin came down but not too hard. I slid a bit. My arms pulled into the canvas. Apparently, my right arm had ended up in the canvas bag while in mid-air and my left pulled in shortly after. I did not rollover. My gut reaction was to dive to my left to the grassy area to get the burning sensation in my arm to cool. There was a nasty scrape on my arm. My knee was bleeding and the pants had torn through.

The Z28 driver was freaked.

I grabbed my bike and ran down the hill the rest of the way to the 7-11. I was bloodied and battered and in tears. The old guy working knew me and looked concerned and let me use the phone. My two buddies gave me a glance but continued to play pinball without suggesting any real concern for me. Those relationships changed that day.

A full speed collision and a flight over the handlebars onto pavement going downhill and I walked away.

My mom got there quickly and took me to the ER where I mostly remember that the iodine burned when they cleaned my arm. No broken bones. No stitches. No concussion.

The bike really took it well.

After that, I mostly walked.


Hypothetical situation and "public safety" ...

I hate to think of tickets as being bored cops and money for their jurisdiction, but sometimes that is just the way it comes across ...

Imagine this scenario ...

You drive a beat up older car that really needs a tune up ... it is running roughly and sometimes stalls out ...

So, you pull up to a stop sign one morning and the car idles hard and is about to stall ... you tap the accelerator to keep it from stalling ... maybe you don't hold the brake down real hard and the vehicle jumps a bit ... your stop is very, very brief, but you pull around the corner anyway ... and there is a cop right there ...

The cop pulls you over ... it has been a decade since you were last pulled over ... you hand over your information and are very, very polite ... you explain exactly what just happened, including the tune up being overdue ... you do not argue with the officer ...

Do you get a stern warning?

After all, it is an early morning in Summer and no one was around.

After all, you aren't arguing with the officer, but you really do think that you stopped, even if very briefly.

After all, there is no "public safety" issue at hand here, a stern warning will serve its purpose wince the officer can see that you are not a driver with outstanding tickets, etc ...

No, it is clear that "public safety" is of secondary concern and that raising money for the jurisdiction is far more important. He writes you a ticket for $124 and suggests that you mitigate or dispute it while thanking you for being polite ...

Maybe you can take a day off from work to fight it ...

Maybe your insurance won't mind ...

Maybe you'll just pay it and the city will get money ...

And later you see the same officer writing another ticket in the same area and you realize that he is only out there to raise money for the jurisdiction ...

Do you fight the ticket? You should ...

Glamourpuss #2

A quick and (late) review of issue # 2.

I have to admit that I still do not exactly know where Dave is going with this from a story perspective, so I will withhold commentary on that for some time. It is clear that his love of the medium of comic art and storytelling is going to be very educational to those without as much knowledge of trends in style over the years. I'm learning stuff from this and looking into old collections of the materials he references.

My parents front lawn ...

I hate that #^@*%ing lawnmower and yard ...

My folks have a really nice front yard.

There is a nice lawn that is well groomed and different garden areas.

I hate that yard. Yes, it is a nice yard. So, let me clarify, I have mowing that yard.

It has little corners and edgings. It's a righteous pain.

Actually, let me clarify again. It would not be that tough to mow if we didn't have this powerful gas mower that is way too much mower for the lawn. For the backyard, the mower is fine. For the front, it is an absolute pain.

Twice a year my father ranches in Montana. Twice a year I get to mow that lawn weekly. I know I could suggest that my brother help, but he convinced the folks that mowing the lawn was not something he should do decades ago so I get the task. Twice a year I have to try and navigate this intricate pattern with the big @$$ gas mower.

The mower would be fine with a nice flat front yard. No, what the folks need is a little mower; perhaps a small electric or even push mower. You know, a little wussy lawnmower.

Unfortunately, I think my father would upgrade to a riding mower for the front before he would downgrade to a wussy lawnmower.

And so, good son that I am, I continue to mow ... and whine and complain ...

Uptight Seattleite

Leave the poor girls alone ...

With apologies to The Seattle Weekly

I ran into the Uptight Seattleite (TM) at Qwest Field.

I was recently at the Seahawks Open Scrimmage going around checking out the various booths and whatnot. Oh, a Jones Soda booth with free samples ... nice. Even better, two cute girls pouring the soda. Why yes, I would love to try that one, thank you ...

"People are tossing their cups in with the recycling!" The voice said.

The girls looked around, somewhat confused and probably wondering why anyone would tell them this.

See ... it turns out that there were a couple of recycling bins for cans and bottles to either side of the booth. On the outside of the booth. The instructions on the bins stated for cans only or something and also included a note not to include plastic cups. But, these bins and their instructions were clearly outside the purview of the soda pouring job these two had taken on. They were there to pour soda and look cute doing it so that people would want to drink Jones Soda at four bucks a bottle up the stairs.

"They'll go through it," one of the two managed to say back to her.

"No. They won't." The woman snapped back at them. She clearly wanted them to do something about it.

The two looked back at her, trying to keep their smiles on, but clearly just wanting this woman to go away and leave them alone so that they could do their jobs.

The woman did not want to let it go. She made another comment and acted clearly disgusted with these two. They were not doing enough to police the recycling bins outside their booth with instructions that were not facing them. Something finally pulled her away. I think it was someone that was embarrassed by her clearly self-righteous and unnecessary chastisement of soda girls ...

Part of me wanted to say something, but the girls were holding their composure fairly well so I didn't ...

And then I tossed away my plastic cup. I won't say where.

Headlines to expect this fall from Fox News Channel

Headlines to expect this fall from Fox News Channel

"Hillary not VP choice due to a crush on Obama"

"Obama wants your daughters to be welfare mothers with mixed race children so that he can tax you more to pay for them"

"Obama plots new ways to tax you and had tax idea contests amongst his staff"

"He will move the Oval Office to the Apollo"

Never mind that if he is able to do half of what is claimed that he would be fantastically successful with Congress (a reason to vote for him not against him) ...

Also, bear in mind that I am not a huge fan of this year's Democratic ticket. I think the pick of Biden is as uninspired a choice as Lloyd Bentsen was in 1988 or Joe Lieberman was in 2000. McCain completely took over all campaign momentum with Palin's selection. But, Fox News is still bound to do and say some stupid things ... just wait ...

They changed it from the book ...

They changed it from the book ...

Jumper, Harry, and Neil ... and now ... Wanted

While watching the DVD of Jumper, writer Stephen Gould commented that he was cool with the changes made to his material ... having been a fan of his for some time I was glad to hear that since I enjoyed the movie even though I had read the book several years ago ...

Neil Gaiman went out of his way to tell his fans that the changes in Stardust from print to screen were his changes. He felt that he had to make changes to translate the material to the screen.

Stanley Kubrick liked to work with short stories instead of novels because you could add to a story but had to delete from a novel.

The complaints I heard about the first two movies in the Harry Potter series is that they stuck too close to the book ... you clearly cannot win sometimes ...

Comic book movies from long running series like Batman or the X-Men pick and choose which era they work from on various characters. Sometimes it works and often it doesn't.

So, this summer when I went to watch Wanted I knew that they had made a couple of important changes. Trying very hard to keep an open mind and noting that the ticket was free I went in still expecting to be entertained at most and disappointed in the end. I found myself not hating the movie. The changes worked out for the most part. It would have taken an extra hour of movie to create the big super-villian world the comic used, the assassin storyline worked as enough of a back story for me. Was it great? No. Was I personally insulted like my friend Big Blue over a few of the changes in Lord of the Rings? No.

Sometimes the changes work. Other times they fail. Sometimes it takes a fifth and sixth Batman movie to get things right.

But, the changes are almost always coming. I find it comical how so many people act shocked when they occur.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bronx Bombers ... (Ephemera Project)


Damn Yankees ...

Seattle Mariners 5
New York Yankees 2
Safeco Field - Seattle, WA


Ephemera Project - New York Yankees

08-14-04 Yankees (L) 5-7 - Safeco Field

ARod returns to Seattle to a mere smattering of boos as people really don't give a rip any more. However, I have now seen him play in Seattle in an M's, Rangers, and Yankees uniform.


06-04-04 Yankees vs. Rangers @ Yankee Stadium (7-6) with Richard

On a pure coolness scale this ranks as one of the best sporting events I have ever been to. I got to hang out with an old friend and sit in the bleacher seats in Yankee Stadium.


04-07-00 Yankees (W) 7-5 - Safeco Field

The first week of the Post-Griffey Era in Seattle was off to a grand start. Cameron robbed Jeter of a home run to win over the city.


08-08-77 Yankees (W) 9-2 - Kingdome

* Yankees game in the 300 Level with Reggie, Thurmon, Catfish, and Billy Martin - Ruppert Jones got an inside the park home run (Ron missed) off of Sparky Lyle - Catfish Hunter had started game (use this as a reference to seeing the Yanks of 77 and the Cosmos of 77 within weeks of each other in the Kingdome - 07-20-77 W 1-0 Cosmos)

After riding the train in to the game ...

I will hate traffic that much more ...

Sounder train ride Edmonds to Seattle ... September 7, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rhonda, Rest in Peace ...

You know the person you sort of know and hope to hear good things about after you leave a job? Someone who makes an impression, even if you really only know them a bit through work or an activity? Someone who makes an impression on basically everyone?

Rhonda was that sort of person.

I knew her through work. Recently, I heard she passed away and it made me very sad.

So, we had a moment during Scrabble Night where we talked about and remembered Rhonda ... it was the least we could do ...

Rhonda, you are missed ...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Thanks Sam!

I now have something to keep the duck company ...