Like, Neologism, Daddy-O

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:10 pm

We had a nice little dinner party last weekend, and at some point the subject of conversation turned briefly to the burlesque acts that have been gaining popularity in the Seattle area as of late. I expressed my fervent lack of interest in what seemed to me to be a totally outmoded and unappealing form of adult entertainment. But two good friends of ours—a married couple—sought to correct my misconception, explaining that they have gone to a number of the shows and found them very entertaining, more acrobatic than erotic. I remained unconvinced, thinking that it sounded like a combination of a gymnastics meet and a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue; two things I don’t habitually pursue individually, let alone glommed together.

“Yeah,” the male of the couple said sarcastically, “attractive women performing amazing acrobatics, what could possibly be interesting about that?”

If I’d had the wherewithal to come up with it at the time, I would have replied that there are certain activities—certain art forms, hobbies and passtimes that make up part of the Puget Sound experience—that seem to attract two separate, distinct yet almost totally indistinguishable demographics. The first group consists of people who genuinely, organically appreciate these things, be they burlesque, dive bars, roller derby or The Ramones. The second is made up of people who convince themselves that they appreciate these things, because to do so fulfills their embedded image of themselves as hip, artsy, cutting-edge Puget Sound kind of people.

I would have also hastened to add that, while I would never stoop to making any assumptions about which group our various contemporaries who pursue such activities fit into, I know damn well which one I would belong to were I to do so.

I can only speak for myself here, but I am very much over being “gritty”. I did gritty in my teens, with hardcore Punk, substance abuse, violence and mayhem. By the time I graduated college I had worked out all of my gritty. Now I’m more or less about comfort and personal gratification, a term that has been more or less ruined by its popular perceptual linking to the act of masturbation. Personal gratification takes many forms with me, from video games to charity work. Personal gratification may certainly involve forms of culture that might seem a bit “out there”; it might involve unusual venues or enigmatic activities. But just as often (oh Hell, let’s be honest and call it “more often”), it does not.

And what it almost never includes is, say, sitting in a grimy, poorly-lit downtown tavern drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon or Jack and ginger ale, listening to the wisdom of the street as blearily pronounced through pitted, Parliament-stained teeth.

Once again, though, that’s just me. It most assuredly does not mean that other folks don’t find pure, unalloyed fulfillment in just this sort of environment.

On the other hand, it also doesn’t mean that a good percentage of the people who profess to finding their bliss in such tableaux might not just be blowing Lucky Strike smoke up their own ass. From hereafter, such individuals will be known as fauxhemians.


Oh my yes, that’s MUCH better thanks!

Filed under: @ 9:05 am

As of today I’m back on working a four day week! Not as good as my previous twelve hours a day three days a week schedule, but far better than working five days a week.
So as of this morning for the foreseeable future Fridays are MINE baby. :mrgreen:

Actually what that probably really means is that Fridays I’ll be doing things like laundry, house and yard tidying, and running other errands. But it does mean that Saturdays are free and clear except for my — soon to be Andrew’s — acupuncture appointments and Sundays won’t be a mad fucker dash around the house catch up day.

With notable exceptions like spending Friday, February 24th at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and, I have no doubt, spending at least a few Fridays futzing around in Susan’s garden as the weather improves and it starts to be cooperative gardening weather again.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I stayed employed full time through a period of terrific financial turmoil for my place of business and I’m forever grateful for it. But working in a profession where you’re balls out WORKING every minute of the day as soon as you walk through the door means that working every week day is really wearying and the two days off in between aren’t really enough to recharge sufficiently.

So now I’ve got to go and start some laundry, make a shopping list so I can get groceries and make carrot cake (no raisins), I’ve got a necklace that needs to go to a jeweler for repair, and I’ve been needing to have my car washed for at least the last two months to say nothing of replacing the bulb in the left blinker.

That is, if my cat will ever let me get up….. 😀


Twenty THOUSAND?! Really?!

Filed under: @ 9:02 am

Listening to one of the articles in yesterday’s Morning Edition I was struck by the comment that the average American is exposed to 20,000 advertisements per week.

(No, I don’t really remember the context of the quote, it was early and I was still only half conscious, but that makes no difference in the current conversation.)

Of course it made us think. Andrew and I are, or maybe we just like to think we are, far less avid consumers of commercial media than the average American and we were trying to tally up what we’re exposed to per day. Which was, of course, fruitless because it was early in the morning and neither of us are really at the top of our game when we’re sitting in the hot tub listening to the radio and passing jetliners.

But on my way to work yesterday morning I spent a lot of time looking far more carefully at my surroundings than I usually do. And I started to wonder how much what I see each day does, and will, affect where I spend my money.
We’re hoping to be able to replace the flooring in our upstairs this year. Will I automatically consider looking at the flooring at Great Floors because I drive past their reader board every day on my way to work?
When I’m jonesing for caffeine later today will I automatically reach for Starbucks because there are at least seven of them on my way to work? (Actually probably I will, but I’m not sure whether that’s because I have a Starbucks card with some money on it, whether by making a Starbucks run I automatically get away from the godforsaken phone on my desk for a few minutes, or whether I’m hopelessly addicted to iced chai lattes. Probably has nothing to do with their advertising.)
Does the fact that I see a UPS truck four days out of five make me want to consider UPS for all my shipping needs?

So, a survey.
1) What constitutes ‘advertisement’? Is the UPS symbol on the sides of their trucks enough to count or should I only count reader boards, billboards, print, television, and radio ads? What about print ads on trucks?

2) If you, as we do, watch most of your television on a DVR and can thus skip the ads…. do those ads count? What about if you’re watching the show live and you have to sit through the commercials but you mute the sound?

3) Whaddya’ think? Twenty thousand? Really? Or is blazing past a billboard on the highway at 65 mph “exposure” in the same way that Alice in Wonderland can be classified as “science fiction” simply because, as a fantasy story, it falls into the broad classification of “science fiction” because it’s not straight fiction?

I’ll be interested to try and get an average count for us and for those of us who aren’t “Average Americans”.


Recently Sighted

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:06 am

Most every Saturday, Margaret and I saddle up and head for the thriving bedroom metropolis of Everett Washington to visit her acupuncturist—the parking lot of whose office being where I am writing this entry. While getting up at 8:00 on a Saturday morning is hardly my idea of a good time or even normal behavior, I have to admit, this has been a good thing for us. In addition to working wonders for her tendinitis, the weekly trip through the wilds of greater outlying Seattle has been a refreshing change to our otherwise rather-stultifying-if-enjoyable Saturday routine of lying around the house listening to NPR and skritching kitties. (Hmm, that sounds dirty for some reason. Stroking fur? Petting pussies? Never mind, let’s stick with the first one.) Afterward, since we’re already up and many miles from home, we often take the opportunity to get things done we might not otherwise do; visit the Pike Place market, eat lunch at some restaurant we’ve never tried, drop in on friends in the city, whathaveyou. So overall it’s been a nice addition to our typical weekend routine.

Much of Everett is very nice—Snohomish County, in which Everett resides, is the fastest growing county in Washington State—with lots of greenery, state parks, that sort of thing. However, just as much of it seems to be taken up with strip malls, positively brimming with chain stores, smoke shops and teriyaki joints. Among the consumer clutter there exists a not-inconsiderable smattering of that once uniquely Northwest signature subclass of the establishments bred solely to drain the cash from the pockets of modern First-World car culture; the drive-through espresso stand.

Now, I am in no way complaining about the existence of these stalwarts of the Washington byway. I am a huge fan of coffee, and a frequent patron of these stands. I probably spend thirty bucks a month at one or another coffee shop, both in my neighborhood and further abroad. Sometimes I choose to spend my dough on local color (and flavor), at other times I go for the consistency of the soul-smothering multinational corporate coffee behemoth. All depends on my mood and what’s available.

What I do not do, and will never, ever do, is choose to spend my money at a “Barista Babe Booth”.

I don’t know what may be the cutting edge in drive-through coffee culture in your neck of the woods, Dear Reader, but around here the state-of-the-art seems to be the stand staffed by a scantily-clad young thang, slinging coffee and showing off her gazongas to the delight of her classless but ultimately high-tipping clientele. Like strip joints, peep shows and other forms of public prurience, I simply cannot understand why anyone would show their face in such an establishment when multiple entire universes of all the skin you could ever want to see, in an embarrassment (literally, an embarrassment) of shapes, sizes, styles and colors is just a mouse click away, in the privacy of your own home. Unless your particular pathology is specifically tied to public displays of carnality, of course, in which case you should probably not  be out on the streets on your own recognizance at all.

Anyway, it’s not a huge problem for me; I don’t think they should be shut down, though some communities have gone as far as to attempt exactly that. I just don’t patronize the places. The reason I started this post was to proffer the following photos.

Photo 1 is of Rockstar Espresso, a joint located on the right side of the main drag we exit onto from I-5 on our way to the acupuncturist’s office. Nothing says good coffee like being built into the side of a gas station, am I right?

As much as I loathe their sign, (I suppose it’s not impossible that someone who allows the perceived excellence of the shape of her body to be advertised on the reader board for a roadside coffee stand might also be “classy”, but it seems to fly in the face of logic) I never gave it more than half a thought until this week, when we discovered that the espresso stand across the street has put up their own sign:

Guess where I’m going for a mocha after Margaret gets out. 😀



Filed under: @ 9:20 am

Okay, so where were we…. Oh yeah, flying to Kona.

Left for Kona at some really dark hour on the 23rd. The original plan was for someone to drive Joan’s van (seven passengers and luggage) and Vinnie, who wasn’t going to Kona with us, to drive Tony’s Scion (four passengers comfortably, five if you squish) to the airport. The van would be left at the airport and Vinnie would drive back with the Scion when we got back on the 26th. There were ten of us so it would have worked, but…
Well, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term “a herd of cats”, but that’s pretty darn accurate under the circumstances.
We arranged for an airport shuttle to come by with a 12 passenger van which worked ever so much better. The only major problem with that was that the driver wasn’t familiar with the windward side of the island and trying to quell the helpful suggestions from four (five?) separate navigators so the poor man was only getting directions from one source was -um- challenging.
Everybody got on the plane, everybody got OFF the plane and, weirdly, so did all of our baggage. It was a little spooky.
Sara and Danny met us at the airport and with a brief detour to visit the charter school where Sara teaches so we could pick tomatoes and basil for the pizza that afternoon (also so we could see the school’s shark tank — it’s a pretty cool school) we headed up into the mountains.

It’s a lovely house WAY up in the cloud forest above Kona. It’s cool, it’s spacious. It’s a great place to relax and, I suppose if you have to have ten family members descend upon you suddenly, it’s about an ideal place to do it.

On the schedule for the morning of the 24th was a 4-6 hour fishing charter. I respectfully (and enthusiastically) declined to voluntarily subject myself to half a morning worth of throwing up so I didn’t get up when the crew (Andrew, Meg, David & Dawn, and Caitlin and Lucy) were shoveled out the door at somewhat before 7 a.m. I don’t think I ever really got onto Hawaiian time while we were there because I woke up just before 8 thoroughly convinced that it was mid-morning.
Breakfast and puttering around the farm. I’m consistently amazed by Hawaiian flora. You’ve seen what Andrew was doing at 10 a.m. Friday (at least you have if you looked at the photos in the last post), here’s what I was doing at 10 a.m. Friday.

Sara and Tony and I went down to the harbor to pick up the fishers who all, due to considerable consumption of Dramamine, came home, ate (mmmMMMMM kahlua pig!) and immediately collapsed and went to sleep.
Sara, Libby, Joan and I went to Costco. I know, I know, y’all are saying “you went to COSTCO on CHRISTMAS EVE?”. I thought it was nuts too, but weirdly it wasn’t anywhere near as crazy as I was expecting.
We got back in time to scoop all of the sleepers out of bed for dinner then we had just enough time to get out of the way before they collapsed again. I guess Dramamine makes you really groggy.

This is getting long, especially considering the bulk of photos that I have yet to post. I’ll get to the rest of it later.


A Few Xmas Pictures

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:20 pm

This isn’t likely to be of any interest to anyone but our immediate family, but if anyone would like to see a gallery of images from our vacation, you can check them out here.

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