Friday, April 28, 2006

I work near Chinatown in Portland. Yesterday was a B-E-A-Utiful day and I had to suck in some fresh air and sunshine so I went for a nice long walk at lunch. I got a kick out of this sign as I passed by. Had to grab a phone shot and put a post here. Notice some 'clever' individual has altered the word "cocktails".

Today's another gorgeous day in the Pac NW. TGIF! AND, the company is providing FREE BEER to boot today! Woo Hoo! I just love when a sentance contains both the word FREE and Beer. Kinda melts my heart. I love my job!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

More views from around town

Here's my favorite pasttime while commuting to work on the bus. What am I listening to...?

And a lovely shot of the tulips in front of Union Station...

Secret Indulgence

Ok, I have a confession, a dirty little pleasure if you will. I watch Reality TV. I'll expand on that and say MOST reality TV makes me want to throw rotten vegatables at the ol' Tele. But I find myself curiously captivated by some shows. I've grown fond of American Idol. At first it didn't appeal to me 5 seasons ago. I mean, I'm a professional singer -- NO, I don't have a multi-million dollar recoring contract...yet. But, I'm classically trained, have diciplined technique, and have honed my craft. To watch these pesky teenagers get up and pull off what is really glamourized karaoke made me want to barf my cookies. But then Clay Aiken came along. I'm a baritone. He's a fine, fine baritone and I enjoyed hearing him sing. I was happy that two male singers and not a caterwalling belting teenage chimp made it to the final 2. I've been watching ever since. did I get stuck on this show that I so detested? So now I watch not so much to cheer on my favorite singers, but to hoot at the ones I think should be gone (or should never have made it thus far).

Last night Kelli Pickard was FINALLY thrown off the stage. She was one I think is a real cutie, but should stick to karaoke. I did not feel she should have been afforded a ride to the top 12 much less the top 6. Of those left, I really thought Elliot was misplaced. But after this week's performance my opinion is swaying. He's also a baritone, some pitch problems, a yodel of a vibrato, but he sang with good soul this week. I predict, and you heard it here first, that Katherine McPhee is the next American Idol. Whew! And a hottie brunette to boot! Just my type. Go Katherine!

Ok, so most Reality TV I could just vote off the proverbial island. I was a Survivor fan in the beginning. I watched the first 4 seasons religiously. But then so many others like it came along like Big Brother, and even more recently, Unanimous. I cannot stand to watch a group of people bitch bitch bitch and be catty, degradingand downright inhuman to each other. It definitely turned me off to my beloved Survivor. It's turned into not really who is the true survivor, but who can yank everyone's chain just the right way to get to the end and try to be the lesser of two evils that get peer votes. I've seen Navy SEALS voted off within a few weeks because he was an obvious threat of winning the grand prize. Duh! I think it should be played more like a survival where the games are not for immunity, but the last place finisher goes home. The strongest and best survivors will win.

I have grown into a Donal Trump fan. The Apprentice is now one I try to catch each week. I like that there is competitiveness, creativity, but the backstabbing and blood smearing is prominent. Why, just this week one contestant said "there will be blood smeared in the boardroom!" I mean, can't we all just get along? The show is not about working together, it's about tearing down one's competition and saving face, not matter how badly their own performance. I think the Don should have them do less of creating a marketing plan or promoting a new product, and get these schmucks to try and do real executive work, like solving a big accounting problem in the books, or trying to hire a good employee out of 200 shotty resumes.

Ok! Ok! Enough ranting about Reality TV. I gotta go practice for my American Idol audition.

You think I'm kidding...

The Evil Baritone has left the building...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Phone Camera

It's a phone AND a camera! I purchased this thing 9 months ago when I changed phone plans. Thought, "how cool it would be to take a pic from my phone and send it to my family & friends." That's all well & good, but how in the world, if one took a decent photo from one's phone, would one get said photo OUT of the phone and into, say, one's computer so they could post it to the web? Well, friends, it took this goof 9 months to figure out that I can set up an account at my phone provider's website, and simply send my photos to that account from my phone in a pix message. Who knew? Now I can log on and view, edit, copy, paste, saute, splice, dice, my photos any time I want. Here's one...

Spring has sprung in Portland! Spring is my favorite season. The leaves have exploded on the trees and after a plentiful wet rainy season we now get to reap the benefits. Everything is green here! The tulips are in full bloom and WOW! are they colorful! It's also hiking season. Time to pull out the walking shoes and get out into the wooded Northwest forests and commune with nature. It's also time to pull weeds. After living in a condo for 5 years I never had to worry about weeds. Now I'm outside nearly on a daily basis (when the rain lets up, that is) and fighting an ongoing battle, daresay a war, with the blasted evil dandylions. Their wicked yellow heads poke up nearly every day and then without warning they turn into apparently harmless balls of fuzz. Then POW! they explode and I've got hundreds more seeds that are just laying in wait to battle with me next year. Oh, I'll get 'em. I'll get 'em all! Ok, maybe I'm getting a little too obsessed with having a yard now. I should focus less on the blasted weeds and get more perty flowers and shrubbery to accent the yard.

Ok, here is what I hear almost constantly throughout my work day...

This tuneful bell sits on the counter and invites anyone to pound on it's melodic clinger. I work in the accounting office of an institute of higher learning. Aside from taking care of the everyday accounting, students need to pay their tuition, receive stipend checks, pay fees, and they get to ring they bell to announce they've arrived so we can drop everything and tend to their every financial need. Anyone got any better idears for grabbing our attention that doesn't require a servant's bell? I'm open for suggestions.

Ok, I've introduced my phone camera and the artful images it produces. More to come...

The Evil Baritone has left the building...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Window Shades

I love sunglasses. I love 'em! I think they look cool, and I think the right pair makes anyone look cool. Well, most folks wear them to block out the sun. Guess that's where 'sunglasses' came from. But I call them Window Shades. The eyes are the 'windows to the soul', no? So, sometimes I just don't want anyone and everyone looking into MY soul. Would you? So my Window Shades keep my soul protected from spying eyes. Now, if only I could get a prescription for shaded spectacles so I could sit in my boss's office and now worry about him staring into my soul when I get an ass chewing.

Hmmm...that gives me an idea. Maybe I should invent an 'ass-chewing protector'! I'll work on that thought and post my final product later.

The Evil Baritone has left the building...

Inner Dialogue


Who plays the role of our Inner Dialogue? Huh? I wanna know. Yesterday I caught myself saying things I wouldn’t normally say out loud. Things my Mamma would slap me for if I said them out loud. It must be time for a 36,000 mile tune up because my self-censor is outta whack!

Yesterday I passed by a beautiful looking woman. Now I’m a straight guy. Married, but I like to look. And, I think all women are beautiful. One just has to observe the right features (sometimes internally, ya know, ‘she has a great personality’) which make the female version of the species so attractive. Well, yesterday I spotted this woman who was kinda petite, blond, and was wearing tight jeans. Not my type, but attractive from behind nonetheless. Then she turned and I saw her face, and I heard myself say – I HEARD myself say, ‘well now there’s a hottie…Doh! Never mind…she’s a skank!’ --SLAP -- (heard in Mother’s stern voice…) What did you just say? Wha…? Did I just say that?

Later I was walking down the street, it was a beautiful day, I was in a good mood, but yet I passed by a gentleman (who was hard-pressed to pass for a gentleman, but again, I don’t pass judgment on first impressions) wearing shotty clothing and donning one of those big clown sunglasses. He was fumbling with something in his hands and was gesturing to people like, “look what I’ve got in my hands!” I paid no attention to him, but somewhere in the back of my head echoed, “strung out freak. Why don’t you go back to the loony house.’ --SLAP-- “Ow!... Mom!”

Did I really say those things? Again, it was a beautiful day, I had a wonderful weekend, my mood was elated, but yet somehow those words were formed in my mind. I worry because I don’t want to end up with an Austin Powers syndrome and end up saying something totally inappropriate and having to pull a, “did I just say that out loud?” moment. I do hope this can be fixed in the shop.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My Radio Station Divorced Me

Why do we all love the music from our past? Is it because it makes us reminiscent of the good times in our youth? I hear radio stations changing formats constantlyh, and not the ones playing the "Top 40 of Today!". No, the other stations vying for a piece of the radio pie go from, "The Best Hits of the 80's, and More!", to "Favorite Songs of the 60's and 70's!", then to "The Best Rock Hits of the 80's", and even to "We Play Everything!"

No, really. Check out the link ...

Thought I was kidding?

The unfortunate thing is, once I've found a station that I dig and plays music from my growing up generation, it changes overnight to some derivitive that doesn't appeal to me any more! It takes time to get comfortable with a new station. One has to settle into a format and accept that you like, oh, maybe 70% of the songs played, and 0% of the commercials. But then you get comfortable and "WHAM!" change happens and I become neurotic again in search of a new favorite radio spot. It's as if my wife were to say, "I'm sorry, I'm done with sharing all the interests I have with you. I'm now going to be interested in collecting fungus and shaving my head."

Stations play listener comments like, "Oh, I've finally found you, my one true love of a radio station! Only you understand me!" Or, "I've listened to them all, but you take the cake. I'm a fan for life." Then the station pulls the ol' switcheroo and then what happens to their loyal customer base? I'm not sure it's wise to keep changing formats so frequently. Maybe that's why the top 40 stations have a much longer half-life. They play the same song over and over, until the next big song comes along, then play that one over and over. People seem to like that.