The Hinano Incident

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that our 6th anniversary had arrived. Our honeymoon was celebrated in Tahiti. We were married right in the middle of the Christmas rush, and we decided to wait just a little bit for the honeymoon. We left on our honeymoon just as the Opening Ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics were getting started. We came home as the Closing Ceremonies were under way. Actually, we were in Los Angeles as the last flight was getting ready to go, and we watched some of the Gold Medal Hockey game in a crappy airport restaurant there. We were concerned because they were restricting airspace in Salt Lake because it had only been a few months since the attacks of 9|11. We were lucky to get back here that day at all. But that's another story for another day.

We're gathered here today to reminisce about The Hinano Incident.

We stayed at one of those places where they have the "over-water" thatched roof cabins. They are tres spendy and we didn't stay in one of them, but we did get a beach-front thatched roof cabin, and it was awesome. Every morning we made coffee on our porch and watched the ferry come from Papeete over to Moorea. The part of the island we stayed on was where you could see the morning sun come up over the other island. We spent some lovely mornings doing that.

On the map/picture above, our place was where the red dot is, the white line is where the ferry went every morning. The yellow dot is the industrial dock, and the populated area of the island. The two green dots are where the reef breaks (as you can see) and the massive cruise ships come into the island every few days. One thing about Moorea is that the sea current comes from the left of this picture, and splits in two and runs around the island, then joins up again on the other end. This will be significant to the story in a few moments. When you're laughing at me and secretly calling me "Gringo-honkey"...

So anyway, on the flight down we noticed they were selling the local beer - Hinano. We tried some and asked some questions about it. It's the country's contribution to the mass market beers, produced with way too little Hops, just like every other mass-produced beer. So now we were familiar with the name.

On one of the mornings we noticed a somewhat large yacht parked in the lagoon of our resort area. It had a great big Hinano logo on it and we were told that it belonged to the CEO of the company, and he comes over from the other island a couple of times a month for a long weekend. I also noticed a couple of young females aboard.

The island is ringed all the way around by a reef. Inside the reef, the water is relatively shallow - about 25 feet at the most. Outside the reef, the water drops off and is true ocean water. Inside the reef, water life abounds and there are colorful fish galore, reef formations, etc. We had planned to do a little snorkeling to see the sights, and on this morning we walked over to the little rental stand and rented the necessary masks and snorkels, along with the little tube-raft-motorized thing that would take us out to the spot we wanted to be. When we rented the masks, the guy asked us if we would like the flippers along with the masks. Being the macho type, I of course said hell no, we'll be just fine with our own two feet.

Now, before I continue to emasculate myself publicly, I'll say here that ThatOneWife is a great swimmer, was a lifeguard, swim team type person. Whereas me, not so much. I don't spend much time in the water, as I tend to crispifry quite quickly. I don't like to fish, don't like to waterski, had never owned a boat, etc. SHE, on the other hand is all of those things, except for the fishing part.

Anyway, we took our masks, and my white ass, and off we went out to tie up the little raft, and have a look-see at all the little fishies. All was great. We strapped on the masks and went over side for a lovely look. I really enjoyed myself after adjusting to breathing through a tube. I spent about 15- 20 minutes with my head down looking at a new and wonderful world. Then I looked up and realized I was about 100 yards away from the post and the dinghy thing. No problem, I'll just swim my butt back to the boat. So I started swimming, BUT I WASN'T MOVING. Like, not at all. The current was moving me parallel to the shore, away from our resort area and away from the boat. But not further away from shore. I was about 50-60 yards off shore. I was swimming my ass off, but not moving, and getting tired, fast. So I started yelling my head off, totally panicked. The folks on the Hinano yacht heard me, looked, and wondered if I was serious. I tried to assure them I was DEAD SERIOUS.

Now, just a side note here. As we drove the little dinghy thing out to the post, we came close enough to the Hinano Yacht that I was able to observe that at least ONE of the little females onboard was totally topless. This is not uncommon in the islands, but this one was, shall we say, enhanced. I made a comment about what a great life THAT must be. Anyway, back to the story, and my yelling like a fool. A drowning fool. ThatOneWife was about 100 yards further downstream from me, and I felt like it was two miles. She heard me yelling, the Hinano folks heard me yelling, and the dude on shore at the mask rental shop heard me yelling. And everyone hopped to it at about the same time. The folks on the boat jumped on a sea-doo thing, as did the dude on shore, and ThatOneWife started swimming like a freakin champ. Unlike me, she was able to make good time even though she was swimming straight up-current. The folks on the sea-doo from the yacht reached me first, and though I had cramped up, was dying, had been bitten by a man-eating shark, etc. They piled me onto the sea-doo, gathered up the Mrs. and took us over to their yacht. I had totally freaked out and panicked. Had I been even "sorta thinking" I would have realized that I could have made a turn to my left, kept swimming sideways in the current and easily reached the shore, about 30 feet from our front door. But no, I had to try to get back to the little boat, about 100 yards directly into the current.

Incidentally, once on board the yacht it WAS just gorgeous, and the girl WAS enhanced. They gave us some water, and let us rest up on the deck for a few minutes before I was just so ashamed I had to leave, right now. Once we got there, the female did cover up, sensing that we were not islanders (duh), and I might be more interested in ogling her boobs than, say, breathing, at that moment.

So we got back onto our little dinghy thing, and drove it back to the beach, where we handed in our stuff. The guy looked at me like I was an idiot, which of course I was.

This is the same beach where I got my tattoo.

So now whenever we go swimming at the local pool with the kids, or do something involving water - even if it's a hot tub, I say something like, "don't swim in the current." Or ThatOneWife says, "be careful of the water..." or "do you need some flippers, dear?" Funny. Freakin HILARIOUS.

Which is all rather humorous. Or not really.

But whether it is or not, it is the Hinano Incident. Soon it will be legend. And it gets recounted a little more often than I enjoy.


Whew!! THAT was fun...

Wow... the Christmas holiday was a good one for us, nicer than other recent times. I always like giving presents more than getting them, and it was a good year for that. It was nice to actually surprise kids for a change. The Wii was a hit, and a total surprise. It was a surprise because all the kids, and ThatOneWife as well, know how I generally LOATHE the gaming consoles and the gaming industry in general. If you have been a reader for a while, you'll remember how genuinely Piss-ed off I was when Mrs. ThatOneGuy brought it home this summer. And how I was pissed off at my brother for having talked her into it while I wasn't there. The Big Wanker.

I was side-swiped by my absence. Oh well. Frankly we could package up all the other consoles (of which we have a few) and send them to Outer Mongolia for the poor kids, and just stay with the Wii. I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. You have to pick your battles.

Anyway, it was a good surprise. We'll see if it was at my expense, and the expense of my sanity. But if it's at the expense of school grades or normal social interaction, that's not going to stand. So my view is that it is there to lose.

Anyway, I was also able to generally surprise the Mrs. too. Although one gift was spoiled by an overly verbal and informative youngster who lives at our house.

But all in all, there were some surprises for everyone.

And in a fit of succumbing to the thought that my credit cards hadn't yet had their complete workout, I went and bought myself some skis on Christmas eve. This is something I had talked about for the last few years, and had never done anything about. I skied on the ski team when I was in high school, and I kept skiing for some years afterward, but being a somewhat expensive sport, kids and other career pressures always came first and it had been several years since I had skied. The last skis I bought were 210 centimeters long and were not the newer "shaped" skis - so that should tell you something about how long ago that was.

With one daughter into snowboarding, begging me to take her over the last three years or so, I finally decided to get going with it again. She has had some trouble with her mom this year, and was reaching out for some acceptance and somebody to give a damn about her for a change. Which is hard because she tends to bring some things upon herself in that regard. But it's hard to sit by and watch it happen without making a concerted effort to at least do something to let her know she is cool and swell, and has value in our family.

Then there are two others who have been wanting to give it a try, and it was a good opportunity to let That One Daughter be the cool older sister and do some teaching and mentoring, etc.

So we piled in the car last night and headed up the hill to Snowbird. My skis weren't mounted and ready for me, but the other kids weren't going to wait, so we all went up and had a good time. She was the consummate older sister and was a total trooper with the younger ones just learning. When you learn to snowboard, you spend a fair amount of time on your arse in the snow - it's pretty easy to get disheartened with the whole thing. But she was right there with a hand up, and the right encouragement when it counted and made the younger ones feel like they did a great job. Which they did.

My skis will be done today, and I look forward to getting up there with them all again soon so I can show them that people who ski rather than snowboard are cool folks too, and not a bunch of old fuddy-duddies. I guess that impression remains to be earned.

On another note, I had several people who read here send me an email wishing us all a good holiday, and a few others did so through direct comments to posts as well. I thank each of you, and send back the same wishes to you all.

And finally, I mentioned last week that I was preparing an update for the UtahModernHomes.com site. Obviously, if you're a susbscriber there, you know that hasn't wuite happened yet. However, it is coming, in the form of a short piece called "Edifice Complex", which will look at our obsession with oversized homes, as if that's the only factor used to provide the impression of value. Bigger is better. Except not really.


And even more:

How does one wake up from having slept the entire night (presumably with one's eyes SHUT) with something very scratchy in one's eye!!??

Ouch - it's buggin the CRAP outta me right now. It's like a rock in my shoe, that I can't get out.

Here's a note for you: Just because you have a bluetooth set on your cell phone, and just because you use that as your main business phone line, it doesn't mean you should WANDER AROUND THE OFFICE TALKING LOUDLY IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY ELSE'S DESK. Then there's the guy who is apparently somewhat hard of hearing who insists on listening to neo-con right-wing conservative talk radio so we all can hear it.

Also buggin the crap outta me right now. Go back to your hole, man.

I'm about done for the day, and it isn't even noon yet.

I had the lovely occasion to begin wrapping presents the other day. I hate wrapping presents, badly. I mean I hate wrapping them, and I hate wrapping them badly.

It seems that no matter how big or small, I use about 3 square yards of paper. It sucks.

This morning in my email I had a note from a friend who sent along some tips for wrapping, by Dave Barry:

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the BabyJesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts;gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper.

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it!

That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the Frankincense."

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very First Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:

1. They were wise.

2. They were men.

Pretty much says it all.

Several of the blogs I subscribe to take this time of year to post some sort of sappy Christmas wish or prayer or whatever, wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season. I've thought about this, but I don't really want to post something like that... although I try to be a good person, and I try to do kind things for people all the time, not just at this time of year, so a post like that right now seems disingenuous. However, I've had a quote stuck on the wall beside my desk for some time now, and I really like it. Here it is:

"To know that one life has breathed easier because I have lived, this is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pretty much sums up how we should be treating each other at all times of the year.

There's more to post here, but I have to go dig my brains out of my head with a spoon. And take care of that thing in my eye.

Back soon.


Timely Randomness

Just in time for some days off:

One of the reasons I tend to dislike this time of year, besides the over commercialized part, I mean, is that my time seems to be thinned to the point of not being much use to anyone including myself. There are the concerts, the going to this event or that, because it's what I should do. Couple that with the fact that that's what EVERYBODY else is doing as well, and it seems that not much useful stuff goes on for several days. Nay, weeks, even.

Anyway, we were at a concert over at the Junior High the other night... and the difference ensembles played quite well, actually. That's not my beef. My problem is this: between each ensemble (concert choir, jazz band, orchestra, etc) there is a lag time between tear-down and set-up. Somewhere along the way, the tradition was established that students who wish to, may perform some sort of musical solo to pass the time. Sometimes, there are two or three of these little ditties that happen before the next big group is ready to start.

Most of the time the little ditty consists of a piano solo, as was the case last night. And my complaint is that a massive barrage of notes with no discernible tempo or pulse does not a musical number make. Honestly people, don't hit me over the head with how many notes you can play in 2.5 minutes. You're not John Coltrane, you're not paid by the note. I'd rather hear a piece that is well within your ability to play, and if so inspired, I'd love to tap my toe along with your music. Please give me that chance. To like you.

And to you little singers. Don't get up there with three friends and attempt a song for which you only know the first two lines. You make me uncomfortable and embarrassed for you. Not all Christmassy. A little bit pukey, actually.

Just sayin. You can do better, I know you can. That said, we were treated to some nice music, and even a couple of good solos, in particular one from a tenor sax player who has actually figured out how to growl, and a little trumpet player who displayed a lovely round and focused tone. It wasn't complicated, but it was impressive. See how that works? You didn't bludgeon me, you entertained me.

On that note, it appears I can take on 20 5-year-olds in a fight. I just thought you'd like to know that.


In other news, I have a large update ready to go onto the Utah Modern Homes.com website tomorrow. If you are a subscriber there, you'll see that. Interestingly, I soft-pedaled that here several days ago, right after the domain went live, and I got about 40 hits directed there from this blog. But since then there has been a large amount of search engine traffic going there every day as well. Which is nice - it appears that people in Salt Lake have an appetite for modern architecture priced for mass consumption. Well, not quite mass consumption, but for less than $750,000. You see, if you like that sort of thing, you are relegated to looking at it in magazines, and believing that informed architectural taste, green building concepts, etc, are the domain of the monied. Not so, says I. More on this later.

Until tomorrow, then.


It appears I've won "Blog Of The Day"

Blog Awards Winner

yay me!!!

More in a bit = preparing a lovely random new post at this very moment.


In Retrospect

Last Saturday we awoke to a fresh layer of snow. As in, a full 8 inches of wet, heavy snow.

Six years ago tomorrow, we awoke to the same thing, but it was more like about 13 or 14 inches, as I remember. Why do I remember that? Because that was the day we were married, and we had family and friends coming from different places and we were a tad worried about everyone traveling. Not to mention the pain in the butt it was to simply get out of our driveway and on our way, with kids in tow, trying to remain at least somewhat cleaned and coiffed.

So, tomorrow is an anniversary, and I thought I'd post some thoughts here about that. Because on that day, there were many things swirling about in my head, schedules, photographers, food, kids, ceremony, remember the ring, etc. Silly things that often take up my head space. And as a result I did a crappy job of executing verbally the things I really wanted to say that day to my new wife, in front of friends and family.

You see, we took great pains to go through each element of our entire ceremony, making sure to write it exactly the way we wanted it to be. Our rings are made from surgical-grade stainless steel, and each has a diamond held in place via a tension setting. We got those rings because they have special representation for us, in many ways. Stainless steel is an alloy, composed of a chromium-manganese part and a nickel part, and we liked this because it signifies the joining to two parts to form a stronger union than each offers on its own. The tension-set diamond is held in place without tongs or tines, but simply by the pinching pressure the ring being split apart, diamond inserted, and then allowing the two sides of the ring to hold it in place. It represents opposing pressures, the resistance to those pressures, and the refining qualities of those pressures as well.

We get compliments on our rings all the time, for me, as recently as two days ago. We like them a lot - they aren't overly expensive or garish, but they are unique and suit us, and they represent a great deal to us.

The ceremony we wrote revolved around these rings, and those symbolic meanings to us. But then it came time for me to do my thing, and my mind went stupid, and I rambled on about who knows what.

So, my dear, I just wanted to say that I am more in love with you every single day. I always say that you put up with more crap from me in a day than I ever put up with from you in a whole month, and I really mean that. We have a great life, one that has been troubled at times, and triumphant at others. through it all, we have grown closer together.

Being self-employed is a chore, and it requires a lot of time on my part, some of that time infringes upon our personal time, and I'm sorry for that. Not to mention the time I spend worrying and stressing over every little thing. You do more to make sure our family runs the way it should than I could ever do - I don't know how you successfully hold down a job where you are a superstar, and at the same time make sure there is food to eat and clean clothes to wear. I stand in awe of you all the time.

I can't imagine ever living my life without you, and I just wanted to tell you how much I truly love you on this day, and every other day of the year.

Happy Anniversary. I love you.


On My Hard Drive: Sara Tavares

Sara Tavares

People who know me know that I am a sucker for the well-played acoustic guitar. Especially the nylon stringed classical guitar. There is something so utterly sexy about a well-executed acoustic solo. Especially, it seems, when said solo seems out of place, as if it should have been an electric guitar or something. There are one or two Rolling Stones tunes that have that exact setup. Along with MANY others as well.

But anyway, I heard about Sara Tavares on the radio a week or two ago. She was doing a live interview in support of her new album, her third, called Balancé. She is from the Cape Verde region, and the album mixes african and brazilian rhythms in a way that makes everything seem just fine in the world.

Then she played her guitar. And I pulled into a parking lot and wrote her name down. She is a very talented player, and has both song-writing chops as well as a mastery of the acoustic guitar.

She talked about how the title track came to be. In Brazilian culture, the concept of "balancé" means that there is some sort of soothing rhythm to a life well-lived. Many of the songs on the album prove this to be true. Besides Balancé, the other striking song for me is "One Love".

The album is full of complex yet simple textures, and Tavares shows herself to be a master of these rhythms, her guitar, and a certain amount of her own brand of "balancé".

You should check her out for sure. I know you'll agree.

The nail on the head:

'The main concern today is fiduciary adequacy and not liquidity. We have already borrowed so much (total debt is near 350% of GDP) that our ability to service existing debt is more relevant than access to additional debt. The importance of the Fed to the economy is thus limited, and our fixation with what it does, or does not do, is a distraction from dealing with the real issues."

Something I've said on this site more than once in the recent months.... The fed using monetary solutions for a fiduciary problem.



Busy Times

So, I've been letting this place slide a little in an effort to concentrate on some work things getting done on time. One of the issues I have with this time of year is that everything gets more difficult, with people wanting their stuff done before the end of the year, there is also more time pressure on my personal life, with concerts, gift-buying, getting other gifts into the mail, planning a little fete between Christmas and New Years, etc. And then there's the inevitable head cold that shows up. Great.

All this does nothing very good to my general grinchiness for this time of year, either.

In general, it gets to the point where it paralyzes me for a while, and it's hard to care about many of those things...

But that's okay, I'm coming out of it now, and things are looking up. I have more energy, physically and emotionally. Which is why I am back here now.

So, on to some other things then. The Lehi/Frank Gehry project got a big spread in the weekend paper here again this week. Which brings me around to this. It's a little announcement for our own modern home project in the Salt Lake Valley. It's a soft launch right now, but as I get a couple of other things done shortly, I'll make it a much bigger deal. For now, it's a web site - and from there it will spring-board to a bigger presence in this town.

There are more things going on, and I'll post more design-related stuff tomorrow, along with a very good "On My Hard Drive" thing as well...

Until then, then.


sleepy conversations:

6AM, alarm goes off.

Her: (yawn/stretch) you wanna shower first or should I?

Me: (stretch/scratch) you go ahead, that way when you come back I can sneak a peek at your butt through my half-closed eyes before I get up

Her: (fully awake now) you don't seriously do that, do you?

Me: You have no idea, apparently.

She goes to the shower. Everything works according to plan.


Of 2 Tempests and 2 Teapots

Teapot #1:

It seems that what this city really needs is a Blue Boutique on every block. Let me explain. For you lucky out-of-staters, there is a local neighborhood that carries a certain amount of architectural and societal history, called Sugarhouse, located about midvalley. At the heart of the community is a small shopping district that has managed to resist the "gentrification" efforts of developers over the years. This area boasts older buildings with some very local-first type shops there. Over the last year or two, the area has been slated for re-development by its majority owner, and many of the local shops have been forced to relocate due to the need to totally tear down the decrepit buildings, and start over. (I fear that we will be looking at a set of strip-mall-architected garbage in the near future, but that will MOST CERTAINLY be a post for another day.)

Anyway, one of those unique and interesting shops forced to relocate is The Blue Boutique. It's a lingerie shop that also sells the typical adult novelties, etc. They were the largest tenant on the block, and were, I believe, about the last to leave. They really want to remain in the area, and chose to locate themselves temporarily three blocks to the East. Which is also three blocks closer to Highland High School. Which has a large group of concerned local citizens' panties in a major twist. They are creating major stink about how much MORE polluted the precious children will become, having the store now three blocks closer to the school. Apparently, they will be much more inclined to GO DIRECTLY TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET.

I believe these parents are living in the utopic landscape of their own narrow minds. Anyone who has walked down the hallways of today's high school at lunch time would realize that there are MUCH LARGER PROBLEMS to be spending time on.

The parents group is thinking about surveilling the shop, and taking pictures of the patrons as they leave the store with their purchases in tow, and posting them on a web site for all to see. If they do, I'll sidestep the group, and simply send them my picture via email. At one of the meetings, a domain name was suggested. However, very quickly, some level headed individual went home and registered the domain for his own use instead. Check out that link. From there you can read more about this silly story if you choose.

Honestly, some people just need to get laid.

Teapot #2:
The recent release of the movie The Golden Compass has brightened the day for those who are inclined to make sure you know that if you do something, God will not like you anymore.

There was a local school district administrator who used the district email systems to send a note home to parents warning them to not let their kids see this movie, that it would be a moral mistake. The email is also making its way through the highly refined church systems of communications as well. This is a bad movie. However, there's a good story here, that puts a few things in better perspective, which, apparently, some people around here could use.

Money quote from the article:
Sister Rose Paccate, director of the Pauline Center of Media Studies in Culver City, Calif., said the books portray benevolence toward children and a God figure — just one that’s much different than the one Christians know.

She sees irony in calls to shun the film, considering that one of Pullman’s central themes is that people should not follow orders and forfeit critical thought.

“If you just say ‘no’ to your kids without engaging in a conversation, they’re going to see the movie anyway and all you’re teaching them is power, not really teaching your values,” Paccate said. “If we have faith, what are we afraid of?”

Indeed, what are we afraid of?


This Just In: Not EVERYTHING can be engraved on an iPod

For my birthday this year, the loving ThatOneWife got me an iPod Touch, and had it engraved.

For the clever, there are some things that Apple won't engrave on the back of an iPod.

I just got this link. Check it out - pretty funny stuff.

Something I like: light-colored wood

One of the easiest ways to get into a place that has that open floor plan feel wihtout actually having to build something, you might be looking at a loft space. The problem there is, though, that you now have one giant open space, and while some may be able to live in a space like that, some would not. Enter PLI Architects They have a beautiful way of dividing space without constructing walls. One might think of the system as "residential cubicles" - only NICE.

Here are a couple of pictures:


A Collection of Non-Numbered Nothingness

When I was away for a few days, I wasn't checking email or news feeds. I had my computer with me, but I was more interested in eating, golf, hot-tubbing, and partaking of the adult beverages, not necessarily in that order.

So when I got back to work, I had this DELUGE of news feeds to get through - it took me two days to scan everything. I have several categories of stuff downloaded to me - Business, Design, Blogs, Architecture, News, Finance, etc. Usually, it's the eye-candy design stuff that catches my eye, and I have this sensory overload thing where there is so much that is cool that I just glaze over for a while....

For instance, we note this week that the US record high price for a residential property now belongs ot a property in Colorado. A hedge fund manager bought a residence/ranch there for 175 Million Bucks from the Forbes family. The previous record was held by a home in the Hamptons selling for 103 Million. tough credit markets for lenders? Apparently not for the uber-wealthy residents of Richistan.

Then there is this lamp - lamps are so cool for me - an opportunity for great design in such a small package, all they have to do to qualify is actually function. Most of the time, they accomplish this in spades.

Moving on to other really great clean design, there is this yard bench. Dang good lookin'.

Then we move along to some wonderful architectural design work. Well designed interior space actually maximizes square footage, making true the adage "less is more"...

I get a ton of this sort of thing in my feed box every day, and I often want to post tons of it all the time, but then I know most of you loyals would bail on me, making this space kind of boring... but here's a small sampling:

And after that, check out this lovely townhome - small, and practical...

And now for something completely different: I was once a missionary in my homeland country of Denmark. On one of my first days in Copenhagen, in the main train station, right there on the floor, my eyes were treated with a couple "rubbin' the nubbin".... right there in the open for anyone to see. Why do I bring this up now, about 25 years later? I was reminded of the whole thing, by seeing this story sitting in the feed box.

And that, as they say, is that.

Confession: I used to be a sweater

That's right, a sweater.

Not that kind of sweater though, this kind.

Let me 'splain....

In the first part of my career I was employed in the entertainment industry as a Recording Engineer. It was my job to set up equipment for recording sessions, make sure everything worked right, and make sure the right kind of sounds actually get recorded to tape.

As an engineer, you work for either the studio, or you're freelance, hired by the artist or producer. Either way, you aren't the one paying the bills for studio time. (which can be SERIOUS money per hour) Particularly stressful is having a studio full of 60 symphony players, and having some sort of malfunction in the equipment, not getting the right sounds recorded to tape. Musicians who are paid $45 per hour, regardless of what they are doing can make a bill paying producer a bit cranky if they aren't playing to tape.

During these times, I was a PROFOUND sweater. My shirts always looked like i had just come from the gym, and didn't smell much better either.

I worked in this field for a long time, doing studio work, as well as location work. I believe I once wrote about my little adventure with Sandra Bullock in this area.

Check it out

Anyway, you could virtually wring my shirts out by the end of a long day. I know, sexy to the maximus. This was a complete stress response, just the way my body reacted....

I decided to leave that part of my life behind and was offered a position at a theater, doing Sound Design. Theatrical sound design is a lot the same as studio recording, except for one important difference: in theater, you have 1000 paying butts in the seats, and you have one chance only to get it right - if you don't get a microphone open in time, or you forget a sound effect, forget to bring the music in, etc., you don't get to go back and have a do-over.

Theater sound design was a natural fit for me, I had steady work, and as a well trained recording engineer, I was better at it than the hacks that normally work around here providing sparse and inadequate reinforcement. I was a member of the national association of theater technical disciplines, and lectured once at one of their national conference in, of all places, Kansas City.

Anyway, this "one chance only" paradigm didn't help my stress level, and therefore, my sweating was as profound as ever, if not moreso. I was running up to 40 individual channels of audio, often with a live band or orchestra, sound effects, and perhaps up to 16 tracks of other recorded audio. Getting it right every night was a monumental task, and when it came together, it was stunningly tantalizing. But not without a cost, to my shirts.

It was bad enough that I would only buy light-colored shirts, to minimize the impact, but no matter what I did - I was a sweater.

After about 6 years, I grew tired of working every night til 10:30, so I began looking for something else to do. During my years in the recording studio, followed by the theater, I had a vast knowledge of the equipment used in the process. At the same time, one of those brands was purchased by a large public company, who promptly moved the entire operation to Utah, and one Sunday I was looking through the paper, and saw their logo advertising a technical writer position for hire, and I was there on Monday morning, several years' experience under my belt. I was hired shortly thereafter.

Writing, like music, is a rather subjective endeavor. That is, people either like your work or they don't. It isn't a matter of whether it is "right" or not (but sometimes it may be, especially in Technical Writing), it's about whether your audience LIKES it.

For me, this was stressful, a moving target of whether I was doing my job right or not.... it all came down to how my boss was feeling that morning. And a whole list of other factors.

Therefore, no solution to the "stress=sweat" factor.

From there, I was moved over to marketing and web design. This was during the middle to late 90's , what some refer to as "web 1.0". The days when you were coding pages by hand in HTML. Yeah, I'm that old. From there, my career path led me to publishing, art direction, marketing.

Anyway, as you can imagine, there was STILL this factor of subjective job approval in what I was doing. Therefore I was still DESTROYING my shirts in about 4-5 months of normal wear.

Then 9|11 happened, and the dot-com burst, and short-term-but-deep recession. Along with that came a period of unemployment, for both ThatOneWife and myself - at the same time. Stress? Ummm, yeah.

I decided to take a run at self-employment at that point, and luckily, I chose to do it in the field of ones and zeros, balance or not balance, right or wrong. However, this didn't cure my problem entirely. Being self employed has its benefits, but it is also a royal bitch sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. You have to be able to find people you can trust, and in whom you can PLACE trust. That is easier said than done, and I have learned hard lessons along the way. If I had only known then what I know now, how different things would be...

Anyway, to solve my sweating problem entirely, I found a product called MAXIM. Not the magazine - that does other things. Like make your palms hairy...

Maxim is a product that comes out of Canada, I believe. It's chemical strength is only available via expensive prescription here in the states. I found it online. After some reading, I decided I had a condition called hyperhydrosis, or simply-put, over active sweat glands. Some people have it on their face, back, hands, etc. Luckily, this was not me, but it was nevertheless very embarrassing for me, and expensive on the clothes budget, and limiting in what I could wear.

So, I got some. The treatment is supposed to go for five applications. It basically shocks the sweat glands back into line of normal operation. Frankly, it's a low-level chemical burn, BUT I'll be damned if it didn't work. No amount of stress could overpower it's chemicals.

I used most of the first bottle through about four or five applications, each one's effects lasting longer than the last, until finally, I was able to manage the situation with occasional applications and felt really great about this great breakthrough for me.

As a side benefit, the stuff actually helped reduce my stress as well. Previously, as the sweat stains came, my stress level would go through the roof, which would exacerbate the entire situation.

Now I can buy whatever color shirt I want, out of whatever fabric I want, and I don't worry. and I don't have to replace everything I wear after only a few months. I haven't had to use the stuff for some time now, as my glands are pretty much operating under normal conditions. But I undoubtedly have a reserve stash in case those damn sweat glands get out of line again.

So there you have it. I have no idea what would possess me to write this post and put it out there in the public domain, but hey, maybe I can help another serial sweater out there. Or someone you know.

Just send an anonymous link.


Here you go - enjoy four fireplaces:

In honor of the first real snow of the season beginning to fall about an hour ago...

Back at it: I'm Grumpy and Scroogy

There, I said it - I'm a scrooge. Nothing puts me in LESS of a holiday spirit than witnessing the frantic 4 AM shopping spree the day after Thanksgiving. Not to mention the endless ads touting the door-crasher deals offered to the intrepid.

I think I did a post on "Buy Nothing Day" last year - I still stand by that post.

Anyway, in my absence here, we did get away for a non-traditional Thanksgiving in southern Utah. We had a nice time, played some golf at Coral Canyon (WOW!), and generally enjoyed some hot tub time, adult beverages, and some "less-cold" time.

Happening in the "news" since I kept watch here, we find that Kanye West's mother died from complications of some bad cosmetic surgery performed at a strip mall. Proving that money doesn't buy class.

And also in that category, the Utah Jazz picked up a backup point guard in the off-season, replacing the absent Derek Fisher. It was reported in the Salt Lake Tribune in the last couple of weeks that Jason Hart got his Giant Escalade smacked in an accident. When the insurance company provided a replacement vehicle, he not-so-politely "informed" the agent that his children were not going to be seen in anything less than a black Escalade, and she better hurry up and find a suitable replacement vehicle - ie - another damn Escalade, thanks.

So money buys neither class nor brains. Mr. Hart, this doesn't endear you to your new city. We think you're a moron who is more part of the problem than the solution. That said though, the Jazz are off to a nice start, and Deron Williams is proving himself to be a franchise player. Not a franchise player like Kobe-Bryant-franchise-player, but a real team player kind of guy. Last night against the Knicks, they had 13 field goals and 11 assists in the first quarter.

Anyway, this also appears to the first post written from my new MacBookPro. Love this machine. I've been a Mac guy since college in 1988 or so and I can count on one hand the number of years I haven't owned one, but I haven't owned a portable unit before, and I can't imagine now why the hell not.

So, I'm back at the blog, fear not. But no pictures this time - gotta save that for next time when I actually HAVE SOMETHING OF VALUE TO SAY.

Until tomorrow, then......


The little thing called a DIET

Since the end of August, ThatOneWife and I have been on a diet. We were both cranky with how things had gone in that department for a while, and over time, we had probably said we were going to do something about it, oh, 10 or 20 times, but we finally jumped on it, and got under way.

For me, it started about two years ago when mortgage rates were incredibly low, lenders were only requiring a general pulse from prospective borrowers of mortgage money, and we had a couple of big contracts with big builders to work on their "troubled" files. We were a 2-man shop with one processor, closing, at the peak, about 20 loans per month. This went on for some time, and while it was going on, we were working very long hours, and we brought lunch into the office almost every day, so we wouldn't need to leave to get something to eat. Believe me, when the Pizza Hut guy answers the phone and knows you by name, asks you if you want "the regular", it's not a good thing.

I gained about 20 pounds during that little stint. And up til August, I still owned every pound of it. Not that I was a total "slim-jim" at that point, but I could see my feet for sure.

So, we got serious, and as of this morning, I have dropped 20.5 pounds. It's nice to be wearing clothes that have been tucked into the back of the closet for a long time, and even those are starting to fit loosely. Things were starting to get out of control, and frankly we have plans for later years in the future, and being fat, diabetic, unhealthy, and unable to walk around the block is not a part of that plan. There are still about 15-20 more to go for me before I get to where I REALLY would like to be - which would put me back to the weight I was decades ago, at about 205. I don't know if I will actually get that far, because at some point, I will start doing more at the gym again than straight cardio to loose weight. Once upon a time I had pretty thick arms and shoulders with a fairly slim waist. I will probably seek some of that back again at some point. But not yet.

The diet is not the only thing we have done to help with the weight loss - we golfed a lot this year, choosing to walk when we could, which was helpful, and we have also gotten back to going to the gym on a regular basis. For me, three times a week as about what I can handle. But hopefully over the winter I can raise that to four or more times.

My downfall is bread. I love bread. Almost any kind of bread. And you can take away the "almost" in that sentence if it's WARM bread. Bread Bread Bread. I love bread. Did I say that already? But I'm learning how and when to splurge and still be able to keep control of the situation.

Now I have just one or two other nasty habits to break.

Like telling people to their face how stupid they are.

And blinking.

Misc interesting home photos:

Back to some design thoughts:

Much of my design senses run deeply toward the Mid-Century Modern period. Mid-Century modern is an architectural, interior and product design form that generally describes post-war developments in modern design from roughly 1945 to 1965.

Mid-century architecture was a further development of Frank Lloyd Wright's principles of organic architecture combined with many elements reflected in the International and Bauhaus movements. Mid-century modernism, however, was much more organic in form and less formal than the International Style.

Scandinavian designers and architects were very influential at this time, with a style characterized by simplicity in design and natural shapes. Like many of Wright's designs, Mid-Century architecture was frequently employed in residential structures with the goal of bringing modernism into America's post-war suburbs. This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and open floor-plans with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in.

From this style, one of the easiest next-steps is the style we refer to as "modern contemporary". Its openness recalls that of Mid-Century, but it makes a few adjustments, moving to very cool color schemes, and keeps the simple lines of its predecessor. Mod-Contemp eschews the linear lines in architecture, favoring curves and non parallel interiors. Variations of this style are often seen in larger, custom designed homes - at least in this area.

I often wonder if my Scandinavian ancestry and genetics draw me toward this particular design style. Having spent time there many years ago exposed me to it early on, but I wasn't very in tune with this sort of thing then, so I don't know. I do know it was the first time I had ever seen Bang & Olufsen in person, and I do remember how I felt then.

Because Mid Century was meant as a means to bring contemporary ideals to the regular suburbs, it can be found in the most unassuming places. There are a couple of wonderful examples in my neighborhood, and if they were somewhere else in this valley, they would be worth several times more than they are where they sit.

Often, Mid Century homes are renovated and refurbed to the point that it takes some creativity to see the original potential in the design, and that's too bad.

Anyway, WAY TOO MUCH TALK, not enough pictures. And you want pictures. You know you do.

So, here are some. First two from two homes designed by Richard Neutra, one of the movement's greatest:

Here are some other random designs I've come across recently. The architect is Antonio Cardillo. The first three here are "The Ellipse House".

Take a look at that staircase... it's like taffy in one of those electric taffy pulling machines... wonderful.

Although neither of these homes is something I would find myself buying, they serve to represent the idea of what can be accomplished when one spends the energy to analyze space and truly make it different.

When "TimeOut" no longer works:

One Hung is having kid troubles. In my experience, sometimes you have to "escalate" the situation.

Here is my suggestion:


Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch Appears in Foreclosure Report

This has been reportedly in process for some time. But its actual appearance on the report makes it pretty concrete...

All you need to bring it out of Foreclosure is the $22,000,000 to cure the default.

Liz Taylor - here's looking at you.

click it to big it.


Why Mortgage Lenders Didn't Care About a Borrower's Ability to Pay

"With defaults at record levels, people have begun to question why underwriting standards became so lax during the housing boom. The answer is relatively simple: mortgage lenders were looking at the bottom line, not the borrower."

original article

Dear Comcast: Lick Sweaty Goat Balls

Dear Comcast,

You are holding The Mountain West Conference hostage. The universities comprising the conference are partly to blame for this, but I also assume that when you sold them the idea of starting a television network to support the conference, you told them that partial ownership of the broadcast entity by Comcast wasn't going to present a conflict of interest on your part. But that is exactly what you have done. You told the schools in the Mountain West Conference that you would provide a venue where more games would be on TV, and you would get more national attention for the schools in the conference. You also told them they could schedule games when THEY want, as opposed to being held hostage to the crowded sports programming of networks like ESPN, etc.

But there's a problem.

You see, "The Mountain Network", partly owned by Comcast, and in fact originating from the behemoth Comcast Campus in Denver is holding the local fans hostage for THEIR OWN GAIN. They show the network here in the states served by the conference on the Comcast cable system. But it's not available on any other cable or satellite provider's system. If we don't subscribe to Comcast, we don't get the coverage. Period.

Comcast, you claim this is because those other providers are failing to see the value in your network, and they are not confident in the network being able to bring the viewers to the system. You are running ads on TV right now, asking those of us whom you are underserving to call DirecTV and DISH Network and ask them to change their minds and carry the network on their systems so we all can see.

But here's the other thing. YOU HAD A DEAL WITH AT LEAST ONE OF THOSE SATELLITE PROVIDERS THAT WOULD HAVE BROUGHT THE PROGRAMMING REGIONALLY TO THE SEVEN STATES SERVED BY THE CONFERENCE. But you refused, thinking you could sell the deal to get NATIONAL exposure, rather than regional, and the bigger cash deal that would have garnered.

So, you are asking us to call THEM and tell them to carry the programming? Every person not getting the coverage of our local schools' athletic activities should be CALLING YOU to complain about the monopoly you have created because you were too greedy to let the conference have coverage in the states where the most eyes would be for the programming anyway.

And shame on the Mountain West Conference leadership for allowing you to even enter the door. Network ownership by a competitive cable provider was a bad idea from the outset, and they allowed the monopoly to be born, from the very beginning. Shame on the Mountain West Conference.



Got Blog?

It seems I collect half-written posts in my little queue over here. Not wanting to overload you sensitive readers with too much over the top design crap, I tend to keep that stuff and then surprise you with too much all at once.

So what is it about Twitter that has everyone all um... A-Twitter?

I don't really get that. Send a cryptic text message from your cell phone to your twitter account and have it automatically posted to whatever public space you use, like MySpace, facebook, Blogger, etc. Because we all want to know the stupid and inane details of your life sent to us via text message.

Jst stped in dog poop. Stinky. LOL.

Um... who cares?

But then I was thinking about it over the weekend... all through the day, I have these little ideas that could be expanded to a nice little blog post - one that actually DOES something, like tell a little bit about me, or express an opinion, or talk about something I thought was particularly funny, but every time I open this little application, I GOT NOTHIN.

So maybe I should Twitter myself, and then I would have a pretty instant set of reminders for good posts, and you wouldn't have to read this crap all the time.

I twittered myself in the shower this morning. LOL.

So, in an attempt to get some good stuff up here, I'll go back to the archives of half baked posts and get a couple up and ready to go. The next couple of those will be that.



Yeah baby... the first Utah Cheesecake Factory opens here in Salt Lake today.


I can't remember a restaurant opening here that has garnered more press than this crappy old chain restaurant. I wonder just how many 6000 calorie cakes they sent out anyway!!?

This is the restaurant that served as the ictus for our esteemed Liquor Control Board to ask for more than glass barricades to block the view of The Evil Alcohol from the tender view of the fat-cake eating public.

The dude from Commerce CRG, or whatever, said in the paper that "It's like Utah has finally arrived..."

Arrived at what exactly? What we DON'T need is more chain restaurants.

Incidentally, the only reason we don't have more of the up-scale restaurants here is because of the stupid liquor laws. Cheesecake Factory was forced to change the way it does business here in Utah, because they will lose money on the liquor service compared to their other restaurants. See, in their others, they have ACTUAL BARS, with stools and everything! GASP!

Here, it's scaled back, and patrons must sit at tables in a small cordoned off area and be waited upon. With watery drinks.


Well, THAT'S a good thing.

And by the way, the place I came here from had a CF more than 2 decades ago. It's just not that big a deal. It's a CHAIN.

Tagged. lower case yay.

Yeah, so I've seen this going around many of the blogs I read for several days now. I always look at the bottom to see if I've had the unfortunate pleasure of being hit with it.

But being the swell guy I am, I'll play along.

She Who Is Tall tagged me for this - so thanks for THAT. She just started her blog a little bit ago, so go give her some eyes, will ya?

Anyway, here are my seven oddball facts:

1. If I had it to do all over again, I'd be a residential architect. You probably could have guessed that one. I'm constantly inspired by living spaces designed for living, as opposed to maximizing some builder's bottom line potential. The common and regular is rarely acceptable for me in this vein.

2. My first job was as a dishwasher in the short order kitchen of a hotel. That's when I first smelled marijuana. With my first paycheck I bought a jacket.

3. I feel that I have a lousy short term memory. When I'm introduced to someone, I forget their name unless I repeat it back to them immediately. But around the office, I am "the keeper of odd knowledge". I'm also called "the wordy bastard" by some here. I wear that with pride. I can write prolifically. A blog is a good outlet for that.

4. I read in spurts. I like to read, and I go through periods of time when I will read a book a month for a long time. Then I will go through a time when I don't read a book for an extended period of time. I read the newspaper and several magazines all the time though. ThatOneWife can read a book a week in perpetuity.

5. I have fewer real friends than I would like. This year though, I made a small goal to try to reach out to some older friends of mine, and that's been very rewarding for me. This summer, we had probably my best friend of all time as a house guest overnight. I hadn't seen or talked to him in about 20 years. Life is too short for that. Sorry Sean.

6. I've never "partaken" of one illegal drug. Ever. It scares me. I've been around people who have, and I've been offered plenty of times.

7. My mom once caught me skipping school. She was coming out of the mall, and I was walking back to the bus to get home. I was about 15 miles from home (and so was she), and I was hanging out at my girlfriend's school, rather than my own. It wasn't a good day. I skipped a pretty large portion of 10th grade.

Since I believe I am the last person on earth to have been tagged with this, we'll leave this at that - play along, leave a comment that you played along and we'll all come over and see how you have publicly emasculated yourself.


Just seeing if this widget posts:

I'll talk a little about this tomorrow - but now it's time to go home.

Now I remember - a quick thought

Now I remember why I am no longer a graphic designer.

When the client is a fat old man who smells like body odor, his idea of good design is different from .... actual good design.

Lordy, I'm glad I now work in the black and white world of quantitative results-oriented measures of goodness.

Just sayin'.

Back to what you were doing.


Ahhh, Fall.

3 things:

1. Nice to have some fall time - a nice long weekend enjoyed by us... 2 rounds of golf, etc.

2. We contributed to the Affleck Family Trust also, I'm sure. Let me explain - we saw "The Kingdom", starring Jennifer Garner (Ben's wife) on Saturday, then yesterday, we saw "Gone Baby Gone", starring Ben's younger brother Casey, and directed by Ben himself... It was pretty good - recommended. Nice twist. We got an hour into it, and things seemed to be wrapping up, and I thought to myself, geez, this is an episode of Law And Order... but then it got interesting.

3. Since it's fall time, and since the weather is turning cool, and since we have running water and fish in the back yard, etc... we have a certain amount of wildlife also. Some of them are of the rodent phylum. At this time of year, some of the said rodentia find their way into the warmer confines OF THE HOUSE.

This freaks out some of the house's occupants more than others, but in order to keep the peace, the little fellows must go. I stopped at the mega-store to get some traps the other day, and rounded up five of them. All told, there are six, and the last one is taking the "survival of the fittest" thing a bit far. At the peril of his very existence, he has licked the peanut butter off of three different traps, without having his neck snapped in one swell foop.. Crafty little bugger. I think I heard him giggle as he made his way back under the fridge. And belch.

I loaded up the traps again this morning, hoping for the law of averages to kick in. We'll see how that went when I get home tonight.


Welcome to Utah, but don't offend them, over there.

In this morning's Tribune our (state monopolized) Liquor Commission's leader was reported to have asked her colleagues on the board to enact a rule to cover up bottles of booze displayed at restaurants because some diners may be offended at the SIGHT of Alcohol.

A glass partition (rule already in place) between bartenders and customers required under current regulations may not be enough, Coray told her fellow liquor control commissioners at their monthly meeting.

Coray, a lone holdout opposing liquor licenses for strip bars, now wants the commission to place more restrictions on glass partitions in restaurants. She called the partitions "a Zion curtain," imposed to satisfy Mormons whose faith eschews alcohol. (Mormons shouldn't be in strip bars anyway... pretty sure.)

Glass walls don't obscure the alcohol, said Coray, a nondrinker, turning the "atmosphere in a restaurant to more of a bar." She singled out the Cheesecake Factory, which opens its first Utah outlet at Fashion Place in Murray on Nov. 1, because alcohol bottles are in plain view.

Coray, a NON-DRINKER FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS, notes that she doesn't think Utah's inane liquor laws are quirky at all. She has challenged the public to point out quirks, and, she says, no one has done so.

Ms. Coray, do you think it might have something to do with the idea after a while, nobody likes to scream into a vacuum?? Gimme a break.

At Squatters, a downtown brew pub, you can sit on a bar stool and order a beer, but upstairs at the loft, where they have a full service license, you can't do that. You have to get a table, and food. How's THAT for a quirk?

How about the stupid "one drink on the table per person at a time rule"?? That's pretty moronic right there - effectively, if you're drinking a glass of wine, and your waiter asks you if you want another one, and you say yes, when the waiter brings your glass, your first one has to be empty BEFORE THEY CAN PUT YOUR NEW ONE ON THE TABLE and take your old glass away. Quirky? Umm, yeah.

No sidecars allowed? QUIRK.

How about this one: 3.2% (Alcohol) beer. That's not a quirk? Then how about the idea that liquor should be regulated and doled out at state-run stores? But they won't CHILL IT FOR YOU. That's your problem. QQUUIIRRKKKKK.

Like I said, after a while, you just have to stop slamming your hand in the car door.

So clever it almost hurts

It came to our attention a couple of weeks ago that kids at our house sometimes leave the house without locking the doors.

This concerns me greatly, especially in light of the fact that I have been considering an alarm system to protect my assets while I am not home.

Leaving the front door UNLOCKED is anathema to me.

So this morning I put a little sign on the front door to remind kids to lock the freaking door.

The sign says, "Lock Me, Amadeus"

Friggin brilliant. In my own mind.