Thursday, January 31, 2008

What the hell is wrong with you people?

The people in question: My children, young Logan and Maya Chicken. The reason for the exclamation? Their agreement that Dare chocolate fudge cookies, a traditional Chicken family treat dating back to the glory days of the 1970s, are "too rich." And "too chocolatey." As if that is even possible...I mean look at the packaging. Does that look too rich or too chocolatey? No, it looks like a nice chocolate sandwich cookie going for a swim in a sea of fudge. And really, who can blame it?

I suppose I will have to keep plying them with Oreos and Teddy Grahams and save the good cookies for myself!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Radio, now with 90% more flames!

So I volunteer with a community radio station (the glorious Northwest Indy Radio and Radio KYA, voice of the downtrodden lefties of Grey's Harbor and bringer of music to Ocean Shores). And while at times I may not agree with the formatting (I'm not a talk radio fan, nor am I usually a fan of anything referred to as "sweetest music"), that's not my job. My job is to talk in to a microphone and hopefully say something entertaining.

Such is not the case for Paul Webster Feinstein down in Austin. Paul clearly cares a lot about the music and content on his station. And I'm sure if I were doing more than voice tracking from my basement I might care too. But I doubt that I would react the same way Paul is alleged to have reacted when his music stylings were overridden by some other volunteer...maybe it's just my passive-aggressive nature, maybe it's the fact that the studio is like 100 miles from my house, but I would never resort to arson to solve my problem...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Well, at least I don't do this...

I've been known to tie one on on occasion, but I have never drunk-driven my riding mower to the liquor store to stock up. Might be because I don't have a riding mower, or it might be because I'm always sure to stock up before the binge. One of those.

In the mean time, here's another album cover, 'cause I'm bored and uninspired. It's by Christopher Cross' lesser-known brother Simon. I think it's kind of new-agey, based on the watter droplets and the English spelling of "Labour". It's also in some weird long-format packaging, so I'm not sure it will play in my CD player.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What a difference a day makes

So yesterday it was all sunshine and light, hummingbirds and blue sky. Then this morning I woke up to this:

Heck, even the guys at JiffyLube got in to the spirit (sorry for the crappy cell phone photo, but hey, I was in the car...)!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hummingbirds??? Hummingbirds!

Quick check of the calendar...yep, still January. But hey, it was sunny today, and not super cold - probably upper 30s or 40 or so. So why the heck shouldn't we have 5 or 6 hummingbirds flying around in the back yard? No reason, that's what.

Tried to get pictures of them in flight but I'm just not good enough. So here are a couple just hanging out (I don't think they're the same one, but I'm not enough of a birder to know):

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The drive home, a recap

So if I were a good bloger I would have thought to pull out the ol' camera phone and snap some pictures on the way down from skiing today, but I'm not and I didn't. Oh, and I had my hands full of steering wheel. So here's the recap in words, rather than in pictures.

First, the drive up: Uneventful. Met Dave and Kelsey at the Preston P&R at about 8:20, loaded them in the car, and continued on up to Snoqualmie. At the top of the pass it was 15 degrees and snowing lightly. By the time we got on the Silver Fir chair it was snowing slightly harder, but not too bad. By the time we dropped the kids off for ski lessons it was definitely cold and definitely snowing. Being a good dad I gave Logan my face covering thingy to keep him warm, figuring the beard might protect me.

It didn't. It just filled up with snow and ice, making my face colder and colder. Because it kept snowing, and in fact got harder as the day went on. By the time we got to the car (probably 12:45 or 1) there was at least an inch of snow on the car. Nice and dry, powdery stuff, but snow nonetheless.

The kids were cold and grumpy, so we decided to bail on the afternoon and head back down. Which is where the fun started.

The traffic wasn't too bad until we got past the Summit West on-ramp and the long descent down the pass. Not super crowded, and everyone was being relatively smart - no nutjobs in SUVs driving 60 when the rest of us are going 30 - but mostly because the visibility blew and the road was pretty much covered with snow. And it had warmed all the way up to like 17 degrees. But over the top of the pass and heading down the west side the snow started getting wetter. Which made it stick more to the windshield and the wipers. Which led to the wipers getting iced up, which in turn led to me not really being able to see much out the windwhield. Which, when you're going down a relatively straight freeway at like 25 miles an hour, isn't that big of an issue. I mean, it's not like I had to worry about running over pedestrians or something...

The really weird thing about today's drive was that the lower we got, the worse the conditions. The snow got wetter and heavier, the roads got more covered, and the windshield got more ocluded. Eventually, with the heat on high defrost and the wipers on full, things melted up enough to start shaking off some of the ice and snow and I was finally able to see. Kind of. Traffic sped up a bit, but not enough to be dangerous, and finally we got low enough that it turned to rain and all was right in the world.

Amazingly, we only saw one accident. Even more amazingly, it was below the snow line. All I can think is that the guy saw that there wasn't any snow on the road any more, punched it, then hit some ice or something and boom: it's off the road and up the hill for you, sir!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yet again, I got nothing.

And worse yet, I don't feel like doing another album cover. So instead, this. Further proof that I just don't play the right slot machines.

In other news, tomorrow's weather forecast for Snoqualmie Pass actually looks decent! While there's snow in it, it's also cold enough that we might not get soaked before lunch and actually get to ski in the afternoon. w00t!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Too cold to walk"

That seems kind of weak as an excuse for stealing a car. Especially when you were on your way to a court-ordered counseling program aimed to keep you away from stealing cars.

But hey, the kids are 16 and 17, and it was 40 below outside, so maybe it is a valid excuse.

What really gets me about this story, though, is this part: "...the city has introduced a program where high-risk offenders are called as often as every three hours to ensure they are not out stealing cars."

WTF? There's enough money in the Winnipeg Police Department budget to pay someone to call potential car thieves 8 times a day and make sure they're not boosting a car? What, do they outsource these calls to Bangalore or something?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thanks, guy on the bus!

I really enjoyed having "California Dreamin'" stuck in my head all day. But I have to ask...doesn't having the volume on your iPod high enough that I can hear it across the aisle make it hard to hear? Or are you related to Edgar Montrose (pictured here)? 'Cause you didn't really look like him, but that could be because you didn't have the headphones on...

Who's Heather?

Here's why I ask...Back on the 11th I posted this bit about Jackson Kirk "Jack" Grimes, candidate for President (of the US, none the less). Shortly thereafter (like in a few days) I got this in the comment section (a rare thing for the ol' Chicken Blog...unlike John, Tina and Bonnie I'm not well read):

Anonymous said...
STOP making a joke of the United Fascist Union.

Would you be inclined to do so in person, where Sam McCoy's Storm Troopers would kick your ass?

As a politician Director Grimes tailors his speeches to his audience and the flying saucer people were paying him to be there.

Hail Grimes!

I was sitting at home alone the other day when my telephone rang, and some sort of automated voice-activated survey was asking residents of Cecil County whether they believed abortion should be legal in this country. Despite pressing the #9 button, as instructed for pro-choice, the robotic voice thanked me for being pro-life.

So, I am writing this letter, publicly stating, for the record, not only do I believe abortion should always be legal in the United States, but actually encouraged, as a great way to reduce the surplus population.

Religious fanatics and right-wing lunatics are pushing these backward-thinking programs because of that maggot, Bush, and his fundamentalist Jesus freaks. Can we allow the Christians, who have a worse reputation for bigotry than the Nazis, to dictate morality in a free country?

There's more than just women's rights at stake here, and it's high time free thinkers tell these anti-abortion idiots, the lunatics from the religious right and Jesus -boy Bush, to stick it.

Jackson Grimes
Presidential Candidate
United Fascist Union

11:44 AM

I assumed that Jack's got some google bot out there checking for his name and he then pops up and comments. Cool, works for me, no biggie (and yes, Anonymous Possible Jack Grimes, I would make fun of the UFU in person, but only because I've lined Sam McCoy's pockets with Benjamins).

But then today I get this one:

Anonymous said...
Hi Heather:

How are yor & Director Grimes doing. Here's my thingy to help out a little.

Hail Grimes!

Jackson Grimes Presidential Priorities
"Abolish paper money. Establish a 'Transferable Work Point Card' as an electronic credit and debit system which would bring about a cashless/checkless society." "Establish a 'Universal Price Index' designed to first freeze and then greatly reduce the cost on all necessities of life like rent, groceries, car payments & etc." "Create a league of none or ten nations that would form a Confederacy of States to create a global government. The keystone of which will be Corporate Statism. Import Canadian-Style, Hate Laws, that would outlaw hate groups like the American Nazi Party & the Ku Klux Klan. Then grant "SPECIAL PROTECTIVE LEGAL STATUS" to Afro-Americans, homosexulals, Jews, women and, certain other minorities, that have been traditional targets of bigotry in the past.

12:43 PM

To which I must say..."Who's Heather?"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I got nuthin'.

Heath Ledger is dead, former fake New York District Attorney Fred Thompson has pulled out of the race, and I'm sleepy. I should really start writing these things in the afternoon.

So instead I'll just post another album cover for my second fake band, "Foindu", which is not melted cheese as I thought, but instead "village in Kono District in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone." At least according to Wikipedia...

Monday, January 21, 2008

From the shameless idea theft department...

Well, maybe not technically theft, since it's a meme and that's what they're about, right? Anyhoo, I saw this over on Gallivanting Monkey and figured it was worth a shot, expecially since it's so dang easy.

It's the "Album Cover Meme," and here are the rules:

Go to this website:

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.

Done, done, done and done. And here are the results (not as cool a photo as Tina's first one...might have to try this one again):

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Why can't this kind of stuff be on US TV? I mean, sure, we've got MXC, which is great, but really...hard to beat the old "rubber tubing around your face while trying to eat a marshmallow on a string" contest. Beats the hell out of Plinko.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Coming soon...

To a YouTube near you (and probably here in the ol' Chicken Blog), a fresh new animated short from Mr. Logan Chicken. The photos are done, now I just have to animate it and load it up. Maybe tomorrow...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Sister!

So it's my sister Carol's birthday today. Well, technically it's tomorrow, since I'm writing this on Friday, but she lives in Maryland where it's already Saturday so I think I'm safe.

Anyway, if I were a good brother I'd have prepared a slide show or something like I did for the kids, but I'm not. And I don't have that many pictures of her...I do have some she took back when I was like 5 or something...nice black & white shots of me climbing a tree, and swinging on a swing, and jumping around in the yard. I think it was for a class project documenting stuff from Winnie the Pooh, with me in the Christopher Robin role. Kind of amazing that I was able to climb the tree, since I appear to be wearing saddle shoes...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Selv en verdensmester har brug for selen

No idea what it means, but it might be "buckle up".

So tired...

Too sleepy to come up with anything original tonight, so I'll just post a link to this fine story about the taxpayer's dollar hard at work in Richmond, Virginia. Because you wouldn't want people hanging just anything from their trailer hitch!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Survey says....Bad Clowns!

So some researchers at the University of Sheffield over in England did some research and determined what we all know far too well: Clowns are scary.

I think one look at this picture taken by my nephew Matt (from his photo log explains it all. Well, except for what the hell happened to the end of the nose...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

RCRG on French TV? Oui!

I know...crappy headline. But hey, it's late. Sue me.

I don't speak French, but now I know that "Pia Mess" / PMS translates to "Miss Ragnagna". And that's good to know.

Anyhow, if you DO speak French, or just want a little cultural roller derby action, check out the video!

Life imitates "Little Miss Sunshine"

From the fine folks at KGW:

Family continues road trip to Ore. with dead grandma in RV

Another item in the long list of things I just don't understand

Raw Milk. OK, I can understand the general concept of the "eating raw" movement...sure, vegetables and fruits and whatnot have more nutritional value if you don't cook 'em. Sure, meat is cruel and leads to clogged arteries and a big ass. But raw milk? Does the pasteurization process really take that much out of the product? I mean, you can get whole pasteurized milk that's chock full of milk fat and all that goodness, it's just had the bacteria cooked out of it. Or is that the problem, that the pasteurization process kills both good and bad bacteria, and the benefit of the good outweighs the risk of the bad?
Can you tell I haven't actually researched this one? I know, it's easy to miss.
Anyhow, what brings this to mind is this story from the AP, via the Seattle Times:

Five sickened by raw milk from Ferndale dairy
By The Associated Press

FERNDALE — Health officials say five people were sickened by bacteria from a batch of raw milk that was recalled by a dairy in Ferndale.

According to the Whatcom County Health Department, four were from Whatcom County and three were from neighboring Skagit County.

All tested positive for the same strain of campylobacter jejuni that was found last month in unpasteurized milk from Pleasant Valley Dairy. That batch was pulled from the shelves, and the dairy has resumed distribution of raw milk as far south as Seattle.

Health officials also say the dairy has changed its testing procedure to reduce the risk of releasing contaminated milk.

Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of diarrhea in the United States.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Apparently Arthur W. Nack, my bus driver in Elementary School was right all those times he yelled at us to keep our arms inside the bus. And here we thought he was just trying to scare us!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lazy Sunday

And not a muffin nor a Chronic what? Cle of Narnia to be found. And in spite of it's laziness I actually did accomplish something. I managed to do some laundry. And Scotchgard™ some ski stuff so I won't (hopefully) get soaked next time it snows. And cut up the Christmas tree and put it in the yard waste, something I'd been putting off for, oh, a week or two.

The rest of the day, though, was pretty dang lazy. Which is really what Sunday is all about, at least in the Chicken household.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


So the weekend started off great...big show last night, our next-to-last gig with Jack Chicken, the Sacred Truths' final show, plenty of rock and quite a bit of roll. Then everything went to hell.

So the boy is back in ski lessons with the fine folks at Webbski, on the same Saturday morning schedule as in past years. Which on a normal Saturday would mean I get up at 7, drag the boy out of bed at 7:30 or 7:45, then go meet Dave and Kelsey at the Preston Park & Ride at 8:30 or so and head up the hill.

Well, since I knew the show would run until 1, and since Paige was going to the show as well and we'd therefore need some child care, we imposed on Mom to host the kids over night. Mom lives in south Bellevue, right off I-90, and is therefore at least 20 minutes closer to Snoqualmie. So it was all going to work out great, right? Well, not quite.

Got to Mom's at about 1:20, was probably asleep by 1:45, and set the alarm for 7:45 figuring I'd leave the house at 8:15 or 8:30. That part of the plan (the waking up part) worked fine. But I'd forgotten the small problem of waking up young Logan Chicken. The boy just loves to sleep, especially at around 8 AM. So we didn't get out of the house until about 8:45 or 8:50, well behind schedule.

The rain turned to snow right around the second chain-up area, but the roads were still clear. Crowded, but clear. The snow got heavier as we climbed the pass, but we were still making good time. Both the Summit and Summit East exits were packed, so we drove past to Hayak and looped back to the Silver Fir parking lot, pulling in around 9:30. So...30 minutes to get gear on, ride the chair, and ski down to the Webbski chalet. Not going to happen.

And it didn't. We got the gear on relatively quickly, and there wasn't a line for the chair, but Silver Fir is slooooow. And on the way down Logan hit a spot where his confidence left him, so he had to hoof it down a bit. But we finally made it to Webbski (probably around 10:25), and luckily his teacher had planned to do a quick run and swing back with the class to pick up stragglers. So off he went, and off Dave and I went to ski on our own.

Now last season I was in shape. I'd run the Portland Marathon in early October of 2006, I ran the Seattle half marathon in November, so even though I slacked off after that I was still in good shape come January 2007. Well, that's not the case this year. Prior runs this year had been with Logan, so it was ski....stop. Ski....stop. Skiing with Dave, on the other hand, was some more...stop at the lift. And let me tell you, that hurt. A lot. Like "end of the day I've been on the skis for 8 hours and it's the last run" hurt. Only this was the first. Ouch.

Fortunately for me, Dave was in the same boat (or he's just humoring of those). And also fortunately for me, we skied Silver Fir pretty much all morning, and it's a slow chair so it gave me a nice break. And even more fortunately, we left after Logan's lesson at 12:30 so I didn't have to suck it up any more.

Oh, and it was snowing all morning so I got soaked. Not cold, just wet.

OK, so that's the ski review. Well, the day just got worse thanks to the Seahawks' inability to run the freaking football. I should have turned off the radio and not turned on the TV after I got to Mom's, 'cause at that point they were up 14 - 0 and looking good. Then the Packers remembered how to play and we forgot, and that was the end of it. So now I find myself in a position of either rooting for the team that just beat us (since I can't stand the Giants or the Cowboys), or rooting for the Patriots just so they can make history. Or maybe I should go back upstairs and start rooting for Jacksonville...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Grimes is back!

Sure, you thought his political career was over after his resounding defeat back in 2004, but Jackson Kirk "Jack" Grimes is back in the running for President of these United States. And that's good, because the country needs the United Fascist Union to keep us on our toes and to remind us of who we are as a people.

And we need Jackson Kirk "Jack" Grimes to remind us that, as he so eloquently put it back in 1998 when speaking to the Flying Saucer Society in Dover, Delaware:

The fact that I'm speaking to you today proves that having our business cards in the Wilmington Public Library is not in vain and that some people must actually take the time to look stuff up on the Internet.

More importantly, back in '98 he had FEMA's number, as shown by their fine performance during Hurricane Katrina (from the same speech to the FLying Saucer people):

F.E.M.A. is the “Federal Emergency Management Agency.” They are the American equivalent to the Gestapo. F.E.M.A. wants the president to suspend the Constitution, declare Martial Law across the country and then round up and kill most Americans who will be used as food for Big Brother Grey once colonization begins. President Clinton says he wants F.E.M.A. to conduct emergency preparedness tests in 16 major cities this very summer. So, the Gestapo round-ups could start any day now.

But don't think that Jackson Kirk "Jack" Grimes is only interested in talking to space people. Or Earth people who believe in Space People. Or whoever the Flying Saucer Society is. No, he is also, in classic Fascist form, interested in trains and making sure they run, if not on time, at least to Elkton, Maryland.

And in case none of THAT is enough to get your vote, here are his Presidential Priorities for when he finally assumes office:
  1. Abolish paper money. Establish a "Transferable Work Point Card" as an electronic credit and debit system which would bring about a cashless/checkless society.
  2. Establish a "Universal Price Index' designed to first freeze and then greatly reduce the cost on all necessities of life like rent, groceries, car payments & etc.
  3. Create a league of nine or ten nations that would form a Confederacy of States to create a global government. The keystone of which will be Corporate Statism.

Who could want anything more than a "Transferable Work Point Card" and reduced rent? If that's not worth voting for I don't know what is.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

With friends like these...

So Senator John Kerry has endorsed Senator Barak Obama for president, "snubbing" both Senator Clinton and former Senator (and former VP candidate) Edwards (and yes, I realize that's a lot of Senators for one sentence...too bad there aren't any decent Governors in the race this time. Or maybe a Representative or two. Possibly a Mayor or Alderman).

My question is, is Kerry really trying to support Obama? Or is he actually in the Clinton camp but realizes that he can do her more good by publicly endorsing Obama?

In either case, I think Edwards should be happy. I was an Edwards guy back in 2004 and still think he completely blew it by getting on the ticket with Kerry. He would have been better off staying in the Senate and letting Howard Dean or someone else take the fall, 'cause there was no way Lurch was going to be elected President. No way.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Remember that YouTube thing from a few days ago?

Never mind. The YouTube memoirs of my friend Dan and his brother Ben's unscripted ramblings about books and whatnot are gone. Why? Well, to paraphrase Dan's words, he didn't want to become Chris Crocker.

Dan, you may be many things, but Chris Crocker you ain't.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh, that wacky Ken Hutcherson

So Ken, if you're not from Seattle or have been sleeping under a rock, is a big-shot Evangelical pastor with a big-ass church in Kirland. And Ken, being all Evangelical and all, doesn't like the gays. Or their gayishness and their wanting to be all accepted and whatnot.

But what REALLY gets Ken's goat is when companies support the gays to the point of trying to influence public policy by doing what companies do best, spending lobbying dollars. Ken's main target is, and has been for a while, Microsoft.

Microsoft has a bunch of gay-friendly policies. Last year (I think...might have been 2006...and please note that the rest of this paragraph is based on my faulty memory 'cause I'm way too lazy to look it up) Ken had a meeting with some Microsoft big wigs, after which Microsoft pulled their support for some gay rights legislation that was working its way through he State House (or Senate). Well, that led to some uproar (most noticeably in The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper) which then led to a renewal of support and the eventual passage of said legislation.

Well, as I mentioned, Ken's back in the spotlight, now asking his followers to buy 3 shares of MS stock and give one share to his investment fund so they can use the clout of the Hutcherson Masses to influence the company's behavior. But what really gets me is this quote, from Seattle's Only Other Newspaper the PI:
"That's when I got upset at Microsoft, when they came down to Olympia ... I said, 'Wait a minute, what are you doing down here trying to make your own policy state policy?' "

To this I ask: Um...Ken? Isn't that what you're trying to do? Why is it OK for you and your horde of evangelicals to make your own policy state policy when it's not OK for Microsoft? After all, there's that whole "separation of church and state" thing in your way...and while there probably should be a "separation of business and state" thing in Microsoft's way, there isn't yet and won't be any time soon...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bowlarama, or Bumpers are Evil

So as I may have mentioned a few days ago, Friday was Miss Maya Chicken's birthday. Well, since having a birthday party on the actual birthday is apparently not possible (well, not when you're having it somewhere other than the house and don't figure out where that will be until 3 weeks before the party...) we had the party on Sunday. At the Lynnwood Bowl and Skate.

9 6- and 7-year-old girls, several parents, pizza, cupcakes, and roller skates. So naturally I did what any good father would do, took my son and his friend bowling. 'cause hey, it's a bowl and skate.

Now back in the day I did my share of bowling (not in the mighty Sun Villa Lanes in Bellevue). And back in the day if you didn't roll the ball down the middle of the lane it went in this thing called a "gutter". Hence the term "gutter ball". As a result, many of my bowling games had scores in the teens.

Well, now they've got these new-fangled things called "Bumpers". Which is another way of saying "cheater rail that keeps the ball out of the gutter". Which is another way of saying "my 10 year old can beat my ass at bowling because he has no risk of missing with his first ball."

That said, it was fun. Especially when Logan and his friend Kyle decided to see who could roll the ball the slowest (another great technical marvel: radar guns on the bowling alley). That record was set by Kyle, who rolled an impressive 1.6 mph ball. And, thanks to the bumpers, scored a 7.

Anyhow, after the skating was over Paige and Miss Maya joined us on the lanes and they all proceeded to kick my ass. And no, I didn't record the final scores. But I think it was something like 101 for Logan, 95 for Maya, 93 for Paige and a whopping 85 for me.

Next time, no bumpers!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Stupid glasses...

No, not the kind on your face, the kind you have to wash. We've got a bunch of pint glasses, and generally they're really durable. Most of them are pretty thick, festooned with logos and whatnot, picked up on bike rides or at thrift shops.

But we've got a few that are thinner, lighter, and more prone to breaking. Which is what happened tonight while I was washing it. And not some innocent "oops, the glass slipped and broke in the sink" kind of thing. No. This was a full-on fracture while my hand was inside the glass scrubbing it out, carving out a chunk of the side of my pinkie and putting a nice scratch in the back of my hand.

So now I'm trying to type with my right pinkie all wrapped up in gauze, which makes hitting the ? key a bit of a pain.

At least the funk station on is cranking out the jams...that's helping.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

35 - 14

And that about sums it up. And by "it" I naturally mean today's Seahawks - Redskins playoff game, a game in which the offense looked great at times and crappy at times, and the defense basically saved the day. They've been doing a lot of that this season, and I'm hoping that next weekend in Green Bay they won't have to do it again. Hoping they won't, but also assuming that they will because the running game still looked crappy today and it's easy to defend the pass if that's all you have to worry about!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday, Miss Maya Chicken!

Another January 4th, another birthday for Miss Maya. Hard to believe she's seven. So here, to commemorate it, just like last year, is a series of photos covering this and the previous birthdays:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

YouTube weirdness

So I've got a page on the YouTube - a "channel" in the YouTube lingo - but I basically don't use it. I signed on to share some stop-motion videos young Logan Chicken made with Legos, and to post some private videos of the kids for the various grandparents, aunts and uncles. But I'm not a "YouTuber". I don't have a web cam, and I don't really have any interest in getting one. But I know a couple people who do, and now they're using them. A lot. And it's sucking me in.

The fact that they're brothers probably explains it...Dan, who goes by the YouTube handle "Rafter12", lives in the midwest while brother Ben, alternately "Some Guy from Seattle" and "Simpleton's Corner", lives here in the Jet City. So the YouTube gives them a chance to talk to eachother without the added effort of typing. Or picking up the phone. Or interacting in real time. Except when they IM while recording, which is kind of surreal to watch.

I've been making my way through their videos since Dan e-mailed me and directed me to his page, and I find the experience oddly voyeuristic. Not exactly uncomfortable, but not completely comfortable either. They're both pretty personal (Dan's more than Ben's, at least so far...Dan has a series where he's giving an autobiography in installments), which contributes to the voyeurism thing. And while it's helping me know my friend and his brother better, and giving me more insight into Dan's life (and Ben's, for that matter), it still feels like I'm eavesdropping on a conversation going on at the next table at the Starbucks.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

RIP, Paul!

Paul Alderson has died.

Who's that, you ask? Well, the short answer is that Paul was a guy I worked for from around 1993 to 2000. The longer story is, um, longer, and if you really want it let me know and I'll post it. In place of that, and in honor of Paul's memory, here are a few things I learned from him:
Enjoy what you do, and have fun when you work: When I started working with Paul every day was an adventure. We were both learning new stuff, figuring out new ways to do things, and building a cool tool. It was the closest I've come to working at a well-funded start-up, and I imagine the vibe was similar. We enjoyed what we were doing, we enjoyed eachother's company, and we were getting paid (relatively) well. In later years as the department grew Paul was forced in to more of a management role which he generally did well, but didn't enjoy nearly as much as the creative side of things. Perhaps not coincidentally he started having some major health issues and the fun pretty much went out of it for him.

Don't sweat the small stuff: It's trite, but it's true and Paul was (generally) good at letting the minor crap roll off his back. And I've tried to emulate that.

Confront staff problems early: This is one Paul and I learned together, but I haven't really learned it. Not that I have people reporting to me any more...anyhoo, we had a couple people on the team that needed to be fired for various reasons, and we let it slide far too long. And as a result the expected happened: team morale suffered, we looked like idiots, and the company spent money on salaries for people who didn't produce. The problem was that both Paul and I were softies at heart and hated firing people. Which isn't a bad thing, except for when it is.

Listen to your body: This is a lesson I learned by observing Paul do exactly the opposite. While he preached the whole "don't come to work sick" thing he couldn't follow it himself. He worked when he was sick. He worked when he was in pain. He worked when he was hopped up on goofballs and suffering from something called "Prednisone Psychosis". And as a result his health suffered, the team suffered, and our relationship suffered. Because let's face it, it's hard to respect a guy who won't take care of himself, especially when he's grilling you on the details of a conversation that never happened.

Listen to your doctor: This one's a corollary (or is it companion? One of those) of the last rule, but it's still important. You'd think it was obvious, but sometimes it's easy to assume the doctor is a quack or doesn't know you and how your body will react. But as Paul proved at least once, doctors aren't all idiots and sometimes when they tell you "you're going to need to take this drug for a while, then cut it off slowly" they're right. And if you suddenly stop taking the drug they warned you about because you've quit other things "cold turkey" you'll probably end up in the hospital.

It's not rocket science: This was Paul's favorite line, so it's not really a lesson...although it is applicable to just about everything I've done in the work world, either during my days with Paul or after. It went along with his other fave phrase of "don't reinvent the wheel". Trite, both of them, but they did sum up a lot of the management philosophy of our group: keep it simple, and reuse anything and everything.

I'm sure there's more, but nothing is coming to mind right now, and hasn't in the weeks that I've been thinking about this (Paul died in early December...I apparently didn't learn any lessons about procrastination from him). So I'll wrap up with a heartfelt thanks to the late Paul Alderson for his guidance, support and friendship early in my business career, and an equally heartfelt apology for not staying in touch (or forcing him to keep in touch) after the department was shut down and we each went our separate ways. Hopefully that will be the lesson I really learn from him!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

OK, so I'm getting around to this at 10:30 at night on New Year's Day, but what the hell...

In addition to the standard resolutions of losing weight and doing good in the world, I'm going to try to post more frequently. Honest. Tina, of Galivanting Monkey fame, did a challenge last month or the month before where she posted something every day. So I'm going to try that in January, and hopefully continue beyond that.

We'll see how it works out, if I actually put in any original content, or just link to articles and give updates of my Facebook Wrestler's career