Thursday, April 27, 2006


Someone hijacked my hit counter!

This is not the first time this has happened. In this case the counter content disappeared, but the box was still there. When I went into the template, the content had been replaced. If you clicked on the box in my blog, it took you to some travel site.

A pox on you, hit counter hijacker, whoever you are!

So I loaded a new one. No big deal, just a little irritating.


Which is, of course a song by Roy Orbison.
Mrs. A. and I like rotissory chicken. We get one a couple of times a week. It is real convenient and tasty. About half the time we use the leftover chicken to make Chicken Caesar salad. This prompted Mrs A. to go out and buy a rotissory oven on Tuesday. Only problem was, that there was no outlet available to plug it in to.

Last night she comes in the door, and says "There is a box out in the car". The box is about 4' X 2' X 18" and weighs about 60 lbs. Being male and stubborn, I did not wait for someone to take the other end of the box, and consequently strained a muscle in my shoulder. The one I had operated on last October. I had already irritated it moving equipment at Echo Glen.

So I was faced with a sideboard cabinet/table to assemble. I am very good at that sort of thing, but it still took me two and a half hours to get it together. Mrs A. piped up when I was mostly done and said "You know there were two similar cabinets, and I think maybe the other matches the kitchen cabinets better". I made a very threatening gesture with the screwdriver.

I know she was just jerking my chain.

I woke at about 2:00 this morning with my shoulder killing me, and from there on just kinda drifted in and out. I had the wierdest dream, all about how I was supposed to be planning a wedding, and everything I did turned out all wrong. I don't even know whose wedding it was supposed to be.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jumping to Conclusions

So we had a little disagreement at Alplace. Stepdaughter, boyfriend and Grandkid are living with us. They have been evicted three times in the last year, and have finally ended up with us. The arrangement is supposed to be temporary. We will see.
At any rate I know that they use drugs. When they were in Lakewood and we would visit, there would be paraphenalia and evidence laying around. What they do in their own place and time are not my immediate concern, but what they do in My place and MY time is.
I was sittin in the living room watching the tube on Monday, and a young dude that I have never seen starts walkin up the front walk. Nyk jumps up and goes outside and hands him what appears to be a joint. When Nyk comes back in, I ask him "Did you just deal dope out of my house? Because if you did you can pack your shit and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out". He told me it was not dope, just a hand rolled cigarette, and produced a bag of tobacco and papers. They got all huffy about they would not disrespect me by doing such a thing.
I pointed out that they had disrespected me enough to smoke pot on my front deck on Sunday, so it was only a small step. I think they were a little shocked that I knew. They of course blamed it on someone else. I just told them that I wanted to make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that if they stay with us, there would be no dope in my house or on my premises.

That aside, I went home after work yesterday and cut up a couple of pound of boneless skinless frier breast and put them on skewers with onion, green pepper and pineapple, basted them liberally with teriyaki sauce and sizzled them on the BBQ. Oh man, was that good.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Chapter III

Chapter III of my book is over at
  • STAR
  • for your perusal and approval or amusal and refusal. The pictures of the trip to Echo Glen didn't come out all that great. My digital camera definitely doesn't like low light. Also, we were not allowed to take pictures during the performance because if we included one of the kids in a picture, it would be a violation of their rights.

    At any rate, they kinda show the process from truck to stage to sound check, to light check. The process took about five hours, which is real good time.

    Over the winter John made a wiring harness for the lights, all taped up and numbered. It worked real slick, saved us a couple of hours of setup and breakdown.


    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Monday's Missives

    I'm sore this morning. Mrs A. and I went with the band (
  • Morning Light
  • ) to Echo Glen. Echo Glen is a Childrens Facility about a half hour East of Seattle, up in the mountains. Beautiful location. It currently housed just short of 200 juvenile guests of the state. Everything from drug charges to murder.
    The band is all recovering druggies and alcoholics, and their message is that you can have a whole lot of fun without drugs and alcohol. It is also a Christian message. I really believe that it is the right message to the right audience at the right time. If we can help one kid turn his/her life around it is worth everything we put into it.
    Mrs. A. and I have been doing this for a couple of years now, and it is a lot of work, and performing for the incarcerated is not the happiest venue. The band has 11,000 Lbs. of gear, and it takes several hours to set up a full light show and sound system. Bi the time we load up the truck, drive to where the show is, do the show, break down the set and load everything back in the truck, it is usually a 20 hour day or so.
    The weather was very cooperative, everything went smoothly, and we had a good time.
    Yesterday was so beautiful that I was forced to break out the BBQ for the first time this year. I BBQ'd a rolled rump roast. It was delicious. I insist on charcoal and a WEBER. Otherwise I will not be held responsible for the results. Let's let the fact that there were no leftovers for me to take to lunch today speak for itself.
    No pictures yet. I haven't had time to transfer them from camera to computer.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Another Fine Mess

    Which was always the line out of Laurel and Hardy, who were comedic geniuses. One of the few really good teams, and they managed to make the transition from silent film to the "Talkies".

    I took yesterday off, because all hell broke loose the night before. The Ex is getting evicted from her apartment for not paying the rent. She quit working, just because she didn't feel like working. The former in-laws were trying to get R. to take her mother in. R. is living in a one bedroom apartment, and has a room mate (female) who sleeps on the couch. There is no room for her mom, which would violate the conditions of the lease.

    R. doesn't want that side of the family to hate her, but there is no way she can be responsible for her mom (who is crazy). Her grampa had come over and asked her if her mom could't stay with her, and she didn't want to just say no. So she calls me up to figure out how to tell him no without there being any hurt feelings.

    She is on the phone with me, in tears, and her mom shows up and is pounding on the door demanding to be let in.

    The ex is being evicted today. Her dad has secured a storage unit for her things. She has no place to go and she has alienated all her immediate family to the point that they want nothing to do with her. I arranged for R. to pick up her mail. and told grandpa to back off. If that side of the family wants so bad to take care of her, let them rent her a house. The have the money.

    Oh what the hell.

    Tomorrow Mrs. A. and I go with the band for a gig at Echo Glen Youth Facility. It will be a lot of hard work and a lot of fun, and maybe something good comes from it. I'll try and get some pictures to post.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Nothing going on here

    About the only thing going on here, is I have to go in and change the title on a truck I got for free. That's right zero, zip, zilch, nada. This will be the third trip to the DMV to try to get the title to the truck.

    It was pulled out of a field. It was last licensed in 1998, and hadn't been used in a quite a while. It is a 1984 Ford F25o with a small block V8. No rustout, and only a little surface rust. And a collection of normal dents and scratches.

    A family of mice had taken residence in the glove box, and had chewed up the old registrations into mouse confetti. I did manage to salvage a scrap that had the VIN number on it, which agreed with the number on the vehicle. So trip number one to the DMV. Could they give me the title? Not without a release from the registered owner. I didn't have any idea who that was, so could they provide me with the information? Oh no, you have to fill out for QXZ5678 Public discolsure form to get that information. I did, and the registered owner filed for a lost title, which she signed over to me. DMV visit number two.

    I'm sorry, but you have no bill of sale. But I have a notarized statement that the title was lost, signed by the registered owner? Does this not strongly inply that they are releasing their interrest in the vehicle? Besides they gave me the truck for hauling it away! Oh, then you need a gift card.

    The lady that was the last registered owner was nice enough to send me a bill of sale for $50.00, since I paid her daughter to bring the truck over to the house.

    I now have $150.00 into the truck, have not gotten title to it, it does not run, it is not licensed and has not passed emission inspection.

    Maybe free is not always a good thing.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Welcome to the Monkey House

    Which is by the way a title to a book by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

    It also describes our home lately.

    Step-daughter L. and her companion and out grandkid are in the middle of finding new accommodations. So they are now residing in the spare bedroom. The last time this was tried, it ended in disaster. Mrs. A. and her daughter should not attempt to live under the same roof.

    We helped them move on Saturday. They had been sharing a two bedroom appartment with another young couple, and it didn't work, so they came to us. Robert Frost in "The Death of the Hired Man" says "Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in" . Right on brother!

    While we were moving, I took a load out to the Blazer, and when I came back to find Mrs. A. out in the hallway, looking upset. I overheard L. yelling "You don't disrespect MY mom!". I went to Mrs. A. and asked "Can I go in there and kick his ass?" I really really wanted to. But she told me to calm down and not bring myself down to his level, so I had to forego the pleasure.

    I was ready. I mean I was not happy with the kids moving in, I was not happy about having to move them in the pouring rain, and I sure as HELL wasn't happy with their punk room mate disrespecting my wife. I still thik I should have gone in there and made his nose point in a different direction.

    Sunday was Easter so I went to Church to keep centered. I was in dire need of some Churchifyin'. Everyone survived so it must have worked.

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Chapter Two

    I have always enjoyed writing and telling stories. One morning a couple of years ago I awoke with a name in my head. Starling Albright Parker. I have no idea where this name came from. I don't know anyone with any one of these three names or anything close to them. So I began to wonder what I should do with this.
    I began by making her a family tree, some physical and psychological traits. I started writing a story, but it had to be written from a male viewpoint, since I am, and that's the way I think. I have messed around with this for several years and it has gone all over the place. I am now trying to get it all into shape. So here is Chapter Two :
  • STAR
  • Bad News

    Perhaps some of you out there did not get your anticipated visit from the Easter Bunny this weekend. Unconfirmed sources close to the White (Rabbit) House leaked this picture, and I felt honor bound to report as news the alleged death of a certain white rabbit.

    Friday, April 14, 2006


    I can't just say TGIF, because today being Friday means nothing in and of itself. It is the fact that tomorrow is Saturday that is relevant. So Thank God Tomorrow's Saturday.

    I woke up at 3:00 this morning, convinced that today was Saturday. I was snuggling back down for another bout of sleep, when this nagging little voice in my head said "If today is Saturday, what happened to Friday?" When I couldn't produce a single memory of anything happening, I heard Mrs A. stirring and new she was also awake, so I asked her "Is today Saturday?"



    Not a good way to start the day out. Next thing I knew, the alarm was making this rude noise.

    This weekend is Easter, the second most important Christian Holiday. The whole thing doesn't hang together without Easter. If Christ didn't rise from the grave, he was just a very astute man and an amazing philosopher. Without the resurrection He is still the most influential Philosopher of all time, but falls short of Godhood. The whole shape of history and society turns on this single event.

    I am cooking a pork tenderloin glazed with cranberry chutney with asparagus and a salad for Easter. Lots of people are coming, but I like to keep it casual, so any time after lunch people are welcome.

    Happy Easter everyone!

    Thursday, April 13, 2006


    I was thinking this morning (a chancy proposition at any time). I was pondering about awareness, and the limiting factor of intelligence on awareness.
    The reason I got on this subject is that this is one of those mornings when I kinda stumble around mumbling semi-coherently and suddenly I am at work, without a whole lot of memory of what happened in between. A lot of the time we operate on this semi-conscious level where we are on automatic pilot. We form habits so we don't have to think about stuff. Studies in Hypnotism suggest that on a subconsious level we are aware of a whole lot more going on around us than we actually know. When hypnotized, some people can recall things at a great level of detail, in fact more detail than they would have been able to describe when they were experiencing the moment.
    It has been suggested that our mind is aware of everything going on around us, and that it is the chore of consciousness to limit out awareness to those things we need to deal with. Some psychological studies go on to say that really intelligent people are able to further limit their outside perceptions to the point where they can concentrate on a single concept or idea to the exclusion of almost all outside input.
    If this is indeed true, then the super intelligent must be able to exclude even the thing that they started out to concentrate on, thereby making themselves oblivious. Certain asian philosophies are built around this concept, and where you experience the state of truely being unaware of your own ego, you are in a state of oneness of the universe.
    So when I was stumbling around this morning I must have been a genius guru.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006


    The picture I included in yesterday's post has been published by our local TV News Station on their website. They have a page called "Weatherpics" off of the weather home page at where they publish weather related pictures. At any rate, I submitted mine, and they included it. I guess that is my 15 seconds of fame.
    On other news, I have started another blog STAR . I have been working on this novel on and off for several years when the urge hit me. As an incentive for me to get off of my dead ass and do something with it, I started this other blog, where I will publish it one chapter at a time. First I had to edit it to divide it into chapters, and then I will polish each chapter before I publish it. I just published Chaper One.
    Go ahead and click on it.
    You know you want to.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Avenging Angel

    So double click on the picture to make it larger.

    Right over the top of the pole you will see Washington's State Bird, the mosquito, only this one is the size of a hang glider.

    The picture was found in the memory stick in a digital camera next to a exsanguinated corpse. There were small puncture wounds above the carotid artery. It has been rumored for years that there was a new variety of mosquito in the area, but this is the first photographic evidence of it's existence.

    First observed by Pat O'Neil, he reported "At first I thought it was an angel." Well, Pat it may be an angel, but a blood sucking Avenging Angel.

    Seriously, though. I took this lovely sunset picture at Lake Quinault last Friday. I liked it so much I decided to make it my wallpaper on my computer. When I did, you can imagine my surprise at what showed up. Some times I think it ruins what is otherwise a perfect picture, but other times I think it is what makes the picture special.

    A real lesson in perspective, in more than one way.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Cinco de Mayo

    Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England.
    In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico,
    which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York. This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico.
    But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York.
    The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost. The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise,
    and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss.
    Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day. The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course,
    Sinko de Mayo.


    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Pictures from Lake Quinault

    Skunk cabage
    A native American boat house
    The dock at sunset
    The Main Lodge
    The Boat House
    The fishing dock in the afternoon

    Below is the view towards the Lake, down the side of the Boat house

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    At The Lake

    It appears I have told an untruth.

    Not a lie mind you, a lie being the intentional telling of an untruth. I told an untruth, but it was not intentional. This does not mean that I might not occasionally present the truth from my own unique perspective, just that in this case, it was unintentional.

    The more perceptive of you will have already figured out what I am talking about.

    In my buildup of The Lake Quinalt Lodge I said there was no WIFI. Since I am here typing on my BLOG, that must not be true. I brought along my laptop to work on a book I am writing, and (let's be honest) play games. When I fired it up, a message came on that there was a signal available, and did I want to use it. Heck yes!

    Friday when we got here the temperature was up in the 60's the sun was shining,and it was gorgeous. For this time of year that is exceptional. We were tired fron work and tired from the trip so we went to the room and took a nap, then went for a short walk and went to dinner. I had the prime rib, she had the Salmon, and we had a bottle of Asti with dinner. When we finished I walked around and took some pictures of the Lodge the Lake and the Sunset. Some of them are good enough to share, which I can't do at the moment, since I forgot the adaptor from the camera to the laptop, which I figured I wouldn't need since I would have no Internet connection.

    Today we went on a hike of about three and a half miles, mostly up and down. Mrs A has better legs, but I have better lungs, but we both did pretty well. I am a little stiff and sore this evening.

    The other things we did, while they might be interesting, are not going to be shared. Suffice it to say people might wonder just why the people in 303 seem to always keep the shades drawn.

    Of course this is the Rain Forest, so you can guess what it has done all day, but it hasn't bothered us, after all we came prepared with rain gear. And when in the unit, the sound of rain on the roof is very cozy and restful, since we don't have to go out in it.

    Wait a minute?!

    What's that?

    You want to WHAT???

    Guess I'd better sign off for now!

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Temporarily Disfunctional

    This is my current wallpaper on my computer at work. If all is well, I will be there tomorrow. That is the Amazing Mrs A. in the picture. In the background is Lake Irene in the Olympic National Park. It is a moderate hike of about a mile off of the road up the North Fork of the Quinault River. This day was perfect for hiking, so we had gone up the trail several miles, and stopped in at the Lake on out way back.

    It was very serene there. There was a herd of Elk grazing in the rushes on the other side of the lake. A bumblebee landed on my knee, and sat there and let me pet him for several minutes. We did not see or hear another human being for the hour or so we stopped there.

    It is interesting that women always want to know who the woman is in the picture, men always want to know where the lake is. Guess we are just wired differently.

    So mybrain is leaving on vacation now, soon to be followed by the rest of me. I wont be posting for a couple of days, since there are no amenities like wifi or cable connections. The Lodge does not have television, and there are no phones in the rooms. There is no cell phone service. I will probably take my laptop along just in case I want to write on my book, but doubt I will accomplish anything. I am reading George R.R. Martins "A Feast for Crows" so it will be my first choice of activities after hiking and eating and naughty stuff (not necessarily in that order).

    I'm taking the camera. hope to bring back some good pictures.


    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Lake Quinault

    I remember a morning at the Lodge so clearly, it is a part of a little mental slide show I carry around in my head.

    I had gotten up at 6:00 in the morning. We were staying in the Boathouse, so I went out on the veranda. It seemed like I was the only one in the world awake. The dew was heavy on the grass and there was just the faint smell of woodsmoke in the air.

    I sat in a wicker chair and smoked a cigarette. It was so calm that the smoke barely drifted in the morning breeze. I blew a smoke ring and it held together for a long time as it drifted south.

    Smoke finished, I got up and wandered down to the dock on Lake Quinault. The water was so calm it looked like a sheet of glass. Small fish were rising to the morning hatch, dimpling the surface here and there. Out in the middle of the lake, a bit of surface fog slowly drifted across the water. The far shore of the lake was obscured, cleared, was obscured. It was absolutely quiet.

    I turned back to look at the Lodge and the rise of the lawn. Nothing moved. A sole set of footprints dotted the lawn. Mine.

    I caught a suggestion of movement off to my left and watched as a pair of carp came out of the shadows, moving South, working the shallows. The must have been six or seven ounds apiece, moving with no effort, drifting along.

    I heard a noise behind me, sounding like a splatter of rain and as I turned, caught the shimmer of a school of small fish jumped in a wave, a lot like when fans do "The Wave" at sports events. The wave of fingerlings jumping started at the North and went South. This was repeated multiple times, accompanied by a "Whish" sound as they jumped. No doubt there was a larger fish below them looking for his breakfast. I stood there, absolutely still, drinking in the moment.

    Eventually all was still, and I wandered back up to the Boat House, and slipped in, to see you laying there, faint hint of a smile on your lips, hair spilled across the pillow.

    I go back there to visit when things get cramped and complicated.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Happy Birthday Mrs A.

    So today is Mrs A.'s birthday. She has now been 39 for several years, and I hope she will continue to celebrate her 39th for many years to come.

    So the kids are coming over to celebrate her birthday, and it will be a hectic evening.

    For her birthday, I am taking her to the Lake Quinault lodge for the weekend . No televisions or phones in the rooms. Lots of hiking trails and massive peace and quiet. Just what we both need. This is the place where we went for our first "weekender", where I proposed to her, and where we went after we were married. We have been back a several other times since. What a beautiful peaceful place. It is also out 3rd anniversary this weekend, so who knows, we may never leave the lodge.

    Anyway, Happy 39th Birthday Mrs A., and many more.

    New Deck

    I have lived at AlPlace for about 15 years now. An extensive remodel was done shortly before I bought The Place. Unfortunately, the guy who did the remodel should have chosen some other line of work. It is obvious that no inspection was done for parts of the work.

    I have some real homeowners terror tales to tell. The movie Money Pit comes to mind, but on a less grand scale.

    AlPlace is on three floors and totals about 2580 Sq. Ft. Add on a couple of decks and 1/4 acre of crabgrass and dandelions, and that is my little corner of the world.

    The main problem is that ever since I bought The Place, I have been fixing one problem after another. When something happens, it is always about ten times as hard to repair because what is wrong at the moment is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Take the downstairs bathroom for example.

    About six or seven years ago R. was taking a shower when this horrible screeching began in the bathroom. It was R., and part of the shower stall had fallen in on her. Now I suppose I could have gone and gotten a tube of Gorilla glue and just glued it back together, but I had always been uneasy about quality of materials and workmanship in the bathroom so I took it as an opportunity to check out the whole room.

    After rewiring the entire bathroom, putting in a new sink and medicine chest, new flooring, a new shower surround and tile, and sectioning the wall up 3' all the way around the tub, four months and a couple of thousand dollars had disappeared.

    That year R. gave me a Father's day card that said "How many fathers does it take to change a lightbulb?".

    "Only one, but he has to replace the fixture, lower the ceiling and rewire the room, so it will take him several months"

    Just about every project I have undertaken at AlPlace has been that way. Major problems hidden beneath a questionable surface.

    Well, replacing the deck is the last major issue left at AlPlace. Oh there will always be a stream of minor things to take care of, but all of the major things will have been accomplished.

    I just may have to sell it and start all over.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Back to the basics

    I didn't post anything Friday because I was in a class half the day, and had a day's worth of work waiting for me when I got back.

    Today I am tired, sore and grouchy.

    Usually when I feel this way it is because I have done something like party too hard, but a WHOLE HOUR OF MY SLEEP WAS BRUTALLY TAKEN FROM ME.

    Well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but it is gone and never will be recovered.

    besides I am sore from my Sunday chore, pulling the toad. No, that is not what you may think. It's nothing like choking the chicken or spanking the monkey, or pounding the meat.

    It means removing the toilet. I pride myself in being able to handle any chore that comes up around the house. I have rewired most of the house, replumbed the kitchen, completely rebuilt the upstairs bathroom, built a deck. The thing I hate doing the most is plumbing, and the lowest of the low is anything to do with sewer. I remember the time my ex said "Did you know that when you flush the toilet, water comes up in the back yard?" I still shudder.

    The downstairs toilet is continually getting clogged. It is a modern low profile low volume device, so I suspected that it was the toilet design rather than a clogged line, but I have put off checking for better than ten years. That is a pretty accurate indicator about how much I dislike working on toilets.

    But I finally got around to it, mainly because Mrs A. put it on the honeydo list. Since it had been in place since long before I owned the house, everything was rusted in place. Rather than being just able to disassemble things, I had to cut it apart with an abrasive wheel. And naturally there was no room to get at things, so I got to contort my body into all sorts of unreasonable positions. This did not go over well with my right arm, seeing as I had surgery on it in October, and while it is 90%, it is definitely not 100%. And that other 10% is always what I need when doing something while draped over the toilet trying to grind the head off of a bolt or something.

    What should have taken about 30 minutes, instead took about four hours of cursing, swearing and sweating.

    In the end, there was nothing wrong that I could fix. The problem was the design of the toilet itself. At least if I go to replace the toilet, it will be a piece of cake to get it out.

    On more thing off of the to-do list.

    Next big thing: design and build a new deck off of the living room. I might have to enlist help for this one.