No Bright Colors in the Zombie Apocalypse

I was watching The Walking Dead last night and made an interesting observation. Not sure if I ever noticed it before, but for some reason there are no bright colors in the zombie apocalypse. Everybody is cloaked in gray. This lends an eerie ambiance to the show, but a one-dimensional wardrobe is not very realistic. I mean, eventually you would run across a walker sporting a Spongebob Squarepants t-shirt. Right? Or any of the following…

  • An “I’m With Stupid —>” tee
  • A “My Parents Went to Cabo San Lucas and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” t-shirt
  • An ugly Christmas sweater
  • A wife beater
  • A Russell Wilson jersey
  • A bathrobe
  • A powder blue tuxedo

Scratch that last one. It’s not like the zombie apocalypse happened in the 70s. But you get my point. I’d think instead of a sea of gray, the undead-littered horizon would resemble a technicolor blanket. What do I know, though? My only experience with things coming back from the dead has been Arrested Development, and that left much to be desired.

Everybody’s so drab looking.

The same applies to the undead ladies, of course. Just once I’d love to see a “walker” that looked like this…

sexy zombie

‘Cause I’m all about equal opportunity.

My newest team member starts today. I christened her Tamale Girl because, during her interview, she mentioned that her husband makes excellent tamales. I don’t know if this was a subtle way of ingratiating herself into my Mexican food loving-heart, but it worked. It came down to her and another guy, and he was a Denver Broncos fan like me. Talk about a toss-up. Corn husks FTW!

(And writing samples. Hers was slightly better.)

Speaking of my Broncos, I feel pretty badly for Peyton Manning these days. The guy had a great run, but he is clearly in the twilight of his career. Maybe he’ll come back this season and get the storybook ending he deserves. If not, well…I’m a big fan of our new quarterback, Brock Osweiler. Real excited to see what he can do for the team. He’s off to a good start, anyway.

Brock’s a great name, by the way. But talk about destiny: when his parents named him, he pretty much had to become an NFL quarterback. Right? It’s such a football name. You don’t see very many accountants named Brock. Or veterinarians or poets laureate. I was telling this to a coworker named Blake, and realized that he is in the wrong line of business. Blakes are also typically quarterbacks. Or country singers. What our Blake is doing designing ads for a living is beyond me.

There are other names like that. Micks are musicians. Mildreds are spinstresses. And people named Waldo are forever getting lost in the crowd. (He might be easy to spot – for once – in a zombie horde, what with his bright red-and-white striped shirt.)

Happy Thanksgiving in advance!

Buying an Island

You know how you sometimes hear about billionaires buying their own islands? I’ve decided I need to do that, and have implemented a two-part plan to make it happen. Turns out it’s a surprisingly simple and straightforward process, too:

  1. Become a billionaire.
  2. Buy an island.

Easy-peasy, right?! I don’t know why more people aren’t going this route themselves.

Why an island, you ask? It’s not because I love coconuts (though there is that, too). The real reason is, too many people are pissing me off these days. Take this whole Syrian refugee drama. I don’t understand what all these governors are thinking by “refusing to allow” (as if they even had the power to do such a thing!) Syrians seeking refuge into their states. By their own muddied logic, should’t they also ban refugees from France? 87.5% of the terrorist suspects in the Paris attacks were French nationals, after all. They’re singling out the one guy who isn’t.

OK, so we’ve pretty much come to expect as much from the Republicans. What disturbs me is my so-called Facebook friends who “like” and share posts promoting these ass-backwards agendas like Greg Abbott’s open letter to President Obama. Jesus Christ, my own friends are all drinking the Kool-Aid, too. It’s ridiculous and maddening. Fear-mongering has become the new national pastime. I’m thankful for people like Jay Inslee, who makes me proud to call Washington state home. A voice of reason and compassion in a sea of hate and bigotry.

I know know what their America looks like, but this is mine.


My Facebook status today reads,

Hey, if there are any Syrian refugees looking for shelter, I’m happy to put you up! Just sayin’.

And I mean that. Of course, you’ll have to sleep on the couch and contend with a couple of rambunctious fur-shedding cats, but I’m sure that’s more than a fair trade-off given your current situation.

Which leads me back to my island.

Welcome to Marklandia.
Welcome to Marklandia.

I think I’m just going to create my own Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. I’ve even got a snappy name for the place: Marklandia. My borders will be open to all refugees, be they Syrians, French, Cubans, or Martians. We’ll have universal healthcare, gay marriage, competitive minimum wages, free education, green energy policies, legal weed (why not?), and the strictest gun control laws on the planet.

My parents are rolling over in their graves after reading that, I’m sure. And they’re alive and well.

Now, I just need to find a spare billion or two. And a really good boat.

I’m a Lizard

Text conversation between me and my brother last night…

Him: Hey, is a hot dog a sandwich?
Me: Nope. But a burger is.
Him: It’s the same thing. Bread, meat, condiments.
Me: No. A hot dog bun is connected, but a burger bun has two separate sections. A top and a bottom. That’s what makes a sandwich. An open face “sandwich” is bullshit, too.
Him: What if I eat a hot dog wrapped in a bread slice?
Me: One slice or two?
Him: Just one.
Me: Not a sandwich. Unless you cut the one slice into two halves. That’s a sandwich.
Me: Wait a minute. When you go to Subway, sometimes the roll is still connected. But that’s clearly a sandwich. I may have to rethink my position.
Him: We both think sandwich.
Me: I’ve thought about it. A hot dog is totally a sandwich.
Him: Heard it on the radio. 60 percent said no sandwich.
Me: They’re wrong.
Me: Thanks for my next blog post.

Hey, at least this goes to show that I’m an open-minded guy. I can admit when I’m wrong. (It’s rare, but it does happen.)

Tara and I took a trip to Seattle last weekend to celebrate her mom’s birthday. They were content to spend the day “visiting” (Tara’s generic term for sitting around with a friend/family member and talking) in Tracy’s apartment, but I have apparently inherited my dad’s can’t-sit-still gene. Two hours in and I was itching to go out and do something. I asked Audrey if she was interested in driving downtown, and she pounced on the opportunity. She has her sights set on the University of Washington for college and wants to live in Seattle, so her enthusiasm was hardly a surprise. It was rainy, windy, and cold, but we didn’t let those things stop us. I had no plan other than finding a place to park and wandering around Pike Place Market, both of which we did. And then we decided to wander over to the Great Wheel, a fairly recent (circa 2012) tourist attraction on Pier 57 overlooking Elliott Bay. It’s a 175′ ferris wheel (tallest on the West Coast when it was built) with 42 climate controlled gondalas. It cost $13 apiece to ride, but even with the inclement weather, was totally worth it. We were up there for four revolutions (12 minutes) and took about 50 photos combined. Turned out to be a nice father/daughter bonding opportunity.

Back to reality on Monday. Work is kicking my ass. My new copywriter is doing a great job, but we are desperately in need of that third person. We had an interview today and two more scheduled this week. I’m hoping to pull the trigger soon as we can really, really use the help.

During every interview, my favorite question to ask is, “Tell me about a book you have read recently.” I think it’s a good icebreaker and tends to put the candidates at ease. And it’s interesting to me, because A. I’m always looking for book suggestions, and B. If you want to be a writer, you’d better be a reader. At least in my opinion. Fortunately, nobody has ever let me down. Sadly, no one has answered that question with No Time For Kings yet. Hey, there’s no harm in a little bit of ass kissing during an interview, know what I mean?

Future candidates, if you’re reading this post, take heed. And hop on over to Amazon already. Burn that midnight oil. You’ll impress the hell out of me if nothing else.

I kid, I kid.

In other news, it’s been cold here. I feel like I’m bundled up at my desk all day long and never really warm up. I even went so far as to turn the heat on at home the other day. I resisted as long as I could, but the constant teeth chattering were taking their toll. I can’t believe that I used to be hot all the time. I’m the complete opposite now.

In other words, I’m a lizard.

Here are a few pics from last weekend.





Hot Cold Brew is Like Jumbo Shrimp

Earlier this week, I stopped by the coffee shop that is 88 steps from the office (thanks, Fitbit!) and ordered “my usual.” My coffee guy immediately began preparing a cold brew coffee with a splash of unsweetened almond milk and a packet of Stevia.

I love that I have a coffee guy and a “usual” order. And that both things are a mere 88 steps from the office. Feels like I’m leading a charmed life these days. But now that the weather has turned cold those iced coffees aren’t nearly as refreshing as they were a couple of months ago. I was bemoaning this fact to CG (coffee guy – he might as well have a snappy nickname, right?) and he said I should just order a hot cold brew.

Oxymoron alert! Hot cold brew is like jumbo shrimp, deafening silence, and the Great Depression. It’s your least favorite typically odd open secret. It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay.

OK, it’s not that.

(Speaking of Alanis Morissette and “Ironic” – her 1995 hit song about irony that, ironically enough, contained nothing that was actually ironic aside from the title – I stumbled upon (and by that I mean, sought out) this great dissection of the lyrics. Check it out if you’re so inclined and in the mood for a chuckle).

“Is such a thing even possible?” I asked CG. “And if so, doesn’t it defeat the whole purpose?”

He explained that cold brewing coffee removes the bitterness and amps up the caffeine. By heating it, you’re simply getting a smoother, bitter-free cup of coffee with a jolt. I was skeptical, but CG has never steered me wrong before, so I bit. Ordered myself a cup, and what do you know? He was right. It was a damn fine cup of coffee that had all the benefits of cold brew minus the “cold” part. Considering it was 52 degrees and damp out, this was a good thing.


A little research into the matter indicates that heating up cold brew coffee is hardly a CG innovation. It’s apparently a “thing.” One Reddit thread in particular devotes a great deal of space to the merits of hot cold brew. Who knew?

I did learn that I am not a fan of almond milk in hot beverages. I like it just fine in cold cold brew coffee (this is getting confusing!) and when I’m eating cereal, but in hot coffee it’s just….blah. Tastes weird to me. I think I’ll stick to half and half there.

Saw this sign on my daily walk today.


You have been warned.

Yabba Dabba Dammit

I can sum up Halloween this year in one word: wet.

That much, we were expecting. Forecasters were telling us we were in for a good soaking three to four days in advance. What we were not expecting was the cancellation of our Tour of Untimely Departures at Lone Fir Cemetery, an event we’d purchased tickets for weeks in advance and were looking forward to all year. We found out by way of a sign posted to the gate upon our arrival. It read,

Unfortunately, due to high water, downed tree limbs and safety precautions, the Tour has been canceled.

Major bummer, but not really a surprise given the fact that it had been raining hard for a few hours by that point and we’d already navigated flooded streets. We had been planning on meeting up with our friends Mark (love his name) and Kara at a bar and grill called EastBurn in Portland anyway, so we decided to head over there earlier. Found out they were having a Halloween party and there was a $5 cover charge plus a bar menu only, but we did not let this get in the way of our fun. Sadly Tara, Mark, and I were the only ones in the place not wearing costumes, but Kara was dressed as a cat so she represented for us all.

EastBurn was really cool. There are multiple levels and they’ve got this great covered patio with heat lamps, bamboo, fire, and swings suspended from the ceiling at a few of the tables. We grabbed one of these prime spots and got down to the business at hand, said business being drinking and eating (and people-watching). I switched it up this time and opted for gin, because – let’s face it – vodka and soda gets boring. Also had a pork loin sandwich and sweet potato fries. Good stuff. Afterwards we headed to Mark and Kara’s house to play Scene It, missing out on the actual “party” part at EastBurn, but that was okay. They just bought their house a few months ago and this was my first time there. Cute little place and, hello – it’s in Portland. ‘Nuff said. The game was fun, even though I got trounced. When it comes to pop culture, music is more my speed than movies, which explains why the only question I got right was the one that asked for the name of the fictional rock band in Almost Famous. 

Stillwater, of course.

I guess “still water” was sort of the theme for the evening, come to think of it…


Did I mention the swings at EastBurn?

Surprised Kitty

So even though our plans changed, we still had a pretty good Halloween (which I am now calling H-allwet-een). Got home well past midnight, but thanks to DST coming to an end it really wasn’t too bad. Maybe next year we’ll  have an opportunity to do the cemetery tour. At the very least, if we do go out I’ll make sure to be more prepared.

Friday we had a costume contest and potluck at work. I did not think I was going to be able to put together a costume in time, but ended up recycling pages from a “Word of the Day” calendar and came as a dictionary. It doesn’t get much more homemade than this, folks.


Surprisingly, the costume was a hit and I was actually in the running for the grand prize but lost out to Fred Flintstone.

Yabba Dabba Dammit.

My white chicken chili was also a hit. I do love a good potluck, but talk about a random assortment of food. It’s not often you end up with a hush puppy, a turkey meatball, a Thai salad roll, guacamole, Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips® and a handful of baby carrots sharing the same plate space. And yet, this odd combination somehow works.

Right Brains Make Pretty Pictures

Tara bought a new camera a few weeks ago. A real one – that is to say, it’s not just built into her phone. Quite frankly, it’s turned her into a new person. She is suddenly taking fabulous photographs with vibrant colors and stunning detail. For instance…


Shut up, right?

Here’s another one.

Bumpy Pumpkin

Suddenly, I’m feeling inadequate. Because my photos pale in comparison. To wit:


OK, I kid. My pictures are still pretty decent, I suppose…

Timblerline Evening

When I complimented Tara on her kick-ass photo skills, she got all modest and said, “Anybody can take a picture.” That may be true, but taking a good picture requires talent. It’s not just about lining up your subject in the view finder and pushing the shutter button; you’ve got to have a keen eye for detail. Composition, framing, lighting – all of these factor into your shot. I have never taken an actual photography class and couldn’t care less about apertures and f-stops, but I do feel like I’ve got a pretty good sense of what makes for a good photograph.

I chalk it up to my right brain dominance. People who identify as right-brain thinkers are creative artistic types, while left-brainers tend to favor math and science, and are considered logical thinkers. Seeing as how I nearly flunked geometry but have written and published a novel, I think it’s pretty obvious which side of my brain is workin’ harder. Not to mention the fact that I’ve dated some real crazies in my life, so we know I’m coming up short in the logic department.

In reality, this right brain versus left brain theory may be more of a myth than we’ve been led to believe, but let’s just pretend it’s relevant for the sake of this argument.

My point is, I believe that photography is largely a natural born skill. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. If you don’t, you can read all the books you want to on the subject, but they’re not going to improve your shots. Much, anyway. Sure, you’ll pick up some technical knowledge, but you have to be innately artistic to begin with. It’s like cooking: anybody can follow a recipe, but a chef has an overall vision that he is able to transfer to the plate.

A good photographer has a different way of looking at the world, and is able to convey what he/she sees to the masses on a 4″ by 6″ rectangle. Or, these days, via a smartphone screen. I think Tara and I take pretty good pictures because of how we visualize the world around us.

We’re also both pretty good cooks, come to think of it.

Here’s one more from the missus.


Ain’t nothing lucky about that clover. It’s pure skill, baby.

I Pray There is No Future

Four years ago – almost exactly to the day – I lost my job. I hate that phrase, though. It’s not like I was walking along one day and suddenly misplaced it. “Hey! Where’d my job go?! It was right here a second ago, I swear!”

More like, my position was eliminated. Out from under me. With nary a word of warning.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

(Actually, I’m not. If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here, and here is a pretty good place to be.)

But, it did mark the beginning of what turned out to be a long unemployment stint. 20 months and some odd days. I burned through my savings and 401K in the process. Also met my soulmate, so it was a fair tradeoff. I remember all too well the feelings of constant rejection as the days stretched into months and I was unable to land an interview, let alone a job. At the time, my parents raised concerns over my blogging. “You’re putting too much personal info out there,” my mom told me repeatedly. She believed my topic choices might be dissuading employers from calling me in for interviews. Just because I often wrote about how it was 3:00 PM and I was still in my pajamas and, hey, why don’t I make myself a mojito now? At the time I dismissed their concerns with an arrogantly naive wave of the hand. “Nobody’s stalking me online,” I said.

I believed that at the time, but now I’m not so sure. Because here I am, in the midst of attempting to hire a couple of content specialists to grow the team, and I find myself internet stalking every single one of them before they come in for an interview. Case in point: if you have a blog and are filling your posts with profanity-laced tirades against politicians, the media, pop culture icons, and others, that’s fine…but keep in mind that I (or any potential employer) am going to read that. I may (and did) laugh out loud, but I am also going to form certain opinions about you that might influence my final decision come hiring time. This applies to all social media, by the way. You might look cute dressed up as a Japanese anime character at last year’s cosplay convention, but do you really want your potential boss to see you in a skimpy bikini top, superhero cape, and pink wig? Cosplay

Save that shit for when you’re looking for a raise.

This is really just a roundabout way of admitting to my mom that she was right all along. Fortunately, there’s no moratorium on apologies. I have no idea whether any of my blog posts back in the day actually prevented me from getting hired, but in the future (I pray there is no future!) I think I’d choose to err on the side of caution.

What’s really fun is lobbing a question at a candidate mid-interview that makes it clear you have read his/her not-so-private ramblings. The reactions tend to be priceless. A coworker asked me if I was nervous a few minutes before an interviewee showed up. “Not at all,” I replied. “I’m on this side of the table, remember?”

And that, my friends, makes all the difference in the world.

Skip to the End

Yesterday, a coworker instant messaged me. People in this town get weird about adult skipping, she wrote.

How so? I replied. I enjoy a good skip every now and then. 

It’s one of the best ways to travel quickly for those of us who hate running, she elaborated. Just the standard weird looks from grumpy old people.


Little did I know this would start an intra-office debate that would continue for hours. As an occasional skipper myself (no, I was not kidding about that part), I totally get where she’s coming from. Skipping is an efficient method of transport that will get you from Point A to Point B more quickly than walking and with less risk of injury than running. Plus, it’s fun! You are catapulting yourself through the air and, in the process, enjoying a nice dopamine rush. When I came to her defense, however, people looked at me as if I were nuts.

“Skipping looks ridiculous,” they said.
“The trick is to not flail your arms,” I countered.
“Why not just walk faster?” they asked.
“And miss the thrill of being airborne?” I shot back.
“People are going to wonder why you’re so damn happy,” they said.
“What does skipping have to do with happiness? The two are not mutually exclusive.”

At this, one coworker actually googled sad skipping and considered it a victory when she returned no relevant search results. “See?!” she declared triumphantly. This did not cause me to retract my assertion, however. I view skipping as a means to an end, not a state of mind. The fact that it can elicit feelings of euphoria does not make happiness a prerequisite. Cause and effect, people!

“When was the last time you skipped?” one person asked me.

“Right now,” I said, and proceeded to skip across the office. I might point out that I was neither happy nor sad when skipping. I just was. But I reached the copier a hell of a lot faster than if I had merely walked across the room, I’ll tell you that much. Time is money, right? Look at the cost savings my employer is realizing just by having ambivalently-skipping me on the team. I’ll bet it adds up to millions of dollars in annual revenue.

I really should ask for a raise. Perhaps I’ll just skip into my boss’s office and make the request.

Image courtesy of Bob Wilson.
Image courtesy of Bob Wilson.

Still dubious, they asked me to name one other person who skips.

“Neil Armstrong,” I replied, without skipping a beat. (The humor. It never gets old). “He skipped across the surface of the moon!”

They tried to sell me a load of crap about the effects of zero gravity and weightlessness on the human body, but I wasn’t buying their scientific mumbo-jumbo. I’ve seen video. That dude was straight up skipping. On the moon. Pretty badass, huh?

(Completely random and irrelevant side note: speaking of Mr. Armstrong, did you realize that NEIL A spelled backwards is ALIEN? Conspiracy theorists, commence to drooling).

Don't tell me he's not skipping!
Don’t tell me he’s not skipping!

I talked to Tara on the phone a couple of hours later. “Hey, you know how I like to skip?” I asked her. “Yes,” she answered matter-of-factly. At that point I covered the receiver with my hand and yelled, “HA!” to all the naysayers within earshot. Believe it or not, there were still a couple of people who thought I was simply yanking their chains. As if I would make up such a thing! Just a month or two ago, we were out walking, and I skipped across a parking lot. Felt free as a bird, too.

I’ll admit, the first time I engaged in adult skipping – one December afternoon in downtown Portland five years ago (Is it odd that I remember this so clearly? We were on our way to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and I was nearly blown up by a terrorist, so it kind of sticks in the mind, ya know?) – I did so in order to embarrass my kids. It worked splendidly, but also served to show me just how fun the act of skipping can be. I’ve been an adult skipper ever since, and have tried to encourage Tara and Audrey to join in. I’m rarely successful, but every once in awhile they’ll let go.

In the end, I wasn’t successful in starting a skipping revolution, but I did get a couple of others to admit that skipping isn’t just for kids.

I hope nobody skipped this blog post, by the way.

Like I said. Never gets old.

No Nudes is Good News

While skimming through Facebook this morning, I came upon a link to an article that said Playboy is planning to stop publishing photos of naked women.

Very funny, I thought. The Onion is at it again.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the source for the article is NPR, and the story is legit. Playboy without naked women is like Disneyland without Mickey Mouse. Sacrilege! It’s the whole reason people buy the magazine, right? Never mind all that “I read it for the articles” mumbo-jumbo. While it’s true that Playboy does have interesting articles on occasion, it’s hardly a bastion of journalistic excellence.

Then again, the CEO has an excellent point. He writes,

You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.

Fair enough, and true. This certainly marks a victory for feminism, a cause I wholeheartedly support. I can’t help but have mixed feelings, though. Playboy is such a rite of passage for so many young men. Yes, mom, I looked at it when I was younger. But so did your dad! I don’t know whether I should “out” my dearly departed grandfather in this fashion, but Hugh Hefner has forced my hand. One summer a few years after he passed away, I was visiting my grandmother in New Jersey and happened upon boxes and boxes of old Playboy magazines in the basement, many of these dating to the 1950s and 60s. They were probably worth a small fortune! To me they were priceless, as they provided a never-ending source of reading material for me during my six-week stay. Plus, they made me admire my grandfather even more! I saw that he was just a regular guy, and I respected that. 76-09-playboy

I suppose we can call this a step forward for women’s rights, and I will not deny that this is good news. And yet, it’s the end of an era. RIP, Old Playboy format.

Last week, my content specialist pulled me aside to “have a talk.” My pulse quickened a little when she made that request, but I reasoned that we’ve had impromptu talks plenty of times before, and it’s not like she was going to hand me her resignation.

Five minutes later, she had handed me her resignation.

Well, shit. I’ll just pretend that we’re not really swamped at work and already looking for a third person to add to our team! So now we’re in need of two. It’s okay; I actually encouraged her to follow her dream, and the opportunity she has is a good one. No hard feelings. Today I began the screening process for new content writers, and had forgotten how entertaining reading cover letters and resumes can be! The very first one I looked at was from a self-professed “jack of all trades, master of none” who has been an energy drink distributor, a mechanic, a grocery store fish specialist, and “an entrepreneur in the medical cannabis scene in Portland.” That’s right: he owns his own marijuana edibles company and he can distinguish between steelhead and chinook like nobody’s business! Can I hire him TODAY, please?!


Like many social media denizens slash foodies, I like to take pictures of my food. Mostly these turn out decent, but I learned yesterday that it is virtually impossible to make split pea soup look even remotely palatable. Regardless of how delicious it might taste, it’s going to resemble something regurgitated by a baby. Case in point:

pea soup

Trust me when I say it tasted much better than it looked. I had never made split pea soup before, but because Tara was partying it up with her friends on the Oregon coast, I took advantage of her absence by making myself food that she would never eat. Considering she’s such a picky eater all I really had to do was throw open the pantry, but I digress.

So this was a smoky ham and split pea soup that simply cooked in the crockpot all day. I topped it with a dollop of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (who needs sour cream, anyway?) and a dash of smoked paprika. Good stuff! I’m assuming I’m not the only one who eats things they otherwise would not when their spouse or significant other is out of town? Feel free to weigh in on that (and share your go-to solo indulgence if you’re so inclined).

I missed my wife, but made sure to keep busy over the long weekend. I took Friday off and drove to the Oregon coast for a hike up Neahkanie Mountain. The view from the summit was breathtaking, despite the thick cloud cover.


After that I drove to Cannon Beach, where I proceeded to set up my beach chair and kick back with a magazine. Well, that lasted all of ten minutes, because it was cold as hell and started raining. So I returned to my car, changed into warmer clothes and a jacket, and walked past Haystack Rock and back. Because, why settle for a five-mile hike when you can add a three-mile walk to the mix?

By then it was approaching dinnertime, so I drove half an hour south to Garibaldi. My destination? The Ghost Hole, a little dive-bar some coworkers told me about. I was a little intimidated when I first walked in because the place was clearly inhabited by locals, but I grabbed a seat by the window, ordered a Bloody Mary and a cheeseburger, and settled right in. Ended up staying for a couple more drinks before leaving. I thought I’d stroll around town for a little while afterwards, but it was dark, rainy, and cold. Too bad – I found Garibaldi to be quite charming. Tara and I will have to come back and do some exploring.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon strolling through the Hawthorne District, my favorite Portland neighborhood. Browsed through a couple of vintage stores and bought records from the used record shop we frequently frequent. Is that redundant? Oh, well. Sunday was more relaxing, though I did walk to Target in pursuit of a pair of gloves, a strange (and ultimately fruitless) mission considering it was sunny and 80 degrees. Hey, fall – come back! I made the aforementioned soup for dinner and ended up watching a documentary on Netflix called Fed Up. Fascinating look at America’s obesity epidemic and the proliferation of Type 2 diabetes in people of all ages. It was very eye-opening, and made me feel genuinely sorry for the handful of kids chronicled in the doc. All were morbidly obese and wanted to get healthy, but were having difficulty thanks to many obstacles in their path, such as:

  • Soft drink lobbyists testifying before Congress that soda is not unhealthy and is, in fact, part of a balanced diet.
  • School lunch programs that are reliant on exclusive contracts with fast-food chains.
  • Food manufacturers making up the lack of flavor in their reduced-fat items by doubling or tripling the amount of sugar.
  • Companies targeting kids through false and misleading advertising.
  • Parents enabling their own children by buying junk food or products they erroneously believe to be healthy.

It’s somewhat maddening. Take the whole school lunch thing. It boggles my mind how different things are now from when I was a kid. Not only are there vending machines in the hallways; my daughter can order Taco Bell, Burger King, Pizza Hut, or Subway for lunch. In the cafeteria. WTF? We got choices, too: eat or don’t eat. That was it.

It was also interesting to see old commercials featuring Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble smoking Winston cigarettes. And then they cut to the present day, where Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble are peddling sugar-laden Fruity Pebbles cereal.


Based on my own personal experiences, I already know that sugar is evil. This documentary really drove the point home. I highly recommend it to anybody interested in learning more about nutrition and how the “American diet” is contributing to so many serious health issues.