Archive for July 2006


Home again last night to find openly-expressed skepticism about my self-diagnosis of a pathological and debilitating niceness.  I disagreed, but was uncomfortable with expressing said disagreement and instead busied myself with dusting and placing flower arrangements strategically around the house where she might encounter them unexpectedly and be pleased with me.

Remember last weekend, when we were remarking (I don’t actually complain about anything) upon the temperatures in the mid-90s?  Today it didn’t quite hit 70, and tomorrow it’s chance of rain and high of 63.  Global warming, it seems, has a coquettish streak.

There’s talk of heading to Squamish, BC next weekend.  It’s a rock-climbing mecca where Mrs. Perils and our son have spent time, but I’ve never been.  Nearby Howe Sound looks to have some kayaking potential.  I’ll see how the work week transpires.


Travel Update - I walked over to a local Sears store a mile or so from my luxurious hotel here in Milwaukee and purchased two pairs of socks.  The folks who work at my client’s here are now spared the sight of my bare ankles.

Weather Update - I have forfeited my right to comment on the torrid west coast heat wave due to my fleeing to the midwest.  While I understand it’s now 20 degrees cooler in Seattle than it was over the weekend, here in Milwaukee it’s in the mid-80s, accompanied by its trademark mugginess.  A run this evening, despite my new, svelte airfoil, left me pretty drenched.  I like this weather sometimes, though, because it brings a whiff of home, or what used to be home.  And I saw a lightning bug!

Problem Solved An article in yesterday’s Seattle Times revealed like a lighthouse beacon something that, in retrospect, has probably afflicted me all my life.  I’m too nice.  The article basically faults people, especially guys, who are so conflict-averse that they surround themselves with a pillow-like shell of niceness that, yes, most often protects them from the vicissitudes of those who aren’t so nice, but also is a prison from which they can never articulate and assert their own desires.  Moreover, :

“Nice guys are fundamentally dishonest,” says Dr. Robert Glover, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Bellevue, and author of “No More Mr. Nice Guy!” one of two books on the subject by local authors. The nice guy says what other people want to hear and hides their mistakes to avoid conflict … Glover has worked for years counseling men whose need to please has interfered with their work and relationships. These men generally fear being the brutish jerk that people dislike. By being extremely nice, they believe they’re different and therefore better than the typical guy.

I think you’ll agree that, once you view the world’s problems through this lens, you’ll be pretty angry with us (formerly) nice guys.  Problems have festered all over the globe due to these craven, grovelling imposters.  Remedial actions of honest, responsible nastiness were long overdue.  Let’s hope it’s not too late.

Travelling Music

I made my escape yesterday from the hellish inferno of Seattle, headed for the milder climes of the midwest, where it was a mere 85 degrees.

Clicky-click to enlarge

Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams in the background

As usual, I felt a pang as the Cascades rolled away behind my plane.  Every time I do this, I promise myself that I’ll get out hiking when I return.  I haven’t been to the Mt. Rainier park in a really long time now.

Lake Woebegone, MN?

As we descended on approach to Minneapolis, the prairie radiated the fullness of summer in countless shades of greens and blues.

The shoes are cruel enough - but those ankles are excruciating

Getting dressed this morning, I discovered that I’d forgotten to pack dress socks.  I’m faking it with the darkest running socks I have, slinging my slacks a little lower and taking advantage of my desk’s “modesty panel” (one of the more risible euphemisms).  Looks like a shopping trip this evening.

Will It Ever Be Summer Here?

It’s hot here, in Puget Sound parlance.  Sorry, John from Texas and anyone else moldering in more hostile climes, but I’m gonna bitch anyway about 96-degree weather.  Even if it does drop to the mid-60s in the evening.  Understand that I have no air conditioning either in my house or in my car, and I haven’t had the presence of mind to schedule client visits to those of the economic stratum that actually have air conditioning.  You guys have issues.  You know you do.  You need to call me.

Since I’m flying to Milwaukee Sunday, I sorta blew today off, work-wise.  I’d been thinking earlier in the week of doing an overnight kayak trip, but stuff kept pushing me later and later in the week, and I really don’t want to battle the hoi polloi for beach space on a summer weekend.

So, my grandiose plan got funnelled down to a day trip today.  I launched from the beach in Mukilteo, a town north of Seattle, near Everett, which I know mostly for its Washington State Ferry service to Whidbey Island.  Of course, my impeccable timing combined with my congenital morning sloth saw me launching at 1:30 PM, pretty much high noon, Daylight-Savings-Wise.  On the hottest day of the year.

I paddled up to the port of Everett, then back south to somewhere near Picnic point.  There wasn’t anything really remarkable about this part of the Sound, but I’d never paddled this particular shoreline, there was an afternoon Mariners game that dissuaded me from heading south, and, ultimately, I needed to just point myself out the door or I wouldn’t have left the house at all.  Through some ham-handedness that I won’t elaborate on just now, this is the only photo I have from the trip worth posting:

I thought it might be a little cooler on the water, but there wasn’t much breeze, and the only respite was to dip my hands into the 50-degree water, which felt like shoving them into the freezer, and provided agreeable relief.

After I got home and stowed all my kayaking gear, Mrs. Perils evinced a desire to walk a bit.  On such a night, where else would we walk but Gasworks Park:

Clicky-click to enlarge.

It looks like an Ingmar Bergman skeleton-dance up there on the hill, but when we got up there, everyone was possessed of adequate human flesh except this unfortunate pilgrim.  Don’t know what his particular complaint was, but I think I might like his shoes:

Fluff? We’ve So Not Got It

(Edited to incorporate the excellent cartoon from my graphic arts department, which also handles all the laundry duties at Chez Perils.  We’re a “flat organization” here.  Only in terms of hierarchy, I hasten to add.)

I consider myself an aggressive computer user, but this article has got me thinking that I have a woeful lack of imagination.  I would never have thought of connecting my washer and dryer to my computer network.  In fact, I put forth a certain amount of effort to ensure that these entities don’t encounter one another.  For instance, I try never to leave my laptop in my pants pocket when I throw them in the laundry basket. 

The biggest risk is the fact that the washer and dryer are located upstairs and immediately above my computer center.  Inevitably, within the purview of geologic time, water will at some point cascade through the ceiling and drench what’s turning out to be my life’s work.  With any luck, I’ll either be on the road and have my laptop with me and only Mrs. Perils’ computer and/or life will be at risk, or I’ll be in the house and able to, after tossing one of the cats in to be sure that there’s no electrical hazard, rescue the computer gear.

But all that’s off the subject, which is dealing with arcana of laundry-doing that have never heretofore entered my consciousness:

The system, dubbed Laundry Time, connects a washer and dryer to a wireless home network to deliver notifications to TV screens, PC monitors or cell phones about the status of a laundry load.  It also goes further, to let people control the washer and dryer from a distance — pressing a button on the TV remote control, for example, to keep the dryer going a few extra minutes. 

“Instead of being enslaved to the washer and dryer, you can allow yourself to be able to do things,” said Tim Woods, vice president of ecosystem development for the Internet Home Alliance, the group behind the project. “You’re coming home from the grocery store, and you get a notification from the dryer that says it’s about to complete — would you like to go into fluff cycle so not everything is wrinkled when you get home?”

Color me an unregenerate primitive male, but I’m much more likely to be coming home from a tavern and wondering how to spirit my soiled underthings into the laundry than I am ever to worry about the most advantageous moment to initiate a fluff cycle. 

The other impediment to our entering the brave new world of the Internet Home Alliance is the age of nearly every appliance in the house.  The washer and dryer, for instance, were here when we bought the house in 1975.  They’re from Penney’s and, yes, they’re avocado green.  The stove and fridge were purchased before our major remodel in 1981.  The furnace came with the house as well.  Somehow, I have a suspicion that I won’t find USB 2.0 ports on any of these devices. 

On the plus side, as long as I’m more wrinkled than my clothes, no one will really notice.

Body Blogging

I saw my opthalmologist last week, and he said my left eye is now free of the inflammation I had from my bout with shingles.  My head can still itch like crazy, but I think that’s dissipating, or I’m just tired of it, or something. 

Also, the scale at the gym has been my friend since I returned from Ashland.  Sunday’s weigh-in came in at 146 3/4.  It was a treat to be able to move that large weight on the scale from the “150″ notch down to the “100″ notch.  It’s been about 5 years since I’ve been able to do that.  If I can, I’ll level off at 145, count my stretch marks and see how I feel.  There must be abs in there somewhere.

On The Waterfront (but no marlin)

The weather was terrific here over the weekend, sunny with highs in the mid-70s.  I feel for you guys sweltering in the high 90s - I’m due to join you next week when I head for Milwaukee.

Saturday, though, I met up with some folks from a Yahoo paddling group in Anacortes, about 70 miles north of Seattle, and we did a 6-7 mile trip circumnavigating a couple of mostly uninhabited islands, Allan and Burrows.  It was a real swell day to be on the water.

That’s me on the left, in my sorta-new Gore-Tex drysuit.

A few more photos from the trip here.  I took both of my cameras - my old Canon S300 because I have a waterproof case and can use it from the cockpit, my new S2 IS because it gets jealous when I leave it and pees in the corners.  This trip, though, my waterproof case took to fogging and taking unintentional “art” shots that weren’t much use.  We went around a group of rocks, Williamson Rocks, that is a nature preserve.  There we saw bunches of harbor seals, plus assorted sea birds.

One of the islands, Allan Island, is owned by Paul Allen, and is for sale for $19.5 million.  I’d buy it, but I don’t want to tie my money up in more real estate, although this is more “liquid” than most.


Gettin’ Neighborly

We helped a neighbor and friend celebrate her continued superannuation last night with a chocolate cake courtesy of Mrs. Perils.  After the cake was presented and candles extinguished, our neighbor told a story about one of her favorite/memorable birthdays, and then thought it would be great fun if each of us around the table should share a story as well.  She had made the mistake, however, of inviting people who knew her in college in the 70s, and some stories were divulged that, shall we say, shed an entirely different light on our formerly sweet and demure acquaintance.

I’ll spare her by not going into any details, other than to say that the heretofore unknown (to me) parlor game “strip dreidl” came up.  To my further puzzlement, she’s not Jewish.

Touching Things Up

I wanted something a little more ostentatious than a simple hyperlink to signal that I am presenting a video snippet.  I happen to have on staff a talented cartoonist, and I asked Mrs. Perils to sketch me something that I could scan and use as an icon.  Here’s the result:

I cropped it down, fumbled a bit with html and finally got it inserted in a post below just for practice, so now you’ll be forewarned when I’m trying to abuse your bandwidth.

Body Blogging

On the “shingles” front, I’ve got my left eye back pretty much, and my forehead no longer looks like something someone forgot at the back of the refrigerator.  I’m left with infernal itching that is sometimes so intense it makes my head vibrate, and makes drifting off to sleep difficult.  But it’s on its way out, and I think the only lasting damage will be its whisper in the ear re: mortality.  As I told a young friend of mine in Ashland, it’s my first Old Man disease.

On a positive note, the diet has been working.  Before I left for Ashland, I weighed just under 152 (down from 160), and I got a lot of exercise down there (Edit: “down there” refers to Ashland, and nothing anatomical. /Edit).  I’ll weigh in on the official scale for this endeavor at the gym tomorrow.

Thanks for listening, and, no, you can’t bill my insurance company.