Archive for May 2008

Friday Pot Puree

Frustrating end to a week that otherwise went pretty well. After finishing a new project for a long-time client this afternoon, I noted that they were a few ticks behind in their software service packs, and decided to bring them current before knocking off for the weekend. This is usually a 15-minute slam-dunk, but for some reason, the installation crapped out at the very end. I tried a few more times, then got vendor support on the phone. After spending an hour and a half with two different techs, they told me they’d have to schedule a call-back with a “senior analyst”. Which means that I’ll have to be on-site very early on Tuesday morning, instead of easing into what promises to be a frenetic short week anyway. I would just drop it, except that (of course) the process has rendered their accounting system unusable in the meantime. Gah.

Earlier in the week, I attended a kayak paddling skills session on Tuesday. Although I’ve done a lot of kayaking in both fresh and salt water, my Rubicon has been learning to “roll” my boat using a combination of body movements and paddle strokes. This comes in handy if, for some reason, your boat capsizes and you find yourself hanging upside down, with your head pointed toward Davey Jones’ Locker. If you can snap your hips, swipe your paddle and right yourself, you save yourself the lengthy and dangerous process of exiting your boat, flipping it upright, then crawling back into it (if you can) and pumping it out.

I had never really tried it before Tuesday. I’ve never been capsized involuntarily, and it’s an unnatural act to purposefully plunge yourself into frigid Washington waters. Counterintuitively, the fresh water of Lake Washington is as cold or colder than Puget Sound right now, because of the recent snowmelt that has swollen streams that eventually feed the lake. Nonetheless, with the help of a very patient trainer, I finally made myself assay the task of learning this technique, dunking myself between 40 and 50 times and coming close to reliably righting myself without assistance. I have a lot of practicing to do to perfect this technique. And, judging from how my shoulders felt Wednesday morning, there seems to be a way to finesse it, and a way to wrong-headedly try to muscle it.

As much as I fly, I still regard it as the sort of wondrous, transformative experience that it was when I first started climbing into jets in the late 60s. Our house is right under the bad-weather approach to Sea-Tac (which means like 90% of the arrivals), and a lot of planes fly over, but I still find myself looking up every time I hear their engines, noting the airline and the model, and just watching their majestic glide toward the airport.

Lately, though, I regard the idea of air travel as less of a futuristic experience, and more of a doomed anachronism. If fuel prices stay as high as they are, we won’t be flying with impunity to play or commune with friends and relatives as we have for the last 3 decades. Horses and covered wagons, anyone?

Malebag Blogging

So, someone got here last night via the Google string “scrotum gets really tight with caffeine”. Dude ( I assume it was a dude) gets points for spelling both of the hard words correctly, and for raising the very interesting philosophical issue of what constitutes “really tight” vis a vis scrotii (no, I’m not sure, either - look it up for me, will you? I think it’s rare to possess multiples.). I can’t make up my mind whether he was searching for a peril or a benefit.

Beyond my regret that this fellow, or gold-hearted girl doing research, no doubt went away empty-handed, I suddenly feel as if I’ve been missing something. The espresso machine is SO going in for an overhaul. I usually take it here, but I’m considering bringing in a urologist for a consultation.

Maybe it’s not the caffeine in the coffee - maybe it’s the steamer wand.

Mother’s Day Reducks

OK, it’s out of sequence and a week late, but with your kind permission(s), I’d like to post a few photos from my Mother’s Day kayak trip. No mothers in attendance.

We have kind of an odd relationship to Mother’s and Father’s Days here at Chez Perils. While we took it semi-seriously when I lived with my parents, Mrs. Perils always said that her parents considered it a contrived commercial “holiday”, and eschewed its celebration. When we married, I took that and ran with it.

My middle brother (ed: I apparently lost count.  I meant my youngest brother)  had an interesting encounter with a neighbor. Attempting to draw my bro into a shared commiseration, the neighbor asked him what he was doing with my SIL on Mother’s Day. My bro said something like, “probably go out in the boat - she likes to drink beer and fish.” The neighbor, who was probably doomed to do something “girly”, winced and had to venture further up the street in his quest for sympathy.

Since I had just gotten back from a trip to Milwaukee on Friday night, I was fore-armed with what I thought were sufficient gifts: three unopened little packs of airline snacks - including pistachios! I placed them on Mrs. Perils’ keyboard and headed down to Lake Union to meet up with some folks for a fresh-water paddle.

We headed towards Lake Washington and a nifty little area near the Arboretum called Foster Island. Despite its being hard by the busy 520 bridge, it’s fun to just noodle around its myriad channels.

Here’s one of several beaver dams we encountered:

It also must have been turtle hookup day:


The trip there and back took us through the Montlake Cut, and under one of the prettiest little drawbridges:

As I finished up the trip, I began to reckon with the nagging realization that Mrs. Perils does, in fact, like to be recognized at least a little on Mother’s Day and, at the very last possible minute, I stopped on my way up the hill at one of her favorite haunts, Chocolati, and scored a gift certificate. Just in case pistachios were out of favor.

And, yeah, I called my own mom and had a nice conversation with her as well.


As you may have heard, we’ve had a couple of days of August-like heat here on Friday and Saturday - like, 90F. Our meanderings have taken us down to Green Lake:

And encountered more than one friendly neighbor spurred to frenzied acts of landscaping:

We ducked into a favorite southwest-inspired restaurant for nibbles and Mrs. Perils was inspired to try the bartender’s special margarita of the evening, which featured strawberries pureed with some sort of pepper. Very interesting - with each sip, you first tasted the sweet of the strawberry, then finished with a kick from the pepper. The tequila slipped past unnoticed.

Of course, our meanderings took us to Gasworks Park:

I didn’t shove the polypro layers too far back in the drawer, though.  It’s supposed to be rainy and 60-ish by Tuesday.


Man, every now and then you find a post that makes you weep, and wonder how you ever felt empowered to pick up a keyboard.


Do you ever have these posts that are like intestinal blockages?  And they sit there in your queue and don’t let you post until you finish them?  I had three like that last week.  It’s not fair to characterize something as cool as our SC reunion in those physiological terms, but there it is.  I just couldn’t get all the photos, etc together.

After arriving home last Monday night from SC, I faced a short (4-day), frenetic week in Seattle before spending this last week in Milwaukee.

I tend to lose inspiration when work pervades my consciousness.  I tend to feel that I don’t have permission to post if I have unfulfilled work commitments.  I’m sure those few of you readers who are also clients will wholeheartedly agree.

So, I’m looking forward to a 5-day week in Seattle. Although the week after I’ve been out of town tends to be really hectic, it’s easier to find pockets of repose when I’m on my home earth.

Sunday is supposed to be a houseboat tour on Lake Union with an online kayak group, interspersed with some paddling technique (as opposed to spanking, if your gutter-mind was headed that way).

Hope to be more forthcoming this week.


My brothers and I were spaced, chronologically, such that we had no common friends or interests while we were living together in northwest Ohio. I was the oldest, L. was 4 years younger, and B. was 10 years younger. It took a couple of decades and thousands of miles of geographical migration for us to reacquaint with each other on more than superficial terms, but the last 15 years or so have seen us really enjoy each other as adults fairly comfortable in our skins, to the point where we have 3 permanent annual meetups, plus the occasional serendipitous assignation.

This April retreat to the Litchfield resort on Pawley’s Island, SC is one of the three. It began when my parents started golfing their way down to my brother L.’s place near Charleston in the spring. I’m not clear on how they got started on the Litchfield beach thing, but it culminated in my youngest brother’s wedding on the beach 10 years ago.

April is the perfect time to hit the beach in SC. The weather is often coolish, like high 60s to mid-70s. The locals think it’s too cold to come to the beach, and it’s not yet tourist season. Perfect, in other words, for Seattle people to be able to wear only one layer of high-tech polypro garments to the beach and feel like they’re having a tropical experience.

Our mom joins us in Litchfield, and while the place is rife with memories of our dad, our occasional sadness is overcome by our desire to retain this place and season as a catalyst to celebrate our shared experience. We’ve been joined the past 2 or 3 years by my mom’s sister, who moved to North Myrtle Beach a few years ago.

The generational sibling experience (my bros, and my mom and her younger sister) is interesting. A couple of times, my aunt and my mom resurrected 70-year-old grudges! There was something about staying too long at a movie while my mom was in charge of my aunt, and my aunt tattling something to my grandfather, and my mom getting in trouble. I’m sure the chain of misery didn’t stop there.

There are similar tales of oppression and retribution among the three of us brothers - stuff I’ve either suppressed or outright disbelieve. I was always all about their best interests, you see. This year, we added a generation to the mix, my youngest bro’s step-granddaughter, making us a collection of 4 generations.

Here are some photos, with no particular point in mind (click any photo to enlarge):

Locals, fersure, but neither is my sibling:

Snowy egrets are fairly plentiful:

And we saw an oystercatcher in Murrell’s Inlet when we rented kayaks. I’m pretty sure this guy didn’t catch all of those oyster’s he’s standing on. They recycle oyster shells to restore habitat in the area:

Here’s my youngest bro with one of his stepdaughters, and Mrs. Perils:

I was there, too.

Apparently there was a wrestling match. Apparently, I was losing:

Middle bro L. and his wife:

Kitsch abounds near Myrtle Beach, and apparently there’s no place to hide:

I know I left some people out, but this post has been moldering enough. Besides, I’m pretty sure no one wants to be seated next to the urinal.