Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I was just inspired by a Facebook post to learn about flavor tripping. ... Weird.

According to the aforementioned blog: "Flavor Tripping is a ruthlessly-badass bastion of good taste." ... Indeed.

This NY Times article explains it a little more coherently: A Tiny Fruit That Tricks The Tongue.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Anyone Can Play Guitar

I've been playing the guitar quite a bit the past couple weeks. My callouses are coming back! :)

For a long time now (jeez, it's been about a decade) I've gone through phases of playing a lot for a few weeks or a few months at a time, and then setting my guitar aside and ignoring it until some sort of inspiration inevitably strikes, and I start playing again.

I happened upon a really good blog post on the blog of Tim Ferriss this morning, and it reminded me just how important it was for me to find practice material that I actually enjoyed playing in order to really learn how to play the guitar. For me, that was key. Focusing too much on music theory and compositions I didn't like playing took the fun out of playing the saxophone for me while I was in high school. I've tried to learn from past musical experiences when learning the guitar.

Anyway, Tim's blog has a really good post about learning to play the guitar: How to Finally Play the Guitar: 80/20 Guitar and Minimalist Music. The fret climb exercise he recommends is one of the same exercises recommended to me by a guitar teacher I had for a guitar class at a community college. I remember it really helped me learn to move my fretting hand around the fret board more accurately.

As Tim's post mentions, it's really amazing just how simple most pop songs are. Three or Four chords are all you really need to know to strum along with a lot of popular music.

Speaking of music, there's a song that I can't get out of my head. I heard it on KEXP for the first time a couple months ago. Then I heard it at the bowling alley last week. Now it seems to be for some reason deeply embedded in my brain. It's a catchy tune. And the video is hilarious:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paperback writer

Paradise Squandered is now available as a paperback. You can purchase it by clicking here. You will be able to find it on as a paperback, and as a Kindle version, by the end of the week.

Thank you everyone for all of your support!

Monday, September 3, 2012


Paradise Squandered, by debut novel, has been published by SmashWords! Check it out, and help support my writing so I can quit my day job! :)

Paradise Squandered can by purchased at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Jack is growing up fast. I know this sentiment may seem extremely cliched, but really, it's one thing to hear about how fast children grow up, but it's quite another thing to witness it firsthand.

This is what Jack looked like the day he was born:

A few minutes old

Today he is only one year old, but he has already become a little person with his own goals and ideas about the world.

At the market

It's amazing to watch him explore and figure things out for himself. Through trial and error, he learns new things every day, and I learn new things from him.

Backyards are fun

It is indescribable how much love I have for this little guy. Even though helping him grow up is harder than anything else I've ever done, it is also by far the most meaningful thing I've done with my life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


"Make him laugh and he will think you a trivial fellow, but bore him in the right way and your reputation is assured."
- Somerset Maugham

Christopher Buckley paraphrased this quote on NPR earlier this afternoon while I ate an apple in my car outside Starbucks in Fife while on my long-anticipated lunch break.

He was talking about eating puppies and chatting with some super-smart NPR guy about classic satirical movies and books, and people were calling in and talking about their favorites.

Eventually some lady called in and mentioned a book I had actually heard of: Breakfast of Champions. I like that book. A lot. So much so that I read it to Jack before he was even born. I even blogged about it.

Later in the conversation, Buckley mentioned that Vonnegut's book, Slaughterhouse Fife, still sells sixty or seventy thousand copies a year. (I wonder who is collecting those royalties these days.)

Vonnegut hated being labeled a Sci Fi author. Buckley doesn't like the label Humorist (he much prefers Satirist).

I wonder what people will label me after Paradise Squandered becomes a bestseller?

Hack, probably. :)

I wonder if people still use that term...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sometimes I ride my bike

When bicycling down Pacific Avenue near the tidelands in Fife, it is a very good idea to look out for syringes lying in the gutter. I cannot think of a more infuriating way to get a flat tire.

I've been bicycling to work every once in a while over the past few weeks. Mostly for the exercise--I am not currently in the best shape of my life. It's a pretty quick ride there, but riding home is another story. Pedaling up and over Hilltop is not exactly easy. But it makes my post-work shower all the more rewarding.

Hilltop feels surprisingly bicycle friendly. Maybe that's just because I ride on the roads less traveled, but passing through the no-man's-land that is the section of Pacific Highway between the Greyhound station in Tacoma and Larson Nissan of Fife, I have to remain extremely alert and vigilant due to, well, all sorts of things, really: semi-truck traffic, road debris, crazy people...

I'm pretty sure that most of the people that hang out on bus stop benches on this section of highway have absolutely no intention of going anywhere at all--and probably very little awareness of the buses that pass by.

On Saturday morning, I rode past a man lying face down on a bus stop bench who turned his head toward me as I pedaled past and yelled, "I eat your skin."

I didn't slow down.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hipsters sometimes make me laugh

"I'm looking for a modern children's book with, like, hip, retro content and contemporary values."

"Uh," said the tattooed sales clerk at Powell's Books, stalling for a moment before attempting a more serious response. "Well, this is one of my current favorites," she said, holding up some book I'd never heard of before with Dick and Jane style artwork on the front.

"No, I'm looking for something a little less dated than that," replied this twenty-something woman who, um, well, probably spent more than a few minutes getting ready to leave the house earlier that rainy Portland day.

I started laughing, but I played it off like I was just laughing at something Jack was doing--I was trying to keep him from pulling every single book off the shelf at the time.

Brittany, Jack and I drove down to Portland on Monday. I had a meeting with my editor (you should all be very, very excited about my forthcoming ebook, Paradise Squandered), and we also visited our friend, Veronica, ate some very tasty mac and cheese and a burger with Gorgonzola and bacon at Violetta (always awesome), hiked around Washington Park, and wandered around the city in the rain. Jack loves the rain.

Jack and I hung out at Powell's for a while while we waited for Brittany and Veronica to finish trying on clothes at Buffalo Exchange. Jack picked out a new Curious George book--it's pretty cool, it has all sorts of very fascinating cutouts and mirrors inside it. While he was making his selection, though, we witnessed some lady push a Powell's employee nearly to her breaking point. It was funny.

The Powell's sales clerk probably showed the lady nine or ten books before she gave up, and each time she offered a suggestion, the other lady responded with something like:

"Well, that's not really was I'm looking for. Do you have anything with/that ______________ (enter incoherent nonsense here)."

Finally, the Powell's employee (red faced and clearly about to explode) told her to hold on, that she'd find someone else who might know more about what she was looking for.

Throughout this whole hilarious ordeal, though, while Jack and I explored everything Powell's has to offer a sixteen month old (everything within arm's reach, really), this lady's kid, who looked like an eight or nine year old hipster zombie--his bored expression never changed, not even a little bit--just stood there, seemingly disinterested in absolutely everything. And we were all there for probably close to an hour.

And I'm not trying to make fun of a kid here, but, seriously, you should have seen this kid. He had a fedora, a very-cool jacket, and short, dark-denim skinny jeans that showed off his red socks and plaid Converse low-tops. But I kept wondering if he was just extremely bored waiting for his insanely hard-to-comprehend mother, or if he was heavily medicated, or just way too cool to be hanging out in the children's section of Powell's.

But in all fairness, the kid probably really was way cooler than I am, ever have been, or could ever hope to be. I liked his shoes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Growing up

I once read in an article about blogging that posting excuses or even an acknowledgement of a long gap between posts is a terrible idea--an amateurish. This blog is far too professional for that sort of content. Let me just say that I have been in serious need of motivation. I haven't even felt fully awake in months.

Jack got a sled for Christmas!
Today was a nice day. The sun felt pretty incredible on my ghostly white skin. I'm not at all sad that winter is over--I spent most of my days this past winter stuck inside the freezing cold showroom at Nissan of Fife (the thermostat was locked at 62 degrees, and near the windows, of which there are many, I doubt the temperature regularly got above 60, and I was stuck wearing a suit every day). It has been nice spending time outside again. My backyard is once again my favorite place to be.

Jack is growing up fast. He is becoming his own unique person. He makes me laugh all the time.

15 months old
The picture above is my current favorite picture of Jack. It was taken at our friends' cabin near Lake Wenatchee about a week ago. We had a nice time. Except for Jack and Brittany both getting sick. Illness aside, it was a relaxing weekend.