Sunday, March 30, 2008


I ran across this story yesterday and I have to say that it reinforces my personal opinion of Wal-Mart as a company (not to mention I absolutely hate shopping there). The condensed version of the story is that this woman received a settlement from an accident and, because she received medical care using the company's health plan, Wal-Mart is entitled to take the money from the settlement. I've heard of this in medical coverage on automobile policies but never in a personal or group medical policy. Maybe I need to check the fine print on my health insurance and see what it says.

What I'm wondering is why does a company that can post a profit of $11.28 billion a year need to recoup money from their employees in this way? A settlement after an accident is supposed to be to offset the lost wages for the person and to help provide care for the rest of his/her life. Apparently that doesn't matter to Wal-Mart and the company's greed outweighs the needs of its employees. Why don't these corporations realize that the employees are the most important asset they have? Without employees the corporation is nothing more than some legal documents and some inventory.

Monday, March 24, 2008

This is seriously wrong

No further comment necessary.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


So, I'm sitting downtown in the convention center waiting for my gym buddy to arrive. I've got a cup of hot tea, I'm looking out the window towards the Sound as a rain squall is moving, and watching the traffic on the street four floors below me. This isn't bad...a little time to sit and do nothing and to enjoy doing nothing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A step in the right direction

I heard a very shot snippet on the news about this new law signed by Gregoire but then never saw anything on the local news sites about. Chris reminded me to look on the Governor's site for info on it and sure enough, there it was. While this expands the existing domestic partnership rights in the state, it still falls short of marriage equality. However, much of Washington is still conservative so it's going to be a process to get to full equality. This new law takes that process a little further. It gives registered domestic partners more rights that married couples have, but there's still room for improvement. I'm hoping the legislature and governor will realize that it's a small step from here to full marriage equality and take the leap in the very near future, but when there are politics involved I guess nothing is easy. Still, Kudos to the state House and Senate members, and Gregoire, for continuing to expand our rights in the state. You can see the House bill report here and the Senate's report here. (PDF documents)

Monday, March 17, 2008


Lifted directly from Joe. My. God.

The person who posted this titled it "Homosexual Cleansing". It's amazing...these guys are brave enough to beat up a photograph but aren't brave enough to show their faces while doing it. But, they do seem very proud of themselves afterwards.

Weekend wrap-up

The weekend ended up being more full than I had thought, but it was very good. Saturday we woke up bright and early to head for the mountains. Sadly we didn't get out of bed bright and early. After the ordeal the night before with my truck we were both exhausted. Once we finally hit the road it was a great drive. Up across Snoqualmie pass it was actively snowing, on top of the 10 to 15 feet of snow already on the ground. The trip across the mountains is really amazing in any weather, but with that much snow it was even more beautiful. We were headed to the little tourist trap Bavarian village of Leavenworth. We're there usually once a year, mostly because it's a nice drive, there's good German food, and it's a decent day trip in a pretty setting.

We didn't do a whole lot in Leavenworth other than wander around, browse in some of the shops, and eat. Of course, that's all anyone does there. It was still a lot of fun. The sun came out just after we got there and it turned out to be a really beautiful day. On the drive back across the first pass going home it was spectacular with the snow and bright sun. I found a place to pull off the road and we romped in the snow for a while. Heading back uphill to the second pass, which is much higher, we had to stop and play in the snow there too. It was a little disconcerting to climb to the top of a 12' high snow drift and promptly have my feet fall through. There was a moment of panic when I thought I'd be stuck but I wasn't. I finally convinced Jayson and Anthony to climb up with me and it was really fun just acting like kids playing in the snow. No one made a snow angel since we were afraid we'd sink in and not be able to get up. We stayed there until sunset and then headed down the mountain.

On the way home we decided to stop for dinner and of course we had to have margaritas. It seemed like a good thing to do after a fun day out, and it was. Anthony, who claims he doesn't drink, had finished three of them before I ever finished my one. It's funny to see someone who doesn't drink scarf down booze and not realize the effect it's having. Well, fun for those of us watching anyway!

We truly did sleep late on Sunday, then headed to breakfast with a friend. Afterwards we made a trip to the gym. It's been a while since I've made it a regular routine to go to the gym, and I hope that this is the start of a routine. Anthony is a regular at the gym so it's good that I've got someone to go with regularly, and he's good at training too. So, I now have motivation to go, and someone to go with. I still intend to go with my friend Chris as his schedule permits but there's nothing wrong with making it a threesome, or foursome when Jayson goes. I'm sore today, but it's a good kind of sore; it tells me that I'm doing something and it's having an effect.

That was pretty much the whole day Sunday. I did laundry after we got home and then we had dinner and watched Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Anthony had never seen it, and I'm not sure how impressed he was with it. Maybe he was just tired. Or, maybe he was expecting something else.

I think that's it for now. If only I could say the week would be as much fun as the weekend was...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Built Ford tough

I was awakened last night at 2:38 (to be precise) by the hubby saying "Get up...someone hit your truck". Let me tell you, of all the ways to wake up, that's one of the least pleasant. Our neighbors had called just a minute or two before to tell us that someone attending the party down the street was trying to park and ran into my truck. I got dressed and headed out front only to find the neighbors on their balcony watching the goings-on and proceeded to get the story from them. Apparently one of the revelers going to the party in his Honda was trying to park behind my truck and in doing so ran into it.

After looking over the truck with the flashlight I couldn't find any damage. After a few more minutes of looking I spotted some pieces of silver plastic on the tire. When I parked I had turned my wheels toward the curb and it seems that the silver Honda ran it's front bumper into my tire. What I had found were pieces of the bumper stuck to my tire. I guess when they hit they ended up with a hole in their bumper and I got nothing but some plastic left behind. My tire was stronger than their Honda, which really doesn't surprise me. There was no other visible damage to the truck. I'm guessing there's no problem with the alignment or steering but I'll check that when I drive it.

My neighbors had called the police and I followed up with a call this morning. When the cop showed up he had already run the plate of the Honda that my neighbor had so been nice to write down. He was going to contact the owner of that and I've got a police report in case there's anything wrong with the truck. I've not driven it yet but I doubt they did any damage. I'm still not sure how someone can not see a big red truck and run right into it. I'm glad they didn't damage it, but the whole ordeal made the for major lack of sleep. Hopefully the Honda owner learned that he should not have picked a fight with my F-150!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vacation idea

If anyone is handing out free vacations, I would very much like to stay at this place. Normally I'd just plan a trip if there's a place I want to go, but in this case I happened to see the prices. So, a benefactor is going to be necessary if I'm ever to visit.

Beyond the ridiculously high rates, it looks like a very cool place. I love the idea of being in the middle of the wilderness, completely removed from modern society, yet still having all the comforts of that society. Apparently the only way in/out is by boat or float plane. Sounds like a great way to run away and hide for a little while, and I could sure use some of that!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hello, old age

So, after almost 40 years I'm in glasses for the first time in my life. Luckily I need them only for reading or working on the computer, but it's still a milestone. It would be nice to think that I could have gone on for a few more years without needing any artificial devices to keep me going, but it wasn't to be. It's not like the grey hair doesn't already betray my age but I don't need help broadcasting it. So, here then is the first pic of me in glasses.

Ugly or cool (or both)?

Yes, I'm a boat geek so I follow new launches, new designs, etc. This yacht hit the water in Germany a few days ago and is now on sea trials. It's definitely unique and someone took some chances with the styling. The size is impressive (almost 400' long) but size isn't everything and I'm still trying to decide if I like the thing or not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mary Ann caught with dope

I always knew Mary Ann was the real party girl in the group.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Catching up

I can't believe it's been almost six weeks since I posted anything here. It's more than time for an update. I also owe several people e-mails and phone calls...I'm already behind this year and it's only early March. My mother even sent me a message the other day reminding me that it had been a while and was wondering if I was still around!

So what's been going on to keep me so busy...? A whole lot and very little really. We had our friend Brian from Alaska visit us for a long weekend, and it was a very nice weekend. We didn't do a whole lot but still enjoyed ourselves. We went to the market, and then hung out at home much of the rest of the time. Of, and we ate out a lot (when do we not do that?). It was really good getting to see him and having him here.

Starting just after Brian left,Jayson has been dealing with more depression issues that, this time at least, stemmed from a bad bout of insomnia. It got him into a bad cycle where he wasn't sleeping and then being exhausted in the day, which let the depression take hold. It's better but the insomnia continues. This started in early February and got pretty bad by the last week of February. For anyone who's never lived with a depressed person, it's a lot of work. Not only is there the person to take care of but all the normal daily chores which are usually divided between people. It's not only double the work, but about 2.5 times the work. So, that's what kept me busy most of February. I think he's on an upswing so that's a good thing.

We also have had someone staying with us the last few weeks, and that's actually been a help. Our friend Anthony needed a place for a while but he's been a big help and he's staying around longer. It's been nice to have some of the pressure at home taken off.

Things at work are beginning to settle down for me. I hired someone to replace my Japan-bound former employee. He's working out OK but it's still a process getting him up to speed. It's happening at a reasonable pace so I'm okay with that. It didn't help during February that I was covering my job and his (before he was hired) and dealing with stuff at home, but enough bitching about all of that. It's all getting better.

I had a big "Oh shit, I'm getting old" moment on Saturday. For the first time in my life I'm getting glasses. They'll only be for reading and working at the PC but I'm getting them nonetheless. I managed to make it almost 40 years without needing anything so I won't complain too much. It will be weird having to wear glasses but like everyone else, I'll adjust. As my friend Wes said, "Pick the frames that compliment your face." That was a great example of stating the obvious (hugs Wes) but I hope the ones I got will look good on me. Of course, I can't help but wonder what body part will next need assistance as I continue to age...

We've been doing a lot of planning for our vacation this year. We're renting a 29' trailer and hauling it to Yellowstone in May, just before Memorial Day. We figured that we have my truck to pull the thing with and we've never been, so we thought it would be fun. It'll be interesting to see how well we do with a 20' long truck pulling a 29' long trailer but we'll figure it out. If we can find out way through the Italian cities we've driven through without having multiple wrecks, we'll do fine pulling this trailer.

The new sail for the boat is on the way (those who've read past posting will know what I'm talking about). I ended up getting a good deal on it so I'm pleased. Saving 50% on something like that is a great thing. Now, we're better used the damn boat this summer! I'm going to make sure we do.

We also passed the two year anniversary of owning our house on Feb. 14. I can't believe we've owned this house for two years; it seems like no time that we've lived here. Maybe that's why the carpets look dirty when I think they shouldn't. We still haven't even managed to paint any of the bedrooms or bathrooms. Maybe this year...

That's it for now. I need to update this much more often with more specific info instead of waiting until times like now when I do just a long rambling general update. I think I'll work on that. Work won't be too exciting this week I think, but I do get to meet Melinda Gates tomorrow. She's touring our facility and checking out some of the lab work since her and Bill's foundation gives up several million dollars a year. Should be interesting.