Posted by: newq | November 9, 2016

Life and how to live it XVII

This is my post election thoughts and rants written to get them out of my head and to scream into the digital wind.  I’ll get back to writing tales of life one of these years.

My armchair post game is this.  This is what happens when both parties stop listening to the constituents.  You literally get “anyone else.”  The Democrats stopped listening and instead of choosing a more electable candidate (Sanders, based on polls) Team Hillary schemed and cheated to get her in position.  Traditional Republicans stopped listening and the constituents found a wild card in their own ranks. (Would have done so well as an independent?)

My breakdown of the demographics comes to two point. First the country mouse just sent a message to the city mouse. Secondly the majority of Trump supporters were over 45, the older generations have better turn out and my prayer is that the baby boomers have matured enough to see something I don’t.

This paragraph from a Forbes article summed it up for me.

“If he embraces his role as a radical reformer, he could do much good, for example with a flatter tax system, restoring federalism, seizing the advantage of the energy revolution and reviving military preparedness.

The question is whether he will, or is capable, of doing these things. A Hillary Clinton administration would have been safer, and predictable, but it would not have addressed the very things that made Americans turn to this bizarre political poseur. Now it’s up to Trump to live up to his promise to restore the country’s self-confidence, and, for the rest of us, to make sure he does it in accordance with the Constitution and basic decency.”

Now, while the numbers aren’t final, it appears Hillary won the popular vote.  I don’t care which side of the fence you are on I think we can agree that if the popular vote candidate doesn’t win the election something is wrong.  The Electoral College may have been a good check and balance at the founding but now it has been neutered to the point where it is no longer doing any good.

Finally, regardless of your vote half the country disagrees with you.  You probably know at least one of them.  Did you discuss the issues with these people or did you just “unfriend” them because you didn’t like their opinion?  Civil discourse has been lost in the narcissist realm of social media and social isolation.  Town hall meetings require you to listen to people you disagree with.  On the internet you never have to face it.  Are you going to foster the divide or bridge the gap?


Posted by: newq | October 13, 2013

Life and how to live it part XVI

Time flies when it is entirely consumed by a youngling and the time it’s not spent doing absolutely nothing.  All are well baby Morgan is in the 95% for length and length/weight and off the scale for head size.  For Halloween I think I’m just going to paint her head purple and take her out as Sinestro.  I’ve been trying to keep updating pictures of her on the Facebook without capturing every instant of every minute but if anyone is interested here’s a link to the Terabytes I have on dropbox.

Having a child is an incredible push to get those things you knew you needed to do but never have done, i.e. Make a will and get life insurance better than the flight insurance at the airport.  Now here’s the real secret, you don’t ever have to pay for life insurance, you just have to apply.  Some charge an upfront fee, some don’t and if you don’t take their services they refund anything collected.  But while you’re undergoing the application process it’s in force.  That is they cover you even during the 6 to 8 weeks it gets to apply and get all the tests done.  So long as you don’t mind a blood draw every time you apply you can always be covered. 

I’ve also learned that I’m going to die.  It hadn’t been my plan, my blood work is fantastic and my blood pressure is better than God’s if he has one, but for some reason I’ve been declined by three different companies.  My doctor can’t find anything in the records that would generate a red flag.  It’s disheartening to have a company tell you they don’t think you’ll be around for 20 years to say the least.  I suspect someone has a hit out on me and they’re in on it.

And finally with the largest bit of drama done I can say I finally met the neighbors.  8 months after we moved in we received a letter from a law firm stating that the neighbors to the south made a claim that our fence (which we share with the neighbors to the west) was on their property.  They’ve never so much as said hi or waved, but we knew who they were now, those “jackasses next door” (or some variant).  Having a survey department in the office is incredibly convenient in matters like these, and when we pulled the county records over the last few years I agreed that the developers had built over the line by about 4 feet.  With my other neighbor on board we crafted a letter back to the lawyer.  If they were going to be rude about it and not come over in a neighborly way I was going to make sure it cost them money by going back through the lawyer.  It basically said “If we agree the fence is in the wrong spot where do your clients think it should be?” I’ll move it once, but not twice.  Several more months went by with no response until finally, this June; we had the developer move it anyway when they came back for their 1 year warranty work. 

About a month later I see they are having a picnic with other neighbors, obviously we weren’t invited.  I had just gotten home from Bloody Mary Sunday at the Victory (now with 80% fewer ripped chairs) when I noticed that amongst their guests were two former bar regulars, Sue and what’s his face.  When the former regulars recognized me I took the opportunity to yell over and in a matter of seconds had myself invited over to the evil neighbors!  I grabbed half a dozen bottle of home brew and headed over.  Sue met me at the door and must have heard the jackass side of the fence issue as she seemed certain I was there to wreak havoc.  I was more shocked by Sue’s opinion of me but she is originally from Chicago so there’s that.

With beers open and introduction to jackasses complete I mumbled pleasantries for about 30 seconds before politely, calmly, and in a voice applicable for conversation between two people, asking Mr. Jackass WTF.  I felt like Tyrion Lannister secretly keeping all my wits about me to discern the nature and level of jackass-ery. Well he basically threw himself on his sword (pretty apt give n the previous fictional medieval reference) and admitted his errors.  I stuck around for about another half hour while talking about other things and to other guests.  I left with two new neighbors, Ben and Sarah Pulanco nee Jackass, and confident in my moral superiority. (I didn’t say I was a perfect neighbor.) 

Quick side note, Wil Wheaton wasn’t at PAX East and didn’t come to PAX Prime so if he doesn’t come to the Christmas charity auction this will be the first year of no snubbing since the trend began.  But that may be okay as I have a new celebrity to run across and ignore, the train wreck that is Danny Bonaduce.  Turns out he is a morning DJ, and the radio station he’s on is in the same building that we’ve started parking in.  I’m thinking one of these mornings I’m going to see him on a smoke break.  I’ll also add that the station he works at is the classic rock station, and while CBS has several radio stations in that building, everyone I’ve seen on that floor looks like they should be working at a classic rock station.

In parting I wish you well and leave you with this marvel of modern science. clickme

Posted by: newq | January 20, 2012

Life and how to live it part XV

As always I repeat this is NOT a Christmas posting.  Those drag on about jobs, and kids, and important things.  These messages at best are about somewhat important things and generally completely non-important things.

Like Kristin’s chickens.  As mentioned in the previous episode SHE got chickens.  Then two decided they liked sleeping in the neighbor’s apple tree.  Then over our time back in WI for the weddings two if the chickens went away.  No feathers, no gore, but they were not prone to flying like the other two and who knows maybe they decided a buddy comedy with a stray dog and a hummingbird was the way to go.

Kristin and our fabulous neighbor, as in (he’ll be the Maid of Honor at the wedding) built a more secure chicken run but after spending 45 minutes one night shooing them from out of the yard across the street into our yard I cracked.  There is now a chicken fortress.  One morning around 2 am the dog started going ape shit as the two raccoons from the Great Outdoors were on the stump of the tree trying to figure out how to get in. (Did you know that raccoons eat chickens?  Where did these ever run across each other in the wild?  Does that mean badgers take out turkeys?  Do they give a shit?)  They did not get in (manly grunt for a fence well built) and we have been enjoying yard fresh eggs ever since.

Christmas was in Palm Springs, well the week before technically.  Kristin’s parents belong to a vacation club/timeshare thingy and they took a week there and invited us.  Let me say a few things about Palm Springs that you may not guess…

1. It smells like the woods, and by that I mean it smells like DEET.

2. I have never seen such a high concentration of middle aged gay men with small dogs.  They are having coffee. They are antiquing at the little boutiques in the old down town.  They are enjoying a beer at the Mexican restaurant.  They are doing everything but working.  I personally think they just all support each other in some sort of secret commune.  A gay Illuminati of businesses.

3. Palm Springs Costco is full of tans, white clothing, and spandex; anything to make it look like you are above shopping there but are only pulling off 70% of the look.

A day trip from Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park.  The inspiration for U2 liner art  I mean there were like 30,000 of them but I’m sure we saw THAT one.

Finally, while you can take the boy out of ‘stallis you can’t take the ‘stallis out of the boy.

Kristin is pregnant.

12 weeks along as of this past week.  Let the record reflect that I proposed BEFORE we knew (by a whole 4 days) AND that the pill is only 99.9% effective making this child not the 1% but the 0.01%


Posted by: newq | August 6, 2011

Life and how to live it part XIV

For Christmas I asked and received a USB powered clock/pen holder/ fish tank.  After 3 months I finally got it set up but Kristin was very convinced that it was animal cruelty not to condition the water so rather than take the bottle from the house I decided to order Sea Monkeys!  Yea!  (Sorry for the commercial, such is the current state of the ‘net

Now all was well but not many spawned.  I went to PAX East and had co-worker Harvery care for them. (PAX East was awesome, I was promoted to Deputy Enforcer (which means I showed up on the org chart, impressive when there are 500 volunteers and 35 on the chart) for the show, but Wil Wheaton wasn’t there to snub so you don’t need me to tell you things you can look up on the web.) Any way back to the point, Harvey  did a fine job.  He said he saw as many as 3 which was as many as I ever saw.  But within a few weeks their appearances became fewer and fewer.  I did nothing different but on a Monday morning I saw one and on Tuesday I walked in to turn on the aerator for 15 seconds (all they need) to see it kick up a carcass of the last monkey.  We all know the scene of the dancing plastic bag in American Beauty so I won’t even bother to link it, but it was like that… except with a husk.  TRAUMA!

I also took a spin around the world of Lego Star Wars sets.  I bought Slave I which I had bought several years before, this was the latest iteration.  Let me say this about that…. B.S.!  The new one is too to the point.  Remember when Lego showed you the model but the back had the pictures of the other cool things you could make?  No more.  There are pieces to a ’87 Taurus in this thing.  Pieces you could never find even on the web and that were obvious custom molds for this ship.  I’m not talking the cool custom mini-figs, eff-in’ “regular” blocks!

I had my 34th birthday.  I worked the day but took Friday July 1 off to make a 4 day weekend.  It started off odd as my spam inbox was filled with “funeral preparation” emails.  I celebrated at the bar and remember half of it.  Kristin drove me home but on Friday morning we played the “What do you remember game”?  Now I remember not paying for a G-D thing except for one beer when a special guest star appeared and I made it a point to pay.  Other than that I recall the bartender asking “Who’s buying this one?” At which point I walked to the far end and started asking who was buying?  It took me to the first person.  It helped that I knew everyone sitting at the bar proper.  Person 2 and 3 offered rounds I knew I could not accept.  Buy 500 in a year; get 5 free, that’s the benefit of being a regular.

But my favorite was when she said, “Do you remember the big skin-head with all the piercings putting you in a headlock?  I don’t know what you did but he was pissed and I was scared.”

“Oh that!  Yes I remember now… that was Craig, he’s a Steelers fan and I haven’t seen him since Superbowl.  I’ve know him for years.   That was all good.”  She was glad that he hadn’t pummeled me but she took comfort in the fact that no one else in the bar seemed to mind.

Oh, and I know it’s August but Christmas in July is still on my mind

I think the final news is that Kristin got chickens.  Let me say that again… KRISTIN got chickens.  There was an agreement made. I have to admit that since I don’t have to care for them they are interesting on the level I’m interested in them.  That said she has one , two Rhode Island Reds, , and “I say I say Boy” a Leghorn.   One of the reds looks chronically stoned. (pun intended) Seriously, this thing gets sleepy looking at concrete, air, other chickens, anything.  We don’t know what it does during the day but it’s into something the others aren’t.  Kristin and gay farm boy now landlord Matt were in the same psych program and have determined it to be a “FAS” chicken.  (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)  I got permission; it’s still okay to call an animal a ‘tard.

Posted by: newq | February 23, 2011

LIfe and how to live it part XIII

It’s the second Seattle snow-mageddon for the season and since I’m out of batteries for my Xbox controller it seems like a fine time for a note on the comings and goings of our exciting household.

Let’s start with our new kitten. This fall, but not on a Caturday I had my friend Don bring over the 6 kittens remaining from the litter for a test run. After about an hour Kristin had picked her cat which was the lover and I picked mine because he was the most playful and had supreme interest in the bottle cap he found on the floor. (I could use a drinking buddy around the house.) At this point Kristin said “Neither one of us is going to change our minds, how do we decide?” The answer was a simple coin toss and beer drinking buddy was mine. It took a few days but we decided on Thelonius Kat (because jazz is cool like that) for a name.

At our first vet visit we were informed he was a she. My beer drinking buddy was a ditsy sorority girl! I wasn’t comfortable keeping the name at the point and after a few weeks I was able to convince Kristin to settle on Dax. Those familiar with DS9 will get the reference. For those who don’t, well Dax was a symbiotic life form that would occasionally move to a willing host. When the series opens we find the captain calling this mid-thirties woman (Judzea Dax) “Old Man” as many years ago he met the symbiote as an old ambassador, Kurzon Dax. Male or female the Dax portion of the person is the same. So is our cat. Male or female didn’t matter because at the core it was the same cat.

I don’t know what could top and Ewok in a DeLorean but I’m willing to find out and as such I’m volunteering yet again for the video game convention. This will be the second year of its East Coast expansion and my 4th PAX as a volunteer. (Stepping back yes I know I had that link in my last post but it was just too good not to share again) This time around I was asked to be the assistant manager for the Info booth/spareboard and I have happily taken on the role if for no other reason than it gets me on the org chart. Out of 300+ volunteers only about 30 appear on the official org chart which as Taj pointed out, makes me an Alpha Geek. To sweeten the deal it comes with a cool title… basic volunteers are Enforcers but now I’m a Deputy Enforcer. Perhaps I need a giant belt buckle with a star on it so everyone will know as I sit behind a desk with said badge out of view. Unfortunately it doesn’t give me any authority to arrest Wil Wheaton which is alright because that would mean interaction and would deny me my multi-annual snub. (2 weeks 3 days and counting)

Finally as hinted on Facebook I’ve become the proud owner of an objet d’Art. I am on the website for a company that “specializes in bringing to auction select merchandise acquired from various agencies, including merchandise held, sold, and released by U.S. Police Departments, forfeited property, repossessions, loan defaults, business liquidations, estate merchandise, and other consignments.” Two months ago I was checking the listing to find an interesting piece which caught my eye. I forgot about it before the auction closed and it sold for $300. Lured in by the sale price vs. estimated auction value of roughly $5000 I was not going to be denied when a similar piece came up this time around. As Kristin and I were down in Portland we had set reminders in our smart phones to make sure I got my shot. With 5 minutes to go I took it. Thanks to drunkenness I paid too much but based on how much I’ve smiled today, perhaps I didn’t. Behold, my authentic 1971 Warhol.

P.S. PACKERS!!! I remember the game. I remember 5 minutes after the game. After that it gets sketchy.

Posted by: newq | September 9, 2010

Life and how to live it part XII

Let’s start with the facts… as of late June I’ve been living in sin, shacked up with Kristin in a rented house while I sublet my place.  Our pastor was on sabbatical so when, upon her return, I told her about the sin part she said “Great, glad to hear it.”

With joys come sorrow and shortly after moving in we had to put down Kristin’s old cat.  He was on his way out when we moved but still hard to do.  Then not 6 weeks later my only family in town, my cat Jack, died suddenly and unexpectedly.  He literally dropped dead in the kitchen on a Saturday morning.  Kristin called me when she saw him flop over.  I put on my pants, flip flops and grabbed the wallet and in that 30 seconds I came out and he was gone.  He had always had a small heart murmur and the vet always said they were unpredictable.  Even the callous hearted no holds barred dirty fighting Teamsters were like, “Damn.”

If that isn’t enough sadness here was the next stab to childhood, A DARK CRYSTAL SEQUEL.
Hide your crystal shards.

Most of you have met my dad.  A middle class guy with blue collar tastes.  And most of you know I follow that to some extent… but did you know I was related to white trash?  No you didn’t and Kristin refused to believe me until this summer’s story.

Summer is a time for family reunions and my dad’s is no exception.  Now my paternal living relatives are my half brother, my dad, two of his cousins, and 4 second cousins once removed. (Annie, Tim Jr., not to be confused with Timothy Wayne and Chris) (Yes I had to look that relationship up.  My dad’s good high school friend married my dad’s cousin and this PTSD Vietnam vet whisks her back to a trailer near her childhood home on the border of Wisconsin and the U.P.  On the cleared 5 acres of this 80 acre hold over of the old family farm she grows morbidly obese while he doesn’t and the trailer stays the same size.  100 yards away the oldest son and Gulf War vet moves into their own trailer on the family compound with his wife and kids.  Obese Betty passes, and daughter Annie (now 35) moves in with her second husband into her deceased grandmother’s house 300 yards from the second trailer. (Annie’s first husband was a then 64 year old pistol of a man.  He stood on the groom’s side in the second wedding)

That’s a long way of saying the dad and two kids live on a compound rifle distance from each other.  This year my dad got the annual invite for the reunion and he went as he always does.  The highlight of this years event, and mind you there are toddlers to teens running around as well, was the following… to quote the invite

“Hello Chuck (my dad), Chris called me this morning and asked me to pass the word they will be having a tattoo artist there Saturday morning at 9 the artist expects to make $500 or Chris and Marianne will have to make up the difference. Please help me spread the word to anyone you know that will be coming to the family reunion. Thanks!”

Don’t worry, the family met the challenge.

From dysfunction of one kind to dysfunction of another as this past weekend was PAX Prime, the gaming convention I volunteer at.  I spend about 2-3 hours at the show before shift and then do a 6 hour shift in the Information/Logistics booth.  I would have thought after the 3rd time that I might get tired of it, but it’s really a community and I love it.  From the kilt wearing Aussies (yes plural) to the guy not 2 blocks away… and I’m just talking about the volunteer force here.

While I had to wait until Sunday to get my Wil Wheaton snub accomplished it did happen.  It wasn’t as sweet as the Boston one, that’ll be hard to top, but it does put me at 5 snubs total.  Now you might imagine that a lot of info booth questions are the same but one of my stock answers this year was “Through the doors on you right, all the way back, past the DeLorian, and on your left.”  How often do you get to say that!  I’m telling you that after the 100th time it’s just as sweet, “Past the DeLorian.”  Now you can make plenty of jokes about gamers and the like, people like me are too old for video games and need prescription scopes for their sniper rifles, etc.  But video games are only half of it.  It is equally large in the table top realm and the panels are just another facet.  I say that to say this.  While it can’t sum it all up, at least 10% of the con can be summed up in your new favorite picture.

Posted by: newq | May 17, 2010

Life and how to live it XI

 37% of a Q-tip box, my how time flies….

  First up is PAX East, the expansion of the gaming convention held annually in Seattle.  I volunteered to be an enforcer in Seattle last fall and I had such a blast that I decided to do it again in Boston.  I get a shirt and all access.  It makes me as cool as a guy with a shirt that says “STAFF” except it says ENFORCER.  And I don’t get paid.  And I had to pay my own way there.  One might ask if that isn’t a bit over the top, a bit too far down the geek rabbit hole.  I asked myself that.  And then I asked the fellow volunteers, several of which had also been Seattle PAX veterans.  Now timing is everything and at that point Beker pointed to a man in a Princess Peach costume (who we recognized from the Seattle event, because something like that stands out a bit).  No more was said.  Point taken.

   Kristin on the other hand got a great solo vacation.   She learned she likes getting a drink and wandering bookstores for hours, or vice versa.  She also got to experience my preferred Boston dive, the Silhouette Tavern otherwise lovingly known as the Swillouette.  As we entered I proudly pointed out that it had won 2009 Boston City Search for best dive bar.  She likes it when I take her to the classy places.  Oh, and she was there for the Wil Wheaton snub.  I got it out of the way the day before the con when I went to collect my badge.  I got a second chance later for an even better snub.  Now let’s be clear.  I have nothing against him.  It’s just that why am I the one who has to say the first hello?  Because he was on TV? 

   On the way back was a flight delay and instead of stopping in Chicago we were rerouted through Dallas.  Now we all know that the only things more annoying than flight delays are people who are picky eaters because of texture issues. (You don’t like the way crunchy food feels?  WTF?)  But we did get a last minute upgrade to first class, so at least they recognize we got screwed.

   I got back to work in time to see that the company had invested in framed “Inspirations” posters.  My favorite is a picture of the Great Wall for Teamwork.  Wasn’t the wall built by slaves?

   April came; I got a new tattoo, and went back to Wisconsin for Jon’s wedding and a full frontal assault on the liver.  The wedding was on a Friday, and can I say that for those out there still looking for that plunge, I highly recommend it for your guests.  You were going to take most of the week off anyway, why not give them an extra day to hit a brewery tour and a Brewer game?  Give ‘em time to pad the foursquare stats in a new town.   I’d say more but I’m still bitter about my Potowatami losses.  I know gambling is entertainment but everyone else came out $60 or more ahead.  I wouldn’t be peeved except I stuck to nickel slots and for my pulls I got 4 winning hits.  I was never up.  It wasn’t entertainment; it was a double bird of insult.

   This weekend was the neighborhood street fair.  I went from zero to Hipster in one hat. I already drink Pabst so now I just need to grow an ironic mustache and the transformation to douche will be complete.

   Next weekend I get to make it up as Kristin and I are headed to Reno for my cousin’s wedding in Carson City.  RENO BABY! RENO! … doesn’t quite have the ring does it?–VEGAS-BABY-VEGASJon-Favreau-Vince-Vaughn-Swingers-Trent-Walker-

   Next month I take the plunge into cohabitation as Kristin is going to start renting a house and I’m moving in. (Subletting my place) We’ll be in West Seattle.  You can take the boy out of West Allis but you can’t take the half step above white collar trash and penchant for Metallica out of him.  She gains a flat screen TV, I gain a yard soon to be trashed by dog poop.

     Finally I thought I should throw in some movie news but Tron is too far off and this scares me as much as it excites me.

Posted by: newq | December 4, 2009

Life and how to live it… part X

Oh it has been way too long but I had to wait for something unexciting to happen!

       Let’s start with the world of contracting…TEAMSTERS! No, we’re not a union mandated state so these are simple scabs.  Now here is a conduit 2 feet underground and you need to get a pull string through 200 feet of straight pipe. (Andy get your mind out of the gutter) In the fiber optic industry they had giant blowers designed to do this (D*mn it Andy! Stop!) but if you are a small sub-contractor what do you do?  Use a crappy independent film from the 1990’s of course!  Enter the bottle rocket.  Go redneck, give an apprentice a bottle rocket to light with his lighter, set it in one end and watch it shoot to the far end or die trying, then remind the apprentice to tie the string to it first, then lather rinse repeat.

       Let’s get the lovey dovey stuff out of the way.  Kristin is my type of woman… she is of the opinion that no matter how painful it is, if you are on vacation in the sticks you need to eat all major meals at a chain restaurant ala Applebees and their ilk. (A quick Kudos to Steve for having the wedding most considerate of out of town guests, EVER) Additionally, she put Underworld 2 to the top of her netflixs cue as I had her watch the prequel (#3) with me, then we mutually decided we wanted to watch the 1st to see how well they tied into the original; ridiculously well is the answer.  Watching the second one is her drive to know the complete story.  A story of vampire/lycan hybrids.

     Let’s get the science geek out of the way.  The large hadron collider was finally fixed although not without its glitches, first there was the theory that the Higgs boson was traveling back through time to prevent its own finding.  Eventually we said “That won’t stop us from creating mini black holes to kill us all… game on!”  Then a bird dropped a baguette and things looked like God was trying to tell us something.   PSHAW we say… let’s light this puppy!  And so it has been done and now we deal with our own genius. Ah Fermilab, how we loved you.

     Let’s get the gaming geek out of the way.  I had a chance to play test a video game for a large east side software company who will revoke my license to their software if I name them or the game, but let’s just say I got to play the sequel to “contemporary country vs. country 2”.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Taj  has been doing a good job making sure that we keep up on the latest shooters like Gears of War 2 etc.  (Sometimes there are aliens that come down and make a ruckus.  No one asked for this but someone has to deal with it so who’s going to step up?) But it had been a good long time since I a solid hour of individual campaign.  The Wii is not known for its hardcore gamer games.  For this I could get a game for a game system I don’t own or one part of Word 2009.  I opted for Word and figured if I got to do another I’d pick Excel and be done for the next 7 years.

    Finally, let’s get the drinking out of the way.  The economy must be getting better because I was also selected to a product survey for beer.  The questionnaire was generic but still got to the basic “How many beers do you drink in a week?” common denominator.  I was a bit curious when they called at 9:30pm on a Sunday to confirm my application, “but never mind that now”. (As it is an indirect drinking story I need channel Larry Miller )  As I arrived at the suburban destination bar and asked the bartender for “Marilyn” as my email from Debbie directed, I was intercepted by a Tom-Cruise-short short guy in his 20’s who introduced himself as being with the company doing the survey and said that Marilyn was with the previous appointment.  I believed him as I could see the current interview.  He had a camera so I expected him to take a quick picture, but I did not expect 10 minutes of polite first-date-like small talk; as though I was being warmed up for something.  He did take a face shot in a public place.  He assured me it was not going to show up in a facebook ad.  I met with Marilyn and she asked several opener questions… “Have you been here before?” (No) “What would you look at first before ordering? (Taps) “Which taps stuck out first?” (Mac and Jack’s but I’d pick Blue Moon out of the line up to drink.)  “How much do the tap handles influence your decision?”  Then it was time to get down to brass tacks… “What do you think of the Coors light handle?”  “What about the Coors light handle do you notice?”  “Would you say that the Coors light handle embodies mountain crisp refreshment?” (I wish I had made that last one up.)  For 10 minutes of a 15 minute interview we talked about the Coors tap handle and its design in relation to the other tap handles there.  I then received a crisp new $50 bill.  I felt like I had hit bucket number 6.  (Well bucket 6 was worth $100 bucks but you were lame if you didn’t hit bucket 3 so I had to embellish.  You understand.)  I broke it on a $2 Pabst.

Jason “I did not resort to boring you with the third Andy reference as the joke was established first” Newquist

Posted by: newq | August 26, 2009

The long awaited Crown Royal smoking jacket

  Only long awaited because of my laziness and hopes that Crown Royal would offer us a marketing deal…

  About three years ago I asked my stepmother, an accomplished quilter, to make me a smoking jacket of Crown Royal bags.  She was up to the challenge and what you see is the result.  56 bags, custom cut and taylored, stiched with nothing but love.  This is really a posting to her credit, I just happen to be lucky enough to be the model.

  Notice that while it is patchwork, it is symetric patchwork, this is especially obvious on the picture of the back.  Additionally, the lapel pocket is from their 2006 NASCAR sponsorship, hence the checkered top.  The two hand pockets are the same thing only from the 2007 Season.


1. How did you get so many bags?  My local dive bar of choice gets their shipment in on Friday and was throwing out an average of 3 bags a week.  I started keeping them.

2. Is it completely made of bags? Not quite, the satin trim and inside lining are not, nor is the beadwork on the back (obviously).  While the belt looks like the gold cords that too was purchased.

3.  Can I get one?  It was agreed that she would be up to doing a second one for $10,000 and you have to supply the bags.

Click the thumbnail for a larger view.  This is our shot at 15 seconds of internet fame so share the link, just play nice.  All rights reserved by Jan and Jason Newquist 2009.

Posted by: newq | August 2, 2009

Life and how to live it part IX ish.

“525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?” – Rent

 “I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract” – R.E.M.

 I’ve always been interested in the concept of time and one of my “clocks” is Q-tips.  I use one a day give or take holidays and trips and I buy a 500 count box which means, that as I finish my box, I recall the last time I regaled you with such an event roughly a year and a half ago.  Where were you then?  Think about it… I know you won’t.

It’s time again to bring you up to speed.  First, Kristin and I celebrated our first year together.  “Sweetness, Park.”  We all know we can’t have nice things (plural) but perhaps we can have A nice thing… if a person can be called a thing without being insulting.  Which probably can’t happen.

Second, if you were living under the sea like the kraken you STILL wouldn’t have an excuse for not knowing that MTV’s “The State” was finally released on DVD.  The reason you wouldn’t have an excuse is because in the sea sound travels farther and I shouted it to heavens, the earth, and the sea.  If you didn’t hear me then you need a hearing check.  Read me now.  The State is the BEST SKETCH COMEDY TROUPE EVER.  Python, too British at times.  KITH? Too hit and miss.  Upright Citizens Brigade?  To niche.  The State covered it all… the well thought premise of hunting Muppets, the parody of every musical opening number that is Porcupine Racetrack, and the base cheap humor of Louie and his catch phrase “I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT”.  The price of happiness is only $34.39.  I’ll wait while you order it.

Speaking of Muppets, Kristin and I went to the traveling exhibit in town.  It was good, satisfying for the price but definitely different, and not as expansive, as the one Bonnie and I saw at the Milwaukee children’s museum circa 1996ish.  (That one had the original Ulgra!) This one had a Gobo and the original cast of the “Mahna Mahna”.  Mahna Mahna himself was a recreation from the 1969 plans, but the Snowths were the original ones and both were run by Frank Oz at one time.

Next, in the world of bacon there has been an evolution.  I give you the bacon explosion.  Has anyone tried one yet?  Can we get some testimonials?

In nerd news I am an official Enforcer for this year’s PAX.  PAX is the second largest US video game convention, second only to E3.  I will spend three days immersed in one upmanship of obscure references and hopefully a Felicia Day sighting.  Odds are I’ll get another shot to continue my snubbing of Wil Wheaton as I was denied my chance to see/not see him at spring’s Seattle Comic-con.  Reading the profiles of other volunteers at 32 I am in the upper age bracket as most seem to be 24-28.  As such I chose a screen shot of the original Pitfall for my avatar.  It is the first game I remember loving and it taught us that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to face it backwards.  If nothing else PAX will complete my life long dream of working at a place where I get to wear a “STAFF” t-shirt.  Faux power is the best.

As most of you know I design the electrical distribution and controls for water and wastewater treatment plants.  As such I get a chance to get to the field about once a month.  We recently started a job in Skykomish where I met Jim, the electrical contractor who was doing all the work with the aide of one apprentice. 

To step back, Skykomish was an old railroad stop on US-2, about 75 miles from Seattle and yes, on the same US-2 running through upper Wisconsin and Michigan.  As was the style of the time in 18xx the railroad dumped their used oil pretty much on the ground as they refueled here.  Now in a settlement between the rails and the US gov they are decontaminating the soil in town BY DIGGING UP ALL THE SOIL IN TOWN 6 FEET DEEP!  Buildings with no foundation get moved.  Residences and foundation buildings get a moat.  The project is taking 8 years.  There are 214 people in town as of the 2000 census.  But, if you’re going to rip up an entire town you might as well put in a sewer system.  Don’t worry though, the Whistling Post, which has the best deep fried chicken this side of some arbitrary line, is doing just fine. 

Back to the story.  Now in the field of course things are a lot less formal and rough around the collar.  I’ve heard more stories about what clogs up grinder pumps than I care too, but Jim had a new one.  See Jim was proud of his work.  He informed me that “when you see this vault your dick’ll get so hard your girlfriend will be thanking me for a month.”  It was fine work.  One of the few contractors to get our design right on the first run (amazing what happens when you read the plans) but it was not THAT exciting.

Time to wrap up but I don’t think it would be an update without the latest monster report.  I know I’ve mentioned it before but someone has taken the handoff on the ongoing search.  Obviously the picture is a fake but the creature is so awesome I can only hope it proves true.

 Jason “I’m outta he-he-here” Newquist

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