SNOWMEGGEDON and other tales of Winter… in Seattle and beyond

SO here we are, the other side of Snowmeggedon. Lili begged for snow and she got way more than even she probably wanted. Today we are taking the train down to Portland and you can see that it’s trying to make another appearance in the south end.

It wasn’t a ton of snow like people get back east, but you can still drive around and find communities who STILL havent been plowed which still have slushy roadways two weeks later.

Everything has to be perfect for significant snow to in Seattle. This is the coldest February we have seen in quite some time, with the average temperature 10 degrees colder than the norm. This was caused by a trough of cold weather that usually hangs out in canada coming down for a visit… Usually those kind of systems bring clear and cold with a little moisture at the front, and rear or both. Usually when it snows, the cloud coverage has a habit of warming up enough to where the snow doesnt stick– it just becomes SUPER wet and sticky.

This year, it snowed and stuck an inch or two, but that was plenty to cause some significant issues with roads that are not plowed but once every couple of years. Then the real storm came and dropped 4-6 inches, then another storm rolls in with more, than one more the next week. Together, the kids were out of school for 3 days and 2 early releases the first week, no school the 2nd week and then they had a week off for Mid-Winter break. In the end, this means that the were in school for a total of 5 full days in February and 2 half days.

Oh and then we are going to Cabo San Lucas a week from tomorrow. Not bad for a mid-winter break– but we couldn’t wait to get some Vitamin D before Spring.

Anyway, just a short post today, mostly because I wanted to post something up — haven’t had the time to write anything in the past 3 months because work is crazy busy and then there is the family life runarounds. All good stuff in the great scheme of things, but always a lot to think about– and things like writing and exercise take a back burner– particularly in the winter months where I think we all have such little motivation… I need more Vitamen D3.

Hope all is well.

It’s a tiny little story

Whats up Dave Matthews

It was 1995, the first time I saw the Dave Matthews Band.  I was working in Yellowstone Park, it was getting toward the end of the summer and we all longed to get out of the park to do ANYTHING… A month before we drove the 11 hours to Red Rocks to see the Allman Brothers Band and the show was just AMAZING.  Full Moon with what feels like the whole world sitting in front of you– once I was there, I was hooked to going back.  Little did I know that a month later the option would come up again to see a band that was just starting to come up– Dave Matthews Band. The thing that I remember most of that whole concert, which is one of the bands most famous Double CD’s and one of many live recordings that launched them to do one of the largest grossing live acts in all of rock n roll, was the encore. Dave comes out to do a solo version of Typical Situation and during that song, with a deep purple spotlight on him, he twisted and turned around the guitar as he was sitting on a barstool and it reminded me of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.

Flash up 23 years in the time machine to 9.19.18, where I am invite from a good friend Rick to go to a Private event… featuring Dave Matthews.
A spotify special event, featuring Dave Matthews, at the Columbia City Theater.
I bring up the story because there was a moment in there that I noticed another silhouette during the show where his image was broadcast out against the brick wall and it reminded me of that first time I saw him 23 years ago.
Here is that image:

The show itself was intimate and special.  It was particularly special because I felt as though Dave was losing a part of his live act that I had always cherished– the ability to interact with the audience, tell stories, share a little of the personal side to let you see that he wasn’t just some figurehead, but normal, like all of us.

Hopefully spotify gets all of it together and releases it because it was a special show– this coming from someone that has seen him perform 88 times now since that first time in 1995.

He told a moving story about Roi–I didn’t realize he was riding bikes with Roi on the day he had the accident, but in the story he told he said he was riding right up there with him and the next thing he noticed he was gone.  It was really a moving moment and then he broke into a song off the new album– so if that song really is about LeRoi, you can still see that is weighs pretty heavy on him still to this day.

The setlist was diverse enough too where any fan would immensely enjoy how special it was– there was no Crash or #41, but there were some regulars that appeared- but it wasn’t a show where I felt like, oh I have seen this before… It was quite the opposite.

It was over sooner than I imagined it would be.  We kept looking around throughout the whole show and saying repeating, what the hell is happening right now?  Then it was over, the lights were on and we were standing there like it was some dream again.  We stayed for a bit and got a setlist and a couple of guitar pics and then as we were heading out, we see a limo on the side of the building and a few minutes later, out comes Dave and his wife!

We stop him for a moment and say hey great show and ask him if he minds taking a picture and he looks at my Cubs jersey with #41 on the back and says, “I saw that jersey while I was on stage — that’s pretty cool.” and then he went to sign it!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!  He signed a bunch of stuff and hung out for a couple of quick pictures and I asked him one question.

“So what’s the story with Blackjack, man?  I love that song.”

(para-phrasing)”That’s not a tiny song.  That’s a song we got work on but its a band song.  We gotta get back to it or we don’t, I don’t know.”

Not the response I was looking for, but I said to a lot of people that if I ever saw him again I was going to ask him about that– and there you have it.  With that, he sauntered into the next bar and we were tempted to follow him but we just let him go– catch and release.  Take a picture of the fish and let him swim back in the water for another day.  I didn’t need to tell him anything else at the moment and I feel like I will get that opportunity again someday.

You can watch all of the videos here:
Dave Matthews Live at Columbia City Theater

Ill post the spotify if they ever get around to teeing it up.

A decade of matrimony

June 2008 was a whirlwind.  At 35, I was ready to take the plunge.  Marriage.  2 years earlier, I had been wandering around China with my buddy and his wife.  We wondered into a wonderful little hostel in the middle of Beijing and my life changed forever on one magical night spent with a girl from Germany, walking though a beautiful park.  We dreamed of the world that night and it changed our paths forever.

Love isn’t as easy, but it is rewarding!  We had to fight hard to be together.  After we married, we went on a quick honeymoon to Turkey and in mid-July I boarded the plane back to America to wait for my wifes papers to clear to allow her to come back into the country.  It was nearly a year of waiting.  Two years after that, our first son was born.  3 years after that, our second son was born.  We bought a house around the same time.  With the great milestones of life come great complications. Children.  Raising children is no easy feat and until you are blessed with such a huge responsibility, you really don’t have any idea of what is required to be a parent.

Before children, our lives weren’t free of complications but we could drop anything and go anywhere as we pleased… although we usually didn’t because we were building our lives together.

When times are tough, I always go back to those first years of our time together, we worked hard to be together.  Not many people spent the first year of their married lives together waiting for a slip of paper from the state department.  Traveling across oceans to be with each other, constant Skype calling to keep the line of communication together.  We made it work until the moment came and we could start our lives together.

But look, I know our lives are privledge, charmed, lucky… not many people get the opportunity to travel the world and meet someone from another country and make that work.

And let me tell you about my wife, the wifey, the Lili.  Never have I met a sweeter and more caring person.  She is also mind bogglingly creative… She made the kids the most awesome outfits and works hard everyday to shape such a pleasant experience for our children.  The transition to motherhood was so natural for her, where others seem to really struggle with it.  Some people treat children like baggage, an inconvenient nessitiy in their travels through life, but not my wife.

Parenthood has changed us, grounded us, but the experience leaves us more full and there is no one that I could imagine this with in the world at this point.

So the first 10 years have been so full of growth and roots— I really look forward to the next 10 years.  By then, Elliott will be 16, Liam 13…. and we will be… old.










The Second Amendment debunked

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That statement has been at the root cause of a lot of bloodshed in America.  For some, it is the most important constitutional law put into place and for many more, potentially the only tenant of the constitution that one could recite.  When asked/pressured by people why the 2nd Amendment is so significant, they proudly recite the sentence and proclaim that we have the right to bear arms and freely form a militia, should the need to rebel against a tyrannous government should arise….

Only problem is, that’s not REALLY why they passed the second Amendment.  The fact is, we don’t really know.  The assumption and the common point made by the 2nd Amendment zealots is that the 2nd Amendment was put in place by our wise fore-fathers who had just split from an oppressive British government– the American “Militia” were the very founding fathers who created the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments– they had the foresight to see that American’s needed to protect themselves from the evil perils of governments….

Which sounds great– only it’s not true at all.  The 2nd Amendment was drafted on was adopted on December 15, 1791, led by James Madison of Virginia.  I began to look into the second Amendment historical nature and I discovered some rather strange background to the Amendment.  Madison ratified the Amendment– and here’s where my point begins…

Madison was elected by the people of Virginia– Virginia was the most caught up in the juxtaposition of the split of the nation into two distinct versions of America.  The south had slavery, the north did not.  Virginia would eventually side with confederacy, which, of course had slaves.

Heres the thing:  The Second Amendment was issued to protect the wealthy landowners from the possibility that the slaves would be given freedom.  It arose out of a paranoia that the United Colonies would apply pressure to make all men free and as such, slaves would revolt against their masters and without the right to bear arms, they would be unable to defend their land.  This was before the civil war and just after the revolutionary war, so the amendment was sandwiched between two major wars, so people were obviously on edge and this amendment allowed people to form militias and arm freely– something that appeared to be pressured by the question of slavery.

Fear of a black planet.  The revolutionary war ended on 9/3/1783.  8 years later there is talk of the need of a militia?  More like plantation owners needing to form a “militia” to protect their land from free slaves.

So the next time someone tell you about their second amendment rights, perhaps you could educate them on the historical nature of their rights and see if it changes the discussion.  Doubtful it will, but the racist undertones make for an interesting discussion.

Bending the knee


Like the rest of America, I can’t help but think about the implications of the last several weeks or months coming to a head because a bunch of football players decide to make a stand and a President who can’t help but send his judgement across the Twittersphere, igniting an already complex conversation that America has needed to have for years, since probably the civil rights movement.

Of course, the way that this is being framed, set into context, is that is isn’t about American citizens still being judged by the color of their skin, no instead this is about disrespecting the flag, which somehow equates to additional disrespect to those who CHOOSE to fight for that flag.

We learned about this in University– Cognitive Dissonance.  The act of creating a conflict above another conflict in order to distract from the original conflict.  This is a classic rhetoric being used and its amazing that so many people are falling for it.  The President and his followers are actually creating a conflict about Veterans and the Flag in order to avoid having to discuss the real reason these people are protesting– its a cloud of dissonance.  The reality is it has nothing to do with Flag, Country or Vets, it has to do with racism and ignorance.

First of all, Veterans choose to fight for this country– there isn’t a draft, so people who heed the call to serve do so on their own volition.  If you fight for freedom, that’s great, but the American people don’t owe you anything other than what you are given in salary and benefits– its a choice you make with your own free will.  Just like I choose to go to University and I chose to be in debt for it, I don’t ask people respect me because of a choice I made when I was younger.

Second of all, read the statistics,  being black in America is rough for the vast majority of blacks– lets remember that 34% of black males are incarcerated at some point in their lives.  Most are racially profiled and accused of things, live in poverty, etc.. the data is easy to find and present.  Now we are starting to see a rise in Hate Speech and White Supremacy that was haven’t seen in decades– plus uprising in places like St. Louis over police getting acquitted again and again after killing people.

We live in a complicated society, everyone is aware of that.  We aren’t perfect and the way we protest also isn’t perfect–sitting during the national anthem is probably the most non-violent way to protest that we have seen, yet it seems to resonate more with the other side of the fence than thousands of protesters filling the streets to make their pleas heard– that’s what gets me.  We should be smarter than this as a whole, but we keep falling for the same rhetoric and propaganda.  We have to do better for equal rights and standing up for those equal rights!

…and I am not trying to be preachy here.  I get it– but what I don’t get is when celebrities use their platform to speak out injustice, people get so upset about it. I always think about when Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder spoke out against W– and people would tell him to shut up and play music and keep the politics out of it– but our politics are a fabric of our identity.  If we don’t speak out about things, how are people supposed to know that there are things out there that others don’t agree with?  How am I supposed to know that fucked up things are happening to black America?  (Well, I actually pay attention).

Now, the Vets would counter this by saying that they are victims too, right?  Vets, of all people, should be sensitive to groups of people being unfairly treated– look at how the VA treats its own, right? Instead of take a moment to acknowledge that suffering is happening, some choose to further victimize and delegitimize these people.  To me, that is a very slippery slope.