Happy Thanksgiving!


Getting my pre-dinner snack on! Clearly, my love of great snack/lunch food is at its peak today.

I am thankful to be surrounded by family, to be in good (relatively) health, to be working in a field I really enjoy and finally, to have the love and support of my wife in all my endeavors.

My fondest and best wishes for everyone.

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A week at the Oregon Coast!

Earlier this month, my wife and I took off and spent eight days at the Oregon Coast; Seaside to be specific. It was a fantastic time. The weather was more cooperative than you could imagine for nearly the entire time, getting to and above 60 degrees several times. We only had really typical cloudy, rainy weather a couple days.

Often our early mornings were spent with me writing and then later discussing my writing with my wife, having her give me a different perspective and a very logical one. This helped me keep things straight in my head. Not like I didn’t have to start my writing over at least once, but with her feedback, some of the things I am writing may even make sense.

We also had some friends over for our last weekend there. It was nice to be able to relax and not worry about too much…for a little while any way.

Not much more to say that I am thankful my wife has the presence of mind to take time to just get away for a little while with me in tow. This was a really enjoyable trip.

Here is a a slide show of some of the pics I took, from our trip. To give some explanation of some of the sites – there is a Custard King in Astoria that my sister asked about from her time at Job Corps 30+ years ago. There is a beer sampler and list of the beers we tried with our lunch – the beers are in order starting from the upper left most in the pic that coincides with the Fort George Regulars that are always on top. The rest are mostly beautiful pics of Seaside and Indian Beach near Ecola State Park.



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NaNoWriMo 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 has just started and this year I am apart of it! For those of you not in the know about NaNoWriMo, it stands for National November Writers Month (or something very close to that – I will make certain of the details and provide a link in the near future). The rules are simple, starting November 1st you have the entire month to write 50,000 words towards that novel that you have been aching to create for what seems like ever. For me it has been since 2013, probably earlier. I believe that was the time that I started coming up with an idea for a story that I was willing to bring to life.

I believe it was also around 2013 (maybe even earlier) that a good friend of mine told me about NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t heard about it but was intrigued to know more. I went online and after reading about what they were about, I created an account and had all the best of intentions to join in the reindeer games that year but never did. I think I found some excuse not to, which sadly happens all to often.

2014 was a trip to Maui for 12 days in November, and as much as I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo that year, I didn’t want to distract myself from enjoying Hawai’i. I know, another excuse. This year, I told myself it would be different. No tropical trips were planned and I had worked up an outline and wanted to explore my inner writer to see if there was anything there. I spoke to my friend to get psyched up, for he too wanted to do this (as he was the one who told me about it in the first place) so that we would encourage each other and come hell or high water, we would write everyday and make it happen.

As it does happen to turn out, my wife and I do find ourselves at Seaside for the first eight days of November with plenty of leisure time on our hands, which means I am able to write when the inspiration hits me. We have been to Seaside many times for mini-vacations and gamer weekends and the like and thus feel no pressure to go explore like we might during other vacations at other places. We make it to beach that our room overlooks a couple times a day (if we feel like it) and  simply enjoy each others company.

Each of the past several days I have been able to sit down and write when the inspiration has struck and so far have managed almost 4000 words which is inline with what I need to do each day to make the ultimate goal of 50,000 words. In addition to writing during these times, I tell my wife about what scene just played out in my head and I have now  committed to paper. She has provided perspective and flow and kept things from spinning out of control in my head and has given me ideas to shape that otherwise would have been a mess to clean up later on. Without her council things would be a mess.

As a final note, I want to say to everyone that wants to write, do so. Encourage those around you to do so and allow yourself to be inspired. Let the people know around you how much they mean to you and say thanks when warrented. To those points I want to thank my good friend who initially told me about NaNoWriMo and with whom have often spoke about “What we would do during the zombie apocolypse” on our many drives to and from our fishing and camping trips. I also want to thank my wife whose unwavering encouragement, faith and belief in me has helped give me the confidence to take so many leaps of faith in almost every facet of my personnal and professional life.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Tough Year ~ But one worth living!

You ever feel like you just need to vent? Like the enormity of what you are dealing with is so large, so profound that you are almost crippled with indecision? Like the plate you are given to hold the amount of stuff you can handle is of one size but the mean old lunch lady in her ill-fitting hairnet and dirty apron is ready to slop on another heaping pile of life, creamy style, suffocating and smothering all else you have going on until you just can’t decide what next to take a bite of? Me too!

Earlier this year my mother passed away, something that, generally speaking we all have to deal with? I am not saying that I am any different than anyone else or that I am special because I have experienced this particular phenomena, rather that I find myself asking the question, how do people deal with it? One day your mom (parent(s)) and you are talking and the next you are planning a service for her (them).

For me this was a mixed blessing. I HATE that I cannot talk with my mother any longer. Well, in reality I talk but she doesn’t answer any longer. I do find myself telling my mom about my day and how things are going, knowing she isn’t going to answer me but a part of me hopes that maybe a small part of my mind will snap just a bit and allow me to hear her voice in my head. I know that at that point I would be certifiable and classified bonkers and really don’t want that to happen, but I kinda wish there were a way without all the straight jackets, medication and rubber rooms – oh and great big neanderthal men that speak in monosyllabic idioms. So that happened. But I am HAPPY that my mother isn’t suffering any more. She had C.O.P.D. (this is one of many sites to read about it on) which is a terrible god-awful disease that can take years to do its nefarious work.

Then my sister who was my moms roommate got a bad infection in her right foot that spread to the bone. A really bad infection. So bad that she had to have it amputated. Once below the knee and later above the knee. While my sister was dealing with all of that and in no way able to figure out where to move to, my parents-in-law and I moved out the things of my sisters that we thought she would want post surgery.

After spending days and days going back to my sisters apartment to scavenge anything I think she might want to keep (or that I could sell for her) and then going to the hospital to be there for my sister, I found myself with time for little else. I spent about 6 weeks getting things in order as much as could be before I had to hustle to finish an audio-book I was working on. Oh, and I had to plan a service for mom. I did my best to work around everyone’s schedule. In the end, I was very happy with the turn out and the beauty of it. The Chaplain was very respectful and wove a wonderful eulogy together from the conversation she and I had and she and my mom had. My oldest sister could not make it because she was and is still under medical care.

Once I completed the audio-book and submitted it for review to the author, and my moms service was over, I went back to auditioning for other voice-over (VO) gigs. This can be really frustrating because you audition over and over and over and unless you get the gig it is like non-validation for what you are trying to be a part of. Like the little kid that tries his hardest to join the team but just isn’t good enough yet. I feel like that little kid right now. One thing about that little kid though, he never gives up. He will make the team.

Lately I have found myself attending a get together for like-minded people that want to work in the industry of VO but haven’t quite made it there yet. We talk a bit about what we have been doing and what has and hasn’t worked for us but by and large the most I get out of it is that there are others, like me, that are struggling just as much as I am with breaking into this industry. That’s actually a pretty big deal. To know that I am not alone in my struggles.

I guess the long and the short of this diatribe is that with all the things I have gone through this year, I may be a little bruised and battered but I am most definitely not broken. I come out the other side a little stronger and more resilient than I would have thought. And finally, I am not alone in these struggles. Not to say that I am unique, rather, MANY people struggle with the same or other equally important issues of their own. I think the biggest take away is that I have a great group of friends to lean on, family that I love and am especially grateful for my loving and ever supportive wife that has been there through this entire journey. I hope everyone is as lucky to have a support system to help them through the tough time with.

I believe that people are resilient and much stronger than can be given credit for. The adage, That which does not kill us makes us stronger (Nietzsche) is something I believe in after the year I have had. And the year isn’t over with yet!

Embrace life, make the tough choices, pursue your dreams and love without question.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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So much fun – So close to home

It was a great start - until I was ganged up on and scragged!

It was a great start – until I was ganged up on and scragged!

Last week(end) I celebrated my 46th birthday and because it fell on a Saturday, I decided to take some liberties and do stuff all weekend that I wanted to do. It started off by playing some magic the gathering on Friday night (where I think I won only one game). Followed by brunch on Saturday late morning, then over to a friends house where we planned out some disc golf at a course called Lunch-time. The course is located at a church and their surrounding parking lot and can be played in roughly the time it takers to have lunch. For dinner I went out to one of my two favorite restaurants ~ The Takahashi.

The Takahashi

The Takahashi

Sunday was the Portland Marathon. My wife plays in an awesome band ~ The Power Pep Band ~ and they played 3 sets for the runners as they came by the 20th mile, where we were located at. Another thing I love about the Portland Marathon is that one of the people in the band and whose house the band plays at puts on a waffle-feed. They make home-made waffles with whip cream and strawberries and/or blueberries, breakfast casserole, little sausages, coffee, hot chocolate and orange juice.

After the gig we went over to my parents-in-laws home to make sure everything was as it should be as they are out of town on a grand cross-country trip to visit family. Having spent a couple hours at their place and making sure everything was okay and having Papa Murphy’s for dinner, we decided to head home.

It was a really great weekend for so many reasons but mostly because I was able to spend it with my wife and many friends.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Pier Park ~ Disc Golf

A couple weeks back a friend of mine purchased some new discs for golf and thought it would be a great idea to try them out at Pier Park. I agreed whole-heartedly, so we planned on a Friday outing since both he and I are freelance folk and have flexibility in our schedules. By playing on a Friday we could avoid the throngs of people that would be there over the weekend. Also we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves in front of too many people.

Pier Park is nestled back in North Portland and is actually an easy walk from my home. Having said that, we decide to drive since rain was on and off all morning and we wanted to save our legs for the game – yeah, that’s why we drove. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Actually it is the truth)

I am going to try and place the pictures and our scores in some meaningful way that illustrates the course. Also, my buddy is only just getting into playing disc golf whereas I have played this course many times. All things considered I think my buddy did pretty well. All holes for this course are par 3.

NOTE: As always – you can click on any image to open it in full screen.

These were our scores for the course:

  • J 4 4 4 3 4 4 3 3 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 3 5
  • R 4 5 4 4 4 7 5 7 6 5 5 5 6 6 4 4 6 5



As you can clearly see, there is a theme for this course – TREES! Lots and lots of trees. Actually that is one of the reasons I really enjoy this park; there is actually a large place filled with trees that we get to walk through or picnic in or play basket in or if your feeling young and adventurous, skateboard in. The skateboard park that is pretty cool – if your into that sort of thing. Come on down and enjoy. Also, for you dog lovers, there is a dog park that is now connected by way of bridge over the train tracks on the west side of the course between holes 2 and 3 if you want to get your dog into some other dog business.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Labor Day Camping 2015

Disclaimer: I will tell you all now that the images you see and the text you read are likely, in most cases, not going to match. It’s like I have squirrels in my brain.

(As a was writing the post below I came up with this title and had to write it down before it was forgotten) I just thought of a new segment title that I am going to try and find something to write or talk about. It’s either going to be called Written in front of a dead studio audience or Recorded in front of a dead studio audience. On account of all the Dead…everything that is capturing the worlds imagination by storm right now.

(Written just 5 minutes ago) I wish there were some way to write the equivalent of this phrase that was always placed in front of the shows I loved to watch growing up like Happy Days – Recorded in front of a live studio audience…but as there isn’t any I can think of I will say this “I started writing this post about three weeks ago and just didn’t get back to it, until now.

Newberry Group Site A

Newberry Group Site A

This past Labor Day we found ourselves moving outside our traditional close to home (relatively) camping venue by staying at Newberry Group camp, roughly 40 miles south of Bend Oregon.

Newberry Group Site A

Newberry Group Site A

A couple factors played into us choosing this site:


  • We weren’t able to book Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast
  • This was way different than anywhere we have been to before

Our usual camping trips are often from Thursday to Monday. Monday being the holiday in question. Since we were going to be near Bend for the holiday weekend my wife looked around and saw that Weird Al Yankovic was performing in Bend on Friday night. This was fantastic news; I have never seen W.A.Y. perform before but have listened to his music for nearly 30 years and this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Look closely and you will see a very happy dog

Look closely and you will see a very happy dog

Most of our regular campers were unable to make the trip for various reasons so my wife and I found ourselves in a campsite meant for 25+ people with her parents and our three dogs. It was a little sad at first because we are used to catching up and hanging out with so many people when we camp.  Soon enough we got over it and made the best of our completely open camp site. The dogs especially liked it because we were backed up against a forested area behind us with no one around so we could let them off-leash most of the time and let them run around.

Could this be a bear print?

Could this be a bear print?

After arriving we set up our tent and brought all our gear into it that we needed i.e. sleeping pads and bags, backpacks with clothes and toiletries and dog bed. Once that was setup we set about bringing out the gazebo and setting it up, complete with walls to provide some protection against the rain should it happen to make an appearance or to block off some any wind that should stir only adding to the brisk weather we were having. Next came out all the cooking gear i.e stoves, pots and pans etc…

Weird All in concert in Bend Oregon

Weird Al in concert in Bend Oregon

After we got all set up, it was beer-30 and we decided to take a moments rest after the dogs had been walked and fed. While coming through Bend, we stopped at a local brewery/pub and had lunch and picked up some growlers of local tasty brew. This is what we had for our first before dinner drink of the night.


20150904_185751Our only neighbors at the time were some people that were in the next group site over that had a small hotel on wheels complete with external generator (it was the loudest thing ever heard in a campground since time began) and solar panels. There were plenty of kids on bikes and adults in big trucks. It was all good. At least they made it. The cold weather and threat of precipitation I think caused many people not to venture out for this weekend.




Camp-oven made cornbread – Yummy!


Chili I made 3 days before we went camping to go with the cornbread

The nights dropped below freezing (I am pretty sure of this) but I stayed warm in our sleeping bags in nothing but skivvies and socks (my normal camping sleep wear – my apologies if that was an overshare). My wife was not as fortunate to stay as warm as I. Her internal mechanisms were a little wonky and she did not stay as warm as I even with pajamas on.

Friday we made breakfast and lunch at the camp ground and then went into Bend for some much needed camping supplies at a local Fred Meyer and then on to dinner and a walk about to see what Bend had become over the last couple decades since I had been there last. I had an uncle live in Bend and remembered going there several times while younger to visit with cousins. I recognized nothing from this visit however. I am not surprised by this at all. We went to a place called the Rat-hole for eats and drinks. The food and beer were good. Afterwords my parents-in-law went back home (campsite) and my wife and I went to find parking for the Weird Al show.

Paulina Lake - Left Side

Paulina Lake – Left

Side-note: The supplies we needed were some propane canisters for our stove and a new french-press, as our last one broke on our last camping trip over Memorial Day and we had not replaced it yet. We also picked up a super awesome purple fuzzy blanket to keep us toasty warm at the Weird Al concert since it was beginning to cool down some.

Paulina Lake - Center

Paulina Lake – Center

Paulina Lake - Right Side

Paulina Lake – Right

Parking was super easy, there was a parking lot 2 blocks away that was free to park in! This NEVER happens in Portland. We parked and walked the 3 or 4 blocks to the outdoor amphitheater where the venue was located and took our seats. Since I have had issues with my sciatic nerve my wife purchased tickets in the seated area. We were about 12 rows back from the stage and nearly in the center. These were great seats.

The show was AWESOME! There were no opening acts and Weird Al completely entertained for 2 hours non-stop. Some old stuff and some new stuff. A really good mix. Probably one of my top 5 concerts of all time! We can talk about that list later.

Who doesn't love 'smores?

Who doesn’t love ‘smores?

After the concert my wife and I turned our phones back up or on and headed for the car. My wife had received a message from her parents telling us to be careful on the way back to the campsite because it had started to fucking snow! Super. No worries. We took our time and slowly made our way back to the campsite. The last couple miles was not only dealing with snow but with fog that decided that snow wasn’t enough fun for us to drive in at night on a largely abandoned road with no cell service available. I am sure glad we had the purple blanket we bought for the concert. If we got stuck out here and couldn’t make it back to camp it was going to be a cold night. Fortunately that didn’t happen and we made it back safely.

The next morning we awoke to a white wonderland…and everything covered in two inches of snow. This made the previous night the warmest we had because the cloud cover that dumped on us kept the heat from escaping. I know, it sounds strange but the clear nights were actually colder. Down into the twenties – 25 maybe.

We also were treated to a menagerie of prints left by the critters that were out at night and in the morning before we got out of the tent.

20150905_120215The next couple days we explored the surrounding area. We visited the worlds largest obsidian flow. Does this rock look familiar or is it just me? A portion of the Deschutes River and few other places that were near enough at hand to visit.

I personally think that this particular piece bears an incredible resemblance to this fellow.

Snow Miser

Snow Miser from The Year without Santa Claus (1974)


This looks like the Snow Miser to me





20150906_140021This year has been terrible for the west coast in terms being terribly dry and terribly fire prone with record numbers of fires breaking out and the severity of them. Because of this, we could not have a fire. So the question that begged to be asked was how were we going to make our ‘smores? Ha, my mother-in-law came up with the solution to that little picklement; she brought a camp oven powered by propane. Along with ‘smores, we had fresh-made cornbread. All of it was delicious.

At night we generally all cozied up in my parents-in-law’s trailer where it was warm. We played some card games but mostly talked and drank beer and stayed warm.


Can you spot the swimmers?

We also took short walks to Paulina Lake that we were camping near and explored. The lake was beautiful. From the waters edge we could see other campers along the rim across the lake at various other sites. We even managed to find a couple people crazy bold enough to take a dip in the lake. You can see them if you expand this pic to full screen.

With the weekend gone and the next day a regular work day for my wife, we packed up everything and went home. This is truly an amazing place to go. If you get the chance to do it sometime…just go. You will not regret it.

Peace be with you!

More to come…




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