Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cold Turkey Vacations

Overworked Americans are now grappling with a new problem encroaching on their ever too short vacation time ... e-mail and cell phones that bring office duties to the beach and hotel room.

Articles abound calling on folks to go "cold turkey." Leave that cell phone at home, don't check e-mail while on vacation.

This might be one way to deal with workaholic behavior ...

Going cold turkey, but what about maintaining a "common sense balance."

Relax.

It's not the end of the world if technology can help us blend work and vacation a bit. An ideal job should be almost like being on vacation. Some would say an ideal job is sitting out on the beach, with a laptop, writing a great novel.

If our work could be a bit more leisurely and creative, then we wouldn't mind this encroaching, a bit, on vacation. Overworked Americans ought to find ways to relax and make working less stressful.

Work ought to be less about "the bottom line' as society should be less materialistic.

These ideas could also lead to shorter workweeks and longer vacations.

At the same time, people might be expected to do a few tasks, even while on vacation, like answering one or two e-mails.

During my long "bicycle tour" vacations, I enjoy checking back home with friends, and often co-workers. After bicycling all day, 60 mile days, the time spent at a computer inside some library, where the carpet looks and smells like the carpet of the building I work at, provides a nice break. It provides a bit of variety and balance.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dance with age diversity of whole room rather than locked into one couple


Pictured above are Ken and his wife, who I often dance around at something called the Purple Church. Ken must be getting close to 70 now? He still can look like a bright billboard proclaiming what fun dancing is.

Pictured below is another friend who is on the younger end of the age spectrum. He goes to the dance also, at times. I joined him for a bike ride out to North Lake Samish where he's pictured threading the wire of an MP3 player to his ear for music.


It is nice to be able to dance with people of many different ages and interests; rather than being confined to one partner; as in a couples dance. Great when the big group is dancing together, or everyone is by themselves dancing around one another.

When I was a kid, I remember the old roller skating rink, down in Lewiston Idaho, that my scout troop used to go to. There was a "couples only" light that would go on every fourth song or so. We had to sit on the sidelines during those periods.

I was never very good at skating anyway.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Shed several thousand pounds. Loose your automobile

My weight loss program could have you losing several thousand pounds your first day.

Get rid of your automobile.

If this can be done, you may find yourself walking, bicycling, jogging more. A fitness program that is integrated into daily living is easier to stick with. Not to mention shedding all those car payments, insurance bills, gasoline bills, parking spaces.

Also quite a few people have a lot of junk in their cars; spent hamburger wrappers, paper cups, books, clothing, tools, what ever.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Trimming whos government fat?

I noticed the Bellingham Herald endorsed Mike McGavick (R), rather than Maria Cantwell (D), for US Senate. They say it was a difficult choice. I find they lean toward Democrats fairly often, but also toss a few endorsements in the direction of Republicans.

McGavick was seen as someone who might restrain federal spending more than Cantwell since some organization rated Cantwell poorly in that area. I forgot what organization.

If anyone, especially Republican, says they want to cut the budget, I don't believe it. I've heard it all before and I just don't believe it.

Our populace has become too addicted to federal spending, whether it is things like veterans benefits, or more lanes crossing the border.

If people really want to cut the budget, there is a candidate for that same Senate seat who would push for that.

Bruce Guthery, the Libertarian candidate.

Now Libertarians would really cut spending; for better or for worse.

Most Libertarians would bring troops home from the Middle East, reduce spending for such things as the federal "war on drugs." They would privatize and really trim a lot of things, but I am not sure if this would be the best idea either.

It seems like Americans have become addicted to our government programs. Look what's happening in Seattle at even the thought of closing extra schools. Just the thought has a few citizens going so far as to throw punches at the school board meeting.

I think I would vote for Cantwell if, for no other reason, putting Congress back into the hands of the Democrats might place a check on some Bush administration excesses.

Remember, it has been said that Bush "spends like a drunken sailor," and supposedly Republicans were the party of fiscal restraint.

Well, maybe Bush couldn't help it. On his watch were 911, Hurricane Katrina and a whole bunch of other things creating need for federal response.

The early Bush years also saw low interest rates. This makes borrowing easier and ever so tempting. Much easier than raising taxes or cutting programs that (let's admit it) people depend on.

Slashing the budget is not likely to be a comfortable thing to do. I doubt I would even recommend it, but if anyone were to do it, they would probably have to be the Libertarian candidate.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Congressman Rick Larsen in the living room


Sometimes you might wonder if your congressman sees your message. They do get lots of mail, but it can still make a difference.

With November 7th election coming up, Larsen has been visiting his district, including the living room of two friends I have.

It was the "OCTOBERFEST & FUN-RAISER! 42nd Legislative District Democrat's pre-election celebration and attitude adjustment party," hosted by Janis Walworth and Michele Kammerer on October 6.

Also on hand were state legislative candidates for the 42nd district Kelli Linville, Jesse Salomon, and Jasper McSlarrow.

Even though I live in the 40th district (Bellingham's environs straddles the line) I was still welcome.

Rode my bicycle out to the gathering.

On my way back, the moon was full and my LED lights were flickering like a discotheque. Good to have flashing lights for night riding.

Michele is active in Stonewall Democrats.

It was impressive to have all these "big political people" gathering in that living room rather than always thinking of them in far off "Washington DC." type places. Also a big step for Stonewall Democrats who were represented among the crowd as well.

I sure hope the Democrats can regain Congress and also make headway in state legislatures this November 7.

Maybe Democrats aren't totally ideal, but they are better than Republicans, in most cases.

As for third party candidates:

Someday it would be great if we could get "instant runoff voting." I think that's the type of voting where you can have a "second best" choice if there are more than two candidates running for a position.

It would sure reduce the problem of third party candidates becoming the spoiler.

Anyway, be sure to remember to vote.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bush painted himself into a corner on Iraq

Bush says, "stay the course" like someone painting the floor who didn't think of an exit strategy; the door.

Painted into a corner, he can't get to the door with out stepping across wet paint.

Some people might have thought the war, not the door, was a good idea.

Finnish the paint job that was never complete after Gulf War 1991 that left Saddam still in the painting.

Others think that paint job should have never been started.

It's an oil based paint.

Just think, if all that money, spent on the war, could be used for opening new doors; alternative energy, alternative transportation, alternative lifestyles.

imagine the look of that floor.

Idealistic? Maybe.

Things like those horrible events on 911 cover the idealism; like faded and irrelevant mahogany painted over with blood.

It's time for someone to try a new chore, not painted too far from the door. Rescue us from this horror.

Maybe the Democrats.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Foggy snow field in early autumn. Bellingham gay men's hiking group


Quite a bit of snow sticks around all year near Artist's Point up at the end of the Mount Baker Highway. Several weeks back, the Bellingham Gay Men's Hiking club did a trip to Artist's Point. It was sunny in Bellingham, but foggy and mystical up there. June 2005. Consolidating some blog entries.


Wading through wetlands. A partially submerged boardwalk along Cedar Lake. Pine and Cedar Lakes in the Chuckanut Mountains south of Bellingham were a recent destination for the newly forming Gay Men's Hiking Club. More information on these monthly hikes is posted in this newsletter as they are planned.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Not Quite Naked Bike Ride Day, Quito Style

A friend of mine recently wrote from Ecuador.

Since Quito is too inhibited to passively allow a nude bike ride
protest, they did the next best thing; attach billboards with nude cyclist posters on their bikes. Even these "nude" cyclists on the billboards are discreetly shot so nothing shows.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Air inversion day from top of Sehome Hill


Smog from Vancouver, BC and other places like Bellingham. One doesn't normally think of smog here, but we have it too. In reality, this layer looked a bit browner than in photo.

Cars, wood stoves, forest fires, you name it.

An air inversion can trap the crap against our backdrop of mountains. This happens occasionally. Image shows inversion layer from Sehome Hill in Bellingham. This is looking north across Fraser Valley with it's backdrop of mountains.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Cute Congressional Pages

Maybe they are making a bigger deal out of former Congressman Mark Foley's sexually explicit e-mails than they should.

On the other hand, it is kind of fun to watch the Republican power structure crumble over this; and just in time for November's election.

What should the reaction of a page be to such an e-mail?

How about a simple, "It's kind of flattering but I'm not into it."

Yes the nation, and it's media, wants to make a big deal over this. It's interesting to watch the Republicans crumble.

This, on top of a whole bunch of other things that are troubling parts of the Washington, D.C. scene; like Woodward's book revealing so many mistakes that the Bush administration made in Iraq.

Yes, it may be a "media frenzy," but I'm glad I was never a Republican.

Now I must take that back.

For a very brief time, while I was a freshman in high school, I said I was a Nixon supporter. This was mostly to gall my older sister who was set against the Vietnam War.

While long hair was the "peace activist," look I came home from the barber with a crewcut. Walking in the door, I found my sister talking on the phone to one of her "liberal" friends. She nearly dropped the phone in the cookie jar as she exclaimed, "my little brother just got this ugly haircut!"

My days as a Nixon (just to get back at my sister) supporter were short lived. This was all before anyone had even heard of Watergate.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hearing news about Congressman Mark Foley's resignation

Conservative Republican, sexual emails. Reminds me of a recent case involving the former mayor of Spokane, WA., Jim West, who has since passed away. He was a conservative Republican also.

Back in the 1970s, I saw a cartoon that showed some skeleton in the closet. The caption read:

"She waited too long to come out of the closet."

It was in a lesbian magazine.