News Headlines

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans' Day

Happy Veterans' Day! The weather has been downright nasty. Today was all about running some errands, getting inside and reading a book. Nonetheless, Veterans' Day is a great holiday and it should be observed. So again, happy Veterans' Day.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Olympia is Cool!

This past weekend was spent with my old lady and a couple of nieces down in Olympia. We got a hotel room downtown and did the downtown/state capitol touristy thing. It was all pretty fun. I forget how much I really like the South Sound area. Anyways, a weekend away from the grind was really nice. It's easy to get caught up in everything and forget that you need to get away sometimes. So, my advice to you is to get out of dodge every once in a while. I'd suggest Olympia.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Husky Coaches Need to Go

Okay, I'm officially hoping that Jim Mora jumps ship from the Seahawks and comes over to Montlake to coach the Huskies. After the game today, it just appeared that we were yet again outplayed and outcoached. And to make matters worse, this current recruiting class is looking sketchy. Granted, four or five big-time players will ultimately decide if this upcoming class will be worth anything. But still, things aren't looking up overall. Thankfully, Jake Locker's touch passing the ball looks much improved. Tyrone Willingham really needs to re-evaluate how the team is preparing on the defensive end of the ball. We're breaking defensive records, but unfortunately their not the type of records to be proud of...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wildfires in California

I really feel bad about those California residents dealing with the wildfires. I couldn't even imagine what it's like to lose your home and all of your belongings in it. Hopefully the effort to help these people is adequate and effective. I don't really know of any outreach program to help these people yet, but I'm sure we'll hear of something soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Finally a Win!

Well, the Seahawks won a game. The Dawgs got whipped. I guess one for two isn't so bad. Still watching the Dawgs in their current state is pretty darn depressing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An End to Poverty?

Attached is an interesting article about a possible answer to the question of helping the world's poor. With the gap between the world's wealthy and poor growing at an increasing rate, more should be done to consider the living conditions of the poor around the globe. Could this guy have a viable answer?

The Seattle Times

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fan of Tim Ferriss

I'm a fan of Tim Ferriss. I think he's a great writer and is quite original. And trust me, originality is quite rare in our copycat society. Check him out below, maybe you'll learn something.

Tea is Good, Drink It

Instead of moaning and groaning about how we're all going to die a horrible death, I instead think you should read this nifty little article from the USA Today on why drinking tea is good. Hope you had a great weekend.

USA Today

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Political Fluff, Yet Misleading

We're getting into the season of the political TV ad. Talk about confusing and misleading. I'm not so sure that our Founding Fathers had these ads in mind when trying to find ways to guarantee the preservation of the Republic. There really should be a law that mandates more straightforward dialogue when debating the pros and cons of the proposed initiatives up for voting. How can the average joe even begin to understand the stakes involved when listening to truths that have already been half-baked and stretched? This blog post certainly can't even begin to formulate an answer, but I do find the problem annoying and possibly troublesome.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not Nearly Enough

Attached is an article from The Tacoma News Tribune discussing the implementation of GPS devices to track sex offenders. Unfortunately, this is hardly the answer to this particularly horrible problem. Granted, it's a start in updating the monitoring and supervision of these criminals, but so much more is needed. I hope more people become aware of the situation and demand adequate justice to be served. I guess we'll have to see how this plays out for now...

The Tacoma News Tribune

Monday, September 17, 2007

Who Knows If It Will Work

Hilary Clinton is beginning to outline a plan for universal health care coverage for Americans. Who knows if the plan is viable or even realistic, but I’m happy that someone is bringing this very important issue to the forefront of politics. With so much debate over the war, there has been scarcely little debate over other pressing issues here domestically. It’s a start I guess. By the way, I saw a rerun of a skit where Kanye West runs into Mike Meyers before performing at Saturday Night Live. Hilarious, I tell you. And besides that, Kanye West really is a great rapper. I think we’ll be talking about how good he really has been years from now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Britney Wreck

Man, I'm not a celeb gossip kind of guy, but this whole Britney Spears thing is like watching a train wreck in slow-mo. Really, can't someone pull her aside and talk some sense into this girl? Doesn't this girl still have some sensible parents, family, friends, managers, etc.? VH1 needs to film a celeb boot camp where they smack some sense into some of these fools... Danny Bonaduce, Kirstie Alley, Lindsey Lohan, and Flavor Flav would all be good contestants. That guy who trains the Dallas cheerleaders would be good for the show too.

So Close, But Two L's

Darn, the Dawgs and Hawks both choked up and lost. Just when we had a chance to get things rolling...well, there's always next weekend. By the way, if you turned off the Alabama/Arkansas game like I did (I did see the game winning TD however), you missed out on a hell of a game.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good Football

Man, this last weekend was a really good one for Washington State football. First, the Huskies put a whoopin’ on Boise State. Then, the Seahawks beat up the Bucs. To knock a quarterback and running back out of the same game is a beat down and then some. It’s been a while since both teams have dominated their respective opponents during the same weekend. And to top it off, the weather was absolutely perfect. I was at the Husky game and Montlake could not have been any nicer. By the way, did anyone see Rampage Jackson’s post fight interview Saturday night? That was one of the funniest interviews I have ever seen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

There’s a Smarter Way to Fight Terrorism

As it becomes painfully evident that our efforts in Iraq are becoming more ineffective on the war on terror, here we are presented with a story on how fighting terrorism can happen in a very intelligent manner. That is, by using intelligence and adequate policing. Unfortunately, it appears that the departure from effective intelligence gathering, covert operations and policing have left our current administration no other means to fight terrorism other than the use of the blunt instrument of war. But again, read the article below and imagine what could happen if we reexamined how we apprehend and confront this terror issue as it fights to make its way to Americans either here or overseas. A renewed emphasis on strong intelligence, cooperative international policing and covert operations may make more sense in this not-so-common time.

The Seattle Times

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another “Decent and Upright” Politician Caught with His Pants Down

What’s up with these conservatives who fight for one ideal and practice something completely different? This guy deserves to be out of a job. Here we have someone actively lobbying to restrict the rights of a group of people but then he goes and acts in a manner completely inconsistent with his supposed beliefs and political affiliations. Really, this is ridiculous. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve mistaken him for a homophobic conservative pastor (oh wait, that happened just a little while ago). Well, with the exception that the homophobic pastor is gay and does meth.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cleaning Up an Old Mess

I remember growing up and watching the world whiz by while I sat in the back seat of my Mom and Dad’s cars. Once we began approaching Lakewood and Tacoma, you could see the ratty, run-down motels lining up along South Tacoma Way and parts of I-5. And now in 2007 it appears that some of those nasty old motels are going away. Honestly, I can’t say that I’m terribly upset to see some of those old motels get the old heave-ho. Actually, I’m relieved and happy. Attached is an article from the Tacoma News Tribune discussing this very issue. That’s not to say that everyone in those motels is a criminal or not deserving of something better, that’s not the case at all. It appears that some of those residents living in some of those motels just felt like they had no other option available to them. Hopefully there will be better housing options presented to them that will better serve their needs. But regardless, those motels were rife with crime, drugs, and sanitation issues. Hopefully the redevelopment of those areas does justice to the residents who have been roughing it nearby for all of those years. But besides all of the other side issues involving affordable housing, I’m just glad to see some of those old hellholes go away.

The Tacoma News Tribune

Monday, August 20, 2007

Growing Pains in Tacoma

As more people discuss how Tacoma is changing, more is being said about unwanted changes happening here as well. I can certainly understand that some things will possibly get worse. I’m guessing traffic, street noise, street parking and some other minor issues. But really, do we want to revert back to the past (especially Tacoma’s)? And as for 6th Ave., it’s a major thoroughfare for that area. C’mon folks, at least recognize that busier streets are prime locations for businesses and yes, more nightlife and attractions. Again, I don’t think that this is the end of Tacoma, but it is a sign of more to come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blessing in Disguise?

With construction projects underway on I-5, many commuters are finding different ways to work. Maybe all of the road construction is allowing people to take a second look at how they get to work. And maybe, commuters will realize that there really is a great importance and need for alternative ways of getting to work (and everywhere else for that matter). Western Washington is still far behind when it comes to alternative means of travel. Maybe this construction hiccup will get voters interested and energized about funding more alternatives for public transportation. Below is a link from The Tacoma News Tribune about the current commute into Seattle.

The Tacoma News Tribune

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stop by Capers

I went to Capers in downtown Tacoma recently. If you haven't been there, it's by Meconi's and close to The Matador. I was quite impressed by the simple layout and decor. Besides the decor, the food was quite good. You could tell that the staff takes their work seriously. The ingredients were all top notch and the meals were great. If you're looking for something a little different and nice, but still affordable, it's definitely worth a try.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tacoma North

I was up in Everett this past weekend. The town has cleaned up nicely. When I was younger, you were only in Everett if it was somehow necessary. The Everett Events Center is a nice venue and the restaurants and bars in the area all seem like fun places to visit. The few places that I did visit were cool. Add some newfound nightlife and you’ve got something worth doing. Overall, a good trip. It was funny how much the place reminded me of Tacoma. By the way, the Hell’s Belles at Tulalip Casino rocked. They sound just like AC/DC. Rock on!

Monday, July 30, 2007

About Time?

Hey lookie there, the Republicans are possibly doing something that I can appreciate. They’re taking a hard look at what is done to manage sexual offenders after their release from prison. That’s something that is long overdue. I’m certainly not an expert on the subject, but it does appear that there are gaping holes in the current system responsible for overseeing these criminals. Let’s hope that this isn’t purely a publicity stunt but a true intention for further action. It would be a sad thing to use a little girl’s death as a backdrop for more press. Let’s hope these guys are taking the high road on this one.

The Tacoma News Tribune

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Mandolin Cafe Revisited

I went to The Mandolin Cafe today for some time with a book and coffee. I still really like the place. You can get some pretty decent food, good coffee, cold beer, and listen to some live music depending on the time that you go. The place seems to always be fairly busy when I'm there, but there's usually space to set up a laptop and get some work done if necessary. Plus, they have a good size deck to use if the weather permits (the wi-fi works out there too). There aren't a whole lot of coffee shops in Tacoma to really relax and kick back in that match the atmosphere of the Mandolin. If you ever get chance, check it out, it's a good time.

The Mandolin Cafe

Monday, July 23, 2007

Construction Slowdown in Tacoma

Attached is a good follow up article from The Tacoma News Tribune on different construction projects throughout Tacoma. Unfortunately, it appears some of the previously proposed construction plans and projects are feeling some heat due to the housing slowdown. I had a worry that something like this could happen, especially in regards to the condominium projects. It really felt like there were an awful lot of new condo projects being built without much consideration for saturation or overbuilding. I guess if you’re currently in the market for a condo, you should be courted with enthusiasm from those looking to sell. Despite some projects hitting bumps, I do think Tacoma is still moving in the right direction (albeit a little more slowly now).

The Tacoma News Tribune

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great News for Downtown Tacoma!

Attached is a link to an article, “Businesses Clear Out for South Park Plaza Development” from the Tacoma Daily Index. This is encouraging news for those of us who frequently go downtown. In case you don’t know, this parking garage is a huge eyesore and it isn’t the best addition to a reinvigorated downtown. Some good businesses have unfortunately been affected by the change. But overall, a greater good will come about if the redevelopment of this property goes well. What I’m personally hoping for is something that is much more attractive and pedestrian friendly. We’re well on our way Tacoma!

Tacoma Daily Index

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Apple Really Is Pretty Cool

So my wife and I both got some new pc laptops for work, sutff, etc. this past weekend. Mind you, I also have a Mac at home (which I adore). And as background info, I work on a pc all day at work. So I really know pc's is my main point. With that being said, the honeymoon with the laptops is effectively over according to my wife. She's over it in a big way. The funny thing is, she was the one that pushed for the new laptops to begin with. Well, after setup, continuous troubleshooting, more required purchases (which no salespeople disclosed as we were buying the laptops), more impromptu trips to numerous computer stores to buy stuff that we didn't know that we needed during setup, and yet more time wasted, we have come to the conclusion that if you can avoid going the pc route, by all means, do it! When we factored in all of the hidden costs of discs, upgrades, programs, etc., the Apples are not that much more expensive. Apple does a better job of bundling software and hardware up front so the cost appears greater at face value. But with new pcs only coming with trial versions of the software that you really need, well, as I said, it's a pretty close game of cost. And to top it all off, the Apples just have no setup or maintenance required. The Apple practically climbs out of the box and plugs itself in and begins working for you from the moment it comes home. Not so with the new pc. This must be what a parent feels like with a good kid and a bad kid. Now I can relate. Trust me, after today, as soon as I can go all Apple and pc-free, I'm doing it. Yes, I have a favorite child and it's name is Apple iMac G5.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What The?!?!

Drinking and stumbling around downtown Seattle has changed dramatically…read on.

The Seattle PI

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Politics-McCain Dumps a Couple of Advisors

Does it really matter? Does dumping a couple of political advisors give McCain a shot at The White House? I doubt it. As a matter of fact, I think McCain is one of the least inspiring candidates out there. What is he going to bring that’s different than what he’s already done? And to make matters worse, I think he lost a lot of his value as soon as he began to side with the President on numerous issues and ceased being the conservative outside voice to his own party. There really isn’t much that he does that separates him from the other average conservative politicians. As it looks now, I’d say Mitt Romney gives the conservatives something to be interested in for the time being. Most of the other conservative guys just seem like the same usual fare (and that’s not a good thing).

Monday, July 9, 2007

Week Ahead-Get Out the Sunscreen

It’s going to be toasty this week. Temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s are predicted. For all of you that don’t live in Washington, that’s hot for us. Also, since the temperatures are usually much milder, few homes have central air conditioning. So when it gets anywhere close to warm, the houses get really hot. This will be no exception. I’m getting sweaty just thinking about it. Good thing I did my lawn work this past weekend. It was probably in the mid-70’s when I was wacking the heck out of my lawn. With much of the country suffering from high temps and wildfires, where are all the cynics of global warming now? Hopefully they’re getting sunburned. Maybe experiencing some discomfort due to the weather will get people thinking of how much worse things can get if we don’t get our act together.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Worthy Goal-Read More, Learn More, Do More

Here’s something we need more of-continuous learning. It’ so important to constantly force more growth and understanding. Whether it be a greater knowledge of finances, goal setting, career/professional skills, life, etc., we need to keep pushing forward. One thing I’ve noticed of people that seem to be stuck in a rut is this. They somehow got stuck somewhere and forgot to keep moving forward. In other words, they stopped learning new things and probably stopped acting on the things that got them to some level of success in the past. Most Americans are notoriously bad at reading useful information after their formal education ends. I once heard finance guru Dave Ramsey say that the average millionaire reads one non-fiction book a month. Is it the book that makes the person a millionaire or the desire to continually learn, improve and act? I believe it’s the latter. Not that money is the most important thing in the world, but experiencing success is vital to people for so many different reasons. So the question is, what are you doing to get better?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Politics-Big Money for the Democrats

After reading various news reports of Barak Obama'a monstrous fundraising efforts, it appears that the Democrats really have some moneymaking potential. Barak raised approximately 32 million dollars in the last quarter. The Democrats are working hard to stuff their war chests full of cash before the mudslinging begins. Unfortunately, this appears to be the way that politics works in the modern era. Nevermind a platform where the candidate can express their views and plans, it's all about the money for a good portion of the campaign. Somehow I don't think democracy was supposed to be about making the most money to then spend on defaming your opponents. How does this continue? And who's solving our current problems while these people are out stumping for dollars? The last time I checked, we still had unfinished business and serious issues that needed to be resolved.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Weekend Events

This weekend should prove eventful. The Taste of Tacoma is going on and that’s always a good time. Also, the Mariners are making things interesting enough to continue to follow them during the baseball season. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, everyone should go to a game at Safeco Field at least once. The bar area in left/center field is one of the funnest places to hang out in Seattle. You won’t be bored, trust me. Speaking of summer sports, I’m playing some softball and man, my body aches. Workouts can’t quite prep you for the actual practices and games. Needless to say, my defense needs some work. I need to get to a batting cage as well. I hear there’s a good one in Puyallup that’s pretty cheap. Also, it sounds like Capers in downtown Tacoma is a pretty good new restaurant. I may have to stop by. Do they allow cleats I wonder?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The World Is Ending-Crazy Wrestler Goes Crazier

You know the world is ending when a professional wrestler goes wacky and then kills his family and finally, himself. Man, I grew up watching Chris Benoit so this story is all a little strange. Sadly, professional wrestlers seem to have shorter lifespans than canines. If you grew up watching professional wrestling or even know a few names of professional wrestlers, chances are that most of those names belong to people who are deceased. And chances are they didn’t die of natural causes. It’s too bad, many of these wrestlers are great athletes and performers. Something should be done to help clean up professional wrestling. It’s like watching Superman die every few years. If you want to know a little more about what I’m talking about, click the link below.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Politics-Bloomberg is Crowding the Field a Little More

I think it’s interesting that Michael Bloomberg is possibly looking into making a run at the presidency. He’s an intriguing person. As a big time businessman, he’s left an unmistakable mark on the financial services industry. For all intents and purposes, it appears that New York City is doing fine under his leadership as mayor. Oddly enough, I find it strange that another former NYC mayor is running for the same office. Maybe Mayor of NYC is becoming one of the premier political jobs (similar to Governor of California). But anyways, I’m intrigued by Bloomberg. I think he may be able to bring a more straightforward, common sense approach to the presidential race. I like the fact that he has backed up his words with successful action. He knows how to run a business and make it profitable. That’s a hugely underestimated skill lacking in many politicians today. Most politicians know how to blow money, speak rhetoric, and get very little done. Maybe Bloomberg can bring some of his valuable insight to the forefront when discussing issues affecting the country. What the country needs is someone who can get results. Regardless of party (or lack thereof), the time for real action and decisiveness is long overdue. Currently, we have poor planning, poor execution, and an ability to divide where consensus is needed. We need change in a bad way.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Burn, Baby! Burn!

Attached is a link o' good news. The motel mentioned has been a persistent issue for residents in Tacoma and Fife. Sorry if you have to look further for your crack. Read on!

Tacoma Daily Index

Monday, June 18, 2007

What’s Up? Sports, Tacoma, Etc.

Well, things have been pretty quiet recently. With summer, there’s not a lot going on in sports other than the Mariners. And unfortunately, it looks like our division is pretty tough this year. Anaheim and Oakland are looking pretty good. It’ll be a tough race all year long. In Hilltopia, not much else happening other than it appears that construction is still full steam ahead. On Yakima and Tacoma Avenues, the condos and townhouses are popping up almost instantaneously it seems. If you’re looking for a new home in an urban area, it may be worthwhile checking out what’s available in our end of town. With the previously vacant blocks filling up with new construction, I can’t imagine if it will be much more than another year or two before major commercial construction begins to pop up in our former ghetto. So, don’t say I didn’t tell you so, but take a look around Hilltop on Yakima and Tacoma Avenues. Things are going to be drastically different fairly soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tacoma Misc.

Just when you think you’re up on things in Tacoma, poof!, another condo project appears before your very eyes. It really is beginning to look like Stadium is about to see some new, large additions to its landscape. I like Stadium, I just hope the new developments add something worthy to the scene. Also, The Swiss continues to be a fun time. I was there last Saturday and it seems like I have a blast every time I go there (which isn’t very often). If you haven’t been to The Swiss in a while, you should go back; it’s as fun as you remember it. Rock on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hilltopia Gets New Features

You know, you can't be serious all of the time. And with Hilltopia having such a focus on news, it got to feel that way. So, what better way to help lighten the feel than with adding some new features? Well, that's what's happened. Pac Man and friends are here to help you get through your day. So, you can read the news, check up on what's going on in Hilltopia, and kick some alien butt all in one place. Sorry, but newspapers just can't offer that kind of fun.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Education Is Always Important

The link below provides a really good story by Karen Hucks about getting an education despite age or place in life. Pretty interesting.

The Tacoma News Tribune

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cool Stuff-HD TV

Well, I got a new High Definition television last week. The difference between an HD TV and an older TV is huge. Once you buy and watch an HD TV, you’ll think twice about watching something non-HD. It’s weird, while watching the Mariners, I can see clearly all of the fans in the stands. If you’re a sports fan, it feels like the higher resolution gets you in closer to the game. If you’re watching a documentary, it can get a little gory watching a lion or a cheetah having his lunch. All in all, it’s worth the price of admission. And with prices on HD TV’s dropping, it’s getting even easier to afford a new television. So, if you haven’t looked at making the switch, check it out, it’s pretty cool. And if you live in Tacoma, Click! rates for the better cable package seem to be quite a bit cheaper than my friend’s cable package up in Seattle.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tukwila-Capital of All Things Strip Mall

I was in Tukwila last night and I could not believe how much construction is going on there. After said construction is done, Tukwila will have solidified its reign as the most massive (and cream colored) strip mall capital in the mighty Pacific Northwest. How many stores are being built? Only the gods of the malls know. I guess the end result is cool if you’re a shopper, but I’m not so sure that it bodes well for interesting architectural design or a certain urban village or downtown feel. But hey, I can get new Old Navy boxers, 4 for $20, so who cares right? Ugh, not really… My corporate brainwashing is wearing off, I think I need to see another ad before I have withdrawal symptoms and puke originality.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sports-Go Cavs!

Not that I’ve watched every game of the NBA Playoffs, but I did manage to watch some of LeBron James’ masterful work. I don’t recall seeing someone dominate like that in quite a while. LeBron is playing great playoff basketball and is showing the world that he truly is an all-time great. LeBron has shown an ability to work for every basket. He has also shown that he can take over a game without alienating his team. Despite the number of shots, his teammates don’t seem to show any resentment. I’m hoping the guy carries his team all the way to the title. Besides, Cleveland deserves it after what Jordan did to that team for who knows how many years. And lastly, I just don’t get the feeling that LeBron is a jerk; as a matter of fact, he seems likeable. Go Cavs!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Get Rid of the Garbage!

So courtesy of my Dad's Target gift card (thanks Dad!), my wife and I did some serious spring cleaning today. We went through our garage and tossed (and donated what we could) a serious amount of rubbish. We're talking about stuff we NEVER use. We bought a bunch of storage bins and baskets for the stuff we do use and neatly organized the whole darn garage. A huge improvement if I don't say so myself. Just a couple of weeks ago we donated who knows how many garbage bags of clothes. There really is something uplifting about getting rid of clutter. Here in America we are literally overwhelmed with crap. Stop sitting around and get rid of your junk. No, you don't need a storage space. You need some Hefty garbage bags, some elbow grease, and a few trips to Goodwill. Someone else out there really needs the stuff you never use. And oddly enough, you'll feel a million times better when you see how your place used to look before you messed it up with the mountain of filth that you purchased and left rotting in your home. Get to work already! You'll feel better, trust me.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Media-Will It Change the World?

With the mass proliferation of blogs, websites, podcasts, etc., it is apparent that these new forms of media are not going away. I would rather argue that these forms will continue to grow, change, and adapt and eventually spawn even new forms of media that we haven’t quite gotten to yet. The interesting thing about these new forms is that many of the producers of this new media are people outside the traditional world of media (books, newspapers, tv, etc.). All of a sudden, there’s an entirely new flavor of media, material and information. Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek, has become immensely popular without advertising in the more traditional forms of media. Rather, he advertised and used word of mouth marketing via websites, meetings, blogs, etc. (in other words, new media sources). Can these new forms change the world? Can they move new ideas to the public? I would argue that they can and I would also state that they may already be more effective than the traditional forms today. The success of YouTube and MySpace are great examples of user generated media. What I find interesting is how these users and producers are going to be able to shift thinking and business in ways unknown previously in the marketplace. The proliferation of ideas is occurring at a rate previously unknown. Can it make for greater positive change? I guess we’ll see, but I’d be willing to bet on it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Politics-Will Anyone Address Real Problems?

As the barrage of messages from political candidates continues, I begin to wonder about a question that is pointed to all of the candidates. Can any of these people really solve real problems experienced by real people? We’re only now beginning to hear about how to fix health care and that’s about it. I still don’t think I’ve heard anything (including the health care platforms) that makes me think that we’re going to get somewhere good with these people. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think cryptic or let’s take a simple approach and tax the rich answers will suffice this time around. Simplicity to gain popularity for popularity’s sake doesn’t truly solve any problems. And does anyone really believe that taxing the rich will work with all of the special interest groups and political pressure the wealthy can exert on candidates? I have to believe that’s a far cry answer from reality (sorry Barack). What we really need is someone who is willing to come forward with big answers that have realistic chances to succeed. I’m just not confident that has happened. Everyone is so busy raising money that no one really has an answer to the war, health care (with viable funding), Social Security deficits, efficient infrastructure, excellent education, environmental protections, and a truly green plan for the future. And by the way, the debates are turning out to be more political rhetoric spewing sessions as opposed to giving the public a well-thought out agenda for success and progress. When did politics become so lame and unoriginal?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Book Review-The 4-Hour Workweek

I just got done with The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I got the audiobook and listened to it during time spent in the car. The book is really interesting and there is some helpful information in it. If you're looking for a new way to live and work, this book is a good starting point for you. Basically it's a very entrepreneurial book in that it describes how the author found his own online retail niche that ended up freeing his work time thus allowing him to live the life that he truly wants to live (he's quite the travel fanatic). Anyways, I really enjoyed the book and learned some pretty new things and ideas in the process. If you don't have the time to read it, you can always download it from and listen to it as you drive, workout, etc.

UFC-Great Night!

If you watched the Ultimate Fighting Pay-Per-View, you may be as shocked as I was on Saturday night. I really didn’t think Rampage Jackson was going to destroy the Iceman like that. I was wrong, really wrong. Rampage Jackson rolled through Liddell like he was nothing. I couldn’t believe it. After what the Iceman has done to Randy Couter and Tito Ortiz, I at least figured the fight would go for more than a round and with Chuck Liddell winning. Well, that didn’t happen (not by a long shot) and Rampage has all of my respect. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a true stud. By the way, the under card fights were great if you missed those as well. Houston Alexander? Who the heck is that guy? Well, apparently he’s a monster; you’ve got to see it. And Din Thomas is still looking like a really good fighter. Overall, it was a great night for fights.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Weekend Events-UFC

Well, this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and there's gonna be a good fight. Chuck "Iceman" Liddell is fighting Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. If you've been living under a rock, those are two of the more popular ultimate fighters out there. The fight should be pretty good although I think Liddell will handle Jackson and retain his title (and avenge a loss from a few years back). Other than that, not a whole lot else going on. The weather should be nice so I guess cutting some grass may be in my future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On the

I recently began subscribing to is a pretty cool site that features audiobook downloads that would typically be featured in stores like Borders or Barnes and Noble (but probably in book form of course). The idea of is that you can buy audiobook downloads and download them to your iPod or mp3 player. There are subscription plans that allow you to purchase these downloads for a pretty good price. If you’ve ever bought audiobooks on cd or tape, you know how expensive it can be to buy these things on an ongoing basis. For a fraction of that price, you can subscribe to and get audiobook downloads on to your iPod and be on your way. It’s a pretty cool setup and I’ve had no real problems with it. If you’re an information junkie or bookworm on-the-go, is definitely worth checking out. If you’re the occasional purchaser of audiobooks, I’m not so sure that the subscription cost would be worth it for you. But for those of us that consume information like food (and happen to commute as well), then may end up saving you quite a bit of change. One tip, give the download plenty of time since downloading an entire book takes a lot longer than downloading a song or short podcast.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Could a “Central Park” Work for Tacoma?

As I drive through downtown Tacoma, it occurs to me, could a central park work? I mean, could a city block or two of greenery, jogging paths, sitting areas and a fountain make a difference around here? I think it could. Because of all of the still lingering urban decay, a central park would help soften the landscape and provide a much more appealing and interesting place to be and linger. A park would also allow residents to gather and meet. This could especially be helpful and useful during the warm, dry months where meeting outside is actually desirable. Also, it gives the public another community meeting and gathering space for events. I think this is especially important in a city where everyone is seemingly trying to get more people to live and entertain themselves downtown. If the city is concerned about costs, maybe a building could be added and rented out for weddings, events, banquets, etc. If this park is anywhere near UW Tacoma, students would certainly make use of it during sunny days and times in between classes. I also think this park would spur more business development. Businesses seeking to fill a need for park patrons would begin to set up shop around the perimeter of the park. If a small amphitheater or stage is set up, the events can showcase artists, speakers, and musicians here in Tacoma. This doesn’t have to be large, but interesting and welcoming. This park would also give visitors and hotel occupants something else to see and visit while in town. In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s not a lot for hotel occupants to do on a Sunday night when everything in a ten mile radius is closed. Who knows, maybe even a smaller version of a sculpture park could work. Nonetheless, as I make my trek through downtown everyday, it appears that there just isn’t enough greenery and nature to balance out the look of the city. You can only take so much of the bombed building look before you decide that something else better can be done.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tacoma-Starting to Perk Up?

Last Friday I went for a pretty long walk downtown along Pacific Avenue. It was encouraging to see UW Tacoma students and downtown workers outside and working on their various tasks, projects, etc. It was also nice to see downtown with some more life. Usually my walks take place after business hours when downtown feels eerie and deserted. But, on that sunny day, life was there. Something else that I found encouraging is the area down by Meconi’s is starting feel more populated and alive. With the new various businesses there, it’s beginning to feel like that end of Pacific Ave. isn’t lost or forgotten. I still wish something would happen with the old Drake nightclub. Maybe a live music venue? I also think more can be done with outdoor vendors downtown. During my walk, it just felt like you had to go into a building for everything and couldn’t just shop or get food/drinks/etc. while meandering downtown. I have no idea if there is some sort of permitting/legal process for this, but it sure would make the whole downtown experience feel more vibrant if there were more reasons to stop and look around.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thanks for stopping by!

Hey everybody, I wanted to say thanks for stopping by. It seems as if Hilltopia has had an up tick in traffic. So again, thanks and have a great weekend!


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Worthy Goal-More Preventative Measures to Protect Against Violent Crime

As news comes out about how security at colleges is somewhat inadequate, it got me thinking about this problem. At the University of Washington, a student was recently killed by her stalker ex-boyfriend even after campus police knew about the stalker. And what happened at Virginia Tech is all too recent to even begin to forget about that sad event. But what can be done? For one, I can’t imagine that the large universities have nearly enough security personnel. During my time at UW, I can rarely recall security personnel or police being all too present except for sporting events or weekends when parties were underway. Unfortunately, I felt that the reason for the security or police presence was more for trying to bust up parties as opposed to preventing violent crime. Should there be a shift in thinking about what police and security should focus on? I think that may be a possibility. While underage drinking could pose a problem, violent stalkers and mentally ill students armed for World War III is a much more serious matter. And personally, I think those issues are worth reviewing. Can certain violent crimes be prevented? Is there a better policing method to enhance safety? I’m not so sure that relying on tried and true policing and security methods will gain any new efficiencies. So if that’s the case, how do we adjust to our changing times?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Health Insurance-How Expensive Can It Get?

The attached article by Kyung Song from The Seattle Times discusses how rates for many people with individual health plans are going up. How much longer can this continue? Americans who have hesitated to vote for politicians with a real health plan agenda cannot afford to wait much longer. I think at this point many Americans are beginning to feel the squeeze from rising health care premiums and deductibles. Tinkering with the system cannot be the real answer. Sweeping changes and dramatic action steps are necessary. To think that annual cost increases can continue much longer is simply unrealistic. Action needs to be taken sooner rather than later. If numerous countries the world over can figure this out, surely America can come up with a viable, appropriate answer to our specific problem. What must happen is accountability. The public must absolutely require a specific plan of action from every public leader in government. Health care isn’t the sexy, exciting topic that gets the blood boiling or gets people moving. But it needs to become that or the problem will consume families that are already on the brink of poverty. Make this an issue that political candidates cannot ignore or remain non-committal towards solving. For once, politics needs to take a back seat to productivity, planning and action.

The Seattle Times

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Politics-Is There Change on the Way (for One Party)?

As Republicans begin to jump off the sinking ship of the Bush Administration, can those who jump begin to craft a platform that actually represents their constituency? And no, I’m not talking about the loud religious right who only think they represent the actual population. In case you missed it, I actually believe the “moral majority” really only represents the smaller, louder population within the Republican Party. Unfortunately, they’ve also been highly successful in subjugating the party to their own narrow needs. But that aside, will moderate Republicans be able to rise and help create a different vision for that party? I’m a little skeptical. Giuliani and Romney have had an awful lot of mud thrown their way for supporting or believing in ideas a little different from their party’s majority. Oddly, the party leadership is more uniform and less diverse than ever before. I think it will speak volumes to see how the conservatives treat their own party candidates who speak, pray, believe or act a little different than the run-of-the-mill Republican that we’ve grown used to seeing in the past few years.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Branford Marsalis

Last night I went to Jazz Alley. Branford Marsalis was playing. His band was great and the improvisation of the band added to the fun. If you ever get the chance, Branford is definitely worth checking out. Jazz Alley was a good time. The show wasn't very long, but the music, food and drinks were definitely up to par. If you want a good show in an intimate setting, Jazz Alley may be a good pick for you.

Jazz Alley

Friday, May 11, 2007

Vanessa: Unplugged! Still Great!

Vanessa had some really nice things to say about Hilltopia and myself over on her blog, Vanessa: Unplugged! I began to read Vanessa’s blog almost as soon as I started blogging. I think she’s one of the brightest stars in the constellation of blogs (heck, there may be more blogs than stars now…). Anyways, Vanessa breaks life down to a format that is very entertaining and she’s one of the best at putting together a visually stunning blog (I could definitely learn from her on that). In case you don’t know, blogging can be a solitary work in progress. To get some encouragement out there in cyberspace is a big deal. So here’s my way of passing on the goodness; go check out Vanessa’s blog, we can be fans together!

Vanessa: Unplugged!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eat at Le-Le

I went to dinner at Le-Le Restaurant last night. If you’ve never been there, it’s a Vietnamese restaurant on MLK (close to Tempest and People’s Park). The food has been good every time I’ve gone there. It’s a Vietnamese restaurant, but there are some Thai and Korean dishes as well. And apparently, it’s a pseudo-hangout spot. They have free wi-fi and even while we were there, people were reading, hanging out, and one guy was listening to his iPod while he was doing his own thing. The vibe was very relaxed and the staff just seems to be happy that people are eating and spending time there. If you’re in the neighborhood, check it out. MLK doesn’t have any coffee shops that I know of, so I guess Le-Le is there to fill in on double duty. And what’s better than that? Good food, cheap prices, relaxed atmosphere and free wi-fi? And if that’s not enough, you could walk to Tempest for a drink (or three) afterwards.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Got Cash, Looking for a Home?

Well, it appears as if housing in Pierce County has really come up on some slower times. Price appreciation isn’t as strong as in neighboring counties. With more inventory and slower sales, does this begin to put Pierce County in a more precarious position economically? Certainly the local economy will be affected in some way. But with so many residents commuting elsewhere to work does this really matter? If the only real hit is in price appreciation, would the only people truly hurt by this movement be those with ARM mortgages coming up on rate adjustments? I’m not so sure that I’m the one to figure this out, but it does seem like now is a ripe time to buy a new home if you’re in the market for one. With more housing inventory and slower sales, a cash rich buyer would be sitting in a very enviable position right now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Could/Would Tacoma Support a Big Box Retailer Downtown?

With so much talk about the possibility or need for more shopping downtown, what are the chances of real success for a large retail business? Would you make it a point to shop in Downtown Tacoma just to prove that it could work? What if the store were something like a Wal-Mart? Would you refuse to shop there because of any previous beliefs about the business or would you shop there because they took a chance when it’s obvious that other big retailers are reluctant to move into downtown currently? I think these are valid questions. The residential density downtown isn’t very high for an urban area. But, could the local residents make up for that by showing a little more loyalty in spending their dollars in a place that has shown a willingness to take a chance? And what if the first retailer failed? Would that be the signal of doom to other prospective retailers thinking about coming into Downtown Tacoma? What do you think?

Politics-I’m Already Bored

Can I just say that I’m already a little tired of the upcoming presidential election? With all of the posturing, and very little real debate, I’m over it. It’s flash and sizzle and little to no substance thus far. Even the debates have no real substance. Leave it to a bunch of politicians to take the answers out of a debate. Maybe we have to require politicians to write and publish answers regarding their specific platform or stance on issues. Take Barack for instance, where’s the real answers or platform? I like the idea of Barack, I’m just not sure I’ve heard nearly enough to want to vote for the guy. To be honest, I don’t know that anyone in the race has really put forward a clear, concise plan for America. And I definitely couldn’t vote for someone governing only on ideology and not a plan; we’ve already seen what that can do and it’s not pretty.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Blogosphere in Tacoma

For those of you that live in the Tacoma area, I’m noticing a pretty cool trend. It appears that more blogs are proliferating in the area. I’m pretty happy with the development and I’ve learned a lot just by getting online and checking out some other peoples’ work. What I truly appreciate is the involvement and cooperation that everyone has put forward while collectively trying to help rehab this city. If you live in the area, check out for starters. You can begin to see the great work that people are putting out there for everyone to witness in cyberspace. This motley group (without Nikki Sixx) of do-gooders is out, about, and publishing some cool stuff that’s informative, entertaining and up-to-date. Check it out.

Sports-Boxing was Good Again (For a Night Anyways)

What’s up everybody? The Mayweather vs. De La Hoya fight was great. One of the best fights I’ve seen in a long, long time. Expect a rematch, no one really got hurt and it was pretty close throughout although I felt Mayweather should have won in a unanimous decision. Boxing needed some good PR. Unfortunately for boxing, I think the UFC will continue to steal boxing’s long lost thunder. Also, it looks like Clemens is a Yankee again. His announcement during the game against the M’s was all that was really worth watching on Sunday.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Tacoma Needs More Coffee

This past week I went to the Firehouse Coffee Company on 6th Ave. A pretty cool place and the coffee was good. It’s a wi-fi spot so you get online if you bring a laptop. Overall, the vibe was pretty cool. There’s plenty of space and it’s quite nice and comfy inside. I like all of the big windows and the décor (a nice change from Starbucks green). If you’re a people watcher, it’s a really good corner to drink coffee and hang out. The building itself is a nice, new addition to 6th Ave. But again, I was apprehended by the early closing time for a coffee shop (9pm). Not that I’m a night owl, I just don’t like having to leave when I’m not ready. Besides Bertolino’s on Union Ave., there is a severe lack of late night coffee shops in Tacoma. And because Bertolino’s is consistently full, it’s not always a great option, especially if you can’t get a table. So why am I going on about this? Because Tacoma needs a late night coffee shop in a really bad way. How can the late night artists, students and professionals all congregate if the only option is one small coffee shop that’s already packed? And besides, options and variety are good. It’s not that there aren’t coffee shops or drive-thrus in Tacoma. There are, they just close really early as compared to any other larger cities’ coffee shops. Heck, by the time I get home, a few of the coffee shops on Pacific Ave. are already closed (we’re talking 6pm folks). So if you want to open a coffee shop, please come to Tacoma and stay open past 9pm. Your shop will be packed, I know from experience.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

On the Web-World of Warcraft

I like video games. I grew up with most of the now famous video game consoles (dating all the way back to the Sears version of the Atari 2600). But, with work and everything else in life (including a spouse), I don't play as much as I used to previously. A couple of months ago I bought a game that I normally wouldn't have purchased. It was World of Warcraft. I've never been much of a fantasy type gamer. As a matter of fact, the sports games and strategy games were more to my liking (Madden, Civilization, Sim City, etc.). But World of Warcraft really is great. While online, you can communicate and go on quests with other online gamers. And, if you don't want to be bothered, you can go it alone as well. The game itself is in a huge world that takes quite a bit of time just to get acquainted with while on your journey. Exploring is a whole new issue as the world itself is large and takes some time to cover on foot. Although it's an adventure game, there is plenty of action and tasks to complete. The game is as fast or as slow as you want to make it. If you're looking for something to occupy your time or are looking for an entirely new diversion, this game could be it. The place is massive and there's plenty to do. If you've got some time and boredom to kill, check out World of Warcraft. Just be sure to keep a watch handy; you may snap out of it sometime next week if you're not careful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The World is Ending! What’s Up with the Republicans?

Well, you know the world is ending when the President will veto a bill that puts any emphasis on a timetable to get his messy war cleaned up. How long will the present administration be in complete denial of the disaster that they’ve created? I get the fact that there were some really poor decisions made. I also get the idea that there were more poor decisions made regarding strategy and planning the war effort after we invaded and infiltrated Iraq. But c’mon, when will the Republicans get back to the reality that everyone else is living in now? We have one of the most disastrous wars in American history on our hands and there is no effort to reconvene and try to make things right. Instead, political banter and a complete refusal to go back to the drawing board is the continued method of operation by this current administration. Maybe we all don’t have to agree on everything about the war. But to act like this current war effort is all according to plan and to then act as if we are presently headed to a successful outcome is complete insanity or at the very least, foolish. To accept the existence of major obstacles or setbacks does not emphasize defeat among Republicans. What it does is show that the Republican Party can accept that things haven’t gone according to plan and that they are working towards a successful solution by re-evaluating the current situation or reality. Going back to the drawing board doesn’t signal defeat. Acting like nothing is wrong when the sky is falling shows something much, much worse.

Monday, April 30, 2007

NFL Draft and Darrell Jackson Gone

Well, the NFL Draft was what I expected for the most part. After the draft started, I thought we might hang on to Darrell Jackson. When I heard the trade, I thought maybe we could have gotten more for Jackson. But after seeing that the Patriots got Randy Moss for a fourth rounder, I thought that we actually did ok. Of course, I would have preferred if we had traded Jackson outside of our division, but I guess we’ll have to live with defending against him. The assumption now is that Jackson may have been getting ready for a long nasty contractual battle or that he would simply walk once he became a free agent and go to another team with no compensation for the Seahawks. Thankfully, I don’t know how much more Jackson has left in the tank. He’s been a little injury prone and he’s not getting any younger. And with our stacked receiver corps, we should be just fine. I also didn’t think we would go after a cornerback with our first pick. But again, I’m ok with that since injuries killed us at that position last year. Afterwards we drafted in bulk size and I’m happy to have seen that. I think we may have done ok with our picks. I didn’t see anything too worrisome and when you consider that we really got Deion Branch as a part of this draft, we may have come out of the deal with a pretty good grade. But we’ll have to see how the later picks contribute on the field to really see how well we did in making these picks.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Schizophrenic Economy

What a strange week for the national economy. Housing is still in the doldrums but the stock market is hot with record highs. Here in the Pacific Northwest, housing is still running full steam ahead. The economy is chugging along but gas prices are spiking sharply higher. It alls seems pretty schizophrenic. When it all comes to a head remains to be seen. I don’t see much relief with gas prices since the rest of the developing world is creating stronger demand. Unless we find a way to become less oil dependent, U.S. consumers will continue to feel that ever increasing pinch. Thankfully, big corporations are beginning to see the green light as well. As the country works towards less unsustainable energy consumption, the average U.S. consumer should begin to see more economical benefit. Homes and commercial properties are beginning to be built with greener and more energy efficient materials. Cars are even becoming more efficient. Of course, it would be nice if government could give more incentive to speed up the process, but that’s just how things are currently. But when did you ever think it would be hip to be green? That in itself is a small miracle.

Gun Control with Mental Health

Ok, I don’t have a big problem with guns. I’ve fired a few myself and have had a good time doing so (no one was hurt in the process). I do believe that a weapon in itself is a tool. It’s the person that uses the tool for either good or evil or otherwise. Guns are amoral and have no preference for their particular use. But, the supply of guns and the control of this supply should have limitations. Because people can act in an evil or reckless manner, we can certainly have a problem with an evil or reckless person with a gun. And it’s becoming all too apparent that evil or reckless people can get guns way too easily. I don’t think we have the complete answer for gun control or its administration, but I do think it’s necessary to add a mental health component to the issue. Not that all people with mental illnesses are evil or reckless, that’s not the point. But someone with a mental illness can become dangerous when armed with a firearm. If someone has a history of mental illness, that person should be screened out and prohibited from purchasing a weapon. Of course, the exact definition of mental illness needs to be debated on when creating this standard. Not that the process is foolproof either, it’s not. But it’s one less avenue for someone with a mental illness to purchase a weapon to harm innocent victims. The argument can construed and made out to be harsh towards those with mental illnesses. That is certainly not the intent of the argument. The argument is rather for the protection of the public and the general well-being of the public. The intent is not to be discriminatory, but rather to be protective of innocent lives. The country shouldn’t have to wait for another tragedy or series of deaths to occur in order to make this new control happen. We need an extra blanket of security when someone decides that they need various firearms for their personal use. And a national mental health database that is checked before issuing a purchased weapon should be enacted as soon as possible.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On the Web-lifehack

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a chance to check out lifehack, but it’s a really cool blog. Lifehack has a bunch of different tips and advice covering all sorts of different areas of life. There’s information about work, productivity, tools, and the list goes on. If you’re looking for new ways of working or just being more effective, lifehack may be a good resource. You can never know too much and lifehack gives information on all sorts of things that just may come in handy.

Cool Stuff-Podcasts

With so much information on the web, it can be overwhelming when trying to find information on a specific subject. If you’re a fan of a particular writer, subject or area of interest, welcome to the world of the podcast. With mp3 players and iPods, you can download (usually for free) information on all sorts of subjects. With a computer and iPod (and a site like iTunes), you can learn about subjects that have had you baffled for who knows how long. If you’re like me and have a commute, you can even buy a device to play your iPod or mp3 player in your car while driving. And if your commute is fairly long, you’ll be an expert in whatever field of interest in no time flat. Really, there is so much good available information out there that it would be unwise to not take advantage of it. If Americans are really on the go so much, at least use some of the transit time to your advantage. Shock jocks are out (literally). Use the time you have and make more of it. Who knows what you’ll learn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Festivals Needed?

With Tall Ships being such a huge success for Tacoma, it begs the question of whether Tacoma should be willing to help pay for more festivals and exhibitions in the city. Tall Ships was great because it brought so much more life to the city streets. People were out and had ample opportunity to see our great waterfront and downtown areas. Being that Tall Ships was so successful, should Tacoma attempt to bring in another large event or attempt to create an event on its own? I think the answer should be a resounding yes on all fronts. An annual event during the summer months would be a huge boon to Tacoma businesses. It would also serve as a great marketing opportunity for the city. With so much housing being built, Tacoma needs to take a more proactive stance towards marketing the city to the demographic population that it needs. Giving people a chance to come here and see the changes will only help reverse the name that Tacoma has earned itself over the past few decades. With other cities in the region experiencing their own growth spurts, Tacoma needs to take a very proactive stance in marketing itself in a manner that separates itself from the rest of the region. Current residents, businesses, and the city itself all stand to gain on the new positive exposure if done correctly.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tacoma Attracting New Talent?

Is Tacoma attracting new energetic professionals? As the city grows and undergoes massive change, I think this is a relevant question to ask. Is there more that can be done to promote business, art and entrepreneurship in our city? I think there are some things that can be done. Thankfully, as residents we can help promote these changes. As I’ve said before, I think we can do more to fight crime and make potentially dangerous people feel a little more unwanted. Changing our environment to become more open and welcoming to everyday people is a must. As the weather gets warmer, it becomes even more important to get outside and make yourself known. Crimes involving drugs and property among other things tend to dwindle when regular, everyday people get outside and reclaim their neighborhoods. I also think the residents can begin to meet and become more connected to other great people in their neighborhoods. Just meeting people on your block and neighborhood creates a greater feeling of community that can certainly come in handy if or when something does happen that needs attention. Also, people tend to pay greater attention to random strangers loitering when they know whether any of these people are welcome or invited. I also think more can be done to create a greater feeling or vibe of creativity and artistic expression. Remaining open and welcoming to artists and creative professionals can affect so much awesome change in a community. Being able to support and attend events that foster this kind of creativity only helps to bring more of the arts and entertainment to a city. I think the business, art and music scene is beginning to pick up in Tacoma but we can always do more to support efforts to showcase local talent and encourage others to become involved in the local movement. Also, there are more ways to promote these events and trends via blogs. Thankfully there are other great local blogs besides Hilltopia that promote the same causes but in their own unique, interesting ways. For a good start, check out and Those are definitely two of my favorites and they’re a must read for locals trying to keep up with our ever-changing scene.

Good Times Now

What a great time to be in Washington. Other than the Sonics leaving and the Mariners sucking it up, things are good. There is the possibility that the governor will sign into law a bill that will force other counties to begin accepting their own felons back into their own communities as opposed to the usual standard of dumping them in Pierce County. If this bill passes, it will be a huge win for Tacoma and Pierce County. Why this hasn’t been done ages ago is beyond me. But “Fair Share” is a hot button now thanks to numerous local residents fighting for who knows how long for equal treatment in the corrections and legal process. I can’t stress how important it is that Tacoma no longer be the final destination for the entire state’s felons and violent offenders. Spreading the offenders out to the communities where they originally hail from has many other benefits. It places less stress on one community. It forces other communities to confront their own issues involving crime and justice. It also can help the recidivism rate if there is adequate supervision of the felons under an effective type of supervised release program. Overall, this could a huge win for Tacoma. Now on to other issues…

Weekend Review in Sports

This weekend was a great one for sports. There were some upsets in the NBA Playoffs that I just didn't think would happen in game 1. Both the Mavs and Spurs lost their opener. The Heat loss doesn't surprise me since I think that they're really old and basically are a one man show (and Shaq isn't that guy). I think the Bulls are a better team than many people think. That Heat/Bulls series will be really good. Baseball put on a show as well with the Red Sox and Yankees battling it out. That series didn't disappoint either. Homers, come from behind wins, it had it all. Overall, a great weekend to be a sports fan.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sad Times at Virginia Tech

What a strange week we’ve had. The tragedy at Virginia Tech was certainly sad and I hope those families there get all of the support and help that they need. I’m not really sure what to make of the situation with campus security and cops there or if the whole thing could have been prevented. For the most part, I think college campuses are safe. I never felt that the University of Washington was an overly dangerous place to be and I don’t think anyone thought any different at Virginia Tech. As a matter of fact, I’ve never felt that any college campus that I was ever visiting was ever a dangerous place to be. And to cap it off, violent crime is down in most parts of the country overall. I don’t know if there is a real answer to preventing this type of tragedy other than possibly including a mental health check in the background checks for weapons. Without too much of an invasion of privacy or personal rights, I am not sure that there’s much of an answer to this problem or its reoccurrence elsewhere. Possibly a better background check is in order, but other than that, what else could be done?

End of Sonics?

Well, it’s looking pretty grim for the Sonics. It doesn’t appear that there will be any sort of action towards building an arena in Renton. That’s too bad although this isn’t totally unexpected. Unfortunately, I don’t know that anyone really put much effort into creating an arrangement that all parties could agree on. Sonics’ ownership made the arena issue all about their needs only and local politicians did nothing while straddling the political fence. Hmmm, local politicians unable to get anything done or make a big decision? Somehow I think I’ve heard this before… It’s too bad Charles Schultz of Starbucks fame royally screwed the state and the residents by selling to an out of state group already looking at moving a team to their home state. Somehow I just don’t think there would be so little done if an ownership group from the Northwest had bought the Sonics. Who knows how things will ultimately turn out, but it’s currently a sad state of affairs for a team that’s meant so much to the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Regional Hub, Tacoma?

What would it take for Tacoma to become a regional hub of tourism, commerce, business and civic work? With close proximity to the Sound, close distance to the other regional hubs, Seattle and Bellevue, and close proximity to the military bases and the capital, Tacoma is geographically in a very nice location. But somehow, this hasn’t translated into success in the past. What would it take for the city to change that trend and become a localized center where all of the previously mentioned areas can congregate for business? With Sounder Trains stopping in Tacoma, slowly mass transit is finding its way to the city. But more is apparently needed. What Tacoma also needs is a major overhaul in the way it does business on many levels. In the political world, new city council members can add new ideas and vision to the current leadership. I think this will be far more beneficial than sticking with the old ways of thought on government and its influence on growth. New businesses are continuing to set up shop in Tacoma. But what may be even more necessary is a renewed push towards inviting larger businesses to relocate here. Too many Tacoma residents leave the city to be productive workers elsewhere. Tacoma has to find a new way to keep Tacoma residents here and working. A thriving business climate will add new revenue to the city’s coffers and allow even more people to think about making Tacoma their home. Stable job growth is essential to our future. I’m not so sure that Tacoma has found a way to be truly innovative in this area. And what about entertainment? Have we found a way to set ourselves apart from neighboring cities vying for the discretionary spending dollar? Could a commercial and shopping district be viable here in Tacoma? Something urban, hip, diverse with an altogether different feel than what is being splattered across every other downtown in the state? Could that work as well? I think it could and I think people are looking for that. How many hip/upscale/pseudo village malls are necessary? Tacoma deserves something far grittier and unique. So many questions, who’s got the answer?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sonics Gone?

Well, it’s looking pretty grim for the Sonics. It doesn’t appear that there will be any sort of action towards building an arena in Renton. That’s too bad although this isn’t totally unexpected. Unfortunately, I don’t know that anyone really put much effort into creating an arrangement that all parties could agree on. Sonics’ ownership made the arena issue all about their needs only and local politicians did nothing while straddling the political fence. Hmmm, local politicians unable to get anything done or make a big decision? Somehow I think I’ve heard this before… It’s too bad Charles Schultz of Starbucks fame royally screwed the state and the residents by selling to an out of state group already looking at moving a team to their home state. Somehow I just don’t think there would be so little done if an ownership group from the Northwest had bought the Sonics. Who knows how things will ultimately turn out, but it’s currently a sad state of affairs for a team that’s meant so much to the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hilltop Growth Goes On

As I noticed on my walk yesterday, there is still a lot of construction continuing here in Tacoma. Despite consistent news of an economic and housing slowdown, work moves forward on new condominiums, home renovations, etc. I saw a handful of new projects in Hilltop that I didn’t even realize had started earlier. If you go down a street and haven’t been by in a while, chances are that you will still see some new project or renovation. If you’re in the market for a new home or second property, there is plenty to look at here in the neighborhood. If you’re curious as to what’s new, simply take a walk in Hilltop and you’ll see some new changes and signs of more beginning.

Bad Weather Questions

Do consistent extreme weather patterns make cynics believe that maybe humans are changing the environment? All too often I hear that someone really doesn’t believe that people and industry really are harming the environment. Pollution and global warming conversations get the brush off like a suggestion for reading a book. But does getting hammered by buckets of rain and severe storms make a person begin to believe? I’m not so sure, but I’m hopefully holding out on the thought. Thankfully, some corporations are beginning to see the value and responsibility of going green. But what about the individual person? What will it take to convince people that man can negatively change his world? And will government be able to step up efforts to force accelerated change that will benefit everyone? Many questions, few answers. Maybe there will be some more converts back east after today (check their weather forecast/news if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Mariners Surprise

Well, the Mariners are looking better than what I thought they would at the beginning of the season. Our batting averages are down, but they certainly helped themselves yesterday. We’re holding up pretty well considering at the beginning of the season we were facing some really good pitching. If the bottom half of our starting pitching rotation holds up and we continue to swing the bat well, we may be able to get some wins. But again, it’s early and we need to get our batting averages up. In basketball, I was bummed to see the Lakers make the playoffs. Kobe just doesn’t get me excited. Hopefully they make an early first round exit.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Hopefully you've been able to get out of the house today. My wife and I made a trip to Home Depot to pick up some door paint, plants and other random spring cleaning supplies. There's plenty of work to do and the weather has participated nicely. FYI, if you're going to Home Depot (we went to the one in Fircrest) from here on during the weekends, expect a crowd. It seems many people are in the spring cleaning mode and the lines and parking lot at HD show it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mariners Looking Good

The Mariners had a sold outing today. The pitching was decent and the offense produced plenty of runs. Now if we can only show that consistency throughout the season. I think we have a chance to compete in our division, but some of our guys need to show consistency and produce hits. The bottom of the lineup and our fourth and fifth starting pitcher really have to contribute. I don't think we have enough star power for only a few guys to be able to carry the team. Everyone will have to play well. But then again, this is why we play the games.

Friday, April 13, 2007

M’s and Ethnic Food

Will we ever see the Mariners play a few games in a row without being rained or snowed out? Just as I’m getting into my baseball watching mode, Mother Nature decides she’s not ready for winter to end. Enough about that, let’s talk about food. I think it’s pretty cool that people I know are getting into trying different ethnic foods. When I was growing up, people seemed much less likely to visit a Vietnamese restaurant or to go somewhere outside of the typical comfort zone. Thankfully here in Tacoma we’ve got plenty of good ethnic and regional varieties of food. Whether it’s Greek, Thai, Indian or whatever else, there’s so much to try out there. I think food is really a great way to break down cultural barriers. Trying new things opens people up to seeing how other people live and eat. Hopefully the open-minded trend continues. Our town is so diverse that people will truly miss out if they don’t try to eat and live a little like their different neighbors. So if you’re stuck in your typical rut, get out and try something new for dinner. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel after adding something spicy to the old routine.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blog Feature

Hello everyone, I'm not sure if everyone knows everyone else in Hilltopia so I installed a message board below. Take a second and say hello to everyone when you stop by. Maybe you'll meet a friend. Thanks!

More War News

News is in that some of the troops in Iraq may be deployed longer than previously thought. That’s unfortunate, it appears that the swamp we’re mired in has no end. And to make matters worse, I don’t think the current administration has any answers for the mess they’ve created. Thankfully, I think the American public is beginning to see past the political catch phrases and rhetoric. Speeches and press conferences can only do so much damage control and even some of the Republican faithful see the reality. A lack of real results and continual news of deaths and chaos make the political banter all the more absurd. Unfortunately, we can’t force political leaders to lead where they are creating the mess. Somehow I think the actions taken by the current administration would be different if they had to lead and plan based out of Iraq instead of on our safe distant shores. In yet another example of clueless leadership, poor policy has become the reoccurring norm instead of the practice of reviewing real results or performance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It Was Sunny, Doh!

After my oh so fun dentist appointment today, I decided to take the afternoon off so I could go for a walk and enjoy the afternoon sun. Guess what happened as soon as I got home? That's right, it started to cloud over and rain. What the hell? So I went to Borders instead and got a book. If it's any good, maybe I'll recommend it later. What else? Not much other than the Mariners got blasted yesterday after their non-playing snow vacation in Cleveland. Could this be a sign of our season? I hope not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Should the People Pay for the Sonics to Stay?

With news that the Sonics’ ownership has reserved the right to purchase land in Renton, it appears that plans are progressing somewhat to move the team to Renton. Honestly, I like the idea of a suburb getting a major Washington attraction. I don’t think it’s necessary that all of the Washington professional sports teams be located in Seattle. And, it doesn’t appear that the residents of Seattle are willing to do anything to keep the team. With the Seahawks’ headquarters and a new arena located in Renton, the city will undergo a massive facelift. This is great for the region and it helps spread some of the tourist attractions throughout the region as opposed to having everything of major interest in Seattle. Residents in Western Washington are quite aware that there is so much more to the region than just one city. If the new arena is built, this will help solidify that belief and showcase more of the region (as well as spread tourist and entertainment dollars further throughout the area). Also, I wish more would be done by the Sonics ownership group to prove that there will be other events or sports teams based out of the new arena. I think residents would be much more receptive to building a new arena if they felt that more than just the Sonics and their owners would actively use the arena. If there were to be a soccer or hockey team based out of the facility, I think locals would be much more likely to accept taxation for the project. People are wary when a singular group of wealthy owners comes to the public requesting cold hard cash. If there were more to the project or more benefits shown, I don’t think the cynicism would be quite as strong. Renton and Western Washington deserve more than just a basketball arena. Hopefully these new owners will realize this and offer more than just basketball to those stuck with the bill.


With news of potential tolls being charged on new or renovated bridges, I’m at a little bit of a loss on the subject. I’m not quite sure what I think of tolls. On one hand, why should all of the taxpayers pay for a bridge to a place where only a portion of the population is willingly residing? Should I have to pay for a bridge to a place like Gig Harbor if I never venture there? Also, what about the 520 and I-90 bridges? Why does everyone have to foot the tab on a multi-billion dollar project when employees can move to the other side of the lake and avoid the commute over the water? I guess it’s all a part of public infrastructure, but I do believe that the true users of the project should pay a little more, especially for the more expensive projects like floating bridges. Still, I’m not so convinced even with my own reasoning. What do you think? Should everyone in the state pay a huge fee for something that only commuters between Seattle and Bellevue would use? Maybe this is the perfect argument for more public transportation. Maybe the huge fee should be paid equally between residents if it were to actually solve the mass transit issue and reduce single passenger cars. And why isn’t there more movement towards a rail line over Lake Washington? Have you ever tried to drive on the 520 Bridge during rush hour? That is one of the most miserable experiences known to man. That misery alone should be enough to persuade our political leaders to work towards a more common sense solution to traffic and gridlock. With budget surpluses and expanding commercial productivity, there should and must be more done to move Washington to a more traffic and environmentally friendly place. Frustrating? I know.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Week Ahead

What’s in store for the week ahead? Who knows, the weather has been crazy and it’s tricky planning anything outdoors. It literally went from sunny and warm yesterday to cold, gray and rainy by mid-afternoon. Hopefully, someone has a plan to clean up the mess left by the old Eagles’ building roof collapse. Maybe a developer can go in there and start from scratch. I’m still hoping for a grocer, bookstore, or general department store. It’s a pain going for a drive every time we need something for dinner or a get together. And a late night café is always a nice addition for those of us needing to read or study late into the evening. If you’ve ever been to the old Café Paradiso in Seattle you know what I’m talking about. Weird, funky and coffee go hand in hand.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Today

Happy Easter everyone! Hopefully you had a good day. I went for a good long walk while it was sunny out this morning. It still amazes me how much Tacoma is changing and getting nicer. There are still lots of home renovations and new construction sites despite the continuous bad news regarding real estate. Work is moving right along with little sign of a slowdown. I also went to Steamers for lunch today. That place always has good seafood and the view is pretty awesome. Their grilled salmon sandwich and side caesar salad was a good bet. Unfortunately, the weather went south in a big way later today. By the middle of the afternoon it started dumping water. Oh well, life in Washington I suppose. And lastly, the organic section at the Fred Meyer's in Puyallup is pretty impressive. They have lots of products that are usually not found at most other regular places of business. Hopefully we'll get something closely resembling that in Hilltop one day in the future.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Tacoma’s Potential Leaders

With City Council seats up for election, now is a good time to begin considering who will be good for the City of Tacoma. I do think the city has come a long way from its troubled past. But, I believe the city is capable of becoming so much more. And I’m not sure that we can or will get there without some new invigorating, creative leaders at the helm. Not that City Council has done a poor job; rather I think Tacoma’s leadership has been good. Whether leadership has been excellent is another question entirely. What bothers me is that we still have recurring issues regarding crime and gangs. Downtown still hasn’t been able to rid itself of reoccurring criminal issues. The Eastside still has gang problems. And there are still too many dead spots downtown. Urban decay is still a very visible problem in Tacoma (anybody see a collapsing building on their way to work today?). Have we been as creative and innovative as possible in providing answers to these issues? I think not. Rather, at times it feels as if we are growing in spite of the city’s inability to solve these problems. Can we get to where we want to be? Possibly, but to get to where we want to be sooner, more efficiently and effectively will take leadership that is willing to do more than what has been done in the past. These issues should become measuring sticks upon which to grade political incumbents and newcomers as we move even closer to election time. Speak up and make your potential leaders accountable to issues that affect us residents of Tacoma.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Sailors Set Free

I was happy to see that Iran was willing to let the British sailors go. I think that situation could have gotten much worse had the sailors been detained longer or had any harm come to them. Iran seems to be an interesting issue that we must comes to terms with eventually. Hopefully the next President will be able to logically address the issue and possibly bring more international and regional players to the table so that there really will be an international coalition seeking to bring stability to that region. The Middle East has been such a hotspot for so long that it seems almost hopeless to address it. But, I do think more can be done diplomatically if the right processes are implemented. Our current administration has done such a poor job with international diplomacy that almost anyone elected will have a good chance of improved relations with foreign countries. I really do believe the U.S. has been done a disservice with the poor manner in which our international relations have been handled. It is imperative for the next President to commit to rebuilding relationships with other countries. The U.S. cannot afford to go it alone every time we decide that it is time for us to play international cop. Hopefully this will be less of an issue, especially if we elect someone who can decipher between duty and special interest.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

M’s and What’s Up With The Money?

Holy cow, the M’s are 2-0? I wouldn’t even have bet that would be possible. Granted there are 160 games left, but I’m going to be happy about being undefeated before I lose my opportunity. Elsewhere, what’s up with all of the millions presidential candidates are raising these days? With all of the fundraising, who’s working back in Washington DC? That really bugs me, Democracy shouldn’t be about war chests full of cash. And really, these people need to be working, not begging for cash. There should be a federal law that enforces a hard limit on campaign financing and spending. Every candidate gets the chance to raise the same amount of cash and run a fixed number of ads. And there should be no opt out or any other option. You’re running? Ok, if you can raise x amount of dollars go ahead and by the way, you only get x amount of ads to run as well. And by the way, there are x number of debates that you have to participate in and no, we won’t give you the questions beforehand. Also, rich people and big business shouldn’t dictate who gets put in front of the American people for the presidential vote. Thankfully, it appears that there really is a diverse pool of candidates to choose from currently. Maybe people can revolt by choosing a candidate that has a chance to win but can still remember who they are representing. Hmmm, I think the M’s have a better chance of going 162-0.