News Headlines

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Does Joe Biden Stand a Chance?

I like Joe Biden. The Senator from Delaware has some interesting things to say. Besides being interesting, he’s running for President. Does he have a chance? The longtime Senator from Delaware looks solid when doing interviews and he puts out tough (and sometimes brash) quotes. It appears that he had a quote regarding Obama that got taken a little out of context. He made a reference to Obama essentially praising him, but said something about Obama being a clean, storybook candidate. The “clean” reference got some people offended. I got the gist of it and it really wasn’t a racist comment; people are really looking for something that isn’t there. I think we’re splitting hairs being that the guy was giving a true compliment. But that’s beside the point. The media likes Biden because he’s a good interview. But did he wait one election too long to run? With the likes of Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, the Democratic pool is quite full. Believe me, I like having choices and I think it’s good for the country to have numerous people to choose from. But does this Senator stand a chance? I personally am not so sure that he does. But, I do think he would round out a ticket as a VP candidate. He’s experienced, knowledgeable, and savvy. Sometimes he comes across as a politician (not a good thing) and a little confrontational. But, he has good things to say. Let’s see how things go. The race only becomes more interesting.


Business News

Is there or is there not a housing bubble? I’ve heard reports of soft landings, future drastic drops in demand and price and the typical doom and gloom. Unfortunately, all of these experts are contradicting themselves. Which leads me to the question, “Who’s right?”. And if you’re not right about something as big as this housing bubble, are you an expert to begin with? It just goes to show that so many so-called experts are nothing more than people with an opinion that happen to be a little louder than the next person. So what to do? I think ignoring the noise may be the best possible solution for most people. Thank God for mute.

Mass Transit Needs

Traffic has sucked around here lately because of all of the highway construction and changes. A small price to pay for improvements so I try not to get too pissy about it. But what does bother me is that it really does seem like many in Western WA want more mass transit. And although there are some options, it's just that, some options. It's impossible for me to go to work via bus or Sounder if I wanted. I'm sure it's the same for many others out there who may work in an area other than downtown Seattle. My question is, why isn't more being done? I get it that Sound Transit has this board of executives who are reviewing everything and that there is a budget that confines them to some degree. But this is one of those things that I think people would pay for if they knew that they were getting a useful, quality product. Unlike a road tax where you don't know where or if that money helps road construction or maintenance in their area, if people could vote on train routes or bus lines, I think people would be more inclined to vote yes. Maybe once or twice a year, a vote is put forward on maybe five or six new mass transit options. The voters get the price tags and timelines for completion and debates are held discussing all of the merits of the options. Somehow if something more comprehensive was presented to the people, I think that we would have more options and mass transit sooner. To the detriment of us all, I feel like the voter is being underestimated on this issue both in sense and financial generosity.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Poor Health Care for the Poor

I was reading an article written by Kyung Song in The Seattle Times today discussing the lack of adequate dental care for the poor. It was quite distressing being that in the most powerful, wealthy, and prosperous country we still cannot give adequate health care and dental care to our own needy. Thankfully, addressing health care is becoming a more visible issue with both political parties attempting to come up with solutions. What worries me is the idea that politicians can come up with a quick fix and not a real solution. I don’t think that there is a system in another country that we can take and mimic just at face value, but I do think that there are models out there that we can observe. The answer will have to be custom and uniquely American to address our unique needs, but nonetheless, the answer needs to be on the table in the very near future.

The Seattle Times

Monday, January 29, 2007

Blog Features

Just to give you the low down on some of Hilltopia's features. The Chatterbox in the right side scroll bar area is a pretty cool widget you can use to leave random messages that have absolutely nothing to do with any of the specific posts. The Google Search Bar allows you to search for Hilltopia articles using keywords. It also allows you to search the web using good ol' Google.

Week Ahead

This week is Super Bowl week. All things football (or slightly related) will be blown out of proportion. In politics, the presidential hopefuls will probably be stumping everywhere. The question is, can we keep track of all of them? And, in Iraq, it just sounds like more bad news after the grim news. Quite the hornets nest, we'll see how it proceeds. Maybe it is time for the Iraqi government to step up and try to quell some of the fighting. A dire situation that appears to have a less than happy ending.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hotels Galore

I just read a pretty interesting article in The Tacoma News Tribune (click below). The article summarizes the different hotel projects planned and in discussion throughout Tacoma. It is interesting to read about all of the different possible projects. One of the questions I had was the possibility of over-saturation. There seems to be quite a few projects on deck. Not that there is a definite problem, but if Tacoma has had only a few hotels in the past (and done ok), will so many new projects coming open create too many options for too few visitors? Just a question to ponder as we go growing along.

The Tacoma News Tribune


The President is working at making changes to healthcare in the US. But can there be a real solution to healthcare by tinkering with a system based on employer benefits? We are the only major country that provides healthcare in this fashion. One of the obvious problems is the issue of employers reducing coverage because of cost. So what happens then? And with the nature of jobs changing in the US, how do we accurately predict where healthcare will go in the future? I'm not so sure that there is a real fix until we look at a blank template and start from there. America is ready for a New Deal again and I think it would be worthy to include healthcare in that package. For that matter, mass transit, fair taxing and education reform would be good to include as well. Some things just aren't working as well as they should be. Our politicians should recognize this and instead of applying patchwork politics, promote real innovation and change.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


For those of you who blog or are into the blogging scene, I wanted to point out MyBlogLog. Many of you are already familiar with what it's about and how it works. So this is mainly for those who are new to it. MyBlogLog is a community site for bloggers and those interested in it. You can find all sorts of blogs and sites that you may not have stumbled upon otherwise. There are other sites that pretend to be somewhat communal, but this one really has lots of great people and lots of interesting sites to check out. I've found that the vibe on it is great and that most people are very helpful and encouraging. So, if you have a blog and want to show it off, or you just want to connect and see what other people are doing, I would highly recommend it. Use the link below to get there. And again, tons of stuff, info, sites and people to see.



Sometimes I get asked about certain things that I really like. So, instead of rambling continuously, I figured I would occasionally start up a conversation on things that are worth recommending. I think you get the idea, so tell everyone what you are recommending. Ok, something that I really dig is my iMac. I have an iMac G5. It's a newer Mac with the Intel Dual Core Processors. Essentially it can run most PC stuff too. The Mac really is a far departure from a PC in many ways. The way it feels when you work with it, the way it reacts (and in many cases, doesn't react poorly), the way it updates itself, the way it reboots and so on. Pretty cool machine, you begin to see why people get so fanatical when talking about their Mac. I think the Mac feels a little more like an appliance whereas a PC feels more like a business application. I think both are still necessary, but if you can go the Mac route, you may be very surprised and pleased in the end. And even if you don't get a Mac, visiting an Apple Store is always very fun.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Housing Slowdown

There have been numerous reports that housing sales have slowed in the region. But, there is no indication that sales will greatly suffer heading into 2007. Sales will not be at levels seen in the past few years, but they will remain positive and steady. A sort of sustained, steady, slow growth. I think this is good for a few reasons. There may be more deals for those looking to invest. Many unwise, speculative investors may have already bailed from the market. Inflating prices will not drive sales to any type of bubble. Tacoma as a whole can step back and reevaluate where we are going and what is really needed (besides assuming that the need is for more vanilla flavored condos or flipped houses). Investors and developers can use this time to become more creative and offer the public something other than the typical fare offered in the past few years. With Tacoma having architecturally interesting buildings along with beautiful views/landscapes, developers can and should do more to add interest to the area. I don’t think it will be enough to simply build. There are too many projects currently available that do that to a tee. It also won’t be about granite countertops and fancy bathrooms; not all of the time anyways. I think people want something that creatively reflects what is in or a part of their local environment. For instance, housing and commercial spaces that can uniquely showcase Tacoma’s character (both past and present). That creativity will stand out and be rewarded both in positive public opinion and with voting dollars.


I’m thinking about getting some home gym equipment. I have a gym membership, but there is no gym in downtown Tacoma or Hilltop. So, I figured it would be nice to have some good equipment that I can use when I don’t want to drive to my gym. I’ve observed a couple of things thus far in my search. First, home gym equipment can either be really cheap in price and quality (usually they coincide). Second, really nice home gym equipment can cost what a used car costs (and sometimes more). Why is there such a disparity? What if someone wants a good setup consisting of one piece of cardio and one piece of strength equipment? And, to top it off, what if that person wants good quality at a reasonable price? I mean really, Bowflex sells two adjustable 50 pound dumbbells for approx. $300 (and without the stand!). Are you telling me that Bowflex is barely breaking even on producing this piece of equipment or that this is somehow reasonable? You would think they were trying to prevent people from working out. I also saw an adjustable dumbbell bench for $200. We’re talking about a flat bench that can swivel upward. I would be embarrassed to tell someone the price of that stuff and still try to keep a straight face. This all leads to one thing. The home gym niche is ripe for someone to come along and blow all of these ripoff artists out of the home gym waters. Are you telling me that I can spend a couple hundred bucks on crap or $5,000 for something that I would want to use? Someone can do better than this and I’m anxiously awaiting to see the results. I won’t feel sorry for the losers in this upcoming battle either. By the way, if you have any recommendations on stores or equipment, let me know.

Benchmarks, Great! is reporting that John McCain is suggesting benchmarks to measure progress for the Iraqi government during the war. Gee, benchmarks to measure success? Revolutionary! Why is it just now that we're talking about benchmarks? Shouldn't this have been a part of the discussion, oh, a few years ago? I still get disturbed when I see politicians trying to use logic after the fact. In the private sector, this is a tool that would have been suggested by someone in the planning stages of whatever big initiative was being proposed. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that Sen. McCain is suggesting this, but c'mon, we're a day late and a dollar short on the common sense in Washington. Next, politicians should begin a class discussing how to work with a budget.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Second Home

With so much development going on in Tacoma, I thought about all of the condos and the prevailing thought that many of these condos will be a second property for many families. I'm a middle class guy working his way up through the ranks, but honestly, I don't know that many people that have more than one home. I know people that have a few properties, but I'm talking about someone that calls two different buildings home. If you were going to own a second home, where would it be? Would it be somewhere pretty close so that you could go there and relax during a long weekend? Or would it be somewhere warmer or more exotic? Or even still, would you just own two homes (like Tacoma and Seattle) and stay at the home closest to where your work is for that week? Help me understand this because I'm not sure if I know what people do with two homes or a second home per se.

Edgar gets into the M’s Hall of Fame

Edgar Martinez will be inducted into the M’s Hall of Fame. Certainly the MLB Hall of Fame will call for him soon after. When I think about Edgar, I think a great time for the M’s and a great time for Seattle sports. Edgar is what is right about sports. The best DH of all time was a hard-working perfectionist who was excellent, humble, understated and a great citizen. Edgar is all of those and then some. There weren’t headlines about Edgar getting arrested or ripping his coach a new one in the press. He quietly hit the hell out of the ball and lumbered his way to greatness. When I reflect on his career, I think about how excited the state was when the M’s put together some of their great seasons. A great baseball team in the most beautiful place in the perfect summer season playing in a beautiful park (or rowdy concrete dome) is what baseball is all about. It’s easy to forget about baseball with the Super Bowl looming, but it becomes easier to remember when I think of all of the games I’ve been to with my friends watching Edgar, Randy, Ken, Jay, Dan and Lou (if you’re an M’s fan, last names aren’t necessary; you know who I’m talking about). It’s never been the same without Edgar stumbling his way to first base. And the ads, can anyone forget his rendition of “geoducks in Puyallup”? Pure vocal artistry…Anyways, if there’s one guy who I enjoy watching getting his just due, it’s Edgar. “Geoducks in Puyallup”, I absolutely love that.

Week in Review

Wow, what to say about the week in review? Politics is a continuous debacle, the economy is moving along (although it appears Ford is tanking further), and everything else appears the same as it was. Not much happened in sports, we know who's going to the Super Bowl now. This little period for sports (in my opinion) is a little dull. After the Super Bowl, we're not at March Madness and baseball isn't beginning quite yet. Not that baseball or pro hoops will matter, the M's and Sonics both suck. So what the hell is going on? Not much, it appears we're in a holding pattern until spring.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

How did you feel after hearing the State of the Union Address? I admit, I was eating and talking during most of it. But, from what I can tell, it appears that all of the politicians are a little leary about the way things are going. Republicans are careful not to appear too chummy with the President and Democrats want to appear dignified, but willing to work with Republicans wanting dramatic change. It's an interesting time in politics. Was it just me or did it seem like half of the room was filled with presidential candidates? I thought the response by Senator Webb (from Virgina) after the President's speech was very good. Senator Webb appears to be someone who I'll like in the coming years. A strong Democrat who appears to be concerned about the middle class. Senator Webb has been known to be an "Andrew Jackson Populist" who views the health of the country not by the successes of the upper class or business class, but by the middle class. That is a far departure from the Republican viewpoint on economic health or the general health of the country. Another really interesting fact about Senator Webb is that he actually worked for Ronald Reagan during his presidency. Who knew? I know that the State of the Union Address is really a lot of political banter and a presidential wishlist, so I'll reserve my judgment for actual political and civic results or outcomes. I'm glad that we're also beginning to turn back to something of a domestic agenda. With so much focus on the war, I think the domestic issues have gone unattended. Not that the war is unimportant, but there are matters to be tended to here as well. Now about that war problem that's developed...

Good Food

This past week I had the chance to eat at two really good ethnic restaurants. If you're in the neighborhood or around Tacoma, you'll have to stop by. To start off, I'm really into going to unique places for food, so I was quite happy. The first restaurant is Gateway to India on 6th Ave. That place has such unique foods that it's a small adventure just going there. The garlic naan and chicken dishes are awesome. The food is great and the atmosphere is usually good since the place packs out. The other place is It's Greek to Me on 6th Ave as well. It's Greek to Me even has a drive through so you can get a gyro or sandwich and hit the road. The place has some really good chicken gyros, so feel free to check it out. And, it's a quick stop so you can get something and get back to what you were doing. By the way, what was I doing? Well, those are my two recommendations, so stop by and have a bite.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


With the iPhone, Wii, PS3, and everything else out there, what really gets you excited? Some of it, none of it, any of it? As cool as the iPhone looks, I think there could be even more improvements. There could be more emphasis on games and gameplay. With a machine like that, cool games would definitely be fun. And the ability to play someone wirelessly with the phone would be cool too. As far as the game consoles go, they look pretty good but there still isn’t a killer game that really shows off the hardware. And what’s with the hassle of trying to buy the stuff? If you have the money, why is it so tough to buy these products? There’s crowds, lines, waits, pre-sales, etc., etc. I wish these companies would figure out that many of the people who can afford this stuff don’t have the time to waste putting up with the extra hassle of making the purchases. And, can we just make a console that can have the guts replaced when there is an upgrade? Why do I have to buy an entirely new console that’s a different size and color, and, has to find a place on my shelf with the other stereo, video, and game equipment? To buy any more of this stuff is going to require some furniture upgrades too. It’s getting to be too much work to make these purchases. Since when did making an upgrade become such a pain? And what if a company found a way to take the pain out of upgrading? Would you buy? You probably would. You would buy just on principle (and exasperation).

Tacoma Changes

With Paddy Coyne's opening up on Pacific Avenue, the area down by Drake's is certainly beginning to pick up. Now, there are a few choices for food and drink. The Matador is very busy every time we go there or drive by. And if you haven't gone yet, it's certainly recommended. Good food and drinks for sure. Meconi's is definitely a fun place as well. You can almost walk all the way down Pacific Ave. now and have something interesting or fun to go to on every block. Big improvement from just a few years ago. I don't think there's a coffee house that stays open late in downtown Tacoma, but hopefully one is on the way. But overall, the time spent on Pacific Ave. is nice. Get there and support the local businesses in downtown Tacoma.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog Changes

You may have noticed a couple of changes to Hilltopia. On the right there is now a recent reader section and a top 5 link section. Both are widgets run through MyBlogLog. So, if you're a member at MyBlogLog, you and your clicks may show up here on Hilltopia. Pretty cool eh? And, it introduces some other readers to other bloggers out there (which is pretty cool too). So check it out and enjoy!

Video Games

I was thinking about buying a Wii this past weekend. Stores are still sold out everywhere. I was amazed, I figured I’d have no problem getting one this weekend. Man, was I wrong. That’s it, if I have to give a random kid the sharp elbow to move up in line, that’s just how it’ll have to go down…or maybe not.

Super Bowl

So who will win the Super Bowl? I’m not sure, but I’ll go on the record and say that the Colts will come through and win. The Colts have consistently proved me wrong, but now I’m a believer. Their defense will do enough to stop Rex Grossman and contain the run. If the Colts can contain Larry Johnson, I think they can do the same to the Chicago run offense and fluster their hit-and-miss quarterback. The interesting part will be how the Colts offense will stack up against the Bears defense. Manning will have to keep the turnovers down and make some big plays if they are to have any chance of winning. But, I think the Colts offense will get enough points and the Colts defense will be adequate to win the game. This could be a great Super Bowl.

Week Ahead

I'm taking a look at the week ahead and there's a few things out there. Iraq is quickly becoming an even bigger mess. Since my last post, there have been even more deaths and the situation is apparently going from bad to worse. In other politics, the pool of both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates grows even larger. I can't remember a time when there were so many people either committed to running or were considering it. There will be plenty of choices, so don't act like you've got no one to choose from this go 'round. It may take some work to sift through all of the hopefuls. And other than that, I'm not so sure that I can think of anything else really noteworthy to mention at this time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Iraqi War Update

I just read a report on that says that 25 US troops died yesterday in Iraq. It's one of the worst days for US troop casualties since the beginning of the war. Why is it that I don't feel like we're almost out of this mess? And if we're not close to being out, how close are we to a satisfactory outcome? And maybe even more importantly, will Republicans start facing reality and force a clear message and plan from the current Administration (I'm not so certain Democrats are capable of that)? What do you think of the report? Click the link below to read the story.


Football Today

We've got some big football games today. I personally think the Patriots will win. And although I originally thought Chicago would go to the Super Bowl, I'm starting to think that maybe New Orleans has the mojo to do it. We'll see, it should be interesting. What do you think and who are you rooting for?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

iPhone? Sweet!

Okay, so the iPhone looks like the complete, super-sweet bomb. But will you get one? And will having a device that will more than adequately work as a phone, iPod, and internet browsing device make your life much more productive and better? I would like to think so, but that may be wishful thinking. It's not really a burden to have one or two of these devices at hand when someone is out and about. And are these people much more productive? Not so sure about that. Now don't get me wrong, this phone has some drop dead gorgeous features. And it appears that it's worth the hype (unlike so many other products with buzz). But will you get one and do you think it will dramatically make things better for yourself? Leave a comment as to why or why not. Click the link below if you have no idea what I'm talking about.


Blog Recommendation

Hello all, I'm going to take a minute and pass along another great resource. It's a blog from a lady by the name of Paula Mooney. I've had some correspondence with her and I think we're quickly becoming friends. I discovered her blog and I haven't been able to say a bad thing about it. Paula is insightful and very encouraging. If you're a Christian, it's even better. I always thought it was weird when people got to know each other online (and I've even joked about it). But, by reading her work and emails, she's right on in her thoughts and work. With Hilltopia being such a new blog, it's been a pleasure getting information and encouragement from someone who I think is in many ways, light years ahead (not just ahead of me, but of most of the blogging community). So please, check Paula's work out, it's tremendous and you would be hard pressed to find anything else better.

Paula Mooney

Friday, January 19, 2007

Create Buzz in Hilltop

Living in Tacoma, you hear quite a bit about the city’s renaissance and redevelopment. And with the exception of the city’s civic and business leaders, who else really contributes to the process? We can all say that it’s the people that make this happen. And maybe that really is the case. But, how do the common people take this idea and push it even further? Is it up to the local residents, who wouldn’t ordinarily start businesses, start businesses? And if these businesses are successful, does that create enough buzz to gain some economic momentum and traction? Does that in turn make it an easier decision for big business to then come in and set up shop? And then what happens to the home grown businesses when the big companies come in to compete for the same local dollars? I guess I’m inadvertently running into the “Wal-Mart in a little town” quagmire. But in some sense, I think it applies to Tacoma and in a more personal way, Hilltop. How do we create a fine balance of supporting the local businesses while still keeping ourselves open to positive outside investment? Is this really a delicate balance that capitalism has addressed?

Tacoma Moving Forward

With Tacoma and the South Sound growing, it’s time to start thinking about how people can better entertain themselves and where they will do this. Of course I’m biased and want to think of downtown Tacoma becoming that place. And maybe it can to a certain extent. But, I’m not so sure that there has been enough planning and ground work done to make sure that this idea becomes a reality. What I am seeing is numerous cities and towns building their own version of what a downtown or retail and shopping core needs to be for their residents. But, I don’t see anything that really gets people excited. I don’t think there are many out there who are really thrilled at what Federal Way or University Place has done in attempting to build a downtown core. I think most would agree that there have been worthy improvements, but I’m not sure that people who don’t live in those areas are going out of their way to frequent those places. What a great downtown core needs is enough excitement and worthy attractions that bring in the local residents, but also has enough pulling power to attract people who otherwise wouldn’t be there. And, many of these improvements are beginning to look the same. If creativity was at a premium before, it’s an invaluable commodity now. To find that happy place where creativity, artistry, commerce, work, life and fun all collide; that’s where we need to be.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Iraqi War Update

The New York Times ran an article by John Holusha that sent more shivers and disappointment through my spine. Basically, a bunch of retired generals met with Congress and discussed the problems associated with our involvement in the Iraqi War. Essentially the message was, we're screwed and unless the present Administration changes the way they actually preceive the war, we'll continue to flounder. There was an interesting statement made that said that a big problem is that our Administration sees this war as a military problem and not a political one. I would have to agree with that statement. Are we really fighting terrorists or are we just caught in a terrible case of crossfire (this is a civil war after all)? I'm not so sure that this is any different (although more insidious and complicated) than the police actions taken during Viet Nam. The one good thing we have going for us now is that Republican politicians are trying to save face/their jobs and in doing so, must now question the direction of the war. This inherently forces Republicans to question their leadership up to this point. I'm happy that this questioning is taking place. It's time to stop playing politics and start doing what's best for the country and our troops. I don't know the right answer to this problem, but I'm afraid that our leaders don't either.

The New York Times

Weekend Events

The weekend is almost among us and I'm happy about that. With the weather calming down, I should be able to leave my house. But, it'll be tough with some good football games taking place. It doesn't look like there's a whole lot going on in the area. I think people are trying to get acclimated again after being in hibernation for about a week. It's beginning to look like maybe it'll be the Saint and Pats in the Super Bowl (but I could be wrong).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Food on Pacific Ave.

For those of you that live in Tacoma, do you ever wonder why there aren't more diners around here? I'm a big fan of Knapps and The Harvester, but why isn't there anything like this downtown? There is good food downtown, but it's prissy, upscale and not comforting. Sometimes a guy needs a good burger and a milkshake. Or a pile of pancakes and coffee that's strong as hell. If Grit City is so gritty, where do all of the gritty non-banker types go downtown?

More Apples

I was thinking about how cool the iPhone sounds and what it'll really be able to do. I love Apple and the products they bring to market. Apple is innovative and the products are so well thought out in their function and design. I feel like someone had really spent some time working out the kinks. With other products, I feel like the entire push was not on quality or thoughtfulness, but on getting the product to market. Thus, recalls, bugs, exploding batteries, mass confusion, weekly updates, etc. all happen and make our lives that much more frustrating.

But why does Apple get to be the only company with this mythical reputation? It's sad really. With so many compnaies out there, and Apple is one of the very, very few that "gets it". A problem that arises is Apple products really aren't cheap. Not everyone can afford an iMac (maybe an iPod) and not everyone will have a reason to make the fabled computer switch. This isn't necessarily Apple's problem per se (outside of economic terms, but not in moral terms), but it is a problem in our corner of the world. You would think that with so many MBAs (and other business types, analysts, finance people, etc.) out there that there could be more than just one company that people get excited about when a new product hits the market. But I can't really think of any other company that gets that type of hype and respect. That's not to say that there aren't hot products, but no company consistently puts out product that creates excitement. For example, the Playstation 3 is hot, but Sony won't release Playstation 4 for another 5-10 years. So until then, see ya later. With the exception of a new game, the console is hum drum before it's even out of the box.

Are there not enough visionaries in our world to create companies that people can really identify with and promote with the vote of the dollar? Is it that there are too many "qualified" people running these companies and not people who are "unqualified" but "creative and full of ideas"? Or maybe we need more CEOs who like "to work with people". After all, every company usually still has people working in it. I don't get it, but I don't think they get it either. And, I don't think that the "qualified" people are any closer to "getting it" than me. As a matter of opinion, I think I'm a lot closer to "getting it" than they are. Heck, you're probably closer too.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Politics (Hopefully Not As Usual?)

I was thinking that maybe medical insurance will become an issue now that the Democrats have already gone down the minimum wage road. Really, what is it going to take before America and it's politicians wake up and proactively address the issue? I can't think of much else that has to happen before we have to begin to disect this problem. Healthcare is simply too expensive in this country. You shouldn't have to be upper middle-class before the pain of paying for this need (yes, it's a need) subsides a little. Where are all of the pissed off poor, elderly, sick, middle and lower class people? Or even the well-off compassionate people? Hell, I would think I would hear the pain every time someone looks at the deduction being taken out of their paycheck. But strangely, things are silent. Can/will someone become a champion of the people and do the right (and not necessarily popular) thing? Will we hold the presidential hopefuls accountable (for once)? When will this battle begin (we're already starting late)?

Will Life Return to Normal?

Again, more snow! I heard that there wouldn't be much snow today. Well, it's been coming down steadily. It's odd, once you've been home for a while and life has put on the brakes, the whole cabin fever thing begins to act up. I'm ready to get back to the regular, real world. The funny thing is, the rest of Western WA is in the same boat. It's forecast to get above freezing today so we'll see if the snow and ice lets up. It's harder to write good stuff if I'm not leaving my house. I can always count on someone doing something so odd that it makes writing about a specifc point that much easier. Oh well, I am going to try to get to the office today, we'll see if I can get there. Talk soon!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Darn Good Blog

Wow, I saw this this blog and I have to tell all of you about it. This is a big deal because I don't endorse garbage.
It's (or if you will). This lady does good work. If you're into the scene, I think you'll like it. Click the link below. Leave her a nice message and tell Vanessa that I sent you (Peter from Hilltopia). Encourage someone you don't know, it makes the world a better place.

New Condos in Tacoma had a quick little blurb about The Roberson Condos that should be interesting to those investing in real estate in Tacoma. Check it out (click link below).

This Week

Will we ever get rid of the ice and snow? Man, I'm completely sick of the stuff. Getting from point A to point B in Washington is difficult enough without the snow and ice. It's a little past noon and I don't think we've cracked 32 degrees yet. I never thought I would miss the rain this much. Being snowed in for a day is fine, but the weeklong stuff is wearing on me. I need a vacation and soon I think.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

2007 Resolutions Revisited (Or Maybe Just Goals)

So again I'm thinking about 2007. Are you really sticking with your resolutions? But more importantly, are you doing something that will create positive change for the better? I don't necessarily think the change has to be economical, but maybe personal, educational, spiritual or downright typical (but needed). It's so hard to stay focused on what I (or you) need to do. Once somebody comes along and pisses me (or maybe you) off, all the good stuff goes right out the window. And then once everything is settled, what was it that I was trying to do? People are funny that way. We try to be so focused, but then something (or someone) comes along and then the crap hits the fan. Well, once the fan is clean again, we're right back at square one (but now maybe with some regret). Such a battle! How do some people stay so good? I think of Mother Theresa or the Pope or someone as peaceful as Gandhi and it's like, "They're of the same species as me?" Amazing really when you think about it.

Happy MLK Day!

With MLK Day here, hopefully people are thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Thankfully, we've come a long way from the America of the past in regards to civil rights. Unfortunately, I think we'll never be completely past our own prejudices and ignorant beliefs. There are just so many people out there who refuse to give their biased beliefs much reflection and thought. But, the fight must go on. It's easy to get caught up in political and everyday rhetoric that can mar your thoughts and ideas about people. Hopefully you'll take a day to at least think about how to change any of those beliefs in yourself and maybe even give a good word to those around you.

Bird Soup

Well, I'm a little bummed about the Hawks. Chicago gave us the opportunity to win and we just couldn't do it. We had our chances and just couldn't decisively take control. Overall, we had a good season considering we won the division and made it to the second round of the playoffs. I think if we make some good offseason moves, we'll definitely be a better team than this year. Well, hopefully the Mariners can do something because I doubt the Sonics will.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Warm Places

With such cold and snowy weather, I've been thinking more about sunny places. I'm not sure if we're going anywhere exotic this year, but I wanted to see what everyone else is up to this spring/summer. My dad mentioned getting some of the family to go to Europe, but I'm not sure where that's at as far as planning. I'm definitely going to Vegas to see some family in a little bit, but other than that, I don't think we have big plans. We went to Mexico and Hawaii last year and that was pretty fun. I'm definitely a fan of the warmer climates. Although, I did go to Europe a while back and that was really fun although it certainly wasn't tropical. But what about you out in cyberland? Tell us a story of somewhere exotic or out of the way that was: 1. fun, 2. different, 3. worth recommending. Hope to hear back real soon!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Troop Surge/Escalation

I was watching Headline News this morning and there was a bit on Bush's plans to send approximately 20,000 more troops to Baghdad. I'm not necessarily against that, but I hope there is a little more cohesion in planning and not another reaction to more bad news. The Democrats seem to be opposed to it, but I'm not quite sure what I think of the plan. If sending more troops helps keep our deployed troops safe, then I'm for the surge. But, if this is just another poor decision piled on top of the others, then I would believe that we need to think about this in order to prevent adding to our losses. With so much rhetoric, it's hard to justify what is needed and what is simply a political ploy to save face. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure that any politician out there has the fortitude to speak about not only the reality, but also what is really needed. That would be welcome from either a Democrat or a Republican.


I hope everyone out there is staying warm and safe. I kid you not, but there is an inch thick sheet of ice on our street and throughout much of our neighborhood. We're talking cold folks. Yesterday we had to fax something, so Sheila and I (with Sheila's friend Danielle) hiked down to The UPS Store at The Tacoma Convention Center. It was about 1-2pm and we were the first customers of the day. So obviously, life is not at it's usual pace. We then went to Starbucks for a drink and then proceeded to hike back up the snowy neverending hill to our house. The hike back was pretty, but I had forgotten how much harder it is to walk in deep snow. Accumulations were probably 6-8 inches. Well, we got back safe and I proceeded to do very little the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tacoma Changes

I was thinking about Tacoma and all of the changes taking place. I was also thinking about what else the city needs. The big one frequently mentioned is a grocery store closer or near downtown. I would certainly agree with that. But what else is needed? With all of the condo construction, I think a shopping/retail area would be nice. This wouldn’t have to be large, just something that would allow downtown and Hilltop residents a place to get the basics, i.e. a bookstore, clothing/dept. store, coffee shop, good take-out, etc. I was thinking that something similar to The Broadway Market up in Seattle would be nice. Or maybe we could squeeze in a smaller version of Northgate North by the Northgate Mall. I hate to leave my neighborhood only to drop off my hard earned money in a “nicer” neighborhood that has these businesses. I’d appreciate the chance to vote with my dollars, but that opportunity hasn’t quite worked itself out yet. I think a commercial, urban, contemporary space offering these features would be very much appreciated. If this was located near the hotels, visitors could have a place to shop in case they needed anything. I can’t imagine what an out-of-towner has to go through just because he/she forgot a dress shirt or socks. What do you think?

Going Green

Here we are again in another weather pattern that has more snow on it's way. The past six months have seen some crazy weather conditions. We've had record rainfall, flooding, snow storms, ice sheets, wind storms and then the cycle repeats itself once you think you're in the clear. These past few months have really made me think about whether or not humans have drastically changed the environment. I'm not sure if you saw An Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore's movie), but it was really interesting. It (and the current weather conditions) make me wonder if there is enough being done to preserve our planet. I'm not so sure that the answer would be yes. We as Americans are more than happy to boast about our economic, military, or political status amongst the other countries, but could we do the same in regards to our past agenda on the environment? A funny part of this whole argument is that big business is beginning to realize the value of "going green". There's more proof that becoming more aware of energy and material conservation pays really big dividends. If that affects the bottom line, then companies become more willing to listen and act. But, has this mode of thinking even begun to permeate our government? I'm not so sure that it has and I think we may need to kindly nudge this way of thinking into the forefront of our political leaders' minds.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

New Democratic Agenda

With the new Congress convening, I’m interested to see what new domestic agenda will be put forth. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the current president, it isn’t much of an argument to prove that there has been little or no domestic agenda since the Iraqi war started. There has been virtually no action on reform affecting health care, education, infrastructure, job creation, or anything else. With Social Security and Medicare deficits surpassing 70 trillion dollars, it is ever more evident that action needs to be taken. And no, it’s not fair that future generations of Americans have to pay current living Americans' bills. Education budgets have been dashed (to the tune of 20 billion plus) in order to create more funding to keep the federal budget afloat. With globalization (and the lack of qualified and skilled American workers), jobs are floating overseas. Take a drive to any big town USA, and you’ll be quickly frustrated getting there as a result of zero planning and work done on infrastructure. Instead, the current administration has “bravely” attacked the issues of gay marriage and flag burning. Heck, on my way to work I could’ve swore that I saw a gang of gay married bandits burning heaps of American flags (ok, I’m getting a little out of hand but I’m trying to prove a point on irrelevancy in politics). But again, I’m hopeful more work will be done on creating an actual plan for the country itself and not necessarily on what we can do to control matters overseas. And besides, I didn’t know that creating deadlines was such a bad thing. Everywhere else (besides politics), you would expect that there be measures to dictate whether a task has been completed and to what extent was it successful. Why can’t that be done and applied to something such as war? Is the current administration so poorly organized and disheveled that it cannot accurately predict when any of their measures of success can be preeminently and easily demonstrated? Is it the American public’s duty to not question progress but still be on the hook for the credit card bill coming our way? And at what point does the public say that we’ve paid enough? I’m not so sure any CEO would have that power and I’m not so sure that the President should as well. What was I saying about that domestic agenda again? I got sidetracked…but that big bill is still coming your way, thank the President for considering your well-being.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Apple Excitement

There’s quite a bit of speculation as to what new products Steve Jobs and Apple will introduce to the public. I’ve become an Apple fan and would like to see a phone and possibly some new gadgets. I think the iPod is one of the coolest gadgets around and I use it daily. I love being able to listen to podcasts while driving. It allows me to bypass morning and afternoon radio shows (which I think generally stink) and listen to shows or programs that I feel are much more worthwhile. An iPod Phone would be pretty cool. No one has yet to effectively integrate all of the small phones, games, gadgets, Bluetooth, Blackberries, and laptops into a small, useful, fun and functional device.

There may even be word that a device to watch downloaded video podcasts on tv’s may be getting introduced. The device would effectively break down the barrier between iTunes and television. How sweet would that be? To be able to watch or listen to iPod material in your living room would be a very nice addition. I love Apple products, but I almost feel like they could do more to introduce products that can be used while away from the iMac. Thankfully, it looks like they’ve caught on and are getting around to addressing the need. I would also like to see more integration with other third party programs or products out there. Even with the dual core iMac, I’ve still experienced some compatibility issues with certain internet downloads and programs. To truly be able to go PC-free, more compatibility issues need to be solved. Going all Apple (and not ever needing a PC) would be a great miracle in and of itself.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Presidential Race

Joe Biden is running for president. He announced it today on Meet The Press. I like Joe. I think he's good with the media and he has some interesting viewpoints. If you're unsure, Joe Biden is a Senator from Delaware. He's one of the more prominent Democrats and he's quite interesting. I think he brings good insight and ideas to the table. I'm not sure that he'll be able to win the Democratic nomination, but I like him as a Vice-Presidential candidate as well. He's a strong presence and yet another solid option amongst the star-studded cast of Dems out on the campaign trail.


Hopefully you saw the Seahawks game on Saturday. If not, you missed a classic. It wasn't as high scoring as I thought it would be, but it was good nontheless. I can't believe that we won it in the fashion that we did. A botched kick wasn't what I thought would win it for us. I was also surprised that Dallas couldn't capitalize on our injured and depleted defensive backfield. With the injuries that we have, we are vulnerable to the type of offense that Dallas likes to run. Thankfully, we prevailed. Well, hopefully everyone can catch the next game and enjoy that as well.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Weekend Misc.

Sheila and I went to The Matador and The Melting Pot last night with some family and friends. The Matador was so packed that we bolted for The Melting Pot. It was good to see a new place in downtown Tacoma doing so well. Hopefully even more businesses sprout up around that end of Pacific Ave. I'm still hoping a live music venue goes into the old Drake's building. An Irish Pub is setting up shop just a few steps away so that's definitely a cool thing. The Melting Pot was good. I'm not really a fondue person, but we tried some new things and it was pretty good. I'm not quite sure that guys in general dig the whole fondue concept, but there's worse things to endure out there. Well, we're headed up to Everett to hang out with some friends and catch a hockey game, so I'll have to fill you in on the details later. Stay out of troube this weekend. Prediction, Hawks win 34-31. Go Hawks!

Friday, January 5, 2007

New Year's Forecast

So along with Pat Robertson, we’re going to try to make some predictions for the year. I don’t think I’ll make any tsunami predictions caused by homosexuality, but let’s see what I can come up with now. I think the political world will be much more interesting than what we’re used to seeing. With politicians getting more publicity due to the news, news spoofs (a la John Stewart and Steven Colbert), the internet, and general interest, politics will move a little more to the forefront. I think that’s good, the public was meant to be involved in the political system (despite what some politicians may believe). Debate over beliefs, ideals and who is to represent us will become more heated, interesting and prevalent.

I think consumerism and commerce will be interesting to watch. People are voting with their dollars and that’s causing some disruption in our society. Things that are innately democratic are becoming very popular. Things such as Google, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, and blogs in general are allowing people to view, read, buy and discuss things that they are interested in as opposed to watching what marketers are putting in front of the collective public eye. I think people as groups will grow more into niches and pockets based on specific interests and beliefs as opposed to everything becoming more homogenized. Technology is actually allowing people to get into groups more specific as opposed to getting everyone together into larger, more general groups. Social disruption based on technology and innovation is becoming almost commonplace. The trend will continue as people flock to things, areas, products that more completely align with their interests, hobbies, and beliefs. What do you think will happen in the new year? Are you willing to put it out there for debate? C’mon, don’t be a chicken, chickens can’t swim in tsunamis anyways.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Goals and Pushing Further

With the new year, resolutions and goals abound. But beyond that, what do people do to grow? I know I’m a voracious reader/learner and I’m continually evaluating my situation and setting new goals. I’m a total information hog. I listen to podcasts, audio books, read books and whatever else I feel will help me grow. That works for me thus far, but how do other people set goals or push themselves further? I guess I’ve never really asked the question before, so here goes. How do you push yourself further in life? Is there a specific thing or process that you go through/do to force yourself out of your comfort zone? And has it worked for you? Share you ideas with everyone else; maybe you’ll be a great help to someone and not even realize that you could be with what you know.

Blog Reference

I've been somewhat vocal about my appreciation for Exit 133. That blog always has some good information and is quite insightful. Well, today there was some interesting information regarding Tacoma and what some college students put together as far as what could be conceptualized in the future. You should take a look.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Is this a great time for football or what? We’re right in the middle of bowl season and the NFL playoffs are getting ready to start. I didn’t see the Oklahoma/Boise State game, but I did watch the highlights. It looks like I missed a classic. Too bad for Boise State, they aren’t going to get much consideration for a national title although they went undefeated. Still we don’t have a college playoff, when will the pain end? Not having a playoff really screws the underdog. I did watch the USC/Michigan game. Is USC scary or what? This was supposed to be a rebuilding year and again they’re in the Rose Bowl (and win). I initially didn’t think Florida should be in the title game, but after watching Michigan lose, I think the right decision was made. I don’t think Florida will beat Ohio State, but I’ve been wrong before. I was quietly hoping Arkansas and Wake Forest would have won, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. This part of the year is one of the best times if you’re a sports fan. Football, hoops and baseball coming soon; it doesn’t get much better.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


With President Ford passing away, I was thinking a little bit about politics and where we are today. The big topic now is who will run for president and who has the best chance. It really does seem like the field is wide open. The Vice-President is not running and the President is in his last term. And, both parties do not have their clear choice to push forward to the American public. Of course many out there are already proclaiming the greatness of Hilary and Barack. But if recent history has any sway, we're still early in the running and recent victors did not really have great momentum this early into the race. We're talking a marathon and not a sprint. John Edwards has declared his intention to run. He's interesting as well. There are other names out there such as Giuliani and McCain; some others not as well known, but worthy candidates that need to be looked at. This is an early prediction, but I will say this. I think people are looking for a moderate and an overall good package. With the redefinition of the Vice-Presidency and the First Lady (or Man), I think it's now more important than ever to look at the entire package that will get elected. And thankfully, I think the American people will know that and get that right this time around. I think people will vote according to not only who they like as President, but also who they like as Vice-President, First Lady (or Man) and so forth. Because there are some big names out there, I think two or three big names competing against each other will be a wash. I don't think Barack or Hilary alone will make much difference. People are over that and get the name recognition thing. What will drive this election is who teams up with who and who gets the best team and endorsements in place. I also think the majority has spoken and the political pendulum has swung back to the middle. The Republican Party cannot go the Rove route and push politics (and their base) further to the right. That initially worked, but ultimately it cost them Congress and may end up costing them the Presidency if they think of running that way again. Overall, I think the Republicans understand that and will move their agenda and sales pitch back towards the middle. It will be classical politics in that the race will be who can get to the middle first and gather the moderate or "purple" vote if you will (I heard that term used by Donny Deutsch and I think it's brilliant). Much remains to be seen, but it will be really interesting this time around. Who do you like and why? Tell us in your comments.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Miser at Lowe's

Sheila and I just got back from Lowe's. She wanted to buy some new light fixtures for our house. I thought the light fixtures that we had were fine, but what the hell do I know? Apparently good working light fixtures aren't good enough, but that's not the point of my story. Directly in front of us in line at Lowe's was this older couple buying some various items. Amongst those items were two packs of plastic suction cup hooks. Let it also be known that this couple had just come from Starbucks (evident by the Starbucks cups of course). During their checkout, the older guy stops the cashier and begins to moan and groan about the price of the hooks. I think there is a disagreement about what the 5% discount should be. So, of course the cashier has another co-worker run around and double check the prices. We get the pleasure of waiting for the dispute resolution over the price of plastic suction cup hooks. Seriously, I think we're talking about a difference of maybe 50 cents to a buck. Anyways, the guy gets a little pissy and decides that the hooks are just too expensive for him and his wife to purchase. They finish their business and leave. During all of this I'm thinking that this couple probably paid a 200-300% premium on their coffee beans and now they're pissy over a 5% discount on suction hooks. Are you kidding me? Maybe it's just me, but I think that if you have Starbucks cups in hand, you lose your right to bitch about a 5% discount (or any price for that matter). Now, if they had walked in with 7-11 coffee cups, maybe I would have been sympathetic. But upper class taste and lower class purchasing habits don't sit well with me.