Friday, September 16, 2016

Bad Joke Of The Day

This email just came through to me. Found it amusing and thought I'd share.

"On this week's premiere of "Dancing With the Stars," two men rushed the stage as Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte received his scores. Security stopped them within about 10 seconds, or as Lochte put it, "They kidnapped me, put a gun to my head, and dropped me off at the Grand Canyon!" - Jimmy Fallon, "The Tonight Show"

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Belated Happy 50th Birthday to Star Trek

So, today is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek's premier back in 1966. I have no memory of life without Star Trek because, well, there wasn't a life before Star Trek...for me at least. My 50th anniversary of being ex post utero isn't for a few more weeks. So, Star Trek has been not just part, but a significant, perhaps the most significant part of my entire memory.
One of my earliest memories is watching the Apollo 11 lunar landing on TV. From that moment on, I was a space nut. All things space, then aircraft delighted me.
With that, my father loved Star Trek. When the programming gods deemed it appropriate to beam the show, our tv was turned to it. Pretty much without fail. Though MASH was a close second.
I don't remember a first episode. Star Trek was always there. After falling in love with space, though, I would plop down when my dad had the show on. Trying to be non-obtrusive.
Getting older, I connected more and more with the show. The cartoon show helped, but only some. Even the passion that erupted in me for Star Wars didn't dilute Star Trek. Maybe pushed it to the back for a spell. Battlestar Gallactica, Buck Rogers, no other show displaced it. I remember being asked, when I worked at Microsoft, "Star Wars or Star Trek". I, in my style, answered "behold my gom jabbar!" I refused to choose one element of sci-fi geekdom. I love them all. But Trek has been there the longest.
After movies, Next Generations, Deep Space stations, journeys of the Enterprise and voyages with Voyager, my delight with the now universe of Star Trek grew deeper and richer. I adore them all.
Science Fiction forms the core of my personal mythology. Both Star Wars and Star Trek exist within the core, the deepest kernel. Delighting in the Jedi way, but also dreaming of attending the Vulcan Science Academy. Deep challenges will always be Kobaysi Maru, and not Jedi Trials.
So, a thanks to Mr. Roddenberry for bringing this whole thing to life. Also, the cast and crew of TOS, and all that followed. My life is unimaginable without you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some thoughts on "Serious academics take the media seriously"

I found this post over at Small Pond Science fascinating. As a fan of science, if not a scientist, and deeply interested in social media's presence in our society, Terry's McGlynn's post is very relevant. Terry calls out an anonymous article over at The Guardian basically dismissing efforts by scientists to engage with their work in the world of Facebook & Twitter.

I, for one, think there's great value in the public debate. Not everything on social media is fluff. And, if it's to be taken seriously, we need to encourage more, not less engagement by scholars online.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Olympics, costs and benefits

Though I love the Olympics, the institution faves a major problem. The massive costs of hosting a Games almost never balance out against benefits.

This article considers the financial impacts upon cities which host the Olympics.

A fitting postscript to my post yesterday.

After considering such details as infrastructure investment, marketing and meeting the expectations of the International Olympic Committee, most often the Games cost more than they earn. In some cases the loss is massive.

My first thought: the IOC must start considering the long-term impact. With that, they must seek to mitigate the effects of over-enthusiastic boosters. They struggle with a perception of boondoggle. Several cities' citizens shut down bids for games.

I feel it important to note that LA actually pulled s profit from the games. Utilizing their existing infrastructure, the cost control worked nicely. The article actually notes several hosts who successfully navigated development and execution. Key considerations for anyone desiring to host a Games.

I see an Olympics as several months of headache with little upside. Most of the promised benefits never materialize. I'm not alone. Seattle's few attempts to garner support to bid to host a Games failed miserably. And that's happened elsewhere, too.

Anyone wanting a Games near me must account for this study before I give my support. And I love the Olympics.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Abandoned Olympic Venues

I adore the Olympics. Pageantry and drama, magical moments brought out by ages dedication, training and sacrifice. I love stories of humanity resisting adversity. None better exist.
Counterbalancing this, images of waste, neglect, rotting decay. These images tell another story of the Olympics. A sadder story.

Often hosting the Games gets presented as this transformative event. Great economic rewards heralded. I wonder how often such manifests. How much positive actually happens, and how much of the investment crumbles into dust.

As these kids go off to college

Looking at these great young men and women I know going off to college, into the service, into the world I'm struck by their potential greatness. I see this in them all.

I don't buy the trap, though, of the unit form of greatness is one of public accolade. Really, most of the great things in life are done quietly, un-lauded, just done. Society grinds to a halt without this work. With the quiet doers in our world, we freeze, with nothing valuable happening.

There are downsides to fame. I'll leave the specifics for another day.

But greatness is immensely satisfying. Arrogant as it may sound, I've felt greatness roaring through. Often counterbalanced by moments where I feel minimal competence.

I wish for these dear ones to feel the greatness within. Knowing their value. Whether thousands come out to see you, it you only hear the positives from friends and family, I want them to have that sense deep within them. Knowing they're valuable and unique. To feel the deepest of the loves. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

A thought for your Monday

Came across this and thought I'd share this with you. Hope it gives you energy and focus.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

An evening with geeks and nerds 

I'm part of a Facebook group titled Nerds. Been part of the group for years, along with about a hundred or so others. Most of these folks I hadn't met in real life. Well, one if the families decided to host a BBQ tonight, bringing a ton of us out if the woodwork/internet. Sadly, even with lures, there weren't any Pokemon. And this wasn't some farm in the country. Thus, to no-one's surprise, I'm sure, the PokeGods chose not to shine their blessings today.

 It was a delightful evening, meeting the humans behind the personas, profiles and posts. Deepening connections that were in place for years. There is something enriching about that face to face interaction that's important. Even though many of these folks were connected with me on multiple channels, the in person interaction enriched I'm ways I couldn't have guessed. These intersections really are important and I've come to value them. I'm really delighted to have had the chance. I'm richer for it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Well, I passed 100k views and didn't even notice

So, I haven't been paying too much attention to my stats of late. Logged into Blogger and lo-and-behold, boom!

I don't know what I was expecting. Well, WordPress has badges for follower counts, page views and that sort of thing. Then there all the tiers of YouTube badges. As YouTube is Google property, just like Blogger, perhaps that would've been expected.

Anyway, it feels like a big deal. Well, a bit of one at least. Ok, it makes me happy.

Hey, follow me on these social media channels! I need the supervision. 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Dad Joke Of The Evening

Sorry to torment you with this...
...ok, not sorry....

There's a cop on the side of the road, checking for speeders. A car flies by and the cop sees 12 penguins in the back of the car. The cop hits his sirens and pulls the guy over, runs up to the window, and says, "What are you doing with 12 penguins in the back of your car?"

The guy says, "I dunno."

Cop replies, "Well I think you should take those penguins to the zoo."

 "OK," the guy replies.

Next day, the cop's on the side of the road again. Same car flies by, 12 penguins in the back of the car. Cop hits the sirens, pulls the guy over, runs up to his window, and says, "I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo!"

Guy replies, "I already did. And now we're going to the movies.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Not Able To View Tabs In Google Sheets

We had an issue today of not being able to view the worksheet tabs across the bottom of a Google Sheet spreadsheet. This one was extremely annoying as I couldn't see the screen of the user in question. Oddly, when I opened up the same sheet, I couldn't either. But simply scrolling down brought the tabs into view. Didn't work for the person I was helping, though. So, I poked around the internets and found this discussion in Google Docs Help. There are a couple of things they recommend.

  • if you have the Ask toolbar in your browser, remove it
  • try opening the spreadsheet using "incognito mode"

  • if that works, then we need to disable extensions until we determine the one causing the problem

  • try resizing the browser screen
  • try using Firefox (or another browser. If you're in Firefox, then try Chrome or IE)

  • Anyway, I hope you find this helpful. Let me know in the comments.

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    Defining "Accidental Real Estate Agent"

    I've been calling myself an accidental real estate agent for quite awhile. It's well past time to explain what I mean.

    Most real estate agents I've met made a deliberate choice to enter this field. For many, it was money. Others I know are in this for the flexible hours, to be their own boss, and so forth. The specifics are less important though. They made a deliberate choice. Very few people in the industry stumble in.

    Just over five years ago, after a firey end to my last stint at Microsoft (if you want to hear the story, let's meet for coffee sometime), and I was burned out on the Fortune 500. My focus for the ensuing job search was Snohomish county. I stumbled upon a Craigslist ad for an office manager and was hired.

    A few months in I got my license and things changed a bit further. Now I've coordinated sales for hundreds of transactions, created marketing for even more, and developed great relationships with amazing, dedicated and talented folks. My career ride to this point has been lots of fun.

    It's really a fascinating industry. We move people into their HOMES! Really, how amazing is that! It's where lives are lived, kids raised, and where most people capture their wealth. It's one of the most stressful events in anyone's life. And influential. And we agents are right there, lowering stress and making lives better. It's very satisfying, indeed.

    Things are changing for me more as the business evolves. But I'm still here for you, and to answer your questions! Drop a comment and let me know.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Real Estate Update - Good Mortgage News

    Was just reading about a few really nice changes coming up with two key loan types: USDA and FHA.

    The USDA has been directed to shift to a direct endorsement model. Right now, my understanding is that a representative from the USDA reviews every USDA loan. They take significantly longer than other loan types to close, which makes them less desirable than others. This change will speed up the process and make it more aligned with VA and FHA loans.

    And the FHA is looking at their condo approval process. Right now only 10% of condos are approved for FHA loans. One thing they're doing to tackle this is streamline the approval process. It's pretty onerous for any condo that doesn't have professional management. The other thing they're exploring is the owner occupant threshold. Currently at 50%, they're looking at dropping that to 35% of unit owners. This will also open up the number of units available to FHA financing.

    So, TLDR: more loans will be available. This should help keep housing affordable for the more modest incomes. Like most of us.

    To really understand the different loan types, talk to a lender. I've developed solid relationships with several and can put you in contact with an excellent one. Let me know!

    Friday, May 06, 2016

    Video Featuring Me: C&K Real Estate - How We List Houses

    I'm part of a real estate team. We recently created this video showcasing our team and our philosophies. You can see me at the very beginning, then again at 1:38, then at 2:45. 

    A bit egocentric, perhaps, but I'm fond of it. 

    Sunday, May 01, 2016

    Bloody Small Screens

    If you know anything about me, I LOVE the mobile revolution. However, I'm noticing that posting on the small screens increases the rate of small errors. Little autocorrect word substitutions, mainly. Ones small enough, and having enough of the right letters in a similar sequence as the desired word that they go live wrong.

    Had such this morning. Posted an update to a Facebook page I manage with "create" in place of "great". I read the post several times before hitting publish. Ugh!

    I take my writing seriously, so even small grammatical errors bother me. So, with that, I have been trying to post more from a computer, something with a monitor. I notice that my erorr rate is much smaller that way. Plus, I feel more focused.

    And I need to recognize I'm human and mistakes will happen. But I never intend to like it, and will be satisfied with any mistakes. Ever.

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    Online Advertising and the Mobile Revolution

    As I've focused the past few years on marketing, I have no issue with web ads. Currently, they're the way many web personalities and other sites pay their bills. Family feeding is a fun, fantastic feeling.

    However, web designers need to build advertising around mobile. Too often advertising either destroys the user experience, or critically hampers it. Pop ups that can't be cleared are big issues. Several times this week I've struggled with sites where the "close" button was off the screen, AND clicking on the ad took you to a new website. (Sidenote: web devs and designers, use the target attribute on anchor tags. Don't build ads that push your readers away from your site!)

    These things make your site unusable on mobile. And, let me reiterate what's been stated myriad times: the web's future is mobile. If your mobile experience sucks, you're are already behind. Perhaps you're ahead of the curve on being an anachronism. It's hardly ideal.

    Last year's whole Google mobile-gedon thing should have pivoted sites over, but, well, nope. But then folks still build auto-play videos on their sites. Thought that went out with MySpace. Since I'm simply griping now, let me add popups asking me to subscribe upon page load. Let them learn what you're about first. I've neverr subscribed to a site BEFORE I'VE READ ANYTHING! NEVER!!!! Build the pop-up to launch towards the end, if you must use them at all. I'd put the ask in the post body, personally.

    Developers, build sites for positive USER experiences. Delight your readers, inspire them to come back again. Don't give in to greed or desperation. They're ugly.

    If you've liked what you've read, please share, read more and subscribe.

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Friendship in the Digital Age

    Lately I've pondered "connection". With several hundred Facebook friends, LinkedIn connection, over a thousand Twitter followers....maintaining connection starts to feel easy. Too easy.

    I'm noticing that I interact with a smallish group of the same people on those different channels. These are dear friends, but not  even close to the larger group of people I want to maintain relationship with. So many good folks that I keep thinking "why don't we get together more often?" That bothers me.

    I signed up for Plaxo ages ago, and I really haven't done anything to maintain that list. But I get emails reminding me of birthdays and any other events (anniversaries) that I noted in my contact when I synced. These reminders are nice in that they trigger me to reach out. That's a start.

    So, I'm trying to "up my game". Going to build a list of those contacts to, well, contact. I would like to start sending notecards out, too. That just seems nice.

    Any of you feeling this lament? This disconnect from connection. What are you doing about it?

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    Life, Death and Social Media

    Yesterday had one of the surrealer moments in my life. A friend from childhood has been ailing at Stevens hospital (properly, it's now Swedish Edmonds), and was given a few days/weeks to live. So, last night he posted on Facebook that he had just hours to live and that this was his last post. With his deteriorating health, I fully believed the statement.
    There's much within this, but I'm focused on the newness of this. Since he has a phone, which can be worked pretty easily even when weak and exhausted, this contact was able to be pushed out.  Made me think of the last minute letters sent by rebels, resisters, those executed for political gain. Those letters were far more effort, and would only be readily sharable with a small group of people. Now, with a few strokes of your thumb, messages are sent to out to thousands, potentially millions. The ease of mass communication deeply changes our connection.
    As shocking as such a message is, I expect this to become more commonplace. Perhaps we can eliminate the feeling of isolation. And, in the end, perhaps it's good. Maintaining connection in the most challenging and intimate of times.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    Fixing Youtube "Embedding disabled by request"

    So, one of my team's videos was showing this error: "embedding disabled by request". I have no idea how that setting got changed, as I simply uploaded it and then tried to embed it into our website.

    As you'd expect, this was obnoxious. Finding the solution was a bit annoying, too, as the most recent post I found, from 2009, Which, as you might expect, wasn't helpful. However, I did get it figured out.

    • Go to This will give you the master list of all your videos.
    • Skim through to the video in question, click "Edit". 

    • Go to "Advanced Settings" 

    • Scroll down to "Distribution Options" & Click Allow Embedding"

    The Ever Changing World Of Social Media

    Was just reading this piece over at Business Insider: Teens are ditching Instagram for Snapchat at a stunning rate. Well, this reinforces one of my underlying assumptions: that what we've currently labeled "social media" is a highly unstable sector.

    So, we see that Twitter is falling in relevance; that's been prognosticated about forever. And the same with the Facebook and it's sidekick Instagram. But we're seeing growth with Snapchat. Again, the focus of this article is teens, but I expect they'll be the leading edge of social media trends.

    They have two graphs that really capture things:

    And this guy, which I think is more telling:

    So, the world is shifting and shifting rapidly. It'll be good to dive into Snapchat, if you're not already there.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2016

    Dune's Litany Against Fear

    A blogging friend posted this a little while ago (Say hello to Cafe Book Bean). I've loved the Dune books and have always found this to be a fantastic mediation. I'm often prone to anxiety and fear-based paralysis.

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert (Dune)

    Today's random thoughts

    Lately I've been realizing something about myself: I don't have these grand aspirations towards power in regards to my career. Confrontation is gloriously unpleasant. I love working in an admin role. That's what I've defaulted each time I've been laid off. I can't imagine doing anything else. I have tried a few things, but they generally come to naught as I don't have the massive drive such needs.

    It's delightful finally say "I'm cool with being an admin". I'm good at this. I add value to the teams I work with. I'm great at the administrative work needed on any project.

    I have no grand drive for acclamation and power. I'm quite comfortable being in the background. I like for my team to respect me and value my work.

    Sunday, March 06, 2016

    Thoughts and Concerns Of Music During The Streaming Age

    Earlier today I read this piece from my friends at Geekwire: "Music service Rhapsody posts record $35M net loss even as revenues climb to $202M". I'm not simply concerned about a long-standing Seattle tech company struggling, but also that entities like Spotify are also bleeding cash to keep their market share. The losses are not sustainable long-term. I'm really not a streaming-music industry analyst, so I can't really speak to the timeline of the issue, and that's really not my point or concern.

    I'm wondering about the sustainability of the music business. Not simply Spotify, et al; actually, even more my focus is on musicians. I've heard from many sources (most notably Taylor Swift) about how Spotify is not providing a livable income. Now, if Apple, Google, etc, can pay more than Spotify or Rhapsody, that's a particular issue. However, I think this is larger. It's ultimately about the consumers, about me and you as music lovers. Perhaps $10/mo is not enough to for artists to make music and eat. And if that's the case, maybe we need to think about more $$$.

    There are many tools that individual artists are leveraging well. Kickstarter and Patreon come to mind first. There are several tools, though, that help. Many artists I admire, such as Amanda Palmer and Zoe Keating leverage these tools to good effect. However, they spend a lot of time managing their audience. It seems, for them, that they get a lot of positive energy from us. Which will certainly make it more pleasant. Of course, emails, blog posts, Instagram updates and all that take away from producing their art. Or, maybe, that's part of their art.

    Anyway, there's much to consider with this. So, as a mediation, I'll leave you with Zoe Keating's closing at the 2016 Word Economic Forum meeting in Davos. She's carved an amazing niche for herself. As a fan myself, and love interacting with her other fans.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Some thoughts on the increase in renters

    After reading City Lab's "The Rise Of Renting In The US", I'm struck by some key things.

    1) The fact that housing takes up 60%, or more, of the lowest earners income should trouble us. I'm not sure what the best solution is to getting more affordable housing available. One if the most critical factors is inventory (good ol' supply & demand). Hence the drive for more multi-family projects.

    2)'there are long-term impacts from the high percentage of the Pope's income that is burned through on basics. It impacts social mobility. I expect this will help drive more economically fragile people over the edge.

    3) the concerns I have in point 2) are exacerbated by a 40% or more increase in year-to-year rental costs. I worry about the long-term impacts this will have on the demand for assistance. Especially as incomes are rising far too slowly

    4) It's not all bad news. There are some upsides to communities with high percentages of renters. Especially if they're in higher income brackets. For instance, they have access to greater numbers of creative talent.

    5) there's a great opportunity for investors who own rentals, or are thinking about it. The demand will stay strong for the foreseeable future. Keeping your rental properties full won't be much of a challenge for the near term.

    These issues are going to provide significant challenges ton our communities over the foreseeable future. We need to nrse above our petty bickering, society wide, to address these issues.

    Friday, February 12, 2016

    I really like our new listing in Everett : 2126 Rucker Ave

    My team just listed this property. Situated in the desirable north Everett, it's got a very nice view of Possession Sound. It needs a bit of work, but this classic Everett home comes laden with charm.

    Fantastic kitchen has great wood cabinets, tile counter tops, eat up bar, and stainless steel appliances. Bonus for the cook as kitchen is supplied with stove top range and a second range mounted next to fridge. Spacious master bedroom has unique touch with tiny fireplace mounted like a painting. Beautiful mill work throughout the home gives rooms a nice solid touch of character. Excellent hardwood floors throughout main living spaces.  Home has natural gas for the stove top, furnace, fireplace, & hot water tank. Enjoy this 4 bedroom & 3.5 bathrooms. Sold-as-Is