If The Tech Desk Supported Food

What can I help you with today?

“I can’t put the butter on my bread.”

So you can’t apply butter to anything?

“No I can’t.”

What happens when you try?


… … Nothing at all?

“Nothing.  It happened after the butter knife went missing.”

… …

“I haven’t been able to find the knife for a week.  Nobody here can find it. And because we can’t find the knife we can’t use our butter.  I called my manager and he told me to call tech support.  Can you send someone out to find it?”

What about another knife? What happens when you use a different one?

“We can’t find ANY knives.  They’re all gone.  We can’t operate like this, without butter.  Can’t you just send someone out to find them right away?”

Well I could get a missing device tech out to find them for you.  But undetstand that “Right away” means added cost for an emergency tech dispatch.  That comes off your location’s budget.  Are you certain that all the drawers near your butter have been checked, to see if maybe the knives were relocated?

… … … “I found them! Chris put them in another drawer that was closer to the butter, and didn’t tell me.  You’re amazing! Thank you!”


Bus In The Woods

One Monday in February 2009, David and I hit the trails.

We did it mainly to get out and away from the Wii. Our park of choice: Tiger Mountain State Forest. While heavily used during the other three seasons, winter is quieter. There are plenty of service roads for bicycles and, from what we discovered, a few surprises as well.

There are lots of power lines and subsequent roads to support them; this is the domain of the mountain bike, where cyclists can cruise at the speed of their equipment and feel the wind and the sun without having to inhale exhaust from a Lexus. As we stood near the crossroads of the Puget Power Road and the Bonneville Power Lines, I asked David “Do you hear that?”


“Exactly.” It was almost entirely quiet. No sirens, video games, computer hard drive sounds, or shopping networks. Just the wind, a faraway jet overhead and the muffled sound of Interstate 90 over the hill. I could get seriously addicted to this place.

Just off the Bonneville power line road, I was able to show David a wetland and explain how it holds onto water so the lands below it don’t get flooded. This was along the well-named “Wetland Trail,” and Round Lake. As we were coming off the trail, David said “Look…an Owl.” Sure enough, he had eyeballed a huge white owl sitting on a low branch off the trail. I explained that owls were predators that ate things like mice and even cats, and that their wings were shaped like hawk wings. This owl just watched us without much fear, even when we moved to the other side of his perch to get a better look. Sadly the Owl picture I took ended up looking like a white blob on a tree branch. No value there at all. From a distance it looked magnificent.

After we headed back towards the truck, David decided to take a detour down what was called “Bus Trail.” Didn’t have a clue what it meant…until we passed by an overturned Greyhound bus from the 1940s or 50s sitting just off Bus Trail. Hmmmm…I’ve been here almost my entire life and never knew about the bus!

Turns out very little is known about it.

There are no identifying marks or serial numbers.  Experts have figured it got stolen and driven into the woods back in the day, which would be likely because this trail would have been fairly close to the Sunset Highway.  Or, it was a mining camp transportation bus that broke and was abandoned.  We will never know, and to date it simply rots along the trail.

We’ve been back along this trail system a few times since.  I want to get out there again to do more walking, because most of the trails are pedestrian only. Check out the map I created; if you click on the little icons you’ll see some pictures taken at the location!


Earlier today I saw a Buzzfeed Article that showed inspirational-style photos with quotes that your Mom would say instead. Only my Mom wouldn’t have said most of the ones posted there.

So I made my own 🙂

Hell’s Bells, A Camaro, And A Girl

An extremely vivid memory from the past popped into my head this morning as I drove The Clark Boys to school.

David wanted to hear AC/DC’s Back In Black on CD while we drove; when the first song “Hell’s Bells” rang its way in, I was immediately transported to 1981, and a club in North Seattle called Mister Bill’s. One night like many nights those days, a friend and I were cruising in his Nova SS. We ended up at Mister Bill’s parking lot, near a beautiful red 1969 Chevy Camaro parked across two spots. I didn’t know the owner, a guy in his early 20s, but I knew his leather-clad copilot: a 15-ish year old classmate of mine who I hadn’t seen at school for a few months. Her coat was black, her brown hair was feathered, and her jeans were wide. All perfect for the time, down to the heavy Joan Jett makeup. To this day I don’t recall her name. She was cagey about why she hadn’t been at school. Talk turned to his Camaro, then Hell’s Bells came on the guy’s stereo.

With the windows down, the bells in the song echoed across the parking lot and attached that time and place permanently to my brain.

He explained all the work done to the car – fast motor, sound system, red lacquer paint, Crager S/S rims, and a suspension rake that had 1979 written all over it. The car was beautiful, and presumably fast. “Yeah, it gets me in a lot of trouble,” he explained. “Cops pull me over all the time, just because it’s red.” Since that night I’ve always wondered if that was a myth, because I’ve heard arguments from both sides. Still, I can close my eyes and see that car – jacked up in the rear and gleaming under the parking lot lights. And the girl leaning against the front fender. I always remember the girl.

And whenever Hell’s Bells plays, I see her in my mind – all over again – and wonder whatever happened to her.

Flying Tigers II

Flying Tigers II

When I was 11-years old I “designed” a space ship.

It had a modular design (see above right, drawn today from memory), which allowed for the center section to be disconnected from the front control module and the rear engine module.  That way the center module could be purposed in many ways, and swapped out for other units – a process which promoted utility and efficiency.  With my design, fewer ships were required.  Never mind that the ship I created looked vaguely similar to the “Eagle” landing craft used in the TV show “Space:1999.” I was 11. I was impressionable.

My space ships were called the “Flying Tigers II,” and they were part of a story I never finished.

Like the original Flying Tigers during World War II, the story of FTII started with a volunteer group of humans helping an alien race in the 21st century – against the attacks of a vicious interstellar foe. The ships even carried the fabled “Shark’s Teeth” on the nose from the original Flying Tigers, an artistic treatment that I also went on to use in college for The Food Shark: my pizza delivery car.  While the story of Flying Tigers II wasn’t completed, the space ship design stuck with me in countless doodles and drawings.  When I read that NASA was designing a reusable orbiter, I sent them a picture of an FTII ship and a letter explaining why its modular design would be a good configuration to use.

And NASA replied.

“We like your submission very much,” the letter explained (paraphrased), “but unfortunately we have already designed our orbiter (space shuttle is drawn above left). Thank you for taking the time of sending it to us.”

They also sent along an entire folder filled with space shuttle books, magazines, and space info.  Somewhere in my archives (aka “Plastic bin in garage”), I have those documents, my uncompleted story, and several drawn versions of the FTII ship. At the time I was learning about drawing in perspective, and many of the works show FTII in dog fights in space.

The fact that I was able to draw it today from memory – nearly forty years later – might give you an idea of how often I drew them.  Just thinking about FTII today brought back many great memories of being that age, plus the wonder and limitless possibilities of creativity.