Starbucks Nirvana

I never thought it would really be possible to O.D. on Starbucks.   I know, you’re asking yourself – “hey, id at least like to try – where can i do that?”.  Well, that would be here in Seattle.  Im up here for the week attending a conference for work.  The city alone has just under 300 starbucks stores….  Something like 287.   Nevertheless, as you can imagine its all over the place.  As there are attendees from all over the world here at the conference, perhaps its just the thing to do to have BARRELS of the stuff available at all hours of the day.  I gotta say tho with some of the topics Im having to endure – coffee is mandatory.  Dont get me wrong, everyone (at least everyone I know) loves Starbucks – I love Starbucks.  Especially FREE Starbucks.  Im not kidding, we are all just shy of having seattle’s finest hooked up with an IV.  Somewhere around 4:30pm yesterday as I was listening to the limitations of Ellipsoids and coordinate transformations I took one long last tug from a tall, black mug.  As  I swallowed the colombian richness I realized I couldnt take one more drink.    Oddly enough, here I am this morning bleary eyed and tired writing this post……. ready to give anything for a hot mug of the stuff……Where’s that IV?…………and if you picked up on the Nirvana inference………….good for you.

Wysteria-2 Matthew-0

Here at the end of February as we are on the verge of spring, I thought i would take advantage of a particularly warm day and trim the Wysteria.  If any of you read the post below where I fell off the top of a ladder while trimming the Wysteria LAST time – you know that im a little hesitant to try this again.  This time around I figure I’ll make it easy on myself and use a polesaw.  Basically this is a mini chainsaw that helps one prune hard to reach branches.  Im thinking that I’ll get all the really high stuff out of the way then the rest will be easy.  Again, I clambered up the ladder to do some cutting.  I grabbed a branch about an inch or more in diameter and with chainsaw in hand, revved it up and brought it down.   Perhaps it was the fact that the branch was flexible, or perhaps it was that my left hand holding the branch was too far away, but all the sudden the chainsaw started bouncing up and down on the branch and the next thing i know it twisted a little bit and made a bee line for my hand holding the branch…..ZZZZZzzzz…….ow.   Yup….. took a nice little chunk of my finger, thumb, and knuckle.  A tetanus shot and several stitches later, im still losing.

Maybe i need to use the full size chainsaw and start at the BOTTOM.

the cut

Change is good….I think.

Well, i dont want to say that SPAM won, but I was getting so much spam on my blog that I had to change the way my blog was handled.  Henceforth, you see the new look.  Might take me awhile to get used to it, but here goes nothing…..

The photo you see at the top was taken by me in the Great Smoky Mountains during a trip I took with my mother in the past year.  The weather was cool but it was pretty overcast.


You know…its VERY rare that i see an email that just stirs me up and moves me, but i received one this morning that I just have to share. God Bless America and a sincere and grateful THANK YOU! to all the troops fighting for freedom.

Your alarm goes off; you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.
He stays up for days on end.

You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.

You complain of a “headache,” and call in sick.
He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.

You put on your anti war/don’t support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.

You make sure you’re cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.

You talk trash about your “buddies” that aren’t with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.

You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn’t get to eat today.

Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.

You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn’t have time to brush his teeth today.

You’re angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He’s told he will be held over an extra 2 months.

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love’s perfume.

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they’ll ever meet.

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.

You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.

You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don’t.
He does exactly what he is told.

You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.

You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He crawls under a tank for shade and a 5 minute nap, only to be woken by gunfire.

You sit there and judge him, saying the world is probably a worse place because of men like him.

If only there were more men like him!

Goin to California? Been there done that.

Cali Palms

Just returned from a SUPER relaxing trip out to Orange County, California. We have some dear friends that live out in Irvine, so we hopped on a jet and set our sites on the coast. Nothing like good food, good friends, and a fantabulous location for a little R & R. Unfortunately, California is in the throes of a heat wave so it was a little warm. All in all we hit several beaches, made a trip to San Diego, did some shopping and ate a lot of good food. Im just thankful there werent any earthquakes while we were there.

Book Shoot

I got a call a few weeks back about a prominent Dallas author who needed some shots for a new book he had coming out. The author is Mike Smalley, and the book is entitled “How to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life”.

Ive never really done anything like this so it was definitely kind of exciting. We found some local scenery and spent about an hour shooting. Ultimately the shot he used was a headshot for the back jacket.

How to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life


Just returned from a trip to the Smokys in beautiful North Carolina. Yeah, that looks funny to me too – id rather spell it ‘smokies’, but im pretty sure its smokys. Oh well……. nevertheless it was nice to get away. Photos and more on the trip soon…..

The “Nose-In”

Is it me, or has anyone noticed this aggressive maneuver becoming more and more evident?

I call it the “Nose-In”, and its basically where you have a driver who positions their car further and further out into the main traffic flow so that you almost have to let them have their way to avoid hitting them.

One day as I was headed down a very busy, two-lane, main road, a guy in some kind of an SUV wanted to turn left across the lanes and into wherever he was going. He didnt just put his blinker on, stop, and wait till the opposing traffic passed by… He actually began his turn and got the nose end of his truck across in the next lane. I really dont get this – if i HADNT been paying attention I would have hit him.

I see this more and more every day – people that want into the main flow of traffic – just sticking that nose out there. Im telling you, im on the verge of buying a “beater” car and just teaching these guys a lesson…..but i would never do that.

The world according to Matthew

Ever wish you could make the rules? Im going to start a little thread here that reflects MY opinion on the way things should be, and how people should act. I went out for lunch today and my GOSH people are just crazy in this world. Although I know the Good Book says that the world will turn this way, its just so hard to stomach people and their actions sometimes. Some of these rules will seem just plain obvious – but you’d be surprised. I’ll start off with road rules. I seem to have a lot of trouble coping on the road.

  • when you hear that big engine behind you, it means yes, its time to stop walking down the CENTER of the aisle.
  • the left lane is for faster drivers, if this isnt you, move over.
  • Remember that rule from the Drivers Handbook that said something about using your turn indicators 200′ prior to your turn? Stop putting on your blinker 5′ from your turn roughly the same time you brake hard.
  • Intersections. If you come to a red light at a major intersection, dont sit in the right-hand lane to go straight. People behind you want to turn. Exception to the rule: Rural areas.
  • When traffic is heavy, just because you bulldog the nose of your vehicle into my personal space does not mean I’m letting you in. This will guarantee I wont let you in.
  • Courtesy waves. Need I say more?
  • Please program/dial/configure your (insert gadget here) BEFORE you get on the road. And DONT do this in the fast lane. I actually saw a kid playing a game device while driving once.
  • INTENTIONALLY not looking both ways when crossing the street/aisle/walkway so that i HAVE to yield to you doesnt mean I will. You dont know that Im reading a book behind the wheel.
  • Yeah, I agree there are more cars on the road than ever. Yeah, i know you need to pull out in a hurry to jump in. But if you DO pull right out in front of me, STEP ON THE GAS!
  • In addition, if you pull out in front of me in three lanes of light traffic, PICK AN EMPTY LANE. If you dont, see previous.

Ok thats enough road rules for now – i could go ON and ON and ON….. (ask my wife)

Some General Rules

  • Cell Phones. Do I EVEN have to say it? GO SOMEWHERE PRIVATE to talk about FiFi’s latest nail color. I just lost a parent to cancer, i know what its like to be waiting on that all-important call. But there was NO WHERE that I couldnt take 2 seconds to get up and walk out of wherever i was.
    Contrary to what you think, NO ONE wants to hear your conversation.
  • That space located just outside the front door of ANY public establishment is NOT your personal parking space. Even if you’re waiting on someone.
  • Please honor my 3′ personal space when you see me in line at the grocery/bank/buffet/etc. I really DONT want to give you a piggy back ride.
  • Dont think for a second that it is my duty to move out of the way for you. This one boggles my mind. People that will flat out run over you because you dont step aside. Go figure.
  • Dont walk on bluebonnets
  • ASK me if i want more tea. And if i do, DONT grab my glass any where NEAR where my lips touch.
  • So you’re finally outside to smoke – thats a good start. DONT stand in the entrance!
  • To quote a line from the classic Rebok commercials, “if you kill the Joe, make some mo!”
    If you take the last cup of coffee… MAKE ANOTHER POT.
  • Stand in line like the rest of us. Your “quick question” really isnt.
  • Just because your favorite electronics store demos the latest and greatest video games…doesnt give you the right to yell and cuss at the screen like you were at home. Grow up or get out.
  • Although I dont act like one, I AM an adult. If you are younger than I am, especially significantly younger – KNOW that I am older than you and respect my age.
  • Yes, I will drop anything and everything to come to your aid or to provide you my attention. Please reciprocate.

Perhaps this is enough for now. I’m sure I will add to this list as I think of new ones.

HOW ABOUT YOU? What would be YOUR rules????