Thursday, December 21, 2006

George Gets a J-O-B

After about 14 years on the road, Bonnie and I have decided to settle down and get ‘real jobs’. My last day at the client here in Seattle is Friday December 22nd and then Bon and I will pack up the car and head down the West Coast to San Diego.

Once we get there, I have a new job that starts on January 2nd, and Bonnie has interviews lined up as well. My new job will be Marketing Operations Director for a small startup company with customers around the globe, so I will be traveling quite a bit.

We will be living in an apartment for about the first nine months while we learn our way around the city. The complex looks pretty nice, and we are looking forward to getting all our furniture etc from Atlanta shipped over. It has been quite a while since we have seen ‘our stuff’.

So we start the New Year with a new opportunity and high hopes for a prosperous future.

Here’s wishing you all a healthy and happy holiday and an amazing 2007!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Turkey Day in Atlanta

I know it is a bit late, but I am posting pictures from our trip to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. It was an excellent trip, and everyone had a great time.
Since Bonnie’s folk’s house was already pretty full, we took advantage of a kind offer and stayed at our friend Ruth’s condo in Buckhead. It was very nice. Not only that, we drove Ruth’s very cool red pickup while we were there as well. What a deal.

The day was warm and beautiful; (unlike the weather here in Seattle); we spent most of the day out on the back deck (the picture is Bonnie's dad, Jerry).

Thanksgiving in Atlanta is always great, as we know we can count on seeing lots of family and friends. This year was made even better by the fact that Bonnie’s Uncle Michael (and wife Allisanne plus daughters Moli & Mandy) came down from Wisconson. Moli’s mom was not too pleased that I started her daughter's training as a bartender, but Moli cleared $31.00 in tips and had a new drink named after her!
The Orange Moli
In a rocks glass, with ice, add:
- 2 oz Mandarin Vodka
- 2 oz Club soda
Squeeze in a slice of fresh orange
and stir

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Where in the World Are We Going?

One of the things that Bonnie and I like about my job is that we never know where it will take us, or when. I got word this week that my assignment in Seattle will be wrapping up just before Christmas.

This was not quite what we had planned, but, hey, that’s the life of a contractor. So we have put our plans to go sailing with friends Iain and Ruth on hold while we line up the next client.

So far no idea what or where we will be doing, but watch this space, I will let you know as soon as I do!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vegas Baby!

It was Bonnie’s birthday this past weekend. As often as possible, we spend the weekend of her birthday in Las Vegas with our friends Leslie and Becky. To make it even more fun this year we were joined by our friends Kevin and Dane. Leslie’s sister and her husband (Lisa and Chuck) have a timeshare in Vegas, so they were able to join us as well. What a blast we had, the eight of us bring out the best (or worst) in each other. My sides are still hurting from laughing so hard all weekend!

So here are some highlights from the weekend. Thursday night we arrived and Bonnie, I, Leslie, Becky, Lisa and Chuck all met up at a seafood raw bar called AquaKnox. We spent several hours catching up. It was so good to see everybody again.

Friday we spent the day at tables in several different casinos including a couple that are going to be torn down soon. I like to bet on Black 17 on the roulette wheel, Bonnie, Chuck and Leslie like to play blackjack and we all LOVE to play craps. Back to the room for showers and a change into evening wear and then it was off to Paris (the hotel/casino) for where we were joined by Kevin and Dane (now there were 8 of us) for an amazing dinner at Mon Ami Gabi. From there it was back to the tables for an evening of gambling and laughter.

On Saturday, Chuck and Lisa had rented a cabana at the pool at the Las Vegas Hilton. The cabana was very nice with a big screen TV so we all watched football, drank and visited all afternoon. I will not try and explain what it was the Kevin did to earn $20.00 worth of tips from the folks around the pool. Some things that happen in Vegas need to stay there!

Saturday night, we all headed out to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Il Fornaio. Good food, good wine; good fun. After dinner Leslie, Becky, Chuck, Lisa, Bonnie and I at see a show called Zumanity, which was put on by Cirque ‘de Soleil. (Kevin and Dane had already seen it. The show was amazing and VERY racey (not the kind of thing that you would take your mother to see)!

Sunday was a relatively quiet day, we slept late and gambled the day away. Kevin and Dane had to head home Sunday, so we told them goodbye and we look forward to seeing them over Thanksgiving. That evening Leslie, Becky, Chuck, Lisa, Bonnie and I had a nice dinner at Café Ba Ba Reeba, a Spanish Tapas restaurant (I initially only agree to go because I thought they were saying topless, but the food ended up being very good anyway). After dinner it was off to the Stardust Casino. The star dust is another one of the great older (read seedy) hotels that is due to be torn down. In fact it demolition starts tomorrow. You can buy items from the stardust in an online auction; click here to find our more.

Monday was Bonnie’s actual birthday. We had a delightful breakfast with Leslie and Becky at Bouchon. From there it was off to the airport to head home.

I can’t remember a better trip to Vegas. We had so much fun; I can’t wait for Bonnie’s next Birthday!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

So Pretty It Hurts

Bonnie and I continued our Sunday hikes in an area called Denny Creek. We both agreed that it was the most beautiful hike we had ever been on.

The hike started out in a pretty flat and easy walk, and then we passed the part where the guide book said that most of the crowds turn back. The book, (which was a hand-me-down from our friend Iain), went on to say that the best part of the hike was up over the top of the ridge, a lake on a remote pass.

The trail ended up being a quite a bit steeper than we expected and we gave serious thought to turning back. However, as we were weighing our options, an older gentlemen came breezing past and talked us into going the rest of the way since we were so close to the top.

We finished the trail and ended up at a beautiful lake nestled in the cleft of the mountain. It was truly amazing. The hike down was just as tough as the hike up. By the time we got to the car our knees were aching. It is now Tuesday, two days later and we both are walking a bit slow, and wincing down the steps, but looking back, it was worth it!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Uncle Michael From Madison

We had our first family guest here in Washington. Uncle Michael (Bonnie’s Mom’s brother) was in town for a job interview. We really hope he gets the job, since he would be managing one of the biggest concert venues in the city of Seattle and I KNOW we would be plugged in for good seats (hint, hint).

Nice night out at Pasta Freska last night for dinner. Tonight we are having fresh salmon (from Pikes Market of course) and a good bottle of wine. We hope you get it Michael; the Northwest is an awesome place!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rained In

It is Sunday, and Bonnie and I had planned a nice hike in an area of the Cascade Mountains called Denny Creek.

Alas, it has been raining all day, so we settled instead for a movie and a late lunch. We went to see the new Robin William movie, which we both quite enjoyed.

Home now for a leisurely Sunday afternoon:

Quiet weekends at home are nice…..

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hike Two - Getting Better

Our next trip out, Sunday Oct 8th went much better. We knew what to expect so we got an early start. First we stopped by one of our favorite weekend breakfast spots, the pancake corral. This was the only real mistake we made, way too many screaming kids at that hour, and we also decided we did not need a big meal close to hitting the trail. Next weekend it will be an egg McMuffin in the car on the way!

Bonnie and I both picked up new hiking shoes (on sale!) and we were keen to try them out. We also added a few more items to our day pack: a flashlight, a signal mirror our Garmin handheld GPS and some extra batteries. We also signed up to get an annual parks association pass ($30.00) for the car so that we did not have to mess with paying $5.00 for a day pass every weekend.

We headed north to the Cascade Mountains total drive time was about 1.5 hours. The drive in took us through an absolutely beautiful valley, we have both decided that Washington is one of the prettiest states we have ever been in. We stopped in a local store close to the trail head and bought some food for the trail. Found the ranger station that was our marker and then the trail head.

The hike was very nice; 6 miles in total, up and back a trail that ran along the Old Sauk River; very pretty. The weather was nice as well, about 55 degrees, started out cloudy, but cleared nicely toward the end. The new hiking shoes were the bees knees! They have excellent traction and sturdy bottoms. Having said all of that, it felt really good to take them off and slip into our tennis shoes when we got back to the car.

A nice drive back home and we were back for along hot shower by late afternoon. We both feel like we are getting the hang of this and are looking forward to next weekend!

Sunday Hikes- It Begins

Bonnie and I decided that we wanted to start hiking on Sundays; there are hundreds of trails all around Washington State. Our first outing was on Sunday October 1st. We got a bit of a late start and did a bit of shopping before we left, which made it even later.
We stopped by the Sports Authority and picked up a "day pack". To the day pack, we added a small first aid kit, a couple of disposable rain ponchos and some parachute chord. I also added my own Swiss army knife (a gift from the team that I worked with in Guatemala) and some toilet paper.

Our first hike was up in the Olympic Peninsula. We did not plan very well and after a late start we ended up driving almost three hours to get to the trail head. When we finally got to Lake Quinault, we hiked for about 2.5 hours. The trail was really nice and started out through some old growth trees. Being from the East Coast, I have never seen trees so large; they were amazing. The second half of the hike took us along the shore of a beautiful lake.

A couple of lessons learned on our first outing. We need to start earlier and we need to plan the drive better. Also going to have to do something about hiking shoes, our regular walking shoes (sneakers) are just not rugged enough for the trail.

Friday, September 29, 2006

This Time Last Year

Today is September 29th and it has been a quiet but busy couple of weeks. I was talking to my old buddy Art Shand on the phone and I mentioned that I needed to write a blog entry, but that it had been so quiet that I did not have much to tell. Art suggested I look back to where I was exactly one year ago today and write about that…good idea.

On September 29th, 2005 Bonnie and I were in the Abacos islands, a small chain at the top of the Bahamas. More specifically we were in an area called Marsh Harbor, We had finished up a project in Ireland but for tax reasons were not ready to come back to into the USA yet. (There is a funny rule that says if you spend 330 days out of 365 out of the country you get a big tax break, we needed about 4 more weeks to make our tax break).

So the good news is that we spent 4 weeks on on our sailboat, The BlackSheep; the bad news is that 2005 was a record year for tropical storms and hurricanes. As a result we spent a lot of time in our slip at Boat Harbor. During our stay there, our normal Friday night hangout Sapodillas Bar was under major reconstruction, so we were diverted across the street to Snappa’s Bar. Fridays nights were always pretty much the same, dinner from the bar menu and cold rum drinks with our friend “Uncle Bob” Scott.

At Snappa’s, the island music or classic rock and roll which plays over a better than average sound system is nearly drowned out by the sound of the locals playing dominos. Strange to think that Dominos would be a loud game until you see the locals play. The force in which the local players (mostly men) slam the tiles onto the hard plastic table tops is amazing. During the first few minutes of your time at the bar is always a bit disconcerting since the sound of the dominoes closely mimics the sound of small arms fire. After a couple of cold rum drinks and good conversation, the sound just seems to fade into the background.

Discussions of this time last year would not be complete without a mention of the new friends Layne and Grant that made that trip. Grant is an amazing artist and he and wife Layne travel the island son their boat “Blue”. We had a great time visiting sailing and getting to know them. Funny how one can make friends almost anywhere…….

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Growing Older But Not Up

Things change; I have to wear reading glasses now, and I notice it takes me a little bit longer to work out the kinks when I jump out of bed. I have also noticed I really look forward to naps on the weekends.

Bonnie and I went to a poker party last night (Bonnie is an excellent Texas Hold ‘em dealer so we get invited). I was standing in the kitchen between hands talking to two other guest. In speaking with them I realized that I had been married as long as they had been alive.

I still feel very young inside. When people ask Bonnie is she has any children at home she often answers “just George”.

I guess you could say I’m growing older but not up.

Building The Perfect Blog

Not long ago I started a blog for my dad who lives in La Place Louisiana. The blog chronicles the events of the Blind Mule racing team; which is made up of my dad, my uncle and my brother. They race smallish cars that are built out of Volkswagen parts, thus the name Formula V. If you change the layout just a little bit, then they are called Formula First.

The Blind Mule team has been working to try and create some excitement around his type of racing, and I think they are up to 5 or 6 drivers with cars in the area now. Kind of neat, as it lets you get into racing without spending fortune, a used car for this class cost around $3,000.

It has been fun getting the blog in shape; it looks a LOT different than when we started with it. You can see the blog here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hi George!

I am constantly amazed at just how small the world is. I got a call on Friday from a friend named George Stewart, who I have not seen in at least 15 years.

George works for T-Mobile, the company that I am in Seattle contracting for, and he was in town for business. We made arrangements to meet up after work.

After a quick drink at our favorite watering holes, we got directions to a seafood restaurant that George had heard of. As Bonnie was being given directions by various locals around the bar, the phrase “you can’t miss it” was uttered more than once.

Later, as we made wrong turn after wrong turn and trying to find Salty’s Seafood Grill those words echoed in my mind.

After just one stop for directions we finally found the restaurant in West Seattle and had an amazing dinner, it was certainly worth the trip. Over dinner we caught each other up on our various adventures of the years. George and his wife Ruth are grandparents now, their son Jeff gave them two beautiful little girls to spoil

Today we met up with George again and headed out for lunch at the Roanoke Inn, a local eatery on Mercer Island. After lunch we took a ride up to enjoy the view from the New Castle Golf Club. We had only just eaten, but Bonnie and I will be sure to go back to the Calcutta Grill there.

If you want to reach George Stewart, you can drop him an email. I am sure you will be pleased to catch up with him, we sure were!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All About Bon...

My job takes me all over the world and I am lucky enough to have a wife that is willing to tag along with me. Over the last several years Bonnie and I have lived and worked in Seattle, Ireland, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil (Sao Paulo, Rio & Recife), Australia, Denmark, England, Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Atlanta (I am sure I forgot one or two others).

People ask me what Bonnie does while I am at work in all these places; I can tell you, a lot!

First and foremost she makes sure that we lead a good life; she gets us integrated into the local culture, food shopping entertainment etc. She also acts as host for clients and friends from whatever job I am on; we have parties, dinners and poker games. There are several couples around the globe who met at one of our parties and eventually got married!

In addition Bonnie is a certified ESL instructor so she teaches English to people who have a different native tongue. Not sure how she does it, but she can teach English to a room full of people that speak 10 different languages all at the same time. Here in Seattle her classes are on Wednesdays. It is always fun to see her gathering up her “props” for the lesson of the week.

As if that were not enough, she is also working on her master’s degree via remote study from UNC Greensboro.

All in all she stays pretty busy and I am extremely glad that she still has time to put up with me.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Movie Tickets and Travel Tickets

Bonnie and I had a nice quiet weekend.
On Friday evening, we went to the movies and saw the second installment of Pirates of the Caribbean; it as better than I expected. It has been so long since we had seen the first one that we ended up watching the original on DVD on Saturday.

We got our reservations made to go meet our friends in Las Vegas in late October. We are staying at the Venetian since they comp our rooms for us. This trip coincides with Bonnie’s birthday; I will not tell you how old she is, but I will note that she is 37 days older than I am!

The trip to Vegas has become almost an annual thing, a chance to relax and blow off some steam. We go with our friends Leslie and Becky. This year is extra special since we have seen so little of them lately (our fault, we have been in the Great North West with very few visits home). I am really looking forward to it.

Thanksgiving will be on the heels of the Vegas trip, a chance to loop through and see some family that we have not seen in a while. Looking forward to that as well!

We have rented out our loft in Atlanta, Bonnie went home and put all our stuff in storage. The new tenant moved in this weekend. Kind of odd not having our home in Atlanta to go back to; but as we tend to live on the road anyway, this just made more sense.

Friday, August 11, 2006

News, News, and More News

Shuffle Up and Deal
Last Saturday night Bonnie and I played Texas Hold ‘Em with several friends. Bonnie made Mexican food and I made margaritas. This week's game included Chuck, Geoff, Alexandra, Paavan, Grace and Ben. We found a great poker table topper that seats 8, has spots for each player’s chips and drinks and folds up into a handy carrying case when you are not using it. Of course we do not travel anywhere without a good set of poker chips, they are 13.8 oz clay composites; good chips really make a difference.

The Boat Voyage Begins
Last night we went down to the marina and I hauled our friend Iain up the mast. The photo to the right is the view from the top of the mast.) He was doing a final inspection of the boat before they head out. (see article “Malo, Not Bad” below). Assuming we can find a way back home, Bonnie and I are going to sail as far as Port Townsend with them, and then send them on their way down the Coast of California. Iain and Ruth, we will miss you guys!

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Bonnie and I have a big week planned. My old buddy Art Shand is coming into town for work on Monday, so I expect we will be seeing a lot of him while he is here. Then our young friend Ellen Roberson will be in town on Thursday. It is going to be like old home week, we are excited.

Stay tuned for more news, we are trying to organize a camping trip to see even more of the beautiful North West before the weather gets crappy again.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Nice Weekend

After work on Friday Bonnie and I headed out for the weekend. We got a package deal at the Salish Lodge that included a night at the lodge, a big breakfast the next morning and messages for two.

The lodge sits on the edge of a giant waterfall and is located in Snoqualmie, Washington. The hotel was great, we had a giant Jacuzzi tub and a fireplace in our room.

Bonnie and I decided not to eat at the lodge (not included in the package and very expensive) so we went to dinner at Jak’s Grill in Issaquah. We met a lot of interesting people and the steaks were amazing!

Saturday we slept in, enjoyed a giant country breakfast, and then it was off to the spa. We started in the pools, which were basically giant hot tubs but with no speaking allowed at all. From there we had a hot stone message and by the time we checked out in the late afternoon, we both felt like overcooked spaghetti.

We took a quiet drive home through the country and relaxed for the rest of the weekend. Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie Falls and Jak’s Grill in Issaquah are both on our highly recommended list!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Island Daydreaming

It is a warm day in Washington today and the heat kinda reminds me of the tropics. I want to walk outside and jump into the warm waters of the Caribbean; granted it would be a long walk from the Northwest Coast. All of this got me thinking about how many wonderful trips that Bonnie and I have had aboard our sailboat the BlackSheep.

At first the BlackSheep lived in Miami. Well, there was that one crazy weekend in Key West with Ray, Ellen, John and Celita. Fantasy Fest was really something, but I don’t think we will be going again anytime soon. Then we moved the boat down to the islands.

Until just recently we have kept the boat down in an area of the Bahamas called The Abacos. Unfortunately, between the job and travel, we just do not get to use the boat as much as we used to, so it is up for sale. If you are interested in a great deal on a wonderful island hopper let me know!

One of our first big trips with guests in the Bahamas was when we spent Christmas and New Years on board with our friends Ellen, Faith and Bobby. Yup, just little ole me and four beautiful women; it was tough but I made it through, what an awesome trip.

During another big adventure we sailed with our friends David, Lori and Rebecca. David and Lori live in Chicago and Rebecca is a recently married attorney from Atlanta. Rebecca got so relaxed she came home and quit her job with a big law firm and now she is out on her own and doing great!

The trip that wins the prize for the most rum (and everything else drinkable) consumed was when we went down with our crazy but very lovable friends Kevin, Dane, Leslie and Becky. That trip we were there for the fourth of July, we saw the fireworks from Nippers Beach Bar.

To get to the Abacos you either have to fly in a very small plane to a very small airport, or take a boat across. If you fly you have to hope that the plane comes that day. Some days it is a longer wait than others. While we were waiting one day I had what will probably be my only chance to perform for an entire international airport full of people.

Well writing about the trips helped me remember all the fun we have had over the years. Almost as much fun as being there….well not really.
Like the man says:
"Yes I am a pirate, born 200 years too late, the cannons don't thunder, there's nothin to plunder, I'm an over 40 victim of fate".

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It Works!

I put this blog together in the hope that it would help me communicate better with family and friends. Guess what, it works! Since I launched the blog I have had emails from several friends, like the one I got today from my childhood buddy Kayla Moore, (who is now Kayla Helm). The email had lots of news and photos; it was great to catch up.

Kayla and I both spent our elementary and high school years as friends in the town where we grew up, Madison Florida. Unfortunately as things tend to happen, Kayla and I fell out of touch. I knew she had gotten married, and had an opportunity meet her husband Bud; they have been married for over 19 years now.

The amazing thing is that somehow while I was not paying attention Kayla and Bud managed to have three kids; Jenna who is 16, Emily who is 13 and the youngest Davis who is 11. Good looking kids, they take after their mom who always was one of the prettiest girls in town.

Kayla works for the State of Florida as a public health nutritionist in the local health departments, so I guess she is both pretty and smart. She travels a three county circuit and I am sure she still sees a lot of the folks we used to hang with as kids. If you knew Kayla and want to catch up with her (or her mom Beverly or her Dad Leland) drop me a note and I will send you her email address.
If you happen to see this and realize that I have not heard from you in forever, email me with photos so I can add you to the long lost friends list here on my blog.

Nice to see you again Helms family, stay in touch!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Malo, Not Bad

Bizim is Turkish for “Ours”, and that is the name of our friend’s boat. The boat is a Malo sailing yacht and Iain and Ruth are in the process of getting it ready to sail to Turkey. First they will sail down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal, through the Caribbean, up the East Coast to see Ruth’s family and then eventually over to Turkey where they have property and will be building a new home.

I got to know Ruth when we worked together at BellSouth International; now I work with Iain at T-Mobile, at least until he sails off into the sunset. You can learn more about the boat and keep up with their adventures on Iain’ Blog.

Bonnie and I went over to visit last night and check on the progress they have made in getting ready to go. The boat now has a new electronic navigation system, a new stereo, cutlass bearing and lots of other improvements. Most importantly they have just ordered a new mattress topper and fitted sheets for the cabin that Bonnie and I use when we come to visit, which we will be doing as often as we can get away with it!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Its Been Years....

Bonnie and I got together for dinner tonight with an old buddy Geoff Kohles, and his wife Alexandra, who we had not met before. We both decided we really like her and that Goeff should keep her around.

Geoff and I worked together on several projects including Sao Paulo Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago Chile. Santiago is where Geoff met Alexandra. We talked about some of the folks we used to work with, like Saeed Butt, Jim Goepert, Rob Purks and Ellen Roberson.

The two of them are expecting a baby in October. Of course we waited for them to tell us she was pregnant. Being a good Southern boy, I know that a gentleman does not ask a lady if she is pregnant unless he actually sees a baby emerging from her at that moment.

Geoff and Alexandra had a big day; they made an offer on a home in West Seattle, which was accepted; plus they got to see Bonnie and me, who could ask for more in one day? (grin)

We had dinner at Pasta Freska, a great little restaurant that Iain and Ruth introduced us to.

We are looking forward to seeing a lot more of these two.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thanks Ya'll

It is good to have friends.

My brother went into the hospital in New Orleans and gave us all a bit of a scare; he is doing better now by the way. I called my buddies Kevin and Becky (pictured here), who are both in the medical business, to find out more about the hospital. They got in touch with another friend Jo Seger. Long story made short, before you know it my brother got a personal visit from Grant Walker, one of the vice presidents at Ochsner Hospital. Grant went on to write a nice email with a status update on my brother along a promise to make sure he has everything he needs.

Having a relative in the hospital is a scary thing. Having friends like Jo, Becky and Kevin make it a lot less scary…thanks ya’ll!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saturday with Dave and Marion

Our fun day started off with a big fat Greek wedding party dancing on the sidewalk across from our apartment. Two big limos pulled up and disgorged a wedding party complete with band. They danced on the sidewalk then went up into the building, brought the bride out, danced some more. Then they all got into the limos and left.

Bonnie and I drove down to meet our friends Dave and Marian who were on their way back from an Alaskan cruise. We took them down to do the sightseeing thing. We went to Pike Place Market; bonnie bought a nice Copper River Salmon, which the fish mongers then threw across the market (all part of the show) to the guys that filleted it and prepped it for us to take home.

We wandered around the market for a bit more, stuck our head in the original star bucks and then headed back to our place in Bellevue. We put the salmon on the grill, and introduced Dave and Marian to cosmopolitans. We all had a great time. I drove them to the airport early this morning and thy are now on the way back to Boston.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I love my Bose System!

Bonnie and I went out (OK I kinda dragged her along) to the Bose store and purchased a new Lifestyle System. It is basically a full home entertainment system that now houses all of our music collection (we loaded all of our CDs into it, kind of like you do with an IPOD). It is also our FM stereo, DVD player, video receiver and everything else all built into one tiny little box. It even upconverts video from our TIVO to high resolution format, so we do not get squishy images on the HD monitor.

I must say I LOVE THIS SYSTEM. I got rid of a huge wall unit full of gear and replaced it all with a little box.
The speakers are cubes, which can travel anywhere with us. Very best of all we can now run everything with just one remote control (we used to have 5). This remote also controls the TV and TIVO.

I have heard some people make negative comments about Bose gear. Things like if it is all highs and lows it must be Bose. I will admit it does not have as full a midrange as my huge system did, but it sounds great. I am sure that most would not notice the difference, even in a side by side comparison.

Setup was amazing simple, there is a software tool that configures the entire system for you. You put a little gadget on your head, it looks somewhat like headphones, but there are actually microphones built into it. The system plays a series of squeaks and burps from each speaker and then uses the information collected to recalibrate the settings to fit the room you are in. The result is amazing surround sound regardless of how bad your room is.

The other cool thing that the system does is allow you to create profiles of the style of music you want to hear. You vote, via the remote, to tell the system if you love a song, like a song, dislike or absolutely hate it. After a few votes the system begins to figure of your taste and starts selecting music that suites you. The more you use it, the better it gets at predicting. Our friend Ian hates country music, so we let him create his own profile to use when he is visiting.

We have enjoyed our Wave Radio for a long time, they let us trade it in on the latest model so that now we can link the Wave Radio into the lifestyle system and have remote access to the music library. Bonnie can listen to her profile in one room, while I watch movies in another.

Consider me a fanatic!
Post Script: for those of you wondering what happened to the giant audio/video system I used to have, we sold it all piece by piece on Craig's List. Then we used the proceeds to pay for the new system!

A Day At The Freemont Festival

I like to think that I am a pretty well rounded guy. But I was tickled to see that there are still things that I have never imagined. I spent the day the Solstice Day Celebration in a funky little suburb of Seattle called Freemont.

The parade was the highlight of the festival and I got to see the much discussed NAKED BICYLE RIDERS. Most were painted in very clever ways,

A few just took the opportunity to get neckid.

It was a fun day