Put a Little Howl in Halloween

Tim the Hobo

I was actually much happier than the mask would indicate

There are lots of ways to divide people: religion, politics and the holiday some are celebrating this Friday, Halloween.

Most holidays that roll around, people take ‘em or leave ‘me. “It’s St. Patrick’s Day? Wasn’t even on my radar.” “Veterans Day? Better put out the flag.”

But Halloween either makes you smile or cringe. There are some people who just won’t dress up. Something happened in their childhood. Not sure if it was a moldy Snickers bar or they once got lost as a kid at Display & Costume, the idea of putting on a costume just isn’t them.

Then there are those of us who have always dressed up and actually put some thought into what we’ll be this year. The 2014 edition of the Hunters in Disguise will be inspired by the TV show and book series, ‘Outlander.”   I actually bought a kilt, puffy shirt, sword and ordered shoes for the outfit, while Victoria bought a medieval-style dress, so we can look like we just walked off the show. Here’s hoping for everyone’s sake it’s not a drafty night.

Going back to the days when I was growing up, Halloween costumes were a thin material one-piece outfit with a plastic mask that prevented you from breathing easily and could barely see out of. Then, you hit that age where you’re old enough to go out on your own, but you hear the clock ticking and know that you have one, maybe two years left to do this massive candy round-up.

During my kids’ Trick or Treat days, we lived in a pretty cool neighborhood, with nice houses and people who answered the door with treats and something for the parents to drink. After a while, it became quite well-known and groups would actually bus in their kids to give them a safe place to trick or treat. It would mean going through a half-dozen Costco bags of candy, but you got to see a lot of very cute kids enjoying a magical night in the neighborhood.

I do remember one Halloween in particular, when my daughter Christina was around 3 and it was probably 25-degrees outside. With Halloween costumes being more about cuteness than warmth, I remember wrapping her up in a blanket, walking her up to a door and ringing the bell, letting her get her candy and then re-wrapping her until we got to the next porch.

So many Halloweens ago....

So many Halloweens ago….

As adults, I’ve seen ‘em all, including the time KLSY sponsored a Halloween party with round trip airfare for two to Transylvania as the first prize. OMG, were there some great costumes, including a 9-foot alien and a Cleopatra being carried around (but it was really just one person). It was just a year ago that a group of former KLSY-kateers gathered at the Brooks residence for a party, and most dressed up. The Brooks family decorated their “mansion” to the nines.

Maybe it’s the idea that when do something that a child would do—dress up—you’re pausing the whole adult thing for even just a few hours. You get to be silly and have swapped a little bit of dignity for that feeling of being a kid again.

To those who refuse to join in, I understand…but I don’t. It’s your call, but if it’s been quite a few years since you put on a costume, maybe, just one more time—give it a try. I don’t expect you to head out to the most sincere pumpkin patch and hope to catch a glimpse of the Great Pumpkin, but you just might experience a type of fun you haven’t known in years.

Tim & Kristin

Happy Halloween!

Tim Hunter

 

My Two Cents

two cents

Sure, why not?  That’s what this little corner of cyberspace is all about. A soapbox for whatever I want to think about.

I’m pretty sure you have an opinion on this one.  Actually, if you’ve had kids in sports, I know you’ve got one.

Before I offer my view, I’ll give you my background.  I helped raise two very active kids.  We let them play whatever sports they wanted to be involved with.  For Christina, that was softball, soccer and basketball.  Tyson did the boy version, Little League, soccer and basketball.

I was the coach for most of their teams.  Not because of any great expertise, but usually because no one else had volunteered.  But the more I coached, the more I really loved it.  The biggest reason—I could give these mini-adults some very valuable life lessons at a pretty influential time of their life.  My coaching years went from the kids’ 3rd grade, all the way up until the rec leagues of high school.

Over the years, I was more than happy to hand off the responsibility and just be an active parent or an assistant coach.  So, as many times as I sat on a bench with the players, I was also up in the stands to cheer them on.

It’s from that experience that I got to know the various types of parents who attend these games:

  • “The ‘There for the kids”—This breed is rare, but does exist.  In fact, I’m pretty sure a lot of the categories started here or at least, intended to be that way.
  • “The Cheerleaders”—God bless ‘em.  They’re the ones that do everything they can to be positive, even when it means yelling “You can do it” when a child is about to strike out for the 7th time in a game.
  • “The Back Seat Coaches”—You know, if THEY were calling the shots, this team would be winning. Or, at least, they want everyone in the stands to believe that.  The sad truth—no one does.
  • “The Get It Rights”—These are the people who either got picked last, were cut by their coach and by God, their kid is going to be the superstar they should have been.  If they just yell louder, things will go their way.  They just know it.
  • “The Bad Sports”—These folks have the qualities of both of the previous groups, PLUS, they love to taunt the parents and even sometimes the players of the other teams.

I also remember hearing stories over the years of drunk parents, angry parents challenging the ump to a fight, individual adults being banned from games…the list goes on and on.

The reason I’m wandering down the path of this topic:  A group of Bothell parents made the news when they tangled up with some Renton parents at a recent junior football game.  I’m talking 9 and 10 year olds.  Seriously.

Several of the Bothell parents are actually being charged with assault.

The end result—both teams have been banned from the playoffs.

And I commend those in charge for decision.

As I said in the beginning, everyone has an opinion on this one.  But here’s why I believe banning everyone from the playoffs was a smart and courageous thing to do.

First off, the behavior is beyond inexcusable. No, you just can’t do that.  I can’t tell you how many times I attended games where ugly parents probably could have gotten to that stage, but didn’t, and those are just the games I attended. Millions of baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and football games are played every year.  It’s going to take a penalty of this magnitude to stop these kind of incidents once and for all.

Yes, the kids won’t get to play in the playoffs.  Their ‘careers’ are ruined?  Oh, for God’s sake!  Kids recover.  When they talk about “a long time ago”, they’re referring to last week.  The players on these two teams have the opportunity to experience a very powerful lesson that’ll stick with them for the rest of their years.  And, if one of their parents gets ugly next year, who do you think will be the ones to say, “Knock it off!”?  It will probably be the other parents AND the kids racing to silence them because being banned from the playoffs is a real possibility.

What other scenarios are there?

Let the kids play their game, but don’t allow parents.  Yes, it lets them play a game, but it doesn’t address the problem.  And who is going to patrol that game, so that the banned parents don’t sneak in?  Do you have all their names?  What do they look like?  Well, that looks like someone banned, but they claim they’re someone else?  Oh, and who’s paying for all this security?  I’m afraid that would also teach, “If you don’t like the penalty, complain enough and they’ll cave in.”   Don’t do it.

There are so many  traumatic things that can happen to a child while growing up.  I think you’d have to agree, that it’s harder than ever to have a childhood compared to when we grew up.  This is about responsibility and drawing a line.  Being an arrogant, screaming, profane, looking-for-a-fight parent has no place in this arena.  It may not stop all of them, but if it makes a few think twice, we all win.

We can all just shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh, well, some parents are just that way.”  Or we can try to deal with it.

My vote–season’s over, see ya next year!

Tim Hunter

 

 

My Favorite Season

I have to say, since giving up the steady 9-5 grind and going out on my own October 1st, it has really been a dream come true.

There’s less stress in my life, I can greet each day as something to look forward to and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of potential out there (by the way, if I actually do scratch my Surface, I bought the extended warranty, so I’ll be fine)

It’s with this unlimited menu of opportunity that I’ve found myself reflecting on some of the more basics things about day-to-day life.  The other day, I just randomly passed along this thought to my wife, Victoria:  Just in case anyone ever asks or it comes up on a game show, my favorite season is fall.

While giving my reflection muscle a work out, it seems the reason is because it’s a season of change.  Winter is when things lie in wait….spring is when promises of a better future are made….summer is when we savor the present….and fall signals change.  I’ve always been big on change.  While it makes a lot of people uncomfortable, change is so refreshingly good for you and presents you with possibilities you didn’t even know existed.

So, it’s not surprising that I chose fall to launch this latest phase of my career.  Aside from the hair falling like leaves from my head, this was the perfect launching time for something new.  So far, it’s been a cornucopia of projects and, over the upcoming weeks, I hope to launch a weekly newsletter–just a brief one–to pass along that week’s golden moment.

Since that newsletter doesn’t exist yet, let me offer up this little tidbit.

Part of my wanting to focus more on the things I do is to give me more time for writing comedy.  It’s a passion and I was finding myself wedging it in when I had “spare time”, which by definition is the hours most people set aside for sleep.

Years ago, a comic friend of mine, Frank King, connected me with another funny fellow named Steve Kelley.  The guy is not only a political cartoon genius, but also manages to create a daily cartoon strip called “Dustin.”  Steve is kind enough to accept my jokes on a daily basis and when he sees one he believes would be a good cartoon, he lets me know, purchases it and creates a visual version of the joke.

Just this week, he grabbed this one from my collection of daily one-liners and turned it into this.

Kelly Cartoon BrokerI will always remember October as the month of my biggest  personal growth ever.   So, when you combine Husky and Seahawks football, baseball playoffs and the World Series, all the leaves turning and the beautiful fall colors, those great wind storms and thunderstorms, a cozy fire in the fireplace and all-new episodes of my favorite TV shows, toss in Halloween and Thanksgiving–the holiday where no gifts are involved and it’s all about food–and what’s not to love about fall!

Oh, did I mention that night we get to turn the clocks back and get an extra hour of sleep?

It’s the season that just keeps on giving.  Happy fall, everyone!

Tim Hunter

 

BEHOLD: The Deacons

The band takes the stage

The band takes the stage

Last weekend, we got to travel back in time.

My wife, Victoria’s mom’s cousin—you still with me?—John Sandvig, invited us to come down to PLU for a very special homecoming dance.

Neither of us were PLU alums, but there was a special reason for the invite. The band that was playing. The band John Sandvig performed with, as the lead singer, back in the 1960s: The Deacons.

That was a decade when it seems like everybody was in a band. Dick Foley and some of his frat brothers formed The Brothers Four. My old broadcast buddy, Larry Nelson, was in a doo-wop band, The Shades. He loved to tell the story of how he would stand out on the Ave in the U-District and they would pay kids to go in and buy their record, so they could get airplay on KJR. After all, sales equaled airplay.

But in this case, it wasn’t about record sales. Sure, they went into a studio or two and recorded some songs, but for the Deacons, it was all about the live performances. I believe the number John told me was over 350 dances in 3 years, mostly in the south Puget Sound. But they also performed at various venues from Vancouver to Vancouver.

But back to the special occasion of the Homecoming Dance at Pacific Lutheran University. Somehow, someone there thought it would be great to bring back the band that played at the very first co-ed dance ever held at the school in 1965: The Deacons.

Picking up where they left off

Picking up where they left off

The members were contacted, weekend and long-distance rehearsals were planned and the next thing you know, the big night had arrived. John’s wife, Bunny, even sewed some blazers similar to what the band wore back in the day.

Yes, 49 years later, they were back. Older, yes. Grayer, absolutely. Needed the words written down on a music stand, you bet. But for just under 3 hours, the boys were back and a very appreciative crowd of all ages, ate it up.

The night’s special guest—the Tacoma News Tribune’s Larry LaRue, who had previously written this cool article about the band and personally remembered their glory days.

It was a night of northwest music history and I was fortunate enough to have been there.

Behold: The Deacons

Tim Hunter

John & his family strike the pose

John & his family strike the pose

They Just Don’t Get It

It’s been almost 11 years since I was informed of my retirement from radio.  Since then, I’ve watch group ownerships get bigger, consolidations followed by layoffs and all this, while local radio has devolved into an efficient-as-possible money-making machine.  Phase out the big-name shows, hire green talent to step in, and slowly but surely become less relevant to the audience that grew up with you.

My latest frustration with the world of radio came during the major league baseball playoffs, when I had to be on the road during one of the games.  I surfed up and down my AM and FM dial, past 5 different sports stations and not one was carrying the game.  Or any baseball playoff game for that matter.  Now, I would expect that in a smaller market, but in Seattle–a market with a major league baseball team.  Oh, we want you to be a fan, but ONLY if it’s us.

Radio basically came at me with the question, “So what are you going to do about it?”  What they fail to realize is that today, there ARE options.  I can download an app and play the game on my phone.  Or, if nothing else, you’ve trained me to search for what else is out there.  And lookie-there….satellite!

For a $1.83 upgrade charge, I suddenly had all the games in my car, whenever I need to be on the road.

Yes, I already had satellite in the car.  Got one of those free 3-month trials and fell in love with the static-free, commercial-free offerings.

I had a lot of fun in my radio days, but this incident is another reminder of why it was probably a good thing I got out when I did.  I’m a big believer of “things happen for a reason.”  Sadly, the people running radio these days are doing nothing more than cashing out, and trying to make as much as they can while they can.

Just passing along my latest experience and further proof that they just don’t it.

Tim Hunter

A LONG TIME COMING

And thar he goes!!!

And thar he goes!!!

It finally happened. After just shy of 10 years at Destination Marketing, my work home for the past decade, I left the building for the final time. The next time I’m in the neighborhood, there will be a new door code. I could possibly see some new faces. It will be the site of my former job.

It would be only natural to second-guess myself. To ask, “Why would I give up a job where I get to do some of what I like to do, would start getting six weeks of paid vacation if I stayed a couple of more months, enjoy a good healthcare plan, steady income….?”

The key word in there is “some.”

Destination Marketing was where I eventually landed after my radio career imploded. It was a natural fit for the reinventing of myself as a writing-focused creative guy. Radio was the only thing I had known for 28 years, but advertising had always been a part of that. Talk to this client and write a spot, record this commercial before you go home and so on. As I made myself a new home at an advertising agency, that quickly expanded to TV, print and Internet ads.

DM, as the DM-ers call it, helped me grow into a more media and marketing savvy guy. I don’t know it all, but I’ve picked up a lot of useful information along the way and, what I don’t know, I’ve met people who do. To that end, it was the right time for me to head off and do my own thing.

What I had been doing was putting in my hours at Destination Marketing and then, before and after, doing the things I really love, like comedy, producing videos and voice work. Clients were usually an account director or an account manager away, so I didn’t often get to work with them directly. Having built up a few side clients that really appreciate what I do, I feel like I’m going to work for friends. And I am.

I’ve also had an ever-growing list of things I want to do, but just lacked the time. I have comedy to write, videos to produce and scripts to peddle!  Events to host!  Auctions to auctioneer at!

I have spent most of my life working for someone—Sears, United Airlines, the kitchen at the Terry Hall Dorms, radio stations and, finally, Destination Marketing. During my tenure at DM, I worked with 100 different people over those 10 years. Now, I’m working for me.

I’ve already lined up quite a few meetings, lunches and coffees and want to thank all of those base clients that allow me to get this thing going. It all just seems to be coming together. I don’t know where this path will take me, but since we all only get one shot at this, I’m just making sure to do it my way.

I also have to definitely thank Victoria, my family, all the friends and others who have encouraged me in taking this big step.

So…….Tim Hunter Creative Services, here we go!!!

Tim Hunter

Deal of the Decade

tim and car5_6094361441849985415_o

I’m cheap.

Call it ambitiously frugal, or a “true Scotsman”, whatever—I get a thrill when I score a big deal.

There have been several “great deal” moments over my life. The first that comes to mind is “the great Christmas tree score of ’12.” I had gone to Lowe’s to see if they had any after-Christmas killer deals and I came across a sign by their Christmas trees. “All trees $20.”   We’re not talking the little guys, ALL trees, $20. I asked several employees if the sign was right and they replied, “Yep!” So, I left the store with a 9-foot Westinghouse tree, pre-lit, the works, a $260 value….for $20 bucks.  I only wish I had grabbed several.

That particular exchange earned a spot in the Tim Hunter Great Deal Hall of Fame.

My latest entry came last weekend, while visiting my folks down in Los Angeles.

I had reserved a car at a rental place I’d never heard of before: SIXT. They claim they’ve been around since 1918. Whatever. I had gone online and reserved a sub-compact (the smallest thing you can get this side of a skateboard) and scored a smokin’ deal: 5 days for $99 (plus tax, etc.)

How do you beat that?

By showing up at the airport after several flight delays. It was after midnight, it came my turn to check in and the SIXT employee at the desk let me know they were all out of sub-compacts. So, I was going to get the car waiting for me out in spot 315.

Without looking at the paperwork, we headed straight to spot 315 and my wife Victoria and I just stopped and stared: “This must be a mistake.” Before my eyes, a beautiful 2014 Silver BMW 328i. I hit the open door button on the key chain they had given me and yep, for 5 days, we would be driving in luxury for just $99.

I’ve made a decision: this deal is not just going into the Tim Hunter Great Deal Hall of Fame, it might actually make it on to the poster.

SCORE!!!!

Tim Hunter