So What Did You Do Last Weekend?

I have lots of guesses. Drank or ate green stuff on Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day? Slipped over to the University of Washington where the cherry blossoms are putting on their annual show?

Weekends come and weekends go. Some are a celebration of surviving the work week. Others are savored and drawn out as long as possible until the inevitable Monday morning rolls around again.

This past weekend, something very special happened down in Los Angeles. It was the fulfillment of a promise that a dad made last year. He and his daughter had decided they were going run their first-ever marathon when the L.A. Marathon rolled around in 2018.  The dad was a high school classmate who I’ve blogged about before, Mike Duarte. All the background details are right here.

With reading that, you know that his daughter was one of the 58 people shot dead in Las Vegas last fall by a crazed gunman. Christiana Duarte was celebrating her new job with the L.A. Kings hockey club and taking in a country music concert with thousands of other people.  She and her dad were supposed to begin training for the marathon when they returned.

Mike had made a promise and so on Sunday, after months of training, he ran the L.A. Marathon in Christiana’s memory. Her loss made no sense. Her promising future, extinguished. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and grief Michael and his family went through and endure to some degree every day.

There were 24,000 people running on Sunday from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica, including one broken-hearted dad, running for the memory of his daughter and keeping that promise he made to her.

I thought you should know.

God’s peace, Duarte family.

Tim Hunter

Spring Ahead–And Backup

OK, each week there comes a time when I’m staring at my keyboard, deciding what topic I’m going to tackle in this week’s blog. I can get political (but fight it off as much as humanly possible) or observational or practical. I’m choosing option C.

And it comes from recent experience. You see, a couple of weeks ago, my computer began making a beeping noise. At first, when it was booting up and eventually, on random occasions. I went online and looked at Yelp reviews about where I could take it for an exam. I don’t know if you saw the story about Best Buy’s Geek Squad, but apparently, some of the computers they were given made their way to the F.B.I..  Not that I have any great secrets I’m hiding, but I decided to look for a local tech geek.

It turns out I had a failing hard drive. Living a rather precise life without room for things like failing hard drives, I asked a local computer repair shop to replace the drive. Now, that gives me a new, faster drive. But what about all the programs that were installed?  Well, first, I had to ask my backup company ( to send me a hard drive with all my important files on it. Then, I had to reinstall all the programs. Basically, I lost a week, but still managed to get everything out I do in a “normal” week thanks to having the backup service and having a dependable laptop to rely on.

The point of this week’s ramblings is this–you need a backup plan. Hard drives fail and usually at the most inopportune time. An unsolicited plug for BackBlaze–there are others and I just chose this one, but it constantly backs up where your computer is, 24-hours-a-day, online. Should it crash on a Tuesday, you can order a hard drive backup copy of your C-drive the day before it crashed and get everything back. Photos, files, projects, they’re all there.

Now the reason I felt strongly compelled to touch on this subject this week is because I had a recent hard drive fail. That’s when you need a backup system and your turn is coming. I mentioned BackBlaze, but here’s the deal (as my brother-in-law Kris likes to say): If you have Comcast Cable or most of the other major companies, they offer a free Virus protection.  Log on to your Internet provider account, go to support and search for Norton.

In the case of Comcast, they GIVE you the $160 package of virus protection AND backup. So, you’re just a download away from having everything you have on your computer backed up, for free.

Seriously, reach out to me if you have questions, because just knowing that all those photos, documents and files are backed up “just in case” is incredible peace of mind.

You’re welcome. Now get back out there!

Tim Hunter


Could It Be The Hats?

I was talking with an avid Seattle Mariners fan the other day about the team re-signing Ichiro. I was excited about it, because he brought a lot to the Mariners during his first term and, even though he now clocks in at 44-years-old, he could still bring a lot into the clubhouse if not on the field.

The friend downplayed the impact and expressed a bigger concern about all the injuries the team’s had since they started spring training. I was acknowledging the early season bad luck when he then blurted out an explanation, a possible theory behind those injuries.

The Mariners’ hats.Over the years, baseball has proudly become one of the most superstitious of all the sports. When a pitcher walks to the dugout after an inning, he steps OVER the chalk baseline, never on it. When a batter backs out of the box between pitches and does his ritualistic batting glove adjustment, it’s to better his odds of getting a hit. Fans are equally superstitious, turning their hats around in the 9th inning to convert them into “rally caps”, as if what they’re wearing will cast some positive mojo upon their team.

Oh, and there have been some great team superstitions that turned into traditions. Of course, the most famous was the “Curse of the Bambino”. The Boston Red Sox had a player named Babe Ruth, who was not only a great pitcher, but also had quite the bat. For some reason, they traded Babe to the Yankees in the 1919-20 off-season. Die-hard Red Sox fans know that the curse was credited for keeping the team out of the World Series for 86 long years.

When tavern owner William Sianis took his goat to Wrigley Field back in 1945 to promote his Billy Goat Tavern, he was kicked out. So he placed a curse on the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs didn’t make it to the World Series for 71 years. Apparently, that’s all a goat curse will get you.

Now, back to the Mariners. I’m sure not going take credit for this theory. In fact, here’s a nice article on the subject. But the bottom line is that the Trident that appears on their hats is apparently bad luck.  Oh, sure, the head of Neptune’s spear usually means good luck. But, to make it look like an ‘M’ for Mariners, they turned it upside down. You know what they say about horseshoes and if you turn them pointing down, the luck will run out? Same thing. With the Trident pointing down, all of the Mariners good luck has just run out.

Amusing theory. It would be absurd to think that it could actually be the cause of all their injuries. Then again, the team has never made it to the playoffs in years that the down-pointing Trident appeared anywhere on their uniforms.

Maybe just to amuse those superstitious people, we should get rid of the Trident for a season or two. Like now. Is it gone yet?

In the immortal words of one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Bud Light, “It’s only superstitious if it doesn’t work.”

Tim Hunter

You Got That, Wright!

I’d like to introduce you to one of the acquaintances I’ve made over the years. A fellow by the name of Bill Wright.

Bill has been employed over the years by various companies and that’s about all I know. It’s apparently the kind of stuff that, if he tells you, he has to kill you. So, I didn’t ask.

I’ve known Bill as a determined producer. A guy with ideas who passionately does all he can to make those ideas become reality.

I don’t exactly remember how met all those years ago, except that I was a hired voice for some projects he produced. Bill has always been a major fan of the Wizard of Oz books.  Yes, that was meant to be plural. 13 of them were written by the original author, L. Frank Baum. A total of 43 official books have been written by various authors over the years.

Back in the 1990s, Bill decided he wanted to turn a couple of those adventures into audio books. He brought in Seattle radio traffic legend Debbie Deutsch to do the narrating, hired a 12-year-old girl named Alexandra Barkley to provide the voice of Dorothy, and yours truly did ALL the other voices.  There were many a Saturday and Sunday afternoon in the Lake City recording studio where we spent hours laying down all the voice tracks.  Local audio guru Bob Majors did the tweaking and the next thing you know, there were audio books. (although, as of this writing, they are only available on cassette)

Over the years, it seems like Bill & I would get together, hear about each other’s lives and then off we’d go to our neutral corners. A couple of years ago, I helped his daughter with a demo video for a cooking show. Then, earlier this year, he reached out to me about a special project.

And this one is special.

Without going too much into detail, I can give you the headlines. Bill has done research about some lost stories from World War II. He’s even gotten the state of Hawaii to fund his project and we are at the beginning stages of bringing one story to video. I will be providing the narrator voice.  The long and short of it is, during World War II, the United States decided to set up camps where Japanese Americans had to ride out the war. The Japanese-American males of military age were used to form units that were deployed to Europe to fight the war.  One of those units provided the heroes that  freed 5,000 Jewish prisoners from the notorious Dachau Nazi camp when they intercepted a death march. The irony is thick. There they were, risking their lives to free prisoners from a German concentration camp, while back home, their families were locked up.

Finally, that story is going to be told. When there’s a finished project, I’ll do my best to bring it to your attention.

Then, after a few decades pass, maybe Bill & I will collaborate on yet another project. Don’t be surprised when it happens.

Tim Hunter

The Even Greater Generation

Tom Brokaw wrote about my parent’s generation and called them, “The Greatest.”

You have to fully dive into what it might have been like to be alive back then and, at a time when it would have been so easy to get overwhelmed and just give up, they fought a crazed dictator in Germany and a cult-like leader in Japan (they considered him a god) and won on both fronts.  Most of them had survived our country’s greatest depression only to roll into a World friggin’ War. While growing up, I never would have guessed it. Maybe it was because my parents–like so many others of their generation–just dealt with it, learned from it, and grew to appreciate all they had.

There was a time I was quite proud of my peers and how we changed the world. I’m still amazed at how much life has improved and progressed during my generation. The evolution of technology, equal rights for races, genders and more, a high value on education, questioning our government, striving to make things better for all Americans, etc. Hey, we are FAR from perfect, but we’re making serious strides and have really come a long way during the course of my lifetime.

As much distain as the younger generation has for the boomers, it’s no secret that older people don’t think very much of the Millennials or whatever the generation is after that one is called. The common thinking is that they feel entitled, spoiled, they don’t know the hardship of having to dial a phone number with a rotary phone and their toughest day is the result of Siri not providing them with the answer to a take-home test.

But, as my brother-in-law Kris likes to say, “Here’s the deal.” Those teens and 20-somethings running around today that will some day rule the world–they’re the ones who will finally figure out the gun thing.

Yes, the gun thing. This endless cycle of “It’s our right” versus “Oh-oh, someone just shot up a school full of kids again.” Seriously, how long has this back and forth been going on?  Someone mows down a bunch of people with a gun, there’s outrage, a call for banning assault weapons and then, it just fades away. A few months later, we go through it all over again.

I see this “We have a right to have any guns we want” equal to “We have a right to hate people of any color we want.” It’s a generational thing that has been passed along. Good, well-meaning people, drink the Kool-Aid that is Gun Rights and feel that any control, any restriction is the first step towards the government coming to our homes and confiscating our weapons. A very serious threat–in 1775.

This is where the memorized mantra comes out on both sides, as it always does. But that’s not the point of this writing.

What I’m saying is that my generation has failed to solve the gun thing. But it’s become quite clear that this younger generation coming in, the ones who were in the schools when the shootings broke out, the ones who have seen classmates gunned down and schools go into lock down: they see the insanity.

They don’t know that they should be thinking “There’s nothing we can do about it” and will eventually do something about it.

It won’t be tomorrow or the next day, but there is a legion of future voters who are going to see the value of having their voice heard, of making the change that is long overdue. The blanket gun rights people will end up being their own worst enemies. Their “I have a right to own a semi-automatic weapons so that crazy person over there does, too” attitude has to come to an end.

To today’s students, I would like to apologize for my generation not solving the plague of gun violence. We know what to do, we’re just not doing it. You, on the other hand, will finally figure this out. I can only hope to be around long enough to see it come to fruition.

Remember, be great. In fact, be greater.

Tim Hunter

Crap, I’m Doing It Again

Well, add this to my continuing series of blogs written and inspired by the latest mass shooting.

Look–I’m no genius. (please, the line to chime in forms down the street) For the sake of my comedy-writing skills, my observation muscle is really in good shape. I see things, process them, look for similarities and connections to other topics and create amusing quips and comments.

There is nothing cute or funny about the Florida shootings. But part of the routine response process (“More gun laws!”/”Stricter mental health regulations!”) kind of stands out to me this time.

The true solution is going to be a compromise that’s strictly enforced on both sides.

THE GUN ISSUE–Yes, 200 years ago, our forefathers made sure there was an amendment guaranteeing the right to own weapons and protect ourselves. The majority of people who own guns do so for for target practice, hunting and home security. But, like everything else these days, guns have become a political commodity–are you FOR guns or AGAINST them? Say the phrase “gun control” and the die-hards immediately respond with “that’s the first step towards the government taking all of our guns away!” And, there we are, back at that Second Amendment.

THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE–Between all the social media bombardment, where our media has evolved, and let’s throw in drug abuse while we’re at it, there are a lot of unstable people out there. Some are out-right dangerous. And not just at the homeless camps, but the bullied teenager who, in this case, lost both of his parents and was living with a family that took him in out of the kindness of their hearts, not knowing the complete mental damage that had happened. Someone with a history of violence, that had been kicked out of school, who had posted on YouTube that he wants to be a “professional school shooter”…I think it’s safe to say he has mental health issues. He needed help and wasn’t getting what he needed. It seems like a pretty simple concept that someone in that state of mind should have a tag on them, somewhere, that prevents them from buying an automatic weapon that can mow people down. But in this ever-so-PC world, we can’t label someone like that because it would be violating their rights.

I probably need to re-read the Constitution again, but I don’t believe there’s a right to shoot dozens of people with an automatic weapon.

Calling on the Republicans or the Democrats to fix this falls right into the camp that there are two teams playing. We’re one nation. The NRA has politicians in their pockets: shame on them. Then again, they’re doing what the pharmaceutical, insurance and other industries do. That’s how the political game is played.

But it’s time to call a time-out in this game and take positive steps so that people aren’t sending their kids off to school and not being really sure if they’ll ever come back.

GUN PEOPLE–Yes, you have the right to an AR-15, based on that second amendment. You’ll most likely treat it with respect and only shoot it at a firing range. But here’s the deal–there’s a disgruntled ex-co-worker or an abused or battered teen planning to lash out like all those shootings he keeps hearing about.  First off, is owning that kind of weapon really that important to you?  If so, shouldn’t a special license and training be required?  You need that to drive a car.  You can’t just hop behind the wheel of a semi and start driving. You also need special training and a special license.  Notice a pattern here?  There’s also a high accountability that comes with owning a gun. Having one that suddenly disappears and is used in a crime or killing spree–that’s on you.  Perhaps if your weapon is used in a crime, you’re charged as an accomplice or face a $100,000 fine.  Maybe if you knew that could happen, that semi-automatic would be treated like gold and locked up instead of being a quick grab away.

MENTAL HEALTH PEOPLE–When people go off the deep end, it’s not them. Their minds aren’t right. In the case of this Florida shooter, dear God, how many signs do you need?  If you have parents of teenagers, ask them if they have kids at their school “most likely to go off.” I pretty much guarantee they do. They always have. A snoopy grandmother in Everett this past week opened her grandson’s guitar case and found a rifle, along with his journal plotting a school shooting. She reported it. Yes, it’s family, and it could drive a wedge in your relationship, but God knows how many lives were saved by that action.  Dropping all the concern about being PC for a moment, if you’re mentally ill, you should NOT have the right to buy a gun. Is that really so difficult? Get help. Get therapy. Eventually, prove you deserve to be able to own a gun. We don’t allow 10-year-olds to buy weapons. We have laws that try to prevent ex-cons for owning them. The thing is, we’re at least trying in those areas. We are way overdue to identify those who are struggling and even just temporarily prevent them from owning weapons.

In summary, this is a Gun Control AND Mental Health issue. Did you ever think you’d live in a world where a dozen or two innocent people being gunned down became a common event?  The frustrating part is that political parties have become packages. If you vote in this party, you’ll get this, this and this.  If you vote in the other party, they represent that, that and that.  But what if I’m for this but also want that? Get my point?  I think we’ve reached the time that Gun Control for Mentally Disturbed People has become THE issue. The one that will determine who gets my vote.

Because those who already got our votes just don’t seem to care.

Tim Hunter

It’s All How It’s Dished Out

I’ve had this long-standing theory and perhaps I’ve written about it before. But this has been one of those weeks that I remind myself that life is all about balance.

Basically, we’re born and we die. Now, that period between those two monumental events of our life is filled with good stuff and bad stuff. It’s how the world works. It’s not perfect, it’s not evil. Here, let me show you this chart.

The Tim Hunter Hypothesis is that we are all given the same amount of good and bad in our lifetime. If you sat down, created two columns and started listing every good thing that’s happened to you on one side and all the bad stuff on the other, by the time you’d reach the end, you’d see that we get equal amounts of both.

Here’s the challenge. During your life, it comes in random amounts. Like, say, this week, I easily had a much larger dose of bad stuff happen than good. Oh, and there was good. I got to hold my new granddaughter and play with the grandkids. I was able to direct a video shoot for some new commercials for a client. I enjoyed a romantic dinner with my wife at Picolino’s on Valentine’s Day. I’m having lunch today with a long-time friend who beat cancer last year.  I continue to be able to write and play and create in this career-like-job I’ve crafted over the past several years.

But there was a ton of things you could consider bad stuff. Outside of my world, there was that horrific school shooting down in Florida. (see my previous blogs on that topic–I’m tapped out)  My main computer decided to wig out. The one on which most of my writing and producing is done. Things that should have taken seconds crawled along. I had to research, experiment, delete and install, all eating up the time I would normally do each week’s regular projects.  On top of that, my cell phone has been acting up and while not mentioning the company by name because they’ve been nice, a supposed fix to the port has resulted in a half-dozen visits to their store. They’ve had to install a second new screen, have gone through two ports and today, I have to drop it off and be phoneless the bulk of the day. Doable, but it just adds to the challenge.

I found out that a $1,000 check I had deposited a month ago never made it in. It was that “depositing by phone” thing that failed, but I just assumed it went in. As you can imagine, funds went short a couple of times.

Clients needed things yesterday. Extra projects came up.  Precious time disappeared so that I would get up even earlier than 4am just to get it all done.

Its weeks like this one that I remember the chart. So, I had a few challenges and, if I were keeping a weekly score, the bad probably won out over the good this week. No matter. I just take it all in stride and remember that it must mean a bunch of good is coming my way. If not next week, the week after. Eventually, it all balances out.

When life gets tough, just remember that there’s good on the way. Remember the chart. It’s all about balance. It’s all about how it’s dished out.

It really is.

Tim Hunter

Be A Tourist

When you feel like time is blurring by…when you find yourself saying, “Wow, it’s already February!”…when you have to stop and think, “Uh, what day is this again?”: be a tourist.

It dawned on me the other day at Universal Studios Hollywood. While my wife and I have a strong affection for Disneyland, Universal is the place we just don’t go to that often. But when we do, we have a blast and I turn into a kid again.

Norman Bates loading something in his trunk. He must be spring cleaning.

During that four-hour visit, despite the world-famous Los Angeles traffic to and from our destination, I had a non-stop smile on my face. We went on fantasy rides in the Harry Potter area, enjoyed that Simpsons adventure (which is just hilarious) and even made it through the “Walking Dead” zombie house. I was grinning from ear-to-ear the entire time and when I took so many pictures and video that my phone died, I became detached from the outside world.  No emails, no text messages, no news updates. I didn’t know what the stock market was doing or what the president had said or anything happening outside the park. I was present, enjoying the California sun and just having fun.

The experience reminded me that, being a tourist is probably something we should incorporate more into our day-to-day lives. That care-free, forget-about-the-problems-of-the-world outlook that I’m sure does my mental health a world of good.

I was being a tourist in southern California, but thousands of people do the same thing in Seattle where I now live. You can be a tourist anywhere. It’s more of a mental than physical thing and I have a feeling there are some rewards there that we all should be tapping into.

So, some friendly advice, as you navigate your way through another busy, crazy hectic work week: when you can, set aside a couple of hours for yourself, go some place fun and treat yourself to an escape.

Be a tourist.

Tim Hunter

It’s Going To Be Big!!

Something huge is coming to the Pacific Northwest and you may not have even known about it.

Due to the fact I was swallowed up in the Nordic community as a result of my marriage to a girl from Ballard, I know that there’s a lot of excitement about the first weekend in May. Yes, this year, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday. And, if I may digress just a bit further, did you know that whatever day St. Patrick’s Day falls on is the same day as Cinco de Mayo?  And in 2018, BOTH are on Saturdays!

OK, now back to the subject at hand–that first weekend in May, Seattle is going to be celebrating the opening of the brand-new Nordic Museum right there on Market Street in Ballard.  Let me try to help you realize just how big of a deal this is:

  1. This has a been a dream for years, with some convinced it would never actually happen. In the early days, there were two factions–one that wanted the museum at it’s new site and another group that wanted it to be where the Museum of History & Industry ended up on Lake Union.  The ones who wanted it closer to Seattle thought it would be best for the sake of tourism, but the long Scandinavian history of the Ballard area seemed to make the Market Street location more appropriate. Market Street eventually won out.
  2. The new museum was designed by Mithun. Among their more famous works, the National Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C..  They also designed the Seattle Aquarium and the Januik/Novelty Hill Winery over in Woodinville, among many other projects.
  3. That opening weekend could bring quite a few Scandinavian celebs to town, and even heads of state. We’ll see how the guest list shakes out.
  4. The New York Friggin’ Times even named the yet-to-open museum as one of the Top 52 Places in the World to visit in 2018!

The new Nordic Museum is going to have a larger performance hall with better acoustics, more room for exhibits that they couldn’t bring in to the previous location at that abandoned Seattle elementary school. (which is being refurbished and put back to work as a school in the near future)

Sadly, one of the things not making the move is the “Dream of America” Exhibit. As I understand it, the exhibit was given on loan to the museum by Denmark and apparently, it is going to head back there now. A lot of the things that “Dream” demonstrated will now be done electronically, as the move is made into a high-tech environment. I was fortunate enough to video-tape the final docent tour of the Dream of America and by watching the video below, you’ll be able to enjoy the full experience of what that exhibit offered, thanks to the expert commentary by one of the long-time supporters of the museum, Mari-Ann Kind Jackson.

I’m a big fan of everyone living their dream. The new Nordic Museum has been a long-time dream for so many Seattle people who have dedicated hundreds of hours to making it happen.

And in just a couple of months that dream becomes reality. The celebration is set for that first weekend in May. Hope to see you there.

Tim Hunter