Is there any doubt?

Fall, I love you.

You are by far the best season of the year. When you think about it, the Fall of each day is when we enjoy our biggest meals, our adult beverages, favorite TV shows and social events. The best part of each day is in the Fall of those 24 hours. Then, like Mother Earth, we sleep through winter towards the spring of another new day.

Yes, we had record rain in October in the great Northwest, but the Fall colors have been spectacular. I started developing shutter finger and couldn’t resist just swinging by Greenlake one day to capture some of that amazing show going on.

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Every now and then (and contrary to popular belief) I make an attempt to slow down for even just five minutes and appreciate where I am and what’s going on around me. It was during that brief reflection this week that I realized just how much I am in love with Fall. I guess I always have been.

As a kid, of course, you learn to love Fall. It’s when the new TV shows arrive or, back in the day, when the Sears Christmas catalog showed up in the mail so you could start planning your list for you-know-who! You can’t have Halloween without Fall and what kid doesn’t love wandering around the neighborhood, shaking down neighbors for free candy? I was a kid when the Charlie Brown Halloween special was brand-new and became a much-anticipated annual event. We didn’t have videos and DVRs back then, we lived at the complete mercy of the three networks. As far as sports, I was raised a Dodger fan. We went to three World Series during the 1960s and since the games were often played during the day back then, teachers would wheel in a TV during class so we could all pause the education and watch!

Of course, as an adult, I discovered even more to savor about my favorite season. High school, college and NFL football make every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday special. There’s tailgating and fantasy football.  While we’re talking sports, we’ve got a winning soccer team making its moves through the playoffs and the best of the best in baseball fighting it out in the World Series. There’s also our traditional Fall windstorm, sometimes in October, other years in November. Visually, how do you not love the show put on each year by the leaves turning? Hop in the car and zip over to Leavenworth for a scenic drive through the mountains and you’ll also bump into Oktoberfest. Yes!

Thanksgiving, of course, gets its own paragraph. C’mon, a holiday based around eating? No gifts to buy, getting together with people you like and remembering how lucky we all are–one of the best ideas ever to come out of Washington, D.C.!  Give Honest Abe credit for starting it up, as a positive diversion to a country in the middle of a Civil War.

I also have to give a special shout out to the annual return of Standard Time. Yes, it means enduring endless grumbling about how early it gets dark. But its a small price to pay for an extra hour’s worth of sleep and on the weekend, no less.

Now don’t go letting this get to your head Fall, but you are simply the best. I suppose the only thing that could possibly make you any better is if we moved the elections to August. Please give that idea serious consideration.

Tim Hunter

THE FARM

It’s the time of year when a lot of city kids get their annual taste of the country life as they pack up and head to a pumpkin farm. They see tractors, people in overalls, crawl around on hay, go for a wagon ride.

Farms have always had a special meaning to me. For starters, my mom was raised on one. Actually, a couple. In my early years, our trips back to South Dakota to visit her side of the family always included a swing by Grandma & Grandpa Brandner’s farm, as well as a visit to a cousin’s farm.  I got to sit on a tractor and ride around with Grandpa (and we have the home movies to prove it), ride in the back of a truck for the nightly round-up of cattle, feed the chickens, collect eggs and so on.  When you grow up with that, you just assume everyone has relatives with farms and they get to go visit them.

Both relatives with farms didn’t just live on large chunks of land, but they were working it. Growing crops, raising hogs, cattle or chickens.  My cousin Clay took over his family’s farm and still grows crops on it, but has to maintain a second job because farming is just not what it used to be. Not that it was ever easy.

I remember going back to South Dakota the year after my grandparents sold their farm and moved into town. During several visits, we’d take the sentimental drive out to their old place and remember.  This past summer, we managed to pull off a swing back to South Dakota and we went to the site of the farm. But the home was long gone. There was a new structure, new barn and it was just not the same.

I was reminded of that farm this past week because my mom & sister visited from California, their first time up here in 9 years and mom brought along this flyer. It was something that was printed up before the auction, when everything on the farm was sold. You think about all those years of working sun up to sundown and then, one day, it’s all put up to the highest bidder. I thought you’d get a kick out of how they worded some of the items. For example, the location: “at the place two miles south of Roscoe.”  To help encourage attendance, “Lunch will be served.”

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There was a time. There was a farm. Then one day, there was an auction and the farm began its fade into history. Fortunately, someone in a plane managed to grab an aerial shot of it one time, so we’ll be able to look back and remember.

I also know that, if they ever figure out that time-travel thing, I’ve already got my first destination planned out.

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Emma & Emil Brandner’s Farm   1942-1966

Tim Hunter

Gerard Mauvis

It sounds French. A wine?  Or maybe a town in France. Wait, Gerard, that’s a first name. Was he a famous painter?

Over the course of my life and my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met a lot of people. Earlier this summer, I had the chance to meet Gerard Mauvis at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess where he was the Director of Operations. I had flown down to Arizona for a couple of days of videotaping and photography for one of our Create Impulse clients, MistAmerica.

It’s our biggest client by far and one that is enjoying tremendous success.  They make misting equipment for hot climates. Not just any misting equipment, but the top of the line misters that far out-perform anything else in the category.  That’s why Gerard and the crew at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess decided to have them installed in several locations of their resort. The results have been beyond their wildest dreams. The misters kept their outdoor areas usable, even in triple-digit heat. That meant people stayed outdoors, remained active and continued to order food and beverages.

So, on my whirlwind tour of the desert that day, I was bouncing from place to place, asking satisfied MistAmerica customers to talk about their product experience.  Now, I have to admit, that with the posh Scottsdale Princess being one of the most lavish resorts in the area, I figured I might run into a couple of stuffy shirts. You know, “I work at the Fairmont”, that kind of thing.  From the moment I met Gerard, he was kind, pleasant, down to earth, a real people person. From start to finish, I might have spent an hour with him, which flew by.  He said such wonderful things about the product, was genuinely and sincerely excited about it and just happy to have the opportunity to tell others.

I returned to Seattle, edited together a couple of pieces from the video and was quite proud of how they turned out. Here’s one of the videos, so you can see what I’m talking about.

That gives you a good idea of the kind of person I was lucky enough to get to know that hot summer day just a few months ago.  I’ll bet if I had gone down there again and reintroduced myself, he would have remembered our little chat that we captured on video.

But that will never happen.

I recently found out that on the final Friday of September, he was walking across a street to catch a high school football game when he was struck by a car and killed. Just like that. Gone.

This world really can’t afford to lose any of the good ones, but my sadness deepened even further when I read about his life on the GoFundMe page set up for his family. Gerard Mauvis was a class act and I can only imagine the incredible grief and sense of loss his family is feeling.

He only enjoyed 46 years on this earth but it’s obvious he made them all count. I will be forever grateful to have been lucky enough to meet Gerard Mauvis. That hour I spent with him is a precious souvenir of time I will not forget.

Tim Hunter

 

Locker Room Talk

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Much has been made of the Donald Trump/Billy Bush video that was released a week ago.  The content was offensive, insensitive, disgusting and a warehouse full of wrong that the Trump campaign downplayed as “locker room talk.”

Let me be clear that the conversion does show the kind of person Donald Trump is when he thinks the microphone isn’t on.  He’s not the first guy ever to think he’s God’s gift to women, that because of his “celebrity” that he’s entitled to grope females where ever and whenever he wants. And for some reason, these are the kinds of guys who are drawn to politics. Great.

Today, of course, we live in an enlightened age where we all know it’s abhorrent and unacceptable behavior and you wouldn’t dare say anything like that within earshot of an electronic device that could record it. But remember, this was from back in 2005, when there were still quite a few remnants of the Good Old Boys’ club running around. Donald Trump is 70. He spent most of his life being a character from “Mad Men.”  Again, none of this makes it acceptable, but in Donald’s world, he has justified it as one of the benefits of celebrity.

So, to recap–what Trump said and his attitude displayed in the Access Hollywood tape, not surprising. What IS surprising is the rush to the front of the morality line, saying that “guys don’t talk like that in locker rooms.”  NFL players have stepped forward to boast, “We don’t talk like that!”  Radio talk show hosts go on and on how the locker rooms they’ve been in are closer to churches.

That may be true in most of today’s PC locker rooms, but my early life experience taught me differently. Not all locker rooms conversations exhibit the lowest form of humanity, but there’s always “that guy.” The insecure, I- insist-on-telling-you-how-I’m-a-sex-machine pervert that has to talk in a sexist, demeaning way about women.  Let’s say it happens in .0001% of the conversations that occur in the locker room, but they do happen. Sometimes, not even in locker rooms.

Back when I was around 12, my mom used to occasionally give me money to run down the street to the meat store. Yes, back then, there was a 7-11 size store not far from our house where they sold nothing but meat. I would go there with my hand-written list, purchase our carnivorous delights and being a kid, they’d give me a free hot dog to munch on (yes, uncooked) on my walk home.

One busy Saturday, I had to take a number and wait in line. While I was standing there, the guy in front of me turned around to inform that he had gotten two women pregnant at the same time. Can you imagine that? Ha-ha-ha, two women!! I most likely gave him a Billy Bush nervous chuckle and continued waiting in line, all the time wondering, “Why would he do that? That wasn’t very nice.”

Looking back, I wonder why anyone would feel the need to share that with a 12-year-old boy? Mind boggling. And for those of you wondering, this was in California, so it couldn’t have been Donald.

The other locker room talk incident that came to mind was back in my high school basketball-playing days.  All my teammates were in the locker room with assorted conversations taking place, as they always did. But this time, one of the players decided to let me know he had “done it” with my girlfriend’s younger sister, describing her breasts and ranking her sexual performance. (Cue the Billy Bush nervous laugh)

Ladies and gentlemen, that is locker room talk.  Both of those incidents occurred 40+ years ago, but that would put them smack dab in Donald Trump’s life experience time frame.  The difference in our stories is that I was the one listening, he was the one doing the talking.

To those who say that locker room talk that is demeaning to women doesn’t exist is along the lines of saying, “Well, that’s the last of racism in the south!” I’d like to believe we are evolving as humans and learning just a little bit more each day about treating each other with respect. But there are still some of “those guys” running around.

In the case of the Trump incident, Donald was trying to show off to Billy Bush and being a sexist braggart. Billy, having a chance to interview the millionaire, played along, laughing at each disgusting remark, feeding Donald’s ego. He just wanted the interview.

Now, the trendy thing is for people to say, “Oh, yeah, guys don’t really talk like that in locker rooms. Or, at least, not in MY locker rooms.” (insert Billy Bush laugh here) If you believe that, do let me know what color the unicorns are in your world.

Go ahead and use the Access Hollywood video to decide who you vote for president or not. I’ve known for a while who I can’t vote for. It’s been like sitting in the dentist chair, waiting for the Novocain to kick in so the drilling can start. Maybe the solution is as simple as building a huge wall around the locker room.

Can we just get this thing over with?

Tim Hunter

Yay! I’m Another Seattle Statistic!

You hear the talk show hosts saying our city is out of control.  Dave Ross, most mornings on KIRO, lists the car break-ins, thefts and burglaries that took place over the last 24 hours. You’d think Mad Max was running the place.

This past Sunday morning, my wife and I headed out to do some shopping. But when we got to the car, my door wasn’t completely closed. The contents of the glove box was everywhere and some things were missing–a flashlight, a phone charging cord, etc.  Fortunately, all the car’s paperwork was still there–registration, dealer papers and such.

We cleaned things up, started backing up and then I thought, “I wonder if they took anything off the carport?” Sure enough, the pressure washer I had used recently to clean off the front of the house, was gone.

In the grand scheme of things, as robberies go, I got off pretty lucky. Yes, I was pissed as hell. The idea that some druggie was out scrounging in our carport feet from our bedroom at 4am in the morning makes me want to set up bear traps.

But things happen for a reason. So I’ll just assess what happened, what I learned and use the occasion to grow.

My Ring Doorbell–Seriously, best security investment ever. It cost a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s the eye on the front porch that they don’t suspect.  That’s how I knew the scoundrel was doing his dirty deeds from 4:23am-4:38am. The motion-detection feature grabs video of anyone coming into view of the front door.  Yes, it was too dark to make out the suspect, but it did give me time parameters and allowed me to listen to my pressure washer being wheeled down the driveway.

The Police Report–Sure, I did this, despite the fact I’ve heard multiple times it just doesn’t do any good. I actually called in two times, eventually getting a very nice person who gave me the option of having an officer come out, someone calling me or doing the form online. I went with what was behind door number three and filled out the form.  You know, it makes you wonder how many crimes are NOT reported, since the police even state on that form words to the effect of , “Yeah, nothing is going to probably happen.”  And the typo’s on the form made me wonder, “Do they even really look at these?”  Unless dis and undertsand are up & coming words.

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Let The Neighbors Know–Our little neighborhood is pretty quiet and we know almost everyone on the block. Therefore, let them know you were ripped off. You may find out that they also had something stolen and helps make people keep an eye out for those who you don’t recognize around the hood.

It would be easy to dismiss this incident as just the price of living in the city. But it’s just another of many examples of how Seattle needs some serious fixing. I will take care of my property and take steps to prevent anything like that from happening again (or at least catch a good picture of them next time). It’s just a shame anyone should have to go through something like this in the first place.

Tim Hunter