Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

The only blog that you really want to read…or ignore.

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Why wear sunglasses on a dark, cloudy day?

You know what drives me nuts?

People who wear their sunglasses on dark cloudy days.

Sure, I know you can have a bright cloudy day and need your sunglasses. You need your extremely cool sunglasses on bright sunny days; I get that.  I’m a photographer and I am aware of the amount of light I see every day.

No, I’m talking about dark, overcast, ready to pour down rain on you days. I’m talking about people who insist on wearing sunglasses regardless of how dark or light it is outside. I’m not talking about the old grandma types that need them because of cataracts. I’m talking about people who are old enough to know better but want to look “good” in their shades. They can be in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties, and they still insist on wearing sunglasses when they clearly don’t need them.

Granted, some people’s prescription eyewear does change with the amount of light that hits them but they have a free pass to wear them. They need them and they aren’t trying to be a model from a hip clothing line. It makes no sense to me. You look like an idiot and it seems to me that you are hiding something.   A little too many martinis at lunch today? That hit off the old meth pipe too much? You were crying because you realized your boyfriend was an ass and you should have dumped him three months like your friends told you to? Why wear the sunglasses? Why look like someone who is clearly an idiot?

Being from the Pacific Northwest region, we have over 200 days of cloudy weather. I understand you might want to wear the sunglasses but it makes no sense. Accept the fact you live here in a cloudy, rainy area of the world with no hope of sunshine except for two months out of the year. Get use to it. It is cloudy here most of the time and the weather is cold (40-50 F) most of the time. If it is 65 F and sunny, we are in heaven here!

Comments? Please for the life of my blog….make some comments!Image

Dad & Daughter Roller Coaster Trip Day 3: Magic Mountain

X2 roller coaster - Flickr photo

X2 roller coaster – Flickr photo

You knew I’d milk this roller coaster trip on forever in my blog posts didn’t you?  On our third day of our adventure, we bid farewell to the City of Sacramento and flew on Southwest Airlines to Burbank Airport in the Los Angeles area.  I do like flying into the smaller airports because it is easier to get in and out in a timely manner.  Both Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines flew into Burbank Airport so this worked out well for us since our return flight back to Seattle was departing from Burbank.When I was planning this trip, I wanted to fly in as close as I could to Six Flag’s Magic Mountain Park and Burbank was the closest major airport for me.  My original plan was to fly into Sacramento, rent a car, visit friends in the Sacramento area, do the Six Flag’s Discovery Park, and then drive to Magic Mountain.  That plan fell apart when the cheapest rate I could find on any rental car website or kayak or hotwire or anything was close to $800 for a short five or six day rental.  It was expensive due to the fact I was picking the rental car up in one city and returning it in another.  My original plan also produced a lot more driving and car time that we wanted to do.  We are vacation for the rides not to be taken for a ride by the rental car companies.

We used Fox Rent a Car which had some terrible reviews online but we fine for us.  It was a short ride from the airport to the rental car company base.  We got a sporty little four door Mazda 2 with only 500 miles on it.  Not a bad little car for the two of us.  I thought about having my daughter drive it but considering she is only 11 years old and it would be her first time in LA traffic, I decided against it.Aww! Sunshine!

Now, when you are visiting amusement parks in February Six Flag’s system of parks might not be open seven days a week.  So our only window to visit Magic Mountain was on Monday February 17 (President’s Day).  The park hours are limited as well from 10:30 am to 6 pm and the water rides are usually shut down.

Since we had purchased season passes at Discovery Kingdom the day before, we merely had to park our car for the outrageous sum of $20 and walk though the main gates of Magic Mountain without purchasing new tickets.  I remember passing by Magic Mountain 20 years ago thinking I’d get to it one day.  Finally, this day had come.  Finally, I had a kid who wanted to ride the big scary rides.  Finally, I had a roller coaster ride partner that wouldn’t wimp out on me.  I was finally here.

To be honest, I like coming on the off season because the lines are much shorter.  The newer rides had the longest rides which ate up a lot of our time.  X2 is the latest redesigned ride and it was awesome but the line took forever.  When a sign says the wait will be 45 minutes, that is OK.  When it turns into 75 minutes, then I get a little pissed off.  We didn’t make it to the Full Throttle ride because we ran out of time and the ride looked scary long.  In fact, we had to skip some rides due to running out of time and having to ration our time for the rides that we heard were awesome.  However, on others we rode it three times just because we could.  Goliath, Tatsu, and X2 were my favorites.  I tried to look up my daughter’s favorite ride but the Magic Mountain website is down (sorry folks!).

Waiting for X2 - almost there!

Waiting for X2 – almost there!

Definitely need to have two days at Magic Mountain (even in the off season) to get to all the rides into your schedule.  I can’t imagine how it is on a busy summer day with more people wandering the park, trying to get in as much as possible.  The lines have to be almost impossible.  We didn’t even get to the wooden roller coasters since they aren’t my favorites because we ran out of time.  Personally, I like the speed and loops of steel roller coasters so skipping the wooden ones wasn’t an issue for me.

As anyways, your comments and sarcastic witty comments are welcome.

 

How to Lose Your Girl Scout Troop in Seattle

Girl Scout Adventure to the Smith Tower and MOHAI!

Excuse any mistakes….this blog is from my phone!

On Friday, our Girl Scout Trip had a little adventure to the Smith Tower located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle via the Sound Transit’s light rail train. All eight of our Girl Scouts showed up for the trip to the top of Smith Tower and the Chinese Room.

We were able to catch the light rail train from the Tukwila station directly to the Pioneer Square neighborhood where the famous Smith Tower (42 stories tall and at one time the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River) is located. Being from the South King County city of Kent, we have quite a few options to get into Seattle. Instead of driving on Friday morning, we took Sound Transit’s light rail train into Seattle.

My son also came along so we had a total of 12 people on this outing: 8 Girl Scouts, one Boy Scout, and three adults. If anyone is keeping track or needs to plan a trip into Seattle, I’ll be giving you costs for each of travel legs. One of our scouts met us there so our train fare was $34 for our group of 11 people.

Smith Tower is the only place in the Seattle area that has elevator operators. The elevators are staffed by actual human beings that will take you to the observation floor of Smith Tower from the beautiful lobby. The doors on each floor and the elevator’s doors are glass. This allows you and your fellow passengers the treat of seeing each floor as you pass by as you race to the top.

Cost on this part of the trip was lower than normal because Groupon had a deal for four tickets for $14.99. We used three Groupon certificates for the group of 12 we had.

The Smith Tower offers an excellent view to the south, southeast, and southwest of it. The industrial area lays to the south and I-5 freeway to the east. You can see the downtown Seattle business core to the north plus other landmarks like the Space Needle, CenturyLink Field, Safeco Field, and the cranes on the Port of Seattle waterfront. If you have time, you can watch the Washington State Ferries come and go into and back out of Coleman Dock. While the weather wasn’t too clear for us on Friday, I’m sure on a sunny day with blue skies, Mt. Rainier would be visible.

After we had explored the 35th floor observation deck, we descended back down to lobby and returned to the metro tunnel to catch another link rail train to the Westlake Mall area. The transit tunnel was built roughly 25-30 years for buses with the idea that it would one day have trains running through it. Currently, our transit tunnel allows both the light rail trains and buses to run through it and is handy when you know where you want to go.

We got back in the light rail train and rode the it to Westlake, got off and had lunch at the food court. To keep costs down, we had the girls bring a sack lunch. However, there is a small selection of restaurants and smoothie stands in the food court to choose from. The dining area is clean and well lit. Lots of places to eat at and we just made it in before the big lunch rush.

We then went back down to street level and caught the South Lake Union Streetcar north to The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). The Seattle Streetcar is different from the Sound Transit Light Rail system. The street car is run by King Country Metro which is our local county transit authority and the light rail train system is run by Sound Transit, our regional transit system. Confused? I bet. If you live in the area and travel on both frequently you may want to purchase an ORCA pass. However, for a short day trip, we opted to pay the general fair for the ride. Your ticket is good for the ride and you have a two hour transfer that you can use for the return trip. Cost for the streetcar is $2.50 for adults and $1.25 for youth. You can purchase tickets at the kiosk at each stop and on board the streetcar.

One problem I noticed is that the ticket kiosk is designed for you to purchase one ticket at a time. Not a big hassle until you have to purchase 12 tickets and you have to do it one at a time. One of the moms and I spent half the ride purchasing the tickets for all 12 of us. At one point I was tempted to skip it but what kind of example does that set?

We finally made it to the MOHAI and the weather had turned to sunshine. It was a marvelous sunny day in Seattle and one that makes you love Seattle. MOHAI is a beautiful museum and offers so much of the way of Seattle’s history. It moved to this location a year or two ago and it is well thought out. I wasn’t able to finish the whole museum myself. The nice part about the MOHAI is the cost is free for kids under 14. It is pricey for adults at $14 each. Of course they offer a teacher rate and senior rate as well. Luckily for us, I had planned ahead and asked the parents to look for Entertainment Book coupons and we got the four adults in for $24. Not a bad price for a group of 12!!

Our age for our Girl Scout troop is 11-12 years and this seems like a prefect age for the MOHAI. They were busy but not bored. Again, I could have spent a few more hours reading and enjoying the museum. I didn’t get to finish the whole thing but I definitely give it a thumbs up!! My favorite display was the Great Seattle Fire display. It has a little show you can watch and enjoy. Quite well thought out and keeps all ages entertained.

After we finished up there, we headed back home. You would have thought I planned it perfectly because as soon as we walked to the streetcar stop the streetcar was arriving. We hopped onto it and rode it back to Westlake Center. Then we went straight to the light rail stop and waited a few moments for the light rail and hopped on that. A quick fun ride back on the light rail to the Tukwila station and we were almost home.

Now before we left the Tukwila light rail station we had to park in the parking lot which doesn’t have enough parking for the ridership this station produces. They do have a special parking section that is marked S.O.V. Permit parking from 6 am to 10 am. I’m not sure what or who S.O.V parking is but we used two of their spots. The rest of the time it is open to general parking. We had arrived at 9:20 am and parked there. My troop moms were worried about their cars getting towed but our cars were there when we returned. For forty minutes, we were breaking the rules but it did work out in the end. No cars or cats were towed and I didn’t have to pay to get two vehicles out of the impound lot.

20140316-060238.jpg

20140316-060340.jpg

20140316-060511.jpg

20140316-060836.jpg

20140316-060931.jpg

20140316-060952.jpg

Oh Man, Where are the Followers and What Do They Read?

The other day I was reading a blog posting about how one of the bloggers I follow on WordPress just got his 11,000th follower on his blog.  In July 2013, he only had 6,000.  He wrote a brief “success” blog about how and what he did to reach 11,000 followers.

I am a bit jealous of his success. In his humble opinion, he isn’t the world’s best writer or blogger. His blog is so poorly written it is hard to read and gives me a headache.  I want to take my red ink pen out and correct it like a murderer/slasher on a 1990’s flick.  A lot of his problems are due to the run on sentences, bad sentence structure, and terrible grammar.

Yet, he has some great stories and 11,000 followers so I can pretty much suck it, right?  I have measly 400 or 500 followers so I really can’t say how to build up a huge following, can I?  Of course, my blog is built on Worthless Advice so maybe I’m killing myself and my blog?  He spins his tales like a drunken sailor (his description of himself) and people love it.  Imagine what he could do with a ghost writer living on Kauai?

What is the secret to his success?  He uses a bunch of tags that the magic internet search engine spiders love and brings in his type of readers (followers).  Even if his blog post has nothing to do with those tags, he still uses the same tags and categories over and over again.  Now, I’m not sure he is making money online but he has written a book and has self published it.

Oh, and a lot of his terms are about sex, crime, and drugs.  His life experiences are downright scary.  So we do know what the general public is looking for, don’t we?  And I don’t have anything against others blogging and writing exactly what they want to write.  I admire anyone willing to throw themselves out there and open themselves and their writing up for the world to see.

Your thoughts and comments?

Girl Scout Day

It is Girl Scout Day!!

I almost totally forgot but it is National Girl Scout Day and it is always celebrated on March 12.

Girl Scout Day recognizes and celebrates the Girls Scouts of the USA(GSUSA). This date celebrates the creation of the first Girl Scout group (troop) on March 12, 1912.

Lady Olave Baden-Powell, founded Girl Guides and was the wife of Lord Baden-Powell (who created the Boy Scouts in 1910), she was born on February 22 (1889).

On March 12, 1912 Juliette Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah, Georgia with 18 girls. The Girls Scouts became a national organization, and was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950. Today, there are millions of girls currently involved with Girl Scouts. Both Girl Scouts of the past are still involved with scouting and continue to be involved as adults. Heck, even a few dads like myself have been sucked into Girl Scouts!

Currently in the Seattle/Puget Sound Area it is Girl Scout cookie time. In our household Thin Mints are the most popular. The annual Girls Scout cookie drive helps to teach the girls valuable skills about selling, managing money, and how to be rejected by complete strangers and their own friends and family. However, the cookie sales do generate income to support girl scouting activities like camping, canoe trips, summer camp, and horse camp.

Our Troop 42301 has eight Girl Scouts plus adult leaders that keep our troop going. This coming Friday March 14, 2014 we will be headed to Seattle to visit the Smith Tower and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). In fact, we plan to use both the Sound Transit Light Rail trains and the Seattle Streetcar system (South Lake Union route SLU) to visit both the Smith Tower and MOHAI.

Sound Transit Light Rail Train

Sound Transit Light Rail Train

How Not To Be That Idiot Driver

I’m not much of a commuter so when I do have to drive somewhere, I pride myself on not being an idiot. I know where I am going and what freeways and exits I need to take. I know where the problems will be and when I should merge or exit.

Today, some idiot decided she needed to merge in front of me without bothering to look. She must have known she had three choices: speed up on the on ramp and cut me off, crash into me, or stay at her present speed and gently merge in behind me. As we know from my present tone that she cut me off.

Now, I didn’t blare my horn, tailgate her, or even get that upset. I just shook my head in amazement. Seriously, it was that important to get ahead of me in your Blue Tahoe? Like it made the traffic go that much faster? And don’t bother to look at me as you merge, the rest of us will gladly watch out for your vehicle this morning.

I did catch up to her as I neared my final destination and she was texting on her phone. I honestly could have cut back in front of her, slammed on my brakes, caused an accident, and gotten a new work truck out of it.

But I didn’t.

And I live to write another day without back pain!

Thanks for allowing me to vent and release.

Disaster is My Middle Name….

Gravel, gravel, gravel....

Gravel, gravel, gravel….

You know that bad feeling you get when your projects have gone horribly wrong?

That is how my whole backyard feels to me right now.  A few weeks back, my stepson became my indentured servant by needing money for rent.  He offered to come work for me in my yard doing various grunt work projects.  I appreciate him not asking me to loan him the money but instead offered to work for it.  Now he is over at my house on various weekends doing year projects to pay off his debt.

This arrangement is excellent for me because it gets me out of a lot of heavy lifting, wet weather, and hard work. On my never ending “To Do List”, I do have yard projects and clean up projects.  However, I really didn’t want to have to worry about all this stuff in the middle of the winter season.

Yet, I am dealing with the yard projects to keep my stepson busy.  To keep him busy, I’ve had a new sand pad created for the pool to sit on, new gravel paths near the garden shed, transplanted a tree, and made a nice gravel pad for my recycling bin, garbage can, and yard waste bin to sit on.  He has moved my compost pile from one side of the house to the other.  All of these projects needed to be done and it is nice to have them done before summer.  They have been completed without any major hiccups until now.

Now, the bigger problem we have looms like a small mountain in my driveway, mocking me.  It keeps telling me that we are nowhere close to getting things done in the backyard and it will be there forever.

My problem: The large pile of gravel in my driveway. 

In hindsight, I overestimated how much gravel we’d need for all the projects around the house.  Usually, with my superior math skills (to think I made it through calculus), I grossly underestimate my raw material needs.  More often than not, we end up making two or three more trips to the Palmer Coking Coal Company to get more gravel.

This is not the case with this huge pile of gravel.  We can’t spread this stuff fast enough.  I seems like this gravel pile isn’t getting any smaller and I’m afraid I might never get into the driveway again at this rate. My wife has voiced her opinion that our whole backyard will become a giant gravel field.

Isn't it pretty?  And it looks so nice in my driveway!

Isn’t it pretty? And it looks so nice in my driveway!

This thought is somewhat amusing if I didn’t have the same fear myself.  Of course, my wife only visits the yard on summer days so we should be good until August (here in the Seattle area) for her to realize if her fear has materialized or not.  Kind of sounds like prison, doesn’t it?  “Yeah, da wife is only allowed out once in a while….don’t let her see the outdoors much.  Gotta keep her indoors cleaning and taking care of mine kin.”  (I do hope I sound redneck enough….)

Tomorrow will be the big day to see if my stepson can power through the rest of the gravel pile.  Otherwise, I think we’ll just have to live with it until summer.  As always your comments are welcome but please remember that you’ll never have as much worthless advice as I do.

My garbage can now has a very nice place to hang out when not out in front of my house.

My garbage can now has a very nice place to hang out when not out in front of my house.

Roller Coaster Adventure Trip Part 2

The other day I started to write about my recent Roller Coaster Adventure Trip to California and the first stop on our tour was Six Flag’s Discovery Kingdom. However, besides roller coasters and thrill rides, I also wanted to visit with some of my friends.  With Facebook, it was been nice to see what they are doing but a face to face visit is much more fun!Yummmy! Jelly Belly Store!

I honestly thought the goal of this exhibit was to kill as many butterflies as I could.  Imagine how embarrassed I was to find out you weren't suppose to do that.

I honestly thought the goal of this exhibit was to kill as many butterflies as I could. Imagine how embarrassed I was to find out you weren’t suppose to do that.

Our first stop was beautiful Sacramento, California. Most people from Seattle know Sacramento as the city of the Sacramento Kings basketball team. And that we tried to take the Sacramento Kings away from this fair city and bring them to Seattle. We had hoped to turn them into the new Seattle Sonics. Needless to say, this didn’t happen. I didn’t wear my Seattle Sonics gear just in case there were any hard feelings from the citizens about this whole basketball team purchase.
We flew down from Seattle to Sacramento and stayed with our good friends Joe and Gavan and their two daughters. You know they are good friends when they let you crash at your house without a hesitation (or a moment’s notice)Zdx5. They have encouraged us to come and visit for the past several years and I was looking forward to this leg of the trip. Our friendship was built upon our years at Benson Hill Coop Preschool together as preschool parents. On a side note, we have a lot of friends from being coop preschool parents together that we still see and hang out with. I’m a big fan of the coop preschool system.
Of course, our daughters don’t remember each other but we (the parents) certainly do! It honestly seems like yesterday but it has been roughly eight years since Joe and Gavan moved back to California from Washington State. We picked up right where we left off.
I could ramble on about how time flies but we pretty much all know that already. Time does fly so you might as well enjoy life the best you can. Hmm, that really isn’t worthless advice so perhaps you should disregard that good advice. I don’t want you to think you could learn something from me.
I have to thank Joe and Gavan for opening up their home to us and allowing us to stay with them. They also picked us up from the airport, drove us to and from the Discovery Kingdom Park, showed us the Jelly Belly Factory Store, and then drove us to the airport on Monday for our flight to Burbank. You have to appreciate friends that will do that.

image (10)

Sugar Rush Time!

I want to say that on the way back from Vallejo, we stopped at the Jelly Belly Factory to load up on Jelly Belly and it was a great choice for a tourist stop. Joe kept telling me about “Jelly Belly Flops”. “Flops” are the mistakes from the Jelly Belly bean process. They still taste like Jelly Belly beans but they are the rejects. You might have two or three Jelly Belly beans merged into one or a jelly belly bean might have a funny flatness to it. Most of the jelly belly beans in the “Flops” bag look and taste awesome to me. I love them! I can’t wait to drop into a deep diabetic coma caused from my massive sugar intake from eating as many Jelly Belly beans as I can fit into my mouth.
Since we only had 15 minutes at the Jelly Belly store before it closed, we grabbed a bunch of “Flops”, ate some ice cream, sampled numerous different flavors, and started the journey back to Elk Grove.

image (8)

I have my snacks for the car ride!

image (9)

Nothing is better than instilling unhealthy snack habits into future generations!

Now, that would be the end of a prefect day of roller coasters and candy, right? Nope! We topped it off with some excellent tri-tip steak, homemade mash potatoes, wine, beer, Caesar salad, and some delicious (onolicious) Hawaiian style Macaroni salad. Then we topped it off with a nice relaxing soak in the hot tub under the stars. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Again, a big “thanks” to Gavan and Joe for being fantastic hosts for our first leg of our Daughter-Dad Roller Coaster Trip!
On tomorrow’s blog, we talk about our next leg of the trip: Six Flag’s Magic Mountain!

An Open Letter to Every Moron Parent Who Drops their Kids Off at School-

Dear Idiot Parent:

I’ve been dropping off my various kids at our elementary school for the past several years and I fully understand how this simple drop off system works.  You drive up to the school, you drop off your child, they shut the door, and you drive away.  However, you (the complete idiot parent) can’t seem to understand the simple concept that if you stop, all the cars behind you also have to stop.  Allow me to expand on how traffic flows at our school and in the rest of the world of cars, trucks, and motorcycles work in real life.

It really isn’t too hard to figure out that if there are no cars in front of you, you move your vehicle all the way to the end of the drop off lane. You don’t stop at the beginning of the drop off lane to let your kid out when there are roughly twenty cars behind you and three buses all trying to get in to the school parking lot at the same time.  I’m sure you never noticed them as you only had to drive 5 mph because there were so many cars ahead of you doing the exact same thing as you: dropping off their kid at school.  This is the part when you drive to the end of the drop off lane, and then let your kid out.

And Yes, that was me behind you blaring my truck horn when you stop at the beginning of the drop off lane.  Do you know why?  Frankly, it is because you are stupid.  Why kind of moron thinks that is a good place to drop off their kid?  Oh, that would be you.   Like I previously stated, you need to drive to the end of the drop off lane so the rest of the twenty cars can drive in behind you.  It isn’t that hard of a concept to understand.  EVERYDAY, it is the same system and routine.  It isn’t that hard to figure out.

I think this is a good time to mention that you are also the same stupid parent that doesn’t bother to have their child buckled into the backseat or puts four kids in the backseat (where everyone knows has only three seatbelts).  Unlike you, I’m not a moron.  I can clearly see that when your kid is leaning forward in his seat that he isn’t wearing his seatbelt.  And I can see this when we are still a quarter of a mile away from the school.  Can you please strap your kid in?  Use your adult brain just a little bit more in the morning?

Now, I know my school isn’t the only place where this happens.  I understand we all have moron parents at our own various schools across the world and there is nothing we can do about it.  Sure you can honk your car horn like I do but they still don’t understand why they are morons.  You could yell at them like I did when the mom blocked the crosswalk and the 50 students and parents couldn’t cross the street.  Half the school is trying to cross the street and she is blocking the crosswalk.  Brilliant!  Simply brilliant!

As always, your comments are welcome and enjoyed by all that read my blog.  So fire off some tad bits of wisdom!

Hellriegel's Foto 1, Inc.

School Photo Options for the Seattle School District

Erotica Readers & Writers Association

This site contains explicit material intended for adults

Blessed with a Star on the Forehead

As I navigate through this life ...

Sleeping on the Diagonal

Random Ruminations on Single Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Wine

S.D. Lange ~Erotica~

Where Kink Meets Romance

Sexy Romance Novels

Novels that leave us breathless

making peace with the wrong side of 40

My midlife crisis made me want to live simply. Unfortunately, there isn't much simple about it most days.

New England Nomad

All Things New England

Evil Squirrel's Nest

Where all the cool squirrels hang out!

Abbey Co.

bringing you all of the best of the pacific northwest

The Coffee Life

Writing | Books | Caffeine | Life

The Tawdry Tales of Tess

Memoirs, Musings and Advice from a Very Naughty Girl

The Phil Factor

Where Sarcasm Gets Drunk and Let's Its Hair Down

The Brasharian

style and culture blog

%d bloggers like this: