Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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

Tag Archives: Washington

 President’s Day/Mid-Winter Break in Chelan

In the greater Puget Sound area, a fair number of the private and public schools have the President’s Day week off. No one knows for sure why we take a whole week off (considering we just had two weeks off around Christmas and New Year’s Day).   I use to hate having another week off so soon after Christmas, but I have grown to love it over the years.  The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, which makes this week a good break for vacation trips.  Airfare prices arent too bad and it seems only our local schools do the “Mid-Winter” Break.

The past few years, we have gone to Hawaii (Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island), California.  This year, my daughter is doing club volleyball and my son is doing a college program during his senior year so a family trip wasn’t going to happen. My son still has classes this week, while my daughter doesn’t.  So no out of town, flyaway trips for us.

This year, we did manage to get away to Lake Chelan.  We traded overcast, rainy skies for snow and gray skies.  The drive over was decent; roads and highways were wet and snow free.


As you can see from the photos, the lake appeared, disappeared, and then reappeared.

Then on a drive up to look at a piece of property, the clouds rolled in and went from blue skies to thick clouds (or fog) conditions.

Uh, the road is somewhere out there.


During the winter, the towns of Chelan and Manson slow down. Some of the businesses are mostly the summer type, catering to the tourist families from the west side of the Cascade mountains and stay open during summer months only.  In the winter, the local wineries and their tasting rooms switch to the Friday-Saturday-Sunday limited hours schedule due to the slowdown in suburban mom traffic.  As an example, a few weeks back when my wife and I came to Chelan, we were the only ones at the Benson Vibeyard/Winery’s tasting room.  A nice quiet afternoon to enjoy the view and a bottle of red wine.

Overall, Chelan and Manson are both great getaway locations.  Lots of wineries, a bowling alley, a few pizza and burger joints await the hardy visitor.  Snowshoe or cross country ski in the morning, do a few wine tastings in the afternoon, head out to dinner, and cap it all off with a night of bowling.  What could be more fun?

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Long Beach, Washington – Father’s Day 2016

On Sunday, my son, his friend, and I made a quick trip to Long Beach, Washington to create some drone video footage and take some drone photos.  The last time I was in Long Beach was with the family for a short lunch stop so I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit again and stay a bit longer.

The weather was perfect for enjoying Long Beach.  Clear blue skies and a bright sun for us however, it was very windy.  Long Beach is know for its excellent kite flying conditions.  Plenty of wind on Sunday and Monday if you like kite flying, seagulls, and assorted windy day activities.

We stayed in Jazzy’s Crab Shack Link to Jazzy’s Crab Shack and it was great for the three of us.  Two bedrooms and a queen hide away bed in the living room area, two bathrooms, dining room area, plus a well stocked kitchen with a breakfast nook.  The vacation cottage was very clean and looked like it is well maintained by the owners.

Monday’s weather was a bit more cloudy but the wind was about the same.  After driving around the area a bit, you realize that the beach is pretty far away.  It is wide and (of course) it is long (hence the name “Long Beach”).  In Washington State, you can drive on the beach (in certain areas).

The visit was short but still fun.  Hopefully, when you get the chance to visit Long Beach, the weather will be warm and sunny for your visit.

 

 

 

 

Curriculum Night: How my Child will learn to Become a Mid-Level Management Suck Up

This evening I went to my daughter‘s “curriculum” night at her school. This just happens to be my last one for elementary school. Have you forgotten about curriculum night? Or maybe you are a bad parent and have never attended one before? Basically, the teacher tells you what your child will be learning over the course of the year. In the great State of Washington, goals have changed and the names of the goals have changed. We’ve had WASL goals, we’ve had Iowa tests, we’ve had critical thinking goals, MAPSAT, BS Goals, etc. The acronyms keep rolling out and the goals keep changing but it all comes down to this: we want our kids grow up with a decent brain inside their heads.

I’m all for progress and helping my child become a world thinker who is compassionate and uses critical thinking in their ever changing world of shifting paradigms while at the same time becoming a global citizen that needs to manage her own future. How about that? Is that a “mission statement” or what?

One of the new math concepts is for our students to work on the computer solving problems. Really? The teacher had a sample problem involving pizza and two kids. One kid was named Lucas. All I was thinking while she was showing us the math word problem was that Lucas was a fat pig who shouldn’t be eating 3/8 of the cheese pizza, 4/8 of the pepperoni, and ¼ of another one. That Lucas kid is going to be one fat ass kid with weight and self-esteem issues if he keeps pigging out. Poor Lucas.  Did Lucas think he found the best Seattle pizza?

Welcome back to School!

Welcome back to School!

My other concern was that it was fairly stupid to being solving this math problem on a computer. A good old pencil and paper would be a lot quicker and easier to use. How are they going to do the math on the fly if the computer isn’t there? Hmm? Are the children of today (and tomorrow) going to be able to do math without the use of a pull down menu? Could they mix art and math together and sketch out the problem on paper with a pencil and still figure it out?

Really, all I saw was that our schools were teaching our kids to rely on a computer to create a whole bunch of extra work to solve a simple math word problem. They can make pie graphs, charts, etc. That’s great but it is a simple problem. They don’t need to make a ten page report on it that is a waste of everyone’s time. Are we creating a society of mid-level managers that make reports for the heck of it and to justify their jobs?

“I have that twenty page report on why we shouldn’t eating Twinkles!” Conclusion: Uh, because they are bad for us? Or maybe we should eat them because it helps the fitness industry keep fitness instructors employed?

Over the years, I’ve learned that you need to watch less TV, get off the worthless texting and Instagram, Facebook, social media sites, and read more nonfiction (that was a big one tonight) and classic novels. I would also add you need to get out and experience life. Take the kids to museums, road trips, ferry boat rides, hikes, walks, boat rides, and feel the wind in your face.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the internet as much as you do. All the information at your fingertips, merely a click away…it’s wonderful.

Yet, I’m just as guilty as other parents and their children in letting social media run our lives. I have a hard time disconnecting from my iPhone. I have slowed down my use of social media. I have tried to make a deliberate effort not to check my phone when I’m doing activities with the family. I try to ignore that email buzz on my phone. It is hard. Sometimes I’m good and other times I’m not.

What are your thoughts about using only computers for school work these days? Will it work?

 

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.

 

No One Takes My Advice….and For Good Reason!

I noticed that a lot of people don’t heed advice when it is offered to them.  Clearly, my Blog of Worthless Advice would be much more successful if people would really look at themselves and see what terrible mental shape they are in.  It is quite sad that people don’t following their passion and becoming better people.

In my quest to offer the best worthless advice available, I am constantly reading advice columns, advice blogs, and interest resources like The Onion.

However, Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) and my Mom (my other reader) know that my Worthless Advice Blog is merely a creative outlet for my weird sense of humor.  Sadly, some of the articles and blogs I read actually think that their blogs offer helpful advice.  My 10 year old daughter offers better advice.

I saw one article entitled “Bad Parenting? Parents Should Avoid Bad Parenting Mistakes.”  Really?  You think parents should avoid bad parenting mistakes?  You don’t think I should embrace them and strive to be a bad parent?  I get most of my parenting advice from http://www.reallybadparentingadvice.com/.

In my heart, I know that others could be greatly helped by reading my blog.  The world is in sad shape, you losers really need to be saved from your stupid lives.  With unemployment at 8.2% in Washington State in October 2012, you think more people would be searching for Worthless Advice to better their lives (and find a job!).  On a brighter note, Washington State unemployment dropped from 8.5% in September 2012.

See how I’m improving your life already?  I offer my extremely correct opinion mixed in with a few useful facts to help increase your knowledge about unemployment in Washington State.

Cream Cheese

On a recent trip to Costco, I purchase a 3 pound block of cream cheese.  My kids love to have a toasted bagel in the morning with a good dose of cream cheese spread across it, melting slightly.

Hmm, I can almost taste the cream cheese now…in fact, I could do what I did earlier today.  I got the toaster out, sliced a bagel in half, inserted the bagel into the toaster, pushed the lever down, watched the heating elements start and made my way to the refrigerator.  I stood before the  refrigerator, opened the door, and looked for the brand new 3 pound block of cream cheese….only to discover it wasn’t in the spot I left it.

Hmmm.

I started looking on each shelf (making a mental note that the fridge is a bit bare) and I can’t find it.  I open the drawers…no cream cheese in the vegetable drawer…no cream cheese in the meat drawer….hmmm…where the heck did it go?

Then it occurs to me that I must have put it somewhere stupid like in the pantry or perhaps in the cabinet above the coffee maker.  I mean, that has happened before, where you misplace a bag of chips or place a can of corn in the wrong spot…so I continue to look for the missing cream cheese.  It is a 3 pound block of cheese; it doesn’t fit just anywhere.  It has to be here somewhere!

After about five minutes of searching, I still can’t find the cream cheese.  Then I remember we had a visitor earlier that day….KOTS!

KOTS has decided to take the cream cheese home with him.  What is he going to do with three pounds of cream cheese?  Spread it over himself?  This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed things “missing” from the house.  At first I thought I just had misplaced some food items or perhaps I just didn’t buy it at the grocery store.  No, I wasn’t losing them or misplacing them.  KOTS had decided that our pantry and fridge was his own private grocery store to raid and take what he likes.  It is very annoying to put it mildly.  I wanted to make a lasagna the other day…gone.  A huge box of  36 pudding cups for the kids’ school lunches…gone.  A nice steak for dinner?  Nope…it’s gone…instead you can have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Yum!  Yum!  Eat up kids!

Luckily, our food situation has stabilized and we now have food in the fridge for the time being.  Now, if I could just find those missing chocolate truffles…..

Psst! I final got a blog entry for you to read!

Hey, it’s a new year and I’m finally getting around to posting a new blog entry,  what a way to build that readership up to high levels!  Maybe, I’ll get a whole two new readers.  In fact, I gave my grandma one of my old computers and made the opening page on here search engine my blog page!  Now she is forced to be one of my readers!  Only 6 billion people more to go….

What have I been up to lately?

As you know, I split my interests between photography, reading, and real estate.  Once in a while the three major interests of my life converge together in a most interesting way.  This hasn’t happened to me recently so I don’t have a great story to tell you, however, I did have one of my clients’ homes sell and close this month.  We are looking for a new home for them in the Fairwood/Renton area of Washington.  There are a great deal of homes for sale and there definitely is no lack of inventory to see.  One of our greatest challenges is finding a house with a fairly nice kitchen, a decent size backyard, and a decent master bedroom and master bathroom.  We are looking in the $300K to $430K price range.

Now, this would be easy but once you get into the upper price range, the houses do get large in size: 2800-3500 sq ft.  There are only three people in the family so that house size is extreme.  The smaller and cheaper houses tend to have less square footage and less upgrades making them less appealing.

Add   this mix falling values and overpriced homes, a narrow search area, and you get a lot of homes to look at that don’t quite fit the bill.

You want to know a secret?  I love looking at homes!  I love seeing the layouts, the landscaping, the extras people have added to their homes.  It is fun stuff!  The best part is hanging out with people you enjoy while looking at houses…it is addicting….like Facebook.  Speaking of Facebook, I’m in a dry and sober mode now.  I haven’t been checking out Facebook or updating my Facebook page and I feel free!

Of course, now with a new blog entry I have to post it on Facebook.  Hmm, a problem.

I can log on for just a minute…I can get through it…I can resist to urge to stay of Facebook for hours and hours….I can do this!

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