Friday, January 21, 2022

a Thanksgiving tale

This story is 100% true.

One of my signature dishes is Peanut Butter Pie, the recipe is Peanut Butter Pie VIII on allrecipes dot com. It's light fluffy unusual mix of meringue and custard and a recipe that I make mixing with a blender with one hand and stirring the custard with the other. 

So one Thanksgiving, my family gets invited to a meal with one of my navy buddies, Josh, his wife Brikkie's family comes, my mother in law is there and she's allergic to peanuts so I made my peanut butter pie with cookie butter instead of peanut butter. These new people were wowing over my pie so I started explaining how I made it using cookie butter and not peanut butter due to MIL and said, I definitely didn't use duck butter. It just slipped out, the devil must have taken control of my tongue. Josh snorts and one of them asked, "what's duck butter?" And this group of somewhat total strangers pull out their phones and start searching and it was like a wave of shock and horror made a wave around the table. I should have video taped the expressions of the people looking up what the term around the turkey. 

Sorry not sorry for ruining dinner Josh, I do not belong in polite company.

Saturday, January 23, 2021


Myself, social media started off as a blog in Iraq, when I thought that I could die and wanted to leave an online mark in case something happened to me.  A diary of what was going on at the human level, the stories that weren't being told by big media and eventually it just became habit.  I do this more for myself so I can remember what happened by placing the thoughts down, I really don't care how many people follow me, I'm not in it for money and my interactions have flexed and changed, sometimes even grown over the years.  

I'm not the same kid who started Doc in the Box nor is my wall the interesting battleground of just a few years ago but I still consider myself a left leaning centralist who thinks big political ideas need to have a logical plan to bringing ideals into being, where's the money coming from, what are the unintended consequences and are they too ambitious?

Big ideas need people and groups, no man is an island and as individuals, there are limits of what one person can do without enlisting others to see that vision.  That's why we need government and companies and a plan.  When the leaderships plan is vague and badly formed, it's time for someone else with the capacity to take charge.  That's what happened to our country, there was a loudmouth at the wheel who had nebulous plans, didn't take the logical advice when he should and set a bad example that his followers are still preaching about basic steps to reduce the chances of catching COVID.  The fallout is going to cost hundreds of thousands of lives that we will never get back.

Friday, August 28, 2020


This is a couple of months old but I think sometime in the last 20 years, we lost our balance as a nation, leaning to much to the left or right.  Issues that really need to be tackled are just ignored.  Out of control capitalism made the rich super rich, the workers at the bottom not making more money, cost of living and education have exploded along with prison populations and people are generally unhappy. Just look at how much vacation time Americans get.  Why can't we balance our check book?

We need to take a hard look at what's broken and the reasons why.  Out of control socialism isn't the answer nor is rugged individualism of the one man army, it needs to be a balanced solution that takes the good parts of both and add flexibility.  Epic projects can't be done without a team but a good team is only as strong as it's weakest member.  Find an answer that helps both.  America doesn't need to be great, it needs to be a whole and just again, with that, greatness will follow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Some of my friends here are surprised that I have experience racism first hand.  Yes I have, I've been jumped, punched in the face, called Gook, Long Duck Dong, Zipperhead and it all goes back to intent, one of my best friends still calls me Zip with love and I don't mind in the least (please don't call any other Asians that!)

What I do mind is getting judged by the surface of my skin, know what? I grew up in a rural town in Arizona, I was born in another town in AZ.   I learned how to cope, since joining the military, I have met folks from all over the world and all walks of life.  I have made friends with homeless folks and people who run companies. 

Know what? We are all human, we are all insecure, different colors, viewpoints, different answers and in the end we all die.

Please, stop hating people for dumb reasons like skin color or appearance.  Instead, use something important like actions.  Each one of us is a story, perhaps it's time to do some self editing to improve what the world reads.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Explaining the reasoning behind some of the protesting and possible future protesting going on over the next few years for those who don’t understand it and I’m not even touching many of the protests that are currently taking place.

Since the election, more than half of the population feels like logical things that the expected out civilized life are being pulled out from under their feet.  Sort of like the world of Back to the Future where Biff gets into a position of power.  It wasn’t a slow talking a girl into bed, for a large percentage of our population, it was a rough act without lube.  There’s a word for that.



Our government has a department called the EPA which might be the only good thing that came out of President Nixon’s time in office which protected the small guy from the great corporations who thought it was a good idea to dump toxic garbage into waterways.  Who kept the corporations in check that wanted who wanted to take the cheap route with disposal of toxins. 

Since then, they have taken a larger foot print on the world stage in slowing down climate change and generally bringing about a climate in industry of doing the right thing when able.  With 99.9 percent of the scientists believing in climate change and more than half of the population thinking, yes, it’s important to preserve as much as we can for our children, it’s sort of a big deal to many folk.  

When those protections get gutted and we put the corporations and profit before the long term future.

People might be upset.


In the 2000’s, banking regulations were changed and it made it possible for people who didn’t qualify for home loans prior able to qualify for loans during a time were us as a nation was fighting to wars on a credit card meaning that while we were spending money hand over fist, instead of raising taxes to fund the war we pushed it off till later.  That bill still hasn’t come due. 

Almost everyone I knew (actually everyone I knew which was quite a few people) who got one of those loans has been foreclosed on and their lives tossed into chaos.  Now those regulations to keep the banks from doing this again are being pulled.

People might get upset.

These are only two of the issues but when the smartest tools in our shed are kicked to the curb, we are losing our brain trust.  It doesn’t look good in the big picture, we are all human with human failings.  When you don’t acknowledge when you have made a mistake or you make that mistake the new truth, there is a word for that, lying.  That doesn’t fly far in this world of fact checking.  And when people who follow you gloss over those mistakes, what does that mean for the moral center of us as a people?

Friday, November 11, 2016


The bride grew up in northern California and her group of buddies from high school was like a rainbow of races and religions, a Hindu, a Muslim, a ginger, with the same in sexual orientations.  From grade school, her best friend was a Hispanic. The idea of KKK or discrimination was a something that was done in the past or someplace else.

Myself, I grew up in rural Arizona and was the only Asian in my graduating class and did have my share of bullying.  An example, we had a substitute teacher one day and he was a Vietnam vet and looking back, I think I game him flashbacks because he would stare at me and tell me stories about his buddies being tortured by gooks (I hadn't seen Full Metal Jacket yet so I had no idea what he was talking about other than this adult hated me for some reason). 

I came from a society that was foreign to what my wife grew up in and when I came to California after joining the military, I realized that I liked how people were treated much better than the crap I grew up with.

Now with this election cycle, I have grew up with both types of people who are alien to each other, many of those from my childhood couldn't have imagined that a black man or a woman would ever be president.  My wife's crowd, it was just expected to happen one day. 

Between the two, they can't understand why the other makes the choice they do. Myself, I lean more her way but I can see the other way.  Right now at this moment, our government isn't a smooth running machine, there is constant bickering, obstructionists for no good reason other than that they are the other party.

As your lowest of lowly new employees, my very humble words of advice are this.  While I didn't vote for you, I hope you can be the fox in the hen house and clean up some of the lack of efficiency that we currently have. Both houses are on your side now, don't screw up and if you want to keep the other side the peace, dont take away freedoms that were dearly needed. Secretly, I think you come to the table with your  own agenda that has nothing to do with the platform you ran and if you had used it, it might have had a broader appeal instead of the party line you sort of followed.  You're a loud bombastic guy, I'm hoping that whatever big dream that you are chasing is for the good and you don't keep it hidden for long.

You have the power now, wield it wisely and step back when it's emotion guiding your actions and wait until the statesman mantle is back in place. 

Also, please don't fire me, I like keeping a roof over my wife and daughter's head.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

First 24 Hours with the Galaxy S7 Edge and Gear VR

So my prior phone was nearing its payoff point and so too was the brides, her’s was a LG G3 and Sprint announced a buy one get one half off S7 with the Gear VR on pre-order.  Being a fan of the SD card, this was a no brainer.

My phone arrived yesterday the 8th and we set it up in the Oak Harbor Sprint store and since I was the first person to pick his up, they wanted to check out the Gear VR too.  After a bit of playing around and taking some pictures, I got to take my loot home.  First impression I had was how smooth, futuristic and sleek this slab of glass was, very sexy and curved and it felt like silk in my hands.  It came with a little tool to push a button on the top that opened up an almost invisible slot that pops out which holds an SD card and a SIM card. 

The camera settings are pretty impressive, in the pro mode, it even has RAW settings, 800 ISO, shutter from 1/24,000 of a second to 10 seconds, I’ll have to explore these more later.
I opted out of buying either of the two heavy duty cases they had at the store, one was an Otterbox and the other was another heavy duty model.  I don’t think either would have fit inside of the Gear VR and removing phones from these armored behemoths on a regular basis would have caused more wear and tear than anything I could have done.  If I decide to opt for a case, I’ll make sure it will fit inside of the Gear VR first.  As for the screen protector, they get marks and scratches on them which get magnified with the headset so no there too.

Okay, there is supposed to be a Gear game pack that comes with it but I have yet to figure out how to get it.  All of the stuff online is rather vague and doesn’t mention what the games are.  I’m not worried yet, I’m still exploring the 360 videos and pictures, haven’t touched a game yet (haven’t had time, cleaning the house and getting ready for a baby soon to be arriving).

I did notice a bug this morning when I awoke, last night I put the S7 on a Foneso charging pad and this morning, my alarm went off alright but the phone was acting funny and the keys weren’t working so I restarted it and when you restart, you have to manually enter your password or PIN if you went that route.  Here’s where I say the fingerprint reader is amazing compared to the S5, no swiping, you just touch it and it works, whatever part of that finger you scanned before.  Anyhow, the keys were locking up, so I shut down all of the way, let it sit for a couple of minutes and started it again and the keys worked.  I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the phone but I think the pad might overcharge it and cause it to heat up.  Something to watch out for, also, I noticed what reading white script at night, the white seems to pulsate, I’m sure it’s a software bug but Samsung if you are reading, perhaps it’s something you should check out.

I took the Gear VR to work today and let my coworkers take it for a spin and all of them were impressed, mostly, they saw the 360 videos which are unlike anything most of the world has ever experienced.  It is like stepping into the future but the resolution could be a bit better.  Improvements I would recommend are individual focusing per eye.  I had surgery in the 90’s to correct my vision and my eyes are a little farsighted and are slightly different so one eye is always a little worse.  But still way cool, offering in the bundle is a great marketing ploy.  Putting it out to the masses make people want to see how well it works.  Well, tomorrow, I’m going to research more on how to get the free games that came with the bundle deal.  Overall, even with the very minor glitches, I’m very happy with my little piece of the future and I think most of you will be too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Juniper River Dustman

We have decided on a name for the little girl currently residing in the brides belly. Juniper McKenzie was a strong character from SM Sterling’s book Dies the Fire and over the years, as books come out, I have made a consistent pilgrimage to Mr. Sterling’s stories. She became known as The McKenzie, a leader, a woman who could see the things that lied beneath what was going on and carried everyone around her into a vision of what should be. When the bride came out with her picks for baby names, Juniper leaped off the list and neither of us actually know anyone named Juniper.

If you have visited the blog before, you know we are utter nerds. River is a badass in both the Firefly and Doctor Who universe and we want our daughter will grow in a land of endless possibilities without limits. The human race is at the cusp of something greater in the next hundred years, we have to be ready for change to come and move forward and embrace it. Not turn away, I want to install that sense of wonder into her operating system. She’s the future of my little corner of the world.

 I want to give it all to her on a platter, teach her to love life, be kind to others and never stop asking why.

Oh, and we have a baby registry on Amazon.

Juniper's Baby Registry

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


If you haven’t heard, I finished up my 20 on Halloween of 2014, retired and was rehired as a GS working at the same desk. The bride and I loved the northwest so much that we bought a fixer upper house, that’s the short version.

The longer version is the 4 months prior to my retirement, we were living in housing and searching for the proper house, good location, good price per square foot and something that we would both enjoy. That search took a while and we finally set our eyes on a house that was about to go into default and paid 50 thousand less than the prior owner. It did need some work but it held out the water, the location was great and it had a nice fenced back yard which the dogs have enjoyed greatly. 

There was a 3 month wait while the house closed and during that time, we made good use out of the Tardis camper and the A-frame that I picked up at an auction a year earlier for $450, word of advice, neither are suited for long term camping during a rainy winter in the northwest, they did keep us dry (mostly) but with the extreme humidity and warm bodies occupying them, they did get moldy and musty. Now both need extensive remodels with much of the wood in the A-frame replaced. The Tardis was actually okay because I had already replaced everything but the Tacoma it lives on has a blown head gasket. 

I applied for the job at the local naval hospital in August and didn’t hear back till mid-October which caused a bit of stress because I had also applied for other jobs all over and had no idea where we were going to end up. So, I settled on the familiar and didn’t go after an exciting career starting something new. At the hospital, I took over many of the duties that have always caused the department problems, retiring of medical records, supply and being a continual presence in records.

Ten months into my retirement, the bride is working at the local library and says it’s the best job she’s ever had. I have finally got a handle of everything at work, doing supply properly is no joke, it would be much easier if they had an Amazon time of system and supply clerks didn’t have to fight for every dollar spent but I think I’ve finally reached a nice balance. My mom sold her restaurant and finally retired and in that process, she bought me and the bride an Alaskan cruise and right now, during which time I wrote this post and am now getting around to posting.

Yes, I’m slacking on my writing, inspiration is hard to come by when life is treating you alright. Life is amazingly good, have a house we love, still married to the girl of my dreams and all of the bills are getting paid, you can’t ask for much more.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird

Till earlier this week, unlike most of you who started out there reading career with this book in high school or junior high, I came at it from the other side. After reading thousands of books then going back and reading what some people consider their favorite novel. Then I went on immediately to read, Go Set a Watchman (stop here if you don’t want spoilers). Both are novels of their time with many of the same characters, one told through the eyes of an intelligent observant little girl over the period of a couple of years, a coming of age story. The other over a period of a couple of days of the same girl, 26 and a bit jaded who comes home to visit after living years in New York. In Mockingbird, Atticus through her eyes is an almost supernatural being of good whom always has the most ethical response to any given issue and young impressionable Scout takes that into herself. The novel was richly worded with descriptions that made you think of hot summers spent on the porch, how children viewed the world around them. In Watchman, Scout comes home and her illusions are torn away, the civil rights movement is just starting and people in her hometown are taking sides which are divided along color lines. Scout is way ahead of her time, she was raised by Atticus and tends to see people as people, not color but in that time and place, color and social status are everything. While I enjoyed Watchman, it seems like Harper Lee didn’t write it for our enjoyment, she wrote it to document a portion of her life. It’s not as polished and for fans who hold To Kill a Mockingbird in their hearts, portions of it are painful and raw, Scout has grown up, she’s not much of a lady but she carried the values that were taught to her as a little girl into adulthood and now she’s seeing her small southern town with eyes that have seen the world and is not a happy camper. She is the moral compass of this story and at the end, you don’t know where she is going in life. The case against Tom Robinson is mentioned but it says it’s an acquittal in Watchman. Jem, who is such a pivotal character in Mockingbird has died young, Dill is off in some foreign land and Boo didn’t make the cut. This fills in the story but I’m not sure if it offers actual answers. Mockingbird rings with Robert McCammon’s Boy’s Life and Watchman reminds me of all of the times I went home and that life had continued on without me, people growing up and changing and living their own lives, not the snapshot I carried of that place I grew up in my head.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Joad trip to Glacier National Park

Finally a month after our trip to Glacier National Park, here’s the story of the adventure.

Day One
A couple of months ago, soon after the Tardis camper remodel, the bride started talking about wanting to make a trip to Glacier National Park.  So I got Neal the truck ready, being named so after the Astronaut for going to the moon, my truck is on the return trip at 274 thousand miles.  So after a few smaller shakedown camping trips, we took off on a Sunday morning drove 30 miles stopped to get some ice and came back to the truck and the engine had seized up. 
You see, a while back ago on another adventure, one of my hoses had popped off and the truck overheated blowing the head gasket and I had not got around to fixing it.  Well, the final straw was tossed on Neal’s back and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.  So I called a tow truck and right when the tow truck arrived, I turned the key and he started up.  I paid the tow guy for his trip and drove home.   Guess the engine is at such a stage that it seizes when it’s hot.  Sigh.
We decided, well, I am on leave for a week, let’s just pack up the car with the tent and supplies and head out.  So, 2 hours later, after a very quick packing job because we had to cut down on what we were bringing.  We hit the road much later than expected and decided that Louise Erdrich’s, The Plague of Doves would be a good road tripping book.  It set the tone well for the first part of the trip.
Sunset behind us over my moonroof
11 that night, we were tired, I was grumpy because one of my cars was mortally wounded and we decided to stay at a Super 8 in Spokane.  One thing about owning dogs that you can’t expect to stay in a really nice place but Super 8’s are always accommodating to pets and give a military discount.  Sometime in the life of this particular Super 8, it looked like it had hosted regularly graduation parties and biker parties.  I’m okay with that.
Day 2

Next morning, bring shiny after a good night’s rest, we hit the road again and broke our fast at Dawn of the Donut, a zombie themed donut in Spokane.  

By the next afternoon after driving through some beautiful country in Idaho and Montana with a stop for Bear repellent we arrived at Glacier National Park only to find that there were only 2 campgrounds open after Labor Day due to the government sequester.  Apgar was full and the other, Many Glaciers was only taking hard shell campers and mine was still sitting at home hanging his hood in shame. 

When we planned the trip, we planned it for camper.   We kept driving because on our map, there were some campsites in this particular direction and the wife indicated a dirt road which we abandoned early on, deciding that it was too rough after a mile for the Fusion.  Instead, we turned around and drove down a different road, on which there was supposed to be another campground.  However we missed an important right turn at Polebridge village in the dark and ended up randomly wandering down some dirt road for over an hour, every once in a while passing a closed campground.  Until we saw the a campground symbol with an arrow pointing down a small one lane dirt road with a 10 underneath it.   So we drove those 10 miles slowly in the dark. 

Consider at this point, we had spent 3 hours of just driving in one direction on a dirt road and had not seen another car.  I had scary movie themes running in my head, considering how many Wrong Turns it took to get here and that we were totally cut off from cell service, it was to be expected.  Finally after a very long and slow 10 miles we were at this mystery campground, which wasn’t a mystery anymore.  It was called Tuchuck and it was just miles away from the Canadian border and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was free, had 7 very large, clean camp sites and we were totally alone.  Added bonus, there was a stream singing merrily right behind the campsite we chose.  I could have kissed the ground but didn’t.
Picture of the campground sign in the daylight

Many people are horrified about having to set up tents in the dark.  To me, those people don’t practice enough, we were veteran campers and had the Montana 8 tent up in less than 10 minutes and started the queen sized air mattress inflating.  Okay, even though we were totally caught by surprise having to switch out of a camper with no notice.  We were used to tent camping more than anything else and it wasn’t that big of a shift to us. 

I made steaks that night with corn and home fires, and we enjoyed the fire and the music of the wind through the trees and water in the back ground.  This is life.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Road tripping to Glacier National Park

The bride has been talking about wanting to go to Glacier National Park for years and now that we live in Washington, it's just a hop, skip and a jump.  Taking a week of leave, checking out the sights and taking a bunch of pictures.  Also get a chance to test out the Tardis camper, hopefully Neal (my Toyota Tacoma with 274 thousand miles) can handle the trip and we don't get eaten by bears getting ready for winter.

I'm also testing out my EC tech bluetooth keyboard that I picked up off Amazon for 13 bucks with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with Evernote.  Blogging light.  Too bad I can't use this to upload my pictures from my camera but I do like the Photoshop touch, which does work on the Kindle.  You upload the pictures up to Adobe and from there you can edit them on the Kindle.

Enough with geek speak, I'm still here and alive.  Have a year of left of this canoe club and then need to find out what I'm going to do when I grow up.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Doctor Who Tardis Camper

I remodeled a cabover camper and painted a Tardis on the back.  Yes indeed,  I'm an ubernerd.