More Than My Share

A life without thanks is a life that hasn’t been lived yet. That’s really the only way I can encompass what I feel in myself in this moment. It’s important to include that word “yet” at the end. There is no end-point on that journey. It’s never too late to rediscover that overwhelming sense of appreciation in the world around us. It’s an every-moment, 365 kind of deal that can only be lost if you allow it. I still feel fortunate there’s an observed day in our calendar for that all-too brief time to say, and even more so, to give, to those people or treasures that have given our lives so much meaning, purpose, and love. Then again, the season can also serve in providing the opportunity to surrender to forgiveness. It can be focused towards someone else but it’s funny how, more often than not, we realize we’re struggling for forgiveness in ourselves. One of the more difficult obstacles in life to achieve it can also be, not coincidentally the greatest, and most freeing, gift of all.

There are aspects in my life with which I’m struggling yet I have very little, nothing actually, I cannot be thankful for. I have more than so many, an amazing family whose patience and belief in me has been endless. I have friends, both personal and professional, who have provided relief, memories, and rock-solid optimism during these not-so-easy times. I’m thankful to these people because of who they are, the joy they engender in others, and the comfort provided in good times and bad. I can only hope I’ve granted those friends a semblance of the support they have given me.

Thanksgiving is indeed more than a holiday,  just as the wise and graceful man said above. The weekend can be a time of reconnection with friends or family, a time of healing, a time of forgiveness, a time of peace, a time of understanding, a time of reflection, or even a time of re-evaluation. Any or all of these and more can be tied into giving thanks for the fortunes we value in our lives, however small.

Thanksgiving can be anything in this world you decide it needs to be. What does this holiday mean for you this year? Please let me know in the comments below.


No Email, No Problem: How To Message A Non-Connection On LinkedIn

Step 1: Choose a mutual group
Step 1: Choose a mutual group

As I’ve continued my job search this year, LinkedIn has become my go-to resource to find the best jobs and job contacts. From updating my profile, sharing pertinent news and info of the day, contributing to groups, or finding the right contact to address my job application, LinkedIn’s where I go.

Those who don’t utilize LinkedIn may ask, “Why not just use email?” Well, if the dynamic is right and if you feel the topic, situation, and your status with the person calls for it, feel free. When you’re networking, though, a cold email might not be the best route. LinkedIn messaging can be a better fit when trying to make a connection to a fellow professional you don’t necessarily know well.

The problem is when you want to connect with someone or message them on LinkedIn but don’t have their required email address. You could use Google and hope to get lucky, but that might be a little on the creepy side. 

Step 2: Click on the member count.
Step 2: Click on the member count.

Here are 4 easy steps to send a message to a contact while bypassing the traditional “Connect” button.

1) After clicking on your potential contact’s profile, find a group near the bottom of their profile page of which you’re both a member. (NOTE: If you don’t share a mutual group with your contact, this messaging option won’t work)

2) When you land on the group page, find the number of total group members located just to the left of the gray “Member” button on the upper right of the group page. Click on it.

Step 3: Enter the connection's name in the Search box.
Step 3: Enter the connection’s name in the Search box.

3) When the member page comes up, type in the name of your contact in the search box and hit Enter.

4) When the contact’s name comes up, click on the 3rd option under their position title, “Send message.” The message box will show up. That’s it. Type up a tone-appropriate and friendly message!

A lot of people might think this is just as creepy as sending a spam email to someone you don’t even know. In some situations, yes. But again, It’s a whole different medium than email. It’s a social world now, and networking in this way is the name of the game. It’s also up to you to know the dynamic of the situation, conduct the right tone, and know when the right time is to direct message that connection who can make all the difference in your job search.


5 Seafaring Books You Need To Read

If you’re anything like me, you read enough books to know the type of stories you enjoy the most. I’m all over the map. Non-fiction, fiction, historical fiction, self-help, business; doesn’t matter, I’ve read them all and I’ll probably read them again. Somehow, I always come back to books centered on those adventurers sailing the seven seas.

The spirit of the sea-going explorer in the pre-industrial age was one of incalculable risk. The unforeseen perils that awaited those brave and often foolish souls are still, to this day, some of the greatest adventure stories ever told in literature (The Odyssey, anyone?). Of all the books I’ve read, the seafaring genre has engaged me like few others. Featured below are 5 such books, fiction and non-fiction, that have stuck with me through the years. If you have read any of them feel free to leave a comment with your take.

Ahab’s Wife, or The Stargazer | Sena Jeter Naslund 

7742After picking up this book and reading the sleeve I thought, if written well, this could be a fascinating angle on the Moby Dick legend. Ahab’s Wife centers on the life of Una, a life that includes marrying the loving, caring man who eventually morphs into the deranged Captain Ahab, a man some consider one of the most vengeful spirits in American literature. Though Ahab exists in only a portion of her life, no aspect of her remaining journey escapes his touch. In ways good and bad, Ahab’s essence stays with Una the rest of her life, just as the maddening spectre of Moby Dick haunted Ahab the rest of his.

The book takes a while to hit stride. I found myself wanting to fast-forward more than a few times to the point when Ahab makes his grand debut. It was then I had to remind myself this is Una’s life, not Ahab’s. Her escape from her Bible-thumping, hell-fire raising, and abusive Kentucky father to the nurturing shores of New England was just the beginning. Stowing away on a whaling ship was the true adventure she had been seeking and, for the rest of her life that’s exactly what she got. If you’re looking for a story to invest long-term, through the monotony of Una’s everyday life to the hair-raising moments at sea, this is a good story for you. It’s a story of a head-strong woman ahead of her time, taking ownership of the life she chose, for better and for worse.

Mayflower: A Story Of Community, Courage, and War | Nathaniel Philbrick

4820Now here’s a wake-up call. Remember in kindergarten when Mrs. Lee got the whole class together and told the story of the pious English Pilgrims coming over and founding this God-fearing country of ours? She spoke of gracious harmony and inter-cultural peace and love between the Wampanoag Indians and the weary travelers from the Old World. The Pilgrims were just trying to survive the first winter, and wouldn’t have without the kind assistance from the local “savages.”

It’s bogus. Baloney. Bullshit.

The occupation of the “pale-faces” from lands unknown was an introduction to 56 years of blood, courage, war, compromise, love, paranoia, friendships, tears, alliances made, sacrifice, alliances broken, loss, suffering, disease, and hard living as the British exiles struggled to establish themselves in an uncultured, unrefined, and unforgiving land. There were always uneasy alliances with various tribes in the region, but with misunderstandings, double-crosses, and paranoid leaders throughout, nothing was certain in those first 5 decades. Author Nathaniel Philbrick is painfully exact and blunt when it comes to describing the Pilgrims’ lives, just as he is equally adept at describing the mystery and uncertainty felt by the people who’s land was being invaded by beings they had never seen and knew nothing about.

When it comes to Philbrick, it’s always about the detail. Much like my other favorite authors, James Michener and David McCullough, Philbrick’s research is exhaustive, delving into the details and history that really make the difference in the historical accounts he wrote about. If you want to learn the real, factual accounting of the first years of European colonization in North America, Mayflower is what you’ve been looking for.

Voyages Of Delusion: The Quest For the Northwest Passage | Glyn Williams

103178It’s one thing to understand the business of maritime expeditions, discovery, and profit in the 18th century. It was an era when explorers had mere nautical drawings of coastal shorelines that only led the way to shorelines they hadn’t yet discovered. What blew my mind about Glyn Williams‘s Voyages Of Delusion was even after SO MANY failed attempts to find the mythical Northwest Passage, so many millions spent, so many men never coming back, those sick and twisted US and British financiers kept sending them. Even as the explorers and vessels never returned, those financiers still made millions off their deaths, whether they came back or not.

Reading that back, it doesn’t necessarily sound like something one would want to read. Why would you invest in a book about such ideas? My answer is it’s part of how this nation came to find itself, how it came to form. Exploration of the time, in all its ambition, gluttony, and danger, is one of the reasons this country even exists. It’s part of who we are. Last of all, Voyages Of Delusion is just pure fun. It’s suspenseful and exciting, just like one might imagine the high seas!

Sea Of Glory: America’s Voyage Of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 |Nathaniel Philbrick

17787Next to Moby Dick, Sea Of Glory is probably my favorite of the bunch. The historic 4-year voyage of the U.S. Exploring Expedition is the foundation for everything we’ve come to know about the continent of Antarctica, the majority of the Pacific Ocean, even the mapping of Puget Sound in what is now Washington state. What these men did, what they survived, and what they accomplished, is nothing short of extraordinary. Had it not been real, it would be chalked up to myth. There were still rumors flying around at the time if you sailed far enough south you’d either fall off the edge of the earth or encounter deadly sea monsters. Probably both. Their accomplishments and discoveries included new plant and animal species never seen before, and islands with inhabitants who’d never seen a white man. So significant and transformative were their findings, officials had more than enough specimens to lay the foundation for what is now the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The other dynamic of the story lies with the personalities on the 6-ship fleet, particularly the expedition’s commander, Charles Wilkes. Even though Wilkes was a talent in nautical surveying, he was exceedingly unseasoned, arrogant, domineering, and temperamental. He was quick to punish, often so harshly mutinies were never far away in the minds of the crew. Fortunately or unfortunately, Wilkes’s nautical survey work and connections with the Naval Observatory prompted his assignation as commander of the expedition over several more qualified officers, some of whom actually served under him on the voyage.

This is vintage Philbruck. The dude just knows how to tell a story. Again, just as he did with Mayflower, the research conducted for the writing of Sea Of Glory must have been exhausting. Told in amazing detail, it’s a saga of cutting-edge exploration, courage, ambition, loyalty, death, and the consequences of ego. When people ask me the best book I’ve ever read, if I don’t say Sea of Glory, then it’s definitely in the top two.

Moby Dick; or, ‘The Whale’ | Herman Melville

Moby Dick by Melville, HermanIt would be hard to not include Moby Dick in the discussion of “greatest American novel”. Written by Herman Melville and published in relative obscurity and mixed reviews on October 18, 1851, the book wouldn’t gain fame until the 1930s, decades after Melville’s death. Said to be attributed to the sinking of the whale ship Essex in 1820 by a rambunctious sperm whale in the southeast Pacific, another account may have contributed to Melville’s novel with the capture and killing of the notorious albino sperm whale “Mocha Dick” in the late 1830s off the Chilean island of Mocha. This fearsome whale seemed to attack with premeditated aggression, even after 3 decades collecting as many as 20 harpoons in its back from glory-seeking whalers hungry to be the one to catch the famous beast.

Not even the most brief of descriptions for Moby Dick can go without mentioning one of the greatest antagonists in Western literature, Captain Ahab. This guy is about as much a “piece of work” as you’re going to find. This fella can hold a grudge. Granted, I’d be hating life, and chance, and karma if a freakin’ whale bit off MY leg, but damn. This dude went certifiably insane; his sole goal, his direction in life from then on was finding the White Whale, Moby Dick, and planting a harpoon right through its heart. There’s grudges, and then there’s serious, tunnel-vision missions in life. Ahab didn’t care about anything else, and he paid for it with his death, strapped to the very target he hated with his entire soul.

14deec031a26db44c015ef6f54ba2841When I saw the chance to order the book from Easton Press‘s “100 Greatest Books Ever Written“, complete with the sexy leather binding and gold-edged trim, I chose to go with the genre I enjoyed most. Seafaring novels don’t get any better or more iconic than Moby Dick. I will concede the style of Modern English Melville employs isn’t as easy to read as the Modern English used today. I found myself consistently turning back to read a paragraph or an entire page over again to make sure I understood. I’m really picky with following a story and I don’t skim. I’m glad I don’t because there’s not a page in this book that doesn’t contain a lesson or a proverb you can’t take away. The novel is a veritable quote factory.

Moby Dick is a tale to which every one of us can relate. It’s a story of obsession, love, loss, faith, sacrifice, hope, loyalty, malevolent hatred, rivalry, envy, pure friendship, death, and any other parallel you can imagine. It’s everything some one-dimensional wacko chasing a catch is not. It’s a parable of life itself; you WILL see something, probably a lot of things, within its pages. It takes effort and patience, but in the end, you’ll see yourself in there somewhere.

My Dad, The Vietnam War Draft, and Not Being Afraid

A very powerful post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Surfer Stoke Project

Someone once said, “All man’s problems stem from him not being able to sit alone by himself in a room.”  But he or she should have included docks and decks, cars and airplanes, gas stations and mini-malls.

My Dad watched his family’s gray box breathlessly as the regularly scheduled program was interrupted by a CBS News Special Report.

I watched the footage of the first draft for the Vietnam War on YouTube, and I thought “Bingo with teeth.”  I can’t imagine how my Dad felt when the Congressman plucked September 14th from the 366 blue plastic capsules.  My Dad’s birthday, October 24th, was in that glass container somewhere, as was my parents’ wedding anniversary (October 25th).  Fates and dates in little pills.  When September 14th was called, everyone, including my Dad, thought my Dad going to Vietnam was a sure thing.

As my Dad turned the knob on the TV…

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Seattle Food Truck Fortunes

It’s like a culinary treasure hunt through the heart of your city. A temporary island of goodness in a space there normally is not.

The food truck revolution has been going for a while and it’s obvious pop culture has taken notice. Do a search for food truck resources for Seattle alone and it includes,, and a host of food truck event sites and blogs like,

Driving into downtown Seattle from West Seattle towards the end of the primary outdoor food truck season, I’m nearly eating the leather off my steering wheel. I was so hungry. Spying the ultra-recognizable gray “pig” that is Maximus/Minimus on wheels at 8th & Blanchard, I barely acquired the correct parking change needed for the meter before ordering the “MAXimus“, their popular spicy pulled pork sandwich with a side of cole slaw. Yeah, I like spicy. Paired with a nice cold bottle of Coke, all I had to do was sit back and enjoy the city skyline with the  Space Needle staring me right in the face. With friendly Chelsea dialing my order into her mobile ordering device, I was impressed with the ease of it all. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised; this is how the world works these days.

Couldn't have been a better day for a "spicy savory" pulled pork "Maximus" at Maximus/Minimus.
Couldn’t have been a better day for a “spicy savory” pulled pork “Maximus”.

It is the new (and old) way of delivering easy and delicious food to the masses. It’s a fine escape for people like me who enjoy traveling to different neighborhoods of Seattle to experience the fun cuisine these food trucks offer. And I was really surprised how many there are. The aforementioned Maximus/Minimus (aka “The Pig”), the popular Marination Mobile, Snout & Co., Skillet, and Where Ya At are merely a few of the endless number of trucks throwing the goodness around the central Puget Sound region these days. Apparently we can’t get enough.

Food trucks are a great alternative to the usual sit-down, take your time restaurants we all know and love. Having taken advantage of today’s social media channels, trucks are able to let their fans know where in Seattle they’ll be setting up that day. That also lends itself to foodies in that particular area to get a healthy sampling of what each particular truck has to offer.

With the number of food permits, licensing certifications, and the overall investment it takes to create and operate a food truck business, it HAS to be a exercise in patience. At the same time, I can only imagine the fulfillment that comes out of owning your own food truck business. The freedom is in everything you do; the joy in making your own decisions and taking that risk of succeeding or failing on your own terms. I’m very happy for those who have taken up that challenge, both for themselves and for those of us who flock to the truck window whenever we have a chance! Happy food truck stalking!

Ma’Ono Fried Chicken and Whisky

Right in my back yard, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into their fried chicken!

nw gourmand

Originally opening in 2008 as Spring Hill Restaurant, founders, Marjorie Chang Fuller and Mark Fuller quickly gained both local and national recognition in the foodie industry, which also include  three consecutive James Beard nominations for, Best Chef: PNW. Circa 2012, they decided to change course to what is now known as, Ma’Ono Fried Chicken and Whisky.  Sitting California Ave SW in West Seattle, Ma’ono is an unassuming restaurant that revels in simplicity.  The interior has a nice combination of Zen garden meets modern Chic. Upon entering, we were greeting and seated (reservations suggested.) We had the fortune to be seated directly next to the open kitchen – which in my opinion is always the best seat. Nothing compares to being able to watch the organized chaos that is, the back of the house. One thing I noticed in particular that was equally pleasing was the level of cleanliness in…

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Just a little funny from Adobe, or is it?

No, you can’t “make” your online marketing efforts go viral. You sure can make a good commercial out of it, though.

The thought had come to my head, however, that upon viewing, the idea might be reinforced there is a way, a special sauce, that can ensure your content, video, or image(s) will go viral.

Do you think this hilarious video from Adobe Systems perpetrates that unwise belief?