Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday National Holiday

Spence: Thanksgiving has always been a favored holiday for me.  It's during a time of year when Autumn is in full splendor, my birthday has just passed and family comes together to visit.  But, it also means a day of the year when millions upon millions of eyeballs are glued to the television set.  This year, it seems the Black Friday shopping day was emphasized more than ever with national news reports, local news reports and advertisements and commercials in print and on television and radio.  It's as though Black Friday has become a national holiday.  To see KTVU news in Oakland do twenty minutes on people sleeping on sidewalks and stores opening as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving gave me a chance for reflection.  Understand, that I create television commercials for a living creating advertising for local shops.  This is my 30th Christmas season.  I understand the economic purpose of Black Friday.  But, now it's even becoming a little too crass for me. It's prompting me to shop more locally than I may have before.  I've always tried to shop in Fortuna, Ferndale, Old Town, on the Arcata Plaza and in Henderson Center during the season.  The items carried in local stores are more unique and personalized, but I can completely understand the draw of Target and the fever pitch of shopping. I love shopping.  Just ask Kate to send me to Safeway to pick up a few items and an hour later I return.  It's probably because I'm mesmerized by the merchandising, displays and design.  But, Black Friday is not when I want to witness this.   I know...Why don't we move Thanksgiving to May and let Black Friday be it's own National Holiday. 

Kate: I grew up in a Retail family. 35 years ago Black Friday was a secret that retailers knew about--"did you know that the biggest shopping day is the day after Thanksgiving?" we would say to the non-professionals.  Like any trend these days, the media jumped on it and now Black Friday is its own holiday.  This morning I had to turn the channel from all of the news shows--both local and national--because I couldn't bear one more mention of it.  I even watched an episode of Home Improvement--and I hate that show.  Aren't there even better sales closer to Christmas?

I don't think "small business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday" are immune from the over-examination.  They are next.

P.S.--Spence shopped at Target last year the day after Thanksgiving.  Oh yes he did!

Spence:  (Hanging his head low) Yes..but...but....but....

Friday, November 9, 2012

Skiing is for the birds...or snowbunnys

Kate and I agree on one thing, snow ain't all that much fun.  I love to look at it.  I love to take photographs of the powdery stuff, I love how it instills thoughts of Christmases past and all of that.  But, I don't like to get out in it.  You wouldn't catch either of us spending the day on skis or snowboards.  Give us a beach town to explore with cute shops and ocean breezes.   So, why did we travel to Squaw Valley above Lake Tahoe to find ourselves stranded at the Resort at Squaw Creek in the middle of a snow storm?  Well, life does that sometimes.  That's one thing I have enjoyed since meeting and palling around with Kate, it's been one heck of an adventure, and I love it.

Kate: I'm good with about 30 minutes of Winter Wonderland.  I don't have the right clothes, I definitely don't have the right attitude, and besides, at this altitude I get winded just walking up the stairs and I'm thirsty all the time. I love you sea level.  It's not all bad allergies are barely bugging me.

Enjoy the photographs:

Yuba City is Plum Amazin

"I'm going to Yuba City, Yuba City here I come."

On our travels, we stayed in Yuba City.  We've heard many disparaging stories about the Yuba City/Marysville area. (Serial Killer Juan Corona hacked his way into fame here.)  We found the town to be thriving and lively with new developments and growing retail sectors. The downtown area was beautifully tree-lined and filled with lots of Mom and Pop shops.  But, we guess that is exactly what many Humboldters are disgusted with. Growth.  Sure, there is a WalMart and strip malls littered everywhere, but there is also industry there.  A huge Sunsweet prune/plum processing plant near where we stayed. Research shows it to be the largest dried fruit plant in the world.  (Don't you wish Humboldt had a legal dried ag processing plant like that) Driving up and down the street were industrial vendor vans that served a huge industry like that.  All manner of 18-wheelers were coming and going and conventional business was taking place.   Oh yeah, conventional business was taking place.  No wonder Yuba City is scoffed at.  But, it's the home of Plum Amazins!  We give it a thumbs up.  And no 215 Card is needed for it's use.        Mmmmm Plum Amazins

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The H Factor

We are so sad.  The blog we loved to hate--The Humboldt Herald--has crumbled.  Still there, but not really.  Nothing got us wound up like the anonymous insider information posts and the blanket judgements of anything not "progressive." And, many times it was approached with a wry and wicked sense of humor.  It got us talking.  It got us worked up.  The Herald had us rolling our eyes and tsk tsking about how outrageous and sanctimonious it was.  And the old Arkley conspiracy theories always brought a smile.  AND WE MISS IT.  Now, it's merely a blog glance and then moving on like looking at a political fender bender.   Heraldo, wherefore art thou?

OH MAN! Just as we counted Heraldo out, THERE HE/SHE WAS! With a bitchy post about Joe Bonino! Now, that's the Heraldo we love/despise. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

As Innocent As A Root Beer Float

There was a news report this morning about parents who brag too much about their children via social media.  I guess many people are put off by people who blog about their children and all of the cute and silly traits the kids have, their school events and all of that.  Well......Why would Kate and Spence be any different?  This next post is about our temporary teenage Brazilian exchange lad, Pedro......again.   


Kate was away on one of her overnight stays in Sonoma County, so I felt it only right that I treat the boy to pizza.  What teenager doesn't love pizza, no matter what part of the world they come from.  And, as a special treat, I said, "why don't we wash it down with Root Beer?"  Pedro was sure I said, "beer."  He got a very surprised look and made me repeat it.  I said, "Root Beer".  (Well, one of the big issues with exchange students is drinking.  They have to follow the Four D's--No Drinking, Drugs, Driving or serious Dating.) He didn't quite understand.  They don't have Root Beer in Brazil.  So, I scanned the aisles for good Root Beer.  All Safeway had was Mug and A&W.  I was looking for IBC or Henry Weinhard's or any of the upper echelon brands.  I settled for A&W, cuz of the Drive-Ins of my youth.  Especially the one in Burre Center in Eureka and my favorite, the A&W Drive-In in Weaverville, but I digress. (What I would give for another taste of  Frostie Root Beer right now.  Do they even make it anymore?)

As we were headed for the check out stand, I passed by the ice cream section and spotted the vanilla ice cream.  That's it!  Root Beer Floats. If he hadn't had Root Beer, he surely hadn't had Root Beer Floats.   Getting home, he was very skeptical as I prepared this American delight.  "You don't put ice cream in a soft drink" he kept saying.  I said..."Try it!"   One scoop and he was hooked.  That night, after finishing off the pizza while watching the Oregon Ducks trounce the Washington Huskies, Pedro proceeded to have not one, but two Root Beer Floats.  He kept saying, "What a great combination" "I love this combination."  Well, guess what?  It didn't stop there.  What did he have for breakfast?  Yep.  And again for lunch and that evening after dinner.  Pedro and I have bonded even closer.    Kate, make room in the freezer!

Kate: First, thanks for the Oregon Ducks plug.  Second, who's going to explain to his biological mom that he is hooked on Root Beer Floats?  Third, I would like to clear up for Child Protective Services that Pedro had more to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner than RBFs.  Fourth, that's the last time I leave home with the boys unchaperoned. And finally, we would DEFINITELY make the STFU blog that pokes fun at social media postings that share too much information about kids.

(PS--Spence and Pedro ARE super cute together!)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Embracing Our Differences

KATE: We are a County of diversity...we have a University town, a cow town, a conservative town, a large town, a rural name it, we pretty much have it in Humboldt County.

I've lived here less than a dozen years, so I'm not just a newcomer, I'm barely a blip on the meter.  I've lived in several other places in the past five decades--in towns smaller than Fortuna and cities bigger than Humboldt County. I love New York City and I love Fortuna.  They are not mutually exclusive. What I struggle with sometimes in Humboldt County is the divisiveness that permeates our collective thinking.  Rather than one area thinking they are "better" than another, why aren't we embracing our differences and celebrating them?

There will be no HUMBOLDT MADE or IMAGINE HUMBOLDT until we are a united Humboldt.  PR and Marketing campaigns that pretend to represent the entire County but only represent a small area are guilty of widening the gaping divide.

Why can't Fortuna be appreciated for what it does well by someone who lives in Arcata?  And vice versa? Why does it feel so often that it's "us" vs. "them?"

Am I generalizing? Heck yeah...but sometimes it feels like the diversity we strive for is only possible if it's something we already like.  Wouldn't it be great if we stopped talking diversity and lived it?

SPENCE:   One way for Humboldt residents to start accepting the differences between citizens would be to stop refering to Arcata as "The People's Republic of Arcata" and to Fortuna as "Fortucky".   


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eau de Pew

Our Brazilian foreign exchange student just completed homecoming week at Fortuna High.  It was a week-long foray into all of the shenanighans American students go through when celebrating that special time during football season.  There was dressing backwards day, pajama day and who-knows-what else that he didn't want to be embarrassed about by telling his host folks. 

 His big part was that of Senior cheerleader.  He practiced hard all week after school for the big Powder Puff game on Thursday night.  Kate and I attended the game for a bit to take photographs and take in the wonder.  As teenagers are ought to do, Pedro barely acknowledged us and would avert his eyes from our gaze.  No, his gaze was more on the 17-year old blondes cheering him on in the stands. 

Friday night was the night of the game.  His attention was toward the post-game dance rather than the actual football match.  When he came down stairs from getting all showered and shaved, the aroma that followed him could knock over an elephant.  He had doused himself in some sort of Latin man's cologne.  Surely, it's the same stuff that Fernando Lamas wore as he wooed the American ladies of his era.   It reminded me of getting into my father's bottle of Jade East and dousing it on my body for my own Senior Prom.  Or, was it Hai Karate.    No matter, Pedro stunk to high heaven.  And, that's a good thing.  We have an inkling the Fortuna High ladies swoon over our Latin son.  

Kate:  My allergies are so bad I can't smell anything, but still, Spence, your comments are a little Brute-al.  Must be a guy thing.