My One One-Night Stand

Ever hear a song that ignites a memory? Perhaps a social media post that involves the game “Never Have I Ever” has your mind rifling through its database of experiences. Well, if you thought the title to my post was confusing, the post itself will be absolutely befuddling!

The question that’ll hang in your head from now on will be, “what happened to Christine”?

Ashley McBryde’s, One Night Standards, played on the radio the other day. As usual, my mind drifted off to relive yet another It’s-Only-Believable-Because-it’s-A-Los story …


GRAND OPENING!

Ten years ago, one inconspicuous night in 2012, I was kickin’ it with a bro on a Monday. In fact, if memory serves me, it was his idea for me to post up with him at the grand opening of The RAM Restaurant in Federal Way [established July 23, 2012]

Considering it was a Monday with football invariably on the TVs, I rolled south from my Issaquah apartment to him at the new RAM.

As expected, the place was crackin’! Two bar stools remained open at the end of the bar area, so my bro and I posted up. After ordering beers, and grub, we surveyed the landscape and introduced ourselves to the folks seated near us.

Within a few minutes, my gaze fell upon the opposite side of the ginormous bar area. A fella was seated in-between a blonde and a brunette. According to the noise and banter between them and the bartender, he was sponsoring the drinking.

The blonde caught my gaze to which I just ruefully raised my eyebrow. She bellowed, “Buy me a drink!”

I quipped loud enough to carry across the bar, “Seems like that guy is taking care of that for you!”

She fired back with a casual one-fingered salute, and I retorted with a smile and the same salute.

My bro leaned in, and asks, “Do you need a wingman for this?”

I brush it off, “Nah, not right now.”

We continued to watch football, nosh on bar grub and guzzled beer. Once we finish, pay and start to exit, I went rouge and zoomed over to the blonde.

I approach her, “What’s your name?”

She replies, “Christine. Yours?”

I said, “Carlos. Gonna stay here all night?”

“No,” she said flatly. “I’ll be at the Hitching Post around 9:30 pm. See you there.”


One Night Stand

My bro and I scaled back to his crash pad. He and I started to watch a recorded football game on his DVR. When 9:30 pm rolled around, he asked, “Are you gonna post up at that bar?”

I mused, “Not yet. I’m gonna wait a grip longer.” Indeed, I waited until 10pm before bouncing with the words, “Aiight. Here’s the play. If I crash and burn, I’ll circle back to crash on your couch. If I’m good-to-go, then I’ll call or text so you can lock up and crash for the night. I’ll give ya the deets later.”

The Hitchin’ Post Saloon

I pull into the gravel parking lot. A red Chevy Monte Carlo has the passenger door opened with a leg propping it from the seat. As soon as I parked, and shut my door, Christine emerged from that car.

I casually strolled over to her, and she approached me. Once she was about 5-6 feet away, she leapt at me! I caught her as she wrapped her legs around my waist, and her arms around around my neck.

“Hey there!” she yelled.

“WHOA,” I reacted. “Hey there, yourself,” as I placed down on her own feet.

“I’m gonna finish charging my phone, I’ll meet you inside,” she commanded.


I went inside the saloon’s bathroom. I texted my bro, “It’s on like Donkey Kong! Lock up, I’ll text in the morning.”

Christine and I grabbed a table, drinks and some conversation. There was karaoke that was blaring across the speakers which made it difficult to hear. She had a stream of conscious thinking and dialogue once we sat down.

“I’m a yoga instructor, Carlos,” she told me without me asking. “A 50 year old divorcee after 25 years of marriage and 3 kids. What’s your story?”

“Office job that I don’t enjoy. Divorced as well, no kids, though,” I answered. “I’m gonna sing some karaoke, wanna join me?”

She shook her head ‘no’. If memory serves me still, I performed Rebel Yell by Billy Idol. We finished our round of drinks. I asked, “Should I get more drinks? Or we going back to your place? It must be nearby.”

Her eyebrows furrowed, “How did you know I live nearby?”

I smiled, “C’mon. Monday night, a grand opening of a new joint. You were curious then when that curiosity was satisfied you reverted back to your familiar bar.”

“You’re good,” she acknowledged. “My place, follow me.”


Literally, 5 minutes later we were parked at her house. As she fished her house keys out, she warned me, “My 26 year old sister is sleeping. Don’t leave me for her because she’s younger and more beautiful.”

I thought, “What have I gotten myself into this time?”

She led me through the house to the sliding back door. Once she strolled to the patio of her pool, she started stripping down naked. Without hesitation, she slipped into the pool. Mind you, it’s the dead of night. And if you know anything about sound and water, you know that all sound carries further over water …

“C’mon, Carlos, join me,” she invited.

OH. MY. GOD. I’M ACTING OUT THE SCENE IN NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION!!

I mentally checked out, “Fuck it. You only live once, right?” I get naked, and slipped into the shallow end of the pool. DEAR GOD, IT’S NOT A HEATED POOL! I mentally giggled, This is crazy, this is crazy!

She tried to swim off to the deep end, and I pulled her in. We embraced, we kissed. The entire time, I stood on the tips of my toes to ensure my twig and giggle berries do not touch the cold water.

I guided her to the edge of the pool. I bent her over the edge so we can get this done. For some reason, she grabbed the chaise lounge chair legs near her.

IMAGINE THIS SCENE, or more like hear it … two strangers, hooking up in a pool, around midnight. The rhythmic sound of a pool water splashing against the wall in conjunction of metal screeching against the concrete patio.

EEEEEERRRCH! Thump, thump, thump. I AM DIED LAUGHING INSIDE.

Thankfully this didn’t last long. Or rather … it didn’t take us long to get what we wanted. She got out of the pool, and got dressed. “I’m hungry. Wanna grab some food?”

I casually answered, “Sure. It’s midnight so let’s hit a 24-hour place.”

“No,” she fired back. “I know of a Mexican restaurant that’s open.” I thought, “What restaurant is gonna be open at midnight on a Monday in Fed Way?”

With her car keys in hand, “Follow me. Try to keep up.”

We jumped into our respective rides, and she led us outta the neighborhood. Once we were on arterial roads, she really picked up speed. My speedometer was approaching 50 mph.

Then it happened.

Christine drove through a red light, and I stopped. I watched her take a fast right turn down a residential street thus disappearing into the night from which she came from.

The light turned green. For a several second pause, I idled. I put the Sapphire Sled into 1st gear, turned left for a U-turn as a Cheshire, shit-eating-grin slowly appeared on my face as I point my car homeward.

We didn’t even exchange phone numbers. That’s my one one-nightstand, Spaceship Earth.

los; out.

Hazy Shade of Winter

Every time I’m introduced into a new group (or person) I know it’ll take time for them to get to know me and vice versa. My Dad always told me, “that people will not talk with you if they don’t like you. Time is a precious commodity that people won’t waste it on unwanted activity or people.”

That really resonated with me since I’m a people person, per se. Especially regarding time being wasted as I’ve already posted my thoughts about that.


They especially wouldn’t haze you if you’re not welcomed into the group as there’s a difference between that and bullying. And that difference is based on intent. So when I joined the Costco Woodinville a year ago that reminded me of my hazy shade of winter

Winter 2002

My story of hazing starts in the winter of 2002 at Costco Travel. I cleared the probationary 90 day challenge months ago, which I issued a challenge to the hiring manager. Costco Travel was experiencing a tremendous amount of growth, therefore shuffling of cubicle desks was a monthly, if not weekly, occurrence.

One move placed me near the Vacation Package Agents, and somewhat separated from the Cruise Department which I was a Cruise Reservation Agent. There was no animosity however playful banter between the two departments was palatable.

One particular agent was Chris McClain Simmons who was very enigmatic.

For all tense and purpose he followed none of the rules; written and unwritten. His desk was an absolute mess with stacks of papers, disheveled items and pictures of him posted throughout the cramped space. Completely opposite of me.

Whenever we engaged in conversation it seemed like he was #throwingshade at me. Even his emailed movie trivia was a sharp-tongued reply to my correct answers. I started to be offended by this man who seemed to be above the law, loud and proud, and simply operated on the only mood he cared for – rogue.

Towards the end of his tenure at Costco Travel, and towards the end of his life, he coaxed me over to his cubicle.

He wryly asked me, “Hey Los, do you like me?”

I grimaced at the question, “Of course. Why would you need to ask?”

He removes an object from underneath a pile of papers, and presents it to me, “Here. Take this.”

I accepted his gift, and examined it. It’s a 2-inch, by 1-inch, by 1/2 inch blue box with the words Austin Powers emblazoned on it with Mike Myer’s face on it. After pausing, I ask, “What’s this? A sound box?”

“As a matter of fact, yes it is. Press the button down,” he commanded.

I did so, and “Yeah, baby, yeah!” emanated out of the box. I chuckled a little. “Classic McClain.”

He smiles as he knows I accepted his gift he bequeathed me. “Anytime you miss me, you press this button, ” he points down to Austin Powers face, “Just like I press your buttons!” He punctuates it with a forced laugh.

Together Forever in a Hazy Shade of Winter

He died shortly after our interaction.

I liked that guy. The younger McClain was pretty damn good looking, too. I dare say he had a likeness of Robert Redford. And the older version that I knew, had a likeness to Austin Powers, the International Man of Mystery.

After his death, I discovered he didn’t talk to many other co-workers, let alone haze them / give them a razing like he did to me. It became explicit that he did like me, which dispelled my hazy shade of winter (the song explains he’s unsure about his life accomplishments)

In an odd way, a McClain way, he showed his appreciation for me, by hazing me in a good natured way, and never malicious.

So any time I feel like I’m getting razzed by someone or a group, I smile and know it’s because they wanna be around me, and that I should allow myself to razz them back. Just remember, if they don’t like you, they won’t haze you, let alone talk with you.

So Seattle, and Spaceship Earth, have you been hazed once you’ve joined a new group? If so, how bad was it? Until next week, be good like you should, and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

Mic drop *bOoM*

los; out

Benson Hedges: Better Currency Than Pesos

After watching wall-to-wall football for the final week of the 2022 NFL Regular Season, and the trash-talking (sh*t talking) on the field, it reminded of an incident that could’ve ended badly but didn’t.

My younger sister is brash at times. Sometimes it’s at inappropriate times when decorum is the more harmonious route. For example, when you accidentally stumble across a basketball pick up game with dockworkers in the Philippines.

Lemme explain how we started a fight, then fled instead and finally, how a pack of Benson Hedges cigarettes held higher currency than Filipino pesos.


This snippet is a part of a story when I traveled to the Philippines in 1998. I was there with my family to inform my grandparents, etc. that my Mom had passed away from gastric cancer in December, the previous year.

I digress

My sister, my sister’s friend and yours truly were instructed to meet our family members at the local ferry terminal and escort them back to the village. A straightforward task but not straightforward execution.

Waterjet was the ferry company with a fleet of high-speed, catamaran passenger ferries for the Philippine Islands. Also the most common way to travel from island to island. At the ferry terminal, a fleet of taxis were also waiting to ferry passengers to their final destination (see what I did there? I slay myself!)

Speaking of taxis in the Philippines, there are two colors; white and yellow.

The official taxis at NAIA (airport) are the yellow ones. Yellow taxis have 70 peso flagfall, vs 40 peso flagfall white taxis. Otherwise time and distance metering is similar.

Remember that yellow taxis only get fares from the airport, they cannot legally take passengers to the airport, so their return trip is unpaid.

White taxis are often crappy cars, dirt poor drivers. A ton of history of white taxi scams at NAIA terminals 1, 2 and 3 and in general.


I had read the notice from the local municipaility that flag drops were required with no fare negotiation allowed. There was a sea of taxi drivers hard-eyeing the only 3 white people at the terminal, obviously we were young travelers of some sort therefore EASY PREY.

My sister, Charrina; her friend, Kelly; and yours truly had been raised lower middle class so we collectively had street savvy, and had situational awareness. We were cognizant of the escalation that could happen.

We anxiously waited for our family member, whom we’ve never met in-person. The ferry disembarked its passengers which ignited the frenzy of folks grabbing white taxis. We escorted our family members to the nearest taxi, instructed the driver on the destination, and the taxi drove away.

By the time we completed our task, we looked around to find only four taxis left. All drivers refused to drop the flag for us, and demanded a 500-750 pesos for the fare which was only 150-200 pesos.

Our situation was the epitome of supply and demand: we needed wheels, and there was a scarcity of them.

I grumbled under my breath a phrase that generally is followed with trouble. “Fuck it, we (insert action here)”


ON this hot and humid morning at the dock, we found ourselves walking back to the village. My sister barked out, “That was bullshit!”

I shrugged, “Actually, that’s commerce for ya. They had something we wanted, and we were not wanting to pay the price for it.”

The distance was not far for us young folk, it was the preference of riding in air-conditioning that had us incensed! Storage containers stacked neatly provided a cityscape feeling along the dock walk. We were following the path of the exiting taxis, and the big damn sign that stated: EXIT THIS WAY.

We wheeled the corner to stumble across this scene: a make-shift basketball backboard and hoop were wedged between the storage containers with a faintly chalked key on the ground. There were 5 Filipino dock workers with T-shirts on, 5 without.

Great, I mentally thought, its a basketball pick-up game.

The catcalls IMMEDIATELY started as Charrina and Kelly came into view.

  • “Hey Americana! Why you walking in this heat!”
  • “You’re so beautiful, why are you with this puta bitch of a bodyguard”
  • “We can walk you home!”

We brushed it off as you should until one of them hollered something that my sister refused to let slide: I bet that pussy is as sweet as you look.

She fired back, “You’ll never know, so FUCK OFF!”

SHIT. GOT. REAL.

Their voices fell silent, as they grabbed anything available. I noticed a worker wrapping up his dominate hand with a rusty chain like a bandage. And then they rushed us!

So our shit-talking started the fight, now we must FLEE. At top speed, we bolted towards the security guard tower, flimsy wooden gate to stop vehicles, and more importantly … the exit.

Literally this is a scene out of the Westside story, as three youngsters being pursued by a pack of gang members. Thankfully, we had a head-start and were more fleet footed than them!

As we raced out of the dock area, we were noticing it was leading us to dead end or at best a T-stop. We had to decide quickly on left or right.

In front of us was a 20-foot high concrete wall that was ridiculously long. I looked right, it was a cartoonish, Wile E. Coyote length of the wall and the left was the same.

I raced to the left; Kelly and Charrina on my heels. Our hearts are pounding, as we looked behind us. The pack is fading BUT STILL CHASING US. Along the wall, and spaced out evenly were closed doors.

Jeezus, this is my worst nightmare, I thought. As I finished my thought, I noticed the closest door was off the hinges, and jilted diagonally creating a triangle on the bottom right for an escape.

We leapt down from the concrete wall onto a busy road.

WE ENDED UP ON A FREEWAY!!

If my Mom was alive, we would’ve killed us anyway. So I led us single file along the concrete wall, while looking back to ensure those dock workers gave up the chase. Suddenly a white taxi screeches to a halt beside us.

“What the hell are you kids walking on the freeway!”

I faced the voice through the passenger side door with the window down, “Are you a taxi?”

“I am, get in,” the voice replied.

Kelly clamored into the back, Charrina followed suit with the words, “Is he gonna drop the meter?”

I glared at her, “GET IN THE DAMN TAXI!”, as I jumped into the front. The driver launched back up to speed.

He glanced over to me, as I settled down in the seat, “Where to?”

“The blah-blah hotel, please,” I requested, “We don’t have many pesos, so drop us off wherever our money gets us.”

He let out a laugh. “Well the air-con doesn’t work, and as you can see, this car has seen better days. How much you got?”

I slowly withdrew 171 pesos but my pack of Benson Hedges cigarettes fell on the floorboard.

Taxi Currency

“Tell ya what. Since my air-con is broken, and I picked you up off the freeway,” he offered, “if you throw in that pack of cigarettes and the pesos, I’ll take you to all the way to the hotel. I’ve gotta go to the garage for repairs anyways.”

“Fair enough,” I accepted. “You’ve got a deal. Can I have one more before I surrender the pack? It’s been a morning.”

He looked at me, “Sure, kid.” He looked in the backseat with the rearview mirror, “Why were you three on the freeway anyways?”

Kelly piped up, “It’s a long story, and you don’t want to hear it either!”

“I’m grateful that Benson Hedges is better currency than pesos,” I mumbled.

He ruefully smiles, “Fair enough.”

‘los; out


Snow Day: World’s Largest Snowball Fight!

With the snow melting from the rain, AND no further snow in the forecast in Seattle and the surrounding area, it reminded me of a one particular Snow Day above all.

In 2013, the Boys and Girls Club of Seattle hosted Snow Day: The World’s Largest Snowball Fight, which was an attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records.


Largest Snowball Fight

You see, I was still brokenhearted over a girl that said goodbye the summer of 2012. In order to rid her from my memories, I wanted to create new ones and quickly. One fateful afternoon I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed and I encountered an advertisement that spoke to me. Not literally, of course, but it is possible.

Party Camp was asking for support for an attempt at a world record.

I thought instantly, “HELL YEAH, I wanna be part of history, and world record!”

I reviewed the date, etc, and bought my ticket. I managed to convince several other friends to join me.

I honestly didn’t think anyone else would join me, but I soon discovered there was more than one person that supported my oddball ideas of fun.

It made me smile, knowing that their presence was testimony to my inner personal skills. Charrina, Danielle, Alicia, Alison, Josie, and Melissa all joined me that day in January 2013.

The week prior I noticed dump trucks filled to the brim of snow were trucking into the Seattle area along I-90 from Snoqualmie Pass. My eyes narrowed as I realized this is gonna happen just the way they envisioned it.

It’s gonna be EPIC!

I helped build excitement for the event by promoting my involvement with it, and the type of impact it was gonna have on my life. I’ve been told that my excitement has a halo effect on whatever and whoever is involved. That, in and of, itself makes me happy.


Finally, it was the day of reckoning. Every fiber of my body told me, we were gonna post the new world’s record for largest snowball fight. To build energy before the attempt, several teams squared off to build snow forts, and stock pile snowballs. After the designated time frame was up, they were judged on several categories, one of which was look.

A DJ was playing music, that electrified the air. I gathered around my “team” for “before” photos, and to document our story.

SNOW DAY

A horn signified the start of the fight, so we immediately let loose the first volley of packed balls of snow in a display that rivaled artillery attacks in WWII.

Honestly, it was a frenzied attack of snow with no real defined teams. Several minutes into the fight, the unspoken challenge was to barrel through an open area of the fight to coax people into throwing snowballs at you, yet make it to the opposite side.

After my ‘successful’ run through the snowball gauntlet, I leaped over a snowfort wall for safety. Josie followed suit but was tagged very hard in her thigh which temporarily knocked her down.

So like a fallen soldier on the battlefield, I sprung my prone position to ‘rescue’ her. I helped my friend get to the other side, and sat down to assess her medically. She brushed off the attempt with a waving hand, and I’m fine.

The fight was overseen by a Guinness Book of World Records representative for validity. The number of participants were counted, and announced. We DID IT!

5,834 people surpassed the record previously held by South Korea.

I poked my hand into my jacket pocket to post on social media websites on the accomplishment. However, I came to the sudden and horrible realization that both pockets should’ve been zipped shut, especially the one that contained my phone.

I fruitlessly searched for my phone in the areas I was running, leaping, and dodging in. My friends suggested to try lost and found. My friend, Alicia, and WCP, accompanied me. Lost and Found was next to the Medical Tent. All manner of injuries were being attended to, such as bloody / broken noses, bruises, head cuts, sprained ankles, etc. In a futile attempt to recover my phone, I asked if they had my type of phone turned in.

The person managing it was less than enthused. I pursed my lips, and nodded my head, turned on my heel, and departed with my sister and friend. Never mind


The team decided to join the pub crawl to simultaneously celebrate our accomplishment, and mourn the lost of a phone and all injuries sustained. The first stop on the pub crawl was the Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Bar. It would be our only stop.

I’m. The. Reason. The. Rum. Is. GONE.

We managed to pile into a table for all of us. We ordered several of their famous Rum Buckets. After we killed some of them, Josie got curious about the extent of her thigh bruise, so she dropped trou in the corner of the restaurant while I stood guard.

I looked at it too, and mused, “A small price to pay for the glory of being part of world history!”

We continued to celebrate until it was time to return to our homes. I didn’t stop smiling for a week as I read article after article posted by newspapers on how we did it – yet another reason to love Seattle, WA.

PS – the record was broken yet again in Canada in 2016 with 7,681 participants. Congratulations to them! They still currently hold the world record. I’m just happy we held the record for any amount of time.

‘los; out

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 727

I usually look down on the ground before exiting my car because that first step can be a doozy. And if I’m driving that means it’s somewhere in public, where I’m almost guaranteed to find a few masks that have been dropped or discarded purposely. It’s a poignant reminder that COVID-19 is now a part of our lives.

I don’t enjoy wearing a mask at all, let alone at least 8.5 hours of my work day. Then to continue its use while I’m out and about with the world at large. I yearn for the day when I’m no longer required to wear it.

I realize that day is not today, next year or anytime soon. I just hope it’s one day before I die.


COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 727

Like any living thing on Earth, COVID-19 will fight for its right to party. Did you know that in the 2 years we’ve been coping with it, there have been 10 documented or at least recognized, variants?

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Epsilon
  • Mu
  • Omicron (most prevailing type currently)
  • R.1
  • Theta
  • Zeta

Humans and the viruses that live in them have survived by adaptation. We can quickly adapt to changing environmental conditions. Since we’re trying to kill the COVID-19, it’s adapting to survive. I’m paraphrasing an article I read but …

The RNA-synthesizing machinery that most RNA viruses use to copy their genome doesn’t have this error correction mechanism. But coronaviruses have a special enzyme that allows them to do error correction, so they have a lower mutation rate than other RNA viruses. I don’t think it works quite as well as the DNA mechanism, though.

There’s this idea that because most RNA viruses cannot error correct, they make lots and lots of mistakes. That’s not great for us, because it allows them to mutate rapidly and avoid the immune system. But if they make too many mistakes, it’s not good for the virus either, because the viruses will just break down.

Marta Gaglia, an associate professor of molecular biology and microbiology at the School of Medicine

You can read the entire article here.


To the best of my knowledge, I have not contracted COVID-19. If I did, I was asymptomatic and totally unaware. As I understand the information given to me, that receiving the vaccination shot and booster will help lower my chances of “getting it”, or if I do get it, the vaccine will help reduce the length of time of having it before I pass it.

I mentioned this before but worth repeating … COVID-19 will not be gone in my lifetime. My mindset is not when we will be ‘over this’ but how can I adapt to this new layer of disease complexity.

‘los; out

I’m Neither The Grinch or Santa Claus

Christmas may occur on the same day every year, but every year it hits me differently. Especially, every year since 1997 when she passed away from cancer a week before Christmas.

For our small, middle class family of four, she WAS the embodiment of Christmas. She loved everything about Christmas! I hate to be an anchor but when she died, the spirit of Christmas went with her.


The weekend after Thanksgiving was only the beginning. My Mom would request I climb up into a dark, rather scary attic to bring down the plastic Christmas Tree. And of course, I also had to drag down the ornaments, the lights, the blah, blah, blah.

All I did know was this was time away from G.I. Joe’s / LEGOs that gave way to Role Playing Games such as Robotech, and eventually my Nintendo video game playing. An annoyance that was momentary, because once down it would keep her occupied for hours.

Next she would start playing her Christmas music CDs – yes, many – on her red ‘boom box’. The same songs would be repeated throughout the days for the next 30 days. I’m fairly certain that I’m easily triggered by them like a latent super spy.

I’m Really Not The Grinch

She had decorations for days – all dedicated to Christmas. She was a practicing Catholic so Christmas was grounded in religion, not in commercialism. I believe it was irksome that the rest of her family wasn’t Catholic.

I digress.

She truly embodied the spirit of Christmas. That said, she still wanted to provide the best for us, and her family in the Philippines. We didn’t have much in the way of disposable income for the ‘family checkbook’.

My sister and I understood that while we couldn’t request exuberant gifts like we really wanted to, we could request reasonable ones. My Dad’s family didn’t like one another so we were not obligated to visit, and Mom’s lived several thousand miles away.

So Christmas morning was all about passing out presents, then we would receded to our self-absorbed activities until dinner. Some say it was lonely, but I considered it solitary, self-care time.

I actually enjoyed Christmas this way.


In the years that followed her death, I wouldn’t shit on anyone would loved Christmas. And I mean LOVED everything Christmas. Their experience isn’t the same as mine. Frankly, good on them. Just because I don’t have overly joyful memories of this time year, didn’t mean I should lash out on those that did.

As I said, each year since 1997 it hits me differently. Some years I’m the Grinch of Christmas that has an inexplicable emptiness, and loneliness. Other years, I find moments of joy throughout the month of December that will buoy me through the season.

This year, you ask?

I’m neither the Grinch or Santa Claus. I have my traditions that I honor: December 1st, Tabula Rasa Day.

At least watching in any order from December 1st to December 31st, Die Hard and Die Hard 2: Die Harder.

Chopping down a Christmas Tree at Farmer Brown’s – although, I’m beginning to wonder if my money better spent elsewhere.

And a few other traditions.

I think my heart and head believes these are effort to honor my Mom’s memory of Christmas. At some point, I project that 12/25 will be just another date on the calendar.

What are your comments on Christmas?

los; out

Who’s Room Is It Anyways?

Christmas Day is fast approaching. Some folks celebrate it in Hawaii for that warmer climate than the Pacific Northwest. I’ve lived here my entire life, so I can’t blame them.

Speaking of Hawaii, a long time ago, I was married. My wife loved to travel, and relished in the fact I worked as a travel consultant. In the early 2000’s the fringe benefits of being travel agent were non-existent. Free hotel rooms, reduced airline tickets, upgraded service, etc were the words of an evil recruiter for the travel industry.


Despite that, I would network with my fellow travel consultants. One seasoned consultant passed on to me a free room nights to the Aston Kaanapali Shores on Maui so long as I did a site inspection while there.

I immediately accepted the deal.

The Aston Kaanapali Shores

The following is only a segment of a larger tapestry of travel in the Hawaiian islands. I wanted to focus in on this for good reason.

We arrived at 2 pm; one hour before the posted check-in time. I had experienced that even if you arrived early to a hotel / resort / accommodation you can be on property while you wait. And in fact, most times there was at least one room available.

For once our hotel room wasn’t ready for early check-in.

We were asked to come back in an hour. For compensation, the hotel concierge gave us complimentary drink coupons in the lobby bar.

ONE HOUR later – We enjoyed a slow drink, so I called the Front Desk. No room yet, so please wait a bit more. I didn’t know if it was island-time-kinda-wait-more or American Tourist wait more.

Ordered another drink, waited to call back after a half-hour.

The answer this time is the room is ready. We grabbed the keys and headed to room Number 611.

While we towed our luggage behind us, I lead the way since I had the hotel keycards.

Who’s Room Is It Anyways?

I fiddled with the keycard, but managed to open the door. I waltzed into the room. I heard a noise off in the bedroom area. Are we in the right room? We must be if the keycard opened the door.

I immediately stop in my tracks as I spy something I can’t unsee: A very white colored butt quickly gyrating at the hips. I scan the living room area that’s adjacent to the bedroom.

Someone’s else room?! Holy crap! A bikini top was dangling from a ceiling fan blade, the bottom was on the carpet, swimsuit trunks draped on the back of a chair. I shuffled back and boxed out Charlene like a NBA player as I retreated from the front door threshold to close the door.

We wheeled on our feet! What. the. actual. fuck.

We steamed back to the front desk to explain the situation. While they snickered at the image I painted for them, I requested another 4 free drink coupons for the bar for mind erasing, AND new keycards to the correct room.

Needless to say, once in the correct room our Hawaiian holiday continued without further incident.

Have you ever walked into your parent’s room while they were hooking up? Then you can certainly relate …

‘los; out

My Most Memorable Slice of Humble Pie

I don’t remember my first slice of humble pie, but I definitely can recall my most memorable one …

In 2011, I was still working for Costco Travel. As the Inventory Control Specialist for the Caribbean Buying Team, one of our responsibilities was to accompany other Travel team members on familiarization trips to Caribbean islands. The Dominican Republic was our biggest sales destination therefore a frequent training destination.

I had to fly here to be served this fine piece of humble pie.


FAMs, i.e. familiarization trips, were a privilege to travel and represent Costco Travel.

Or at least when I worked there. Each trip followed a similar itinerary: fly there, hotel site inspection, welcome group dinner, then sleep. Next morning, group breakfast, hotel inspection after hotel inspection until the end of business hours between 5pm – 6pm.

Afterwards the FAM leader, generally the Buyer of the destination, would either gather up the team for group dinner or cut us loose for the evening with THE EXPECTATION OF AN EARLY START the next day.

This was usually 7am – 8am.

I’m not certain why I carried the reputation of the ‘party boy’ but the leader would always side-eye me. “Don’t be late, ‘los“, they would quip. I shrugged, and thought:

Why call me out, yo?

Karaoke at 8pm

I hustled to my hotel room to dress down as a tourist. I understand that I’m paid to work, inspect these resorts / hotels, and report back but a grip of free time was expected.

It was usually after dinner, too.

As I hit the lobby area of the resort we were staying for the night before moving on, I spied a sign: Karaoke at 8pm, sign up at the front desk.

I had been karaoking at Malarky’s for a hot-minute so I thought I could flex the golden pipes in the D.R. I would survey the gathering crowd before picking out the song lyrics I knew forward-back, upside down and right side up.

After I signed up, I immediately became nervous and anxious. I thought, dude, you don’t know any of these people, and never will see them again. Just go up there, have fun, and let it be.

Naturally, I did what any red-blooded American that’s about to sing in public: I drank alcohol.


Humble Pie Coming Up

The host asked if I wanted to start off since I was first to sign up. I eagerly accepted the offer. At least I don’t have to ‘follow’ any latent superstar / American Idol contestant / authentic singer that’s sharking.

The open-air patio area of resort had been filled in with chairs. The performing stage was legitimately big enough for shows, events, etc.

I was asked my song finally. After I hear and observed some folks from the South, or ‘dirty South’ as they put it … I replied Garth Brooks’s Rodeo. I performed my song, I got that particular party to stand up and dress in the audience.

Once done, I strolled off the stage to join the audience. And enjoy the rest of the singers.

The next fella was a larger black man, picture Notorious B.I.G. or CeeLo. The song, Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel, starts. I thought, interesting song to choose. I was judging the book by it’s cover, per se.

His first couple bars lets everyone know he has a big voice, and knows this song. It’s a polished performance for sure. By the middle of song, he had EVERYONE except for me, standing up, dancing in the aisle, and singing with him.

I was so #butthurt that I didn’t get this type of reaction with my song and performance! There I continued to sit, forced to eat this humble pie. I don’t remember any of the other singers, or really the rest of the night.


The next morning, after check out, I wheeled my luggage through a shortcut near the VIP lounge to the hotel lobby. In the heated pool was THAT SAME FELLA with a beautiful girl on each side of him!

I commented, “Hey man, that was a great performance last night.”

“Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed,” he replied.

I can only assume that his golden pipes lured those lovely ladies over to him. I’ll never know for sure, but I learned that night to remain humble even in my thought process.

‘los; out

Blank Slate: Tabula Rasa Day

I remember November 30th, 2008 like it was yesterday. It was just another Manic Monday for most Americans, but not for me. Honestly, I didn’t think I would remember it so vividly after many years. But I do, and I’m gonna tell ya about starting over with a blank slate

My sister and myself were in different parts of the Seattle Metroplex but we’re in the same situation: Needing to move out. I was experiencing a divorce, and Charrina’s lease expired, and she wasn’t renewing it. So we moved in together into an apartment sight unseen – that’s right! The first I saw it was when I was moving my personal items into it.

Blank Slate: Tabula Rasa Day

Tabula Rasa

Speaking of moving items, Charrina and I muscled into the Great Room (10 feet by 17 feet) that overlooked the Issaquah Valley. We plopped down on the cushions with a huff. Not only was it heavy, but bulky to boot.

I digress.

I grumbled, “For the amount of stress, and what I’ve been through, I deserve a medal, an oversized check, a trophy and maybe a parade.”

My sister agreed, “Me, too.”

I mused, “I wonder what the rules and regulations are governing holidays? I mean seriously who’s in charge of assigning them?”

She shrugged, and answered, “I dunno know, big brother, but I know you’d know better than I would.”

I briefly researched it, and there’s no governing body, it’s a blank slate as to the process. I cleared my throat, and declared, “Tomorrow is December 1st. That’ll be the first day, of the first week, of the first month of the first year of the rest of my life. It’s gonna be a holiday to commemorate it, too.”

“Ok, I’ll bite. What’s this holiday gonna be called, Los?” my sister entertained me.

I answered, “Tabula Rasa Day. Loosely translated from Latin it means blank slate.”

“Tabula Rasa, eh? What do we do on TRD then?” she inquired.

I paused for a moment. “Well, getting to this point has been bitter sweet. So I suggest a Washington Apple shot, then chased by a crappy domestic beer like Bud Light.”

She nods in agreement. Then follows up with, “Ok. What else?”

“We make a declaration of independence. Not to be confused with a New Year’s Resolution,” I answer.

“What’s your declaration then?” she presses.

“I declare that this’ll be a holiday to be celebrated annually. You should give yourself a blank slate every year,” I smile.

If you could create a holiday, what would it be? Or do you like this holiday?

Please comment below. Until next time, be good like you should and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

Mic drop *bOoM*
‘los; out

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