Some of you know I’m an Instagram fan, and try to post a photo daily. I love Instagram for the variety of images I see every day and that it allows me a place for self-expression.
I’ve been shooting with a Google Pixel2 and a Verizon Google Pixel 2XL for quite a while now. I have to say after being a devoted iPhone user since the beginning, I now think Android is a piece of cake, but more importantly, I am in love with both Pixels.
It’s not just the ease of using an Android. Once you get the gist of how they work, it’s pretty easy to figure out any of them!
So ease of use is important. Service quality is important, too. I’ve mentioned numerous times we have a house near Mount Rainier that is listed on AirBNB, and Verizon is still the most reliable service out there.
But the cameras on these two devices! Wow. They’re amazing. They capture such minute detail that often I’ll shoot something then blow it way up and crop a tiny part of it to post, still maintaining incredible details.
This week I stopped by my mechanic, CarTender, on Capitol Hill. Paolo, one of the guys who works there, told me he bought a Pixel 2 BECAUSE of my INSTAGRAM PHOTOS! Wow!
So I’m sharing a few of the photos I’ve shot this month. From the top down, are:
Peonies from my sister’s garden
A view of the Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle
Wild roses from my garden
Basketball scrimmage after school
The “Eraser” sculpture at the Seattle Center
Weird graphic asphalt lines leading to the Museum of Pop Culture
A view of the Madrona Bathhouse on Lake Washington
The view from the end of the bar at 13 Coins in Pioneer Square
Plants reaching for the sky
A shed in Madrona with a pretty patina
Glimmering city of Bellevue seen from Madrona at Lake Washington
The first Amazon Bookstore, located in the University Village of Seattle
Century Link Tower seen through a gap in a grate
A tree before it budded
Expressive clouds seen from the Montlake Bridge
I’ve posted more than 16,000 photos on my Instagram account. As an early adopter, I went crazy at first, sometimes sharing a dozen or more pictures a day. Now, usually just one a day, although sometimes I skip.
I’d love to have you check out my photos. If you follow me there, post a comment to let me know, and I’ll follow back! And if you see the photos I’ve previewed below, you’ll usually find a more complete description on Instagram
Thank you for looking! And remember: #BetterMatters
Two days last week, I worked at Alki Surf Shop while my husband, David, zipped over to Randle, WA, to do some work on our AirBNB house.
Shortly after I opened the store, a woman I didn’t know walked in and said, “I’m not stalking you, but you left your BMW lights on.” It turned out I’d parked in front of her house. She is also an aficionado of vintage BMWs, and didn’t want me to return to find my car with a dead battery. The woman’s name was Megan, and I discovered we both own businesses on Alki Beach.
I locked up the store and walked with Megan back to my car, opened the door and started the engine without a problem. She waved goodbye, I locked up my car and headed back to the shop.
Fast forward to the end of the day…
I walk back to my car and see the lights were still ON! OMG. Earlier, when I checked and saw my battery was in good shape, I forgot to turn off the lights!
But, to my delight, the engine started right up!
Sheesh. Old people. ¶
My classic 1976 BMW 2002 is now 40 years old!
Chewing the Digital Fat at Alki Surf Shop
Our visitors are both local and from around the world. Later that day, Jim and Suzanne Skerjanc from Bellingham dropped in, and somehow, we started talking about cell phone service.
Jim and Suzanne told me about their spotty AT&T service, and how they recently switched to Verizon. And yes, this was a spontaneous conversation!
Suzanne said, “We were with AT&T, and just didn’t get a signal anywhere. I mean, at my work there was like zero signal. I had to go outside and it was still sketchy. Jim’s a realtor, so he’s all over the place—and, I mean, he HAS to have a signal.”
Jim and Suzanne Skerjanc, happy Verizon customers
Jim told me he would be driving down a main road, and bam—his calls would drop. He noticed the bars would go to zero, then a half mile down the road, they would come back. And it happened all over the county.
When they switched to Verizon, it was completely different. They now have cell phone service everywhere they go.
“We have full service now. It’s like being in the middle of Seattle,” Jim told me. “Since we switched to Verizon, we have great, reliable coverage all the time.”
Hearing about their experiences made me proud of my connection to Verizon as a brand influencer. Maybe #BetterMatters, but in their case, #BetterWins! ¶
By a huge percentage, the guests at our home on AirBNB are nice and responsible people. It’s interesting to see how different age groups behave almost stereotypically. “Grownups” treat our house as their own, and leave things in great shape. Millennials, on the other hand, generally seem to have a different idea of what it means to leave a place neat and tidy, or to treat our home with care.
When we first listed our house, my friend, Reg Saddler said, “Well, you know what people do with AirBNB houses, don’t you?” (And being a newbie, I said, “No!?”) He went on, “Terri, people make pornos in them!”—which kind of freaked me out!
Last year we hosted a boudoir photographer, whom we found to be a respected commercial photographer, and totally legit. Nothing too crazy has happened so far.
Generally, when we hand over the keys, we meet our guests face-to-face, and I believe the personal connection helps ensure a positive experience on both sides. That is, most of the time.
Recently we had a group of guys make a reservation for a bachelor’s weekend. The person who booked the house specifically said to me, “We will be clean and respectful.”
Beside filling huge garbage bags with empty booze and beer bottles, and then ruining and tossing five of our plush, hotel-grade towels into the trash without a word, this group burned through all of our firewood. And they also burned a batch of stripped maple saplings that David was seasoning to make into furniture.
Long pieces of beautiful wood leaning against the wall opposite the wall of split firewood would appear different to sensible people, but they were clueless. I could only think: “Morons.”
Not the actual doll. The real one wasn’t this nice.
And to top it off, they also deposited a blow-up sex doll in with the rest of their trash. I mean, WHO DOES THAT? EWWWWW!
If we’d known the fiancee, I would’ve been tempted to tell her, “RUN, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!” ¶
MISSION: Litter-ally Accomplished
Some of you might remember my last new year’s eve and day were crazy. A small part of it had to do with a postcard offering a trial box of OKO cat litter from the Mud Bay Pet Store.
We regularly receive OKO postcards and I usually recycle them. But recently, one arrived, and I decided to give it another shot. So I tossed it into my briefcase in the event I was near Mud Bay in the Capitol Hill neighborhood
A typical cross walk on Capitol Hill, Seattle
Last Sunday I was near Mud Bay AND I had the postcard with me! So in a deja vu moment, I pulled into the gas station next door to the pet store, walked in, and bought something, then asked if I could leave my car in their lot while I shopped at Mud Bay.
And once again, Mud Bay didn’t have the trial size of OKO cat litter available.
I asked, “Do you guys EVER have the trial size of this product?”
They said, “No.”
Apparently the manufacturer makes no effort to ensure their retail outlets carry the items they’re promoting.
To put an end to my quest, I bought a large size of litter because we were running low. And to my surprise, Mud Bay offered to subtract the value of the trial size. So the box ended up costing only a few dollars
Ice, the teddy-bear hamster, captured on a Canary home security camera.
I felt guilty spending only three dollars on a large box of litter, so I also bought an interactive cat toy and some hamster treats for our son’s and daughter-in-law’s pet teddy bear hamster.
OKO cat litter is odd. It’s made from paper and sort of tubular in shape. I liked the concept, but it’s difficult to sift. Our Maine Coon, Hunter, is going along with it, but our silver tabby, Grey, is avoiding it. It was good to be able to try it. Now I know. ¶
Grownup Kids are FUN!
Last week, our oldest son Andrew, and daughter-in-law Diana drove to Seattle from Monterey, CA. Since they were supposed to arrive Sunday night, our family decided to delay celebrating Father’s Day until Monday, so everyone could be here.
But on Sunday afternoon I received a phone call from Andrew saying he and Diana would arrive in Seattle in time for Father’s Day dinner!
I love our oldest son, Andrew. He’s such an amazing kid! He also has a knack for creating minor chaos 🙂
Andrew and Diana — weary travelers
Hearing his updated ETA, I needed to make sure our youngest son, Charley and his girlfriend, Sheela, were going to be available in a few hours, then cleared it all with David. When it looked like we were all on the same page, I switched into high gear, trying to figure out how we could get a dinner reservation on such short notice. So I called Marée Bistro, a neighboring business on Alki Beach.
Remember Megan, the woman who told me I left my lights on? Well, Marée belongs to Megan and her husband, Andy. They said they’d be happy to save us a table, which was great!
After we closed Alki Surf Shop, our group walked a few blocks to Marée and enjoyed some amazing dinners.
Frisée salad with house-cured lardon, garlic croutons and soft-cooked egg
We ordered lots of different entrees, including a Galantine de poulet (like a free range chicken roulade), wild boar (tender and delicious!), hangar steak, a savory tart, steak frites; plus some yummy sides including a frisée salad and a tasty assortment of charcuterie.
It was a fun and festive meal and wonderful on every level. After dinner, we walked out, and were greeted by an incredible crimson sunset. It was the perfect end to a great weekend.
All of which started with Megan telling me I’d left my lights on. ¶
The sunset as we exited Marée Bistro, Father’s Day 2016
This is my first attempt to shoot a video and edit it, and also my first exploration inside of a laptop!
A month ago I installed 32 GB of RAM in my 27” iMac. It was super easy! My buddy Reg Saddler was with me, virtually, providing guidance and support.
It got me thinking about my mid-2012 Macbook Pro, and how it had just 4 GB of RAM. I decided to upgrade to its maximum — 8 GB, but wasn’t sure where to start.
I’d never opened up a laptop, and installing RAM in a laptop looked more complicated than the installation on my iMac. So I asked my friend, Greg, to help me. But instead of helping me, he actually did the installation!
It worked out well, because it gave me a chance to record the process using my new Samsung Galaxy 7 (S7), which has a pretty powerful video editor built in.
I’ve never edited a video before, and had no idea what I was doing, so imagine how surprised I was to discover it’s simple to do all of the editing and post-production on the S7.
During the RAM installation, I recorded about 14 minutes of video in four different segments . Most of it was a major snoozefest, or just chitchat that needed to go away.
So I omitted the audio by turning off the volume on all of the clips, prior to assembling everything.
At the time I was editing, I actually didn’t have the presence of mind to take screen shots, so a bunch of the following images are after the fact!
Part One — EDITING THE VIDEO
On the S7, I navigated to my camera’s roll and opened the first of four segments I’d filmed.
Once opened, at the bottom of the screen there was an option to “Edit”
From there I found the “Video Editor” option.
Once “Video Editor” is clicked, a screen comes up, showing the video represented by linear thumbnails. The yellow line is the beginning of the playback.
Hit the play button (small round arrow button in lower left quadrant) to review. To get rid of irrelevant content, you can split or trim parts of the clip. To do that, select“Trim” from the menu. A sub-menu pops up where you can select trim to the left, right, or split into pieces.
I decided to “Split” the section in two. A box then appears between the two sections. By resting the vertical playback line on top of it, a “Transition” menu will come up.
There are quite a few options for transitions between clips. I just chose a simple black dissolve (top middle on this image). To add a segment, I clicked the “+” symbol in the lower left corner.
I navigated back to my camera’s files and selected the next clip, which then appears in the timeline as anew thumbnail. (Note an additional “transition box” appeared.)
When I had all of my clips trimmed and assembled, just for the heck of it, I decided to add a couple of titles. To do that, I selected “Title.” A bunch of choices pop up. I chose black.
A box opens to type in some copy. Just try to make sure you check your spelling. Typos in videos happen here.
For the purposes of this sequence, I typed in “Sample Title,” but in my final video I inserted three title pages. When I was finished, I looked at the video and jotted down what I wanted to say. (NOTE: There is probably a better work flow, but since I didn’t know what I was doing, this is what happened with me!)
I figured out I could add narration by selecting “AUDIO.” There are several choices, and I selected “Record narration.” So while the video was playing back, I recorded my voice to go with the video. The primary reason I did this is because I decided to speed everything up 2X, which meant my voice sounded like I was talking through helium. It had to be removed!
When I was done, I played it back to see how it sounded and looked. It wasn’t perfect, but hey, you have to start somewhere! I was satisfied — quite proud of myself, in fact! So I selected “EXPORT.”
The processing took a few minutes. When it was complete, I watched it again, then shared it on to YouTube.
The S7 is a great device — much smaller than my Nexus 6P or Samsung Edge 6+ — so it fit easily into my little phone mount and desktop tripod, but more importantly, it recorded really beautiful video. So beautiful, in fact, that when I did the screen grabs, the resolutions looked very nice.
Here is the final video: [ insert anti-climactic drumroll here ]
The completed video, which was sped up 2X, cut it down to about 3 minutes.
Part 2: THE RAM INSTALLATION
Greg is a former graphic designer and art director, retired from Microsoft. He and I have a long history of geeking out, talking about computers, gadgets and related topics that make both of our spouses’ eyes glaze over. This was the perfect project for us!
It’s all covered in the video, above, but here are a few highlights:
First, we unscrewed the back. Three of the screws are longer, so we put them aside and marked the holes before removing the rest of the screws, which were much shorter.
Next, we disconnected the battery using a nylon pry tool
After discharging static electricity, ease open clips holding in the RAM, and removed the two sticks.
Next, the new RAM was inserted into the slots. They were firmly snapped into place
We closed the back of the laptop, first treating screws with an anti-vibration goop.
Moment of truth: Booted it up…
Happy to hear the Mac start up sound and see the Apple logo appear!
So, this entire process involved learning on a couple of levels. It was amazing and fun to shoot, then edit a video entirely on my S7. Second, I’m no longer afraid of opening up my laptop. SSD, here I come!
PS: A cool way to take screen shots on the S7:
Hold your hand perpendicular to the phone screen (like you’re going to give it a karate chop).
Swipe your hand quickly to the left or right. You’ll hear a “click.” BINGO! Screen shot taken!
Video and images shot by Terri Nakamura, using a Samsung Galaxy 7, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.
I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media outreach team. My posts are about my own personal experiences. No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.
Commercial ads are a necessary evil. Most of us tune them out. TiVos, DVRs and similar devices are popular because they help us do that.
But when you see a great ad, you want to see it again and again and sometimes, even share it with others. A friend, Reg Saddler says because of the way he now consumes content, he doesn’t have to watch commercials anymore. So when he actually sees one, it’s like, “Hey, a commercial!”
Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, OR has done its best to create some watch-worthy ads.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably seen some of W+K’s handiwork. Some of their clients include Chrysler, Coca Cola, KFC, Old Spice, Nike, Samsung and Verizon. Here are a couple of classics:
When I first saw W+K’s Old Spice commercial, I thought it was hilarious. “Old Spice?” It was a moribund brand that W+K miraculously brought back to life. I even remember tweeting a link to watch it. That’s how good it was.
W+K isn’t a household name except to people connected to the advertising industry. In my view, having such an amazing agency in the Pacific Northwest is a point of pride. W+K’s creativity has been recognized through Clio awards (the “Oscars” of advertising), Addys (American Advertising Federation), The One Show, and Cannes Lions, and other arbiters of advertising greatness. They rock!
Do you wonder how commercials are created? Do writers and art directors sit around in altered states to come up with some of the crazy ideas we see? Or are the ideas data-driven to tickle the brains of the target audience? Or are some ads simply random shots in the dark? How DOES the creative process unfold?
Wacky ads are popular. The hope is to break through the thrum of other advertising messages and also stand in contrast to programming. Lame ads have been accepted as the norm, and many commercials are noise, at best.
Last fall I started noticing some nice Verizon spots on TV. They were smart. The concepts were wonderfully illustrated. They were nicely produced. Their intelligence could almost be described as disruptive.
In February I became curious, and learned the current Verizon branding campaign has been the work of W+K.
It all started to make sense.
#BetterMatters is the campaign concept underlying the commercials and print ads we’re seeing. On the surface, it seems pretty obvious — yes, “better matters,” but what does it mean?
I wanted to know about how the campaign came about, so I contacted the agency in Portland. Katie Hull in W+K’s PR department was helpful, and pointed me to some useful background.
In announcing the campaign, Melissa Garlick, Verizon Sr. VP, Brand Creative said, “At its core, “Better Matters” exemplifies that the network you choose and the access it provides, makes a difference. Better is how we differentiate our brand in the marketplace. We realized that one out of every three Americans is a Verizon customer, so…we found a dozen different ways to explain how Verizon has a better network, and why better matters.”
Verizon launched the new campaign on the heels of the logo “refresh” designed by Pentagram. Incidentally, the Verizon logo debuted the same week as the new Google logo.
What do you think of it, by the way?
In a story about the Verizon campaign, Adweek wrote: “The theme of this work is ambitious and suggests only Verizon can fully deliver on “the promise of the digital world.” Its central analogy, illustrated with a series of colorful metaphors in a dozen ads from W+K’s creative team, holds that a higher-quality network leads to a better quality of life, especially when it comes to everyday convenience.”
Creative directors Aaron Allen and Jason Kreher echoed that message, telling Adweek, “The challenge was explaining some pretty dry facts in a way that would resonate.” The varied nature of this campaign “ensured that production would be a huge challenge, but it resulted in a ton of good work that helps Verizon stand out from the competition.”
In working on the Verizon campaign, W+K determined which concepts would be most salient and worked with their clients to find different ways to explain how Verizon has a better network, and why better matters. It included highlighting characteristics like the 4G LTE network, its capacity, reliability and coverage, as well as its unique access and exclusive offerings. It helped W&K to come up with solid creative because Verizon had real value to offer.
There are always going to be people who complain about their individual experiences with ANYTHING. But I believe Verizon works hard to earn its top metrics and customer loyalty by providing a great network, and in the bigger picture, providing value and service to a broad audience, even beyond their customers*.
At the end of the day, advertising is about making consumers feel they need a product or service, or to feel good about their connection with something. When an ad agency’s client has great offerings, it’s a heckuva lot easier to tell the story.
Images sources: Commercials created by Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, OR; Truth in Advertising Excerpt directed by Tim Hamilton (12-minute film short can be viewed in its entirety here); Verizon logo animated gif created by Pentagram
*Verizon supports social initiatives including Hopeline, helping victims of domestic violence, and provided recognition for Organize, which strives to bring organ donor registration to the 21st century.
My collaboration with Verizon began in 2014, and I’m proud to participate as a member of their social media outreach team. My posts are about my own personal experiences. No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.
Imagine running a 200+ mile race in four days, over impossible terrain, with only six hours of sleep.
Some of us think our jobs feel like that!
But in fact, this is exactly what Joe Galioto did, along with 58 other athletes who completed the Bigfoot 200, an extreme endurance run that traversed Mount St. Helens in Washington State.
When Susan Galioto inquired about our AirBNB property in Lewis County, Washington, it was a head scratcher. Based in New Jersey, she wanted to reserve the house for nine days, but for about half the time, it would be empty. She then told me the reason:her husband was coming to participate in The Bigfoot 200, and for the duration of the race, he would be on or near Mount St. Helens, one of the most active volcanos in America.
I did some checking and found out some interesting facts about Bigfoot 200:
Just under 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) of ascent
More than 96,000 feet of elevation change
203.8 miles long, non-stop, point-to-point
Start: Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Mountains; Finish: Randle, WA in the Big Bottom Valley.
When asked if there any races as long or difficult as the Bigfoot 200, race director Candice Burt responded, “Yes. There is the Tahoe 200 and Colorado 200, and other difficult races that are even longer or have extreme weather, like snow or heat. [But] it is my opinion that the Bigfoot 200 is the most difficult 200-miler in the United States.”
Prior to a reservation, it’s important to communicate with our AirBNB guests in real life or by phone. It helps us anticipate issues that may arise, but in addition, it’s a chance to get to know interesting people like Joe and Susan whom we’d otherwise never have a chance to meet. As the race time was growing closer, we nailed down the logistics of getting them the keys and directions, and I mentioned that there is no cell phone service beyond the town of Morton except for Verizon. Fortunately, like us, they were Verizon customers.
The Horsfall House is a 100 year-old farmhouse filled with a sweet spirit.
My husband, David Horsfall, and I purchased the property 25 years ago, when we realized our two young sons were growing up in the city, and had no experience playing in the woods, building fires and doing things that we did when we were kids. There are trails running through the 22 acres of forest, and there are meadows surrounding the house, which is just a few minutes from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It’s an easy drive to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, and a great place to get acquainted with nature.
A couple of days before the race, Joe flew into Seattle, then drove two hours to Randle to familiarize himself with the area, and to train and explore. He arrived at the property on September 4th and described his first reaction:
When I first drove up the drive and parked by the house and got out of the car, I felt this incredible surge of energy and emotion, I felt like I belonged there. Not sure if you’ve ever had an experience like this, but it is powerful. I didn’t even go in, I just walked around the property, the house and to the shed and then finally the front porch where I entered. It was like I was revisiting a place I had been before and I was just walking around checking to see that everything was the way I remembered.
Before I unpacked the car, I called Sue and asked if there was any way she and the boys could fly out, I knew it was crazy and far-fetched (but hey, running 205 miles in the mountains was somewhat far-fetched too) – I just felt like I was “home” and they should be there. That they would love this house and property as much as I did, and I was only there for five minutes.
Whenever he is asked how he trains, his typical response is “run lots,” which is funny and obvious, and not far from the truth.
He is a NASM-certified personal trainer, USAC cycling coach, and RRCA running coach, but stresses that regardless of events he enters (and the required training), the needs of his family take priority.
About his preparation, Joe says,
“I make up workouts that don’t require as much time, but attempt to duplicate the same stress my body would be feeling late in a race. Additionally, strength-training, back-to-back training runs and strategic races such as the “Running with the Devil,” hosted by the NJ Trail Series, which consists of running 1.5 miles up-and-down a ski slope for 12 hours, all play a role, but most important of all is mindset — I’m a firm believer that with the proper training and a positive mindset, you can achieve your goals.”
Joe reached the “downtown” Randle area early Sunday morning, and as he walked fast towards the White Pass High School finish line, many people driving by slowed down to say “hello” or congratulate him. He saw the race director, Candice Burt, along with members of her team; photographers; runners who finished earlier; friends he’d met only days before — all clapping and cheering. He continued to fast-walk until the final turn. Filled with feelings of pride, euphoria and gratitude, following a grueling four-day challenge, he began to run. Arms pumping, knees high, he sprinted the last 100 meters and crossed the finish line with his hands in the air. There was never a doubt!
Before heading back to New Jersey, Joe had several hours before he needed to get to the airport. So he made a trip to Alki Surf Shop where David and I were working that day.
Selfie of Joe, Terri and David at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, WA
Hearing about Joe’s connection to our home, and the exhaustion, hallucinations, and pushing himself to extreme limits to reach the end, was amazing and awe-inspiring. David and I felt fortunate to meet him, and honored to play a small part in such a remarkable achievement.
A Spot satellite tracker enabled family and friends to track Joe’s progress
The course was out of cell phone range, so it was critical to be able to have a way of letting others know his location. Joe wore a Spot satellite tracker, which enabled family and friends to track his progress, and if he had needed it, provide emergency responders a way of finding him. Each dot in the photo represented his location. If you see it on the web site, you would see tailed information (such as time of day) when mousing over the dots.
Mount St. Helens crater
Joe approached the Johnson Observation area just prior to sunset, and was treated to the beautiful sight of the Mount St. Helens crater, awash in alpenglow.
Unexpected beauty along the race path
Along the Lower Falls section of the Lewis River (approximately 110 miles into the race), the view of the waterfalls was just incredible.
The first section of the race ended in Blue Lake 12 miles away, but required an awesome traverse of the Mount St. Helens’ blast zone boulder field.
Fixed ropes to scale a steep wall
Climbing out of the canyon and heading towards Windy Pass (approximately 20 miles into the race), required the use of a fixed rope to scale the very steep incline.
The Doors sang, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” But since we put our country house on AirBNB, the people we’ve met have been anything but strange.
AirBNB is to lodging what Uber is to cars for hire. As of early January of 2015, it had booked more than 25 million reservations in 92 countries.
Our vacation home is in the insanely beautiful Cascade Mountain area of Washington State. We hadn’t been using it very much because of the work we were doing on our new retail store, Alki Surf Shop, in West Seattle. So we thought it made sense to let other people take advantage of it. The listing was begun in 2013, but wasn’t activated it until last fall when a friend enquired about renting our house. It seemed like it was as good a time as any to give it a try.
Before creating our listing, I did some research to see what kinds of properties were available in the area, how they were priced, and what kinds of amenities they included. Then I began the process of collecting images of our home, and writing descriptions, with the goal being 1) honest representations and 2) highlighting the positive attributes.
Among the tools we’ve used to create and manage our presence, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has been great. Not only is the AirBNB app terrific, the Note 4 has enabled me to document changes in our house and share them on the site. Here are a few new ones:
A peek at the kitchen
Looking into the breakfast nook
The living room has a sleeper sofa that sleeps two
You can see, the quality of the photos are as good or better than most point-and-shoot pocket digital cameras! That’s because the camera on the Note 4 is amazing!
Looking into the dining room from the living room
Verizon is the only carrier we have found to provide reliable service in Randle, Washington. We heard from one group who said they were able to get a signal on AT&T and to a lesser degree, T-Mobile, but the last time we were there (a week ago) AT&T at least, was zilch. Honestly, I don’t know what we’d do without Verizon. It has been our lifeline to the outside world.
My real-life bestie has using AirBNB in her travels, and has found some amazing places in the U.S. and abroad. I’d also heard of VRBO (Vacation rentals by owner), but felt more confident in AirBNB because of my friend’s personal (and positive) experiences.
I’m am AirBNB novice, but I’ve found ample support, both within the host communities, and from AirBNB itself. Each time I’ve had a question or issue, AirBNB has answered within 24 hours. The communities are even faster. Post a concern, and BOOM, help is there.
The experience has been largely positive, and we’ve learned through guest feedback, how to make our home even more hospitable. We’ve met people from far-off lands, as well as those from our own back yard. We discovered we share mutual IRL friends with one of our guests. Several people in another group work at a very popular restaurant here in Seattle, The Whale Wins, listed by Bon Appetit as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. in 2013. We enjoyed them so much, I made it a point to take our extended family there when we celebrated my birthday earlier this month. And trust me when I say the food was fabulous!
So how are a country house, AirBNB, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and an award-winning restaurant connected?
Through great technology and with help from Verizon.
I’m not a workout fanatic, but I like to walk, so the Plantronics Backbeat Fit wasn’t subjected to the same kind of abuse as someone who does an extreme cardio workout.
That being said, the headphones are easy to set up. For me, it took five minutes or less, including the installation of the Backbeat Fit app.
The first thing I did was try playing a song with the music app, and I was happy to find the sound quality was crystal clear. I’m not a headphone expert, but already I am thinking this is a great upgrade, and my standard-issued Apple headphones will be buried in my bag for back-up.
There are features for controlling the music with the headphones. Music can be paused and the volume can be adjusted. Unfortunately there is no track skipping functionality. Maybe this is something that can be added in the future.
Plantronics Backbeat Fit headset, photo by Terri Nakamura
There is a non-adjustable band that wraps around the back of your head and I found it to be comfortable. I didn’t try the arm band, but suspect the same care was taken to ensure comfort and usability.
Making phone calls with the Plantronics Backbeat Fit headphones works the way you’d expect. There’s a single button for answering and hanging up. The play/pause button is used to mute a call, and you are notified by a sound when it is on or off. (The button is located on the left headphone, call button on the right).
Holding the call button also allows you to use voice commands, but it isn’t the greatest—at least on the iPhone 5S. I think it has more to do with Siri than anything than any shortcomings of the headphones.
I’m getting some nice feedback from friends, but most of all, it’s great trying out this new gadget.
Plantronics Backbeat Fit, photo by Terri Nakamura
Guest post by Charles Horsfall, freelance writer
Edited by Terri Nakamura
Photos by Terri Nakamura and Sheela Santos, taken with a Nokia Lumia Icon provided by Verizon Wireless #vzwbuzz
First of an eight-part series featuring legendary rock band, The Kingsmen
Photo by Raphael during our stay in L.A. shooting ‘How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.’ Pictured L – R: Mike Mitchell, Barry Curtis, Dick Peterson, Lynn Easton, Norm Sundholm
As told by Dick Peterson, The Kingsmen drummer, 1963-present
When I was young, I found everything on the radio influences you.
The Kingsmen started as kind of a “hootenanny” group, with acoustic guitars and a stand-up base. And as that music changed — when the electronic stuff came in; The Ventures and surf music started to take off — then the band got electrified and did that for a while.
When the Wailers became popular in the Northwest and put out an album called “The Fabulous Wailers at the Castle,” it became an album that all bands from the day learned. Our band was sort of a butterfly that was being molded by all the influence around it. And then it gained its own recognition — and its own sound.
We recorded the quintessential version of “Louie Louie.” Because of our naiveté with regards to why kids were coming to see us (the lyrics of “Louie Louie” were allegedly obscene), we thought it was comical when the F.B.I. started to investigate us. I was 17 at the time.
I cannot believe we hit the road and had absolutely no clue what we were doing, especially regarding the business. We just had no clue. And the impact that “Louie Louie” was having nationally — we just didn’t even see it. We were playing a different show in a different town night every single night and we were really out of touch except for what people kept saying, you know — “What about the FBI? What about this word? What about that word? What about these lyrics?” We kept denying it. We thought it was funny. It was like, “You think it says WHAT? Are you kidding?” We were the bad boys of rock and roll, but we were naive and innocent.
We were on the road all the time and had to find ways to amuse ourselves. We destroyed a hotel room once, out of fun. It wasn’t because we were drunk or drugged out. No one’s been into that stuff. Our worst moment was, we shot up a hotel room. We had been on the road playing double days for six months—a morning concert in one city and an evening concert in another. It would often be a high school assembly in the afternoon, then a dance in the evening a hundred miles away. We were going crazy and wanted some time off.
We finally got a day off and were in a hotel — a Holiday Inn, actually. It was right across the street from a gun shop. So, someone, I think Jimmy (our road man) bought a dart set. Then it escalated and someone bought a pellet gun. Then it was like, “Let’s open the door and see how far away we can get from that target and still hit it. You couldn’t get very far, but hey! A 22-calibre rifle could shoot from further away! With the doors open and across the parking lot, we wanted to see if we could hit something. We didn’t know it destroyed anything until we went to check it out.
You know those cinder block walls? Yeah, oh boy. When we checked it out and Jimmy removed the target, the only place that was not hit was where the target was. We checked out and left. Our managers called and were angry with us. It cost us a little bit of money to repair things. There was not a sign on the highway that we didn’t hit with a pellet gun, bottles or bottle caps.
When you think of what we were making and how hard we were working, it came to almost $2 million per year. When we decided we weren’t going to play psychedelic music and it was time to leave the road, there was nothing left. Our handlers had taken everything. We had worked really hard for five years and had nothing.
We initiated a lawsuit when we suspected the record company might have victimized us. We knew our recordings were released on other labels and felt we should be receiving royalties, but without management or legal representation, we had no idea how to collect them. We went into the lawsuit not only for the royalties, but with the claim to all rights associated with the master recordings. Winning that case was earth shaking. All sorts of acts have filed and now own their own material. They’re making a fortune. We’re making a lot of money, but the problem is, it’s all going to the attorneys, still. We’re close, though.
It makes me feel great to have Rolling Stone magazine called “Louie Louie” the fourth most influential recording of all time, and I completely agree with them. Beside the cultural significance, I think for anyone who wants to play an instrument, you play “Louie Louie” and you would be encouraged. Here something that’s sold who knows how many millions copies, and it has three chords. Anyone in the world can play it.
We’re one of the few acts of that era that are still performing nationally. The Kingsmen have always just played, not arranged and practiced stuff. You could play the same song 10 times and it would be different each time. We don’t rehearse. We talk about rehearsing. It’s like, someone will say, “Do you know this song? Do you know what key it’s in?” I’ve heard it before and we talk about it and it’s fine. Our attitude is — have fun. •