Red-dy, Set, Click

Last week was a weird one in Ye Olde Office. First off, it was “no-fly week,” which meant a complete ban on insects in the workplace.

OK, it actually meant our sales guys weren’t traveling as they are the other 75% of the time. Plus, we had all kinds of visitors in the office – members, manufacturers, etc. – and a couple of new hires. A bimonthly company-wide meeting. Four days of training sessions. And a photo shoot for this year’s company Christmas card. In other words, general chaos.

And then Monday afternoon a loud whooshing/buzzing noise startled us from our revelry (if that’s what you want to call the writing/editing process). It sounded like rain, but the sun was actually peeking through the clouds at the moment. I stepped outside and was rather alarmed to see the humming/buzzing was coming from the paper mill two blocks away. Worse, there was a large amount of steam belching forth from one of the smokestacks. We all gathered on the sidewalk, thinking the mill was about to blow up. If that did happen, we’d be screwed. I mean, it’s right there (which really sucks when the wind blows from a certain direction). If there was an explosion, we’d probably be in grave danger.

Is there any other kind?

Perhaps I was being overly paranoid, but coincidentally, in the original draft of No Time For Kings, the bad guy eco-terrorists were plotting to blow up a paper mill in Camas, WA. It was that mill, in fact, though I changed the name in the book. So you can probably understand my skittishness.

Fortunately, after ten minutes or so the hum/buzz ceased and we went back to work with all limbs intact.

And then on Wednesday, we took our company Christmas card photo. This was a very confusing day because the email from HR read, Our color scheme this year will be red, white and gray. OK. Got it. But then it went on to say, NO shades of red! And then we were told, please wear red, garnet, burgundy, black, gray, silver, white (not cream).


Man alive. I have never been so confused in my life! First off, isn’t red a shade of red??

Burgundy certainly is a shade of red. And that was acceptable. But according to the accompanying color chart attached to the email, red, garnet, ruby, and scarlet were allowed. Cherry, rose, merlot, crimson, brick, apple, blood, berry, currant, blush, and candy were not.

FML. To my untrained eye, there was no discernible difference between cherry and ruby and crimson.

I ended up wearing black.

Over the years, I’ve met up with a lot of people from the blogosphere. Last night I added another person to that esteemed list.

Honie Briggs and I have been reading each other for a couple of years. She emailed me a few weeks ago and said she and her husband were planning a trip to Oregon and wondered if Tara and I would be interested in getting together for dinner. Most definitely! She’s a great writer and a very interesting person, so I jumped at the chance to meet her. They were spending three nights in Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast and then one night in Bangkok Portland. Since she insisted on treating us to dinner I gave her a list of some of our favorite restaurants ranging in price from cheap (sandwiches) to Not Cheap. I didn’t want to presume anything and gave her options for a less-expensive meal. She ended up choosing Imperial, which is definitely on the high end, but the food is excellent and it was the home to Top Chef finalist Doug Adams until earlier this year. Tara and I went there for our anniversary last year, so great choice.

Honie and her husband showed up a little before 6 p.m., and a round of introductions was made. I didn’t even know his name as she refers to him on her blog as “My Loyal Follower,” but John turned out to be a real nice guy. Actually, they’re both cool. Honie is from Alabama originally and has that charming Southern accent I like so much. They’re both warm, friendly, outgoing people. This was a relief because, let’s face it, you never know what people are going to be like in real life. For all I knew, she and John were secretly axe murderers.


By the end of dinner (which was fantastic – I opted for the fried chicken with organic honey from local bees (this is Portland, after all) and hot sauce and a side of green beans with Israeli feta and hazelnuts), we were having such a great time Tara suggested we drive over to Rimsky-Korsakoffee House for coffee and dessert. You know how Portland has a reputation for weirdness? Well, we wanted to show off our weird little city and take them to the weirdest place in town so they could have a true PDX experience. We ordered coffee and dessert there (the warm ginger cake topped with vanilla ice cream was to die for) and lingered over conversation. It turns out that John is in the mortgage business just like Tara, so they were going on and on about TRID and HUD and the evil CFPB (do not ask me what any of these things stand for) while I was enjoying my cafe au lait and the moody piano music and flickering candlelight. Eventually we drove them back to their hotel, had the valet guy take our picture, and said our goodbyes. They actually live in a suburb of Dallas that is within a stone’s throw of some close family friends of mine, so who knows? We may end up seeing them again someday on their turf. Especially with talk of Honie’s legendary cast iron skillet and homemade cornbread. We do have an open invitation now. Gotta admit, that’s pretty tempting!

I’m super jazzed about the return of The Walking Dead tonight. The week is going to fly by, and then Tara heads to Vegas next Saturday and I’ve got my vintage trailer getaway slash writing retreat next Sunday. I’m pretty stoked about that.

Have a great week!

12 thoughts on “Red-dy, Set, Click

  1. “Man alive. I have never been so confused in my life! First off, isn’t red a shade of red??”

    Man oh man, I too would have been total confused about what to wear given the conflicting directions you were given, Mark?!?! And good for you for deciding on wearing simple black because black is always appropriate and goes with everything. I have to wear all-black in my line of work and to be honest, I love it.

    How cool that you were able to meet up with you blogging friend Honie and her husband. Isn’t it great meet a fellow blogger in person? Sounds like you had a great time too! And btw, one of these days you and Tara and I have to finally meet up after all these years blogging together. I say let’s meet up in New York! I just recently spent three days there with my brother and we had a blast!

    ” I’ve got my vintage trailer getaway slash writing retreat next Sunday. ”

    I bet you can’t wait!

    Have a grrrrreat week, buddy!


    1. Ron – on the way home we were saying how cool it would be to meet up with you next. Definitely on your home turf…I’m dying for another trip to NYC, and I’m pretty sure you’d make a great host. One of these days for sure!


  2. I appreciate the “A Few Good Men” reference in here.

    Also, I have heard things about Rimsky-Koraskoffee. I really want to go the next time I’m out there. (I am starting to test the waters with the husband about a SEA-PDX trip)


    1. I knew if anybody could “handle the truth” it would be you!

      Keep testing those waters. We’d love to meet up with you and Shawn and show off a little more of that PDX weirdness.


      1. I do think that if you’re going to come out this way to visit Ron above then you can just extend it and hit Boston for a couple of days, right? Right.


  3. I’m not sure what happened, but sometime after your Lazarus post and now, I got dropped as one of your followers! I always find your post amusing and enjoyable. And a lot of those reds looked the same to me, too.


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