Friday, August 7, 2015

Amtrak Cascades on a blue moon Friday...

TUK TAC PDX a blue moon Friday.

Do you love trains? I do... I don’t take them nearly enough. I love kinda everything about them. What they are, the sounds they make, they’re on rails, they got the best horns...

My good friend Dave and I hung out in the Pearl District and we went to one of our all time favorite bookstores on the planet, Powell’s Books... We've both been going here since the 1970s.

So the video is kind of the bookends to that story... I caught some great morning footage at the Amtrak Tukwila station, and later that evening leaving Portland, crossing “The Mighty Columbia River” over the bridge back to Washington State.

There is a romance, I have it about trains. I can’t ride one that I don’t think about famous train stories and movies like Murder on the Orient Express, The Train, Transsiberian, Von Ryan’s Express, The Lady Vanishes, etc. etc. and I remember the train rides we did as kids to Spokane from Seattle to see Grandma & Grandpa Larson.

TUK = Tukwila, TAC = Tacoma and PDX = Portland

#Amtrak #AmtrakCascades #TUK #Tukwila #TAC #Tacoma #PDX #Portland #PNW #Trains

Friday, July 24, 2015


Do you remember the first time you went through a car wash? I was at the Brown Bear on Rainier in Renton this week. Hey it’s summertime and I had a bunch of dead bugs splattered across the windshield and real dusty, I’m thinking, “No way I can show up for my presentation tomorrow looking like this!”

As the attendant pops the big GO button and the roar and whir begin it triggers a memory of when my youngest daughter Paige was along for the first time. Her older siblings Shannon and Jeff had been through the car wash several times. For them it was a thrill and kinda like going on a ride at the Fair. But for Paige, only 3 or 4 then, it was really scary as we entered the tunnel of monsters.


Oh, the things that dads remember...

#renton #pnw #carwash #kids #family #memories #dads

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Born to be Wild

Born to be Wild...

Wild probably isn’t the first thing one conjures up in their mind when they see an accordion. But hey, this was the 1950s...

Like father, like son, I had one of these strapped to me at @ 3 years old. I’m 4 here. I played the accordion into my teens. My dad was a little disappointed when I took up the guitar and embraced rock & roll. That’s when the wild side started to show up, around 1963.

Rene Fabre playing accordion in the bedroom. Renton Highlands circa 1954.

Before the English Invasion, before Grunge, Psychedelic, Experimental Rock, or Heavy Metal we had Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Sonics, The Fabulous Wailers, The Kingsmen, The Ventures, The Dave Lewis Trio, Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts and many more...

Back then these local bands got a lot of airplay on KJR AM with Pat O’Day (KJR Seattle, channel 95!) and when we were in high school, that was probably the only station we ever listened to in the car, cruising the loop in Renton. It was right out of American Graffiti.

Besides Jimi Hendrix, who came much later, I first loved The Ventures. They’re one of the first reasons I was attracted to the guitar. Did you know they originated from Tacoma? Who could forget Walk, Don’t Run (1960) or Wipe Out! (1963) Over the years they sold over 100 million records and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Born to be Wild was originally published by the author on the Activerain network.

#accordion #Renton #PNW #1960s #rock&roll

Monday, June 29, 2015

15 seconds of local fame!

Who’d a thought! I’m on the Jumbotron at a Seahawks game!

Well, not really, but kind of... (6/25/15) We're at Westfield Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, Washington. I’m teaching Mobile Communication Boot Camp, a.k.a. hashtag #mobilecomcamp for a group of local Realtors®.

I’m having a blast! We’re working our way through the mall and this segment of the class is about using images in the context of #location #lifestyle and #community as a web presence and personal brand strategy. So there’s a bunch of us wandering from store to store shooting lots of photos with our smartphones.

I'm on the Jumbotron!

Half the fun doing this 3 clock hour class is noticing some of the people around us and their reactions.

"Who are these people? Are they foreign tourists? They're taking photos of everything!"

As I catch up to my teammate, Jill Bell, she's taking a photo through the front window of the Made in Washington Store. There’s a really cool Lego Seahawks game displayed and it has its own (mini) Jumbotron displaying camera shots of the field and players like it's a live game.

Ha ha... I was caught in the reflection and ended up on the big screen. My 15 seconds of local fame! :O)

15 seconds of local fame was originally posted by the author on the Activerain Real Estate Network.
#mobilecomcamp #WestfieldSC #Tukwila #Seattle #MadeinWashington #Legos #Seahawks

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Club House, Earlington 1959.

With Dad’s Day coming right up this Sunday of course I’ve been thinking about him. I thought it would be fun to share this photo on Throwback Thursdays... It was taken back in 1959 not long after we moved to Earlington. I wish I had another picture that was a little more upfront and personal, but this one I am fond of and it conjures many memories.

Dad had a little help from Grandpa, but for the most part he built our clubhouse himself. In hindsight, Dad was always so busy working we didn’t sometimes know or appreciate he actually had “dad skills”... Along the way we learned he did a lot of carpentry work for my Grandpa, who built many homes in Renton and the area, when he was a kid until he left for the war right after high school, class of RHS 1940.

This photo cracks me up. Dad as always when he's doing anything, totally focused. Me however, the next to (plum that falls not far from tree) and I’m not sure if I’m just spacing out gazing into future or a little impatient. “Is it done yet?” And there's my brother Steve, looking on. Simply excited we got a clubhouse almost!

The Clubhouse, Earlington 1959

My brother Steve and I had so much fun in that little clubhouse. It was many things to us and a wonderful place under the willow tree, rain or shine. It was our hangout for playing army, cowboys, spies, and explorers. We ran a weekly neighborhood newspaper from here and played spaceships going to Mars. It was an outpost in the wilderness and a cabin in the mountains.

Our favorite times were in summer sleeping in it overnight then in the morning (Dad taught us how to get the BBQ going) cook our own bacon & eggs and whatever in a cast iron pan for breakfast. I'm sure Mom loved the messes we made...

Dad’s are whom they are and they all had (have) something wonderful and unique to give and share. At this time in my life I am so very grateful my Dad was my Dad. We understand them one way as kids growing up,  and now, in reflection, in quite a different way as adults.

Regardless if your Dad is alive or not, celebrate them. Dad’s aren’t and never were perfect, they're dad's. And we wouldn’t be here if that weren’t so. 

The Club House was originally posted by the author on the Activerain network.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Spokane, Children of the Sun...

The indigenous people of the area, the Spokanes, date back about 13,000 years. They lived near Spokane Falls in what is now downtown Spokane hunting the abundant wild game, fishing for salmon and gathered plants, roots and berries in the nearby western foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

The European explorers and fur traders started showing up in 1810 and the first settlers J.J. Downing and S.R. Scranton established a claim here in 1871. The area really started growing when the Northern Pacific Railway reached Spokane in 1891 and the population rose to almost 37,000 by 1900.

My maternal grandfather, Harvey Larson, 24 at the time, came to the area in 1901 from Michigan to follow his 18 year old bride to be, Edna Doyne. Her family moved here in 1898. I remember our adventures from Seattle to Spokane as a kid in the late 50’s and early 60’s, most memorably those by train.

In the late 70’s I’d come to Spokane to hangout at the Gonzaga music department. I worked restaurants by day (mainly because you could eat) and played the wonderful grand pianos and composed into the wee hours of the night.

Funny all these years later I’m back in town this trip (May 14, 15) to teach social media to local real estate professionals. It has been an amazing 12 years traveling the Pacific Northwest as a social mediast who has witnessed so many changes in the way we conduct real estate from community to community. In cities large and small we share a connectedness via the internet and the social platforms that never ever existed before now.

I used to joke it was like traveling back in time when I left Seattle. I’d throughout guesstimates based on the number of miles I traveled from home as to what decade I’d be in upon arrival. Not so much anymore. Now, especially for those of us whose livelihood depends a lot on how well we use the web, we have much more in common than different.

Spokane has a population of a little over 200,000 and is the second largest city in the State of Washington. This metropolitan area includes the 3 counties of Spokane, Stevens, and Pend Oreille with a population of about 535,000. It’s now included in a combined statistical area that includes Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with a combined population nearing 700,000.

Like most metro areas in Washington, the housing inventory is very low, sales are fast (depending on price points) and the sales prices are rising. Most real estate brokers are super busy right now. Yet, there’s a similar disconnect wherever I go.

The median (national) age for a real estate broker is 56 and many here (as elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest) are older than that and in their 60s. Yet, the median age of a first time homebuyer is now 32 and represent about 38% of purchases in 2014 and this segment of the market is slated to grow in 2015. I also like to point out in class that the average age of an online gamer is 32 years old. It sheds light on whom they’re trying to reach.

Many show up to class in hopes of learning better ways to connect with millennials and much of what I talk about is, “Well... Where are they?” Market to the room that’s full, not empty. Most of them are predominantly mobile social now and their eyes and attention are on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Yelp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and they follow blogs when the topic interests them.

I am so happy to see Spokane on an upswing. I enjoyed a few hours on Friday afternoon in old downtown on West Main Avenue which is now part of a new and expanding University District. The old brick buildings and warehouses are being transformed into wonderful collaborative spaces for local small businesses.

I had several great conversations with owners and employees of these local shops, restaurants, brew pubs, and art galleries. You immediately pick up on the energy of this vibrant and repurposed area of town. I wish them all every success. It’s so encouraging to experience these small business entrepreneurs making it happen, doing what they love to do, and contributing to the community. Hopefully, more of them will soon be able to realize another dream, a home of their own.

It’s true, the sun does shine more here in the inland empire than it does in Seattle, over on the coast, as local Spokanites say. I like the scale of life here. More open spaces and less people per square mile. The buildings aren’t so many and tall and during rush hour traffic late Friday afternoon I drove 25 miles on Interstate 90 from Spokane to Post Falls, Idaho to see my daughter and son in law and the slow downs were about 45 to 50 miles per hour. I really did like that!

Have a great 2015 Spokaloo, as mom would affectionately refer. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Spokane, Children of the Sun... was originally published by the author on the Activerain Real Estate Network on may 26, 2015.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Social Media is best served with doodles and coffee.

One of the things I really enjoy about my work is the people! And I love the fact I’m out and about and we’re always up to something creative and interesting. I love brainstorming about marketing in the here and now with my coworkers and clients.

Some of the best times ever have been meetings at coffee shops and cafes. A morning get together over a good cup of Joe is one of my favorites. I like the social setting. For me it’s the perfect place to talk about online marketing concepts and social media strategies.

Louisa's Cafe, on Eastlake, Seattle.

As much as I am a total nerd student about technology and the way of the life online, I have a longtime old school habit. I doodle... My brain simply works better when I make sketches of our conversation.

Real Estate in the Social Age.

So when I’m out the door in the morning I load up my Explorer including my briefcase, my laptop, my iPad, and of course, I always have my iPhone with me. My 6 Plus is my office!

And I always make sure I have 2 sheets of paper neatly folded separately in my shirt pocket and a favorite pen.

You know, when opportunity strikes, I’m ready to doodle.

Social Media is best served with doodles and coffee was originally published by the author on the Activerain Real Estate Network.