About Me

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Hi, I'm Darryll and I live in Pullman, Washington with my wife and two kids. I'm a licensed Architect and am employed as a Project Manager at Washington State University. In addition, I have my own business doing residential designs in the greater Palouse area. I am a self-taught pianist, song-writer and singer and am involved in the music department at my local church.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Aw Nuts!

Do you remember nuts at Christmas back when we grew up?

These days there are bowls of nuts all over at Christmas gatherings.  You can get nuts of all kinds with all types of flavorings.  You can get pre-packaged sets of 6 or 8 sampler cans… flavors range from sweet to sour, from spicy to cheesy.  Nuts range from just peanuts to all mixed nuts to macadamia to other exotic nuts.

Wasn’t so when I grew up.  Not only did we not have many nuts or much variety, they were expensive so we didn’t seem to have a lot of them.  The one thing I remember that we had a lot of that you just don’t see as much today is unshelled nuts.  We had a big wood bowl that looked like a hollowed out piece of wood that would be filled with nuts.  It is exactly like the picture of this one here.  They must have been popular!  There was a little metal nutcracker that we would use to crack the nuts.  There were also little metal pick things to get the meat of the nut out of the shell.  I remember that it was a real challenge to squeeze tight enough to break the shell without destroying the nut inside.  It also wasn't uncommon to pinch your fingers in them a few times.
You don't see many of these around today - it certainly made you appreciate the nuts when you had to really work for them.

Any of you have the same nutty experiences growing up?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kit Kat Bars

Ok – I am the only one who thinks this?  You know the old jingle:   “Gimmie a break, gimmie a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar”  When was the last time you heard it sung in a Kit Kat commercial?  Seriously – how long has it been?  I scoured the internet and saw videos that were definitely from the ‘80s – maybe the ‘90s.  But that’s the newest commercial I could find with the words sung.  And – I can’t even remember the last time I actually saw a commercial with the words in it.

Chocolate wafer goodness!
So – this leads me to the question that I’d like to ask the kids of today:  Do they have any idea that the snap-snap-snapping of the chocolate bars in the commercials today are playing out the words of the Kit Kat song?  I would guess that they don’t!  If you watch the commercial and imagine that you don’t know the song, it all seems very confusing.  I’m just saying that the guys on Madison Avenue need to rethink their approach to it all.  The song is not so memorable that it’s transcended the time and generation gap.
Remember when they were in foil?

..but they didn’t ask me now, did they?  Of course, since we're talking about
commercials, I have to show one of my all-time favorites: 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Good Comedy Show from the '70s

There was a great comedy show that was on in the '70s.  My brother and I loved this show and would laugh until we just about died.  We loved to recite the skits all the time and still crack each other up today with the same lines.

If you guessed SNL back when Blushi, Ackroyd, Curtain, Chase, etc. were on and it was good - well, that would be a good guess!  But - not right.  Or - if you guessed Monty Python and the Flying Circus, that would also be a great guess.  BTW - I got the entire set of CD's of all the episodes of that for a birthday awhile back - THAT was a great gift!  But, no - that also isn't right.

No - I'm talking about a great little show that came out of Canada... SCTV (Second City TV).  It was comedy concept show about the programs and behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a cheesy, low-budget TV station.  It starred John Candy, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short and Dave Thomas.  It was incredibly funny and very off-the-wall.  They just had canned audience laughter which just added to the uniqueness of it.

Check out this video... Their take on Perry Como getting a little too relaxed in his performances.

Anyway - it was a great show with a kind of cult following at the time.  I highly recommend it - there are Youtube videos to watch and boxed sets that you can buy on the web.  If you're looking for a Christmas gift for someone who like the show, they're not too expensive!  It may be an acquired taste, but I think it's Great stuff!

Christmas Cookies!

There's just something about Christmas Cookies! There are so many great kinds of cookies at Christmas, and my mom made some of the best! Some of her best were shortbread, lemon bars, spritz and some that were called bars by the fire.
My sibs and I started a tradition when we were young kids. With mom's help, we started making our own Christmas cookies. We made a big double or quadruple batch of sugar cookie dough. Then we would roll it out and use cookie cutters to cut out dozens of different shapes. Oh – we had lots of normal Christmas shapes: Santas, reindeer, candy canes, angels, Christmas trees and all the other traditional icons. We ALSO had things like sharks, cars, a cowboy boot, giraffes, flip flops, hearts, hands, airplane, a pineapple, ducks, kangaroos, cows, and whole bunch more – a pretty funny wide assortment of odd things.
We would then make up a bunch of bowls of different colored icing and little bowls of nuts, chocolate chips, all sorts of sprinkles,and  a ton of different types of toppings. And then the fun would begin. We would spend hours baking and decorating the cookies. They weren’t especially delicious, but we had a lot of fun making them. It was an entire evening of laughing, singing along with Christmas songs, making cookies and generally having a good time with family members.
We have continued this for all these years. I’ve included a bunch of pics from one of our most recent times. These days, there are spouses, kids and nieces and nephews, but we always make time for it. It’s as much a part of our Christmas celebration as all the “normal” stuff.  Although - if you look at some of the cookies, you'll see there's few of them that are not very normal and reflect the late hour at which we were finishing up the decorating.  You can click on the pics to enlarge them and see all our fun shapes!

What fun and unique traditions does your family do for the holidays?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The "Friendly" Skies

OK – so you’ve all read about the guy at the airport in San Diego who just refused the body scan and the invasive pat down by the TSA. I won’t go into whether or not that is that wrong or right – or just plain scary – but having just read about this in the news, and having just endured this myself just two weeks ago, I was sent back in my mind to the simpler days of visiting the airport when I grew up.

We – like most every family – had dreams of going to Hawaii. Growing up in Seattle, we kind of felt we were close enough that it was more of a reality, so we had a change jar that we all had to contribute to when a variety of family rules weren’t followed or chores not done. While this was exciting and fairly inspiring, it was never going to get us plane fare to the Hawaiian Islands.

In ’75, my folks bought a timeshare on Kauai (back when they were a good deal) and we began many years of happy Hawaiian travels, and this brings me to the subject of this blog post – visiting airports when I was a kid.

There was no such thing as airport security back then. I mean – I’m sure there was – they probably scanned the checked baggage but there was nothing that stopped us from going right out to the gate. We had a tradition that every time before a flight the whole family would go out to breakfast at a Sambo’s or a Denny’s. The whole family – Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, etc. – would all go out to celebrate the fact that someone was getting to go to Hawaii. From there we would all go to the airport and see the lucky ones off. This means that we all went to the gate and sat with them until they boarded the plane and then we watched the plane take off. What a great exciting time that was – even if you weren’t the ones going. And conversely, a bunch of the family members would be there at the gate in Seattle to meet them when they came back. It was awesome to be the ones coming up the ramp from the plane and be greeted by family and friends.

It’s all so different today – the limited access for anyone not flying; the incredible level of security that we’re all subjected to; the limited service on the flights; the limited amount of luggage we can take… I could go on, but I won’t. I’m not complaining, just saying that it was a LOT funner back then!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We're in, I'm back. Wow! - 5 months

Well - It's been 5 months since I last posted. We've been in our house for just over a month. Whew! What a big project.

Here is a link to the website that we sat up and posted to on a constant basis. It shows our house from the beginning to the end. It is such a huge blessing to have a home that works for my family and especially my son.


We have tons of pictures here, although I do need to have some final pictures put in. We're still looking to finish decorating (heck -we're still looking for new couches) so I'll post more when we get them all done.

In the meantime, I am intending to get back into blogging... It will take me awhile to get back into the swing of it, but I'm excited to reconnect with you all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm not gone - really

Hi, my friends!

Building a house takes a LOT of work, a LOT of time and a LOT of effort. Even if you happen to be an Architect (I am), draw your own plans (I did), know your contractor really well, (I do) and think you know how to handle all the details (I thought I did). It seems like all I do when I'm not at work is take care of all the details, make decisions, choose products, redesign spaces, etc. And I have a VERY capable wife who seems to be doing most of the work! I could post a link to our website if y'all are interested in seeing it progress.

Add to this the fact that I am the busiest that I've ever been at my "real job" and it makes for very little play time.

So - I will be back to blogging, full force, I just don't know how soon. I really miss you all and reading all your blogs. I'll be having to catch up on them all when I do get back to it.

A quick mention (and, of course, this should have been done a week ago)... not that I often use this venue to toot my own horn or ply my wares, but the book I wrote "My '70s Book", would be a great Father's Day gift. It's great for a wide range of ages, but mostly if you can relate to life in the '70s. A few of you have read it and have liked it... some have even blogged about it.

So - if you're out of ideas and need a late Father's Day present (or just want a good summer read) check it out! Hope you're all doing well - be back as soon as I can... :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nothing to do with the '70s - Check out our new van!

Ok - I gotta admit that I REALLY wish I were showing you pictures of my new Corvette – only problem is – I don’t have a new Corvette (that’ll be after I win the lottery, which I don’t play, so…) but we do have a new van. I know I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago, but now I've washed and waxed it down to the finest detail.

We have a disabled son so we have a handicap accessible van. Our ’99 Windstar was totaled recently so we had to buy a new one… we weren’t planning on it… but it was blessing in disguise. The insurance company not only compensated for the handicap conversion, they actually paid us much more than we expected. How often does that happen?

So – we have a 2008 Toyota Sienna, all the way from Michigan. The company buys lease returns (about 30K miles) and does the conversion. This brings it “down to the 28 – 32K range. Still very expensive, but a new one with the conversion will fun you 45 – 50K.

Anyway – I spent all day Sunday washing and waxing every square inch of our new van. I took some pics and decided to show it off. We’re excited because we’re taking our first road trip this weekend and are looking forward to the nice quiet ride and all the nice luxuries it has.

Anyway – hope you all have a great Memorial Day Weekend – and remember to say a prayer of thanks to God for all those who have fought and died to ensure our freedom!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Look At The '70s Influence!

OK – so we’re not all crazy. It’s incredible to see how much the ‘70s still have influence over the world of entertainment today.

As I was perusing the web that last couple of days, all of these stories were “in the news” and made me realize just how the love for the ‘70s just aint going away.

Hawaii Five-0: Did you hear that this series that starred Jack Lord as Detective Steve McGarrett battling crime in beautiful Hawaii is coming back this fall? Of course it will have a new spin to it, and be updated in a variety of ways… but once again we can all dream of visiting the islands. Bonus – Daniel Dae Kim of LOST fame will be on it!

MacGyver /MacGruber: We’ve all seen the ads for this latest SNL movie coming out today. What is it about a guy can get out of any jamb with a paperclip, some string, a battery and a few other junk drawer odds-and-ends that keeps us watching? And though the movie will be more humor than mad tinkering skills, it’s still a tip of the hat to a great show – that was in the ‘80s, I know, I know…

A-Team: Despite today’s PC world view, it looks like they’re still gonna let Hannibal smoke his little cigars. With Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper on board, this will probably be a pretty big summer blockbuster. As long as they stick to the main premise of the TV show – lots of blowing things up and fighting! And – use the latest and greatest weaponry whenever possible. And yes, I know, also an ‘80s fare.

The Good Guys: This is a new TV show just about to start up. I read a review that noted this is an homage to the cop shows of the '70s, replete with muscle cars, awesome ‘70s soundtrack, mustaches and sideburns. I’m looking forward to this. I loved “Life on Mars” when it was out for some of the very same reasons, so it’ll be good to see that again.

Glee: I’ve never watched this – you just have to pick and choose which shows you watch. I heard that they have recently been singing a lot of Journey’s and REO Speedwagon’s songs. So the show is exposing a whole new generation to some of the great music we grew up with.

I know that this dances back and forth between the ‘70s and ‘80s, but the point is, there’s a lot of good stuff coming up that is based on some of the great stuff that we grew up with. Let’s hear it for our generation's impact.