A Thought Salad

Yeah, each week, I try to focus on one thing and take a deep dive, but I got a bunch of topics rattling through my brain this week, so here goes.

A SUCCESSFUL JULEBORD

That’s the Nordic Christmas I emcee every year for the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce at the Seattle Golf Club, pronounced YOOL-uh-bord. Last Friday was the big day and really, the kickoff to my holiday season activities. I went in, armed with jokes for my monologue and another Christmas parody song I had worked up. I took “Whoomp! There it is!” and changed it to “Whoomp! Julebord.”

I started up the music, yelled out, “Nordic people. It’s me, your emcee, back here at SGC, with just the right song for our Julebord today…that goes a little like this…..”

CLICK THIS TO HEAR IT

Adding to the fun, I had my musical partner in Christmas music crime, Alana Baxter, join me to rap, and then dance while I wrapped it up.

Oh, and that’s “Shot ‘o Linie”.

The sad part is that I don’t think there’s any video of that performance, but it worked out better than we could have planned. First, to go from a formal dinner to “Whoomp! Julebord!” in less than a couple of minutes and two, we had Alana dress up like part of the wait-staff, so when I handed her the microphone as if to challenge her, she took off. Just awesome.

NO IT ISN’T

Yes, I order way too much from Amazon. So, having my Alexa say, “You have a package delivered” is not unusual. But then, I got photo confirmation, and it looked like this:

I see the package and think to myself, “Oh, cool! It arrived.” But then I took a more careful look and had to ask, “Uh, whose front door is that?”

So, I thought I would stroll the neighborhood and I didn’t have to go far. Keeping my eyes peeled for some orange doors, I found the above scene at my next-door neighbor Carl’s house.

Seriously, how hard is it to match up address numbers?

LUTEFISK AND MEATBALLS

So, Saturday afternoon, we attended the Bothell Sons of Norway’s annual Lutefisk and Meatballs dinner at their lodge on Bothell-Everett Highway. Being in that neighborhood the first weekend of December was not unusual for me, as for most of 16 years, I was the town crier across the street at the now-defunct Country Village Shopping Center.

I used to crack jokes to the crowd gathered at the Village about the Lutefisk dinner across the street and how the Haz-Mat team was over there cleaning up. But now, I’m over on the other side of the highway.

And man, what a treat!

The amazing crew of volunteers there cooks up enough meals for over 500 people in one day, at $35 a pop. And every year–sold out.

I can understand why. It was delicious. The much-maligned cod, when prepared properly, is delicious. I had two helpings, some of the people we were with went back for thirds.

And we were stuffed.

EVENTUALLY, WE’LL ALL BE CONNECTED

So, you’re aware of this blog. Checking the date, my very first entry goes back to Veterans Day of 2008. So, a new blog once a week, 52 weeks in a year times 14 years and you have well over 100 blogs and counting. (I didn’t want to do the math)

Thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

My 2020 Christmas Season Adventure

I did it.

That first weekend of December for me is always a busy one, but this year’s edition was a mega challenge.
However, as you can see by this blog, I’m still here.
The cause of my early-December holiday stress overload was stepping up to help the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce pull off a Julebord. Normally, we’d all gather at the Seattle Golf Club for a festive holiday meal, I’d get up and do my goofball stuff, sing a silly song, and exorcise my extrovert demons.

However, as you know, it’s 2020 when we have no concept of what ‘normal’ is like. So, when the organization decided to try and put on a virtual Julebord. I said, “Sure, no problem. I can do that!” and I found myself into one of the biggest media projects I’ve ever taken on.

I love challenges. My daily routine is pretty much a reflection of that. I seriously pack way too much into every day, and when Monday rolls around, I wonder how the heck I’m going to get it all done. Yet, by Thursday, the bulk of those projects are done and Friday becomes a loosey-goosey play day. Or, could be. I usually use it to wedge in even more projects or to get a jump on next week’s over-commitments.

There were three major segments to the NACC Seattle virtual Julebord broadcast.

First, there was the pre-event countdown. A collection of songs and greetings along with a countdown clock so that people could find the NACC YouTube channel and know they were in the right place. The result was something you could actually put on in the background to enjoy the various performances. It includes songs by the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle, a duet named Kari & Daniel, local musician Lyle Ronglien and my brother-in-law, Kris Templin. (who is a regular performer at the in-person celebration) Plus, there’s a bunch of beautiful Norwegian scenery to enjoy. Here’s that first segment for your spare time viewing.

The next item was the really complicated one–the main program. There were multiple parts that needed to be recorded and collected, intros to the various segments to be produced and, of course, my contribution–writing a monologue and a traditional silly song to inject into the celebration.

I received video greetings from each of the NACC board members, as well as Norway’s Ambassador to the U.S. and the local Honorary Consul. The NACC president needed to do multiple segments. Kris needed to record his “O Holy Night” and then lip-sync for the video. We had to go to the home of the NACC Person of the Year and surprise him with an award, Publisher’s Clearinghouse style, and THEN, I needed to put all those pieces together.

There is no way I put in less than 40 hours on this effort, but it was all done with a passion to make it shine. I look at how perfectly it turned out in spite of all the things that could have gone wrong, and I couldn’t help but realize that my lifetime of experiences (including the failures) all came into play into making this happen.

With that said, here’s how the main program came out.

And, of course, I could have stopped there. But not me.

I added one more section to the project on my own–a Julebord “After Party.” Knowing that alcohol would be consumed during the event, when it wrapped, I was betting that people would be up for some of my comedy and things that I find funny. Maybe toss in some memories from Christmas’s long ago. And dig out some holiday home movies of that time we had Stan Boreson join the KLSY Morning Show for “the World’s Shortest Christmas Parade” in Bothell.

Something just for the fun of it. Set aside 20 minutes for this collection.

Yep, I did it.

I remember an earlier virtual event this year that we watched that turned into a major disaster. People couldn’t get in or on camera. As I worked on Julebord 2020, I was determined this sucker was going to be perfect.

Because we were drawing the door prizes the night before, that meant I couldn’t finalize the broadcast until a dozen hours before it was supposed to be broadcast to the world. I don’t know how much you know about video editing, but a video has to “render” which takes a long, long, long time. I had three lengthy pieces to render, and then I had to render all three of those together. By the time I rendered the entire program it was Friday morning at 2am. Then, I had to upload it to the NACC Seattle YouTube channel and set it to broadcast at 3:30pm.

Oh yeah, and to work in a little sleep.

Yet, it just all worked. I couldn’t wait for launch time to get here, because once it did and the broadcast had begun, I could relax. Frankly, it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle for me. We had 160+ viewers on Youtube, with a couple of dozen mores watching it through our Zoom feed of the event. Even so, that’s 160 logins plus a couple of people at each site, from Seattle to Norway, enjoy a virtual Julebord. A safe guess would be that 300 people have enjoyed the broadcast, double the normal audience at the live event.

I’m going to apologize now to my grandkids and great grandkids for the multiple times I’ll probably retell this story in my fledgling years. But here’s a tip: Just don’t get me started by saying, “Tell us again about the great Julebord adventure of 2020.”

Now you know how my December started. From here, the holiday season this year is going to be really easy.

Eggnog time.

Tim Hunter

Here Come The Holidays

I’m writing this on the final day of November. December arrives tomorrow and, as is tradition, the first week is the one to survive.

I want to say that in years past, I was even busier. However, these days, I took the remaining items on that first weekend list and intensified them.

You see, in “the old days”, the first weekend of December included emceeing Julebord–a Norwegian Christmas dinner at the Seattle Golf Club. Saturday would involve being the town crier at the Country Village Shopping Center, where I would run around, ring a bell, and announce the arrival of Santa. Then, on the Sunday of that first weekend of December, the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle would have their annual Christmas concert. A pretty darn packed three days of the weekend.

Well, Country Village is gone and soon to be townhouses. The Ladies Chorus has moved their concert to a virtual one on December 18th. (and all I used to do was videotape the concert. Not happening this year) On paper, this has all the makings of me being days away from an easy weekend, right? Pffft!

Because we can’t gather this year for Julebord, it has become a virtual event. And I have gone from saying a few jokes and singing a silly song to producing a YouTube event, complete with 30-minute countdown, the main show and an “after party.”

Oh and did I mention (and I know I didn’t) that vacant Saturday night has been filled with the Bothell Kenmore Chamber Annual Auction, during which I’ll be auctioneering from my home. There’s something else planned for Sunday, I’m just choosing to not remember what it is at the moment.

So, for me, I’ll begin to relax this weekend when I put the finishing touches on the video that will air on Friday for Julebord. I’ll be doing that Thursday night. By the way, this year because it’s virtual, the event will be open to anyone and will be broadcast on YouTube this Friday afternoon, starting at 3:30pm PST. This will really give you an idea of what goes on at the annual event, one that sells out every year and with a pretty pricey admission ($120 for non-members). But like I said, this year is free so if you can join us, just shoot me an email (tim@wackyweek.com) and I’ll make sure you get the YouTube address.

Then, after this week, I’ll get back to relaxing by putting together my annual Christmas CD and get those Christmas cards out.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, yes, there will be another song with the talented Alana Baxter. As a matter of fact, I’m dragging her into the whole Julebord thing, to combine efforts. For those unfamiliar with our annual holiday collaborations, here are the videos we’ve done over the years.

Basically, I like to do as much as I can while I can. I know the day is coming where someone will ask me, “Don’t you miss all that stuff you used to do during the holiday season?” and of course, my response will be, “I’m sorry. What was the question?”

Tim Hunter