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Why I Do What I Do

June 29, 2015

photo“Our family of 8 went [to Red Robin] tonight (two tables of 4) and it was fantastic! Thank you SO much for sharing this with us!!!! We can’t afford to go out very often so this was a huge blessing!”

–Reader Donna, on the Cheap Bastard Facebook page.

 No, no, thank you Donna, for your kind words.

I received this comment on my Facebook page yesterday and I treasure it. It’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle. It also helps summarize why I do what I do. Sure, the book’s title is “The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle–Secrets of Living the Good Life–For Less,” but I don’t just do it for people who have good jobs and are looking to save a little bit of money. I do it for people who don’t have much money at all, but still want to have fun in and around this very expensive city. That might mean free events for kids, free medical treatment for adults who can’t afford to see a doctor or even a free ice cream cone or cup of yogurt for people who might otherwise not be able to afford it because their budgets are just too tight. Or even, in this case, a free dinner at Red Robin.

Truth be told, I get a kick out of saving money and I get an even bigger kick out of being your tour guide into the wonderful world of savings. I love pointing out the stuff you may have missed and I enjoy doing it with humor.

And I have done all this without asking for anything in return…except for the occasional sale of a book. I don’t get paid by the companies I mention, I don’t take advertising (although that could change) and I generally won’t list a deal from a company I don’t like (I’m talking to you, Walmart and Papa John’s).

After five years of doing this, I now have a few small favors to ask. My first request is a simple one. If you like what you read on my blog, please pass the word along and tell all your friends about it. So they can enjoy it and I can help them, too. My hope is that they’ll like it so much they’ll mention it to other friends.

The second takes only slightly more effort and it is simply this. If you enjoy my writing style, please tell your friends about me. I make my living as a professional writer and would love to get more loyal readers. Even more important, though, I’d really appreciate it if you could pass my name around when you hear about people looking for someone for a writing job. My specialties are travel, business, food, consumer affairs and parenting, but I’ve written just about everything. I have a passion for telling stories and I know when a serious approach is called for and when humor is the only way to tell the tale.

I do copy writing, content, trade publication work, public relations and have even written a speech or two in my time. If I could have any job, I’d be a syndicated humor columnist writing a column about oddball, off-the-beaten path travel and the joy of being an older parent to two adopted children, but for now I’ll just be happy with steady, better-paying writing gigs.

If you like my writing and want to see more, check out my website. and some of my writing samples. (You can find even more clips here.) And if you want to hire me, you can e-mail me at david at davidvolk.com. My rates are reasonable, I’m good and I know how to meet a deadline.

I have to admit, this isn’t really where I planned on going when I sat down to write this post, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

Regardless, now you know why I do what I do.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey.

And now, back to the deals.

Waterfront Red Robin Sneak Peek Review: Not Just a Meal, An Adventure

June 26, 2015

photo 4My family and I went to the sneak preview of the soon-to-be-reopened Red Robin at Pier 55 and here are a few quick observations about our experience.

The first, most important thing for you to know, especially if you have a reservation for the free sneak peek this weekend, is that it is hard as hell to find. That’s because work on the Waterfront has made everything a total mess. So, if you’re planning on driving down, allow plenty of time, especially if you’re going for lunch because there are Mariners day games on Sunday and Monday  (00ps, sorry, I misread the schedule. The team is in Anaheim this weekend) Even if there weren’t a Mariners game, as much of Elliott Southbound along the waterfront has been reduced to one lane.

The fun isn’t over when you get of your car, either. There are areas where the sidewalk is closed on the west side of Elliott so you may have to walk on the Alaskan Way Viaduct part of the way. The unexpected detour becomes even more confusing when you try to get to Pier 55 because it’s fenced off and you can’t get there from here. You actually have to enter at the gate near Pier 56…..Once you’ve confirmed that your name is on the list and the guy from the restaurant tells you what you can and can’t order.

It is a free meal after all.

Don’t worry, though, the selection is good. Read more…

Free Summer Meals for Needy Kids

June 26, 2015

Web_Slider-2School is out, but that doesn’t mean needy kids should go without food. This program fills the gap with free meals for kids.

No matter whether you love public schools or hate them, one of the best services they provide are free and reduced priced meals for kids from poor families. Once the school year is over, however, many kids either have to find a way to fend for themselves or do without.

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case in the Seattle area where the Summer Food Service Program started up again earlier this week. The program, which gets its funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, offers free breakfast, lunch and snacks to kids ranging in age from 1 to 18 in parks and facilities throughout the area. Parents don’t have to provide proof of income or citizenship or even an address. Kids just show up.

Another nice thing about the program in Seattle is that many of the places that participate in the program don’t make it all about the food. Instead, it’s often offered as part of a number of summer activities that could include games and crafts. In fact, my kids and I stumbled across one such program in the Central District a few years back and didn’t even realize it. We were just driving around looking for a park to visit in the south end and stopped because the park we were i, nterested in had a waterfall fountain they could play in.

Once we got there, my kids were excited to see a table filled with crafts and activities and they probably would have stuck around if there hadn’t been a waterfall to play under. I had heard of the Summer Food Service Program, but didn’t even realize that the park was part of it until somebody came up to me and asked if my kids wanted something to eat. And the way they asked made it seem more like I happened to be at a family event where a relative wanted to make sure we weren’t missing out on the food than I was being asked by someone at, say, a soup kitchen or social service organization.

The best way to find out if there is such a program near you is to plug your zip code into the Summer Meals Search Tool or call the Family Food Hotline at Family Food Hotline at 1-888-4-436-6392.

I understand that this may not be a service that most of my readers use, it’s important to know about it so you might be able to pass it on to someone who might need it.

The Rant Returns

June 25, 2015

My humor commentaries featuring my own cockeyed take on the world have returned and they’ve gone poolside.

Those of you who have been following the Cheap Bastard since his early days as a mild-mannered freelance writer will undoubtedly remember that I used to do humorous rants about whatever happened to get in my craw on that particular day whether it be the music on the casino circuit, presidential politics or family affairs. They all started when I was working as publications coordinator at a social service agency and had to resort to writing funny e-mail memos to get department heads to turn their class schedules in on time.

Unfortunately, I got busy with a career and kids and ran out of time to do them.

Until now.

Since I don’t have many assignments for the summer and I’m sitting poolside watching my kids take swimming lessons, practice for swim team and compete at swim meets, I’ll have more time to do humor and give you reason to laugh. Check out the new one, “Garth Brooks Concert Cancelled For NHL Playoffs in Tampa.” I hope to post my second one, “Bad News From the Casino Circuit” in the next couple of days.

Also, please feel free to check out my really old rants from years past here.

See The EMP Free Today (6/23)

June 23, 2015

imgresSeattleites get free admission into the EMP today in celebration of the music and sci-fi museum’s 15th birthday.

That’s right. A valid ID showing your address in Seattle will serve as your free passport into a world of Northwest music and science fiction, all day long. You’ll get to see the new Chuck Jones exhibit, take in the Star Wars costume exhibition and even listen to a whole lot of live music from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

Heck, you’ll even get a free cupcake.

So, what are you waiting for?

Dine Free at Waterfront Red Robin Sneak Preview

June 22, 2015

sneakpreviewheaderImagine, a free meal at Red Robin when it isn’t even your birthday.

You can do more than just imagine if you act fast. It seems that the Red Robin restaurant on the Seattle Waterfront that was closed for remodeling and work on the Waterfront is getting ready to re-open and it’s having a sneak preview this weekend featuring complementary meals for guests. All you have to do is get on the guest list, which is easier than it sounds….as long as there’s still space.

The restaurant will be doing previews in the afternoon and early evening on the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th. All you have to do to sign up is head here, check times and request a reservation. If there’s an available space at the time you reserve, you’re in! If not, the site will offer you options until the slots are full.

Just keep in mind that this is a training meal and that the restaurant may choose what you’ll eat instead of you getting to order what you want (so you should be prepared to mention dietary restrictions when you reserve).

Thanks to Steve Adler.

EMP Celebrates 15 With Free Admission For Seattleites

June 22, 2015

imgresIf you have a valid ID showing that you live in Seattle, the EMP will let you in free all day Tuesday, June 23rd as it celebrates its 15th anniversary.

Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe the monstrosity at the Seattle Center is 15. It seems like just yesterday that the architect was bragging about how he came up with the design. It seems he decided to take some popular model of electric guitar (I think it was a Fender Stratocaster, but I’m not sure), chop it up and put it back together again. While he was bragging that the result became the basis for this great design, I was thinking it was a testament to his inability to fix crap that he broke, but hey, that’s just me.

Regardless, the inside does have its merits even if I do refer to it as “the gift that Paul Allen gave the city of Seattle for which he charges a $20 entry fee.”

Gee, David, tell us how you really feel.

Now that I’ve said all that I feel compelled to point out that Seattleites will get more than just free admission to the museum Tuesday.

Other festivities include architecture tours of the blob…er…building, live performances from some of the folks who have appeared in the Sound Off! competition such as Emma Lee Toyoda, Bleachbear and Champagne Babylon (Don’t ask me, I haven’t heard of them, either); chances to take selfies in TARDIS from Dr. Who and the Command Chair from Star Trek; pop culture games and other family activities; and appearances by the Sea Gals, Jet City Saber Guild and R2D2.

Perhaps the biggest draw, though, could be a chance to see the new exhibit, “What’s Up Doc: The Animation Art of Chuck Jones” for free.

Thanks to Queen Anne View.

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