Archive for February 2004

Also from the 1967 Black and Gold Yearbook

A picture named PHS Band 67.jpgMy wife and I met in high school band.  In this picture, I’m a senior, she’s a sophomore. 

If the director could have moved the trumpets even further back, she would have.  Her husband was a trumpet player, and I don’t think they were getting along.

Perils of the Sweet 16 Challenge

A picture named Homecoming 66.jpgOkay, Dick Jones, Rayne, Philip, the Good Doctor, Melanie - Here’s my entry in the Sweet 16 Challenge.  I’m sure there’ll be more of us, a pictorial train wreck of hope and anguish.  At the right you find me (left foreground) at late 16 or early 17, at the Perrysburg High School 1966 football Homecoming, doing the White Man’s Overbite (photo courtesy of the 1967 Black and Gold, our high school annual).

In fact, I must be 17, because I didn’t start going out with my dancing partner until after my October birthday.  She’s sitting across the desk from me now, reading the New York Review of Books and periodically checking her email, and she could probably tell you to the hour.

Our high school hadn’t gone through the 70s “change” yet, so we’re all in suits with short haircuts.

I created a category, since I think I’ll try to find some more of this Reaper-bait in my photo archives.  Hopefully I can find some embarassment in full technicolor.

While we’re scratching around in our past lives…

Cruising home from Milwaukee, on the Minneapolis to Seattle leg, I was paging through my Archos mp3 player just playing weird shit.  I happened on an Ohio State Marching Band album that was recorded when I was in the band, and played a cut of us as we slogged through the 1971 Rose Parade.  I’m thinking it was the cutting edge of portable recording equipment - I remember the guy walking up & down the band as we advanced, in fits & starts, along the parade route: double microphones on a frame in the air, earphones on his head, trying to position himself to catch the best angle.  The Rose Parade extends for something like 7 miles.  The part you see on TV, where the cameras are placed and the grandstands hold all the bigwigs, is within the first 1/2 mile.  The rest of the parade is solely for the benefit of locals and tourists who grab spaces along the street and wait expectantly to see the parade that the rest of the world saw up to two hours before.  It would have been easy to let down and get sloppy after we were past the klieg lights, but we had a lot of stamina and pride, and we held up pretty well, as evidenced by the recording.

It picks us up from a distance, and for a few seconds we’re competing with ambient noise and mundane conversations from the crowd.  As we advance, our drum cadence becomes more insistent.  There’s a rolloff, and we begin to play one of the 4 tunes that we rotate through for the length of the parade.  I’m thinking that the recording engineer is musically knowledgeable about the tune, as he’s positoned perfectly as various sections of the band are dominant in the piece.

The piece ends, and he’s positioned behind the band as the music gives way to another drum cadence.  Crowd noise, conversation and a motor noise from a float fill the space left as we move away from the microphones and towards our disappointment against Jim Plunkett and Stanford.

I reflect on how weird it is to listen to the Doppler effect of your 21-year-old self playing and marching into a future that has now in large part gone by.

Down here, “Napa” is something an Italian does when he’s sleepy


Down here, “Napa” is something an Italian does when he’s sleepy

A picture named King of what.jpgI was working in Cartersville, GA last week, about 40 miles northwest of Atlanta.  The unedited and unposed photo at right (okay, I pushed the napkin down a bit so you could read the “Budweiser” logo) is the result of a couple of my co-workers ordering a bottle of white zinfandel at the Holiday Inn’s restaurant and lounge.  Even considering that Anheuser Busch has a large plant in the area, this presentation is pretty tacky, even if it IS white zinfandel.  Besides the cork being prised right through the lead bottle covering, there is a price tag on the bottle that says “$8.99″, as if, on receiving my pals’ order at the bar, they sent someone across the street to a mini-mart to score the bottle. When the bill came, they charged $12.50 for it.

If “If”s and “But”s were Candy and Nuts…

Headline from a Seattle Times article Sunday by Bob Finnegan, who is covering spring training:

Mariners might have pursued A-Rod

The Mariners say they would have jumped in, spikes up, if they had known the Texas Rangers would be so generous in getting rid of the former Seattle shortstop.

Asked if Seattle would have gone after Rodriguez, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong called it “a no-brainer.”

Right.  And I’d be bonking Nicole Kidman if only I’d known Tom Cruise was willing to give her up so easily.  This would ignore serious deficiencies on my part.  I shouldn’t have to point out the same problem with the Mariners, whose penuriousness has pissed away the better part of an all-star team, as well as a hall of fame manager (Lou Piniella).

Sounds like Armstrong is blaming bad intelligence, doesn’t it?  Wonder where he picked up that tactic.

In a Handbasket

We spent Sunday at Crystal Mountain, near Mount Rainier, the four of us - my brother, the stepdaughter, my son and me.  My wife has tried skiing a couple of times but never had that little breakthrough where you graduate from falling upon exiting the lift chair to actually getting some joy out of the speed and torsion of successfully negotiating a hill.  (she looks in on my blog now & then, mostly to make sure that I’m not talking smack about her, and that no women are stalking me (gotta love her for that), so I hasten to say I mean nothing demeaning in the previous sentence)  Instead, she has wedded herself to the comparatively safe and placid sport of rock climbing - go figure - and opted out of our weekend ski adventures.

Anyway, I only sorta got my mojo back and, yes, I took the opportunity to frame a case against my equipment.  My skis are about 10 years old, long, and technologically behind the times.  Everyone else is careening around on those sporty hourglass-shaped things.  Plus, my left foot was loose in the boot, and I often fell while trying to cut a clockwise turn, as the ski (long, straight, old, dowdy) hitched momentarily instead of following the right one around.  A skillful skiier would, of course, have compensated and had a grand time, but I used it as an opportunity to retreat to easier slopes for the day.  I may go to REI and rent a pair of the coveted shorter skis and try once more.  Or I may never ski again.

Despite my personal shortcomings, however, the weekend was a grand success for everyone participating.  The stepdaughter had been working in a board shop in Ohio (!) and boarding on manmade snow near there for awhile, and was just at the point where she wanted and needed the challenge of the more difficult and varied terrain such as we have near Seattle.  My brother rented skis, had a terribly discouraging first night out and almost gave up, but we nudged him to buy a lesson the next day.  He did, and persevered, and actually did have that “breakthrough”.  My son, a skilled and virtually fearless skiier, got three days of skiing on Dad’s nickel.  I got hours of “guy” time with my kid, and we all had a great time bonding on the car rides up and down the passes.

Ski Holiday

A picture named 139-3978_IMG.jpgMy brother and his stepdaughter are visiting this weekend, and we’re doing a ski sampler of places that we can drive to from my humble abode in Seattle.

Yesterday, we went to Snoqualmie Pass (on I-90).  I haven’t skiied in 5 years, and I was never that good anyway.  Snoqualmie has a lot of long, easy runs, and I felt like I got my “legs” back, never fell all night.

Today we went to Stevens Pass, and I was quickly disabused of that feeling.  I got onto some slopes where I just lost confidence in the ability to turn-turn-turn and get to the bottom in one piece.

We’re going out tomorrow, either back to Stevens, or maybe to Crystal Mountain, and I’ll try to get my mojo back.  If I can’t get there, I’ll just hunker down in the lodge and blame my equipment.

Ski Holiday

A picture named Stevens Pass.jpg














Sunset, Grand Tetons, August 2003

A picture named Teton Sunset.jpg

Click to enlarge. Taken from Jackson Lake Lodge