Tuesday, June 30, 2009
We hosted lots of games, and a few parties.
We would bike to school along the river trail, and life was pretty good.
The evening of October 17, 1989, John had driven to the library at school for some research, and I was at home playing Ultima V on my Apple II+ when I got a call from a guy in the marching band asking me if my parents were all right. I told him, I thought so, and asked why. That's when he told me about the earthquake that had hit the Bay Area. He came over to borrow our phone, and he, John, and I took turns calling family and receiving calls from various parts of the country. None of our family or friends was harmed, and we learned lots of interesting stories in the coming days.
Like our friends who were attending Cal Berkeley who walked around watching some of the buildings (like a local paint factory) burn. Or the pictures sent to one of my engineering teachers from a colleague at UC, Santa Cruz showing the causeway that got perforated by the pilings when the entire thing sank and then suddenly rose.
That year I also totalled out my red CRX while running a red light and colliding with another car (a red Civic). I had been lost and looked down to read the map.
I was technically a Pre-Engineering major, working towards a Mechanical Engineering major.
John ended up in Sutter Hall this year, and we became good friends. He became a source of transport around the city, and introduced me to GURPS. I neglected much studying nearly memorizing the copy of the rules he lent me, and soon I bought my own copy. Over Christmas I would play in my first real game with John's core group from high school. They were very welcoming, and most have remained close friends.
I began dating a girl much like this famous mascot, and we would have an on-again-off-again relationship for a few years.
Now, students rarely stayed more than two years in the dorms, and so John and I palled together, and began looking for apartments together for our third year at Sac.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
At my birthday party, I was introduced to Roger Zelazny by two friends from my calculus class. And I was given a pound of Ghiradelli dark chocolate by my girl friend. My dog at the time would end up eating it, and nearly dying from chocolate poisoning. He was sick all over the white wall and rug of the steps. I was along at the time, my parents being out sightseeing with my visiting aunt and uncle. And if you'll remember I was on crutches at the time, and this was before cell phones. He almost didn't make it. I was just lucky that my parents came home when they did.
This year I started my long career at California State University, Sacramento. I lived in Sutter Hall, and started right up in the marching band. This kept all of my weekends full, but that was okay because my girl friend was going to one of the Claremont Colleges down south.
I did see her at the high school homecoming football game, and then again over Christmas when I did one of the stupidest things in my life. I took dating advice from my mother, and broke up with my girl friend suggesting we date other people (word implanted in my head by my mother). It devastated both of us, and it would be almost a year before I would really be dating again.
There might have been an attempt to patch things up, but I decided to go to Yosemite with an older woman, and her friends from marching band for spring break. I'd say possibly second stupidest thing, but Yosemite was awesome, and I doubt if I ever would have climbed Yosemite Falls again.
The best thing to come out of this year was meeting my present best friend (aside from my wife). John played saxophone in the marching band, and we knew of each other, each thinking the other was older than us, but we never really hung out. Then one weekend when there was no football game, I was visiting the comic book store in Pleasant Hill call Land of Nevawuz. I'm there looking at the back issues on the wall, when I turn around and see John. We chat for a bit, and I find out he went to high school in Lafayette, and he was home visiting his parents like I was.
The rest of the year, I saw him around the dorms, and we were nodding friends, but that was about it.
That summer, I started part time work in Concord at what would become one of the few remaining Sizzler's around. I worked the "Cold Side" taking orders and serving drinks and desserts. And chatting with the waitresses.
I arrived in California about a week before school started and lived in an apartment with my dad and later my mom, just a bout a block from Ygnacio Valley High School until we bought our latest house. I went to their watered down version of band camp, and became quite the center of attention.
I was the only senior who was playing trumpet. I knew the occasional drum playing football player from junior high (Erics and Eriks stick together). I had known the future homecoming queen since she was seven-years-old, and was therefore the envy of most of the guys in the band when she gave me a smothering hug the first day of school.
And there turned out to be an informal competition between two of the flag girls over me. Of course I didn't learn about the competition for a few months. Suffice to say my first real kiss was on October 10, 1986 at approximately 5:35 PM. I know this because it was received when I was dropping my new girlfriend off at her house, and it was about 20 minutes from her home in Lafayette to mine in Concord where I had to be hope by 6:00 for dinner.
I still don't remember anything about the drive home.
Oh and somewhere during this year, I became close friends with a redheaded girl who had just moved down from Oregon for her senior year as well.
The rest of the year was wonderful. Except for the PE. California required three years of PE;, however, because the PE in Maryland had only been thee days a week, they didn't count it as a full year's worth. But did I then only have to take one semester of PE?
Don't be stupid.
I also took Calculus, Economics/Government, English, Jazz Band, and Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
The first semester, I also took a TurboPascal programming class at Diablo Valley College. The second semester, I got my first job, and worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Pleasant Hill. This store would burn down about twenty years alter, sit vacant for several months, and finally be reborn as a KFC/A&W.
Also, I was in the Diablo Youth Symphony Orchestra. And as well as giving local concerts, for the two weeks leading up to my eighteenth birthday, we went to Europe. And halfway through that trip, I jumped down some stairs, and tore a ligament in my left ankle.
I spent the rest of the trip pretty dopes up, but can say that I did see and tour Neuschwanstein Castle on crutches.
I had a great birthday/farewell party with friends from school and church. I was very happy.
And then we moved.
The new house wasn't too bad, and I did have a finished basement to spend time in, but I was starting over again.
Dulaney Senior High School was a little different, and things were weird. Maryland required 3 years of PE, so I had yet another semester of the damned class. The saving grace of the class was that it was only three days a week, so I had study hall for two of those days. The other classes I took were College Algebra, English, Physics, American History, Symphonic Band, and for one semester Art, and the other SAT preparation.
Marching band was different. They didn't do football games, but instead did lots of parades.
I quickly got my driving permit, and for a year dealt with the midnight curfew. I knew exactly how fast I had to drive given a certain distance from home, or more accurately knew exactly how from from home I could be to drive the speeds I tended to drive, to be home when the clock on the wall was at about the sixth chime of twelve.
Again I made some good contacts with girls, had some possibilities, and then when they graduated, I had some other possibilities.
And then I found out we were moving again. We would be moving back to California. I would go to the high school I would have gone to had we never left California. It gave me hope, but I was still upset to be heading off to my third high school.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Still taking Math (trigonometry and interpolation), Latin (new teacher but mostly the same students), English (she didn't like the way my printer worked, and we kept a journal...), and Marching Band/Concert Band. Science was different with Chemistry which I don't remember much of the class, but lots of the class itself has stuck with me.
I was excited that Kentucky only required two years of P.E. This would be my last year taking the stupid class.
Right, sure it would.
Not long before my birthday, I learned that I would be moving to Maryland. Why? Because Chevron had bought Gulf and we were going there to close the office there.
My life once again crashed down on me. Here I was being successful, making friends (even female friends if not quite official "girl friends"), preparing for college, and now we were moving away.
And oh, the things I learned.
I remember taking the basics (English, Math, Biology), extras (Marching Band/Concert Band, Latin) and what would become the nemesis of my high school life... P.E.
I did well in English, enjoying the writing and the plays and books we read. Math is a bit of a shadow. Biology was lots of fun, and I did well. Latin was enjoyable and good for the future of the PSAT and SAT and of course cool translations for RPGs later in life.
The best was Marching Band that gave me friends across all classes, and was a nice break from regular classwork.
This year, I also got a pair of black, Frye, cowboy boots. I still have them; they're my Renaissance Faire costume boots.
Math was fun with the official introduction of geometry, and the "joys" of the quadratic equation.
English and History were crappy with the reading of Dickens (Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities), and learning parliamentary procedure for the mock UN.
A Tale of Two Cities came to be my yardstick for crappy books. If I found myself reading only the first sentence of every paragraph, this was not a book I liked.
We also read A Separate Peace, and The Red Badge of Courage. This is also the year that the movies Gandhi and The Outsides came out. We went to see them on field trips for school. They ended up being at the same theater that I saw The Dark Crystal.
Looking back on the horrible school bus situation, I don't know why I didn't ride my bike more often. The school (Crosby Middle) wasn't that far. Not really any farther than Oak Grove in California.
Maybe it had to do with the weather.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
I tried reading The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow again, skipping over the rest of the first chapter and moving on to the meat of the book. It was better, but soon, devolved into too much math without showing the math. I learned I need more equations in my math.
When we got home, I took a quick trip to the library to get a book before I missed it (having been told just before the library closed on the Saturday before I left that it was in and I had a week to pick it up). So over the weekend between sleeps, I read Fool by Christopher Moore. If you like Shakespeare at all, or are even familiar with the cliches that the Bard created, then you will enjoy this book. It is well done as the best of Moore's books are.
There I experienced the joys of lockers, gym class, and long bike rides in the fog to school.
It wasn't horrible over all, but it seemed like such a blur at times.
Then I found out we were going to move back to Kentucky. I was crushed, and didn't want to go. I had lots of going away celebrations at school, and then in February we moved.
New school, new band, and some truly awful situations.
The bus I took to school was the last one to arrive in the mornings, and often the last to leave in the afternoon. I can remember running to class in the morning. A lot.
I moved up quickly in the band, and that was good. The English/History teacher was a harelipped bitch, who made the rest of seventh grade a real hell.
At this point, we've been going out to other classrooms for Spelling and Math. I remember the great spelling words of "sever" and "defunct".
The greatest innovation for us has been the invention of erasable ink.
And I'm looking towards the fear of Junior High. And gym class.
I'm getting all the drug questions from my parents, and being told things to avoid. Like the BART overpass, and stamps, and flavored toothpicks.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Today we took the subway from Central Park to Battery Park. We saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty from the shore, and then we walked.
We walked to Ground Zero and saw the cranes in action for the reconstruction (we had already ridden the subway through the closed station that used to be under the towers).
We then walked up to City Hall. And then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn.
And what did we find in Brooklyn?
Yes, the United States Eastern Circuit Court building, and the New York Supreme Court building. But also...
...which we had for lunch. Surrounded by black people, Jennifer and I were the only white people in the restaurant. And the staff were so extremely friendly. they even had Caffeine free Diet Coke for Jennifer.
And I did this all in my Vibram Five Finger shoes.
Then we went back to the court house, and took the subway back to the hotel.
For dinner, we went to Plataforma, a Brazilian steakhouse. Then we walked off dinner by going back to another corner of Central Park, and then walking to Rockefeller Center.
Finally, we walked back to hotel. Now we pack, and catch a car at 5:00 EDT for our plane, and fly home.
Pictures will be up once we're home.
We may even join the Sorrellians at the pirate thing they're going to tomorrow
It started with a split class of third and fourth graders under Mrs. Hand. But that ended halfway through, and I ended up in just a fourth grade class under Mrs. Tinonga.
We were in the back corner of the school, and one lunch break, I remember a guy named Chris carrying around a weak honeybee on his finger all period, and then just before the bell ringing getting stung.
This year I also started playing trumpet. I had thought of playing trombone, but upon learning that trombone's don't have the melody, I was convinced to play trumpet. I ended up playing through my entire school career.
We walked through it suffering through the wind and the wet pants, but relatively dry in our raincoats.
We saw a few more parks and monuments, and tried to hit the Empire State Building, but the observation deck was socked in with clouds.
We did make it to the New York Public Library, seen in many moves, and mentioned in Stephen Gould's Jumper and Audrey Niffennegger's The Time Traveller's Wife. we didn't do any books, but saw their exhibit on French Collaboration during World War II.
In the evening, we came back to the hotel and watched two movies while we warmed up, and had brownies from a nearby bakery.
And we built model rockets. This was when they came with balsa fins, and blank tubes that had to be glued together and painted to look good. Then with special dispensation from the local fire department (and an observer), we had a special day where the entire class got to launch their rockets one at a time.
I think by this time I had resolved myself to be Californian, and enjoyed the nice weather, the lack of tornadoes, and the occasional earthquake.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
We stopped by the Vosges chocolate Shop, but things were insanely expensive.
We went to the Teno shop. We didn't get the bracelets, but I did get a necklace pendant and a set of earrings.
We also stopped into a store called Evolution. It had lots of cool stuff, but more paleontology and biology than geology.
And then we came back to the room, and went to see Kevin Smith.
It was truly a wonderful show. He is so funny and entertaining, and he didn't just rehash things that he had talked about on Smodcast. He had some great stories, and dealt with a very annoying reporter from Timeout (I'd link to it, but I have no idea which one she was from). She had no idea about the previous Evenings with Kevin Smith, and did not understand a lot of the in jokes he was referring to. It was like she had done absolutely no research on him previously. He shut her down pretty well by embarrassing her by speaking about his prowess in cunnilingus.
That year, in February, we moved to California.
I was distraught to be leaving my home, my grandparents, and everyone I knew.
We lived for a few weeks in a motel while we waited for our furniture to make it out of Kentucky due to the bad weather. We also moved into a drought ridden state.
I went to Woodside Elementary, and fell in love with the little girl next to me. I would have a crush on Babs for many years.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We wandered a bit through Central Park, watched a group of street dancers, and then walked to Canal Street.
We saw lots of cool things.
Grand Central Station.
The Flatiron Building.
Washington Square Park.
And then we took a cab back. We ended up walking about 4 miles.
I don't remember much of school, but I remember riding to school on my yellow Schwinn.
Then that following summer before my birthday we went to Florida.
We went to Cape Kennedy/Canaveral, and saw the construction building. I got to see the Saturn V rocket laying on the ground.
We went to Disney World when there was just the Magic Kingdom.
We went to Busch Gardens. We went to Sea World.
And we went to a place whose name I can't recall now, where Ringling Brothers used to summer.
It was a big summer, and everything was red white and blue and star and stripes because of the bicentennial.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The flight here was relatively uneventful, just some turbulence.
We ate at Nocello, and walked around Times Square. We even came across Bryant Park where they were showing The Sting on a big screen for all of the locals. It is the first movie of the summer, and we stayed through to the point where Hooker gets roughed up by the detective.
We're excited about tomorrow, and whatever we may decide to do.
he same building that I was at preschool at, but more learning. I can remember making booklets based on letters, so that everything in the booklets was based on that letter.
My friends' names were Lauren and Troy. When I "graduated," I got to hold the American flag for the ceremony as the class recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I remember the fun of milkweed seed pods that grew on the school fence. I remember the cots and nap time.
I also remember riding my tricycle around the neighborhood. Or at least my street.
My parents had a red Mercedes-Benz sedan. I can remember riding around in the back seat of that car.
And at no time were all of the player characters in one location acting together. And at several times during the game the situation looked like we were boned.
But we came out sufficiently successful that we were all very happy when we left.
But oh so worn out from the roller coaster ride of the adventure.
Yes, French Lick.
I had a t-shirt with the old logo on it for a couple years.
Friday, June 12, 2009
First there's star that has a radius 5.5 times bigger than the orbit of the earth's (and even bigger than the orbit of Jupiter which is 5 times that of the earth).
Then in the past 15 years it has shrunk by 15% (a distance equal to the orbit of Venus).
Now a great deal of what I know of the bad things that can happen in astronomy I know from science-fiction, but shrinking stars are never a good thing.
If I start hearing that they're seeing lots of iron in Betelgeuse's spectrum, I'll be watching for a pretty light show in the near future.
I'm hoping Phil Plait has something to say on this pretty soon.
And this is my first memory:
I am sitting on the floor in the empty living room of our new house watching television and drinking Kool-aid. A photograph of this event shows me sitting in my typical fashion of legs in a W shape, knees forward feet back, legs flat on the floor. I used to sit that way because if I sat legs straight out I fell over backwards. I guess my head was too heavy. And "Indian Style" was boring.
Now some have said that I have shaped this memory from the photograph, but I know that the Kool-aid was grape and I can taste the plastic. The television was our black and white set, and I was watching a Road Runner cartoon.
We would be in this house for the next five years.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
But watching David Letterman deal with a statement from Sarah Palin?
That is (as he would say) comedy gold.
Okay, aside from being a science fiction geek, I'm also into science itself. In fact, my nieces think I'm extra cool for being a scientist. So much so that one of them wants to become a geologist too.
In a strange marriage of my fixations I have an RPG superhero character who has control over the chemical make up of things. Kind of like DC Comics' Firestorm.
I've always thought the differences in elements were cool. And now there's officially a new element. All it needs is a name.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
It was an amazingly fun book, and had so much in it.
Time Travel. Magic. Love. Comedy. Revenge. Sword-fighting.
Yeah, yeah, I should be doing this in a Peter Falk voice, but my fake tags keep getting hidden.
Anyway, it is highly entertaining, and I definitely want to read his other stuff. In talking with a coworker today at lunch, I'll have to read the Ender's Game series now.
On this day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and walked on the moon.
Mom and Dad have always said I born between the landing and the walking. However looking at the facts and vaguely remembering my time of birth, it looks like I was born just before the landing. I'll have to check the exact time of birth when I get home.
I was born in Kentucky across the river from Cincinnati. The water in the area was of course affected by the Ohio River, and was highly chlorinated and fluoridated. This fluoridation is what gave me such hard teeth (no cavities until I was 30), but also stained them internally and exaggerated the ridges.
Somewhere in this year apparently I said my first word, one that is also my mother's favorite curse word. It's still the default I use when I'm frustrated: Shit.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
This was because we have had many collisions and near collisions of people coming into and out of the hallways.
Now however, when I'm walking down the hall and checking the reflections for oncoming traffic, I have the theme song to Get Smart going through my head.
I guess it's really not too far from the typical James Bond theme that plays.
(May I also just say that I hate Blogger's spell check suggestions?)
Monday, June 08, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
We started with brunch at the Rising Loafer in Lafayette.
Then we went to Golden Gate Park, and walked around Stow Lake. We didn't see any baby geese this year, and we didn't ride the boat, but it was a wonderful walk.
Then we went to Haight/Ashbury, and walked around there.
We're saving money to spend it in New York, but we'll definitely be going back for cool stuff there the next time we go.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
We shared a Scorpion Bowl. And Jennifer also had a Neptune's Garden.
And we had some appetizers.
They hit Jennifer very hard. I hardly felt a thing afterwards.
And now it's off to bed.
Friday, June 05, 2009
I have decided that beginning on the 10th of June, I will begin to recount my biggest memories from each year of my life. We'll see how that goes.
Our next big event is our vacation to New York in a week, and it's all just going to start accelerating soon.
It was an awesome experience.
Granted, my ears are ringing, but the experience was incredible.
The food was amazing, and the music was fun. The show was incredible, and the crowd was (mostly) excellent.
I would go again. Any time.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I did get to take a lunch break with Jennifer, so that was fun.
And tomorrow is Jennifer's birthday. She's a little wound up about it, but milestone dates are like that.
I'm sure she'll be fine, and we've got stuff going on through the weekend, so she'll be nice and occupied and entertained.
Our IT guy ended up having to reformat the hard drive.
So today at work was pretty much a waste other than getting some reports reviewed.
* * *
Tonight I finished Ilona Andrews' Magic Strikes. It was lots of fun and her best one yet. She revealed a little more of Kate Daniels' abilities and secret, and tied lots of relationships together in an exciting story.
It's really a fun series, and while I'd like to know more of the secrets right away, I'm enjoying the journey.