Ten Year Reunion


The 10-year high school reunion is an institution, a rite of passage, a tradition. It appears in movies and is something you have in common with everyone "of a certain age" you pass on the street (even if it is only comparing notes on why you didn't go, why you didn't hear about it, how your high school sweetheart looks so happy now, or whatever). This myth - lore, expectation, curiosity - led me to greatly look forward to my 10-year reunion. I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint.

While some of the cliches applied (there was a drunkard or two that made a fools of themselves, and a few people that had "swelled"*), in general, I was pleasantly surprised at so much. Lots of people showed up, way more than I was expecting (across the 3 events, I would say about half of the graduating class was represented). Most people looked really good. The conversations were much less stale than I might have thought (quickly getting the location/marriage status/job stuff exchanged and then finding a commonality; not nearly as much reminiscing as I feared). But possibly the most pleasant surprise was most people's seeming willingness to leave behind cliques, old grudges, etc. and eagerness to re-meet the people with whom we all share a common past. And while often unsaid, the openness, acceptance, and inclusion displayed signified to me an appreciation and camaraderie the stemmed from that shared experience.

My only real disappointment* was the lack of more than a few notable faces. As I pointed out in my earlier post, "the more, the merrier" couldn't be better applied than to a class reunion. Those who chose not to go made the experience that much less complete. During the showing of the senior class video* when a non-attending classmate was featured, you could hear murmurs from the crowd. Why isn't Siri here?, I wonder what Jeff is up to., or I was really hoping that Aron would be here.. Alas. While not the same, perhaps those questions will be answered at the 20-year. See you in 2018!
Sunday August 10 2008File under: Anacortes, misc

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Ms vs. Twins

One of the upsides for working for a big company is the little perks now and then. Photoworks (now an American Greetings Company) recently made available a couple of Mariners' tickets that I handily snatched up. Baseball games are fun. Baseball games for free are even more fun.

Despite the $4.25 bottled water*, no ground crew dancers*, and the one place that servers soft-serve ice cream in a little plastic helmet being closed, excitement and fun conquered the day, helped along by an epic rally by the Ms late in the game led by a Raul Ibanez grand salami.

Yep, an epic comeback, a gorgeous night at the stadium, and free tickets make for an evening that is alright by me. (Lack of a drunken college roommate yelling in Japanese at Ichiro did lessen the excitement, however).
Tuesday August 5 2008File under: misc, Seattle

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Sedro Frolfing

(To all of you who read the Brothers Root version of the events first, sorry for the overlap. But cross-blogination can be fun, like this counterpoint to Andrew's pic)

Summer in Anacortes means a constant flow of old friends passing through town. As a semi-full time resident*, I try to take advantage of their free time and more pressing desire to get out and enjoy what the area has to offer. The most recent case of this involved a trip up river to the NSRA Frolf Course outside of Sedro Wooley. I've been up there once before, but since the first time through a course is never ideal, I was greatly looking forward to this little excursion.

On the upside, the area of the course is gorgeous, with spectacular a backdrop of the Cascade foothills and hayfields. It is [supposedly] on the site of an old mental institution and has some old overgrown buildings to fit my creepy mental image. The course is a full 18 holes with decent terrain include varying drive lengths and a bit of vertical change. But...

On the downside, the course was overgrown to the point of being almost unplayable. The fields were covered with grass up to 7 feet tall* and the blackberries and other pricklies thankfully only claimed one disc*. In spring there is an issue with soggy ground, so when is the best time to play this course has yet to be determined. But still, tromping around with friends is always a good time.
Tuesday July 22 2008File under: misc, pics

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Oregon Country Fair 2008



The word I've most often been using to describe the Oregon Country Fair (which I attended this weekend) is "magic". Others include: body paint, juggling, dressed in drag, food(!), uninhibited (or not dressed at all), art, impossible, music, good people, harmony, fantastical, freedom, and HOT. If you've never been, you should go and experience it. Words and pictures cannot do it justice.

But the fair was only part of the adventure. Transportation for the weekend was a pop-top '77 VW bus, crammed with 2 more people than seat belts. At the first stop, 30 minutes into the long drive, we realized the starter didn't work. Luckily my childhood provided much wisdom and know-how regarding push starting a VW bus which came in handy the rest of the weekend*. Long, late-night drives, sleeping in a rest area, and running out of gas only added to the adventure of it all.
Monday July 14 2008File under: pics, misc

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What is it

One of my favorite non-personal blogs, Neatorama, has a sometimes feature of "What is it?". It is exactly what you might imagine: from pictures, you gotta decide what it is.

There has been an it lying around our house for a while that has us quite perplexed. I've done some research as to what it is, but have so far been thwarted. Then I figured, why not open it up to everyone to play along. Here are some pictures: 1, 2, 3. If you can't tell from the picture, the logo reads "Rex" with "Made in Finland" below. The metal spikes on the inside are angled downwards and towards the upturned tip. The two tags read "105208, $4.00" in handwritten script and "Devil's Thumb, $4.00", neither of which I think have anything to do with it's origin.

Anyway, if anyone thinks they've got a clue to what it is, post it in the comments. If you have a source to prove you're right, you will be reigning champion...OF THE WORLD*!

(I know the title/headline to this post should have a question mark, but whoever wrote this crappy blog software doesn't properly encode headlines, so it will have to remain an implied question mark.)
Saturday July 12 2008File under: misc, contest

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Mathematical Mythbusting

Two occasions recently have had me pondering the speed of sound. The first such occasion was a lightening storm, of which we have very few here in the rain shadow of the Cascades. Lightening and thunder filled the sky all evening and into the night. Secondly, as I mentioned in my previous post, I watched the fireworks from a significant distance, which had an influence not only on the volume of the bang, but also on the delay.

In talking to people (esp. about the lightening, although I don't see what it wouldn't also apply to the fireworks), the rule of 1 second between sight and sound equals one mile of distance to said sight was oft cited. I myself used this rule in my early days. This time around, however, I got a little curious about that rule of thumb and wanted to run the numbers. Perhaps to your surprise, the rule isn't so accurate. Observe*:
Givens
Speed of SoundSs = 761 mph (or .2 miles per second)
Speed of LightSc = 670,616,629 mph (or 186,282 miles per second)
System of equations
Time it takes light to reach you tc = d/Sc
Time it takes sound to reach youts = d/Ss
Time elapsed between light and soundte = ts -tc
Solving
Solving for tctc = ts - te
Replacing for tc and tsd/Ss - te = d/Sc
Moving stuff aroundd/Ss - d/Sc = te
Factoring for dd(1/Ss - 1/Sc) = te
Solve for dd = te / (1/Ss - 1/Sc)
Plugging givens back in (using miles per second)d = te / (5 - .000001*)

This shows that instead of every one second between lightening and thunder equating to one mile, every 5 seconds equals to a mile. So next time you hear that thunder 5 seconds after the lightening, don't go rushing outside thinking you've got a 5 mile buffer because it's a lot closer than you think.
Thursday July 10 2008File under: misc

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Kayamping

After trying to talk people into it for years*, I finally had success in finding someone to go kayak camping with*. Saddlebag Island was the location (about an hour paddle from South Harbor Park). July 4th was the date. From our perch on the rocks, we could see the whole valley lighting off their tributes to America. The highlight, and what we positioned ourselves for, was the Anacortes display, which, as always, didn't disappoint. Watching the fireworks from such a distance and surrounded by such natural beauty was a great new experience. No deafening booms and no car alarms were just a few of the perks.

Not only was the fireworks watching good times, but the camping was good times as well. Dinner was Frito chili pie and corn. Pre-fireworks entertainment was tree climbing and [further*] exploration of the island. Other than the wicked headwind and broken rudder [again...] on the paddle home, we had a grand old time.
Monday July 7 2008File under: Anacortes, misc

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Phototastic

I like having pictures of where I've been and what I've done. Who doesn't? As for actually taking them (getting people all lined up, making sure there are batteries in the camera, etc.), that's another story. Esp. when traveling, I really try to force myself to take as many pictures as I can because I know I will appreciate it later. This blog has been a great help in the motivation category on that front. (It is also worth noting that I've had many great people contribute their photos of shared experiences to this blog and for that I'm quite grateful.)

But those are more documentary type photos. Rarely do I think I capture something that can stand on its own without explanation or context. I'm slowly learning the art of photography, or at least producing pictures that I like, and as my skill grows, my interest grows. Someday I will have a photo that I will like well enough to enlarge, have framed, and put on my wall*.

Speaking of fancy photography, my friend and your fellow BdW reader Sweet Julie has a photo in the finals of Nikon's Big Deal Photo Contest*. It is a great photo and worth checking out. Winners of the contest get a fancy new camera, so share the love and go vote!

(Yeah, so this post was a combination of having little going on in my world and wanting to help a friend win a free camera. If you've got a cause you want promoted to the throngs* of BdW readers, send it my way.)
Sunday June 29 2008File under: misc

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Apple Splitting Fun


In a further attempt to keep this blog at least somewhat interesting between my travels, I present you with this video I took of myself the other afternoon. A couple years back, a friend taught me how to split an apple with my bare hands. I hadn't done it in quite some time, hence the less than smooth performance. Still I think it is pretty neat.

Do you know any good food tricks? I was thinking of trying to work up a vaudeville-ish style act to demonstrate a bunch of food-related tricks. So far, I've got the t(r)oothpicks/saltshaker/forks balance, the speedy hard boiled egg peel, various grape toss/catch tricks, and this apple thing. I think I will need to find a few more before I am ready for Broadway.
Wednesday June 25 2008File under: misc, video

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Those Clever Coffee Folk

We all know I am a fan of language: crosswords, puns, double entrendes, and the like. One thing I've noticed in my travels (at least here in the U.S.) is the extraordinary number of coffee shops with witty names. I started a little list of some of the clever ones that I've come across. Do you have any to add to the list?*

Brewed Awakening - Westmont, IL
Loca Mocha - Brookfield, IL
Bean Counter - (I forget)
Cool Beans - Bellingham, WA
Uncommon Grounds - Havelock, NC
Brew Thru - OBX, NC
Stomping Grounds, New Bern, NC
Sacred Grounds, Chicago, IL

(I've been collecting these for a while in anticipation of a fun little post when there's not much else exciting going on*. The other day, however, I ran across this post over at Best Week Ever. It is a list of punny store names of any type. Included were The Human Bean and C U Latte. I figured I had better go ahead and get this post up before someone else steals my thunder.)
Tuesday June 10 2008File under: misc

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