Feb 19

He said prolonged eye contact with a bear in the wild

Oh, look, the morning show crew brought back an old favorite game show.

Sure, it is The Dating Game, but local in all of its local glory. Plus college students! I watched them shoot this last week. The original run ended four years ago, at least, which means this particular set of people had never done this show before. They did a pretty nice job with it. And the guests were fun! And tarot!

My favorite part might be the “interesting thing about you.” As ice breakers go, it is a classic. Some are better than others and sometimes the ice breaker itself goes over better than others. I’m always intrigued by the things people say. You’re all interesting and all of us have varied experiences. I’ve no doubt that, given a minute or two, anyone could pull one or two or four notes from the memory banks with which to wow us. Now, the bear thing, from the title, that’s in the video. As interesting facts about a person might go, that’s pretty good. I am always intrigued by how a person arrives on sharing their particular tidbit.

Anyway, one of the station’s managers dug up some old archives of the original Big Red Love. It was a different studio, which was in the basement of a dorm. It featured different production values, a Barkeresque microphone, delightfully awkward interactions and a cubicle wall that “separated” bachelorette from contestants. It was a wonderful college television show. If they brought this new version back and streamlined their production, it would be an even better and more wonderful college television show.

This evening we went for a run on campus. Because hills! Hills are great to run in concept, and I am lousy at it in execution. The Yankee was done with her day a bit earlier, and wanted to go a bit longer than I did. So she started out, looped back and then picked me up. Here we are at the top of the very last hill for the day:

I was four miles in and she was about, or so. I finished with six and she finished at 10. And, also, it was about 30 degrees.

A young woman with flaming red hair passed us earlier in the run. She was so fast I couldn’t figure out if she was saying something encouraging or suggesting we get out of her way. Her voice dopplered very quickly because she was fast. And she had on a little cape. She might have been an actual superhero!

Generally, we avoid amateur nights. In a college town this includes New Years, St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s. Part of that might be because we spent so many years not in the same town on Valentine’s Day. (I started counting that and then stopped.) Mostly it is because we generally observe today as the anniversary of us being a couple.

It was a friend group, you see. There were about six of us who were all in the same grad school cohort and then within the group there were the two of us palling around all the time. People, in our group and in the larger cohort and some of our professors too, started thinking of us as a couple. Where there was the one there was the other. And then we realized that’s what people thought and so on and so forth. And that realization came today, 14 years ago. So we celebrate today. And the celebration is typically a low key dinner at the hibachi steakhouse because it is a tradition at this point.

So there we were, at 8 p.m., cleaned up after our run. The local place had two people sitting in the hibachi side of the restaurant. They didn’t look a day over 15 and one of them looked almost exactly like my second-cousin. His wife, I assume they were married, was an over-sharer. A nice couple, but before the man had wheeled out his cart to spin the spatula and pour the sauces and cook for us, we learned they had a 4-year-old. The cart comes out, the cook makes a great deal of noise with his cutlery, cooks the food, does the flaming onion bit, busts out the little squirt joke the restaurant likes so much, cleans everything up and thanks us again and again. As he leaves I said, “So a 4-year-old, huh?”

To which she immediately launched into a 20-minute speech about the dogs, and their territorial habits and, here, check out some pictures. Oh, and finally here’s one of our daughter. Who does she favor?

That’s always a loaded question for some reason or another, of course. We all know that. But she obviously favored the dad, who looks almost perfectly like my second-cousin. Only the kid isn’t his, biologically. And this is an intriguing conversation to be having with someone over fried rice. Oh and she had just had her gall bladder removed and he doesn’t eat anything green and … they were nice, truly.

Also, I can now tell you where to get the best sushi in town, and where you should absolutely not get sushi. No one had asked.

Anyway, in the back of the restaurant, by the restrooms, there’s a door into the kitchen area. And this is on the door:

If it ever said anything other than “Your uniform hangup” then I’m just going to assume it has a story to tell. I guess we’ll just have to keep going back until we figure it out. Oh, darn.

Jan 19

Already, for a moment at least, this is my year

We had ribs last night, and company. And all of that was grand. We also had brussels sprouts, which served the dual function of covering greens and my annual brussels sprouts intake.

Most importantly we had black eyed peas and no one else wanted any. So these all became mine:

I don’t know what the rest of the year or even most of this week has in store for me. Perhaps this is the high water mark. Maybe not, but last night, over ribs and peas, that seemed just fine.

Oct 17

And now some photos

We had a beautiful day on Saturday and so The Yankee and I spent the afternoon pedaling around the countryside.

Lately, I’m having to work to keep up with her. She’s fast! Still, I managed to get some nice lines in the composition, though.

We had a nice dinner that night, too:

Today, I walked off campus just in time to see the sun say goodnight:

I seldom manage to be in a place that gives a great western view this time of day, but this time of day, this time of year, gives off some nice light:

The gates were built in the 1980s. And it only took 80 years or so to get them built. Students had raised money for them at the turn of the century. But the board was going to do the same thing so the students’ money went to another project. The university put the gates on hold while nearby buildings got built. They wanted to match the plan to the aesthetic, you see. So a few generations go by, a few different plans for the gates come and go. And then in the 1960s there was a new move to build those gates. But there was also criticism; people deemed it a wasteful expenditure when the money could go to scholarships and financial aid. The gates were put on hold again. And then, in the 1980s, the man who ran financial aid for the university donated the money and had them named in honor of his parents. And now we have the Sample Gates.

Jul 17

Try the salmon … and definitely the croquettes

It was a quiet day on campus. The Friday of the next-to-last week of summer classes moves pretty slowly. I spent a few minutes in an audio booth:

At home, the folks are here for the weekend. After work we took them out to a local restaurant, a farm-to-fork joint. It was even called The Farm. I had the ribs:

Other things they have are better.

In the restroom they have a newspaper collage. There was a date, in the collage, Thursday, July 31, 1919. Let’s assume all of the clippings were from that same issue, making this story is 98 years old:

It seems an odd thing to read, all these years later, but people ought to have an opportunity to educate themselves on civics and the issues of the day. So let’s refresh ourselves on the issue of their day. By the end of 1919 a significant chunck of American women could vote in presidential elections. As the world started recovering from the Great War more women throughout the world became able to cast a ballot. That created more pressure here at home and several votes that would give the power to women were lost by close counts in D.C.

In May of 1919 it finally happened. Woodrow Wilson brought the Congress back to vote on a potential constitutional amendment. Missouri ratified the amendment, just a few weeks before the story above was published. Arkansas became the 12th state to ratify earlier in that same week. Readers of this little story knew the amendment was a third of the way toward becoming the law of the land. The summer of 1919 must have been full of promise for suffragists.

Tennessee voted to make the 19th Amendment the law of the land in August of 1920. It took a long while, but over the next two generations of voters, ballots cast by gender started to even out.

No one voted on those ribs, though.

Mar 17

We went West

We have successfully reached Napa Valley, which was our goal. We have checked into our hotel … oh wait, I forgot to mention our luggage:

When you pack in a hurry, you tend to pack a lot.

We’re going to be here for four days and I can put a week’s worth of decent clothes in one small roller. Years of practice, you see.

On our way up here this morning The Yankee and I both had a first:

We agreed — in fact we each came to this decision independently — that Whataburger was better. I said this online and people disagreed in varying degrees. This led to an entire conversation on the construct of taste, which I can distill, in this instance, to one sentence: How can people disagree when I am so obviously right?

Not there was anything wrong with In-N-Out. It just wasn’t the best thing in the world. It isn’t a top five burger, if you ask me. Here, let’s settle this. If you notice the menu at In-N-Out the wording suggests you should do the burger with either the onion, or without. So I chose the with option. The onion made the burger. And when an onion makes your burger, well, that’s just a kind of average burger. I did enjoy the fries.

Anyway, we made it to Napa. We checked in to our hotel. We registered for the big Sunday event. We met some friends. The Yankee is here to see four or five friends, and some of them I met tonight.

We went to Morimoto for dinner. That was worth trying. Tomorrow, I think, we’ll be lazy tourists. Sunday we’ll be busy.