Dark of the moon, on the 6th of June…

Today is June 6th. Many people think of this as the anniversary of D Day, the day in WWII the allies stormed the beaches of Europe in 1944. In truth, one of the most important days of the last century.

However, for your buddy Mountainstroh, it brings to mind something completely different. It is the opening line of the song Convoy… Continue reading “Dark of the moon, on the 6th of June…”

Its a wonder Mom survived!

Today, being Saturday, is frequently errand day.  The Manchild was dropped off at the Smash (video game) tournament at UW, Michelle was out getting her hair did, and I decided to get the grocery shopping done.

On these weekend days when I errand alone, I like to listen to NPR.  The weekend programming is a welcome respite from politics, bad news and dumb people we hear about all week.

Today, they were discussing stories told by kids of things that happened to them simply in the course of being a kid.  This started me thinking of all the stuff that I did when I was younger, and wondering how my mom survived, not just with me, but with of us!

Continue reading “Its a wonder Mom survived!”

Its the doing that matters.

Every other Sunday or so, in addition to watching a new episode of The Walking Dead on AMC, I also get to take the Manchild home from his weekend with us. Over the years, certain traditions have developed.  He get’s to DJ the radio, he likes to check out cool cars (and cute girls in cars)  and we talk for the entire trip.

The talks can revolve around video games, school work, The Walking Dead or whatever pops into our heads.  This week, after passing people playing soccer in the rain, we started talking about the sports he has been involved with over the years. Continue reading “Its the doing that matters.”

A lot like me…

Folks I am a lot of things, some good some not so much.  I am a helluva trainer, my students not only learn, they succeed and they have a great time doing it.  I am NOT a fashionable dresser.  Shorts and T-Shirts are and should be acceptable for any occasion, including work, weddings and funerals.  I have been told lately (well for almost 5 years) I am a good hubby, and I try, plus I am the role model for my 4 siblings.  I am NOT a good singer, but I am not afraid to bellow out a song.

I am also a dad Continue reading “A lot like me…”

If’n I could choose

So, I KNOW this may come as a shock to many of you, but did you know that not everyone 100% agrees with me or my views?  I can hear the collective “GASPS” and “To HELL you says” being uttered as you read this!

So, I thought I’d share with you all what I would want for the Mathmajor and Manchild.  Why?  Well cuz its my blog, and it sounded like fun, AND I’m going to be interested in what people think.  It won’t change my mind, but it will be interesting. Continue reading “If’n I could choose”

The Kid at Heart

Recently, I have seen a couple of things that got me thinking about myself.  The first came from one of my oldest friends, Jim Devitt, who quoted Jimmy Buffett “I’m growing older, but not up–My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck.”  Yep, just cuz there are more and more candles on your cake does NOT mean you have to become an old fogey.

Then, Joe Kurmaskie today posted a quote from an author he has read, Joe Hill, “When you replace imagination with resignation you give up your childhood.”

I started pondering: How do we recognize if we are starting to, or have, lost that kid at heart? Continue reading “The Kid at Heart”

Urban Sophisticate

Now this may surprise you, or even come as a shock, but I have not always been the urban sophisticate, man about town you see (or at least read) before you here today.

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I was thinking about this during my lunch walk, which takes me into and around downtown Seattle.  My route takes me by many different little microcosms of the city.  There is the homeless (or at least wayward) youth shelter.  Passing that there is always a herd of kids on the corner talking, cussing and flipping each other crap,  I saw a lady today scurry by them quickly holding her purse dearly.  They’ve never bugged me, so I tend to ignore them.

Then there is the Greyhound bus station.  Damn you NEVER know what you will see there.  Riding the dog should only be done by college kids.  The people who hang around there quite frequently don’t look like they are all there… And some look like something out of the Walking Dead. But then if I was riding the bus again, neither would I.

Then I hit the shopping and restaurant district.  Here the ladies are dressed to the 9’s, business skirts, serious heels, and just daring someone to get in their way.  Then back past the gay bars, 24 hour fitness, 6 different Starbucks, and then yuppieville, and finally REI, and back to work.

The whole time I am dodging panhandlers, bad drivers, worse cyclists and myriad of weird-looking stuff on the sidewalk.  (Both animate and inanimate objects)  I take it all in stride, and most days don’t even notice these things.

But, as I said, it wasn’t always this way.  I remember my first real trip to Seattle.  Now as a kid we’d go to Seattle Center and ride the rides.  But otherwise I was raised on Army Bases, and went to college in a one horse town called Pullman.  Basically, I was sheltered….

Well in 1987 (I believe) we all decided to go to Seattle to have a few beers and dance. (Yes with enough beer I danced back then, not well, but danced.) Somehow we decided on going to Doc Maynards.  A very old bar, in one of the oldest parts of Seattle, Pioneer Square.

English: Pioneer Square Pergola, 1914. Image s...
English: Pioneer Square Pergola, 1914. Image sepia toned, tonal range increased by ShadowDragon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well Trish and I parked and started walking to the bar.  It was already dark, and not 3 ft from the car, I met my first panhandler.  Here was some guy, in the dark, kinda scary looking, asking me for money!  Trish got me past that, and we got in line at the bar.  (I was a bit wigged out)

While standing in line, I looked around, just in time to see to HUGE rats run across the walk not 5 feet in front of us!  HUGE!! RATS!!!  I’d never seen a rat outside a lab in college….

Yes, I lost it!! “Where the HELL are we, there’s rats and people asking me for money, its dark and there’s rats!!!”  This was NOT my proudest moment!!

Now had this happened now, there would be 3 Starbucks within spittin distance.  Back then, NOT so much!  This was BC! (Before Coffee in Seattle!)  Luckily though, there was a place across the street that was open, can’t remember what it was.  But Trish got me there, it had light, she got me coffee and calmed me down.  (Looking back, feel kinda sorry for her having to deal with the meltdown!  Thanks Trish!!)

After a couple cups and a cookie, I was in some control, then our friends started showing up.  We went back across the street, I ignored the rodents and the panhandlers, and concentrated on the door! Once inside, I made a beeline for the bar, and after a couple beers, life was good again!

Yes, my first real experience in Seattle did NOT start well, but by the end, all was fine, and we went back there MANY times!

Nowadays, its hard for me to believe I was “meltdown boy” but then again, it just goes to show how much we actually change as we “grow up”.  What scared the spit out me then, is common place now.I have walked through downtown at all hours, no worries at all.  I still hate rats, and not partial to people asking me for money, but now its the norm and I just go about my business like nothing ever happened.

But sometimes, I have to smile and laugh at the naive kid who never saw the city in the dark….

How the Hell Did We Survive?

Last night was Tuesday night, and like most Tuesdays, that means I am in Federal Way with the youngest kid for dinner.  Then we go to  Starbucks and play Cribbage, or Chess or some other game, and just hang out (For the record, the pain in the ass skunked me in Cribbage last night!)

Dinner this time was at Gramma’s (my mom’s house) she and my stepdad Doug are always happy to feed hungry people who show up at the door.  (Calling ahead is good, though, or could be you will miss dinner!)  Steak pie with brownies for dessert!  YUM!

So while we were there, the youngest started showing off his war wounds.  He is 15 and skates on a longboard.  Lately he has been skating with people at a higher level that he is, so he is trying out new things.  Trying something new with a skateboard generally means falling.  And he is missing some serious patches of skin to prove this.

It started me thinking about all the stuff I did, especially in college, and truly wondering why I am here able to blog…  (Warning:  MOM, this may lead to more gray hairs….)

First, even before college, I biked all the time.  NEVER did I wear or even own a helmet…  I once rode right in front of a bus, for some reason with my hands full of branches (no idea why I was carrying the branches, or how I got started on my bike with my hands full) and the bus had to slam on the brakes.  As that bike at the time didn’t have any brakes, nor could I have reached them, it’s a damn good thing the bus could stop.

I can’t begin to count the crashes I had back then.  I am even pretty sure that one time I knocked myself out for a little while (this woulda been Jr Hi) by hitting my head.  Didn’t want to tell my parents because they may have made me stop riding for a while!  Couldn’t have that!  So after the world stopped spinning, I just kept going.

High School I was pretty mellow.  A very boring kid with great grades who studied a lot, and never did anything dangerous.  Unless you count graduation night.  I had a 69 Merc station wagon. when I graduated.  Leaving commencement and heading for the school sanctioned party, I floored it.  For some reason this caused my windshield to completely fog up!  Couldn’t see a damn thing.  Did I stop?  Nope, just rolled down the side window and stuck my head outside, while going 70 on a side road!  Made it no problem!

OK, college, higher education, I musta been smarter then!  Well………

In our dorm, if you locked yourself out of your room, you had to pay a fine to get it unlocked. (May have been $5 or $10 MAYBE $20) Any money we spent on stuff like that took away from pizza money.  We (well the Immortal Pete Lamb)  discovered that it was possible to crawl out one window, inch along the ledge, reach over to the next window and pull yourself over to the next one.  Then unlock the door from the inside!

He and I were great at it.  The 1st floor wasn’t so bad (even though on the back side there was a drop off so it was closer to 2 stories tall) and I would go as high as the 3rd floor. (This I charged money for). I was once asked to crawl across for a guy on the 6th floor.  I thought about it, even walked outside and looked at it,  but  for once common sense kicked in, I declined.

Driving  was always an adventure.  Once, in Pullman, the Mudsucker and I were heading for a Mexican place for dinner.  We wanted to get there before the rest of the group.  Scott said “Turn HERE! It’s a short cut!” Yep, a hill, straight down, covered in ice, and we were heading straight for a power pole at 40 MPH!  I used every trick I knew, but nothing slowed us down.  I looked at him an said “Oh this is bad!” Just as the ruts in the road took us right around  the pole!  I hit the gas and kept going and we got there first!  Me worried?  NEVER!

Or the time heading down hill, a car full of people (same car mind you, 77 Dodge Aspen Wagon (hey I love hatchbacks!) food, beer and barbecue in the back.  I passed a semi, on a 2 lane road, came back in front of him, and saw I had to slow down for a 15 MPH switch back.  I hit the brakes, nuthin, hit them again, nuthin, hit them a 3rd time and they started to grab!  Jim in the back said “Is that brakes I smell?”  “Yep Jim, tell me if you don’t smell em anymore!” and we slowed just enough for the corner!  )OK THAT time I was worried!  I forgot to tell my Dad about this incident and later that year he came close to driving into a Piggly Wiggly as the brakes failed again! )

Or the time at Cheers West where I pissed off a Mountain of a man (he was huge!).  I had playfully tossed an ashtray a friend and ended up hitting someone else’s beer.  I had already ordered a replacement for it.  This guy got in my face jawing at me because if it. (Wasn’t even his beer) I jawed right back (all 5’7″ 135 lbs of me)  He looked at me and said “Don’t let 2 seconds of stupidity ruin your life!”  I stared right back and said “I won’t will you!!!!!”  (Meanwhile the Mudsucker and Dave were at a table watching this saying “Tony’s gonna die”  “Yep sure is”  “too bad…” (for the record if something woulda happened they would’ve jumped in!)) The man walked away (to this day I don’t know why) and all was right in the world.

I tell these stories, knowing there are many MANY others that are not coming to mind right now.  Teen and twenty something  guys are not smart.  Each and every one of them seem to think they are bullet proof.  I know I did.  And while I sat there and listened to the youngest tell his stories about his battle wounds (Pain heals, Chicks dig scars, Glory is forever (yep, my fault, I told him that) I realized he has it too.

Looking back, I know I was stupid many times.  But its part of being that age that you challenge yourself every chance you get.  I think of all the fun, all the stories, all the adventures that wouldn’t have happened if I played it safe.  Most people grow out of it, but I don’t think I have.  It’s why I have sky dived, bungie jumped, mountain climbed and now ride anywhere and everywhere.

If I lose that spirit of adventure, if I give up trying, then I honestly believe I would have one foot in the grave.  It would be time to trade the bike in for a walker!  I am more careful now, and I sure as hell don’t climb on ledges, but I DO have a degree of bullet proofness left!  I think I take smarter risks now, but I rarely decline a challenge!

And I support the youngest in his skateboarding endeavors! BUT, since I am a dad, I do make him wear a helmet!

Folks find a challenge, accept it and beat it!  It will keep you young!