I entered the 80s as a high school freshman. I exited them a married homeowner awaiting the birth of my first child. In between came those formative years of education; high school, college, and a trip to Europe where I met the wonderful woman that I married. It’s safe to say it was a formative decade for me. So when I saw that National Geographic had a six-part program called, The 80s: The Decade that Made Us coming up, I was quick to turn to my iPad and add it to my DVR schedule. My interest only grew when I learned the program was based on a book written by a friend and former (90s) intern of mine from days in the US Senate, David Sirota. Hurry now and buy your copy here like I did…Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now–Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything
Thinking about ‘decades’, it can be tricky. To me, the 80s feel like they just happened. They are a very recent part of my personal history. My three kids were all born in the 90s. The 80s are to them, what the 50s are to me. Weird. My kids aren’t as old as me. I expect my parents have an even thinner connection to the 20s.
So yeah, the 80s, I lived them. And I’m enjoying the flashback from the show, and looking forward to reading David’s book. I bought it online tonight and faced a dilemma. The book’s available for $14.99 as an iPad edition, cheaper than a print version. But I’m old school enough to hope someday I might get David to sign my copy, and that can get messy on an iPad. I’m buying the hardcover.
So I was up until almost 3 am this morning, migrating this blog from Posterous to a self-hosted WordPress setup. It went pretty smoothly, but I have a lot of housekeeping to do, categorizing 500+ posts dating back to 1998, fixing the random broken link or image, and so on. But this morning I’m trying out the WordPress iPhone app, and so, this blog from the bus!
Late in 2011, my brother showed me a cool iPhone app called Everyday. It’s a tool for creating time lapse movies from a collection of photos of the sort that you’ve probably seen online, like this one by one of the app’s developer’s Noah Kalina, or this one by the mysterious ClickFlashWhirr (who is much better looking and better able to stay still than me), this great one of a Pacific Crest Trail hiker, and this one of a hike and growing beard in China.
Anyway, so the app makes it easy, and I enjoy movies of this sort, so I thought I’d have a go at making my own. I made it until mid-February before I missed a day. It was about 1:00 am in the morning and I realized I missed my shot. From that point forward I took a more relaxed approach, trying to remember to get my photo every day, but not worrying too much if I missed one or two here and ther. In the end I captured 292 photos over 367 days (2012 was a Leap Year! And I included New Year’s Day 2013 to end the movie).
Beginning in October, I decided to let my beard grow through the end of the year. My beard had many motivations; partly a hiking beard, an Election mojo beard, some reason you’re not supposed to shave in November, an experiment to see what was left on top of my head after almost two years of wearing a close shave, and an opportunity to be Santa. My wife suffered horribly during these three months as my face became her nightmare. I had promised all along that it would be gone by New Year’s, but I never said it would go all at once. Trimming it bit by bit at the end of the year was one of the funnest parts of this effort.
It’s a lot to see, cramming 366 days into 30 seconds, and there is much there you can easliy miss. The individual photos are all posted in this Flickr set if you’re interested in a closer look at any of them.
My son Will is a college sophomore, and while away at school he accepted an offer from my wife and I to help clean out his room which was half full of empty gatorade bottles, old college mail, long neglected toys, and returned homework. The upside for Will is our plan is to buy him a larger bed, yet we have an alterior motive (two words: guest room).
Today while sorting papers, my wife found the below gem from a class that Will does not recall. The obvious assignment Will was faced with, was to write some poetry in various styles. Reading them brought me tears of laughter and pride, and with Will’s permission, I offer them here for your own poetic pleasure. So, no offense intended to poets or poetry lovers, I offer Will’s homework assignment:
Part 2: My Own Wonderful Words
I Can’t Write Poetry
Poetry is pretty black and white
You can either do it or you can’t.
I’m pretty sure I’m one of those who can’t.
Poetry is garbage; it’s not even tight.
I hate poetry really bad
So I’m gonna go cry to my dad.
One time, I got hit by a train.
The impact caused me severe pain.
I’m pretty sure my leg fell off
And that my lung collapsed, so I coughed.
But I blacked out, I don’t remember.
I’m not sure if I was dismembered.
And when I came to,
I realized I couldn’t move.
There, all messed up on pain pills
I realized, poetry kills.
I Hate Poetry
Cows say, “Moo!”
Pigs say, “Oink!”
Dogs say, “Bark!”
I say, “I hate poetry!”
Poetry Isn’t Fun
Today, I find myself writing a poem
And it has put me in the worst mood ever.
Will I ever need poetry in life? No, never.
So why are we wasting this paper?
Poetry makes me want to kick a puppy
And also to set fire to a forest
The whole poetry system I protest.
I think poetry is more useless then a guppy.
I think the clear purpose of poetry
Is to make kids feel terrible.
And it’s working, I fell like fresh poultry
But another could be to make kids cry
And if that were the true reason for poetry
Then it’s working, I want to die.
Poetry is Diseased
One day, I was writing a poem
And then my mouth started to foam.
I realized that I have rabies
And I had a desire to eat babies.
I went to the nearest hospital
When I found I doctor with a monocle.
He was a very old man
Who told me his name was Dan.
He told me my ailment was caused
By a common virus found in poetry.
Poetry is Pointless
Free verse poetry is kind of pointless.
It has no rhyme, rhythm, or purpose.
So it’s pretty much some random words
Thrown together, like this project.
Free verse poets and I have some common ground
We both have no idea how to write real poetry.
But at least I don’t waste my time.
Someone needs to tell them soon
That poetry is a waste, get a real job.
They were purchased with the expectation of a triumphant performance in the Marine Corps Marathon of 2010 that wasn’t meant to be. But they continued on over the next 95 weeks, plodding through 101 runs and a total of 632 miles. Among those runs would be three more marathons, including a triumphant PR at the OBX Marathon in 2001. A record that stands to this day and is unlikely to ever fall.
Already slated for retirement, they untimately failed. Worn soles, inside and out, and an exposed tack revelaed thier ultimate deterioration, fighting back against the feet they had carefully carried through so many miles.
A memorial service was held at their interment in the kitchen trash. Both my feet, left and right, were in attendance to pay their respects. Other survivors include thier frequent partners, four different pairs of running socks, a runner’s id/wallet velcro’d securely to the right shoe’s laces, and numerous timing tags carried through more than a half dozen races.
Farewell my running shoes, you’ve run your last mile and crossed that big finish line in the sky!