Archive for March, 2014
The end is near! Today is the final look back at my break, once again in a convent #Friday5 post.
Top 5 Highlights From The Rest Of My Break
1. Modern Rock 13
I missed discussing the 13th edition of my yearly best of discs! Here are the track listings in case you were curious.
It was a good year for music and a great year for Modern Rock. Every year my distribution list gets longer, and this year it was a downright beast. Between ordering the tracks, burning the discs, printing and cutting the inserts
And stuffing the mailers
I spent probably a good week on sending out my pics this year. No complaints thought, it is truly a labor of love.
2. Club Senn Ugly Sweater Edition
My buddy over at Tales From The Fjord throws an X-mas party every year, but 2013 was something special. The theme was ugly sweaters, and it did not disappoint.
With Senn providing the logistics and Ford providing the crazy guests, it was definitely one to remember. Well done fellas.
3. Meg dominated the Oscar pool this year
Every year Meg and I have a friendly competition with my buddy Grellner on our Oscar pics. Grellner has traditionally dominated this event in the past, but not this year. Meg correctly picked 22 of the 24 categories, good for a 92% success rate. That kind of supremacy is impressive.
Granted, she had some help from me this year since I managed to find a copy of every nominated films online. But still, one hell of a performance. Well done Meg!
4. I picked up trash
I’ve been really enjoying Creve Coeur Park for the past four years, so much so that I’ve been wanting to give back to the place that I love. I found a great opportunity to help clean the park by volunteering at the Confluence Trash Bash. Meg, me and a coworker spent a couple of hours on a Saturday morning removing trash from the shoreline of the lake by our house. What I thought would be a fun way to give back was actually a pretty grueling job. Between the three of us we filled 3 trash bags full of mostly glass and plastic bottles. We even found an abandoned trashcan! It was a lot of work, but it was the best kind of work. We plan on making this an annual event in our house.
5. My baby brother turned 18
And finally, my youngest brother became a man. It’s hard to believe that my kid brother is 18 now. I was 17½ when he was born, so he is now older than I was on that day back in 1996. And if that isn’t making me feel old already, my brother Paul turns 21 in a little over a month. Damn these kids grow up fast.
The other big thing that I missed during the break was Captain Mike. And I really missed him, as he’s been in Afghanistan for the entire time I was gone. But he was gone in the actual sense, as in 9 months in a sandy-hell-pit overseas. Not gone in the too-sad-to-write-my-crappy-blog sense like me. His absence has been a real bummer, but all of his friends and family and done a great job filling in the gap. I tried to help out when I could, but it always felt like too little when compared to such a big absence. I visited his wife Irene and his young daughter a handful of weekends over the break.
And I organized a small toy drive in Captain Mike’s behalf back in February. Our friends from college all chipped in to help send him a care package full of fun toys to occupy Mikey’s time. Ludlow chipped in with Frisbee and a hacky sack, Morgan with a football, and Timmy with some fart putty. I tossed in a flash drive full of pirated movies as well as a few magazines and a dashboard hula girl I picked up in Hawaii. It was a box full of silliness that I hope put a smile on his face.
And I have to give credit to Captain Mike, as it was his absence that finally got me back to writing. After the New Year I realized that I hadn’t written a single thing in over three months. How terrible that a writer like me hadn’t sent one single message to my buddy overseas! So I sat down and hand wrote Mikey a note to put in the care package that I was sending. After that I started emailing with him, and eventually it motivated me to start writing here at Captains Quarters.
So now it’s time to celebrate, as Mikey’s 9 month absence comes to an end tomorrow. The Captain Returns! That’s right; it’s all Captains on deck starting tomorrow!
So let’s all light a cigar and rejoice at the return of a hell of a solider and a hell of a man. Welcome home Captain.
Yesterday I mentioned that my father’s whole family came to St. Louis for the wedding of my sister. Today I thought I would elaborate on why that was such a huge deal for me. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about since I was a little kid. Allow me to explain.
Let’s see, where should I start? My mother was the second oldest of a large family from here in St. Louis. My father was the second oldest of an even larger family from Philadelphia. When my parents started dating in the mid-1970s both of their families became good friends. They were such good friends that both families would routinely travel to visit each other. Here’s a couple of fun #WaybackWednesday pictures that illustrate this friendship.
These pictures were from a trip my mom’s family took to Valley Forge for the Bicentennial celebration in 1976. The first is my mother’s parents along with my father’s mom. The second picture is my mom’s brothers along with a couple of my father’s brothers and his sister. They hung out quite a bit in the late Seventies and took a bunch of pictures together as one big family. The most famous was the human pyramid they made in my mother’s family’s front yard.
Both of the families were great friends, so much so that there was even some co-mingling among the siblings. That right, for a brief time my mom’s older brother dated my dad’s younger sister. And also one of my dad’s younger brothers dated my mom’s younger sister. Crazy!
What is important to note is that all of this happened in the late 1970s and early 1980s, way before I remember anything. After my parents split in 1982 and I moved back to St. Louis I would never see both families together again. When I would visit my dad’s family in Philly during summer breaks his family would all ask about my mother’s family back in St Louis. And when I would return from Philly my mother’s family all wanted to hear about my time with my dad’s family. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized how strange it is for all of my family to be friends with each other. I made it through most of grade school thinking it was like this for everyone.
As a kid I dreamed about my father’s mother and five siblings coming to visit me in St. Louis. Eventually I realized that getting 6 adults to come visit St. Louis at the same time was not feasible. But I knew that one day they would all come when one of us got married. This was not the case when I got married, as I had everyone fly down to Florida for my beach nuptials. So instead it was my sister’s union that brought both families to St. Louis one more time. The gang was all together for the after wedding brunch I mentioned yesterday. And as you can see, we left our mark on the sign!
And that nite I had my dad’s whole family over to my place for the evening. It was a real treat for me.
But the real treasure was having my grandmother in town one more time.
My Nana isn’t getting around as well as she used to, so her making the trip to St. Louis for the wedding was extra special.
Having both sides of my family together made for an unforgettable week. So a big thanks to my sister for finally getting hitched and making my dream finally come true!
The other big event from my break was the wedding of my sister. After years of trying to find someone to pawn her off on we finally found the perfect sucker. His name is James and he has made a huge mistake.
I’m joking of course, as James and Cathie are very well matched and very lucky to have found each other. Here’s a great picture of the happy couple enjoying some wedding cake.
The wedding was an enjoyably exhausting event that took place over a few days in early October. There was a ton of work involved in throwing the celebration, especially with 2 families traveling from out of state. My dad’s entire family flew in from the East Coast, and the groom’s whole family flew in from the West Coast. The turnout was actually quite impressive considering the distance traveled by wedding guests. And all of the out of town guests kept me quite busy while trying to help with the hosting duties. But it was totally worth it to have all of my family in town for such a big occasion. Everyone in this picture of my dad’s family at the ceremony flew in from out of town expect for my sister and our spouses!
My mom’s family also had a great showing for the wedding, even though my mom still can’t seem to keep her eyes open for pictures.
I’m kidding! She looked great when I escorted her down the aisle at the ceremony.
Besides hosting my family, I also volunteered to DJ the reception and help out with the family brunch the morning after the ceremony. I like to think I did a good job with the reception, as I managed to get about half the audience to dance at some point. Then again, judging from this picture, I’d say that the open bar had a lot to do with that.
I was also really pleased with the brunch we had the morning after the ceremony. My mother’s family and I pitched in to throw a low key party for all of our out of town’s guests. It was a lot of fun and made for a picture to remember.
I could honestly go on and on about numerous topics but I will instead stick with my mantra from that week: Don’t steal Cathie’s thunder. It was her party and I was just glad to be there and help out whenever I could. So I will end today by saying that my sister made a beautiful bride and I wish her all the best in her married life.
Well now that I’ve spent a week writing about both sadness and paradise lets shoot for somewhere in between. I would like to spend one more week talking about the five month break before getting back to my usual nonsense, so I’m unofficially declaring this as wrap up week. Today I wanted to mention a planned change here at Captains Quarters.
I spent a couple of weeks before my return tinkering with some behind the scenes updates on this website. It provided a great opportunity to reconsider what I enjoy about my blog and what I do not. I still enjoy Friday 5 posts, but not always. I still love #WaybackWednesday even though all the kids have moved on to #ThrowbackThursday for some reason. “Wayback” sounds like a fun trip to me, whereas “Throwback” sounds like an overpriced jersey. So yeah, I’m sticking with WW.
The big change I’m making concerns #2ForTuesday and its specifics. A couple of years ago I came up with #2ForTuesday as a way to document the process that goes into making my yearly Modern Rock discs. I spend a lot of time listening to new music and I thought it would be fun to include updates on this progress throughout the year. I also thought it would generate feedback that would help me select tracks for Modern Rock. Well, I was wrong on both accounts. It was not enjoyable on my end, and I received little to no response on the music that I posted. So I’ve decided to keep #2ForTuesday but not to use it specifically for Modern Rock. Just two random things that I happen to be enjoying at the moment.
Besides these changes to content I also tweaked a couple of small things. I added a new Twitter tracker, a new Flickr badge, and I deleted a couple of unused icon. I have a couple of other small changes in mind as well, as I continue to work at making the homepage to look as clean as possible. Any suggestions are welcome.