Monday, December 22, 2008
1. Why is it that Democrats think it’s evil “dynastic politics” when the offspring of Republican politicians seek public office, but that somehow it’s wonderful when the offspring of Democrats do so—even going so far as to support Caroline Kennedy for appointment to a Senate seat with absolutely no prior experience in elective office (not even as “co-president”)?
2. A generation ago, perhaps the biggest concern of environmentalists was particulate air pollution—i.e., smog, or soot in the air. Several decades of stringent air-quality laws have caused a tremendous reduction in particulate air pollution, leaving the current generation’s environmentalists with little to gripe about in that regard. Could this be the driving factor behind their seemingly zealous search for a new class of air pollutant—in this case, an old, naturally occurring substance called carbon dioxide, or what plants “breathe” to produce oxygen? Following a “logical” progression, one wonders what will happen when/if hydrogen-powered cars come on the market and become the prevalent form of human transportation. The product of hydrogen combustion is not particulates or carbon, but simple water vapor. If hydrogen-powered cars eventually cause elevated levels of O2 in the air—that is, what human beings and other animals need to breathe—will the next generation of environmentalists want to classify oxygen as a pollutant? (Consider that water vapor provides about 90% of the "greenhouse" effect that warms the Earth.) It sounds absurd, but then who would have thought thirty or forty years ago that people would be saying the same today about a relatively innocuous substance like carbon dioxide?
3. I’ve sometimes wondered why I don’t like to watch basketball anymore. Undoubtedly, some of it has to do with the insufferable attitude that so many of today’s athletes have, physically gifted and rich though they may be. (And don’t get me going on the notion that college and pro basketball players and teams from the 1960s and 1970s could match their modern-day counterparts—there simply is no comparison in terms of skills and athleticism, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.) However, I think the real reason I don’t watch basketball anymore is rooted in three de facto rule changes that make all those sparkling moves possible. The first is that “palming” the ball is hardly ever called anymore. The second is that “traveling,” likewise, is hardly ever called, either before or after the dribble. And the third is that, thanks to “breakaway” rims, hardly anyone is ever given a technical foul for hanging on the rim, which in turn makes it relatively “safe” to dunk in traffic. Many actual rule changes have been instituted since the 1970s—the three-point shot, the “alternating possession” rule on held balls, the institution of a shot clock, the rules regarding how many foul shots are awarded and when, etc.—but the changes I’ve mentioned have made basketball, at all levels, a completely different game from what it once was. I’m not saying it’s worse, but it’s definitely not as interesting to me.
4. Concerning the passage of Proposition 8 in California and its chances of actually taking legal effect, I’m left wondering (a) when it supposedly became a “fundamental civil right” for someone to be able to marry another person of the same gender (given that marriage in general was never considered a fundamental right under common law), and (b) how a person can be a “bigot” for supporting traditional marriage between one man and one woman. Personally, I favor the idea of civil unions between homosexual couples, with all that implies, but, setting aside all religious considerations, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to reserve the term “marriage” for what it has always been. The fact that homosexuals want the courts to say otherwise is instructive with regard to their intent, which obviously is to use the courts to bludgeon society into accepting homosexuality as the functional and moral equivalent of heterosexuality—and, more importantly, to impose sanctions against individuals and non-government organizations that refuse to do so. That’s a scary thought, but when legislatures abdicate to the courts their responsibility to make policy decisions, there simply is no telling on what rocky shore the resulting tidal wave might throw us.
Monday, December 15, 2008
The tournament itself was an adventure. Our first game was against 5th Ward (of the Albuquerque Stake) at the Haines Street chapel, which we won by, I think, six points after struggling against their full-court press. The next evening, we lost a close game to 7th Ward (of the East Stake) at the Eubank chapel, then immediately we had to rush back down to Haines Street to play 4th Ward (of the Albuquerque Stake) in a late losers-bracket game; I remember winning a real nail-biter on a teammate's late free throws. 7th Ward went on to lose to 8th Ward (our arch-rivals from the East Stake, and the ward with the most good-looking girls, including Dorine), so the next day we played 7th Ward one more time, again at the Eubank chapel, this time winning by a few points. That put us in the championship game against 8th Ward, although of course we needed to beat them twice to win the tournament. We won the first game at the Eubank chapel, but apparently no one had contemplated the need for an "if" game, as there was another activity scheduled at the Eubank building that afternoon, and the tournament organizers had to scramble to schedule the Haines building for the last game. We managed to win that game, too, which was a very sweet feeling -- made positively exquisite by my winning the MVP trophy.
After my mother shot the photo above with her Kodak Instamatic camera, that particular roll of film lay in a drawer, forgotten, for what must have been six years. I can remember coming home from my mission in late December 1980 and going with my mother, sometime in the next few days, to the old Skaggs drugstore down in Fair Plaza (at the intersection of San Pedro and Lomas in Albuquerque). Skaggs had some ridiculous special on film development and prints (something like a dollar a roll), so my mother took her old rolls down to have them all developed at once. Needless to say, the resulting pile of photos included this one -- time had caused the negative to fade somewhat, but it was an amazing feeling to see it, not knowing it existed, after six years! It brought back nice memories then, and it still does so today.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The AYS luminaria fundraiser on Saturday went very well. We finished our orders at around 1:30 pm, although then we were assigned to another "workhouse," and Zach and I ended our day making deliveries in the South Valley using maps that provided very few reference points. (Not knowing the area very well, it took us over an hour to find the last house on the route, by which time it was after dark -- very frustrating!) Thank goodness it's over now!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Last week, I was able to exchange my existing "VPAP Adapt SV" breathing machine for one of the "enhanced" units; I owe both A&R Medical Supply and Resmed a debt of gratitude for working together to make that happen. So far, it appears that heightened pressure settings do help me significantly, although I'm currently experiencing yet another health issue that's impeding my sleep: debilitating stiffness and pain in my left hip that seems to be radiating from my lower back. I saw a doctor about it this afternoon at my employer's medical clinic; he diagnosed it as probable sciatica and gave me a stretching regimen and a prescription for a strong painkiller (which, for obvious reasons, I want to use only sparingly).
We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at home with much of our immediate family and various members of Dorine's extended family. (My mother elected to stay home and cook for my sister Kristen and her family.) I'm looking forward to my extended Christmas/New Year's holiday from work, but there are still a couple of intervening events this next weekend. First, we have to get through the Albuquerque Youth Symphony's luminaria fundraiser -- we'll be busy inasmuch as our home will be one of a number of "workhouses" where luminarias are assembled and from which vehicles will make runs to deliver them. And second, Dorine and I will be driving to Colorado to spend time at the cabin with Judy and Mike P______; hopefully, we'll get to leave on Saturday afternoon after all our luminarias are made up and delivered, as three nights up there sounds much better than two! (This cabin trip will be in lieu of our usual "wedding anniversary" trip to Ruidoso -- it didn't make sense to spend a load of money on a cabin in Ruidoso if we could stay at our cabin in Colorado for "free.")
Devery and Easton went to Tucson to spend Thanksgiving with his family; however, they'll be coming here for Christmas, partly because Devery's cousin Hillery P______ is marrying her fiance Kevin John on the 27th in the Albuquerque Temple. Devery will finish her BSIS degree this semester and is interviewing for jobs in the Utah Valley/SLC area. We thought that Darren would stay in Jesus de Otoro through the end of the year, since he'd been trained in how to conduct tithing settlement; however, we found out today that he was transferred last week back to the Tegucigalpa area and is training another new missionary, Elder Rose from Morgan, UT. (The photo above was taken from Darren's mission's blog -- Darren is the second from the right, and I'm assuming the elder on the far right is Elder Rose.) Kiley has been pretty sick and has been struggling to manage all that she has on her plate; sometimes it seems like neither Dorine nor Kiley nor I get nearly enough sleep at night.
I don't have much of a Christmas wish list this year. I need another pair of running shoes, and I could always use an iTunes gift card. I'd really like to get my "old" Line 6 guitar amplifier repaired, as the newer one I bought doesn't produce the same heavenly tone (with a touch of chorus, a little digital delay, and some reverb) that made me fall in love with the "old" one. Knowing the cost of electronics repairs these days, however, it would probably be less-expensive to go on eBay and buy another of the old model.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Food: Steak. (Sirloin will do, generally.)
Beverage: Vanilla Pepsi from Blake's Lotaburger (I love to eat the ice as I'm downing the drink, so I ask for extra ice), followed by Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew. (I sure wish these drinks were [more] available in non-caffeinated versions!)
Snack: Yoplait yogurt (peach or strawberry).
Musical Group: The Who (I'm more song-oriented now than when I was younger, but if I have to choose a favorite group, it's the Who).
Song: "Typical" by Mutemath. (These days, I really don't have a favorite song as such, but I really like "Typical.")
Book: (nonfiction) Camp 4: Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber, by Steve Roper; (fiction) Mutiny on the Bounty, by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.
Movie: The Sting (1973).
TV Show: MXC, SportsCenter. (I don't get to watch MXC much anymore, since it's been consigned to a late-night slot on Spike TV, but I still find the show's innuendo-laced English commentary, dubbed onto video from the old Japanese television show Takeshi's Castle, to be absolutely hilarious. As for SportsCenter, well, I may not like to watch many actual sporting events on TV anymore, but I still like to watch the highlights.)
Place: Ruidoso (NM), Pinegrove Cabin (CO), Sandia Mountains (NM). (For years, I practically lived for my trips to Las Vegas, but it's pretty much fallen out of my life now.)
Sport: Soccer. (I especially like to watch the English Premier League and the Italian "Serie A," although our satellite TV package doesn't include any channels that regularly show European soccer.)
Team: The U.S. men's soccer team. (The U.S. isn't in the upper echelon of national sides, but I still root for them and watch them every chance I get.)
Clothes: Jeans, long-sleeve t-shirt, trail-runners, ball cap.
Camping Spot: Oliver Lee Memorial State Park (NM), Villanueva State Park (NM), Sentinel Camp (Guadalupe Mountains, NM), Deer Pass (Sandia Mountains, NM).
Video Game: Dr. Mario. (We still have "Dr. Mario" for the old Nintendo system, but I'd have to learn to hook it up to play it.)
Cereal: Cocoa Pebbles.
Flavor of Gatorade: Glacier Freeze.
Scripture: Ether 12:27.
Website: National Review Online.
Car: Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Guitar: Fender Stratocaster. (I'm starting to lust after the Gretsch Electromatic Double Jet, however -- check it out: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gretsch-Guitars-Electromatic-Double-Jet-Electric-Guitar-511589-i1147139.gc.)
Decadent Meal: Fried eggs and sausage. (Just thinking about them starts my arteries to harden.)
Genre of Music: Mid-60s "Garage Punk." (1966 was a watershed year -- tons of cool music came out then.)
Temple: Albuquerque. (Of course -- but I still have fond memories of going to the aesthetically pleasing Las Vegas Temple, with all its woodwork and almost-complete lack of interior right angles.)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Adding weight to my suspicions is the fact that the results of my last sleep study indicated that I might do better with increased minimum/maximum pressure settings on my machine. However, when I tried to enter those settings, I quickly discovered that the unit I have is an older model that won't go above the levels at which it was originally set when I got it in February. (In contrast, the machine I used at the lab for the sleep study was a newer "Enhanced" model that provides higher pressure levels.) That obviously could be a major problem, given that my insurance company and I have already made payments for ten or eleven months on the thing: (1) the medical-supply company wouldn't simply hand me a new "Enhanced" unit out of inventory; (2) my insurance company won't start all over, paying for a new machine from scratch; and (3) the manufacturer, Resmed, might not accept a trade-in, with or without additional consideration.
I'm informed, however, that the doctor's office and the medical-supply company are negotiating with Resmed to try to get it to trade out my machine for an "Enhanced" unit. They seem pretty optimistic that it will happen, although I don't yet know if any strings will be attached. I can't say for certain that the "Enhanced" model will solve my residual night-time breathing problems, but at this point it looks like my only chance to start sleeping all night without resuming regular use of hypnotic medications; thus, right now I'm in wait-and-see mode. However, something has to happen soon, because I'm actually feeling more run-down and miserable now than when I was taking combinations of prescription and OTC sleep meds every night!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
[Update 7/7/10: This picture was taken in Conference Room B9 in Building 880 at Sandia, which no longer exists. Facilities, in its infinite wisdom, commandeered the space this spring and tore out what was one of the best conference rooms in the company. It will probably end up as part of another cubicle farm.]
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
What enabled Obama to win the election? Clearly, the majority of the country wants to take a different course, and, just as clearly, George W. Bush's unpopularity has created tremendous ill will toward the Republican brand. Yet the polls seemed to indicate that the ongoing financial crisis was what finally turned the tide inexorably in the Democrats' favor. The meltdown was caused primarily by the subprime mortgage crisis, yet it was the Dems who fomented dubious mortgage-lending practices, first by enacting legislation such as the Community Reinvestment Act and then by fiercely resisting heightened regulation of FNMA and FHLMC at a time when it was obvious to most people in Washington that things were going very wrong in the home-loan markets. That they were then able, in a classic case of projection, to direct blame at the Bush Administration -- and all those greedy capitalists on Wall Street -- is ironic in the extreme. (The mainstream media assisted them greatly in that endeavor, which underscores the fact that, contrary to the wishful thinking in one of my earlier posts, they still have great power to influence public opinion, or at least the opinions of the squishy swing voters who decide elections in this country. The sad thing is that the media obviously have come to see that as their raison d'être, becoming the de facto propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.)
John McCain, then, was the victim of a "perfect storm" in which fate and chance repeatedly conspired to kill his chances of winning. In the end, he was left throwing various pieces of poop at his opponent in the futile hope that something would stick, which is never a position in which a candidate for office wants to find himself. It could also be argued that Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, wasn't ready for the national stage, although I still believe otherwise. She failed to help McCain capture the moderate middle, but, with the unfair, relentless battering she received at the hands of the media -- which highlighted their boundless capacity for seeking to achieve the destruction of women and minorities who dare to stray from the liberal plantation -- it's difficult to see now how any running mate could have done that. I hope, moving forward, that she stays in the national spotlight, as I have no doubt she'll prove her critics wrong over time.
As far as New Mexico goes, we ended up with a congressional delegation composed entirely of Democrats, which makes it hard to dispute that we are now a solidly "blue" state. Unfortunately, Tom Udall as senator will be no Pete Domenici -- he's more like a featherweight version of the already-lightweight Jeff Bingaman -- suggesting that our two senators will wield very little influence in Washington. That doesn't bode well for New Mexico's national labs, and, honestly, I'm not sure either Bingaman or Udall really cares, notwithstanding the tremendous economic impact that federal spending has in this state. Our new congressman in the First District will be Martin Heinrich, a former city councilor who might not have defeated Heather Wilson (our departing congresswoman, who decided to vacate her seat to run in the senate primary election), given even the current political environment.
In closing, I wanted to say something about the Bush presidency. Although he will be leaving office as one of the most unpopular presidents of all time, I tend to believe that historians will be kind to George W. Bush, and for three simple reasons: (1) after 9/11, his policies prevented further large-scale terrorist attacks against America or its interests abroad; (2) the establishment of a middle-eastern democratic beachhead in Iraq may still serve to quell the fascistic sort of fervor that gives rise to terrorist impulses in the rest of the Islamic world; and (3) his humanitarian initiatives in Africa have already done much good for a continent about which the rest of the world has largely forgotten. In four years, I think we could easily be looking back with great nostalgia for the Bush administration.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Now that I've learned how to embed Youtube videos in my blog posts, I decided to upload the entire 4.5 minute featurette that Brent Peterson produced about my caving in 2004. This video gives a good idea of what it's like to go through the "Birth Canal" in Alabaster Cave -- and why it's crucial, if you're my size, to go through in the proper orientation, with the left arm "up" and the right arm "down." As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have since gone through the "Birth Canal" in the proper orientation, again, and had zero problems with it.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here I am playing the guitar solo from Ace's 1975 hit song "How Long." I'm using my MIM (made in Mexico) "Classic 60s" Fender Stratocaster and my "new" Line 6 Spider II 112 amplifier. I'm not very good at playing other people's solos note-for-note, but for some reason I felt inspired a number of years ago to learn this one.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The decline of the 'Shoe -- which coincided with Benny Binion's daughter Becky Behnen's wresting control of the property from her brother Jack -- was a tragedy to those who knew and had come to love the joint. It wasn't a good sign when the new management immediately did away with the free photos and sold all the ten-thousand-dollar bills (I'm informed they fetched three or four times their face value at auction) and then changed a lot of the games to raise the table minimums and to give the house a bigger advantage. Finally, after the daughter and her husband bled the property completely dry, they sold it off to people who were even more greedy and less knowledgeable about how to operate a casino.
Thus, "Binions" (minus the genitive apostrophe and the "Horseshoe" trademark, which was sold to a different concern) sits there on Fremont Street to this day, a sad shell of what it used to be. I haven't been to Las Vegas in over two years and have little idea what's happening there now, but I do know that practically nothing in downtown Vegas is as it used to be. I guess I've changed, too, pretty much having grown out of whatever penny-ante gambling "jones" I once may have had, but I still miss the old days.
[Update: I've now become aware that "Binions" has new owners who reportedly are interested in trying to restore the property to something approximating its former greatness. I doubt that will translate into $2.00 single-deck blackjack, $0.25 craps with 100x odds, and easy meal "comps," but maybe it will mean $5.00 single-deck "3:2" blackjack, $3.00 craps with 10x odds, and a few meal specials. That would be a start -- and if Vegas in general continues to tank along with the overall economy, the downtown properties may start targeting low-rollers again in earnest.]
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Darren is still working in Jesús de Otoro, Honduras with his missionary companion Elder Capiona, and they've even had a few baptisms in between all their work with the members of the branch. Devery is still hard at work on finishing her degree this semester and finding a job so that she can help support the family while Easton continues to work on his degree. Easton was selected for a team representing BYU in the construction-management area, which will be going to Las Vegas for a competition. Heidi and Dion continue to work, and Kayla will have her second birthday in a few weeks. Kristy and Chris are busy with their kids' sports and other activities, and the twins are now seven months old. Chris is a little tired of the up-and-down nature of the auto-mechanic trade and has talked about going into law enforcement, probably with the county sheriff's department.
Monday, October 13, 2008
If one injects the foregoing into the instructor's "basketball" analogy, it seems the following is true. One, that no one attains "NBA all-star" status based wholly on his own natural gifts or even his long years of practicing his "spin move." Two, that one may not require great natural gifts to tie into that great "$100 million contract with the Lakers" in the sky. And three, that it's conceivable that a relatively small contribution on the part of the lowliest of church members may well secure that person a spot in God's "starting lineup," ahead of people whose gaudy "scoring averages" bespeak much-greater abilities in an absolute sense -- it may all depend on circumstances and what's in the person's heart.
I have to believe all this is true, for otherwise I'm wasting my time, my substance, and what little remains of my self-esteem after a lifetime of attending church, and otherwise associating, with other LDS church members who seem all too eager to deny the efficacy of the Atonement and the scope of its effect on the poor in spirit (who, after all, are supposed to be the ones inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven at some point). Does a person have a chance who pays his tithes and offerings, obeys the Word of Wisdom, lives the Law of Chastity, attends the temple once in a while, helps out on the occasional service project, sings in the ward choir, and loves his wife and family so much that he continues to attend church, week in and week out, with people whom he doesn't particularly care for (and vice versa)? Does it matter that he simply doesn't have the emotional resources to do much more than that?
I can't say, except that I'm glad God's ways are not man's ways and that, presumably, his judgments are wiser than those of most people I know.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Today I was finally able to take the third of three hikes in the Sandia Mountains that I wanted to do this year. This time I went by myself, starting at the top of Menaul Blvd. and taking what Mike Coltrin's Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide calls the "Whitewash Trail." The top photo, taken from Google Earth (double-click for detail), shows my approximate route, which traces a more-or-less clockwise path from the starting point on the left. I first wandered my way up to the first little promontory at the head of Whitewash Canyon. From there, I was able to locate the main "ridge" trail, which skirts around the north side of the ridge, along the head of what the topo map calls "Long Canyon," before following the rest of the ridge, up and down, to Oso Pass. (I'd never been on the "ridge" route before, which is surprisingly well-defined most of the way up, even if it seems to meander its way past every boulder or rock outcrop en route.) At Oso Pass, I got on the upper part of the Embudito Trail, which is unrelentingly steep until it finally curves around to the east shortly before its terminus at the South Crest Trail, and then I took the little spur trail that leads directly to South Sandia Peak, which trail, judging from its well-worn condition, must receive a lot of traffic these days. (The photo on the right shows the approach to South Peak on the spur trail -- guess I needed to clean the lens on my camera.) I felt pretty crappy on most of the ascent, so I was surprised that I made it all the way to the top in three hours, fifty minutes -- pretty good time for me, given the difficult route.
I ate lunch at South Peak, snapped a few photos (see the photo on the left, which looks down on the ridge that I came up), and wrote in my journal for a few minutes. Then I went down off the back of the peak to find the enchanting little canyon we'd found in 2001 while backpacking with the scouts, which is notable for both its thick stand of aspens and a number of limestone pillars that resemble statuary. From there, I made my way east to the South Crest Trail, then took a swing past Deer Pass (one of my five favorite camping spots in the world) on my way back down the Embudito Trail. I'd already decided not to take the ridge back down, so at Oso Pass I took the Three Gun Spring Trail down to the Embudo Trail (the upper part of which is only barely recognizable as a "trail"), and followed Embudo Canyon all the way back down to where my truck was parked. (It was definitely the long way down!)
I was almost totally spent at the end, having been gone for nearly eight hours and hiking most of that time. It was a pretty ambitious hike, one that I'm not sure I'll ever care to repeat at this stage of my life. However, South Peak is perhaps the most-enchanting area of the Sandias -- in large part because there's no easy way to get there -- and I'm sure I'll see it again soon.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It's apparent that most Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media believe that Republicans are a dull, unintelligent lot (never mind evil and malicious). However, it bears pointing out, as more than one pundit has done, that the Democrats managed to nominate their sole candidate (not counting the moonbat-magnet Dennis Kucinich) who could lose this election, whereas the Republicans nominated their lone candidate who could win it. That tells me a lot.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I could say a lot about my sixth-grade year, but I'll keep it relatively short. First, I remember I had a crush that year on Jeri Locke, which seems strange now. She was LDS, although her family was only marginally active in church when they moved to Albuquerque and went completely inactive shortly thereafter. Second, Duane Dalby was the third Mormon in the class and lived on my street, although he moved to Grand Junction, CO with his mother when his parents divorced a couple of years later. (Down the road, he and I went through the MTC at roughly the same time; he went to the Chile Santiago North mission, and we actually saw each other in Santiago a couple of times, too.) And third, I'll never forget a very funny classroom episode that happened that year. Most of the boys in the class were fairly expert at shooting spitwads; the usual delivery system was the shell of a Bic pen used as a blowgun, but one day, during "reading" time after lunch, I was experimenting with a 6" plastic ruler used as a catapult. Unfortunately, I overshot my intended target and the spitwad hit Mrs. Whitmore on the arm. (I still have a vivid mental picture of her being so startled that she practically jumped out of her chair!) She immediately got up and started grilling all the boys in the class to try to identify the culprit, but, luckily, the fact that it could have been any one of eight or nine kids gave me "plausible deniability," and I escaped punishment. (Yes...I lied.)
I can actually remember all of the kids' first names and most of their last names. Top Row: Mr. Montman, Mrs. Whitmore, John Lindsey, Toni Lopez, Mitch Magee, Kim Olson, Stan Esquibel, Dolores Trujillo. Second Row: Mary Weimer, Amy Harris, Patrick Sena, Elisa Banda. Third Row: Tom Eaker, Jeanette Vigil, David Lewis, Linda Peña, James Snider, Perri Stovall, Duane Dalby, Colleen Kimble. Fourth Row: Jeri Locke, Elizabeth Plumley, Jeff Kamin, Trina Stewart, Steve Gallegos, Cheryl MacKay. Bottom Row: Paul ____, Cella Dewey, Shawn Herringer, Laura Madrid, Clarence Montoya, me, Todd ____.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
We were a pretty good team and won our league most of the years I played, although we always had it handed to us when we went to big out-of-town tournaments (e.g., in Show Low, AZ and Dallas, TX). Pat still has a Saints team, although I'm not sure how many of the original guys (most of whom are now in their early-to-mid fifties) still play. I played a few games with them several years ago -- I could still hit the ball well, but I had to play catcher and watch all the younger guys on the team run circles around me.
This photo was taken in my first year with the team in 1984. I remember I had a bad hitting year that season -- slow-pitch softball is all about feeling comfortable and confident at the plate and in the field, and I hadn't yet developed that kind of confidence in my playing -- but, thankfully, Pat and Tony kept me on the team. I hit my peak in 1990, when the team voted me their MVP, something I still consider an honor. It was sad that I had to give up softball a number of years before my time, but there was a positive outcome in that I turned to less-competitive forms of recreation that drew me closer to nature.
Seeing this picture now brings back a lot of memories. I was in my 4%-body fat days. We lived on the south side of the top floor of "T" Hall, which is/was situated between two other halls; thus, we had no clear view of anything besides "U" Hall to the south. I was seriously homesick most of the fall semester, but fortunately friends like Bob and Galen helped me stick things out.
I still have the leather guitar strap with my name on it (a very 70s sort of fetish), which a fellow student from my high school named Joe Lifke made for me right about the time I bought the SG (and for which he only charged me $8.00, as I remember). It still looks and functions like new, although with the extra girth that my body has acquired over time, my guitar rides quite a bit higher than it used to--and my name appears on my shoulder, almost!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I found the bishop's journal in a drawer,
I read where Patty after her first date
And as I looked through the book,
I read how Ron went on a date with Pam;
And as Craig goes through his life,
I put the journal back inside the drawer.
She's two weeks late now.
As I go to church of late,
(Well, I said we were pretty irreverent....)
["Patty" was Patty McGraw, a nice girl with a great sense of humor. "Steve" was Steve Schulte, Patty' s then-future husband. "Ron" was Ron Wiser, who eventually married Cindy Shupe and is now the stake president in Roswell, NM. "Pam" was Pam Aguilar, who, as the lyrics suggest, was both well-endowed and fitness-minded. "Sue," of course, was Sue A______, and "Lowell" was Lowell Huber, who dated Sue before I did. "Craig" was Craig Mortensen, who, in addition to being elders quorum president, was well-known for hitting on all the new girls in the ward. (Craig married a girl named Cissy Reazin in the summer of 1981, but by the time I came back from BYU in May 1982, he was already divorced and back doggin' the girls in 11th Ward.) Bill Steagall was a very strait-laced fellow from Brazil (his slave-holding forbears moved there after the American Civil War, and he spoke native-level English and Portuguese), who eventually married Melissa Maw.]
[Update 2/27/2011: Here's Shawna M______'s ninth-grade school picture from the 1980 Eldorado HS yearbook. It's interesting to me for the fact that she appears to have affected something of a "mannish" look as a high-school freshman that she didn't have at age eighteen when I knew her (see her senior [twelfth-grade] picture above). I would never have pegged her as having same-sex attraction during the short time that we dated -- and neither would her friends from that era [her best friend at the time is now one of my "friends" on Facebook] -- but now I'm wondering if there were signs of it earlier in her life. I guess one never knows.]
[Update 3/14/11: Here is a photo of Barbara T______ from roughly the period in which I was interested in her. It came from an upload to the Facebook group that people created for 11th Ward Alumni. Barbara doesn't look as attractive here as she remains in my memory, but she did start wearing contact lenses at one point, revealing pretty eyes.
|"I wouldn't touch you with a ten-foot pole"|
[Update 7/3/14: There have been quite a few more yearbooks posted recently on Classmates.com from Albuquerque-area high schools, including Barbara T______'s 1979 senior annual from West Mesa HS. It contains this picture of Barbara -- a much-better photo than her 9th-grade school picture, I must say. It's funny how some high schools continued, in the late 70s and beyond, to make girls bare their shoulders, and boys to wear tuxedos (with bow ties, no less), for their senior pictures. I still haven't seen a recent photo of Barbara, although I did meet up with her sister Penny, who still lives in the Albuquerque area but no longer attends the LDS Church, at last year's 11th Ward reunion. I think I've finally exorcised my 11th Ward "ghosts." Lyle and Wilma Porter's A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Mexico notes both the creation of the 11th Ward on September 24, 1978 (from what had previously been the student branch/ward) and its dissolution on August 3, 1986. Somehow I'd had it in my head that the ward had lasted a few years longer than that, but it sort of makes sense now that I know.]
[Update 4/19/16: Here it is -- the "recent" photo of Barbara (alongside her husband Kary Simcox) that I've been wanting to see for years. Time appears to have treated her fairly gently, although the pic still represents a species of "resolution" for me.]