If you’ve read this little blog off and on, you could probably piece together that this summer was my fifth wedding anniversary. And if you did happen to notice that, you should have emailed to remind me, because I have a tendency to forget dates. I did not forget this one, however.
After some consultation, we decided to do something a little out of the ordinary this year. You see, the traditional gift for the fifth wedding anniversary is wood. I immediately nixed the idea of the big wooden fork and spoon to hang up in the kitchen of our duplex. We started thinking about houses. We have actually talked about them for a long time; we even designed a beauty of a home using some architectural software. Things just have never been right for us to take that plunge.
There was no putting it off this year, though. Conditions have never been better to purchase a wooden anniversary structure (with three bedrooms, an unfinished basement, and a nice lawn). So it happened that our present to each other was a home.
Growing up watching baseball games with my dad was fantastic fun. I knew all the players well then; I collected their cards. We groaned at all the mistakes they made on the field, cheered at all their successes, and chewed over ideas on what they needed to do to go all the way.
Those rare occasions when we actually got to go to the ballpark to watch a game together were among the absolute greatest memories I have as a child. Even in the inexpensive seats, there is an excitement that just doesn’t translate to TV. The cheers, the smell of the food, the fabulous fountains and scoreboard – very few experiences can compare. Transistor radio in my ear, I was an expert with inside knowledge of the game that I periodically shared with my dad. Of course, he would tell me something every bit as profound and relevant, without the radio in his ear.
Everything I’ve done with baseball, from my card collection as a child to my sim league team that I still manage today, is a direct result of this shared enjoyment of a father and son.
Now, of course, I’m married and I’m taking my wife to a Sunday afternoon game. As is often is the case, she’s being quite troublesome. First of all, she’s wearing the colors of our rival team. And she’s cheering them on. At least there are no boos. I hate boos – on both sides.
But after that jarring beginning, we settle into a kind of groove. We savor some nachos, and some chips, fried on the spot, with bleu cheese, bacon, and I’m not sure what else. Delicious! We watch the game. We talk about the plays. We are surprised by the number of foul balls that sail into the stands close to us. We smile at the new and improved scoreboard as it does amazing things. We appreciate nice weather and the cool afternoon breeze blowing in our face. We have a ball together!
We took some pictures, panoramas of the new stadium renovations, the new plaza areas in the outfield (that we explored until they kicked us out), and pictures of the statues of the players my dad and I used to watch play,
I can’t wait to show the pictures to Dad and tell him all about the game!
Many, many books have been written about the significance of Charles Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts. These books can never accomplish the goal they strive for, because art, by its very nature, is experienced by individuals who bring their own unique experiences to the table. I can’t even sum up what the strip means to just me, so let me just say that the first thing I remember reading regularly was Peanuts in the Sunday comics of the Kansas City Star. I was enjoying the strip before Kindergarten at least, because it’s well-documented by family members that I based several school projects at that time on the strip.
I credit the strip not just for encouraging me to read, but for giving me an appreciation of the sublime sense of humor that showed up on our doorstep every Sunday. As I read the collected comic strips in book form now, I can begin to appreciate the layers and depth that Schultz wove into his comic. It’s funny and witty on multiple levels.
Today is the tenth anniversary of Charles Schulz’s passing, and I wanted to share with you a layer I never really fully appreciated in his work. I found this fascinating exhibit called Schulz’s Beethoven that I want to share. It’s on the American Beethoven Society’s website. Enjoy!
Most all of the Christmas lights are down now. More neighbors than usual put them up this year. I enjoyed the displays driving home from work every day.
The lights in my neighborhood were not the only lights we saw this season. We saw the lights at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, with my sister. That was an adventure; the three of us romping around the Plaza like we owned the place. Then the drive through our local light park – this was the first year we tried to capture some of the magnificent displays with our phone cameras.
The holidays are almost always a happy time for me. I remember my mom, and I am thankful for the birth of the Messiah. There is magic in the air, and what I usually see is people treating others with a warmth and kindness that doesn’t always flow the rest of the year.
Something odd happened this year, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Christmas was drawn out due to weather and sickness. Travel plans were scrapped, and we still hadn’t seen everyone we had planned to see until the weekend before school started again.
Maybe because of the stress, illness and the stretched out season, tension was high and people stepped on each others’ nerves. Some darkness crept into the season this year. The world may seem dark like that sometimes, but if you let yourself really see the lights, you appreciate them even more as they punctuate the darkness and show the way to something better.
Less than a month ago, I posted about my first webhome closing. Now that it’s gone, I have quite a few more broken bookmarks that I thought I would now – old “virtual friends” whose early webhomes had been enshrined and, for the most part, untouched since the 1990’s. I’ll miss those “colorful” (in more ways than one) sites.
History seems to continue closing up behind me as I just discovered that my second webhome, and first “bloghome”, is now shutting its doors.
Radio UserLand service closing
UserLand has decided to close the Radio UserLand and Salon Radio services as of December 31, 2009.
You can continue to use your Radio weblog hosted with UserLand until the end of the year.
Radio UserLand was as much a program as it was a host. Nowadays, most blogging platforms use server-side magic to generate pages on the fly from your database of content and style templates. Radio UserLand operated on your local computer, pre-generating all your pages and saving them to your own computer, uploading them to the server as static HTML pages.
I have long since imported the content of that site to this blog.
I’m feeling kind of old now, and I guess I am, in web-years.
Tomorrow, Geocities is closing. If you were around the web in the mid to late ’90’s, you are familiar with the bold, multiform, free-for-all that was the Geocities community. It was the “free web hosting” site to be on, and you could find practically anything you could imagine there. That included my very first pages.
Let’s see, there was a home “link-page” that was my very first effort, written on Netscape Composer, as most of my first pages were. Follow that with my online resume, a page devoted to the Amiga computer, a page that showcased my artwork, a page for the University of Missouri’s Special Education class of ’98, a kid’s homework help link page, a site I wrote for students who wanted to participate in (or even run) their own IEP meetings (that one was featured in the newsletter for the Center for Innovation in Special Education, or CISE), and probably my most popular splash at the time, a website written in honor of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, as depicted by Alexandra Tydings on the TV shows Hercules: The Legendary Adventures and Xena: Warrior Princess. That last one was an experiment in writing something with popular appeal, and it succeeded for its time; it was visited several hundreds of times daily at the height of its popularity.
It was a different era, I guess, when regular people felt free to put up a simple page featuring their eclectic interests. Now, it’s all done through MySpace or Facebook. Though I have archives of my old sites (and they will soon be linked to my main page at Todd’s Webspace), I will miss that colorful community. Goodbye, Geocities!