It was the summer of 1990 and I wanted nothing more than to listen to the latest Motley Crue album Dr. Feelgood but my mother had other ideas. She didn't like their music or their image, and now looking back as a 34 year old parent myself, I can hardly blame her.
This is where Jennifer comes in. She is pictured over here --->
We used to go to a campground on weekends to get away from the city, and at this campground there was a general store. They sold everything you could possibly need while camping, including gummi bears. As poor soon to be sixth graders, we would save our pennies and go and buy gummi bears. They were a penny a piece and the girls at the store would be nice enough to sell us however many we could afford. Sometimes this meant three or four bears at a time. They even let us pick out our favorite flavors.
These girls were in high school and worked here on the weekends and whatever they got paid probably wasn't enough to put up with us. Jennifer was one of those girls. She was probably the nicest of them all (not that any of them were ever mean to us). I imagine that while we were wholly annoying pre-teens we were certainly more interesting then sitting there at the general store and looking at the four walls. She would ask us what was up at school, if we had girlfriends and other chit chat type of questions. We also talked about music. More specifically about how our mom's wouldn't let us buy the new Motley Crue album. She thought that was stupid. We did too. So she took matters into her own hands. She told us that if we gave her blank cassette tapes she would make us a copy of the album.
It was then we all fell in love (or possibly even more in love) with Jenny.
Sure enough the next weekend we gave her the tapes and the weekend following that we had the album in our hands. She also made a copy of Guns N' Roses for me as well. We continued to talk after this, although she didn't ever make me any more tapes. She did however give me a copy of her senior picture. I thought this was so cool that this high school girl was being so nice to us.
So flash forward to 2012. I am cleaning out a box of random papers and things from my youth when I stumbled upon her senior photo. Jenny should be somewhere around 39 or 40 years old (forgive me for not remembering her birthday, although I do remember her telling us when it was). And as I look back at those days of my youth I can't help but wonder what ever happened to her. I am sure that she wouldn't remember us, but I know that I am thankful she took pity on some musically repressed kids from the city.
P.S. I now own both Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses on CD, and now I would not let me kids listen to
Well everyone it is time for Festivus and the annual airing of grievances. Here we go!
1) The NHL: You can go screw yourselves. I don't care who is at fault, all I know is that most nights now that football is winding down the only thing I have to watch for sports on TV is the NBA. The NBA! Work it out already! Do you really think two major work stoppages in ten years is a great way to run a business? It's not.
2) To people who don't look behind them when entering a door. Did you ever stop and think that there just might be someone else walking into the building behind you? How hard is it to turn your head over your shoulder and see if there is someone behind you. And I'm not even asking for you to completely get out of my way and hold it open for me. Rather just give a little effort and attempt to keep it from slamming in the faces of your fellow man. As surprising as this might be to these people, the world does not revolve around you.
3) Have you ever been stuck behind a slow driver? I have no problem with the slow driver (unless you're in the left lane of the expressway, then get the hell over). Here is my issue. I'll be behind this slow car and I will signal to get over. Then the car behind me instead of allowing me this lane change will swerve over, without signaling, and speed ahead of us both. I know you're angry because you are stuck behind this slow driver, but so I am. I hope that your aggressive crappy driving helps you feel better about the situation.
4) Speaking of drivers, I can't stand it when I am going down the road and a car pulls out from a side street in front of me, especially when I look in the mirror and see that there is no one behind me. What, you couldn't wait the five seconds for me to pass? Is it that important to be first? And does this person ever pull into the lane I am not in. Of course not, they cut right in front of me to make sure I know that they are indeed a huge jerk.
5) I love my iPhone, but I hate texting. I send text messages when I need to, like when I am in places where I can't talk. You know, meetings, doctor's offices, church. I don't send text messages when I could easily pick up a phone and, I don't know, have a conversation with someone. A guy by the name of Marconi was the first to send a text message in 1908. He sent a Morse code message from America to England. It was amazing. He used radio waves to do so. Men actually died setting this process up (and no I am not kidding, they fell off of towers while constructing them so that we could communicate via wireless across the ocean). And then they harnessed this power to be able to send vocal messages. We call it radio. It developed into more and now we have cell phones. And if Marconi came back from the dead today and saw these kids sending text messages, I'd like to think he would slap the damn phones right out of your hands. The art of conversation is dying and it is your fault.
6) People who think they have all the answers but actually don't know crap about anything. I got into a Facebook argument (I know, I am an idiot for even doing so) with a guy about teacher pensions in Chicago. He not only gave out his unsolicited solutions for solving the city's fiscal issues, he also proceeded to tell me that if I didn't like it I should get out of teaching because if I didn't like it I should get another job. Yes, you hit the nail on the head buddy. I got into teaching to become a billionaire. I didn't get into it to help kids learn and grow. Thankfully, he was there to remind me that all of my opinions are wrong and he is right. Oh, and never mind I pointed him to multiple sources (sources that were not Wikipedia) that proved he was wrong about his facts (not about his opinions), I was reading them wrong.
6 1/2) Wikipedia should not be used a source for anything. Anyone can edit and change it. Don't believe me? Check this out and let me know how much you bel
7) Philadelphia. I still can't stand this city. I've never met more angry, irrational people than the people I have met from Philly. And for any Philly friends that may be reading this, I have two exceptions to this rule: A) If you are from Philly and have since moved out you're cool. In fact, everyone I know from Philly that has left the city but still has roots there ultimately has been cool, which leads me to believe there is something in the water or air and that it is indeed not the people's fault. And B) If you are reading this, still live in Philly and think you are an alright human being, you are probably right. There are always exceptions to the rules.
8) Hey How I Met Your Mother producers and writing staff: It's been seven and a half seasons already and we still don't know who the mother is. Please for the love of all things holy tell us before the last episode. Do not end the show with Ted's wedding and then give us no time to develop that story. I love your show but that will piss me off.
9) Neil Patrick Harris. I've got no problems with you. You're flat out awesome. You can act, sing, dance, raise twins. What can't you do.
10) Ticket Prices are insane. I recently bought some tickets to an event and after all of the fees, charges, etc, it was an additional $22.00 per ticket. Holy crap when is it going to stop? One day people are going to be sitting in $125 seats drinking $14 beers eating $8 hot dogs and stand up, shout "screw this" and walk out of the event. Only problem is there will be someone dumb enough out there to step up and buy those $125 tickets on Stub Hub for $175, go there and get drunk on $14 beers to the tune of $84 and then proceed to throw up $16 worth of hot dogs all over the floor. And this, my friends, is why it won't stop.
Thanks for taking the time to read this (and all of my blog postings). It is certainly a lot cheaper than therapy :) Now on to the Feats of Strength. Who's going to step up? Hopefully not the guy from the Facebook argument, he looked a lot bigger than me in his profile picture.
So remember when I used to write on this thing every night? Yeah, me neither.
But here is hoping now that winter break is upon us that I will get back to a more consistent updating of my blog. To get things started I am taking advantage of a new design feature on the website. Before the photo up top was just of Niagara Falls. Now there are three others photos that will rotate with it.
Look out world...this is certainly life altering. Alright, not really. But they are some of my favorite photos I have taken. Not necessarily because of the photo but because of the memories associated with them. Here are the quick versions of why they are meaningful:
Until we went to see it in person during the summer of 2009 I never would believe anyone when they told me it was amazingly awesome. It is. Don't trust me? I don't blame you, I was a skeptic too. But when you stand next to it and feel the mist, hear the roar and stare at the incredible amount of water flowing over the falls, it truly is breathtaking.
Go and see it for yourself (wait for the spring/summer however as I am pretty sure while the falls itself might be amazing still in the dead of winter, the rest of the city would not be).
Another place I had no desire to ever visit. I grew up in Chicago, what could New York possibly offer me that Chicago didn't have? The answer is tons. From the food to the theater to the museums, New York is incredible.
And the real topper to Chicago (and every city except Las Vegas)? You can pretty much do anything you want at any time of day (or night). To be fair, I did not take this photo. I just love it.
US Cellular Field: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Not all that long ago the White Sox were a team to beat. And in 2008, after 162 games, they literally were the team to beat for the Minnesota Twins. The Twinkies and the Sox were tied for the division at the end of the regular season so it all came down to a one-game playoff. Somehow when tickets went on sale I got a pair. So we went to the game. The game was tied 0-0 until the 7th when Jim Thome hit a solo shot to left-center to give the Sox the lead.
They never looked back. Best live sporting event I have ever been in attendance for.
St. Louis Arch
To be honest, I can take or leave St. Louis itself, especially in the summer when it is beyond hot and humid. But this particular day it was gorgeous. We happened to stumble upon an air show taking place downtown when we caught this shot of the Goodyear Blimp between the iconic Gateway Arch.
Yup, so it's been a month since I've posted here. Luckily, it hasn't been a month since I've written something, just a month since I've shared with the world (alright, potentially the world, who in theory has access to this blog) what I have written.
So what's gone on over the last month? Not much.
My favorite holiday of the year (Thanksgiving) has come and gone. The food, friends and family was great, but now we are in full-on Christmas mode. While I do equally love Christmas, I honestly am not a fan of all of the activities, shopping, etc leading up to the day itself. The only thing about the "lead-up" to Christmas I enjoy is getting our tree and decorating it with the kids. This is on the docket for this weekend. I imagine that my next post here will be of the tree in its fully decorated glory.
And to close out the night, tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day. Back in 1941, the USS Arizona was attacked and more than 2,400 Americans lost their lives. Even though it has been more than 70 years since it happened, that doesn't mean we should forget about it. Having lived through the tradegy that was 9/11 I hate to think that there will come a day when September 11 passes with little ceremony or remeberance (even though I know it will happen). While we haven't forgotten all about Pearl Harbor, it certainly isn't in the front of our minds and memories anymore.
So tomorrow if you can take the time to thank a World War II Veteran. Certainly take the time to thank our current members of the Armed Forces. And take just a minute from your day (maybe even at 7:55am Hawaiian time...or around 1pm centra when the attacks began l) to remember the attacks and the lives lost. And to learn more about the events of the day, check out this very well done site by National Geograhic:
Chris Thomas is a full-time teacher, part-time freelance writing, father of three, and most importantly, a very, very tired man.
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