Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

This is Me in ’83 – Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

I watched a lot of M*A*S*H when I was a kid, although I admit I have no recollection of differentiating between new episodes and reruns airing in syndication. Much of the show’s serious themes went over my head, I’m sure, but I loved the characters and the snappy dialogue and the humor. (Another admission: On a visit to my grandma’s once, I tried to watch the original movie, but I lost interest when I saw that it had different actors than the TV show. I never have watched it.)

When I thought of my dad serving in Korea in the early 1970s, I always imagined it being like M*A*S*H.

I seem to remember my parents liking the show, too, so it was kind of a big deal when the final episode aired – thirty years ago today – Feb. 28, 1983. I was 12 years old, so I literally could not remember a time when M*A*S*H was not on TV.

The whole opening sequence of Goodbye, Farewell and Amen – with Hawkeye in psychiatric treatment and relating the story about the bus and the chicken and the baby – really threw me off, because it wasn’t like the M*A*S*H I was used to watching at all.

It did settle back onto more familiar ground. And this was my first “big finish” to a TV show, so I got really caught up in the emotions of all the characters saying goodbye and wrapping up their storylines, and when it was over, I felt a little sad.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Family history, Television | , , , | 1 Comment

Via Plaid Stallions: Multipack Time Travel

I would like to thank Plaid Stallions for posting this –

– because without a doubt, I had that bagged Whitman three-pack of Marvel Star Wars comics, and although I had forgotten what the bag looked like (Pointy W!), seeing this image brings back to mind the weight and texture of the plastic, as well as memories of the stories within.

From Collect All 21!  – 

I was never a comics kid except for Star Wars, and even that didn’t last very long. I had the next six issues, I think, that continued the heroes’ stories beyond the original movie, but I really wasn’t in for the long haul.

I do remember an issue starring Han and Chewbacca and a rabbit-alien and a guy named Don Wan Kihotay (imagine my astonishment in high school at realizing this had been a literary reference). And there were others with a red-bearded space pirate and a girl pirate named Jolli, who lives in my brain in a flashback sequence showing her as a little girl watching her father leave his family behind, and then in her death scene, when Han plants a kiss on her cold lips.

I took these comics on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach, I think, and read them in the back seat of the car during the drive down.

Back in 2010, I went to the Pittsburgh Comicon and actually got to meet Roy Thomas, the original writer and editor of Marvel’s Star Wars comics – and creator of that green rabbit, Jaxxon. (We not only talked about that character, but what it was like being among the first writers to expand upon the original Lucas stories. Roy was incredibly nice and interesting to talk to.)

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February 25, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , | Leave a comment

Running 2013: Week Eight

I extended this weekend’s mileage – not by a lot, but enough to push myself out of the comfort zone of the same 3.5-mile loop I’ve done the past four weekends in a row.

Saturday, Kelsey wanted to do a short run with me, since it was 40F and sunny. We did about three-quarters of a mile together at a leisurely jog, and when she was back home, I went back out for another 3.5:

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You can probably tell there’s a big downhill there toward the end of the first mile. Of course, the same hill becomes a climb to start the final mile. I’ve done this one a lot, but it’s been awhile, so I was at least pleased that I managed to keep it from destroying my pace entirely.

On Sunday, it was gray and 32F, and there was a steady wind coming from the west, so I decided to follow a route similar to Saturday’s run, going into the wind for the first half so that I’d have it at my back during the home stretch.

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I figured I’d head out 1.75 miles and then just turn around, but when I reached that marker, I was feeling good enough that I decided to stretch things into an even four miles. The climb in the final mile felt tougher than Saturday – although looking at my pace line, it seems like it felt worse than it really was. Felt really good about the last half-mile push, though, and even though I hadn’t done a four-mile run since Jan. 20, I did this one about 30 seconds faster per mile than that day’s run.

So, eight weeks into 2013 – which equates to a target mileage of 56 miles – I’m pretty close to 59 for the year:

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February 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Highways

Somehow I just stumbled across this list of “50 Interstate Oddities.” It’s a few years old, so some of the information is probably out of date, but as a road trip enthusiast and Google Maps addict, I found plenty of notes to send me off searching and mapping for awhile. (For the record, I have first-hand familiarity with several of the interstate oddities on the list, including I-4 in Florida, I-76 here in Ohio, I-17 in Arizona, the I-70/55/64 convergence in St. Louis, and, in fact, the top place-holder, Interstate 70’s bizarre gap in Breezewood, Pa.)

I admit that I was a bit disappointed that it doesn’t include one of my favorite interstate oddities.

I’ve been a regular passenger and driver on I-77 for most of my life: It connects Stark County with Akron and Cleveland to the north, and to the south, it runs through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina before coming to an end in Columbia, S.C. Through growing up in Northeast Ohio, family vacations, and seven years spent living in (and driving to and from) Orlando, I am extremely familiar with the entire length of I-77.

Near Wytheville, Virginia, I-77 overlaps with I-81 for nine miles or so in a highway quirk that I just learned is called a wrong-way concurrency: The I-77 southbound lanes are the northbound lanes of I-81, and vice versa. Ever since I was old enough to start really paying attention to the highway routes, this has amused me.

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Something else I realized thanks to the list: There are just three single-digit-designated U.S. interstates, and in the summer of 2010, I traveled on all of them. (I’m  not counting the single-digit interstates in Alaska and Hawaii: They bear letters in addition to their digits, and they’re outside the contiguous 48 states.)

That June, during my Ohio-to-California-and-back road trip, I took Interstate 8 across southwest Arizona – stopping briefly on Tatooine – to San Diego, and covered some of the same highway on the trip back home. While I was in California, I drove from San Diego up to Los Angeles for a day, mostly on Interstate 5. (It was surprisingly easy while I was there to fall into the habit of referring to numbered roadways using “the.” As in “Take the 5 all the way to the 8…” I’ve always used the “I” construct (“Take I-77”) for interstates and “Route” for numbered roads that aren’t interstates. “Take I-77 to Route 30,” etc. Anyway…) Two months later, Kelsey and I went to Orlando to visit Jim for Star Wars Celebration V, and while I didn’t actually drive that week, I know there were at least a few moments spent on Interstate 4.

Another road trip note from 2010: That March, I drove to PAX East in Boston, which, added to my San Diego trip, means I did a coast-to-coast freeway trek that year, albeit one with a couple-month break in the middle.

February 23, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, Travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Running 2013: Week Seven

Running was hard this weekend. Maybe it was the cold: Temperatures were below freezing (though still above 20F) both days.

Saturday afternoon, I got a side stitch about a half-mile in. Then I got a double side stitch about 2.75 miles in, so it was pretty much all I could do to just maintain at the end.

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Sunday added some wind from the west to the mix, so I got to run head-on into that for much of the second half. I will note, however, that for a moment toward the end of my first mile, I cracked the six-minute pace barrier:

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And at least I had enough for a decent push the last half mile or so.

Mileage for the year, 48 days in:

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February 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Tools ‘n’ fixin’ ‘n’ stuff

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Things I put to use this weekend.
Dimmer switch: Replaced!
Office chair: Assembled!
Old desk: Disassembled!

(Truth be told, I don’t think any of these took more than 15 minutes – in fact, I’m sure I spent more time finding out which breaker switch shut off the dimmer power than actually installing the new one. Still.)

February 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Running 2013: Week Six

One of the fun things about winter in Ohio is that after a couple weeks of temperatures in the teens and low 20s (Fahrenheit), a weekend like this one – when the wind has gone someplace else and the temperature gets up into the low 40s – is an engraved invitation to go outside.

I did late afternoon runs on both Saturday and Sunday, letting the day warm up before heading out.

Saturday was sunny.

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That strange little flyaway at the end – and the one-second “break time” – is the result of me accidentally re-starting the timer while sitting in my office. This was the first run in the new shoes on mostly clear and dry pavement. Still getting used to the firmer soles – they seem a little noiser when I’m charging downhill; feels a little more difficult to run “light-foot,” for lack of a better term. Another decent first mile followed by a slowdown over the second and third, and a pour-it-on final half. Finished one second under thirty minutes to average 8:33.

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Sunday was cloudy, but still temperate and calm. I did a slower first mile, but I’m proud of this run because my time is much more stead throughout Three consecutive weeks, I’ve done this loop every Saturday and Sunday, and this is the first time I’ve been below a nine-minute pace for each mile.

Mileage for the year, 41 days in:

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Still ahead of my goal, but I haven’t added any cushion the last few weeks. As I kind of figured would be the case, I feel nicely settled into this loop: As much as the variety of routes is a major reason I enjoy running outside, when I’m managing a minimum mileage, I’m content to keep running this loop and trying to improve my time until spring arrives.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday, John Williams!

It’s John Williams‘ birthday today.

He was the first composer whose name and work I recognized – and who wasn’t dead. He benefited, of course, from having his name attached to Star Wars, which, when I was a kid, made just about anything interesting.

Back in 2010, Rob Wainfur of The Bearded Trio website asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post, so I contributed a piece exploring some of John Williams’ lesser-known musical creations. Here’s an excerpt:

It turns out, for instance, that Williams’ music was tucked into corners of my brain long before I knew it, thanks to three classic 1970s disaster movies: The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, and Earthquake. I really have only the vaguest recollections of these – I think I had an ear infection or something when my parents went to see Earthquake (in Sensurround!), and I don’t know if I saw the other two in the theatre or on television, though both left impressions on me. That Towering Inferno scene where Jennifer Jones’ character falls from the elevator on the outside of the building scared the bejeezus outta me, and come on: what little kid wouldn’t love a movie where a giant ship turns upside-down?

A few years later, Star Wars had turned me into a space-adventure nut, and for a time, one of our local TV stations aired Lost In Space reruns every weekday in the after-school hours. I wouldn’t learn until decades later that the show’s theme was another creation of John (then credited as “Johnny”) Williams. Of the two versions he composed during the show’s run, I prefer the original since it’s the one I most associate with sitting on the floor with a snack and looking up at the television, though the fuller composition for Season 3 in 1968 sounds much more like the John Williams signature works to come in the next decade.

I had a lot of fun writing this. check out the whole thing – which also goes on to reveal my all-time favorite piece of Star Wars music – at The Bearded Trio.

February 8, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, geek, Music, science fiction | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Running 2013: Week Five

Saturday morning, I went out and bought myself a new pair of running shoes, retiring my previous pair after close to 1,800 miles.

That afternoon, with the temperature around 20 degrees (F), a steady snow coming down, and light wind, I put in this weekend’s first 3.5-mile loop. It was more work than I expected: Even with the trail shoes’ gripping tread, the snow was deep and/or packed enough for a little slipping – kind of like running through soft sand – which made for a little extra work. I also expect there’s going to be an adjustment period: I can definitely feel the more solid sole at work, but I also realized that for the first time in several years, I’m running on fully-supportive shoes again, which I can feel in my calves and ankles.

I had a decent enough first mile, but I felt really hammered during two and three. I was sitting on a 9:03 pace when I reached the end of our street, and it took a full-bore effort to knock off a few seconds over those last couple tenths of a mile.

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I did the same loop on Sunday. About the same temperature and wind, but no new snow, so I got a much better feel for the new shoes on pavement. Miles two and three felt much more even, so rather than a hard charge at the very end, I worked on gradually speeding up over the last three-quarters of a mile.

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And here’s the mileage total, thirty four days into 2013:

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February 3, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running | , | 1 Comment

Feet friends

On May 26, 2008, I put on these then-brand-new shoes and went for a 5.45-mile run.

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Last Sunday, January 27, 2013, I put them on for a 3.5-miler.

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In between, they saw me through 1,758+ miles (!) of running. Following the westbound route I took on my summer 2010 road trip, that would have gotten me from my driveway almost to Gallup, New Mexico.

That mileage included:

They also logged plenty of walking miles in visits to Stark Parks trails, Disney World, Turks & Caicos, and two Star Wars Celebrations.

After almost five years and seventeen hundred miles, they’ve earned a rest, so today, I retired them from running. We’ll hang out for everyday stuff now.

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I went out in snowy, 20-degree weather today in this new pair of New Balance trail running shoes. While I rarely log actual dirt path miles, almost all my running is outside, and most of it is over semi-rural roads, many with gravel shoulders. I wanted something that could handle rain and snow and puddles. I sought the advice of In Like A Lion co-founder Keith, who said while the shoes would likely be slightly heavier than a straight-up running pair, they’d be fine even for longer pavement runs.

I was glad for the trail tread in the snow today, and my feet stayed dry. I like the new shoes so far. It’ll be a few miles before we get fully used to each others’ company, of course, but it was a good start.

February 2, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running | , , | 1 Comment

   

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