Aniversario

This weekend Yoli and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. Ours is a little atypical … the celebration spreads out over 3 days since that’s how we got married. Day One, the wedding ceremony in Bolivia; Day Two, the flight back to the U.S.; Day Three, the actual legal marriage in Coral Gables, Fla. and the start of our honeymoon.

It’s always fun to remember those times and laugh about all the visa paperwork, the way I massively sunburned my legs the day before the Bolivian ceremony, and how cold it was during our honeymoon at Clearwater Lake in Piedmont, Mo.

Five years later we’ve got our own house, two beautiful girls and another baby on the way, good jobs that we enjoy, and family and friends we love.

It’s probably appropriate that our anniversary is always so close to Thanksgiving. Indeed we have so much to be thankful for.

Uncle Bill

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My great-uncle Bill (William) George died this morning.

I didn’t know him very well, but the times I remember meeting him, I liked him.

I remember once visiting his house in Arkansas probably when I was in my teens. Turns out that he and aunt Betty liked Star Trek. They had recorded “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” my favorite movie of all time, once when it was broadcast on CBS. This was a big deal to me. I already had the movie on VHS. But the network broadcast had included a lot of deleted scenes (they used to pad out movies to make them fill a longer time slot) which I had never seen before. Thanks to Uncle Bill and Aunt Betty I got to! It was many, many years until I could see that stuff again, when a “director’s edition” of the movie was released on DVD.

After my Papa died, I realized how much uncle Bill reminded me of Papa: his face, his voice. This was somehow comforting to me.

Uncle Bill was a pilot and flew his own planes. I always hoped I could fly along with him someday. When I was in my teens I was fascinated by the notion of getting a pilot’s license myself. Unfortunately I never got to go up with him in a plane.

He also liked to buy old houses, fix them up, and sell them to make money. I remember that for a while he was doing that with my mom’s sister, my aunt Karen.

Airport-y poopers

I have fond memories of driving to the old plane-watching lot at Missouri Bottom Road and Lindbergh Boulevard. We would sit up on the roof of the car with lots of other families and marvel as the planes roared right over our heads. In fact, this is one of the fun things Yoli and I did together during her first trip to the U.S.

But then came the billion-dollar boondoggle, as I like to call it; or Bridgeton’s Bane, to put a Tolkien-esque spin on it. I am referring to W-1W, the runway expansion plan.

The old plane-watching lot was torn up, major roads were rerouted, and an unnecessary runway and tunnel constructed.

Which brings us to today.

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Stamped in my memory

Today, Jadzia and I were watching Mr. Rogers. Early in the show, Mr. Rogers took us to see how the Postal Service makes postage stamps. Whenever we watch Mr. Rogers, I always try to do something afterward with Jadzia that connects with the episode. So when we were done watching, I remembered my little stamp collection. I dug it out from the basement and showed it to Jadzia. Yoli gave us a magnifying glass so Jadzia could really inspect the stamps. (Truth is, she still doesn’t quite get how to use a magnifying glass)

Anyway, as we went through the book, I saw my old stamps with new eyes. I realized how I am connected to the places represented by these stamps in ways I didn’t know about when I was a kid collector.

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I died and went to Atari heaven

When the day comes that the Renaud Empire is firmly entrenched across the globe, one of the significant changes it will lead to is the re-establishment of the Atari computer.

Yes, those who know me well know that I always have been (and will be) an Atarian. True, I eventually became a Mac user. But in the same way that I am a Texan-in-exile who lives in St. Louis, I am also an Atarian-in-exile forced to use a Mac.

And so it was with great joy that I stumbled onto the weblog called “Dadhacker” written by a former engineer from Atari. He has some amazing stories (very well-written). Here are just two:

Donkey Kong and me – He tells how he got hired at Atari and his first project was porting Donkey Kong from the arcade to the Atari 8-bit computers.

The Atari ST – He describes Atari’s implosion in the early 80s, leading to the takeover by the Tramiels. He surived the Tramiels’ purge and helped with the launch of the Atari ST line of computers.