2013.02.25: “Take the _________ bowling …”

Memorabilia and “exercise”, a relaxing Monday …?


I’m on to week 4 of ‘One Hundred Pushups’, and it’s beginning to strain what I can do … perhaps I just didn’t eat enough in the morning before doing said pushups.

But I have a chance to ‘redeem’ myself this afternoon when we go bowling.

Back in middle school I was on a league for a bit after the family picked it up (again?) as a hobby; my parents had enjoyed bowling before then, but until about the 6th grade I’d never partaken. I took part in one larger competition — and did not win –, and after that I went bowling less and less. There was a bowling segment in my 10th grade P.E. class (along with golf … and trips to a local course). In college I made the mistake of going bowling my senior year shortly before finals week when I had the flu and a 104F degree fever.

Needless to say, my scores were … not good.

In graduate school we formed a departmental team of several graduate students and competed against other teams in a campus league. I was the outsider, one might say: the only literature scholar (vs. linguist), the only blond (vs. a bunch of brunettes of lighter and darker shades), the only lefty, the only guy, the only one who had to wear glasses. We were good, but not great. I was in the middle of the pack of our team. And it was great fun. We used to have departmental bowling evenings, but then our favorite (off-campus) lane closed (and I believe that to this day that location remains vacant). We even got team bowling shirts; mine hangs in my Tuscaloosa closet.

But my ball and shoes were back with my parents (probably brought back in 2005 before my sojourn to Berlin); this morning I found the latter and my father cleaned off the former. My fingers still fit, and it’s nice having a ball drilled for a left. I won’t take it back with me (Ms. S. and I do not bowl enough right now for that), but I’ll get to use it today, at least.

It’s been sitting in the wintery garage for some time and is still quite frigid.


Toward the beginning of Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscar show last night he ‘confronted’ Seth MacFarlane and ‘outed’ him as a hoarder.

Both Ms. S. and I are prone to pack-rattery, which is several steps removed. More respected and tame, though? Collecting.

My father collects coins and, to a lesser extent, stamps. He used to collect sports cards, as did we all for a period in the late 80s and early 90s. Coin or stamp collecting is something he did as a child, I believe, before his mother accidentally or otherwise disposed of one collection. It might have been baseball cards, actually; it’s merely an origin story anecdote at this point and the details do not matter — he collected something as a child, that collection disappeared, for years he ignored that hobby, and later he rediscovered it. It’s much like boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and so on.

What brought him back?

Me and the Cub Scouts. One of the tasks I was to undertake at that tender age was stamp collecting, and at this point my father helped greatly. It would be no exaggeration to say that during my first three years in the Cub Scouts I showed no interest in scouting or in performing the required tasks, and that all of the ‘badges’ I was awarded were due to my father signing off on activities he undertook, completed for me, or greatly helped me with. I was one of the younger members of my group, I had rather severe asthma, and even though I was as big as (or bigger than) the other boys, I always felt like an outsider (and was often made to feel that way by my den mother, Mrs. R.). That all changed when I became a Webelo Scout, undertook all the activities in the book on my own, completed them all above and beyond the requirements, and so on.

That was a busy year for me.

But back to stamp collecting.

We would visit one stamp store down on State Street, back when it was significantly sleazier than it is now. My dad would collect envelops from work, and we’d keep any we got at home that had stamps on them. We looked for any that had not been ‘cancelled’ with black marks; we would cut out the envelop around the stamp and soak them in water until the stamps floated free. Quite a number of nights were spent at the kitchen counter, at which we usually ate, except during special gatherings, going through all manner of domestic stamps.

I soon gave up once my obligation was fulfilled, my the interest simmered in my father and he kept at it, bit by bit. Later in the decade the whole family, or, rather, really my parents and my brother, got into collecting sports cards (baseball, basketball, football); I did little collecting of my own, and a good deal of it took place while I was abroad a year in Germany for the first time. But I was the recipient of these labors, as my mother put together a number of complete sets for me, which still reside, boxed and organized, in my father’s garage. From her I got several complete sets of Boris Vallejo cards featuring reproductions of his paintings. Plus there were the works of the Brothers Hildebrandt and a few other lesser products. This was after the trading of Garbage Pail Kids cards in elementary school and before the ascension of Magic: The Gathering and similar 90s-and-beyond card games. Even before my parents divorced my mother stopped collecting cards and around the same time my brother lost interest, I believe. My father continued a little, but turned mainly to stamps and then to coins rather than cards, and in recent years I think he’s lost all interest in that direction; as he states, sports cards have sort of priced themselves out of the market for him and they’re too expensive to have any fun with.

But as I type this I see several unopened boxes of Topps factory sets residing in a spare bookcase.


I checked luggage on the way out here so I could bring several bottles of liquids along as gifts. On the way back I won’t check any bags, and now I have extra room in the suit case for taking back a few items.

On the one hand I do not need more items in T-town; Ms. S. and I will move in several months, and the more stuff we have, the more we must (1) move or (2) discard.

The goal, then, is to take back only something I could really (1) use, and/or (2) discard after ‘using’. For example, I found a number of work-related documents that I’d left in a bag here, a bag stored in a closet. I have a lot of family and personal photos that I’ve been meaning to digitize for some time, and while I can digitize them back in T-town, I then have to consider what to do with them afterward. When it comes to most of my personal photos from the late-90s and early-00s, I have the negatives and could easily and happily, I suppose, discard the prints once they were scanned. I found a number of old computer games on CDs. On the one hand I’m unlikely ever to play them or play them again, and perhaps could and should toss them today in the garbage; on the other hand I’m tempted to take them back, back them up to a hard drive, and then get rid of the physical media. I have plenty of old teaching documents and records, grade lists and the like, from a decade ago; I do not need the physical documents, but it would be nice to have copies … therefore: scan and shred.

The larger ‘problem’ is that more than half my life is stored in boxes here, including hundreds of books from my childhood and adolescence. Those from the former I would like to pass on someday; those from the latter have limited and ever-diminishing sentimental value, but I’d prefer to get rid of them by selling or donating them, rather than adding them to the landfill. If Ms. S. and I move out this direction, my belongings here will eventually join us; if not, I should get a rental unit here and store them elsewhere, not in my father’s garage. There are items I definitely want to keep, perhaps including the physical media, but which should also be scanned, such as travel journals from the mid- and late-90s; I recorded entries almost every day during my year in Hungary and Germany. I came across the box for my old iBook G4, which was then used to store (1) some paints and other art supplies and (2) old cassettes. Some of these I’ve already replaced with CDs or, later, mp3s and the like. Others are demo tapes and the like from friends’ bands. I have a couple audio books on cassette that I can’t get digitally anymore. I have a couple nice classical and similar recordings that I can’t get elsewhere. I would lose some quality digitizing them, but it would be worth it to have them.

I even found a few mix-tapes from the 90s.

My current inquiry via tex to Ms. S. was whether or not the tiny ‘boom box’ she has plays cassettes or only CDs. If the former as well, I’m in luck, as it must have a headphone-out jack, and it turns out that the MacBook Pro 13″, which I have, has no dedicated audio input jack, but does have a ‘hidden feature’ of sorts: the headphone jack can be used for input or output, and it only requires a simple software-toggle.

  1. MacBook and MacBook Pro (13-inch): How to use the combination audio port for an audio input device
  2. Record through your MacBook’s headphone jack
  3. How to Select Audio Input on Macbook Pro

Depending on Ms. S.’s response, I may be packing up a number of cassettes for a trip to the South … and in the process I’ll reduce my footprint in this house a little bit more.

About Steve

47 and counting.
This entry was posted in Various and Sundry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *