UC Irvine: the Anteaters lose an imaginary game, why not.

Orange County has long prided itself as one of the birthplaces of “cool”. Irvine is in Orange County. The “OC”.anteaterdoors

You have to be comfortable with yourself and your position in the world to call yourself the Anteaters. UC Irvine are the Anteaters.pennant

The name doesn’t draw from some storied past, the school was only founded in 1965, but rather from a student body vote in which the runner -up was “none of the above”. But California is known for being new and bucking convention.bridgepath

Walking around campus I never saw the school’s three Nobel prize winners, they were likely busy in labs somewhere, but I did see lots of students. They milled about on lawns, on paths, and brutalist styled libraries and commons. It is easy to notice students at UC Irvine, there are almost 30,000 of them.library

But on this fall day what made these students stand out was what they were doing.

I have never read a single Harry Potter book. I am OK with this.quiddich

After watching what was obviously a game of Quidditch (there was no announcer or stadium to help me realize this) and understanding that I am of a different generation than these students, I rushed home to share my experience with someone who is more in tune with today’s college kids; my 9 year old daughter.

I came in the door, pulled the picture up on my phone and said, “Hey 9 year old daughter, look what I saw today!”

“What is that?”

“What do you mean what is this? It’s kids playing quidditch!”

Without a smile or even a nod of appreciation she stated as fact, “That is not how you play quidditch.”

“Come on, I know they have to pretend a little, but this is real life. Look they figured out how to play it in real life. You don’t think that’s cool?”

Her reply came immediately and at a rapid fire pace:

“No. For quidditch in real life you need a stage. The brooms are connected to a series of ropes and pullies that allow them to move both up and down as well as slide across to the other side of the stage. Bludgers are hung from ropes in different places so they can swing around hitting people or getting hit by players with clubs….” She kept going for a minute or so more without breathing and in an indignant tone. I had no idea what she was talking about but it was obvious she had thought this through in detail.

I have learned that when in conversation with someone who knows a lot more about a subject than you do, it is best to just shake your head and listen.

Hey anteaters, get ready to shake your heads and listen because someone in your neighborhood has a bone to pick.statues

Old Town Rootbeer Company: Temecula, CA

My co workers were all happy to be spending the weekend in wine country. I was curious about his whole wine country thing, I’ve never been to there, but I wasn’t exactly excited. Words like Cabarnet Sauvignon at a dinner table normally mean I will spend the dinner not participating in conversation. It is amazing how much people talk about wine or alcohol in general.
I know nothing about such things and consequentially have little to offer such conversations. This was on my mind as I turned onto Temecula’s main street with its old timey western storefronts.
The usual suspects were all there: trading post, art gallery with pastel Indian feathers, rootbeer shop.
Wait… rootbeer shop!?


I ran an old woman off the sidewalk as I illegally parked the car and ran inside.

“Yes.” I said out loud when I stepped inside the door.

“Pardon? May I help you?” a tie dyed bearded kid asked.

“Yes. Just yes.”


Olde Philadelphia, Virgil’s, Cheerwine, Kutztown, and Blenheim.
Upon seeing that last one I may have teared up just a little.


“I’ll take six of those.” I ordered then started looking around.
They have it all and then have just a little bit more. The place isn’t huge, its a little more pricey then I would hope, but it is the best reason for a Mormon to drive to wine country I have ever seen.


Little Plates, Guy Smiley, and Marching Dimes

“What do you mean its a dinner but you don’t sit down till dessert? So what you really mean is its hoursdevors and then cake. Maybe we should eat before we go.”

These words before the event proved what my wife always thought, that I have no idea what I’m talking about. This has never stopped me from talking, and once we arrived at the event, no one stopped us from eating. We ate a lot.lottaplates

We were the guests of Miss Amanda who was the guest of the March of Dimes. They invited her because she is kind of a big deal. Her husband is a big deal in his own right, but since he is off on an aircraft carrier saving lives he was appropriately ignored. Why she is a big deal is a story for another time but for this story we will stick with the event itself.
I have decided I like swanky events held in museums.eatingmeat

Perhaps it is the architecture, maybe the implied importance, but probably I just find it amusing to be in the presence of amazing things with a bunch of people who are completely ignoring those amazing things. That night the giant flying shark was trumped by Root beer glazed ribs. Root beer glazed ribs trumps most things.rootbeermeat

There was also macaroni and cheese with chunks of crab, lox on sesame seed macaroons, and pork cheeks in some sort of magic sauce. Positioned between displays of rocks and taxidermy stood chefs and bartenders giving out samples of what they do best. Eating is what I do best so I was well placed.us

This was a charity auction, not just a dinner, so after we all swanked and ate, we were shown to our tables. What happened after we sat down was unlike anything I had ever seen before and something I would have never considered till sitting there that night.

The auctioneer had henchmen.


It makes perfect sense having seen it, but while seeing it, it was all I could watch. Henchmen might be the wrong word, assistants, hype men, support staff, whatever they were called was drowned out by what they do, which then drowned out the cause for which they were raising funds. Fascinating.

The man up front was the human version of Sesame Street’s Guy Smiley. His jaw was chiseled, his part was lasered, and his voice projected pure cheese through peroxide teeth. As he stood at the podium talking fast and canning jokes, two more of him appeared standing among the tables. The man up front spoke, and spoke quickly, while the other two were silent. Silent but not sedentary.pastry

As numbered paddles raised to signal bids these two young men ran around pumping fists in air, clapping, pointing, and above all else, smiling. They wore fitted black suits with white shirts, the cuffs of which showed just a little too much below the coat sleeve, making them all the more visible as they pumped in the air, swung around to point toward a bid, or waived in the air causing the crowd to cheer. Which we did.plating

Occasionally the cuffs would disappear as the voice up front would slow, quiet just a little, and talk of premature birth, childhood disease, and the tragedy of death come early. The voice sounded as if it were masking tears. So sincere. So important. Till a paddle moved the bid for a vacation package up to $7,000 and the voice exploded with energy, rapid fire numbers, and calls for applause.guitars

Amazing. It would be more amazing if the people in this man’s life ever took him completely seriously. He may be sincere, I’m sure he can be, and no matter how much I could ever doubt him, there is no arguing he was a professional. He was the ringmaster of this circus and he had two dancing bears sporting perfect hair. Well, perfect hair if perfect hair is defined by being completely fixed and immobile without being the least bit shiny. I found that the most amazing part of the whole night.

Did you catch the pun?

Waiting for the valet to bring the car around I realized I had eaten far too much. Over to my left was henchman number two with the well sculpted facial hair. There was nothing like a smile on his face or flashing cuff while he checked his watch impatiently.


Califriday… in November

Head down, knees bent.
Keep your head down and swing all the way through.
Uhhh, yeah… you didn’t keep your head down.

I do not own a set of clubs and my game reflects it.
I am OK with this, which means that most real golfers are not OK if forced to golf with me. This group was extra forgiving. It is hard not to be forgiving when it is 79 degrees in November.


The tournament was a scramble. Everyone tees off, then you all play from where the best drive lands.

Mine was rarely the drive we played, no matter what tool we used to hit the ball.
But golf is rarely about hitting that little ball.
It is more about spending time outside with people you like.
Or would like to like.
Or are getting to like.

Its called business.
That would make this work.

I like to work.

So I wonder what the weather is like in Philly?

The Day the Music Fell From Heaven

I was in 8th grade. Old enough to have my own opinions but not quite experienced enough for them to be worth much. I was walking down the street, in the gutter. My dad used to hate when packs of teenagers would do this, leaving the sidewalks empty and daring cars to run them over. But I wasn’t a pack, it was just me, and I wasn’t all the way out in the street, just the gutter.sledding

I was on my way home from school, or maybe Kirk’s house, I’m not really sure. I am sure that I was kicking rocks. Little landscaping pebbles that had escaped from a flower bed or a driveway. Off to the side in the gutter I didn’t have to look up to see who was in the minivans as they drove by or which blonde little kids were laughing as they played on swingsets in their back yards. I kicked rocks because they were there and because the rubber soles were coming off my Converse. I was trying to wear them out quicker in hopes for a new pair.icecream

As my shoes made that scuffing sound on the pavement and the little kids laughed on the swings my mind drifted off to wherever it is the minds of bored suburban kids go when they walk. I wandered on in this mindless state for at least another ten years, but on this day I was startled out of my trance by the shallow clacking sound of hard plastic.

I looked down and saw an unmarked cassette tape. It was dirty, scratched up, but the tape was intact. I picked it up and slipped it in the pocket of my Bugle Boys.

Once home I went down to my room, closed the door, and went right for the tape deck. I hit eject and tossed the Thompson Twins off onto a stack of the Cure, Depeche Mode, and Unforgettable Fire.chess

When I closed the deck and pushed down the play button a ray of light burst through my shuttered windows.

Then I saw the angel with the seven seals
Babylon your throne gone down gone down
Babylon your throne gone down

A conduit straight to heaven opened up before me and I was carried away to some celestial world.

I said fly away home to Zion
One bright morning when my work is over
I will fly away home

It was as if the sounds of angels came bursting from the speakers and I was changed.
I was also confused.

I’m sure death and the passage into the next world would be confusing, or should I say will be? One day you are the same you have always been and then bang, hit by a truck, and now everything is different. That is what happened to me when I put that unmarked tape into the deck.
I had no idea what it was. I had never heard anything like it. I did not understand it.

I loved it.

You teach the youth to learn in school
That the dish ran way with the spoon
You teach the youth to learn in school
That the cow jump over moon
So you can’t blame the youth, when they don’t learn
You can’t fool the youth

There was a back beat. It made me smile. It was raw and unpolished. I had no idea what they were singing about but I felt like it mattered. I was convinced they meant whatever it was they were saying and hat I needed to be on board.

It wasn’t just the music. Between every song there was this guy talking. It sounded vaguely like English but I couldn’t make it out. Completely incomprehensible. But I was young and this was love. Love has never needed to make sense. This idea made perfect sense to me. I was in the height of puberty, everything felt big and important and I didn’t understand any of it.

Why should this music be any different?

Then came one song; instantly my favorite.

I went downtown
There I saw miss Brown
She had brown sugar
All over her booga wooga
Kinky reggae
Kinky reggae now

I rewound it over and over. Kinky reggae. I had never touched, never kissed, never seen a naked girl, and my new favorite song was kinky reggae. I knew in some vague way what that word meant, I have no idea how, and I didn’t care. I had my theme song. This one was mine.
It was years before I figured out who the artist was. I played it for my friends and they all just laughed. They couldn’t handle more than one joke and told me to turn that trash off. “That junk is non-sense, put R.E.M. back on.” Because of that one word, kinky, I didn’t play it for my parents. It wouldn’t have helped. I knew it wasn’t Chubby Checker so I knew Dad wouldn’t know who it was.

Every time I hear the crack of a whip
My blood runs cold
I remember on the slave ship
How they brutalized my very soul

Slave driver
The table is turned
Catch a fire
Yer gonna get burned

Decades have passed and I have never smoked a joint. I do not like the Grateful Dead and find tie dye repulsive. I have never owned a pair of Birkenstocks. But to this day Bob is by far my favorite. Writing that just now doesn’t really do it justice.

Every man thinks that his burden is the heaviest
Every man thinks his burden is the heaviest
Who feels it knows it Lord
That’s why yer runnin’ away
But you can’t run away from yourself

I am still in love.02rastaresize