This story is a little stale as far as news of my life, but it’s too good not to record for posterity. I know “ludicrosity” is not a valid logos, but it aptly describes an experience I had a couple weeks ago right after returning from Beach Break. My regional director Otis and I drove a big yellow cargo van from Italy back up to Germany. At the Italy-Switzerland border, the border guards apprised us of the fact that we’d lost our front license plate somewhere along the way. Front plates are mandatory all over Europe. The guard let us through, but warned us that the German police would fine us if they saw the missing plate. We had a similar conversation at the Swiss-German border, but again got through the border with little hassle. So to reiterate: the law enforcement officials of two sovereign nations saw fit to let two rather disheveled Americans driving a large windowless cargo van with a missing license across their national borders without searching the van or even looking at our passports. But then we tried to go on the U.S. Army base in Heidelberg.

MCYM has a storage cage in the basement of a building in the area of the base where the PX is. There are no military personnel, offices, equipment, etc on this part of the base; just some fast food, a gas station, and other commercial outlets. The civilian security guard (after scanning our valid ID cards and searching the vehicle) flatly refused to let us enter because of the missing license plate. We would have to drive back to the main post (Patrick Henry Village – PHV) to file a report with the MP’s. “How will we get through the gate there?” The MP desk sergeant will call the gate to let you through. “Can’t he just do that here?” No – we need to go get a report form for the missing license plate.

Ten minutes later, after another vehicle inspection, we explain the story to the gate guards at PHV. They had received the call from the MP’s and they do let us on post. Otis goes into the MP station and starts the process of filling out the report for the missing plate. In his conversation with the desk sergeant, it comes to light that we are driving a rental van, not a government van. “Oh! That’s a different story! You don’t need a police report; I’ll just call the gate and have them let you in.”

“So you want us to go back to the PX and you’ll do what we wanted you to do in the first place?” Of course, Otis didn’t actually say that, but we had a good laugh about it as we drove back over the PX. After searching our van for a third time that morning, the gate guard at the PX called the MP desk to confirm what we had told him. He came back and said “You’re not going to believe this, the desk sergeant says you need to go back over to PHV again.” Fortunately, he was kidding. Unfortunately, I think I would have believed it.

Well, seeing it in print, that story is not as funny as I remember it. Maybe it was the sun and sleep deprivation.


Scrabble has two B’s.

Fabulous has one B.

The makers of Scrabulous went with one; I used two when I blogged about it recently. Since then, Scrabbulous! has been my most active post and that incorrectly spelled non-word has been my most common search engine hit. So in the hopes of getting even more totally random traffic through the halls of Logomanikos (and maybe a couple more challengers on Facebook), I just thought I’d post this strategically-tagged bit of a nothing post. If you’d like to play, click here or leave a comment if it’s not clear how.

Next week I’m attending my twentieth high school reunion. I’m interested to see what this event is like for me. I have many good friends from high school whom I’ve kept in close contact with. These are the guys I’m going back to see. Here are some of them at my wedding ten years ago (Aly, Dylan, me, Bruce, my brother J.J., Kerry and Rob):

I’m curious to see what it will be like reconnecting with other people whom I haven’t kept in touch with. Will it feel odd and uncomfortable? Will it be interesting? Will dormant friendships rekindle? Will I remember anyone? Will they remember me? Will it feel real or artificial? Will it feel like now or like I’m back in high school again? These are the questions that are swirling in the back of my mind. Not the front of my mind though; I’ve been too busy to really think about this trip much.

So one of the things we were supposed to do for this reunion was create a biography / memory page. It was quite a project trying to sum up a little over half my life on one 8.5 by 11 page. And as I did it, I also had to reflect a bit on my motivation for spending so much time trying to “get it right” and make it look good. How much is my pride driving this project? Do I just want to make myself look impressive for a bunch of people I don’t really even know anymore? Shannon wisely reminded me as I agonized with formatting pictures and margins and so on, “All the people who really care already know what’s happened in the last 20 years of your life.” Certainly good counsel. On the other hand, I do look forward to seeing other people’s pages, folks I haven’t seen since 1988, and I do hope that many of them took the time to really effectively give me some sense of where life has taken them these past two decades. So I’m at least telling myself that I really did all this work for them, not for me. You can opine for yourself about that rationale. Anyway, here’s what I came up with (if you find any typos, please don’t tell me):

Logomanikos returns! Monday I made it back home after two and a half weeks in Italy for Club Beyond’s summer camp, “Beach Break.” While I was gone, my family experienced a big lightning storm. We are very grateful that the computer wasn’t fried, but the storm did take out our Internet capability. Thursday we received our new modem, yesterday I successfully navigated the technical help line despite some mild chiding for not speaking any Dutch, and today we are back on line. There’s much to blog about the last few weeks. Perhaps I’ll get around to writing about some of it in the coming days, but for now, here’s a big Happy Birthday to my second son Joseph who turned five yesterday, July 11. Click here to see a few more photos.

This One Goes to Eleven

This is Spinal Tap is one of my all time favorite movies. Today I came across this reminder of why:

Go here to see all five videos (apparently promos for an actual National Geographic special). And in case you don’t get the title of this post:

HT: Kevin Corcoran at Holy Skin and Bone.

My Senior Slide

I got to speak at the baccalaureate yesterday for the AFNORTH International High School Class of 2008. For the students, I think one of the highlights of that ceremony is the senior slide show. Each student makes a powerpoint slide with a montage of photos of themselves and friends. Since I am approaching my 20th high school reunion, I thought it would be fun to make my own slide too. This slide actually doesn’t look anything like what I would have put together 20 years ago when I was a senior. It’s mostly stuff I scanned from my yearbook that I thought the students might find amusing for its cheesiness. Here it is:

The last few years, I’ve let my beard grow out from spring break through to the end of the year and then shave it all off for summer camp (Beach Break). So last Wednesday for our last Club meeting of the year, I announced that the winner of the mixer game would get to choose how I would wear my facial hair at our last First Friday, a monthly pizza party at the base gym. Here’s what he chose:

I didn’t think it was so bad except for the half mustache. The next morning I shaved that off. I might have kept the stripes except that I was speaking at the baccalaureate today. Didn’t think that was quite right for the decorum of the occasion.