Archive for the ‘Non-Music’ Category

It’s no secret that I was a stick in the mud when I was younger. Too serious and too worried about what could go wrong, never really spending much time contemplating what could go right … and how much fun you can have simply by getting into trouble. When I got to high school, we had a “freshmen field day” to help us 13-year-olds bond as strangers in a strange land. The thing is, we had no school campus as one might expect of a reputable high school. Just a parking lot. OK, no problem, let’s have all the kids run sprints in between the parked cars.

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To counter the Ewww and Gross reactions from my last post, I want to tell you the story of two young guys’ ambition to decorate their dorm room with something special. Al and Dan became best friends in their freshman year of college at the University of New Hampshire. It was an early (and somewhat uneducated) decision that they would be roommates during their sophomore year. During the summer between the two years, Dan visited Al’s home town of Littleton, ME, just north of the larger city of Houlton, known for being the last stop on Interstate 95 before Canada, as well as producing the Houlton Pioneer Times newspaper.

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When I was a kid, my family kept the potato chips in the lower cupboard. Back in the days before chip clips were widely available, and we didn’t bother to do anything fancy to seal the bag between servings, we just kinda lazily rolled up the top of the bag and called it good. One time I was having a conversation with my brother in the kitchen, and I happened to be eating from an already open bag of chips. Being rather naive, young, and foolish, I never looked in the bag – I just grabbed what felt like chips and put them in my mouth, munching happily.

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Ahh, the things we’ll try in college. I went one step further and opted for grad school because the economy wasn’t looking too sharp in 1993 – wanted to give it a couple extra years to rebound. Since I had a degree in mechanical engineering, I thought it would be a super smart idea to get *another* degree in mechanical engineering! Along with my doubly-degreed friend Shawn, we went back to UNH for two more years.

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When I was about 10, my brother Kevin and I made regular trips to the YWCA in North Lawrence to use the pool. Yes, that’s the YWCA. You see, we had a family friend who worked for the YWCA, and we had easy access to their pool. I’m sure we could have had easy access to the YMCA pool, but for some reason, parental concerns led us to the YWCA. Considering the bathing suit factor, I don’t see how this could have gone wrong, but let me tell my story …

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In 1999, my friends Al and Kelly and I went to Houlton, Maine for the 4th of July. Al originated there. Kelly and I learned to love Houlton for other reasons. They had a modest carnival for the 4th, but they always had the perfect musical act to play, one that was big at one time but had definitely seen better days. I remember catching John Cafferty and Survivor at the Houlton Fair, and the fireworks display, while no rival to that of a big city, was enough to make you clap and cheer. In 1999, I honestly don’t recall anything about the Houlton Fair except the ride home.

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In 1987, I was 16 and took a job at a potato chip factory in Salem, NH called Granite State Potato Chips. It was a pretty cool job – I was making minimum wage ($4/hr) but I was able to eat all the potato chips I wanted for free. What more could a 16 year old want? And you haven’t had potato chips until you’ve had them straight out of the oil. Nothing like it!

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