Tag Archives: eric

The Cleveland Crew: Then and Now

I came across my high school year book while doing my spring cleaning. It’s one of the things that I decided not to get rid of and, in fact, I got side-tracked skimming through it, reading what people wrote and looking at pictures. Hilarious pictures. Riotous pictures. Keep in mind, this was nearly 17 years ago. The great thing is that I am still very good friends with most of the people that I was friends with back then. And because I fear you won’t believe just how funny some of the pictures are, I’ve arranged for you to see a Then and Now of the Cleveland crew. Keep in mind that I photographed these from my yearbook and some of the pictures are fuzzy. And to be fair, I’ll start with myself.

Then Now

See the rest of the crew

In the city with friends

I didn’t go the gym on Saturday, but it wouldn’t have worked out, given the time constraints that I had. Instead, I went out to get some wrapping paper for Norm and Vicky’s gifts and then jen_ashlock was kind enough to help wrap the gifts, as I am a terrible wrapper. Now that Norm and Vicky have their gifts, I can tell you all that one of them was a set of note cards with their names on them, and matching envelopes with their new address. The cards were designed and created by Jen and Jenn and their company, Buttercream Cards and I thought they came out really well.

At noon on Saturday, I headed over to DTUT, which is just around the corner from where Jen and Jason live. That’s where Norm and Vicky’s “Jack and Jill” wedding shower took place. strausmouse and Ryane were already there, as were Norm and Vicky and many of their friends. We had the back room to ourselves and the whole event was really well done. I met Vicky’s mother for the first time. There were some games that were played, food and drinks that were served, and Norm and Vicky opened their gifts. Vicky deputized me as official photographer, apparently unaware of my total lack of talent when it comes to the taking of photos.

When the event wrapped up, we headed downtown. Ryane had a maternity massage treatment that Eric gave her for her birthday, so we dropped her off at the massage place, and then we parked the car and headed to Mickey Mantle’s, where we met Jen and Jason. We spent a few hours at Mickey Mantle’s (where Eric made fun of the guacamole) and where we had a few drinks. Then we went for a walk in the park while we waited for Ryane to finish up. Eric had to browbeat his way into a hotel bathroom, but other than that, it was a fun walk. The weather has been unusually warm, although it has also been overcast.

We picked up Ryane and then drove up to Norm and Vicky’s in Nanuet. We went to Martio’s for dinner. Afterward, we spent the evening playing games. I got my butt kicked in Apples to Apples (where the Albany contingent dominated), but I got my revenge when we played Phase 10. I won by 4 whole phases and more than 100 points less than the second place person. Shortly after that game, we all retired for the evening.


I was up at about 8 AM this morning, Sunday, my “free” day. Norm made us all breakfast: scrambled eggs and bacon. This seemed to mystify Eric because Norm hates eggs and claims to never have tried them in his life, and Eric couldn’t understand how Norm could know the eggs were any good while he was cooking them. But the eggs turned out just fine and I wolfed them down.

Later in the morning, we headed up to Stony Point to walk through Norm and Vicky’s new house, which is getting ever closer to completion. Then we had to go to White Castle so that Eric could get his fix of mini burgers for the next several months. After lunch, Eric and Ryane headed back home, but not before we all got a chance to see Ryane’s new car. Meanwhile, Norm, Vicky and I headed back to their place and they proceeded to bombard me with questions from some trivia game. I actually did pretty well.

Sadly, I left Norm and Vicky’s place at about 3:30 and caught the 3:45 bus back to the city. It was actually an interesting trip because it took backroads through New Jersey. I fell asleep at one point, however, and when I woke up, we were at Port Authority and everyone was already getting off the bus.

I’m now back at Jen and Jason’s. As a thank you for their hospitality in letting me stay at their place this weekend (and three weeks ago), I am taking them to Ruth’s Chris for dinner this evening. We have an 8 PM appointment. Which means I need to get changed as we will have to leave in a little while. More later…

Happy Birthday, Eric!

Today is strausmouse‘s birthday. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say how old he is, because he is really quite ancient. This is hard for many people to believe because he acts much younger–say mid-40s, give or take a few years. But he doesn’t fool me for a second. In any event:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERIC!

“Happy happy birthday, it happens every year. We eat a lot of brocolli1 and drink a lot of beer…”


1 This word was spelled intentionally wrong so that Eric had something to complain about regarding this post. It is my gift to you on this special day.

The Golden Rule

I am a firm believer in the Golden Rule, which when properly stated, is roughly: “Treat other people the way you would want to be treated” (but is often misstated as: “Treat other people the way that they treat you.”)

It is because of my firm belief in the Golden Rule that I did not call up strausmouse on Saturday evening and gloat over UCLA’s victory over UCS. I’m not a big football fan, but I caught some of the game while having dinner at the Outback. I don’t know much about the college rankings, but it seems to me that this loss messed up USC’s ranking somewhat. Well, in any event, knowing that I would not want people to call me and gloat after a rare Yankee loss, I did not call Eric after UCS lost on Saturday.

One last thing: while the title of this post is “The Golden Rule”, I was strongly tempted to call it, “The Gold ‘n’ Blue” but I was afraid it would sound spiteful. See what a nice guy I am?

Pictures from this weekend


Lazy Saturday Afternoon
Originally uploaded by jamietr.

Eric requested that I post some pictures from this weekend, so here are some pictures from this weekend. Most of the pictures are from “game night” Saturday night, but there are a few others. All pictures are courtesy of Norm (of vickyandnorm fame). To be honest, I stole them from his Kodak Gallery. There are some more pictures there if you are really that interested.

Something Dumb…

The web provides a convenient means for posting and publishing all kinds of nonsense and I figure I might as well take advantage of some of that capability. I have had, collecting dust since high school, a series of stories that some readers of this blog will be familiar with. The Something DumbTM series of stories were written by me and strausmouse between the years 1988 and 1990 at Cleveland High School in Reseda, California.

It is my idea to make these stories available online and to have Eric and I comment on them to explain some of the references and other interesting items about these stories.

These stories were never intended for submission to magazines, real publication, or anything more than entertaining a handful of our friends and ourselves. Many of the stories, including the first one we right, “Something Dumb”, we written in very small print on a brown paper bag book cover during various classes, when we should have been paying attention to the teachers. The stories are highly influenced by Douglas Adams, but also have elements of existentialism to them that were not obvious or intentional when we wrote them. Furthermore, you can tell by reading them that they are dated. There are humorous references to blowing up classrooms, which would probably have gotten us expelled today, but which were taken as mere metaphor eighteen years ago.

We would trade off, writing several paragraphs each, and then handing it off to one another to do more. In reading through these again, I can sometimes identify what I wrote and what Eric wrote, but not always.

The stories in the series are:

  1. “Something Dumb”
  2. “Um…
  3. “We Haven’t Thought of a Title for It Yet”
  4. “When You Need To Clean Up, Hire a Maid”
  5. “Something Dumb II: Something Dumber”
  6. “Everything You Wanted To Know (And Less)”
  7. “Not So Popular Entertainment”

I should point out that the humor style in these stories, while often derivative, also anticipates The Simpsons, South Park, Dumb and Dumber and many other similar comedies. Why we never decided to become writers in Hollywood is beyond me.

Anyway, look for more information, coming soon, about where you can go to read these masterpieces of high school comedic literature.

Lazy Nanuet Sunday

I was up at 7 AM and everyone else was up shortly after 8 AM. After various showers, we decided to head over to Friendly’s for breakfast. Eric and Ryane headed home around 11 AM. I debated when I was going to leave and finally decided that I would wait until Vicky got back from her work meeting she had Sunday afternoon. Norm, Vicky and I lazed around until Vicky headed into work, and then Norm and I headed over to Dave and Busters. I’d never been to a Dave and Busters before, and so I really didn’t know what to expect. It is a kind of Chuck-e-Cheese for grown-ups. One of the games I played three times was Sega’s Airline Pilot Simulator, which allowed you to fly an airliner. It was a pretty good simulation. I played all three levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and I managed to successfully takeoff and land the airplane each time. Norm played Police 9-1-1- and was frustrated because the game did not seem properly calibrated.

I had a snack at the mall and then we headed back to Norm and Vicky’s place and waited for Vicky to get home. She got home at about 4 PM and I got on the road at about 4:15 PM.

It was absolutely miserable driving home. It rained most of the way, and at times the visibility was down to almost nothing. I was tired. Also, there was once again about an hour’s worth of traffic in Delaware so that while I left Norm and Vicky’s at 4:15 PM, I didn’t get home until about 9:40 PM. All-in-all, however, it was a fun weekend and as always, I had a really good visit.


I received the December/January 2007 issue of ANALOG in the mail this weekend. It had the conclusion (part 4) of Robert J. Sawyer’s serialized novel, Rollback and I am anxious to read it in the next day or so. Also in the mail was the latest issue of F&SF.

I’m getting ready for bed now. Working from home tomorrow…

Games people play

I was up at about 7 AM and sat around for about an hour and a half until Norm and Vicky finally got up. Norm made breakfast for all of us, ham, eggs, and toast. The early part of the day was pretty lazy. We did take a ride up to Stony Point to check out the hole in the ground that is Norm and Vicky’s new house. As it turned out, the basement had been poured, something that Norm and Vicky were very excited about. We spend a few minutes wandering around the basement, admiring the handiwork, and taking pictures. It was a little bit muddy, but Norm and Vicky seemed very excited by the whole thing.

Eric and Ryane arrived around 4 PM and a little while later, we all headed out to the Cheesecake Factory at the Palisades Mall for dinner. There, we met some of Norm and Vicky’s friends, Annie and Tom and the seven of us had dinner together. Then it was back to Norm and Vicky’s for game night.

We played three different games at “game night” and Eric bartended (with Norm acting as a backup bartender). First, we played and amusing game called “Apples to Apples”. After several rounds of that game, we played a few hands of “Phase 10”. Finally, after Annie and Tom left, we played “Scattergories”. All three were fun and by the time we were finished playing, both Eric and Norm were pretty drunk. In fact, Norm called Andy and left a hilarious message. He then immediately called Lisa and left a different, but still hilarious, message.

It was after 1 AM when we all finally headed off to bed.

[Posted on 11/13/2006]

A night of unsettling dream

I don’t know what it was about last night, but unsettling dreams was a part of it. I half expected to wake this morning in my bed to find myself transformed into a giant cockroach.

Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous day out. We’re talking late spring-like weather, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, driving with the car window rolled down weather. I went out to get a haircut first thing this morning. I also went to buy some new shirts. And a I did a ton and a half of laundry.

I am driving up to New York in a few hours to spend the weekend with vickyandnorm, and also with strausmouse and ryanestraus. Last time I drove up there I listened to my Autobiography playlist and got through the first 75 songs or so, taking my to just before high school. Today, I plan on beginning where I left off last time and see where it gets me.

I expect to arrive in Nanuet between 6 and 7 PM, although I’m aiming for right about 6:15 PM. I don’t know what traffic will be like on a Veterans Day, but I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

Good mail day

I left the office half an hour later than usual and had to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things. I was trying to figure out what to do tonight (Wednesday evening is the one week night evening where there is nothing good on TV). I arrived home to find that today was a good mail day.

First, my autographed copy of Visions arrived, personally signed by strausmouse right beneath the article he wrote on his recent skydiving experience. Believe it or not, I have a small collection on my bookshelves, of items signed by my friends. I have a Master’s thesis signed by Tawnya. I have a signed copy of Healthy Pet magazine, which Lisa edits. I have a signed copy of an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune featuring Dan. I have a signed copy from an Oxnard newspaper mentioned Grandpa. I have a signed copy of an article from the UCLA Law Review, “On Regulating the Internet: Usenet, A Case Study” by Paul. I have a guest editorial in the Rockland County Journal written by none other than Doug many years ago. (That one, alas, is not signed. I’ll have to bring it to Seattle with me next time I go.) And now, I can add Eric’s article to my collection. I swear, the day I finally publish something, I’m going to sign 50 copies of it, personalize each one of them (“To Jamie, a really swell guy!”) and stuff my shelves with them!

Second, I received a letter from Trevor and Andrea (aka, thepopeswife). Actually, it was two-and-a-half letters, as Trevor wrote one letter, Andrea wrote another letter, and then she included an addendum to tell me that she agrees with my spelling thoughts! And so our mutual snail-mail, letter-writing pen-palism continues.

I now know what I am going to do tonight. I am going to compose a letter back to Trevor and Andrea. I may even autograph it for them so that they can start a collection on their bookshelf (if Trevor clears away some of the Lord of the Rings DVDs to make some room). Those autographs will be worth something, someday!

Monday night phonecall

(That’s a pun on Monday night football, get it?) I received exactly 1 call while at work today. At home this evening, I received three. First there was the call from jen_ashlock who told me all about her trip to Hawaii. Next was a call from vickyandnorm who told me how they have become stalkers. Finally, there was the call from strausmouse where we negotiated various deals and decided how best to acheive world domination. By the time all of the calls were done, it was already 9:30 and I have to be up at 4:30 AM to head to the gym!

On the bright side, my lunch is packed, I’ve got my “arms and shoulders” workout index card and my new iPod is charging on it’s new dock. (I’m sending my old iPod to Eric so that he too can join the world of geeks everywhere walking around with white earplugs dripping from their ears.)

I’m 180 pages through Lunar Prospector and probably going to read a bit more before I go to sleep. No Studio 60 tonight; it’s just on too late for me.

Free-falling

My good buddy strausmouse was asked by his company to write an article on skydiving for their magazine. He’s never been skydiving before, but he has now. Check out a really cool description of his experience yesterday.