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LIFE (permalink) 07.29.2011
last weekend the family of erik rogers held a memorial reception and concert in his name. after the event marty said to me that was the best memorial she'd ever been to and was certain it was what her father meant when he used to talk about how he wanted party, with a keg, instead of a funeral. i would agree that this was something special and thoughtfully and lovingly crafted.

it began with a open-bar, reception in a storied concert hall where people from all over the country who hadn't seen each other in as much as a decade shared time again. after an hour of cocktails, people were moved into the concert hall. here, people from different eras of erik's life went to the stage to share memories and emotions about erik. between these remembrances a remarkable jazz triplet played music from some of erik's favorite artist while his own saxophone sat in its stand on the stage.

the founding members of the secret cajun band were one of the first groups to speak. eddie o'neill, known by scb circles as swamp daddy, evoked laughs and tears with his memories of his friend since their boyhood years. after the event i asked eddie/swamp if he would share his writing with me and if he minded if i shared in on my site. his swamp-like response, "share it with the world!"

My Friend from Across the Alley
By Eddie O'Neill
On a hot August day in 1982, the moving van pulled into our new house in the 6600 block of Kingsbury. University City MO. We had arrived from Virginia. I was ten years old. It didn't take long before someone had given my parents the "there are a couple of boys in the neighborhood that your kids could play with report." The list as I recall ended at two. There was Eddie Fairchild a few houses down on Kingsbury and Erik Rogers who live behind us just across the alley in the 6600 block of Waterman.

Eddie Fairchild didn't cut the mustard. I remember he came over once and I thought he was a little strange bordering on nerdy. However, Erik Rogers was okay. Our connection was sports - he liked sports; I liked sports. And thus began my close to thirty year friendship with my pal who lived just across the alley.

Some of those early memories of Erik and I being together consisted of going to St. Louis Steamer indoor soccer games outings organized by our dads. There was underlying tension of sorts in those early years due to the fact that I went St. Roch's grade school and he went to the public junior high, Britney Woods. Neither of us knew where the other was coming from. He probably thought that we Catholic schoolers had our rosaries in our hands and were on our knees in prayer for most of the day. At the same, I had no idea what kind of raucous activities went on at public junior high.

Sometime during those first few years in St. Louis, Erik's Dad installed a basketball hoop on the back of the family garage. When I heard the ball a bouncing after school I would usually head out back. We spent a fair amount of time together playing horse or tips or a variety of other games that we would fit the small confines of the 6600 block alley. Conjuring up strange sports with bizarre rules would be a reoccurring pastime for me and my U City cronies throughout much of me formative years.

Another connection that Erik and I had was music. I took up the trumpet as a freshman in high school and he played the saxophone. He was much better than me at his instrument. In short he took practice much more seriously. There were a number of times on warm summer evenings with our windows opened when we practice together trading riffs from house to house. I can recall him introducing me to something called the Jazz Fakebook - a thick tattered, worn spiral bound book that had the transcriptions to every imaginable jazz classic you could imagine. And he knew just about every one of them.

Erik was a man who sought authenticity and truth. He would have much rather listen to the sounds of John Coltrane than the new saccharine jazz of Kenny G. He was a man of convictions and he knew what he wanted and was willing to do what it takes to reach those goals. Second place wasn't an option for him.

He was a gentleman who liked to have things clean and in order. He wore his shirts tucked in. He was never one to put you down because you weren't as good at something such as athletics or music. He respected you for where you were at.

As I reflect on those teen and college years, I cherish those memories. I am so grateful for all my U City neighborhood pals. As I look at my own family situation, I'm not sure my two boys will have an Erik Rogers to pal around with. These days real friends have been replaced with an endless list of Facebook friends. And Wii baseball in the comforts of one's living room has taken the spot of backyard whiffle ball on freshly cut grass.

While we grew up and went our separate ways, Erik and I kept in touch here and there, always picking up from the last stale sarcastic joke where we left off.

I was shocked when I got the news that Erik was unresponsive in a hospital in Kansas City. These things aren't supposed to happen. Thirty something dads with two little precious girls aren't supposed to die while trimming trees on a Sunday. Why Lord? What are you doing here? This doesn't make sense.

And as I shook my fist at the heavens angry and in disbelief, two silver linings have come to mind. First, I was touched by the fact that he has given new life to a number of people who have his organs. Someone can now see clearer or get off dialysis because of Erik. Death has brought new life.

As well his accident and his death are a wakeup call of sorts for us that life is so, so precious and it can be taken away in the snap of finger. It is a reminder to us what's really important such as family and friends.

I haven't been back to the old neighborhood in a while. I suspect that the old basketball hoop on the Rogers garage has long since been taken down. But the memories of my first U City pal, Eric Rogers won't go away I just wish they didn't have to end so abruptly.

Thanks Erik we sure do miss you!

July 24, 2011

WIFE (permalink) 07.27.2011
i appreciate your candor
i used to get those daily far side calendars that would sit on your desk. best as i can recall, my mother gave me one every christmas they were ever issued. me being me, i never threw any of the pages away. i'd just pull them, read them and then stack them neatly in some corner of some drawer of my desk. when marty and i got married and moved into our home she came upon a box full of the residual sheets. she asked me what they were. i told her. she asked me why i had them. i told her that too. she asked me if she could throw them out. appalled i took the box from her hands and said no. she asked why we should keep them. thinking for a moment and trying to meet marty's practical side, i said we could use them for scratch paper. marty gave it a fractional thought, shrugged her shoulders, said fine, and told me to put the box over there. that was nine years ago and we're still using them today.

whenever i use one, before marking up the backside, i flip it over, read the comic recycling the good it had, sense the pulse of nostalgia from the moment, and then resume my business. the other day i saw marty snare a sheet off the stack and start scratching a note out without reading it. i stopped her:

hey, you're supposed to read the comic on the backside before you use it.


the paper you're using. it's an old far side comic. before you use them you're supposed to read the comic ... because it's still funny ... and it gets enjoyed again.

MARTY (pausing long enough to look at me, then at the sheet, then back to me)
yeah, that's not going to happen.

there are multiple flavors of candor, marty employs the extra-lean, time-sensitive kind.

PHOTO, KIDS (permalink) 07.26.2011
in it to win it!
for those left unconvinced after yesterday's evidence.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

PHOTO, KIDS (permalink) 07.25.2011
just another day at the museum
if you ever see marty or i and we look fatigued, the below image will begin to explain why.

click to enlarge

QUOTES (permalink) 07.22.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
the c-word

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.21.2011
to be filed in the more than you ever wanted to know about troy bin
i've worn boxers since the ninth grade. i was recently persuaded to try boxer briefs. the arguments for boxer-briefs by people wearing boxer-briefs were so confident, so effusive, so persuasive, i dove headlong into the pool conducting a full switchover.

bella was the first to confess she didn't know what to make of the more form-fitting undergarments. alex thought i should wear spiderman briefs. and every time anthony saw me he'd just laughingly yell that he could see where my wieners was at.

after a month or two i switched back. the first time bella saw me back in boxers she paused just long enough to say, i'm glad you decided to get rid of those other things. i didn't like them.

rarely is it that a daughter would hold such influence over a father's wardrobe choice but it was a factor. making my butt crack sweat profusely was the other.

it recently occurred to me that i haven't made anyone say "too much information" or its playful counterpart "TMI" in a while and didn't want to disappoint my regulars.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 07.20.2011
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JULY 2011

ART (permalink) 07.15.2011
grand re-opening today !!!
this is a saint louis centric post. for any fans, rabid or otherwise, of The Future Antiques (site), be advised they moved. this is the store that specializes in 50's and 60 gear like games, kitchenwares, art decor, and of course old school ice crushers! when i first found them they were on cherokee street which claimed our city's best mexican cuisine. then they moved to south grand where you went if vietnamese food was your thing. as of today they are on chippewa (6514), just down the way from ted drewes custard house. talk about two tasty birds!

and if you don't live in st. lou, perhaps you'd enjoy this past story partly about tfa back when it was still on cherokee.

TRAVEL, PHOTO, NATURE (permalink) 07.14.2011
it wouldn't take this long on sesame street. sheesh.
after returning from our hike i went to string up a clothes line to hang our wet and sweaty clothes. in searching out a suitable tree trunk for my first tie i happened upon a cicada emerging from its shell. the kids have found a crazy number of the spent brown carcasses and even plenty of the meaty, green cicadas, but we've never seen one in transition. excited at the find i called the kids over to watch, which they exuberantly did, but when it took more than three minutes for the hatching to occur they slowly fell away one after another until it was just again me watching.

knowing my only alternative time-killer was hanging a bunch of foul and soiled clothes, most of which were not even mine, i milked the slow-moving entertainment. when i first saw the guy, he was struggling to pull his tail end out of the shell. i was most excited to see him free his wings and pump them with blood (that being part of the process as far i know). when i first noticed him, there was a solitary ant racing up and down the length of his body, dashing about as if looking for lost keys or something. i found the ant annoying and was sure the cicada did as well in this moment of birth and triumph. five minutes later there were ten to fifteen ants frenetically traversing the poor fellow's frame. within ten minutes the images below show the scene. i honestly couldn't tell if the cicada's movements were in attempt to free himself from the shell or shake the ants from his body. they looked so small and innocuous next to his large and seemingly armored skin to do him harm beyond perturbing him. but they definitely caught him with his pants down and in time the poor hatchling proved to not have enough energy in his nubile frame to contend with the ant swarm and his flailing slowed and then stopped altogether. nature is beastly.

i term this series, ALMOST.

click to enlarge ... a lot (2048 x 1536)

click to enlarge ... a lot (2048 x 1536)

click to enlarge ... a lot (2048 x 1536)

TRAVEL, PHOTO (permalink) 07.13.2011
rural hammertime
i was trying, ineffectually, to photograph the sunny shimmer of spiderweb we came upon during a trail-hike. apparently the waiting kids lost their patience for my craft and began entertaining themselves. i proved so focused on the elusive web that i didn't even notice the hijinks in the background. fortunately my camera proved more aware than its owner to know where the better picture was to be had.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

TRAVEL (permalink) 07.12.2011
the great and witty outdoors
we went camping again this last weekend. i'll just go ahead and confess that i did blow another pair of boxers out. the equation was too similar (old man, old boxers, missouri heat, and lots of sweat) to perfectly identify the culprit so i'm sticking with thread-bare, decade old boxers not having the same elasticity they once did.

the best line of the weekend was while the kids were asking me to make a fire in the hot morning so they could have smores for breakfast, one of the two dogs at our site attempted to mount the other. as we all glanced at this scene and the dog's owner called their dog off, one of the other dads observing this casually quipped, "looks like desi's looking for smore of that in the morning too." i can't tell you how much i wish i thought of the smores line. sadly, my fumbling that moment is what i'll most remember from the trip.

the best result of the trip was that it didn't hurt to clean my glasses at the end. this would also prove to be good evidence against the "old-man" debate which i'm sure will re-surface sooner or later.

and the very best part of spending time out of doors continues to be the post-camping tick check. i've never had a single one but don't want to let that make us ignore good and proper practices.

KIDS (permalink) 07.11.2011
oddly, hers is more comprehensive than mine.
marty and i have finally begun (begun!) working on a will. when we told the kids they would be spending the morning with their grandma nat, bella asked what we were doing. we told her. the rest of the morning she was asking me if she could have certain things, like my ipod and computer. i told her not to worry and that i was leaving her my wardrobe, every last stitch of it, or all 32 articles of it. she screwed her face up and told me she was being serious, and then after a pause she added, $25 dollars to her list, as if it were a penalty for my being flip.

days later i came upon this document on the cluttered breakfast room table. it read:
I give my room to anthony and alexander
I give all my money distriubutly through the family
I give all my LPS's to Julia Nelson (ed. LPS = little pet shops)
I give all my organs and body to Red Cross for whatever needs
I give all my accerios distubulty through to Red Cross
I donate my hair (shave my head) to Locks of Love
so what if my daughter's will looks a bit more humanistic than mine. locks of love would never take my hair. is that somehow my fault? and i still stand by my argument that organ donation could be a rookie move as we don't know what we may or may not need in subsequent realms. although, now that we've had to put pen to paper, marty did get me to soften my request to be cryogenically preserved, a position that until this point i've stood resolute in, even though it compromised our children's college funds. when discussing such things, one can get a bit tunnel-visioned.

not sure if the self-portrait and the drawing of a "mopheaded" aleo were meant to be part of the document or just there incidentally. and last i checked, it isn't cruel to call someone mop-headed if they are mopheaded.

click to enlarge

QUOTES (permalink) 07.08.2011
Only one I in the whole wide world
And millions and millions of you,
But every you is an I to itself
And I am a you to you, too!

But if I am a you and you are an I
And the opposite also is true,
It makes us both the same somehow
Yet splits us each in two.

It's more and more mysterious,
The more I think it through:
Every you everywhere in the world is an I;
Every I in the world is you!

Poem by Mary Ann Hoberman from the book named The Tree that Time Built.

PHOTO, TRAVEL (permalink) 07.07.2011
from the smiles you'd think we were somewhere more exotic than a missoura campground
at the camp outing we recently took, i only broke my camera out once. it was after lunch while taking a break from the water. the below collection of shots were captured in a time span of less than five minutes amidst a flurry of laughter and goofiness. the kids who are not our kids are friends of ours who are our camping mentors and make it look both easy and fun, which i'm ever thankful for.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 07.06.2011
the boxers clung to my sweaty body like an undersized turtleneck.
marty and i were breaking the tent down after a weekend of camping. she was on one end of our large eight-man behemoth and i on the other. we were making halving folds until it was compact enough for one of us to handle. i crouched down to flatten out my side of nylon. as i lowered myself there was a loud ripping noise. i immediately reached behind me but it wasn't my manpris that tore (thankfully!!!). it was the boxers i was wearing under my manpris. this was the surrounding conversation.

did you just rip your pants?

uhhh, no, just my underwear.

hah! what an old man.

it's not an old man thing, it's an old boxers-thing.

believe what you want.

i think i just may do that, especially since 87% of my happiness comes from believing what i want. it's a magical skill and one i have savant like powers for. and how dare she call me old. i spent the previous two days riding the water chutes of the johnson shut-ins, and keeping my two youngest children alive in the process, and i even made a record-setting cliff-jump, breaking my previous cliff-jumping record. ok, so it doesn't take a lot to break a record that didn't previously exist, but it was still broken. that's how this old man strolls ... i mean rolls ... ok, no, i did mean strolls.

but regardless of any delusions or illusions of confidence i may have fostered during my weekend in the woods, they were quickly dashed on the morning i was to return to work when i went to clean my glasses and it physically hurt my thumb, hand and arm to depress the pumper that sprays the lens goo out. my (delusional) theory was that the pumper mechanism got corroded while not being used while we were away and i had to break through days and hours of calcifying and chemical-based buildup. no small or lightweight matter. i'm sure it was that. totally sure. and i'm totally sure it wasn't an old man thing. no way it could be that.

QUOTES (permalink) 07.05.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 07.01.2011
time to get your picture on.
it's one of those few times a year the everyman sees some motion. this time it's the reveal of the winners on the professional contest.

today also rings the starting bell for the 2011 amateur contest so if you've been thinking of getting in the mix, now is the time.

and i'm thrilled to announce the return of the from the attic category. it may not get the most entries, but it almost always has some of the best.

you may start the walking tour here

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