Archive for February, 2009

It’s a small world, after all…

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

The man I grew up loving as my Gran’pop — Roger — was actually Sarah’s second husband. Her first husband — my mother’s father — died two years before I was born. I knew his name: Johnny Bradford; that he was a chemist for the American Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia; and that my Gran’mom divorced him in 1945 or so because he was an alcoholic. Until a few days ago, I didn’t know that he had a brother named Keith who lived in Houston.

Keith was a neurosurgeon who set up practice in Houston after serving in the navy during WWII. Early on, Sarah kept in touch with her sister-in-law, Keith’s wife Margaret. As a result, my mom knew that she had three cousins — all daughters — and that Keith and Margaret had also divorced, but little more. Jean fretted a little over the years about not knowing them, but she assumed they all grew up, got married, and took new names, and she wasn’t sure how to find them in the days before internet.

Fifteen years ago, one of the daughters wrote to Sarah, providing married names and then-current addresses. Since Jean and Chuck were already in Texas by then, Sarah mailed the card to Galveston, where it quickly subsided in the clutter.

But then we had a hurricane. And we were forced to go through a lot of soggy old boxes. Around Thanksgiving, Jean found the old note with her cousin’s names. With Google, she was able to find an email address and get in touch.

She learned that Keith and Margaret are now deceased, but two of their daughters — Amy and Meg — still live in Houston with their husbands. They planned to get together in Houston last Saturday, so that these cousins — all in their sixties or early seventies — could meet for the first time. I tagged along to help Sarah participate, too, and things got small world interesting.

  • Jean’s cousin Amy lives in our zip code on Bonnie Brae… in the other half of the two-unit townhouse my buddy Adra lived in for most of the last decade.
  • Prior to moving into the townhouse, Amy and her husband Dieter lived for 40 years in a house in Houston’s Southgate neighborhood near Rice. When they moved, they sold their house to our former next-door neighbors, Doug and Deanna.
  • Dieter is a civil engineer and I was actually introduced to him six months ago by a member of the METRO board. We spent two hours at the Black Lab talking about rail on Richmond, street configurations, and utility locations… without any awareness that we are related.

Amy and Dieter
Jean’s cousin Amy and her charming husband Dieter

Bradford cousins and spouses
At right are Jean’s cousin Meg and her quiet husband “Bunky”

With all these coincidences, it was easy to laugh and have a good time. Our Bradford cousins are smart, articulate, charming people and delightful to pass time with. Afternoon wine and cheese flowed easily into a casual barbecue dinner that pulled in Chris, Shawn and the girls as well as Sharon. We all had a good time and I hope we’ll see them again, soon!

Video Fun, pt. 2 – I need a montage!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I think that very few people actually know that about this time last year, I was actually signed up for the MS150 bike ride between Houston and Austin promoting Multiple Sclerosis. For those of you who don’t know what a “sclerosis” is, or why you would want to have more than one, as far as I know, MS is a disease that strikes bicyclists who ride for excessively long periods of time for charity. Symptoms include painful, reddened skin (potentially blistering), joint pain in the knees and ankles, difficulty walking, abrasions on the inner thighs, and tenderness in the pubic bone region. On further inspection, it actually seems like some form of social disease. Do I really want to help people like that out? Anyway, I’m signed up again for it, so I might as well just do it. Anything to help out the less fortunate, right?

According to e-mails I get from people calling themselves “organizers” (I believe the medical term is “plague vectors” for this bicycling affliction, but I’m used to working with the less sophisticated), the key method of avoiding these symptoms is something called “training”. I have heard of this concept, but really, it only seems to be present in things called “gyms” or at something I think I remember from my distant past called “practice”. However, here in the present, we prefer a far more efficient method called a “montage”. Rather than spending time explaining it, I’ll let my friends Matt and Trey take care of that for me:

With just a couple of months left to go before the ride, I need some help from anyone that can help me get one of these “montage” things. I looked online, but it seems that I am not the only one needing a montage, and the few montages that I found, just don’t seem to involve me, a bicycle and a sudden resemblance to Lance Armstrong. If this keeps up, I may have to look back into that “training” thing. But darn, that would be really disappointing at this late date to have to change strategies. Can anyone help me out getting one of these things?

Oh, yeah, if you are planning to donate to the Multiple Sclerosis society, then feel free to use this convenient portal. It only takes a second, and you, too, could be helping to find a cure for excessively long bicycle riding!

Adventias: She’s definitely still clever…

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Make no mistake: our Gran’mom still has a robust sense of humor. While talking to me by phone this afternoon and trying to write in her calendar book at the same time, she said:

You know, there are times when having three hands would be… useful. I almost said ‘handy’ but…

We both had a good laugh at that. :-)

Video Fun, pt. 1 (PG Porn)

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

So, let’s say that you are a male actor who has had a couple of bites at the “leading man” apple without a whole lot of success. Let’s say that your buddy producer/pimp, let’s call him “Joss”, then turns his attention to an all-female lead cast with his latest project after having killed off several of your co-workers in the movie finale to your short-lived series. What do you do? Well, there is always the other side of the Hollywood Hills, if you are man enough. Maybe no one will notice if you just do a few money shots, but to be safe, you may want to dip your toe in with a slightly safer project…

On a serious note, Spike TV, the artist formerly known as Turner Network Television (TNT), apparently commissioned some shorts under the guise of “PG Porn. For people who love everything about porn, except the sex”. Nathan Fillion, formerly of Firefly/Serenity, is the male lead in one of them, and the job he does acting like a bad porn actor is pretty hysterical. Oddly enough, it’s almost safe for work:

So this is what happens to Joss Whedon’s actors once Joss is done with them. So sad! In case you are curious, the other video in the series is a bit more risque. You can find it here.