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pete's journal

4th December, 2007. 10:24 pm. My "Crib"

As directed by Paul Weber


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23rd July, 2007. 4:09 pm. Califonia

Well just a quick note... I live in California, right on the beach. It's great! I live about 20 minutes away from San Francisco and it's sunny almost every day. I've been doing non-profit database work and getting to know the area. My brother is here for the summer and my sister lives about 2 horus away. Life is good.

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12th April, 2007. 10:50 pm. gems

recently I came across a disk of lost digital photos from 2001-2003. It was a great trip down memory lane I plan to share them via facebook in the weeks to come. Enjoy.

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22nd March, 2007. 2:55 pm. PBS #6

Do you remember PBS Educational Shows? The Weber household had a rule that during the school year there was no TV during the weekdays. This was so we wouldn’t be distracted from our weekly studies. Sometimes in desperation for visual stimulation we could bargain with our parents and convince them that some programming was deemed suitable and complimentary to our school’s teachings. Most, if not all these shows aired on channel 14 and/or 16 the two Public Broadcastings System channels that were in range of TV antenna that was mounted on the roof of our home. When I was a youngster I didn’t take much interest in shows like NOVA or National Geographic. Finding an entertaining program on PBS could be challenging, but there were several diamonds in the rough.

When I was in Kindergarten although I still enjoyed my friends on Sesame Street and hanging in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood with his mini trolley, I got excited whenever the familiar faces of The Letter People aired. Sort of like Muppets, but people instead of friendly monster character types. They wore outfits branded with each of their designated letters and their individual lexicons consisted of primarily words starting with the same designation. Who can forget such characters as Miss A and Mr. T (not the “I pity the fool” one). The opening of the show was psychedelic with a matching Loving Spoonful-esc theme. “Come on meet the Letter People, ABCD follow me.” Unforgettable episodes that live on in my mind such as the time the Miss C and Mr. K fought over, and then subsequently decided to share the same sound of “kæ”; or when Mr. Q and Miss U found each other and were almost always unseperatable; and who can forget the trauma of Mr. Y with his consonant/vowel identity crisis. Drama that rivaled those of today’s The OC, more like The Mr. O and Mrs. C.

As I previously mentioned I could always count on Levar Burton’s famed catch phrases of “But you don’t have to take my word for it” prior to book recommendations from a select group of my peers and the comforting “See you next time” that ended each memorable Reading Rainbow. It was a hallmark of my early middle school years, coupled along with shows such as Square One and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? Much of Square One’s programming escapes me to this day, but what sticks is the detective dramatics of Mathnet. Solving crime with Algebra and Geometry was all in a days work for a Mathlete with holstered Texas Instruments at his or her side. As for the show that rivaled the popularity of the computer game of the same name, we all know what truly made the show was not “The Chief”, the sweet outfits the Gumshoes wore, or the ever witty Alex Trabec wannabe. It can all be summed up in this one phrase “DO IT ROCKAPELLA!” Here’s a fun fact for you that you won’t find on one of those VH1 nostalgic shows… Rockapella actually had a pretty lucrative career in Japan, performing acapellic covers and originals. Although the quintet has been cut to a quartet, and only 2 of the original members remain (last time I checked), on occasion they will still throw in a favored “Carmen San Diego” (in Bass vocals)

Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to two Old School Players of the PBS world. If 2pac and Biggie are legends of Hip-Hop, then I would have to say that Bob Ross and Julius Summer Miller are legends of PBS. Although on opposite ends of the programming spectrum with Mr. Ross recreating landscapes with his arsenal of oil paints and fan brushes; and Mr. Miller demonstrating physics genius. They were similar in that they rocked awesome crazy hair, appeared to be under the influences of “substances” at times, and can now only be remember by their previous works. Tip your 40s for my dead homies BR and JSM… R.I.P.

*Join the Facebook group w/ Pictures*

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14th March, 2007. 3:43 pm. Rap Music...

Do you remember being into Rap Music, I’m not talking about Hip Hop… although some of the music I’m about to talk about people would consider Hip Hop. Remember when it was just “Rap”.

My first exposure to any kind of such music was M.C. Hammer. I had a dubbed tape of M.C. Hammer that I had made from my cousin’s Too Legit to Quit CD that I always liked to listen to. Although there were a lot of good songs and it was a sweet album, I would have to say Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”, was what really changed my life in terms of rap. I owned the tape single with “Play That Funky Music” on it. I would sit around and listen to the original White Rapper do his thing. At the time I had pretty innocent ears, so much that when Ice would say “Damn” I would turn the volume knob down worried that my parents would hear me listening to a song with a dirty word in it. This was much tamer than my future Rap endeavors.

For my 13th birthday I received a $20 gift certificate from Meijer’s from my Uncle Rick and there was only one thing I wanted… Tupac Shakur’s double album All Eyes on Me, but I was worried that no store would sell it to me because it was branded with the “Parental Discretion Advised” mark. At the store I paced back and forth by the check out trying to mustard up the courage to go through the line. When I finally had the nerve I got in line knowing that as soon as they range me up sirens and bells would go off and I would be detained for my attempted 2pac purchase. I could just picture myself in a smoky dark room with a single like bulb hanging being questioned by a detective from one of those cop dramas “You really thought you were going to get away with this? What the hell were you thinking?” Then the magical “Beep” from the register and “18.99” from the cashier. I handed her my certificate, she bagged up the CD, and handed me my receipt. I had made it! “Now just go down there and that lady down there can take that plastic off for you.” Foiled! Instead of risking it, I just took my treasure home with the plastic casing still in tact, the problem was, and the whole reason they were kept locked into the casing was to keep people from stealing the CDs. Why couldn’t they have just stuck with the useless long cardboard boxes that CDs used to come in? I had to do some serious work in the garage with a few saws to get that thick plastic off; in doing so I cracked the case. Doh! I felt like Indian Jone’s with my Holy Grail treasure. I popped the CD into my Sony Discman ready for the lyrical genius of Tupac and Dr.Dre only to find out that song that I bought the album for… “California Love”, was not the version I wanted, the one that was played on the radio. That’s how the Man keeps you down… down in the ghetto.

A few years later when Alternative music was getting big my best friend Dustin Marcum decided to purge his CD collection of Rap Music. His loss was my gain. I decided to purchase his Bone Thugs in Harmony album E.1999 Eternal mainly for the song “1st of the Month” (Wake up, Wake up, Wake up). This album was the darkest and probably first album that I not only didn’t want my parents listening to, but also didn’t want them seeing because they would perceive it to be Satanic. The album cover was very dark and evil looking and the CD had what looked like a pentagram and demons on it. It was Awesome! I realized soon that I was not meant to actually ever own any albums by Bone, because soon after purchasing the CD John Waddle, an older guy that rode my bus “borrowed” the CD when he saw I was listening to it and I never got it back. I still wish bad things upon him. A few years later I was victimized again when I bought their follow up double album The Art of War, which was ganked the same day at a party that I was DJing. I guess it’s no surprise when the music you listen to is about crime; it’s only fitting that someone would feel just in stealing it.

All I’m trying to really say is that no matter what I’m an Old School Hardcore Gangsta Thug 4 Life. Biatch!

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11th March, 2007. 6:47 pm. We're going to the Dance!

I don't get excited about sports often, but today is one of the days I am pumped!

We're Dancin' Baby!

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7th March, 2007. 3:45 pm. Shoes

Do you remember when you only had one pair of shoes? I’m sure that you probably owned more than one pair, but you had that one pair that you wore everyday no matter what occasion. Usually these were the shoes that defined you for a whole school year.

The first pair of shoes that I can ever remember wearing was a pair of light blue galoshes from Japan that had some kind of Robot Animation character on each side of them. I was about 5 years old and I wore them rain or shine, with shorts or jeans, to school or church. My favorite thing about the shoes is that I could just slip them on without worrying about tying them because at the time I didn’t know how to tie my shoes. I was also proud of the fact that they had Japanese writing on them so no one else had them. I wore them faithfully until one day they sprung a leak, after that water would get stuck in the shoe and they were ruined.

During the time when Nike Air and Reebok Pumps were becoming popular, many people I knew had a pair but my parents bought me something way cooler… LA Gears. These shoes had bright neon orange shoe laces with an equally blinding enormous shoe tongue that stuck out of the top of the shoe. In the soul there was a clear area that was supposed to look like “AIR” cushioning, but it was just clear plastic. Take that Michael Jordan. These shoes were so “classic” that my parents bought me the exact same pair the following year with neon pink shoe laces.

In high school it was all about the Airwalks, the days of Nike had long past. If you were wearing any kind of Basketball shoe you were a poser in my book. I didn’t own a skateboard, but I was on my way to going pro at “freestyle walking”. My friends and I would be at the mall then someone would jump up and bust out with some freestyle moves, edging along benches with only the aid of our shoes. You had to do these kinds of things to add character to your shoes. How else were you going to get them faded and worn out, like you wanted?

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15th February, 2007. 4:44 pm.

my friend Joe Hedges has a pretty kickin' rad new music video. Checks it out on the You Tube.


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14th February, 2007. 8:57 am. Right to Read Week, Book It!, and Levar Burton

Hey do you remember Book It! It something that the whole school did for a month and it was usually kicked off with Right to Read Week. Right to read week is when the school got all jacked up about reading and usually picked an author like Doctor Seuss and spend the whole week reading book, studying, and dressing up like characters from the various authors books. I think my favorite Write to Read week was the year we did books by Stephan Kellogg. He had cool illustrations and I really liked his Johnny Appleseed book, although now I think Johnny Appleseed is just an over glorified hippy. Then at the end of the week you could purchase a paperback version or spend the big bucks to get a hardback copy of a 20% marked up book at the book fair set up in the school gym.
As for Book it! What you did was keep a log of all the books/pages that you read on your own time throughout the week then turn that log into your homeroom teacher for prizes. I never accumulated enough hours to get one of the larger prizes like a T-shirts or Frisbees but like everyone else I got down with the free Pizza Hut Personal Pan Sized Pizza and the Book it! button. The little pizza was the size of about one slice of pizza cut into 4 and it even came in its own little Pizza Hut box. I always ordered mine at the take out counter and it seemed like it took forever for them to cook up my pizza, but I waited patiently. I guess a little kid's free mini pizza pie wasn't quite the priority. But damn it, I read 15 hours last week sacrificing good playing time for this. When it finally came, I always ate it too fast burning my tongue, having the cheese slide off, and leaving bit marks on the mini slice because it was too hot. It was just enough pizza, where it wasn't enough and I was hungry for more Pizza Hut goodness. I knew better than to ask my parents to buy more pizza, the best I got was either frozen 2 pack discount pizza or worse "home made" pizza made with spaghetti sauce, Kraft slices, and left over biscuits. So there I now was in the backseat of my parents’ station wagon unsatisfied with a little Pizza Hut box scrapping cheese of the bottom.
There was also the famed Book It! buttons. It was purple and had one of those images that changed and kind of looked animated when you changed the angle. It said Book It and had a book opening and closing. I’m not sure where any of my old buttons went to, maybe Levar Burton snuck into my home in the night using his Jordy visor to see and stole them in the night, at least he could have left me some more personal pan pizza coupons.

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8th February, 2007. 10:52 pm. Book Orders, The Book Fair, and Santa Shop

Do you remember back when you were a wee child and you could spend your allowance or "pocket money" at the local food market on candy or baseball cards. All the stuff at those shops are marked up 15% and you will still buy the stuff because it's the only place you can get to on your bike. I was always jealous of the city kids that could bike to a K-mart.

I am getting off track here...

What I really wanted to talk about was the ways the schools tried to get your hard earned cash (or free money for you lazy ass spoiled kids). I want to talk about Book Orders, The Book Fair, and Santa Shop:

1. Book Orders: Every month my teacher would pass out colorful sheets of paper (usually put out by Scholastic) with book advertisements to all the kiddies and she would point out some books that she liked and remind us daily "Book orders need to be in by Friday". I don't know what was so magical about these books, just about all of them I could have easily gotten at the school or local library. There just was something irrisistable about ordering The Indian In the Cubbord and getting a free limited edition book mark with my order. I was always a sucker for the bargain books like "$1.95 for 2 Random Mystery Books." It always ended up being something random like Brahm Stoker's Dracula and Mad Libs. I read through Dracula when I was in like 4th grade and I realize now that there was some pretty messed up stuff in that book for a 4th grader to be reading. But I guess my teacher trusted Scholastic, and she didn't care because she was getting free books and crap for pimpin out her students.

2. The Book Fair - The book fair was just a like a live version of the Book Order. These books were even more magical for some mysterious reason. I think it's because they let you browse through the store a few days before just to build anticipation. There was also aways a featured book or author that the teachers would read and tell you "You can own this book and read it as much as you want, because it will be at the Book Fair next week."

And let us not forget...

3. The Santa Shop - This was like the Book Fair, only instead of books They solds stupid little gifts that you bought for your parents for christmas. Things like Plastic Tool kits for Dad, Big Ugly Rings for Mom, and Loony Toon Character Eraser tops for all your siblings. Then you had someone from the PTA check you out and gift wrap up all your goodies. I don't know about you, but I always bought myself something like a Binocular/Magnifying Glass/Mirror/Compass Combo tool just in case I ever get lost in the woods and need to survive.

I figured out later that these were all ways for Teachers, The School, or The PTA to take advantage of us kids. Who's to blame them, everyone else is doing it, why not the schools too.

I could go on about fund raisers, Starter Jackets, and Book It!, but I will save that for another time.

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