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Saturday, February 19

Home, sort of 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- I'm just about to leave SLC after spending the night at my Uyeda grandparents' place. It's been four years since I've visited my family in Utah and I'm just amazed about how much has changed while some stuff remains the same.

These changes include family, as well as other landmarks. Grandma and Grandpa look pretty good although we're all older than when we were last together. At the same time, the family is growing up and times change. People are getting married, having children or passing on. Still, talking with my grandparents for an extended period was interesting. Yes, we talked about politics for a spell, but I liked talking about the family, the family's history and Utah sports (and the 2002 Olympics) a lot more.

I'm at th Kinko's at the corner of 700 East and 2300 South, which is just a few blocks from my grandparents' old home. The traffic seems a lot crazier than I remember it and everything is just so built up. Many of the old landmarks are gone or merely tranfigured into something new. Old stores and buildings are gone or surrounded by new buildings. Some of the landmarks looks the same -- there's an old mansion-style building across from the Nibley Park Golf Course that looks the same.

Driving along 2100 South, I noticed the old, bunker-esque Mountain Bell building (the beige, window-less monolith that it is) has been transformed into a Qwest building. I guess it makes sense -- there's only so much they could do with a switching station.

Anywho, I wish I could spend a lot more time in SLC, but I've got to press on towards California.


Wednesday, February 16

Closing the door 

this is an audio post - click to play

HANCOCK, Mich. -- One last spin around my old apartment before checking out for good. The audio post deals with my "closing the door" on that wonderful, eclectic apartment.

I'll miss my apartment, my home for the past four years. It was a steal at $200 per month, and it had a lot of what I would describe as character (Olivia and others would just point at the clashing green living room carpet and the garish red, orange and grey striped kitchen carpet and laugh). The apartment, set in the back of a converted market, had massive dining room, smaller living room and upstairs bedroom and a bath. Just a bath. I'm actually looking forward to showers again.

It's been an emotional past couple of days. Seeing Olivia and my friends one last time before heading out West was a lot of fun. The weather alternated back and forth over the last few days. Today encapsulated the best of Copper Country winters with blue, sunny skies during the day before clouding over and giving the whole region a frosting of powdery snow.

I have to admit to tearing up a couple of times during the past two days during my last rounds at the bar, my last visit with my friends and just in the middle of packing.

So, I'm finishing up this post at the new library at MTU. In a minute, I'll get back into my seriously overpacked car. I'll be passing the bridge, The Daily Mining Gazette and the bright lights of downtown Houghton, all freshly decked with a dusting of lake-effect snow.

Sometimes the winters are tough in the Copper Country, but no one ever said they weren't pretty.

As I leave one home for a new one, I hope I never forget my experiences in the region. Thanks to everyone who made it such a terrific experience. Farewell.


Monday, February 14

Happiness is... 

... enjoying the sunshine and warmth during a warm snap.
... having a final snowfall greet you. One last kiss of winter before saying farewell.
... when the sno-go finally comes by and cuts down the snowdrift in front of your house. The dumptruck carries away much of the winter's accumulation.
... having your best friend visit while getting ready to move.
... socializing with friends and colleagues at the old watering holes ranging from the crowded snowmobiler habitats of The Downtowner in Houghton and the Upper Deck in Hancock, the sports bar of The Bleachers and the laid back lounge at Nutini's Supper Club. Of course, there's the Doghouse and The Library and the Keweenaw Brewing Company. There's just too many bars in this area.
... singing karaoke. Last Saturday, Garrett and I were pretty much the only singers at The Bleachers' V-Day party. I didn't do very well, but I hope everyone had a good time.
... and, of course, saying "See you later" is happy, yet bittersweet.

Fitting tribute 

Ray Charles is the big winner at last night's Grammy Awards winning 8 awards. I think it's a great memorial to the man who brought so much music and joy into the world. It would've been nice to have him here to see it.

I saw Ray Charles perform at San Diego's Street Scene a few years ago. Although he was definitely older, he still had a lot of energy and the audience certainly enjoyed his performance.


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Music from the UCSD Pep Band
The music of the UCSD Pep Band

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