a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: August 2020

Monday, August 24, 2020

T-Shirt Tales Today: Mervyn's Striped Shirts

T-shirt tales? Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Whaaaaat??

SUMMARY: School years and friends
UPDATED Aug 25: Added photo of pyramid with friends.
PS In the process, blogger did some nasty things to my captions. Sorry.
2017: Rescued briefly from the rag bag for its final photo.
Little holes and rips all over. Good old t-shirt.

T-shirts as a kid? Don't recall ever having one. Certainly nothing enhanced with writing or pictures. Clothing was for wearing, right? I don't recall anyone else my age wearing that kind of T, either. They started to come into their own as mini-billboards only a few years before[1]. Mom disapproved. Clothing is for wearing! 

My high school hosted a Sadie Hawkins Dance[2] every year, where girls asked boys instead of the normal order. My freshman year, friend Carol and I had our eyes on, gasp!, a couple of sophomores or juniors! The first one I asked said yes. I barely knew him--a friend of a friend--but he was cute and sweet. 

In my mid teens, I got a small allowance at home of five dollars (equivalent to about $33 in 2020[3]), for which I had to do certain chores. Plus I started babysitting, giving me enough wherewithall to buy things other than candy, Bazooka gum[4], and DC comic books[5].

So then--for that dance, you were supposed to come in matching outfits. What ,what, what to do?  We had no experience yet of what others did, so we thought that matching t-shirts would be plenty. She had one or two fun men's pocket t-shirts with horizontal pinstripes[6]. (Ha, little did I know about how much more fun one could get with Ts!)  Bought at the neighborhood Mervyn's[7]. We went down together and, wow, a wide array of colors. I wanted them all. But, instead, I got a dark blue with light blue  pinstripes to match Carol's, which we'd wear for the dance, and a bright blue one with red pinstripes because I love love LOVE that color. 

That I recall, they were my first-ever TSHIRT t-shirts, not merely CLOTHING t-shirts. Bought with my own money.

Loved them. Wore them out eventually, which is possibly the best compliment that clothing can hope for.  I'm lucky to have a few photos of the partnership between me and those shirts. 

[Aside--I'm pretty sure that's why we got the matching shirts. Hope I'm not confusing the whole story with the  SHD where we spent long, long hours sewing matching long-sleeved button-down shirts in a fun blue and purple pattern. I *think* that was the following year.]

The dark blue one. The friend on the right bought the matching t-shirt.
I didn't play the bugle, Phil [8] didn't play drums--but Carol did play guitar. 
Fooling around at my house my high school freshman year.

Four years later, my freshman year at college. 
Fooling around with friends on a camping/boating trip.
Showing off our agile bodies and my bright blue striped T.

6  years later, my junior year of college. The bright blue shirt.
Fooling around with friends in the lounge on our dorm floor.  
I have no idea what was on the  board or who wrote it, 
but I strongly suspect that I might have had a part in it.


(All are just for fun; you don't need them to read the post.)

[1] T-shirt history at Wikipedia "In the 1960s, printed T-shirts gained popularity for self-expression as well for advertisements, protests, and souvenirs."

[2] Sadie Hawkins Dance at Wikipedia

[3] Inflation calculator

[4] Bazooka gum at Wikipedia

[5] DC Comics at Wikipedia - I'm a long-time Batman fan 

[6]  Pinstripes at Wikipedia

[7] Mervyn's at Wikipedia

[8] Phil got in touch with me five years back, after decades. We had dinner. We said we'd do it again. A couple of months later it was too late.  A smart, funny guy with whom I spent a lot of time mostly in Junior High years.

** All T-Shirt Tales **

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Time for T-Shirt Tales: Introduction

T-shirt tales? Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.

And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories.

SUMMARY: What's this all about, ELFie? 

This project (because I need more projects) has percolated for a long, long time. Years and years. Because people sometimes ask, Why in the name of Marlon Brando*  do you have 150** t-shirts? What could they possibly all be?  (... In truth, nobody really ever says the 2nd part. Usually just variations on the first part, with the hairy eyeball and all...and then usually suggests that I should turn them into a quilt...  but that aside... ) I respond:

--erm, hmm, well--they're comfy. They're fun. Almost anything goes. They can be colorful. They can provide a conversational opening for someone who wants to talk to me (why they would, I have no idea, but sometimes people apparently do). They can put forth values that I want to promote. They can remind me of places I've been and things I've done. They can simply share anything that I like (dragons come to mind).

Plus, one word: Tie dye. 

So, now, I've started a less-sloppy-than-ever-before photo inventory of my t-shirts, and will present them one or two or three at a time with our shared history. Which means, more photos! Historical in nature! Or hysterical! Some going back to -- OK, junior high school! Yes! That's nearly 20 years ago!*** 

Coming soon!

Now you can:



*     This t-shirt. I mean, Marlon Brando.

**     150 is a good approximation. Varies constantly.

***   20 might be a very bad approximation.

**** Usually when I say t-shirt, I mean short-sleeved ones. But I also have some long-sleeved. Plus polo shirts of similar provenance that I'll likely throw in here and there, because they really are just the same as t-shirts. With collars. And buttons. And usually different kinds of material. But, deep in their souls, they're really just t-shirts.


Pick your favorite [author will attempt to keep this up to date]

My t-shirts in general or this project:

Specific t-shirts:

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Memories and Grief and Joy

SUMMARY: Dad. And Mark Lynch.

Yesterday, Dad died 5 years before.  The day sits so clearly in my mind, lurking with the things about it that I would absolutely have done differently, but also with relief about a couple of crucial things that I had been afraid that I wouldn't have been able to do for him that I did. So--a wildly emotional day. Plus, he died. So, yes, laser burned into my mental memory book.

And that's all on that for now. But it brings up this:

My Archaelogy/Anthropology prof at Santa Clara University, Mark Lynch, was killed by a drunk driver after he graded my final but before I picked it up.  Yes, relevant--

holding this space hoping for ok to post painting of Mark lynch

I "dropped out" of college after my junior year, struggling with what I really wanted to major in. Then I got a dog, bought a house, got married--and a few years after I left college, I went back. Santa Clara accepted me, thank goodness. [that might be another story]. As a Senior, which was also Thank Goodness, because SCU has specific breadth requirements for each year (frosh, soph, jr, sr) to earn your degree, so that, as a Senior, I needed only one of each category and could concentrate on my major classes.

I don't recall which breadth category Anthropology fit into, but that's where I headed. The first class I picked sounded interesting but after one day of the prof's dull, dull, droning delivery, I knew that I couldn't handle it for a full quarter. That he had only maybe 10 students in his class said something, too.  

That left me stuck: My other classes were already set, so I had to find something in essentially the same time slot, and I believe that left only one choice, and of course now I had missed the first class session.

I went anyway, to ask whether he'd add me (the class was listed as full so I couldn't join without that).  And his classroom overflowed with more folks than there were places to sit, lining all the walls. Many more than what he was allowed, but he added everyone, even late me. AND he remembered everyone’s names right away. I don’t know how he did it--must’ve been 50 people in that class. An amazing man.

So, I know that he graded my final because grades were posted (yes, an A).  He put all graded papers and tests into a cube outside his door, but I never did get my final--everyone else’s were in the bin--and I’ve often wondered whether he had kept it on his desk or wherever he was working because I knew all the material well and it was essay(s), and so I had a lot of fun writing it while still delivering the goods. I felt that he'd be OK with that and maybe even enjoy it and maybe he had held onto it a bit for that or had thought that he might see me again to say something.

He was so young.

I had mostly not bothered my profs through all the years of college except occasionally for a specific class-related question, but I had gone in to talk to him a couple of times about some fiction I was trying to break through on (Anasazi-related). Because, in class, not only could he be funny, but could elicit deep emotions with his fabulous descriptions of life and death and the effects of European colonization here in the western states. So I was quite comfortable chatting with him about fiction and about Anasazi and related topics and whatever unrelated topics we went into. Not that we were likely to become real friends, but he wasn’t that much older than I was at that point --I don’t recall exactly--or the same age (I was 27ish). But, still. 

I learned about his death while listening to the car radio--and then I was driving on US-101 bawling my eyes out.

I cried over several days, couldn’t stop thinking about it at night when all those thoughts you don’t want come calling. Then, one night, I dreamed that i was sitting on the outside steps of the building where his class was, head down on my knees, crying again. Suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder, and I looked up, and there he was. He said, you’re crying? And I was stunned, just staring at him being there. And then he said, “About me? Oh, there’s no need for that” followed by words that I don’t remember exactly any more but something along the lines that he had had a happy life and he’d be honored if people would remember the fun that he had and the education that he gave and be happy about all of that for him. And I nodded and he smiled his familiar smile and trotted on down the steps and away.

It helped me so much when I woke, even though I know that it was my brain inventing things--I think it was inventing a story for myself that I could grasp to not wallow in grief and to, indeed, remember him cheerfully.

So, yay, brain.

(See end of post for links related to Mark Lynch.)

I haven't had dreams like that about either of my parents.  I try to remember the same things for them, though.  But these anniversaries are hard.

Photos from family Thanksgiving 6 and 7 years before they died --
because they were always a couple

And a final note: Links related to Mark Lynch

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Missing Disney Parks and the Parking Lot In Particular

SUMMARY: I'm an addict... sort of...

Disneyland is my happy place.

Not my only happy place, but pretty much guaranteed to be my happy place when I'm there. Which I try to be, roughly every couple of years.  Except, haven't been since November of 2017, and then I did very little in the parks because we were there for races (5Ks, etc.) and friends.

Looking across the dustpile that would become Disney California Adventure towards the Anaheim Convention Center.

We did Walt Disney World nearly a year ago, but it's not the same: Disneyland is home. The addition of California Adventure in 2001 at first was a disappointment but has gradually improved after the huge Disney Corp filled with some of the most creative people in the planet recognized their design flaw, which probably most of us saw while they were still building it:

Let's build an amusement park about doing fun and famous things in California, and put it in... California! 

Now it's better. With some cool attractions that we always make time to do. 
Clearly *something* will be built in here; hoping it will be cool.

However, to add Disney California Adventure (and Downtown Disney, which is between the parks -- a long pedestrian-only street of shops and restaurants, all of which are pretty good and we have a couple of favorites), they built it atop where the dearly beloved parking lot used to be. The one that was right next to the entrance. Convenient. And shoved all the parking into distant huge and pricey parking garages. I've never parked in one, but friends who drive up to join us sometimes don't get to us for as much as half an hour.

Used to be parking lot.

Today, someone posted in the Facebook Group MiceChat, 

"Does anyone remember [the] old parking lot for Disneyland where Disney’s California Adventure is now!"

I said:

Ooooh yeah I remember--for an extra fee you could park in the spaces closest to the entry if there were any left. So we'd get there early. Miss that for sure.

When we were kids and parents took us to Dland, we had a camper, so the camper would be available if someone needed a nap or for meals--Miss that for sure, too.

Discovered that my Dland-going partner seester had already said:

loved preferred parking. We could leave a cooler and coats in the car, and walk out for lunch and stuff, without having to pay for a locker.

And THEN... I just couldn't resist. Pulled up my photos from 1998, when it was all about bulldozers, not much of a hint about what was to come (views from the monorail),  and this came out:

DCA was the old parking lot
Now it's DCA, not the old parking lot
Been a long time gone, Oh the old parking lot!
Now it's walking afar nowhere near your car--

So, Take me back to the old parking lot
No, you can't go back to the old parking lot
Been a long time gone, Oh that old parking lot
Why did the old parking lot get replaced?
That's for all those new attractions we've embraced!

(Here's the original gold-selling version of Istanbul by The Four Lads, 1954.)

The Turks aren't the only ones who rename things--
Looking across the DCA construction to the hotel originally owned by Tokyu that opened in 1984 as the Emerald of Anaheim.
It was renamed Pan Pacific Hotel, Anaheim in 1989 when Tokyu merged its Emerald and Pan Pacific hotel divisions.
Disney purchased the hotel from Tokyu in 1995 and renamed it Disneyland Pacific Hotel.
The hotel was rebranded as Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel on December 15, 2000,
named after the formerly Paradise Pier (now renamed Pixar Pier) area in Disney California Adventure Park that the hotel tower overlooks.