Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Photo Bin - April 2016

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. It's the first week of June and here's the April photo bin. What can I say? I've been busy. I've been slack. I've been... well, I don't rightly know what I've been. Let's just ignore that and get on with the pics. April.

Actually, I have some shocking news for you (at least those of you who know me at all). I've kicked Mt. Dew. Blows your mind, doesn't it?

If you've followed the blog for any length of time, you'll recall that images of Mt. Dew bottles are ubiquitous.

Unrelated Aside: I've always loved that word, ubiquitous, and I use it every chance that I get, no doubt to the annoyance of others. But it reminds me of a Phillip K. Dick novel, Ubik, that I'd read as a teenager, about a future (now a past as the book was published in 1969 and looked ahead to a visionary 1992) drug scene and the government's... wait. No spoilers. I'll let you read it. One of PKD's best. I promise.

Anyway, Mt. Dew bottles images are everywhere on this blog because I drank it all day, every day, probably since the mid-seventies, in volumes that I'd hate to admit. Quick math (forty years, three-to-four twenty-ounce bottles a day) puts that in the neighborhood of seven-thousand gallons. I've pushed enough brominated vegetable oil (the ingredient that suspends that eerie green glow and keeps The Dew from being imported to the rest of the enlightened world due to cancer concerns) through me to fry a million florescent french fries. And the caffeine... Oh, the caffeine.

I mentioned my abstinence to Troy the other night at the local TU meeting and he looked at me like I had two heads. He's used to my stuffing a six-pack into the the skiff's live well (which doubles as a cooler for us C&R practitioners) and he tolerantly ignores the empty green bottles rattling around on the floor of the skiff.

But no more.

You don't just kick such addictions without some help. It's the habits and routines that are the hardest to change so a replacement is often the key. For this difficult transition I fell into the prefect replacement. Kombucha.

More on that a bit later. Let's get back to some photos.

If my Mt. Dew abstinence isn't shocking enough, how about me in a tie? Obviously, I didn't take this picture (Mary did) so it violates the photo bin rules, but...hey wait, I don't care. I like the picture.

I hang up the ball cap and dig out my grown-up threads from the back of the closet just twice a year, each time to attend university foundation endowment dinners at which we get to meet the wonderful young recipients of the memorial scholarships we've established in honor of our lost sons. This year, we were thrilled to be able to support two talented engineers-to-be through the Andy Sepelak Memorial Scholarship in Civil Engineering at North Carolina State University. Brian and Chris are terrific young men and perfect examples of why we do this. I couldn't have handpicked, myself, any better beneficiaries. Andy would have liked them.

Funny, I don't recall them standing on standing on chairs when this picture was taken.

April also held one of our favorite events, a fundraising cornhole double-elimination tournament for our other endowment, the Freeman York Memorial Athletic Scholarship at Georgia Tech. Organized and run by Freeman's friends in Charlotte, it carries on an annual spring tradition that Freeman himself started a decade before. It's a joyful celebration, even through the tears, and now helps support his academic and athletic legacy.

Above, a little friendly competition between Mary and Ben; Free's mom and brother. Trouble.

A good crew turned out. Here's those who stayed to the bitter end. Just as many had slipped away throughout the daylong event for other commitments or to lick their wounds. Our profound thanks go out to everyone who participated. See y'all next year.

A special treat, this year, was that we were able to scoot down to Atlanta, pre-tournament, and bring back to the gathering this year's scholarship recipient, Chiara, a bright and talented swimmer who hails from Sardinia, Italy. We hope she had fun, though cornhole was certainly a new experience for her. Competitor that she is, she took to it like a fish to water.

Sorry. Go Jackets.

Even Zeppelin got into the mood, wearing Georgia Tech colors and a Buzz on his splint. Poor guy suffered a frisbee mishap, a few days before, somehow acquiring a deep laceration in his large paw pad as he flew back and forth up our gravel driveway and the surrounding woods. The pad was laid open badly, and bleeding like sumbitch, but he wanted to keep fetching the disc. I had to hogtie him. We play hard around here.

He's healed up nicely (now that it's June) and is back on the run.

I promised I'd get back to kombucha. It's is fermented sweet tea, usually black or green, brewed a lot like beer (so it has that going for it) but without any appreciable alcohol. And sweet it isn't, as the fermentation process chews the natural sugars up, as fermentation is prone to do. What results is hard to describe. Slightly sour in a rich and wonderful way, with a hint of tea and herbal goodness, largely dependent on formulations, added ingredients, and the brewer's craft.

This particular brewer is incredible and we couldn't be prouder of what he's accomplishing. Okay, full disclaimer, he's our youngest son.

Again, what can I say?

What is a Photo Bin?


drgeo said...

Next time you sponsor 2 scholarship winners, bring your own Olympic medal stand. It's a custom!

Mike Sepelak said...

Excellent staging advice! THANKS!!!

CathyB said...

It's always a pleasure to find another PDK fan, Mike. Congrats on kicking the Dew.

Mark said...

I'm with you Mike - a former Dew addict, I kicked it in February, but my replacement has been sun tea with some lime. It was an all day everyday habit with me too.

Mike Sepelak said...

A fascinating author, PKD, isn't he Cathy? And you don;t have to be a sci-fi reader to have seen his work. Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, all movies based on his works. The one book of his I have not read, and should have by now, is Man in the High Castle, his most acclaimed.

Oh great. One more for the ever growing stack of need-to-reads.

Mike Sepelak said...

Good for you, Mark! And the other benefit is that we're not pumping more plastic bottles into the system. A big win, I think.

Mark said...

Indeed. My change was prompted by an overall move to eliminate or strongly limit processed foods of all types to protect my good health, and as a steward of this good earth. Small victories are still victories :-)