Tag Archives: Colleen

Old clothes.

EDITED 10/19/11: I have to give recognition to one of my best friends Luke Glasoe for giving the Cards shirt to me. I’m not sure what possessed him to pick it out for me but I still have it and I am forever grateful for it. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received, bud. Thanks a million.

A few weeks ago I raided my dresser and got rid of lots of old stuff that didn’t fit. It’s a mildly depressing thing that some of my absolute favorite t-shirts didn’t fit anymore, (1) because it means I’m gaining more mass than I burn off and (2) because it means I had to part with some of the most character-defining articles of clothing I’ve ever worn. Before I dropped everything off at Goodwill, I took a few pictures of the most important shirts. Here they are.

Iowa Soccer Baseball Tee:

Not that significant of a shirt other than it was one of the first where I could tell Colleen really loved how I looked in it. I had never really noticed that before with any of my clothes, and I remember walking into youth group wearing this shirt (the first baseball tee I’d ever worn where the arms are a different color than the torso, makes your shoulders look huge) and seeing Colleen raise her eyebrows like “Hmm!” It was a special thing. On the other hand, one time I got called out on wearing this shirt and I started to talk about how I liked the Iowa men’s soccer team. It’s only club. So that was embarrassing.

Rhea Central Super Jacket’s Tee:

This one was a bummer to dump. I found this scrunched tight in a rack of crappy old t-shirts at a thrift store in Dayton, Tennessee. It was a local thrift store, not a Goodwill or Salvation Army, so the opportunity to find cool vintage clothes is upped quite a bit. This is the only really great thing I found that day, and I didn’t immediately think it was great but thought I’d get it since I hadn’t found anything else. It fit perfectly and was super comfortable, enough to wear to run or to play frisbee in or go to youth group or hang out or whatever. Versatility can make a pretty good piece of clothing absolutely essential in a wardrobe. The shirt was plain white, with a weird dragonfly/insect/man on it with flitting wings and a pretty phallic stinger right between his legs. What I found funny is that he’s saying “Feel the sting!” with gritted teeth and he’s finger wagging at you. Framing the insect-man were the words Rhea Central Super Jackets. Pretty simple, but I ended up wearing that shirt possibly more than any other in my wardrobe over the course of the next four to five years. Yikes. It was getting pretty gross by the end. But there are loads of cool pictures from high school with me in this shirt. More on why that’s important to me later.

The Benes #41 Cardinals Jersey Tee:

This was definitely the hardest to even think about parting with, so I didn’t. This one is the only one I kept, tucked away in an obscure corner of my dresser. I’m not sure exactly why I got so attached to this shirt. I purchased it years and years ago at a thrift store with Luke; I think it was the Salvation Army in Marion. This was the first jersey t-shirt I’d ever found and I immediately fell in love with it.

I was probably 15 years old, and the silliness and irony of a t-shirt made to look like a jersey suited the style I was looking for perfectly. I didn’t know who Benes was, as I was a Cardinals fan in name only and not in practice, but my oh my was I the biggest name-only Cardinal fan you’d ever meet. Around this same time I purchased my first Cardinals ball cap which was permanently attached to my head for the next few years. So just the mere fact that I had found a cheap Cardinals shirt endeared it to me. That it was a jersey tee made it a must-have. I wore this shirt probably not as much as the Rhea County tee, but this one was worn during some of the most indelible memories of my teenage years. Two of my absolutely favorite pictures of Colleen and me feature the Cardinals tee.

I love these pictures. These, and the Cardinals shirt, bring me back to the super fun first years of our relationship, and at an even more basic level, they bring me back to the fun years of being young. As uncomfortable, awkward, depressing, zitty, drama-filled, “whatever other miserable adjective you can think of” as teenage years are for everyone, they are so much fun. Those are the years you really begin to figure out who you are, what your identity is. You start learning how you relate to the opposite sex, what sorts of things you find funny, what things you really enjoy doing, what kinds of music you like to listen to. I really enjoyed my teenage years, and occasionally being reminded of them is fun.

The Cardinals shirt was with me through some of the most important days of those years, and I just didn’t want to get rid of that one. So I kept it. It’s odd, maybe this is just me trying to wax philisophical about getting a little older, our culture, or whatever, but I feel like my generation (and even less so the ones coming after us) have fewer and fewer relics or mementos from their childhood. I think we all have toys we played with or books we read, but it’s so rare to actually still have the items that define our realities as young kids. Every time Colleen and I visit my family in Kansas City, I love looking through the bookshelf down in the basement that has the huge collection of completely random books that Mom and Dad had collected over the years. For some reason, those flimsy paperback books about Sesame Street characters still resonate with me and bring to me this overwhelming nostalgia. And I feel like the older I get, the less I have keepsakes like that. Fifty years from now, no grandparent is going to show their Facebook account to their grandkid and say “When I was your age this is what we spent our time on, look how many friends I’ve amassed over the years!” How lame is that? It’s an old-fashioned ideal, but I want tangible items I can give my kids to touch and feel and smell and read and play with and wear.

So while it certainly doesn’t fit anymore though, I am saving the Cardinals shirt for my kids. Who knows whether or not we’ll raise Cardinals fans or if they will like dumb clothes like jersey shirts, but I would like it to be kept in a basement closet of some kind to be discovered by my child. It managed to catch the eye of a pretty young blonde girl a long time ago, who says it couldn’t happen again?

-Jon

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"I don’t make home videos, I make home films."

I’ve been wanting to write about this for three months. Colleen and I finally gave our Christmas present to her family; the (nearly) comprehensive collection of their VHS home videos on DVD.

First, the how. Here’s what you need:

  • Computer (I used my Mac)
  • VCR
  • Adapter with audio/video cable ports and USB ports (and included software for capturing video) (Elgato Video Capture Device for Mac users)
  • DVD burner
  • Blank DVDs
  • Video editing software (iMovie for Mac users)
  • DVD burning software (iDVD for Mac users)
  • Photoshop software
  • VHS tapes

In a nutshell, here’s what we did. Recorded all the VHS tapes using the VCR and adapter software, loaded the raw video files into iMovie, edited all unwanted portions out, placed chapter markers on the files, grabbed still frames to use for menu screens and the DVD covers, transferred edited video files to iDVD, picked the specific menu template, formatted the menu and chapter selection screens so they would fit a normal television screen, loaded stills into the menus, double-double-checked everything and then burned the DVD. Time-intensive parts were capturing the raw footage from the tapes onto the computer and burning the actual DVDs because capturing the video required just starting a tape and letting it play the whole way through in real time and burning the DVDs took like 6 hours a piece. Thankfully they were time-intensive and not labor-intensive; I could get one started and go do homework or something. The labor-intensive part was the editing. The most frustrating part was making sure everything worked. The worst portion of this entire project was the afternoon I got a video down to the final edit and tried to burn it. For some reason, the software kept saying I wasn’t putting in a recordable DVD in the drive when clearly I was putting in a recordable DVD. I couldn’t find an answer anywhere, online, I called Best Buy, Staples, everybody’s gave me the same answer, “Huh. Weird, it should be working.” Thanks a lot everybody. So I ended up having Staples send in the drive and get me a replacement drive, which worked perfectly. But for that afternoon…yikes. I was not a pleasant person to be around. But for the most part, the editing went fairly smooth, the biggest hiccup was trying to find a version of iMovie that had a chapter marker functionality. For some insane reason, Apple removed that tool from the previous version of iMovie when they upgraded to the version I have on my Mac (iMovie ’09). Thankfully, Colleen’s Mac is still kicking four years in and that had the older version of iMovie so we used that. The only problem is that hers is wicked slow so the process was slowed down a bit, but we still managed to get it done.

The covers were easier; Colleen and I went to the UIowa Main Library and used Photoshop to create the covers. I found a free cover template online that I loaded into Photoshop and changed around to feature our chapter titles, DVD titles, and stills from each video. We also made the backgrounds of each a different pastel color so put together the set of eight DVDs looks awesome. We just had them printed at Copyworks after their graphic designers resized the file so it would print to fit an actual DVD case.

Now a bit of the why: this is very possibly the biggest gift I’ve ever given or been involved in. Not physically big but more in the emotional attachment Colleen and I have to it. I’ve given some gifts in the past to Colleen that I was excited about, but this one was different, because it was really a joint effort between the two of us. It connected me to her and her family in a way that I hadn’t really expected. We spent many hours recording the raw video, figuring out chronological orders, adding clips together, editing out the many unwatchable, damaged parts of the VHS tape or random stuff like the 1988 Iowa/Iowa State basketball game Jim had preserved. In the past, when the girls would get out the old VHS tapes and watch them, I would usually watch and enjoy them to a certain extent, not as much as the girls but still laughing at seeing how they were when they were young. But working on this project connected me to this videos more deeply because the end result is ultimately ours. I wouldn’t label us “creative” types, and I don’t mean in the sense of being a unique personality (we are both pretty odd), but more in the sense of doing actual creating. We don’t paint, never had many drawing skills, never been much for creative writing, and we both are very musical but we don’t exactly create it. However, this project was an act of creation for the two of us. We took raw materials in an untouched form and turned them into something beautiful and creative. And finishing it up to give away is an emotional thing because it’s like your baby.

What made this gift especially meaningful for me to give away is that it’s exactly what I want to do with my career. At the core, librarianship is about getting information into the hands of people who want it and can’t find it. It’s about preservation of information and extending access to anyone who needs it. Colleen and I had a lot of raw information and a specific user set and we’ve connected the two beautifully. It was a very rewarding experience and I hope to do it again soon. The best part about it is that next time I do this type of a project, it will be so much more efficient because I’ve worked out 75% of the kinks and can visualize each piece of the process so much better than before. That being said, anybody who’s interested in hiring me, I’ll do a better job than Walgreens and for an insanely lower price. Just let me know. Seriously, I am itching to start another project.

But after all is said and done, can you really put a price on this?

That’s what our kids will look like.

-Jon

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Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Yesterday, Colleen ran 26.2 miles. It was incredible. She participated in the IMT Des Moines Marathon with 1,634 other runners. She was running with the Iowans for Africa group from Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls. The group was running to raise support for a elementary school being built in Mozambique, in the region they sponsor. There were about 60 or 70 runners from Orchard Hill, all wearing bright yellow shirts. It was really cool to see so many of those shirts pass as we cheered the runners on.

It was a really cool experience, even as a spectator. As a runner, obviously it’s incredibly physically draining and difficult, but ultimately rewarding. And as a spectator, it’s such an interesting atmosphere, there is so much goodwill among the thousands of people around. Everybody wants everybody else to finish strong and do their best. We all cheered not only our small group of runners we knew but also the entire Orchard Hill team and all the other runners working hard.

Colleen ran with her small group of friends with whom she’d been training since May. They all finished great, each about three or four minutes apart from each other. I was able to catch up with them eight times around the course to cheer them on. Colleen did such a great job, her final time was 4 hours, 43 minutes, and 31 seconds, and her average mile time was 10 minutes, 50 seconds. So great. She kept a very steady pace throughout the whole race, and only really slowed down to a walk for a few seconds at most water stops. I couldn’t be more proud.

So hip hip hooray for Colleen. She was very strong and determined throughout the whole run. Now if she could just get me to do the next one with her! *tuba noise*

-Jon

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I love Michael McDonald’s voice.

One thing that’s great about my wife is that she loves Time Life Records Classic Music collections. Especially their infomercials. The other night as we were flipping TV stations, we stumbled across the Classic Soft Rock collection. Now all their collections truly are really good, whether it’s the Classic Soul Ballads, Classic Rhythm & Blues, Midnight Soul, Flower Power, etc. But we started watching the Classic Soft Rock infomercial, because each infomercial has clips of the artists performing their hits while a clip of the song is played. One of the clips was The Doobie Brothers playing “What A Fool Believes.” Colleen says, “Oh I love this song!” and I reply, “Hm. Never heard it.” She responded with such incredulity that I immediately felt a little embarrassed but determined to get a hold of the whole song. I grabbed my computer, loaded up Youtube and away we went. This is what I found:

Holy crap. What a great tune. This is why Colleen is great. While I know lots and lots and lots of music, there is a lot of music from the last 50 years that most people know that is just absolutely awesome, like this song, but that I never heard or was ever exposed to because my parents listened to a lot of Michael Card while I was growing up. No old Chicago or 5th Dimension or Doobie Brothers or Paul Simon or Stevie Wonder or anything. So I missed tons of this good stuff. Music that I would absolutely love if only I knew about it. Thankfully, Colleen does. And she is educating me, little by little. So enjoy this tune if you haven’t heard it in a while. It’s incredible.

-Jon

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