Yeah, that's right -- I hit another "landmark" number. I've already told you about me (or at least a big enough chunk that I'm not going to do it again), so I'm gonna follow the example of a couple of you others, and tell you a little about my family. (Also, I was scolded pretty severely by my sister when she read my 1,000th, because she was barely mentioned.) However, I'm also going to let this be an "Ask me Questions" thread, though I'll probably be at least a little bit slow in responding to some of the questions, since my answers are so rarely simple and straightforward.
When I say I'm going to tell you a little about my family, that's just what I mean -- a little. The impact they all have had on my life has been so much a part of me that it would be impossible to tell all or even a decent part of what I consider important. Therefore, I decided that I would tell one story about each of them -- though I will admit that even as I'm now writing this, I haven't decided which story to tell. (I contacted some of them to get their input, though I didn't necessarily use their suggestions.) For those who have read The Worthing Saga, I feel as though I'm Lared, trying to come up with that "one day" of Jason's life that's worth writing. Also, to be clear, when I say family I'm referring to the one in which I grew up. Mama Squirrel and Mooselet are my family now, too, and have become more important to me. But that doesn't mean the others have become less important. My capacity for love of family has simply increased.
First, my dad -- Clarence Archibald Sloan, Jr. I'm his oldest son (my older brother is actually a half-brother), so I might have been named Clarence Archibald Sloan III. I asked him once why he didn't name me that, and he said, "I wouldn't do that to my son." But that's not the tale I wish to tell. I have many wonderful memories of my dad (I call him "Pops," by the way ), and he has been a great example to me of what a father should be, and what it means to be part of a community. He pretty much operates under two philosophies when it comes to parenting -- Proverbs 22:6, and Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle." Unfortunately, my most powerful memory of my dad is not a happy one. He and I were playing tennis, and, well, he was winning. As I mentioned in my 1,000th post, I am not a good loser -- well, maybe good at losing, but not good about it. So I got all mad, and yelled enough to make McEnroe wince, then threw the tennis racket on the ground. My dad came over and tried to tell me that I needn't get so upset (it should be noted that my dad never played easier on the kids -- he played to win), that it was only a game. In response, I pushed him.
It wasn't much of a push -- he didn't fall down or anything. Just a little shove. But the look on his face is one I will never forget -- not surprise, not anger, but just a look that meant "I must have failed as a father." He was so hurt and disappointed. In my entire life since that point, I have remembered that look, and my lowest points have been when I know I earned it again, even if not from him. And even when I don't get that look, I sometimes know I deserve it, and so I struggle not to. I'm a lot better now, but I mostly avoid competition. That look might be the reason why.
Ok, now my mom, though I'll try to keep it a little shorter. Patt Francis Sloan. When I think of her full name I think Patricia Francis Sloan, but she says Mrs. Sloan is her mother-in-law and Patricia is her mother's daughter, and she is Patt. I don't have one specific memory to choose regarding my mom -- it's an overall sense. My mom cries. A lot. Like me, she doesn't really cry because she's sad -- it's because she's happy. Little things make her cry -- little, beautiful, wonderful, joy-in-the-midst-of-life things. I remember her telling me of a time when she was visiting at my sister Maureen's house, and Maureen was telling her daughter not to pull her younger brother out the door by his collar. She said, "Ok, mommy," then grabbed the boy by the collar and started dragging him again. "Calliope, I told you not to pull him like that."
"But I want him to see the beautiful sunset!"
And my mom not only cried at the time, but also cries when retelling the story. She also cries at lots of movies, and, well, she cries a lot. You get the picture. She's an example to me in this way, too -- crying at these things is how I know whether or not I'm in good emotional health. She suggested a couple other stories, and they're good ones that I may some day tell here at Hatrack, but heck, they'd probably make her cry, too, so I'll stick with what I've got here.
My older brother, Mark Edward Sloan. Mark was pretty much the most dysfunctional member of the family -- the one who had all the problems while growing up. Being 5 years older than my sister (and thus 6 older than me and 9 older than my younger brother), he grew up in a different crowd, and so had a much different experience growing up than the rest of us. 5 years doesn't seem like much now, but when I was 10, 15 seemed an eternity away. My memory of him could be the time he plowed the car through the garage door when driving home drunk, but I don't really remember that; I just heard about it later (and noticed that the garage door now seemed to be four pieces instead of one big one). His suggestion was the time when, despite him being the only one of the four kids who really couldn't sing, he was Lionel Ritchie and we were the Commodores. He would sing "That's why I'm easy" and we would all chant "ah ah ah ah." Or when he composed the blues song about Maynard, the good ol' dog, who did nothing but eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom.
My best memory is when he would babysit for the three younger kids. We, under his direction, made peanut butter balls -- a mixture of peanut butter, cocoa powder, honey, sugar, and maybe some other stuff. Theoretically, these were to be eaten, but he taught us how much fun it could be to throw them against the wall! They would flatten into peanut butter pancakes, peel off the wall like silly putty, and be ready to be thrown again. Hey look, no mess! Yeah, we still ate them after many, many throws, and they were good. And our parents never had to know.
I also remember the next morning, when by the sunlight streaming in the east-facing sliding glass door, we could see myriad little oil circles all over the walls, and the furniture, and the picture frames.... They hadn't been visible in the dim lamplight the night before, but they shone like silver dollars that morning. I don't know precisely what punishment was exacted upon my brother for this, but I'm guessing he didn't like it.
My sister, Maureen Frances Christen Quessenberry (née Sloan). Maureen was a year ahead of me in school, which certainly made school memorable. Maureen was also a straight-A student, with a straight-E (excellent) citizenship record as well, and probably perfect attendance, knowing her. This made my life difficult, but she really gave me something to aim for. She doesn't see it that way, though -- I believe she thought it was her purpose to make my life hell, since I was always a grade younger than the "cool" students. To her credit, though, Maureen is the sibling who has taken OSC to heart -- read everything I've given her, buys her own copies now while they're still available only in hardback, and reads them to her science classes (she's a teacher now). She even purchased a Dragon Army T-shirt and gave it as a present to one of her students. If that ain't a cool teacher, I don't know what is.
I was speaking with her on the phone, and asking her what she remembered. Together, we decided on a story that, interestingly, we remember entirely differently. Her version is probably more accurate, but mine makes for a better story. I was a year ahead in math classes, so she and I were taking calculus at the same time. Our teacher was actually a college professor who came to the school just to teach calculus, so rather than AP credits we got actual college credits for the class. I had always hated homework, and it didn't help me to learn the subject. She, however, needed the homework to learn. So we made a deal with the professor -- between the two of us, we would only turn in one homework assignment. Maureen did the homework, and when she had any problems with it, I would explain it to her. This way, we both learned the math in our own way, we both got credit for the homework, and we both aced the tests. What a great idea! More teachers should work this way.
Only apparently this wasn't how it went. The real story was this -- she did the homework, and I aced the test. I remember the agreement with the professor as us sharing the homework assignment, but apparently we shared the test score, too. So sure, we both got the homework credit and both got credited for acing the tests, so we both got A's in the class. The problem was that she didn't learn calculus. She could do it well enough most of the time to finish the homework, but she didn't remember any of it. So when she got to college and had to take the third semester of calculus without knowing anything, she didn't do so well (and blamed me, of course). I think it's fascinating that we've both told the story over and over, but never reconciled it between us, and so use it for completely different reasons.
Daniel Arthur Sloan is my younger brother -- the baby. I don't care that he's 31 years old; he's still the baby, and he'll probably readily accept the title. Dan was (and is) the closest thing we had to a jock in the family. He plays every sport, and plays them all well. He blows the image by also being frighteningly intelligent, but in a street smarts rather than bookish sort of way (not that he's at all ignorant when it comes to book-smarts, mind you). He's like Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny" -- nothing gets by him, especially when it's intended to. No accent, but a very sharp dresser (though the credit for that really goes to his girlfriend). And I get his hand-me-downs, which are usually nicer than clothes I buy new.
I'm having a tough time picking out a memory of Dan. Dan and I fought through most of our younger years. We shared a room until I was 15, which undoubtedly helped usher in lots of the fights. He and I have been much closer since I left home, actually. I thought about telling the story of when he kicked me in the eye, but that's just another fight. I thought about the time he sent me to the emergency room by throwing a broken pool cue and hitting me in the temple, but that was actually an accident (or so he has said...). I guess that at this point in my life, my favorite memories of Dan are those of us singing duets at karaoke. Probably half of the time I make it down to San Diego to visit (all but Mark still live in the area), I do some karaoke with Dan. Now we can sing at his house, since he has a machine and a large enough collection of discs that he could probably go into business. Although it may not be our best number, we rarely miss the opportunity to sing "I'm Gonna Be 500 Miles" by The Proclaimers. We did it on video once -- I sure hope someone has burned that by now. Though come to think of it, that might have been "Daydream Believer." Well, whatever -- we sing lots of songs, and I'd rather sing a duet with him than a solo any day of the week.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have grown up with the family I did. I mean, sure, Mrs. Card probably thinks my mom is a wacko (maybe I'll tell that story some time), and heck -- maybe she's right. Last I knew, my mom still wanted to be a fire truck when she grows up. But I learned so much from her -- that good results don't mean you did right and bad results don't mean you did wrong, that there is beauty in simple things, that crying does not make one weak, and much more. And sure, my dad's puns would rival the worst ones at Hatrack -- I'll be kind enough not to repeat them here -- but his unwavering commitment to family and community will stay with me always. For example, he's still involved in Boy Scouts and PTA, even though his youngest is 31 years old. My older brother has been an example of perseverance to me -- a man who has had tremendous difficulty in life, mainly due to having made some poor decisions of his own, but has come out the other side a stronger and better person. He's been sober for 18 years now, and has a beautiful wife and family and a little dog "Dozer" that never seems to run out of energy. My sister, a teacher who wants nothing more than to share the best things with everyone (OSC's books being an excellent example of this). She'd disagree and tell you there are many other things she wants, but I'm writing this, not she. And my younger brother, also a teacher, who if nothing else has allowed me to practice the "coming out the other side a better and stronger person" without having to hit some very low points. Growing up it might have seemed that we would never get along, but as adults we can, and the friendship that we have is something I value highly. He would also fit in incredibly well here at Hatrack (this is high praise in my book), and I've tried to get him here....
Anyway, you get the point. They're my family, and I love them. So if there's anything you like about me, you likely owe it to them. And if there isn't, well, that's probably my fault.
Yeah, ouch, that really hurt. Oh wait, no it didn't, this is a message board. I'm not physically anywhere near you. Call me bitter and a jackass, but it was bad enough that everyone copied Papa's first one once, if everyone's gonna do them every 1000 posts, I'm gonna start commenting.
Posts: 1360 | Registered: Jul 2002
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What is that Paul? I haven't finished reading Papa's post, but I think that's a rather glib reply to someone who is trying to tell us about himself. If your not interested, don't read it, but don't trivialize this experience for the rest of us. I like to hear about Papa Moose's life and his family, so if you would rather not know, stay out of this thread.
I liked the stories Popa Moose! I am curious, however, as to what effect your grandparents have had on you....if any? I know that one of my grand-parents (my Dad's side) really were almost as important to me as my parents.
I specifically mentioned this one because PapaMoose already had a 1000th post thread not too long ago, the first of its kind, and now if people are going to start following his example and making 2 or more of these, it's going to strongly annoy me. It already annoys me, because post count is something that is incredibly unimportant, and these landmark threads serve to stimulate no conversation, normally. Having more of them will not result in good things.
Posts: 1360 | Registered: Jul 2002
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Well, I suppose I probably won't get quite as choked up rereading this down the line as I did with my first one. Paul, I'm sorry you feel the way you do, and I guess in a selfish manner I'm sorrier that you decided to bring it up in my thread.
Advice -- Do you mean two eggs and one piece of bacon? I assume you're referring to the smilies that I so rarely use. [Added later -- Oh, and speaking of frying pans, see below.]
Kama -- Moose was never a family name -- it's a first name. For the record, though, my mom is a sheep, my younger brother is a horse, and my sister is a bunny. I think of my dad as a yak (if you ever get into a conversation with him you'd know why ). My older brother never really had an animal name. I used to refer to him as an iguana (never to him, though), but it didn't really fit. I'm not sure what does.
Hobbes -- My grandparents didn't have a very great effect, as I recall. What I remember is this -- my mom's dad's last wish was that she would have a left-handed aquarius. I was born February 17th, and I was clearly dominantly left-handed, so I fit his criteria. He said he was ready to die, and did so shortly thereafter; thus, I really never knew him. Mooselet's middle name (Vincent) was his middle name, too, though. My mom's mom (Grammie) lived in San Diego, but I still didn't see her all that often. I remember going to her house and playing games (a little box that had 64 different games, of which I probably played three). She also gave me a frying pan for Christmas one year, because that's what I had asked for. I wanted to be able to fry my own eggs just like my dad. Unfortunately, it was a cast-iron pan, and nobody told me about the necessity for seasoning such pans. It rusted after I used it once, and then sat in the cupboard for a long time, then was thrown out. *sigh*
My dad's parents lived in Kansas, but they would come to visit San Diego pretty much every winter (for the weather). My grandpa was pretty laid back. He just wanted to play golf, watch the news, and eat good steak. When asked whether or not he wanted steak sauce, his response was "I sure hope not." My grandma loved me. She probably wouldn't have said I was her favorite, but nobody else doubted it. The thing I most remember is that when visiting them (either at their apartment in San Diego, or when we went out to Kansas) was that they would have Honeycomb cereal available, which I thought was fantastic, and wasn't the kind of cereal we would likely have in our house.
One other memory that is rather telling in regard to both my grandmother and my parents was a deal she made with my parents -- well, actually an offer for a deal that my parents didn't accept. My younger brother was going on a trip to Hawaii with some classmates from high school. My grandmother didn't think he should go, and offered to pay for my college education if my parents would not allow him to go on the trip. I only heard about this deal much later, of course -- she wouldn't have said anything to me.
It's really cool to find out more about you. Do you still play tennis? I'm always looking for someone to play with. Maybe we could meet in Texas one day after work and hit.
Posts: 4624 | Registered: Jul 2002
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No, afraid I stopped playing tennis pretty much when I left for college. And I've tried playing a couple times since then (while on vacation), and the occasional tendonitis in my wrist seems to make it so that I really can't hold the racket well enough to play. If the ball hits anywhere but the exact center of the racket (and even sometimes when it hits there), I get a sharp shooting pain in my arm.
I was never any good anyway. I mean, my dad could beat me at it. Besides, I'd rather come to Florida than meet in Texas.
Well, I have really loved all these landmark threads in which people tell about themselves. I really hope they do continue. Paul, how about if we clearly mark them as such in the topic heading, so you can know not to open them? I've got 5k coming up soon and I was thinking of doing something similar.
Posts: 5509 | Registered: May 1999
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When I made my landmark post thread spoof thread, I did it because up until that point landmark threads were more of a hey-look-at-all-the-posts-I-have-thing. I wasn't as annoyed by them as Leto was, but it was a chance to make a meta-comment on something and at the same time mock myself---and I never pass up a chance for that.
What Papa Moose and the others who have posted landmark post threads have done in the past six (seven?) months is to institute an amazing discourse that, imo, has done more to build Hatrack as a community than almost any other jatraquero phenomenon [well, maybe except for mafia ;-)].
The idea that folks would be willing to share themselves in this way is totally awesome. I'm not saying that I want us to all become chummy, sentimental, look-at-my life people. But the saving grace of the landmark post thread is that it has developed it's own set of discourse parameters that people generally follow. It's a good thing. And I'm glad that Papa Moose did it again.
Belle -- I spent a lot of the afternoon thinking about your question, and although I'm not entirely satisfied with the following answer, it's the best I could come up with. It's like a Willy Loman sort of thing (Death of a Salesman for any who don't recognize that) -- I just want people to think well of me, I guess. There isn't a specific thing I'd like to accomplish, though if I did cure cancer or something that'd be great, too. To change the wording of your quote just a little, it'd be something like "Papa Moose, oh yeah, I know him. The world would be a better place if there were more people like him." Pretty selfish, I suppose. But I guess that's better than "wasn't he in the acknowledgements of a book once?"
Advice -- sorry for being slow on the uptake. Did I grow up religious? I'd definitely have to say yes. My parents are both Catholic, and I grew up going to mass every Sunday, was baptized, did confession, took communion, got confirmed, was in the youth group at church, went to a Christian summer camp every year, did a family bible study every Wednesday night and my parents read to us from the Chronicles of Narnia every Sunday, etc. I suppose these are things that made me religious, though they weren't all things that made me a Christian, or even spiritual in general.
I was a seeker. I felt something was missing, not necessarily in Catholicism, but at least in my church and especially in my youth group. A friend invited me to bible study at his church (Southern Baptist), so I started attending that bible study while still going to mass and the other youth group, then started going to two services at that church (morning/evening on Sunday) in addition. Those folks weren't using "youth group" as an excuse to drink and smoke without parents bothering to ask what was going on, which at the very least seemed more likely to lead me to something good.
Later on I cycled through some other denominations, not so much looking for more accuracy about God, but looking for a community. I had some basics in my beliefs, but a lot of the differences between denominations were things I considered fairly unimportant anyway, so I looked within my make-or-break issues for a place where I felt I "should" be. Not overly ritualistic, but not overly charismatic, either (though ranging between Catholicism and Vineyard did give me a pretty good cross-section). Does this answer the question?
Mack -- I love racquetball, actually. I'm horrendously out of practice, but if we ever meet, I'll try to remember to bring my racquet. I usually do well when it comes to just plain go-get-the-ball action, but when someone knows how to use all four walls effectively, I can usually get smoked. My quickness can make up for some of it, but skill wins out over guts in the long run, or so my experience has led me to believe.
I think that's all the questions, at least as of the time I started writing this post. Any more?
Ralphie - Mmm... patronizinglicious. I'd request you stop unfairly labeling me a troll because I have a contrary opinion. It's not like I mentioned it for no reason, or that I didn't back it up when people didn't get it immediately. I'd say it's more trollish of you to just say "Don't feed the trolls" to someone else, to get a negative reaction out of me. Can you say "double standard?" Can you say "hypocrite?"
aka - It's not so much that I mistakenly open them, I never do. The point is that it clutters up the front page and archive to have 20 or 30 of these fairly pointless threads sitting around. Yeah, the biographies let you get to know someone better, which is why I usually refrain from posting in them or opening them, since they do serve some purpose. However, to have a second thread to the same effect is fairly lame.
ravenclaw - They don't usually come from the same person twice. For instance, if I were to post a landmark thread, I'd probably go with either 1000th for this name, or 3000th or 4000th for all my names combined. Considering I ammassed my first 2000 posts before Papa Moose posted his 1000th post thread, if I were to go for a landmark, I'd want to go with whatever I was at. As far as I know, Papa's the only one that has two.
Those are all very beautiful stories Papa. I don't know why I chose that word, but it seemed to fit. I really wish my family was that close (or at least as close as you made them sound). If your family is even partially the kind of people you described them as being, you are truly blessed.
Posts: 3852 | Registered: Feb 2002
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I hardly ever show contemptuous disdain for people who express themselves differently than I. In fact, there are only specific ways that some people express themselves that I even feel contemptuous disdain for. This is not one of them. This is a kind of issue that has nothing to do with the method of expression (Thread on a Message Board > Long Post > Biographical Post), but rather with the appropriateness of using said method of expression in such a way.
For instance, since he has already posted a long, biographical landmark thread on this message board, and they usually end up resulting in very little intelligent discussion (and can thus be categorized as "fluff" threads), I think it's rather redundant for Papa Moose to post yet another one.
Especially since he was also the pioneer of the Dobie Thread Thread, which kept the clutter resulting from Dobies to a minimum by containing them to one thread. Obviously this would not work with Landmark threads, as they are too varying in nature, but I was implying that keeping it to one landmark post would suffice, in my off-beat way.
Thanks, Pop, for once again helping Hatrack become the best online community I've ever seen. The milestone threads are some of the favorites at this house -- we love them and appreciate you starting them. And your 2K post continues the legacy in a marvelous way. Kristine Card
(p.s. to complainers -- knock it off. It isn't nice to stomp on people when they are sharing their personal life. Remember Thumper's Daddy -- If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all -- I would say that definately applies to threads like this one among civilized people.)
Papa Moose is one of coolest Hatrackers there is (and I think that the average Hatracker is incredibly cool, which shows how much I think of Pop). Here's to another 2,000 posts! (And more landmark threads, too.)
Posts: 9786 | Registered: Sep 2002
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Thanks Papa Moose. I come here to unwind and calm down when all hell is breaking loose. All I really read are so called fluff threads because I don't need anything heavier right now. I greatly appreciate these posts letting me glimpse the beauty in others lives. Its my therapy I guess. So thanks again, I really appreciate it.
Posts: 1131 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!
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Enjoyed your post, Pop, especially the bits about the peanut butter pancakes and the Karaoke. A friend’s mom has an incriminating video of me doing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and I’ve often considered offering a moderately priced search-and-destroy service for those of us in similarly compromising positions. I’ll keep you posted.
Btw, I heard a wild rumor that you’ve worked with the improv group Comedy Sportz. Do you do much with them anymore?
Toretha -- I don't know when I'll share that one. And to be clear, my mom said that Mrs. Card probably thinks she's a wacko. It's not that Mrs. Card said that, just that my mom thinks she could have gotten that impression from a short conversation they had at a book signing. I doubt Mrs. Card really thinks my mom is a wacko. I'm sure I'll tell the story some time, though.
Deirdre -- I was the house manager of the Santa Barbara CompedySportz troupe for three-and-a-half years. Well, I was "door guy" for the first year or so, then told them I wanted a title bump. That city has since closed the show, and I believe the main players all moved to San Diego. I saw one show there, as well as seeing a number of old friends. But no, I don't do much with them any more. I heard a rumor that the San Diego group had ceased being ComedySportz and became "National Comedy Theatre" or something -- essentially a lot of the same improv things, but no scorekeeping and no brown-bag foul. I can't verify that, though. It'd be sad if it really happened.
I did also go through the first set of workshops, and did well enough at them to be invited to take the second set. The team owner was actually disappointed that he was certain to lose his house manager. But I decided that my particular type of humor was, in fact, much more suited to greeting people at the door. I've never considered myself to be a "performer," but I was good at getting people in the mood for the show. Plus, I could get more seats in the room and still leave walkspace than anyone else could. Ah, the life of a mathematician.
The other sorta weird thing at the time was that the owner of the ComedySportz team had the same name as my manager at my real job (Sears). So if I got a phone message from my boss "Gary Kramer," I still wouldn't necessarily know who it was.
Papa Moose! I'm sorry I missed this wonderful thread. You have a great way of telling stories, really you do! I want more. And I don't even want to wait until your next milestone. Just keep telling us about yourself and we'll all sit here spellbound.
I really felt it when your dad gave you that look. I cry a lot too -- movies, poignant stories that dkw tells over Peruvian food in Minneapolis, books, stuff that you post... It's all good.
You are definitely a pillar of this little community and it's nice for this family to get to know your real-life family a little better.
Mooselet is a lucky kid, IMHO. To have a dad who can see so deeply and express things so well. I bet your dad would NOT give you a look of disapproval over the way you raise your own son. And from that, he'd know he had done a great job himself.