Blast from Someone Else's Past

The other night, I junked out on PBS (I love the News Hour). There's a local show about Cincinnati events. For some reason, the show played a long clip from Hamilton High School Class of 1956's 50th High School Reunion DVD. It looked like everyone was having a great time--particularly one lady (featured in the clip). The very beginning of the clip is from the dinner performance by The Avalons (here's their updated website). Nailed it.

I hope my 50th high school class reunion is just as magical to me as this lady's was to her. Bye, Y'all.

Blast from the Passed: Chanson des Voyageurs

I've played in several groups in my brief time on this planet. In recent years, I've played with The Prodigals and was a voice in The Rhubarbitones. After three years of law school and getting so close to the end of the law student chapter of our life, I realize how I sometimes miss making music on a daily basis. I was talking with my buddy Joel about his ever-growing music career, and I remembered how we used to sit in the computer lab at Samford or stand on various stages and work on creating music for hours and hours and hours. Will I miss it? Definitely, but I didn't go through law school without gigging a little. Let me introduce the greatest law school band that there ever was (look for me on the drum kit; we were "rebuilding"):

We only played together three times (though we're hoping to get some Franklin Pierce alumni meeting gigs). Our school has an annual show, and we served as the house band for all three years. Every year, we had a little different lineup in the group, but our core consisted of Dan "Flashy Fingers" Landau, Nate "The Meat" Harris, Gaelan "Pretty Mouth" Flannery, and Austin "Dry Spell" Padgett.

We made some great music together, and we had a strong following in the Greater Concord region (which includes Concord Heights). In fact, it would be safe to say that we were the best law school band in the South-Central New Hampshire area.

We were known as The Tortfeasors from the the beginning. Though we thought of other names (e.g., The Attractive Nuisances), we adopted the perfect band name. With any other name, we would have had to practice more than we did. We practiced as little as possible because the annual show was always scheduled right after midterm exams.

While we were known for the soul-searching lyrics, soaring vocals, and sparse textures in our music, we also had a reputation for wearing awesome "get-ups." In the picture above, we came out for our final set--after an evening of bow ties and corduroy jackets (with elbow patches)--wearing track suits. Man, we looked amazing. Historical/Editorial Note: The drum set pictured belonged to the school. Though we abused it (turning it over, etc.), it deserved a better fate than what the school gave it.

I will miss playing with these guys. My favorite days in law school were spent with an instrument in hand.

Final Note: I read this post to Anna, and she said that it sounded "sad." To be clear, I love what I'll be doing in law. It is actually a creative outlet, and I love helping people figure out how to best protect and get what they want out of their work.

Blast from the Passed: Choir Tour 2003

Before I begin the substantive portion of this post, I just wanted to remind everyone that the title of the post series--involving the word "passed"--is totally intentional. My upcoming career depends on people having faith in my ability to distinguish between the homophones "past" and "passed." As explained in the first entry of the series and somewhat in another post (referencing The Power of Positive Thinking), I'm trying to take little steps to convince myself that the bar exam is a done deal--that I've already "passed" the test. It's not as clever as I first intended it to be, but it's too late to jump ship . . . in more ways than you know.

Now, today's post is a series of photographs from Samford University A Capella Choir Tour in 2003 (the same week the U.S. started to bomb Iraq for their supposed weapons of mass destruction; remember that?). On our choir tour, we got the privilege of staying in people's homes (and eating most/all of their stored rations). Usually, this was a great experience, but there were some homes along the way that freaked us out. First picture:

In 2003, one of the homes we stayed at took in four guys: me, Greg (pictured below), Terrance (pictured above), and Brett. The family that took us in for the night had a great home, but, while touring us around, they showed us the son's room where Terrance would be sleeping--complete with a confederate naval flag hung above the bed. Next picture.To give the son some credit, he had a lot of various flags in his room. So, while we were a little creeped out (particularly at making Terrance sleep in that bed), it might have just been part of his collection. We soon found out that the kid also had a fairly expansive collection of sharp blades to go along with it. Next picture:

I've given the kid a happy face and some anonymity in case he grew up and changed. I wouldn't want his life to be ruined just because he retained his boyish face. After a while, the kid kept showing us a bunch of weird stuff, and we would take pictures and video of every minute of it. The next picture of the kid, the samurai sword, and Terrance's hilarious face is one of my favorite pictures ever.

The kid also had an extensive collection of various guns whether they were hanging on the wall or in a built-in-china-cabinet-turned-into-a-gun-rack. The weaponry just never stopped.

My next favorite picture comes from when we were hanging out with the entire family. The kid was needing some attention, and he really wanted to show us his favorite knife. He was so fascinated by Terrance and made sure that T saw every knife he brought out. It was just a weird night, but I always love having these experiences. They're like the choir boy version of war stories. There are tons of others. Perhaps I'll share more in some other post.

Blast from the Passed: Measure of a Man

What is the measure of a man? In the Padgett household, every man will be measured against a giant, wooden cutout of a Polar bear. If any man be less than a polar bear in his heart, he is not a Padgett.

This picture comes from the Cincinnati Zoo when my mom and brother came up circa 2004. The Cincinnati Zoo has a wide assortment of creatures. The polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are hilarious in their pool; they like to do backstrokes. I'm not joking. I've thought about trying to organize some sort of crude, pay-per-view race between Michael Phelps and a polar bear. It would be man versus bear in water. Of course, with an improper lane change, it turns into a mauling. It would probably be hard to get the financing for such an event considering the insurance costs. Oh well.

On another note: When I was researching my M.M. thesis, I came across a Cincinnati Zoo postcard that Elgar sent to his daughter (with some help from a librarian with the Elgar Society--shout out!). It had some sort of inside joke written on it that, like the Enigma Variations, still remains unsolved.

Blast from the Passed: Far and Away

I've been falling behind on the blog; I admit it. With the bar exam getting closer with each minute, I start to feel guilty when I'm not thinking about the exam. It sounds weird, I'm sure, but I know you've had something in your life like this.

With that said, the blog will slow down between now and August. I promise to kick it back into high gear after that. For now, I thought it would be fun to do some shorter posts since Anna and I have been going through old photographs. In a nod to positive vibes for the bar exam, we'll be calling this series "Blast from the Passed." Here's our first entry:

That's me and the then-future Mrs. Padgett in Russia circa 2001. We're standing outside Peter the Great's Palace in Peterhof. It is an amazing place, simply unbelievable. The gardens go on forever, and the fountains are very, very "tricky."

Potter Goes Hufflepuff

I promise this is the last look-a-like post for a while (see this post and this post for previous discussion). After my previous post, Nate reminded me of a providential encounter with a man at The Barley House.

Imagine walking into a room and realizing that you're looking at the darker side of yourself: your fears, your most evil, unrealized thoughts. That is exactly what happened to me a couple of summers ago (see picture). First clue--we were wearing the same shirt. Really, the only difference is the facial hair, a few extra pounds, chunkier glasses, and lack of a pretzel in hand. I congratulated the guy on his good looks, and he, mine. I don't want to go on about the encounter because it still spooks me.

Though it's already been written, it bears repeating: the encounter was like the Mirror, Mirror episode of Star Trek. Never have I felt more like Spock. I've needed some new glasses, so I'm thinking of going with the chunkier frames. Thoughts?


This weekend was Anna's birthday, so I planned a few things around the city for us to do as a celebration. First, we headed down to Fountain Square (pictured below, click on the link for a beautiful HDR image of the fountain). We live two blocks down and one block over from the Square, and it is definitely the heart of the downtown area. When work starts up, my office will be a block from the fountain.

PNC bank, in conjunction with others, sponsors a series of totally free events on Fountain Square during the week. They play movies and Reds games on the jumbo screen overhanging the square, have a food market on some days, and lots of other stuff. Every Thursday over the summer, there will be salsa dancing with a live band on the Square from 7 to 10. Thus, the birthday celebration began.

The organizers moved the cafe-style tables around to make an open dance floor in front of the band (Son del Caribe). The band was tight (big shout out to the trombone section), and they have the personalities in their group that will make people get out and shake what their mothers and, possibly, fathers gave them. There were some very experienced couples out there, who were fun to watch/mimic/bump into, but the dance floor was definitely a "no-judgment zone," free for anyone--including some of the "local natives"--to come out, move, and have a great time.
During the band's breaks, a salsa instructor came out and led 200+ people through the steps for the Bachata. Unlike the Duggars, who have a family rule against dancing, the Padgett household presumes dancing will occur unless there is clear and convincing evidence against it (attending a funeral, etc.). We successfully added the passionate Bachata to our repetoire.
We danced and had fun for a while, but it's hard to dance for long when the world's greatest ice cream vendor has opened a shop right on the square. So, we grabbed some ice cream to more-than-offset any of the calories that dancing might have burned. We returned home and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

On Friday night, I took Anna to Pompilio's (pictured below, photo credit to some Flickr user), an Italian eatery in Newport. Again, we had a fun, and the restaurant's courtyard made me hope that the next Wii title is WiiBocce. I would hope that they would include online play. If they could get it ready by early June of 2010, it would save me some time in picking out a present for Anna's birthday. Done and done.

Shaking Our Fists

Just to be clear, we now live in Cincinnati. Here's the weird thing: we live in the same building that we moved out of when we left Cincinnati three years ago. As a married couple, it is "our first place" and "our third place" all at the same time.

Our apartment building is downtown, just a few blocks from where I'll be working after I cakewalk the bar (See The Power of Positive Thinking). When we lived here before, there was a great restaurant in the bottom of the building. That restaurant is gone now, and the new tenants are less-than-desirable neighbors. I normally wouldn't disparage a local business--particularly on our blog, but this bar has started to ruin our lives.

During the day, the place is pretty quiet. I've had one of their burgers, and it's really good food. Though the bar bills itself as a "sports bar," I would offer that multiple televisions doth not a sports bar make. I look at the activities, like the Thursday night Beer Pong tournaments. Over the past month, the bar offered a Carnival-style theme every Saturday night, including a fire-breathing man placed--brilliantly--on the public sidewalk. While these events are not a problem by themselves, the bar accompanies these events with subwoofer-heavy club music until closing (2:30 a.m.). Sports bar? Not likely.

I invite the bar, their administration, their landlords, and our dear readers to take a look at Cincinnati's noise ordinance. I invite the fire marshal to visit during peak times. I would also invite some particularly proud fathers to come downtown and watch their daughters dance on top of the tabletops for some of Cincinnati's finest gents.

We're having a really hard time getting to sleep on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The thumping and primal screaming is keeping us awake, and it's really messing with Addy. This doesn't provide for the best bar-exam-studying environment either. We're complaining up the chain, but we'd also love the economic downturn to hit this establishment really hard. At least as hard as they pump the dance-club music. "In the club, in the club . . ."

Of course, we're old coots down in our souls (see picture above). It's just that it's a terrible disappointment. I thought the city was getting better, but now we've got a bunch of mouth-breathing miscreants down below.