Throwback Thursday – The Zoo Crew

Zoo Crew 1

Some of my greatest memories from college are wrapped around my fraternity and the great friends I had there. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding, so there will be a big celebration in late April that I will be attending – and as a result my times at the fraternity have been in my mind quite a bit lately.

Theta Xi fraternity was founded at my alma mater (RPI), making our chapter the Alpha chapter and making us feel connected to not just the history of our chapter, but also the overall history of the organization.

But that isn’t why we’re here …

I have a bunch of pictures taken through the years, many on my classic Kodak Disc camera. I also accumulated a few from others, and since two of my best friends (Ken and Jeff) were really good photographers – and Ken took a photography class that gave him access to a darkroom and development equipment – I ended up with even more.

The ‘collage’ at the top is a set of those, and was hung on my wall for a while, and has been safely stored since. You might notice at the bottom right a set of evenly-spaced holes on a tear-off strip. If you don’t know what this is, please setop – you’re making me feel old!

Here are the pictures one at a time:

Zoo Crew 3

My caption was ‘The Big McNugget’ … yeah, not a small guy, and really in need of a shave.

Zoo Crew 2

Ken being Ken. We all know those people who CAN actually pose for a nice picture, but has much more fun putting on a bit of a show. I would say that ~75% of my pictures of Ken featuer ‘personality in action’.

Zoo Crew 5

Jeff – or JT as we called him – could grow a major beard back in high school, and sported one throughout college. He also had a green jacket and overall look that earned him the ‘terrorist’ label back before that was something you just wouldn’t say.

Zoo Crew 4

The crew and the Zoo Mobile – this one Ken took of us out shopping in the Albany area. It is JT, myself and Nigel. Nigel transferred in and quickly became one of our best friends, and the group of us – including Pete K and some others – were inseparable. He definitely played up his British accent for the ladies, and so it is too bad that he left owing the house a decent debt and has basically not been heard from since. I had a brief exchange several years ago after I found him online, but that went cold as well.

We are leaning against what we called the Zoo Mobile. It was a little beater that Ken bought, and it really needed some help in terms of appearance, so we decided to really do it up! It was over summer break and … well, you can see the results.

To this day most of us are still in contact, and many of us will be back in Troy in late April. That particular weekend is overflowing with other family things (Proms, music events, etc) which makes leaving more stressful, but I am completely ready and excited to get to hang out with old friends, none of whom I’ve seen in 5 years, and many of whom I haven’t seen in more than 25 years!

So what special college memories do you have? Do you do any reunion things?

Wordless Wednesday #2 – a T-Rex Shout Out in USA Today!


OK, so I know I don’t really get this whole ‘wordless’ thing. Over at USA Today they have a feature called “14 spring races all runners should try”, and amongst them is the Wisconsin Marathon with the following text:

Wisconsin Marathon, Kenosha, Wis.: This flat-coursed race is all about enjoying unspoiled views of Lake Michigan while experiencing the cheerful atmosphere created by the camaraderie of a large group of fun-loving runners. Few race routes can compare with the Badger State’s lakefront landscapes, and when the scenic journey comes to an end runners are awarded with a Big Cheese medal and invited to a post-race party featuring live music and best of all, a free brat and beer.

The three women are wearing ‘Team T-Rex’ shirts, from the T-Rex Runner site. The person second-to-right is Danielle, the T-Rex Runner, and on the far right is her friend Amanda. The two of them are ‘Marathon Maniacs’, with a goal of running marathons in all 50 states. Danielle’s particular goal is to do it all before she turns 30.

T-Rex Runner is one of the first running blogs I hooked into nearly two years ago, based on a comment on a site recommended by one of the editors at another site I write for. It was (IIRC) the same post (which I can’t recall) that landed me at another fave – Because, really, how can you NOT click on the link for a commenter called ‘T-Rex Runner’ (or Veteran Runnah for that matter).

Her blog is full of humor as well as some very personal stories about early divorce, eating disorders, injuries, frustration, and so on. Also loads of rants, funny stories, race reports more about beer and bad hotels than running, and so on. It is a cool blog, she is a great person, and it was awesome seeing her featured (though not cited) in the USA Today article.

Throwback Thursday – A Kitchen Full of Cool Seniors

Senior Year with Friends

While looking for other pictures I came across this one and simply had to share. It is a party at my house in 1984 and a bunch of friends were over (note the Pepsi bottles). There are a few other notable things:

– You can see the clear early 80s style in the kitchen – dark cabinets, pumkin orange curtains and the floral wallpaper (OK, maybe THAT is more late-70s!).

– The people in the picture represent friends from most of the main areas in my life – academics/school, Equinox, video games, and jazz band. From left to right: Doug Meadows, me, Paul Masalsky, Mitch Dmohowski, and Paul Bunson. Let’s just say that I can see all of the personalities represented by the poses in the picture!

– I have no idea about the button, but I had forgotten that Doug had bleached that tail of his hair.

– You can tell we are geared up for college, as I am wearing my RPI sweatshirt and Paul is wearing a Penn shirt.

– Both Pauls are wearing their high school letter jackets – which makes me think of how even the THOUGHT of running was still nearly 5 years away.

It is interesting for me to see myself at that weight, which is just slightly more than I weighed at my birthday in early April of 2012. I carried the weight a bit differently back then – and I was on the climb towards REALLY being big!

As I have been looking back through digital and physical pictures recently, I have also been reminded of how few pictures we have from back when film and processing were expensive and inconvenient (remember lugging 8-9 rolls of film for a week long family vacation?) compared to the digital era – particular now with good-enough cell phone imaging.

To me there are upsides and downsides to that, but it also serves to make moments in time captured like this one even more special.