Category Archives: Willy

The Roundball Oracles: Year 4

2005-William McAlpine
2006-William McAlpine
2007-Tim Peterson

Now the name Mark Wolfram will sit proudly next to theirs. The miracle comeback of Kansas made them champions. It also made Mark the third champion of The Roundball Oracles (An NCAA tournament pool).

The Final Standings:

  1. Mark Wolfram (Taiwan Hoops) 136 points
  2. Lowell Davis (Davis) 114 points
  3. Jesse Howard (Goldie’s Bracket Brilliance) 108 points
  4. Dan Dill (dandydan) 92 points
  5. Corey Faust (UCLA Love) 90 points
  6. Jason Baier (Baier’s Winning Bracket) 90 points
  7. Tim Peterson (Dominate Monkey) 87 points
  8. Toby Sebring (esgefhg) 85 points
  9. Me (The Zechariah of the Hardwood) 85 points
  10. Willy McAlpine (william) 84 points
  11. Bill Wentworth (Bill’s) 84 points
  12. Frank Meiners (FHM) 75 points
  13. Nate Buckingham (Wade Lookingbill allstars) 73 points
  14. Robert Henning (Drake Bandwagon) 64 points
  15. Russell Kennerly (Fighting Grossmans) 61 points

A trophy has been ordered and will be given to Mark when he returns from Taiwan. I miss college basketball already.

Test Camera

A few months ago Nader gave me a camera to test for his trip to London. I put in a roll of film and took some test shots. Then I put the camera away and forgot about it. I finally finished off the roll and got it developed. I thought I would share some of the images, not because of any of them are particularly interesting, but because maybe they are interesting as a whole. A study of intermittent shots taking over time from a forgotten camera.

Computer Mine Basketball Hoop



Self Portrait

Fat Jake

Jay Snuggly

Fat Jake

Willy: Keeper of Fat Jake

Fat Jake




Party in Jesse’s Office



Deer through Windows of “The Quad”

Computer Mine Basketball Hoop


Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

I find myself suddenly surrounded by world travelers. Sara left for Panama on Thursday. Nader is heading to London in a few weeks. Willy is visiting Peru (most likely) in a couple of months. Me? I think Des Moines is the furthest I’ve traveled this year. Wow, that suddenly seems really pathetic.

I got an e-mail from Mark on Monday. He sent me a couple of pictures from his recent trip to Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay

Mark in Vietnam

Mark was in Vietnam putting on a workshop on teaching English. He also got to see some POW camps and Ho Chi Minh’s grave. I’m trying not to be jealous of Mark, but it isn’t working out so well.

Home is not where you live, but where they understand you…

I talked to Nate last night. I had long heard rumors that he was leaving the Tuscon area. His housemate had flaked out and it was time for him to move on. The rumor mill spat out three locations where Nate might be moving. There was Phoenix, there was Minneapolis, and there was Boone. I finally got a hold of Nate last night and it turns out that he chose the most beautiful and exotic of locales and will be returning to Boone as soon as his house in Tuscon gets rented. This might very well be a brief stop as he looks for lucrative employment in his chosen profession, (kicking ass and taking names in the kitchen) but it will be good to have him back in the area for at least a little while.

This is 10% luck, 20% skill; 15% concentrated power of will…

125 145 151
127 140 183
145 139 167
160 143 183

Those numbers represent my bowling scores from the last 4 weeks. I don’t discuss my bowling league much. I don’t take pride in my bowling. I’m probably in the bottom 10 of the bowlers in the league. However, those numbers are respectable by my standards. Yet, despite putting up decent numbers, I was in a horrible slump. I had not earned a single point against human competition since before Christmas.

Then last night I had a breakthrough. I was lined up against Matt Haub. I’ve known Matt for several years. We used to work together. So I felt a little bad that my breakthrough came against him, but I still need to celebrate that I swept him and my nearly two month long streak of futility has come to an end.

I defeated him by scores of:

160-136 (231-217 with handicap)
143-114 (214-195)
183-126 (254-207)

Maybe it was more a product of Matt having a bad night, but after 2 months of wandering in the desert, I’ll take it.

Selfish Request

On Thursday night an e-mail found its way into my inbox at work. The title of the e-mail was Selfish Request. It was from Jay. The e-mail read a little something like this:

I have a request to make of you.

Much like my commission of “Revelry” or “Monicaville Sunset” I am asking one of my friends to flex their creative muscles and create a work of art. 

This piece is not for any event and has no other purpose but to serve as my (and possibly your) delectation. 

I would like you to compose a poem. 

The form and style is entirely up to you–length, rhyming/non-rhyming, A-B B-A stanzas, couplet, limerick, quatraine–I don’t care. However, as with the painting for Symposium, I shall choose the subject matter. I really hope you don’t choose Haiku form because I feel it’s just too limiting (however, it would be a hilarious ironic choice considering the subject), but I won’t hold you to it. 

The subject is one that I only know about through you. In fact I think you’re the only person I have ever heard speak about it. The impression left on you was obvious and profound. When you spoke of it I remember the tone of nostalgia in your voice. It was equally a ridiculous and magical event. It was the Coal Miner’s Glove. 

You have complete freedom on this. Any direction you want to take is entirely up to you. My only condition (not really a firm one) is that it be completed by St. Valentine’s Day–I have a lady friend I want to impress. 

There are actually several weird things about this e-mail. First, I don’t think it is a selfish request. It was just thrown in the wrong direction. A terribly wrong direction. The first reason why I’m the wrong person to ask is that I have no passion about anything that is remotely related to wrestling. Nothing great can be accomplished without enthusiasm. I’m not sure how Jay could have misconstrued anything I have ever said into thinking that I had any passion for anything that would be related to wrestling. I guess he just doesn’t get me. It is sad to come to this conclusion after all these years of friendship.

The second reason why I’m the wrong person to make such a request is because I don’t write poetry. I wish I did. I wish I could. I like poetry. I admire people that can write it. I sometimes fancy myself a writer, but poetry is not in the skill set. 

Strangely enough I can think of 2 of Jay’s friends off the top of my head that could write him a beautiful and haunting poem. Both Monica and Willy are poets of some note. Both could do a more than capable job. There poetry would be both sublime and exquisite. Mine will be nonexistent. 

The final reason that I’m the wrong person to ask is that simply enough, I don’t have the time. I’m struggling to find the time to work on the projects that I want to work on. I don’t have the time to do a project that I don’t want to work on. So there will be no poem from me for Valentine’s Day or any other day. 

That is my bit of selfishness. 

Journal Entry No. 200

This is the 200th post on this online journal. I’m kind of surprised it took me this long to get to 200. It has been well over a year since I started this online journal. I’m finally starting to get into a groove with entering things daily and keeping things nice and short.

Tonight I went to Willy’s home bar, Club Element. I didn’t go there with Willy because he would never lower himself to go with one of his friends. I’ve heard the legend of how Club Element is a little kids’ bar, but I didn’t see any evidence. There was no ball pit or water slide. My main impressions of Club Element were that it was ridiculously small and surprisingly well lit. It also had one of the ugliest interior designs of a bar I’ve ever seen. The pool table looked to be in pretty sad shape as well.

On the other hand, the seats were comfortable and the company was great. I went with Derrick and Jen to see a band called Inebriated Saints. The Inebriated Saints is fronted by the old lead singer of UnHingd Mike DiMarco. When we got to Club Element we met up with Shannon and Becky.

It was interesting hearing Mike’s latest incarnation. They played many of the old songs from UnHingd, but the sound was definitely louder and more distorted. It wasn’t as distorted as Against the Grain, but much more distorted than the dulcet guitar tone that Derrick Gorshe laid down when he was in UnHingd.

This marked my 2nd trip to a bar this year. There is a chance that I might make a third trip this Saturday to see 35 South. That is Dennis’ band. They are a southern rock cover band. Derrick is their official sound guy. I only went to a bar 3 or 4 times all of last year. I think I will have to take a few months off if I go on Saturday.

I’m not a fan of bar photography, but I have been considering purchasing a small camera that would be easier to take into places where I can’t lug in my big expensive cameras. Last night would have been a good night to have such a camera. I would have enjoyed documenting the Club Element experience. I could have proven to Willy that I was there.

Feline Porcine

It seems to me that everybody I know that chooses to house two cats always seem to have the same two types of cats. One cat is amiable. The other cat is the spawn of Satan.

My friend Willy (see image below) is an excellent example of a person in just such a situation.


What makes Willy’s situation more interesting is that his nice cat is obscenely obese. Below are some pictures of Jake, one fat cat.







I also photographed the less interesting demon cat Toby, just in case you were interested in looking upon the face of evil.



We are quickly approaching Jay’s annual wine tasting party known as Symposium. This event always lies on the 2nd Saturday in January. Interestingly enough, this also happens to be the same way that Patterson Dental picks the date for their holiday party. This puts Willy in a bit of a boggle, but he usually selects the side that will give him the most free booze.

Although I officially gave up the bottle over a year ago, I decided to bring a bottle of wine to the shindig. I sent an e-mail to Mr. Janson alerting him to the coming bottle so that he would know not to stock his bar with another bottle of the same ilk.

Jay wrote me back:

You know you needn’t bring anything to Symposium; your presence is gift enough. With the condition that you eat and drink to your desire and endeavor to make merry, leaving all burdens of strife and ill-feeling on the street below.

I told him that I couldn’t be held to such strict standards and was offended that my presence which was allegedly a “gift”, was only welcome based on certain conditions. I told him that I didn’t want to be held to any such standards and therefore my bringing this bottle of wine would make up for any shortcomings I had when compared to his arbitrary set of standards. After all, I really hate drunk people and certainly can’t be the best me when I’m around people that aren’t fun to be around.

He said, that I couldn’t buy my way into Symposium if I had a bad attitude. Furthermore, if I chose to bring a guest, they would only be welcome if he “approved” of them.

I still have chosen to try to buy my way into Symposium. I picked up a bottle of Country Road Red from the White Oak Winery near Elkhart.


You see, I can’t eat and drink to my desire. That is called gluttony.

I can’t endeavor to make merry. There are two definitions for the term “make merry”. One is to be happy or festive. The other definition is to make fun of or ridicule. These seem to be contrary concepts and being a man, I can’t balance this dichotomy in my head without making it explode. Does Jay want me to try and be happy? Well that is ridiculous. Happiness is not something that you can try to be. You can pursue happiness, but you can’t make yourself happy. Not when the dude next to you is drinking out of the spit bucket. Then he must want me to pursue the second definition. He wants me to make fun of and ridicule his other guests. What kind of a host invites one guy to belittle his other guests? I’m more than capable of doing this activity, but it isn’t something I want to do. Unless that dude is drinking out of the spit bucket again.

Then finally, he wants me to leave all burdens of strife and ill-feeling on the street below. Why does it matter? For starters, I can’t leave my burdens behind. They are part of who I am and if Jay doesn’t want the real me there, why did I get an invitation in the first place? As for the ill-feelings, I’m going to need those ill-feelings when I’m making merry on McAlpine for wearing a watch that doesn’t work because he thinks it looks cool. Why do they have to be left on the street? Is this even physically possible? Is there a ceremony that you perform to do such a thing any way?

Since I can’t live up to Jay’s conditions, (who makes conditions on their friends any way, whatever happened to unconditional love?) I am using my bottle of wine as my “License to be a Dick”. Isn’t that what most people consider alcohol to be any way?

A Great Saturday

Many great things happened on Saturday.

Iowa State beat Kansas State
I got to take my nephew Johnathan to his first ever Cyclone football game.
I got to tailgate with the Fausts, Willy, Jay, and Derrick.

Then just to put icing on the Great Day Cake:

Kansas put up over 70 points on Nebraska< Navy beat Notre Dame for the first time in 43 years. Don't just glide over that last sentence. Think about that for a second. Notre Dame had beaten Navy 43 straight times. It is hard to fathom losing anything 43 straight times. To put it in perspective, the last time that Navy beat Notre Dame, Kennedy was still President. I do have the pictures from the ISU victory posted. All you have to do is click on the picture of the link below:

ISU vs. Kansas State

Johnny Consumer

I’d like to think that I had a better than average week this week. It started out poorly as the Padres lost to the Rockies in a play in game and despite the fact that the umpire blew the call that gave the Rockies the win, I accept the loss because the umpires also blew a call that would have given the Rockies another run and ended the game in their favor after 9 innings.

Tuesday night I got the pleasure of changing the spark plugs in my car. So now when I’m cruising up the entrance ramp on my way home from work the engine doesn’t misfire or hesitate. Then on Wednesday night I changed out both front wheel bearings on the car, so now instead of listening to an intense grinding noise where ever I go, I hear only the sweet hum of my engine and whatever tune is currently emanating from the iPod.

In all honesty (I worry that I’m pointing out my honesty too much lately, which might make me seem like a less than honest person. Truth be known, I’m an honest person face to face. It is only in these blogs that I tell half truths [such as there is no Book of Maximum Overdrive – at least one that isn’t a prophetic text] to slightly skew the perspective of these tales.) it is my brother-in-law Jason that actually changed the spark plugs and the wheel bearings, but I did stay in the garage to provide enlightening and engaging conversation, in addition to moral support.

On Thursday night I got myself a haircut from Monica. During that time I learned that Monica had briefly dated a guy that played the bagpipes. I couldn’t believe that she had broken up with a piper. I know the strong spell that the sound of bagpipes put on the women folk, even though this “fact” was called into question by some women folk on Saturday night, I stand by my assertion.

After the haircut, I attended an Ames Jaycees meeting with Shannon. It is the contention of Shannon that if I were to join the Jaycees, I could take pictures of “ground zero” at next year’s Independence Day fireworks display.

The meeting took place at the Jaycees haunted house which is just north of the Halloween “Bootique” in North Grand Mall. The meeting began with a tour of the haunted house. This year they are having a pirate themed haunted house that is sure to scare the “ship” out of you. Don’t blame me if you didn’t like that play on words. I’m just reporting the facts.

After the tour everybody was guided back to an extremely large bathroom where the meeting was held. I think that Shannon thought that this aspect would be my favorite part of the meeting. This aspect was amusing, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the meeting.

A little while back I (at least I believe) mildly offended Shannon by calling her hyper-organized. She confessed (yes I’m acting like being organized is a crime) to be organized, but not to an insane degree that one would need to use or even manufacture a label such as “hyper-organized” and apply it to her.

Shannon is a Jaycees bigwig. Although I don’t believe that I’m revealing any Jaycees secrets by letting you know that in fact the bigwigs do no wear big wigs, to indicate the amount of power within their grasp. They just sit at the front of the room.

There were times when the meeting would seem to lose its focus. I would describe the meeting as having gone off on a tangent because of my love for mathematics. Others in the room would describe such a set of circumstances as “chasing rabbits” based on their love for Jefferson Airplane. Regardless of what euphemism you would use to describe the situation, on at least three occasions Shannon had to redirect the meeting to bring it back to its agenda prescribed focus or to point out some error the meeting had made in parliamentary procedure. Each time, despite a game effort to conceal it, she clearly displayed an amount of irritation. These moments were my favorite aspect of the meeting. But she isn’t hyper-organized.

After the meeting I went out to supper with Monica and Suzie. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the piper. However, it was slightly disappointing as it turns out the piper never once fired up the bagpipes for Monica. Although he did once show her is rather large and extensive collection of bagpipe CDs.

FNSC met at Dublin Bay. There is not a tremendous amount to report from those proceedings. Just the usual. Trying to get Willy to sign off on one of us wearing a bear suit and jumping out and surprising the people he hikes with on Saturdays so that he could look like a hero in front of them when he wrestles the bear and wins.

On Saturday night I was spared listening to the Cyclones thrashing by Tech by going out to eat with Russell, Andree, Jason and Janelle to celebrate Janelle’s emancipation from Dasher Mismanagement.

This was a good time as I learned that Jay “Mr. Secret” Janson has been keeping a secret from me, again. You have to keep an eye on that guy and that Janelle is actually more over insured than I am.

It is always an enjoyable night with those guys as I get to listen to Russell reveal one crackpot sports opinion after another. (Texas Tech is a top 25 team, Nebraska is going to be good this year, Bill Calahan is a good coach, Terrell Davis isn’t a Hall of Famer, the Celtics are winning the East next year) Then Jason gets to try to defend the Chiefs and Andree provides the only other voice of reason. Janelle is a Cubs and Bears fan, so it is was a good time watching the Diamondbacks eliminate the Cubs. The highlight of the night being when the Cubs loaded the bases with one out and some Cub grounded into a double play to end the inning. As for the Bears? Just discussing the NFL in front of a Bears fan is usually punishment enough for them. Some of them actually thought the Bears were going to be good this year.

After the Emancipation Celebration, I hopped into my quiet smooth running car for the trip down to Beaverdale for Sara’s birthday party. I had been charged with the task of inviting her Boone County friends to the party. Although I was diligent in my duty, I was also derelict in my execution.

I spread the word, but I spread the wrong time. In fact, it wasn’t until late Saturday afternoon that I learned that I had spread misinformation. Due to a new set of signs(indicating the need for quiet to facilitate or respect the “world class support” going on in our midst) at the computer mine, I now have my phone on vibrate all the time and now I never get my calls.

I missed a call from Jen. She called to tell me that the party was at 8, which was super since I told everybody 7, and asked if I would like to carpool with them down to the social event of October. However, I would not be able to reach her at home because she was going shopping. I would not be able to reach her on her cell phone because the battery was dead. Furthermore, I would not be able to reach Derrick on his cell phone because he had left it at home. Therefore I was to call Derrick at work and reveal my answer.

Sara’s party was yet another stunning success. I can’t lie. Sara goes through a dizzying array of Des Moines friends. They usually range from intolerable to “how has this person not been choked to death?” Sara’s party last year was a quick adventure for me. I made it 5 minutes before it was time for me to leave.

However, the current crop of Des Moines friends are keepers. I look forward to seeing them at social engagements in the future. I even learned their names for future reference. Something I’ve never done in the past.

Also, I got to discuss the movie “Once” with Derrick. That was another win for me, because at this time, I really enjoy discussing this movie.

Now might be a good time to discuss the future. Not the important future. Just the future of where some of my money is going to go.

As everybody knows, Tuesday is the day that new movies, CDs, and books get released. This coming Tuesday might be the greatest Tuesday of 2007.


Two great things are being released on Tuesday. First is Stephen Colbert’s new book “I Am America (And So Can You!)”. Secondly, a new Post Secret book is being released. I can’t wait.

I’m so excited I just think I might embed a video about Post Secret.