A man is at the dentist’s office for a routine visit when the dentist notices that his plate is severely corroded.

“Your plate is severely corroded,” says the dentist.  “Have you changed your diet recently?”

“Why yes,” says the patient.  “Six months ago my wife introduced me to eggs Benedict.  I fell in love with the hollandaise sauce and now I put it on everything.”

“That’s it!” says the dentist.  “Hollandaise sauce contains lemon juice, which is very acidic, which explains the corrosion.  I can replace your plate, but I have to make it out of chrome.”

“Because,” replies the dentist, “there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.”

The Band Played On

In keeping with our major activities this year, we present this Annual Recap of Our Fascinating Lives in the form of a musical extravaganza.  So while our readers are still in stunned silence from the overture – hit it, boys!

Climb Every Mountain [1]

Our story opens on Mt. Hood on a snowy February day, with the Power Pep Band (PPB) riding the Ski Bowl chairlift and hoping to be reunited with the tuba forlornly disappearing up the mountain behind a snowmobile.  One thought predominates:  back in the fall, a benefit performance for the Scotty Graham Memorial Extreme Games seemed like such a good idea.  But hey, the show must go on!  So we schlep to our open-sided tent and start honking on our large brass heat sinks.  The tricky parts prove to be keeping fingers nimble [2] and ignoring the gentle downhill slide as the snow under our feet deliquesces into a delightfully icy slope.  Nonetheless, we live to tell the tale despite discovering you can “bottom out” a descending chairlift on the snow-covered roof of a warming shed if you put enough large people on one section of cable!

Click here for the rest of the photo saga.

Now that's a couple of cool cats!

First giant elephant to the left
and straight on 'til morning

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boise

Our ‘exotic’ trip this year took us to the wilds of Idaho with 75 other Get A Life Marching Band (GAL) members for the Boise River Festival.  We terrorized the “normal” people on a Southwest Airlines flight, spent a drenched-but-fun-filled afternoon at Roaring Springs Water Park, oohed at hot air balloons, aahed at the Night-Lite parade, and learned Comeau’s Commandment for Road Trips.[3]  And of course strutted our stuff (with Janet dodging a road-kill squirrel[4]) on parade day, the first time we’d been in a parade with Macy’s-type helium balloons.
But possibly the most fun was the two high-energy shows that the PPB did on the sidewalk outside Boise’s well-known Bitter Creek Ale House for a raucous crowd.  We got paid in pitchers – which our “band buddies” promptly drank for us while we performed.

Want more stories and photos from the trip?  Click here.

  Rockin' out at Bitter Creek Ale House

A-Maizing Grace

In October the PPB did a Halloween show at The Pumpkin Patch just outside Portland.  The place is huge – hay rides, fresh produce, food booths, the obligatory orange gourds,[5] – and a huge cornfield maze that we got to trek through for free.  Naturally, we took full instrumentation and played Hall of the Mountain King and other Halloween favorites at Maize center.

Wanna share the whole day (including "the glint of horns in the corn)? Step right this way!

Heather and Janet escape The Maize
Halloween happened to fall on our usual PPB rehearsal night this year – waaay too much of an omen to ignore.  Yeah, we played a few tunes, but most of the evening went into a party filled with ghoulies, ghosties, long-leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night.[6]  Janet went as nature’s most perfect food, [7] while Steve indulged his new-found fascination with the Nickelodeon cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants.

Lots more photos from the evening available by clicking here.

Melts in your mouth ...   Spongebob rules!

On the Streets Where We Live

GAL and the One More Time Around Again Marching Band did a record number of Portland area parades this year, including five through downtown[8] (four on TV!) plus four more in the ‘burbs.  See the whole parade season here.

Post-parade story of the year:  As we walk back to the car in Multnomah Village, band buddy Wayne grabs us:  “There’s a blues band playing in the bank parking lot. They asked if anybody would like to sit in, and I told ‘em I knew some people who would.”  Yeah, right.  But we can’t resist checking out the band, which in the middle of a chorus as we wander up.


That’s when the keyboard player says “you’re next, blues in C, here comes the turn.”  Suddenly Steve’s a busker thinking “well, at least there’s not anyone here who knows us if we screw up” – until we discover an old Purdue classmate sitting in the front row.  Ah well, nothing like incentive!  We improvised two choruses apiece, left with our pride intact, and even got a free CD out of the deal.
Goofing with the crowd in downtown Portland on July 4th   Bubbles shorten the waiting time

Highlights of the PPB year include the Portland Trailblazers, Rose Festival Airshow, Festival of (Christmas) Trees (pix), and Uncle Otto’s Oktoberfest, where we were a hit despite a notable dearth of accordions.  We added to the band’s collection of “celebrity photos” by meeting U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer and assorted Portland Parks commissioners at a trail opening for Metro (the governmental agency Janet works for).

Click here for Earl Blumenauer and pix from the rest of the event.

PPB's newest trombonist - Portland City Commisioner
Jim Francesconi

The I Have A Dream class[9] that Janet and I help sponsor got a special command performance – including an “instrument petting zoo” that gave the kids a chance to try out nearly every instrument in the band including the sousaphone. 

No longer content with gradually eroding the musicality of the bands as a performer, Steve has launched a full frontal assault as GAL director and PPB co-director, and has written a couple of arrangements for PPB. To hear a MIDI rendition of Steve's Hap–PPB Birthday (which combines the classic tune with the Beatles' Happy Birthday to You), click here.

"Saxes are coolest!"

Shall We Dance?

Second Wind Jazz Ensemble, our 14-piece dance band, now rehearses weekly in our bonus room.  The neighbors claim to enjoy the music – in fact, they complain if we don’t open the windows on warm nights.  This summer we held a successful Monday Margarita Madness neighborhood bash at the end of our driveway, dragging extension cords from the garage to power the amps and the blenders.  Notable gigs included Sail for the Cure (raising money to combat breast cancer) and a fund-raiser for South West Music School that we taped and turned into our first CD.  Still Breathing has extremely limited distribution, but we can probably rustle you up a copy if you’re dying to hear it. If you'll settle for a few selected tracks, they're available here for your listening pleasure.


Night and Dayton

In October we flew east to see Janet’s Mom in Dayton where we all stayed glued to the set throughout the exciting Giants-Angels World Series.  We also saw her brother Jim for the first time since his divorce this year and met his lady friend Cheryl.  While in the neighborhood, we swung down to Cincinnati to see long-time Segda family friends Chris and John Bebej who plied us with Graeter’s ice cream, voted Cinci’s best in 2002.

Ice cream with Mom & Chris Bebej
Two Floridians wishing it were warmer

Brotherhood of Man

At Thanksgiving we enjoyed a week-long visit from Steve’s brother Ken and family.  We hit all the local highlights:  Saturday Market, Powell’s City of Books, Herman the Sturgeon (huge!) at Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Six-year-old train-freak Kris got plenty of rides on MAX, the light rail system. Since they’re Floridians, the kids particularly enjoyed the novelty of pelting each other (and us!) with snowballs on Mt. Hood.  And in keeping with our mania, we impressed our 15-year-old nephew into service as a GAL waterboy at the Meier & Frank Holiday Parade.  Welcome to the band, Nick!

Whistle While You Work

To our occasional surprise, we are still gainfully employed.[10]  Janet completed her eighth year with Metro, which means she has almost enough seniority to learn Superman’s secret identity.[11]  She was recently the star witness at a hearing over disputed garbage-hauling fees; nobody tops our girl when there’s trash-talkin’ to be done.  Steve is a Senior Principal Engineer in Intel’s Corporate Technology Group, providing strategic guidance to a variety of programs.  Much of this year was devoted to exploring new entertainment possibilities with high-tech parts of the movie industry, including visits to Dreamworks animation, George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, and Industrial Light & Magic.  Prop highlights:  ET’s “flying bicycle”, the fishing boat from Jaws, a life-size Star Wars storm trooper – and actually touching the “Han Solo in carbonite” block from the end of The Empire Strikes Back.

Adieu, Adieu, to Yieu and Yieu and Yieu

Darn!  We’ve run out of time, so you’ll have to quiz Janet directly for the answer to the question “Just what is it about you, band photos, and Port-a-Potties?”  We wish you more than your share of health, happiness, and humor throughout 2003.



With love,

Steve & Janet







[1] Or possibly There’s Snow Business Like Show Business.

[2] Janet swears that at one point all the sax players had their left thumbs in their mouths for warmth!

[3] What happens on the road, stays on the road!

[4] And assiduously applying Comeau’s Commandment!

[5] Hey – no comments about how convenient this is because we’re out of our gourds!

[6] Turned out this was just the drummers having an off night.

[7] Were you aware that theobroma, the genus name for chocolate, means “food of the gods”?

[8] We especially liked setting off 3 car alarms in a 6 block parade at Chinese New Year!

[9] The IHAD program adopts an entire class of 3rd graders from a low-income area and helps them reach their education and career goals via a 10-year program of mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment with an assured opportunity for higher education.  Check it out – it’s a great program.

[10] Important because it allows us to nod meaningfully when people yell “Don’t quit your day jobs!”

[11] Oh wait – that’s Metropolis …