27 years, 60 years, and five more days (but not in that order)

Jeff graduates from middle school on Friday. I didn’t have the opportunity, since I went to a combined Junior/Senior High School (J. R. Tucker High, which is now grades 9-12 only), and Diane said there was no ceremony when she finished her years at her junior high school.

That’s not the case these days — I think they’re making as big a deal of middle school graduation as we had for high school. There was a big party on last Friday night, and the seniors…oops, 8th graders all get to go to Great America on Tuesday. Wednesday through Friday are minimum days, and while tomorrow is supposed to be a “normal” day, I suspect learning is over for the year.

We took advantage of the party to go out for an early anniversary dinner at Crimson. It was definitely not an Early Bird dinner, though — we had the daily special (blue snapper, aka opakapaka), wine, salad, dessert, and coffee, and the bill was…well, let’s just say we were way out of Early Bird territory. I’d go back for the dessert in a minute (molten chocolate cake), but I’m not sure the rest of the meal was worth the price. But the company was great!

Saturday was our actual anniversary; we got up early to go see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at a special showing organized by the IBM Club, beginning at 9am. Actually, we would have been thrilled if the showing had begun at 9am — the trailers didn’t start till 9:15 or so, and the movie started at 9:30. It was excellent; I thought it was the best of the three so far.

We weren’t able to follow our usual custom and stay through the closing credits, though, because Jeff had been invited to a birthday party, and we had to get there on time (or at least not very late), because the main attraction was a showing of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. So we dashed from the Century Capitol complex to the Century Oakridge and got him there in time for the show.

I guess Jeff got by on popcorn, candy, and Icees — we, on the other hand, strolled down to the Cheesecake Factory for an anniversary lunch. I’d never been to Cheesecake Factory, although I’d heard of their enormous portions and long waiting lines. Fortunately, they offered lunch-sized versions of the pasta and salad dishes, and there were plenty of empty tables, so we had a very pleasant experience (though we had no room for dessert). And the bill for the whole meal was less than we’d spent for one entree the evening before.

Today, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the D-Day special programming on XM Channel 4. They’ve been playing news broadcasts from D-Day at the precise time that they aired 60 years ago — it was very interesting. I was surprised to learn how much of what was broadcast came from Nazi sources, especially early in the invasion; later in the day, they used official Allied information, but they continued to pass along information from German sources with disclaimers. Hearing the real broadcasts brought home the way it must have been to live through the events in a way that reading news articles can’t.

The broadcasts kept referring to “Eastern War Time”, which I knew was equivalent to Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-0400) but maintained year-round. I was curious to know when the US went to “War Time” and when it returned to Standard Time, so, of course, I Googled for the information. “Eastern War Time” turned out to be a bad search phrase for this query (but many of the sites I visited were fascinating reading). Eventually, I decided to try “War Time began” and found the answer I wanted on the top hit — an astrology site (apparently, one needs to know the precise time of birth in Sidereal Time to cast a horoscope, and Daylight Time and its equivalents must be taken into account). By the way, War Time began on February 9, 1942, and ended September 30, 1945.