Sunday, June 22, 2008

Northgate Mysteries

I think we should start a list of mysteries that could potentially be solved. NGHS Mythbusters: Three that I can think of:

1) What was the deal with the rapellers off of the roof. I think Chris B. and John E. were involved. This was to hold a sign in front of the building. Rumor was that one of them actually had a gear failure (or operator error) and fell from the roof all the way to the concrete but was uninjured. True, False, or Exaggerated?

2) Who masterminded rolling a car into the building on the last day of our senior year? I remember Principal Hansen strolling around asking us if we knew anything...

3) Why is there a photo of guys dressed up as Chippendale's dancers in the yearbook? I know Chris B.(again), Matt C., a few others were in that pic. What is the deal?

If you have other mysteries, or can clear up any of the ones listed, let me know in comments or email...

13 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I don't know about #1.
I think #2 was Kenrick Mock (good job on that by the way, Kenrick!).
Somewhere I have a framed copy of #3 though I have no idea where it is and can't remember why it was made.

Amato said...

I also heard the rumor about Kenrick, perhaps he can write in an confirm or deny

Gary MacVicar said...

Hi Everybody,

John E. did have gear failure (not the least of which may have been is common sense failing:-) and did fall off the front of NGHS landing ass first. We were all in shock and he laughed it off and was otherwise unhurt.

Jeff, Camp sent this link to me and this is just an awesome idea. I will be sending you an update shortly.

G-

Amato said...

Gary, great to hear from you. What I can't figure out is how anyone could fall from that height onto concrete and not get hurt! Hopefully John will let us know what happened.

Matty said...

Bowhay had 'gear failure'? Yeah, makes sense.

Matty said...

I think Bowhay had 'gear failure' in both questions 1 and 3.

Forgive me father.

John E. said...

Here are the facts...as best as I know them.
#1. Yes, I fell off the school. Mark Schmidt and I climbed up and tied off to the air handlers on the roof. I was all hooked up and ready to go so I went over the edge first, Mark was still getting his harness tightened up. As I was waiting for him, hanging over the side with my feet on the wall something...and I think Gary is right with the common sense comment...made me adjust my grip. I consequently lost grip with my brake hand. So, no hand on the rope means no brake and zip, down I went. I had the friction of a 9 mm rope going through a figure-eight but that was it. Straight down on my ass and the only damage was a bruise where my wallet was. I distinctly remember looking up and seeing Mark's shocked face looking down on me. And me laughing. The next image is of Carter and Bowhay running up in shear panic that their idea had killed me. You see, Mark and I were up on the roof to hang a sign for the class of '86 which Matt wanted to be the parting shot in the Sentinel. He was there with the camera and Bowhay was there for moral support. They were standing at the bottom of the stairs so they couldn't see me hit the ground and Matt tells me he really thought he had just played a part in my death...
I climbed back up and did it again, correctly, and we got the picture.
#2 - I got blamed by the admin but I didn't do it. My only contribution was that Mark Schmidt and I set off the school alarm earlier that night putting away the sound system for a school dance. When the prank was pulled, the cops figured it was another false alarm so they only came and turned the system off and didn't check it out. A "marginal" participation at best. I think Carter can list all the players in this classic prank. Well done!
#3 - The Chippendale's picture was conceived, I think by Chris Bowhay, but there were others involved. It was a response to the girls in Student Council putting up a calendar of hunky men up in Dorothy Schmidt's office. We got all indignant and told them we would put up our own picture. Then, with the help of Mr. Schwerin, we got me, Matt Carter, Adam Miles, Mark Schmidt, Mike Bonnetti, and Chris Bowhay to pose as Chippendale's guys. Then, at one of the student council meetings we had Bowhay give an elaborate speech about how offended we were at the girl's picture and we wanted to put one up of our own, he then unveiled it to a chorus of laughter. I've still got the picture somewhere in a storage box...and boy are we geeky looking kids.

matt carter said...

Aaah, blocked memories. Yes, I was sure I killed Engstrom when he managed to zip off the roof uncontrolled. An impressive piece of bad rapelling (and even worse judgement in art direction). For #3, I think Bowhay or Engstrom had some part in sourcing the key but the deed was done by others (Kenrick/Kevin Plazak?)

Re: Chippendales picture, I have no comment.

Dr. Jeff said...

Actually, I don't think the main problem was all John's fault. It is very difficult to control your rate of descent with a single 9 mm rope. Because it is so thin, it has very little friction, particularly if you are heavy. So using a 10 or 10.5mm would have been easier to control. Also, if Bowhay or Carter was holding the bottom of the rope, you never would have fallen!

John E. said...

Oh, the key. I had forgotten about the key. Mr. Wood gave me and Bowhay the school master key for some reason or other and we zipped off to Ace Hardware and got a copy made. I think it was freely distributed after that...

--It's hard to believe I actually went on to teach rapelling at summer camp...Jeff, you are right, a belay man would have been perfect but we weren't smart enough for that. My main mistake was letting go of the brake line...not sure what I was thinking. It is very hard to find it again in the middle of a fall.
I did go on that day to rapelle several more times. I remember at one point the school secretary came out, looked at us, and went back inside shaking her head...hard to imagine that happening these days.

Anonymous said...

ok so the rappelling story is a good one...but I don't remember the picture/sign in front of the school? Do I need to go dig out my yearbook and search?

...and I believe the title of the Chippendale's photos was "Men of Cabinet" :)

Michelle said...

Wow! Great to hear the ins and outs of all these stories (again). I still have my autographed and framed "Men of Cabinet" photo (somewhere). John, you were never geeky, in fact, truth be told, we all preferred yours to the real one. Great memories guys....

Chris Bowhay said...

Gear Failure, indeed! Thanks, Matty! That's something worse than a wardrobe malfunction...
1. The rappelling mystery has been unravelled by the victim himself, so I don't think I need to comment further. Suffice it to say, near-death experiences are supposed to involve the spirit rising up, not the body plummeting down.
2. The mysterious car incident has also been mostly unravelled. In order to protect the guilty, I'll not say who asked us for the key that poor, unwitting Mr. Wood gave to John E. and me. (In truth, he didn't give it to us, but loaned a copy for a "late night" newspaper session, which we promptly took to the hardware store in Ygnacio Valley Road, carefully taping the "do not copy" imprint with masking tape marked "shed" and greasing it up with oil and dirt. We didn't know what purpose it might serve some day, but we knew that day would come.) The true perps behind the car plot approached us, somehow learning of our contraband. For several nights before the attempt, they carefully set off the school alarms, bringing our beloved, affable principal to the school in his bathrobe, training him to think that there was something wrong with the alarm system. This was in case they accidentally triggered the alarm on the night of the event. To avoid this, they used duct tape to cover the motion-trigger alarms installed in the doorframes. I was not present at the school that night; John and I had played our parts and had exited the stage. But the next morning was rather glorious.

Now that I work at a Church with a School, I remember this event when our Seniors pull their pranks. This year they managed to use an old-school block-and-tackle to hoist a 500-pound statue of St. Francis onto the tower overlooking the church entrance, dressing him in a Batman mask and cape so that he looked exactly like the mournful superhero looking down on his fragile, corrupt Gotham. It was pretty sweet.

3. The "Chippendale's" faux-ster was our greatest glory that would become our greatest shame. Here's the context:
Long before the days of the Spice Girls and their commercialized use of market-driven "girl power," there was a generation of young women that were strong, confident, and unafraid of seeming sexy. At least, that's the way they seemed to me, who wandered the halls of our school in a constant state of pheremonal inebriation. I recall an underground movement of these young women who used to prowl the streets of Walnut Creek, allegedly dressed only in lingerie, seeking to assault the homes of their male classmates with toilet-paper. Weren't they called something like "G.N." for "Get Naked?" Heady times indeed. I barely remember a group of us somehow learning of one of their assaults, and intercepting them en flagrante. Perhaps this incident is yet another mystery of the class of '86? Anyone remember it?

Anyway, raised in a time when Alan Alda was an icon of sensitive masculinity, many young men in the class of '86 felt powerless when beholding the goddesses before us. (Anyone remember Jake Barnes from The Sun Also Rises?) For some, the nadir of our humiliation was when certain of these young women placed a chippendale's poster on the interior walls of that weird, circular air-freshener shaped room just outside the cafeteria which served as the "student government" room, as if it were their private locker room in which we were ignorable eunuchs. Enough was enough. Somehow, some of us thought we should reclaim our dignity and counter-act that pathetic poster with one of our own. So, with Mr. Schwerin's help, and with Charlotte Ng liberally applying water to our hairless chests (hmm-maybe it was Charlotte's idea), we did a photo shoot. We presented the poster at a student council meeting, and I'll never know if the cries from those present were of shock, delight, or horror. From that day forward, none of us could ever run for political office, for fear that photo would be dredged up and used against us.

Thus shame and glory are mingled together, transfixed in a moment of black-and-white time, adorned with strippers' bow ties.