Back in the mid-90s we got the idea that watching someone else work would be a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

1995…Dan: “Got any plans for the next ten Thanksgivings?”
Dante: “Hmmm. Where’s this going?”

The decade of the Dante Circles (1995-2004) is fast becoming history. But like lots of history, it only seems to get grander in its passing.

So it is that this weekend I am again fondly remembering all those years that Dante, Janusz and Paul came down to Portland for the three days following Thanksgiving to blow “cups” while we drank champagne and brunched on the bleachers. It was our celebration of glass. Humored by Dante & Friends we got to sit in front of the furnaces watching them work.

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I know I promised to write about the GAS conference. You’d think that I’d have something to say about a project that consumed over a year of my life.  Maybe a simple BESTS & MOSTS list like Cynthia’s.

Oddly though, my BESTS were a little too much like my WORSTS. Stuff like:

EIGHTEEN HUNDRED GLASS FANATICS…

…craning for a view (the bleached head in the upper right-hand corner of the frame is me), I can’t deny the rock-concert allure of mobs watching really good blowers (and Paul Cunningham doing a Moje roll-up fills that bill brilliantly).

But somehow, conversing through a bullhorn lacks a certain intimacy.

…even if Dan seemed to enjoy the hell out of herding hundreds of compliant souls around the factory.

I appreciate the organizational steroids it takes to manage a project of this size, but I came away from  GAS  with a heightened appreciation for conferences on the scale of Ausglass‘ or North Lands’, where human contact doesn’t mean having your hand ground into the steel bleachers by some kid’s Doc Martens as he scrambles for a seat.

OK. Clearly I’m still in GAS rehab. I WILL try to find some less curmudgeonly BESTS in a day or two.

For now, I’m off to confer with the most appealing crowd in THIS neighborhood.