Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Desert...

Every now and then you get a seed planted in your head and it sticks there. My old friend Mark lived in Sierra Vista AZ for quite a while. When we met in piano tuning school years ago, he told stories of where he lived, not far from Tombstone and the odd town that is Bisbee. Back in 82, my whole concept of geography was Chicago and the Mid-west. I would question Mark about the desert and AZ. You know things like "wait a minute, you mean you really have seen a tumble weed rolling down the street?" and "come on, does it really get that hot?" I had no clue. In my service to the evil health insurance empire, I was able to spend quite a bit of time in AZ, mainly Scottsdale and Tucson.
For 6 years I spent about 8 weeks a year out there. At one point during the peak of the hot monsoon season it would cool down to 100 by 10pm. So I guess that answers that question... IT GET'S FREAK'N HOT! The desert also smells like a wet dog when it rains. I was driving up in the mountains East of Phoenix and sure enough I saw a real live (well dead) tumbleweed. I was amazed, I wanted to get out and pick it up but the local I was with out of embarrassment wouldn't let me. A real cowboy tumbleweed and I couldn't pick it up, didn't seem fair to me but by the look of shock on my friend's face, I could tell I tipped my hat showing me to be a real tourist. I finally got out and walked around in the desert. Every plant out there...well can hurt you. I learned quickly not to touch or smell anything.
On one trip to Tucson, I decided to stay a couple of extra days and go see the areas that Mark talked about. My friend Brian flew out and joined me on my little adventure. We started off in Tombstone and did the touristy things, heck we even did the old fashioned picture thing.


Now Mark did warn me about the tourist stuff so I was more anxious to get down to Bisbee. Bisbee was a mining town tucked into valley about 15 miles North of the Mexican border. Abandoned in the early 70's, the hippies and artists moved in and made it their own. I was exploring the town and saw an article in the local paper about how the performance art of hammering nails though your privates into a board at the community center was stretching the boundries of good taste even for Bisbee. The follow ups from the locals was "LET HIM DO IT!" Wacky town. We had a great meal at the Copper Queen hotel and went on our way. I was so drawn to the town I went back on my next trip and hung out for the day. I heard live music coming from a pub and went in...whoa, a band from Tucson was playing and there was an element of calm there that I couldn't put my finger on. The crowd was gracious and nice. I saw old, young, fat, short tall, good looking, not so good looking, and a few that were missing some teeth...
As a rock waltz was being played, I saw a HUGE biker guy dancing with an older woman in her 80's. It was so surreal to see this guy who could crush me with his pinkie finger, cradling the frail woman in a sweet and graceful dance. I felt like I was in "the Brick" the bar from Northern Exposure.
If you are near there stop by, worth the detour... It was late when I made my way back to Tucson and driving though the desert, I could see the lights of Sierra Vista off in the distance (I assumed according to my map) but the thing that blew me away was that I could see at least a gazzilion stars. I stopped to pee in the desert and looked up. I almost fell over. My whole knowledge of the night sky was based around the orange glow of Chicago's sodium vapor lights. You could actually see the milky way (kim told me later what I was looking at) A black sky with a band of starts which some would mistake as clouds...amazing.
I think I figured out how AZ got settled. Back in the early days the settlers were on their way through in January and ol' Zeke claimed it to be Paradise. They ate their horses and settled in. July hits an ol' Zeke was made to change his name to Idiot.

Thanks Mark for planting the seed!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Here it is, Memorial day. I bought my poppy from a vet. I watched a John Wayne war movie. What next? Last night Kim, my friend Steve and I went to the Scnitzle Platz to see Dad play some German music with a few French tunes thrown in...
Over my right shoulder was a huge old smoker that wasn't in use anymore with a picture of the Bismark proudly hanging from it. The Chef has some connection to that battleship and loves to tell the story of how it was sunk... "The Allies didn't sink her, the crew scuttled it." OK, take pride but of all the places to hang the picture, on an oven? Am I the only one that finds that a wee bit unnerving? I watched my father perform and thought about all he's been through in his 83 years here. From my Grandmother dragging him and his accordion on the streetcars of Chicago to take lessons when he was a boy to his service in the navy. He played the club circuit from Iowa to Ohio, developing a 60 year reputation for music and comedy that is still going strong to this day.

Why do I say this? I took a trip with Dad to Washington DC so we could honor the war dead of his generation. It was surreal to be standing at the WWII memorial with one of the funniest men I know and have humor, one of Dad's greatest strengths, no where to be found. I listened to his stories and admired what he did as a 18 boy. Heck at 18 I still didn't have tying my shoes quite down yet.

In WWII alone the figure stands around 415,000 dead. To say "thank you" just isn't enough to say to all the war dead in America's military history. When you see a memorial don't just look at it as a statue. Honor the men and women and the stories it represents.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A true production story

I was out in Scottsdale teching a meeting for our new masters of acquisition, This company bought the outfit I work for back in January of 06. When they took over they fired all support people that run our meeting rooms. The hospital and doctor network group booked a meeting in our training theater in Scottsdale but what they didn't fully understand is that the FIRED everyone who runs these meetings. I get a last minute call to fly out here and help them out, no problem, that's what I do.

My day started out at 5:30am prepping the room, why? they FIRED...ok, enough already.
anyhoo....The room was fully running with last weeks presentations blazing on my system. No one shut it down, crap everywhere. I set the room and get ready to greet the participants. The first people arrive and start throwing presentations at me to start loading, cd's, floppy's,usb drives. Thank goodness for a laptop with a cd burner! So far 28 presentations with no order. People I don't even know are looking at me with a "where's mine?" look on their face. 8am until 5 pm non-stop blah blah blah... 6pm until 7 cocktail party, 7pm until 10 dinner in our banquet room on site. Issue, automated building control turning the air off after 6 pm. After several phone calls I realize these folks are going to be hot. Second issue since they FIRED everyone who takes care of events like this, The new guys never applied for a temp liquor license for the evening. Sweating exec's with no beer. Now we can carry in but the caterer can't. Solution The VP of Networks and I are over in the Bar of the hotel next door ordering cases of beer and bottles of wine. These poor people were just melting. Women were uh....glowing? ok, the sight of streaming makeup was not pretty. Fillet Mignon on the plates and me going from table to table with cardboard cases of beer. With sweat dripping off of my nose, I get an approving nod from the VP. Here's where it gets odd, well more odd... I get to a table of ladies that have just given up. They are yelling threats from a menopausal heat related nature. I quickly grabbed 2 cold beers and placed them on the neck of the most dangerous looking woman. She screamed with delight....soon I had all the ladies supplied with beer neck coolers. One pulled out a dollar and shoved it in my pants. I look up to see the same VP shaking his head....let's just say I walked away 4 dollars richer. Kim does
I am so glad the fired me!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

His horror.

I thought I'd share the events of an evening a while back with you other old married guys. It's no secret that your fair drummer has his share (heck our share too) of women hanging around him like Vultures hanging around fresh road kill. Matt and I caught up last night for a post holiday catch up dinner. After a fine dinner and a couple of Guinness's we walked over to Features just so Matt could see if there were any women there to ditch me for. We walk out after an unsuccessful hunt to be met by 3 girls in their mid 20's. Matt looks at me and says "Go with me" before I could ask "GO WHERE?" He breaks into a Scottish accent claiming he's from Glasgow and he's here for a few days and wanting to know if we could go with them... How lame, yet they reply.....SURE!!!! huh? you've got to be kidding me. It worked? We follow them to another bar with Matt and the girls walking in the parking lot and me 20ft away on the sidewalk scratching my head wondering how the heck he did that. They all sit at a table, order drinks and I excuse myself to the restroom. I come back to the 4 of them laughing and chatting....The one girl says "what part of Glasgow are you from?" to which Matt replies in perfect American "Washington State" AWWW they're are going to kill him now...."That was a great accent, you're too much" and all that other crap. If I tried that, I'd wind up with a face full of pepper spray, crying like a baby and wetting myself while they all laughed. In amazement I watched Matt work 2 of the girls for quite a while when the third girl looked at me and blurted...

"aww hunny, your head is just the wrong shape to pull off a ..1
(electric trimmier) haircut.."

huh? "and you should shave that thing off of your face, I'm a hair
stylist, you should let me fix you when your hair grows out."
Gee.....thanks? MATT!!! HELP!!!....nope, working, working, working. I was in the presence of a master. I lasted a few more minutes before I bailed leaving Matt and the ladies behind.

His horror...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A bad flight story...

On a recent flight I settled into my usual seat and prepped myself for a 4-hour flight out West. A mother gets onboard and has seat 1D, being a bulkhead there’s no room in front of her to store baby gear and such. The flight attendant asked if anyone would be willing to change seats with her. I obliged. I take my new seat, to the right of me was a man reading a model train magazine, to my left across the isle? A large man looking quite uncomfortable, grimacing with pain. 15 minutes into the flight the man on my right was reading his magazine and digging in his nose. I naturally started leaning to my left only to see the other man lifting a cheek and filling the pressurized tube we were all in with his flatus. This guy was grunting the whole flight and every time I looked, the guy on my right was buried in his nose up to his second knuckle. What the heck is wrong with people? The flight attendant saw the disgust on my face and motioned me to the galley. She asked what was wrong and I told her. Feeling sorry for putting me in that situation, she poured me double bourbon. As much as I enjoy bourbon, it didn’t make up for the behavior of the pigs on board. Is it too much to ask that people just not be gross?

Such is life...

I forgot. The same flight attendant informed me that she and her fellow crew mates call people who pass gas while flying......Crop dusters

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mothers Day!

Ode to my incredible shrinking mother?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Degrees of separation?

Remember the movie "Major League"? This was Rene Russo's smarmy boyfriend. I had the honor of directing him for a crappy corporate film short...
Let's see, he kissed her in the movie so technically there's only 1 degree of separation from Rene's lips!!!
huh? Let's continue this shall we???
Rene worked with Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon (2 I think)
Mel Gibson worked with Julia Roberts in "Conspiracy Theory"
Julia worked with Denzel Washington in "The Pelican Brief"
Denzel Washinton worked with Ethan Hawk in "Training day"
Ethan Hawk was married to Uma Thurman
Uma worked with John Travolta in "Pulp Fiction"
John Worked with Olivia Newton John in "grease"
Olivia Worked with Mark Heard singing one of his songs
Mark Produced John Austin's first record
I exec produced John's 3rd record....soooo basically,
I have 12 degrees of separation from myself...Hope I never actually bump into myself anywhere. I hear I'm a real jerk...

I've been told without Kevin Bacon I am nothing...
Mel Gibson was in "Payback " with William Devane
William Devane was in "Hollow Man" With Kev...SO There!
Let's add a double Bacon..John Travolta was in "Phenomenon" with Kyra Sedgewick who is married to my pal Kevin Bacon.
Oh heck, let's make it a triple... Rene Russo was in "Major League" with Charlie Sheen who was married to Denise Richards who was in "Wild Things with Kevin....ok, I think I'm brain hurts.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mid life crisis?

It seems that a series of events have been making me feel older. Let me start by saying in my early days I was quite a looker, as a matter of fact, My Heritage website likened me to that handsome devil Mr. Hasselhoff.

So what happened?

I lost a wee bit of hair.

My daughter made me a grandpa

My knees sound like sandpaper when I climb stairs...
I got my first dental bridge (gotta love the teeth of the Irish)
What gives? I still have the potty humor of a 7th grader (poo poo jokes kill me)
My hair is gray, I need glasses to read. I NEVER get carded when I buy a beer.
Crap, I guess mid life has started. So how do you remedy this horrible affliction?

1. Hang with young people...shot my first Gantsa rap video

Didn't work...

2. I know buy a red car!

Not only did that not work, I get to hear my knees make noise every time I get in it.
I was in the city and a 10 year old girl had her face pressed up to the window as I was walking up, she looks at me and says "Hey mister! this your car?" I beam proudly and say "It sure is" She replies with "YOU FIT IN THIS THING?"
"uh......get away from me kid, ya bother me"

I guess I should be thankful I made it this far (several fire work incidents should have killed me)

I have a wife I adore (she tolerates me)

A good bunch of friends and family that I love...
I guess I should shut up and enjoy the ride.

(did I mention the arthritis in my hands?)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New but...not new?

I should say that I'm not entirely new to blogging. I have had a Stumble account for a few years. Is it a blog? Well, sort of. It is a community of people that rate web sites but there is room to post "blogging" type material. You can see for yourself here...
My Stumble page
Stumble Upon

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Hot Stuff

Let me say, I'm not a macho moron that has to prove he can eat hot things. The older I get the less heat I can tolerate (esp. the next day, if you know what I mean) My boy Evan got this as a gag gift but he failed to let me in on the joke. I put a generous jigger in my chili tonight. My lips,tongue & throat are still burning.
In about 45 minutes I will be apologizing to my wife and her cats.
In 12 hours I will be apologizing to my backside...
Colon Blow, treat it with respect my friends.....respect.

Coming of age...

After several comments on my lack of common sense, I thought I'd share one of my favorite snow stories. As a young'n, my family spent quite a bit of time up in Northern Wisconsin with my Aunt and Uncle. When I was 13 My Uncle Everette told my Dad it was time and my Dad agreed then they both looked at me. "Son, get your coat" I get in the back of the car with no clue what was about to happen. We pulled up to a club my Uncle belonged to and walked inside of a room that looked just like a golf clubhouse, bar and all. They escort me into a locker room and tell me to get nekked...huh? 13 and not too hairy I wasn't thrilled about the prospect. I follow orders, grab a towel and follow the old men of the family into a huge sauna saturated with Eucalyptus. A few things struck me. One, the heat. Two, my sinuses instantly draining. The third was "OMG is my sac going to hang to my knees like all the other old guys in here?". We take our place on a wooden bench and settle in for manly conversation (I have no clue what we talked about but I'm sure it was manly). After 20 minutes we stand up and head for a door. My dad swings the door open to reveal the great outdoors... Wisconsin in December with 2 feet of snow on the ground. A path lead down to the lake where a 10x10 foot hole has been chopped in the ice. They jump in the water and being naked outside in the winter wasn't my idea of fun so I jumped in also. My breath was taken away. We got out and ran back to the sauna. I looked at all the guys there like they were insane. Five times the process was repeated, a shower then a Pabst Blue Ribbon at the bar. I will never forget my Dad telling me "Never, never tell your Mother about the beer"
The heat, cold and beer took it's toll, I passed out in the car...

My first Finn bath...