Gin and tonic

I have not posted in some time. I haven't called in awhile. I haven't sent that random text in many weeks. I haven't opened the 6 books that I'm dying to read. And no, the pile of papers on the counter that need to be filed away, yeah, the stack keeps growing. I'm not one for excuses. So what have I been doing lately? Chasing rainbows. I miss just10things. This was my relax. This was my break. Therefore, tonight, old school.
  1. "And pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars, Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles, Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin, To a song that's playin on the radio station. Bad times make the good times better, Look in her eyes and you're gone forever, Aw its a helluva ride... Yeah, It's a helluva life." ~ Helluva Life, Frankie Ballard
  2. "Baby you're a song You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise Down a back road blowin’ stop signs through the middle Every little farm town with you In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit Would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it So baby you're a song You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise" ~ Cruise, Florida Georgia Line
  3. "Heard about the old time sailor men, They eat the same thing again and again; Warm beer and bread they say could raise the dead. Well, it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn." ~ Cheeseburger In Paradise, Jimmy Buffet
  4. "Well I see the souls of so many friends, And I see us all back here again. With sandy floors and ceiling fans, A Rastafarian one-man band with songs That fill my memories like a tip jar. Yeah, that's what I see When I see this bar." ~ When I see This Bar, Kenny Chesney
  5. "A lifetime for a day Would be an even trade No price I wouldn't pay For your heart love I know how it feels to breath With you beside me I think about it always" ~ Tonight, Sugarland
  6. What I started, I will finish
  7. I will not go down without a fight
  8. There will be many tough decisions along the way
  9. I will not lose touch with work/life balance
  10. IT WILL BE AN EPIC STORY

Hands

This has been one of those weeks. The kind of week you finish, but aren't proud of. It started well. Plans. Goals. Deadlines. And started to slowly sink as the sinuses reared their ugly head. And not breathing turned into not sleeping. And stuffy head turned into nose bleeds. And those turned into doctors. And I hate going to the doctor (no offense to any of you in the profession). In my misery state, box of tissues, nasal spray, blanket, hot tea, prescriptions I cannot pronounce… I thought I needed someone to take care of me, to comfort me and, well, baby me. I'm a handful when I'm sick, be warned. But then I stepped back in my miserable state and looked down. Down at my hands. These hands that write to you tonight. Someone once asked my if I were to retain only one sense for the rest of my life, what would it be. I used to answer with sight. Visual is still very high on my list, and there are wonders of the world that can only be partially enjoyed without sight. But the more I thought, the more I realized that touch is what I cannot live without. These hands. From holding a child seconds after it's first breath of air to touching a starfish the size of a dinner plate 20 feet under the surface of a vast ocean. Aiming a telescope at Orion's Belt, painting a room. Throwing luggage into the overhead to go find some new place and new friends. Where would I be without my hands? Where would I be. These hands. They pick up toys, they cook dinner. They make wine. They write code. They dial phone numbers. These hands. They walk the dog, they drive, they write. These hands. They help me find the way in the dark, they navigate through touch. These 10 things, 5 attached to each appendage to make my hands. These hands. Touch the stars. With my hands.  

Sweet sweet music

That moment where you turned down the radio And you were on the phone and that song you love comes on And you want to crank it up so you make up some reason why you need to get off the phone So you can turn the volume way the freak up And you do a little disco move in front of the mirror And you say, yeah, no, I cannot dance But I do love this song Not as much as I love the person I was talking to on the phone But I do love this song And I love it loud!

It’s the end of the world as we know it

So first of all, welcome to the last day on Earth! I've been working on this post since August, this is the last time we get to converse, so I have to make it perfect! Since this is the last day, I have no limits, no telling how long this list will be (and these are in no particular order). [Edit: Of note, this has been written across many geographies including Phoenix, Aruba, Chattanooga, Chicago, Key West, Buffalo, Tampa, Baltimore, Orlando and North Carolina (Home Sweet Home), so excuse dialect changes mid post.] A little bit of history: I'm thirty something, I sometimes act like I'm twenty something, my kids are both under 10, my body makes me feel like I'm seventy something, so I guess you could say that I span a lot of generations. My "learning to walk and talk" years were spent outside of Cleveland in the quaint little farming town of La Grange, Ohio. My "relearning to walk and talk years" have been spent moving as far out into the country from Raleigh, North Carolina as possible, as long as there is high speed Internet access. It's not that I don't like the city, I love it! But I also like to kick back under the stars next to a campfire and roast marshmallows with the kids. History will not matter tomorrow. The list of people and/or things I want to thank/be thankful for in the remaining hours of our existence... 1. Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg) - Thank you for being a total geek and expanding Facebook beyond the ivy league. What you did was a great last ditch attempt to bring the world together before we all self destruct. 2. Orville Redenbacher - Thank you for bringing buttery movie popcorn to the average home in 90 (ish) seconds so that I do not need to pay engorged prices to watch a movie with my kids... AND, I get to snuggle with them on the couch. 3. Neil Armstrong - your footprint on the moon will last for at least a million years, what an impression! 4. Alcohol - could we have ever made it this far without it? It "makes white people dance," it makes ice breaker conversations a little easier, it makes us take our clothes off, it makes us say things we shouldn't say (or should say), it makes us fall down in public and run into walls, it makes us fall asleep in the chair or fall out of the chair if we're unlucky. 5. To my dog Lola, I never thought I'd have a dog, but you have been an awesome addition to our family. When I see the fireball in the sky, I'll let you out to run. I hope you can find a safe place and live out the rest of your life - your chances of survival are much better than mine! I'll leave the rest of your food out and a big pail of water to get you started. If you want to know what kind of dog she is then just ask my daughter... "She is part silly dog, part crazy dog, part cute dog, part clumsy dog, part lazy dog, part long tongue dog, part sniffer dog and part cuddle dog." 6. Kirkpatrick Macmillan, although there seems to be some dispute, in 1839 for developing the mechanics behind our modern day bicycles, for without them, as children, we would not have had so much freaking fun riding around. Bumps and bruises aside, our childhood would have never been the same without these awesome vehicles promoting staying fit and learning how to balance. And no, I do not make my kids wear helmets, I don't think that makes me a bad parent. 7. The wonderful world of the Internet for without it, I would not be here talking to you and for making life a little easier with online shopping, communicating, sharing, researching, the list could go on forever, but I don't have forever, so thank you Al Gore! :) 8. Sunscreen for allowing us to soak up harmful sun rays and feel protected. 9. Sex... uh, to the one that decided to put that in there, and share the ins and outs, you've kept us reproducing and I commend you!  Without you, it would be a planet of two. 10. 5th-4th Century BC Chinese and Greek philosophers describing the basic principles of optics and the camera. And further up the timeline, 1822 Joseph Nicephore Niepce for developing the first camera obscura and then again in 1880 when Eastman Dry Plate Company founded and started the photographic revolution. We preserved memories on paper (and then digital) and I honestly wonder why, who will look at them in 1,000 years? 11. Peanut butter and chocolate together, and I hate chocolate! 12. Hats off to country music! For my favorites... "Barefoot blue jean night" and "Midnight Chardonnay", you have gotten me through many a night, sparked many conversations and made me all warm and tingly inside (wait, that might have been the Chard). But seriously, what's better than songs about broken hearts, trains, trucks, pontoon boats and whiskey? I actually love all music, so my hats off to the caveman with a stick busting out rhythms on a rock and "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on, could it be a painted rose from days gone by?" 13. My ex-wife... yeah, I have to be thankful for her. We didn't exactly work out, but she wiggled out two awesome children for us to share. Since the split, although we have had some rough roads and nasty fights, we have gone back to being friends, which is how it all started anyways. [She actually has proofed (part of) this post and commented... "You think I just wiggled them out? You were there, you know that it wasn't that easy." Yeah, I know!] 14. Henry Ford for bringing cars to the masses, and also for those that many years later decided taking car manufacturing back to it's roots (hand made) and charge a seriously high premium for ultra fast sports cars. I love speed and gas and grease and power (and Top Gear). 15. Sushi, how I love thee. 16. For Gay Marriage!!! I mean really, marriage is hard enough (see # 13), so who really cares who you marry, if it works, it works. I have plenty of friends happily married to same sex partners and they are doing a hell of a lot better than I did! Love is love, companionship and compassion are just that-don't judge! 17. To drama, yeah, no, I could have been fine without you! 18. For eye glasses. From Wikipedia... The first eyeglasses were made in Italy at about 1286, according to a sermon delivered on February 23, 1306 by the Dominican friar Giordano da Pisa (ca. 1255 - 1311): "It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision ... And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered ... I saw the one who first discovered and practiced it, and I talked to him." For without the spectacles, I should not have been able to see clearly all that was in front of me. 19. Ah, the Wright Bothers and pioneering powered flight. If it had not been for them, I would have never fallen in love with the Caribbean! 20. All of the awesomely fantastic 80's and early 90's flicks that I grew up with, The Breakfast Club, Risky Business, 16 Candles, Cocktail, Heathers, Goonies, wow, the list could go on and on, but I need to be conscious of the time. Oh, I cannot forget Dawson's Creek, for I spent many weekends in Wilmington on the waterfront wondering if I could get a glimpse of Katie Holmes (and the day she married Tom Cruise, they sent the rescue crew in to find my sunken heart). 21. Gardenia, Carolina Jasmine and Honeysuckle, you have made my summers fragrant. 22. Lego's... I love (still at 37 years old) playing Lego. I think it's really swell of you to have released the "Friends" collection for girls, I know my daughter loves that, it's kind of like a doll house with the ability to build something new and creative (oh, and I love the Lego hedgehog). And the Dino series, my son eats that up! 23. Edgar Allen Poe
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'
24. For The Dukes of Hazzard! 25. The keyboard, well, this one is bittersweet. Without it, it is difficult to compose crazy blog posts or to work, but it also has caused over 3 years of pain dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has escalated beyond what surgery might be able to fix. Oh well, just don't laugh at the way I type, I can still hen peck with the best of them! 26. Angry Birds for passing time in a few situations I inadvertently put myself into that I kind of regretted. 27. Spam (the processed spiced ham?). 28. To books, I know you are made from trees, but I've always loved the way your pages turn as we passed time at leisure. Yeah, I tried the whole eBook phenomenon, it just didn't feel right, kinda like a bad kiss. So I should also give a shout to all the great authors I've read in my life, I won't name you all, not even sure if I could. 29. Midnight. 30. To Cassie who got me drunk is Buffalo, NY by serving me a quadruple gin and tonic for the price of a single. And for when I got stuck in Buffalo a few nights later due to delayed flights, she promised to take it easy on me with a light and tasty IPA. 31. Props out to Felix Baumgardner for having the balls to jump out of a capsule at over 128,000 feet above the earth. And land safely. And set some records. Not that those records will matter tomorrow. 32. To my employer for taking a chance on hiring me almost six years ago and letting me grow a job into a career where i can honestly say, "I absolutely love what I do and enjoy work, it is not always easy, but it is always rewarding." 33. Marilyn Monroe, yeah, I would have totally slept with you! 34. To Kool-Aid, for without, I would have never puked in 3rd grade. 35. To playgrounds, for without, I would have never had my first kiss in 3rd grade (and calling out the HashTag... #MyLastKissForManyYears) with a girl that was from Greece, and that same year, said, "Hey, you should go to Greece with me." - we never did. 36. For rain. According to the song, "Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky" (Just need to find "my baby" in a short period of time, that's all we have left). 37. For toilet paper. 38. Waffle House, 'nuff said. 39. For blankets and snuggling on the couch and blanket forts when you destroyed every piece of furniture by removing the cushions and creating your own little haven to chill out in. You better remember the secret password to get in! 40. To pen and paper. There is a lost art of writing love notes (and other notes) and passing them around in class, hoping to not get caught by the teacher. Kids these days have no clue what this was all about. Those lucky enough to have not had a significant other burn them on the grill will have the luxury of going back and reading what you were like and the relationships you had. For the rest of us, if we only could. For the youth, you have Facebook! It's not the same. Check Yes or No. 41. For Egg Nog, not for Custard. 42. For cooties. Yes, there are boy cooties and girl cooties and they don't go away as you get older. They exist until you do the circle circle dot dot now I got my cootie shot ritual. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you must have the cooties! 43. For Tacky Christmas Sweaters. 44. For prescription snorkel masks that let me discover the absolutely stunning world that lives below the surface of the water. 45. For the sweat shirt I gave my Dad when I was about 16 because I thought I was too cool to wear it. And the day when I was 37 and he gave it back to me with only a few small holes. What happened to quality craftsmanship? 46. For the zipper. From Wikipedia... "Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". Perhaps because of the success of his sewing machine, he did not try to seriously market it, missing recognition he might otherwise have received." 47. For the wheel. This has sure made life easier. 48. For butt dialing. It's only caused a few awkward moments. 49. For my 6 year old son. What an awesome little man. He loves life, can be stubborn, get's shy around pretty girls (I think he got that from me), has one heck of an imagination and can talk non stop. He knows more about dinosaurs that I ever did. 50. For coffee that gets me going every morning. Black, velvety, hot. Again, Wikipedia to the rescue... "Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheik Omar. According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this "miracle drug" reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint. From Ethiopia, the beverage was introduced into the Arab world through Egypt and Yemen" "The Oromo people would customarily plant a coffee tree on the graves of powerful sorcerers. They believed that the first coffee bush sprang up from the tears that the god of heaven shed over the corpse of a dead sorcerer." 51. For my beautiful daughter. My Daddy's Little Girl. According to her, I do not know where the middle of her head is when I fix her pony tail every morning. She enjoys sitting on the front porch with me while I sip my morning coffee and we just talk, about anything. She's got a great head on her shoulders and reads well above her grade level, but most of all, she just has a really great personality. 52. For the cell phone. This one is also bittersweet. I no longer recall how we lived without them. It was one thing when you just received phone calls on them, now they are connected to everything, mutiple email accounts, text, web, Facebook. Do you go into shock if you leave your phone at home for a quick trip to the market? Mine is usually attached to my hip from 6 AM until 10 PM. I have learned (usually) to leave it alone on the weekends and almost every Thursday from 6 PM until Friday morning. It's a very rewarding experience to be freed for a little while from the thing that seems to run our lives. So I spend this reclaimed time with my awesome kids and the dog and doing normal things around the house, you know, fun things like cooking and cleaning and yardwork things. 53. For voodoo dolls. Yes, I have 9 of them. My first one was the only one that went through the naming ritual, I will not tell you whom it was for. Yes, I was bitter, yes, I was mad. The rest, well, they just sort of showed up because they are a great conversational piece. 54. For PBR and an acquaintance in NYC. I expected to buy you a $20 fancy mixed fru fru drink, and you wanted a PBR. 55. Brooklyn. [On a NYC kick right now] 56. For poetry slams. We all have a voice, some of us are just really good about sharing it in front of a live audience. I have yet to attend one where I was not in tears at some point in the evening (and no, it wasn't the alcohol that made me tear up). 57. For My Side of the Mountain. It took my wonderful sister and I close to 20 years to figure out the name of this movie that we both watched when we were much much younger. I was surprised one day to find a copy in my mailbox. 58. For the perfect kiss. 59. For Vegas, we have a love/hate relationship. I don't gamble, but I love your larger than life attitude. 60. To conch fritters. These tender yummy concoctions that scream "Caribbean!" [Caribbean kick now] 61. For crystal clear azure water that defines the Caribbean and every time I see it or dive right in, it takes my breath away. It's like a drug that I'm drawn to, addicted to and NO! I will not go to therapy because of my addiction, it IS my therapy. 62. For airport bars and the hundreds of people I have struck up random conversation with. Everything from sports to travel to higher education and all the things in-between. [Oh my, Chi] 63. For Chicago. Ahh, the many many stories I have from her. From the best in the world Bloody Mary at Reilly's Daughter to bacon infused whiskey at The Southern. We've been drunk together wandering the streets at hours that were probably not safe. We've reunited with old and dear friends and done vodka flights at The Russian Tea Room. I've watched a couple join in holy matrimony, walked a gazillion miles, breathed in the lake air, heard stories of the most odd things, almost taken muffins from strangers, bought a bottle of wine for a complete stranger and met really interesting people. I'd have to say that Chi is my favorite city, so full of life, culture, good food, great drinks, great friends. 64. For Navy Pier and a random three hour conversation with a complete stranger on a warm summer night. 65. For hedgehogs, the most adorable little creatures. 66. For everyone that knows how to Wang Chung tonight. And for those that know "Wang Chung" is translated to "Yellow Bell" and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale, my hats off to you for that useless piece of knowledge. (This also makes the song a bit more odd... "Everybody yellow bell tonight?" WTF?). 67. For lawnmowers, although I do not hold on for dear life and whip you around the dirt track any more, you are the reason I have met so many wonderful people. 68. To pickled green beans, yum! 69. Emoticons. :) 70. Campfires. 71. For all of you that read my crazy shit. Honestly, I don't have a clue how many of you actually read this mess, although analytics on this site say there are at least a couple of you. 72. For not being normal, a little on the crazy side, but living and loving life. Any other attitude and it's a waste of breath. 73. To oysters on the half shell with a little squeeze of lemon, pinch of horseradish and a couple shakes of Tabasco. Ohh, my mouth is watering. 74. WiFi at 36,000 feet. How cool is that be be able to catch up on all the blogs I read while speeding through the air at over 400 miles per hour. 75. For proper Chicago hotdogs with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle and hot peppers and a dash of celery salt. 76. Did I mention Chicago? 77. For Katrina and the Waves Walking On Sunshine - because that's how I feel! (I do like Aly & AJ's version better) 78. For my awesome sister and our front porch nights, we haven't had one in a long time, need to fix that. 79. For the fact that this list has grown so long and I have less than 24 hours to finish it. 80. For The Hobbit, Christmas parties, tacky Christmas sweaters, The Holiday Club and Mirai Sushi. This unlikely combination of things is turning out well. 81. ................ to be hopefully continued Maybe this is all a waste and the truth is that we all just love the drama that the world could end now! But really, it could end any day and at this point, only time will tell. I really think we are on a path to self destructing ourselves and the lovely planet we call home. But, should we all be here tomorrow, I think we should start to take life a little less for granted and appreciate each other more; Love a little more, hate a little less. Now for some factoids...
"It's the time when the largest grand cycle in the Mayan calendar—1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years—overturns and a new cycle begins," said Anthony Aveni, a Maya expert and archaeoastronomer at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The Maya kept time on a scale few other cultures have considered. During the empire's heyday, the Maya invented the Long Count—a lengthy circular calendar that "transplanted the roots of Maya culture all the way back to creation itself," Aveni said. During the 2012 winter solstice, time runs out on the current era of the Long Count calendar, which began at what the Maya saw as the dawn of the last creation period: August 11, 3114 B.C. The Maya wrote that date, which preceded their civilization by thousands of years, as Day Zero, or 13.0.0.0.0. -Courtesy of National Geographic
The end of the Mayan calendar coincides with a galactic alignment, in which the Sun will align with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is said that this rare event occurs once every 26,000 years and some predict it will be the 2012 apocalypse, potentially catastrophic consequences. The theory goes that on the day of the winter solstice in 2012, the Sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way . This alignment could mean that energy which typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time. This galactic alignment has the potential to create a shift in the Earth's poles, initiating the 2012 apocalypse, which would involve a sries of disastrous environmental events. There is also a good possibility that the effects will alter the magnetic polarity of the Sun. -Courtesy of 2012 Apocolypse
Maybe we should all just be looking forward to the next 1,872,000 days... or say Happy New Baktun! On another note, should you choose to spend you last day learning, go forth and educate yourself on the Maya Codices, and the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it's freaking interesting! As for me, I'm going to go pour a drink, a Gin and Tonic to be specific, and wait for the big fireball in the sky to swallow me whole and should I wake tomorrow with a hangover, well, at least I woke up! Cheers and love my friends! (And good luck, I hope we can still chat tomorrow) [Final disclaimer, I've tried to note references where applicable, if I missed some, blame it on alcohol or sleepiness or laziness or that person over there]

Deliverables

I did not procrastinate this time, this has been hanging over my head all week and giving me pains in places I forgot I have. So here I sit, alone in my kitchen, struggling to complete a web site migration design document that in all honesty, was due yesterday. I suppose my trouble is trying to find patterns and organization in a site that has well surpassed the 2000 mark in content and grown organically (unorganized) over the last 10 years. And to top that, it's currently on 10 year old technology. So, you ask, what am I doing writing a blog entry? Well, I thought I would share what is getting me through this painful task... Music is cranked-my speakers needed exercise, and I needed a distraction in order to concentrate. Here is my playlist for when you have a daunting task at hand: 1. I Don't Love You by My Chemical Romance 2. Kooler Than Jesus by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult 3. Where the Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 4. Unapologize by Carrie Underwood 5. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana 6. Can You Forgive Her by Pet Shop Boys 7. Lovegod by The Soup Dragons 8. Just a Dream by Nelly 9. Mother by Pink Floyd 10. The entire Talking Heads album Sand in the Vaseline Good luck young Jedi

Holiday mix it mix it

Back in the day, you would have made a mix tape to express your feelings-well, screw the feelings, here's a random assortment of musical funky fantastic for your pleasure, just open your ears and ignore the sappy...
  1. INXS - Kick - Tiny Daggers
  2. Opus - Live is Life - Live Is Life
  3. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - Outer South - Nikorette
  4. Jessie J - Who You Are - Price Tag
  5. MGMT - Time To Pretend - Time To Pretend
  6. Pearl Jam - Unspacer - Unthought Known
  7. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face It - The Impression That I Get
  8. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls - Quiet Little Voices
  9. Sister Hazel - 11411 - Great Escape
  10. Foo Fighters - One By One - All My Life
(unfortunately, you are responsible for actually acquiring this music on your own in order to enjoy it, don't blame me, I'm just the messenger, contact your congressmen or other political figures, or just buy the songs on Amazon-if you steal them I am not liable)

15 hours in Nashville

Every once in awhile, I get this wild hair to fly somewhere and attend a concert.  This has been going on for a couple of years now and rather enjoyable; however, this trip was pretty short, and some kind of oops, as I messed up the hotel location in relation to the concert hall.  That being said, I really did not expect anything exciting enough to post would come out of this trip, but low and behold, it was an adventure. 1. I arrived in Nashville around 3pm.  A welcoming uneventful flight and a boring 30 minute wait for the hotel shuttle (another oops, forgot to book a rental car).  I had work that needed to be completed before I went venturing downtown so I hunkered down in my room and tried to complete 3 hours of work in 1/2 the time (successful). 2. I had a few conversations with the front desk about the logistics of getting me downtown to the Ryman Auditorium (and dinner) and settled for a shuttle.  This sounded good to me at $10 a ride versus a $30 cab fare.  And so it began... 3. The shuttle pulled up and the doors swung open, I could hear all kinds of chatter erupting from the confines of the bus, but as I stepped in, dead silence!  The bus was packed.  I paid the driver my $10 and started towards the back where I picked out exactly 3 open seats and the overwhelming scent of Old Spice.  I was in the Tommy's Tour bus packed with people twice my age.  No worries! 4. Then, I was bombarded!  The chatter started back up and I was right in the middle.  "Where ya from?"  "Where ya heading?"  "You alone?"  "Ya know, Betty Sue in the back is single!" (yes, really).  So I jumped into the conversations as Betty Sue stared me down. 5. Come to find out, a few of the couples were from Ohio, and knew exactly where I grew up.  Come to find out, most of them knew the Outer Banks of NC pretty well, too.  As the introductory conversations wore off, I settled in my seat, a little more at ease. 6. The gentleman in front of me started telling this story about the last time his wife and him went to Coyote Ugly.  Apparently, not too long after she had been up on the bar dancing, a much younger lady took to the bar and guys were lining up as "Health Inspectors" to ensure her implants were "OK."  This got the bus rolling as we cruised down 40 towards downtown.  Dirty Old Men! 7. My eyes glanced up and there, hanging on the wall of the bus was the sign of all signs:

Tommy's Tours

See stars homes $25 if you like it $50 if you don't

Anyone over 80 travels free if accompanied by both parents

8. Arriving downtown, bearings off, I managed to finally locate The Wildhorse Saloon.  Music, dinner, drinks (and shots with the waitress, which is always a treat) and I was good and ready for the show.  Ryman should have only been a few blocks from where I was, but I have this problem with East and West (in NYC, too), I'm pretty decent with the North and South, and it took a little longer to navigate the streets than expected. 9. The show was excellent.  Grace Potter had a kick ass set, and acoustically, the Ryman is pretty tight.  I met a few new friends there during intermission, we talked about music, we talked about the floods that recently hit Nashville, we talked about whatever, really.  The highlight, though, was the band that opened for Grace, Carolina Chocolate Drops.  Bones players, beatbox, banjo and fiddle was probably the most refreshing new music, Blue Grass, not so Blue Grass, that I've heard in quite some time.  Don't get me wrong, Grace Potter was excellent and well worth the trip (Kenny Chesney even took stage for Tequila and You), but CCD was just amazing, you HAVE to check them out! 10. As the night drew to a close, as always, there's more than just logistics needed to get back to where you should be at such a late hour, and you have to do this in a kind of cloudy state.  With the power of the Luck Dragon, I managed to safely arrive at my hotel with just enough time to close my eyes and then reopen them for the early morning flight to NYC.

Permanent reminder

It's been roughly eight years, I'd forgotten how it feels.  Once the burning subsides,the smell of fresh ink is euphoric.  This time, a permanent reminder in simplistic terms. 1. "I'm in a hurry to get things done" (I'm In a Hurry by Alabama) mostly so I can move on to the next thing on the list 2. "Never gonna slow down" (Barefoot Blue Jean Night by Jake Owen) life is short, there's a lot to do 3. "I just want to live while I'm alive" (It's My Life by Bon Jovi) and will not sit back and let the world pass me by, time goes quick 4. "Now the race is on" (The Race Is On by Sawyer Brown) you don't need to be 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you only need to finish 5. "He's going for speed" (The Distance by Cake) See #1, #2, #3, #4 But what I really need to work on is... 6. "Gotta get myself right outta here" (Rush by Big Audio Dynamite) so that I can kick back and 7.  "Look(ed) at my life - where it's goin, where it's gone" (Old Blue Chair by Kenny Chesney) and 8. "The only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair" (Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band) really, what a life that would be 9. "None but ourselves can free our mind" (Redemption Song by Bob Marley) and 10. Let go, breathe. RELAX

Random combat boots & karaoke

The things I get myself into. "I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life" - Time to Pretend by MGMT Last week, I was chasing airplanes. It happens sometimes, and for one reason or another, your connecting flight just doesn't make it on time and you go find a bar. Which happened to be Crossroads Tavern. First, it was convincing the cab driver that I knew where he was taking me. I love technology, smartphones with GPS, specifically! #CantCheatOnCabFareForTheOutOfTowner Secondly, I had no clue what this place was like, but it was (My) Crossroads, so it couldn't be that bad. Third, I was carrying my suitcase and backpack. I found an unoccupied seat at the bar and waited. And waited. And waited. While I waited, I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting next to me who was continuously bumping me with his crutches. I hope he wasn't hitting on me. Fourth, I finally had the bartenders attention. I asked if I could park the carry-on behind the bar, which was answered with a "Hey, you were the one that called to ask when last call was?" Why, yes, that would be the stranded geek in Baltimore that verifies the destination is serving drinks. Fifth. Right in the middle of ten, which is exactly how I felt, right in the middle of "you don't belong here." Which is the moment where I didn't care, but wanted to understand. So I decided to observe and engage. Sixth, this place is dark and twisted, reminding me of high school, well, slightly after. Pool tables, lots of bar stools, a little bit of neon for effects. The people, tight knit clics, I observed a few distinct groups right away. Then the karaoke began to play. Seventh. The stage was full of wanna be American Idols singing Iron Maiden, Eminem and others that I've never heard. The mood, angry. Then the boots came in. Black, sequin, a little bit country. The mood swings, but not before the leader and her cohert speak every word of "Short [explicit] man." Then nothing but country music running words across the screen. Eighth, It's time to engage. I've never been the karaoke king, nor do I really want the title, but sing I did, what did I have to lose? There was something, some kind of strange feeling about being on stage where no one knows you, my few minutes of fame? Maybe. I have no clue what I sang, but does it really matter? Ninth, this is where the evening got a little interesting. Dressed in combat boots, mohawk, more piercings than should be legal and I struck up an old fashion conversation. What an interesting character. We will never agree on politics, religion or her, but this was an educated man with life stories that was comfortable enough to be himself, and I respected that. Tenth, as the night moved on, I engaged in friendly conversation with a few dozen people at a random bar in Baltimore. I learned a lot. Mostly, I learned that we are all individuals, with different tastes, wants and desires. But, I also learned that there is a little bit of country in us all! "Comfortably numb" Don't sugar coat it, keep it real! Note: This is the first post written entirely from an Android phone.

Musical instrumentations

  1. I will never use the matched pair of Pentium III CPUs bought from eBay in 2004
  2. Clarinets are loud
  3. Six children are loud
  4. Six children + clarinet + guitar are loud
  5. Hot dog soup is made my mixing ketchup, mustard, hot dogs and pretzels
  6. The filing of stuff that would warrant 200 hanging file folders has yet to take place
  7. Two copies of The Catcher and the Rye doesn’t mean you will read it more often
  8. Friendship survives the test of time
  9. Girls are apparently made of sugar, spice and everything nice
  10. In regards to pony tail placement, my perception of the middle is not the same as hers