Bring your own fork

August 31, 2004 - Tuesday

 Be Afraid

Today was possibly the worst day I’ve had doing these software conversions. The people I’m working with will NOT talk to each other, I just found out this afternoon that spots that have been supposed to be playing since yesterday haven’t been playing because nobody bothered to set them up in the on-air system, the only two people who are worth a damn here are college students and school is back in session so they’re part-timers now, one of the idiot engineers keeps asking me for help with another company’s software that I know nothing about and won’t believe I can’t support it, blah blah blah blah blah. This day has just been a nightmare from the minute I walked in the door, and there’s every indication that tomorrow will be even worse.

The crowning glory was when the day mercifully ended and I was walking out the door. I ran into the General Manager, who asked me how things were going, and I told him bluntly that today had been a complete clusterfuck. His response?

“Can you find out for me what it would cost us to have you stay longer, at least until next week?”

They don’t print that kind of money, buddy.


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August 30, 2004 - Monday

 I Kill Me

I’m standing at the reception desk talking to a radio station employee as a woman comes in the front door and approaches the desk to submit a press release.

Woman: “Hi. I’m from the Wyoming Mental Health Institute.” (Hands over press release.) “We’re changing our name.”

Me: “You’re changing your name? Well, that’s just crazy!”

They all just looked at me. Wyoming-ans have no sense of humor.


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August 27, 2004 - Friday

 The Days Are Just Packed

I’ve been trying for two days now to write this and I just can’t seem to get it down right. I keep rambling on and on and going into more detail than you’d be interested in or than I’m comfortable in sharing, and then I start over and try writing it from a different tack and the same thing happens. So let’s just throw it out here, down and dirty, and let the words fall where they may.

After my parents divorced something like 25 years ago, my dad remarried and had two children, and then he raised those kids himself when that marriage also ended in divorce. So in addition to the two brothers and a sister I grew up with, who all live in Southern California, I also have two half-sisters who live in Colorado and are now in college and who occasionally read these pages (hi, C & C). Due to distance and festering resentments left over from my parents’ divorce and my father’s estrangement from “my” family in California, these two girls and my dad have essentially been a separate family from us in California. There’s “us” and there’s “them” but there’s not been a whole lot of “we,” especially where the girls are concerned.

This weekend I’m going to spend some time with all of them. Tomorrow, I’m driving down to my dad’s place in southwestern Colorado, near Durango, to hang out with him and spend the night. Sunday I’ll drive back north and meet up with C and C where they live in Ft. Collins and hang out with them. I’ve felt badly about the distance between “us” and “them” but have been … stuck over how to resolve it. I don’t expect seeing them this weekend to fix it, but maybe it’ll open some doors.

Then, on top of that emotional rollercoaster I’ll be riding, I’m also going to stop by where I used to live with my dad in the mountains outside of Loveland, CO. About a month after I moved to Los Angeles back in 1976, the worst flood in Colorado’s history tore through there and wiped out our house and my dad’s restaurant next door and killed everyone inside, including my dad’s best friend and his wife and their son, who was my best friend there. If I hadn’t moved to LA when I did, my dad and I would have been there that night. So I’m going to stop by to pay my respects. And to remember.

Stay tuned for more details…


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 Fun With Rental Cars

I’m having trouble completing a reverse 180 in my rental car.

I’ll keep working on it.


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August 26, 2004 - Thursday

 Hail To Delete

delw.jpg

Ha.

Courtesy of my close personal friend Jim at Meat of the Matter.


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August 25, 2004 - Wednesday

 The View From Laramie, Wyoming

Take it easy, take it easy! Relax, the wait is over. You can stop clamoring for it because here it is — the view from my hotel room here in beautiful downtown Laramie, WY.

If you look closely, you’ll see that both vehicles in the background are pickup trucks. That’s because everyone in Wyoming drives a pickup. Or at least knows someone who does. There’s more pickups here than at Red Onion at 1:30 on a Saturday night.

And since I’m in a picture posting mood, here’s the plane I flew here in from Denver. First the exterior, for scale:

And then the interior, for even more scale:

It was a wee bit small in there, so much so that the pilot asked a few of us to move to different seats to “balance the load out.” I went to the rear, because that’s where big loads go. Ha.


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August 24, 2004 - Tuesday

 Shibbylicious

I’m posting this from Denver airport from one of my beloved Shibby kiosks, between planes on my way to Laramie.

I obviously made my plane in Burbank; in fact I made it with something like 45 minutes to spare, so I ended up killing all the flex time I was trying to avoid. Either my math was off or the whole cab call/ride/pay/check-in thing went faster than I expected.

But… Here I am, Shibby-fying. Woo. And now I’m off to Terminal A to kill an hour or so before my flight to Laramie.

Oh, the glamor of business travel. I’m going to miss it.

Not.

Although I will miss Shibby. I think it’s cool.


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 Wy?oming

Sigh… I’m going out on the road again today. Laramie, WY this time, and this is actually going to be the last time — my job’s over when I complete this conversion and then it’s on to the next one … when I find the next one.

I really don’t want to go this time. This site is being a complete pain in the ass, for one thing, and I’m just done with traveling for another. Consequently, I’m sitting here writing an entry instead of calling for a cab.

My flight is at 11:09 and it’s nearly 9:30 now. I figure it’ll take the cab probably 20 minutes to get here when I get around to calling it, then it’ll take about 20 minutes to get to the airport, then maybe 10 minutes to get checked in (I’m an old pro at this, trust me), then 5 minutes to get to my gate. Hmm… Doing the math here… 20+20+10+5 = 55 minutes. 9:30 + 55 minutes = 10:25 – 11:09 = about 45 minutes of downtime pre-take off.

I’ve still got time. I wonder what’s on TV.


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August 19, 2004 - Thursday

 Please Hold

As I’ve said earlier, Beth loves to talk on the phone, and she calls me about 37 times a day so she can do it. Me, I love getting off the phone, so I guess I should look at it as her giving me 37 opportunities a day to do something I love, too. (Thanks, honey!)

But with all these phone calls I don’t really want to be on, I really need some way to entertain myself. (And, no, talking on the phone is not entertainment. At least not to me.) So I’ve come up with my own fun:

Beth and I will be talking about … well, most of the time nothing, and I’ll suddenly say “Hang on a second” as though something just distracted me. Beth, being ever-polite and a master of telephone etiquette, will agreeably hang on … and on … and on … and on. While I just sit there giggling silently until she figures out that I’m just fucking with her.

That’s some funny shit, boy. It almost makes answering the phone worthwhile.


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August 18, 2004 - Wednesday

 It’s All Greek To Me

And now, because I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath, my thoughts on last night’s concert at the Greek Theater…

First of all, the Greek. It’s a nice venue, very small and intimate; it’s a good place to see a concert. Even the nosebleed seats are fairly low altitude, so there’s not a bad seat in the house — almost. Our seats were pretty good … at first.

EWF & Chicago tearing it up

Notice I said they were pretty good. We were about halfway down, with good sightline to the stage, close enough to actually see what was going on up there, we had a good view. And then fucking Lurch and his giant stage-blocking head showed up and sat down right in front of me. So this is what the rest of the concert looked like:

Good lord, will you look at the size of that melon!

But at least it sounded good. I came to the show sort of halfway looking forward to Chicago and kind of “eh” about Earth, Wind & Fire, but I changed my tune pretty quickly once the show started. They opened with both bands on stage together for two or three songs and the whole place was crackling with energy — every single person in the theater leapt to their feet at the first note and it was wall-to-wall dancing as the bands played. This was a crowd that wanted to have a good time.

Then the bands stopped down to schmooze a bit and each talked about how great and inspirational the other was, and then they explained how the joint show worked: the bands opened together and then they flipped a coin to see who played first. The winning band would play solo for an hour, then turn the stage over to the other band who would play solo for an hour, and then both bands would reunite for another half hour to finish out the show. Earth, Wind & Fire won last night’s coin toss, so Chicago took a break while EWF literally rocked the house.

Everyone was on their feet for just about every minute of EWF’s set. They put on a great show with lots of energy and fun and banter and … it was just a great show. The crowd loved it, they loved it, we all loved it together, and everyone was having a blast. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a concert that had such great energy. I was transformed, permanently, into an Earth, Wind & Fire fan.

Then Chicago took the stage. And proceeded to suck every last bit of energy out of the show. They took a stadium filled with people who couldn’t stay in their seats and put us all back into them. Where EWF’s set was all rhythm and flow and momentum, Chicago’s was a study in how to frustrate an audience. They would get into a groove with a song the crowd liked — and then break it up by introducing band members in the middle of it. They’d play a fast song that was an obvious crowd favorite and get everyone dancing — and then follow it with a slow number no one knew. And everybody got a solo — usually in the middle of a song that didn’t really have a natural place for a solo. They did a guitar solo, and a drum solo, and a bass guitar solo, and maybe another guitar solo. They even did a freakin’ flute solo! It was amazing to me what a choppy and disjointed show they put on. I expected better from a band that’s been touring for 30+ years.

But then EWF took the stage again and both bands played the show out together and all the energy returned and it was fun again. It was an interesting contrast, seeing these two bands playing back to back. EWF was the band that wanted you to let loose, have a good time, and had a good time with you, while Chicago was the band that was concerned for your safety so they bored you so you’d sit down and not hurt yourself having fun. EWF was all about “get up, dance, have fun and get crazy!” and Chicago was all about “slow down, sit down, be safe, be careful!”

One band acted its age while the other, thankfully, didn’t.


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