Monday, September 27, 2010

Ready to Rush to Atlanta

Two days from now, a friend of mine, his brother, and I will head for Atlanta to see Rush. It'll be my first time to see them live since 1984. As I recall, 1984 was a pretty good year for concerts for me:
  • KISS playing their first tour without makeup for Lick It Up (in retrospect, that title sounds like it could have been released by Spinal Tap as a follow up to Smell The Glove),
  • the David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen supporting the appropriately named 1984, and
  • Rush with Grace Under Pressure.
I saw all three of those shows at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium - that dump of a still-standing government public works facility terrible for show when it was built and remains so today. But it was all we had at the time.

I remember buying a souvenir "muscle shirt". The style was popular at the time. Yet with 25+ years of hindsight perspective, I really don't have a clue as to why I parted with perfectly good beer money for such a silly shirt.

  • One, anyone who has seen me - then or now - knows I'm not exactly sporting the guns. No other muscle shirts have ever been in my closest or drawers - prior to this purchase or after it. I don't even have any ripped flannels like Larry the Cable Guy.
  • Two, I think I bought this style because I didn't like the alternative - the concert jersey. Again, this was a popular option at concerts from that era. So rather than keep my money in my pocket, I impulsively but stupidly bought the muscle shirt and wore it probably a grand total of 3 times.
  • Three, the shirt included a unique feature - glow-in-the-dark lettering for the GUP logo. In 1984, nothing said "helloooo laaaadies" quite like a short, young male with skinny arms rocking a glow-in-the-dark, geek-rock shirt.
This time I'll be seeing Geddy, Alex, and Neil at someplace awkwardly named Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park. Look, Municipal Auditorium may have been a dump, but at least we could easily and affectionately shorten its name to "Municipal" or "Muni". How in the world 20 years from now am I going to shorten the name of the 2010 place? The cell phone joint?

More to follow...


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Uneven Steven

Last Thursday, I worked the concession stand at a Nashville Predators pre-season hockey game as a fund raiser for my son's high school band. Individuals from non-profit organizations work the stands, and a cut of the night's revenue goes to support the organization's mission. In our case, the overall nightly take is allocated evenly to an account for each person working the event.

We don't yet have our final numbers for last Thursday; however, its estimated I likely earned about $55 for my son's account to use for band expenses.

On the way home about two miles away from the arena, a Nashville policeman decided he'd rather shoot radar from a dark parking lot rather than root out drug deals likely taking place 100 yards in any direction from where he was sitting in his patrol car.

He said I was going about 10 miles over the speed limit. I'm not sure if I was or not; however, I thought most cops gave you a bit of an overage buffer anyway.

Cost of the ticket he wrote me - whether I pay the fine or the costs of traffic school as an alternative? Fifty dollars.

That's right. When all is said and done, I'll likely net about a Lincoln for seven hours of serving hot dogs, nachos, and Labatt's Blue. I could likely have made more per hour working in a clothing factory in a third world country.

Que sara sara.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Baltimore Oddities

In 1966, Tompall Glazer and Harlan Howard wrote the much covered song Streets of Baltimore. The song has been recorded by many singers including one of my favorite, contemporary Americana bands...Red Meat, Charley Price, Gram Parsons, and Bobby Bare, who was the first to have a hit with the song.

Last week, I made my second trip to Baltimore. I don't have a lot of memories from my first trip about 8 or 9 years ago. Nothing good or bad - just nothing memorable has stuck with me. I remember staying near Johns Hopkins and realizing for the first time Edgar Allan Poe once lived there. It finally connected with me why the team formerly known as the Cleveland Browns was renamed the Baltimore RAVENS. Duh, I thought. What took you so long?

This time, I was a bit more prepared for my visit. As I wrote at my racing-themed, companion blog Bench Racing, I stockpiled a large number of Schaefer beer memories while in Baltimore. But I noted a few other oddities while in town beyond procuring Schaefer beer.

Oddity No. 1: TMC getting a major award. The purpose of my trip was to attend a work-related training conference as well as lead a session on the uses, benefits, risks, and challenges of social media. I was humbled to receive not just one - but two - awards as the organization's session leader for my presentation at last year's conference and author of the year for an article I wrote earlier this year. This. never. happens. Very cool - very flattering - very humbling. (Despite the recognition, I must confess some disappointment. When I heard my name as the winner of a major award, I didn't think of an engraved plaque. I was thinking leg lamp!)
Oddity No. 2: The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Taney - the last surviving, floating ship from Pearl Harbor. Standing on the dock looking at this boat make you realize you are staring at history. Yet, because its the sole, remaining ship from December 7, 1941, I viewed the ship as a Baltimore oddity.

Photo source: Wikipedia

Oddity No. 3: TMC at a baseball game. I'm not a baseball fan. I don't hate it, but I just don't like it. For many years, I kept up with it from a distance just for casual conversation. Who are the division leaders? Who has the most home runs this year? Who has the hot hand on the mound? But no more - I really haven't followed it much at all. I love NASCAR, the NHL, and college and pro football. But baseball? Ehhhh. Generally speaking, however, I will concede I enjoy a night out at a ball park more than I do a game at a football stadium or hockey rink. And what a perfect early fall evening it was to visit Camden Yards.

Oddity No. 4: Big bats by the Orioles. For a team that hasn't exactly piled up the W's in recent years (trying to be kind here), the Orioles plucked the visiting Toronto Blue Jays with 11 runs.

Oddity No. 5: Solid pitching by the Orioles. Baltimore's pitchers scattered only 3 runs over the nine innings. New skipper Buck Showalter has the team believing it can win. (Oddity 5a: With all things having a Nashville connection, its worth noting Baltimore manager Showalter played minor league baseball with the Nashville Sounds about 30 years ago.)

My hotel was on Light St. near the Baltimore harbor. I spent part of my Sunday afternoon walking along Light St., observing the businesses, surveying restaurant menus, and looking for package stores selling Schaefer. Based on the following oddities, perhaps it should have been called EnLIGHTenment St.

Oddity No. 6: Elvis' Tex-Mex. I really wanted to eat lunch at this place based simply on the name, Sadly, however, the place was closed on Sunday when I arrived. I wanted to find out if they served a fried peanut butter and banana chimichanga.

Oddity No. 7: Doggie Style. This place was open. I didn't enter. I do find it interesting, however, how they're trying to catch the consumer's eye with the reverse second G. Isn't that an example of marketing overkill? And what's with "grooming" as the smaller font disclaimer? Once you've gone gutter with your store name, is there a way to come back from that?

I'll end it here since seven is an odd number. Kind of an odd ending wouldn't you say?


Friday, September 17, 2010

Poetry by my daughter

My daughter wrote this for her language arts class. I think I may go now. And weep a bit of joy. And hug my little girl. And smile.

I Am From Home

I am from dinner parties, filled with fun and friends.
From Mexican foods, steaming with mouthwatering goodness,
From a loving, caring family who makes sure to protect me.
I am from this and much more.

I am from a brick wall family.
I am the mortar between the bricks,
Holding everything together.
I keep us sturdy.

I am from a 2-story red brick house with a deck.
From “Fair is a bunch of rides and cotton candy”,
From a Blue’s Clues based childhood.
I am from my quiet and comfy bedroom.

I am from a cross inscribed with “Bless This Cat”.
From a cat-shaped candle on top of birthday cakes,
From taunting my brother by ‘hearing’ ghosts.
I am from a smart, logical family.

I am from a family with a brother who I admire.
One who is smart and nice to everyone.
A brother who is talented in many ways.
Someone I can trust.