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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Bucket List





Well, here it is, in all its splendor.  Such as it is.  I’ll be including a few notes as we go along, and updating the list as it changes and completes.  Strap in, here we go!

As the list is finished, each entry will get a big ol’ DONE.  If something is accomplished, but not as fully as it could be, I’ll give it a lower case entry of done, signifying accomplishment but room to improve upon the experience.  Those that get the DONE stamp will end up getting a blog entry of their own. 

14/100 is the current score.   

1) Degree. 
This was important enough to be #1 on the list when I was far younger.  As I’ve explained elsewhere, it just doesn’t grab me anymore.  I’ve had a lot of fun and success and strife and learning, and the paper just doesn’t mean as much as I thought it would.  40 year old me isn’t 25 year old me, so this one will end up being replaced at some point.

2) Drum with Babatunde  done (as close as could be)
Didn’t get to drum with, but did get to drum for him, and with some other phenomenal drummers.  Expect a blog entry on this at some point.



3) Publicly speak/teach
This is another that will be modified.  It already has, actually.  When I was younger, alternative religions really needed some advocate voices, and I longed to be one.  Now, that cause has done well enough with only minor input from me.  I’ve helped teach theatre for high schoolers, and I’ve taught drum workshops, and maybe that’s enough to mark this one with the DONE stamp…or maybe the slot needs to go to something else. 

4) Fly a Plane

5) Have a 6 digit career

6) Have Children DONE
Stopped at one, for various reasons, not least of which that Little Danger is the best kid in the entire world.  Yes, I’m biased. 


7) Provide for that child.
Obviously, this one may never be done.  It might just be an ongoing way of life.  Providing for him comes in so many ways, and he’ll have to tell me when the done stamp is ready.

8) Master my drums
“Master” is perhaps too lofty a term.  I’m damn good with the djembe, but my technique is weak on conga and doumbek, and I’d like to get better. 

9) Finish fig painting
I have a collection of Necromunda figures; each and every gang produced by Games Workshop.  I zen out when I paint.  It relaxes me.  I intend to finish painting all of them.

10)  Have Poetry Published
Kind of self-explanatory.  I have written, and occasionally still do, some fairly OK poetry, if I say so myself.  I’d love to be published, and not by myelf.

11) Portray Javert  done
I haven’t done the full show of Les Miserables, but I have performed an excerpt.  There’s still time to upgrade this one to full caps-lock glory, and I look forward to it.

12) Catch an 8 lb rainbow trout
Ever since that Bennett Springs trip, I’ve longed to square off with a nice pan-sized fish and pull it out of the water to grace my plate. 

13) Watch a sunset at Sanibel Island with Wifefish   DONE

14) Visit my nephew in Colorado
Wifefish loves Colorado, I’ve got family there.  Seems a natural fit.

15) Ride a Horse DONE

16) Own a large parcel of land
At some point, I intend to have some acreage with a nice barn and woods.

17) Physically touch totem animal(s).
This would include all of those that have entered my life. Tiger being most important to me, I’ll probably save the done stamp for that eventuality.

18) Earn at least a mid level in some martial art
Even though I’m getting older, I still would like to cross this one off the list.  It’s always been a matter of time and discipline, and the time, I think, is drawing near.

19) Ministry license
Easy to do nowadays, and I did long ago formally train for such. 

20) Fence again
I used to fence.  I wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t do it for very long.  I’d like to get back on strip.

21) Learn Rapier/Main Gauche  DONE
In the course of getting pretty heavy into combat choreography in my youth, I learned the style. 

22) Visit Ireland
I wanna go.

23) Brew Mead
“It’s made from honey!”  I’d like to make some batches of my own.

24) Learn Reiki
Some think it bunk, some think it a healing method.  I have enough belief in unexplained sciences to give it a go.

25) Enrolled Agent
Given the career, I may as well go through the hoops to be certified to bust the IRS in the chops. 

26) Contact Hedy
Even though she’s part of my history, the concept of celebrity has gotten less and less important to me as time goes on.  Connecting with a gradeschool friend I haven’t seen since 5th grade could be cool, but I think I wrote this one on the list in youthful ignorance.  Slot may change.

27) Own a House  DONE
I’m on the second one.

28) Writing Published DONE
Brew News articles for the win.

29) Visit West Africa
The land of the djembe, I should love to visit and hear traditional rhythms in traditional settings.

30) Be in Salem at Halloween
I just think this would be an awesome experience. 

31) Swim with Whales  done?
I’ve gone whale watching, I’ve been in the water (and danced with) dolphins…is it done?


32) See Alaska
As all of these travel things might be labeled, I wanna go.

33) See Hawaii
Yep, wanna go.

34) Melee Sparring  DONE
I had intended to do some foam fighting, learn some weapons techniques.  I had no idea how much further I would go than this simple goal.

35) Amtgard  DONE
I had intended to begin attending a foam fighting game, as well.  Instead, we ended up creating Triumph, and making our own entry into the fantasy worlds of LARP.  I’m pretty proud of it. 

36) Drum with Michael Bashaw
Hell of an artist, and glad I got to play with him. 

37) Know my grandchildren
This one is a longevity goal, true.  Guess I’ll have to keep my body in some semblance of temple-hood to get there. 

38) Drum with Mamady Keita  DONE
More than once, I might add. 

39) SCUBA certification
I love to be in the water, and this is another of my “when I have money” items that I should have attended to a long time ago. 

40) Plan and achieve retirement income
Given my current career choices, it would be pretty sad if I don’t get this one done.

41) Attend a BIG LARP
I would so enjoy going to a humongous game, something like Bicolline in Canada or even Mythodea in Europe, where there are true line battles of hundreds of people. 

42) Choreograph or portray Cyrano de Bergerac
The ultimate swordsman.  Wouldn’t it be fun to choreograph those fights?

43) See Scotland
Och Aye Wanna Go, Laddy!

44) Own my own company  DONE
This one gets an oak leaf cluster as well. Two so far.

45) Portray Jekyll/Hyde   done
In the musical of the same name.  Again, I’ve excerpted, but haven’t done the full musical.

46) Hike in the Grand Canyon
Yes, it’s a big hole in the ground.  It’s older than mankind, and I think it needs my footprints in it.

47) Build a decently sized poker bankroll
I, like so many, enjoyed the meteoric rise in popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em.  I would like to continue playing.  The bankroll is the poker money, kept separate from other money…and I’d like to grow it.

48) Taste all the single malt brands
“All” is again difficult, but a list has been assembled that I shall conquer.

49) Play a high dollar poker tourney
Pursuant to #47, once I have it, I want to risk it. 

50) Conquer “The Classics” reading list
A hat tip goes to Hercules and the Umpire here.  I have a pretty impressive list of things to read which, once finished, will be added to again and again.  It’ll get more than one Done stamp. 

51) Sail on a tallship
Aye, ta get in the riggin’.  Ta fire the cannon an’ work the wheel.  It calls ta me, it does.

52) Drum on the rim of Ngorongoro
A place of epic beauty, and I want to stand and look out over it and slap some goatskin.

53) 1 million hits on the blog
This would be a fun one, too, I think. 

54) Multi-day riverboat cruise
I’d love to get onboard a paddlewheeler with the family and enjoy the river.

55) Visit all the National Parks in the US
Yep, all of ‘em.  I intend to get Little Danger a completed Park Passport.

56) Build the Perfect Pyrate Pub
I have a great one, but in true pirate fashion, I want more.  More room to display breweriana and pirate/nautical goodies. 

57) Highlander Trophy Room
You remember that scene in Highlander, where he has all the cool things from his personal history?  Yeah, I want a room like that.  Swords and costumes and armor and tidibits and some fucking-A old Scotch.

58) 100 push ups, and keep it
If George Takei can do it, why can’t I?  This is a yardstick for being in shape, thus the “keep it” portion.

59) Watch a sunset at Sanibel Island with Little Danger
It was so good the first time, I need an excuse to do it again.

60) Preplist
OK, I’m not weird.  Wait, that’s a lie.  OK, I’m not a crazy prepper, but I have a basic list that would be kind of cool to have on hand, and would learn good skills if I checked it off.  So why not be a little crazy?

61) CCW
My state has concealed carry.  I should go ahead and do the training and get the permit.

62) Complete costumes: Commisar, Pyrate, Pioneer, Wild West, Zarkov
I like having cool costumes for specific needs.  The Pioneer outfit, as an example, would be necessary for working at the cabin during events.  These are the 4 I want to do up right.

63) Obtain an authentic piece of Pyrate paraphernalia for the pub
You know, a cannon or belaying pin or something actually from the period, or better, a shipwreck.

64) See New Zealand
Want.  To.  Go.

65) Take Little Danger whale watching
I enjoyed it, and I want to share it with him.

66) Create, and then regularly perform, a weapons “dance” workout (kata)
I hate normal workouts.  Thus, combining things I love would be a good idea.  I want to splice some yoga and sword choreo into a daily routine.

67) Ride in a warbird
I still have that pilot dream.  I’d love to take a ride in a piece of history.  Be it a P-51 or a B-17, there are some awesome planes that still take to the air. 

68) Go on a “throw a dart” adventure
Pull out a map, throw a dart, and go there.  Easy and crazy.

69) Ride in a hot air balloon
I’ll wait until Little Danger is old enough to do this as a family, and then it’s soooo on.

70) Romantic dinner with Wifefish on the Riverwalk
I visit a lot of places on business.  I spent an evening O Solo Mio listening to Mariachi stroll and play, while eating a very, very good steak.  There was one person missing, and I intend to replay that scene correctly at some point in my life.

71) Attend a Pirate Festival
Because YARRRRR., that’s why.

72) Go on a charter cruise
I think it would be pretty cool to live like the uber rich for a bit, and charter a yacht for a few days of Caribbean or Mediterranean goodness.

73) Attend Bledsoe’s Fort Colonial Fair
I’ve got some roots in this location, and thus it’s a place I want to rendezvous, once my gear is ready.

74) Host a sushi party, and be the chef
I love sushi.  I love parties.  I love making food.  I love eating food.  Doesn’t this seem perfect for me?

75) Get debt free
A mortgage doesn’t count, due to tax break.  I want to keep that debt.

76) Get Protectorate up
I’ve been working on another LARP, something creative and futuristic as opposed to high fantasy.  I intend to get it live.

77) Go on a zipline
Wheeeeeee!

78)  Family dinner at Ponce Inlet
Sharing a piece of childhood with my family.

79) Take Little Danger for a day at Discovery Cove
Wifefish and I enjoyed the place so very much, and I think Little Danger would as well.

80) Attend a Whiskyfest
I wanna go!  And my liver will hate me!

81) Pacific Island/on water bungalow trip
You’ve seen the pictures, so you know why I wanna go.

82) Snorkel in the Crystal River
Wanna go.  Manatees.  Clear water.  

83) Busk (drum with a hat out)
I wonder if anyone would put money in that hat?

84) Eat at a Michelin Star restaurant
Since I happen to love food so very much, I want to discover for myself what the fuss is about.

85) Drum at Starwood festival
They have a hell of a drum circle, I’m told.

86) Snorkel Hanauma Bay
#33 got an add-on when I saw the pictures.  This would be a great one.

87) Breakfast at sunrise on the beach, sunset dinner on beach same day
I loves me some beach. 

88) Have a Crazy Vegas Trip
Whereas I’ve been to Vegas many times, I would love to do a true “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” trip of too many shows, too much good food, and too much booze.

89) Wild West trip
Deadwood or Tombstone or some other tourist attraction piece of history. 

90) Go whitewater rafting
I was too chicken, until the in-laws went. If they can do it, I certainly should.

91) Marathon gaming weekend
I want to take a 3 day weekend, a select group of gamers, and a few games and go absolutely crazy immersive fun for a weekend, stopping only for good food and fun breaks and occasional sleep.

92) Make a charity donation/contribution
Either with time or money, I’d like to make a true difference to someone(s) in need.

93) The Top Shelf of Badassdom
A monetary goal, I’d like to have 10 or so bottles of the REALLY good stuff.  Unique, expensive, as long as it’s good.

94) Attend either ComicCon or Dragoncon
Those are the big ones, with the cool people and the neat panels and events.  Iwannago.

95) Earthship or similar dreamhome
Wifefish and I want to put together a nice house, but use as much environmentally intelligent technology as we can.  Having a house that makes best use of water and power and such would be pretty sweet.

96) Visit Great Barrier Reef
Iwannago!

97) England backpack trip
Want.  To.  Go.

98) Canoe Green/Yampa rivers
Wifefish wants to share some childhood with me, too. 

99) See the Aurora Borealis
Gotta go North for this one.  Parka, anyone? 

100) Spaceflight.
If tourist space flights become at any point anywhere near affordable, then Dangerboy is going to earn his fucking astronaut wings. 

There it is, the hot 100.  It’s true, I may come up with more ideas and desires.  Slot 101 and beyond is easy to add, after all.  Wish me luck!  More importantly, wish me fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bucket List Thoughts



 Welcome back!

I have mentioned recently that I’m working on my “bucket list”.  When I first started said list, it was merely called 100 goals, and it was a “key to success” that coach Lou Holtz spoke about.  I haven’t quite gotten the list to 100 yet, having 8 slots open at current. 

In addition to that list, I now keep a second.  It’s my “reverse bucket list”, and I encourage you to keep one as well.  This is a list of things that I probably wouldn’t have put on the first list, either for not having thought of it or having done it already when I started “list prime”, but after having done, would not trade the experience for love of gold. 

You may, in fact, already have a 100 item list completed (or more!), if you’ll just think and reflect.  What awesome things have you done? 

Let me give you an example.  I would likely have never put on my list “Watch someone get married by Elvis”.  I just wouldn’t have thought of that, maybe wouldn’t have gone out of my way to do it.  My wife’s uncle got hitched in Vegas some time ago, and I just happened to be in town at a convention.  It was not to be missed, period. 

From the limo ride with the in-laws to the 20 minute ceremony performed by His Kingness (two songs!), to the names-in-lights at the chapel, to the reception at the Haufbrauhaus, it was a day full of awesome memories.  I even enjoyed walking in the desert heat from the reception to the convention at MGM Grand, stepping onto the floor with 2 minutes to spare from start time.  The day had a glow about it, an epicness that makes smiling easy.

That is entry 38 on my Reverse Bucket List.

It bears mentioning that my RBL is not in any order beyond the crazy order in which I remembered things, and I have no desire to organize it.  You might wish to list chronologically, perhaps.  Me, I’ll take scattered, just like my mind on any given day without coffee. 

As for my initial list, it’s been tweaked a few times.  Pro Tip:  You’re going to change and develop as you get older, and it’s perfectly OK to look at the list and replace something you just don’t see as important anymore. 

I’ll give you an example.  #1 on my list, written over 16 years ago, is “Degree”.  I intended at the time to get a 4 year degree.  Now that I’m 40, have Little Danger, and tuition has skyrocketed, this one is just nowhere near important to me anymore.  At some point in the near future (right after I fill the 8 empty slots), I’ll evaluate that goal and replace it with something else. 

It’s important to note that such a change isn’t a disappointment; the goal simply doesn’t fit me anymore.  I’ve read and studied and learned a great many disparate topics, and will continue to do so.  Do I need a 6 digit sheet of paper to think myself intelligent?  Nope.  Now that I own a business, do I need that sheet of paper to advance?  Nope.  Due to the expense and other negatives, it becomes something in the way of the other 99.  So, it gets scrapped. 

Here’s a second example.  #6 on the list is “have children”, which if you’ve paid attention here you know was a big effing deal for Wifefish and I.  For numerous reasons, not least of which is that Little Danger is like the perfect kid ever, we’ve stopped at 1.  So this one gets checked off, but with a caveat following. 

In complete rambling news, I’ve been productive as I’ve been writing…there are now only 7 slots open.  I promise to post the 100 list once completed, and start telling some stories.    




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Buckets!!!



I am currently putting the finishing touches on my list of 100 goals, aka the bucket list.  I’m also keeping a “reverse bucket list”, or a list of things that would have gone on the list had I thought of them before doing them, because they have a cool factor of “oh, yes.” 

Where appropriate, I intend to share the stories here.  There are one or two that just aren’t going to be committed to posterity.  Suffice to say they were fun. 

In hearing or reading the word “bucket” more times than a Kardashian checks make up, I was reminded of a story from my youth.

It bears mentioning that I was a geek in my youth.  Big surprise, I know.  I was gangly, had little physical prowess, was constantly nose-in-a-book or eyes-agape-at-a-pretty-girl, and had been in more fights than Mike Tyson.  My win/loss record was, however, roughly the opposite of his.  At zero and all, unfortunately, with 1 draw, my pre-senior year fight stats were pathetic at best.

My dad, wonderful man that he is and was, made many an attempt to put some muscle on my frame, but unsuccessfully.  I have to admit in retrospect that he lectured me in rants that left my butt sore from sitting in the chair through the entire monologues.  He could go on for hours on the topic of my failings, a perhaps universal danger of fatherhood.

Granted, Dad has some room to talk on this topic.  He’d been a first class ass-kicker since his teen years, having been fed the same bully soup I’d been eating regularly at school.  He decided to take the path of most resistance, bulking up and going apeshit on all comers.  At the age of 50, he was still able to bend a 16 penny nail in half with bare hands, and tricep pull an entire 350 pound stack on a universal machine.  Dad’s a fucking gorilla. 

Still, he just didn’t get the fact that I’d far rather swim through eight chapters on paleontology than squeeze out 3 sets of benchpress reps.  Sadly, I’m still in that same boat, though I’ve found some discipline to keep a bit of exercise in my daily routine.

Thus it was that, fresh from an undeserved ass-whomping after school, I found myself at the kitchen table enduring a vociferous, decibel and profanity laden soliloquy on the finer points of making a bully sorry via fisticuffs and dirty fighting techniques.  At what would likely have been the midpoint of the speech, the following was said.

“Son, you just have to have a pair of balls when a motherfucker wants to fight, and I’ve got balls as big as buckets!”  He continued to assail my eardrums.

Mom hid her mouth, eyes alight, got up from the table, and walked into the basement.

Dad continued an f-bomb delivery worthy of a Stratofortress.

Mom came back upstairs, silently, and placed a 5 gallon bucket in front of Dad on the table, and pointedly looked at his crotch.  She shook her head in mock sadness and walked away.

 With an authoritative *clunk*

The lecture came to a screeching halt. 

To this day, mom and I can reduce each other to laughter ending in tears with just one word:  “buckets.” 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Unlucky 13





It’s been 13 years.  Yes, I still remember.  No, I won’t forget. 

More than that, though, I won’t forgive.  But the people I’m not forgiving may surprise you.  At the time, I supported, and still do, a military reprisal.  It was inevitable, and it was necessary.  It was the other ominous shit that, even then, gave me the fucking willies.

I will not forgive those who knee jerked, and made disproportionate war effective for our enemies.  In a blind fear, we threw billions of dollars down a hole, and we’re still doing it.  We walk around, cocky, knowing that ‘merica! is number one…but we danced to their tune, and we’re still doing it.

I do not forgive the creation of the exceptionally ominous Department of Homeland Security.  Words like “Homeland”, “Fatherland”, and “Motherland” are rhetorically charged devices that smolder in the minds and hearts of the masses, and I worried about it then.  I see no reason today to stop worrying. 

I do not forgive the creation of the TSA, a ridiculous adventure in security theatre that has kept exactly zero travelers safer in the past 13 years.  They confiscate belt buckles and knives and jars of jam, and tell themselves they're effective.  Kudos, boys, you’re doing a bang up job. 

I do not forgive the creation of the snoop state that Snowden exposed, nor those in power who wished to silence and now wish to punish.  We shredded the 4th amendment looking for the needles in the haystack. 

I do not forgive the furtive movement to arm police with ever increasing military hardware in fear of terrorists.  Those toys are getting used against citizens, not foreign, nor even domestic, terrorists.  Mission creep is a very, very real thing. 

The thing I hate most about those vile men that poked the eagle with a stick is quite simple, really.  They won.  

In Remembrance,
Dangerboy

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Five Things I Think, Sep 9



It’s time again…let’s put on our thinking caps and enjoy, shall we?

1) I think I never get enough time at the lake.  I had waaaaay too much fun this trip, made more enjoyable by good friends, my awesome Little Danger and Wifefish, good food, and good booze. 

I also picked up a pair of these bad boys:  http://www.darkfingloves.com/  For those who are too lazy to click, let suffice the description of a pair of webbed gloves.  Coupled with a short pair of foot fins, I zipped around the lake like an otter on meth. The gloves are slender enough that you can still open a can of Samuel Adams with ease, put it in a coozie, and slurp away to your heart’s content.  You can even do it 12 times in a row.  If, by chance, you felt the need to do so. 


2) I think I’m pleased as punch about the new career.  It’s official now, Wifefish and I bought out the business.  We are officially business owners.  That’s both exhilarating and a bit frightening, but mostly the first one. 

I’ve been involved in the tax industry for years and years and years, but now I get to put all that knowledge and all my curiosity to work for clients of my very own.  I’ll be transitioning to a full time be-my-own-boss in January, and I’m looking forward to it like a beaver on the way to a tree farm. 

3) I think I’m enjoying the living history aspect of Pioneer Village.  Yes, we’ve made more progress on the cabin from 1797, but beyond that I’ve been learning some new skills. 

I got to work in the Smithy last time around, as did Little Danger.  I just worked the bellows for the blacksmith as he made some nails and such, but still, I got to learn something I didn’t know.  I’ll be making a point to get in there and learn every chance I get, because let’s face it…hot steel is awesome. 



Granted, our last foray out there for a museum event was as muggy as Satan’s jock strap, and a wasp used my neck as a bull’s eye for a loaded butt bombing run.  I may have made a noise akin to a mule having a surprise prostate exam.  Ah, the life of a pioneer has hardships, my friends.

4)  I think I truly understand the nature of ambivalence.  I’m at a point again with the Game where I am tired of it.  Events are awesome, I see great things, participate in wonderful theatre, get exercise, and just generally have fun.

Between events, though, I get to deal with crap.  Complaints.  Bitching.  Requests for special attention that would require me taking time away from career and family to sit down with players and mediate whatever dispute may be on their minds.  At least one person just stirring the shit pot trying to get a rise out of someone else, using me to do it. 

I’m not amused.  I find myself again looking at the calendar and wondering if running this thing is worth all the crap I put up with.  Game day, the answer is yes.  Today, the answer is no. 

5) I think it’s time for another kid brag.  Little Danger got bumped out of his swim class…not for being bad, but because they wanted him to swim in the next age bracket.  Good swimmer, that one, and he’s just done the width of the pool with no flotation device. 

I am truly in love with the way parenthood makes little milestones extraordinary.  You may recall my thoughts on bad dads some time ago, wherein I said my job is to lift him up, to raise him above me.  This is one such milestone…I didn’t learn to swim until high school.  He’s already able to tow me around in a rescue swim.

You see, last lake trip, I noticed he was moving around pretty darn well, so I decided about 5 boat lengths away from the pontoon to just stop and ask him to take me back to the boat.  We were both wearing jackets, because lake=85 feet deep, but he managed to haul me back in toot de suite in a nearly perfect rescue swim. 

Wifefish and I make it a habit not to tell him he can’t do things.  

Well, those are my thoughts for today...some good, some bad, all mine.  What do YOU think?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Be SEATED!




I’m going in the wayback machine for today’s post.  As many of you know, I’m a fan of live theatre.  Huge fan, in fact.  And willing participant.

I’m proud to be able to share that joy with Little Danger, who, at the age of 3, has managed to watch Hamlet in its entirety.  He was well behaved and quiet, asking in a whisper occasionally “Why he sad?” or things like that.  He’s also enjoyed 4 viewings of Jesus Christ Superstar, because Wifefish is AWESOME and kicked ass as Mary Magdelene.  He was similarly spectacular at each show, saving his singing for the car ride home.  (He does a fairly good rendition of “What’s the Buzz.”)

Today, I read an interesting and somewhat frightful article regarding the decline of the American Audience in theatre.  Between Shia Lebouf getting booted for being a butthead and various cellphone infractions galore on Broadway, it appears that audiences just can’t be bothered to politely pay attention.  It’s like theatre has caught a bad case of the assholes, which is a rash that can inhabit the house.

I was part of such an audience once, and it was not fun.  But oh, was it memorable.

In 1990, (I know, way back machine) I was a junior in high school.  Our English class would occasionally take trips to the Repertory Theatre of St Louis, aka “The Rep”, to take in a play.  Thus it was that we went to see Fences, a fairly impressive production.

As luck would have it, this production had a guest star.  I (and my classmates, of course) had a front row seat for a hell of a performance by none other than Avery Brooks, who had been playing Hawk on television, and would of course go on to play Captain Sisko on Deep Space Nine. 

If you’ve seen the interview he did with Shatner, and you’ve wondered what made Avery Brooks go insane, wonder no more.  It was the audience that day that cracked his sanity; I’m sure of it.  The experience lay in his mind like ticking time bomb, triggering an aneurism in later years as I imagine he recalled the scene over and over until only the piano could save him. 

The play itself was good, the actors quite talented.  The set was AMAZEBALLS, including a kitchen just inside the door of the house fa├žade that had running water.  Talk about your practicals!  A working kitchen faucet! 

I’ll assume you’re not familiar with the play itself, so here’s your synopsis.   I’ll wait for you to come back.

Back?  Awesome.  As you can see, that was some heavy subject matter for a high school class, but really, just a great show.  Unfortunately, the day we attended was also a day in which the hosting college had sent many of their own students for extra credit.  To say they misbehaved would be an understatement of epic proportions.  It’s like saying Hulk has anger issues.

I was largely focused on the stage, and missed a great deal of the inappropriate stuff.  In discussions on the bus ride home, others recalled a plethora of audience problems.  Candy wrapper opening, mumbling, discussing, snoring.  (Granted, that last one I’d nearly been guilty of my own self in a production of Henry IV in that very house.  My teacher forgave me for it, saying it bored her, too.)   

But I remember clearly the fight between father and son, Avery’s character Troy going after Cory with a baseball bat in some very convincing combat choreagraphy, and how the audience wasn’t, as I was, horrified at the prospect.  Instead they howled with glee.  Someone in the back yelled “get that motherfucker.”  Candy was thrown on the stage.  Reflect on that for a moment.  Someone attending an institute of higher learning decided that part of their extra credit included throwing candy at a live cast in one of the premier theatres of the city.  Acute case of the assholes.   

At show’s end, it was obvious that the cast was as happy as a seal at a polar bear reunion.    The curtain call was terse, short, and perfunctory.  Each actor wore a frown, scowl, or other dour demeanor, clearly pissed off at having wasted a damn good performance on such an unappreciative bunch.  (It bears mentioning that not one single member of our class had participated in any of these shenanigans.)

"Who raised these kids?"


Most of the cast left the stage, whilst most of the audience started to get up and go their merry way.  Avery stood center stage and just watched.  After what could only be called a dramatic pause, he spoke.  He used what was then the “Hawk voice” and would become the “Sisko’s pissed basso profundi.”  Two words, bouncing off the sound clouds as if spoken through a loudspeaker. 

“BE.  SEATED.” 

It garnered an amazing response.  Everyone sat their ass down, responding to the commanding tone as if he’d been holding the nickel-plated .357 he held every week on our TVs.  Playing a hitman can command a bit of respect. 

After a scant few moments to let everyone sit, he began his lecture.  Worthy of a professor of theatre, he launched on a diatribe that had even those of us who’d done nothing wrong slinking down in our seats.  He wielded shame like a bludgeon, at one point walking stage right, plucking a twizzler off the floor, and bellowing “THIS has no PLACE in the THEATRE.”  It sounded something like this:

  

The audience that left was a vastly different audience than had arrived.  The lecture seemed to penetrate most, and there was precious little shit talking as the students filed out.  There was a great deal of silence. 

It was a performance every bit as memorable as the production he’d just participated in, if not more so.  It was a message most in the room absolutely needed to hear.  And maybe, just maybe, it’s one I’d like to see him deliver anytime an audience gets a case of the assholes.




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Things I Think, June 19



1) I think the progress we’re making on the 1797 cabin is fantastic.  A base log has been replaced, a sill log pulled and replaced with stone (to protect the overall structure), and most of the roofing supports sourced.  It was hard and heavy work, and I was still pretty sore at bedtime Monday night.  We might get this job done by our goal time frame of 1 year from start, which, for a guy as good at home improvement as Congress is at customer satisfaction, is one heck of an accomplishment.  


2)  I think I had a pretty cool Father’s Day.  Little Danger got to see many DeLoreans, including a Back To The Future repro that was quite amazing, and they even set the time machine to his birthday.  Too awesome, even though I didn’t get to take part in that adventure due to point #1 there…I was working with a crew of fantastic people while Wifefish possibly shouted “Great Scott!” 


There was a surprise encounter with a B-17 on my way home from cabin work, and I collected Wifefish and Little Danger to tour said Fortress.  It reminded me of a similar trip my Dad arranged for me, to the local municipal airport way back when, some 33 years ago.  Recursive parenting awesomeness for the win.




We finished the day with a trip to a local brewhouse for some fantastic food at a reasonable price, some really good beer, and a complimentary pint glass inscribed with the date, which was another surprise.  Suffice to say, the day did its level best to outdo my expectations in just about every way.  It succeeded. 

3)  I think I’m tired of the news.  Seriously, soul-suckingly tired.  I remember when the news was given to us with a bit of gravity, a bit of respect, and a care for the facts.  Now it’s all sensational. 
A radio station I am not going to listen to anymore tipped me over the edge this morning, dropping a tag of a sentence fragment just before discussing the “Iraq situation”. 

A deepened male voice, echoed up just like a monster truck commercial, announced “Turmoil in the Middle East!” as if I was supposed to buy a ticket for a seat, but only need the edge, this Sunday Sunday Sunday.  I put in a CD.  I’m tired of being shouted at, cajoled, marketed to, and annoyed.  I just want to know what’s going on.  Journalism may, in fact, be wheezing like a smoker on the stairs. 

4) I think it’s ironic that my most productive day this week was a vacation day from The Job.  I handled two clients in the morning for the new career, then went to the house and fixed a ceiling fan, vacuumed the floors, put away laundry, trimmed the fenceline, and even played a little pitch n’ catch with Little Danger in the front room.  I was like some sort of goddamned superdomesticman.  Behold, my feather duster of power, and the pruning shears of justice!
Then I went forth with the men-in-law and visited two taprooms at local craft breweries, and sampled many, many beers.  I’m in love with the craft beer revolution. This, too, proved productive, as we managed to make some great connections with fellow beer enthusiasts, and we settled on a creative and awesome way for me to display the growlers I’m collecting in the Pyrate Pub. 


5) I think I’m cautiously optimistic about the quality of JJ’s new Star Wars movie, but that ultimately I don’t care if it’s good or not.  Bottom line is this:  I will be able to take my son to an opening night of Star Wars in the theatre, something I never thought would happen.  It could be a steaming pile of monkey shit, and I’d sit diligently through two hours of solid lens-flare to experience it with Little Danger.

But if Jar Jar shows up, I’m going after JJ with a vintage 1977 Millenium Falcon and bludgeoning him with it until he looks like he’s gone 3 rounds with a rancor.  I’ll show up at his doorstep like a Gamorrean with a grudge.  It’d be all Darth Danger up in his mansion.  Just sayin’.  

So, gang...what do you Think today?

 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Things I Think, June 13



1) I think it’s nuts that June has arrived already.  This year is attempting to zip past like it’s trying to prevent bad things happening to Marty McFly.  It seems just yesterday that I was at the end of tax season, and now here I am looking at Midsummer.  

Hey, calendar, knock off these shenanigans!  I have things to do! (Things.  Like the mountain of laundry, the mountain of LARP laundry, the cleaning of the bar, the fixing of the ceiling fan light, the bathroom grout, the...well, you get the picture.) 

2)  I think I’m having fun with writing, even though you haven’t seen it here.  I’ve been picked up by a local publication, writing humorous beer articles.  The Venn diagram is one perfect circle between their needs and my interests.  It’s a happy thing.

It’s also a paid gig, which is pretty cool as well.  I’m trading words for shiny rocks, and whereas I will not be getting rich on this project, it will pay for the beer I research and, in turn, write about.    

3)  I think Little Danger is a fucking rock star.  He’s about to turn 4, and it’s been a great ride so far.  I am in awe of how often he smiles, how much he cares, and the way we share the world together.  Rock.  Star.  



I had the fun and awesome experience of drumming with him again recently, and this time he strapped on his little drum and stood next to me for a good half hour as we pounded out some rhythms.  Watching him dance around with a ton of friends was also especially endearing, and a level of magical silliness I’ve not witnessed in 21 years of drumming at that location.  Of course, I’m biased.  And I feel not one ounce of shame about it.  (Though that sentence fragment did get a twitch out of my inner grammar police.  As did that one.) 

4) I think hitting 40 has not been in any way as “bad” as some had led me to expect.  I feel like I’m hitting my stride.  I work out more than I ever have before; I still lead the pack on hikes and battles (when fighting with foam).  I just don’t feel the need for a mid-life crisis at all.  I’m thinking about penciling it in for my 52nd birthday. 

Given that this year Wifefish, the Kushies, and I have started restoring a cabin built in 1797, I have a completely different perspective on age than once I did.  When you’re working on lumber that was stacked together almost 220 years ago, 40 seems downright juvenile.  Although it is refreshing to realize that modern life expectancy makes me quite likely to hit a century.  I have a goal, people.  Now get off my lawn!

It's a fixer upper.

5) I think, as I reflect further on point 4 there, that history can be completely awesome.  In researching the time period of the cabin’s construction, I found some amazing provenance, a journal written by a man who traveled with the cabin’s original owner.  I know the exact date the first log was laid, the experiences they had getting to that point, and even what they hunted for that first morning.  (Bear.  Motherfucking black bears hunted by chopping down their tree and shooting them when they hit the ground, hopefully before they mauled your face off.  Pioneer living was not for the weak.)

I also discovered some roots in my family that I hadn’t been able to find previously, and traced my line back to those same gentlemen.  It turns out I have direct ties to the battle of Point Pleasant, and to the American Revolution.  I’ve a long ago cousin who was a bona fide, grade A badass.  It’s made me look at my skill set and think about adding some of those primitive living skills I’ve always thought about, but never bothered to work on.  It’s started with cabin-building, now I’m going to look at some true woodscraft to enjoy with Little Danger as he grows.  Why not? 


I hope you, dear reader, have a great day.  So…what do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Five Things I Think, March 12



1) I think, and I have had this thought before, that it’s been too long since I’ve written.  There are so many things going on for me right now, both good and bad, and I’ve been remiss in putting them to words. 
            This is the year that I’ve begun to transition from one career to another, and this seems to be treating me well thus far.  I enjoy the work, I like the boss (me), and it’s not bad money. 
            This is the year that I’ve been watching Little Danger grow by leaps and bounds, physically and mentally.  He’s a beacon, a light that calls me home with a beaming smile and a “cuddle me jus’ a little bit.” 
            This is the year that The Company has started on a comeback trail, but has done a poor job in implementation.  I’ve fielded some pretty terrible tech support calls in which we are the screw-up, not the client, and I have come to hate waiting on programmers to fix the problem.  See item 1 above…I like having the ability to fix my own screw ups or fail on my own merits, as opposed to reliance on the fruits of another’s labor.  Especially when that fruit is not as sweet as once it may have been.
            This is the year that Wifefish and I have started fighting our way out of our corner, relying on each other to tag-team our problems as if we were the freakin’ Road Warriors.  (For the record, I’m Hawk.)  Granted, neither one of us is wearing a Mohawk just now, but we are giving the massive suplex of doom to our problems…together. 
            This is the year that we have a regular weekly game running with some friends, playing Dark Heresy every Tuesday.  I’ve so long wanted to have a weekly game, and now that I have one going, I’m pleased as punch, especially given that football season is over, and there’s no weekly Monday Night Football to be had.  Tuesday Night kill heretics in the name of the Emperor is every bit as fun for me. 
            This is the year that I make some changes, and they seem to be for the better.

2)  I think Little Danger makes me giggle sometimes.  Last week, as we were gaming, he went to the kitchen pantry for a snack.  The mind of a 3 year old is a strange thing. 
            Pepper the crazy terrier was accompanying him, and he kept pushing her away, saying “No, I no need help!”  Of course, Pepper has the comprehension capacity of a sweet potato, and so kept merrily attempting to play with him.  More pushing ensued, and Wifefish corrected him, saying he couldn’t push her away like that, it would only add more energy to her play.
            So the boy looks thoughtful for a moment, grabs a dog biscuit from said pantry and hands it to the dog, who merrily takes off for a solitary dining experience in her kennel in the front room.  Little Danger then triumphantly perused the pantry for a snack as we, the supposed adults, laughed uproariously and I beamed at his problem-solving skills. 
            Way to go, Little Danger. 

3)  I think the Snowplow Saga has drained me.  I’ll have to post the whole story, but suffice to say that being backed over by a city vehicle, driven by one who was completely at fault, left me without the minivan.  We now have a brand spankin’ new Ford Escape, which I am moderately happy about.  We now have a ridiculous car payment, which has left me feeling about like I’ve just traipsed through a lumberjack camp dressed as a mighty pine tree.  I’m not suffering from buyer’s remorse, though, but a case of wanting to beat the everlovin’ apefuck out of the douchecanoe who, through his overwhelming dumbfuckery, took away the van that had been fully paid off.  Alas, such is not to be. 

4) I think that while my son is in every way awesome, and in fact more awesome than anyone on the planet, there is one foible he possesses that is both maddeningly frustrating and deeply hilarious.  Note, if you are a something-in-law to me, STOP READING NOW.

Wifefish and I have given Little Danger another nickname, one which he has earned.  Due to his amazing ability to sense from anywhere in the house, whether awake or asleep, if there is any sort of marital affection in the works and further due to his uncanny power to interrupt any such activity at the most inopportune time, we have gifted him with the moniker Captain Cockblock.  (Note that it's a secret name, one we dare not let him hear until he's 20.)  It’s his special supervillain power. 



 The Captain threatens the safety of Metropolis...

(note to the in-laws.  I did tell you to stop reading.  This uncomfortable feeling you have right now?  Totally your fault.) 

Why, just this very morning, he proved his ability.  Sadly, his “spidey sexy sense” doesn’t know humor from reality.  I strolled into the bedroom fresh from the shower, and jokingly said to Wifefish, waving my hands at my chest as if some freakish takeoff on Vanna White displaying freshly-purchased vowels, “Would you like any of this before I put it away?”

Approximately 8.7 microseconds later, a voice rose up the stairwell, in its best ore rotundo glorificus, “MOOOOOOMMMM!  Need help making Star Wars go!”  Needless to say, Wifefish and I shared a moment of euphoric laughter as I got dressed. 

5) I think I’m tired of winter.  I know, I know, huge revelation there.  It’s like being tired of politics or Bieber.  I’m just ready for a little warmth, a little green, and less shivering and gas bills.  OH LOADY THE GAS BILLS! 

This winter came in every bit as brutally as the no-stripe wooly worms suggested this year, and decided to muck up the joint like the rudest house guest ever.  Not only did it put its feet on our couch, but it wiped its nethers on grandma’s drapes and used the doilies for a snotrag.  Rude bastard. 

Worse, it’s keeping me from an awesome project that I can’t wait to dive into.  More on that another time, though. 

I hope you, dear reader, have a great day.  So…what do you think?
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