Monday, August 1, 2011


Again the situation is that it's been quite a while since I've posted. Here's a recap of where all the miles have taken me.

Went on a trip to New Hampshire, went up Mt. Washington on the bike until the park service closed the road due to high winds and excessively cold temperatures and ice. Then went to Maine the next day, had some lobster, chowder, and great camping weather.

The much mentioned BMW 1200GS in New Hampshire

Yesterday I hit 25k on the BMW GS1200 odometer (7/31/11).

I've been wanting to complete an IronButt event, like the SaddleSore 1000, so I did that too. A minimum of 1000 miles within 24 hours. I couldn't see myself doing a ride of this nature on the East Coast for a few reasons. The potential traffic issues and the fact that I've seen the EC my whole life, time for something new! So, I figured I'd go to the land of Oz - off to Kansas to see some corn.

I left at 3:47 AM on Friday, 7/9 and 1150 miles later, and 19.5 hours later I was in Topeka, Kansas. No real delays, no mechanical issues, just heat and a rush hour arrival in St. Louis. Wow, that arch is really big - it needs a bungee swing to make it really fantastic!

The ride back home took two days because I wasn't feeling as motivated and strong on the way home. It took me by surprise, even though everything I read was you won't be able to maintain the same mileage on successive days - they were right. Another thing that I read, but didn't process until really doing it - you can't have enough water. I'd drink as much as I could at a fuel stop, then 5 minutes into riding, I'd be thirsty again.

An even hotter ride was taken with the wife when we went to Busch Gardens for a few days. OMG, it was hot on the ride, at the park, in the shade - all I remember was heat, the hotel pool being nice, and the AC in the hotel being bliss.

There will be more adventure and more miles this Summer for sure, but there is nothing planned currently. There are some thoughts to attempt a 1500 mile ride in 24 hours in the next 12 months, but I need to fit a fuel cell onto the bike to carry additional fuel to make fuel stops be on 280 mile increments rather than 200 mile to save on time. I might need a catheter for this ride!

another shot from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire in very cold weather in June

Owl City load in at Pier Six Baltimore, a work picture without a reference

Owl City close up - Impressions, Mac 101s, VL2500 Spots - the touring package

Friday, May 13, 2011

18k Today - the recap of 17 - 18

Last night when I parked the motorcycle in the garage at odometer reading 17,999 signaling that it was time to write in the blog I was dumbfounded to find that blogger was down for maintenance. Maintenance? I have never seen the site down, but I'm not a power blogger so I guess it could be down all the time and I wouldn't know. So let's get on with it:

Driving out of the neighborhood this morning the BMW read 18k, so I write and I'll try to remember and cover everything that happened the last thousand miles of significance. I won't even try to keep things in order, but use order of importance to me.

The most notable event from the last 1,000 miles is seeing Rush at the Baltimore Arena (I refuse to call it by it's corporate sponsor name, it's "The Arena" to me and others that I work with). I've seen Rush more than any other band (AC/DC is runner up) and went to the show at the insistence of the wife. Due to a busy work schedule and the reluctance at paying for the expensive tickets I waited to the last minute to call in a favor. Problem with the favor is that I wasn't owed a favor from this particular vendor friend. None the less I made the call spelling out how a favor clearly wasn't owed, but if there was anything he could do it would be greatly appreciated. I got an email 20 minutes later giving directions to show up at Will Call to get tickets and a wrist band, and to go to the lighting booth. I meet the wife after work and we began our journey toward a favorite pub. The show comps were a surprise for her that I was able to keep quiet about for 36 hours, so I asked her if there was anywhere else she'd rather go tonight. She forgot that Rush was in town so she only suggested other pubs that were more local, then I had to tell her that we're going downtown so we could see Rush tonight. She was quite excited.

The email made a reference to "kill seats" which I figured were on the 3rd floor, or behind the stage, or simply what was left over with less than 2 days to performance time. The tickets that were given to us at Will Call showed us as floor and we walked around trying to find the section, but the event staff had us running in circles. I recognized the LD for the band and remembered that the email said to report to the lighting booth... Much to both of our surprise our seats were IN THE BOOTH. This was pretty fantastic to me because most people at that show were impressed by the band and would love to have back stage passes to say how much they loved the music. I on the other hand wanted nothing more than to get to talk to the band's lighting designer who is in my eyes the real rock star in the room. As a side note seeing Rush shows in the 80's in another prominent reason I was drawn to concert lighting and started a stage lighting company. I got a chance to chat with Howard for a minute or two before the show and talked to two other lighting people that I knew from the past. The wife and I watched the show from the lighting booth which is on a raised platform that allows us to see over the floor crowd, and were able to sit in a chair, and there was a cooler! I drank a sparkling water at the intermission and pondered at how seeing this show from the booth was so much better than a back stage meet and greet, and that it was a nice follow up to seeing their shows as a teenager, I've made it to the VIP.

A few weeks later we did lighting for ABBA. The real ABBA? No, this was "ABBA the concert", which is real ABBA to me, but does it really matter? I wasn't at this show but have worked with this band in the past and I think it's the third time we've done lighting for them, assuming that every time it has been "... The Concert". The day after ATC we were booked for a college music festival, followed the next day by a different college arena concert. I do much less work in the field that I have done in the past, but when things get very busy even I end up on the job sites. I scheduled myself to do the midnight load in of equipment at the first college show and we worked until 4-something in the morning. I got into bed at 5:40AM, then was back in the office at 9:00AM - yeah, I felt rough that day. The following morning at 7:00AM was the college arena job... you get the idea, one to the next. Rock n' Roll isn't glamorous and neither is company ownership, it's a misconception that all company owners are rich and accomplished. Yeah, I saw a Rush concert from the VIP, but I've worked a lot of long hours before ending up in that seat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random Thoughs

This is how it always starts for me: I have a regular day filled with regular events and my mind just wanders. I think, I really should write in my blog daily, but for today let's just dive back in with posting more often.

I start by just typing, like right now. No real direction, no plot in my mind other than wanting to get the words down rather than getting the words correct (the take away from my first eBook by Neil Peart - Traveling Music).

I just purchased my second eBook, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir. Thus far I have quite enjoyed reading this autobiography of Dave Mustaine, the lead guitarist and singer from Megadeth. I read a few reviews on the book prior to buying it and was sold when I read one from a mother who was not a metal fan but said the book was great. Her description of the book wasn't "great", but that is the rough translation. I'm about a third of the way through the book and it is a page turner, tough for me to put down the Mac at night.

My wife makes the best meat sauce. That is a fact. And it's also what I'm consuming between sentences. I also have a spoiled cat on my lap as I type these words. The cat in my lap while I eat is common, especially if I happen to be wearing a black shirt. Then it is a one to one ration of cat and black shirt.

I noticed on the way to work that the motorcycle now has 17k miles. What this means? I have to change the oil and get service in about 3k and that is about it. I rode this morning because the weather on my mac desktop shows a sun icon with showers and it wasn't yet raining. It rained most of the work day and stopped before I left work for the gym, and didn't even rain on my way home from the gym. Probably have everything to do with me traveling with my big yellow rain suit, it's a one-piece, sexy!

This past Sunday "we" installed a new ceiling fan in the bedroom to replace the former fan that would rock violently at speed causing anxiety while trying to go to sleep, not a good combination. I used the term "we" because I truly did have help with this project and I wasn't the one that went into the hot ceiling to adjust the rigging. The fan is 70" in diameter, six speeds, and has a light that is instant on (twisty CFL bulbs!).

The last random thought on my mind is - where are the yellow ducklings? There are often ducks on the water just off of the backyard, and it's Easter season... So, where are the ducklings trailing behind the mother duck? This is the first time in my life that I've lived on the water and I'm really looking forward to seeing this, soon I hope.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two things

Technology is very advanced these days. We have GPS so we don't have to consult a map, phones that are powerful computers, you name it. So, why can't some of these modern day technologies be put to use in a gasoline pump. Here is my gripe, and tell me if I'm being greedy or not. When I pump my gas I need a receipt for book keeping, so I press the "yes I want receipt" option when I'm prompted at the start of the process after it ask for my billing zip code. So, when I turn off the pump by placing the nozzle back into its resting place it ends the pumping and should start the receipt printing. Why can I turn, tighten the gas cap, then stare at the pump for a good 8 - 10 seconds waiting for it to print the receipt. Are they using computer processors left over from the Atari 2600? I mean, why can't a simple single item receipt print faster than me putting on a gas cap?

Second thing. I was wondering who reads this blog and how much of a male reader base I have in particular. So the other thing that happened today that got me thinking was that I had a #2 at work today that broke the water line in the toilet! And we have commercial toilets, so this was quite impressive movement. That's all really, this blog has turned to toilet humor, and I'm okay with that. What about you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Last week my sweet Subaru Impreza wagon hit 190k miles. A few days later I passed 16k miles on my BMW 1200GS. Both mileages aren't too impressive and I'm sure everyone can say "I know blah blah who got 295k on their skateboard, or 10-speed, or whatever". But, it's a big deal to me. Well, the motorcycle really isn't impressive AT ALL, but consider this - if you look for used motorcycles, most have well under 10k on the odometer, and when I was helping a family member shop, we saw bikes for sale Used with less than 1000 miles on the dial. So, keep everything in perspective.

Since it's slowly getting warm(er) here in Maryland I will be driving the motorcycle much more often and the Subaru will be used about once a week again. I spent the money to get "heated gear" so I could drive the motorcycle through the Winter, and it was effective at keeping me warm. I wore full heated gear today on the ride in which was 39°, so it wasn't really that bad. I did ride in the 20's this Winter, but I wouldn't be comfortable on an hour ride, my 30 minutes was just fine.

My plan is to get 25k on the bike before 199k on the Subaru. It could happen due to natural causes, but I think the Subaru is good at least through 200k. I'll post a follow up to this post as I get pretty excited about how many years and miles I've had the Subaru.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

McDonald's & the Gym part II

It's a lazy Sunday and I was able to muster the strength to go to the gym for a 3rd day, quite an accomplishment. After doing the requisite amount of exercise I went to the lobby to finish reading on my iPod. While I was in the lobby people watching and reading I noticed two things that simply don't belong.

The first was a guy bringing in five pizzas, probably for a party in one of the rental "party rooms", but I feel that pizza is contraband when it comes to a gym. If you think about it pizza is the reason we need to go to the gym in the first place. About one minute later I see two military guys that have a McDonald's bag of lunch and they are sitting at a table ten feet away enjoying their burgers. WTF - really, you are bringing McDonald's into a gym?! I'm not judging, I'm just saying.

After I was done with the reading I left the building and while I was walking to the car I noticed FOUR smokers by a side door. FOUR! What the hell is going on at this place - Pizza, McDonald's, and smoking!?

Maybe the gym isn't the best environment for me?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Have you met a Rock Star?

I have worked with a lot of bands, entertainers, lawyers, doctors, you name it. People find out that I work in stage lighting as a profession and they generally have two questions.
1. Do you get to see a lot of shows for free?
2. Have you met a Rock Star?

The answer to #1 is yes, I see a lot of "shows" for free. Shows about economic reforms in Washington, Plastic Surgery, stock valuations, and lots of music that I end up not liking. The unfavorable outweighs the favorable most times, but that is why it's a job and not a vacation.

The answer to #2 is yes, I've met Vanilla Ice. I've worked with many many bands over the years, some professional, some more challenging to get on with. One of the most professional bands I've had the pleasure of working with is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and they put on a very impressive set as well.

My Vanilla Story

This was many years ago, probably around 2002. I was subcontracted by the staging company to provide the lighting package for the Vanilla Ice club show. The venue was Arundel Mills mall at Jillians in a back club room. Jillians went belly up a few years back and is not Dave & Busters for those of you familiar with Arundel Mills Mall.

We get there early to set up some moving lights, some conventional lights and a strobe. Pretty easy load in. Lunch is at the venue which is always nice, so off to lunch we go. In the middle of lunch Mike Scarfe of MHA Audio comes out to us and says "you guys better get in here, they are taking apart the drum riser right now". While we were at lunch the band arrived and got right into it. I get on stage and saw that someone was under the drum riser trying to take it apart with only his legs sticking out. We say that we can handle whatever is needed and Vanilla Ice slides out from the drum riser. I guess he's a take charge kind of guy.

He explains that the drum riser is too big and needs to be moved to the other side of the stage, okay, no problem, we'll take care of it. After the riser is moved Vanilla comes up to me to ask about the control of the strobe light. I explain that I will control it from my console out in the house. He says that his DJ needs to have control of the strobe. I have a small remote for the strobe but the cable is very short. He says we should hook it up with the remote set to full and his DJ will simply use a power strip to turn the strobe on and off with electric. This blew me away because I've never had a musician trouble shot a problem, and his idea was pretty good. Okay, I'm impressed at this point. A musician with a clue about lighting.

Everyone has seen Vanilla Ice on MTV interviews and media and probably thinks he a real ass. NOT the case what so ever. He was great to work with and a good communicator and problem solver, definitely not typical. I went into this job expecting the MTV persona and found out that he's really great to work with.

Now it's time for sound check. WTF - Vanilla Ice is now a hardcore act? Weird, but okay. VI is checking vocals. Then he's on the drum kit, AND he's rocking out. Next over to the bass. WHAT - he knows how to play multiple instruments? At this point I'm really shocked because my expectations from what the media showed me are totally reversed. In summary Vanilla Ice is a pretty cool dude. And that was the time I met Vanilla Ice.