Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back In Texas, I'm Number Two

Our Thanksgiving trip entailed a ton of driving and other stuff, which I'll detail soon.
I averaged maybe 4 hours of sleep per day, with long stretches of none.
So imagine my delight at having to serve jury duty on my first full day back.

The Bexar County Courthouse is great, as are the people who run things.
No complaints there.
It was just the idea of getting up really early and off-schedule yet again, then sitting on my tired old butt for another full day that made me sad.

After 2.5 hours of boredom I was trying to keep from snoring when the guy next to me started a conversation about my book.
Terrific--a new best friend. Just what I need.
He had never heard of author Elmore Leonard (Seriously? Must be a heavy rock you live under) so I opened up to the page with "Also By..." and pointed out the ones made into movies like 'Mr. Majestyk' and 'Get Shorty', among others.
Right then the bailiff started the first real action of our day by announcing that they were assembling two 20-person jury pools who would meet in the hallway.

Mi amigo kept talking at me, so I almost missed it when my name was just the 2nd one called that day.
Wow--a huge surprise. So soon!?!
Also a mixed blessing--easy instant escape from Lenny Chunkbutt, but what if I end up on a long trial that jacks my entire holiday plans?

So the 40 of us line up in order out in the hallway (I'm still #2, hehe) and it's explained to us that we've been selected to provide two juries for 2 different courtrooms...pause...pause...BUT that because the threat of a actual jury trial has come along this far, both sides have suddenly settled.
Sweet relief on the part of everyone.
As soon as we can trade our juror badges for a card certifying that we've fulfilled our obligations, every man woman and idiot among us is free to go. Again, I was #2.
I liked the part where they said "...you can go to work or back to bed. Your boss has no way of knowing you got off so early".
Like I said, the folks who run things at the courthouse are great.
Funny, honest, friendly, helpful--typical San Antonians.

I was starting my truck for home by 11 AM, and am looking forward to spending my $6 check on beer once it arrives.

Want to point out that I really did enjoy the educational aspects, and was honored to participate in our court system yet again.
The only reason I sound at all cranky was that I've been living on a 3rd shift kind of schedule for most of my life so mornings aren't my strong suit by a long shot, especially when I'm completely wiped-out from the previous week of hard travel and minimal sleep.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope all my readers have a nice holiday this week.
I'll be on the road, so check back next week to see for yourself where I've been.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SA Rock and/or Rolls Marathon

Wow--the new blogger interface doesn't work worth a crap with our more advanced browsers. Bet it shines out like a shaft of gold with Internut Exploder. Please excuse the wonkiness and crowded writing. Apparently all the Blogger lessons I've learned are "out" and it's going to take me some time to figure out how to make this supposedly easy interface work properly. Sylvia did the SA Rock And Roll Marathon for the fourth straight year last Sunday, and of course I'm proud of her. After treating the first two like advanced classes in shootting crowds and sports and then missing 2010's, I decided to concentrate on my job re: bringing fresh clothes and a ride home. Still managed to take some pics. Two days prior, all the runners we know met for a carb-loading party. The biggest hit was this cake:
If you ever need one of these fancy theme cakes like you might see on TV, contact me and we'll hook you up with the designer/baker. She's just starting her business and does great work. Deliciousness!

Waiting for your runner after the finish line is torture. A million sweaty people wandering about and breathing hard (me included). A dude puked right in front of me, but I got off lucky with that. Another runner died not too far away at the same time. Some people want to blame the organizers but hell, you're running in South Texas which can hit 100F on any day of the year. It was a humid 80F at the time, which isn't all that bad. It's a shame that he died, but the odds of it happening during a marathon are 1 in 50,000 so it's not exactly rare and the organizers do the best they can.
Imagine my surprise seeing these guys playing the main stage. I was their soundman for many years, yet never got a call for this gig. Screw 'em. Would have turned them down anyway, so no harm done.
After the lost child announcements, they re-started Metallica's Enter Sandman, and a metal couple of marathoners (sp?) had enough gas left in the tank to mosh around. Nice.
It's ironic that Vince Neil's drunk bloated ass was headlining this healthy and fit event. I would have loved to be in his hotel hallway an hour prior, since most guys like him have zero direct experience in the concept of 11AM. Never saw Motley Crue live unfortunately, but I dig a bunch of their songs. Mick Mars is a great guitarist, and Tommy Lee kicks ass despite his retardation and compulsion to suck whoever's ass is considered "cool" at any given time. Nikki Sixx is a cromulent bassist and slightly above-average heavy rock songwriter. And then there's Vince... His autobiography is a fun and wicked read, though. That's Dana Strum on bass, and the other guys from Slaughter in Vince's band, BTW. Here's Sylvia's medal:
They get better every year. I like how they used the bell tower from Mission Espada.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

I'm very proud of my father's Distinguished Flying Cross and his Air Medal (awarded 5 times) but I can think of none more meaningful than the Purple Heart.
Skill and daring are wonderful things, but sacrifice is the essence of military service.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Just Checking In

Hmmm...what's new?

After the show, I took off the strings and gave my 4-string bass a good cleaning.
Rosewood fretboards like some lemon oil every year or so--otherwise they get too dry and might crack.
Under the strings around the pickups there's usually a LOT of what looks like dust, but is mostly skin cells and (if you're playing it hard enough) pulverized pick.
Not going to clean the other bass until I get new strings for it. Taking off 8 strings and putting them back on is a royal pain.

Halloween went well enough.
The kids started coming before dark, so the early-birds missed the fire and smoke and lights.
We only had 45 tricksters, which is a tie for the lowest since I've been keeping records.
Only 1 teenager got TacoBell sauce, and two little ones managed to fall down on our porch.
I had some photos, but accidentally deleted them from my CF card, thinking they were already on the PC. No great loss.

It rained just enough on Monday for the roads to be as slick as goose poop.
Some guy in his 20's driving a nice new-ish Dodge Charger didn't look and pulled-out 30 feet in front of me, then stopped.
I hit the brakes and started sliding, and he put it in reverse and spun his wheels to no effect.
Time slowed way down until the impact with his front fender, which wasn't enough to move his car more than a couple inches.
We cleared the street (something everyone should do--the cops aren't going to be reconstructing anything unless there's a fatality, so get the hell out of everyone's way!) and surveyed the "damage".
He was all "That dent was already there, and this scratch is no big deal".
I took that as a good sign and said (in my jolliest voice): "Let's look at mine!"
Then: "I got nothing. Wanna call it good, and be on our way?"
With that we shook hands and took off, which is NICE.

Some people get too wrapped up in procedures to look at the big picture.
The police probably had 250+ minor accidents to deal with that day, which would mean at least a 45 minute wait, and the "damage" was below any possible deductible, so what's the point?
Live and learn--he's sure to look both ways from now on, and I'll continue to be a perfect driver who's only accidents are someone else's fault. Or something like that.
My neck DOES kinda hurt a little...

Ever try to sign a little girl out of school when the relevant paperwork has been misplaced? Not so easy in this day and age. Adventures in babysitting. The whole time we waited, the kid was begging for my phone so she could play Angry Birds, then they finally tracked-down mommy in Las Vegas. Verbal permission isn't really kosher, but apparently I was so calm and patient and understanding (compared to A-hole parents?) that a correct judgment call was made in my favor.
Here's my little nugget Jada 6 years ago:
They grow up so fast, or so I've heard.

My new band has a show coming up in December so I'll be busy learning more songs for that, plus we're recording a Christmas Carol spoof I first wrote about 15 years ago. I'll post a link when it's done.