Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Campus widlife

Over the past several years I've become progressively more allergic to cats. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop me from petting any cat that will put up with it. This guy was watching people walk by from a wall next to the theater building. After scratching his ears a while, I sneezed all the way home. :-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Must be a popular class!

This guy (or girl) took up housekeeping in one of the narrow windows in my morning classroom and seemed to enjoy watching people at work. We're calling him (or her) Vector.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gotta remember to download those CF cards!

Found this photo from a recent trip to San Francisco--it's the logo from one of the municipal trolleys. I'm surprised it turned out so well, considering I shot it from the car as we were stopped at a light. Canon 10D, ISO100, 35mm focal length, 1/125th at f-9.5

Maximum carnage in a minimum of time...

Visited with my friends Donna and Rick at Donna's mom's house near Phoenix this past Friday night. Kind of thrown together at the last minute, but that's how my social life usually works. So, after playing an outdoor gig in the morning, I ran home, showered, and headed off to the airport. After about an hour in the air, I touched down, rented a car (and by the way, at Alamo Rent-a-Car, a PT Cruiser is among their "compact" models), and soon I was crawling through traffic on my way to the suburbs south of town.

After I arrived, we hung out at the house a while, looking at real estate websites (they're working on a possible move to the area), giggling at lolcats, and having a glass of wine before striking out for dinner about an hour later. The Mexican restaurant we went to was a favorite of Donna and Elinor for their mole, but the place was pretty crowded so we ended up outdoors on the patio. They had great chips and salsa, and we munched those for a while as we ordered a round of drinks. My blue margarita was excellent, and in the 100-degree heat it went down like fruit punch, even though I'd been making a special effort to drink a lot of water all day. After a short while our entrees arrived, and we chatted about business planning as we worked through them. I had the pollo asado with rice and borracho beans, which was very good. Donna's mole was excellent, and I was kind of wishing I'd ordered the same when the weirdness started setting in.

"Weirdness," in this context, is the best term I can think of to describe the general feeling of, "whoa... what the heck is happening to my head?" After confirming with Rick that yes, I was looking a little pale, I tried waiting it out, hoping like crazy I hadn't lost track of how much I'd been drinking and was about to lose my dinner all over the patio. Just in case, I asked Donna to walk with me to the ladies' room. It was a good thing she agreed, too... because she kept me from doing a face-plant moments later, as I unceremoniously passed out.

But wait... it gets better! So I come to and find myself on the tile in the middle of this restaurant. The manager is offering me a damp towel and telling me not to get up so quickly, and I'm thinking, "oh crap... I can't believe I just did that." But I still wanted to go to the ladies' room, so Donna and the restaurant manager (a very nice lady who said this happened a lot) escorted me over, and I soaked up the air conditioning while I tried to clear my head. A few minutes later a team of paramedics arrived, so we moved back out to the patio where they checked me over. My blood sugar was normal and I was starting to feel a bit more together, so we were thinking of just heading for home when the medics asked me if I was okay to walk out to the car. Upon standing my blood pressure and pulse (which were being monitored) both took a nosedive, so on their recommendation I consented to be taken to the hospital. Within minutes I was sporting an I.V., a heart monitor, a pulse/ox monitor, and was being loaded into an ambulance bound for Mercy General Hospital in Gilbert. Not *exactly* how I'd planned to spend the evening.

I was certain I was headed for a lecture about my reckless alcohol abuse, but after a battery of blood tests, an EKG, and a chest X-ray, the E.R. doctors decided that my meltdown was likely the result of a combination of fatigue, low potassium, and being unused to the heat, which were all amplified by the drink I'd had at the restaurant. They dumped about a liter and a half of saline into me, prescribed potassium and sleep, and then turned me loose to go home at about 1:30am. Rick and Donna (who had been incredibly good sports through this whole stupid adventure) drove me back to Elinor's house, and spent a few minutes peeling innumerable little adhesive foil squares off my skin before heading off to bed. What a night.

Given that waste of an evening it would have been nice to stay a little longer, but I didn't really mind going home Saturday and spending the rest of the weekend taking a break from my usual hectic routine. I think that if there were a moral to this story, it's that I'm not 18 anymore and really need to get serious about taking better care of myself. That's a bummer, but as my office-mate once remarked, getting old is WAY better than the alternative.

In the interest of posting a trip photo, though, I give you this shot of Elinor's little whirlwind of a Boston Terrier, Pogo. This year-old terror is almost always moving, and I was actually surprised to catch him taking a momentary catnap the next day. Here he's hoping that his perfect "down-stay" will earn him another game of tug-of-war...

Friday, August 17, 2007

The world's most laid-back airport

But don't tell anybody. Burbank airport is one of the few places I fly from/to where you can show up a half-hour before a flight and still make it. Love the air-stairs, too.
Sorry for the ugly cellphone pic...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I has a carrot!

Every once in a while, the supermarket gets these HUGE carrots, and since everyone in my house is on a never-ending diet, we try to eat as many veggies as possible. The dogs just LOVE these, so they get them as treats. This one kept Punky busy for at least ten minutes... crunch crunch crunch.

Tour de Cure

So here's something cool: my cousins Sara and Anne (they're in the middle, flanked by their friends Bob Avritt and Kathleen Vasa) are going to bike 100 miles on August 25th on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. That's HARDCORE. The most I've ridden in a day has been just shy of 50, and I won't even go into how much my butt hurt after that. To do all the training required for a century ... with a sibling (and they're not allowed to kill one another), and oh yeah... Sara has lived with juvenile diabetes for 14 years now. Wow. That rocks.

Here's their blog. Stop in and send well wishes, and don't forget to make a donation while you're there.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another lunch adventure

This time, I'm posting from Picanha churrascaria in Burbank. If you are unfamiliar with the Brazilian steakhouse experience, this is a must-do. Most include a salad and side-dish bar, and gauchos bring exquisitely-prepared meats to your table. Typically, it's all-you-can-eat. Cheers!

Rest in Peace

Lots of sad news this week: Wednesday, we learned that a wonderful musician and friend, drummer Steve Sykes, passed away Monday after a rough struggle with cancer. Steve was a tremendously musical player, and his creativity on the drums put him on a short list of guys to call for small-combo gigs. He was a really sweet guy to boot, and devoted to his family. He will definitely be missed.

On the heels of that news (literally, that evening), I was had been shaken awake by the small earthquake we had the other night, and on a whim I looked up the website of magazine where one of my scuba industry colleagues was the associate publisher. There, I learned that another old friend, Shawn Beaty, had been killed in a house fire in 2005. I had worked with Shawn and her husband Jerry at two different companies while they were manufacturers' representatives, and although I didn't keep in touch very closely after I left the industry, I knew that they had joined the Dive Training organization and were doing very well. Making matters infinitely worse was the further revelation that this appears not to have been an accident; it seems that her death has been ruled a homicide, but no arrests had been made and authorities have no solid leads. Having known Jerry and Shawn well for several years, I can't even imagine what dealing with this has been like for him... to lose a spouse like that must be indescribable. Inept as I am about stuff like this, I'm stuck wondering whether to get in touch, or what I would say if I did. I don't know if there's anything meaningful I could say at all.

With all this fresh in my mind, the bizarre double-murder/suicide that took place a few blocks away (I was headed off to a rehearsal just as the neighborhood was being besieged with police and the media) was just enough to make me think, WTF? Maybe it's that I live a somewhat insulated existence the rest of the time, but geez... It also has me on a bit of a self-reproach jag; I wonder if I really do deserve to have such a satisfying life when people around me are suffering. I know it's an irrational line of thought, but all this is really pretty weird. Not sure what else to do except not take life for granted.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Lunch in a Blue Buick

Needed a new mouse for the laptop, and while I was at Fry's I stopped in the cafe for a sandwich. The cars are booths; they face a movie screen above the kitchen.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dinner in SLO

Stopped by Pancho Villa's on the way home tonight, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who loves the authentic taco-stand-style food you find in Mexico. The carne asada tacos and carnitas burrito are excellent!

Friday, August 3, 2007

On the road with the Troubs

Just finished a show with Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The show was a blast--Antsy and his guys are all great musicians, and they've got a very loyal following of "Flamingo Heads" who were all very appreciative. "Loose" Bruce Wandmayer, who plays both tenor sax and slide guitar (how's that for doubling?) got in touch with us a few weeks ago about this show, and it was a lot of fun to play with the band once again. Horns seem to work really well on a lot of their tunes, and it seems like the band likes the added punch. Cool.

Came up I-5 today, and we (all the out-of-town band members) are staying at the Phoenix hotel, a campy little inn in the downtown area. Very hip little place, and a perfect fit for musicians. The Great American Music Hall, by the way, is gorgeous--definitely check it out if you're in town.

There's an after-show party a couple doors down, so I'm going to wake myself up long enough to hang out a bit. Pretty exhausting day...