Showing posts from July, 2017

Comfortably Sung

A few posts back I mentioned that this has kind of become the summer of chasing aging rock stars. There was a realization that many of the rock heroes of my youth were dying off, and so to counter act any grief, I thought I'd try and be proactive and see a few that are in their 60's and 70's before they too kicked the rock bucket. I knocked a few of them off my list in a single night at Summerfest a few weeks ago, including Soul Asylum, The Suburbs, Tommy Tutone and of course my personal favorite, The Church. Last night was Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd. Roger is 73 and the band has been broken up almost longer than it was together, but me, my son and my friend Ryan went because we're all fans and thought this might be one of the last chances to see him. It is tough to put into words how amazing the whole spectacle was. When we got to our nosebleed seats, I was a little upset that there were big speakers hanging in middle of the sight line to the huge scree

Blowin' 'Em Up Real Good

As has become tradition, I went to the Waukesha County Fair with my son Ben last Saturday. We've made it the last three or four years now, primarily to see America's stupidest human trick, the Demolition Derby. There are many things that say Americana, but few that say it like the Demo Derby. It also says a few other choice words like roughneck, 'Murica and hillbilly, but Americana is certainly up there among those less flattering terms. What drives us to this spectacle every year? I don't know exactly, but I think it has a lot to do with the lawlessness of it all. Where else can you back your car into multiple other cars and get cheered on for it? I mean, c'mon! Does it get any better? Not only do you get cheered on, but if you are effective and a little lucky, they give you a trophy and a cash prize to go with your now nearly non-functioning car. Needless to say, Saturday's derby did not disappoint in any way. Because of all the rain we've had, it

Ready For The Next Best Thing

I had another book signing event on Saturday. This time it was held at Tribeca GalleryCafe and Books in Watertown, a great little town about 45 minutes from Waukesha. I was approached by the owner last winter about booking a signing which I was grateful for. Most of my marketing has to be done by me, so when they come to me, I act. As I assembled my stuff for my standard presentation - projector, laptop, placard and books, I kind of griped a bit to Donna about how I am getting tired of giving the "Dirty Shirt show." We both laughed a little and she said, "You need to get your new book done and out there." It has been three years since it came out and I have probably given the spiel a couple dozen times. And while I get a little charge out of doing the reading/slide show/presentation, I feel it's become a little like the number one hit by a band that they've play because they have to for the fans. Not that it's become something I dread, just a litt

Pop and Percocet

I am beginning this post using my phone in the waiting room of my son's oral surgeon. He is having his wisdom teeth pulled and, like most medical visits, it is taking considerably longer than expected. So, while i realize that this fact makes me kind of pathetic, the pop/rock/beat is soul sucking. Its an hour later and now I'm wairing in Walgreens for his meds and I think they tapped into the same godawdul music stream as the dentist's. It's some sort of wellness bad joke, I think. What is it about the world today that we MUST be assaulted at every turn by bad music? This includes movie theaters before the feature, sports events, restaurants, and the doctor's office. It is a milqiutoast slow death for me, like cut bamboo being rubbed across the back of my neck. So, this post has been hijacked by bad pop stars and all I can do is thank the good Lord for the hearing loss I have. It's a small blessing, but hey, it's something. I've never done a wh

West Coast Revelations

As I mentioned in the previous post, I spent last week in Southern California - specifically, San Diego - at a conference for work. Every year 15,000+ people come from all over the globe to talk software, maps, apps and other GIS geeky kinds of things. I also mentioned that this year would be different because I was going out a couple days early and bringing my son Ben along for part of it. I wasn't sure how things would go, particularly on the days I was at the conference and Ben was left to fend for himself in a strange city, 2000+ miles from home. Let me just say that all my fears were unfounded. Let me also say, that if any of you ever get the chance to travel one-on-one with any of your kids, DO IT! Now, to be honest, my wife and I have basically raised our kids in the back seat of a moving vehicle. With parents and family in two states, Minnesota and New York, it seems every six months we were packing up to go one direction or the other.  But with no off

The Best Medicine

Soon I will be headed to San Diego for the 2017 ESRI User's Conference. This year will be a bit different though, as I am bringing my son, Ben for part of the week. We're headed out a couple of days prior to the conference to get in some sightseeing and down time before I hit the pavement running on Monday morning. Ben has never been to California, so my wife and I thought it might be a nice high school graduation gift to have him tag along with me. Much like my senior year, he had plans to go out to the west coast with a buddy, but plans fell through. The difference is, I ended up going to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and he still gets to go to California. That may be the difference between growing up with two parents instead of one. Or, maybe it's just because I happen to go out there every year. In any case, I am looking forward to spending lots of quality time with him, which I don't get to do nearly enough these days. We were together the other day for a bi

The Re-Dawning Of An Age

Yesterday, I got to thinking about my past week. It had a little bit of everything in it. Then it occurred to me that much of what happened during it, all tied together in a way. I'll talk about that at the end of this post, but first, here's what my week brought me. Monday: After a full day of work, I went down to the Guest House of Milwaukee with my wife and another family. Guest House is a men's transitional housing and job placement facility in downtown Milwaukee. I hate to call it a homeless shelter, because it really is so much more than that. This is not just a bed and a meal, it's a program to get homeless, jobless men back into the workforce and living on their own. They help address addictions, mental health issues, abuse and other things. Because my wife and I are not experts in those areas, we help where we can. She does the lion's share of the work - planning and shopping for food and then preparing it, whereas I show up and help serve the men whe