Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

Evidently, I have a knack for showing up for big games, sporting my LA colors, when the home teams decide to stage awesome come-from-behind wins... Los Angeles NOT BEING THE HOME TEAM. See, I don't mind traveling alone... enjoy it, actually. However, when you are the only guy in a Lakers jersey in a Boston bar and the Celtics come back from a 30-point deficit, or you are the only guy among a silent 48,000 clapping for a Dodger home run, it gets a little lonely. Whoever said, "it's lonely at the top" should try going to a playoff game with me. Well, since I have chosen to explore minority status in highly charged sporting atmospheres as part my quest for international tranquility, I have found that a strong smile, a sense of humor, and some humility go a very long way. For instance, the girl to my left at the game last night in Philadelphia told me, in my blue cap, that I couldn't sit next to her because she had the swine flu. I told her I did too and offered her some of my garlic fries. Also, there were two rabid fans in standing room behind me who were intent on telling every Dodger - and the umpire - that they "suck!"... one at a time... all night long. In the silence that ensued after an inning-ending shoestring Manny Ramirez catch, I yelled satirically, "You suck Manny!" That got a few chuckles. 

 [Aside] So, Mr. President, (because of course he is a big fan of my blog) I have made no apologies for my home teams. In my experience, it has been more important to show people who you are rather than who you are not. Next stop - Mexico City with my US soccer jersey! Mmm... maybe not.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Risky Business

Traveling is a risky business. Life... is a risky business. But even if fishing is a risky business, you probably shouldn't name your seafood market... "Risky Business." Just a thought. 

North Carolina is home to the serene and captivating Outer Banks. Think of long islands, in some parts the width of a city block: fishing, families, and an odd fascination with pirates. I quickly decided that, unlike other travels wherein I have sought out every possible opportunity to indulge in the local creative culinary fare, I would be looking for the freshest seafood to prepare myself. There was also plenty of opportunity, day and night, for beach, although as a native Californian, I still feel like I'm in an M. Night Shyamalan movie when I see sunbathers sprawled out in the late afternoon with their backs to the water. It's just weird, man! 

Now I started with the theme of risky business. No, I didn't do any lip syncing in my underwear. There was karaoke involved at the local tavern, but I for the most part adhered to the implied, if not explicitly stated, dress code. I had some time on the drive home to evaluate this birthday week endeavor. Life, government, weather, and sometimes Roman taxi drivers with questionable motives and/or sexual proclivities will constantly throw obstacles, challenges, and diversions in your path. Change is a part of life and a part of travel. Sometimes the current will make it difficult to swim ashore. Sometimes an unforeseen police officer will put a damper on your day of driving. Certainly there are changes we seek and move to attain. However, also in the businesses of travel and life, the changes are all part of the risk, and our outcome may just be measured by how we weather that which was neither expected nor wished.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We Can't Drive 55

For some reason, Sammy Hagar didn't get the memo that I would be in NORTH Carolina for my birthday, as he booked a show in South Carolina for that evening. So I went. Quite a somber day in that both Senator Ted Kennedy and Michael Jackson were laid to rest, the latter of whom on what would have been his 51st birthday. John McCain (his birthday too) attended the funeral for the former. We're used to celebrating separately since Neverland is no longer an option. Waffle House was an easy choice for the first meal of the day - best hash browns I've had - and then I made my way to Myrtle Beach. 
 Sammy Hagar now plays with the band Chickenfoot, having enlisted Joe Satriani on guitar, bassist Michael Anthony from Van Halen, and the drummer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After a few involuntary detours, I found my way to House of Blues for the show a bit late. However, all was right with the world when I got inside and was about 20 yards from the band. They rocked... no Van Halen tunes, but still a great show. If you've forgotten what good solid new hard rock sounds like, check them out. Oh, and thanks to Google Maps, my hotel that was supposedly right next to the club is actually seven miles away. One of these days I'll actually see what this Myrtle Beach is all about. Trip Day Two took me through northern South Carolina. Just inches from escaping to I-95, the local po-lice tried to shake me down. Nothing quite ruins your day of driving like a speeding ticket, but I did manage to evade capture.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alexandra, Virginia

Since this is a journal of discoveries, I will share one with you - in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is sweet, and full of life, and musically inclined (thanks, no doubt, to my early lessons in Van Halen and Mozart). I am happy today to have been her uncle for three years.
Happy Birthday Alexandra.