Travelin’ Band


My work related travel took a big increase with my current posting and that is a good thing to get that kind of experience. It can a bit of stretch at times however, but you try to find some fun along with the myriad of long security lines and barely made connections.

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You have to be amused a little at the human condition, but especially at the times of air travel. The announcement of boarding makes everybody mill about like we are Black Friday shoppers waiting for Walmart to open. I’ve noticed a big of a swagger among some travelers.

There is no greater locale for people watching as all sorts come through airports. My most recent travels took me from Buffalo to Boston to Philadelphia in what might have been the longest 30 hours in recent memory. It was a pretty convoluted itinerary, but it’s what you do when you are told on Monday that you have to be someplace on a Friday morning, and that someplace is across the next state.

And the next thing you know, you are watching four women in full berkas cueing up at Checkers for some quick take out (or one going up many times quickly).

But, it’s not without its moments where you can’t help by laugh a little, like the Boston security guard watching me make my late arriving connection from Philadelphia to the other end of the c terminal to get to the Buffalo bound plane on time. His cheer of “Go, OJ, go” was pretty funny. Their placement of gate c29 away from c21 was not, but lesson learned: 35 minutes between flights is shaving it pretty close.

And never count on the booking site to be accurate with telling you where you’ll actually stop

 

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Office Spaced


Linked in is nagging me with the fact that I haven’t written in sometime. It’s not that there aren’t things going on, just a lot to digest. The main one for me is a transition. I’ve relocate professionally from a revered nonprofit and a great job to the great unknown. While there are enticing challenges that lie ahead, it’s a little bittersweet. The last time I joined a big corporation with serious buying power, the president was taken away in handcuffs fairly quickly thereafter. This, friends, was not a good omen. But on my second last day at the nonprofit, I got to pet a rhino. That sort of thing happens at the new gig, that might be an issue.

But I have reason for optimism. This is my first job change in sometime and certainly unusual in that I’m leaving one great experience and moving to another, with chances to incorporate and actually build on what I’ve developed over the past 7 years. While it’s a little weird for me to see my pending vacancy online while I’m still in the chair, I’m glad and proud at what I’ve been able to do. That’s said, it’s exciting to start thinking about what’s next, writing the “new book” as Jed Bartlett used to say on “the West Wing.”

I started this particular entry some time ago and it’s been sitting unfinished as I have jumped into my new job and settling into something of a routine. Your day starts a little earlier. Your commute takes longer than playing “Stairway to Heaven” on the car stereo. You’re getting the lay of the land at the new place both on the physical finding the coffee and the bathroom levels and on the are we cool with the group that runs the new shop. And just how glad are they to see you.

It’s funny the little things that change with a new work culture. For years, the bridges that linked Buffalo to Niagara Falls were a sore spot with me, hate em. The ongoing construction project nature made me really dislike going over them, but after hitting them twice a day for two weeks now, I’m taking them like a road warrior, changing lanes and doing what you got to do.

It’s the little things. With any kind of work, it takes time to find your voice and where you can chime in and I’ve always been a little bit impatient with that process, but writing it here is a good reminder to breath, and if the traffic gets like that scene in the opening credits of Office Space, where the guy with the walker is making better time, turn up the tunes and smile, smile, smile

 

Usherman


Usherin…got my chips cashed in…

There are some places at certain times where you can get an interesting insight into the human condition, where you can study without being studied. Patrolling the aisles at the local professional lacrosse game the other night was one of those times. I’m a sports fan, but this one doesn’t do it for me. So, I guess that makes me a more attentive usher since the game isn’t distracting me (yeah, we’ll go with that for now.).

Look up in the aisle, it’s Usherman…able to leap tall drink spills in a single bound.

I knew this most recent game was going to be interesting to watch unfold. A promotion had autographed lacrosse balls for sale to raise monies for a worthy cause. A family appeared in my section where the grandfather produced the autographed ball and gave it to his granddaughter, a little moppet of maybe four years old. She accepted the ball and considered it for a moment, duly looked at the signature as her grandfather pointed out, thought for a moment and prompted tossed the ball down to the section beneath ours. This usher? I thought that was funny.

There was the t-shirt gun. I’m convinced it’s the hunt that gets folks going, not the actual trophy. This was confirmed to me as the Bandits‘ mascot brandished a t shirt gun that had some wallop, and turned a few folks near me into searching for “the precious.”

A recent balloon drop had me shaking my head as folks in the upper levels were jumping in the first row of the upper level to catch a balloon that had a coupon inside. Again, the prize was for something not so rare. It’s the hunt that is the thing. But I can’t walk in that first row without getting the proverbial willies.

So, I have to ask, the chance at a not rare souvenir something to take a foolish chance over? I think not, but people forget themselves, and that they are not alone, or at home, or the manners their parents carefully taught them.

It’s priorities, man. I remember a few years ago, my dad and I were heading to see some minor league baseball and there was a giveway that night, I believe a stadium replica in some fashion. One of those little desktop size statues that was produced with the same level of care and detail that the average 4 year old puts into their playdough houses. But again it was the hunt. Folks lined up around the block as there to be one admissions gate where the freebie was going to be distributed. This line snaked by plenty of other ways into the stadium. Dad and I looked at each then sought higher council, as seats, beer and grilled meat in tubular form was decidely more important.

So, yeah, I don’t get too jazzed with the fast food company blimp flies over ahead and drops coupons, because that isn’t worth putting the effort to, well, stand up for, let alone post up to keep somebody else from getting one.

But if that suits ya, have at it, as at least the cost of the seat didn’t rise with ya.

Well, this time

 

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Poetry and Pork Roast


I accidentally spotted two to three minutes of the NBA All-Star Game, good thing I was sitting down. One of my fellow wags on Twitter mused if we just couldn’t get rid of them (all star games) in every sport altogether. I wanted to protest that Hockey has had a few good ones and Baseball lends itself to a glorified pick up game, but I remembered the only Hockey game I could really cite was the All Star game in Buffalo and that was 35 years ago. So, I did the untwitter like thing and just shut up.

Got the call to work the Sabres and Penguins game today, and got the fuzzy end of the usher lollypop; checking tickets at the 200 level. To do this, you are closer to the door of a stairwell and bathroom than any tv or ice rink. So I spent the bulk of the game listening to the crowd as it sounded like something interesting might have transpired twenty feet away, but I was a glorified hall monitor. I chalk it up to a little dues paying. The upside is that you get to skate out early.  That allowed me to ride out with a friend to catch Poetry Night at the Woodlawn Diner. Not being one to suffer fools or pretention gladly, I was excited for this jaunt. Comfort food done with some care is an underrated commodity and the verse was a nice and different addition. A number of voices that spurred something in the imagination. It’s a small little place that makes you make some new friends as everybody just takes a seat whereever. Fun experience, especially to hear how others are having fun with words. Makes me forget the pronoun trouble I sometimes run into during my workaday wordsmithing.

Speaking of new voices and wordplay, I’m liking these folks a lot.

Intergalactic Orchestral Manuevers in the Dark


For the uninitiated, to make a little extra cash, I got a gig as an usher at the downtown sports palace (no free ads in my journal). It never fails to be interesting leading up to a given event, but once you get tired of being in the same circle for a given time, the charm can sometimes depart quickly.
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Given the NHL work stoppage, there hasn’t been much going of late, but I got the call to come work for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra shows (I couldn’t begin to wonder where a Trans-Siberian shops, maybe in the Village, but I digress). Something stupid, maybe it was my checkbook, said to make myself available to work both shows.

Stupid checkbook.

Unlike a few friends of mine, I’m not huge fan of the proceedings. I’m sure the players are lovely folks and kudos for giving a buck from every ticket to a charity. All well and good, but this is essentially hair metal for soccer moms and that’s fine, but not really my cup of tea, so while on duty, I people watch (which I guess you are suppose to, given my station and mentally wander to happy places provided the locks haven’t been changed). As crowds go, it’s a fairly innocuous gathering. I mean, who would “pre-game” for the Transiberian Orchestra? So, you don’t have much to worry about breaking up fights or any other type of concert shenanigans. I don’t there has been a transiberian mosh pit in the now six shows I’ve now seen

So, it’s a kick to people watch. There are enough pyrotechnics in these shows that I pity any epileptics as it can be a bit seizure inducing. For the first show, I was just to the left hand side of the stage where among the visual treats were a couple in their late fifties doing a rather impressive space dance and an amazing number of folks concerned with trying to record portions of the show instead of actually watching the show.

It makes you laugh, especially since in the previously undeclared war between firework and smart phone, the firework will win everytime.

A night out down there isn’t cheap. That isn’t a knock or a dig, just an observation, and regardless of event, it always startles me a bit to see the amount of time and money spent in not watching the show. The TSO audience could use some ritalin for the amount of time up and down getting snacks and whatnot.

A few folks popped up later in the show, must have been comped tickets. The cheapest seat I saw was in the $50+ dollar range and I know if I’m paying that money, I got my nutritional needs filled and watching the flipping show. Maybe I’m jealous of the well-financing, as my dinner break set me back $12.75 for a burger, fries and a coke. I bought a bag of some of my parents’ christmas baked goods to snack on and judging from the envious look that got from an fellow usher, I could have made good money peddling nickel bags of my folks’ chocolate chip cookies. Take this tidbit my friends. Those of us who attend/have attended rock shows have come to expect them  to be like parties and not start at the time printed on the ticket. But it probably isn’t a good idea to wait until that actual time to enter the venue.

For the second show, I was dispatched to the 300s (toward the top of the effin center), where again, it wasn’t a whole lot of heavy lifting, just giving directions, pretending to find the jokes about how high the steps are are just hilarious, and watching folks in pursuit of that last beer while the TSO chirps “Merry, Merry Christmas.” Hearing that for the second time made me want to heave my little tree out the living room rock star style when I finally made it home. But, I didn’t as I bought some cool (or nerdy) ornaments this year.

The one bonus wild card to the first event gig in sometime (thanks, NHL), was the return of Buffalo winter weather. Since it hasn’t snowed for real since 2010, I was keeping an eye peeled Wednesday as the weatherdudes called it right. That made me wonder how the roads around the arena would be and how my landlord would be about digging us out.

For once, the train won, but after ten hours walking the concrete hallways, it was fun to traipse to the train in the snow.
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