Nine Thoughts After Nine Days of Vacation

1.  I get pretty heated when the ever-arrogant “child-free” masses go on their anti-kid rants, and that topic is way too large to tackle here–that said, I always find myself temporarily joining their ranks when a screaming child is on a plane.  Yet understand that stance is completely reactionary.  Planes are uncomfortable, I’m usually tired, and that kid is really loud, while that kid’s ears are probably popping and they don’t know what’s going on, nor do they have the capacity to comprehend it (this excuse expires when the child is older than a toddler).  A parent can do little more than comfort them.  But I’ll tell you something a parent CAN do.  They can change their diaper.  There are changing tables in the lavatories.  Use them.  We’re 30 minutes into a two-hour flight–CHANGE IT!!!

2.  After a year away from regular TV and video games and movies, I found myself unable to stand television for long periods of time . . . yet still unable to pull away.  Headaches and eye strain galore plus some schlock that the History Channel is trying to pass off as history that I really don’t want to watch . . . but for some reason I still couldn’t walk away and do something like read the book I brought or play more guitar.  I think I’ll purposely stay away from large amounts of TV for a while longer.  Yet with that said . . .

3.  I REALLY like that show Pawn Stars.  When I saw previews for it back when it was starting, I was sure it would be 50% pawn shop stuff (whatever that was) and 50% inter-store drama, much like the way American Chopper was done.  But it’s not.  It’s the rock version of Antiques Roadshow!  There’s a little “inter-store” drama, as I put it, but that’s mostly staged and used to enhance the main focus: the stuff people bring in.   I do call “fake” on at least one part, though.  Chumlee spent $1500 on a “The Gibson” mandolin because none of the other guys were around to help him/stop him.  He took it to a guitar shop to authenticate it shortly after to find out it was a fake worth maybe $100.  I don’t buy it.  No pun intended.  But that’s one small flaw in an otherwise great show.  I wonder if I can find it online.

4.  Using voice control via SYNC to select songs off of my iPod is probably more fun than listening to the actual songs.  And very convenient.  My favorite successful voice command: “Play track there are a million reasons why this may not work and just one good one for why it will.”  Thank you, Moneen.

5.  Some people may be familiar with the episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives where they go to Springfield, Illinois and have a horseshoe.  Specifically, they go to a place called Charlie Parker’s.  The funny thing about Charlie Parker’s is that I spent the majority of my life driving past that place and never cared to stop in, if I even noticed it at all.  But now that it’s been on TV, and because since leaving I’ve developed an appreciation for local restaurants and cuisine for wherever I go, I had to go there, and, well . . . it’s fine.  Nothing bad to report.  But there are better places to get a horseshoe.  Also, I don’t like feeling like a tourist in my hometown.  I felt the urge to make sure my waitress knew I grew up there just to ease my own insecurity.

6.  It’s very sad to me that towns like Springfield, Marion, Carbondale, and Murphysboro, Illinois have these great downtowns and old architecture and so much potential and character, but all new and successful modern development is on the edges, so the heart of the town dies or moves to a place that just feels stale.  I’ll expand on this in a later post, because it’s really bothering me.

7.  Hauling a new guitar with you across the country and back on four planes is very nerve-wracking.  Too nerve-wracking?  We’ll see next time.

8.  Maybe it’s just how I was raised, but there’s something great about sitting down to coffee with a bunch of old(er) guys and just shooting the breeze before daybreak.  Those guys aren’t necessarily the closest of friends, but they all know each other well, they all come and go as their day requires, and the conversation is always a riot.  So many things are comforting and inspiring about it; I kind of wish I had something like that in Seattle.  Sure, I could start my own (I’m certainly not lacking for places for coffee), but it wouldn’t have the same casual and sincere feel to it, let alone the fact guys I know here don’t often get out of bed by 5 a.m. like me.

9.  The thing I like the absolute least about traveling: showers.  I like being able to walk into the bathroom and step into the shower without having to think about it much, and be able to walk out much the same.  When I travel, I have to find and gather my things, find a good place for the towel, make sure I have all my clothes strategically placed so I don’t have to streak any family members, and so on.  Returning to my own bed is very nice, but returning to my own shower is even better.

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