Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why I don't fly

Recently, I have been travelling by train and the obvious question comes up: “Why don’t you just fly?”

Rather than writing a diatribe, I’ll LIST the reasons and we can discuss them at some length in the future. Here’s my list. My reasons are not JUST limited to this list, because I may leave one (or more) off; CRS disease, you know. Here goes:

1 – Erosion of personal freedom. Really, I have to remove my belt AND shoes? What’s up with that? If they randomly select someone to search, I’m the guy. I’m American and Italian. I’m not a religious zealot. I was born Catholic and haven’t been to church in years. I wouldn’t even know HOW to make an explosive device. The closest I came was blowing up my model cars with Cat’s Eyes™ firecrackers. I was 10 at the time.

2 - Long lines waiting to get through security. Once, I flew from Denver to San Jose. I was waiting in line longer than I was in the air. 90 minutes versus 55 minutes.

3 – The seats are SO comfortable. Need I say more?

4 – I ALWAYS get sick. SOMEONE on board is sick and the recirculated air gets to ME.

5 – How come I can’t bring water on board? And please, may I have the whole 12 oz. of soda, instead of the ½ can.

6 – God forbid if I should get hungry during the flight (see #5 above). If I can’t bring water, what makes you think they will let me bring a sandwich?

7 – The flight attendants are SO happy to be there. I understand that this job is very difficult and I realize many of these young women, especially, probably get hit on by every jerk getting on the plane, but please don’t assume I am one of those guys. I’m not. Is it SO hard to be polite?

8 – That bratty kid that kicks the seat is ALWAYS right behind me. And the woman is holding the crying baby with the bratty 3-yr old. Last time I flew, I told the woman with the kid, “If that brat kicks my seat once more, I’m going to slap YOU!” The kicking stopped.

9 – Don’t know about the tuba. Sometimes they flat out won’t take it. Years ago, I flew to Pennsylvania to play a gig. The tuba got TO Pennsy ok, but on the way back, they weren’t going to take it. The security guy made all sorts of lame excuses why he couldn’t take the tuba. Finally, I bribed him. I slipped him $50 and the horn got right on board.

10 – Why, if there is a problem, do we have to wait IN the plane for the situation to be cleared up? Recently, a friend of mine told me she sat in a plane for over 2 hours. Couldn’t they bring the passengers back to the terminal, liquor them up for their trouble and re-board later?

11 – Why do I have to get to the airport 2 hours early? Can someone PLEASE explain this to me? ESPECIALLY when so many flights are delayed anyway.

12 – Customer SERVICE? HA, that’s a joke!

13 – I hate flying. Not the LEAST of my worries. If a motorcycle fails, you coast to a stop, same with a car. If a plane fails, you drop out of the sky like a rock. Two of my very best friends EVER were killed in plane crashes. My life is greatly diminished because of these two losses. I will NEVER get over the loss of Vic, NEVER. I miss him every day.

And there you have it. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Disney Musings

We got to Disney T'giving Day, about 2:00. Our room was not ready so we parked the car behind the Paradise Pier Hotel and walked to Downtown Disneyland. MAN, this place is different since I was here. Our room was ready shortly after 3, and our bellman brought our stuff up to our room. We had dinner reservations for 5:30 at the Jazz Cafe Downtown Disney (DD). Everyone was SO nice. We said how sorry we were that they had to work on T'giving and TO A ONE, they said, "That's ok, I'm glad to be working today." I had turducen, and as good as it was, I don't have to have it again. We actually hit the hay early and I was asleep by 8:00. Seven hours in the car (with stops) was a long day.

We got up at 6:30 as we were told that as a guest of the Paradise Pier, we could get into the park early, at 7:00. WRONGO!! Sooo, we walked back to the Grand Californian (the new HUGE Hotel on the property) and had their breakfast buffet, which was NOT cheap, but I digress...

We got into the park at opening 8:00 and headed right to Tomorrow Land where we got on Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain and the submarine ride, with NO wait!!! We then headed into Adventure Land for the Jungle Ride (about 8 minutes) and Pirates (<10 minutes)

A few odd things: The rocket ships that used to be above the people mover have been moved to the entrance to Tomorrow Land. There IS NO PEOPLE MOVER; I was bummed. The Swiss Family Tree House has been converted to "Tarzan's Tree House" and it doesn't make any sense because all the Swiss Family Robinson's stuff is all there, minus the cool stuff like the water wheel and water delivery system. I'd skip it. The Monorail does NOT go all the way to the Disneyland Hotel anymore; it stops in DD.

We wanted to take the sternwheeler around Tom Sawyer's island, but there was no place to sit down, so we got off.

We had lunch in New Orleans Square, and then headed to the Matterhorn. That was our longest wait, >20 minutes. But the line kept moving, and fast.

So we did all the big rides before 5:00. Headed back to the room and we are having dinner with Jeannine Flores (one of our BCMW friends) at 7:00. We'll head back into the park for Fireworks.

California Adventure tomorrow!

8:09 PM. Jeannine joined us for dinner at the PCH grill, and yes, she was wearing pants!

Monday, November 16, 2009

End of Oregon trip

Saturday, Nov 14. Slept in, packed and had a nice breakfast with Joan & Paul. They dropped me off at the Salem train station and I decided to upgrade to a bigger room on the 11 train, the Coast Starlight south. Elaine at the station was very helpful and was able to save me some money by finagling the tickets around. I had a few hours to kill so Elaine took care of my tuba while I went to a sports bar across the street. I had been in contact with an old HS friend who lives in Salem. I got her phone number through Facebook and I gave her a call. In no time, Karen Hansson and her husband Al came by the bar and we had a WONDERFUL visit. We spoke about old times and between Karen and (mostly) me, poor Al couldn't get in a word edgewise. The 11 was right on time and I got on board and settled in to my room. I met a fellow, George, who was traveling to SJ to visit family for T'giving. I had dinner with Ron who was also heading south for T'Giving. He grew up in La Honda, and was around there in the 60's. He had some stories to tell about the Hell's Angels, and Neil Young, who lived next door. Jack Kerouac did his greatest work while living in La Honda. I turned in early.

Sunday AM, I had breakfast with an elderly gentleman, who didn't talk much. I was really hungry so I asked for both the omlet AND french toast. Jack, the dining car steward, ok'd the request. The Capitol Corridor train had some problem, so we were sidetracked to pick up some passengers who were being dropped off in Hayward, Fremont and Santa Clara. Our train hit Diradon Station right on time anyway. LC was there to pick me up and took me right home.

As much as I love my sorties out of town, it is GREAT to be home. OWO tonight!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oregon Day 6

Friday, November 13. REALLY light day. I have a lesson scheduled with Linfield’s tubist @12:30, then the concert at 7:30. I’m ready to go. We’ll see how the day progresses….

I met with Megan at about 12:45 and we worked for way over an hour. Joan and I took a ride into town to get some supplies for the house. When we got home, I was feeling kind of sneezy, so I took a couple of Benedryl and promptly fell asleep! My iPhone alarm woke me up at 6:30, I got dressed and headed for the concert.

We played at the First Baptist Church of McMinnville, a nice place for a concert. Joan narrated the concert, reading program notes before each work performed. It is obvious that she has created quite a rapport with the Linfield audience.

I played pretty well. The guest conductor, Jeff Hornik, prepared the accompaniment very well. The audience was very gracious, and I played my encore. I boffed the VERY ending of if a bit, so I played it twice! Live music wahdaygonnddoaboudit?

At the end of the concert, I spoke with few people about the though of coming up to Salem once a month to do some teaching. There seemed to be some real interest in this so I'll work on this when I get home.

After we went to a little hotel downtown for some food and I had risotto. I got home about 10:15, read a while & reflected upon the week. As much as I love doing these out of town engagements, it’ll be great to be back at 321 Dallas soon!

Tomorrow, I hang at Joan’s awhile and leave for Salem around noon to catch the 3:37 Coast Starlight bound for San Jose, and point south.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oregon, Day 5

Thursday, November 12. NICE, SLOW morning. Ran around a bit with Joan’s kids and hung around their really nice house, which Paul actually built from scratch. My room is away from the rest of the family and animals that I feel like I’m in guest quarters.

At 4:00 I went to the performance seminar. I played first, “Introduction & Dance” by Barat. Then each of the students played for me, one at a time. I worked with a clarinetist, saxophonist, trombonist, tubist and an oboist. I had a great time, they all played well and I believe I was able to offer them a few suggestions that helped them along the path of musical growth.

Also, I made GREAT connect. The pianist here, Sarah, and her husband run a music school in or near Salem. While driving from Salem to Dayton, I spoke with Mary Lou about coming up once a month to do some private teaching. I spoke about this with Sarah and she seemed excited about the project. I’ll come up with a list of dates and I might be able to make something happen up here. There is no tuba teacher in Salem, so it might be a good inroad for me, perhaps looking towards the future. WHO KNOWS? Housing is cheap up here, relatively.

After seminar, we had a 6:30 band rehearsal at the First Baptist Church of McMinnville, where the concert is to be held. Rehearsal went off without a hitch (one percussionist didn't show up). Done before 7:10. We went over to a local Mexican restaurant for food. They featured excellent strawberry margaritas and chili rellenos. Home early, asleep before 10.

As much as I love these sojourns, I’m ready to be home. I hit the Coast Starlight Saturday, and I’ll be in my own place Sunday AM.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oregon, Day 4

Wed, Nov 11. – Veteran’s Day. Nothing planned for today. Mary Lou will pick me up noonish to drive me to McMinnville. Being reflective and thankful for all those men & women who put their lives on the line so that we may enjoy the freedoms we DO have left.

It’s supposed to rain all day between here & there. I’m glad I brought my umbrella.

Mary Lou picked me up at noon, and we had a wonderful lunch in an old Victorian house that was converted to a restaurant. We drove out to Dayton, OR, where we were met by Paul, Joan’s husband. We got the the Paddock homestead. Both of Joan’s children, John Martin and Helen, have grown so much since I was here last, I hardly recognized them.

I had a great cup of coffee (UNLIKE the crappy in-room coffee from the morning) and went over to Linfeld College to coach a brass quartet.

We went to dinner at a great Italian joint, owned by a little old Italian guy who used to cook in Las Vegas for the Rat Pack.

Tomorrow, I have a seminar and a rehearsal. Should be really easy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oregon, Day 3

Tuesday, November 10. I had a class at 8 o’clock this morning with a class of FIFTH GRADERS. I did my funny breathing thing, played a tune and we are done; 30-minutes in and out. Then I went over to the high school, where I spoke to a class of young musicians who are interested in various area of the music field. Having been involved in different sides of music (teaching, playing, union activities, management, auditions, and the like) I was able to field many questions, give informed answers (peppered with MY take on things) on a variety of subjects. These are sharp, educated young adults and engaged me in many topics and asked some really pointed questions. This was a 90-minute session. After this class, Mary Lou had her second band and showed the tape from their last marching band show. It was cool just hanging with the kids for this period. DURING the class time, I gave a private lesson to a young tuba student who just switched from baritone and is HIGHLY motivated to improve on tuba. I gave him a copy of my book and we worked for almost an hour.

After that, the wind ensemble rehearsed my piece in the auditorium, then I spoke AGAIN to this class about the biz and various experiences I have had over my career. They asked for some stories about odd or funny thing that went on around playing and teaching. With my years with Cleve, I had DOZENS of stories to tell.

After, I went for lunch at a nice Chinese place. As I type this, I await my 6:30 ride to the concert.

The concert went well. The combined Jr. High band played two tunes, then the HS played a tune. I played the ‘Concertino’ and 'Syrinx.' The HS band played a very emotive piece honoring our servicemen & women, and we were done. In and out one hour, MY kind of concert!

We went to ‘A slice of New York’ (it wasn’t) for pizza. I had a salad. Heading off to bed. I leave for McMinnville tomorrow AM. A good day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oregon Day 2

Monday, November 9, day 2. CRAPPY night’s sleep. Woke at 2 AM and watch Law and Order reruns on local cable access TV. Finally, at 6, I succumbed to the tossing and turning, I got out of bed. I wrote in my blog then got up and went down to breakfast at the Phoenix Inn. I had eggs, sausage, bagel & coffee. My suit jacket was wrinkled when I removed it from my suitcase yesterday and oddly, it didn’t seem so bad this morning. Does is UNwrinkle hanging overnight? Anyway, it needed some touching up. With the iron & board in my room, I got SOME of the wrinkles that were left. Showered, dressed and waiting for Mary Lou to come get me at 8:45.

I got to the Jr Hi about 9 AM and I played and spoke with 3 bands. After a terrific lunch (I had coconut curry summer squash soup!) I went to the High School and rehearsed my solo. After school, I worked with the band’s two tuba players and the euphonium student, who’s name is Tony!

After that, Mary Lou took me on a nice driving tour of Salem. I saw Wilamette College, the revived downtown area, the river walk and other local hot spots. Then we drove through a part of Salem that looked just Like the Capitol Expressway In San Jose, YUCK! We then drove out east and saw miles of beautiful farm land. With the rain up here like it does, the land is green and lush, much like the Santa Cruz hills. We ended our drive at the Governor’s mansion, up in the east side hills. I was delivered safety to my hotel and will have dinner later with Mary Lou .

Had a nice dinner at a local ‘roadhouse.’ Turned in early, asleep by 9:15.

Oregon trip

Saturday, Nov 7, 8:30 PM. The Coast Starlight gets into Diradon Station, San Jose early so I board ahead of time. I have checked my suitcase through. It weighs 45 lbs and they won’t take anything over 50. WHEW! It’ll be lighter coming home as I have several copies of my book that I will be giving away up here. My car attendant is Anthony and he shows me up to my room, 2. Dinner is still being served so I go to the dining car after settling in, where I meet Patrick, who is the dining car steward, and my server, Irma. I have a piece of braised beef and a salad; I am not too hungry. By the time I get back to my car, Anthony has made up my bed and in minutes, I snuggle in and am asleep. I love riding the rails; the motion, the sound of the clacking metal wheels on the tracks.

Sunday, November 8, 3 AM. WIDE AWAKE! SHOOT! I eat the sandwich I brought along from Subway and I turn on Pandora radio. The ”Spa” channel plays this artys-fartsy new agey stuff that puts me right out. 6AM I get up and shower. The train shower is just BARELY large enough for me. But there is plenty of hot water and I feel refreshed. I go to the dining car for breakfast, where I am met once again by Patrick, and Irma. The guys work until 10-11 every night getting ready for the next day, and they have to report back the next morning, 5:30-6:00 to prepare breakfast. I suspect the engineers & conductors have a strong union, and I think the train workers (who have a separate union) do not. I have been told that it harkens back to the day when the engineers & conductors were all white, and the other workers were not.

During breakfast, I see Mt Shasta retreating in the distance behind Train #14. I have breakfast with 3 others, none of whom give me their names. The man besides me rides an R1200 GS BMW. The woman across the table tells a wonderful story about how she met her husband ON THE TRAIN! The other woman, who has very short, blond hair and a hint of a British accent, doesn’t really get a chance to get a word in edgewise, so I know nothing about her.

I go back to my room and listen to Pandora and read. The scenery out my window is beautiful, the lower cascades and Klamath Lake are among my favorite sights. I get a 12:15 lunch reservation.

12:00 I head to the dining car and purchase a commemorative coffee mug, that has a cool picture and ‘Coast Starlight’ on it. I sit at lunch with a couple, Terry & Jerry (YES!!) and a woman who doesn’t offer her name, but hammers 3 bloody marys before my lunch (veggie burger) arrives. We stop in Eugene and she runs out to grab a smoke. Hmmmmm.

At SOME train stops they take a ‘fresh air’ break where people can get off and stretch. They always tell you to remain trainside so we can leave when it's time. Well apparently a few people wandered off too far and the Coast Starlight left a handful of people in Eugene. STUPIDOS!

I arrive in Salem right on time and my dear friend from high school Mary Lou is waiting for me with her husband, Don. She hasn’t aged a day and we recognize each other right away. Of course I’m the only guy with a tuba on my back. I am staying in the Phoenix Inn and have a wonderful suite on the 4th floor.

At 6:00 Mary Lou & Don come pick me up for dinner, a nice Mexican place just down the street. Home at 8:30ish and asleep in moments. Tomorrow is Day 1 in Salem. Can’t wait to see the kids.

Friday, July 24, 2009

RIPPED OFF!

Funny thing. As far as thefts have been in my life, I've been pretty lucky.

The first thing I had stolen was an 8 track player out of my '72 Pinto. I KNOW someone I knew stole it, because it was installed in the glove box, and the only way someone knew it was in my car, was if they got a ride from me and was sitting right beside me in the passenger seat!

While playing a run of "Annie" up in San Francisco, my wallet went missing. The person who got my wallet charged $3,500 on my ATM card at a porno shop. And spent several hundred dollars on another card at a Chevron buying groceries. That person was also using my driver's license. Really, Mr. or Ms. Cashier, the guy using my cards looks like me? I had to get a new license. New number and the whole thing. I can remember the number I had on my old license (I've had it since I was 14) but I have been unable to learn the new number. Luckily, I was on a first name basis with my banker, and since I had the foresight to fill out a police report, I was out NO money. All charges cancelled, case closed.

The next theft was pretty recent. Someone stole my ladder. Linda bought me one of those really cool ladders that you've seen advertised at 3 AM on the local access channel. The ladder that can be used as a one-piece or can be folded in half, or dismantled, and used as a frame, like a scaffold. Nice ladder. Heavy, expensive. SHIT!

The next theft was just last night, at BCMW. We have a cash box that we use to hold cash for photo sales, and t-shirt sales and various other cash transactions, like grocery shopping. In addition, we do an 'opportunity drawing' for various items, such as music stands, instrument stands, and other Objects d'Art. The way the game goes is you write your name on a 20-dollar bill and throw it in a french horn case. On Friday night bills are drawn and the winners chose their prizes. Bastard took all the bills out of the horn case. This money is used for scholarships. This means that due to the theft, there will be a number of people will NOT be able to attend BCMW next summer.

I hope the person who ripped us off, is hungry, homeless or down on their luck and they really need the money. If not, I hope they get hit by a bus.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Funny Story

Chris Waage, a friend from FB, mentioned something on my page that made me think of this funny story. I was talking about Benny Hill and he (Chris) told about an episode of Benny Hill where the short, bald guy was playing trombone, and he couldn't hit the high note, so he SANG the pitch.

Years ago, with the old San Jose Symphony, for a Pops Concert, we had Cleo Laine & John Dankworth. These two do a GREAT show and it was a pleasure being on stage with these two jazz legends. On one of the tunes, there is a tuba solo that has an optional double high c (above the "Encounters II" high Bb). There are two alternates, one of which goes to 3 ledger line g, and the 'easy' one which falls to middle c. I CAN play the double c, but it is a little more that a squeal some days. At the time, I was preparing "Encounters," so my falsetto was in good order and singing & playing was in my wheelhouse at the time. I practiced Mr. Dankworth's solo with the 'safer' high g options. But at the rehearsal, I just couldn't help myself and at the last minute, I SANG the double c, clearly and strongly as if Pavarotti himself were belting it out. Of course, the colleagues to my right (the trombones) were laughing their asses off because they knew what I had done, and, honestly, it wasn't pretty. Dankworth's eyes LIT UP and he stopped the orchestra. He said, "Ladies & Gentleman, I have NEVER heard a tubist play that note with such strength & clarity before. Well, done!"

Each of the next 3 nights, I did the same, and each night I got John's thumbs up.

Ya just never know.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Outdoor Concerts

As a professional musician, I have always hated playing outdoor concerts. It’s hot, or it’s cold. The music gets blown off the stand. We play crappy music, or crappy arrangements of good music. Kids yelling, planes flying overhead. I did a concert where there was goose poop all over the stage. One concert we played, they passed out recorders, or was it kazoos? Anyway this racket was heard throughout the entire performance. Are these people even listening to what we are playing? I did an outdoor concert once (1812 Overture) and the cannon dudes got carried away and their actions generated a a whole SLEW of legal actions. OY! Pop Schlop, is what I call it. I recognized it as an evil necessity so that when music issues are raised, someone somewhere remembered that they went to a nice outdoor symphony concert and they will vote for the bond measure, or send a few bucks to the local arts organization so that we can play ‘real’ music, indoors as God & Beethoven intended.

The logistics of playing outdoors is also a daunting task. You have to move the percussion gear, make arrangements for chairs & stands. Shade cover, clothespins, water for musicians, local permits & fees. And what about parking? Some of these places you have to park in the next county and walk a marathon.

Ok, Last weekend (May 9) I did an outdoor concert with the Ohlone Tuba Ensemble - http://www2.ohlone.edu/instr/music/tubaensemble.html and the Ohlone Community Band - http://www.ohlonecommunityband.org/ and I had the BEST time! We had a potluck beforehand. The weather was perfect. We played good music, WELL. There were kids yelling and a blimp flew overhead. Central Park in Fremont is an IDEAL location for an outdoor concert. They have a wonderful pavilion that actually has excellent acoustics. From the podium, I can see over Lake Elizabeth and Mission Peak. There were folks there that had never heard ANY of the ensembles from Ohlone College. This was fun for us; the audience loved hearing the tuba ensemble & the OCB. It was good for the community, a fun, rewarding experience for the musicians and good exposure for the College. My music got blown off the stand, TWICE.

I loved it!

Maybe I'll bring kazoos for the kids next time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Home!

Wed - April 29. There IS no place like home. After a wonderful week in RI, and some time on the train, it is nice to sleep in my own bed, snuggle with the poochies and watch some TV. I have a ton of laundry to do, more when/if my suitcase comes from Providence, and I am ready to start preparing the next concerto, to be played in two+ weeks.

Thanks for following me on my journey, I hope you had as much fun sharing the experience, as I had sharing it with you. OCB tonight, I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 28 - Home tonight!!

Yesterday was kind of a weird day. I wasn’t feeling very well and managed to sleep most of the day. There was some beautiful scenery in Colorado as a result of the storm the day before. We stopped here & there and I took pictures of the train in the snow. They are posted on FB. Like I said, I slept most of the day. After lunch I came back to my room, put on “Bourne Supremacy” and promptly fell asleep. The dining car steward came around and took my 7:15 dinner reservation. When I didn’t show, he came and knocked on my door; I never heard him. My neighbor in Room D who DID hear him knock confirmed this. Anyway, I have been eating so much I really wasn’t hungry. At 10:30, I had Linda, my train attendant make up my bed. I put on “Bourne Supremacy” but didn’t make it through the opening credits. I woke at about (what I think was) 5:00 AM. I took a photo (posted on FB) of the desert, and went back to sleep. I got up at 6:00 showered; put on fresh clothes and went to breakfast. Broke fast with a nice couple from Denver (he runs a hotel in Aspen) and a retired gentleman from Pittsburgh. I am anxious to get home as I have SEVERAL Union matters that need tending, I need to start working on the Gregson, and I have my last 4 concerts of the year coming up.

The train is on time. If it STAYS on time, I’ll be in Emeryville at 5:20, taking the 547 Capitol Corridor at 7:20; home before 9. I hope, I hope.

On the Home Stretch.

2 more stops: Martinez then Emeryville. Then I catch the Capitol 547 home to San Jose. I had lunch with a young couple, he works for the railroads (Union Pacific) and she is a nursing student, working on her BA. Nice couple, just starting out we had a nice lunch together. I’ve been on FB most of the day, and answering emails. I have an important meeting with Team San Jose, regarding the shows in 153 jurisdiction as well as a broiling pot at OSJ. I am anxious for a report from my groups about my subs as well as sleeping in my own bed and snuggling with my spaniels.

Looking back, it was a great trip. I LOVED being in RI and hanging with the kids, soloing, conducting. Young musicians sought me out, asked for advice obviously wanting to spend time with me. It was really nice to feel respected, useful, appreciated.

Still, I missed my OWO, SVBB, TE & OCB guys. Can’t wait to see everyone at Zorba’s tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday AM

As I write this, I am looking out my window at a beautiful winter snow scene. The ground is dusted with snow. It is either 7:00 or 8:00 (depending on if you believe my computer or iPhone). The sun is blocked by clouds and there is a peaceful serenity about all that I can see. I'll have coffee in a moment, but for now, I am enjoying the scenery. We are at about 4700 feet in elevation. Last night, in Iowa, we went through QUITE a thunderstorm, so I can only surmise that that storm was responsible for all this snow.

Last night, I had a wonderful steak dinner with a woman from Sacramento and her dad who lives in Pennsylvania. There was also an asian fellow who didn't speak much english. Try as we might to include him in our rather animated discussion, he didn't really get involved.

I DID manage a long hot shower in my room (WENDY!), and it really felt great. I tried to post some picts on FB of my accomodations, but only one managed to get uploaded. I also uploaded 2 picts of crossing the Mississippi.

Well, dear friends, I'll sign off for now, get my coffee and head to the dining hall.

More later...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday, heading home

Last night, after dinner. I went back to my room and promptly fell asleep. I guess I was more beat than I thought. At about 8:30, Sharon knocked on my door to make up my bed. After she did that, I went right to sleep and slept through Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Erie & Cleveland, where I BRIEFLY woke up. After we left Cleveland, I slept through Elyria, Sandusky & Toledo. I breakfasted in Bryan and as of about 9 AM, I am 1/2 way between South Bend, IN & Chicago. I'll be at the Union Station for 4+ hours, waiting or the California Zephyr, which departs Chicago at 2:00 PM. One of my OWO guys, Mark Beyer is in Chicago on family business. I'm hoping we can meet for lunch.

I got into Chicago right on time. I couldn't make a connect with Mark, DARN! I posted a pict of the Sears Tower (the best I could under the circumstances) that I posted in FB. There is a really nice lounge in which the sleeper car passengers wait. There are snacks available as well as baggage storage so I put my stuff there (tuba, too) and walked around Union Station. I purchased a Chicago T-Shirt and got a smoothie that in California would be called Horchata, cinnamon-y vanilla. I upgraded my ticket from a roomette to a deluxe room. The cost: $13. Thirteen bucks for all this extra room?!? I am waiting for the dining car steward to come to take my dinner reservations. After which I am going to take a loooonng hot shower!

I can't WAIT to see my Bay Area friends.

More later....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday, heading home

After a couple hours in Penn Station, I'm on the 49 train heading towards (kinda) Chicago. My train attendant is Sharon, who gave me TWO roomettes so I can put my tuba in the other one. This sleeper seems to be older equipment. One level with a sink & toilet in each room. We are heading due North up to Albany (NY) then over to Buffalo. Then to Erie, PA; Cleveland & Toledo, OH; Elkhart & South Bend, IN before making Chicago. Tomorrow, I'll have about 4 hours to kill in Chicago. This leg of the journey is planned to take 19 hours. I have a 5:30 dinner reservation, after which I will shower and watch a movie, probably Casino Royal, the next to the last Bond film.

Day 3 @RIC and starting home

Day 3 at RIC. This morning I ran a brass master class. I coached the freshman brass quintet. Nice bunch of kids, good players and needed a little coaching. I adjusted their seating arrangement (DUH!) and worked with them on Monteregian Hills, & their own arrangement of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” That was fun. THEN, I coached a graduate-type tuba quartet who did ALL of their own arrangements. These kids play great and if they play their cards right, just might be able to make it as a pro group. They are talking about coming out to SJ to hang for a week or so. They offered to trade coaching & housing for work around the house. Maybe I’ll finally get my barn painted!

After a great lunch on “The Hill” (where all the Italian restaurants are) we had a tuba session with about 30 HS & College tuba players. I did my spiel on maximizing your warm up time, talked a lot about intonation & tuning. I followed the talk with a round of ‘Revolving Chords.’ We rehearsed 2 tuba ensembles, Song without Words and William Tell, to be performed that evening on the concert. After all that Rob & I went to a neighbor hood bar (there are these sprinkled ALL OVER Providence) for a little relaxation & Miller High Life. We went back to school to prepare for the concert.

RIC has a nice concert hall. I’m GUESSING it holds about 800-900. The stage is a little small for their wind ensemble, but Rob knows how to use the stage for maximum benefit.

The concert started with the TE, before which Rob gave me a wonderful introduction. After the tubas, the band played 'Creation of the World' by Milhaud. My concerto was played next; I was very pleased with the performance. I biffed a coupla notes, but overall, I had a good time, the band played great and Rob did a wonderful job of not only prepping the band, and of conducting the concerto. By this time, I was pretty tired so I went back to my dressing room and chatted with some of the kids. Last on the concert, I conducted Broughton’s Silverado end credits. The band played great for me in spite of my sometimes ‘unorthodox’ conducting technique.

Many of us went out to Gregg’s for a drink & food, the same place to which I went the last time I played at RIC. It was a lot of fun and when I went to the bar, the kids told the servers it was my birthday so after my sandwich, the wait staff brought me this HUGE ├ęclair with birthday candles. NO, I didn’t eat the whole thing!!!! I’m a good sharer. We got home after midnight after Rob missed the turnoff and we almost ended up in Massa-fucking-chussets!

I packed up this morning and Rob offered to SHIP my big suitcase, heavy coat and bag of laundry. THANK YOU, ROB! As I have THREE transfers, this will be easier as I will only have my tuba (it’s an F, Phil), my computer and my grip.

As I write this, I am on the 161 train from Providence to NY, Penn Station, travelling 110 mph! This train kicks ass. I am thinking back on my visit with the young artists, grateful for this opportunity, and look forward with eager anticipation on seeing my Bay Area friends.

Friday, April 24, 2009

@ Rhode Island College

Day 1 at Rhode Island College

Rob took me to Cindy’s Diner, a GREAT little breakfast place. I played my tuba after 4 days and my chops felt like CRAP! I talked to some music students at 1:00 about the ‘biz’ and had a question answer period that was REALLY FUN. Rob and I went to Warwick to have dinner with Bryan & Heather Doughty. Bryan (of BVD Press) has been good to the TE & BCMW so it was great to meet them finally. We had a GREAT meal, seafood appetizers and REAL MAINE LOBSTER. WOW, what a treat. Got home late.

Day 2 at RIC – NO breakfast as I am still full from dinner. We had a Concerto rehearsal at 2:00. After we went to dinner at Wildfire. Where we had a GREAT appetizer plate and I had lobster ravioli. CANNOLI NIRVANA OCCURRED! Chocolate covered shells with peanut butter flavored ricotta. Dress rehearsal at 7:00. We did Silverado first, then Rob rehearsed the other pieces. My concerto came up about 8:45. It went VERY well and a good time was had by all. After, a few of us went to Murphy’s Bar downtown Providence. Got home late.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday, Day 4, part 1

April 21, Day 4, 8:47 AM.

Up early and had breakfast. Took a hot shower; BOY did I need it after yesterday’s ordeal. As of now, it looks like I should get into DC right on time (1:30). I have a little bit of leeway, as the Northeast Regional doesn’t depart for NY and points north until 4:05. I “played” through the concerto once this AM as well as spent some time studying the score I am going to conduct.

I got to DC in good order so I went to the ticket guy to see if I could get onto and earlier train to Providence. For a few bucks, he put me on the 94 train, that goes through Baltimore. Philadelphia, NY & Boston. I’ll get to Providence 2+ hours ahead of the original plan. This might give me some time to actually practice because I didn’t buzz much tomorrow and haven’t touched the mouthpiece today.

It is pretty hot & muggy in DC.

I can’t buzz on this train because there are no private rooms. BUT, I clocked this train at 120 mph! It averages about 108 when moving. Why can the trains in Cali go this fast? Probably some self appointed safetycrat won’t let them; might run over an endangered desert rat!

Looking out the window is a bit depressing here, as I see a lot of squalor. A lot of run down houses, piled on top of each other in varying states of disrepair. Garbage everywhere and the view is pretty ugly overall. Of course the train tracks and train stations are never in the GOOD part of town, so I take that with a grain of salt.

Boy, did I miss my OWO guys last night!

More later…

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday, Day 3, MUCH later

WHAT A DAY! All day, the California Zephyr was between 3 & 4 hours behind schedule. We’d catch up, then something would happen and we’d lose the time we made. Originally the 6 was supposed to get into Chicago at 3:50. If we were 3 hours late, that gave me 15 minutes to catch the 30 train, the Capitol Limited, which was scheduled to leave at 7:05. As we approached Chicago, it LOOKED like we would arrive between 7 & 7:15. Amtrak would not tell us if they would hold the train or not. Come to find out, there were about 30 of us making a transfer from the 6 to the 30. STILL, they wouldn’t say one way or the other. I called the STATION MANAGER at Chicago’s Union Station and SHE wouldn’t tell me anything. The Zephyr rolled into the station at 7:01. Amtrak rules say (paraphrased) if there is a train IN THE STATION onto which passengers need to transfer, from a train ENTERING the station, they MUST wait for those passengers. So it looked like we were covered. Not only that but literally, from my 6 train, car 631 to my 30 train, car 3000 was 11 steps. Right across the platform, and next to the 631. I got on board, met my attendant, Brenda, offloaded my tuba & big suitcase and went right up into my room, 6. I walked to the dining car and made a 7:30 reservation with Lawrence in the diner. I ate dinner (flat iron steak, fixed PERFECTLY) with a man and his son from Dos Palos. He JUST retired from farming and his son JUST graduated from AMI, the mechanic school in Sacramento. He landed a job fixing diesel engines. They are taking a LONG train trip all over the US.

It’s 9:01 PM and I have had a long day. We are spending MOST of the night in Ohio & western Pennsylvania.

Trip Log, Day 3, Monday

April 20, Day 3, 8:04 AM

We got into Denver almost 4 hours late last night. We made up a little time and as of now, we are 3 hours behind schedule. There is some doubt as to whether or not the 6 train, the California Zephry, will meet up in time with the “Cap.”  If we stay 3 hours behind schedule, that’ll get us into Chicago at 6:50. The Cap leaves at 7:05. That will give us (and there are several of us) 15 minutes to make our connection. Typically the Zephyr makes Chicago 45 minutes to an hour early, so if we DO make up some time, we’ll be ok. Evelyn, in the dining car said, “If they have to get you a CAMEL, they’ll take care of you.” So I had some breakfast, stepped out onto the platform in Lincoln, Nebraska and now we are on our way.

 More later….

Trip Log, Day 2

Sunday, April 19, 12:38 PM.

 I slept well last night, unless you count the earthquake dream, which was a direct result of going over some rough track. The quakes in the dream had the same intensity and duration and interval as the train bumping when I awoke. Hmmmmm. Breakfast this morning was ok; I ate with the attorney and her son & his friend again. When you eat, they put you 4 to a table so three of them and one of me make a perfect seating arrangement for dining car personnel.

Let me describe the Amtrak Superliner: the train is two stories tall, about 45 feet long. As my friend Benny says, it is KIND of reminiscent of an aluminum cannoli. On the lower lever there are 3 bathrooms, a shower, 4 roomettes, a family room and a ‘special needs’ room. The luggage is also stored across from the stairway that leads up. Up stairs, there are 5 DELUXE bedrooms, 10 roomettes, a bathroom and a refreshment station.

The roomettes are for one or two people. They have two comfortable seats facing each other. At night, they slide together to make a bed, and there is an upper berth that folds down for sleeping. There is an electrical outlet into which I have plugged an extension cord for my iPod, iPhone and Mac. There is plenty of lighting and view from the upstairs roomettes is wonderful. The deluxe bedrooms have a couch and a chair. The couch folds into a double bed at night (for 2 people) and there is an upper berth, rather like the roomette, that folds down. The Deluxe bedroom has it’s own bathroom/shower combo that, to put it nicely, is small. Even when I had one of these, I showered in the communal shower so I could at least wash myself. The family room stretched the width of the train and can easily house a family of 5. The special needs room is completely handicapped accessible with its own bathroom. This room also stretches the width of the train.

On the California Zephyr, rearward of the sleepers is the dining car, where your meals are taken. Rearward of that is the lounge car, where people hang most of the day. There are side facing seats big windows and tables where you can play cards, eat or I saw some young people doing their Geometry homework. Below the lounge car, snacks of all kinds can be purchased, as can alcohol.

 The train workers have a good union, but the conductors’ branch of that has more clout than that of the people who do all the ‘real’ work on board. This harkens back to the day when the workers were all black and the conductors were all white. This I got from SEVERAL of the train attendants as well as the dining car workers. I’d love to do some real research into the railway workers union.

 I took a shower after lunch (hamburger, cooked Chef’s way, and you’ll LIKE it). The shower was quite roomy. It is a BIT disconcerting, however, to look down and see the tracks flying by. Apparently, the shower dumps right onto the tracks; no tubes, no pipes, from the drain to the tracks. Attached to the shower is a nice dressing room where you can put on fresh clothes and do your hair and use an electric razor. I went upstairs to use my disposable.

 I’ll buzz the concerto a couple times and get back into The Whole Truth.

 We were sidetracked for some time with problems with the rails. Up ahead there was a terrible storm two nights ago and the 5 train westbound was 4 hours late; they expect the same with this train. If that is the case, I’ll miss my connection for the “Cap” and they may have to put me on the Lake Shore limited to NY, which would be fine IF I were to end up with the same accommodations. I do NOT want to ride coach.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trip Log, Day 1

10:03 AM

My dear Linda took me up to Emeryville to catch the California Zephyr heading out to Chicago.  We got off about 5 minutes late. By 9:05 I was ready for breakfast and they served an abbreviated meal, scrambled eggs, bacon, croissant, coffee, juice. I got back to my sleeper (train 631, room 2) and hooked the Mac up to my iPhone. Jake came over Thursday night to make sure I could get onto the internet with my Mac through the phone. It works like a charm as long as I have cell service. I logged right onto Facebook (what else?) and checked my email. As I write this we are going over the Carquinez Straight, near the mothball fleet. It is HOT in my compartment so I asked Miriam (train attendant) to look into the fan.

 

4:43 PM. I had lunch in the dining car. A turkey sandwich on something they call a “pretzel roll.” It tasted good, but wasn’t enough food to feed a little old lady. It came with a small salad, yes, Sandra a crappy SIDE salad. After lunch, I walked the train and stopped in the club car for a sandwich. I went back to my room and got out my mouthpiece and buzzed long tones and lip slurs for about 20 minutes. After a stop in Reno, during which I actually got OFF the train for 10 minutes, I came back to my room, put on the recording of the concerto and buzzed along with the recording. My biggest concern is actually having chops when I step off the train in Providence. I took a couple of pictures and posted them on Facebook, one of the photos is Miriam, my train attendant. She seems like a nice lady and hope to chat with her some more. The dining car guy, Jack, just came by and took my dinner reservation. I’ll eat at 5:30 tonight. I started reading one of my books, The Whole Truth by David Baldacci. It’s a spy thriller. After dinner, I plan on buzzing the concerto again, buzz some scales and in the TRITONE OF DEATH. More later….

 6:35 PM. I had dinner with a woman attorney, her son and his friend, from Sunnyvale. They live in Boulder right now and the boy plays the trombone. I’m going to buzz some more, wash up and watch STAR WARS!

 More tomorrow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fresno Round-Up

What a trip! I had SUCH a good time in Fresno. I was a bit worried that it might look like “The Tony Clements Show,” but after talking to Gary Gilroy, Tony Mazzaferro and Larry Sutherland, and hearing the other 2 judges’ comments, I am glad we were all there. I think the bus deal worked out like a charm. I AM sorry for the ‘OWO only’ players who rode the bus & that had to hang out all day. Hopefully the “camaraderie” shared on the way home made up for it. It shouldn’t be an issue if we return to Fresno, as we won’t be playing on the evening concert again for quite a while; they DO have to give other groups a chance. I’ll make sure we can get all the bands playing back-to-back. Financially, it was a drain, so we’ll have to decide if we want to do the bus thing again, or drive ourselves. I AM aiming for an invite to the Reno CBDNA Convention in March 2010. 

After the SVBB played, MANY students approached their directors about getting one together. That’s cool, huh? 

After the OCB played, I had several people approach me and ask, “That is your SECOND band?” I don’t think of it that way, but it is a common (mis)nomer when there are two ensembles at one institution. I just closed my eyes & nodded. 

As of today, Monday, I have no Judges’ comments for SVBB; I got CSU Long Beach’s instead. I am in the process of rectifying that. I have gotten neither a recording nor a DVD for the OWO performance of Saturday night. Still waiting to hear about getting that. 

I did spend the entire morning listening to the OCB comments. I will outline those below. But before I do, the following appeared on my FB Wall Sunday AM. It’s from Tony Mazzaferro. Many of you know Tony, those of you who don’t here is a brief bio: 

http://www.claremontwinds.org/pages/Dr._Tony_Mazzaferro.html 

And here is what he posted: 

Tony: What a pleasure it was to see you and to hear your fine groups! The OWO should be very proud of their performance last evening your approach to the music and your passion is almost Italian in nature! Perhaps all of those afternoons at Luigi's are rubbing off! In any case congratulations to you and the SVBB, the OCB, and the OWO for some memorable performances. 

Here are comments for OCB. I’ll post SVBB comments when I get the disk. 

ALL of the judges said this or something similar: 

What a fun and enjoyable performance. It’s nice to hear a band that plays with energy joy & passion; I hear MANY bands, that don’t. Terrific, highly spirited band. It’s great to see community leaders coming out and enjoying making music. THAT’S what Music Education is all about. Thank you for bringing your bands. 

More specific comments (they WILL sound familiar):

All 4 judges commented that the accompanying musicians needed to be more aware of who has the tune or solo line and be softer and more supportive.

There were some pitch issues. I’ll talk about this in band.

There were some rhythmic/ensemble issues. I’ll take the heat on that.

2 of the judges mentioned that I took the Holst too fast. BIG surprise here, no?

All were complementary of soloists, Sandy, Paula, Phil, Jacob, Steve Katz, and Jonathan.

ALL said they would like to hear softer playing in the high woodwinds.

One judge said almost nothing. A few comments on note lengths and like that, but LOVED the band. 

One judge gave extensive and very helpful suggestions. But LOVED the band. He liked the chamber music feel of the woodwinds in the beginning of Elsa’s. He loved the clarinet sound and the brass blend & balance. They ALL commented on our last Elsa note!  

I couldn’t be happier with our performances, attitude, professionalism, and enthusiasm. Thank you to all of you. 

Time & time again I am reminded how lucky I am. Saturday was a big one!

 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Counting My Blessings

Growing up, I heard A LOT, “Count your blessings.” Well, now I am. 

1 – I am married to a wonderful woman. Linda is the ideal mate for me; kind, considerate, smart, funny, tolerant. Almost 22 years of marriage is pretty darned good in this day and age. Her smile STILL melts my heart. 

2 – I had a great career with the old San Jose Symphony. I was able to purchase a home in California, with a swimming pool. I played the entire major tuba repertoire with an unbelievably talented collection of musicians, an AMAZING orchestra. The Brahms and Mozart that Cleve did brought tears to my eyes! All the while my best friend was sitting right next to me! While the new symphony, under Andrew Bales, is doing great, my personal contract with them is not very good. I don’t play much, and compared to my other income streams, it is the lowest. It’s odd how the old symphony was my life and the new orchestra is the least important project with which I am involved. I’m playing even less next season. BUT, Andrew has agreed to let me conduct a band concert in August. (More on this later). 

3 through 6 (in no particular order) - I conduct a GREAT Wind Ensemble. I conduct a great Tuba Ensemble. I conduct a GREAT Community Band. I conduct a superb group of musicians totally committed to playing in the Silicon Valley Brass Band. Am I lucky, or what? Recently, a conducting colleague told me, “You have the PERFECT position.” Yeah, I guess I do. 

7 – I am surrounded with truly exceptional human beings. I KNOW that at any time, if I were in trouble, I could call on a NUMBER of people to help me out. There is no doubt that SOMEONE would be there. A mentor told me many years ago, “A measure of a man is in the company he keeps.” WHOA! How did THIS happen? I pray sincerely that I really deserve this. 

8 – Excellent health. Yeah, I have the aches and pains of a 54-year old body. But I am healthy. Knock on wood, no illnesses or injuries. No lingering ‘war wounds’ or hidden viruses. If I can keep diabetes at bay, I’ll be pretty lucky. Yeah, yeah, I’ll watch the visits to Luigi’s. 

9 – A generally happy, optimistic outlook on life. I hear a lot of complaining in my business. Somehow, I have managed to avoid this negatively affecting my appreciation for my craft and my overall outlook on making music. EVERY Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night, and every Saturday afternoon, I go home with a HUGE smile on my face (see #3-6 above).  PLUS, I think Linda has a lot to do with this. 

10 – Being Union President. This is an IMMENSE source of pride for me. I feel like I am a position to actually HELP my friends. I have negotiated several successful Collective Bargaining Agreements so far, and I look forward to several more not only this year, but for the rest of my tenure. How many people feel like that they can actually change their lot in life? I CAN make a difference. I can help! 

11 – BCMW - http://www.humboldt.edu/brass/  Brass Chamber Music, what can be better? 

12 – I am blessed in many small ways each day, but these have risen to the top.

What are YOUR blessings?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Music

Can we talk for a moment about “New Music?” Recently, I was asked to play Jerry Grant’s Tuba Cycles, which, I believe, to be the major contribution to the tuba literature since “Encounters II.” I was please to be placed on a concert of all works that had been composed within the past few years. I was speaking to a few people I knew and invited them to the concert, not to just hear me, but as a show of support for all the living composers who were going to be in attendance. NONE of the people with whom I spoke planned on attending the concert, nor did any of them show up. I asked them why they didn’t plan on attending and their unanimous answer was (and I quote), “I don’t like new music.” Being heavily involved in new music, I don’t get this. I tried to figure out from where this pervading sentiment originated. This came screaming back to me as I VERY recently played a concert of all music by a well-known composer.  The piece I played on was a good piece and fun to play. The orchestra was terrific and the conductor was pleasant and well prepared. The work was not really intended as a symphonic piece, but rather was intended to go along with another live-theater medium. One work that was performed before I walked on to the stage was so bad, that at one point I laughed out loud. Honestly, I have NO compositional skills, but the music I have TRIED to write is better than this stuff. I would not embarrass myself, or make my listeners uncomfortable, by performing my music; it’s garbage! I can write great tuba quartet arrangements, but that’s it. 

So, now I try to trace the history of the anti-new music sentiment. ALL the greats, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner, Stravinsky had their works performed right after they were written. The best I can figure out was back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s there was so much new music written and performed, much of it awful, that the 1970’s - 80’s audiences were bombarded with so much crap, that “I don’t like new music” became an anthem for serious concert goers. You HAVE to blame someone for this as there are WONDERFUL composers writing truly GREAT works. I blame conductors and orchestra managers. Lack of courage and embarrassment is responsible. An orchestra would commission a work by a composer and when the work arrived, since they had paid for the music and had already scheduled it, good or bad, they played it anyway. Subjecting their ticket buyers and supporters to bad music, either KNOWING the music was bad, or not taking the time to truly consider the quality of the music that was being presented. Being right in the middle of that, I have played HOURS of crappy music. On one concert, my colleagues joked about playing the concert with brown bags on our head so no one would know we were playing that garbage. Many people with whom I have spoken opined that they didn’t understand new music, or they didn’t like it. Truth is, many concertgoers can really discern the difference and they don’t dislike NEW music, they dislike BAD music. And since so much BAD contemporary music is scheduled, bought, and played, it has turned their minds off. 

Folks, it is up to US to fix this. We HAVE to play ONLY quality music by living composers. We must purchase, schedule & play excellent new music. We must encourage talented composers to keep writing. BUY their music, invite them to performances, and work with them to promote their work. We must play well-crafted pieces and NOT be intimidated by the name of the composer printed on the upper right hand corner of the title page. There might be a budding Mozart in our midst and it is in our best interest to get his/her music played. 

You are with me on this, right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bucket List

Bucket List 

The Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman movie of this name has me thinking about what I’d like to accomplish on the back side of my life. For those of you who don’t know what a bucket list is, a Bucket list is a list of things you would like to do before you “Kick the Bucket.” On Facebook, there was a bucket list of sorts, but it came from somewhere else and I just made X’s in the boxes. So here’s my REAL bucket list. 

1 – Taking the train, see a baseball game in every Major League Stadium. No explanation needed.

2 – RV’ing (a small one) to ALL of the National Parks. I haven’t seen Zion, Yellow Stone, Mt Rushmore, not to mention ANYTHING in New England.

3 – Sturgis. HAVE to do this once - http://www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/

4 – The 4 corners. Motorcycle From Blaine, WA to San Ysidro, CA, to Key West, FL to Madawaska, ME. More about this here: http://www.usa4corners.org

5 – The Alaska Highway. I could probably do this on a sidecar rig, maybe a Ural - http://www.imz-ural.com/gearup/

6 – Drive the Autobahn. Going 150+ mph boils my blood just THINKING about it.

6a – If I can’t do #6, I want to drive a fuely - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Fuel

7 – Take the train all over Europe. At least they have a system that works.

8 – LIVE in Switzerland for a year. IF I could only speak German!

9 – Play Fred Tackett’s “Yellow Bird.” I’m running out of time on this one!

10 – Eat the PERFECT pizza. This is a lifelong quest. Perhaps I could get corporate funding for this.

11 – Go up the Eiffle Tower, same Empire State Bldg.

12 – See the Pyramids. They STILL don’t really know how they built those things!

13 – Get a bit part in a movie, TV show or commercial. “Good shot, Red Six!” I can DO this! Are you listening Mister Lucas?

14 – Conduct a major symphony. Just ONCE.

15 – Cruise the Panama Canal.

16 – Buy Property. My DREAM is to own 40 acres of beautiful land. Nevada County would be ideal. 20 acres would be ok, too.

17 – Do the 48 States Tour. http://www.pashnit.com/forum/showpost.php?p=136156&postcount=2

 You’ll notice many of these involve travel. Since I haven’t DONE much travelling, I better get started!

 See you on Facebook!