Road Runner Regional Rodeo

Unlike other rodeo’s I’ve been to (a staggering total of three) – the Road Runner Regional is now hosted at an ol’ western tourist trap on the north side of the city in Scottsdale.

After a greasy breakfast at Denny’s, I got there with Scott in time for the opening ceremony. Wandering through the vendor area briefly, we caught wind of some local fellas and a group from online and proceeded to the stands.

It was kinda hard to see what was going on, as the arena was very large. The sun was hittin at such an angle that the chutes were obsurred by clouds a bit, but it managed to entertain nonetheless.

After some dilly-dallying and frequent trips for refreshments, the day flew by.

As evening approached, the decision was made to pose for a group shot in one o them there fancy old-fashioned dress ’em up studios located in the adjoining western tourist trap. Dividing the fellas up into groups of ten, we found the process to be a little more time intensive than imagined. By the time the third group was to get in front of the lens, we were down to three.

Someone had to be different, and with just the less-than-handful of us, we took what turned out to be a perplexing and fun shot.

I drove from there in the twilight to a fella’s house for a cookout, and was happy to meet some new friendly faces.

Afterwards, I went back to the hotel and got my face washed to go out.

The bar was even more packed that evening, but we found ourselves doing much of the same as the previous night. I caught up with Chuck eariler and got to continue our conversations and observations and last call came quickly again.

Tuckered, I went back to the hotel and checked email and downloaded some pictures from the day.

Yeehaw.

One big city that seems to be planned proper

Phoenix is a great town for bein’ so large.

As the United States’ sixth-largest city with a population of nearly 1.3 million, I found it easy to navigate without the aid of a compass in the car. I drove from my friends house straight to the airport around noon and made it to the passenger pick-up area with nary a wrong turn.

Scott rolled off the plane with a big ol’ grin, realizing that the weather here was quite a change from the snow dump in Cincinnati.

We picked up his bags and headed to the hotel to check in and get some vittles. We found an Old Spaghetti Factory, and although we have the chain in Cincinnati, we knew it would be good cheap eats.

Satisfied with our meal, we headed back to the hotel and I took a wee nap before hittin the watering hole for some country dancin (him, not me of course – i have two left feet). I met up with a group of folks from online in the back part of the bar and was happy to meet some locals through the evening.

“Nice beard” I heard from the side, and immediately struck up a conversation with a fella named Chuck. Doin’ an earnest awwww shucks dirt kickin, we started talking about this and that, having a grand ol’ time. Eventually I had to rejoin the group and meet some guys from all over the place that came to Phoenix for the rodeo, like myself.

A jovial mood overall, I would wander to the front from time to time to check on Scott and the dance floor, bumping (literally – it was packed) into familiar faces along the way.

As last call came about, it was time to head back to the hotel and rest up for the big day to follow.

The parking lot Cincinnati calls Interstate 71

So I somehow managed to get up and pack in time to get to the airport (or so I thought)… when, last minute, I couldn’t find my specs. Heck knows I can function without my glasses, but I do enjoy being able to see, clearly.

I rushed around the house looking high and low in the usual suspect locations, when I decided to give ol’ Delta a call and see if I could manage a later flight. 12:30 was booked they said and to get on the 4:30 flight would cost an arm and a leg (and a used car)… So i gulped, went for one last go ’round and found the dang things.

It was snowing outside. Me, being the space-case that I am, didn’t think to check the weather and see what the forecast held. The on-ramp to the highway was slow. Folks were going at a snail’s pace and I started to get real flustered.

Upon entering the highway, it came to a stand still, with bursts of 5 MPH movement.

In my haste, I decided to breathe, stop looking at the clock, and just roll with it, knowing it was beyond my control. I kept callin the airline on my mobile phone hoping to catch wind of a delay.

No such luck.

I finally got to the airport, only to find my flight would leave in 10 minutes, on schedule, with no way for me to get to the gate and past security in time. Luckily, the feller behind the counter said that I’d very likely get on the 12:30 flight on standby without charge.

Deciding to grab a horrible breakfast from McDonalds (why? I ask myself, do i even attempt to eat that shit) I sat down and prepared for the 4 hour wait. Luckily there was an overpriced ‘net connection, so I got some work done and emails written after I took a quick snapshot of the planes collecting purdy snowflakes.

Fast forward a bit and I’d landed in Phoenix, slightly roughed from the lack of sleep and extremely different weather. A sunny 75 degrees and a swell blue sky greeted me as I rolled my suitcase out to the shuttle.

Dinner with an old friend and a visit with his family filled out the rest of the night, where we tried to catch up on two years of not being in touch save for the holidays. I went to bed on an inflatable matress at 2am, realizing that I’d been up almost 24 hours. Yikes.

Pre-Travel Night Owl

Whenever I get ready for a trip, i spend the night before staying up WAY too late doing laundry, tidying up the house and getting work done.

Tonight is no different. I leave for the airport in 3 hours.

Argh.

Not packed yet, but most everything is clean and ready in a pile on the dining room table.

It’s been a bitter cold week, 16 degrees.

Phoenix at 77 sounds real dang good.

l’ll wear my bib on the plane so I can sleep and drool.

The ideal job

Just had an alumni from Ohio State drop a line, asking about options and opportunities in the Cincinnati area… For some reason, I felt compelled to write a long winded reply, as his questions seemed to hint, no declare, that he was frustrated with his vocation.

After some link gathering and discussion about the Ohio Valley as a place to live and work, I suggested looking outside of the field of corporate design. In turn, I made a small realization that my perfect job would have:

  • Interaction with humans
  • A component that required time spent outdoors
  • Some type of physical exertion on a regular basis
  • Short term, tangible rewards coupled with long term (positive) effects on the community or the environment

Funny thing is, my current job is behind a computer monitor, with clients often in other cities, and often for corporate benefit. I need to find opportunities to evolve.

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Categorized as Pondersome

Mmmm, grilled cheese

Dang, January is going by quickly. I have a ton of things to have done absolutely-no-excuses by the end of the month.
Work stuff, that is. I’ve no doubts that our office can handle it. I’m just prepping myself for the midnight oil that will have to be burned in order to get things wrapped up to our satisfaction.

Doesn’t help that I am taking a long weekend off in Phoenix in a few days, but it’ll be good for me. I’ll get to get back in touch with an old friend/compadre and see his family. It’s been years and I’m sure we’ll have a shortage of time to share ideas and experiences.

So this is something to look forward to, and I can finally get a new picture for the front of my site. I feel the the Christmas tree has been up too long, so to speak.

Back to the work thing… Today we let our first client “go.” It was an easy decision. They just weren’t happy with the designs we worked up, and frankly, communication became frustrating. We decided to refund their money and let them take the budget to someone else. It was a good sized budget, but honestly – when the day is done, if the client isn’t happy, and we’re not happy, then it’s all for naught.

Dinner was an unusually rare and simple favorite this evening – Grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup. I need to make that more. I think when I was a kid, I mispronounced it “gurled cheese.” I still have issues with certain words.

Adaptation

A friend once asked me, have you ever been in love. My initial reaction was agape. I replied, “Of course I have been in love. Many times.” I didn’t even have to think at all to bring the answer forth.

This turned into a somewhat heavy conversation about what love is, which is certainly something worth chatting about. Seems that folks have different and finite interpretations of what love, indeed, is.

For me, it is an emotion that goes beyond physical interaction, into a place where we care deeply for another individual.

I can easily say I have loved many people, and once it crosses into that realm, even if we part ways, maybe even have a “falling out,” it doesn’t matter… The love still exists. So in terms of being “in love” – I suppose it’s not something one falls out of in my book. I am constantly in love. It comes to surface in varying degrees.

It’s also not a two way street.

Some folks fall in love.
Some folks get married. Some folks go out.
Some folks get divorced. Some folks break up.
What they thought was love is then (often) replaced by this intense anti-love. This hatred or loathing.

This is not what I would’ve considered love in the first place. I can’t deny that part of life is change, so that’s a variable I will confess. Though, I would be remiss to use the word enemy, I can see loving one’s enemy.

I can love without reciprocation, and I don’t mind that one bit, as it is a fantastic feeling all unto itself. It’s warming and wonderful.

Oh by the way, the movie Adaptation reminded me of all these thoughts. I saw it tonight, and it was good.

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Categorized as Movies

Went out

At 12:40 a.m. I decided I wanted a beer. So I went downtown to the bar and sat by myself for a while and nursed a good Bass Ale. They were playing music videos on the big projectiion TV and that kept my attention pretty well.

As the quiet sort, I didn’t think any conversations would happen. Luckily, after my second beer, a friend showed up out of nowhere, we got to catch up a little bit and I met his new roommate and all was good.

I’m glad I went out. Now if i can just go to sleep before 7am, I’ll be right.

I got my haircut.

Tiny Tina is my barber located in Ludlow, Kentucky.

Is she Tiny? I suppose she’s not a giant. I’ll ask her where the handle came from one of these days.

I’ve been going to her ever since I moved back to Cincinnati from Columbus, 6 years ago. 6 years and I’ve not once cheated on Tina. No other barber has touched my follicles. Tina would find out. She would know.

Once or twice, I’ve tried to trim up my mustache myself… or tried to even out my beard… but she caught that too.

Tina has been with me through thick and thin (more appropos, thin and thinner) – as I’ve gone from goatee to somewhat of a beard, to now what we’re referring to as "mountain man."

Thing is, she’s always accepting and happy to accomodate my whims, and is genuinely interested in whatever I’m working on, or where I plan to travel. We have a great rapport and I’ll be honest, I look forward to sitting in that barber chair, if anything – just to spend time with good folk.

I know about her family, her troubles with being an independent business owner – things like the hell we must suffer trying to get health care coverage and whatnot, I know where she’d like to visit and I know why.

Today, we watched the birds outside of her front window some, in the middle of shaving the back of my neck. After we identified a few of them, she turned her attention back to making me look, um, less, scruffy.
I mentioned the photos she now had lining the walls were new (photos of folks in the barber chair posing with Tina). Yeh she said, they were new. I said that _I_ was sorely missing from the wall. Yeh, she said, and yelled back to her sister (who tends to the phone and other responsibilities), "Get the camera"

There’s moments like this, where life’s just happening, that I realize that this is the "community" thing I list in my head when thinking about my requriements for living somewhere. There’s a bunch of variables, but I think a couple are:

  • peoplegood people – people who genuinely take an interest in your well-being
  • consistency – some pattern in which we interact.
  • time – good vibes take a while to ruminate. these things can’t happen overnight. We can push them along, but we can’t force them. Good folk happen when you least expect it.

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Categorized as Pondersome

Another mucked up evening

Got to work a little late after having a whale of a time getting to sleep.

Had a good meeting though with one of our fun clients, and touched base with an old colleague who helped breathe life into some design concepts that were stagnating.

A dinner out at P.F. Changs and I left my beer 3/4 full. I am having difficulting enjoying the decadent fuel. Given my druthers of things I shouldn’t drink, I’d rather have a Coke… and so I switched mid-meal and left the perfectly fine Bass sit there.

I like beer mind you. I think I’ve decided though, it goes better with snacks… not dinner.