Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hello. Red Alert!!! As I was driving to work this morning I saw something very alarming...a Hispanic guy crawling out of a manhole! No shit! The "lookout" sitting on the ground caught my eye, then I noticed the manhole cover sliding back and out came a visitor from the South. It's moments like this I wish I had a camera mounted on my bean. Thankfully I had a witness or I might think I was hallucinating. I've read about the tunnels that Hispanics are using to sneak into the land of milk and honey, but who knew they would be popping up in the great Midwest. They are determined little rascals!

There is a nationally recognized holiday for the pretenders... All Hallows' Eve. All of the people who hide behind a mask every day can celebrate. For one day, it's your chance to get a buzz on and let your freak flag fly! Halloween costumes can make the weak...strong, the tame...wild and unleash the true personality in us. I see this transformation every fall, only to witness these pretenders wash off the makeup and pull the rug from their head and crawl back inside. It's sad that some people feel the need to repress their true self. Are they ashamed of who they really are? Are they afraid of who they really are?

I know that finding out who you are can be frightening. Especially if you don't like that person. We can be tricked into thinking we are the person everyone talks about. Then we look through the pupil of our eyes deep into our soul and see someone we never met before. It's that uneasy feeling you get when you meet a long lost relative. They are a familiar stranger. You might welcome them into your "home"...then again you might ask them to leave.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hello. Can karaoke singers hear themselves? For reasons unknown, we sat in a karaoke bar last night, asking ourselves this question. We were licking up whisky like reservation dogs at a picnic, and there was no noticeable improvement to the braying. I have never been a fan of this ancient Japanese art, however, I do find the phenomenon interesting. As I watched one of the "singers" last night drift about the room with a wireless mic, eyes closed, head laid back, feeling the moment like she was Streisand, I wondered if she was serious, or laughing her ass off inside. What ever the case, she bellowed out as many tunes as time would allow, savoring each flat note.

A microphone does not make someone a singer any more than a guitar makes someone a player. I think many of the people singing karaoke, realize they are bad, but it's fun when you're drunk. There is the rare karaoke-ist that can actually sing. Then there is the signature karaoke master who performs "their song" at bars all over town. Someone apparently told them that their version of "I did it my way" was good. Another unexplainable constant that I've noticed with karaoke is the number of gay participants. What's that all about?

All of these things make me scratch my head. Even as painful as karaoke can be, it remains one of the stalwarts of the drinking world. Part of the attraction must be the fact that drunk people like to laugh at each other. I'll visit a karaoke bar another time in the interest of research, but as the night slipped into the morning my senses had taken a beating. So before someone attempted to perform one of my favorite tunes, ruining it for life...we stumbled home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello. Is my face flush? I am basking in the glow of wonderful music! Saturday night we enjoyed an earful of Mississippi Heat. Pierre, Inetta and the band sure know how to put on a show. Carl Weathersby on lead guitar was a huge bonus! There is something that sets a performance like that apart from others. I can't put it in words. There are alot of very good bands, and then there are those that take you somewhere else. It's magical! It's interesting that even a casual listener can tell the difference.

Once again I witnessed one of the best things about live music...young converts. There were several twenty-something guests on Saturday that walked in wearing a less than enthusiastic face. It is so cool to watch the transformation. By the end of the night they filled the dance floor wearing smiles that split their faces in two. Music is a powerful thing! I love young people for their open minds. If we allow them the freedom they just might make this ball of dirt a better place.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hello and welcome to a new day. Yesterday's gone, and the day before that and the month before that and the year before that...gone. The past is, well, the past. I think it would be great if we could flush the past away like a 7-Eleven burrito the morning after. But, it lingers around, giving us heartburn...and soulburn.

A friend of mine talks about living in the now, leaving the past behind. Well that's great in theory, but the past has a strong grip on us. We relish our past glory and cry over our past mistakes. It is said that you can learn from the past. You have to stop and think about the past in order to learn from it. I know people who live in the past...some in the distant past. Some people justify their "being" on things from the past. It doesn't matter who you were, who you are today is what matters.

I try not to dwell on the past. However, now and then the past creeps into my head, kicks me in the gut and laughs. The past has popped into my brain and made me smile big! I think the past deserves a friendly handshake and a pat on the back. Now, get outta here, I've got a new friend called today I want to spend time with.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello. Now that I've had some time to reflect on Riverssance, I've realized one of the attractions. It is the opportunity for people to wear an unusual costume and take on a new personality for a few days. I've met some of the characters outside of the Kingdom walls and many of them are very passive and withdrawn. It's interesting that behind a mask some people feel more comfortable letting their real personality shine.

I believe it's the reason some people get tattoos and piercings or join in the goth thing. It is a way for them to "create" an identity. They don't believe in themselves, so they become someone else. I think we all become someone else at times. We all need to realize the person we unleash while hiding behind a freaky haircut or strange clothes, is inside all the time. We just have to feel comfortable in our own skin...after all it's all we have. Learning this can be difficult, but when we do, life will be better.

I began to discover who I was at the age of 18, when I moved to Omaha. Nobody knew me. There were no pre-conceived notions of me. The people I met didn't know my family, the schools I went to, the trials I had growing up. I had a blank canvas to paint a picture of me. I didn't have to put up any defenses. So I did what felt good. I haven't stopped doing that since. For the most part, it's worked out OK.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Good 'morrow! I've journeyed back from the Kingdom of Riverssance and I already miss it. As the Mudman put it, "Is it really 363 days away?" All of us walking the acorn-covered grounds of the Kingdom witnessed the incredible growth of a story, a leader and a group of devoted followers. It was so cool to see how propaganda in a small community could change people's minds and hearts. A group of young peasants, fairies and gypsies got behind the revolution in a way that none of us could have expected. It was another example of the power of an open mind.

Visitors to the Kingdom with the "swipe of mud" on their noses to show their allegiance to the "cause", a little baby smiling from ear to ear, the Head Bar Wench wiping a tear from her eye as she walked away from the Pub for the last time, and the fallen Friar whistling "Riverssance" as he strolled the grounds in the darkness one last time...these are just a few of the memories from the Faire. The freedom the Kingdom of Riverssance offers is the most potent element. No matter how you dress, talk or walk you are a welcome part of the Kingdom. For three days, dirty clothes cinched with a strand of twine, hair blown wild by the winds, sitting on bales of straw eating a slab of "Steve" or a turkey leg without the luxury of silver ware is the norm. Life becomes so simple.

At the end of the day, a wench, the Mudman and I sadly drove off the Kingdom grounds and made our way for "one more". As we sat in the noisy bar drinking from glass instead of a coconut shell for the first time in a few days, I realized that I had shut out today's world entirely. A football game came on the screen and I said, "Oh yeah, it's Sunday." We eventually found ourselves outside in the beer garden, enjoying the beautiful night air, sipping on ale and rye, revelling in the events of the Kingdom. I think the three of us felt a little more at "home" outside, away from the bright lights, blaring music and annoying moving picture box.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hello. I'm slipping away this week. Riverssance is upon us and it's eating up most of my free time. I have been looking forward to a weekend in the Kingdom since the late afternoon rain washed the festivities away last year. It's great to be someone else in a foreign land for two days. Our merry band of peasants hope to overthrow the existing anarchy and give the Mudman his rightful place of honor as King of Riverssance.

People do not place the same importance on the events in their lives. This makes it difficult to be sensitive to another person's thoughts and desires. How do we understand the level of importance a person feels about something? To complicate things, people express their feelings in strange ways... or not at all. It seems that when I think I understand, words jump off my tongue and jab someone in the heart. Damn it, I wanted to polish those words a little before I spit them out. Listening with an open mind and holding the tongue helps. These are two difficult tricks for an old dog like me. If keep getting swatted on the nose, I'll learn.

A friend of mine was talking the other night about "living only for today". I love that notion. The past is gone, the future is unknown, so all that holds any importance is right now. We certainly can't change the past, it's done. You can debate whether we can change the future...I don't think so. I want to think about this more. I'm sure I'll be writing more on this tasty morsel.

Hip! Hip! Huzzah!