Caffeine and Hotel Fiascos

•February 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

 Hotels.  Love ‘em, Hate ‘em, don’t give a shit about ‘em.  My hotel this time around is a gussied up crap hole.  It’s a “boutique” thingy, that some would go all gaga over, just because it’s got some bright colors and artwork on the walls and some colorful lights shining on the outside of it.  It’s also in the middle of not much at all, and a number of miles from where everyone else is staying.


Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I am ungrateful.  After all, all of my basic needs are met here—I do indeed have a bed, a shower, and a coffee maker.  If I were only staying here a few nights, it would be considered good enough.  But all said and done, it will be nearly three weeks, and that bums me out.


Today is the one week mark for me.  I almost broke things, and all over a cup of coffee.


You see, I like tea in the morning.  Not just any tea, but PG tips.  I got into that many years ago by this point, and I prefer it because I suffer less from that kind of caffeine infusion than from coffee.  Not to mention, it’s way more consistent in flavor than various coffees and coffee makers around the US.  This time, I brought a kettle and everything (it IS rehearsals after all, and I expected many late nights.  Since there haven’t been late nights, I kept it in my room to enjoy my cup of tea before heading in to the venue at a civilized 10a). 


Well, I haven’t been able to have my tea in the morning for a few days now, because of the milk.  I can’t stand cream in tea—it has to be milk.  I had brought a large cup of milk to the hotel to use in my tea.  Thankfully, there is a college-dorm style fridge in here, which makes it a perfect scenario for my tea-desiring mornings.  But the other day, things went wrong…


I arrived back at the hotel after a normal day of rehearsals, around 8p.  On this day, I had allowed housekeeping to come in (which I do about every third day.)  As I approached my room, I noticed a ladder outside of my window, with a drop cloth, lots of plaster bits, and when I looked up, a hole cut into the ceiling.  Apparently there was someone up there working, which is odd, since it was so late, but things do happen, and whatever.


I came into my room, closed the blinds, and went about my business.  At some point, I noticed that the refrigerator door was ajar, so I closed it, and didn’t think too much about it at this time.  When it was time to crawl into bed, I shut off all the lights and sank in.  Except tonight, it seemed that none of the pillows were comfortable.  Tossing, turning, I could feel my anxiety peaking.  I found myself unable to get comfortable, which meant not falling asleep.  I kept at it.  Nearly there, a loud thud and bang, and wide awake again.  Midnight, and they were still at it outside my room.


Eventually sleep came, but not until I threw a pillow and swore a bit.  By the time I awoke, I was unfortunately kinked up.  A huge pain across my upper back, originating in my neck somewhere.  I did not feel rested, nor rejuvenated, but caffeine should help.


Tea made, milk extracted from fridge…I smelled it.  SOUR!  Oh, no!  Ok.  I can roll with it, can’t I?  I am a world-class roadie, and things do happen, so on to coffee…except, despite the house keeper’s admittance yesterday, she hadn’t replaced the coffee or cream!  I’m getting bothered by now, surely.  A quick call to the front desk, and I should be sorted.  Except they ask me to come down to retrieve it.  Fine.  Dress up, wash up quickly, trod downstairs, back up, make the first cup.


Ahhh, caffeine!  It’ll do good enough!  But then the second…and this fancy new machine with the little individi-cups won’t work.  WTH?  I open and close, open and close, trying to get the thing to accept the pod, but it’s trying my patience.  Eventually, I win, and with enough caffeine, I can get on with it.


Flash forward to a few days later.  I had totally forgotten to bring back more milk, so it’s another coffee morning, only this time, I remembered to stop at the front desk upon evening arrival to stock up on the goods.  First cup:  all good.  Second cup:  not happening.  At all.  Open and close, and nothing.  Coffee is coming out of the pod as I take it out and put it back in, but it won’t accept it.  I’m getting frustrated in a big way.  I mean, I gave up so many other addictions, and I am simply NOT WILLING to address my caffeine consumption this morning!


Today, I get wise, and call the front desk and ask them to replace my maker later.  I still have nearly two weeks in this joint, and if it comes down to any more mornings without tea, this thing had better work!  After the call, I pull on some jeans, put up my hair, and clomp noisily down to the desk.  I put on my half-smile, and kindly ask for a cup of coffee.  I browse the daily headlines in the local paper until it is ready, grab a complimentary granola bar, and finally head back up when the coffee is ready. 


I am not ungrateful.  It’s really not a crap hole.  But the other hotel is so nice, I know because I went over to visit this weekend, and I am frankly envious.  I want to hang out with people after work, not sit in my room and browse the internet.  I do that at home all the time.  A perk of being a roadie is the companionship I lack in my “real” life.  I am just bitter today. I am working on it.  And this post helped me exorcise some of my demons, all under the guise of needing caffeine. 


That, and I guess I really do have a caffeine addiction!  Let’s hope they replace that machine!


•February 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It’s a strange feeling to be getting so used to a show, building it from the ground up, yet knowing that I will all be a hazy memory by the time they roll through my hometown.  Memorizing each note of the set, each choreographed move, which will remain in my memory bank for long afterwards, yet being unable to fulfill the role is just difficult to imagine, since I am still so in the heat of things.


It’s hard for me to explain, this attachment I get from being a part of putting together the video elements of a touring pop show, feeling kind of like an artist, with my show on display.  I’m sure you can imagine that working to remember every small detail and execute the direction of the camera shot compositions while mixing or cutting them together live but not being able to lay claim to the design or look is just weird.  Yet, it’s real, this attachment.  It’s the memories I build of my career—an artist behind the artists.  And this one will be only partially realized, since I will not be able to travel to far flung places with this formidable show.  I’ve seen the schedule, and it’s hard not be jealous.  Not to mention, it’s a fairly high-profile tour, and I’d really enjoy having some kind of credit, even though that sounds petty in print.


I’ve been struggling for years to define how and when my craft turned into a job rather than an artistic or creative outlet.  I love what I do, yet in some ways I am unfulfilled by it.  When I began in this medium, it was inaccessible to the average consumer.  Now every one can be a “videographer,” but I want to find my art again.  Even so, it is the closest I have come to finding that outlet, when I experience that joy in seeing those images flow so smoothly together.


I have shown some people my work, on a DVD at home and out of context of the live show, and they seem to be relatively unimpressed.  I gather that they cannot conceptualize seeing 10 monitors filled with different images, concocting a plot while explaining the trajectory and compositions, all while seamlessly melding them together into a comprehensive story which accentuates a live soundtrack.  I do not take offense to this lack of understanding, because out of context, I should actually be flattered that it may seem logical, smooth, or easy. 


But when I can adapt and flow and learn so quickly, and step into a foreign environment and fit in so comfortably, and then discarded without acknowledgement, well, that is a much harder concept for me to swallow. 


We have now been working to identify key moments in the show to highlight and showcase for five days.  I am feeling very confident that the work we, as a team, are producing is top quality.  I am similarly confident that my resume will be enhanced by this experience, and that my work will stand up for itself.  But I am not yet sure how abandoned I will feel by the time we open the show, and then the baton is handed off to someone else to enjoy the fruits of this project.


And did I mention that rehearsals are where the hard work lies on a tour?  The actual touring is hard only because you live on a bus, are away from your preferred creature comforts, your family and friends and pets, but otherwise it is just groundhog day.  You doing relatively the same thing day after day, able to rest in having a memorized script, enjoying your days off in various vibrant cities or boring ones, eating and drinking and shopping and sightseeing, all on someone else’s expense.


I say all of that to say this:  I am having a lot of fun out here.  I enjoy the people I am working with and for, and I love the challenge of learning the show, directing the shots, putting them in a usable and attractive order.  I am enjoying being somewhere warmer than where I fly from, and I am enjoying earning money again.  But I am concerned that I will feel quite sad to know that my “art” will be disregarded the moment I leave and that other guy steps in to enjoy the fun.


Let’s hope I can shake that and just enjoy what it is that I am here to do from this point forward.



Stunt Director—Day One

•January 31, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Travel days are never fun, but this one went pretty well, all things considered.  I’d booked my Metrocar slightly early, since an icy wintry mix was expected overnight.  I hate getting up too early, and I’d timed it pretty well.  It wasn’t too bad saying bon voyage to my pets, since I knew it’d only be a couple of weeks.  And though my Mom usually prefers to see me off personally, with all of the high emotions of the last number of weeks, it was much easier for the impersonal hired driver to wish me a good flight.

The airport was not yet too crazy, and my timing was smooth for security, book-buying, and getting on the plane.  And who can complain when they don’t even have to ask for a business class seat?  I was really pleased with my placement on the plane, and totally relieved that I’d be fed in the air.  I was comfy in my window seat until the guy sitting next to me arrived.  He was totally that guy.  He was big—not fat, just XL.  You know, tall, big boned, and nervous.  He was trying to shove his very overstuffed, ragamuffin IZOD bag into the overhead, kind of complaining about lack of space.  I offered to put my backpack under the seat, which he didn’t even thank me for, and then he didn’t even gentlemanly assist in getting the flight attendant to hang my coat (which he kind of flung at me.)  I tried not to harbor ill will, but I felt some animosity toward him, especially when he pulled many articles of gym clothes out of the front pocket of his bag to make it fit, and when he finally sat down, sweating profusely, he never stopped bouncing his leg—hard.

Never mind—I was able to sleep some, and ate a bit, and even read a few pages.  It was a very civilized start to this circus, and I collected my bags and called my shuttle driver (pre-arranged, of course) to pick me up as planned.  It was all very pleasant, and we rode in comfortable chit-chat to my “boutique” hotel in Phoenix so that I could wash up before going to the venue.  After a short wait until they figured out my reservation, the 20 minutes in my room went quickly, and I was back into the shuttle van and headed to work.

My reception was so warm upon arrival that I felt, for the second time since this fiasco begun, very wanted.  I saw so many familiar faces, and many new ones as well.  I had, for the first five years of touring, worked for the same manager of acts, rather than for a vendor.  That meant that there were numerous people who had also been employed specifically for whichever of his acts were touring.  Though I often wax poetic about the “family” feel of this camp, I can’t help but feel the bittersweet sting of being here.  I was, of course, ousted by my rival, the one for whom I was playing stunt-double for until he arrived.

I have a quality within me that allows for me to fairly easily get over my grudges and just move on.  At least, it is suppressed enough to enjoy what is here and now, and to interact without a chip on my shoulder.  And I was determined to make the best of this situation, under any and all circumstances.

Thankfully, those with whom I would be working closely with for the next two weeks turned out to be very kind and fun people.  It occurs to me every time I return to the road that I really do fit in here better than any other environment that I have ever tried to fit into.  I can be dirty or raunchy without standing out, I can ogle boys until my heart’s content, I can be loud or quiet or whatever without being “unusual.”  So the first day went well because of the song in my heart.

Unfortunately, the reality of my Dad’s condition was reminded to me when I found out that he needed to undergo another catheterization in his heart the following day.  In his condition, this was especially fraught with concern, but there was effectively nothing I could do but send healing loving energy to him, and to focus intently on the job before me.

This show fills me with a childish excitement that I haven’t felt in a long while.  And I am so grateful to be here.  And better than I could have imagined, I discovered that our hours wouldn’t be nearly as horrific as most of the tours I’d been on in the past.  Being that the artist is a young parent, we would be done usually by 8p (at least until dress rehearsals) and back to our hotels soon after.

So until tomorrow….

The Call

•January 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

January had some shit attached to it for myself.  My Dad had spent the whole of December in ICU, much of it with complications and setbacks.  I cried buckets, for selfish reasons, and then for some not-so-selfish reasons.  January produced a feeling of fear intensified from the months of drain that had been going on in a wishy-washy direction, and for loads of reasons.

I had scored one day of work out of the company I had gone to promote myself to, but otherwise, my bank account was emptying rapidly, as were my ambitions to remain committed to my fledgling private practice.  I daydreamed of finding some work that I could get into, something to free me of the burden of searching for work incessantly, as I had done in the past number of months.

I was drained.  Wednesday was expected to be no different than any other, except for a scheduled lunch date with a friend I had not seen in many months.  We spoke on the phone before meeting, and he dropped a bomb:  He had Cancer.  Another friend afflicted.  Our meeting was fairly upbeat, considering the heaviness of the news.  His prognosis was not as bad as others’, and we focused on connection and living life fully.

I left there to head to the hospital, shaken AND stirred, but focusing now on my Dad.  I was asked to wait in the waiting room, as two visitors were already bedside.  And like a good consumer, proceeded to check various accounts on my ever-vigilant iphone.  I was just opening a FB message when my Uncle appeared, and so my eyes only glanced the screen before I clicked the screen off so as to provide undivided attention.

My Mom needed me immediately, so I headed in and forgot the message directly.  I was instantly involved in various meetings with various doctors, and my mind was busy processing too much information.  After a while of bedside attendance, my Mom and I slipped away during nurses’ duties to grab a bite.  It was then that I recalled a fleeting message waiting for my attention.

It was vague, but it was a definite opportunity for work.  It was for a tour, and it sounded like I might be being asked to fill in for someone for a couple of weeks.  There were few details, and it was nothing that I could attend to immediately.  But my heart fluttered a bit, and I knew that it was the road calling…

In a flurry, there were messages and emails, calls, people looking for me and my contact information.  I got word that the president of the company I had flown out to  in December was seeking me out as well (I didn’t understand the connection immediately, but was delightfully curious.)  I made connection, and discovered that there WAS indeed a tour needed my help—and could I be available to leave on Friday?  FRIDAY???!!!  OMG—this is how it happens.  It’s never calm.  It’s never convenient.  And I was shaking.

I felt like I’d ingested a gallon of coffee along with deep sense of responsibility, and didn’t know how to proceed.  I said that yes, I could do it, without being sure that my family would support this.  I made calls and inquired.  They were reassuring that Dad would be fine, since there had been no change in his condition for many days.

I made calls to clear my calendar of my very part-time job, and to plan my exit from my sublet for my private practice.  I worked hard at securing a house-sitter, though it was proving quite dodgy.  I went ahead with my planned night out to see the film Detropia with a new friend (who eventually agreed to house sit, for many reasons which were to be mutually beneficial.)

By the end of the night, I was completely worn thin, but was pleased to find out that they could delay flying me out until late Sun or early Monday, which would really help me out.  It also became clear that I was to be working for a division of the company I had introduced myself to in Chicago in December.  Certainly a good political move.

I had a very hard time falling asleep.  I had so much to do to prepare.  And also, I had a lot of mental tasks to attend to as well.  I had been fighting intensifying panic attacks over the previous few weeks, and some serious guilt attached to leaving my family.  I also had a lot of self-doubt and insecurity.  And finally, I had some serious excitement because I was going to be filling in for the man who “stole” my job in the past.  I would be returning to a camp I once considered family, and to an artist for whom I had worked early in their career—one I had very fond memories of.  I was praying that I could have some fun earning money again.

I would address these concerns, and more, tomorrow.

The Time in Between

•January 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Though I haven’t written a peep on the subject since before we finished the tour I was on mid-summer, I am currently in rehearsals for another tour.  It happened very suddenly, as it sometimes does, so I this post is to catch us up to “the call.”

The tour I had been on for a couple of months in the summer of 2012 ended just as expected.  We rolled all of the gear into trucks after the last show, and we each departed to our home location (or for some, directly onto other tours.)

For myself, I had a reaction that I both expected, and that I didn’t quite expect.  By that, I mean that I expected to be slightly deflated afterwards, but not come crashing down quite so hard, and after so long a period of time after being home.

You see, when a tour ends, the silence can be deafening.  You get so used to being in a large, tight group, with the nightly thrill of the lights and sounds, the applause and adoration, and the camaraderie.  And when you get home, at least in my case, there is none of that.  There is the dog and cat, but not much more, and though the privacy and silence can be quite welcome, it can be a bummer as well.

I was actually feeling quite good about where I was at in my life, that I was making good decisions to put touring and video away, and to move into a new path for my career.  I was certain that I would be able to sustain my positive attitude and self-esteem, and translate that into opportunity.  I was sure that I would prevail.

And slowly, as the days slipped by, I found the silence oppressive.  Especially when I got a call from a cherished road friend who had been tough to keep in touch with.  We chatted casually for a few minutes, and then she laid it all out:  Her cancer had returned and metastasized into her bones.  She was in Stage IV, and wanted me to come for a visit.  After all, it was I she asked to confirm the lump she had found so many years before.  And this less than one month after losing another friend to the same type of trajectory with her cancer.

This news rocked me in ways I didn’t anticipate.  It made me question my life choices, and my wants, needs, and desires.  It made me say yes immediately to a visit, and to delay planning for my own life.  It brought fear to me on a platter, and asked me to dine liberally on it, though I didn’t recognize it as fear immediately.

No, the fear was like a cancer itself, and spread without me knowing of its presence until it was too obvious to ignore.  Suddenly I found myself slumped in a deepening depression, alone and lonely, afraid of dying and death, alone and without focus.

I swore up and down every wall that I was done—finished—with touring, and perhaps with video.  I would restructure my life to fit into a model that seemed to make more sense.  One that would afford me opportunities to meet someone, fall in love, to cook and clean, and live daily within a structure.  I scouted for jobs, and finally took some ballsy chances to go into private practice in a northern suburb of Detroit.

I floundered.  I did not flourish in the way I had envisioned.  I did not find a solution.  I only noticed the fear, and let it take hold.  I found it hard to fight.  I contemplated what to do, and finally began to recognize that for me, fear is a catalyst.  And so I began to think that maybe I could not and should not dispose of my former life entirely, but perhaps restructure a bit.

Fast forward almost six months after the end of the tour.  I made a bold statement in November:  I would again pursue work in Video.  I contacted a former classmate and sent a CV to  a new company for which I could possibly find freelance work. I made arrangements to come to their office in Chicago for a meet and greet during an open house.

In early December, the third to be exact, my Dad suffered a major heart attack.  It wasn’t that we hadn’t known of the possibility, but that you can never quite be prepared for such an event.  I was scheduled to fly to Chicago on the 7th.  He remained in ICU, and I went for it, not knowing if it would be fruitful in the end, but I was sinking.

I went and returned within the same day.  My Dad stayed in ICU.  Days dragged, and nothing changed.  Fear, isolation, waiting and desperation, lack of income, lack of direction, a private practice which I could not fathom marketing (something very foreign to me) during this personal turmoil.

And then, I got a call in late January…one that would start the ball rolling again.

Winding Down

•July 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Knowing that the tour is wrapping up, I woke with a bit of sentimentality.  No surprise there, as I’d expected I’d feel this way.  Did the usual business of getting ready for the day, but today I headed down to the swanky breakfast buffet to get some good coffee (versus making it in the room).


It was already sweltering by 10a, so I was curious to see how hot it could get inside the venue by the end of the show (since the artist does not allow the air conditioning to be on for the show).  We had a few tasks on our to-do list, since we would only have one more possible day to do anything.


After we were all loaded in, and everything sufficiently checked, we shot & recorded a “roadie band” video during their check.  We’d previously agreed to do this, with Management’s permission, for just one song, and with one camera locked off and another manned for cut-aways.  Given the option, more of the guys wanted to join in (for the payoff of sticks and picks), and were shocked by how quickly it was over.  As was to be expected, there were a few wrong notes and bad camera shots (no matter what anyone says, when you know a camera is on you, even if you’ve had that experience before, you react), it was really cool.  I am a big old softie most of the time, so I was glad that these dudes now had something for posterity!


The show went down, just as expected, but I was really taken aback by the opening band tonight.  I have to say, we all (video crew) really appreciated and enjoyed working with them.  They have that old-school mentality where they are all gracious and truly enjoy what they do: entertain.  Their music is so lively that even the skeptics about this unusual combination would end up out of their seats and boogeying.  It was too much fun.  I will honor the experience of working with them for many years to come.


I’ve had a number of really good experiences working with the support act.  When I first began touring back in 2000, I had the good fortune of working for Tina Turner (as the Assistant Director), who invited Joe Cocker and Lionel Richie to open for her.  It was with them that I first got to sit in the director’s seat and cut a show.  Not to mention, fall in love with their music and them, as artists and people.  I’ve been similarly gifted other opportunities to work with the opportunity to work for Cher for three years (during which I became a full-fledged Video Director), who had Cyndi Lauper and the Village People open up for her (I LOVE the Village People!!!!) amongst others.


I’ve also found my true love musically during the support act.  A fellow named Bob Schneider out of Austin, TX (and originally from MI, may I add) who opened for the Dixie Chicks (the run-away surprise to me about how much I admire and enjoy those ladies).  Bob’s music is very diverse (he has a number of bands) and is astoundingly pleasing to me.  When people ask (and I don’t like “favorites” lists,) I name him as my favorite musician.  When he comes through town, I make a bee-line to buy tickets.  I will drive distances to see him.  I feel like I’d do nearly the same thing to see live many of the opening acts I’ve worked with.


We loaded out with an intensity that returns when people know the end is nigh.  We were generally friendlier to one another and purposeful in our communications with each other.  But the overall focus was one of temperate impatience:  everyone was ready to go home (those who made it since the beginning had only 5 days at home since mid-January, with the possible exception of stopping by when we hit their city).


Got on the bus for our last ride.  Though you might expect a few of the boys and girls to party it up for our ride to New Orleans, the enthusiasm of partying had passed, and most everyone hit the bunks shortly after we rolled.  I, myself, was glad to be tucked away without too much time to get sentimental as our tour wound itself down.


•July 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment


I do apologize—I was away for a while without explanation.  I haven’t even finished the story, and I’m taking a break—How Rude!

See, I was a few days behind in writing.  I always write about a previous day, so when the tour ended, I was only up to Houston—only two days left.

As soon as I got home I had a million tasks to immediately attend to (and I am not making excuses.  I hosted a Bridal Shower on the first Sunday after returning late Tuesday, and I’ve had to search for a good used car over vast Metro Detroit as I sold mine a week before going out on the road!).

The rest of the tour blog, Roadiescrolls, and Post Script will occur now without interruption.

Again, I apologize for the unannounced break.

No Love for Downtown Houston

•June 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Waking up bleary from a short sleep, I was not prepared when I walked off the bus for both the dense hot air and the guy dancing on the corner.  He was missing all of his front teeth, face plastered into a grin, and dancing in a way that made him look like he was doing jumping jacks.  It was almost endearing, but our driver was en garde, lingering near me in a protective way.  I was actually kind of concerned for the dude, since so many of our roadies are distinctly unkind to “homeless” people, AKA Hobos.  (These roadies are the ones I disdain.  They are generally rude to people who they somehow deem below them.  Housekeeping staff, baristas, servers, hobos.  This makes me want to kick them in the nuts and bring them down a level.)


When I got to the room, I quickly looked through the paperwork in the envelope that they gave us with our key packets.  I noticed some small print that told us there was complimentary breakfast.  To be sure to not miss out, I phoned guest services, who informed me that it was from some ridiculous hour (probably now—it was around 530a) until 10a.  Aha!  I thought, I could actually catch this one, if I get up at 9a.


So I went back to bed, woke at 9a, did a bit of primping (I am just a bit self conscious about looking horrifying after just waking and showing up in a public place.  Who isn’t?  You’d think I’d be more used to it, though, with waking from the bus and going into work or a hotel lobby for so many years.  I am not.  Still horrifies me), and headed to the 2nd floor of our cool little boutique hotel, The Magnolia, for the free brekky.


This was no ordinary free breakfast.  There were chafing dishes of hot scrambled eggs (real ones, no less!), bacon (BACON!), and French toast.  There was so much more, too, and all with nice tables and chairs, and staff on hand to keep it tidy, that it was impressive.  I ran into one of the roadie guys I see everywhere (one of the young ones), and so we sat down together to eat.  I spotted our two video guys wavering near the food, and I when I say wavering, I mean, bodies in motion while feet planted still—they were STILL up from the ride, drunk as skunks, getting some chow before passing out.  I didn’t approach, because I knew better, but got a giggle all the same.


One of the wardrobe women spotted us in our corner and joined us.  The guy finished and left, and I got more coffee to stay and chat with her.  It was pleasant, and the first time I felt included with the women of this tour.  AND, she and I made a plan for later this morning to head out together to hit Macy’s and such for a while.


I did all of the recon so that she could call her family (she has a husband and two young girls at home.  How courageous!  She doesn’t tour often, but still!) and we met downstairs shortly.  The guest services provided a shuttle for us, though we tried to tell him we could walk the 5 or so blocks.  It was embarrassingly close, but for the heat, the ride was appreciated.


The Macy’s was one of those small ones, and we found none of the things that were on our minds, so we went to check out Houston Pavilion right across the way.  There was a Forever XXI, BCBG, and Books-a-Million.  Well, she and I entered XXI, which is not somewhere I shop, and started browsing.  I was finished in less than 5, and she was gathering garments to try on.  I tried in vain to look interested, but could not fake it.  I went to BCBG (not good) and finally into B-A-M.  She met up with me wielding her bag of finds, and chatted at the magazines.  We discussed possible hairstyles, as I had asked her opinion for how I could make a change (ready to cut some hair off), but then we parted directions.


I could not find a book, so I bought two magazines, and headed back.  HOT.  Couldn’t stand it.  Went to pool.  HOT.  Laid down on the most uncomfortable chair, couldn’t get situated, got irritated with the dufus lawyer beside me, went to the room, showered, and got ready for a visit from an old roadie friend. Tried to go for a walk again in the interim, but couldn’t not find anywhere to go nor withstand the heat, so I returned to the hotel to grab a bite before the visit.


While I was eating my underwhelming meal from the coffee shop downstairs, I reflected on my mood.  I realized that this angst was wrapped up in humidity, with a dose of the blues for the tour ending and having so many thoughts, feelings, and opinions/judgments about touring, with a slice of under-slept crankiness thrown in for flavor.


My friend and his partner came around 630p, and we walked to Discovery Park (which the map poorly indicated) and then back to the hotel’s coffee shop to chat.  It was nice to see him—interesting how 12 years has gone by, and it seems both yesterday and a million years ago simultaneously.  After our visit, we made our goodbyes, and I went up to my room to call it an early night.

Three to go and Divorcing the Show

•June 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Being that we have only three shows remaining, I am more fully aware of all of the moments of the day.  That does not mean, however, that I find myself longing for more of this.  Conversely, I am eager to get home.  Not that I would mind if it had been longer; it’s been a fantastic schedule and I like this tour.  But what happens is that the dates just linger in your head, and your focus shifts from doing all of the daily stuff to prepping for the end.


See, when a tour ends, you have a few extra tasks.  You clean out road cases, throwing out junk that may have accumulated.  If you are a roadie who spreads out, by putting sweatshirts or books or anything in cases, you gather your personal belongings.  You start having a few conversations with people whose company you enjoyed about keeping in touch (“call me when you come through Detroit.”)  You talk with people about what you are doing next, and if you are happy about.


In some respects, you begin to divorce yourself from the tour.  At least, I do.  I stop caring so much about everyone else’s comfort.  I chit chat less.  I do these things because in the past, it was my experience that I’d get a lot of separation anxiety near the end of tour, which lasted way too long upon returning home.  It took a long while to realize that many of the people whom I’d considered friends did not do so in return.  And having false friends if worse than having many acquaintances.  So now, I do not attach in the same way at all.


The day did nothing more than go along in its usual manner.  We ate, set up, waited, ate, waited, did the support act (fun!) and then the show (fine).  I have noticed that at some point during this particular band’s show, I somehow get very uncomfortable.  My headsets make my ears hurt or squeeze my head too much.  My neck feels strained from craning my neck at an odd angle to watch the screens.  I need to pee so bad I get cramps and it hurts.  I have indigestion from dinner.  Who knows, but I hate it.  Tonight was kind of really uncomfortable, and that bums me out.  Fortunately, it did not seem to affect the show.


And then, we loaded out and boarded the bus.  It was too hot to be outside talking while waiting for the driver.  We were expecting a pretty short drive to Houston, so I did not bother to stay awake.  I wanted to sleep a bit before arriving and crawling into my hotel bed.

Hot in San Antonio

•June 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Despite having sat out on my balcony to welcome sunrise (and really, it was such a pretty view,) I was still surprised by the heat and humidity by the time I left my room.  It was later in the day, since I had an unexpected task to accomplish on the internet in the AM.  When I started getting very grumpy, I realized I needed food, so I headed out to the world.


I asked at the front desk where to pick something up, and followed her directions out to the River Walk and into the next hotel.  It didn’t solve my inquiry, so I booked for the streets away from the RW, since it was teeming with tourists.


I found a little shop nearby, and was instantly grateful because it was getting so damn hot and humid.  That fella was cool enough to make a great lunch suggestion (also imparting the local wisdom that all of the restaurants on the RW are overpriced and not very good.)  I ate a gourmet Ham & Cheese at Zinc, which was surprisingly inexpensive, and headed back out to search for a local branch of a money transfer service.


I’d done some recon online, and hoped what I’d learned there was wrong.  It was not; the nearest was 3.3 miles away.  And let me tell you this:  within one block of our fancy Westin hotel, there were so many homeless and broke folks that I continually got hounded.  No fun.  On one corner alone were 6 bicycle cops to keep things peaceful.  I was not about to go traipsing in this heat to some faraway place which may or may not be able to solve the problem that couldn’t be rectified online.  The alternate place I found was nearby, but didn’t work either, so in frustration and oppressed by heat, I conceded and headed straight back to the hotel.


Once inside the cooler air of the hotel, for my air con in the room was only sputtering along, I decided to be extravagant today and watch some TV.  It was bumming me out immediately, since I really don’t like most anything available to watch, so I decided to nap.  One consequence of that broken sleep had been a gnarly headache.  So I dozed for nearly two hours and woke near 6p.


I received a call from a friend from home, and chatted happily about making plans for my return.  She has family in this area of Texas, and tried to coax me to the gallery, a surprise hit.  I thanked her for her insight, and will retain that info for possible future visits, but I still needed some dinner and it was getting late.


I took another roadie’s advice to hit the German Deli quite close, and was so glad I did.  Since food has been bumming me out, and I had no taste for BBQ or Mexican, it was a very welcome change.  Some other diners nearby were talking with our waitress, that they were visiting from Michigan.  I chatted with them briefly about our fair state, and then finished my potato pancakes and home brewed root beer up so I could go walk about.


Now dusk, I meandered slowly to the Alamo,

Alamo at dusk

and enjoyed its views and the lighted horse-drawn carriages around.  I was compelled to go into a cheesy souvenir shop and scored a few cool magnets.  It’s been a while since I’d added to my collection.


I figured at this late hour, the River Walk might be less populated with tourists, so I headed there for an evening stroll. I was mistaken.  There were tons of people, and tourists no less, so they were definitely in no hurry.  Problem was, that there were groups walking, taking up the width of the walk, which is quite narrow, and didn’t notice anything around them to make room to pass.  I wasn’t enjoying walking on their heels and listening to their conversations.  And though I can get down with a slow pace to enjoy the moment, it was the absolute slowest of the slow.  Therefore, my plan fell apart, and I turned in to the hotel when I reached it.


There was not much to entertain me on the internet, nor the TV, so I hoped that sleep would take me—I wasn’t too sure whether I’d be able to sleep since I’d had the nap, but fortunately, I was.  Good night, San Antonio.