Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hotel Delawhere

Try booking a hotel room in Dover, Delaware for the weekend of September 27th.

Dover in-the-middle-of-freakin-nowhere-and-hours-from-the-ocean-or-most-other-interesting-vacation-destinations Delaware. Seven months from now.

Not available. Not available. Not available. Not available.

Yes, I realize that is a NASCAR weekend. Why else would I want to book a room in Dover, Delaware seven months from now?

I do this to myself every year, although I usually don’t think about booking a room there for the September race until I’m watching the May race on television. Yeah, Dover is only 4 hours from here! Of course I need a room for a few nights so I don’t have to get up at sunrise, drive four hours, drink beer and breathe Sonoco Racing Fuel fumes all day while damaging my ear drums and vocal chords shouting “Go Jimmie” then drive four hours back home all on the same day.


So I’m thinking about this on February 28th. No rooms on Travelocity, no rooms on the individual hotel reservation sites. This is more difficult than booking a room with a view at the Grand Canyon.

Maybe I should book now for 2010.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I’m Doing It Too

My mother was quite the story teller. The stories weren’t all that great (except to me because I’m her son), but she told them with such great enthusiasm. Again and again. Every time I’d see her.

In her later years, as her short-term memory dimmed a bit, she would tell me a story in the afternoon that she had told me that morning. But I’d listen attentively and rarely told her I knew the plot already because I heard the same story four hours earlier and twice each on my previous three visits back home to see her.

Sometimes, however, she would tell an entirely new story I had never heard before. I knew that she and Dad met at work, for example, but had never heard the story of how she got that job to begin with. Out of the blue one day, she launched into the narrative of a chance meeting with an old friend that led to the interview and ultimately the job.

I’ll tell you that whole story some time, hoping you don’t remember that I told it at least once on my previous blog.

Now I realize I’m doing it too. I told three different stories to co-workers today. The reaction in each case was something like, “oh yeah, I remember you told me that.”

Like mother, like son, I guess.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shopping and Timing

Unlike most men I know, I actually like shopping, but like most men I know, I am a focused shopper; go in, buy it, leave.

Like most women I know, my wife likes shopping. Like most women I know, she is a ‘look at this’ ‘look at that’ ‘oh wait this is on sale’ ‘I could use those too’ shopper.

We went shopping today. Together, for a change.

The whole plan: 1) Planet Fitness (we might join), 2) the first mall (Ritz Camera, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble) and 3) the second mall (Michaels, Staples and Pet Smart).

Sounds like 90 minutes to me, including travel time.

The reality: Planet Fitness took 30 minutes of touring and conversation (we might join next week, but didn’t today). The first mall took two hours; dropping off old film at Ritz lasted 30 minutes because we talked to the guy at the counter about cameras and lawyers; Macy’s included the planned purchase of a tie and stockings plus a leisurely stroll through departments selling shirts, purses and shoes, ‘look at that, can you believe paisley is popular again’; Barnes & Noble was a book freak’s picnic because we both love books and instead of just getting the one book each we planned on, we each checked out with an armload of them; and we also stopped at a jewelry store, Dairy Queen and four or five booths of a farmer exhibit in the mall. The second mall ate up another two hours because Michaels included conversations about framing projects, Staples included chatting with the counter person about the contents of the package and the birthday present’s recipient and the clerk’s ‘mother have a birthday on the same day and yes the economy is pretty bad,’ Pet Smart included an explanation of a certain finch’s coloring and the pros and cons of various dog food brands.

Oh, the ride home included a stop for carry-out food from a Vietnamese restaurant one exit out of our way.

Total time: five hours. Total monetary expenditure: much more than I planned.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Democan

I’ve been a registered Democrat since the first time I voted. At least eighty percent of the candidates I vote for are Democrats. But I also believe in smaller government and I think maybe we should put a fence around the country. Does that make me a Democan? Or a Republicrat?

I hate the labels too. If being a Liberal means I think that the government should spend some of our tax dollars helping people who can’t help themselves, then call me a Liberal. If being a Conservative means I think that the government should let able-bodied people fend for themselves and not live off our tax dollars, then call me a Conservative. Maybe I’m a Liberative. Or a Conservatal.

Aren’t we all a little of everything?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Josh, Michelle and a Taxi

While we sleep, our brain can put together people, places and events in ways that would never happen in real life.

I had a dream the other night in which co-worker Josh and I were verbally fighting about a schedule conflict and who had the right to use a particular room. In real life, we never argue. We have similar jobs and work well together. We have fun, spirited debates about everything from music to religion to the environment to technology, but we never get angry with each other.

In dreams I have travelled to Italy, driven off a bridge, made out with Michelle Pfieffer; in real life, I’ve done of that.

Do you ever wake up from a dream with a problem solved or a project mentally completed? I woke up at 5am Sunday morning with yesterday’s entire “I Knew This Guy” post composed in my head. Another time I dreamed a complete radio commercial (I write them for a living – it’s kinda creepy to know that my brain is at work when I am not).

Do you dream in color? Do you remember dreams when you wake up? Do you remember dreams years later? I remember a dream from when I was five years old. I was in the back seat of a bright yellow Plymouth taxi and an angel was driving.

A few months ago I had a dream in which I was trying to fight off an intruder by screaming at him. My wife woke me up because I really was screaming.

Dreams are weird.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Knew This Guy

The Daytona 500 is today. This 51-year old auto race has gone from “a bunch of guys racing their cars on a Florida beach” to “the seasonal kickoff event of one of America’s biggest sports.”

I’m what you could call a mid-level fan. I watch many races (on TV), have favorite drivers (Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and know a little about some of the tracks (Taladega is huge, Martinsburg is small).

And at one time I knew one of the drivers, Alan Kulwicki.

He was unique. A typical NASCAR driver is from the south, Alan was from Wisconsin. A typical driver works for a team and doesn’t own his car. Kulwicki was an owner-driver, ran his own team, and did much of his own design work because he was a mechanical engineer by profession. In fact, he was the first college graduate to win the Winston Cup Championship.

I knew him because the radio station I worked for in Milwaukee in the late 1970s was his sponsor during his early short track days. I saw him at races and promotional events and occasionally he’d call me from the garage where he and his buddies were listening to my radio show while working on his Camaro.

I lost track of him after I moved on to Texas to advance my career and he moved to North Carolina to advance his.

Kulwicki won NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 1986, won his first NASCAR race in 1988 and in 1992 he captured the Winston Cup Championship title. Early in the next season he was killed in a plane crash on the way to a race.

More Kulwicki trivia:

He called his Ford the Underbird because he was understaffed, under funded and under appreciated. He even got Ford to allow him to drop the TH from Thunderbird on the front of his car.

He did his victory lap backwards, starting with his very first NASCAR win, in what was eventually called the Polish Victory Lap.

His sponsor for the 1992 season was Hooters.

Here is a short Alan Kulwicki tribute video:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Welcome to Boomer Randomness

Welcome to my new blog. As I mentioned in the last post on my first blog, I’ve decided to freshen up this observational outlet. I’ll still be chatting about baby boomer stuff, but I hope to observe other things too, more randomly and more frequently.

This is a creative outlet for me and something I do just for me. It is one of the few things in my life right now that I have total control over. No one else makes the rules and no company owns these thoughts.

One thing about aging that surprises me is that I am now more opinionated than ever while at the same time more respectful of other people’s opinions than in my youth. I think this is a good paradox.

So when I state an opinion, I’ll try to be clear and not beat around the bush. You are always encouraged to comment with your opinion too, even if it’s the opposite of mine.

My life was influenced by the free-spirited rebelliousness of the 1960s, yet I’ve usually leaned toward a ‘by the book’ style. I need to lean the other way a little more.

OK, that’s all for today. Thanks for dropping by. Please visit often.