Monday, March 23, 2009

Ode to the Rock Star

Back in the day, I was a DJ in a bar. Seriously, for a 21-26 year old male...there is no greater job. IMO. I got paid cash to be the life of a party every Saturday night...oh, and the beer was free, not to mention people often tip the DJ with shots and for some reason the girls always think the DJ is...never mind. I said nothing. Yes, OhCountess was the DJ's girl.

I've always had a knack for pairing music with a situation, place or event. One skill you need DJing in a nightclub is to pull songs out of the air and mix them in to fit the mood of the crowd. Sure, there are several songs you just have to play every night. I throw up a little in the back of my throat when I hear songs like "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights" and "Macarena". I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing those songs again...which can be tough, the rest of AC/DC's music RAWKS!

To this day I love mixing music to what's going on around me. With a little help of my Twitter friends, I found the word...sommelier. It's a person whose job it is to pair wines with dinner. I'm a sommelier of music. No, country still sucks...but occassionally, Johnny Cash or Charlie Daniels are perfect. I may not personally like country music, but that doesn't mean it isn't perfect for a moment. (I highly recommend not playing music trivia with me for money. Any bar that offers free drinks for guessing some music question usually cuts me off. Just warning you.)

If you follow me on Twitter, it doesn't take too long to figure out that music is a big part of my day. After getting the kids on the bus and to daycare, I strap on the headphones, fire up my iPhone and load up a playlist for the 20 minutes it takes to get to work via the bus. After enjoying the surreal walk through one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world, listening to the musical stylings of some punk band (really, put on the headphones and walk through someplace listening to the Sex Pistols wearing a's friggin' weird!), I get to my desk, switch headphones and connect the hard drive known as "The Collective" to my computer, start iTunes and chose the tone of music. Easy peasy.

Some days I do wonder, what it would have been like to take that different find a career in rock-n-roll. Actually, there are a few days every month I want to toss out the air guitar and strap on a Strat and play like a madman again...but I digress. I love my life. 2 great kids and a wonderful wife. Living the DJ life, marriage and family don't play well together.

"Our little lives get complicated..."
Love and Rockets - No New Tale To Tell
The past couple of weeks have been a blur, far from the simple life of a DJ. I got to travel by myself for a fantastic weekend with friends in Toronto. This is the first time I've travelled by myself since the kids were born that didn't have a business meeting on the other end. This trip was just beer, cards and a lot of laughter. Repeat after me - Saaawwwwwweeeeeeettttt!

The trip was an absolute blast. I hadn't needed a passport to travel since going to Germany in High School and <sarcasm>I had forgotten how much fun customs can be </sarcasm>. Here's the list of questions I was grilled with:
  • Why are you travelling to Canada. For leisure.
  • Did you bring more the $10,000 in cash? No (but really wanted to say - to a poker game, are you crazy? Kept lips tight on that one. 
  • Are you visiting anyone? Yes.
  • What is their names? Names of people I'm visiting. The short list, for god's sake I'm meeting up with like 20 other poker player/bloggers.
  • Where are you staying? The host's apartment building has guest suites. Rather nice ones I might add...never mind.
  • What's the address? Oh thank you Kat for emailing me this!
  • How are you getting there? Jeebus, The host's husband is picking me up...crap this is gonna lead to more damn questions about people I know but vaguely...I'm really hoping my creative writing skills are enough here...oh, and my ability to bluff like a pro.
  • What is his name? [name] - Here we go, this is one of my blogger friends non-poker playing, non-blogging husband...thank god I met him once.
  • What do you do for a living? Computer Programmer - I could have given him the long form of my actual job title - Senior Analyst/Programmer, but that just leads to more questions. By this time though, I'm struggling with every once of my being to not be a complete smart ass and just start making shit up...
  • What kind of car is Keith driving? Grey Mazda - Are you friggin' kidding me? I don't even know what kind of car my parents drive. I think my minivan is blue. So glad they told me ahead of time...and I thought they were nuts for telling me that.
  • What do your hosts do? School teacher and a (eyes shifting up and to the left - you do this when you are thinking creatively) sound engineer. I have no idea of EXACTLY what he does for a living. This is pretty close...whew.
  • How long are you staying? Would it be kosher to just give him the link to this blog? Seriously, I'm an open book...fine. 4 days.
  • Do you only have the one bag? No dumb ass, I rented out the entire plane for all the crap I'd need over the next 4 days. Single guys always bring extra crap...yes sir. The one bag.
  • Are you travelling with anyone else? For the love of Pete! No, I'm travelling by myself.
Have a nice trip, and welcome to Canada.

The rest of the weekend will be chronicled on my poker blog and my photo blog.

Missing two days of work is always fun, until you get back and realize you are now 2 days behind. I have one of those jobs that when I'm gone, my work goes "undone". No biggie, I planned for that. What I didn't plan for was the loss our family suffered. As I mentioned in my last post, my wife lost her step-grandfather. Death sucks. Explaining death and cancer to a 5 and 9 year old really sucks. Grandpa was still a pretty young guy. My strongest memory of the man was the fact that I never remember seeing him not smiling. The man had a perma-grin that just lit up the room. His son and my MIL divorced years ago, but never did he treat us like anything but his family. He still called my kids his great grand kids. I will miss him.

We are hoping that life finds a routine soon. Preparing for my trip and our loss have turned the last few weeks into a logistical challenge. We survived. The kids made it through. My blogs...well they've been starved for attention. As I mentioned the other day, I've lost 50 subscribers. It's a technical glitch that's now on day 3. Maybe they were never there. Maybe they were there and they did leave cause this blog stopped updating. Maybe I've lost my edge (huh?). I don't really know. It's weird. I do hope to get back to my usual groove. I haven't really felt funny lately, although I don't really know if I ever thought of this blog as a daily source of funny. It's the life and thoughts of a Midwest Geek. My life and thoughts are what they are.

I still have a few rant posts that need to see the light of day. "Sean Hannity is an Idiot" and "Parents Need to Grow up" are still on the stove. I need to write more. This felt good. Maybe I'll play a little Guitar Hero later.


Katitude said...

Both K and I are very glad you braved customs and came :-)

seashore subjects said...

So, I am guessing you are bragging that you were NOT the DJ that got everyone up and dancing and then followed-up with Footloose or something. I hated that!

WeaselMomma said...

Customs sounds like it was a complete PIA. Glad the weekend getaway was worth it.

OhCaptain said...

Kat - I'm so glad I came too :-)

Seashore - Add Footloose to the list of songs that makes me a bit ill. I hated that song. I usually only played that for bachelorette parties...and it would cost you at least on shot to hear it.

WeaselMomma - it wasn't pleasant. I'm standing there the whole time trying to make sure I didn't screw up and be turned away (to go where, I don't know). It was an awesome weekend.

The Microblogologist said...

Just be glad that you are a white person, I was talking to a colleague who was from India and has to go through customs on both sides of the trip. Did I mention this Indian colleague worked in a pathogens lab? I can't remember for sure what he would say so that he didn't get blocked, maybe he would say he was an animal scientist (think he was animal science) and not bring up the microbiology part.

They are pretty touchy about microbiologists in general, probably more so after a microbiologist decided to try and avoid the time, red tape and money of trying to ship him some Yersinia pestis samples from Africa and tried to carry them with him on the plane after a visit... FYI: Y. pestis is the causative agent of the bubonic plague, and he got caught (I forget what happened to him).

So sorry to hear about your loss, it is great that your kids got to know someone who sounds so great!