It's supposed to be a big
deal, a milestone, the "You did it!" moment.
I haven't decided if I agree
with all that - ask me when I'm eighty. At that time, my youngest
son will be half my age, and still twenty years younger than I
(I'll give you a minute to
work through that.)
I vividly remember fifty
- when my oldest son was half my age - because my wife planned
a surprise party that entailed getting me booked on a faux engagement
an hour out of town, so she would have time to fill our small
house with over 40 people. (No, I didn't perform. The manager
apologized for the "double-booking," fed me a steak and sent me
on my way.) Back in Columbus, those attending the party strategically
parked away from the house so as to not draw attention to it.
When I arrived, I backed the trailer up the driveway, walked in
the house and well, you get the picture. It was a great
evening and one I'll remember forever.
It's been over a decade since
A Feeling of Completeness
Lonnacontinues to work
at Greenleaf Job Training Services. She still works four-day weeks,
albeit, very long days. She continues to be her parents' primary
caregiver, handling their financials, grocery shopping, doctors'
appointments, etc. How she holds up through all of it is beyond
Adamis still living
in LA. He's going on acting auditions and working on wrapping
up his ten-year project, "The Journey." From what I've seen, it
will be a great story to tell. He does video editing to keep afloat
financially and also has a roommate, who rents out the garage/apartment,
which obviously helps with the monthly expenses.
is doing well. He and Amy
have been together for over three years and currently have an
apartment together. Both are working - Kenny as a diesel truck
mechanic for Hill Distributing and Amy at Advance Auto Parts.
They seem to be very content.
My Dad, Bill
(sitting here with
two of his grandsons, Billy
finally sold the house he and mom lived in together, which certainly
took a huge financial burden off his shoulders. He seems to be
handling living alone okay. He's renting a large condo not even
five minutes from where he used to live, so he's still close to
my youngest brother and my sister. His health is good. He'll be
eighty years old in January, 2011.
Good Fortune Continues
During the last three years
at American Commerce Insurance - now MAPFRE Insurance - I've worked
with many very nice people. In fact, I haven't found one "difficult"
person in the entire building of 175 - and I've encountered all
of them at one time or another.
Late last year, I was offered
a position with Marketing. This is the team that makes the operation
run and I feel very blessed to be on it. I'm using my skills as
a graphics / web designer far more than ever before (thank you
Adam for the push to learn the programs) and I feel like I'm really
contributing to the country-wide effort to bring MAPFRE Insurance
to all fifty states. Working with very skilled and highly motivated
people I continue to grow in my new position and I'm learning
a great deal. Although MAPFRE is a 25+ billion dollar company,
it does not have the big corporation "feel" of many large companies.
People across the enterprise are friendly, polite and very appreciative.
A Passion on Hold
Rants & Observations
has been sidelined for now. As much as I love to write, I haven't
had the "think time" needed to stay fully engaged. I will someday
go back to writing again, but I can't say when that will happen.
Until then, there's plenty of material to browse through. Click
to go to the site.
This brings me to the reason
I started the blog
Change is never easy but
always inevitable, and ultimately for the better.
Unlike many who have become
disenchanted with our President, I for one will be wholeheartedly
voting for him again in 2012. For those who don't understand why,
please stop watching cable news shows (all of them) and read both
of his books. While you're at it, try reading news from legitimate
sources like Reuters, The Associated Press, Newsweek, Time, The
Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
(They are all online.) You will then understand that we have the
smartest, most knowledgeable man holding the office in my lifetime.
attempting major social change in a diverse country like ours
will always be met with strong opposition from all ends of the
political spectrum. While those unhappy with President Obama
are screaming that he's not being politically smart or is doing
the wrong thing with this or that issue, he's slowly correcting
the course of this ship we call America, much like Roosevelt,
Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson and Clinton did before him. All
of them were demonized by their political opposition, but history
proved the opposition wrong and history will once again prove
the current detractors wrong. This president has been working
hard from day one. Here's
a list of all the legislation he has signed into law since he's
been in office.
I purposely did not include
Reagan because although he was a very popular president, his domestic
policies hurt our country. George Bush Sr. is a very likeable
man, but was strapped to his predecessor's policies and therefore
ineffective as president. His son's election was the unfortunate
result of an intentionally misinformed electorate and a Supreme
Court that should never have injected itself into our electoral
Okay. Rant over.
Here's where many of the
"firsts" are for 2010.
I'm in a true rock group for the first time in my life.
all of the music we perform is material I have never
before played with a band
or as a solo artist.
overwhelming response by those who hear us for the first time
beyond anything I've ever
experienced before with a local band.
We are experiencing exponential favor - from being asked to
play at high level
private functions to being
one of only 6 bands selected from nearly 100
to perform at a Talent Showcase
for over 1000 people - all in just
the first few months of performances.
level of compassion, acceptance and understanding among the
unparalleled. Note that some
of us have been involved in this project since
November, 2008. All of us
have been involved for nearly a year and
there seems to be as much
excitement now as there was when
we first put the band together.
Another family member is part of the "entourage." My youngest
is now working with the band
to load, unload, set up and tear down
equipment. He and one of
his long-time friends are our official
roadies. Their contribution
means a lot to us "aging" rockers.
You can't have a great band
without people of great character and talent. I'll leave the talent
portion for observers to discuss. As for their character, allow
me to introduce five musicians whose character and personalities
concise but understated thinking to the band. He is a plumber
by trade (over 30 years in the business). He played music many
years ago then gave it up for nearly 15 years to pursue another
passion: competition body building. Through those years his
love for music started to resurface and that passion became
strong enough to again get involved in putting another band
together. He and the original drummer approached me in November,
2008. Through all of the auditions and changes, Kenny's conviction
to stick with it until we had the right combination of talent
and personalities never diminished and to this day, he'll tell
you that his best days are when we're gigging and his second
best days are when we're rehearsing.
is originally from Zanesville, Ohio. He's been in Columbus for
over 15 years, playing in a variety of groups until he joined
the band. He works as the manager of a multi-million dollar parts
department at Lane Aviation. He originally auditioned with the
group in March, 2010. The decision to not go with him had nothing
to do with his talent or his character. We simply went with someone
we felt more familiar with. As fate would have it, that drummer
decided to bow out in July and we immediately asked Steve if he
was still interested. "I never lost interest," he said, stating
that he had been "following the band's progress " since his
audition. His instinct to keep an eye on us was a good one. His
personality and wit were a perfect fit from day one.
contribution to the group is multi-faceted. He's the motivator
- always pushing to learn more material, to get the best gigs,
to be the best we can be. Paul owns Bernard Company, an ultra
high-end clothing business that he has operated for over 20
years. His no-nonsense approach to that business made him the
best candidate for booking our gigs and he's doing stellar work.
He's high energy and high on this band. On a personal level,
you would be hard pressed to find anyone with a better sense
Jonathan Garcia hails
from Los Angeles, California. He's been in Columbus for over seven
years. He owned a Karaoke company for several years in California
and Ohio and now works for W.C. National Mailing Corporation.
His congenial warmth and subtly-stated humor make him very easy
to work with. Sometimes exhausted from a long work day, he will
come to rehearsals and still sing with the energy of a live performance.
He is the rare combination of giftedness and humility, always
putting the welfare of others before himself.
prefers staying out of the limelight, but certainly does not
go unnoticed. He brings a common sense approach to the band.
Tom is the Franklin County Municipal Court's Jury Commissioner
and has worked for the county for 30 years. His calm demeanor
and firm grasp of the realities of life make him a glove fit
for our group. He came to the band in January, 2009 and has
never once questioned his decision to stay. He truly loves music
and performing, and although he's not fond of drawing attention
to himself, has been known to - on rare occasions - join Paul,
Jonathan and Kenny at the front of the stage.
As for me,
I can't overstate how thrilled I am to be a part of this great
group of people. As all of you know, music has been the saving
grace throughout my life and to still be involved in the industry
after over forty years is exhilarating.
It cannot go without saying
that the significant others' of each of the members are also exemplary
and in full support of this project. They have actually named
themselves the "Powerline Princesses." In fact, all of us have
often socialized outside of band functions and have thoroughly
enjoyed each others' company. Here, most of us were in attendance
for a concert by Kansas in July.
I must say a special thank
you to Lonna
for being so patient with all the rehearsals being held at our
house. It's not easy putting up with all that "noise" twice a
week - not to mention unloading equipment back into the rehearsal
room at 2:00 or 3:00am after a gig, while she's trying to sleep.
My 60th Birthday
A Three Day Celebration
The day before (Thanksgiving)
we all went to David's
(my youngest brother) home for a wonderful meal and Lonna baked
a cake for me. Fortunately, she did not attempt to place sixty
candles on it.
On my birthday, Adam and
I recorded one of his tunes from beginning to end in the studio
- all the instruments and vocal tracks and even finished a rough
mix. This was in the midst of a trip to Nick's
(my other younger brother) home so Adam could see his cousin Andrea,
who is a big fan. He videotaped the day and put a 15 minute version
of the 52 minute video on YouTube.
On December 5th, I completed
the mix which you can listen to here.
The following day, Lonna
arranged for the four of us plus Amy to go to dinner. It was a
great evening beginning with hors d'oeuvres and wine at home then
a superb meal at Brio Tuscan Grill.
A Christmas Family Portrait
The Best of Intentions
"Go get your tri-pod. honey.
I'd like to get a picture of the four of us."
"The four of us? You mean
with the dog and cat?"
"Did you think this through? " I asked, knowing the answer.
"No, but you're a smart guy.
You'll figure it out."
"I'm not so sure that's a
Koal (the cat) was sleeping
comfortably in front of the fireplace, but needed to be moved
in order for me to set up the tri-pod. His irritation was beginning.
Kelso (the dog) was so shocked that he was allowed on the furniture
that the first time he got up there and cuddled up next to Lonna,
he looked at me and jumped down, assuming he was going to be scolded.
Finally, Lonna and Kelso
are in place and Koal is watching from the sidelines. I set the
timer, scoop him up in my usual manner, only faster, and sit down
next to them. He's tolerating these rapid movements, but is not
As we gather ourselves, preparing
for the camera to make the usual click, I notice the timer's light
is not flashing. No picture. In my haste to grab Koal, I pushed
the on/off button.
Trying again, I set the timer
and then go to scoop up Koal who is just out of view in the kitchen.
The camera takes the picture with Lonna and Kelso in place. No
Koal. No me. I set the timer for 2 seconds instead of 10.
By now, our usually very
calm and loving, people-friendly cat is justifiably irritated,
especially since this process started with me waking him from
a blissful nap in front of his favorite winter spot. Kelso, on
the other hand, is enjoying every minute with a look of absolute
contentment from his newly-allowed perch next to Lonna on the
love seat. It's as if he's thinking, "I won."
With the camera's timer set
correctly, I make a third attempt at this "Family Portrait."
I'm able to scoop up the cat
one more time, keeping him on my lap with a near death-grip on
his shoulders and neck. He's no longer irritated. He is now officially
pissed off. As I quickly put a not-so-natural smile on my face,
Koal voices and illustrates his disdain for being held against
his will. His outburst attracts Kelso's attention (who suddenly
looks a bit concerned) which forces Lonna to get a firm grip on
him and an "oh-oh" look on her face as the picture is taken.