Otis Redding – Live in London & Paris

I got a free $10 iTunes gift card at work and used it last night on an Otis Redding Live in London & Paris recording.  He has Booker T & the MGs as band who were an excellent group on their own, had the hit “Green Onions”, and some of the members backed the Blues Brothers in the original movie.  It’s the most high energy performance I think I’ve ever heard, if the plane crash didn’t kill Otis, he would had a heart attack on stage some day.  I will try to bring a couple copies to softball this weekend.  

Normally, if you put soul music on at a party, it would be a pretty laid back affair or maybe if you picked out the right stuff, there would be some nice dancing (think Shout), but there is no way in the world that you could put this recording on without moving, last night I sat in a room with a sleeping baby and a sleeping wife, and was completely rocking out with my headphones on.  When I finally stopped the music around midnight, I fell back into the chair and realized I had been leaning forward, bouncing around, tapping my feet, and probably just looking like a complete idiot if Jaclyn was watching me in the quiet room (I had headphones on).  I’m telling you, you couldn’t use this stuff for an everyday affair, this is the big guns, this is an unrelenting storm of Rock & Soul, a barn burner, a damn good time.  

I have to agree with Rolling Stone’s assessment of Otis Redding: 
Otis Redding didn’t simply “play concerts.” The soul giant was a human Mount Vesuvius: He erupted. 

Raggamuffins are at Bobby Simone’s this Friday…I would really love to see them. 

Light My Fire

It has been the summer of fires in the backyard.  This Saturday we had the fire going with a couple friends and some cold beer in the cooler. I made two mistakes for this occasion:

1.  Ran out of beer around midnight, which was a mistake at the time, but since I was woken up by Winston at 5AM the next morning, it may have been a very good mistake to make
2.  I forgot to bring out my iPod music player, instead we were forced to hold conversation with each other

I have used up all my wood, in fact, I think I might have stolen wood for Saturday’s fire.  I’m not sure if I stole it or not, it was cut up nicely and stacked near the side of a road by a playground.  If you can prove that it was your wood, I will gladly compensate you fair market value.  I need to cut down some trees to feed my habit. 

Earlier on Saturday, I had Winston to myself because Jaclyn and Dalia went to a bridal shower.  I think men and women think very differently.  It takes Jaclyn nearly an hour to get the kids ready to go on a trip to a Wawa, as soon as Jaclyn left the house, I dressed Winston in a Chase Utley jersey, put some shoes on his feet, and off we went, 5 minutes flat.  We visited my Grandparents and then headed to New Hope to ride the Steam Engine Train.  I can’t remember exactly how much it cost, Winston dropped a nalgene bottle on my big toe during the transaction and I nearly cried (Nalgene is so damn hard, I think you could kill someone with one of those bottles).  Anyways, it is kind of expensive, I want to say the total cost for Winston and I was $29.  The ride lasted about 45 minutes, there was a tour guide who talked the whole time, but we just sat away from him and basically had an entire coach to ourselves.  The train is old, classic, and beautiful.  Winston and I sat next to an open window and enjoyed every minute.  He’s at an age where he’s in love with trains, his appreciation of the event made the cost seem reasonable.  Midway through the ride, I realized that in my super cool manly quick departure, I failed to pack any diapers or stuff to change him.  I figured this to be a problem since it had been about 2 hours since we left the house.  After the train ride, I bought some diapers and baby wipes at a CVS and changed him (problem solved). 

Winston and I checked out a couple shops in New Hope, added a Lightning McQueen pez dispenser to his collection, and a new bright Yellow Train that can motor quite well once you pull it back and release. 

Dalia is reported to have taken her first steps on her own while I was playing softball.  She’s getting close to the age where we can really have fun.  I can really make her laugh with funny faces and noises, but I love when they’re old enough to play some games. 

Amazing lightning storm last night, like a strobe light, power went out for about a minute, it is kind of fun when the power goes out briefly. 

If you need some fire in your life, give me a call and we can burn wood together. 

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Fireman’s Eddy – Night Fishing on the Delaware River

Last night we had some visitors from New Mexico and I recommended a little night fishing trip on the Delaware River.  No adults wanted any part of it, except me, but I had two children eagerly tag along.  We loaded up the Santa Fe (I think the car really enjoyed having someone in it from the state of it’s namesake) and headed towards a little fishing spot that I call Fireman’s Eddy on the Delaware River.  Fireman’s Eddy is on the Jersey side, about 2 or 3 miles south of Lambertville.  You look for a little white bridge over the canal and follow the twists and turns until you emerge on a nice open spot where the road runs right into the river (if you’re wondering why the road goes right into the river, it is for people to back their boats into the water and deposit them into the river off their trailers).  We pulled the car up so it faced the water, left the headlights on so I could tie knots, see the bait, and find my way around the river banks.  

The bait of choice for night fishing for catfish is chicken liver.  Catfish smell more than they see and chicken liver is one smelly bait.  As I sit in a cubicle on my lunch break, I can still sniff my fingers and get a good whiff of the pungent catfish delicacy.  In addition to its smell, chicken liver is a bloody mess, it is sold at Giant supermarkets in a little tupperware container for less than $2 a pint.

My rig is a little egg sinker that can slide up and down the line.  It is helpful to have a sinker that can slide up and down so the catfish does not feel the weight when he picks the liver up off the bottom of the river.  The sinker is stopped short of hitting the hook by a snap swivel and a leader and hook hang below the swivel.  At first, I hooked up a big piece of liver and casted it way out into the river, almost immediately, the bait was tapped by a fish.  The rod tip would bounce, indicating something was biting, every time I tried to yank the rod to hook the fish, the fish would quickly yank the bait off the hook and we came up empty over and over again.

The two kids told me scary stories, most notably the story of La Llorona (here’s Wikipedia’s version which is similar to what I heard from the kids last night):
La Llorona is Spanish for “the weeping woman,” and is a popular legend in Spanish-speaking cultures in the Americas, with many versions. The basic version is that La Llorona was a beautiful woman who killed her children to be with the man that she loved and was subsequently rejected by him. He might have been the children’s father, and left their mother for another woman, or he might have been a man she loved, but who was uninterested in a relationship with a woman with children, and whom she thought she could win if the children were out of the way. She drowned the children then killed herself, and is doomed to wander, searching for her children, always weeping. In some cases, according to the tale, she will kidnap wandering children.    

The story I heard last night had a small twist on it.  The difference was that if you’re ever at a river alone at night, she will find you and drown you too. 

So, after being scared to death by two kids telling creepy stories, we finally hooked onto something.  I handed the rod over to one of the children and after a long struggle, an eel emerged from the depths of the Delaware.  Eels are slimy, eels are slippery, eels are about the grossest thing a fisherman has to deal with.  The roll themselves up in balls and tangle themselves in the fishing line and leave a coat of disgusting slime on anything they touch.  I wrestled with the eel for awhile, snapped a picture of the proud kids and released the eel back into the water. 

We caught an even bigger eel which needed both kids working together to reel in (one held the rod, the other reeled) and I caught a small striped bass.

It was a good night, I think they loved fishing and I loved hearing the story. 

If you are ever by the river at night and hear someone crying…RUN!!!

Adventures in Philly

Too tired for words, here’s some pics and a movie, stories to come this week:
Jac found the bases marked from the old Veteran’s Stadium in the parking lot

Shane Victorino’s locker

Jac and the RKDeem sitting in the visitor’s dugout at Citizen’s Ballpark

Jac looking quite at home in the visitor’s dugout

The cool bike from El Vez that rotates over the bar

Jac posing under my favorite sign in Philly, the sign for Lorenzo’s pizza on South Street

The glorious patio I built, Dalia sort of looks like a little Yoda

Video of The Crowd Pleasers at Bob & Barbara’s, the bar famous for the Special…shot of Jim Bean and a can of Pabst for $3.

 

*** Email entry ***

There was a really wonderful 60th birthday celebration for my father-in-law. Cheeseburgers on the grill, nice selection of music on the iPod being played through a new docking station, and Red Stripe beer buried in ice in the cooler, were some of my highlights…oh and the people celebrating! It was a good night, I became somewhat obsessed with the fire pit and kept piling wood and debris into the fire. Jaclyn worries that the fire will get out of control, so she insists that I pour water on it at the end of the night or stay up and watch it until all the red embers turn to gray ash. I stayed up until late in the night, watching Sportscenter with one eye and watching the fire die out with the other.

I want to point out the most romantic blog on the internet. I am a huge fan of a Sports Illustrated writer named Dr. Z, he would write very insightful columns that always made mention of his wife, “The Flaming Redhead” who was always challenging him and pointing out flaws in his logic. It was funny, not many sportswriters infused an aspect of their personal life and I really enjoyed that part of his writing. A couple months ago, Dr. Z had multiple strokes and was left unable to walk, speak, or read. His wife, “The Flaming Redhead” aka Bailey Zimmerman, has a blog that chronicles the rehabilitation of her husband and the progress and setbacks they’ve had since. I came upon the blog by chance, I was so curious to get an update on Dr. Z and came across his wife’s blog.

I want to include an entry she made on July 4th:

My Sweet Boy

Today we went to a lovely party, given by dear friends.
They were wonderful and very loving…thanks Barbara and Warren.
They did everything to make us feel welcome.
I love you….Paul loves you!!

But it was an emotionally difficult day for me.
I am a mess….crushed…..there aren’t words to describe my feelings.
I’m confused about how I feel….feelings are rushing in from all sides.
Sorrow…the deepest sorrow…would be the closest.
Sometimes I feel that if Paul had died then we could keep him intact. That the memory of who he was…all his pieces together….but if he had I wouldn’t have seen this side of him. This is his most incredible side.
He is the bravest person I have ever known. Most people in his position would hide…they wouldn’t put themselves out there…on display so to speak.
My heart breaks watching Paul as he sits and says ‘when when when…when’.
To everyone he is an old man that can’t speak…..barely stumbles into a room…with much assistance. It is excruciating seeing him locked inside.
I want to yell….”he is brilliant…he has so many stories to tell….you’d love to know him”.
But I don’t know who to yell it to…
He sat and ate and listened….and he was so patient. I knew that he wanted me to have fun he wanted me to leave his side and talk to people and mingle.
But how could I dream of leaving him to face the next person to come up and try to talk to him….leaving them to stare at him in confusion…or worse….think he’s an asshole that won’t talk to them. Maybe that would have been better. We could have agreed to see how people would react to him. Maybe kept a chart….6 people kept talking….4 ignored him…3 people brought other people over….etc
This was the first time that we went to a gathering where people didn’t know us…and I didn’t want to keep telling everyone….”Paul had a sroke…he has aphasia & apraxia he can’t read, write or speak….he understands what you are saying and if you ask him yes & no questions he can answer you.
I’m sure he feels like a doll on display.
So I told a few people….and tried to fit in a few of his favorite stories. I’d quietly bring him drinks and food. Paul always got me drinks and found the special wines and bits of the best food…he always thought of me. I always loved how he took care of me….I only feel grateful to return the favor….but I did it holding back tears.
But I know how hard it is for him. I guess that is what hurts the most. Knowing how much he wanted ME TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.
He is my sweet boy!

That’s a sample of what she writes, she usually posts a couple times a week, I hope some day she writes that he’s all better, he can write his fabulous articles again, or that they can just enjoy a moment where he can say or write how much he appreciates everything she’s doing for him.  You can see her blog at: http://baileyzimmerman.blogspot.com/

Speaking of romance, this Friday, Jaclyn and I have our romantic getaway.  I think I might get a new outfit.

I have a lot of pictures to post, I’ll get some up this week. 

Bulldogs had a huge win on Sunday, we beat the team who was tied with us for best record and now we’re in sole possession of first place. 

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Firing On All Cylinders

I need an intern to help me out with this blog:

Requirements:
– Must be willing to provide 5 to 10 hours a week for blog enhancements
– Some photography ability would be preferred, Google Image Search is
an acceptable alternative
– Willingness to drink beers and brainstorm over ideas for new postings

Compensation:
– Two Red Stripe Beers for each hour worked

Let me know if you have any candidates.

Why does the RKDeem need an intern? I’ve been working hard on all
fronts, throwing everything I have into every day and it feels good.
Beyond the pharma marketing, father of two, wife to one business, I’ve
been building a patio, reading Atlas Shrugged, making a fabulous soul
music CD, and planning a romantic getaway to Philly. Here’s an update
on all:

Pharma Marketing: I’m proud of the work I’ve been doing lately,
sincerely trying to make life better for the patients who need our
drug. The other day, I was wearing a shirt with my drug’s logo on it
at Lowe’s while picking up patio supplies (I know, I know, wearing a
shirt with a drug logo means I’m slipping from the apex of fashion) and
a woman comes up to me and tells me she’s using that drug. I was able
to tell her how to get discounts and educational resources, things that
will help her. Sometimes I get cynical about marketing, but lately I’m
doing my best to make the most of it, I’m positioning myself and the
product as the one who does the right thing. Thinking back, I’m happy
I wasn’t wearing a viagra shirt when someone approached me, that would
have been an awkward conversation. There’s talk of me transitioning
from a contractor to a permanent employee, we’ll see, it needs to go
through many rounds of approvals, but I really hope it happens.

Father of two: Dalia has teeth coming in, resulting in a fever and
poor sleep. I was using all sorts of tools, tractors, and rocks to
build the patio, Winston was in heaven, men just are born in love with
construction.

Wife to one: Jac and I have been trying to sock away money for a
house, we think we’re making some ground and hope to make the plunge in
the fall. We’re looking for a nice modest place that we can call home,
nothing fancy, but something with a little bit of character. With
kids, you sort of have goals for each individual day, like trying to
keep your kids safe and maybe teach them not to poop their pants, but
this house has been a long term goal with some setups along the way.
If this is something we accomplish, it is something that I will be
proud of.

Building a patio: Patio is built and turned out really nice. I would
say I am proud of it. I worked hard on the thing, there was a lot of
sweat and sore muscles involved, but it felt great doing honest work in
the sun. I’ll be spending a lot of time on that patio, it will feel
great sitting on something that I built. (Intern will take a picture
and post to blog soon)

Reading Atlas Shrugged: The book is amazing, I knew it would be. I
typically read about 10 pages a night, I’m on page 350 now with about
900 pages to go. So far, I can tell you this book has made me despise
communism (and I used to be fairly open to the idea) and in someways,
it has made me dislike government more than I already do. It’s a good
book if you’re in the mood for a revolution, but we’ll see how the next
900 pages go.

Soul Music CD: Jac’s dad appreciates soul music just as much as I do
and asked for a CD, there was so much good music in that era it makes
no sense that people don’t sing it as much today. The CD is complete
and anyone is welcome to a copy of it.

Romantic Getaway in Philly: It will be romantic, fun and relaxing, but
it will also feature a little fun for the RKDeem. I begged my wife to
join me for a tour of Citizen’s Bank Park to start off the day. The
tour goes through the dugout, locker room, media room (where they have
post game press conferences), and the broadcast booth. Once the tour
is over, I’ll spoil Jaclyn and we’ll probably do some dancing late at
night…any recommendations?

It feels good working with my hands, my mind, reading, exploring,
raising kids, building, etc. I’ve been busy, but damn it feels good to
be busy.

Worst Job Ever – Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Another chapter of RKDeem’s history.

Through college, I worked at a fish market to sponsor endeavors of
bar/saloon exploration. The fish market was a perfect fit for me
because I love fishing and enjoy fish, the job always brought an
element of surprise (you never knew what types of interesting species
would be bought from the wholesalers at the Fulton Fish Market in NYC
or what types of creatures you’d find in their bellies when you were
filleting fish), and I worked with some amazing characters who could
drink you under the table, swallow anything raw, and tell stories that
would make a grown man blush. After graduation, I had to find a real
job…

I interviewed with Enterprise Rent-A-Car a couple weeks before
graduation and they hired me right away. They determined my salary
would be approximately $30,000 and if I played my cards right, I could
be making $100,000 in a couple of years. Everything sounded too good to
be true, I was right.

After one week, I had realized I would be making more if I stayed at
the fish market and I’d be enjoying myself a lot more too. I hated
every day at Enterprise and everyone I knew hated it too. No one worked
there because they wanted to be there, that was the first issue. We had
a former computer software salesman who’d been hit hard by the dot com
bust and his family couldn’t afford to live off their 401k any longer,
he took a job at Enterprise and took it seriously, he needed to put
food on the table. Whenever we were driving together alone, he’d tell
me how things were so much better at other jobs, he kept a big warm
jacket with the logo of his old company printed on the front, he wore
the jacket with pride and told me that he received the jacket as a
gift, he’d say, “Look at this nice jacket, can you believe that they’d
actually give these out to employees for free? That was big time, that
was a real nice company”. He sounded like a guy who was dumped but
still in love with the girl who told him to leave.

There was a Mormon girl, she was pleasant and some days cried. She
couldn’t understand how people got to be this mean, how people could
stab her in the back (more on this later). I was fresh out of college
and she exposed me to something that I had never heard before and it
honestly made me quite uncomfortable, she told me she was trying to get
pregnant with her husband. I really liked this girl, she was very cool
and hip, but this made me very squimish, like what do you say in
response to that kind of statement?

Mormon: Yeah, me and my husband are trying to get pregnant.

RKDeem: (stares blankly at the dashboard, 3/4 tank of gas, what radio
station is this, is the air on?) Uhhh, that’s pretty cool.

There was a tiny thought in the back of my head that thought the
suggestion of trying to get pregnant was almost perverted, like why
would you tell someone about that, now I have inappropriate
visualizations in my head.

There was Joe. Looking back, Joe was the most awesome salesman I have
ever met, I’m telling you, he was everything you think of when you
think of a salesman. This leads me to an important element of the
Enterprise Rent-A-Car experience, you need to know that we had one
objective that we were constantly monitored on, we needed to sell
damage insurance to at least 40% of the customers who rented cars from
us. I guess this is where Enterprise Rent-A-Car makes there money
because they were adamant that you need to hit this goal. If you went
under 40%, you would have to fill out a form stating that you were
underperforming and come up with an action plan on how to address it.
When you sold someone insurance, you’d ring the bell in front of the
office, Joe was always ringing that bell. To be clear, I did not want
to be like Joe. Joe’s approach to selling insurance was this:

1. An extremely thorough “walk around” of the vehicle to document every
minor scratch, bump, chip, and imperfection on the car. He’d then
emphasize the great care and pride Enterprise Rent-A-Car takes to
ensure their cars are maintained at the highest level and when each
customer returns the car, the same detailed “walk around” would be done
again to ensure no damage or depreciation was done to the vehicle.

This scared about 25% of the people into taking the insurance off the
bat.

2. He would then say something to the effect of, “I’ll put you down for
the insurance that covers your deductible, that’s only $9.99, but if
you don’t want to have any hassles we can cover it entirely for $15.99.

This probably added 10% more bell rings.

3. The remaining 65% of the customers is where he really separated
himself. If the customer said he didn’t need the insurance or had some
credit card that covered these types of issues, this is where Joe would
dig in and fight over every detail, he wouldn’t take no once, he would
not take no twice, he would only take a third no. Most customers viewed
this as harassment or at least annoyance, Joe viewed this as properly
informing the customer.

This added about 25% more bell rings.

Joe’s other claim to fame is that we only had one bathroom in the
office and the bathroom was very close to our cubicles. Joes would have
legendary bowel movements that would stink up the office for hours. He
once told me that he passed gas in a car on Friday, picked it up on a
Monday and it still smelled when he returned.

This entry is getting long, so I’m going to list out the reasons why
the job is the worst ever, makes Dangerous Catch look like a walk in
the park.

10. We had to wear business attire, but wash and vacuum about 10 cars a
day. In August, that made you a smelly and disheveled mess, in
February, the water and soap would freeze before you could wash it off
or dry it.
9. Not sure if this was the worst part of the job or best part, but
you’d drop cars off to customers at local dealers, sometimes it would
be too busy for someone to pick you back up and you would have to sit
in the lobby of a car repair shop for an hour or two.
8. Our $30,000 salary was based off the assumption that you’d work
overtime and Saturdays. It was about 50 or 60 hours a week for $30,000.
7. We had green screen computers, I still think they use them. No
internet, no MS Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, no solitaire, it was
strictly built to rent cars.
6. We constantly had to call insurance companies to gain their
commitment to cover the rental car for people in need of one after an
accident. Half of day was spent calling insurance companies.
5. People hated us. Mercedes and BMW owners got a “free loaner” when
their cars were in for repairs. These dealerships would just pay
Enterprise to loan them the cars. People expected us to hand them the
keys and let them go off on their business, but we still needed to
capture their information and try to sell them the insurance.
4. Coworkers were always getting pissed off and this led to fights and
tears. Some customers never took insurance and some always took the
insurance, office fights would break out to see who would have to be
saddled with the non-insurance customers and who would win the right to
have the customer who was guarenteed to take the insurance. I’ve seen
two people running full speed, pushing each other, and jockeying for
position at the counter when a sure thing customer was approaching,
I’ve seen every person in the office quickly pick up the phone and call
an insurance company to look busy when a non-insurance customer walks
in.
3. The scariest part of the job was early on chilly mornings we would
have to pick up all our cars at all the dealerships. We would have to
pick them all up and return them to our office before business started.
This meant we could let the
m warm up and properly defrost our
windshields, we drove with zero visability, sometimes looking out the
driver side window to find our way back to the office.
2. Washing and vacuuming cars all day seemed like an awful waste of a
college education, but this was made worse by the many customers who’d
fill the car with McDonald’s Big Mac wrappers, half eaten fries, and
several soda cans left on the floor of their vehicle.
1. There was no incentive to work hard, only to achieve the 40% of
customers who’d take the insurance. Sometimes colleagues would somehow
sell the insurance to their first two customers and then do everything
in their power to not take on additional customers who could
potentially ruin their high percentage for the day. This was another
root of office animosity.

One last note, people that rent the cars do not destroy them, it is the
pissed off and stressed out employees of Enterprise Rent-A-Car that
beat the crap out of the cars. I have seen pick up trucks
intentionally fish tailed across the parking lot, mini vans burn out
across the intersection, emergency breaks applied at 60 MPH, and Geo
Metros on two wheels, don’t buy an old rental car because the employees
take their anger out on them!