Thoughts of Nubbs

My spelling sucks,deal with it

Proud to have you as a friend

I knew the moment I witnessed it I needed to write about it. I need the world to know or at least those who would read my ramblings to know how exactly I felt at that moment. I was about 45 minutes south of Dallas on a cool, crisp sunny March morning. I had just arrived at what would be my home for the next two days. Before I even got out of the Uber, I knew this was a big fucking deal. Giant company banners flanked the stone gated entry to this 1800-acre compound, Flags with the company's logo lined the long winding driveway leading to most elaborate and fancy barn I had ever seen. Upon entering I was surrounded by the companies' best products, huge banners hung from the rafters announcing the new products name and everyone was frenzied with activity. The room was alive with energy, and it all orbited around one person. This would be the venue for a significant milestone for a company trying to re-launch itself. A company seeking to reimage itself. A company trying to make its way into the American market against all odds. But that's not what I needed to write about. I have been to plenty of product launches over the years, all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds them helps build the excitement and sets the tone for how monumental the event is. I was more impressed by the person behind this event than I was for the event itself. The success of this event and this companies journey will 100% be based on the person they picked to lead them through this tumultuous journey. Though I am not 100% convinced they chose her as much as she made it, so she was the only logical choice for them. That brings me to the point of all this. As I stood in the middle of this vast barn next to a person who has become one of my guiding stars in life I was overcome with this feeling that I haven't felt since I watched my wife walk across a stage to grab her two master's degrees. In my eyes, this day was my friend's graduation.

Let me try to set the energy for this particular say. The room was abuzz, people were running around all over the place, Press flying in from all over the country, Schedules to coordinate and vendors to guide, senior leaders sat at a table taking calls and answering emails, staff was moving products and asking question after questions, On this day, the whole company was on her shoulders, and she carried that pressure with grit and confidence. You know that confidence that is just short of cocky. You know what I am talking about! If you are anything like me, you just sat back and said "Oh shit….this women is a force to be reckoned with" I am here to tell you she is. She has goals, and she isn't stopping for your bullshit. While I have known her for nearly a decade, we have only been close friends for about five years now. But what an amazing five years it has been. During this time I have seen the world throw some pretty ruthless shit at her, sometimes that shit has knocked her back, even knocked her down. But here she is still standing, and she is standing better off today than she ever has. She just doesn't know when to give up or give in; she doesn't know how to slow down and stop pushing forward. She also has the uncanny knack of seeing the positive when nobody else can. These are not traits you find in a lot of people. Especially in a world that wants instant gratification and constant reassurance of relevance That moment, you know the one I mentioned way back in the first sentence. That was the moment I was overcome with pride in my friend. I was so proud of her, and more so I was so honored to be her friend and to be able to witness this achievement. She endured when a lot of other people thought she would fail and some even hoped she would some even tried to make her fail. She believed in herself and her goals and was willing to take risks needed to achieve them. People don't need to be looking at athletes and actors for guidance on how to live. They just need to head to Milwaukee and have some coffee with her. She will help you figure it all out. She did for me.

If what they say about having a fulfilling life because of the people you are sounded by is true. My life is going to continually get better because the people around me inspire me to be better every day. Every one of them in different ways and at different times but all of them pushes me to do awesome shit! On this day my friend showed me that nothing is imposable if you believe in it 100%

"Give me the beat boys and free my soul"

If you follow my blog long enough you will see certain trends.  Travel, Photography, Rants and Music especially live music.  I have loved all types of music for as long as I can remember.  Yes even country to my wife dismay. There just seems to be something about it that makes people happy and helps them to escape the humdrum bullshit of everyday life. 

 

For me the true love of music started when I was about 10 years old and I decided to pick up the trumpet and join the school band.  Here’s a little fact that only me and maybe my Mother and Stepfather still remember. I chose to play the trumpet because of a musician named Andy “Day” Dziagwa the front man for a local Chicago polka band named the Ampol Aiers. My trumpet playing lasted the next 15 years or so and served me well.  I always enjoyed playing the horn and making people happy. It was just something about looking out in the audience and seeing people smile that made all the hours of practicing worthwhile. Also for a guy that sucked at sports being a horn player helped with the ladies. I even got paid for it from time to time playing weddings.  Still today the best way to get me to see a band is to tell me they have a horn section!

 

Now that I have completely bored you with a little history lesson I will try to get back on track with where this was going.  I am willing to guess that most everybody has at least one song that when they hear it all the fucked up shit in their life seems to just go away.  I personally have a few.  One is the Doobie Brothers “Give me the beat” others include just about any thing from any of O.A.R.s (Of A Revolution) live albums but to be specific “About an Hour ago” “Black Rock”  and “Crazy Game of Poker” which I happen to be listening to now as a challenge to see if I can write this before the version I’m listening to is over.  What is it about these songs that make me NOT want to completely cuss somebody out until they cry.  That’s a damn good question and I’m not a shrink so I don’t give a shit much past it does. If I had to take a guess you could ask 100 people that question and get 50-75 different answers. The important thing is it does. At the end of a crap day I get in the car and turn on whatever it is that I think is going to make things right. I turn it up as loud as I can and sing even louder. At some time during the intro something clicks in my head and any fucks I have left to give fly right out the window.   I don’t care what the stuck up dude in his fancy suit and nice car next to me thinks when he looks over and I’m wailing at the top of my longs so out of tune that Helen Keller is rolling over in her grave.  A part of me hopes he thinks it looks like fun and when he gets home he is going to do the same thing and thus his day gets better. I know I am not alone, I see people doing it all the time and every time I do I smile because I know their day is in the process of getting better. 

 

What’s better than blasting music in the car and sing like you don’t have a care in the world. Live music and in my opinion live music by non-corporate bands in small venues.  My opinion on where you should see a band differs from many. I personally hate going to Arena and stadium shows. To each there own and whatever puts you in front of live music do it!  For me I like it when bands are hungry to get their break. It seems they play to the audience more and have a stronger passion for it this si why I like lesser known bands. They also have a core group of fans that will follow them to the ends of the earth because they love their sound and not because their songs are in the top 40 repeat list and they are the cool thing to see.  As far as small venues go if you haven’t yet, just go see a show at 9:30 Club you can thank me later for seeing a show at one of, if not the best damn small indoor venues in the country.  It honestly might be the best thing Washington DC has to offer.

 

Part of starting this blog was to have something my wife and I could look back on at the end of the year so we never forget how fortunate we are to take part in some of the things we do.  Music is something that my wife and I do a lot together. I would guess we see about 15 concerts a year all across the country.  We are tracking to see the most shows to day in 2014. So you will probably see more and more concert reviews in the near future. I hope you like them because I like writing about them.

 

 “When my mind is free you know a melody can move me”

 

Now go hit play on your favorite music device and have fun.

 

Thanx for reading Talk to you soon.  

Our First 4wheeling adventure.

So this past weekend my wife (Shaina) and I headed down to the Charlottesville area to do some off-roading for the first time.  Before I get into the actual events of the weekend we should start with this Jeep we have owned for about 3 years now.  It is by every measure the most impractical vehicle anybody could own living in the city.  Standing 6 foot 6 inches tall you find yourself prospecting probable living locations based off the height of the garage entrance. It handles like a dump truck and accelerates like a 90 year old man with no legs.  When your phone rings while driving all you can do is laugh because you envision yourself yelling over the roar of the “I can’t believe they consider these street tires”.  The conversation with your passenger at times requires yelling and with an echo like fashion you constantly hear “what did you say”.  That’s all during the winter months when you have the top on and the doors affixed. In the summer with the jeep completely open and you at the mercy of the elements you just forget about conversation all together while the Jeep is in motion.  It’s a maintenance hog and would probably be the equivalent of a land going boat, just a hole you through money into.  If it wasn’t for the fact I can handle 95% of the maintenance myself this thing would have put us into the poor house years ago.  Trying to start the Jeep requires the summoning of the carburetor gods to shine nicely on you at that moment. Once started the gas needle moves faster than the speedometer and you hope to be able to get it into gear.  With all that said this Jeep is by far the best and most fun 4wd vehicle I have ever had and ever driven.  As a guy that tires of vehicles quickly and is always looking for the next one I find myself never wanting to part with this Jeep.  Maybe it is because both my wife and I have always wanted a Jeep and find ourselves in a situation to be impractical, maybe it is because my wife bought this jeep for us and it is the first thing other than a couch we owned together.  Actually I think the couch and this Jeep is still the only thing my wife and I own together.  If you have never owned a jeep you need to go buy one now and not one of those pansy ass 4 door Jeeps with all the creature comforts of a modern day luxury car. I’m talking an old ass Jeep. A Jeep built when having only power steering was considered highline luxury.

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(Nice and clean and ready to roll)

Enough about the Jeep and onto this 4 wheeling excursion.  For years we have wanted to get the Jeep off the blacktop and into the woods. But with our schedules we have found it hard to work in. A buddy of ours hit us up and said he and a group were heading down to do some wheeling in the middle of January.  Perfect that’s between semesters and we should be able to make it work just fine.  So we set out to get the jeep and us ready for this trip. Wheels bearings had to be replaced, CB radios installed, fire extinguisher mounted and a new wheel purchased so we had a spare tire, back up fluids had to be bought and the jack had to be fixed, tow strap located and recover points checked.  Than we had to figure out how to fit all of that shit and our clothes into the Jeep not to mention my camera equipment that follows me just about everywhere.  With the Jeep all loaded we sat in our living room and looked at the forecast, High of 35 degrees, I don’t mind the cold very much but my wife fucking hates it when it drops below 50. We contemplated not going because all I could think of was “when this P.O.S. Jeep breaks down I am going to have to fix it in 35 degree weather” We decided it would be a game day decision and on Friday afternoon we headed south to meet up with the rest of the group at a brewery.  You will also learn that Breweries are a common assurance in most anything we do. Didn’t take long to realize the 4wheeling groups are not far off in personality from my Drag Racing brethren. Great people who just want to get out and have fun.  We left the first brewery with beers to take home and headed to the next. This is when stuff started to get interesting. The next brewery we ended up at had some of the most shit crap beer I have ever had, I mean this stuff sucked so bad it made Star Hill beers seem good.  Not to mention it was located in a converted 7-Elleven.  We all had a laugh at their expense and then headed to the hotel.

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(At the start of the first trail)

Saturday morning we meet up with the group again out front of a Gas Station/Deli/Convenient Store/Gun Store/local Seafood shop.  Within 5 minutes of being their Shaina notices that the sign out front says “22 Ammo in stock” however they put the 22 on backwards so the sign really read “ss Ammo in stock” most of the time we would brush that off as a honest mistake but we are in the south at this point and from what we had seen the stores dress code was camouflage everything not only for the employees but also the regular customers.  Fortunately the Jew bump on my wife nose is not very predominant at all so we felt safe sending her in after the black guy to get some coffee.  (Side PSA if that last sentence at all bothered you I would recommend you never read this blog again). After a quick drivers meeting we head out to the trail.

4wheeling involves a lot of scouting trips where you walk the path in front of you to see if you are going to make it past any obstacles. The first obstacle we come across is less than 300 feet into the trail.  We all take a look at it and the leader says he is going to give it a try. He promptly gets stuck and has to winch himself off.  Now we are the only Jeep in this group and have probably the most capable rig on the trail. So I do what anybody would do and I drive right around that first obstacle and take a rash of shit for doing so.  Just because the Jeep is capable doesn’t mean the driver was.  Plus I didn’t want to run the risk of breaking the damn Jeep 300 feet into the first trail.  We all start heading up the mountain and I realize quickly that mud tires are great in the mud and there is a reason they are not called snow tires. We continue up the trail and things start to get real narrow.  I mean the branches and trees are knocking the mirrors in and banging on the side of the jeep so hard we figured there would be dents. At one point a large branch smacked the top of the windshield frame so hard I figured we dented the frame and cracked the fiberglass top.  The whole time Shaina and I are laughing our asses off because the Jeep has what looks to be a $100 Macco special paint job and to us every dent and scratch is a story we can tell and look back on.

We finally realize we are at the top of the mountain when the trail abruptly ends and we are left with figuring out how to turn 11 vehicles around in an area that might fit 5.  The next hour we spend playing a life size game of Tetris with trucks.  The trip down the mountain was much quicker. We reach the first obstacle again and most everybody tries to tackle it this time around. After taking 3 hours of abuse for not trying it the first time there was no way we were not taking it on this time.  Prior to attempting it I get out and scout out the best path.  With my plan in my head we make our way to the obstacle, as soon as the front left tire hit it the obstacle my plan flew out the window and I went with the old stand bye of throttle through everything.  We made it through without even the slightest hold up. This opened a world of what I am sure at some point will be over confidence in my off-roading ability. Our leader than proved he could get stuck on the same obstacle going the other direction and had to winch himself off yet again.  That ended the first trail and after meeting back up at the all in one country store some of us headed on to the next trail while some headed to a different trail.

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(Trying to keep the drinks cold, They ended up freezing in a short amount of time)

Now down to 6 rigs we head off to the next spot. The road leading up to the 2nd trail would be interesting and somewhat terrifying on a dry day.  Toss in 3-4 inches of snow and it made for 30 minutes of ass puckering so tight I could have probably made a diamond.   This access “road” I use the term road very liberally in this description as the “road” was really a glorified cart path.  It was about 15 feet wide and about as smooth as a ribbed condom. It had I would guess a 9-12% and probably 15-20 180 degree switch backs.  There are no guard rails and on the driver’s side was a rock wall about 200-300 feet tall while on the passenger’s side there is a sheer cliff about 200-300 feet down with nothing but sporadic large trees to stop you should the vehicle go over.  No problem let’s do this after all we are all in 4wd vehicles.  So we start up the “road’ and it doesn’t take me long to remember I forgot once again to switch into 4wd. I’m new to this whole thing after all. Now I don’t know if you can switch on the fly with our Jeep so I figure I will tough it out in 2wd for a while as I do not want to stop on this packed snow covered “road” .  Being in 2wd wasn’t an issue until you tried to accelerate out of the switchbacks at which point the rear tires would just spin sending the Jeep sideways and me getting in touch with my inner drift driving skills. I was having some fun with this and was not kicking the jeep sideways on purpose but using it to my advantage to get up the next incline. Shaina on the other hand found a new view of the mountain.  The reason for this was that 200-300 foot drop on her side would move from the side window to the front window and she would get an even better look at the drop off when the Jeeps back end would start to think about passing its front end. At one point she asked are you doing that on purpose. Which I of course answered no, this was the truth…..This time.  It seems she was not quit as confident in the Jeep and the “road” as I was. Truth be told she was probably not as confident in my driving as I was which is also a very good instinct for her to have. After getting home she informed me she was having fun sliding but had a nagging suspicion that is something happened I may not be able to recover control fast enough. She was probably correct after all the road was 15 feet wide and the Jeep 10 feet long. This didn’t leave much room for error.  So I figure it was time to test out shifting to 4wd on the fly.  I grab the 4wd lever and give it a yank, after a quick grind of the gears it’s in 4wd.  What would you know you can switch on the fly but it doesn’t sound like the Jeep likes it but it worked.  We reach the top and head onto the trail.  This trail is much wider and has some awesome views.  It also has water holes or ice holes as they turned out to be.   We all had a blast hitting the sippy holes and splashing mud everywhere.   We were extremely happy to have the Jeeps height on our side as some of the water was still up to the doors.  Again I found the best way to get through the water holes was with a shit ton of throttle.  This served two purposes, one was to make sure we made it through and two was to splash as much water as we could everywhere.   Once we reached the top we quickly realized that the gate was blocking our planed way out and that we were going to have to tackle the access “road” again but this time going downhill.  With the sun setting fast we all turned around and booked our way back to the road because none of us wanted to be on the road in the dark.

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(Shaina and I at the top of the first trail)

Since I am writing this you can guess we made it down the hill safe and sound, we all headed into town to grab some dinner and a couple beers before heading home.  We shared stories and talked about what we broke on our trucks and started planning the next trip. The Jeep held up awesome, no issues at all and the worst damage was a block of ice bent the license plate and the only other issue was losing a valve stem cap which caused the stem to fill with ice making it hard to refill the tire.  We had a blast and meet some great people. It was great to beat on the Jeep a bit and put it through its paces. It was now time to head back to the city as we had a party to get to. Shaina jumped behind the wheel and we hit the road. This is when I realized she wasn’t bullshitting when she said there was a lot of cold air blowing on the passenger’s feet.  Looks like something else I need to fix along with a laundry list of other things.  I consider myself very lucky, most guys have a Honey-Do list for their house I have it for our Jeep.  And I have a wife that wants to help out.  So while the jeep is the most impractical vehicle most anybody could own it is by far the best vehicle in our fleet for no other reason than we get to enjoy it together in every aspect.

Until our next adventure thanks for reading

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(I think she looks better dirty)

Lets get this started

Ramblings of a middle aged guy who never wants to grow up

Fair warning to all before reading any further. I say Fuck a lot; I spell at the level of an 8th grader on a good day. To say I a grammatically challenged would be an understatement. To say I am an opinionate person would also be an understatement. If any of this would bother you please do not read any further.

I tend to speak what is on my mind and deal with the consequence of hurt feelings after what I have to say it out there in the open. I try not to mince my words and feel that political correctness is bull shit in most cases. I do not understand why it falls on us to be mindful of how others react to what we say. After all it is my personal opinion and as long as I am not oppressing yours than it is your responsibility to not take what other say so fucking serious.

I grew up in a working class family in Chicago and transplanted to the Northern Virginia area about 10 years ago, talk about culture shock. It’s almost like polar opposites of the humanity spectrum at times. I was going to be here 2-3 years and then set out to find the next place to live, that got derailed by many things, all of which I am grateful for. Growing up I was taught to work hard for everything you have and to treat people right. Mind you, sometimes treating people right is telling them the truth, which could hurt them a bit at first but is much better in the long run.

What you might read about should you decide to stick around; my distain for piss poor customer service, entitled ass holes, travel, concerts, photography, cycling and any number of other things that I feel might be worth rambling about. But for christ sake what you should not do is take anything I write to serious as it is just the random thoughts of one person. I have no intentions of changing anybody’s opinions or making the world a better place. I just want to write and vent.