MARK SWEENEY

Dear Diary 2006

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                                            2006

1/04/06

Dear Diary-

Wow. It’s been another year. A whole year has gone by since I started this diary thing. I was in Detroit for New Year’s this year. About the same as last year. Uneventful. Once again, everyone was gone by 1 a.m. Apparently, I’m not the only one who gets tired early. I spent New Year’s Day driving home. Boo hoo. I’m just a lonely boy, lonely and blue. Sing with me damn you. I wish I had some exciting news etc, to report, but alas there is none. It’s the fourth day of the new year and not a damn thing has happened. Bye. Oh wait, I’m off to Omaha tomorrow. I hope I can sleep through the anticipation. I know I said I was done with Nebraska in the winter, but what’s a girl to do?

 

1/13/06

Dear Diary-

I just got back in town from a couple of days shooting a movie in Cape Girardeau, MO. The movie is called KILLSHOT, and stars Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke and Thomas Jane. I met Diane and Thomas, but Mickey had already done his scenes but the time I arrived. Johnny Knoxville is in it too. I had to go down on Tuesday to do wardrobe. I played one of the deckhands on the barge. I wore dirty, greasy work clothes. Apparently deck hands are very dirty. It wasn’t a big part, but I’m in there. My scene was with Thomas. We spent 13 hours doing three scenes. Movie making is a very slow process. Sometimes it amazes me that anything gets done. Part of my scene required me to climb up the side of a the barge, say something to Tom, pick up a 70 lb rope, do some more lines and then walk away. No big deal. You would think. We have to rehearse the scene, talk about the scene, change the scene, dissect the scene, shoot the scene, move the cameras, re-shoot the scene, discuss the scene some more, rehearse the scene a couple of more times, shoot the scene, move the cameras again, and start from scratch, ALL DAY.

I will take my cap off to the pilot of the barge. It was amazing to watch.

We actually had two barges connected to the ship. I was surprised to see how the barges are attached. A couple of wrap arounds with a cable and off we go. I’m thinking maybe we need to secure these things a little better. But no, a little strap down and away we go.  It didn't seem very secure, but then again, I'm not a barge worker, I just played one in the movies.

The director is on the walkie with the pilot asking him to keep the barge straight. Keep it straight! We’re in the middle of the Mississippi River with barge traffic moving up and down the river, there are currents and eddys and whatnot and the director is asking him to turn the barge around so the sun is on the other side. And he did it! Just whipped that thing around into proper position. Impressive.

Everything went fine until I tried to get out of bed the next day. It seems that climbing those stairs, picking up and hauling the rope and done some serious damage to my back. I was crippled. I was stunned. I was amazed at the amount of pain I was suffering. Could this be? Can I really be in this much pain from a simple act of climbing, picking and carrying? The answer is a resounding yes. I can be crippled from this kind of action.  I've been walking around all bent over, it looked like someone had lodged a stick up my fanny.  It's a nice look.  Thank God I didn’t have to shoot another day.

 

1/29/06

Dear Diary-

So…

“Don’t so me…where the hell have you been?”

“Man, don’t even start with me, I’ve been doing stuff”

“Yeah, like what? I know you man, you haven’t been doing shit”

“Oh, yes, I have, like…letting my back heal, I’ve been incapacitated”

“You’re back? You mean the rope thing? Damn girly boy, heal up already and get on with your life”

“That’s easy for you to say, you don’t have a back”

“Well if I did, I can tell you one thing, it would be healed up by now”

“What the hell are you talking about? You don’t have the slightest concept of back pain, or of even having a spine, so don’t tell me you’d be healed up by now”

“Fine, just get on with it, you’re boring me”

Super, let’s proceed. It’s Sunday. Football Sunday. But alas, today there is none. No football on Sunday, this blows. Still a week to the Super Bowl. I can’t watch the two thousand  hours of pre Super Bowl stuff. It’s just too much Super Bowl info. First of all, as a Rams fan, I hate the Seahawks, so I’ll be pulling for the Steelers.

One more show to go this week. The Sunday night show. The mellow, laid back wrap up show for the week. Three shows last night and the rowdiest one was at 7:30. Imagine. The early group was the loudest and most raucous. What a country. My man Tony Campanella played at the Blues club on Friday. As always, most righteous, but of course when you rock with Antonio, cocktails are in order, so naturally, I still feel like crap two days later. It’s not like I got hammered or anything, six or seven beers and I’m feeling poorly. What a puss. I remember the day…. Whoa, easy there ol timer.

 

My orders came in for my Iraq trip. Seventeen hours in the air. I hope I don’t lose my marbles. Seventeen hours is a long time to sit down. I’m going from St. Louis to Memphis to Amsterdam to Kuwait. I’m not sure how we’re getting to Iraq from Kuwait. I’m sure there will be first class travel arrangements made. After all, it is the military. Chortle, chortle.

 

2/4/06

Dear Diary-

I hope you had a great Groundhog Day.  I'm sorry I missed wishing you well.  I'm in Waterloo.  No, not France, in Iowa.  Waterloo, Iowa.  Iowa in February, kind of like Nebraska in December.  I left St. Louis yesterday and it was 50*, today it's 9.  Delicious.  Great show last night though.  I did a little gig with Donnie Baker from Bob and Tom.  It was in a bingo hall.  That's right, a bingo hall.  It was packed.  It seems, I'm huge in Waterloo.  OK, OK, they came to see Donnie, but I'm funny too.  There was a sign on the wall of the bingo hall that said "Children under 6 aren't allowed without a parent or guardian."  Hilarious.  I guess if you're 7, you can come on in and lay your money down.  They start them early here in Waterloo.  Children under 6.  That's precious.  I can picture them now.  A couple of 7 year olds, loitering in the parking lot, finishing up their beers, ensuring they have all the neccessary bingo tools: ink daubers, lucky tokens, a philosophy of win win win, and of course, a pack of smokes and some matches.  Because...you can't play bingo if you don't smoke.  Everyone who plays bingo smokes, I've seen it.  After 15 minutes you can barely see the number board.  It's like playing at an AA meeting being held on the Moors. 

The little seven year olds head in and buy their cards.  "Come on B-14, Jeremey needs some new skates."  Sitting there with their troll dolls strategically placed around the playing area.  Troll dolls are big on the lucking tokens circuit.  Many of the ladies have the troll dolls.  I wonder if the kids would play as many cards as the seniors?  It's wild watching a bunch of 70+ year old women playing 10 bingo cards at once.  I'm over there with my 2 cards going, "slow down, slow down" and these lovelies are scanning their cards like they've all just had lasik and can't believe how well they can see now. 

The show was great though, and soon I'm off to Dubuque.  Doing some more comedy with Donnie.  I'm off to Iraq on Tuesday, so if I don't talk with you before then.  I love you.  You've been like a diary to me.

 

IRAQ TRIP

My Diary entries for this period have been moved to the Iraq/Killshot page.

 

 

3/13/06

Dear Diary-

What a day.  I'm in Houston.  It's 75*.  It's 5:45 in the a.m.  I'm waiting for my cab to take me to the airport.  He should be here at 6.  My flight is at 7:45.  I should be fine.  Hmmm, it's 6:05, my rides not here.  Maybe I should call.  "yes, sir, he's on the way."  It's now 6:15, no ride yet.  That's curious.  I called last night just to be sure I'd have a ride, always the pre planner.   Maybe I should call the cab company again. 

It's 6:30, I'm calling the cab company again.  This is ridiculous.  I've got a plane to catch.  My ride is not here.  This is not good.  I'm calling the cab company again, this will be my third time.  I'm told the driver was there at 6:22.  Well, unless he drove up in Wonder Woman's invisible plane, he didn't stop here.  I tell her I'm going to miss my flight and if I do, I'm going to lose around $10,000.  It's not true of course, but I'm trying to sound important.  I'm firm but courteous.  The cab shows up at 6:55.  Super, rush hour is in full effect and there's no way we'll make it.  7:20 he drops me off.  I can't believe it, I'm going to make it.  Wrong.  You can't check baggage within thirty minutes of departure.  I almost told them to just keep the bag.  I'm ready to go. You can either keep it or just throw it away, it doesn't matter.  I don't want to spend all day on stand by. 

So, they put me on stand by.  Shit.  The next flight leaves at 8:50.  OK, I'll try that one.  The 8:50 flight takes off at 9:30 with a full load.  I'll try the 10:30 flight.  That one leaves at 11 with a full load.   That's OK, I'll try the 12:50 flight.  That one leaves at 1:15, again, fully loaded.  The planes are all small, 50 passengers.  At this rate, I'll never get on a plane.   Maybe I'll make the 2 o'clock flight.  I can't believe I'm actually cussing people who come up to check in for the flight to St. Louis.  "What's wrong with you people, you can't drive to St. Louis? You lazy bastards"  I'm actually hating the people that are coming up to take my seat.  Damn them.  The girl next to me has been on stand by for 16 hours.  She's a little crabby.  We're sitting there talking and hoping for an accident on the highway so the people on the way to the airport are held up.  Not an injury accident, just enough of a pile up to delay the people getting in my way.  Is that wrong?  We didn't think so.

I get on the 2 o'clock flight, and sit next to a woman who wants to tell me all about her trip to New Orleans.  Along with pictures.   Take me home country road.

 

4/17/06

Yo Pussycat- how's things?  It's been awhile.  I miss you when you're gone.  I know, I know, I always say that, but I mean it.  You're a groovy cat.  So, not much happening really.  Got my taxes done.  I've got that going for me.  It may not be a big deal, after all, it is the law.  But nonetheless, I did them and they're done.  I've moved on.  I moved on except for the taxes I have to pay yet.  Mailing them in is one thing, having them paid off is another.  Perhaps some day.

I did the Friends of Bob and Tom shows this weekend.  Boise and Colorado Springs.  Most righteous.  The shows were in auditorioum type venues.  It's cool doing shows for 1800 people, but not real intimate.  You don't ask "who's celebrating anything?" when there are that many people listening.  You could be there all night.  Oh, wow, that was a mistake, 563 people are celebrating something tonight.  Perhaps I should let that sleeping dog lie.  It was fun though.  I hope I can do more.  If you know anyone, let them know I do a good job.  That is all for now.

5/1/06

Yo- Yo- what's up mang?  Wow, again, it's been too long since our last visit.  I'm one lazy sum bitch.  Spent the weekend in Springfield, Illinois.  Had 2 corporate gigs on Wed. and Thur.   They were shows for the Sheriff's Dept. and civilian employees.  The first night was small, about 20 people, and I was informed by the caterer that they were all pissed off because the food was late.  It seems that the caterer had gone and set up the food at another venue.  Whoops.  Now the caterer is telling me it's a tough crowd.  Thanks there Emile.  They didn't seem pissed at me though.  But, they didn't care much for the drinking and driving material.  I guess they don't get to see it from a comic stand point.  The did enjoy the rest of my tales of woe though.  Tales of woe though.  Sounds a great title for a book. 

The second night was a little bigger, a little rowdier.  The Sheriff asked if I could wait until they gave out awards to do my "skit."  Although I knew it was a bad idea, I went along.  From my past experience, I knew that it's best to get the show out of the way first before and awards ceremony.  First of all, these guys weren't getting awards for perfect attendance or nice penmanship.  They were receiving awards for doing CPR on someone on the side of the highway or rescuing a pregnant lady from her car stuck on the railroad tracks as a locomotive approaches.  They had busted meth labs and arrested armed robbers and found lost children.  They had done great work to save troubled teens single mothers.  Each award received a standing ovation.  Impressive.  Makes you feel inadequate.  Damn, I've never saved anyone's life.  I am totally worthless. As these thoughts are circling my cortex, I hear,  and now, we'd like to bring  out "the comedian."  Someone shouts, "we need a 10 minute break."  So a break is issued.  More trouble.  It's going to be tough to get everyone back.  I've seen it before, people see a break and they're gone.  Dozens of them head to the exit, bye, bye.  People head to the bar, outside to smoke, they break off into little groups to discuss the awards ceremony.  I feel disaster looming.  Don Jr. asks me if I'm reading and I say no.  Then, after thinking about it, let's just go and get this over with.  Twice people have been asked to come back and sit down and no one does.  Bring me up baby, let's rock and roll.  I start, I by-pass the drinking and driving stuff and move along.  Within 5 minutes, everyone came back in and sat down and we had us a little show.  Good laughers and much love was exchanged.  Whew.  That was close.

The Diary page is going to be closed for awhile.  I'm tired of doing entries and I think I'll take the summer off.  It is summer after all.

 

7/22-29/06

Dear Diary-

We’re on our way to the Northwest Territories of Canada. Inside the 60th parallel, inside the Arctic Circle baby. The North Country. The land up yonder. We’re going fishing. Why go inside the Arctic Circle to fish you ask. Because we can, that’s why. If you’ve been up there once, you’ll go back again. It is absolutely the most pristine, beautiful place I’ve ever been. One solid week of no cell phones, no TV, no radio, no chatter, no traffic, no people, no noise, no animosity, no hatred, no war. It could be classified as Nirvana, not the band, the place. At least during the summer. You will die up there in the fall, winter and spring, but the summer is a delight.

We picked up our float plane in Stony Rapids, Canada. Stony Rapids is about a 2 hour flight north of Saskatoon, and has a population of 500. Not including the “ones who live in the bush.” I thought that was great phrase, the “ones who live in the bush.” Sounds like the name of a horror movie. The nightmare continues as the search goes on for the “ones who live in the bush.” A group of serial killers. I doubt Canada even has serial killers, it just doesn’t seem like that kind of country. Any way… I won’t go into longitude an latitude, but it’s a long way up there. Stony Rapids was on fire. I’d never seen a forest fire before. I found it to be a little unsettling. Especially since it was burning on the other side of the river that we were taking off from. The fires were started by lighting and no one puts them out. According to the folks up north, “it’s nature’s way eh?” I love the way the Canadians talk. I asked him about them being put out and he said the snows will do it. The snows? It’s freakin’ July. I’d hate to have to “wait for the snows” to put out my forest fire. Maybe someone should grab a hose and water pump and start dousing these things. Nobody up there seemed to care, so we didn’t.

Taking off in a float plane is quite the experience. Most of the time, you don’t even think the things going to get off the water. It rattles and shakes and moans and teeter totters, you can almost visualize the screws and bolts coming loose and raining down upon the land. You can see the pilot and he’s making adjustments and turning wheels and pushing throttles and working the foot pedals and tugging back on the yoke, and you’re cheering him on, “you can do it man, pull this son of a bitch up.“ You can hear the water crashing into the bottoms of the pontoons like drums in the far off distance and you’re looking down thinking “please God, let this thing get going, I see trees coming up and it looks like we’re not going to clear it, let’s go, get it up, get it up baby.” Then it takes off, the pontoons leave the water and we’re airborne. We climb a little and all is quiet. Well, all is quiet except the propeller outside my window, and if it comes loose is going to slice me to ribbons.

The view from a float plane over northern Canada can’t be adequately described with words, so I won’t try.

 

Landing in a float plane is just about like taking off in one, except reversed. When you get close and the pilot is slowing the engines, it’s hairy, then you splash down and all is well. We’re at the camp. We’re ready to unload our gear and get this fishing trip started. But first we have to unload our gear, unload supplies for the week, and then load up the gear of the guys going home. Now, we’re ready, except no fishing today. We have to get settled, go through orientation about the boats and motors, the transducers and depth finder, the emergency power, the communications system in case “something happens” to our camp manager and various other things about generators and power amplifiers and battery hookups etc, etc. I hope someone else was paying attention. I’d hate to be in charge of calling in a rescue mission when I didn’t pay attention to the orientation. Someone could be dying and I’d be in there trying to figure out how to turn the sat phone on. Hmm, that didn’t work. What did he say about the connection?

We got through orientation and decided we were all hungry, “there’s a bag of hot dogs in the one fridge” says Jason our camp manager, who by the way was a great guy and great manager. I’d like to think that we were his favorite group of all year. At least the best group in July. We did have a good group, if I must say myself. We had 2 groups in our party, my father and I along with my brother Phil and his buddy Joe Ward, the other part was my dad’s buddy Phil Lukemeyer, his son Jaime and his son-in-law John. Great people.

My brother and I fire up the grill, grab the bag of hot dogs and cook up about 30 of them. We’re really hungry you see. No buns, so we just put them on pieces of bread. We’re roughing it after all. Someone says something about the size and taste of these particular brand of weiners when Jason comes in and asks us why we’re eating all the breakfast sausage. Sausage weiners?! No wonder they taste funny and are very small. We all had a good laugh and decided to go to bed before we got hungry again.

 

Our first morning in camp we were up by 5:30, it doesn’t get dark up there during this time of year, so by 2 a.m. the sun is coming up already. 5:30 in the morning and we’re ready to go fishing. Breakfast every day was up to us. Nothing special. We did have something called Red River a couple of times. Red River is northern Canada’s version of oatmeal. I think oatmeal has more flavor. Red River may be the plainest taste I’ve ever encountered. It sticks to the ribs, don’t get me wrong, and it also keeps you full for awhile. Red River also had the reputation of either loosening you up or binding you up for days. It affects different people different ways. I’m more of a binder, while my dad is a loosener. I don’t know if loosener is a word, but that’s what I’m using.

Being in the boat with a loosener can create problems, especially if he’s 72. No matter how many times my dad went in to “take care of business” he always had to do it one more time during the day. Totally understandable. The problem is the short warning span. When I hear “uh oh” I usually had less than 2 minutes to find a place to put the boat so he can get off and “take care of business.” Two minutes to find a place on shore to pull up. You may not think that would be any big deal, but the lakes in northern Canada are full of rocks. Lots of rocks, there are rocks everywhere. You can’t escape them, you can be cruising along in 80 feet of water and then come upon a reef that is 2 under the surface. Nice. Full of rocks, not just rocks, but big rocks, the kind of rocks that will rip a boat open like a Christmas turkey. There are rocks upon rocks, did I mention there are a lot of rocks up there? So, finding a place quickly became a very important part of my day. Once you get the boat close to shore you have to pull the motor out of the water so you don’t scrape on the rocks. Did I tell you about the rocks? There are rocks everywhere. Then I use the oars to get us in the rest of the way with my dad leaning over my shoulder urging me to “go faster.” Oh, we had some times.

Getting him back in the boat was an adventure in itself. My father’s balance isn’t what it used to be, and he’s very tentative when it comes to “leaping back into the boat.” He informed me that there will be no leaping going on, so we had 5-10 minute discussions on how to gently lower his ass back into the boat seat. Hilarious. It was precision work.

I’m not sure if I mention rocks, but there’s lots of rocks up there. My dad and I got stuck on the rocks three different times. Sometimes the shallow water hides rocks that you can’t see because of the other rocks in front of them. There are rocks hiding behind rocks. Sometimes I could swear that were moving over to get in my way. The first time it took us almost 15 minutes to get free of the damn thing. The wind was blowing up a storm and we were just pivoting on this rock, just spinning in circles. We couldn’t use the motor without tearing up the prop, so we tried to oar our way off, I’m pushing one way, dad’s pushing us the other, the wind keeps changing and blowing us the opposite way of whatever way we were pushing. Almost comical if you’re not the one in the boat, we must’ve looked ridiculous. Now we’re just standing there looking at each other as our boat spins in circles, trying to figure out what to do next, without getting dizzy. We finally disembark from this particular stone after much cussing and discussion.

The final rock incident was the day before we went home, you would think that after 7 days of dodging rocks, you would get better at it. You would be wrong. This time though there was some panic involved. We’re on a rock in less than 2 feet of water and the wind is blowing us right into an island that is surrounded by ROCKS! If we don’t get out of here soon, we’ll be stuck for sure. I’ve got the prop just barely in the water trying to pull us backward and I’m freaking out because we can’t get going in the right direction because of the wind. I look back at my dad and he’s sitting down, gently pushing the oar through the water like he’s on a casual float down a babbling brook. I snap at him to push off the bottom and he informs me he can’t reach the bottom and not to snap at him again, because it’s not his fault I drove us onto the rocks. OK, good point, I’m just getting a little panicked back here. We eventually start crawling backwards and now there is a rock in Wignes Lake that has a long silver scratch along it’s back. I don’t like rocks anymore.

During a heat wave, northern pike, at least big ones are hard to find. The hot weather messes up their minds. We were told this every day by Jason, who by the way, works for the government in the off season, studying fish, so he knows from where he speaks. Didn’t matter to us though. We were set on catching pike no matter what we were told. Then complained that we weren’t catching and big pike. Stubborn bastards. Trolling for big lake trout was the way to go. Most of our guys didn’t like trolling. You just sit there while the boat drags your lure through the water. Boring to some. Fishing to others. I finally got my dad to agree on a morning of trolling. It was a windy day, big surprise and off we go. Jason had let me borrow his personal rod and reel, so I’m being extra careful. Trolling in the wind is hard because the lines have a tendency to get tangled on the turn around. Jason tells me about turning the boat 180* and we’ll be OK. It worked for the first 10 turns and then the wind caught us. Or I should say, caught my line. All of a sudden line starts flying off my reel with a wweeeeeeeeeiiinnnnnggggg sound. Like that scene in JAWS, when the shark takes off with the bait, I damn near became a “loosener.”

It scared the crap out of me. I know I’ve got the fish of a lifetime. My heart is pounding, I can feel the tingle in my blood, this is going to be unbelievable. I calmly put the motor in neutral as I prepare to do battle with this monster fish. When I put the motor in neutral the line stops coming off my reel, hmmm, that’s weird. I look down over the back of the boat and see my line going into the water…right above the prop. Hmmm. I pull the motor out of the water and see my line wrapped around the prop about 10000 times. This doesn’t look good. I spent 10 minutes trying to cut the line off and decide I need to take the propeller off. Again, another adventure begins. In calm water it can be tricky, in 3 foot swells, it’s damn right ticklish. So I’m leaning over the water from the waist up, holding on to the top of the engine while undoing cotter pins, bolts and washers. I pull back a couple of times to avoid a swell, and notice that my dad is facing the front of the boat. “What are you doing” I inquire. “I can’t bear to watch” he says. Well….perhaps you can watch in case I go overboard, you know, just as a safety kind of thing. I’d hate for him to glance back and find that I’ve been gone for five minutes. So, I get the prop cleaned up, put back on the stuff all the torn up line back into the reel. I figure I’d lighten things up a bit when I return this stuff to Jason. “Hey, can you fix this?”

Ha ha.

The whole week went without incident...until the last day.  We got to fish until 3:30, then back to camp, pack up and catch ze plane.  Jason went out to look for the Lukemeyer party about 4 and couldn't find them, which believe it or not is a big deal.  Not being able to found.  They could be lost, but that's unlikely, we had GPS equipment in each boat, that means they've broken down somewhere, and that can't be good.  God knows where the wind will take you, they could be on their way back to Saskatoon.  We called in a float plane search and they found them stranded on some rocks with a broken lower unit and most of their clothes on fire.  Yes, they were burning clothes to attract attention, burning clothes and a life jacket.  I wish I could've been there for that.  Dousing a life jacket in gas and torching it up.  The boys said it was worthless because it burned up in about a minute.  They spent a total of five hours stranded on a pile of rocks in the middle of the lake watching the other boats pass them by all day.  We cruised by them twice and didn't see a thing.  They must have been pissed.  "What the hell is wrong with those guys, we're swinging oars in the air, burning anything flammable and they just keep boating by."  Just one more adventure above the 60th.

We fished 10-12 hours a day for 7 days. Even avid fisherman get a little tired of fishing after that kind of schedule. Jason cooked dinner for us every night so we could fish until 9. Then usually, a cigar and then bed. I couldn’t believe how early I went to bed every night. Fishing is very tiring, I guess. All in all it was another great trip to the north woods.
We got to see the northern lights for the first time, suprising this time of year.  I felt ready to go home until we hit the Minneapolis airport, it was full of people yapping on cell phones. Put me back on a float plane.

 

 

         

  

wignes 075.jpg
aurora borealis

wignes129.jpg
the merry fishermen

8/28/06
 
Dear Diary-
 
I'm off to the Bahamas.  Considering how much I love flying, this should be interesting.  Ernesto is causing problems down south and I'm flying right into it.  Not only do I have Ernesto to worry about, I can't bring any fluids on the plane, yes, of course, no fluids.  Thanks to those morons in England, we can't bring fluids onto a plane.  Security has been ratched up a notch.  Which is hard to believe because the day after this bomb scare happened, a twelve year old boy in England got onto a plane with no identification or passport.  He even scarfed himself a soda and a snack before they found out.  But I bet he didn't have any fluids on him.  Idiots.  Sometimes you just have to roll the dice.
 
Got to Miami for a 3 hour layover, got on the bus to take us out to the tarmac for the puddle jumper plane flight to Nassau.  We wait on the bus for fifteeen minutes because "the pilot is not here."   The pilot's not here?  Well, where the hell is he?  Can you call him and tell him that we're waiting out here in the hot Florida sun, on a bus, standing, while this little princess is off doing something else.  Nice.  Twinkletoes finally shows up, we board, get seated, try to cool off since there's no ac until we take off.  The plane gets revved up and bang, it shuts down.  "Folks we have a problem, maintenance is on the way out to see if they can fix the plane."  Fix the plane, that's rich.  My best guess is we'll be deboarding soon.  "Folks, maintenance can't fix the plane so we'll be deboarding and heading back to the terminal."  Back at the terminal, we wait for another plane that is still in Atlanta.  Super.  Two hours later we board another puddle jumper.  I saw my luggage being loaded on the first plane, surely they loaded it in to the second plane.  That doesn't seem like to difficult of a task.  Does it?  Silly boy.
 
After landing in Nassau, suprisingly enough, my bag isn't on our plane.  Hmm, what could've happened to it?  I was told that it should be on one of the planes coming in over the next 2 hours.  Apparently, I'm supposed to wait until every plane from Miami has landed for the day.  My bags don't show.  I'm told to look around the airport for it.  Look around the airport for it?  Yes, there are close to 100 bags just laying around the airport, waiting for someone to pick them up.  They have been coming in all day with no one there to claim them.  Have I landed in a third world country?  What the heck fire it going on?  Hopefully it's picked up by the proper owner.  Not much security in the Nassau airport.  After filling out lost baggage forms, I'm none to happy.  As I head out, a flight comes in from Ft. Lauderdale, I decide to check it, I mean what the hell, I'm here.  Low and behold, there's my bag arriving on a flight from a city I was never in.  What a curious way to do things. 
 
I finally get checked in about 9 p.m.  I was supposed to be here by 3.  I had heard that things here were pricey, and I believed it as I ate my $22 ham and cheese sandwich.  This could be an interesting week.
 
8/29/06
 
Dear Diary-
Thank God I brought sun protection lube.  It rained 4 inches today.  I'm not joshin', 4 inches of rain in one day.  The Tropics eh?  It actually didn't rain until I went running and got to the other side of the resort.  As soon as I got to the furthest part of the complex the skies opened up.  It took 30 seconds to be completely soaked to the skin.  Oh Ernesto you are a dickens.
 
We do two shows a night here.  The first one is a g -rated family show, kids 8 and over are allowed.  Not my idea of a fun show.  Talk about editing as you go.  It's even more clean than g-rated because no innuendo's etc.  You can't talk about anything risque.  Which is kind of weird considering what kids today are exposed to on tv and in music.  I don't really think a "poopy" joke would offend anyone but you never know.  At first I was trying to structure my act around kid friendly material, which was kind of stupid, these kids haven't had experiences yet.  I was talking about stuff I did as a kid, you know; rock fights, bb gun fights, shop lifting and various other kinds of mischief.  One night after some of this material, I hear some guy say "enough with the ideas."  Apparently, he thought I was putting bad thoughts into the head of his three boys.  Well, kids will  be kids pal.  After a couple of nights of no response from the kids, I just did my regular act and to hell with them if they don't get it.  What the hell are they doing in a comedy club anyway?  Kids don't laugh at observational material, they don't pay attention to things that are outside of their little world.  They laugh at visual stuff, and by God, I'm not doing a juggling act and dismount off the stage with a flip for the sake of the youngins'.  I may hurt myself.
 
8/30/06
Rainy days and Wednesday's always get me down.
 
8/31/06
Rainy days and Thursday's always get me down.
 
9/1/06
Dear Diary-
 
Sun came out today, went to the beach, got too much sun.  Maybe it will rain again tomorrow.
 
9/3/06
Dear Diary-
 
It's raining again, but I don't care, I'm going scuba diving.  The rain doesn't stop the scuba.  I've only been scuba diving once, so I had to take a refresher course.  Which, thank God I did, it seems that I had forgotten many things.  Things that can save your life in an emergency situation.  There are many little things that go along with scuba diving that you take for granted.  Like breathing.  It's important to breathe when scuba diving.  It helps keep you alive.  If you don't breathe, the pressure will explode your lungs.  That's a bad thing.  You can also blow out an ear drum if you don't pressurize properly.   Everyone else on our dive boat had on wetsuits, so I'm thinking "do they know something I dont' know?"  No, they didn't.  They were just like those guys that ride their bikes wearing official bike riding gear.  Trying to look the part.  The water was 80* quite comfortable.  I don't get those guys who ride their bicycles and wear the gear.  If you're trying to cut a millisecond of time off, fine wear the gear, but if you're just out on a bike ride don't look like a douchebag.
 
So we did the scuba and it was great.  It's kind of surreal swimming under water for that long, it was colorful and comfortable and I had a great time.  I do see how people freak out though.  Sometimes you just want to dart to the surface and take a big breath of air.  Fight that feeling.  The bends aren't something you want to deal with.  Granted, at forty feet, I don't think the bends is something you have to worry about, but still. 
 
9/11/06
 
Dear Diary-
 
I'm flying today.  Flying on 9/11, kind of weird.  I'm sitting in the lobby of the Nassau airport.  I call it a lobby because that's what it is.  Calling it a terminal would be pushing it.  There is a TV in the corner showing the tributes that are going on in NYC and various other places around the country.  Nobody seems too concerned about flying today.  Hmm.  I'm ready to go home though.  Who would think that after 2 weeks in the Bahamas, I would be ready to go.  Well, I am. 
 
9/19/06
 
Dear Diary-
 
Wow. I went to see Eric Clapton last night.  Have you ever seen him?
 
How the hell would I have seen him, I'm a diary.  What a dumb ass.
 
OK, relax, I was just asking.  Anyway, it was as you would think it would be.  Fantastic.  He hasn't lost a thing over the years.  Derek Trucks played slide guitar with him and was incredible.  Concerts aren't what they used to be though.  I remember when concerts were full an hour before the show.  People were excited, drinking, smoking pot and throwing beach balls and frisbee's around.  Waiting in anticipation of what was coming.  There was electricity in the air, along with clouds of pot smoke.  No more.  There isn't excitement in the air.  I heard a murmur, that was about it.  A murmur.  Everyone remained seated.  Granted the age of the crowd had a lot to do with it.  Gramps just aint' going to toss the frisbee into the upper decks.  I don't think you could've found a frisbee any where near the place.  Of course, considering the age of the crowd, throwing a frisbee could lead to pulled muscles, wrenced backs, seperated shoulders and maybe even a dislocated hip or two.  Although I was the same age as most of the people there, I don't feel like it.  Not many people were even drinking.  I went to the men's room a couple of times and there was no one in there.  How is that possible?  Twenty thousand people and no one has to pee?  Either they weren't drinking or they were all wearing adult diapers.  I can see not wanting to miss any of the show, but diapers is pushing it just a tad.  Come on old timers, loosen up and have some fun.  My group were jammin' the whole time while most of them just sat there.  Then; at the end people started to dance.  Well, you should' ve started having fun earlier.  This is the last song you knuckleheads.  Oh sure, there's an encore, but the dancing etc. should've started long ago.  Now everyone is pumped up, they're having fun and want to party.  Well, too bad show's over.  You should've started when we did.  Because now, at this age, after drinking for the last couple of hours, I'm ready to call it a day and take a nap.  I'm tuckered out.  I do want to say this though: Clapton rules.  No elaborate sets, no fire balls, no costumes, no background dancers, no descending to the stage from a moving platform, no political statements, no head wrap microphones, no corporate sponsors, no mechanical ponies, just rock and roll.  Just like it should be.
 
10/22/06
 
Dear Diary-
Wow.  What a weekend. Did the Friends of Bob and Tom shows in Ft. Meyers and Raliegh.  Good times.  Back to flying though.  Bummer.  The whole no fluids thing on the airplanes is a bit overdone I think.  I flew to Ft. Meyers and then to Raliegh with my toothpaste in tow.  Leaving Raliegh they took my toothpaste.  Maybe because it was North Carolina, I don't know.  But if you can make a bomb out of toothpaste, more power to you, you're a smarter man than I, or least more motivated.  I did actually smuggle a bottle of water on the flight.  I hid it in a big bag of cocaine.  "No fluids here sir, enjoy your flight."  Dumb asses.
 
10/23/06
 
Dear Diary-
The World Series is back in town.  It seems like the Cardinals haven't been to the Series in like....two years.  The waiting has been taxing.  I was watching the game last night and noticed the pine tar all over the palm of the Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers.  Yes, it was pine tar, I don't care what he called it later.  You could tell it was sticky.  In the press conference later Rogers said it was dirt.  Dirt?  Are you shitting me?  I've never seen dirt like that, and I've seen some dirt in my time.  In the paper on Monday, one of his teammates said that they had meat and potatoes for dinner and maybe he had gravy on his hand.  GRAVY?  Maybe if he was a three year old, I could believe he had gravy on his hand for three hours without noticing, but a grown man?  Please.  He cheated and he knows it.  Gravy.  For the love of Pete.
 
10/27/06
 
Dear Diary- 
Whew, what a couple of days.  On Wednesday night the Cardinals were in town for game 4 of the World Series, played downtown.  Great.  One problem, I had a gig on Wednesday night.  Downtown.  I had a gig downtown at the Hilton, in the middle of a World Series celebration, I had to go to work.  Dealing with the crowds is hassle enough when you're going to the game.  If you're doing something not related to the gathering crowd, it's just a hassle.  Everyone is walking around in the rain, drinking, happy.   I'm on my way to a corporate gig.  A software company in Illinois just so happened to book me when the World Series was in town.  What are the chances? 
In anticipation of the crowds, I decide to drive half way downtown and then take the train into the city.  Good plan.  It's pouring rain and it's getting cold.  I head out.  I'm taking the side roads because the highways will be jammed.  It's rush hour, it's dark, it's raining and the World Series is in town.  I'll keep to the side streets thank you.  Ten miles into this trip, as I pull away from yet ANOTHER red light.  I hear a sound that sounds like a flat tire revolving around a steady, centered base, like an axle.  Perhaps I should pull over and take a look.  Well, what do you know, my left front tire is flat.  How about that?  It's dark, wet, cold and I'm dressed for a corporate gig, now I've got a flat tire.  Will the comedy never end?  As it turns out, I'm quite a tire changer.  Having to change a tire on the shoulder of a highway makes you very efficient.  One time, on the way back from playing golf, I had a flat on a bridge, not a teeny tiny bridge, but a major bridge.  My brother was with me, as I started to change the tire, he headed down the shoulder to tie a red bandanna to a sign post (apparently, this was to warn people of the danger ahead).  By the time he walked back, I was sitting in the drivers seat waiting.  That's how fast I can change a tire.  Impressive?  You bet.
So I change my tire and head to the train station.  St. Louis doesn't have an elaborate train system.  They also don't have a very well marked one.  Most of the stations are underground and there is only a little shed to mark each entrance.  I had to drive past it, say to myself "oh, there it is,"  and double back. Which sucks because I'm running late and a little damp.  I do get to the Hilton on time.  The lobby is packed with Cardinal people and the drinking and commaradarie and the fun and the noise.  I go past, head upstairs into a completely different vibe.  These guys are on a 4 day expo and I'm the entertainment for the end of day 2. It's quiet and laid back.  The only sound you hear is soft murmuring and the cling and clank of sliverware on plates.  It went very well though, I finished up before the game was supposed to start. I even got home right as they called off the game.  What a vida loco.
 
10/30/06
 
Dear Diary-
Well my diary friend...you missed it.  Went to the game Friday night.  Game 5 of the World Series.  The Cards won.  Yeah!  I was downtown for the win in 1982.  I think we left downtown some where around 5:30 a.m.  Not this time Jack, I was home by midnight.  Am I a puss?  No.  I'm just not 22 anymore.  Big difference. 
I had some beers sure, but not like then.  Now, they cut off beer sales at the end of the 7th inning.  Which is good because then you don't have to pee half way home.  That's something that you have to take into consideration now.  Will I have time to go where I'm going before I have to pee again?  Better not have one more of the 24 oz beer.  Even though they are so tasty on a Friday night in October when your team could win it all.
Again for traffic purposes, we went about half way then road the train.  As we parked in the lot and were gathering our things, my partner there, put some things on the roof of the car, including our Game 5 World Series tickets.  No thought about it until a gust of wind takes one ticket to the ground and the other over the eight foot high cement wall that's between the lot and the interstate.  Wow, did you see how fast that thing flew over the wall?  She screams and says "Oh my God, your ticket just flew over the wall."  I quickly noticed she said that it was "my" ticket that the wind had taken.  I pulled myself over the wall and drop down into the drainage culvert.  I quickly look around for the ticket and can't find it.  What the hell?  I seem something flicker out of the corner of my eye, look up and see the ticket is still riding the wind, but now it's up to the second floor of the parking garage and heading up to the third.  I'm literally dumbfounded.  I don't believe what I'm seeing.  Are we on Candid Camera? is that ticket actually floating away from me?  Can it really be riding the wind into oblivion?  I almost can't move.  I'm stunned, immobilized.  I'm just standing there watching my World Series ticket, waiting for it to head over the cyclone fence on to the interstate where there is no chance in hell of retrieving it.  I take off running.  When I did, I felt this pop in my upper calf.  I thought at first she had shot me.  I even asked "Did you shoot or throw something at me?  The answer of course was no.  I'm running down the middle of this ditch, with feet on either side, trying to maintain my balance and trying to forget about my burning calf while keeping an eye on my ticket.  I call it mine because that's how I felt at the time.  About forty yards down this thing and the wind dies, the ticket hits the ground and I pounce.  Oh, it may not have looked like a pounce, but it was the best pounce I could do at the time.  After all, I've been partially crippled.  I grab the ticket and return to the garage.  We laughed then.  Once we realized we were still going to the game, it was kind of funny.  Of course, I've spent the last few days on my ass with my leg in the air giving it heat and ice and massage trying to heal my strained calf muscle, but it was worth it. 
The Cards won.
 
12/1/06
 
Dear Diary-
 
Well, it's been some time hasn't it?  Do you know why?  It's because nothing has happened.  November, by any stretch of the imagination...was boring.  I think November is boring by tradition.  You've got four weeks of football and Thanksgiving.  That's it.  I'll tell you what I gave thanks for, that November only comes once a year.  St. Louis got hit with an ice storm followed by a snow storm and 500,000 people lost power.  I didn't, but is must have sucked for those that did.  The weather sucks, the sun doesn't shine and the Rams keep losing.  I mean, how much can a man take? 
 
Mexico actually has a lot going on in November.  They've got All Saints Day, The Revolution Anniversary and of course, my favorite.  The Day of the Dead.  Dia de los Muertos.  What a great name for a holiday.  You'd have to make plans in advance, because they weekend is going to be nuts.  "Hey, what are you guys doing for the weekend?"  "We're going to the huge Day of the Dead party at the lake."  I wonder if they do that, have big bashes like we do.  Do they have big sales events etc.? 
 
"Today at Big Bobs, our annual Day of the Dead mattress sale. It's BIG, BIG, BIG.  Everything must go."
Hilarious.  Doesn't even sound like something you would celebrate, at least not amongst certain peoples. I will say this, if you're going to have a holiday called Day of the Dead, November is the month to have it in. 
 
To tell you the truth, I don't know why I seem to be bashing November.  I guess I'm just trying to put something in my diary and since nothing is really happening, I'm blaming it on the month of the year.  Pretty lame when you think about it.  Damn son, go out and do something.  Well, I have been doing some stuff, it's not like I'm just sitting there staring at the wall.  It's just stuff that's not worth writing about.  Well, then stop.