Archive for January, 2013

Yay Bears?

January 18, 2013

Thursday January 17th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I predict a bright future for the Chicago Bears and it doesn’t upset me in the least. Yes, I’m still a flaming Green Bay Packer fan and will be at least until I get Alzheimer’s disease, severe dementia or some other condition that would rob me of my faculties.

I’ll always cheer for the Packers even though it still bums me out when they lose. Sometimes it bothers me how much I actually care, but I totally do. That being said, just because I’m a lifelong fan of the green and gold it doesn’t mean I hate the Bears personally. I thoroughly enjoy it when they lose, but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t ‘hate’ any rival. That’s a word I use very sparingly.

I hate war. I hate cancer. I hate cruelty to women, children and animals. Sports teams don’t fall into that category for me, and I find it rather disturbing when others take it that far. I admit I have never liked the Chicago Bears, but it doesn’t mean I wish ill fortune for any of them personally.

Living in the Chicago area, I am flooded with sports talk radio and can’t help hearing about the Bears in detail twelve months a year. It’s a year round obsession here just like the Packers are in Wisconsin, and I get to hear some of the players and coaches on the air quite often being people.

I find Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman to be a very nice fellow for example, and it deeply saddens me to know he has a sick daughter. If there were a charity event to raise money for her, I’d be first in line with bells on to participate and who I cheer for on Sundays would have nothing to do with it.

Today the buzz all over local media was the hiring of the new head coach Marc Trestman. He’s been kicking around coaching for thirty years, and this is his first shot as an NFL head coach. He won a couple of Grey Cups in Canada in Montreal, but this is his first chance on the NFL stage.

As I’m hearing about him on the radio, I’m finding myself cheering for the guy personally. He has a website www.coachmarctrestman.com where he has a book titled ‘Perseverance’, and I can totally relate to what that’s all about. He’s hung in there for decades, and now he’s getting a shot.

How can anyone not cheer for a guy like that to do well? Even as a Packer fan, I want the team to get good so the rivalry will really heat up. Both teams being good at the same time is great for the NFL, and even though I’ll be cheering for the Packers during all games I still like Trestman.

I didn’t have anything bad to say about the Bears’ last coach Lovie Smith. He said in his news conference that he wanted to ‘beat the Packers’ and I thought that was great. Very ballsy. He did it too – at least for the first few games. He had a respectable nine year run, and took the Bears to a Super Bowl. The guy isn’t going to starve to death, and I’m sure he’ll nail down another job.

I find myself cheering for quality people even above the teams they’re with. Lovie Smith has a classy aura about him, and I wish him nothing but the best. Forrest Gregg was a pompous ass and I was embarrassed the way he conducted business when he coached the Packers. I’m still loyal to the Packers, but if the Bears do well I’ll be happy for Marc Trestman. The guy earned his stripes.

Stepping In Schlitz

January 17, 2013

Wednesday January 16th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I can’t let the recent problems I’ve been having take me out of the game for 2013. This can still be my greatest year ever, even if it’s starting out a bit shaky. I’m doing the best I can with what I have been given, and I have to constantly reassess my position and make choices that will put me in a position to win. They might not be the most pleasant choices, but I know what I need to do.

Today I needed to get myself some bookings. As much as I am growing tired of the road, that’s what I know how to do and for the immediate future that will be paying my bills. I need to keep a steady income coming in, even while I’m working on all the big hopes and dreams on my plate.

It’s a challenge to do both, but I don’t have much choice. If I don’t work, I don’t eat. Period. If I don’t eat, I can’t stay in the game to make the big dreams come true. Today I was able to secure some work for February and March that will at least keep my bills paid. That’s an excellent start.

In a perfect world, I’d have gigs lined up the whole year. That would let me breathe easier and venture out on more daring projects, but I don’t have that luxury right now. I’d love to be putting finishing touches on the King of Uranus website and making personal appearances, but until I am able to make my monthly nut I can’t be goofing around with projects that don’t bring in money.

I have to really watch what I spend time on, and make sure I get the most important stuff done before I venture off into the Ralph Kramden/Lucy get rich quick mode. I’ve got all I can manage just staying afloat these days, so I can’t afford to waste any time or money. Times are very tight.

Some very positive news that I’m thrilled about is that it looks like I’ll get my chance to do my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show about Milwaukee four times in April. I don’t want to jinx the deal so I won’t give any more details just yet, but I think I’ve got a shot to make it a big winner.

It would be in a fantastic location, and that’s a big part of the deal right there. I know it will be a hit with people who grew up in Milwaukee, and hopefully will be an escape from all the harsh unpleasant stories that permeate the news these days. I want to offer an escape to a simpler time.

I think the timing is perfect for a show like this. I will bring it from my heart, and I know how to entertain an audience – especially those who grew up in Milwaukee. It will be for people like the ones I entertained in Minnesota last weekend. They weren’t comedy club regulars, but I was able to make them laugh for more than an hour an afterward they lined up to say they loved it.

I see the same thing happening with the Schlitz Happened show. It will be clean and funny for an audience that doesn’t want filth as a rule, and stays away from comedy shows for exactly that reason. This is a theatre show, and those who will love it will hopefully become long time fans.

I had breakfast with Mark Filwett of Lake County Geeks Web Design to nail down the website, and hope to be up and running with a functioning site if these shows in fact do take place which I think they will. Mark is available for hire at www.lakecountygeeks.com. He’ll make you proud.

Car Search

January 17, 2013

Tuesday January 15th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I am so far down at the bottom of the financial trick bag as far as my car is concerned, I am not able to identify even a distant flicker of light no matter which direction I look. This is a dark ugly place, and it’s been a particularly bitter pill to swallow because I know intentions were positive.

My friend Richard is a great guy, and he was doing me a much appreciated favor by letting me have his mom’s car for free. I’ve known him at least twenty years or more, and he’s always been extremely generous whenever I’ve needed help with anything. He’s one of the few people I trust.

We crossed paths because of our mutual love of sports cards, and he’s helped me out of money holes I’ve climbed into over the years by buying card collections I couldn’t sell. He is a full time card dealer of high end product, and has been able to help me move collections more than once.

I love hanging out with the guy, and I consider him to be a solid friend. There’s no way either of us would intentionally screw the other one over after this many years of friendship, and I feel horrible this whole scenario is playing out. It’s just the luck of the draw, but I drew a bad hand.

This car is absolutely cursed, and I think I’m going to have to cut my losses and move on. I can only stick so much money into a red 1994 Nissan Sentra that has a blue hood and fender because I was too tight fisted to have them painted. I wanted to see how little I could spend for the year.

This was a car that was supposed to be completely on the cheap to allow me catch up on other bills for a while, but it’s turning out to be a money hemorrhage and I’m running out of resources. It’s probably going to be a funny comedy bit sooner than later, but in real life it’s a huge hassle.

Originally, I thought I’d be able to get a car on the road for less than $1000. I’d hoped it would last at least through the year, and cost me with insurance included about $100 a month. That was gone before I had it a month, and it’s been a barnacle on my wallet since. It’s bleeding me dry.

I got it back from the body shop today after returning my rental car, and they charged me a $50 fee to have the mechanic look at it and tell me I’d need a $375 latch replacement if I wanted it to have a normal working driver’s door. I can’t see myself paying that, so I asked if they could just seal the door so it doesn’t pop open in traffic and I’d crawl in and out from the passenger side.

I began that adventure today, and I can’t see it lasting more than a week. It’s pretty humiliating to be doing that this late in the game, but that’s how it worked out. With all the other things that went wrong since I got it, I’m well over $2000 on a car that wouldn’t bring even $500 at auction.

To make a bad story worse, my front headlight blew out and that was another $30 hit I had not planned for. It seems like every day something new breaks, and my heart was high atop that list. This kills me, and I would never have stuck all that money into it had I known it would sting me so badly so quickly. I’m stuck with it now, and every time I crawl through that passenger door it will remind me of my stupid mistake. But that’s what it was – a mistake. I need to cut my losses.

Not Enough Scratch

January 16, 2013

Monday January 14th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

   The last three weeks have been a continuous adventure of whirlwind travel. I’ve spread myself all over America from Reno to Nashville to the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and pulled off a series of successful standup comedy shows in each place. On paper, that would be remarkable success.

Had anyone told me when I started I’d be doing that in all those places, I’d have had a difficult time believing it. It would’ve seemed too good to be true, but alas all these years later I managed to pull it off.  None of it was a fluke, and if I were asked to do it again I could easily replicate it.

The problem is, after paying for plane tickets, gas, food, rental cars and speeding tickets I’ll be lucky if I average a $150-$200 a week profit. That’s a lot of effort for that small of payback, and I can’t see myself doing it on a long term basis. A ton of effort went into all three of those weeks and that includes booking them, arranging travel, physically getting there and doing the shows.

That’s no easy feat, and I dare anyone to give it a shot and experience firsthand how difficult it all actually is. There are always glitches and obstacles to overcome, and at the end of these three weeks I’m drained and can use some time off. Too bad for me, I needed to be in Chicago tonight for the Rising Star Showcase at Zanies. A chance to earn money on a Monday takes precedence.

It’s funny to see the same longing looks in the eyes of the new kids that I had when I’d hear of the road adventures of the headliners when I was starting. They’d tell me about where they’d just returned from and where they were going next and it all sounded so exciting and glamorous then.

Parts of it are exciting and maybe even a tiny bit glamorous at least at times, but after a while it all wears off and becomes an enormous constant chore. There’s always the next plane to catch or car to rent or deadline to make, and then when I get there it’s a matter of dealing with that club or booker’s personal quirks not to mention having to deal with pitfalls of drunk or small audiences.

There really is a ridiculously long list of potential problems nobody would ever imagine would need to be dealt with when starting out on the comedy trail. We all assume it will be a rocket ride straight to superstardom with nary a glitch to even slow us down. How wrong we are, and reality then commences to beat us into obedience over a long period of time until we finally fall in line.

Well, I’m in line. I’ve learned my craft with the best of them and can handle virtually any kind scenario one can throw in front of me, and handle it well. The bookers who use me now receive a fantastic bargain in that I’m a Green Beret level soldier when going into combat in their venues.

The problem – and it’s a big one – is, there just isn’t enough pay involved in doing this to make a decent living these days. It took a lifetime of sacrifice to get to the level I’m at, and seeing what I netted for a major cross country three week swing is embarrassing to the point of humiliation.

It’s not even worth getting out of bed for that kind of money, and with the amount of wear and tear it put on my psyche, car and body I came out the loser on this trip. How is anyone surviving?

Working Clean

January 16, 2013

Sunday January 13th, 2013 – Minneapolis, MN/Kenosha, WI

   It’s always hard to fall asleep after a show, and then even harder to get up early to start the long drive home. The strong temptation is always there to roll back over and catch what is intended to be a few more minutes of sleep but always turns into hours and makes the long trip even longer.

I resisted that temptation this morning and hauled myself out of bed to take a shower and pack. I’d told Dan Ronan to be ready by 7am, which in my head meant I’d hoped to leave by 8. I didn’t want to put pressure on the kid, but part of being a road comic is being on time for transportation deadlines. Buses, trains and planes won’t wait, and it was good training for him to have to get up.

We were checked out of the hotel and in the car by 7:20, which is pretty impressive for comedy timing. Both of us wanted more sleep, but I needed to be back to do The Mothership Connection radio show in Kenosha by 8pm and didn’t want to have a stressful ride home chasing a deadline.

I can’t say enough good things about this kid Dan Ronan. He’s got the chops on stage, but he’s also got it off stage as well. His demeanor is laid back, and he takes direction extremely well. He never complained about the long drives or having to get up early, and he handled the whole week like a trooper. He did his time on stage, and didn’t bellyache about having to work clean either.

That’s a major issue in comedy, and isn’t going away any time soon. There is a perception by a significantly large percentage of the public that standup comedy shows are filthy, and it prevents them in droves from coming to shows – especially to see a comedian they have never heard of.

I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but it is a factor that needs to be addressed. It’s extremely difficult to offend me personally, but I understand that people don’t want to be exposed to certain words, subjects or ideas and I respect their wishes. Working clean is a skill well worth pursuing.

I preach this to my students until they’re sick of hearing it, but they need to not only hear it but put it into practice. Nobody wants to follow a dirty act, and everyone starts at the bottom and has to work their way up the ladder. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of grey area of what ‘clean’ means.

It’s not just a matter of using or not using ‘the words’ that defines what’s acceptable. I’ve seen countless newbies (and some not so new) go up and be completely gross and disgusting and then not get why the audience was repulsed. There’s a definite line of taste, and smart performers will not only know where it is but not cross it – especially at a type of venue we played this weekend.

We were in an upper scale restaurant that features comedy shows on the weekends. That’s a far cry from an actual comedy club, and I knew that going in. I was specifically chosen for this week because of a large party that requested a clean show. I have a lot of experience and can pull it off.

The truth is, there are MILLIONS of people who would love what I do but getting them out to see me is a different story. The people this week loved that I worked clean, but I doubt if any of them could remember my name other than “that guy”. This is a problem that needs a solution.

Minnesota Memories

January 13, 2013

Saturday January 12th, 2013 – Bloomington, MN/Shakopee, MN

   One more night in the Twin Cities, and then it’s back to the balmy Chicago climate. It’s maybe 8 degrees here if I’m lucky, and everything is frozen either open or shut. I haven’t felt it this cold in a long time, but I still like it up here. The people are friendly and seem to really enjoy comedy.

I’ve always done very well here, even though I haven’t worked the area as much as I probably could or should have. It’s a rather far drive, and through the years I never made it a point to seek out bookings in the area. In retrospect, I think that was a mistake. I should have pursued it more.

At one time back as I was starting out, I thought seriously about moving here. That would have been a smart move as it turns out, but I ended up taking my first radio job in Lansing, MI instead. That was in 1990, and my world changed from there. I lasted in Lansing for six unstable months.

That wasn’t the end of the world, and I could have easily moved on and came here anyway but instead I ended up getting another radio job at 93QFM in Milwaukee in 1991. That was a disaster in the long run, but at the time I really wanted to do it so I did. Who knew it would be a mistake?

Life is full of decisions for everyone, and sometimes we all choose poorly. In theory, getting an opportunity to do a morning radio show in one’s home town is a big deal. In reality, it was one of the worst career choices I ever made and it ended up stunting my comedy growth for many years.

Radio became a monkey on my back, and every few years I’d get another offer that would pop up out of nowhere and once again distract me from standup comedy. I wish I would have stopped after Lansing, but I always thought the next gig would be ‘the one’. It never was, and here I sit.

I wonder how my life would have turned out had I moved here when I wanted to. There was an exciting comedy scene here then with a lot of excellent comics and I bet I would have fit right in. Jeff Cesario is originally from Kenosha, WI but he’d moved here even before I thought about it.

I’ve always liked and respected Jeff, and he’s a very sharp guy. He developed here and went to L.A. after that and has done very well for himself. He’s one of my all time favorites, even though we’ve only worked a couple of times over the years. I have to believe had I moved here it would be a lot different. We’d be a lot closer, and I would have eventually moved to L.A. and stayed.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. That’s not how it turned out, and that’s how it goes. Now I’m in the situation I’m in, and it’s too late to go back now. I’ll always wonder what would have happened, but there’s no guarantee life would have been all Hershey bars and Archie comics had I gone that way either. Life is always full of ups and downs, and I may have had all kinds of other problems.

I talked about this with Dan Ronan today as we walked around the Mall of America. He’s just starting to spread his wings, and I tried to impart a little wisdom on him I wish I’d had available when I was making all of my major life choices. He’s got a lot going for him, and I hope he has a much smoother ride than I did. We had a killer show tonight, now it’s another long drive home.

Paying It Forward

January 12, 2013

Friday January 11th, 2013 – Shakopee, MN

   I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude, but it’s not easy. That speeding ticket yesterday was a kick in the lug nuts, not to mention the wallet. I don’t know why money has to be such an issue in life but it absolutely is. Some find a way to master it, while others inherit more than they need.

The latter are usually the first to say “Don’t worry – it’ll all work out.” It’s easy not to have to worry when there’s a trust fund in place or a rich relative available to help bail one out of a cash pickle. I’d love to be able to count on someone when times get bleak, but I’m a one man band.

All I want is enough to not have to worry about stupid stuff like speeding tickets. Whatever the reason, it was my turn and I will have to pay up. I would guess I drive about five times more than the average driver, so it’s inevitable I’ll get more speeding tickets over the course of my lifetime.

Still, yesterday was not when I needed it. I’m trying to come out swinging this year and get my financial ship righted to get out of debt. I don’t expect any free rides and I’m willing to pay what I owe, but that one materialized out of nowhere and urinated my flickering candle of hope out.

Plus, it happened at the beginning of the trip to put a damper on the whole weekend. I tried not to think about it last night in Eau Claire and tonight in Shakopee, MN, but I couldn’t help it. I did this run for the money, and now not only won’t I be making any I have to pay out of my pocket.

It is what it is, and I’ll shut my mouth and keep slugging. I’m working with a young kid named Dan Ronan this weekend and he’s got big time written all over him. He’s 23, and has spectacular upside potential. I was able to bring him along on this run and if nothing else at least I can enjoy a chance to mentor someone who appreciates it. I’m unbelievably impressed with his raw ability.

Dan lives in the Chicago area, and we crossed paths a few years ago at the Zanies Rising Star Showcase. He was only 19 then, but I could see his talent immediately. He’s stayed with it and is starting to come up the ladder and it was my pleasure to help him by including him on this run.

He’s got a great work ethic, and he’s a student of the game just like I was at 23. I see a big part of myself in him, but I think he’ll take it a lot farther than I ever did. He’s got a great look and an unusual delivery and I see him all over TV in the not too distant future. This kid is a big leaguer.

Hopefully, I can plant some of the nurturing seeds in him that comedians like Gary Kern, Kyle Nape, Danny Storts and others planted in me when I was his age. Those guys showed me how to be a comedian both by their words and their actions. Now it’s my turn to pay some of it forward. I don’t need a run like this for anything but money, but Dan needs the stage time to get his chops.

He came through with flying colors last night and tonight. He was nervous beforehand for both shows, and perused his set list like it was the winning lottery numbers. I used to do all that, and it made me smile watching him do exactly what I did all those years ago. Having a chance to act as a mentor to a talented kid like Dan is a treat, and I’ll focus on that. He’s got a very bright future.

Ticket Master

January 12, 2013

Thursday January 10th, 2013 – Eau Claire, WI

   Life sure has a coldhearted way of sucking all the wind out of someone’s sail. All that’s needed to let a person know without a doubt who’s in charge and really running the show is an event that pops up out of the blue to wave the cosmic finger of warning. I received one today and it stinks.

I’ve really gone out of my way to put forth a major effort to get myself in a positive mindset of late – especially for the New Year. I’ve been doing all the right things, and felt myself getting on a nice little roll. I’ve been working on my career, my health and my personal life and feeling like I may actually have a shot at living my dreams after all. I really believed 2013 would be my year.

Then, on my way to Eau Claire, WI this afternoon I was pulled over in my rental car and given a speeding ticket for $250 by one of the smuggest cops I ever recall encountering. I could tell by how he cockily strutted from his car to mine that he was going to give me a ticket and that was it.

I don’t know why I knew it, but I could feel that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time for catching any leniency. I’d noticed there were cars getting pulled over all through Wisconsin. I’m sure Illinois plates on my rental car didn’t help, but I was consciously keeping my speed down.

The reason I was speeding was to pass an 18 wheeler so it wouldn’t kick up any stones to crack my windshield. I’ve been a magnet for that through my life, and it was expensive enough to have to rent the car in the first place. I was just looking to keep expenses down, not to break any laws.

Sure enough, Officer Hemorrhoid was on my ass out of nowhere, and looked pleased to be able to write me a $250 ticket. Did I bring up that I put together a benefit fundraiser for an officer that was injured just a few months ago? I didn’t, but that’s not why I did the benefit. I wanted to help a fellow human being who was in a pinch. Now I find myself in a financial one. Who helps ME?

In the big picture of life, does driving a rental car faster than the posted speed limit qualify me as a criminal? I realize it’s just a revenue stream for the state – kind of like winning the anti lotto. Instead of winning a scratch off for $250, I got picked out of the crowd to have to pay it instead.

I’m already in the toilet to pay the IRS for taxes, and I try my hardest to make an honest living providing a service that people need now more than ever before. Laughter is getting scarcer and scarcer with all the insanity going on in the world, and one would think the universe would value it and protect those who provide that service. Instead, it seems like we’re getting blasted hardest.

Most of my comedian friends are really struggling right now, as is most of America. No matter how positive anyone tries to think, times are very tough and getting tougher. Getting this ticket is a killer, as it will cause me to lose money for the trip. I was on a very slim profit margin already.

I’m sure it will make my insurance higher, and probably haunt me for years. Any road warrior knows speeding tickets happen, but this timing is terrible. It stings badly, but life doesn’t care. It could still be a great year, but I fail to see why this was necessary. Universe, bug someone else.

Door Jammed

January 9, 2013

Wednesday January 9th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Comedians as a rule will tend to use our most painful and/or stressful life situations to craft our comedy material. It’s what we do. I can say first hand from all too much bitter experience there’s absolutely NOTHING more unfunny or torturous than having to live one of those bits in reverse.

This ‘free’ car I have is becoming a total nightmare. It’s been one ridiculously outrageous high cost problem after the next, and I stopped laughing a long time ago. It’s becoming a major hassle as I’m so deep into it financially I don’t know what to do. It’s a swift kick right in my ball joints.

Today I received the delightful news my driver’s door latch malfunction will only set me back a paltry $350 to fix – and that doesn’t come with any guarantees it will work as long as I keep the car. The body shop manager’s head snapped back as I laughed out loud heartily when he shot me the final number. “I didn’t expect that reaction,” he said. “I didn’t expect that price,” I countered.

He was actually a very nice guy and went on to explain how difficult it was to even find a latch for my particular door. He only found five in the entire country, and it would take several days to have one shipped in before they could even fix it. I don’t think the guy was lying, and he took the time to show me where all five of the latches were located and what work all needed to be done.

There’s no way I want to throw another $350 into this unending money sucking nightmare, but what else am I supposed to do? I already have way more than I ever wanted to stick into this ugly mess as it is, and it’s not anything I can ever get back out. I’m in a tight spot here, and it rots ass.

What I told them to try was to secure the latch somehow so the door can lock and not pop open in traffic. I don’t care if they have to weld it shut, I can’t see wasting another $350 on top of all I already spent. As inconvenient as it will be, I’ll crawl over from the passenger side and slide into the driver’s seat for the rest of the time I own the car – which I don’t expect to be for long now.

It kills me to have to eat such a heaping pile of manure, but I’m going to have to cut my losses and move on. I threw everything into this car, thinking it would last at least a year. Unfortunately the engine and transmission probably would have easily done that and more. It’s the other ton of glitches that are absolutely killing me. $825 for an exhaust system? Brakes? That money is shot.

The timing of this whole fiasco is what hurts the most. There have been times in my life when I could have weathered this kind of storm financially and laughed it off. Right now I am struggling harder than I ever have, and I really need that car to last the rest of the year. I was counting on it.

We’ll see how many times I can squeeze my fanny over the gear shift knob before I flip all the way out and set it on fire, but right now I can’t think of a better alternative. I have a rental car for the rest of this week, but next Monday I’m going to have to deal with this every day of my life.

I’m sure I can take it to other places and get other estimates, but the bottom line is I’m stuck in a horribly inconvenient situation I never planned for. On stage, it’s hilarious. In real life, it hurts.

Too Much Travel

January 9, 2013

Tuesday January 8th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m only home for a couple of days before having to head out again, and I’m realizing just how much effort is involved in living the road life. I did it for decades without giving it a first thought much less a second, but now I see just how much energy it takes to travel week in and week out.

I used to do it for the adventure, and there was plenty to be had. It was exciting to experience a constant variety of new places and faces, not to mention learning the craft that consumed most if not all of my entire being. I was so immersed in it all I failed to notice how difficult traveling is.

Now I’m doing it mostly for the money, and I see it from a completely different angle. It would be much more economical not to mention a whole lot less stressful to be located in one particular city or at least region rather than flitting around like a moth visiting scattered flames on a whim.

That’s how it’s been lately, and I’m less than thrilled. My routing is all over the place, but so is the available work. Two weeks ago it was Reno, and then last week it was Nashville. Thursday I have to be in Eau Claire, WI and then Minneapolis for the weekend. That’s way too many miles.

It’s also impossible to be efficient with all activities off the stage. Any kind of regular schedule for anything from eating to sleeping to exercising gets ruined, and one can only absorb that for so long before it starts taking an expensive toll. I’m sure I’ll have to pay mine far sooner than later.

Finding some kind of stability has got to be a priority. The benefits of what I’m getting out of it aren’t even close to the price I’m paying to keep pounding it out on the road. When I was starting I needed stage experience, plus it was fun to travel for the first time. Now it’s the total opposite.

I now have a heaping helping of experience, and it’s not fun living the gypsy lifestyle. Staying in hotels gets stale very quickly, as does having to drive 500 miles in a day or spend hours sitting in the middle seat of an airplane between the unwashed and the morbidly obese. It’s a hard life.

I see why places like Las Vegas and Branson exist, and for an entertainer that would be heaven on Earth. The audiences do the traveling, but for them it’s a vacation and they have the feeling of adventure I used to have when I started on the road. Having a ‘normal’ life appeals to me now.

That’s why I chased radio so long – even though it kept stomping on my soul with the force of a landlord stomping on a cockroach. I thought in theory if I landed the right gig I could have had the best of both worlds and experience stability along with being able to still perform regularly.

The performance part never gets old, and I still love it even now. Being on that stage when it is going well is a feeling I can’t see myself or anyone else tiring of any time soon. It’s nothing short of intoxicating, but the audience benefits also. If there was ever a true win/win scenario, this is it.

I want to perform every single time I can, but I want to do it as close to home as possible. After crisscrossing the continent for as long as I have, steady time in one place would be a treat beyond words. I never thought I’d feel this way, but I totally do. Either I’m maturing or just wearing out.