Posts Tagged ‘Eau Claire’

Speed Demons

February 20, 2013

Monday February 18th, 2013 – Black River Falls, WI

   What is it with me and speeding tickets lately? It’s only been in the last few years, but I’ve had way more than I’ve had in the previous twenty plus years combined and I can’t figure it out. As I rapidly approach codgerhood, one would assume that would be one area of life that would ease.

In my twenties and thirties when I was really banging out the miles I don’t recall getting tickets at all. I may have had oodles of other problems to deal with in life then, but that was never one of them. In fact, if nothing else I had a reputation of talking my way out of any traffic consequences whenever I got pulled over, and it drove my friends crazy. I guess I wasn’t a threat to the police.

I’ve always been able to talk to cops without fear. Part of the reason for that is my grandfather used to make me ask policemen for directions when we’d go for walks when I was a kid. He had the foresight to pretend we were ‘lost’, and made me give the policeman our address and ask him to tell us how to get home. How brilliant was that? I hope every parent of young kids steals that.

I got snagged in a speed trap last spring that was a total sham, and I’m still feeling the sting of that one on my insurance. The speed limit went from 55 to 35 in about half a block, and I wasn’t the only one who fell for it. It was a money machine for the tiny town, and I guess it was just my turn. I tried fighting it, but in the end I ended up paying to just make it all go away. What a mess.

This latest one happened just last month as I was driving in a rental car to a gig in Eau Claire, WI. I was passing a semi to avoid getting stones kicked up from one of the 18 wheels and having to pay for a cracked windshield. It didn’t help my cause any that the rental car had Illinois plates.

I could tell by the way the trooper goose stepped out of his car that I was in for a ticket before he even got to my window. I felt his ominous vibe, and didn’t try to fight it or talk my way out of it. I tried to put it out of my mind and move on, and I did exactly that. I put it out of my mind so well in fact that I totally forgot about it. Today was my day in court and I needed to take action.

It was my own fault, and I blame nobody else. I’m sure I’m not the only idiot in the history of traffic violations in small towns that has faced this situation, so I sucked it up and decided to get in my car after The Mothership Connection radio show ended at midnight and drive to the town of Black River Falls, WI to face my consequences. Court was scheduled for 9am and I was there.

If I could get any part of the $250 fine lowered or any points shaved off, it would be worth this hassle. Two tickets in one year can’t be good for insurance purposes, even at my approaching old geezerly age. It’s not like I’m a habitual criminal, but for whatever reason I’m getting targeted of late. I guess it’s the law of averages, as I’ve driven about ten times more than most other drivers.

They had me fill out a form pleading not guilty, and I was told that the District Attorney would contact me within a few weeks via mail. I have no idea what to expect, but prudence tells me I’ll be forking out cash at that point. Hopefully my effort will pay off, but who knows? It would sure be nice to catch a break, but the cosmos seems to have other plans. I’ll cross my fingers and wait.

Laughing Skull Festival

January 20, 2013

Friday January 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Once in a while I’ll actually manage to pull off something halfway intelligent. It turns out I did exactly that several months ago and then completely forgot about it until today. I was reminded I had submitted myself for a comedy festival called ‘Laughing Skull Festival’ when I received the email informing me I had been accepted. It takes place in Atlanta from March 27-31 of this year.

Comedy festivals are relatively new on the horizon, and I haven’t had a whole lot of experience doing them quite honestly. As a rule, I’ve been too busy actually working to spend time trying to enter festivals which are usually a showcase where industry people gather to harvest ripe talent.

Montreal’s ‘Just For Laughs’ is a huge one that’s been going for decades, and there was one in Apsen, CO that HBO used to run. I have no idea if that one is still going, and that’s embarrassing for someone who claims to be in that particular business. No wonder I’ve not progressed farther.

I’ll painfully admit my weakest trait has always been my business acumen. I should know who all the major talent pickers are and where they are picking said talent at any given time, but that’s not something I’ve ever actively pursued. I’d just assumed that world would find me eventually.

Well, that’s about the most naive assumption I’ve made since believing the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny would keep bringing me money and candy into perpetuity. How could I think I had a chance to get seen if I’d never put myself in front of anyone who might be able to discover me?

I have no answers other than I have played the game very poorly. I was never sure of myself as far as talent was concerned, and wanted to be really ready when my moment arrived. I misjudged myself horribly in that department, as it turns out I had the talent all along but didn’t believe in it.

I’m not bragging, but when I’m on my game I can work a live audience with the best of anyone I’ve ever seen in person. It took years of effort to develop that, but the raw ability was there from the start. Not everyone has it, and I wasn’t aware of that in the beginning. I’ve been given a gift.

It’s like a baseball pitcher with a 100 mile an hour fastball. Not everyone has one, and the ones that do don’t always have it forever. It’s a delicate thing that everyone wants, but not all who get it become instant superstars. I’ve had one the whole time, but managed to avoid hitting pay dirt.

Whatever happened happened, and I can’t change a lick. What I can and will do is pick myself up and go down to Atlanta to fire my best fastballs in March. I’ll do what I do, and hopefully I’ll catch the eye of someone who sees how much effort has gone into preparing for this opportunity.

All I need is ONE person who gets it and has power to make things happen and my world gets changed in a heartbeat. Instead of worrying about speeding tickets on my way to Eau Claire and defective driver’s doors, I will have a whole new set of things to occupy my time and I want that. I know I’m ready for something better, and if it’s not this particular opportunity it will lead me to getting in front of that single pair of eyes that needs to see me. This is an exciting time to be me.

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.

New Year, Old Luck

January 7, 2010

Wednesday January 6, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Tick, tick, tick, BOOM. Off went the time bomb on my new old Toyota today, right as I was on my way to play practice with Jerry’s Kidders. I was going to check my post office box for mail before heading over to Jerry’s house, and the car just shut off. I tried starting it again, and it cranked over but wouldn’t start. My experience says the fuel pump puked.

I could be wrong, but I won’t find out until tomorrow one way or another. There’s a tiny two stall garage a few blocks from both the post office and where I live, so that’s where it made the most sense to have it get looked at. The guy said he could do it and promised to get back to me as soon as he knew something. The whole day went by and he didn’t call.

Now I’ve got a situation, as I need to be in the Wisconsin Dells for a show tomorrow at 8pm. I had it pop up out of nowhere and was thrilled to get the extra money. Ha! Now it’s probably going to all go not only into the Toyota, but into a rental to get back and forth.

Not only that, to toss in just a little bit more nerve wrenching tension and drama into the mix, there’s supposed to be a blizzard coming in tonight to dump a fresh foot of wet snow smack dab in the heart of exactly where I’m supposed to be driving tomorrow. How’s that for a heaping helping hit of New Year’s cheer? The good old worst case scenario is back.

I’ve been in this kind of situation in one way or another so often that it’s not a big deal. It is what it is, and right now it’s just an inconvenience. It won’t kill me, but it sure makes me want to make money even more so I can avoid these situations. They’re getting WAY old. I guess I probably asked for it by buying a 17 year old car with 172,000 miles on it.

But it’s a Toyota Camry. Those are allegedly great cars, and if I can squeeze a year from this one, hopefully I’ll be in a much better place to not have to worry about it if my engine decides to surpass the surly bounds of earth during my tenure of ownership. For now, I’ve got to deal with it and get it back running somehow. Hopefully, it won’t drain the bank.

I have a feeling it will though. Toyotas and Hondas have great reputations when they’re running, but fixing them is another story. I think this one is worth it, as everything on it is in perfect working order. It’s got new tires and strong brakes and everything inside works except the overhead dome light. The transmission shifts smoothly too. It’s been a sweetie.

I didn’t have any problems on the way to Eau Claire and back, and I really hope I won’t have to junk it this close to buying it. We’ll see. Tomorrow is when I’m supposed to hear what the damage is, and I’m preparing for the worst. It’s all part of the puzzle of my life.

Pissing and moaning about it won’t change the situation, so I won’t do it. I needed a car so I bought what I could afford with the best knowledge I had at the time. It seemed like a nice car, and it still does. If it’s a fuel pump or whatever else it may be, I just hope it’s not going to put me in a deeper financial pickle than I already am. I’m right up against a wall.
I got myself into this and I’ll get myself out. I just hope I can avoid a major ass kicking.