Comfortably Numb

I had never listened to Pink Floyd before I met my friend Bob.

While in college, I had the privledge of meeting him. He and I coincidentally grew up together but hadn't seen each other in 13 years - the next thing we knew we lived a couple doors down from one another on the same freshman hallway.

Bob had the unfortune of going to an awful high school - a rival of mine. Luckily, Bob worked hard in high school and was able to escape the abysmal conditions he grew up in. I'm convinced these tough years shaped Bob into the person I grew to know.

Bob knew far more about Pink Floyd than anyone I'd met before or since. We'd sit in one of our rooms, listen to Roger & Syd's lyrics and talk about "what it all meant". If you're familiar with Pink Floyd, you probably know these discussions can last hours - or months actually. I was always happy when Bob and I had these conversations because I wouldn't just learn about the imagery of the poetry of the lyrics, but I'd (as sheepish as it sounds - you like that imagery Bob?) learn something about myself.

Common misconceptions abound about this band. These guys were writing music about what was happening to ordinary people; oppression in Great Britain, capitalistic abuses, the advancement of industry, drug abuse, & the plight of humanity were common themes in their music - ideas that 18 year olds in rural Ohio found ways to relate to and understand. These discussions were, in all seriousness, a very important part of my personal development.

One of my favorite Pink Floyd quotes comes from their "The Wall" CD (not one of my favorites):

"There is no pain you are receding A distant ship, smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying. When I was a child I had a fever My hands felt just like two balloons. Now I've got that feeling once again I can't explain you would not understand This is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb." - from Comfortably Numb

It was quotes like these that separated Roger Waters/Syd Barrett from the other frontmen of their day. There's no doubt, that bands like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, & The Grateful Dead all produced profound music - but in my opinion, none of their music reached the high desert plain that Pink Floyd was able to reach. Much of their music was hard at first to digest. But with Bob in the room - forcing me to "listen closer" - I began to understand the genius of the band.

I was on a train from Washington D.C. to Metropark, NJ two days ago, listening to "Comfortably Numb" (the live version) and began to realize that genius and creativity that was a part of Pink Floyd is much harder to find these days.

Realizing that doesn't make me sad - it makes me appreciate all that Pink Floyd has done even more. And remember:

"When the fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin' birds are calling
Summer's thunder time of year
The sound of music in my ears
Distant bells, new mown grass
Smells so sweet
By the river holding hands
Roll me up and lay me down
And if you sit don't make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling"
- Fat Old Sun


Chevy Impala's and Aerosmith

I've been in Tennessee a couple times, and every time I've been there I've rented a Chevy Impala and heard Aerosmith on the radio. I like both the Impala (the car, not the agile mammal) and Aerosmith....but it's crazy how often Aerosmith was played over the radio in my Impala!

I haven't heard "Walk that Way" on the radio since, well, I don't think I've EVER heard it on the radio before. Western Tennesse LOVES "Walk that Way". Furthermore, radio stations in Nashville leave a lot to be desired. I don't consider myself a fan of country music, so maybe Nashville and I just aren't meant for one another. But seriously! How many country radio stations can a city of 607,413 have?

Let's put that in contrast to New Orleans. Landed around 9pm and hoped into my Dodge Charger and headed into town. Not sure if I had satellite radio in the car or not, but the channel that was already on played 6 straight Grateful Dead songs! How perfect was this?!??!? I had just left a city that played nothing but country music and had arrived in a city that directly appealed to my bizarre taste of music. The playlist I heard was "grate" too; "Touch of Grey", "Box of Rain", "Samson & Deliah", "Sunshine Daydream", "Sugar Magnolia" & "Attics in my Life".

Perfect start to my trip to New Orleans.


Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Let me offer up some advice. Avoid O'Hare at all cost. I just flew through it, had a 90 minute layover and really didn't like it. It wasn't my first time there, and certainly won't be my last - but I'm determined to find a place somewhere within that monstrosity where I can find some peace and quiet to relax.

The crush of humanity that wanders through the corridors of O'Hare is equally perplexing. Every type of person is found there...so I ask you, where do people like me go? Do they opt for aviation museum? Or, perhaps they get on the next train to downtown Chicago for some food in between flights? Maybe, I need to check out the airport clubs next time. Instead of fighting for a table at the Fox Sports Sky Box (and being asked to move three times in 10 minutes so more people can be sat) I could take a shower at the Red Carpet Club, enjoy a gin and tonic and get some work done.

I think I've got a plan in place now - but please, if you have the pleasure of visiting Chicago in the future, go to Midway....if ORD is printed ANYWHERE near your ticket, bring some ear plugs, blinders, and enough bravado to fight for that table.



Even the trees in Columbus were red last weekend. I headed back to central Ohio for two reasons. First, was because the Ohio State Buckeyes were playing a big game against the Wisconsin Badgers & secondly, to see a good friend (Karthik) and a sworn fantasy sports enemy (Vafa). After being picked up the three of us got food and made the proactive decision to have a quiet Friday night so we could have more fun on Saturday.

Saturday started early and we did what all college football fans do on Saturday morning - immediately turned on College Gameday. We got a cab and headed towards the Horseshoe for some tailgaiting. A sea of red greeted us as we neared the stadium - as both OSU and Wisconsin fans wore their team red colors - making rivals nearly indistinguishable until you were right next to them.

I made the somewhat poor decision to be the only person (probably in all of Columbus) to wear Michigan colors to the stadium area. I just like blue. We met up with some friends and decided to find a bar to get some food and watch the game.

The game was underwhelming as most OSU games are - and I spent most of the time playing pool with Karthik and Vafa. As the night wore on, the blood alcohol level of the collective city rose to alarming heights (as is expected in Columbus during OSU games). Vafa, Karthik and I went to a couple parties throughout the night and finally ended up at a BW3s for some late night wings.

The next day, I got ready to head to Memphis for work - my first time there. All-in-all, it was a fun trip to Columbus - would have preferred that OSU had lost, but I guess I blew all my luck back in Reno.


Stat of the Day

Since beginning to travel for work (October 16, 2007) I have been averaging 1,172 miles through the air each day. If this pace continues, I should reach 300,000 miles flown in 2008.

Getting ready to head to my home-away-from-home National Airport for a weekend trip to Columbus. Pictures & stories to follow.


Reno, NV

After finishing my work in Carson City, I decided to drive to Lake Tahoe and then back to Reno (where I had a room for the night). It was the first time in my life that I drove on a road like US Route 50. It wound its way through the Sierra Nevada Range continually offering amazing vistas and dramatic scenary. There wasn't any traffic either, so the drive was not only beautiful, but also 100% stress free. Everyone should have a similiar experience as I did on this drive.

I eventually reached Incline Village, NV - an upper-class lakeshore community on the northern edge of the Lake. I worked my way through the neighborhoods, past Sierra Nevada College, to the lake itself. Not only was it deadly silent at the Lake, but it was absolutely still...hardly a ripple. Someday I'll have to head back there to get some skiing or camping in - hopefully soon.

I decided to stay at the Reno Hilton which was situated only 7 minutes away from the airport (an ideal location for my early AM departure on Thursday). Of course, I hadn't realized the

Hilton had changed to the Grand Sierra Resort 18 months ago - so here I am, at a totally tacky, glitzy casino in Reno...on Halloween. Perfect. If any place warrants a visit on Halloween, it's the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

I decided to play blackjack. I'd only ever played once or twice before - typically either winning or losing $20 - $30 each time. I withdrew $100 from my bank account and decided that I'd play as long as that $100 was still around. Fast forward 3 hours and 3 Bud Lights later, and I find myself with $850 in my pocket. For whatever reason, I did really well.

All in all, Reno was good. Glad to be back home in Washington though - and getting ready for another long week of travel ahead.