Monday, May 15, 2006

“The Ship Can’t Take It, Cap'n!”

    After strugglin' all weekend t' get this page t' show up properly in Internet Explorer (while it displayed without a problem in other browsers), all I can say is:

Upgrade t' Firefox 1.5!
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/15 at 12:06 AM
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Changin' Tack

    I were bein' goin' t' label this “Pickin' Up Steam”, but that didn’t seem t' fit with all these sailin' references.
    There’s more news t' share though, in th' form o' another new development with our feed.  I (without consultin' th' others) impulsively bought a domain fer our podcast.  Northcoast.com and northcoast.net are already taken, but I came up with usin' NorthCoastCast as our new port o' call.  Short, simple, and hopefully easy t' remember.  It’s paid up fer two years too, so those other WANC’ers better continue ’castin' with me t' get th' most out o' this investment.
    There won’t be any additional content there however, since, in fact, th' new URL simply refers ye back t' this page.  Therefore, ye needn’t bother tryin' th' link now.  If ye’re here, ye’re here.  But th' new URL might be a nice mnemonic t' bookmark.
    Similarly, scrap all those e-mail changes too.  They’ll all still be active, but ye might as well use our new address: podcast AT northcoastcast DOT com.
    P.S.: more changes.  I can’t say I’m surprised one o' th' podcatcher sites is displayin' our title incorrectly.  The site is Yahoo! and th' problem is that danged apostrophe.  Therefore, effective Sunday mornin', our feed is now called “Wasting Away on th' North Coast” (as opposed t' th' canonical “Wastin ”).
    Also, in th' interest o' cuttin' down on bandwidth usage, th' downstreamin' versions, playable on that cool iPod player—how ’bout that iPod player?!—have been downgraded t' monaural 32kbps versions.  For th' full-quality 96-160kbps stereo versions, ye’ll have t' subscribe.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 06:35 PM
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Wind in Our Sails

    I were bein' tryin' t' spruce thin's up a bit last night, and I guess I broke th' column display (fer those usin' IE).  It took me all day today, but I figured out what th' problem were bein'; so th' page should be lookin' proper now.  Also, I finally got our XML feed so that iTunes will display our (temporary) feed art.
    P.S.: Don’t forget ye can drop us line at ladi34t AT shortfatguy DOT com.  (The “ladi34t” o' course refers t' th' title Livin’ and Dyin’ in ¾ Time.)  Or ye can Skype us at “shortfatguyonline”.  Or leave a message at our phone line: 774-221-7346.  That’s 774-221-S.F.G.O.
    We’re glad t' have ye along fer th' ride.
    P.S.: And how ’bout that new podcast player?!  (Thanks t' Jeroen Wijerin', “Eric”, and The Tyron Effect! [né “Where’s Your Tyron”] fer help with settin' it up.)
    P.P.S: scrap th' e-mail information.  The address is still good, but t' keep us from havin' t' explain “ladi34t” every podcast, we’ve set up an easier address fer yer comments and criticisms: northcoast AT shortfatguy DOT com.  And, seriously, how ’bout that new podcast player?  Isn’t it cool?! Walk the plank!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/12 at 09:07 PM
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Episode 0.5: Still Findin' Our Sea Legs

Show Notes:
Recorded Wednesday, May 10 2006, (9-10 PM) at Big Al’s in Gibraltar MI
Still theme song free!
    “Cap'n Schmoe brin's notes but th' conversation still meanders. Topics include Hoot, Fingers Taylor, a theme song, Alpine Valley, last week’s show remembered, and a visit from th' wacky neighbor!

    A sudden downpour at 7:30 sped up th' start time t' our get-together…but unexpected equipment failure delayed th' start o' th' actual recordin'.  The Black Scott were bein' unable t' participate because o' that, but fillin' in fer that scurvey dog were bein' Rum-Runner Greg.  Speakin' o' The Black Scott, he sent in this comment, along with a theme song suggestion:

I were bein' just listenin'
it lacks somthin' that were bein' really good in th' first one, ME!!
How about Everybody Wants t' be Jimmy Buffett Sometimes - Eric Stone Boatsongs Volume III!

Steps have already been taken t' move away from DAT and record t' an SD memory card.  We used new mics this week too, incidentally.  Last week’s show were bein' recorded with Core Sound binaurals and this week’s with Innovative Specialist mics.  Do ye hear a difference?  Let us know if ye have a preference.
    Cap'n Schmoe and Mickey Finn both spent time doin' some preliminary work fer this week’s podcast.  Cap'n Schmoe sketched out topics fer discussion and Mickey Finn saw Hoot.  Mickey Finn adds th' followin' t' his movie review:

I’ve read that some conservative columnists are upset with Hoot because o' its strong environmental stance.  They call it “soft core eco-terrorism”, but there’s somethin' even more insidious at work.  What is more noticeable is th' main character’s obsession with a lad named Mullet Fingers.  From th' moment Roy sees th' lithe blond Mullet runnin' down th' river, Roy feels an immediate and suspicious attraction which occupies much o' th' film.  This is th' movie’s true liberal agenda.  Take yer little sandcrabs t' see this at yer peril.  Tomorrow they’ll be votin' yes on gay marriage!

    Mickey Finn’s memory failed that scurvey dog last week, and his eyes fail that scurvey dog this week.  Rum-Runner Greg “Fingers” Taylor does join in on two songs o' th' Hoot soundtrack: “Werewolves o' London” and th' “Floridays” remake.  A reunion so monumental we’re surprised Mickey Finn were bein' unaware o' it.  Evidently th' liner notes he says he checked were fer th' Fingers-less “Happy Endin'” instrumental.
    And Cap'n Schmoe sends in an addendum o' his own.

Correction from podcast:  Memorial Day is May 29, Smike’s b-day, as always, is May 30, which is th' next day.

    Additional links:
    • Alpine Valley Music Theater
    • A more detailed memoir o' that ill-fated Alpine Valley sea trip
    • DTE Music Theatre (née Pine Knob)
    • Rum-Runner Greg “Fingers” Taylor
    • Club Trini
    • Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine
    • Why is rum called rum?
    • Buckeye Lake State Park
    • Verizon Wireless Music Center (née Deer Creek Music Center)

    Late breakin' news: our podcast is now on iTunes!

      >  Pirate Episode 0.5

Should Schmoe refer to the podcast as WANC ?
Yeah, why not
God, no!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/12 at 12:12 AM
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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Episode 0: The Prequel

Show Notes:
Recorded Wednesday, May 3 (9-11 PM) at Big Al’s in Gibraltar MI
    “Wherein Cap'n Schmoe, Smike, The Black Scott, and Mickey Finn decide what t' call th' podcast, what format t' use, what artwork t' use, and who has t' pay fer th' pitchers.  ...Oh yeah, and some stuff about Buffett too.

    With golf scores tallied and league affairs out o' th' way, th' team o' Cap'n Schmoe, Smike, The Black Scott, and Mickey Finn get down t' th' business o' hashin' out podcast details.  Mere moments after Dan leaves, a name is decided ... yet we still keep talkin' fer another hour!  Our waitress Meredith’s socks have “JB” on them, but this really refers t' “Joe Boxer”.
    Buffett has indeed pledged t' back a Jamaican Iditaod team.  Accordin' t' Margaritaville Jamaica: “On December 8, 2005, Jimmy Buffett, international recordin' artist and namesake o' th' popular Margaritaville chain, announced his intent t' sponsor th' Jamaican Dogsled Team at a press conference held at Margaritaville in Ocho Rios.”
    The appearance on Live with Regis & Kelly this mornin' (with Kelly and guest co-host Sam Champion), were bein' also just an interview.
    JB is indeed playin' May 6 at th' New Orleans Jazz Fest, on th' Acura Stage betwixt 5:25 and 6:55 PM.  This marks his final date o' th' Sprin' tour.  (And Hoot does have 12 tracks.)
    Mickey Finn is a giant nerd who against his better judgment cannot stop referencin' fantasy and science fiction movies in conversations with women.  The snazzy embroidered SFG baseball cap sold originally fer $15.  (Smike’s cap were bein' damaged at th' Dearborn Homecomin' durin' th' fireworks display.)  TV references work better, but only within th' group: “Great The Black Scott!” comes from th' “Valentine’s Day” episode o' The Office (US) originally aired February 9 2006.  “Big Gay Al’s” comes from South Park, but ye already knew that.  Cap'n Schmoe mentions th' “Mr Plow” Simpsons episode, Mickey Finn makes a lame Lost numbers joke, Smike reportedly imitates some SNL character.  And in regards t' Arrested Development, Fox sucks!
    Mickey Finn’s minimal research fails that scurvey dog.  Buffett’s last Michigan appearance were bein' actually June 24 2003 (although Mickey Finn did get th' November 12 2001 date right).  Buffettnews.com has a thread about th' 2003 concert—which Mickey Finn should have known about since he commented about it!  Jimmy’s next performance will be May 26 on th' Today show, and th' Party at th' End o' th' World Tour resumes June 2. 
    Big Al’s is not west o' Allen, but east.  We could excuse Mickey Finn since he were bein' facin' south when he said this, but Big Al’s isn’t on Allen Rd anyway—it’s on Fort St.  And Mickey Finn listed artwork and chapter markers as characteristics o' enhanced AAC files, but ne'er got aroun' t' mention th' third: embedded hyperlinks.
    Here’s th' Hoot page on IMDb.  And this is th' documentary Buffett is producin'.
    Cap'n Schmoe and Smike’s musical suggestions: The Refreshments, Roger Clyne and th' Peacemakers, and KT Tunstall.  Foreigner 4 were bein' released in 1981 (with Double Vision in 1978), Asia and Diver Down were released in 1982, Hang On fer Your Life were bein' 1981, Somewere Over China in 1981, and One Particular Harbour in 1983.

      >  Pirate Episode 0

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/06 at 12:49 AM
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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Settin' Sail

    The first podcast were bein' recorded last night.  It were bein' edited overnight and th' podcast feed is already up and runnin'.
    There seem t' be podcasts about everythin', but there’s a surprisin' scarcity o' podcasts on Jimmy Buffett.  We haven’t found any, in fact—plenty o' Warren Buffett, but no Jimmy—or maybe we haven’t been lookin' close enough.  Whichever, it’s led us t' start a ’cast o' our own.  We won’t be much o' an in-depth (or even trustworthy) news source, but we’ve been fans fer decades and have a lot t' say on th' subject.
    As o' now, it looks like shows will be recorded weekly, on Wednesdays.  We hope ye’ll come along fer th' ride. 

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/04 at 09:14 PM
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Saturday, June 02, 2001

Mickey Finn’s Alpine Valley Diary

A word o' explanation: fer a few years I used t' maintain an online diary at Troubled Loner, but I took it offline once I found out too many people were readin' it—namely, me bosses.  Our blog here linked t' th' diary entries o' our Alpine Valley sea trip, and rather than leave those links broken I decided t' republish th' sea trip entries here.

Friday, June 1 2001
    I did th' same as yesterday, workin' on th' U2 Detroit audio as soon as I got up.  I got word from MIke about our Buffett trip tomorrow; we planned on leavin' aroun' seven AM.  We only had stupid Lawn tickets so we’d need t' get there early.  I relayed th' info t' Patti.  I stopped at Office Depot on th' way t' work, t' pick up CDR stuff fer this U2 project.
    Dennis told me I needed t' call our company in Atlanta and discuss payin' buck th' money I’d been “doubly paid”.  If I did not soon, me paycheck would be docked.  The HR person had been out yesterday but I reached that comely wench today.  It were bein' decided I preferred havin' me paycheck docked.  The winsome lass explained this would happen o'er two pay periods; it would be better than just writin' a check fer th' whole thousand.
    Almost by accident I discovered someone were bein' sellin' me recordin' o' th' U2 Toronto on eBay!  They’d downloaded th' MP3s and made audio CDs o' them.  I could tell it were bein' me recordin' since they apologized that some o' th' first song were bein' missin'.  I didn’t know if I should be pleased or miffed.
    I called up Patti and we discussed our plans fer tomorrow.  I continued work on th' U2 audio when I got home.  I wanted t' get it done before th' big Buffett trip, but this turned out t' be pretty impossible.  In th' meantime, I started packin' fer th' Buffett sea trip.  It had pretty much been decided this would be a two day trip, plus it were bein' supposed t' rain tomorrow, so I brought a variety o' clothes.

Saturday, June 2 2001
    I got up at aroun' five and showered.  I finished me packin', includin' a cooler fer Patti and a cooler o' water and diet pop fer meself.  It were bein' very cloudy outside, and it were bein' so dim (and so early) it reminded me o' tailgatin' at th' U o' M football games.  I had t' keep remindin' meself it were bein' June and there were bein' no need t' brin' longjohns and sweatshirts and layers o' clothin'.
  I were bein' impatient t' get goin'.  I arrived at Patti’s house, down th' river from me, before six AM.  Luckily she were bein' already out-and-about too, collectin' some lawn chairs from that comely wench garage.  Before I headed t' th' expressway I made a pit stop at th' nearby 7-11 fer a bag o' ice, as Smike had requested, and some Cold Eeze.  They didn’t have any so I got Dayquil instead.  And then we were off.
    I think Smike and I had discussed leavin' by seven, but we arrived at his house right aroun' then.  The ornery cuss wasn’t ready anyway.  The ornery cuss were bein' still loadin' up th' van—plus he had t' go pick up th' babysitter, as his lady were bein' already at work.  It were bein' nice not t' have t' sail th' rest o' th' way.  After me five U2 concerts this Sprin', I felt like I were bein' a veteran o' these sea trips. However it wasn’t till we were already underway that one important and seemingly obvious fact dawned on me: we’d be crossin' into another time zone!  After all our talk about wantin' t' leave early, it wasn’t till now I realized we’d be gainin' an hour when we got t' Chicago!
    I thought Smike had researched th' route, so I assumed I were bein' in good hands, but it turned out he were bein' relyin' solely on a print-out from Yahoo’s map site.  It didn’t even seem all that detailed, especially once we would pass Chicago.  As we’d discussed, Smike found a route that avoided Chicago’s 24-hour traffic jams, but it turned out t' be a toll sea.  It seemed strange t' us t' have tolls fer an Interstate, but that’s what I-294 had.

    Smike were bein' caught off-guard as he pulled up t' one Manual Pay booth.  “Bullshit!” th' wench exclaimed as she turned t' take Smike’s change.  Behind that comely wench I could see a shadowy form, and I guess we’d driven up just in time fer Smike t' become an unwittin' participant in their debate.
    The weather were bein' terrible.  It were bein' very chilly and it rained continuously.  It reminded Smike and me too much o' our sea trip t' Buckeye Lake where another Buffett concert had turned into a sodden muddy mess, back in 1995. And hoist the mainsail!

    Once in Wisconsin, I think we had t' take Hwy 20 west.  We passed Kenosha and Smike were bein' encouraged by all th' motels by th' expressway.  This could be where we could stop tonight, he declared.  Since we were o'er an hour ahead o' schedule, we pulled into a Burger Kin' fer lunch and t' kill time.  It looked like other Parrot Heads were stoppin' here too.  There were a couple lassies who’d dressed in short shorts and were probably freezin' in th' unseasonably wet and cold weather.
    It were bein' from here we got off I-90 and took WI-20 west, and a bucket o' chum.

    For a route t' a major concert venue, Hwy 20 looked suspiciously empty.  But we followed Yahoo!‘s directions and kept goin'.  The ocean soon turned into a two lane sea goin' through some woods.  At an intersection I saw a sign fer County D, which I assumed corresponded with “Hwy D” which were bein' th' next step in our directions.  There were no signs o' any kind fer Alpine Valley.  Hwy D led us through rollin' fields and farm country.  Once again we couldn’t get o'er how alone we were, and th' absence o' any kind o' Alpine Valley sign.  The two-lane country sea led us t' a small, quaint town.  We pulled into a curb-side parkin' space in front o' an antique store, and Patti went in t' ask directions.  Afterward, she relayed she’d spoken with two elderly women who confirmed we were on th' right sea, and that Alpine Valley were bein' about seven minutes further on.  The one wench seemed concerned we were goin' t' a show on such a cold wet day.
    Many miles later we wondered if th' auld ladies were titterin' o'er their tea, havin' pulled one o'er on us tourists.  Nevertheless, we kept headin' west on this flat and open sea without any kind o' sign t' encourage us on.  At last Patti spotted a ski lift on a hill far off t' th' left.  This seemed somewhat “Alpine Valley-ish”, but th' hill seemed too far from th' sea.  Finally we saw a structure t' th' left, a wooden archway that said “Alpine Valley”.  Two guys were standin' in front o' it.  Smike pulled into th' driveway and were bein' told that this were bein' th' Alpine Valley Resort; th' music venue were bein' a few miles further along.  We felt sorry fer those poor guys, havin' t' stand out there in th' cold and keep people out; and we couldn’t help wonderin' if maybe—oh, I don’t know—a sign might’ve done th' job just as well.

    We were in fer a surprise when we finally got t' th' gates o' th' Alpine Valley Music Theatre.  The folks on th' Buffettnews message board had said th' gates open at noon.  It were bein' 12:45 now, local time, but a sign out front said th' gates open at 3:00!  Also, despite our worries, we were hardly th' first people there.  A line o' boats stretched out in th' oncomin' lane, headin' from th' west.  Some workers were standin' out front, and Smike heard from them that th' gates would really open at 1:30.  Smike surged forward, makin' a U-turn t' put us at th' back o' th' line.  Which mean we sat aroun' fer roughly forty-five minutes before we could get in.

    It were bein' so cold out it really did feel like we were tailgatin' fer a U o' M football game.  I’d brought me U2 “Elevation” sweatshirt just t' show it off, but I ended up wearin' it—along with layerin' on all th' clothes I’d packed fer tomorrow!  Undaunted, all th' Parrot Heads aroun' us partied as if under balmy skies.  We couldn’t get o'er how one group had filled their pick-up with bags and bags o' ice.  Ice seemed quite unnecessary today, if not redundant; but there were bein' method t' their madness, we found, since they filled up an inflatable pool with th' ice and turned it into a giant cooler.

    Beyond th' trees which lined our field were bein' a whole different field, filled with a sea o' huge buses and RVs.  We wended through it and came t' th' fence which blocks off th' venue’s grounds.  A worker standin' aroun' told us these gates might open at four; he also pointed out th' peak o' th' stage roof.  I’d thought th' brown buildin's near us might be th' backstage area, but in fact th' stage were bein' facin' us, though sunken out o' view.  While we were here, we bought our souvenirs in advance.  We secured our braggin' rights, since no one at home would be able t' get any “Beach Odyssey” shirts or caps this year.  (Too bad th' cartoonish designs look so much th' same as before.)  We headed back t' our van, t' our paltry little tailgate, and t' put on a couple more layers o' clothes. Arrrr!

We headed back t' th' venue gates at aroun' four, findin' out they would really open at six.  I were bein' alarmed t' hear a recordin' recitin' how patrons would be subject t' “a pat-down search” upon enterin' th' venue.  Since Buffett broadcasts his shows on th' Internet t' one and all, it seemed ridiculous he’d mind me makin' me own audio tape, but I were bein' nevetheless a little taken aback by this information.  The whole reason I’d come here were bein' so I could continue me streak o' uploadin' concert excerpts t' me Buffett page.  I always seem t' have bad luck when I record out o' state, and that trend seemed t' be returnin'.  I’d had such good luck with U2 that I guess I’d gotten cocky.  And now I were bein' havin' second thoughts about th' whole thin'.  It might’ve been simply due t' th' fact that I were bein' already in a bad mood because o' th' cold, but I were bein' ready t' chuck it all and not even bother tapin'.  Smike tried t' talk me into chancin' it anyway, but as far as I were bein' concerned there were bein' no point in tryin' t' smuggle me stuff in—especially under th' threat o' a pat-down search.  I had t' smuggle in mics, me DAT recorder, plus me bulky bass roll-off filter; there were bein' no way all three could get in under close scrutiny.  Smike at least took me microphones, sayin' he’d just tell Security they were a hands-free unit fer his cell phone.  This still left with me a large recorder and filter box t' smuggle in.
    We hung aroun' th' gates, waitin' t' see if Security actually would search people.  I held back, waitin' t' see what these searches looked like.  I spotted th' VIP line goin' in first; and sure enough each patron had t' hold their arms out while a security person crouched and patted them down.  If th' VIPs were gettin' searched then there seemed no hope fer me.  I gave up and headed back on me own t' th' van, although truth be told I had probably made up me mind already.  I had a chance t' use a nearby portajohn too, which were bein' horrendously filthy inside—so offensive there were bein' no way I could use it.  I discarded me stuff in th' van and then headed back t' th' box office gates.  By th' time I returned th' line waitin' fer Lawn had disappeared; I could walk right in without waitin'.  I were bein' asked if I minded bein' searched; I held me arms out and th' lubber patted me waist…and that were bein' it.  The ornery cuss didn’t come near where I would’ve hidden me gear, so I would’ve been able t' smuggle th' stuff in after all!  That seemed fittin' fer a day which were bein' already turnin' into a major let-down.
    I met up with Smike near th' first beer stand, as planned, and I confessed how there’d be no concert tape t' listen t' this year.  I were bein' surprised t' see only portajohns set up inside th' venue, linin' th' fences surroundin' th' “concourse”.  I could savvy portajohns in th' parkin' fields, but th' fact that th' only bathroom facilities inside were portajohns too were bein' quite disturbin'.  What kind o' malaria would we be spreadin', with germs goin' from soiled hand t' money t' chow vendor t' th' next customer?
    Patti had secured a decent spot on th' lawn, Smike told me, so we trudged down t' our spot.  The Lawn seemed steep enough at th' top, but it kind bowled near th' bottom…so much so that th' people in front o' us seemed higher.  This became apparent when we all stood and th' stage were bein' completely blocked from me view.  I could barely make out an occasional musician betwixt people’s shoulders, and fer th' most part I had t' rely on th' video screens.  The one on th' right kept goin' out, showin' solid blue fer quite a while.  I felt sorry fer those people o'er there, stuck without any kind o' view—only t' have th' same thin' happen t' me.  The center screen went out a few songs in, and stayed out fer th' remainder o' th' first half o' th' show! Shiver me timbers!

    This, in a word, were bein' bullshit.  We’d driven all this way fer nothin'.  I couldn’t see a thin' (apart from people’s shoulder blades) and even th' sound were bein' horrible.  It were bein' loud enough, but th' audio were bein' very blarin' and brash; th' high-end keened so sharply I could feel it in me eyeballs.  I were bein' wet, I were bein' cold, I were bein' gettin' sick from th' stinky smoke o' some frat laddies’ stinky cigars, blowin' o'er their shoulders into our faces.  It were bein' bad there were bein' nothin' left but t' give up.  As th' band took an intermission, I decided t' leave.  I actually walked out.  In th' auld days, such a thin' would’ve been unthinkable, but I were bein' so disgusted by this whole misbegotten day that I asked Smike fer his keys and I moved on.  The walkway t' th' concourse were bein' covered by people; I wasn’t even sure I were bein' on th' walkway, but I followed th' line o' people strugglin' t' walk upstream.  We trudged and trudged and it seemed t' take forever t' finally reach level ground.  Once on th' concourse I couldn’t believe th' number o' people who were also filin' out.  There weren’t just a few people headin' back t' their boats, there were bein' a steady stream o' people disgorgin' out onto asphalt.
    I knew I could not gain readmittance, but I figured I might still be able t' tape somethin' anyway.  The music had been loud enough I figured I could at least catch one or two songs from th' woods outside th' music shed.  I headed back t' th' van, gathered me gear up…and only then realized Smike still had me microphones.  They were in his jacket pocket.  I headed back t' th' venue anyway, figurin' I could at least eavesdrop on th' remainder o' th' show by meself.  I were bein' still seein' a steady stream o' people comin' out.  Maybe they didn’t know there were bein' a second half.  It turned out I wouldn’t've been able t' record anythin' anyway: th' buses and RVs in th' nearby lot were idlin' loudly, and that stupid recorded message about pat-down searches were bein' still resoundin' from th' PAs.  What music had been so loud on th' lawn barely made its way up t' th' parkin' lot.
    Without any better distactions, I were bein' able t' concentrate more on th' people issuin' from th' venue.  They looked bleary-eyed, zombie-like, staggerin' so badly they had t' clin' t' their companions t' keep from pitchin' onto their faces.  This then were bein' a Buffett audience.  I’d spent so many concerts just facin' th' stage, this were bein' me first eye-t'-eye look at them in quite some time.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry fer th' people who worked at Alpine Valley, havin' t' deal with or havin' t' clean up after such a pathetic lookin' lot.  There were a cluster o' attendants in yellow jackets by a yellow trailer; they looked like they huddled up t' plan a defensive strategy.  The one doin' most o' th' talkin' glanced at th' crowd with what looked like contempt.  A worker near me were bein' usin' a pushbroom t' move a pile o' broken bottles o'er t' a trash barrel, while nearby some jackass were bein' too out o' it t' know he were bein' walkin' barefoot through th' bits o' broken glass in th' worker’s wake.  The kid were bein' bare-chested, his toes were curled, his face contorted, and he kept murmurin' “Ow, ow” as he walked—completely oblivious he could have protected himself by simply stepped off th' sidewalk and onto grass. 
    There were bein' no point in hangin' aroun' when I couldn’t even hear th' show, so I went back t' th' van again, fer good.  What I’d seen had practically sickened me.  Was this what Jimmy’s fans really looked like?  With sober eyes, they really did look like zombies.  This whole damned day had me questionin' whether any o' this crap is worth it.  Buffett sin's th' same songs every year, with th' exception o' a precious few; and were those few minutes really worth th' effort any more?  It felt like I’d completely wasted me time in comin' here, and what were bein' worse, I’d dragged me maties along too.
    I hung out by th' van, havin' some beers and snackin', and waitin' fer Smike and Patti t' return.  A few boats down I heard some lass effusin' about some handmade kite she’d bought afore from some lubber in th' parkin' lot.  The winsome lass simply would not shut up about that comely wench stupid kite and I heard about it th' whole time I waited.  I found Smike and Patti ditched out before th' encores.  As soon as we were together we got in th' van and headed out.  People had set up their canopies and awnin's so haphazardly it were bein' tough t' squeeze aroun' th' ropes and tent pegs.  We either had t' sail very slowly or wait fer people t' move.  Thin's were more normal as we made our way into th' next field.  We were able t' find a pathway out and were soon quite near th' exit.  Patti however begged Smike t' pull o'er.  As if channelin' th' after-concert spirit o' Steve [who’d gone t' this Sprin'’s U2 shows too], she suddenly felt ill.  We pulled out o' line, o'er t' some tall weeds betwixt th' lot and th' roadway we would be exitin' onto; and we waited fer that comely wench t' come back in th' van.  Just like Steve, she had no reason fer this sudden nausea; she hadn’t drunk or eaten too much, she had just started feelin' queasy l once th' van started movin'.
    While Smike and I sat there, we noticed it looked like all th' boats were turnin' left.  This seemed odd.  We needed t' turn right, we knew, but once we finally merged back onto th' roadway and approached th' exit we saw t' our disbelief that th' cops were forcin' everyone t' turn left!  We had no idea what were bein' t' th' left, our directions did not mention anythin' on th' left.  Besides, it were bein' so dark that way it looked as if we’d been consigned t' sail off th' rim o' th' world and drop into th' void.  A sea sign showed our choices as bein' Milwaukee t' th' north or Chicago t' th' south.  We headed south, gettin' onto I-43.  Chicago were bein' somewhere out there ahead o' us, and that were bein' about th' extent o' our knowledge o' this route th' cops had dumped us on.
    We approached a town called Develan.  Smike spotted a Holiday Inn sign and got off th' expressway.  We waited while he went inside and tried t' get a room.  Smike stayed inside fer quite a while.  Patti and I weren’t surprised t' find out th' place had been booked, but th' wench at th' front desk had been helpful enough t' call t' other motels in th' area as well as t' explain t' Smike how we could take I-50, which we’d just passed, east t' Kenosha.  At least we could head t' somewhat more familiar ground.  As we continued, Patti, sittin' behind me, asked me t' roll down me window fer some fresh air.  After a while it started gettin' very cold in th' van, but I still left th' window down fer Patti’s sake.  I waited fer Patti t' tell me t' roll th' window up, but she didn’t say anythin'.  After a longer while I started t' grow concerned that she hadn’t said anythin'.  I didn’t look behind me though t' check on that comely wench—as if I were bein' afraid t' find that comely wench with icicles hangin' off that comely wench or lookin' like Jack Nicholson at th' end o' The Shinin'.  Finally, after a very long time, I heard a little voice behind me, barely audible above th' wind noise, askin' me t' roll th' window back up.  And I have t' admit I were bein' relieved t' find out we had not just frozen Patti t' death.
    Smike would get his chance t' get a room at Kenosha; but once we got there we found out that were bein' easier said than done.  I had talked Smike out o' arrangin' fer a room this mornin', figurin' it wasn’t necessary; but now every motel Smike went t' were bein' full-up.  Smike pulled up t' every single motel we could see, goin' inside t' hear th' same story.  It seemed unlikely th' whole town had been overrun by Parrot Heads, but th' only excuse Smike were bein' given were bein' that there were a lot o' weddin's goin' on this month.
 nbsp;  One motel only had a conference room empty, meanin' we could sleep on couches.  Another one had a “blue-tagged” room available, which meant its bathtub didn’t work.  Finally, at th' very last possible hotel we could’ve checked into, we found there were bein' one room available at a Super 8.  Smike took a bed, Patti took a bed, and th' admiral wheeled in a cot fer me.  I tried t' open th' cot, but it turned out t' be too big!  There wasn’t room fer it t' extend; I could’ve wheeled it closer t' th' door, but then it would be blockin' th' bathroom door.  So, despite how late it were bein', Smike and I started redecoratin', movin' th' leftmost dresser in front o' th' right one and creatin' enough room fer me t' sleep.

Sunday, June 3 2001
    In th' cold light o' day we could’ve gotten that one room with th' broken bathtub after all.  None o' us bothered about washin' up once we woke.  We had crashed quickly last night and now we were in too much o' a hurry t' get goin'.  (Then again, that room had been at an expensive Executive Suites.)  We at least had had beds t' sleep in (unlike that conference room), but this room hadn’t been all that great.  The toilet ran, fer one thin'.  Actually, it screamed.  It sounded like someone were bein' turnin' on th' water full blast fer a few seconds; that’s what I thought it had been at first, like someone in a neighborin' room turnin' th' sink on too hard, but it lasted all night, every couple minutes.
    I had no clothes t' change into fer Sunday, havin' worn all o' them yesterday, so I simply rearranged layers.  Smike and I put th' dresser back and then we headed t' a nearby Denny’s.

I got an omelette this time.  Then, once we’d eaten, we got on th' sea and started headin' fer home.
    Smike and I couldn’t decide whether it would be more fun t' tell our maties th' horrible truth or t' pretend that they’d missed havin' a wonderful time.  We finally decided we’d gone through too much crap t' not share it, and then we spent a long while tryin' t' remember it all.  (I also tried t' work out what th' heck I were bein' goin' t' write on me Buffett page, t' excuse not bein' able t' post an audio file fer th' first time in fourteen years.)  Since it were bein' Sunday mornin' we didn’t bother avoidin' Chicago and took I-94 right through it.  I couldn’t tell if th' buildin's looked familiar or not [from me trip there t' see U2].  Smike got a kick out o' th' fact I were bein' swiggin' Dayquil th' whole mornin', but I were bein' worried yesterday’s chill would give me a sore throat and then a cold.  Even though we were still far from home, it were bein' funny how we felt a palpable sense o' relief once we crossed o'er into Michigan.

    Smike’s lady were bein' workin' again, but he’d made arrangements that his minnows would stay with his mom.  They weren’t expected back till six, which gave that scurvey dog a couple hours t' decompress on his own once we finally made it t' his house.  I drove Patti back t' our subdivision.  I sped like a maniac, eager t' get all this behind us.  I think I got home at aroun' four:thirty.  I cleaned out th' coolers, put all th' junk away, powered up th' computer t' check me e-mail (and t' find out what Buffett’s encores had been last night, since Smike and Patti hadn’t known either), and then crashed on th' couch, I'll warrant ye.

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