Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The First Day Back

Okay, it really wasn’t the first day back at work for Mrs. R and me.  Mrs. R had to have a minor procedure (which went just fine) today, and needed someone to drive her to and from the surgical center, and keep an eye on her afterwards.  We observed some odd behavior during the course of the day, and it made us think that maybe this was the first day back for a lot of people.

There was Mr. Big Time, who was loudly closing deals and planning weddings on his cell phone, while trying his damnedest to impress all of us lower life forms in the waiting room.  He also spilled his cup of coffee all over a chair in the waiting room.  A big time play for Mr. Big Time, on his first day back…

Next came Mr. Jim Smith (the names have been changed to protect the guilty).  Ol’ Jim walked into the reception area and asked if he was in the right place.  The receptionist, who was somewhat taken aback, asked him his name.  She then said “I’m sorry Mr. Smith, but you’re not on the schedule.  What is your doctor’s name?”

“I don’t know” came the reply.

“What procedure are having done” the receptionist asked politely.

“I think I’m supposed to get an injection in my hip or something.  They just told me to come here.” 

It seemed to us that if you are going to have a medical procedure or surgery performed there are two critical pieces of information that you should remember.  Ol’ Jim came up a little short on his first day back.

Mrs. R’s post-procedure instructions included breakfast, so we headed off to a local restaurant.  We were seated next to a young family who was apparently experiencing gastro-intestinal distress on their first day back. Some noises are difficult to overlook in restaurant...

A while later a clan of alpha males came into the restaurant.  They were all dressed in a similar manner, solid color shirts and tasteful ties, pressed slacks, close-cropped hair.  They walked in a straight line from tallest to shortest and seemed perplexed by simple questions such as “table or booth?”  They ultimately decided on the corner booth so they could command the scene.  So, on their first day back, at least they had that goin’ for them.

Which is nice...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Year in Review

It’s that time of year when all of those annoying lists come out – Best Dressed (didn’t make that one), Worst Dressed (made a couple of those), Sexiest Men (DEFINITELY did not make that one…), etc.

Twenty-eleven was a good year at Casa del Rogue, so, without further delay, here is the Suburban Rogue Year in Review:

January began with Mrs. Rogue on crutches for the second year in a row, after having about $30k of hardware removed from her foot. 


The longest of those 3 plates is about 1-inch... 

Daughter R, who missed being a Leap Baby by about 21 hours, celebrated her birthday in February.  It was a prime number birthday for you math dorks out there.

Son Rogue traveled to Egypt in March, shortly after their government was overthrown.  He reports that it was a tremendous experience, to be there as a nation was being reborn.

Also in March, Mrs. R and I joined some friends in Puerto Vallarta and spent a week living the life of beach bums.  Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of pressure that comes with that lifestyle - making sure you have enough sunscreen, stocking the cooler, figuring out who  is going to make the lunch run, etc.  It’s really quite demanding…


In April Mrs. R celebrated a milestone birthday and I was arrested for being married to a teenager…

May was a very big month. Mrs. R and I celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary with a romantic getaway weekend in Breckenridge.


Gosh, what a cute couple!

May also marked 35 years since I graduated high school, and 30 years since I graduated college.  In case you haven’t figured it out, I crammed four years of college into five…

In June, Daughter Rogue embarked on a solo, cross country excursion leaving Denver for points east, including Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., and Nashville; then points west including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego; before returning home.  Her trips were mishap free, except for the part where she accidentally dropped her camera off of a pier and into the Atlantic Ocean

My high school reunion was scheduled for the first Saturday in July.  I had organized a service project and a group of classmates and I spent part of that day sprucing up the ol’ alma mater.  We believe it was the first time that alumni from our school had made a service project part of the reunion weekend.  Here is a photo of that that hardworking group:


Later that evening at the reunion dinner, I was asked to give a brief presentation about the service project.  So I got up in front of the group, and gave my talk.  My knees were wobbling, my voice was cracking, and I pitted out my both shirt and sportcoat.  I made it through, but it sure felt like I was back in high school…

In late August a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near Mineral, Virginia, about 80 miles southwest of Washington D.C.  Some of the monuments on the National Mall were damaged and I, along with another engineer from my office, joined a team of seismic experts from San Francisco to assess the damage.  Few professions thrive on disaster more than structural engineers…

In September, we held a small party at Casa del Rogue for the CU vs. CSU game.  We had a great time, the Buffs won, and I eventually got a free lunch from a colleague who happens to be a CSU alum…


In October we met some friends for a long weekend in Steamboat Springs.  Steamboat is a very cool place. We had a wonderful time, laughing and joking for three solid days. This was the view from our incredible condo:

 

Mrs. R, Son R and I traveled to southern California in November to watch the Buffs play UCLA at the Rose Bowl stadium.   You may have read about it here: It's an LA Thing


After all of us had visited doctors in December for various check-ups, procedures, etc., we put the brakes on to rest up for twenty-twelve.

Happy New Year Rogue Readers!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's an LA Thing

As a youngster, I would watch the Rose Bowl game on New Years Day, every year.  I loved the atmosphere surrounding the game, the pageantry, the scenery, and the tradition.  I promised myself that someday I would, at the very least, attend a game in the Rose Bowl stadium.

Thanks to the Gods of College Football, my beloved Buffs were scheduled to play UCLA this season, at the Rose Bowl.  This was the opportunity I had been waiting for.  The Rogue clan started planning our trip late last year, and after a long wait, the time had finally arrived.

We (Mrs. Rogue, Son Rogue and I) left Thursday morning for the City of Angels. As we boarded the plane we were greeted by the “E-team” of flight attendants; Whitney, Candy, and Daphne.  One of these ladies detected a certain something in me, and asked me to keep an eye on her bag, which contained her brand new iPad, for the duration of the flight.  I think she knew, as did a lot of people, that in the neighborhood of seats 10D and 10E, I was a pretty big deal…

A brief aside here – I was able to successfully complete my mission, and even delivered the bag to the flight attendant before I left the plane.  I was rewarded with a big smile and a hug.  But wait, it gets better.  I learned that because the flight attendant community is small, word travels quickly.  I say this because on the return flight home I was again rewarded, this time with a full can of diet soda.  On United…

One of the few things I enjoy about air travel is the Skymall catalog, I’m entertained by all of the silly gadgets. So, without further delay, here is this trip’s Skymall Showcase:

The Original Crispy Bowl helps keep your cereal crunchy.  I guess just pouring less milk in the bowl is no longer an option.  Notice the stylish, yet functional, under-bowl grip!

Not to be outdone by sheer necessity, The Flair Hair Visor says, “Hey, chics dig me.”  Yikes….

Now, back to our story.

Our plane was filled with an odd collection of characters, including a group of skater/snowboarder/surfer Jeff Spicoli wannabes, who used the word “dude” liberally in their conversations.  Apparently one obtains entry into their clan by including “dude” at least once in every sentence.  Let me tell you, those dudes were something else…

Sitting across from me was a character I’ll call Johnny Cool.  His jet black hair was coiffed just so, and he was wearing a black leather jacket over a skin tight black tank top.  I heard him tell someone that he was “heading to LA to check out the clubs.”  About midway through the flight, Johnny removed his jacket, fired up the ol’ iPod, and began to lay down some air guitar riffs.  All while safely belted into his seat.  He was pretty good too, because at the end of the flight, which coincided with the end of his performance, everyone stood up…

After arriving at LAX, we collected our luggage and a rental car, then headed south on The 405 toward Long Beach. Our destination was the Aquarium of the Pacific.  Son R had made arrangements for a behind the scenes tour with a college friend of his who works at the aquarium.  We got to feed some fish, see shark eggs, as well as an arctic fox and penguins who were not yet on exhibit.  The penguins were found off the coast of Brazil, having been carried out to sea by a storm.   The good people at the aquarium have nursed the birds back to health, and they are thriving.    Later in the afternoon, Mrs. R and Son R even petted some sharks, rays, and other marine creatures.


We left the aquarium and got on The 710 heading toward Pasadena and Arcadia, where our hotel was located.  We arrived safely, checked in, and headed out for dinner.  We ended up at Matt Denny’s, a neighborhood pub/hangout in Arcadia.  It was a good place to unwind after our first day.

Friday was cool and overcast, and we decided to head to Hollywood.  Our plan was to take The 210 west to The 134  to  The 101 and then head south on the world’s largest parking lot, The 405.  We exited The 405 at Mulholland Drive, hoping to take a scenic drive through the Hollywood hills.  We drove past several spectacular homes; maybe they were hotels, I’m not really sure.  We never really got a good view of the LA basin because of the cloud cover.  Laurel Canyon Boulevard took us out of the hills and into Hollywood.  By the way, if you’re interested in a vacation home, Jim Morrison’s former residence in Laurel Canyon is listed for just $1.2 million…

Hollywood Boulevard is, well, kinda sleazy. It’s an odd combination of movie history, family attractions, and drug dealers.  We didn’t spend a lot of time there, but we did run into one of Mrs. R’s favorite movie stars…


We walked over to In-N-Out on the corner of Sunset and Orange, across from Hollywood High School.  As always, the food was delicious.  It turns out that In-N-Out has a secret menu.

After leaving In-N-Out, we headed down Santa Monica Boulevard toward Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive.  As soon as we turned onto Rodeo, we realized that our kind wasn’t welcome there, but it didn’t stop us from doing a little rubber necking.  We headed a little further south, ended up on Beverly Drive where Mrs. R checked out a high-end wool/knitting shop.  Afterward, we found a Starbucks, sat outside and did some people watching.  Lots of well dressed and coiffed people walking along Beverly Drive

Later that evening, Son R treated us to dinner at The Derby,which was located right next to our hotel.  We enjoyed a delicious meal and then headed back to the hotel to rest up for the big game.

We awoke to a cool and windy Saturday.  It was partly cloudy all day, and by game time the temperature had dipped into the low 50’s with a chilly wind out of the northwest. We spent the first part of the day in Old Pasadena, which is a collection of funky shops and restaurants along Colorado Boulevard.   It reminded us of the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, including the use of a strange language that sounds similar to English.  As we were walking along the sidewalk around lunch time, there was a young couple behind us.  They were apparently hungry, and I overheard the woman say to her companion “Pizza kinda sounds really good.”  Kinda really?   Is that even possible?

After doing some shopping we headed to the Rose Bowl.  The stadium is in a beautiful setting surrounded by mountains on three sides.  Unfortunately on this day those mountains were obscured by the clouds.  We were assured by a long time UCLA fan that he had been coming to games for 29 years and that it had only rained once in all that time.  We chatted for awhile, and then he, as did many UCLA fans, told us to “enjoy the game.”  Even though we were wearing enemy colors, the UCLA faithful were friendly and welcoming.  I guess you can be that way when you know your team is about to kick the pre-Thanksgiving stuffing out of the other guys…

We hung out with Son R’s friends at their tailgate for awhile, made our way through a maze of vendor’s tents, and headed to north side of the stadium to join the Forever Buffs pregame party.



And what a party it was – live music, catered food, Chip the mascot, the marching band, cheerleaders, speeches by the President, Chancellor, and Athletic Director.





We followed the band into the stadium, and wandered around before finding our seats.


The Rose Bowl is undergoing a renovation, and some portions of the work were visible.  Much to the chagrin of Mrs. and Son R, I spent some time observing the reinforcing steel and seismic bracing.  For all of you smart asses out there, no, there was not a Forever Dorks pregame party…

We found our seats, Classes of ’06 and ’81 representing…



The stadium is huge, with a capacity of over 90,000.  There were 57,000 spectators at the game, and the place seemed empty.  It was incredible being inside that stadium, realizing a lifelong dream!

The game started, and was over quickly.  CU received the opening kickoff, ran four plays, and punted.  UCLA then scored on their second play.  On the Buffs second play of the next drive, the pass was intercepted.  UCLA then scored on their next play.  UCLA had run three plays from scrimmage, and led 14-0.  Three minutes and 34 seconds had elapsed in the first quarter…   Ouch!

UCLA squeaked by with a 45-6 win, it was a terrible night for the Buffs.  We left midway through the 4th quarter and headed back to the hotel to warm up.

On Sunday, we had planned to head to Venice Beach, taking The 210 west to The 134 to The 5 south to The 10 west.  LA’s top-notch weather people assured us that the rain would hold off until 2:00 pm.  We arrived in Venice Beach about 11:30 and were greeted by a torrential downpour.  Apparently the weatherpersons forgot to look outside before making their forecast.  We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway toward Malibu, hoping for a break in the weather.  We finally gave up and headed to the airport.  Our plane was delayed by about an hour, but we made it home safely.

All that's left to do now is plan next year's trip - Berkeley? Eugene? Any thoughts?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thirty-Something


There is one of those fads going around Facebook right now in which you are asked to list 25 random things about yourself.  Since this month marks a couple of big 30’s (wedding anniversary, college graduation) in my life, I thought I’d give it a go.

So here it is, 30 things about me you’ll wish you didn’t know:

1. Bill and Ted had it right – “Be excellent to each other.”

2. There is no better place to spend an autumn Saturday afternoon than Folsom Field.

3. John Wooden was the man.

4. Pizza is the greatest food ever conceived.  Barbecue and chili rellenos are close seconds.  Honorable mention goes to French fries and key lime pie.

5. The 1970’s would have been remembered as a much better decade if disco music hadn’t shown up.

6. Always use sunscreen.

7. A good sense of humor is the best defense mechanism against real life.

8. It is never too late to make new friends or reconnect with old ones.

9. I thought I would be better at engineering after practicing for 30 years.

10. Regular wrestling matches with a rambunctious Golden Retriever are a good way to keep your blood pressure low.

11. I love my wife.  I love my children.  I do not love my job.  That seems about right.

12. Learning to play a musical instrument in your sixth decade of life can be simultaneously exhilarating and frustrating.  I highly recommend it.

13. I have earned every one of those gray hairs on my head and lines in my face.

14. Being 50+ is much better than I ever thought it would be.

15. “Success is the intelligent use of mistakes.”  Anonymous…

16. Aaaah, the beach!

17. Whenever I feel like doing something productive, I lie down until the feeling goes away.

18.  For me, the most anxious time of the day occurs in the moments right before I open my email at the office.

19.  Red Rocks…

20.  I’m still trying to figure out my own personal spirituality and faith.

21.  I’m not a big fan of “Bucket” lists.  I am, however, a proponent of extremely long “I’m Gonna Do This” lists.

22.  It turns out that those tired old clich├ęs about teamwork, carrying your share of the load, working together, understanding your role, etc., are all true.

23.  So is that one about how adversity reveals character…

24.  If you’re gonna show ‘em off, I’m gonna look…

25.  Math is our friend.

26.  The sounds of squeaking sneakers and a thumping basketball on a gym floor are timeless.

27.  My “best thing” is not really having a best thing…

28.  Hawaii Five-Oh is the best TV show theme song ever.

29.  I am not a morning person.

30.  Certain words are overused.  For me, “stakeholder” means “the person standing in front of the grill with the tongs in their hands.”

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spine Tingling

Welcome to the Gala Holiday Edition of the least read blog on the web! Let’s get right to the business at hand.

The month’s coveted DUMBASS (Designating Underachievement in Marketing By Advertisers Selling Stuff) Award goes to Cheezit for their “Talking Cheese Wheels” commercial. No more two-martini lunches for the ad execs on the Cheezit account…

Okay, that was quick. Anyway, imagine a well-written transition paragraph right here…

In honor of Mrs. R’s four recent knee surgeries (2 scopes, 2 partial knee replacements, one of each per knee) and my lingering back troubles, Casa Del Rogue has been renamed the Littleton Knee and Spine Center. Mrs. R is almost three weeks past knee replacement #2 and is recovering quite nicely. The Orthopedic Clinic, Surgery Center and Hospital are also enjoying a recovery of sorts, thanks to Mrs. R’s determination to “single-handedly revive the health care sector of the economy…”

Mrs. R is one tough cookie and has worked very hard on her physical therapy. Soon she will have two fully functional bionic knees which means I am in serious trouble...

While Mrs. R was going through this knee replacement business, I developed some lower back problems which have been variously diagnosed as a bulging disc, muscle-skeletal imbalance, or old age. After several weeks of whining and complaining I finally broke down and went to the doctor. The prescribed treatment consists of steroids and physical therapy. I’ve finished the steroids and they really helped - I didn’t even develop overly large muscles. Like that was ever really a concern…

Physical therapy basically consists of a very muscular therapist contorting my body into positions for which it was not designed. He is annoyingly good-natured and encouraging, and also very good at his job. My back is feeling better, but there is still a ways to go. Before long I’ll have to find something else to complain about...

The end of November always means it’s time for a trip to the dermatologist. Ever since a little problem showed up a few years ago, I’ve had to go in for annual check-up. Usually this is a breeze, and I’m in and out in a few minutes. Usually…

I had a little bump on my arm and some red spots on my face that I wanted the doctor to look at. So they shot my arm full of Novocain and then took a tissue sample to send off to the lab, leaving me with a crater in my right arm. I was a big boy and did not cry, or even tear up, during this procedure. I thought that would at least earn me a Snoopy band aid or a lollipop, but no such luck…

Anyway, I pulled myself together after that setback and got ready for the cryotherapy treatment of the red spots on my face. Cryotherapy consists of the doctor spraying liquid nitrogen on the affected area. For those of you keeping score at home, nitrogen becomes a liquid at negative 321 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s right, negative 321.

I’ve had this treatment before, on some small spots on my nose, and it was a quick little spray, a brief sting and that was it. No big deal.

In the interim, I had developed a couple of large reddish-brown spots on my face that a year ago were “nothing to worry about.” One year later they had become more of a concern, so the doctor decided that he should treat them with the liquid nitrogen.

I naively thought there were just a couple of small areas within the larger spots that he was worried about. Not surprisingly, I was wrong…

The doc mistook my face for the front fender of ’57 Chevy in need of a paint job and hosed me down real good with the liquid nitrogen. It hurt like a “word you can’t use in a family blog…” This time I did tear up, effectively ruining any shot at the Snoopy band aid…

I left his office looking like I had been in a bar fight, with two large swollen red welts on my face. I noticed people averting their eyes when they saw me, and normally docile dogs growling and baring their fangs as I walked by.

Mrs. R. said she thought the welts actually improved my appearance, since “they kinda balance out all of the other knots in your head.”

So you know, at least I got that goin’ for me.

Which is nice…

Happy Holidaze everybody!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Road Trip!

Okay, it was time…

Time for Mrs. Rogue and me to head west on an epic road trip.

Our planned itinerary had us going from Denver to the north shore of Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas to Moab and then home. Our actual itinerary took us from Denver to the north shore of Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas to Moab and then home. Let's face it, we engineers really don’t like it when the plans get changed…

Anyway, we left home on a bright sunny Wednesday morning, heading north to catch I-80 for the long trek west. I-80 is an easy drive, plus there is a whole lot of nothing to see in southern Wyoming. We were fortunate enough to see almost all of that nothingness. When we couldn’t stand it any longer we pulled off the highway in Rock Springs to grab some lunch. With all due respect to Rock Springers (Springites?), Rock Springs is quite possibly the least scenic town on the planet. It is surrounded by desolate, barren hills which open to the endless sagebrush of southwestern Wyoming.

The dining options were somewhat limited so we had the pleasure of dining in one of Rock Springs’ most elegant fast food establishments, where we witnessed the finest this fair city has to offer. There was the single mother of two trolling for husbands, and what a fine assortment she had to choose from - the two old-timers who must come out of the hills once a month for a bath and a burger, the sullen delivery truck drivers, or the brainiac working the register. It left the impression that education is an afterthought in Rock Springs…

Mrs. R hopped behind the wheel and quickly put Rock Springs behind us. She also thanked me for taking her to Rock Springs…



We stopped the first night in fabulous West Wendover, Nevada. This is a crazy place. Hotels and casinos just spring up, the instant you cross the state line. I did my part and contributed to the local economy by losing $10 in a slot machine that evening.

On Thursday we began the drive across Nevada. An aside here - by the end of our trip we had seen most of Nevada and I was surprised at the number of ranches that exist in the Silver State. Before we left Nevada, we had passed billboards for the Mustang Ranch, the Kit Kat Ranch, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, Angel’s Ladies Ranch, and the Shady Lady Ranch. Although these are unusual names for ranches, the preponderance of these establishments reminded me that ranching is one of those iconic industries that made the American West what it is today…

Anyway, we arrived on the north shore of Lake Tahoe on Thursday afternoon. We were greeted by my cousin, Barb, who was standing in her driveway doing some kind of traditional Sierra Nevadan folk dance to welcome weary (wary?) travelers. Mrs. R and I knew right then that we were in for a fun weekend. Fortunately neither Barb, nor her husband Bob, ever asked us to dance; otherwise the weekend would’ve taken a turn for the worse.

We had a wonderful time in Lake Tahoe, spent some on the beach, made a brief stop at breathtaking  Emerald Bay State Park ,


visited my 89 year-old aunt who apologized because “this is the first year I haven’t been able to mow my own lawn.” We spent the warm sunny afternoons sitting on Barb and Bob’s deck, visiting, swapping lies, spinning yarns, and just relaxing.

Bob has a collection of air rifles, including an air machine gun. One afternoon Bob was nice enough to let me give it a try. I aimed for a tree, and I did hit a tree. I was kinda hoping for the same tree…

Another afternoon I found myself engaged in the curious activity of chipmunk fishing. Barb and Bob feed several chipmunks and ground squirrels off the back of their deck. They have developed this contraption, which consists of a line of rope that extends from the deck to a tree. Attached to the rope is a wire “cage” which holds an ear of corn. The object of the game is to slacken the rope and let the caged corn lie on the ground, and wait for a chipmunk/squirrel. Once the critter has gotten ‘hold of the cage you slowly take the slack out of the line and lift the critter off the ground. I had several interested parties, including one lil’ fella that used the rope as part of his high wire act…



In the evenings, Barb and I would take a walk around the neighborhood. They have some beautiful sunsets out there…


Barb and Bob were gracious hosts, and treated us like royalty. Thanks guys!

On Sunday we made the drive from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas, stopping in Hawthorne for a picnic lunch that my cousin had thoughtfully prepared for us. Hawthorne, Nevada is home to the U.S. Army Ammunitions Depot and, interestingly enough, a detachment of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Did I mention that Hawthorne is in the middle of the desert? There is a nearby lake, Walker Lake, which has a maximum depth of 78 feet. I guess as long the undersea battle takes place in a shallow ocean, this whole thing makes sense…

We rolled into Las Vegas and immediately headed for the fabulous   Red Rock Resort . It’s located on the west side of town, several miles from the strip. Our room was on the 18th floor and we had a view of the strip, which is pretty spectacular at night. The Red Rock has a large casino, several great restaurants, a pool, movie theaters, a bowling alley and an area for outdoor concerts. Oh yeah, they have a spa, too. Mrs. R pampered herself one morning with a luxurious manicure. I spent that time losing about $80 in the casino. We almost opted for the spa’s “Couple’s Reconnection Package” but we were a little short of the $2000 price tag. At those prices, losing $80 seemed like a bargain.

Tuesday afternoon we made the obligatory visit to the strip, and had the obligatory lunch at Margaritaville .


In addition to that, I also did the obligatory gazing at the relative skills of Las Vegas’ finest plastic surgeons. Even though Nevada has been hard-hit by the recession, the implant business seems to be, ahem, in full bloom…

Later that night, we found ourselves downtown, on Freemont Street . Just us, and about 10,000 other people, a decent Eagles cover band, Desperado , an Elvis impersonator, and a couple of showgirls. Oh, and just so you don’t think I’m making that last part up, here’s the proof…


By Wednesday morning it was time to leave, but not before I took care of a little “bidness.” When I finished playing the day before, I walked away with a pay slip worth $0.95. That’s right folks, ninety-five big ones… I thought about cashing it in right then, but, because I’m a Big Time–Big Spender–Vegas kind of a guy, I thought I’d let the casino remain open one more night before they paid up and would have to shut down. Anyway, when the moment had finally arrived, I asked the Casino Manager for a security escort to the cashier. Instead, I was comped two bottles of water… Got my ninety-five cents though, every last penny of it…

We left Las Vegas heading northeast toward Moab. A few miles outside of St. George we got stuck in the worst traffic jam in the history of modern mankind… It took us 90 minutes to travel 4 miles, which equates to less than 3 miles an hour. This is somewhat slower than the posted 75 mph speed limit. It turns out that the contractor couldn’t figure out how to shut down one lane of traffic, causing chaos, including several overheated vehicles, a few near misses, and scores of angry motorists. Nice work Mr. Contractor. Are you from Rock Springs by any chance?

We spent Wednesday in Moab, well actually,  Arches National Park . This is a spectacularly beautiful place, and we are already making plans to return.


We finally made it to Casa del Rogue about 10:00 pm Thursday evening, tired, but the good kind of tired.

Road Trip tired…

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Carry On


   
Forty–one years ago this summer, a trio of young musicians performed at a music festival in rural New York. Although each of the three had enjoyed success as members of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash had never performed together. Four decades later, after creating some enduring music, CSN recently performed at one of their favorite venues, Red Rocks.

Seeing a CSN concert at Red Rocks was something Mrs. Rogue and I had wanted to do since, well, we became us. It just never seemed to work out, until this past week. Earlier this spring, while I was away on business, Mrs. R had scored a pair of 19th row seats to the show. We marked the date on our calendar as the kickoff to summer.

Things have changed at Red Rocks since I was a kid. It used to be that all of the seats were General Admission and if you were a slug, and I was/am, you could get to the amphitheater early, bring a cooler, and enjoy 8 hours in the hot sun before the concert. Now the gates don’t open until 6:00 pm, and the only GA seats are at the top. This is actually a good thing if you are gainfully employed and your boss is not a music fan.

With this in mind, we decided to arrive promptly at six, tailgate in the parking lot, and then head on in for the show. Mrs. R made some delicious wraps that were reminiscent of the sandwiches she made for our first date, at this very same place, 31 years ago. We sat in the parking lot, drinking our diet sodas and eating wraps and organic grapes (hey, when a person gets to be my age, you have to make some concessions) and began one of our favorite pastimes – people watching.

Some of the highlights from the evening included the chain-smoking anorexic 50 year-old sorority mom wearing her daughter’s sickeningly cute pink sorority sweatshirt, several people who may not know that the 60’s are over, and the couple with the perfectly feathered 70’s style hair who may not know that the 70’s are over…

Oh, and one other thing. To the guy sitting behind us – I did not come to the concert to hear you sing. I realize that you’re the best fan ever because you know all of the words to all of the songs, but the other 7999 of us came to hear the guys who actually wrote those songs sing them. Save it for the shower dude…

Okay, the snarcasm switch is now off…

One of the recent, unfortunate trends is for rock ‘n roll (and country) bands is to develop elaborate productions for their live shows, including giant stages, pyrotechnics and a host of other gimmicks. CSN went old school, with three mics at center stage, two keyboard players, a bassist, and a drummer. To begin the show, they simply walked onto the stage, sans introduction. It was very cool.


The crowd arose in unison, and CSN dove into a revved-up version of “Woodstock” with Stills laying down some scorching guitar licks, the first of many to come.




It was an electrifying opening to the show, and things only got better. Right from the outset, it was clear that CSN had their harmonies dialed in, and the acoustics of Red Rocks made it that much better.


The first set included amplified versions of “Long Time Gone,” and “Southern Cross;” then closed with “Wooden Ships.” Mrs. R and I looked at each other, we couldn’t find the words to describe what we had just seen, and heard.

The second set opened with just CSN, the rest of the band was off-stage, and the trio worked through several acoustic songs, including some well-done covers of “Norwegian Wood,” “Midnight Rider” and “Ruby Tuesday.” That last one proved a little confusing for a woman sitting nearby – she just “didn’t remember The Beatles ever doing that song.”




One thing that struck me was the respect Crosby, Stills, and Nash have for each other when on stage. At various times throughout the show each of the different performers was featured, be it singing, or playing guitar or keyboard. The other two would simply step back and let the third have his moment. Wow…

The highlight of the evening for me was when Crosby and Nash performed “Guinnevere.” Guinnevere is not one of my favorite songs, but I have never witnessed a more beautiful, heartfelt performance. Except for the music, the amphitheater was dead quiet during this song. At the end of the song, there was no sound; it was as if the audience couldn’t believe what we had just heard. Suddenly the crowd broke into loud and sustained applause. David Crosby patted his heart, thanked the audience and said “This is so much fun!” There weren’t very many dry eyes in the crowd at that point.

CSN closed out the second set with their classic “Almost Cut My Hair,” putting the rock in Red Rocks…The encores included “Love the One You’re With” and “Teach Your Children” and CSN encouraged the audience to sing along to both. I figured I was safe as one voice among 8000, so I threw caution to the wind and joined in.

The show finally ended and we headed for the car. As we were walking down the long ramp, Mrs. R said “it's not just that you see and hear them perform, it's that you feel their music someplace deep inside.”

It was The Best Night Ever at Red Rocks…