I Have Broken the Space-Time Continuum

Because that’s what happens when I try to coordinate and organize: I end up in three places at once. 

It really makes me uncomfortable when you do that.
It really makes me uncomfortable when you do that.

On Family Circle’s Momster blog, I’m talking about the benefits of treating your kids with inequity. That’s inequity, not iniquity. I’m not completely evil. (For the record: honoring a request to take one kid to KISS while denying a request to take a different kid to Justin Bieber is not evil; it’s self-preservation).

On Family Fusion Community I write about losing your sh.. temper with cute little short people. You just may pick up a tip on how to not break down a door.

Back to the space-time continuum.

Pfft. I break that continuum all the time. See? I'm breaking it right now.
Pfft. I break that continuum all the time. See? I’m breaking it right now.

The only other English word I could come up with that contains double U’s was vacuum. Turns out there are several more, but I had to google them and one is kind of gross so that’s where I stopped reading. I’m leaving the comments open so you can say your favorite word in English that has two U’s right in a row. Or else list one way KISS is better than Justin Bieber.

Punk Rock Eulogy

There’s a statistic that says if you make it into the latter part of your 50’s clear of cancer and heart disease, there’s a good chance you’ll live well into your 80’s.

But there’s a corollary: all the other stuff that can take you out before you ever hit 60. Things you can die from at 18 or 53, 31 or 45, birth or 27.

Brain tumor, birth defect, suicide, landslide, broadside, embolism, aneurysm, undiagnosed diabetes, untreated depression, untreated alcoholism, overdose, stroke, heart attack.

No matter how many times it happens, it’s devastating when someone dies unexpectedly.

An acquaintance of mine– a really great stagehand– died all of a sudden last week. He was only 45, putting up a show, and his heart gave out. No warning. I can’t get him out of my mind even though I only played through his town twice.

How does someone you’ve worked with exactly twice leave a mark like that?

When you’re a stagehand on the road, everything changes with every move: Your home, your workplace, your co-workers. An awful lot of how it goes depends on the local crew in the new town. They can make your life easy or make it a living hell.

They can either tell you how to get in & out of the best BBQ joint in town on the lunch hour, or give you wrong directions on purpose. They can load your show in like a dream before you even ask for anything, or they can unplug cables on the sly. They can tell you how to make friends with the head carpenter or set you up to unwittingly play into their long-held feud.

When you played through Providence, Pop didn’t make your life easy or hard; he made your life interesting. He was a truly unique individual and had so much in his life in addition to being a stagehand. Outspoken doesn’t even begin to describe him. If you played through Providence and he liked you, he made sure to stay in touch through email and text before there was Facebook. His was, of course, one of the first Facebook friend requests I received.

He was so punk rock, in the truest sense: no bullshit, and never concerned about what people thought of him. His ideals, his friends, his family, and his work ethic were sacred. He always helped people get what they needed.

He was a staunch union advocate. He backed artists and spread the word on Kickstarter projects. He turned people on to local bands and was quick with gems of history from the scene. He sent comic books to little kids when they had surgeries. He spread the word for fundraisers.

When I posted about #4 being Gene Simmons for Halloween, he sent me a picture of himself as Gene from back in the day. He emailed me when a new guy I had trained played through Providence to tell me what a good job he was doing, how he was holding his own. When my niece Colby died, he shared with me how he was born prematurely and his own twin didn’t make it.

My favorite Pop memory was a small, perfect moment on a work day. We started the show call and I put on Queensrÿche’s Operation Mindcrime to test my sound system, quite possibly the most ridiculous thing that feeds my soul, and walked the house. When I went back to the console I saw Pop sitting in the seats with another stagehand. For some reason I thought they were having a meeting and said, “Sorry, Pop, I’ll cut the music,” and Pop goes, “Nah nah nah, leave it. Turn it up.”

I turned it up. Someone dimmed the house lights. Other guys drifted out and sat down in the dark to listen. We played the album out until they opened the house.

People die young and you’re left there going, What the fuck? 

Would they give anything for it to not be over yet, or in the moment they passed, did they suddenly understand everything they came here to remember?

I don’t want to spend much time thinking about that. I’ll get my own answer soon enough. I picture asking Pop that question and him saying, “Nah, nah, nah, leave it. Turn it up.”

Will do, Pop.

DSCF3012

Chris Popoloski’s Obituary

IATSE Local 23 Photo Gallery

Mindcrime:

I Love the DMV. You Heard Me.

I have a history of missing important automobile expiration dates: registration, insurance, inspection… it’s an embarrassing habit that I should have grown out of some time ago.

It is one thing to get pulled over in Phoenix for driving on expired Texas plates when you just moved to Arizona and are in your twenties. It is quite another thing to get pulled over for expired plates after dropping your kids off at school in New Jersey when you’ve lived there for seven years and are over forty.

2013 is the first year that I managed to get all my vehicles registered on time. I was feeling, finally, like a real adult. Driving Miss Lucy (my ’66 Mustang) down the main drag in town I noticed an inspection sting set up on the other side of the road. It’s pretty common: they make you slow down and check your inspection sticker as you go by, and pull over violators. This caused me to check my sticker. Which had an expiration date of tomorrow.

Crap.

The DMV is its own circle of hell. I’m pretty sure it’s the 11th, right after the one containing clowns. But if we all hate it so much, consider the poor bastards that actually work there. That’s probably a hard job to love; definitely a hard job to stay positive in. You’re dealing with these cranky people all day long who can’t follow directions or get their shizz in on time…

I planned on lining up the next morning before they opened. But every time my alarm went off I thought about the DMV and hit snooze.  I finally got up around 7:30, poured some coffee and looked up their 11th Circle of Hell Live Webcam. The line was already wrapped around to the entrance and they hadn’t even started inspecting yet. I started weighing how bad it would be if I blew it off. It’s a $200 ticket,  but sitting in my yoga pants with a Puggle on my lap, I couldn’t bear the thought of heading over there. I always worry so much about if the car’s going to pass inspection or not.

Half an hour of reading blogs and Facebooking later, the page refreshed and there was no line. So I put Jack back on the bed, put on real pants, and headed out the door.

What I forgot was that the inspection station is a whole different vibe from the side where you get all the licensing and registration stuff taken care of. And at the DMV inspection station? I’m a rock star. Or, more correctly, my car is.

She's kind of a big deal.
She’s kind of a big deal.

They all remember Miss Lucy from two years ago when they last inspected her, and everyone comes over from their own bay to tell me a Mustang story–because everyone has a Mustang story.

One guy told me how his dad had a ’65 fastback. He let him drive it sometimes, but he’d have to spend a lot of time airing it out if he wanted to take a girl out because his dad smoked cigars. His dad later had an accident and actually died in the car. They did restoration afterwards but then put it up for sale; none of the kids wanted it after that. “My dad loved that car,” he said.

The guy who completed my inspection actually got a little weepy, shook my hand overlong and told me it brought back a lot of good memories. It seemed like he wanted to tell me some of them but realized the reality that we were standing in the inspection bay in the NJDMV. I understood in that moment that Miss Lucy is always going to pass inspection.

It got me to thinking: I bet there’s a market for classic car therapy. You know how animal therapy reaches certain people? And Art or Music or Dance or Drama therapy reaches certain other people? I think I could just take this car around and certain people– namely, middle-aged guys– would automatically feel better. They’d tell me about their dead fathers and their glory days, and the girl that got away. We’d go for a drive, maybe get an ice cream. I’d be covered by everyone’s insurance, make a nice little side income. I wonder how you’d get licensed for that.

Do you have a Mustang story?