Sunday, April 15, 2012

Award Dance Pt 5

Back at the beginning of April, FOD (Friend of Darwinfish2) Insomniac #4, from The Pedestrian Writer, presented me with the prestigious Kreativ Blogger Award, which apparently celebrates creative spelling.

Nah, just kidding.  Insomniac received the award himself and was then commanded to pass it on to 7 other bloggers, so he said he was selecting 7 of his favorites, me being one of them.  So first let me say thank you!  Even being listed in the same sentence as the guys from A Beer for the Shower is flattering beyond words.  So this is a big Thank You to Insomniac, for thinking of me.  I’m impressed that he was able to take time out of his busy parenting and novel-writing time, which he documents so entertainingly on his blog.  Y’all check it out!

As usual, these awards come with rules.  First is to post the picture.  Done.  (I will also add it to my roster of past awards, buried way down on the right margins, where no one ever goes.  But I’ll know it’s there!

Next condition is to thank the sender.  Done. 

Now, to the meat of the rules… I’m supposed to make a list of seven interesting facts about myself.

Hmmm.  I’ve written this blog for over 3 years now… are there any interesting facts about myself that I haven’t already written about?  Not many, but I figure that not everyone visiting here today was necessarily visiting back when I first posted these gems nuggets tidbits personal dingle berries for public consumption.

Ew.  Did I just suggest what I think I suggested?  Yeah, forget that.

Anyway, this is my list of allegedly interesting facts about yours truly.  Some you may know about, some you may not.  I’ll include links if I’ve written about them before.

1) Weird medical history since the age of 40.  It was like, ‘Happy 40th Birthday,’ and then POW, commence falling apart.  First, I developed this condition called Delayed Pressure Urticaria, or in other words, itchy, burning, painful hives that form about 12 hours after contact with hard surfaces.  Freakin’ bee-zarre.  In researching this ailment, I learned that the average length of time that people suffer from DPU is 9 years.  I’m going on my 11th, so I’m hoping it goes away soon.  It sucks living in a bubble.

One thing that gratifies me, though, is that the post I wrote about DPU has been my #1 most visited post, since I first installed the Top Five Post tracker on here.  I’m glad that I can share my story with people that are similarly afflicted.  It helps to know that there are others out there with the same problem.  When I was first diagnosed, I felt like the only person in the world with this weird-ass condition, and that people would think I was just being a weenie.

Also, I had two heart surgeries by the time I was 46.  Both were catheter ablations, done to fix atrial fibrillation (or irregular heartbeat).  The doctors discovered this when I went in to get the hive thing checked out.  The first surgery was practically a Marx Brothers skit… very weird.  Things went better the 2nd time, mostly because I knew what to expect and was able to plan and advise accordingly.  But it still wasn’t without its traumatic moments.

2) An early idea of mine was to write a Guide to Bachelor Living book.  I’ve always fancied myself as someone that was good at coming up with efficient ways to do things, so I thought that I could put some of the ideas together into a book.  Now, this was back in the early 90s, so without PCs in the equation, my idea kind of dissolved.  But I did manage a post about it a while back.

3) When I was in 8th grade, I took a class trip to Paris and London over spring break.  I’ve never posted about it, but I plan to one day.  And do you know why I even asked about going on the trip?  I was sweet on the teacher that was leading it.

The funny thing is, she wasn’t even my teacher.  I just had her for “homeroom.”  She had long blond hair and teardrop-shaped glasses, which would have looked perfect for attending a Grateful Dead show in a long peasant dress.  I was instantly smitten.  Her primary duty was to be the French teacher, so on the first day of class; she asked if anyone was interested in going to Europe over spring break.  Thinking that it might be fun to traipse around Paris with a hot French teacher, I put up my hand, even though I didn’t think my parents would go for it in a million years.

But when I brought home the materials and my folks looked it over, they decided it was a pretty good deal.  (Roughly $650 for a 9-day trip, transportation, lodging and meals included.  Even in 1975 dollars, that was a good deal.)  I think they really just wanted to get rid of me for a while.  But anyway, I had a great time in Europe, even though I was the youngest one going and the only one that wasn’t studying French.  (I took Spanish the next year.)

Sadly, I couldn’t get anything going with the hot teacher.  Her husband kept getting in the way.  For some reason, the fact that she was married came as a surprise to me, even though we all called her “Mrs.”

I never said I was the brightest kid…

4) My first presidential vote was for John Anderson, Independent candidate in 1980.  My dad had personally gotten my buddies and I registered to vote that year, because there was a referendum on the ballot that affected his company, glass bottler Owens-Illinois.  But there was also the small matter of the presidential race, pitting Jimmy Carter against Ronald Reagan.  Coming as I do from a long line of Democrats, I normally would have voted for Carter but that year, he had initiated the Selective Service registration for 18-year olds.  I was very much against that, so as a protest, I voted for John Anderson… a guy that I did think would have made a good president, but had absolutely no shot.  Dad and I argued a good bit about it, with him maintaining that I was throwing my vote away.  But I was 18, and with my head filled with youthful idealism, I went my own way. 

So yeah, I totally threw my vote away that year, but did so with a clear conscience.  Good thing Carter didn’t lose Ohio by one vote.  Funny thing is that in the same situation today, I’d tell an 18-year old kid the same thing my dad told me.  Thirty years will wipe the idealism right out of you.

5) I have an honest-to-God Platinum Record award, with my name on it, which I earned.  It’s my favorite trophy from my music retail days.  I actually have a second as well, but it was awarded to one of our stores that reported to Billboard.  When we changed the name of our stores from Peaches to Coconuts, everything with the old name had to go.  My DM let me choose from 4 of them and I chose the award for Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet.”
I’d always seen these things around though… They were all over the record label offices in Cleveland, my bosses at the company had select ones up in their offices, and hell, my mentor Vinnie’s house was plastered with the things. 

Vinnie was the singles buyer and we were a huge retailer.  Whenever a single went Gold (500,000 sold) or Platinum (1,000,000 sold) he would ask for the applicable award.

Well, I was in charge of CD singles, back when they were new and part of my job was to get them into the markets where they were breaking.  Dance singles rarely broke out all over the country at the same time; they would hit market by market.  I did a lot of work with the record label to keep the song “Whoot There It Is” by 95 South, stocked in the right regions.  It started out in Atlanta and spread throughout the south and east from there.  So when the single finally went Platinum, I figured, “Hey, this is my chance.  I was as instrumental as anyone to sell copies of this thing!

So I asked the label rep and what do you know, he agreed.  A couple weeks later, I opened the box containing my greatest achievement from the music business.  (Even better than getting a thank-you in a CD liner jacket.)  Future-Ex even let me put it up on the wall in the living room!
Whoot!  There it is…  Obviously, I redacted my name on there, so you’ll just have to trust me on this.

6) I am a complete “hat” junky.  I often say that “we bald guys love our hats…” and it’s totally true.  The biggest problem is where to put them.  Here’s how I solved it.

They started out on a single hat rack.

These are pretty much the “old” ones now.

But in no time, I needed more space, so I improvised.

Some of them are even doubled up because I’m out of wall space.  Obviously, these were already up on the wall before I ever met Pinky.  I don’t think any woman would accept “Ballcaps” as a room décor. 

As you can see, they’re highly organized… I have sections for the Penguins, Steelers, Buckeyes, Orioles and Pirates, with a few one-offs scattered around.  It’s highly functional because once I put on my coat; I can consult the Hat Wall and select my cranial accessory of the day.

7) I’ve met Joan Jett in person 5 different times and spoke with her on the phone twice.  I got to meet quite a number of my favorite music stars during my time in music retail, but none were better than getting to interact with my Queen, Joan Jett.  I’d been a huge fan of hers since college and was quite lucky to be able to get to know her a little bit.

I met her once (quite by accident) at an Orioles game (before I even lived in Baltimore), once at a record release party, and three times backstage.  The middle time, she came right over to me when she came in the room, because she recognized me.  I almost passed out! 

Vinnie, who I mentioned earlier, was good friends with her and her manager, so he got me on the phone with her once.  But I engineered a conversation with her on my own once, long before I even moved to the home office.  I knew her Marketing Rep, and she hooked us up to talk.  We spent about 20 minutes talking like old friends.  It was mind-blowing for me to have her undivided attention for that long.  I was so thrilled…

Anyway, you can click the link above for all the details and pictures.  (You KNOW I had to have pictures…)

OK, so there are my 7 things… some new, some old.  The directions for the Kreativ Blogger Award didn’t specify the terms under which I should pass it on, so I’m winging it.  I pretty much hate to even deal with this kind of thing, because it’s like having to choose your favorite child.  I follow so many interesting and talented bloggers, I’d rather just not choose than feel like I’m leaving someone out. 

Today, I’m going to use this opportunity to celebrate one of my new favorite bloggers, HoodyHoo, blogging about daily life in Wes' By-Gawd Virginny.  She never fails to make me smile, and the fact that she’s a Penguins fan certainly doesn’t hurt..  So Hoody, this one’s for you.  Feel free to follow these “rules,” or just make up your own. 

And that there is good advice in general.


Mary Ann said...

#7 Why didn't you marry Joan Jett? You couldda had your picture in the paper.
#6 "HATS MAKE YOU HAPPY" was your fvorite book as a kid.
#4 If registered, I won't report. If drafted, I won't serve. If arrested, I'll show my rash.
#1 You really DO have a rash.

Hoody Hoo said...

Squeeeeeeeeeee! Yah bastid! Thanks and love!

Cher Duncombe said...

Bluz, you really do lead an interesting life. Love your hat collection! I think everyone should collect something. Really, the hunt is so much fun. Thanks for the vicarious thrills. I never met Joan Jett but I'm happy that you did. :) Mary Ann: You really anted Bluz to marry her? Oh wow, that would have been a movie!

Mary Ann said...

Sure thing, Cher. I wouldda had a car by now. No grandkids but some cool girlfriends.

bluzdude said...

You deserve it Hoody... you're The Goods!

bluzdude said...

No foolin... you just wanted backstage passes and good seats.

bluzdude said...

Seriously, Joan was never anything less than wonderful to me and any fan that crossed her path. She's a real Champ and deserves every bit or attention and respect that she gets.

If she were a shit, I would never be telling these stories.

bluzdude said...

#7 I woulda if I coulda.
#6 I must have known I'd grow up to be an acorn-head.
#4 And if you come to my door, I won't answer it.
#1 True dat.

Mary Ann said...

That would be good.

Jessica R. said...


And I actually love the hats on the wall. I do the same thing with magazine covers in my office. I don't care in the least that it makes my office look like a college dorm room.

bluzdude said...

My old college gf once described my home décor style as “20th Century Boy’s Bedroom.” Not much has changed since then. Although in a respectable house, I would only thusly “decorate” one room. The rest can be all respectable and shit.

But I gotta have room for my “trophies.” Although someday, I really ought to take down my 6-foot Batman standee. But he’s been standing watch in my apartments for so long…

The hat thing is really just borne out of functionality, and it stuck. Plus, it’s dead space. Who ever puts pictures way up there over the doorways by the ceiling?

Anonymous said...

That's really cool that you met Joan Jett. I'm also envious of your Paris-London spring break. I've never been.

Congrats on the award!

Cassie said...

To #1. Bacon. Bluz. BACON.

That's all ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay, third time this week I've read the phrase "beer in the shower." Never done it. It's now on my bucket list.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, curious. Have you seen the movie The Runaways? Kristen Stewart as a young Joan Jett. Seems right in your wheelhouse.

bluzdude said...

If you click the link to the Joan story, you’ll see a bunch of pictures of us together. That was the best… getting to stand there with my arm around her. She was so freakin’ cool.

The thing about that Europe trip… I wish I had been older. I would have appreciated it a little bit more, I think. But I really love seeing scenes on TV from London and Paris, and recognizing places I’d been.

I probably should have taken notes though. I look through my photo album and there are all these pictures captioned “Some building,” or “Some fountain.” No idea what the hell they were, once I got back home.

bluzdude said...

Luckily, I joke much more about bacon than I eat it… couple strips on a burger, maybe every 2 weeks. That’s it. But thank you for looking out for me.

bluzdude said...

You should check out the illustrated blog by 2 dudes out in Colorado, called, A Beer for the Shower. Freakin’ hilarious.

bluzdude said...

Absolutely I saw it, the very weekend it hit the theaters out here. I had a movie review post up that afternoon, as well. (What, you haven’t memorized all of my posts???) (

The acting was terrific… Kristen Stewart totally became Joan Jett… and I would know! She had every gesture down, from Joan’s backhanded lefty handwriting to the way she hunches over the guitar when she plays, to her general badassery. Ow!

Cassie said...

If something happened to you, who would I nag about being old?!

Cassie said...

*Hand up* I remember that review...

bluzdude said...

Well done, Ms Conti... For being so observant, you get to stay and clean the erasers.

bluzdude said...

I believe the Carpetbagger would inherit the mantle or Resident Very Cool Oldster.

Unapologetically Mundane said...

Whoot? It's actually "whoot"? I always thought it was "whoomp", though I was all folk/country when that came out and don't believe I've ever actually heard the whole song. WAIT A SECOND. I just Googled it, and it's actually a different song! WTF, music industry?

bluzdude said...

Yes, there were two similar songs, "Whoot! There it is" by 95-South and "Whoop! There it is" by Tag Team. The 95-South version came out first and the other one ended up capitalizing on the buzz.

The music biz is nothing if not imitative.