Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Last time for everything…?

I hate to be dramatic about things…oh, who am I kidding? I'm one of the most dramatic people I know! I've been called a few things in my life, but, one of the most memorable (and apt, I think) is a romantic. I get completely wrapped up in movies and their characters. Suspension of disbelief is my specialty. In this sense, writing a blog is perfect for me. Gives me an outlet to almost make a character of myself. I can read my own 'story' if you will after I finish writing it. Sounds a little bit on the selfish side, but, it's not such a bad characteristic, is it? Anyway, I scrolled back and read my first blog post here and the title inspired me a bit. A bit cliché, but, perfect for me (cue the sappy nostalgic music score here).

Having said that, I think it's time to bring this blog to a close. That's right - it's time to put the following picture to rest.

No, it's not of me. It's Ben Affleck from the final scene of "The Town." It's how I've pictured myself for the last 2 years out at sea. Stepping away from pretty much everything and acquiring some new perspective.

I won't say that the 'Walkabout' is over…not sure if it ever will be. I will say that spending the last 2 years as a musician on ships has done me a lot of good. That might just be the understatement of the year! In any case, I've decided to stop working on ships. At least, for now. Let's consider it an extended break…never say never, you know. To quote an important concept that I think I've figured out over the last 2 years, "Nothing is permanent."

To that end, I want to extend a hearty THANK YOU to all of you who have kept up with me since March 9, 2012. There are way too many people to name, but, this blog has enabled me to keep in touch with so many people while I've been 'away' and I'm very grateful for that and those relationships. Even in today's world of seemingly endless connectivity with the internet, cell phones, and what not - this blog has allowed me the opportunity to share what's been going on with me and stay in touch with people in an entirely unique way. And, people have noticed and read and commented and emailed and called and texted and face-booked and visited and on and on. It has meant very much to me and I hope that we continue to stay in touch even now as the blog goes quiet.

Plans for the future? Well, to steal a line from the TV show "Parenthood" (I told you I was a romantic! What's more over-the-top than scripted TV drama underscored by acoustic guitars?), April 13, 2014 - April 13, 2015 is going to be "the Year of Carl." I've decided that I have a few priorities in my life:

1) Playing trombone for a living.
2) Living on land.
3) Living in one place.

As such, I've made a move to Grapevine, Texas. It's in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and I intend to try and continue my professional musician career on land here. I already have a great start with the cover band, "Party Machine" with whom I'm very happy to be playing weekly. The band leader is a former student of mine from my first teaching job in Wyandotte, Michigan all the way back in 1997 (How's that for drama? You can't write this shit!).  It's an excellent jumping off point. I plan to cultivate more gigs, private students, and possibly some clinician opportunities while living here. As I've learned, nothing is permanent. So, I don't harbor any illusions that this is the last place I'll ever live or the last career I'll ever have, but, it is what I'm doing right now. And that's good enough for me. 

So - it's time to hang up the blog. For now anyway (nothing is permanent, remember?). I'd like to think that the last post of this blog will be viewed as I view it: from the audience witnessing a slow moving camera shot of people smiling and reading the last entry while that nostalgic motif that is a staple of all the great 80's dramas (miss you John Hughes!) slowly crescendos from the background only to fade into credits. I know, I know. It's dramatic and cheesy, but, the right people will understand.

As my wonderful friend John Garvie is fond of saying, "Thanks for listening." 

Stay in touch!

P.S. For my first 2 contracts, I had put together a picture slideshow of some of the highlight pics. My iMovie is not agreeing with me right now, so, you'll have to check my facebook page for the photos and provide your own music. Need help with your background music for that or this post? Here are some suggestions:

Simple Minds: Don't You Forget About Me (The Breakfast Club)

Snarky Puppy: Thing of Gold (a modern one, not from a movie that I know of…and just for fun)

The Dream Academy: The Edge of Forever (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

The Dream Academy: Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

Thompson Twins: If You Were Here (16 Candles)

Nancy Wilson: All For Love (Say Anything)

John Musser & Stephen Hague: Final Scene Underscore (Some Kind Of Wonderful)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Say it ain't so, Markito!

My good friend, Mark Sorilla, signed off the Adventure a few days ago. I'm really going to miss this guy. Mark is one of the best people I know. His first instinct in any given situation (humorous, stressful, tense, angry, scary) is to laugh. This is a wonderful characteristic that spreads to and influences all those around him. His positive vibe, both on the bandstand and in life, will be missed greatly by me and everyone onboard. Mark is engaged, so a full life of married bliss and music await him back at him win the Phillippines. I wish him the best and look forward to seeing him sometime in the future. I'm sure we'll play some music and share some laughs then! Take care, pare. All the best!

Of course, I made a short iMovie for everyone. Follow the link below to see it.

L - R: Mark, Me, Raf (piano).

Full band hang at Johnny Rockets!

Me and my main man, Markito.

The Adventure Horns. Inhabiting and taking over
the crew bar. L - R: Andrew (tenor sax), me, Mark (trumpet)
Sergio (trumpet), Dustin (alto sax).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rome (in a day)

Rome was one of the ports that I really wanted to get to - a major destination point on this European itinerary for me. Certainly one of the destinations that offers a lot to learn and marvel at (or so I was told), I happily escorted a panoramic tour of the city. I did end up learning a few things which I'm happy to share.

For starters, this is a VERY old place. I've seen some old things in Europe, but, Rome takes the cake. Definitely wins the age prize.

The buildings in Rome (or what's left of them, in some cases) are sometimes very beautiful and often breathtaking. However, this all took a backseat for me when I was told of the history of the people who inhabited this area. Almost ALL of the stories I was told about the Romans involved powerful rich people punishing and oppressing others. I heard so many grisly and disgusting tales from the tour guide that I made a list of all the atrocities to make sure I heard them all correctly. 

These included stories of: 
  • decapitations
  • lies
  • emperors declaring themselves gods--which just proves that if you have enough money and power, you can make any outrageous claim and "prove" it true (see: Roman Catholic church)
  • war
  • deceit
  • crucifixion
  • upside down crucifixion
  • slavery
  • subjugation of women
  • incest
  • burning people alive
  • burying people alive
  • theft
  • murder
  • city-wide arson
  • kicking wives to death
  • suicide
  • animal cruelty (5,000 animals were brutally slaughtered for entertainment purposes alone during the first 100 days of the Colosseum opening)
  • assassinations
  • conquering other nations
  • public executions (including public beheadings as recently as 1868)

On the flip side of that coin, I also learned that that "Margherita" pizza (red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese, and green oregano) was created because it has the colors of the Italian flag. Hooray for decency!

My overall point, I guess, is this. I get that the large buildings are impressive as well as the age of the area. Building roads was important. However, people seem to overlook and brush past the wicked and cruel acts of tyranny that occurred in Rome. Yes. The Colosseum is impressive. However, shouldn't we take more than just a moment to realize that the people who built it (check that…HAD it built by slaves) thought that one of the most entertaining reasons to gather together inside the giant monstrosity was to watch an ostrich get it's head sliced off and to wager on how far it would run before it's headless body collapsed on the blood soaked sand?  Should we really wave that away just because the building is big and old? For me, it was all a bit much. Never been happier to be on a panoramic tour. Drive-by explanations provided plenty of detail for me.

All in all, I had a great tour. A wonderful time and I learned a lot. The tour guide, Jackie, was outstanding. Informative, sense of humor, the perfect amount of talking and explanation. The bus was incredibly comfortable and air conditioned. The best part of Rome for me? Lemon ice cream.

St. Pete's.

Really old apartments where people lived a long time ago in history and stuff.

This building is called the Wedding Cake due to it's design.

Maybe more wedding cake-ey view here.

The Senate.

Another angle on the Senate.

The Colosseum.

Holy Crap. So close to ice cream!


Panoramic of St. Pete's.

I thought these pillars were awesome.


Quick picture post here of some shots from my "panoramic" tour of Barcelona. A panoramic tour (I found out through experience) is one that involves mostly sightseeing from the seat of a bus. Minimized walking for passengers that are don't get around that easy can be a bonus. Even though I'm perfectly capable of walking long distances, I prefer this type of tour. I get a chance to see a lot of different places and get a snapshot of an entire area. This seems to work better for me as opposed to an in depth, detailed look at 2-3 tourist destinations in the city. Enjoy the pictures.

A city of 1.5 million people. Again...the weather!

That's my ship (I can see my house from here)!

Statue commemorating a local dance.

Drive-by of Olympic Stadium for 1992 games.

Famous Gaudi architecture.

More Gaudi.

A giant church tower looming in the distance.

Probably the coolest door gate I've ever seen.

Front of church.


Normally, my visits to port include a short amount of sightseeing (anything within walking distance) and a search for WiFi internet to stay in contact with folks back home. However, because I have the unique opportunity to visit Europe for free, I've been skipping the internet search in lieu of tours to see more of the countryside and culture of these different areas. This past cruise took me to Gibraltar. This unique port is an extremely busy shipping location with literally tons of goods and oil moving through the strait daily. Also featuring a large rock formation, this port provides some spectacular views. On this particular day I completely lucked out with the weather and had an opportunity for some great pictures of the surrounding area…and some monkeys. 

The Med.

That's Africa in the distance.

The Atlantic.

Me and my good friend Jivan.

Caves may be more breathtaking in person.

Unpaid tourist guide.

The monkeys can smell my fear.

How about that weather?

Seriously. The weather!

Cannon view.

Across the airport runway is Spain.