Archive for July, 2013

music subcultures

I like satellite radio.

For instance, last week when I drove to Neosho and Springfield, Missouri, I listened to a station called First Wave.  This station played a lot of the music I loved listening to during the ’80’s.  I’d been under the impression that music was now called “retro”, but First Wave set me straight.  It proudly proclaimed the music they were playing was “classic alternative“.  I knew it as New Wave and Punk, back then, but I’d always considered it mainstream pop music.  Shows what I knew.

That the music is considered Alternative makes sense, however.  In the ’90’s, I became aware I liked listening to “Alternative” music when my radio station began using the term and I’ve steered toward stations ever since that called themselves “the Alternative” or something like that.

While in Springfield, the announcer said to check out their sister Alternative station, Lithium, which played ’90’s Alternative and Grunge.  OMG! I thought (really).  THAT was my music!  I’ve always claimed the ’90’s as my favorite musical decade because of those two genres.  Anyway, I listened to Lithium until I turned in the rental car.  I was taken back to the days I first left the Navy and moved back to Iowa, a new civilian.  I listened to the same songs while on the road with my first field service job.

Times have changed, and so have I.  I still love that music, but I don’t intend to listen to it all the time from now on.  I’ve always prided myself about having never become mentally stuck in an era or genre.  I intend to keep moving on, exploring new music, but having stations like First Wave and Lithium allow me to occasionally relive good times, giving me an alternative to sports radio and country music when I’m driving through certain areas without any alternatives.

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Members of the Field Service team where I work have a repeating two-week schedule called a rotation.  First day is dedicated to paperwork — tying up loose ends from the previous rotation and preparing for the next trip.  So, two weeks ago, I started my first rotation since returning to Field Service.  This first rotation was scheduled for “in-house” training, to re-learn the job.  Somehow, things didn’t turn out that way.  Instead of hitting the books, I hit the road.

On day one, I drove up to Cameron, Missouri with another technician for a simple job.  I think I wrote in my last blog entry, both of us had something to teach each other on that trip.  Then, I was sent up to Grinnell, Iowa for what was supposed to be a one-day job that turned into three.  I returned on Saturday, had a wild and adventurous day off on Sunday and some in-house training time on Monday.  On Monday afternoon, I was told to be in Springfield, Missouri on Tuesday evening, but first, stop in Neosho, Missouri to upgrade a printer.  So, bright and early the next morning, I was on the road again, again.  The job in Neosho went OK.  In Springfield, a two-day job turned into three (funny how “easy” jobs sometimes don’t quite work out the way they are expected to).  I returned home on the last day of rotation in a rental car full of equipment after the rental agency office had closed for the day.  Yesterday morning, I unloaded the equipment into a corner at work, and returned the car.  First rotation complete!

Memorable places and events:

  • Grinnell Steakhouse and Family Restaurant — best bleu cheese dressing I’ve ever had on a salad.
  • Prairie Canary, in Grinnell — fancy sandwiches.  My burger was great!
  • The county courthouse in downtown Newton, Iowa.
  • The Haas Building in Neosho — four stories tall, in 1906!  Neosho must have been a jumping place back then.
  • Norma’s Kitchen, in Neosho — A diner off the town square that served good food from an extensive menu.
  • In Springfield, a young pharmacy technician who shyly smiled when she looked at me.
  • Amish folks in Springfield wearing deep-bright blue shirts and dresses (maybe they were Mennonites).

And that’s all I have to say about that….  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for my next rotation.

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So, I started my new (old) job in Field Service on Monday.  That afternoon, I was in Cameron, Missouri working at a site.  The field tech I was teamed up with had been a recent trainee of mine, and I found myself slipping into my instructor role, showing him some tips and tricks I use when troubleshooting issues.  Wait a minute!  I’M supposed to be learning how the field tech job has changed in the last two years!

So, I’ve been trying to learn the admin side of the job.

So, yesterday I was assigned what seemed like an easy computer replacement job in Iowa I could do today and be back home tonight.  I was scheduled to take some training tomorrow on how to create expense reports.  Well, as is usually the case, things didn’t go the way they should have, and I need to spend the night here.  That means I’ll miss tomorrow’s training.  Working this job, I’m also learning my paperwork weaknesses I’ll need refresher training for.

So, today I was able to have lunch at a local restaurant, and for the first time in two years (I think), I’m able to write a restaurant review.  Here it is:  I had lunch at Grinnell Steakhouse and Family Restaurant.  I remember writing once about being in the south, where the waitresses were always calling me hon’.  Today, I found myself in the land of sweetheart, which is what my waitress kept calling me.  The waitresses were friendly and efficient.  The food was OK (I had a pork tenderloin sandwich, fries and the salad bar.  I really liked the salad bar.  I’d never before been in a restaurant where the seeds were scoops out of the cucumber slices — that was a nice touch.  But this restaurant had the best bleu cheese dressing I’ve ever eaten!  It was thick and creamy, and contained huge cubes of bleu cheese.

So, today I was working in a grocery store pharmacy.  After the pharmacy closed, I bought food at the store and took it back to my room — trying to eat healthier and lighter in the evenings while I’m traveling.  Eh, the jury’s still out on grocery store food.  There isn’t much I can do in the way of food prep in a hotel room.  I think I may have enjoyed going back to the steakhouse for the salad bar more than eating the salad I bought for dinner.  Dinner will be a continuously evolving experiment, I have a feeling.

So, since this blog entry is called “On the Road Again!” I’ll talk a little about my car rental.  I have a Chrysler 200.  The first time I’ve driven this car.  I was very comfortable during the drive to Grinnell.  The seat doesn’t make my back stiff, and the car is very quiet, except for the booming heavy metal music coming from the speakers.

So, the other night I was listening to some James Taylor songs and ran across this one, which I think will become my new personal theme song:

“Highway Song” — by James Taylor

Father, let us build a boat and sail away, there’s nothing for you here.
And brother, let us throw our lot out upon the sea. It’s been done before.

I’m thinking about a broken heart, I’m talking ’bout the break of dawn,
you love me while I’m here and you can miss me when I’m gone.
Sweet misunderstanding, won’t you leave a poor boy alone,
I’m the one eyed seed of a tumbleweed in the belly of a rolling stone.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

I had a little woman in Memphis, she wanted to be my bride.
She said, settle on down, traveling man, you can stay right by my side.
I tried so hard to please her but I couldn’t hold out too long,
cause one Saturday night I was laying in bed and I heard that highway song.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

Now one of these days that highway song will lose its appeal to me.
I’m gonna settle on down like a natural born man,
I’m gonna live my life naturally, free and easy, mmmmm.
Until that day the thunder’s gonna roll and I notice there’s a sign of rain,
so I grab my bags and I pack my clothes and I’m back on the road again.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

I’m thinking about a broken heart, I’m talking ’bout the break of dawn,
you love me while I’m here and you can miss me when I’m gone.
Sweet misunderstanding, won’t you leave a poor boy alone,
I’m the one eyed seed of a tumbleweed in the belly of a rolling stone.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

Here I am again, Holiday Inn, same old four walls again.
Gee, but it’s fine to be back home again, whoa, now.
Said, Holiday Inn, I’m on the road again.