Warren Dunes – In the water

I had to come back to Warren Dunes for a second trip this year…  This time with the family.

Here is a video of a few shorts stitched together from the Canon D10.

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Warren Dunes Sunset – 8.4.18

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Alaska Photos

This is not everything…  But its an album I started.  I have more pics and videos I will share in this directory.


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Throwin’ Wrenches

A few of you might already know this… But I figured it was anouncement worthy…

I am working with local radio celebrity, Daryl Scott, on an automotive centered podcast.  The show is called Throwin’ Wrenches and is available on iTunes and Stitcher. We have two solid episodes released and are getting ready to record a new one in the next week.  

Let me tell you a little about my co-host.  I first grew to know Daryl from hearing his velvet tones on the local NPR station in Peoria.  His voice was synonymous with that steady and relaxed style that I expect from public radio. We have also known each other through various groups around town in Peoria.  Most notably, the Peoria Craft Beer Nerds. Daryl has a fully tuned pallet that can appreciate a craft beer as much as I do. Daryl is also a regular in the Central Illinois car scene.  You will always find him at Cars & Coffee or Friday Night Lights with one or two of his classic cars. (He has more cars than me I think) The dude is like rainman when it comes to old cars.  Its crazy!

This snowball started with some joint recording experiences with Dustin over at Drunken Lullabies.  (The more frequent Tazewell County Beer Podcaster)  After a few episodes I asked Daryl if he would want to do a Car-Centric show. I was met with quick and enthusiastic “yes”.  

That gets you to up to date.  

The show is still growing and changing.  We have some segments set in place. Our Elon Musk segment has started to grow legs.  Also, we are going to improve some audio settings thanks to Daryl’s professionally attuned ear.  

I welcome everyone to check it out.  Like the Facebook page and follow along on Apple Podcasts.  (Still working on Android) Also, we would love feedback. It helps us improve the show!  It’s going to be a fun ride to see where this goes!



This is not a Beer Report related podcast.  Dan and I still have that (When we have time to record!), No one can ever replace the CHUD!  And I never want to stop doing Beer Reports!

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Fishing adventure ahead

Fishing…. Let’s talk about Eric and fishing.

I have a few distinct memories with a fishing pole. Obviously, they are not major life turning events…. Or you might see me packing one on any of my camping trips taken throughout the year.

One of my youngest memories with a pole was at my Uncle Joe’s house in Arkansas with my Brother, Don. We were around 7 or 8. We would cast spinners on his backyard pond and reel them in as if in a race to get back to the shore… Inevitably, a fish would attack the lure and get himself caught. My uncle would take them off the hook… And his wife, Dora, would do the dirty work of cleaning and cooking. It was a no mess, no fuss, version of “duck hunt”.

Later, as a camper at East Bay Camp in Bloomington Illinois… I remember the dread of a small black bullhead who grabbed my hook. This was no sunfish. I held this beast away from me at a full poll distance so that its Steve Irwin killing barbs would not reach my tender 12 year old skin. Thankfully some 8 year old Cub Scouts were there to handle the situation.

My last fishing experience of note was with my Dad on Sanibel Island in my early 20’s. We were casting into the ocean at a private beach on the northern tip of the island…. I caught something…. upon reeling it in…. I found I had removed a completely disgusting creature from the Gulf of Mexico. It looked like a bleached out lion fish with pointy off-shoots that harkened back to that fish at East Bay Camp.. There was no way I was touching that thing, and there was certainly noway I was going to eat it. I had my dad remove the hook and let the ugly critter go back in the water to scare other fish as he was obviously designed to do.

Today, I find myself on a plane to Alaska…. To fish. It certainly doesn’t follow the backstory outlined above.

3 months ago I got the first warning… “Eric, here are the standings on the “Alaskan Fishing Escape” contest for the Chicago region.” I looked… At that time, I was in second place.

Second place? That was fine with me. As a matter of fact… If some other service managers can get their game together, I might even fall down a few notches and get out of contention. I could rest a lot easier!

If you need more proof of fishing prowess, think about this… On my birthday… When the Social media photo posts from my Mother come out to publicly shame me for the sins of my youth. Among the dozen pictures she shares, you may see me with a mullet or a 1978 Plymouth… But you will never find a photographic evidence of me holding a fishing rod.

I think it comes down to the dismount. I’m always praying I won’t catch anything. In the over-air tv era that I was raised in, Babe Winkelman, would scoop up anything by its gills like it he was pulling a six pack of beer out of the water. The hook would neatly pop off the fishes lip, and all was right with the world. I never had that kind of grace in my transactions… I always felt like I was trying to pick up and secure a greasy, flailing, animated banana. On top of that…. I’m have to stick my good pliers down there throat to retrieve a swallowed hook. And that’s a load of malarkey too; my catches always swallowed the hook.

While I am digging down the gullet of this poor low iq beast…. I can’t help but think I am committing painful atrocities on this little Nemo in order to blow off a few hours on a Sunday.

How would I feel if aliens were dangling Chick-Fil-A sandwiches down on a string so that they could catch humans? Snatch me up to the stratosphere where I cant breath… Take a picture… An alien/human selfie. If i’m lucky, they release back in my natural environment. Well, I think there are reports of that kind of behavior… And I am pretty sure nobody has enjoyed it yet!

You can imagine my excitement when I got the email from my Corporate representative notifying me that I had pulled ahead and won the competition. I won the fishing trip.

Salmon fishing in Alaska. 2 full days of air travel… 3 solid days of ocean fishing with a bunch of service guys from across the midwest.

First, I attempted to dodge the prize. I tried to give it to my Assistant Service Manager, Chad. Corporate would have nothing to do with it.

Then a parrey… I have the Trail Team trip planned for the week after. Surely the boss would not want me to take that much time off. I informed the owner of this timing misfortune in hopes that he would say this would not work out. Mr. Fort said it was OK with him if I did both.


I’m going fishing.

It’s not all tears. (This is my mental prep about what’s positive about the trip) I get to go to Alaska. A state that I have not been to yet. That will tick off 49 on my goal to get to 50. Only Hawaii remains on the list. Secondly… We have been promised a share of the fishing bounty. Approximately 50 pounds of fresh caught Salmon and Halibut will travel back to Peoria with me to fill the freezer at La Finca. Those two facts alone might make up for the fact that I am going to be cold and wet in a small boat in the Pacific ocean in July.

Maybe this will be my most successful fishing adventure ever…. or the final nail in what will be a closed coffin of my attempts to learn the sport of angling.

Wish me luck!

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Immigration and the great hype

I cant believe I am succumbing to this…
You are all being played. All my Right leaning friends.. Played. Left leaning folks… Being played like a fiddle. The parties and media have you parroting everything. The hot button tweets and memes that you think make a difference… Are just part of the big wedge they want to drive between you. Its embarrassing. Whats worse… I am playing into it with this post.
Immigrating to any country is inherently dangerous. Its never been easy. If can you take the risk to rid your life of all its earthly possessions, other than whats on your back, and take your family to an uncertain destination. You are mentally ready for the consequences of what happens if you dont receive a warm reception. You have probably already been warned of what happened to others who failed on similar attempts.
You can die in a desert trying to make the journey.
You would risk being locked in a container truck and dying of heat.
You would risk your children and family for this chance at a better future.
You have done these things in the past. Risked it all.
If your caught. You know whats going to happen. You know that your kids might even be better served in detention in the USA while you make more attempts to make it through.
As of a short time ago… You would have been happy if half your family made it over the border… Soon enough, you would give it another shot.
Yes… Even with chain link fences and dog kennel style holding facilities.  You have made it over the first hurdle…  Surviving the trip with your life.  Frankly… I surprised they dont have pictures of the kids in orange jump suits with shaved heads.  Disease, bugs and sanitation can lead to a whole host of problems.
3 generations ago in my family… My Italian forefathers were in similar situations. The US Government would not take everyone at Ellis Island. We had children stripped from their family and left to fend for themselves while others had to go back to Italy and make more attempts to come to the US.
Amazingly… Those orphaned kids grew up and survived! (Sarcastic tone… I’m sorry) And yes… Those that were rejected at Ellis had to cross from Mexico illegally.
I will have to get more clarity on what actually happened from my Mother and Grandmother at some point. Guardian Angel home in Peoria had a role to play for those left behind in the US.
Back to the point. Your social media activism only serves to divide.  Its worthless.  I know everyone of my friends on Facebook who Hate and Love Trump.  Not much middle ground with folks anymore. 
Get some fresh air.  Turn off the TV.  Turn off the radio.  Go outside and pick up some litter. Go volunteer at the Soup Kitchen or the Mission. Help out at TAPS. Do something local to help people at ground level. Its what YOU have the power to do NOW.
When the elections come around… Quit voting for these clowns that dont share your values or listen to their constituents.
Dont like tax breaks for local developers? Remember that for tomorrows elections (Proverbial Election)
Dont like impound policies that take away a persons car before being proven guilty? Remember that.
Dont like traffic cameras, facial recognition software running on every citizen or blacked out squad cars? Remember these things when the locals want a vote.
Ugh…  When did you all become slaves to the whims of the parties?   You know that next week you will be outraged about something else right?
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Great albums not on Spotify


PIL – Greatest Hits (Specifically missing “Dont Ask Me”)  The rest of the album is in their catalog. But this one song released as part of the greatest hits is one of their best, and relevant to today.

Schleprock – Americas Dirty Little Secret.  Amazing Ska-Core band from the West Coast that had some killer hooks.

Rob Jungklas – Closer to the Flame.  Memphis rockers debut with some memorable tunes.

Pere Ubu – Cloudland.  (Also:  Modern Dance, Dub Housing, Story of my Life, Worlds in Collision)  Pere have decided they will forgo the streaming service option.  See my Peter Gabriel rant.  While I can appreciate a small band needing the funds that come with song sales… They risk sliding into an even more obscure corner of music history if no-one can hear their music.  Not sure what the solution is, but I dont see this being the answer.

House of Freaks – Tantilla.  Another obscure 80’s band that will probably fall by the wayside of musical history.  One of the duo was murdered after their 3rd album and I think their legacy left with him.  Original songwriting like theirs is hard to come by.

I will add more as I run across them!


Albums added late:

Warren Zevon – Sentimental Hygiene

Peter Gabriel – So

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Peter Gabriel… “So” you came around?

I randomly came across the Dead Kennedy’s on Spotify this past week… And thought, “I wonder if Peter Gabriel is on here?”

A quick search revealed that his albums are now on Spotify.  Yeah!

You can go back a while and see my thrashing of holdouts like Gabriel.  I understand the financial aspect of his holdout.  But lets be real… The longer you stay out of the streaming business… The further from relevance you music seems to get.  I had pretty much given up on his catalog.

Sure, I own his CD’s. But I am not toting those guys around!  And I will be damned if I am going to buy this album on iTunes.  I’ve owned “So” on LP, Cassette and CD.  He’s gotten me three times over already!

I think I am going to start a post with albums that I love that are not on Spotify.  Really, just so I dont forget about them!

Peter Gabriel Lands On Spotify — Official Playlists

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15 Greatest Albums of all time… As of March 2009

Right now on Facebook there is a little thing going around were you post album covers and talk about your faves…   I remembered writing this years ago.  Its in my Facebook “Notes”.  Funny enough… Its still holding about 75% accurate nearly 10 years later.  

15 Greatest albums of all time? According to me!

Think of 15 albums, Singles, CDs, LPs (if you’re over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 15 others (or more!), including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.

In no particular order… Take that back… Some order

1. Men at Work – Business as Usual. This might be the only album I can listen to all the way through now… Just like I did then! I bought an extra LP version of it because I wore my first one out… And then proclaimed that this was an album I would share with my kids someday. (I remember this fact because Uncle Steve reminded me of that conversation from 1981) While its not a remarkable album… There were some great songs with a little off center-ness that probably started the ball rolling for me to be on the outside of mainstream music.

2. Duran Duran – Rio – Even if I wasn’t cool… I felt cool listening to this LP. (Yeah, I’m still talking LPs!) I couldn’t dance, didn’t have designer clothes, or even know where to start… But reading about these guys and digging on this album kept me from being a complete hick!

3. Peter Gabriel – So – This was the first CD I ever purchased… Still have it… Back when they made CD’s to last! I rode up to Walton’s on my BMX and picked up a General Electric CD player and “So” with my saved up paper route money… While I was sucked in my Sledgehammer…. It was songs like Dont Give Up with Kate Bush that once again started knocking down the walls of what was considered popular music.

4. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love – WBNQ went out with the bathwater when I heard this one… Music can be this??? Characters, theater, drama… Her wonderfully eccentric voice along with being backed up by some of the greatest musicians in the world. This really opened me up to looking for more in music than what the top 40 was dictating!

5. Ramones – Animal Boy – I’m not a punk guy… Never was… But, the Ramones gave me something to play loud! Violently loud! The songs didnt amount to more than some of the pop music at the time… Except for Bonzo goes to Bitzburg… It was almost a political statement song… But who could take the Ramones seriously for that?

6. The Dead Kennedy’s – Frankenchrist – Oh man… Jello Biafra can write some dialog! These guys had many albums that were punk… But this one was a fine piece of musicianship and lyrical conquest… You just through in the cassette and held on… Singing along to Anti-Anthems! This album still stands up… And you can find plenty of similarities between the Stars and Stripes of Corruption then, as you would now.

7. The Screaming Blue Messiahs – Bikini Red – As usual.. Always a story to go with the purchase… Bob Brown had bought this cassette on my insistence… After listening to it for a day… He said he didn’t like it. We had both agreed that “I wanna be a Flintstone” was a great song… Unfortunately… Nothing else on the cassette sounded like that. WHICH IS GREAT IN RETROSPECT! Its the weakest song they ever wrote! When I heard Jesus Chrysler Drives a Dodge for the fist time.. I was blown away! This guy was making his guitar scream! I have said it before.. And I’ll say it again… If I could play guitar.. I would want to play like Bill Carter. Controlled chaos! Evidenced in their live material!

8. Pere Ubu – Cloudland – Another expansion on what music is. Weird clicks, sound effect and whirrring noises in beat with a great band… Oh, and that singer… What in the world is he singing??? It was always hard to understand the first time through… But their hooks and pop grooves were usually enough to keep me entertained. This was the first of my Ubu albums for me!

9. Oingo Boingo – LIVE 2CD – Total summer music in 1989… I was aware of the band from movies like Weird Science and Back to School (Thanks to Kennedy for that memory update)… But these guys are sooooo much more! Phenomenal musicians… Brilliant lyrics and a wild look. More of a New Wave throwback… I probably caught them on the tail-end of their career. No matter, I dug their whole catalog and still love to listen to all of it today. This album had a great live sound that didnt have the dated keyboards and drum machine sounds.. Probably why I always cue it up first with in an OB mood!

10. Julian Cope – St. Julian – Big time British rock sound with complete lyrical weirdness! I couldnt figure this guy out to save my life… But I loved playing this album loud!!! Pulsar is one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time!

11. Robyn Hitchcock – Spooked – This one is not that old… But it revived for me what an artist can be… Even with an acoustic guitar… You can be clever and relevant. I am not huge on one man guitar shows.. But Robyn sucks you in on this one and you live in his world for a while. I have almost everyone of his albums (Thats a lot!) and this one still holds as his breakthrough for me.

12. The Decemberists – Castaways and Cutouts – I had given up on new music. Resigned that all new music sucks! I was ready to listen to Julian Cope and Oingo Boing for the rest of my life! Thank God for these guys! Lit rock? Is that a term? It should be. These guys breathed air into my CD collection when it was needed most. They are current, but timeless… I suspect I will be listening to their albums for many years ahead.

TIE 13. Lou Reed & John Cale – Songs for Drella | Lou Reed – Magic and Loss – Never a huge Lou fan… I was pleasantly surprised when Jon Etter slapped the Drella VHS in the player. (They did a VHS whole album recording, its not on DVD.. I’ve checked!) Its Lou being tender and soft… Really the beginning of a sound that he was holed up in for the next 20 years! All the songs tell a story and you can feel his love for Warhol and the old gang in this. Magic and Loss was a some of the darkest recordings in my collections. I normally like pretty up music… But the feeling that is brought out in the songs of this album really draw you in. When he is singing (If you call it that) about awkward conversations at funerals… Or taking a boat out to spread ashes in the Atlantic ocean… You feel like you are living it. Lou’s finest!

14. Talking Heads – Naked – Not a typical Talking Heads album… It was more influenced by David Byrnes dabbling in Brazilian music. It totally took me to another place… Letting me open up to artists with a south of the border texture. Once again… It expanded what I new about music. Rio Momo, some Ozomatli…. And a bit of Jobim later… And I can see where that branch of my musical tree came from!

15. The The – Infected – Yeah, that band name is right! OK, Lou wasnt the only downer in my collection. Matt Johnson gave me some gritty stuff that dealt with bad relationships, societal decay, and inner turmoil… All wrapped in a punchy, sometimes pop-ish package. Johnson’s voice always sounds troubled! Johnny Marr played guitar on this and the next album… And they still sound as good today as they did back in 1990 (Earlier?)

Honorable Mentions:

Afghan Whigs – Gentleman
They Might be Giants – They Might be Giants (Debut album 1986)
The Refreshments – Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy
Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen
The Blue Nile – Walk across the Rooftops
The Cars – Candy O
Counting Crows – August and Everything after (Only meaningful if you have had your heart ripped out!)
Fishbone – Truth and Soul
Goo Goo Dolls – Hold me Up

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The Lead Hair

The lead hair. 

Is he the idealistic soldier who steps forward when he hears the call?  Or is he the brave soul who stands his ground while the others retreat?

Would I deny his nobility and strike down his impotence with one quick slice? Do I let him grow and attempt to thrive in a territory that he has been bold enough to settle for himself?

I know that his days are likely numbered. It seems cruel to cut short what we know will end soon through its natural course.

Live another day doomed soldier! 

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