Maxwell Perkins… Ya got a minute?

Maxwell Perkins.  Never heard of him?  Neither had I until I did a quick search.

I am embarrassed at some of my writing.  I sit back and write a few hundred words…  Then hit “publish”…  Only to come back a day (or hour) later and see the glaring mistakes.  It was extra painful this week when I posted the previous article “The Race” and went back later after I shared it.  Ugh.  About 10 fixes later I felt better about it being read by strangers… Worse yet… Alumni that are probably doing more with their education at PCHS than myself.  Based on my report cards…  Mrs. Ward was unimpressed with my work in her classes (multiple!), and I am sure my current work, while easier to read than my handwriting in 10th grade, (“I have some poems on restlessness in my binder, ya want to see them?”) is equally filled with cringworthy mistakes and grammar.

Thanks to ubiquitous tech… Spelling is no longer the problem.  Its the grammar.  I know the difference between There/Their/They’re… But sometimes you get carried away with the sentence and the rules are left in the dust of the moment.  Another one that gets me is Pronouns.  Writing in a passive voice always makes me feel like I am writing for a congregation…  Writing in first person makes me feel like a Penthouse forum letter.  (Shame on you if you get that)

It led me to ask…  “Did Hemingway have an editor?”  (yeah… I just did that… I loosely associated Hemingway’s craft with this blog!)  Thats where Perkins name came up.  Apparently Papa, F. Scott and many others relied on Perkins’ judgement to strip down stories to fit the space allotted.

I need that guy!  I have a 2000 word article on replacing a viscous cooling fan clutch just sitting in my google docs because I dont want to submit it before its thoroughly cleaned and made readable!  Also…It would help if I could find a video editor…  I have hours and hours of video from our trail team trips that need to be chopped and made view-able.

The gig economy offers some assistance with the bonus of being a international exchange rate value.  Last year, I paid 15 dollars on Fiverr to edit one of my articles about a Trail Team trip out west.  I think he name was Sven.  Sven reviewed the article…  Said it sounded like a fun trip…  And then ran off with my 15 bucks.  Great work Sven.  I think the adage, you get what you pay for, holds up on any format.  Digital or real-life.

I have also done some wild and crazy stuff like reading newsletters by other bloggers who write about “how to write”.  Free blogger advice.  Again, you get what you pay for???  Who knows.  I enjoy this blog by KL Wightman (see below)… But she might be a pen-name for some dude in Serbia who is just learning English.  (Exaggeration to be sure, but you never know)

Moral of the story…  For you and me…  You get what you pay for!  This is a free blog with nonsensical musings from me.  If I made you pay for it… I’d hire an editor.

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The Race

Today, I lost a fellow classmate from the Prairie Central Class of 1989… Scott Sutton. I will not pretend to tell you that we were close and his untimely death has a strong personal affect on me. Scott and I were acquaintances at best, but I remember always being friendly and sociable towards each other. I graduated from a class of 120 students… And those four years we spent together in High School along with extra-circular sports lay a lot of foundation for the rest of your life. It’s impossible to say his character or personality didn’t stick around somewhere in my head all these years later.

On May 16th of this year, Scott posted on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with Colon Cancer. I, at that time, and even today, have very little knowledge of what that diagnosis meant. I heard some people say that it’s a bad thing… But I really didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. Even yesterday when I got a message from another classmate about his hospitalization for pneumonia… I assumed it was a complication and that he would get past this battle. He’s didn’t.

Again… I didn’t know his life beyond HS. A quick online serarch showed me that he had some children.  Those kids left behind are the saddest part for me. Youth is hard enough without this handicap. Battling through school, wrestling with love and an impending adulthood are a lot easier to deal with when you have a Father to look too. I hope Scott’s kids have more family to help guide and love them as they work out the tragedy that has wreaked havoc on their lives.

The further I get into my life and away from those roots back in Fairbury it should be easier to distance myself from emotions over a lost acquaintance. You would think that anyway. It’s not the case.  They are troubling feelings.  This is not a race… Life is not a competition… But man, if it were… Its gotta be rigged or I certainly don’t understand the rules. If I were putting my money on the “horses” in the beginning of this race called “Life”, I would think the odds for a horse like Scott would have been 1:1 to have a long, full and healthy life. I don’t get it!

Rest In Peace Scott… You got a bum horse… I will be thinking about how unfair this is for a long time.

As I wrote that last bit, I thought “that sounds a little callous and it’s not sensitive to peoples feelings”. F*ck that… He was robbed. I am not ashamed to say it out loud. 47 is too young. Leaving kids to grow up without a Dad sucks. Dying within months of diagnosis is even more insult. He and everyone else who succumbs to crap like this deserve better.

God bless dude. I hope you had the time to sort everything out and come to terms with it. You deserved more of everything.

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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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