Sunday, June 28, 2009

Busy as a Buzzy Bee

I know it's been forever since a blog post. I've been at camp for the last two weeks and am leaving for another week of camp today. The last two weeks have been Auburn University camps put on for kids ages 7th grade through graduated senior. The two camps I was a lead counselor for were Engineering camps. The last two weeks provided some funny moments, some intense situations, and some straight up terrible times. It's been an up and down and I'm glad that these two weeks are over. Next stop, Camp Sumatanga for Music and Arts Week. If it gives you a glimpse of how much I love this camp, I'm paying them to work there! This time last year, my ankle was broken and I wasn't sure how camp was going to work out. I can't wait to have two working legs at camp this year. Peace.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Out of Place in the Tiny Kingdom

Today, Cater Design and Landscape worked in the Tiny Kingdom, Mountain Brook. It's referred to as the tiny kingdom "due to its reputation as an enclave for the area's elite and the disparity of wealth between it and Birmingham where nearly a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, according to Census data" (from wikipedia). Basically, it's a snooty, incredibly rich area of Birmingham. As we worked, tennis moms drove by in their SUVs. The most interesting moment came after work, at lunch. We left the job site and headed into town. I decided to eat at Golden Rule BBQ. Now, to those unfamiliar with Golden Rule, it is perhaps the best bar-b-que in town. I grew up going to the one on hwy 31 with the funky roof. At any given visit to Golden Rule, one would see white collar mixed with blue collar. Business men meet over a plate of ribs, while dirty paint-covered workers scarf down a jumbo chop sandwich and fries. The atmosphere is loud, everyone is friends with everyone, nobody cares how your dressed, and the food is delicious. So, you can see why I wanted to eat there. Pablo, my hispanic coworker, and I were dirty and sweaty and Golden Rule seemed like a place that wouldn't much care. We went in, grabbed a table and ordered some food. I began to look around and I realized, this ain't the Golden Rule I'm used to! It's clean. The servers are wearing T-shirts that say, "Q in the Kingdom" (which disgusts me). Halfway into our meal, a woman wearing PEARLS came in and sat down. I'm sorry, I don't care if they put one in the White House, PEARLS should never be allowed in a Golden Rule! And, in a corner table by the window, sat myself and Pablo, complete with sweat rag still draped around his neck. I loved it. Other than the food, he and I were the most "Golden Rule" thing about that Golden Rule. Looks like the Tiny Kingdom has a thing or two to learn about BBQ joints. Oh, and check your pearls at the door.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I love My...

It's been a long time since an "I love my" Monday. And, since I was working all day yesterday, I didn't get a chance to blog it out. So, here's a new "I love my" Monday... a day later.

1. I love my mom. As I type, she's going under the knife to have her right knee replaced. She's been struggling with extreme knee pain, difficulty walking, etc. for over a year. Hopefully, today is the beginning of the end of that!

2. I love Apple. My Iphone randomly stopped working yesterday. Straight up, wouldn't work. Don't ask me what was wrong with it, because I don't know. Neither does the applecare representative I spoke with on the phone, or the Apple genius in the Apple retail store. However, as they've done for me in the past, the great folks at the apple store replaced my phone, no questions asked. Awesome.

3. I love Dave Matthews Band... again. Around the beginning of high school, I really started listening to DMB. As a guitar player, I couldn't stop learning and playing their music. It was so intense, different, difficult, and it provided me with just enough of a challenge to be able to always push myself. I went to several live shows. I even joined the fan club, called the Warehouse (which is a song title). In 2000, they were due to release a new album, produced by Steve Lillywhite. However, for whatever reason, this album was scrapped and they started all over. The scrapped album was leaked and became known simply as "the Lillywhite sessions" or just Lillywhite for short. The album they ended up releasing was called "Everyday" and, let's be brutally honest, it sucked. Compared to their previous work, Everyday was no good. I fell away from fandom as a result of a sub-par album and just burning myself out on their older work. That all changed last Tuesday. With the release of "Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King," they are back on top! It's a fantastic album that I cannot stop listening to. Dave himself said, "If this is the last album I ever make, I want it to be the one anybody listens to." Following the death of saxophonist Leroi Moore in August of 2008, the band seemed to really come together and refocus. The result is some damn good music. If you're a DMB fan and haven't picked this album up, shame on you. If you're not a fan, this could be a great place to start.

4. I love chili-cheese dogs. I've always loved chili cheese dogs, but lately that love affair has been rekindled. A new restaurant called "Hot Diggity Dogs" opened up in Auburn and they make good ole, honest hot dogs. They aren't gourmet. There's nothing crazy special about them. They are just good!

5. I love summer. One of my favorite summer memories was when I was about nine or ten. My mom had grilled bbq chicken, and we ate dinner outside on the deck. After dinner I caught fireflies in the back yard until dark (which happened much later in the summer, and made the days feel so much longer!) Summer is different now, but still brings with it a sense of "I can do anything I want." This summer, I'm back and forth between Birmingham and Auburn. I'm landscaping in Birmingham, and doing summer academic camps in Auburn. If the start of the summer is any indication, it'll be a great one. Let's just hope I don't break any bones.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Bizarro Landscapers

In the comic world, a bizarro is an evil version of a normally good superhero. So, for instance, Bizarro Superman is an evil version of Superman.

As you probably know, school is out. I'm no longer a music teacher for the next couple of months. So, in the meantime, I'm a landscaper and camp counselor. Today was my first day back on the job with Cater Design and Landscape. When we think of a landscaper, we typically think of one who is a friend to all plants. And, normally, he is. Today, however, I witnessed the dark side of landscaping. I learned today that landscaping is not simply allowing all plants to grow in peace and harmony. Nay, landscaping is man exerting his dominance over all earthly grown things. Our task today was to weed eat a large overgrown natural area, then spray it with commercial grade herbicide, and cover it with straw. Dad dropped me and Pablo off at the job site, got things going, and then prepared to leave to get some more supplies. Before he left, he pulled me aside and said, "Okay, put the backpack sprayer on and spray behind Pablo's weed-eater. Spray everything that's green." You know that scene in many action movies where the main antagonist instructs his minions, "kill everything that moves. Leave none alive." That's what this was, except for plants. I suited up, and set off to murder helpless plants with a spray of deadly poison. Oh, hi little sapling... POISON. Oh, a tall flowery looking thingPOISON! It was a veritable scorched earth policy. I killed it all. (insert evil laugh here). That was only phase one.

After the earth was scorched and covered, we had to deal with the half pallet of sod we had bought and didn't really know where to put. Boss man said put it in front of the house in between the house and the natural area (scorched earth). We called him a few times to try and get him to clarify, but we still weren't very clear. The grass in said location was splotchy and dying in spots, but half a pallet's worth? Oh well, boss man's orders. Dad begin tilling up the ground to rip up the old turf. We replaced the sod, but still had twenty or thirty pieces of sod sitting on the trailer that would go to waste if we didn't use it. So, Dad found another spot and begin to till. When he cut the motor off, he looked up at me and said, "Well, that was the senseless killing of good grass." Bizarro.