Goodbye to the Tunes

Said goodbye to the last of Tricia’s DJ business this morning. Not too sad about seeing it go though, I was kind of bothered about hanging on to a lot of that over sized obsolete equipment that I can hardly even lift anymore. Saying goodbye to the good times is a bit harder, but of course I still have the memories and the pictures…

Disc Jockey

Tricia at her DJ Mixer

That was some adventure starting that business. Wedding photography was so hard and unrewarding and the only part of the whole deal Tricia liked was the reception part. She thought it looked like the DJ’s were having a lot more fun than we were. I knew she liked to dance and knew a lot about dance music so I encouraged her to give it a try. So we went out shopping for some equipment and I had to learn all about sound mixers, speakers and amplifiers. I loved all the little blinking lights and she loved the music.

On my way home from dropping it off I was thinking of our best year. In 1999 every body wanted to party like it was 1999 πŸ™‚ We did the music for seventeen company Christmas parties in fourteen days in December that year, along with working full time in the computer business. Boy was I tired, but it was fun.

The biggest adventure of all was yet to come though. We were contracted for a wedding on New Year’s Day in downtown Denver at the Adams Mark, which I understand is now a Sheraton. Anyway, we were already worried about it with all the Y2K scare going on, but the sun came up on the first day of the year 2000, the power was on and the laptop booted with DJ software running just fine. So we got dressed and loaded up the van to fight the downtown crowds. Only that year there were no downtown crowds. Denver was like a ghost town, which was fine with me. We pulled in front of the hotel and started to unload. Soon the hotel manager came out and informed us we couldn’t bring our stuff through the lobby we would have to go to the loading dock. Well OK, where is the loading dock. Turns out the loading dock for the hotel was a block away, the wrong way. We did as we were told and went around the block and into the loading area beneath all the buildings on 14th Street, which I was surprised to actually find.

We pulled in and got out to assess the situation. The loading dock was huge cavernous room with dozens of unmarked doors. And of course since it was a holiday and Y2K to boot, there was no one there. We were the only vehicle and the only people in sight. By this time we were running short of time and panic began to set in. We just looked at each other and she said β€œWhat are we going to do?”. We ventured down a few hallways, but it quickly became obvious that we could spend all day going down hallways to every building in downtown Denver. Luckily we spotted a phone on the wall. No dial though, just a phone. I picked it up and thankfully there was a friendly voice on the other end. I explained our predicament and pretty soon one of the doors opened and the guy said come this way! We had a ton of stuff on carts so she pushed a light one and I had a big one in front of me and one behind me as we ran down the hallway, up an elevator, through the kitchen, past a bunch of ballrooms and finally to our room. We threw the stuff off the carts and I began hooking up all the wires and lights and doing the sound checks. She got dressed in her tux and located the Bride for final announcement and song updates.

The party went off without a hitch, except for one panic filled moment when the power on the floor went out and we all thought it was Y2K hitting late. They couldn’t get the breaker fixed, but fortunately MacGyver Krull had enough 100 foot extension cords to reach a room with an outlet on another circuit. What a day that was πŸ™‚

We had a blast playing the music for quite a few years until iPods came out. Then people began to want to just do their own song lists and Dj’s were being replaced with Karaoke machines. Companies would just come in and set up the machine and people would play their own songs and sometimes of course, even perform their own. We didn’t think that would be much fun so we never got into it and it wasn’t long before we received the dreaded cancer diagnosis. I’ve been hanging on to this stuff all these years as technology has passed it all by. People don’t use CD players anymore, DJ’s don’t use 100 pound speakers and mixers fit into the palm of your hand instead of a sound equipment rack. But it sure was fun while it lasted.

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Summer 2015

Woke up this morning stressed out about all the things I still need to do this summer but couldn’t really remember what it was that I should be doing. So I had my coffee and waffles and by 7:30 I still couldn’t remember what it is that I was stressed out about doing, so I just let the two outdoor kitties out the front door and pulled a chair into the awesome Rocky Mountain morning sunshine to ponder the matter. No sense rushing headlong into something when you don’t even know what it is yet!

So as I sat there sipping my coffee I reviewed all the things I had originally intended to do this summer and as I did so it occurred to me that I had already done all that I wanted to do and more… Including a few things that just six months ago I could not have even imagined would be possible. Of course this sounds good on the surface, but it caused a bit of a panic at first because I suddenly realized I didn’t know what to do next! As I thought about it I realized that through all the doctor appointments and cancer treatments I had forgotten how to live a normal life. I had to think back a long way to remember what a summer Saturday might have been like before all this happened. Flipping burgers on the grill and enjoying a margarita was the memory that fought it’s way through the fog of years of hardship to the forefront of my memories.

Amazingly enough as I fixed my gaze on the yard, that very same propane grill that was in our backyard in Parker has been preserved unscathed through it all, full propane tank still attached. No flame has passed through those burners in at least five years but much to my surprise it only took a couple of punches at the starter button to produce the bright yellow flame that I was hoping for. My afternoon was sealed and an odd feeling of peace that I have not experienced in a long time settled in.

But what of the morning, there were still hours to go before lunch time? I have been thinking a lot of the Thomas Trail in Green Mountain Falls. It was one of the first trails we hiked together when we first moved here. Sweet Pea had learned how to climb in the Miata and curl up on the floor when we drove to work and she quickly learned that she was going to get to have some fun on the way with a climb and a stream crossing on the lush forest trails in GMF. For the three of us our longest hike was the Thomas Trail which goes across the front of the mountainside from the Catamount Falls to Crystal Falls and I have been wanting to go back there to stitch one more good memory from the past across the gaping wound of loss to the present.

Catamount Falls

High water flow this year on South Catamount Falls

So I corralled the cats into the house and loaded up the camera and a bottle of Gatorade and headed for the trail. Unfortunately, the river was running so high this morning from all the rain this year that I didn’t want to cross the stream, but Plan B was still a go with a climb to the Garden of Eden to check on the alleged wildflowers, It was a good climb, but it appears I am too late for the full bloom in that meadow. But I got some exercise, some great shots of Catamount Falls and had a good time whiling away a few hours. As it turns out, I have not lost my grilling skills and had a great afternoon of Grillin’ and Chillin’. And now as I write this evening, the wound of loss now has another stitch towards healing.

This evening an old buddy of mine that I haven’t seen in a long time stopped by with news that he is moving to Cody. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the wildlife in Yellowstone, especially the wolves. He just happened to have an extra travel packet for me. A sign perhaps?

Gold Rush Days

I have been trying to go to some new places and do some new things, so this morning I headed off to Victor for Gold Rush Days. A quick jaunt down Highway 67 with a jog to the left as you near the turn towards Cripple Creek for the once a year festival commemorating the old west gold mining days.

However as I neared Victor I started to notice that the area looked familiar. Then a road sign, Historic Goldfield, Colorado. Then it all came back to me. Some twenty years and change ago Tricia and I had both gotten new cameras. Auto Focus SLR’s were taking hold and I went for the Minolta 700 si (superior intelligence) I think was the deal. She didn’t want to mess with lenses, so we got her the Pentax zoom 105 or something like that. Still have it somewhere. The project was autumn gold and we were trying to get a picture on the cover of some phone book or directory or something so we took the trip down to Cripple Creek trying for nice gold mine pictures. I didn’t realize it was the same place though because we had taken a dirt road over from Cripple Creek back then and this time I just went on the county paved road.

Well anyway, I saw the place and was remembering the day and waited for the sadness to set in that so often accompanies a memorable moment from the past. The sadness didn’t come however and as I drove past the gold mining area I was enjoying the fond memories from our photography projects that we used to do. I thought I might stop by for a few shots on my way home as I continued on for the next mile to Victor.

Damsel

Damsel in distress

Much to my surprise I ran into a number of Woodland Park friends at the festival that also had the same idea. It wasn’t a huge event that far out in the boondocks, but it was a good time. There were mining activity contests like stake pounding and ore shoveling as well as live music and old west skits on main street. I had not intended to stay long, but I was a bit enamored by the costumed story telling lady who was introducing the old west skits. I thought she looked awfully cute in her old west bonnet, either that or I was just born 200 years too late πŸ™‚

After a couple of breakfast beers and some great BBQ I decided to head for the gold mining fields of Goldfield for some reminiscing and a few shots for the story I am going to write for the Examiner. Much has changed in the two decades since I was there last. When we originally found the place there was nothing there but the old mines and a deer trail winding through the acres of old mining claims. Oh that and a sign that said Extreme Danger or some silly warning like that. Actually I was a bit worried about cave ins and buildings collapsing but Tricia wanted to climb right up in and look around. I still remember saying, β€œAre you nuts, this place is going to fall down!”. She said “Oh it is not.” and eventually talked me into coming in and looking around. Now there are groomed paths, and fences everywhere. There are also little stations with signs giving historical information on all the mines and some nice benches to sit on. So I wandered the acreage repeating the long lost photographs from our film photography days so long ago. My first few shots weren’t turning out to well and upon inspection I noticed that my lens was all messed up. I know I checked it before I left and it was clear. Perhaps I fogged it up taking the pictures of the story telling lady in the bonnet πŸ™‚

Gold Mine

Gold Mine

As it turns out, the story gets more interesting… About the time we did this project the internet was in the early stages of actually becoming useful and I was toying with putting our photography on a primitive website. These were some of the first images that I scanned and posted. It wasn’t long and I received an email from a guy in Norway who recognized the area from pictures that his grandfather had sent back in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The guy was excited to find out where the mines were and so we were able to help him discover part of the journey his grandfather had taken trying to make his fortune mining for gold in America.

Killing Machines

Saw this post come through on FB the other day along with a number of comments. The article is about the replicating of machines that were used to hoist wild animals into the Collosseum to fight the gladiators and of course later to kill Christians. Someone posted a comment on the Facebook share asking how such a thing could happen in civilized society.

It’s a slow slide but it occurs when a society has lost a firm grasp on right and wrong, when good becomes evil and evil good. It happens when a society can no longer discern leaders who are evil that begin to enact illegal laws. It happens when people no longer care about others, when people selfishly turn their backs on suffering and cannot feel the pain of their fellow souls.

I submit to you that America is well down this path. One sign of the heath of a society is the way it treats it’s animals. In America, on one hand you have the FBI classifying animal abuse as a felony because they have finally acknowledged the connection between people who hurt animals and people who will eventually hurt other people. On the other hand we have politicians participating in the passing of ag/gag laws that make it illegal to film the horrific abuse of animals in factory farms, effectively making it illegal to do the right thing. There were great strides made in the 1970’s to identify endangered creatures and create laws to save them from extinction. Now we have politicians who, for the sake of greed and money, want to undo those laws and wipe out the inconvenient animals that the Endangered Species Act was designed to preserve. We have politicians in several states that actively encourage barbaric activities such as trapping and hounding. Dog fighting is illegal everywhere, but our leaders do not have the moral compass to make the connection between the suffering of wildlife and the suffering of domestic animals. While making it illegal to harm domestic animals, they advocate for the right to abuse domestic animals on farms.

We see the demise our our society in the politically correct movement. We all know it is wrong to just let people pour across the border unchecked. We know they bring in crime and disease. We know they drive the wages down for Americans and for legal immigrants who are trying to make a living here. We know they fill up our hospital emergency rooms and cost untold tax dollars their care. But we are not allowed to say so without being called a bigot. And our leaders are complicit when they obstruct the enforcement of immigration law, when they create sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to protect citizens. I can think of two incidents just this week, including the woman who was shot for no reason in San Francisco, a teen who was killed in Aurora by a drunk driver, where their blood is on the hands of our leaders who could have but failed to protect us.

Moral slide happens in a society where the idea of a moral absolute is considered old fashioned and ignorant, when words are twisted to mean things they have never meant before. The Nazis were experts at creating euphemisms to make their crime sound better, where words like resettlement were used to cover for the mass murder of the millions transferred to gas chambers. The early success of the Nazi movement is synonymous with the use of propaganda and euphemism to sell it’s evil message to the public. In our society we see the same thing happening, Illegal immigrants are called undocumented workers, terrorists are called freedom fighters, animals and even people are harvested instead of slaughtered for their fur and organs on the black market. A religion who’s bible advocates the murder of non-believers and is responsible for the barbaric death of hundreds of thousands in modern times is called the “Religion of Peace”. The word conservation no longer means to preserve or protect, but to kill and destroy. Abortion is called choice, homosexuality called gay.

We see the slide in our society when our highest court can no longer interpret the plain meaning of the words in the document that defines the law of our land. The Bible is banned from our schools and workplaces and sin is elevated to a God given right. Rights are created from thin air and rights that are spelled out in the Constitution in plain English are eliminated. The mentally ill are elevated as heroes and Christian businesses are sued out of existence for their adherence to the hated Book. Once there is no written absolute truth, law is whatever those in power want it to be and throughout history what politicians with absolute power and no moral restraint want the most is the blood of their dissenters.