Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Do Juneau the way to San Jose?

Get it? Juneau?

Ah, humor.

If you couldn't tell by my incredibly witty subject line, I'm in the thriving metropolis of Juneau, Alaska. It actually is one of the bigger port towns we go to, and it's also the capitol city of Alaska... I think.

Not much new happening here, to be honest. I'm sitting outside of the "Silver Bow Cafe" in Juneau eating a peanut butter "Silver Bow Cookie" that I had to buy in order to access their free wireless Internet. The internet's slow and the coo
kie is mediocre at best, but it's only 99 cents. However you look at it folks, that's a steal.

I'm on the phone right now with my boo, Kate. God, it's good to hear her voice. Miss you, Darlin :)

That's us. The HAL Cats. I'm in the back, wearing green. I know, I know, I look confused. I probably don't know where I am in the music, or I don't know where I am in life. Perhaps both. Who knows? I don't, that's for sure.

Here we are, playing for the "Sail Away" party in Vancouver on Sunday. When these people get on, they're greeted by us playing such great tunes as "Tie A Yellow Ribbon", "Harbor Lights", "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You", "Top of the World", and "Where the Boys Are." Yep, they're all pretty lame. We have tunes like "Superstition" or "September", but we never play them. Why not? I dunnno. It makes me oh so sad, though.

Also, Hi Mrs. Steph. Hope all's well. Talk to you soon.

Unruly passengers beware this man: Traffic Director Brandon Hays. In case of an emergency, don't even think about pushing, shoving, or raising your voice. Not on my watch. No sir. This outfit is not just a life jacket and sweet vest that I wear during all drills and emergency functions. No, this is much more. This is power. This is authority. This means that when the ship's sinking, and there's smoke in the air, fire in your eyes, and all hope seems lost I, and I alone (along with 30 others) am your only true beacon of hope an direction. I am the one speaking these words of comfort to you in your time of need: "Right this way sir/ma'am. Your lifeboat is on the Lower Promenade (or deck 6, for those not nautically fluent). Remain calm, everything is going to be alright." I'm a natural.

The name "Brandon" translates literally to "Beacon Light." I try to think about that every time i wear this vest.

that whole bit was completely ridiculous, wasn't it? Man, working on a ship 7 days a week does something to your head... whatever.

Signing off,

Traffic Director Brandon Hays

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ship Life

Hello again.

I've missed you all. How have I been, you ask? Splendid, how nice of you to ask. Yourself? Really? Sorry to hear that. Perhaps you should see a doctor, or a specialist of some kind. Either way. Good luck.

Enough with the pleasantries. You didn't come here to ask how I was, did you you? You want the details, the meat, the scandal, eh? I knew you would. But, since I'm running short of scandal and the only meat on the ship is usually found in the Filipino crew lounge drenched in soy sauce and surrounded by vegetables and rice, all I have for you now is details. Here they are.

I am playing drums with a group on board the ship called the "HAL Cats."
"HAL" = "Holland America Line"
"Cat" = Either a mammal in the feline class or a slang term for musician. Origin thought to be in New Orleans

We are the house band for all evening activities that take place here, in the "Vermeer Lounge." This can range from anything to guest entertainers to cast-presented Broadway shows. So far I've had to play for one cast production and one guest entertainer. The way it works is that every day we'll meet at about 1 or so to have a one hour rehearsal of music that we've neither seen nor heard before. With guest musicians that we've never met. Yippee. Sometimes this is cool. For example: 2 nights ago we had a guy come in to play the Banjo. It was great. We all kinda sucked the first show, but the second show was awesome. So an average day will look like this:

1:00 - 2:00: Rehearsal
6:45 - 7:45: Show
8:30 - 9:30: Show
10:30 - 11:30: Evening music in the piano bar upstairs

In the evenings, sometimes we'll go to the "Crow's Nest" (located above) and play some dance music-type stuff. Yep, that's every bit as fun as it sounds.

The musicians here are very good. I mean, not quite as good as the Ring band, but who is, really? The only difference between the HAL Cats and the ring band is that here we know more than 5 songs... just kidding. We just go back and forth between the only two songs in our repertoire, Fergie's "Glamorous" and "Wonderful Tonight".

Speaking of the Ring band: Cody, Chase, Brady, Sarah, Bald Guy, and Keyboard Player, I miss you all. I will see you soon.

Alright. That's about it. I'm gonna go run. That's right, run. Actually, today on the "Charles Ochello Running Plan to Greatness", I've got to stretch, walk 30, then stretch again (Thanks Mr. Charlie)

I'll talk to you all soon.

B Hays, a.k.a. "HAL Cat 6"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bienvenidos al Alaska!

Hello All.

First: Little known fact, Spanish is in fact the national language of Alaska/Western Canada. As I recently found out, there is a constant struggle for supreme and ultimate linguistic power in this area between Spanish-speakers and English-speakers. This struggle is giving rise to a kind of underground "civil war" between opposing grammar and phonetically based militias.

Second: That was a lie.

Third: For those who don't know, I am in Alaska right now. That is not a lie. In a hotel. It's nice... A little too nice, actually... Whatever.

I have been in Alaska for a couple of hours now and it's already been an interesting day. I ate a meal on a plane (a disgusting but strangely filling turkey sub and some french onion sun chips), 5 bags of pretzels ( pretzels never get old. period.), watched 1 1/2 full length feature films ("The Astronaut Farmer" and the first half of "Wild Hogs"), 3
1/2 episodes of season 3 of ABC's "Lost", ran half way across the denver airport, and generated conversation with complete and total strangers all day long. And still had time for a 2 hour nap. Eat it, "busy "people... just kidding. Now, pictures.

<--- This is from my seat on the airplane... Actually, I was sitting in the middle seat. I had to reach over this guy with a foul demeanor and even fouler B.O. to take this and several others pictures on my flight. The things you do for art... Moving right along.

<--- Different picture, same plane, same wing, same state of the Union, same guy to lean over, same B.O... woof

That's about it. Tomorrow they pick me up from here at around noon (3 p.m. your time... wherever you are) so be thinking about me as I begin my summer. I have working webcam, so don't call me, skype me... it'll be fun, I promise.

Drop me a line at every once in a while. I'll read it. And smile. And probably reply :) Super.

This "blogging" business could be either very often or very "sparatic" (spelling?), so you'll just have to check every day for new posts. It's your burden to bear, not mine. Speaking of bears, I hope I see some bears. I hear the Kodiac bear is the most powerful of bears and lives in alaska. He's kin to the polar bear, and the brown bear. Ah, I love bears. But, I digress.

Talk to you soon.

B Hays