Archive for May, 2006

Who needs sleep anyway?

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

You enter a drivethrough with two windows, one for paying and one for getting your food. The lady at the first window tells you to “Have a nice day”, but the man at the second window tells you to “Have a great day”. Now what the hell are you supposed to do??

Carnage Part 2

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Meanwhile…

While I was still reeling from the destruction I had witnessed, Ryan was partying with Jamaicans on an island. It wasn’t exactly what you would consider a tropical island though, unless you are a penguin.

His bumps started well before mine. It was a three hour drive north to get to his job and as always it was down to the wire. He tried to explain this urgency to the state trooper but failed to get his point across. The cop was nice enough to take the infraction down from “95 in a 70″ to “77 in a 70″. However with the broken tail light and failure to sign the back of his registration, Ryan still managed to clear $300 in tickets. Nothing like working for free.

And he was still running late. This was compounded by the fact that all of his equipment had to be loaded on to a ferry, shipped over to the island, loaded on to a flatcart and then hauled to the hotel. By horses. Welcome to Mackinac Island.

For those of you outside of Michigan, let me state for the record that “Mackinac” is pronounced MACKINAW. Why? Because that’s what the French settlers were told by the Mishinimaki Indians, presumably after they had shared several bottles of Cognac. Back in the 1600′s there was absolutely nothing to do on the island but get snookered. Not much has changed since then as Ryan would discover.

Mackinac has steadily refused to enter the 19th century and continues to ban all cars on the island. Their pollution is considerably lower than the rest of the state, unless you count the 300 tons of horseshit covering the island. So Ryan’s equipment was pulled uphill at a blistering 5 miles per hour. Miraculously, he still managed to start the job on time.

His event, a corporate party of some kind, went without any of the drama I had experienced. He was a little grumpy at not receiving a tip to cover his speeding tax. The Jamaicans were quickly able to cheer him up. Ryan was wearing a Jamaica tshirt from his honeymoon, and that was all it took for him to bond with the Jamaican waitstaff. What the hell Jamaicans were doing on Mackinac Island is anyone’s guess (bobsled training maybe?)

They invited Ryan to “POWER HOUR” at a bar called the Pink Pony. When he told me this on the phone I insisted it had to be a gay bar. As priceless as that would have been, it was just a regular bar. The only thing that set it apart was it had it’s happy hour from midnight to 1am. Any and all drinks = $1. POWER HOUR baby!

Ryan only caught the last 30 minutes of POWER HOUR. In that time he still managed to ingest more alcohol than I have consumed in four years. 13 Jager Bombs and 5 Crown and 7′s. He even took time to make out with one of the patrons. He refused to hookup though, as he was married and she was not. Ah drunk logic.

POWER HOUR ended and Ryan decided to head back to the hotel. The horse taxis were done for the night though, so his only option was to “borrow” one of the bicycles strewn in front of the bar. Now remember how hard it was the last time you tried to ride a bike after 13 Jager Bombs? Just imagine trying to do it in the dark. It was a miracle he made it as far as he did before hitting the rock.

A few stitches in his shoulder later, Ryan finally made it back to the hotel. He found his room covered in ice. The staff apologized and said they would have the heat up and running again in a matter of hours. Sleep was not an option, so in the best traditions of the Mishinimaki, he poured himself another Crown and 7.

If you would like more information on Mackinac Island’s rich history, or how to make a Jager Bomb, please visit your local library.

Carnage Part 1

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

I mentioned this summer was starting off with a few bumps. I had no idea.

The middle school dance the night before went nice and smooth. I had no reason to feel the wedding reception would be any different. I had a good phone conversation with the bride to plan things out. Also the job was just minutes from my house, allowing me to set up the equipment well in advance.

However when I arrived to start the party I was immediately attacked by momzilla, wanting to know why I was late. Nevermind the fact that I was 30 minutes early. They sign the contracts, but do the ever look at the words? Like “starts at 6PM”? I think my agent should take advantage of this and slip in some extra provisions – Purchaser must provide entertainer free gas for a year plus 100 tokens to Chucky Cheese. That’ll teach em.

I started playing the cocktail music they never paid for. Not that it mattered because by that point all the guests ears were bleeding. My microphone has picked up this amusing habit of screeching when it is turned off. Maybe it feels neglected, I’m not sure. It had it’s first tantrum the second I powered up the equipment, sending the guests under their tables in fear. Good ice breaker really. That being accomplished, I went to line up the bridal party for their formal introduction.

I am short. Their head usher was unshort. Coincidentally my shoulder was the same height as the beer he was holding. I managed to transfer most of the liquid from the glass to his tux but I did miss a few drops. Fortunately it wasn’t his first beer. I apologized profusely but he said “No problem, bro.” God bless alcohol.

The introductions actually went smooth and everything appeared to return to normal. The only early warning sign came when the banquet coordinator informed me we had temporarily lost the entire bridal party. They were half way through the buffet line, when someone suggested “Hey, let’s go out to the parking lot and smoke a fatty!” They all agreed this was a fantastic idea and off they went. I’m sure it was just the way the bride dreamed of it as a little girl.

For the most part though, everything seemed fine. I started the dance after dinner and the show went very well, from Chickens to Cha Cha, everyone was having fun, insert generic reception here. That all changed about ten o’clock, when the bride came up to me in tears.

“That asshole.” she said, while digging through her purse for my paycheck, “he humiliated me in front of everyone.” The asshole in question was not me for once, but the groom. I don’t know exactly what he did, but the bride sure was miserable. Her bridesmaids rallied around her and told her she couldn’t go. She was half way out the door though. I have had newlyweds get into little disagreements here and there, but this was easily my first potential reception divorce ever.

So I was a little stunned when she did an about face and told me to start the dollar dance. “Are you sure?” I asked. She was sure and so we did. The atmosphere of the room had taken a serious turn. To say there was tension in the air would be a bit of an understatement. I decided to detach myself emotionally, taking a spectator point of view. And oh what a show.

Shakira’s new song starts off with “No fighting”, so I mixed these two words in to another song over and over with hopes of subconsciously diffusing the situation. It didn’t work. Ten feet from me a chair suddenly skidded across the floor and the next thing I knew the groom and the bride’s father were at each other’s throats.

“It’s not my fault your daughter’s being a bitch!” screamed the groom. Dad yelled back something unitelligible and that was it. Nothing but flailing arms and legs as they rolled on the ground. It took about ten guests on each side to pull them apart. Even then they managed to get loose and go another round. Profanities were screamed, kids were crying, just complete chaos. It was great!

I decided it was probably time to kill the music. The hall coordinator turned on the lights and came over to me. I asked him if he wanted me to call the cops. He said they had already been notified.

So I got make the announcement I had only dreamed of giving up to that point: “Ladies and gentleman, the authorities are on their way. We do not want anyone going to jail tonight, so please calmly head for the parking lot and go home. The party is over.”

Groom and dad were eventually separated, and the stunned crowd slowly filtered out. Many including myself stood around for a bit in a “Did that really just happen?” fog. In six years of DJing I have never had a brawl. As I told the hall coordinator later though – I got paid, I got to go home an hour early and I had a free front row seat to the Jerry Springer show.

These are the nights that make the job so worth it.

Coming soon: Carnage Part 2 – Ryan finds ways to entertain himself on the island that time forgot.

Tis the season

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Another exciting summer of chicken dances, bridezillas, momzillas, sparking equipment, drunken debauchery and horny ducks has arrived!

Despite all its quirks, last summer went very smooth. I am really hoping for a repeat this year,

First wedding: My entire audience was Chinese and had no interest in dancing. The bride and groom did however have a true love for horrifically bad alternative music and made me play a stack of godawful CD’s for background music. My sincere thanks to the waiter who slipped rum in my coke.

First prom: Pro-abortion activists should take this school on tour. I have never played for a group of more spoiled, obnoxious, vulgar, brat little fuckers than these kids. I played radio friendly edits of all their hip-hop favorites, but they inserted the swear words at the top of their whiny lungs. They wanted to continue this trend with Mony Mony. Although technically clean, it’s alternative lyrics “Hey everybody, get laid, get fucked” were their top goal of the night. They even made it their class song. However, the teacher who hired me had specifically warned that I not play it.

So I told them no. They were a little stunned at first. I think one of them had to run out and get a dictionary to look the word up. They regrouped quickly though and the barrage of requests began. I told them no in person. I told them no over the microphone. I told them no even when one of them actually put me in a headlock. The only thing that saved his life was the law.

Clearly a new plan of attack was needed. The class president approached me and asked to give a “toast” to the school. Nevermind that no one had any glasses to toast with. I told him I didn’t trust him, but against my better judgement I gave him the mic with a warning that I would cut him off at the first sign of stupidity. He got on the mic and started to ramble about congrats to the baseball team, and everybody be safe tonight and blah blah blah – clearly stalling. At that point one of his cohorts bust in to the room with a tiny boombox raised above his head, triuphantly crying “Yeah!” The entire school flocked to his corner gearing up to revel in their victory.

It was short lived.

What they didn’t know is that last summer Ryan had equiped my show with speakers capable of lifting a 747 off the ground. I smiled, said “Mine’s louder”, and blasted Redneck Woman at an ear shattering volume. Several bewildered students came up and asked if I could turn it down. Um…no. Eventually they had no choice but to take their little radio in to the hallway to play their little song. The room emptied out and I was alone. It was the best three minutes of the entire night.

Second prom: This was for my adopted Alma Matter Montabella High. These kids are the antithesis, night and day polar opposites of the afore mentioned monsters from the last school. They are respectful, love all types of music and can dance even better than me. After the nightmare the week before, I was truly looking forward to just having fun with this group. Unfortunately we were sabotaged by logistics. They had the photographer set up right next to the dance floor. I was unable to use my lights because it would trigger their sensitive equipment. So we waited for two hours to finish pictures. When it was all said and done they had about a 90 minute prom. We did have fun though.

Coming soon: This weekend I have a middle school dance and my first true wedding reception of the summer – complete with chicken dance. I am actually more worried about the middle school. Not because of the students – sure middle schoolers have the attention span of fleas but they are easy enough to manage.

No, what concerns me is the new administrative staff running the school. For the record, I swear I am not making this up. My agent called their office to request they send in the contract. The lady replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to send it to you, but I faxed it to KFC instead.” ….. wtf?? If you figure out the connection please let me know. She also said was going to mail in a check for the balance due. Right. It’s a safe bet I am going to paid $200 in gift certificates for popcorn chicken.

And so the summer begins….

Norm

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

“Whooo’s yer buddy?!!!”

Any time I answered the phone and heard that I knew Norm was about to get me out of another jam. I’d never even met him in person, yet he was easily one of my favorite co-workers. My job can be incredibly stressful and demanding, but that Texas good ol boy helped me pull through. When the hurricanes were pounding and things were at their worst, he kept things in perspective and kept me laughing. Mother Nature gave us her all, but with jokes and slightly off color emails we rolled right through it. I was bummed when he was transferred to another department but I still received the occasional “You know yer a redneck when…” email and we bantered on the phone a couple more times.

One emergency surgery later and now we’re never going to laugh on the phone again.

I occasionally get an email with the subject “For those of you who knew _____” – in a global company of thousands it’s not uncommon, but the odds of actually knowing the person are pretty small. Seeing Norm’s name in that blank this morning was unthinkable. I’m still having trouble registering it now. Up to that point I thought I was having a bad day. As always Norm helped me put things back in perspective.

I still love ya buddy.