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Travel Advisory 101 | PJ Newman

Mother’s Day
May something

The problem with pretzels is that it’s hard to tell when they’re stale. Ignoring the ‘Born On Date’ or ‘Best if Used By,’ what’s a pretzel anyway? Flour, water & salt? What’s to go bad? Look at Matzo. Same ingredients, maybe no salt’the Hebrews slogged around the desert for 40 years and nowhere in the bible do they complain of stale Matzos.
What’s with the pretzels then, you ask? Am I sitting on my couch, cold beer and unquestionably fresh pretzel within reach, watching something mildly entertaining on a widescreentelevisionhdtvstereonomakethatsurround7.1eventhoughionlyhave2earsbutdoesmynosemouthotherholeinmyheadcount?
Consider this. I am in room something or other of the fabulous Comfort Inn in fabulous Sea-Tac Washington.
Where and why, ask you? Where is easy. Sea-Tac is located between Seattle and Tacoma along the fabulous I-5 corridor. (Sorry, just corrected – we’re in Federal Way at the Commons which used to be the Sea-Tac Mall, or maybe still is – dunno) Why….
OK, we’ll jump into the Way Back machine a week or 2 and pick up where I left off.
Where was I?
Right, back from Portland and already had a weekend with Midkiff and corporate fun. So why not have more?
But, how about no.
How about NO!
How about I had about the WORST GIG OF MY LIFE! That’s a bit closer to the truth.
Without going into too much detail (there still are innocents to be protected and a paycheck lost in the mail’), it was another gala fundraising auction. This one was done in the round, which comes with it’s own issues. Long story short, gear failed, cues missed, buttons that shouldn’t have been pushed and knobs that shouldn’t have been turned ended up pushed and turned. A few things actually were my fault, others not.
Did I mention that it was the worst gig of my life?
I ended up either quitting or getting fired, doesn’t really matter. Stevie Boy was very cool over the phone, but…
Why does he call me a few days later and offer me more work? Apparently when I quit or was fired, he says, ‘Did I say that?’
Thinking back, no, but that’s no reason to be loading shit into a hotel at 5 in the morning. Besides, where is my theoretical last check? Everybody else got theirs? Hmmmm , maybe I did get fired.

Sea-Tac. Why am I in Sea-Tac already? Yes, I’m working for the HanWoo-Ri Korean Sports and Cultural Festival and possible kick-off of WWIII! From what I’ve heard, not only do the Koreans hate just about everybody else, they can’t stand much of themselves either. Rumors of church soccer games turning into brawls! Like Shaolin Soccer? Now that’s entertainment!

OK, it’s Monday night now. After 15 fun-filled hours of walking on pavement (we’re in a parking lot), I’m back in the room. I’m ok with the hotel. I remember staying at its cousin in Leavenworth a couple of years ago on a cross-country ski trip. Indoor pool, decent continental breakfast, nice staff (nearly human). This (returning back to the room) was probably the only good thing that happened today.
Let me explain’
So, I mentioned the parking lot and the mall. What I failed to mention so far is that we’re in a tent. A big tent. A 100′ x 400′ tent. Kind of looks like a circus tent (seems appropriate so far). The tent came from a company in California. Southern California, really. I mention this because it doesn’t (usually historically normally) rain down there as opposed to the Pacific Northwest, where precipitation is one of our biggest exports. It’s been raining pretty good for the last few days and the tent has been leaking pretty good for the last few days as well.
Water is pouring (well’spewing) directly onto the lighting truss above the main stage, dousing a few lights before hitting the stage deck. Water is also falling onto the Pavilion stage. My guess is that when we build the 2nd stage, it’ll be raining there, too. The installer from the tent company was a day late arriving for the build Friday afternoon. They barely got it up in time for the stage, truss and lights to go in Saturday morning. Sound and more lights came in Sunday. The second the tent was up, the installer disappeared and turned his cell phone and pager off.
The local contractor has been paged hourly and seems to have turned theirs off as well.
They did a piss poor job erecting the tent. Once water started accumulating on the roof, the poles started listing noticeably. Not good when you realize that the lighting truss is hanging from these poles and that the sound towers are right below.
Why, you ask, am I going on and on about this? Good question.
The short and simple answer is that the tent is a GIANT PIECE OF SHIT THAT LEAKS AND IS PROBABLY GOING TO FALL DOWN ON TOP OF ME, and if it doesn’t kill me, it will in all certainty fuck me out of another paycheck!
Did I mention that I’m here for 8 days? In theory, anyway. The devious fuckers I’m working for don’t pay me until the day after the gigs over, and then only half at that. The other half comes 2 weeks later. I should live so long!
When I return to the tent in 7 or so hours, there is supposed to be the A-Team of tent monkeys ready to scale the canopy and seal it up. The first group of Koreans arrived this afternoon and looked at the puddles on the stage. I assured them that when they returned for tech rehearsals at noon on Tuesday the stage would be dry. Tent monkeys better not make a liar out of me.
You know, I realize that if I chronicle this entire event, it’ll be the size of a Stephen King short story.
Read on!
Last bit of tent intrigue for the night. Dr. Z has chosen to camp out in Oliver’s and my room (smart boy) instead of sleeping in the tent tonight (questionably smart boy). After reading up to this point, he has filled me in with more bullshit about the tent build, including intentional dereliction, shoddy construction, broken or incorrect tools for the job. At one point in the evening, I’m watching a fool on a forklift ramming the poles in an attempt to straighten them. Fuck, I’m going to die in a big tent with a bunch of pissed off Koreans and drift in Production Limbo until my Karma account is audited.
I’d better post this tonight in case my predictions come true.
In the next episode, I’ll include some hilarious (incriminating) photos and introduce you to some of the characters in this comedy of errors.