On Ridiculous Whirlwinds
My campsite was the only one not reserved and I'm beginning to understand why. It's more than likely the only spot in the campground that's up the side of a hill, so everything is on a nose-down slant, even with the stacking blocks. I keep having flashbacks to my days as a tour guide in The Haunted Shack attraction at Knott's Berry Farm.
Fall/Winter of 1986 was when I started after two years of trying, unsuccessfully, to get into Ride Operations. Worked food service at Knott's between graduation in 1984 and 1985. Got into operations by way of parking control later that year and finally went full time with ride operations in Ghost Town Attractions. Knott's Berry Farm opened the very first water flume ride, The Timber Mountain Log Ride, in 1966, and it was so successful that you simply can't imagine a theme park without one. Knott's opened the famed Calico Mine Ride in 1960 and The Haunted Shack actually dates back to 1954, one of the first crowd-pleasing distractions that Walter Knott brought in to entertain his customers waiting on line for wife Cordelia Knott's famous chicken dinners.
The Shack is pure hoke and a blast for anyone who hasn't a clue what it's about. Sadly, the attraction was demolished some time ago, making way for an off-the-shelf skycoaster that then quickly closed. Basically, you enter this strange shack that Walter Knott allegedly found in Esmerelda County, Nevada and brought back to have installed in his growing Ghost Town at Knott's Berry Farm. Supposedly, the ghosts of the original dwellers of that cabin, Sam and Sadie, are said to haunt the cabin and you'll see strange things going on "around the old place." Some say the shack rested directly over the center of gravity. Folks from near and far came to believe that the place was truly haunted by the ghosts of Sam and Sadie.
Wow, it just snaps right back into my head. The recording that starts when you push the button after loading 25 more folks into the first room. Then, it's a winding path down into a canyon where water runs up hill, pool balls sink themselves, chairs (and children) stick to walls and everyone looks like they're walking in a Michael Jackson "Smooth Criminal" video, bodies leaning comically at a 47° angle. Handrails were not optional.
I'd walk through this twisted bit of optical illusion about 30 times a day, each trip lasting about 10 or 15 minutes, I forget. My work shoes were worn out on an angle. A very odd way to move through life.
It has been an incredibly busy summer and a positively productive one as well, I'm actually looking for a little vacay here at some point, but it doesn't look likely. Just trying to keep up with orders keeps me on my toes (and I am NOT complaining, mind you - please, buy stuff) but being able to print my own postage helps a ton and actually saves a little money.
And yes, it's still all about the food and the Pennsylvania Dutch style of the Indiana Breaded Tender Loin sandwich is the Schnitzel. At Hofbrauhaus in Abbottstown, PA, I had the Schnitzel ala Holstein and it was fabulous.
And I love the Dutch; I gained like ten pounds while in PA - because of stuff like stroopwaffles. Nice little pastries with syrupy filling which, when laid upon your newly poured coffee, tea or other hot beverage, get all toasty warm and gooey and ridiculously awesome with said beverage. The Dutch. They know. Now I know, and I've got a few stacks of them here, along with apple butter and jalapeno jelly, courtesty of Jeffrey Hamilton. Local hot dogs, too - I didn't waste a bit. Lord Jesus I had to get out of PA or I wouldn't be able to fit through the exit. Tough state in which to say "no" to the culinary delights. Had an Ulster Fry at the Garryowen the morning after the marathon show that kicked off this month. That was 23 days ago? I'm starting to get that "relative time and place" syndrome.
I'm still catching up after ODPC Funfest in Evart, MI - which was a week of pure heaven, followed by a sudden family emergency that was a week of stress and worry, mixed in with me just trying to keep the wheels turning. Literally, as it turns out, because I was advised to get a new matching set of tires of a certain caliber, so that's one in the "preventative maintenance" column. This summer's not nearly as expensive as last summer, plus I'm doing better, business-growth-wise, than last year and have trimmed expenses and managed budgets, paid down credit cards and started saying "no" at the most appropriate moments (except where food is concerned.)
It's all working out kinda good and a large part of that has to do with my patrons on Patreon. It's simply incredible to know that there's a constant support there each month and that helps take the load off when making big upgrades on vehicles or on equipment and new gear. I didn't have these kinds of options at all, a few years back. Patreon has truly made a difference in how I create art, by giving me a little more time and peace of mind to dig deeper into the creative wellspring each day. It's a luxury in this day and age, and I don't take it for granted, I'll hang on to it as long as I possibly can. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "luxury is being understood" and I might humbly append that with "more time to create is a luxury." Thank you, all, who are patrons, and thank you, to all who would consider pledging $5 per month on Patreon.
It truly does just take many to give a little. I'm a patron for a number of my favorite artists and it's $5 that I could drop on some movie that I didn't like or some meal that I'd never order again. At least, with that artist, I know I'm going to enjoy what I get. Plus, even if you liked the movie or loved the meal, it's unlikely that you'd be able to get to know the creator of those things. With Patreon, it's more of a community of which the creator is a part. A $5 pledge is all it takes to gain immediate and unlimited access to digital downloads of my entire CD, book, video and tablature archive with exclusive behind the scenes, first-look and final tracks of all new productions. New tracks from "The Beauty and the Terror" are being released now to my patrons, long before the album is finished! Visit my site at http://www.Patreon.com/bingfutch - watch the video, read the description and be sure to see the "featured tags" section and click on "open house" - there's plenty of free downloads with music, video, tablature for mountain dulcimer and ukulele and more! Thanks for your consideration!
My Friday night set with an interstellar cast of amazing musicians is starting to trend out there - that might be a blog all its own, how that all came about. I just want you to know that everyone on stage owned this idea from its inception; each brought with them the right stuff to pull this off. I suggested the tune and the rest came from the collective, who then proceeded to walk the talk and now, we all have this beautiful moment together, both collective and witness to it. That, and we rocked Pink Floyd at ODPC Funfest. Thanks to you all - I think the standing count is 33 people on stage. Most excellent.
I'm working to catch up - "Dulcimerica" episode is on the bench, orders to process, tunes to write and practice, admin to admin. Thanks for taking the ride with me. It's a very good ride, that's what I tell myself, even when it's totally crappy, "It's a very good ride. I'd pay for this."
All my best,