Monday, May 28, 2007

Added some writing samples to web site

Since I've written articles for a few different publications and web sites over the years, I've been meaning to put a "writing" page on my web site for some time. Friday night I stayed up late an pounded through it. The result is a page with links to other sites where some of my articles are located, and also to some PDFs. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Amapola Gallery, Old Town Albuquerque

So I met Jane and Nina down at Old Town on Friday evening the 18th because there was a Salsa concert down there as the opening event of the first annual Salsa Festival. Jane had read about it in the paper and it seemed like it would be a fun thing to check out. I went straight from work and met them there in Old Town - they had set up a blanket on the western edge of the plaza. We were also meeting some friends from church there, and they also have a little girl.

When we got down there, we noticed that right across the street from us, on the outside balcony of the Amapola Gallery there was a guy singing Elvis tunes through a small PA system pointed at the plaza. I guess you could say that he was somewhat of an Elvis impersonator, although he sang songs from other artists as well. He wasn't particularly good, but it was no big deal because the Salsa show hadn't started yet. After a handful of songs, he stopped and we all figured that he was done, since the thing on the plaza itself was about to start in a few minutes.

But then he came back out and started singing again... and the Salsa thing was getting started. Because he was singing, we couldn't hear any of the announcements or introductions on the stage in the plaza. Quite a few people were looking back across the street to see what was going on with this "Elvis singer" because at this point, it was disruptive. Jane got up and walked over to the gallery to complain, telling a woman there that this guy was a problem at this point. She came back frustrated because the woman seemed clueless. But we waited a few minutes to see if he would stop. He did not, and I decided to go over there to try and figure out what was going on.

I walked in the gallery and went upstairs. I could see the extension cord to the singer's PA system and for a second or two I contemplated just unplugging him. But I decided that I should talk to them first and find out what the deal was. A woman there was helpful but seemed bewildered. She started talking to another woman who basically said "he (meaning me) has to talk to Bob". So I asked who Bob was and they told me he was the president of the gallery and that he had walked over to the plaza to see if the singer from their balcony was disturbing anyone over there... seemed obvious that he was indeed disturbing people, or why would Bob had gone over there?

So I walked back downstairs to wait for Bob and make the appeal that his singer was giving us headaches and making it impossible to hear the announcements and introductions at the stage in the plaza. Just as I came downstairs, Bob was coming back in and I asked for him to consider the situation. He immediately was defensive, and claimed that "the city didn't tell us anything and we hired this singer so we hav just as much right to have him perform as them (meaning the main stage at the plaza)". I let him know that the Elvis guy was bugging us and that we weren't the only ones. He showed absolutely no interest in helping me. I asked what the name of his gallery was because I was so flabbergasted at his response that I felt it important to remember who I was dealing with. He told me "Amapola" and then asked if I knew what it meant. I did not, and he laughed, saying "he's a pup" (meaning me) and started walking into the gallery.

I followed him in because I didn't feel we had finished discussing the matter yet, and he turned around to face me, got right up in my face, and said "do you have a problem?" in a threatening manner. I stood right in his face and said "yes, I do. I can't believe that this is your response - is this what you call customer service?" To which, he replied "you aren't the only one in this gallery". He made some rude comment about the Salsa music, something to the effect of "I could care less about that stuff". So I told him that "OK, so you have bad taste in music (meaning the Elvis guy) and you have bad customer service - that's two strikes against you". Then I left to go back across the street and try to enjoy the concert, despite the sonic interference from the Elvis guy on the balcony of the Amapola gallery.

Once I got back to where my group was sitting, the announcements were just finishing up and the music was getting started. My daughter was loving the Salsa music and dancing, and we started to forget about the Elvis guy, despite the fact that you could still hear him. He kept going for another 30 minutes!!! I just couldn't believe it! For the life of me, I can not understand why Bob and the people at the Amapola Gallery just couldn't concede defeat, despite having hired the Elvis guy. Sure, OK, maybe he had to pay the guy and send him home. What's wrong with that? But instead, Bob chose to piss me off and act like there was nothing anyone could do to stop his singer from finishing his set. It was just ridiculous!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wedding season in Albuquerque!

It's upon us again! This afternoon, I'm meeting at client who is getting married in June at the Casa RondeƱa winery here in Albuquerque. It's a lovely spot for a wedding, and my Prairie Star restaurant and golf club in Bernallilo, NM. And of course there are many excellent chapels and other locations - one of my favorites is at the Hotel Albuquerque right near Old Town.

The quartet is prepared for the season with some new arrangements and what's great is that we love this kind of work. It's an honor to provide a service for these couple's special day, and Albuquerque is a great place to have a wedding. Maybe we'll see you at one of them!