Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It has been way too long since my last post, and to those that care; I apologize. We have done a lot of traveling and little time in hotels.

While in Phoenix (over a week ago) I had the opportunity to see my old friend Kenny Evans, who happens to be a former Globetrotter mascot (Globie). He took me to get some laundry done, I badly needed to get some clean clothes back into the mix. We got lunch and spent some time together just talking and visiting.

The weather was beautiful in Phoenix and a big difference from the freezing weather in Calgary. We played a Friday night game and a Saturday afternoon game at the US Airways Center, the home of the Phoenix Suns. It's a great arena downtown, just a few blocks from our hotel. and right near the arena is the Arizona Diamondbacks' ballpark. Close by is a restaurant owned by sports fan Alice Cooper; "Cooperstown." I didn't get to eat there but would have liked to. I opted for the Hard Rock Cafe one night, and a pizza joint another day. While in Arizona, we also played games in Prescott Valley and Tucson. We also had a day off, which was nice, that was the day I was able to get laundry done.

We then flew to Spokane, WA, and bused to Kennewick for a game there last Thurs. (2/23), then on to Eugene, OR, on Fri. We had a double header on Saturday, in Portland at the Rose Garden (home of the NBA Trailblazers). That was a long day! It was nice to see my cousins Priscilla and Leroy Moody. They came to the afternoon game and we had a chance to visit and pose for a photo after the game. Right after the night game we bused to Yakima, WA, for a day game there on Sunday. That night, it was on to Seattle to get a little sleep and head to the airport early in the morning.

Monday we flew from Seattle to Denver, and now I'm enjoying a couple days off in Denver! Looking forward to seeing friends and family in the area this week. More later...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This has been a crazy week and obviously I haven't had much time to post any news recently. We began the week by flying to Calgary on Monday. We had an off day, so I was able to get a press pass and go to the Calgary Flames vs. Toronto Maple Leafs NHL game on Tuesday night. Ever since the Saddledome hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, I've been wanting to go to that arena and actually see a hockey game there! That was awesome, although the arena is definitely showing its age.

Wednesday night the Globetrotters had their game at that same arena, so there I was announcing the game at the Saddledome. Pretty cool! (See the photos in this blogs' photo album)

While in Calgary, I ate one night at The Palomino (109-7th Avenue SW), right down the street from our hotel. This place is similar to many Barbeque joints in Texas or Oklahoma, except for one thing; they serve poutine. What is poutine? This is an amazing dish that originated in Quebec and has spread throughout Canada. It is layers of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. The hot gravy melts the cheese, and The Palomino adds their own twist by topping the whole thing with barbeque pulled pork. It was fantastic, and I couldn't eat the whole thing. This is certainly one dish barbeque restaurants in the U.S. need to pick up on. How can you go wrong with fries, cheese and barbequed pork?

We flew from Calgary to Phoenix on Thursday, and I'll tell you more about the Valley of the Sun in my next post...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday afternoon, the Globetrotters played in the Rimrock Auto Arena, in Billings, MT. This arena may have had the best sound system we've worked with since I joined this tour. After the game, we jumped on the bus to head north. We made a stop in Great Falls, MT, just to spend the night in the hotel, and on Monday morning we left for Canada.

The border crossing customs process went very smoothly and considering we had two buses full of players and staff, it didn't take very long; no inspections, and no individual questioning. As we were getting off the bus in downtown Calgary, it began to snow. It has snowed quite a bit here, 10cm in some areas, and the city is dealing with covered streets and over 40 accidents in the area. Not sure what I was thinking, but I walked four blocks from the hotel to the Chinese Village Restaurant this evening, in the blowing snow and 20 mph winds. I got my order to go and took it back to the hotel to eat. The wonton soup was some of the best I've ever had. It had pork stuffed wontons in it and large chunks of zucchini, mushrooms and other vegetables.

I was fortunate enough to get a press credential for Tuesday's Calgary Flames vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game, so I'm looking forward to see an NHL game at the Saddledome. Then Weds. night I'll announce the Trotters game at that same arena. Pretty cool!

By the way, check out the photos from the tour that I've posted on the new "Photo Album" page on this blog. I'll try to add more photos soon. Also, please subscribe to this blog, and don't be afraid to make comments and keep in touch.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It has been very difficult to find time to actually post something new on this blog. It has been a whirlwind tour of Montana with the Globetrotters over the past four days. We played games in Butte, Missoula, Bozeman and Billings. After the game in Billings today, we bused four hours to Great Falls. We are only spending the night here on the way up to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Are game in Calgary isn't until Weds. night, so we'll have a couple of days off.

I've had the opportunity to be on the mic now for five games, and although some of the players and staff have told me that I'm catching on and learning the show relatively quickly for someone who just joined the tour, I'm a bit upset with myself, because I thought I would have it memorize and flawless by now. I'm not trying to put any undue pressure on myself, but I just didn't think it would take this long to learn it all. There are just so many elements to the game; between the music cues, the comedic bits the players do, the sound effects that I have to play at the right time (not early or late - that's happened a few times), the sponsorship copy that I have to some how squeeze in, etc. I'm also a bit stressed because we only have one game this week (in Calgary) before we do four shows in Arizona. The Globetrotters headquarters is in Phoenix, so I know the brass will be at the games and they'll be checking to see how I do.

Dizzy is one of the veteran players on this squad and he has been kind enough to befriend me. We have met in the past, but we never really got to know each other. He has been very helpful and supportive of my learning curve, and is just a fun guy to be around; on and off the court.

I'll try to add some photos to the blog during our day off in Calgary, so until late, safe travels...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I just found a great steak in Butte, Montana!

This evening, our sound engineer (Carlos) and I went out for a steak dinner, and the place recommended by the ladies at the front desk is called Casagrande's Steak House. Be prepared, it's a bit pricey with steaks starting at $20, but they are served as a four-course meal with a wonderful Red Wine Beef Stew (soup), salad and ice cream. The soup was phenomenal! Great flavor with chunks of mushrooms. I ordered the top sirloin and it was cooked just right and didn't have much fat on it at all. It was a 16 oz. cut that was very thick, and I honestly couldn't finish it. My side was their famous twice-baked potato, which also was very good. Then I topped it off with a complimentary bowl of blueberry cheesecake ice cream. My total bill came to $30.

It was nice having the day off in Butte, but I'm looking forward to getting back behind the microphone tomorrow night!
Wow, how do you pack for a three or four week trip? I guess you really don't, you just have to minimize the amount of clothing and stuff you take and plan to do some laundry along the way. Sunday, Feb. 5, I packed and it wasn't an easy chore. On this trip with the Harlem Globetrotters we are going to the frigid northwest and then down to Phoenix, and back to the northwest. Not easy to pack for.

Monday, I hopped on a plane and flew to Boise, ID, where I met up with the team. That evening I didn't do the P.A. announcing, I just watch Kickz (Anotnio) and observed while he gave me some training. Boy do I have a lot to learn, but it's great working with Kickz because he's a five-year veteran with the Trotters, and he's being doing both the P.A. and M.C. jobs alone, until I got here. He knows the show inside and out!

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, we bussed to Pocatello, ID, and on this evening it was my first time on the microphone. We rehearsed the "Magic Circle" during the team's practice, and the players each wanted to make sure I yelled their name out the way they wanted to hear it. I was very nervous at game time, but with Kickz sitting next to me and doing a lot of the M.C. talking and pointing to what song and what play was coming next, it made things a bit easier for me. I wasn't flawless, but we got through it, and most of the staff said "not bad for your first game."

Now on to Butte, MT, and I'll have more time to write later. Go to jump on the Greyhound bus, it's "Go time..."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Follow along with me as I travel all around the United States. I'll be touring with the Harlem Globetrotters over the next three weeks, and then playing trumpet in a few places over the next several months. There's a lot of travel for me this year (2012) and I hope you enjoy learning about the interesting things to see and do, and the great places to eat along the way.

Please subscribe to this blog, and share it with your friends on Facebook. I would greatly appreciate it!

Now let's get traveling...