Monday, August 31, 2009

I sat down on the couch on the back deck this morning, opened my computer and suddenly noticed in spite of the sun and early morning warmth ~ everything was soaked in September dew. My brother commented last week that it's crane flies that mark Autumn's arrival for him. There's a few things for me I guess, my pool is a green scummed swamp, my bank book is suffering from back to school shopping and I develop a vague growing under sense of anxiety about fall's change of routine.

I opened an email from sitemeter this morning too. I removed the annoying embedded meter months ago, because since the popularity of blogging has declined, so have the people who visit. Sitemeter still insists on sending me email activity reports tho' to remind me of my personal unpopularity. Usually I toss them unopened, but feeling a little masochistic this morning, I looked. Big Fat Zero visits this past week. Z-E-R-O. If I measured my self worth by that, I'd have to go out and buy a lot of chocolate and alcohol... Instead, however, I realize I'm writing a personal journal here now, and can therefore say whatever the fuck I want. Ahhh, sweet freedom.

Anyways, back to my growing under sense of anxiety, because it's one of my fav topics... I have this terrible suspicion when summer winds to it's close next week, my family goes back to school and the BD doors are still not open, I'm going to go slowly, surely crazy again. Crazy like 80 mgs of prozac/1 large bottle of cider everyday crazy. Lonely crazy. My life reduced to nothing but checking the computer, writing blogs & hoping to god someone comments crazy ~ or worse, checking for cancer and thinking I'm going die crazy...

I can wax pretty eloquent about the future of the Bad Dog and on a good day, even believe it.

But today, today I'm kinda scared...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I stumbled across an inspiring MSN story this week - a contestant on the English equivalent of American Idol, X Factor. It was of the same genre as Paul Potts & Susan Boyle, underdogs who took the established music world by surprise and storm with their hidden talent and approachable manner. I inwardly cheered as i watched Danyl Johnson, a 27 year old art teacher with a passion for performing. Against the odds, he wowed the audience, judges & even the somewhat basturdly Simon Cowell with his amazing natural ability. I realize these are at least partly manufactured stories of the rise of the underdog, but I love a good story none the less. They make me hope somehow, that something like that could happen to me too.


I've needed a good story this week. The story of the Bad Dog Grill, the little indy restaurant we've sunk our hearts & lives into for the past two years, is ceasing operation in it's original form. The process of letting go has been harder & more complicated than I ever imagined it might be. It's represented the premature death of a dream ~ and while the future is still hopeful ~ just getting through today without opening the doors makes a lump rise in my throat. I try hard not to fall into 'comparison thinking' but when I watched Danyl Johnson setting out on his dream, with Simon Cowell glowing in approval ~ I asked that terrible, haunting, soul sucking, 'why not me?' question?

It's odd how we somehow all believe that we and our dreams hold seeds of greatness. In reality, their fulfillment is more scarce than common. A dream requires many things to become real. Malcolm Gladwell's interesting book, The Tipping Point explores the multi faceted factors that create the extraordinary success we all seem to long for. The Tipping Point made Malcolm Gladwell an extraordinary success but if that gets you thinking you might write a best seller, consider this, or this or this...

Do you:

- Aspire to write a best seller?
Of the 1.2 million books published in 2004, nine hundred and fifty thousand of them sold fewer than ninety-nine copies.

- See yourself owning a successful business?
95% of all new businesses close within the first 5 years

- Want to be a supermodel/superactress?
Only 20 out of 3,291,805,000 women annually reach this goal

- Think you're brilliant?
Only 7-9% of all Harvard applications are accepted every year.

- Dream of white wedding bliss?
1 out of 3 people end up divorced at least once

- Picture yourself in shiny new Porsche?
Of the 17.1 million new cars sold annually, 36,680 are Porsches. (I'd do the math to figure out the odds of owning a new Porsche, but my math ability wouldn't earn me admission into Harvard)


It seems clear to me today that if this is the stuff dreams are made of, the cards are clearly stacked against us. And as much as 'set to music' video clips inspire us to dream beyond our wildest, chances are failure, or at least mediocrity are more imminent than 'accomplishment oriented' success.


Yet here I sit this morning again, drinking coffee ~ reflecting on the words of Dr Suess...'Think high and think low, think low and think high - oh the thinks you can think of, if you only try.' There is something in me, against all odds, still relentlessly re-imagining the future of the Dog...

I think we stumble in to some things in life by default. The restaurant business has perhaps been this for us. The cost financially, relationally & emotionally has been enormous. It's been a great ride, but I'm not sure we want to slog coffee or sweat our lives away in the kitchen. We originally imagined a venue for community, a forum for ideas and their expression, a place for live music/the arts & connecting - but not necessarily the life of a restaurateur. Scott, my good friend, business partner and 'pastor by default', commented last week in the fog of loss & disjointedness, 'Maybe this is an opportunity. We can carry on doing what we went in to this for, not for what we didn't'.

And so, here's a snapshot of the possible. We see The Bad Dog as a live music venue, open evenings & weekends, a private event facility ~ serving up the same great food, beverages & hospitality as always, a catering service ~ and whatever else unfolds as we go. So far, along with Live Music, we have a Young Musicians Concert series in the works, a Winter Coffeehouse Concert series, a bi-monthly Open Mic night, a Poker Night, some birthday parties, corporate events and a 'Christmas in September.'

I may be an idiot & the last man standing if this new direction doesn't pan out, but I'm hoping/dreaming still. I adhere to a few (very few) credos in life, but this is one: 'where there is no vision, people perish'.

Simon Cowell may not stand cheering over the Bad Dog, and we may never reach Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point ~ but the dog is not dead yet.
Many thanks to everyone involved in this ongoing adventure.
We love you.

Here's the clip of Danyl Johnson singing 'Get By with a Little Help from My Friends'. It's totally worth watching.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Travel Tips to Hogwart's

I don't know if it's the castle, the magic, the battle, Snape's incredibly weird, dark & intoxicating personality or just hanging out with my kids, but ooooh, I'm just loving the Harry Potter movie series this summer...