The flicker of an idea had been there for some time, but the flame was doused with gasoline when I read the article from "Guitar Player" magazine. It was entitled "Big Guitars From Austin". The issue: December 1986.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and his smoldering blues guitar had initially brought Austin to my attention in 1983 or 1984. But when I read this article, I realized that Austin was nirvana for guitar players. There was a seemingly endless list: Eric Johnson, Omar Dykes, Denny Freeman, Derek O'Brien, Doug Sahm, Jimmie Vaughan, W.C. Clark. Apparently, this was a city that I needed to explore - pronto.
But looking back on that article, there is one musician that now truly stands out in a sea of Austin six-string guitar slingers: David Grissom.
There is nothing more amusing than a cold front barreling into Austin in December. It can certainly be an ominous proposition as freezing rain can shut the city down in the blink of an eye. Although I grew up shoveling snow from my doorstep, removing a half inch slab of ice from your car in the morning can be a daunting task indeed.
A week prior to the impending front, meteorologists were projecting the end of the world - or the winter wonderland equivalent of it. As it turned out, it was all much ado over almost nothing - again. The fear and paranoia of the impending doom made the whole experience far worse than it really needed to be.
Please, oh please, could we have a voice of climatological reason in the deep south?
In the meantime, grab a cup of hot cocoa and get ready for the next episode of the Rhubarb Report.
I can say that the year 2013 has set a new standard. As hard as it is for me to believe, I actually heard Christmas music while grocery shopping early this month. Yes, I am serious. There is nothing like having 8 weeks of lead time to get you into the Christmas spirit.
But before we forge into December, we will experience Thanksgiving. What are you giving thanks for this year? That is definitely something to ponder over that second plate of turkey and stuffing.
Meanwhile, it's time for another episode of the Rhubarb Report. Grab a plate and dig in.
Speechless. Yes, that would have been me this week. It wasn't for lack of verbal capacity. I was speechless because I found myself without a voice this week. In reality, I still had a voice, but it was some strange amalgam of squeaks and crackles. It was a vocal sound worthy of puberty far more than that of a 48 year-old man.
This is what happens when the allergens start kicking up in Austin. For all the positives of life in Central Texas, the pollen counts definitely have a negative impact.
I am sure you can imagine that there were at least a few students (and probably a few friends as well) that were more than happy that I was a little speechless. But I digress.
So what do you do when you are tending to a vocal impairment? Stop talking and start ... writing! Welcome to episode 079 of the Rhubarb Report.
Breaking news: the US government is back in operation. I have trouble at times deciding if that is a good thing or a bad thing these days. But suffice it to say that we are back to "business as usual" - it's the "as usual" that is the most problematic aspect of that phrase.
It's been a bit of a crazy October for me. Between my 25th college reunion and a speaking engagement at an annual conference, I have found myself out of town for about a third of the month. That's enough to keep me feeling a little out of sync. I am looking forward to November, though with it comes a time change and the realization that the sun sets a whole lot earlier in wintertime.
Onwards to Episode 078 of the Rhubarb Report!
We are now 13 days into a government shutdown in the United States. It is hard to imagine that any group has the power to simply "shut down" governmental operations. Worse yet, it is even harder to imagine that any group can do so while pushing an agenda counter to legislation that has already passed into law. But I digress.
Politics in the United States have reached new levels for acrimony, disrespect, and a general disdain for the desires of the constituency. What is most annoying - and, frankly, downright disgusting - is how legislators can claim to quote the values of the Constitution while failing to provide context in the process. But as we all know, words without context bear greater power for instilling fear - and fear is a great motivator.
So while we all wait to see if the country will go back online, it's time for Episode 77 of the Rhubarb Report.
It is a phrase that will put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart no matter what the context:
It is a phrase that I heard repeatedly over the past 5 days. Why? As time would have it, 2013 is the 25th anniversary of my graduation from Queen's University. That being the case, it was time for a homecoming reunion.
I can tell you with great certainty from my experiences while on campus that they take reunions seriously at Queen's. This year was no different.
The last few weeks have been busy weeks, indeed. I've not been writing as much or as frequently. Oh, the ebb and flow of time while teaching a class in the fall semester and attempting to put some focus into some more expansive writing projects.
But do not fear, oh faithful readers. It is a momentary episode of radio silence. Trust me, the thoughts and ideas are percolating!
And, of course, there is always rhubarb to be found on a daily basis. So let's forge ahead with another episode of the Rhubarb Report – number 76, to be exact.
The flurry of activity that is traditionally the first two weeks of a new semester of teaching are now over. For some reason, even after teaching the same class (Functional Anatomy) for 10 years - 8 with the same co-instructor - the first two weeks always seem to be filled with craziness. It's nice to finally get back in the groove for the long haul of a fall semester.
The fall season actually tends to be one of familiarity and comfort. The weather improves - making it far more comfortable to be active outdoors. It is all soon followed by the comforts of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, even with the challenges they tend to dish up for many.
But that doesn't mean that everything settles down in the real world - far from it. With that in mind, here is Episode 75 of the Rhubarb Report, once again reminding us that truth is, in fact, stranger than fiction.
I vividly remember the stunning, clear blue September sky that day. I drove in to the office like I had done many other times before, listening to my favorite FM radio show to get me laughing before work.
Then the laughter stopped. And the unimaginable happened.
The images on television cut us to the core. We stood transfixed as we watched our collective national innocence end right before our very eyes.
It's been hard to find our way forward since that tragic day.
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Smart Physio posts are on professional and career-related topics such as health, fitness, training, and health care.
Rhubarb Diaries posts are commentary, perspectives, opinions, humor and insight on all of my favorite topics: music, sport, and politics/current events.
Allan Besselink, PT, Dip.MDT has a unique voice in the world of sport and health care, one that has been defined by his experiences as physiotherapist, mentor, McKenzie practitioner, coach, innovator, author, educator, patient, and athlete. Read more about Allan, contact him, get updates via email, or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.