Wine, Ducks, and California.

With the beginning of the month, came the end of the ACMAs.

Show marquee.

Show marquee.

With the day of the show, the final rundown took place, which meant I got to see Reba again (who is just a delight in person), more Steve Martin (Yes!), and then I got to see a duet of Lionel Richie and Blake Shelton sing “You Are”.

Lionel singing that song is “The business”, and Blake Shelton is habitually a good-natured joker during rehearsals. “You Are” obviously being written as one guy singing to his love, but with two guys singing it, it becomes this very odd duet, where Blake started to flirt with Lionel to mess with him, mostly singing all romantic to Lionel, to which Lionel shot a confused look down in the area where my colleagues and I were standing. I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. And then I belted out laughing because it was bizarre and funny.

“I thought you were going to get down on one knee and propose to him”, said one of my colleagues to the pair. “No, they already have one wedding in the show”, I added. The two laughed at both comments.

Shortly after, in my litany of odd jobs, I studied for and became licensed to serve alcohol at events and such. In this case, it was for a huge wine event last weekend. Wine drinkers come in two waves, I learned:

There’s the general public which just wants to consume as much alcohol as they can in a three hour period. Being completely sober in a room full of hammered drunks is a good way to sour a person on the whole idea of drinking. It gets weird and a little sad.

The second group is the wine connoisseur (or “wine snob”). Granted, they appreciate the wine concept a little more, but you can’t help but wonder if the whole concept of “sampling” was just invented by some “popular” fellow in olden times as a joke to see if people would follow, and it stuck without ever realizing there was a punchline involved.

I understand smelling the wine. I understand sampling small amounts to try a variety of types. I understand savoring the taste. I understand cleansing your palette and glass with water to separate tastes.

I don’t understand swishing it around in your mouth like some sort of mouthwash.

Seriously, these people all but gargle the wine as they swish it around, culminating with a spit into a bucket like they are in a “Do Your Best Fountain Impression” contest. And they’ll spit it via a good 3-4 feet red or white arc from where they are standing into a bucket, no less. It’s not “fancy”. It’s disgusting. And then they dump the remnants in the bucket, wasting the rest of it. I also understand how long it takes to create a good bottle of quality wine.

I sat there and kept thinking that someone probably would have liked to have tried that, as some of the popular brands diminished over the course of the night. Watching these Listerine inspired spitters all night grossed me out. Of course, the aim got worse during the course of the night.

And of course, in the rush of the crowd, and in offering to help someone with a tricky bottle that was difficult to open, said bottle exploded red wine all over my new white shirt.

I looked like the end scene from Carrie fully drenched in a bottle of Cabernet.

“That bottle has been really difficult to open”, the woman offered as she took the bottle back. “Yes, I can see that”, I said as a droplet of wine pooled on the rim of my glasses and then dripped onto the mass of my shirt. That shirt was never salvaged. It looked like a Rorschach blot designed by a madman.

But Spring had sprung, and I bought a grill to start barbecuing. I grilled all sorts of meats to show off my cooking skills, and given my native Texan status, I’ve found over the years that I have three inherent abilities I never knew existed within me: Grilling, firing guns, and riding mechanical bulls.

Work at the Museum was focusing on the next Science Festival and hatching baby ducks.

Fun fact: This is the same breed as Scrooge McDuck.

Fun fact: This is the same breed as Scrooge McDuck.

Quack, damn you, you adorable little....

Quack, damn you, you adorable little….

I also worked on some film that didn’t have a name during time of filming, so in saying “Go see it”, I can’t. I’ve seriously no idea what this film is called. I may never know.

The end of the month prompted a drive to San Diego to spend time with friends. I spent time with Brooke:

Out by the Whaley House.

Out by the Whaley House.

And Chris, going down an impossibly steep hill:

Thus, "Jive Walking" was created.

Thus, “Jive Walking” was created.

We visited all manner of friends, the Cajun place where I used to cook (still love their gumbo), and even visited my old landlady during the time lived in El Cajon. It was a very sweet reunion with a lot of people, and I visited a lot of my old stomping grounds there.

We even went to Downtown Disney, and to an excellent Korean dinner in Los Angeles with my friends there:

The Los Angeles gang reunites.

The Los Angeles gang reunites.

It was at that point where I genuinely missed my life in San Diego and Los Angeles and realized that, even though it is no longer “home”…. In a way, it still is, and always will be.