Peaceful Easy Feeling

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Howdy folks!

Lots has happened over the past week - this may be a lengthy entry, so stick with me. Also know that I'll share more details after a while; I have to let a lot of things digest right now, and it'll be best if I let some of my thoughts and feelings settle before I start writing about them here.

I lost my job on Wednesday, November 5. I don't miss it one bit - no sir, that's for sure. While I truly miss ANB - it was the best place I have ever worked - I won't miss the aftermath that ensued once the contractors (aka "Q-bags") came in and assumed control. To say that every single day of my life after May 9, 2008 was "pure hell" would be an understatement. But enough about that... I'm honestly better off away from there, and am so happy to be "free."

I celebrated my departure by having pizza at Guido's on Wednesday night, and then joining friends at our usual Thursday night dinner spot, Buffalo Wild Wings. Had coffee with friends on Friday morning, ran my race on Saturday, and then went to Kansas City to hang out for a few days and to catch the Eagles concert at the magnificent Sprint Center.

Got to KC and took a tour of the Boulevard Brewery. Trying to keep on track for touring at least once brewery per year (last year, we toured the Capitol Brewery, the New Glarus Brewing Company, and the Miller plant)... Boulevard is a relatively new brewery - it opened in 1989, but has quickly gained popularity. Their wheat beer is a favorite amongst folks in our area.


The tour was fairly simple - they showed a movie that talked about the history and the overall brewing process, and then they walked us (a group of about 25 people) through the brewery, which consists of two facilities - Brew Haus 1, and Brew Haus 2. Brew Haus 2 is brand new, "green," and state of the art. It was built at a cost of just over $25-million, has an employee bar, houses the executive staff, and features a large banquet room that can be rented for various occasions.

Here are some pictures of the plant:


Getting started on the tour - I don't recall the tour guide's name, but she did a good job.


The fermenting tanks in Brew Haus 1. They held something like 800 tons of beer, all over head. The structure had to be modified to withstand both a tornado and an earthquake, simultaneously. That's pretty amazing - the heavily reinforced concrete was at least 6-8 feet thick.


The entrance to Brew Haus 2. They focused on a "natural" look; the floors featured individual 4"x4" blocks of pine, laid to look like bricks. There were wood accents to offset the industrial finish of the stone and steel.


Keg processing area. Here is where they receive empty kegs from distributors. The kegs are washed and sterilized, then filled via an automatic filling machine. Did you know that kegs are filled "upside down"? I thought that was interesting... not sure why they do it that way - they didn't say - but it sure seems odd.


The bottle filling line; here's where bottles of beer are filled, labeled, and placed into cartons for shipping. The line can process 500 bottles per minute. That's unreal!


The employee bar. Talk about benefits!


An old advertisement for their Irish Ale - I liked the "Irish Setter" reference.


View of Kansas City from the Boulevard employee bar.

Oh - I almost forgot to mention this; prior to hitting the brewery, I went to the Plaza (a shopping district in downtown Kansas City) and ate lunch at O'Dowds Irish Pub. Oh man, what amazing food. I had a Beef Tenderloin Boxty, which is basically a tenderloin that's cooked with onions that are sauteed in a cabernet reduction, and then wrapped in a potato pancake and grilled. It had a bleu cheese bacon garnish, and came with some amazing green beans. I also enjoyed a Smithwick's pint with it, and was in heaven. No pictures, other than one of my empty plate and pint glass...


From O'Dowds, it was over to the Mark Shale store, where I bought a pair of blue jeans and a wool sweater. The sweater is amazing - it's from SmartWool, and is so soft and comfy. I wish I could have bought a dozen of them.

Let's see... what else happened in Kansas? Oh yeah - went to the Eagles concert!

What an amazing, amazing show. There wasn't an opening act - it was just the Eagles, and they played for 3.5 hours. It seemed as though they only played for 20 minutes though - it was that good. The songs flew by, and the sound was unbelievable. Absolutely beyond words.

I've been to at least 40-50 concerts, and I've never been as impressed, wowed, amazed, and starstruck as I was with the Eagles. I'm not even a huge Eagles fan - I like them, but I don't go crazy for them, like I would some other bands, but there was just something that was truly magical about watching the Eagles play live.

Their sound was better than any I've ever heard. It was effortless, clear, full, and "alive." The sound system was by far the best I've ever experienced, and the FOH engineer was worth every penny the Eagles spent on him. Here are a few shots from the concert; sorry for the horrible photos.


Early on in the concert; Don Henley was playing drums for most of the event, but he did come up and sing and play guitar quite a bit. Like him or hate him, he's an incredible musician, that's for sure.


Performing Hotel California. They played this song 3rd, which I thought was odd - I figured they'd save it for later. It was unreal - I had goosebumps the entire time.


The end of the show - they finished with Desperado, and it was beyond words. Sure, the Eagles have aged and they look a little worn out, but they can still play with the best of them. Their performance was flawless.


Lights on, and time to go home. You can see a little bit of the stage in this shot, along with the Eagles waving good bye to everyone.

The set list went something like this (this list is from a show in March of 2008):

How Long / Too Busy Being Fabulous / I Don't Want To Hear Anymore / Guilty Of The Crime / Hotel California / Peaceful Easy Feeling / I Can't Tell You Why / Witchy Woman / Lyin' Eyes / Boys of Summer / In the City / Long Run / No More Walks In The Woods / Waiting in the Weeds / No More Cloudy Days / Love Will Keep Us Alive / Take It To The Limit / Long Road Out of Eden / Somebody / Walk Away / One Of These Nights / Life's Been Good / Dirty Laundry / Funk 49 / Heartache Tonight / Life in the Fast Lane / Rocky Mountain Way / All She Wants To Do Is Dance / Take It Easy / Desperado

Finally, there was one last great meal while in KC, this time compliments of a little restaurant called Room 39. If you're ever in KC, you need to eat at this place. I really enjoyed it. I had the Brioche French Toast with breakfast potatoes and bacon. It was phenomenal, as was the coffee - I had 3 cups of it.


Other than that, I've been relaxing and enjoying my time off. I've had several phone interviews already, and have an offer pending from a local company, so I don't think I'll be out of work for too long. Ideally, there's an opportunity with a large company that I'd really like to have work out, but if it doesn't, I've got something to fall back on.

I will say that being unemployed is hard work! I've barely had any time to do "nothing" - I've been on the go nonstop ever since Wednesday night. I'll probably have to schedule a vacation before I start working again... :-)

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