Monday, January 31, 2011

Evolving Doors

Sunday January 30th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   I can feel my whole attitude evolve, and I’m not sure what to think of it. I’m completely sick of having to deal with the pitfalls of small time entertainment. I’m sure there are a lot more in big time entertainment, and that scares me even more. What the hell am I even in this business for? My needs are changing as I get older, and dealing with this is necessary.

   I still love to be creative, and I also love to be around anything funny. If I ever lose even one of those two things please shoot me in the head as quickly as possible. Life would not be worth living. I’m barely hanging in there now. My desire to please idiots is fading fast.

   Look at all the hundreds of thousands of miles I’ve logged trying to get somewhere with either comedy bookers or radio station management. I’ve sacrificed everything for a lot of years, and always thought things would work out for the best. I hoped so anyway, but that wasn’t in the cards. I gave everything I had, only to get exploited by the ‘powers that be’.

   Why has it taken so long for me to realize that I need to be the powers that be, and that I can totally do it effective immediately? I don’t know, but it has. I have a desire to venture into the entrepreneurial field, and making a buck intrigues me more than driving to some hellish midweek gig in the middle of Nebraska. That ship has sailed, and I’m not on it.

   Comedy is still fun, but not the booking and traveling part. I’m thrilled to be developing the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show with at least a chance to expand that into something fun for people who hopefully haven’t consumed an individual keg before they arrive. Comedians like Jim McHugh are also working on their own projects. He sees his situation similarly.

   He’s working on his ‘Chicago Comedy All Stars’ theme and guys like Wild Bill Bauer in Minneapolis are rolling their dice too. It’s a whole new world out there, at least for 80s standup comics who came up through the comedy club boom years. It’s all changed now.

   Radio has changed as well. Jobs are hard to find, and security is absolutely non existent. I’ve had a blast hosting The Mothership Connection on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, but I haven’t made a penny in three years and it doesn’t look to change in the near or far future.

   The fun of doing it was what kept me going this long, but I must say that isn’t enough at this point. My co-hosts Shelley, Greg, Gary and Diane have really stepped up in my place as I‘ve been away on the cruise ships, and I don’t need to be there anymore. They’re fine.

   They enjoy doing the show, and they’re good at it. They do it differently than I do, but it still sounds good and is interesting radio. I feel like a fifth wheel when I sit in, and I’m ok with that. They’re taking the baton and running with it. I’m happy they’re still doing it.

   This is all part of my evolutionary process. I am no longer playing the role of the up and coming comedian, and thus I don’t have to suck the asses of people I used to think were a way to get ahead. They weren’t and still aren’t. Good. I never enjoyed doing that anyway.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Who Cares What I Think?

Saturday January 29th, 2011 - LaSalle/Peru, IL

   I’m learning more and more that what I think doesn’t matter, and I’m fine with it. I feel a lot better about last night’s ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show today than I did last night, and it’s not going to hurt me one bit in the long run. The perception of those who attended is what matters, and I’ve heard nothing but raving compliments today. They seemed to enjoy it.

   If anyone didn’t, they’ve kept it to themselves, and I like it that way. But I don’t think it was that way at all. Most of those who came out last night knew me personally. They had fun, and came to support me as friends. I know how that is because I’ve done it myself.

   Many times I’ll go see either a comedian friend or former student perform and not care in the least what they do on stage. I like them as people and they have complete and total job security as far as any judgment I may have goes. They could literally remove all their clothing and defecate on the stage, and I’d still like them as people. I go there to support.

   That’s what most of the people were there to do last night. They weren’t there to see my show, they were there to see and support ME. Big difference. Their standards were as low as it gets, and that’s no insult. It’s a good thing. All I had to do was walk out on stage and they’d gotten what they’d come to see. I’m flattered and grateful, but that’s now history.

   Tonight was a another strong reminder of why I’m working on my own show in the first place. I had a one nighter in LaSalle/Peru, IL I’ve done several times before but still don’t know for sure if the gig is in LaSalle or Peru. It could be Lima, Peru for all I really care.

   It’s a bowling alley, and it’s owned by two brothers who decided to try doing comedy in their lounge. There’s a nice stage in there and it’s been a big success for them. I’ve been a regular for several years now, even though it took a long time to get into the rotation. I am now one of their favorite acts, and that’s always nice to hear. It feels good to be wanted.

   I hadn’t been there in a while, but there was no fallout or anything. We just weren’t able to coordinate open dates until now. It’s not far from home and I was able to put the Friday together last night to make a weekend out of it. On paper in theory, it was a great match.

   In reality, I had to fight a table of boozed up rubes from a small town who were about as rude as I’ve seen in a while. They talked and drank and got up to pee and did anything but listen to the show. My opening act Steve Purcell had to fight them his whole set and I was next. I slammed them to the crowd’s delight over and over, but they wouldn’t quiet down.

   I busted my ass up there for right around an hour. I brought the heat and gave those who wanted to listen a hell of a show. It was a full house, and most of the rest of them had fun. I wanted to give them a great show because I like the owners and wanted to make sure the rest of the paying customers got their money’s worth. I had no idea if the trouble table put up a nickel in cover charges, and my guess was they didn’t. It degenerated into a matter of using a chair and a whip on a wild animal, and I’m just too damn old to do that anymore.

   I’m at a very crucial point in my ‘career’, if you can call it that. Maybe I should classify it as an endeavor. I’m outgrowing these kinds of shows more and more, but I’m not in the position to give them all up if indeed I intend to continue calling myself a pro comedian.

   That was what occupied my thoughts most of the way home. Do I really want to do this anymore? I’m having my doubts, and I didn’t fight any of them as I tried to think through all the angles. Steve Purcell and I rode together and he also has had his own set of doubts.

   Steve is a husband and father or two teenage daughters who are now getting into school stuff like sports and boys and all that happens during teenage years. Steve sees the insane nature of the business and isn’t sure if it’s worth it to him either. He started later than me by far, but has still done it for years and is well liked by everyone who works with him.

   He’s a great guy to hang with, and that’s good for a comic. He’s a feature act and that’s good for getting work with headliners who can bring their own features. I’ve gotten him a ton of work through the years, and he’s also one of my former students. He’s made all of whatever his tuition was back many times over, and he’s one of my true success stories.

   Steve came down from Madison, WI every week to take my comedy class at Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL about ten years ago now. He stuck with it and worked his way up to pay his stage time dues and now he works on the road for several bookers. He even works at a few rooms I’ve had fallings out with, including the infamous Giggles in Brookfield, WI.

   The reason he does is because he’s just out for stage time. He has a well paying day job and I believe his wife also works. Good for them. Steve knows he’s not depending on the money from comedy to pay his bills or he’d be starving to death. He does it for the fun of it all, which is the right reason. What’s too bad is, a lot of that fun is slowly going away.

   The club scene is getting worse and worse. Idiot bookers are now passing down all their businesses to their bigger idiot children, and any kind of quality control is long gone. I am sickened to see it all crumble, because at one time it was a booming business with a lot of fun and adventure attached to it. Now, it’s a weekly fight to get the attention of morons.

   It feels like veteran acts like myself have wasted our lives to polish a very difficult craft that doesn’t reap any rewards. The money in clubs hasn’t gone up in twenty years, and it’s in fact gone down if anything. There are less and less quality one nighters and it’s all on a decline for many reasons. The golden years are over, and I don’t see them coming back.

   I can piss and moan all I want, and I know I sound like a whiny old fart, but it’s all true. Guys like John Yoder and now his sons are raping the talent pool from the booking side, and clubs like Giggles are doing it from the club side. In both cases, the comedians lose.

   I’ve had enough of the show biz pimps and whores game. I’m sick of fighting both the drunks and the halfwit bookers. That show last night was brutal, but the audience loved it. Like I said, it doesn’t matter what I think. My opinion is my own, others think differently.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Humble Gratitude

Friday January 28th, 2011 - South Milwaukee, WI

   Being a dented can has some unique downsides. When something goes wrong, it’s often difficult to view whatever it is as an individual event standing entirely on it’s own and not group it in with every other unpleasant event memory and making life a total catastrophe.

   I’ve really struggled with this for many years, and when I usually feel the absolute worst is right after what I think is a hideously rotten show.  Quite often the audience doesn’t see it anywhere near the way I do, but it rarely matters. I end up sunk in emotional quicksand.

   I know a lot of comedians that think this way, and not coincidentally they’re dented can types too. We’re very picky when it comes to liking a particular show or audience, and we tend to be extremely hard on ourselves in judging our performances. I admit my standards for a show are far higher than anyone else’s, and when I don’t get there I feel like a loser.

   It’s easy to slip into a depression funk or feel like I’m totally worthless and nothing I’ve ever done in my entire life has ever amounted to anything positive. One bad show pushes over a domino and everything else I’ve ever done is nullified. Of course it isn’t true, but it sure feels like it. I’m learning to think the right way, but it’s been a difficult transition.

   There were a lot of things that went right tonight as a whole, and only a few that didn’t. It’s my strong tendency to focus on what didn’t, and let it unravel everything else. That’s a bad habit, and I’m going to consciously do what I need to do so I don’t think that way.

   It’s a good thing to want to keep getting better, and I absolutely do. Within reason. I’ve always said I’m not a perfectionist, I’m an improvementist. If I make forward progress on a project, I’m satisfied. There’s only so much anyone can do, and seeking perfection tends to always lead to disappointment. It’s neurotic, and almost guarantees a severe letdown.

   That being said, I’m going to highlight the upbeat points first of my ‘Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz From The Pabst’ show at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center tonight and allow myself to enjoy them. There were many, and I’m totally grateful.

   First, the venue was really easy to work with. Chad Piechocki is the director, and he had everything under control the whole night. He made sure I had a working microphone with a fresh battery, and coordinated things with technical director Alex Clark to make sure we had no technical glitches, which we didn’t. They treated me like a king and I appreciate it.

   Becky Ohm is the marketing director and she kept in communication extremely well for the last several months keeping me updated on everything. They all made me feel wanted, and that goes an extremely long way with me. I’d go the extra mile to help any of them.

   They made sure I was listed on the website and also the sign outside of the venue. They asked for information and a promo kit, and actually used what I sent. I often get asked for that kind of stuff and it never gets looked at. These people were on the ball from day one.

   Richard Halasz put in a lot of time and effort too. He sent listings out to media and a lot of them had the show listed in their ‘things to do’ calendars. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through, and he did it willingly. I was listed in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, Shepherd Express, and I even got a mention on Channel 4 from what I heard. I got some nice press.

   Drew Olson let me plug the show today on The D-List on ESPN 540, even though it’s a madhouse with Super Bowl week. I eventually want to buy commercials, but he let me on to plug it anyway. He’s always been a classy guy and came through when I could use it.

   Tonight was filled with classy people. My friend Shelley drove up from Illinois to work my merchandise table. How nice was that? We sold a few t-shirts and cds, but it was nice to know I could have someone in place to trust while I was concentrating on the show.

   Russ Martin brought his video camera, and opened the show. It’s always good to film it even if I don’t watch a show, which I rarely if ever do. Still, he showed up and set up and I totally appreciate it. Now I have some tangible clips to use to create an audition tape.

   I don’t know where to start as far as people who came out to support. John O’Brien and his wife Gail again came up from Wilmette, IL. They came to see me in Harford last year and I totally didn’t expect them tonight. What a wonderful surprise. It made me feel great.

   Tim and Kathy Slagle drove up from Dyer, IN to see the show. I was pleasantly shocked to see them afterward, and touched deeply to have that kind of solid support. Tim’s one of Jerry’s Kidders, and we did our own show last year which is what inspired me to do this.

  Those guys alone made my night, but there were a lot more. Bob Barry was THE biggest radio personality when I was growing up, and he’s always been a super nice guy and very supportive of anything I do. He went to the same high school I did, but that’s not the only reason he’s nice to me. He’s just a super guy and seeing him there was a surreal dream.

   After the show there were too many people to visit, even though I tried to get to them at some point to at least shake hands and thank them for coming. Greg Chadwell showed up to support and I’ve known him 30 years. Julie Stitch and I went to grade school together.

   If I start listing all the names, I’m sure I’ll forget someone important so I’ll stop before I do that. I’ve made my point - a lot of super sweet people came out to show support and it made me overwhelmed with gratitude to see every one of them. But that wasn’t the point.

   What I’m trying to do is get a business started for a niche market of people who would enjoy this show. The people who came were my friends, and they like me anyway. That’s an amazing compliment, but it won’t help me in the long run. I have to bring in strangers.

   I won’t go off on my flaws, but I was very disappointed with myself. But, it’s a work in progress and I’ve got a lot more to do. I know what went wrong, and I’ll fix it. It wasn’t a bust, and the people laughed for 80 minutes. I need to enjoy that. I can build on tonight.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Friday, January 28, 2011

Making Schlitz Happen

Thursday January 27th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL/Milwaukee,  WI

   Coming back from a road trip of any kind always means one thing - catching up. It’s all I can do to make sure I stay on top of emails, phone calls, snail mail, bills, maintenance of my car, banking, laundry and who knows what else? It often gets away from me, but I try to keep as much of it under control as I can. Today I tried to focus on the main objectives.

   Tomorrow is the big ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show in South Milwaukee. I’m excited about the show part, but that’s not all that needs to be done. I need to get the word out as best as I can with the limited budget I have, and I’m still basically a one man band. Other people have helped promote and send out flyers, but in the end this was me. It was an education.

   I have a Schlitz Happened Facebook page with 931 friends, so hopefully that will get a few walkups. gave me a very nice splash as did a few other websites. I don’t want to call in too many favors just yet, but I do want to make it a nice full house if I can, as that always makes a better show. I’ve done what I can, now it’s show time.

   Quite a few people are going to help out, and I appreciate every one of them. My friend and web person Shelley will work my merchandise table, and I picked up and paid for my official tour shirts today which look absolutely fantastic. They have all sorts of old school Milwaukee references on them that will resonate with anyone who lived there back then.

   I had 29 calls to return, was 238 emails behind and also had a dinner date with some old friends from Milwaukee Tim and Lynn Willmes. Tim and I met doing sports card shows a long time ago, and he and Lynn have been great supporters over the years. They come to a show when they can, and they’re coming tomorrow and bringing friends. I appreciate that.

   They’ve wanted to take me out to dinner for a while now, and that’s super nice of them. I haven’t had time, but I didn’t want to blow them off, so tonight was the night. They had wanted to do it tomorrow, but that would be too hectic, especially before a show. Today’s much better, so I drove up and we had a wonderful relaxed meal. It was delicious as well.

   It’s fun to have dinner with friends, but that takes time out of my work day too. I have a ton of other things to get to, but the first order of business is Schlitz. I’ll have a lot of long time friends like Tim and Lynn coming, and I want to not only make sure I do a hot show but also make sure I get to personally say hello and thank each one of them for coming.

   I never want to ‘big time’ anyone, and I sure don’t think I’m too good to say hello to the people who come, but there are so many details I have to take care of onstage and off that it’s all more than a little bit overwhelming. If I ignore even one person I’ll feel horrible.

   This is grass roots show business from the ground up. Literally. This whole thing came from a single idea, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds. I’ve only done it a precious few times, but things are coming together quite nicely. I’ve got t-shirts now, and a website on the way, along with a poster. The best thing of all is it’s been a blast to put it all together.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

A 14 Hour Day Off

Wednesday January 26th, 2011 - Montego Bay, Jamaica/Chicago, IL

   Another 14 hour ‘off’ day of travel. I’d never been to Montego Bay, Jamaica before so I checked out of my cabin extra early so I’d be sure to make it to the airport on time. Every port is different, and this one made us go through Immigration and Customs before they’d give us our passports back. I had to wait in line for quite a while and I’m glad I left early.

   One of the others with me who was also signing off was a cabin steward supervisor who lives in Montego Bay and has been working for Carnival for 24 years. He was waiting for a ride home from a relative of his, and generously offered me a ride to the airport. I didn’t want to be rude, but I had no idea who the guy was or if I’d make it to my plane on time.

   We waited a few minutes and then our ride came, a tricked out Toyota that looked like it came out of a Fast and Furious movie. There was reggae music thumping so loud out of it the mirrors were shaking on other cars around it. Too late to back out now, I’d said yes.

   The driver turned the music down a little, but not much. I expected him to pull out a big fat spliff and start passing it around, but he didn’t. Some of the song lyrics had the words ‘Jesus’ and ‘Lord’ and ‘heaven’ sprinkled in, and those were the few I could understand.

   Maybe the guy was a Christafarian Rasta Christian hybrid or something, but I got in the back seat and hoped for the best. I had no idea where the airport was in a town I had never been to and I trusted a guy I’d never met who says he’d worked for the company 24 years.

   Welcome to the world of cruise ships. This isn’t the first time I’d been riding in a cab or car with total strangers in a foreign country wondering if I’d ever set foot on an American soil again, and if not would my death be quick and painless? My luck, I’d be kept alive to perform underground government scientific experiments with monkeys and coconuts.

   We did eventually get to the airport and I thanked both gentlemen and meant it. It could have easily been my last ride of any kind, and had they wanted me dead it would not have been a difficult mission to complete. I was thankful to see the dingy Montego Bay airport.

   Of course I had to go through security again and of course the large Jamaican woman in charge took it upon herself to personally check my luggage and remove a shampoo bottle and a shaving cream can that were over three ounces. Excuse the hell out of me for using toiletries, and not being able to buy them in smaller containers in a third world country.

   I didn’t flash anyone any attitude, as I didn’t want to risk time in the hoosegow with my new found Jamaican friends. I was representing the cruise line and America, so I shut my mouth and let her take my items. If that made her feel better, I’d let her have her victory.

   Plus, I was wearing a Packer t-shirt. That might not be a large problem in Montego Bay, but I was scheduled to be on a flight from Charlotte to Chicago and that could get a little hairy. Actually, I hoped it would. I love verbally sparring with strangers. I always win.

   The flight from Montego Bay to Charlotte, NC was about an hour late to board, but not a word of mention was ever made. Was this just how laid back they do things here, or did the main engine have an oil leak? I’ll never know, but it did get frustrating to wait around.

   We finally took off, but I wondered the whole way if I’d make my connecting flight. It’s a feeling of constant compounding stress, and it’s especially frustrating because nobody is concerned but me and there’s not a damn thing I can do except hope for it all to work out.

   Of course my gate was completely across the Charlotte airport, and after getting grunted at from a U.S. Customs officer, I had to go through security…again. Why the hell do they make us do that? We just came from a damn plane, that’s not good enough? I don’t get it.

   I just wanted to get home and I didn‘t have a lot of time to spare to make it to my gate. I did their little chimp and doggie parlor tricks of taking my belt and shoes off and opening my computer bag and taking my laptop out, even though I hated every second of doing it.

   I noticed a married couple in line looking as pissed as I was, and it turns out they were. We commented on how stupid all this ‘security’ is, and the guy said he wants to see all of the fat ass members of congress who approved all of this have to go through all the exact same hassles we do. I loved that idea, and then his wife said she was sick of it all as well.

   After a couple of minutes we were laughing about it, and I thanked them for letting me vent. They thanked me for listening, and we went on our way. We saw the TSA agents all looking at us, and that made it all even funnier. Small victories at the right time are large.

   Once again, I barely made it to the gate on time, and they were already boarding a super packed flight to Chicago. They made us all check our carry on luggage, which delayed us another half hour. This is how it is when one travels for a living, and it gets old very fast.

   I could see frowns and sneers as I walked down the aisle of the plane wearing my green t-shirt with huge yellow letters spelling ‘PACKERS’ with the holy ‘G’ logo underneath. It put a big grin on my face as I looked dead in the eyeballs of everyone I could. How sweet.

   Actually, the guy sitting in my aisle pretended like he wasn’t going to let me in because I was a Packer fan, but we ended up having a very good conversation about the game and football in general. He was an intelligent fan, and made some great points. He saw I knew what I was talking about and wasn’t going to razz him, and we enjoyed each other’s view.

   That helped pass the time a little, but it was still a long travel day. Checking my luggage made it even longer, and I had to wait for that as one last hassle. After that I got picked up by a former comedy student named Jason Hale who will be helping me with marketing.

   Jason is a brilliant marketer and we hadn’t seen each other in about ten years. He’s been very successful doing what he’s doing, and wants to help me market comedy classes on a bigger scale than I have been. We met for dinner and talked it over, and will get it going.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Down Home Folk

Tuesday January 25th, 2011 - Somewhere At Sea

   Two more rock solid shows tonight, a great way to end this run. These people were very friendly, and I had a way better time than I expected. No offense, when I heard I’d be on a ship based out of Galveston, TX I was concerned to say the least. It had hell gig written in blood letters all over it, but I was wrong and I‘m glad. These audiences have been red hot.

   Not only do they love the shows, they wait afterward to come and tell me that and ask if I’m coming to their town any time soon. I’d say about half are from Texas and the rest are from Oklahoma or Kansas and all the way north to the Dakotas and into central Canada.

   These are down home folk who enjoy being entertained, and I totally enjoy entertaining them. These aren’t the drunken slob types who so often frequent comedy clubs, especially in smaller towns. These are regular people who are on vacation and are out seeing a show.

   BIG difference, and I felt it all week. How many years have I spent driving hundreds of miles to get to some piss ant half ass two bit little town to entertain 50 drunken yahoos or less? Too many. If I never have to drive ten hours to a gig it will be too soon. I’m done.

   I come back here in three weeks, and I need to have some kind of pass out to give them at the end of my shows when I return. I know I can build a mailing list, and make fans out of these people. They’re exactly who I want as fans - friendly people from the heartland.

   There are literally MILLIONS of people like this in America who would love my show, I just haven’t found a way to reach them en masse. This could be a start. Every ship is an audition in front of varied audiences of people from all walks of life who could hire me to come to their town and do a show I book myself. I don’t need that many to do very well.

   The first crowds I worked on the ships were from New York and Miami. They were not ‘my people’. They weren’t bad people, they just weren’t for me. These people are from an entirely different background, and I match up with them very well. Now I need to use that to my advantage and make fans out of them. That‘s part of the business of show business.

   Working on mailing lists and fan bases is only one part of the business. I also spent a lot of time this week working on off stage improvements. Mark Hawkins was extremely nice about sharing tips on how to best go over with the ship audiences. He’s been both a comic and a cruise director, and I can’t think of anyone else who’s successfully done both jobs.

   Mark has a tenacious work ethic, and we spent many hours exchanging ideas and doing what most veteran comics think can’t be done - improve. Mark is a solid writer, and does it every day. He also makes a set list like a baseball batting lineup and sticks to it rigidly.

   I must admit he’s won me over to that way of thinking. I’ve NEVER used a set list, but I sure am thinking about starting after listening to Mark’s reasons of why to have one. He   made a lot of valid points, and I respect his tenure. This has been an outstanding week.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, January 24, 2011

Schlitz And Jack

Monday January 24th, 2011 - Somewhere At Sea

   Each cruise ship has a different schedule of ports, and this is a week where we have two sea days in a row. That doesn’t happen all that often, and it can get kind of long. I like the option of getting off the ship and walking around in the sun, but that’s over for this run.

   The next time I’ll be able to get off will be in Montego Bay on Wednesday, but then I’ll be flying to Miami and then Chicago. Then I’ve got only two short days to prepare for the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. I’ll be ready.

   I just hope someone shows up. Everyone will be in a great mood because of the Packers and it turns out it’s the week off before the game. Maybe luck struck in a positive way for a change and the stars aligned so I can have a decent crowd show up. Usually it’s “I don’t know what happened - last week it was jammed in here.” How often have I heard that?

   It would be nice to pack it out, but I’m not sure if I’m there just yet. I’m away too much working on the ships, and don’t have a publicity machine in place yet to get the word out when I’m gone. I’ve got some word of mouth going, but that’s about it. It’s a crapshoot.

   Hopefully, it won’t be a crap catch. I just want enough to pay my expenses this time and if I can do that, I’ll be thrilled. My venue rent is reasonable, but I have a few more hidden  costs to cover and I’d like to recoup those. We’ll see. This is a test of my drawing power.

   It’s also a big test for my organizational skills. I’ve contacted a lot of people and they’re stepping up and doing what they do best, or at least what I‘ve asked them to do. So far, so good. I don’t think it will be a disaster on Friday, but I would have liked more time to get the word out. This will be an education as to what I need to do to promote in the future.

   No matter what happens, I’m not going to stop doing this show - even if this one tanks it to the hilt. It’s all a learning experience, and actually quite fun. The risk is minimal, as I’m the product. I’m not booking a band or dealing with other comics. This is my baby.

   I heard Jack LaLanne died yesterday at 96. I was always a fan of his, and I can’t think of anyone who lived a better life. He turned his passion for health and life into a fortune, and helped countless others along the way. His life was long and productive, and I admire him in many ways. He did what we all COULD do, but choose not to. I’m one of the guiltiest.

   It seems so difficult to make healthy choices on a consistent basis but Jack LaLanne did it for a lifetime. He got into the habit and stuck with it and I bet he could have kicked my pansy ass around the block throughout most of his 90s. I’m ashamed and embarrassed.

   None of us have anyone to blame but ourselves. Junk food tastes great, and it’s easy and cheap to get. It’s advertised daily and I’m totally hooked. That doesn’t mean it’s right, but it is a fact. Jack LaLanne stands out, but he really shouldn’t. We should all be living a life like he did. I keep saying I’m going to, but then the evil gods of fat and sugar possess me.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Polarized Packer Passion

Sunday January 23rd, 2011 - Galveston, TX

   I’m in heaven and hell at exactly the same time. Shouldn’t it start raining or something? On one hand, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears and are going to Texas for a chance to win the Super Bowl. That’s heaven. On the other hand, I’m out on a cruise ship with a literally thousands of people from The South that couldn’t care less about any of it.

   What a thrill and what a letdown, all at the same time. The home port is Galveston, TX and that’s where we stopped today to start a new cruise. I can’t remember ever being here before, and if I was I didn’t get to get out and walk around downtown like I did today for almost two hours. It’s a pretty run down place as a whole, but there is some history here.

   I’ll always remember it just like I remember Albuquerque, NM - with disgust. I can still remember being in Albuquerque the day the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI. I waited my whole life to see it, and there wasn’t a TV in the comedy club so I had to watch the end of the game in a Mexican restaurant while a mariachi band was setting up. It was miserable.

   Nobody in the joint cared in the least about the game, and they stared at me as I jumped around the bar with my raised fists clenched screaming in delight. They looked at me like I was either crazy or the wildest immigration agent who ever lived, but they left me alone.

  What a downer that was, even though the Packers made my football dreams come true. I was going through the horrors of testifying against my best friend Timbo in the infamous bank robbery trial, and football was not on the front burner then. Staying out of jail was.

   The next year they lost the Super Bowl, and that one I did catch. Pew. What a repulsive memory that still is also. The snacks don’t taste good, the jokes aren’t funny, nothing will make up for the team of choice losing the big one. Just once, I want to watch them win it.

   Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Pittsburgh is a very solid team, and they have many of the same things the Packers do - a great defense, a young stud quarterback and a player on defense with stupid looking hair but superstar ability. I’m not sure who’s going to win.

   Still, it’s a euphoric feeling to see them get to the big one after all the nasty injuries that have plagued the team all year. They came together at the right time, and everything is on a roll. I wish my Gramps could see this, and I even wish I could share the celebration with Timbo the bank robber. He and I were Packer fans since we were 11. We’ve earned this.

   I don’t care what the people on the ship think. I mentioned it tonight on stage during my five minute opening night teaser, and got a smattering of applause at best. I just laughed it off, and it is funny in a way, but I also had that same empty feeling I had in Albuquerque.

   This could be the last time the Packers ever play in a Super Bowl. The NFL is changing and the revenue sharing that makes every team have a chance may be gone soon out greed by the owners. I’m going to enjoy every single bit of this, and if I can go see it live I will.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Talking Shop

Saturday January 22nd, 2011 - Somewhere At Sea

   No shows tonight, plus it was a sea day. That means no port to wander and explore. I’m stuck aboard ship all day and all night with nothing to do and nowhere to be. That can get long and lonely without a plan of action. Laying around like a beached whale only sounds fun in theory. After about an hour it gets to be unbridled torture. Structure is important.

   One thing I’ve been pretty good at out here is finding something productive to do when I have down time. I’ve made spectacular progress in laying the foundation of projects I’ve been meaning to do for years, and it feels great. If anyone asked for tangible proof of what I’ve done for the past six months, I’d be able to print off a copy and display it with pride.

   Today I spent a few hours bouncing ideas around with the other comic Mark Hawkins. I really caught a break working with Mark, as he’s a former cruise director and has worked for Carnival for a dozen years. He’s been really helpful at removing the mystery of how to work these audiences, and I learned a lot hanging out today. That doesn’t happen often.

   In the old days, there were quite a few opportunities to talk shop with other comics. The clubs used to be a place to hang out, and comics were there every night they were in town doing just that. We’d go up and do sets, and most people watched each other and knew all their jokes as well or better than the person doing it. It was a great way to learn the craft.

   Road trips were another way to do it. In a four or five hour drive, there’s a lot of time to go over lines, premises, concepts and ideas and trade thoughts. Sometimes another comic could add exactly the right word or idea and make an incomplete thought ready for stage.

   It didn’t work with every comic, as some were just in it for the booze and women. They didn’t really care about making their act better, they had other priorities. Those of us who were in it for the comedy part were usually always up to exchange ideas and get better.

   As time went on, those meetings stopped. Nobody hung at the clubs anymore, either we were out on the road performing or the club wasn’t a fun place to hang anymore. I missed it right away and have often tried to get writing sessions going, but it’s not an easy sell.

   That’s why when Mark asked me to do it today I jumped at the chance. Our styles aren’t even close to being similar, but that’s ok. We went over each other’s unfinished ideas and the other person would comment on what they thought of them from a fresh perspective.

   I was able to throw a couple of punch ups his way, and he’s going to try them this week. That’s the whole idea. I’m glad I could help. It works so well because we don’t touch any similar topics. Whatever lines I give him isn’t something I would ever do, and vice versa.

   He also threw some great ideas my way about sports. Mark’s father is a big time sports writer in Detroit and covers the Tigers. He’s been around sports his whole life, but has no desire to do it on stage. This was a total win/win and worth every hour of work we put in.

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Good Vibes All Around

Friday January 21st, 2011 - Cozumel, Mexico

   This is turning out to be a fantastic week for several reasons. First, the audiences on this ship are some of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever seen. I’m on the Carnival Conquest and it’s home port is Galveston, TX. A large percentage of passengers are from Texas but not all. I don’t know what it is, but they’re wonderful people. I could stay here for years.

   Normally, I don’t do well in the south as a whole. I was dreading this run, as I’d heard it was full of Texans and the surrounding areas, but boy was I wrong. These people are right there when it comes to hipness. They’re a little older, and very well behaved. I know how to talk to older people, as I was raised by my grandparents and have been around them my whole life. I feel much more at home with a crowd of 60somethings than 20somethings.

   People have been lining up to take pictures with me and get my autograph after shows. I always make it a point to be available if anyone wants that, and I can tell they really enjoy what I do. They’re telling me stories that coincide with bits I do, and I can tell I’ve had an impact. That’s what this game is all about. I never thought I’d have done this well here.

   The other break I caught this week is working with a guy named Mark Hawkins. He’s a comic from Detroit who eventually became a cruise director, and knows the business part of the game inside and out. He has a wife and kids and lives on Grand Cayman Island. He isn’t a cruise director anymore and now is back to doing comedy. He’s got a sweet gig.

   We hit it off really well yesterday and today he and the music director asked if I wanted to have lunch in Cozumel. I love Cozumel, and I gladly accepted. Mark has been out here for years and knows all the best joints I don’t know, and we had a killer meal with a better view for half the price of the other places around. I shut my mouth and let those guys talk.

     Both of them really have an inside to how the cruise game works. I know I’m still on an uphill learning plane, but I’m getting better. They told me some stories of what other guys did before me, and I’m a church mouse compared to most of them. I’m pretty easygoing.

   We decided to walk back from the restaurant, and it was a great workout. We were all a sweaty mess by the time we got back, but we worked off our meal and I learned a lot just by listening to those guys talk about the cruise ship industry. This has been a combination of fun and learning, and that’s never a bad thing. I’ll try to enjoy it while I’m learning.

   My friend Mutzie pulled a great prank. He worked the earlier part of this cruise and told the audiences to come sit in the front and not laugh under any circumstances. I’m worried enough about doing well out here, and didn’t need to have anything to make it any harder, but when I heard what he did I couldn’t stop laughing. That was hilarious and he got me.

   I’m not at all getting cocky and think I know everything, as I could have a horrible show at any time. I’ve still got another cruise on this ship with a whole new group who may or may not like me in the least. I can’t predict, but I can review. These people were on fire.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Working For A Living

Thursday January 20th, 2011 - Grand Cayman Island

   Back to the nautical life and all that goes with it. I don’t know where my little two week sabbatical went, but it’s long gone. It feels like I just got home, and now I’m out again on a completely different ship with completely different people, even though it looks exactly the same as all the others did. Whatever thrill of adventure this process once had is gone.

   I always seem to fall behind the night before I leave for these trips and I did it yet again yesterday. I was busy working on preparing for the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show and getting caught up on emails and before I knew it I had to pack and get to Jim McHugh’s house.

   I can’t be more grateful for both Jim and Marc Schultz, who have gone out of their way to help me with getting to and from the airport. They’ve both saved me a ton of cash and I really appreciate it. Parking at the airport is always ridiculously expensive, so this helps.

   I got to the airport around 3am for my 5:35 flight to Miami. I haven’t had to go through the security process in a while and I was just starting to forget how much I despise it. The brutally long line with strategically placed self important TSA monkeys barking orders to a tired bunch of non terrorist looking travelers made me once again loathe their existence.

   Of course people have to make a living, but this job seems to be for those who aren’t on any particularly adventurous career path. They exist for reasons I still don’t understand, to poke their noses into everyone’s business. It’s the government invading private lives, and I don’t like the idea of that at any time, but especially 4am. It bothers me, but that’s life.

  Then, on the flight from Chicago I had to sit next to married Bears fan couple and listen to them babble on how the team was going to cream the Packers and how they were going to have a big Super Bowl party at their house and blah, blah, blah. I tried to go to sleep as fast as I could, and I hope I snored, sneezed, coughed and farted the whole way to Miami.

   There was a two hour layover in Miami, one of my least favorite airports, then about an hour flight to Grand Cayman Island. Getting off the plane in tropical sunshine was a treat, but only for a few seconds as I had to get in line to go through customs. Then I had to find my luggage, which they had to check because there wasn’t enough room inside the plane.

   These little hassles all in a row add up, and it really frazzles the nerves. I’ve had to do it every time I’ve been here, and it just gets old. I finally jumped through all their hoops but then there were no cabs, and I had to wait until one showed up. I barely got to the ship on time, but I did. I got lost finding my room, but it looks exactly like all the others I’ve had.

   I checked my performing schedule and tonight was my three show night. That’s a lot of work after a long day of travel, but that’s how it is. I unpacked, took a shower and found out my toilet doesn’t flush. I had to find my cabin steward and report it, which I did. This kind of stuff happens every week at any time, and it’s never predictable. The shows went fine, but I’m beat. My days of being the tireless young stallion are over. This is WORK.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dealing With Details

Wednesday January 19th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   The details in life are supposedly where the success lies, but that’s exactly what I’m not good at. I’m great at coming up with grandiose visionary ideas, then when it comes down to actually pulling any of them off, I’m all over the place. Big projects need big planning.

   They need to be thought out from beginning to end, then executed properly by a team of competent people who each know their individual roles, yet have a team concept and can work together for the common good of the collective. That sounds fantastic in theory, but making it happen in real life is a different story. That’s my goal though, and I’m behind.

   A big skyscraper can’t be built by working a little on the foundation and then a little on the windows, then a little on the elevator shafts. Each job has to be taken care of in proper order, and someone in charge has to oversee both the big picture and the individual jobs.

   Since this is my life and my ideas, I’m in charge by default. Do I know what I’m doing? HELL NO. I’m a complete idiot and I freely admit it. I’m slowly feeling my way around in the dark, and could easily trip and fall into wet cement at any moment. I’m a big klutz.

   Granted, I’m better than I was, but I still have a lot of work to do. I’ve got to fly out for more ship work tomorrow morning, so I went up to Milwaukee today to take care of some details before the big ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Friday January 28th. It’s the first time I rented a space, and I could lose my shorts.

   Actually, the price was pretty reasonable and if not one person shows up I’m not going to have to sleep in the park. I won’t be thrilled about it, but I’ll survive. That’s not what I want to focus on though. I want to focus on FILLING it, not surviving an empty house.

   I went on the air with Drew Olson and Dan Needles on ‘The D List’ on 540 ESPN radio but I also sniffed around for ad rates to buy some air time in the future. I need to come up with at least a semi regular location where I can do the show and really work out the bugs.

   Advertising is essential, and I’m making my plan now. Do I want to do print? I have no idea what works best. I’m willing to try different things, but I do have a limited budget to play with, so I have to be careful. I can’t be buying any Super Bowl TV ads quite yet.

     I talked with my t-shirt guy and he’ll have a fresh load ready for the 28th.  I’ve got some ‘Hard Luck Jollies’ CDs left, so I’m good there. I’ve got the word of mouth word out for the show, but I could do better. Ticket prices are low, and I hope I can get at least a bit of help with the media. I don’t want to blow all my favors though. This is all an experiment.

  The show itself will be solid. Every one so far has been better than the last. I’ll work on it all week on the ship, and when I come back I’ll be ready to go. I’m ready now. If I had to go on tonight, I’d let it rip. I just want there to be someone in the seats to see it. It’s no fun standing on stage alone in a room. Details, details. They’re where I need to improve.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

A Reluctant Sailor

Tuesday January 18th, 2011 - Chicago, IL/Fox Lake, IL

   It’s getting to be that time to head back out to sea for the cruise ship life, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. The money is nice, but that’s about it. Not even the weather is a deal maker. It’ll be sunny and warm I’m sure, and I’ll enjoy it, but if I had my druthers I’d stay here and keep working on everything. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s a fact.

   It would be stupid to pass up the money right now, so I’ll do it and not complain. It’s an opportunity that’s here at the right time, whether I want to do it or not. I’ll use that money to do productive things like pay for ‘Schlitz Happened!’ t-shirts and a website. I met with a web designer to get that ball rolling, and I’m happy with the mock up site he’s created.

   I want to do this right. I’ve got a Facebook page with almost 1000 friends and a website is key. I want to build a mailing list with a newsletter and sell products from the site. I’ve got a lot of ideas rolling around in my brain and can see a clear vision as to what I want.

   I suppose I can keep doing that on the ship, but it’s a lot more convenient being here in the back yard to get it all going. It’s exciting to me to be in charge of all this and see how it continues to grow from just an idea. I know it’s crazy, but that gives me a bigger thrill than being in the sunny Caribbean in January. I admit, not many would share my feeings.

   Higher paying land shows are starting to trickle in as well. I’m getting inquiries from a lot of people who have been referred by bookers I’ve worked for in the past, and I’m very grateful for that. The first quarter of the year is packed with gigs, and that’s always good.

   The smart thing to do is keep doing what I’m doing, and create teams of people to keep me organized. I’m testing all kinds of people I haven’t worked with before, but I think are right for the job. My web person is one, and today I had lunch with Julie Pasley who I’ve known for years from Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL. She knows the business and can help.

   I’m testing out vibes of synergy with these people, and looking for productive matches. I know some won’t work, but a lot more will. I don’t have any idea what I can guarantee these people, but I tell them that up front. I’m just seeing who’s interested in working on these kinds of things. I’m looking to find people’s strengths and match them with mine.

   I find it all great fun, and I genuinely like the people I’m choosing. Tonight I had dinner with Bill Gorgo, the guy who’s helped keep comedy classes going at Zanies in Chicago as I’ve been gone on the ships. He’s got a nice full class going, and that’s great. He’s doing a fantastic job with it, but the real money will be either online or doing one day seminars.

   Between comedy classes, the ships and ‘Schlitz Happened!’, I’ve got my hands full for the year. It’ll save me from having to work the hell holes for bad money, but I want to be smart with what I do with that extra time. Hours get sucked away easily, and they’re a lot more precious as I get older. Time is not on my side anymore, and I know it. I’ll give the audiences on the ship my very best shows, but my heart will be back home in Milwaukee.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Uncle's Monkey

Monday January 17th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   In all the warped and twisted adventures that add up to my life, the one tangible nugget I can rescue from the smoldering rubble heap and cherish is that I’ve made and continue to make positive progress. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m definitely not where I was.

     I’m learning painful but potent lessons in many areas because I’ve been making a lot of tough but worthwhile decisions I hope I can be proud of later. I’m taking a lot of lumps as well, but hopefully that’ll be a means to an end. The harder the lesson, the better learned.

   Today is the 70th birthday of my Uncle Dave, aka ‘Hogie’. He got that moniker as a kid because my grandmother told me he ate a lot and it was short for ‘Hungry Hogan’. Hogie and my father were their only two children, and they were about as different as can be, or so I thought. In the end, it looks like they’re going to leave behind a very similar legacy.

   As a kid, I always loved Uncle Hogie. He was very funny and always had a new joke to tell my grandpa, which I used to try and eavesdrop on myself. Eventually, I was included and it’s where I got most of my best material for school. He worked for years as a deputy court clerk at the courthouse in Milwaukee, and his office humor stash was world class.

   I remember seeing mimeographed copies of a lot of the stuff that gets passed around on the internet today back in the ‘70s. I asked for copies and he would make them from time to time, and it kept me at the top of my game. I always had fresh joke sheets for school.

   Hogie was also a great cook, and home made corned beef was his specialty. He also had a few other secret dishes up his sleeve. I went over there a lot as a kid, and enjoyed it a lot more than visiting my father’s den of biker debauchery. I thought Hogie was the greatest.

   I remember he used to play chess with me as a kid and totally kick my ass. He showed no mercy, and used to taunt me after he won. I never gave up, and for years I’d play him and say I was going to win someday, which I eventually did. I don’t remember how old I was, but it was in my teens when I finally beat him for the first time. Life changed then.

   I think he was genuinely pissed off. I don’t ever remember playing him again after that one lone but sweet victory. I felt like I knocked out Muhammad Ali, and that’s when my passage into adulthood started. Party over - no more free rides just because I was a kid.

   Hogie was married to a real whipper whom my father affectionately referred to as ‘The Tarantula’. Nobody got along with her, she was a real nut case. She had a way of pooping everyone’s party, and never would let Uncle Hogie chase the dreams he had of opening a restaurant to sell his delicious corned beef. He never did give it a try, and that’s a shame.

   They had two kids, my cousins Leah and Brett. I’ve have had a pretty good relationship since childhood with both of them, and in fact they’ve been closer to me than my siblings. I’m older and always tried to be nice, as sometimes my siblings weren’t very nice to me.

   Our family is one huge dysfunctional mess like most others, but ours runs about as deep as any I’ve seen. We’re rotten to the core. There isn’t any closeness. Everyone is into their own thing, and I find most of them people I don’t want to hang with on purpose. It sucks.

      No more than a few random people get along in our family, and it’s a crapshoot when it comes to who matches up with who. I always thought Hogie was in my corner, and I used to trust him with anything and everything. BIG mistake. It wound up biting me in the ass.

   Since I was raised as a son, my grandpa included me in his will when he died for a third of the share along with my father and Hogie. That didn’t sit well with anyone, and I could feel the jealousy from my father who never tried to hide it. Hogie was a little bit slicker.

   One day, he had me sign some ‘tax papers’ that I stupidly agreed to do. It amputated me of all claims to the will, and I got a small payout. I needed money badly, but I had no idea I was in for a third. I found that out years later, way after I’d signed those papers. I trusted Hogie implicitly, and that’s where I made my mistake. I learned the hard way about life.

   I felt totally used by Uncle Hogie, and that hurt for a long time. He and my aunt bought a brand new SUV and moved to Missouri, or so I heard. Whatever. She died just a couple of years ago, and now he’s all by himself. I heard he’s had cancer on and off for years and the whole thing is just a big mess. Why does life have to be this way? I don’t understand.

   Uncle Hogie is 70 today. His father or brother never made it that far, but I hear he’s sick and not doing well. I don’t wish him any ill will, but I have no desire to talk to him either. What would I say? The damage is done. I have my own problems. He’s on his own now.

   That money would have come in handy over the years, but quite honestly I wasn’t ready for it and probably would have pissed it away like a drunken sailor. I’m not angry about it anymore, and I’m actually having fun with money I’ve earned on my own. If he needed it, so be it. My father too. But neither one did anything good with it. It’s all been a big waste.

   My father is now dead, and can’t hurt me anymore. Uncle Hogie is close, and he missed the boat too. He and Brett haven’t spoken in years, and he’s all alone waiting to die with a laundry list of unfulfilled dreams. That’s sad, and I’m doing all I can to make sure I don’t end up the same way. I work every day to make good choices so I’m not like my family.

   I don’t think I’m better than them or anyone else, but I do think I have different ultimate goals. I want to achieve my full potential, but be a good person doing it. I want to give my all in service, and not end up dying with nobody caring. That means I didn’t touch anyone while I was here, and that’s a total waste of a life. I’ve wasted enough already. Let’s GO.

   I’m sure I’ll get a call in the not too distant future that Uncle Hogie died. I won’t cry, as I didn’t when I heard my father died. I’ll use their lives as a sad example to do exactly the opposite, and hope I can do some good to someone somewhere. I’m not perfect, but I also am not my father or Uncle Hogie. If I do make 70, I want life memories I can be proud of.

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Monday, January 17, 2011


Sunday January 16th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   This football thing is about to get ugly ‘round these parts. The Packers vs. the Bears is a showdown for the ages, and I’m right in the middle of it all. Literally. It’s like living right on the Mason/Dixon line and having friends who are loyal to both sides. It’s a hot zone.

   Stupid me, I’m based in enemy territory loaded with rival colors. I bought myself a nice new Packers winter jacket this year, after several without one. In fact, the last jacket I had was a blue one that only had the NFL logo over the heart. I bought it specifically because I wanted to remain anonymous, but still warm in winter. I wish I still had that jacket now.

   I got it cheap too. It was a display model and I saw it at the store and asked if it was for sale. There was no price on it, and the clerk had to ask the manager if he could sell it. My reasoning was that I travel so much, I didn’t want to stand out and have to catch any heat from anyone, especially club owners who cheer for another team. It’s a political thing.

   I know how passionate (translate: STUPID) people can get over sports teams, and that includes me too. I don’t need to piss off someone who has the ability to hire me because I cheer for a different sports team. I can cheer all I want, it’s just not smart to wear it on my sleeve - again literally. A nice plain winter coat without team logos is the correct choice.

   Too late. I already bought it. I kind of knew it was a mistake, but I decided to get it as a present for myself. I needed a jacket anyway, as I accidentally ripped a sleeve on the blue one and didn’t want to walk around with duct tape on it. I have a job, I can afford a coat.

   But, in typical Mr. Lucky fashion, I had to buy a flaming colors Packer jacket complete with the gigantic ‘G’ logo on the back and big bright yellow and white stripes down each sleeve. That’s bad enough considering where I live, but it had to be this year, the first one since 1941 the two teams have met in the playoffs. Could there be any more polarization?

   To top it off, I’ve also got a fine array of Packerphernalia including hats, both sweat and t-shirts, and even shoes. What am I, an idiot? No, just a hopelessly addicted fan. Wait, yes I am an idiot. But I can’t help myself. It’s in my blood. I’m hooked on the green and gold.

   I’ve already gotten some nasty comments walking around in a store and getting gas at a pump. I’ve kept my mouth shut so far, but I know me. At some point I’ll probably have a confrontation, and it won’t be pretty. I know how to incite people if I want, and if it were to happen on the wrong day I’ll slice some oaf like a roast beef brisket and not feel guilty.

   If I’m smart, I’ll find a Kevlar lining to wear underneath my jacket. There’s a giant ‘G’ on the back with a smaller one right over the chest that would each serve as a wonderful target for someone with a sniper rifle around here. Why take that risk? It’s just a game.

   Unfortunately, not around these parts. This is WAR, baby. In South America, it’s about soccer. Here, it’s the NFL. Maybe I should move to Bolivia for a week. Nah. Go Packers!

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

SUCK IT, Favre!

Saturday January 15th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   What a moron I can be at times. I laid down for a nap late this afternoon and slept most of the way through one of the greatest Green Bay Packer playoff wins in history. I nodded off and didn’t wake up until way late in the game when I turned on the TV just in time to see a Packer field goal attempt bounce off the goal post. I had no idea what the score was.

   I felt my heart sink as the ball bounced, but then I saw the score and it turned my frown upside down in a hurry. What a game! I knew I’d be able to catch the highlights on ESPN over and over again, so it wasn’t a total loss. I’d rather do that than have to watch a whole game when they get throttled. I’ve sat through way too many of those. This is a lot better.

   I had a chance at a possible gig tonight, but it fell through late this afternoon. I’m glad it did, as it was one of those small town low paying hell holes I’m trying to avoid. The only reason I said I’d do it was the booker was a comic and trying to get the gig going. I know how it is, and if he couldn’t have found someone I’d have helped out. Thankfully, he did.

   That’s why I took the nap. I had several offers to watch the game, and every one was at a good location with people I wanted to hang with. I hadn’t made a decision, and planned to as soon as I woke up. Oops. Too late. But anytime the Packers win, life is going well.

   After the game, I caught the highlights and enjoyed every one of them. This is a team to be proud of, and it all starts with Aaron Rodgers. The more I watch that guy, the more he impresses me. He’s handled himself with the utmost class, and it’s easy to cheer for him.

   I have to believe Brett Favre is stewing in his own juices right now. That makes it even sweeter. I know he doesn’t care what I think, but it’s still a ripe juicy cherry on top of the whole sundae. He pulled his little crybaby routine, and after it was all said and done, he’s not even in the conversation anymore. He’s had his day, and Rodgers is just entering his.

   The whole team is looking lean and mean. The defense is as together as I’ve ever seen it, and Clay Matthews looks like a budding superstar. Coincidentally, that’s the guy they drafted with the pick they got from the New York Jets for old number 4. Justice prevails.

   The rest of the offense is loaded with hard working class acts. That makes a difference to me, as it’s getting rarer and rarer. The Packers aren’t a bunch of thugs that aren’t team players. As a fan, I can put my total backing in this group of players and I do. I love them.

   Atlanta has a good team too though. I respect how they bounced back from the Michael Vick nightmare and turned that team around in a short time. They’ll be back next year for another run, and they could easily go all the way. Not this year though. GO PACKERS!!

   I’m not going to question why I’m so hooked on the Packers. I am, and that’s that. They really could win the big one this year, and I may never get to see that again in my lifetime. I’ve come too far to drop out now. I’m all in. Bring on those nasty Bears. Suck it, Favre!

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Enjoying Life 101

Friday January 14th, 2011 - Cary, IL

   Sometimes it’s fun to just hang out and do nothing. This is one of those times. I’ve got all kinds of plots and schemes heating in the oven, and that’s exciting, but for a few days I’ve got the chance to visit friends and enjoy life. To me, that’s as enjoyable as anything.

   I’ve got a few bucks in the bank, my bills are paid, and my time schedule is flexible for the next little while. I hit it pretty hard on the ships the past few months so this is the time to relax a little. I earned it, and I love every last minute of it. It’s like a mini retirement.

   It’s a good thing I’m boring and have low standards. Simple things please me, and I can be thoroughly satisfied with not all that much. For example, I’m enjoying my ‘83 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham just as much as if it were an expensive show car. No kidding. It’s a big tub, but it runs great and it’s fun to drive. It sucks gas, but it’s paid for. I’m loving it.

   Today I used it to visit friends. First I met with a former comedy student named Cathy Rubino. She’s loaded with talent, but not necessarily as a standup. She’s more of a writer, but she‘s on the ball. Her mind is razor sharp, and she doesn’t realize how good she is.

   Cathy has the talent to be great, but that’s not always a guarantee it will happen. She has a husband and five year old daughter, and life often has other plans. It’s hard enough to be out in the clubs every night clawing for stage time without having to keep a family going.

   There are a lot of people in that position, and I feel for them. At least I had a shot to get out there and live my dream guilt free. I made the decision to go for it at a young age, and I never looked back. Sometimes I wonder if I made the correct choice, but I’m sure I did.

  Cathy is a total sweetheart, and the main thing I can do is encourage her to keep writing. Being a mom is much more demanding than comedy, and she can come back to it later if she really wants to. There are many outlets for creativity. The main thing is to pick one.

   After that I had lunch with Marc Schultz and Tim Walkoe. Tim is one of the top comics in Chicago, and he’s got to keep hustling just like I do. He does some cruise ships and has similar stories to mine. It’s not an easy gig, but neither is comedy. This is what we chose.

   Jerry Agar came back from Toronto and I picked him up at the airport in the afternoon. He’s got his own mammoth task trying to work in Canada and live in Chicago. We talked about how hard it is, but he doesn’t have a choice. That’s where the work is, deal with it.

   Jerry and his wife Ann and I went out for a wonderful dinner at a steak house out in the suburbs near their house. It was really nice to relax and chow down and visit. We’ve been friends for over twenty years, and know each other’s history. Old friends are the dearest.

   Normally, being off on a weekend would really bother me. Not today. I got to enjoy the friendship of outstanding people, and enjoy life to the fullest. If that isn’t living, what is?

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tigers And Turtles

Thursday January 13th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I was so disturbed by that Vince McMahon DVD I watched yesterday, I had to watch it again. I wanted to see if it had the same affect. The guy is brilliant, I’ll give him that. He’s got a lot of amazing accomplishments under his belt, but I think there’s a screw loose as a person. I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling watching him, but he’s still quite fascinating.

   I love creativity and innovative minds, and he’s definitely that. He changed the game so much it isn’t the same one anymore. I also love the idea of being an entrepreneur, and his skills there are also off the charts. He’s rich beyond belief, but I don’t want to be like him.

   Does that mean I’ll never be rich? Maybe it does. Maybe I don’t have that killer instinct needed in business and I’m wasting my time. There was a quote of his that said “If you’ve got any friends, it means you’re not making any money.” Does life have to be like that?

   It’s really ripping me up. I’ve always thought I wanted to be rich, and I still do - but I’m not willing to turn into a flaming wank pole to do it. I want to be ethical and above board, and not have to screw anyone over to do it. Then the more I think about it, am I realistic?

   I know there is a contingency of people that no matter how hard I try, still look at me as the flaming wank pole I try to hard not to be. I do speak my mind, but deep down I try my hardest to be a good person and respect other people’s needs, rights and space. I’m a firm believer in The Golden Rule, and try my hardest to live by it every day. I feel for others.

   It seems like that’s not necessary in business. It’s everyone for themselves, and so what if someone else gets hurt. I don’t want to be part of that, and that’s part of why I’m not as far along in the game as I think I should be. Nice guys get screwed, and that bothers me.

   So where’s the happy medium? I don’t believe all rich people are evil, and everyone has different circumstances. Vince McMahon was born into the business he’s in, but he had a vision to revolutionize it and he did. It came at the expense of his competitors, who were all getting along and making a living. That wasn’t good enough, and Vince wanted more.

   Maybe it’s the difference between a tiger and a turtle. A tiger has a killer instinct and it prowls the jungle and kills because it’s programmed to do so. It couldn’t stop if it wanted to. A turtle is exactly the opposite. It couldn’t be a predator if it wanted to. That’s life.

   Everyone gets pumped up when the song ‘Eye of The Tiger’ comes on. I think I’ve been born with the ‘Eye of The Turtle’. No matter how big my vision may be to be a bad ass in life, all I’ll ever be is the best turtle I can be. It sure seems like that sometimes, and it rots.

   I do still want to be an entrepreneur though, and hopefully find a niche market and haul in some nice money. Maybe it won’t be a billion dollars, but whatever I do make I’ll help as many others as I can. They don’t even have to know it came from me. That’s what the true definition of success is, at least to me. I hope I’m not wasting my time on this planet.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Tuesday January 11th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Another milestone date on the cosmic odometer - 1/11/11. There have been all kinds of them in the last decade with the new millennium and all, and they won’t come back again for at least 100 years. I’ll be long dead by then, so this is the only time I’ll get to see it.

   This one is significant because for years I’ve always noticed an uncanny preponderance to look at clocks at exactly 11:11 or 1:11, or look at a car’s odometer right when it turns a form of 11,111 miles. It’s very noticeable, and I wondered why I was doing it so I looked it up on the internet and found there’s a whole bunch of theories for why it’s happening.

   11 is a power number in numerology, but there are various explanations from a spiritual to paranormal scope that say it’s a warning from another dimension. I don’t know if I can go that far, but I do know I’ve had it happen quite often in the last few years and it’s been something I didn’t do on purpose. The next one in November will be bigger - 11/11/11.

   Stuff like this always gets me thinking about the whole meaning of life and why we’re here on this goofy little spinning space marble anyway. There has to be some meaning to something somewhere, doesn’t there? I hope so. I’d hate to think life is a random chance.

   Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. My gut feeling is it isn’t, but why don’t we know more? The whole idea of God, heaven and hell used to be good enough, but that doesn’t fly anymore, at least with me. I believed in Santa at one time too, and no matter how sincere I was, it’s still a made up lie. Unfortunately, I feel the same way about God after years of believing.

   But what’s the real truth? It’s scary to think there isn’t that all loving powerful God out there who sees us eat our vegetables and share our toys as a kid, and then opens the gates of heaven when we’re dead so we can play a harp and wear a white robe forever and ever.

   That might have been a good way to fool the masses for hundreds of years now, but life is a lot more complex today. That explanation falls flat on my ears. The universe is so big and vast, it doesn’t seem like anything is really important unto itself, especially humanity.

   We’re imperfect, and getting worse. We fight and kill each other and pollute a perfectly good planet which gave us all we need to live a wonderful life. It’s like we’re treating this place like a Motel 6 room, and if there was a God he’d have kicked us all out eons ago.

   But, that being said a large percentage of us have an inner need to have some kind of an entity to worship as being more powerful than ourselves, and we’ll even go to war killing others to defend the honor of that invisible being. My brain overheats thinking about this.

   Does this date mean anything? I have no idea. Does 11:11 mean anything? Are spiritual messages coming from another dimension, or do I happen to look at the clock at the right time just by accident over and over? Both of those ideas seem far fetched, but I do think a true explanation exists that for whatever reason we’re not getting to see. I’m very curious.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flexing My Hustle Muscles

Monday January 10th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI/Milwaukee, WI

   Time is going by so fast I can’t keep up. I finally started on my 2011 agenda, if only ten days too late. Granted, I was on a ship for six of them, but it still feels like I’m losing my ability to keep pace with life. The world is in fifth gear, but my clutch keeps burning out.

   Today I had a holiday party up in Milwaukee booked so I wanted to run errands all the way up and back if I could to make my trip worthwhile. Now that I’m driving that big old tuna boat Cadillac, gas mileage becomes an issue. I thought of that when I bought it, and that’s part of the reason why I bought it. I wanted to stay put a little more and get focused.

   Maybe that was a mistake. With the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show in South Milwaukee just over two weeks out, I’ve got plenty to do to prepare. I’ll be fine onstage, but dealing with the off stage stuff I’m not good at is a challenge. I need to get good at it, or find someone who is who’s willing to work with me. This is all part of the fun of starting a new project.

   Russ Martin has been a help, as has Richard Halasz. I met with both of them in separate places to brain storm ideas. Dan Still was with Russ and me as we bounced ideas off each other. That’s a whole other project, as Dan and Don Reese and Dwight York are trying to get a tour organized and I might promote it. That’s down the road though, first stuff first.

   I stopped in Antioch, IL on the way to pick up my load of ‘Schlitz Happened!’ t-shirts. They look splendiferous if I say so myself, and I gave one to Dan, Russ, Richard and then I stopped off in Bay View before my gig and dropped some off for the WTMJ radio crew.

   They were broadcasting live from a sports bar right across the street from a comic book shop that my cousin Jef Parker used to own called Collector’s Edge. The on air guest was a friend of mine named Mike Clemens, and I haven’t seen Mike in years. He’s a great guy who I’ve known from radio days and now works for Sirius Radio analyzing the Packers.

   I dropped off a ‘Hard Luck Jollies’ comedy CD and ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shirt for Mike and the hosts Bill Michaels and Jeff Falconio too. I listen to those guys, and got a chance to shake hands and say hello in person. That never hurts. Maybe they’ll toss them out but maybe they won’t. I had to roll the dice, and even though it costs me money I need to try.

   Life really is about who a person knows. Steve DeClark has always been in my corner and he’s the one who recommended me for this holiday party. Steve and his wife Gail are fantastic people and have thought of me for many things over the years. I had to get Steve a shirt too, only out of gratitude for everything he’s done for me. It’s a two way street.

   The show went well, as did the meetings. But it takes a lot of effort to meet with people because it just does. We have to plan it and prepare for it and decide what if anything we might do after it’s over and before I knew it another day was down the drain pipe. I can’t go any faster, so I guess I’ll just have to do what I’m doing and see where it leads. I feel a positive vibe from the show though. Everyone I gave t-shirts too thought they were great. 

   Now I have to SELL some. I know I’ll give a lot away too though. I have a lot of friends who have supported me over the years, and a t-shirt goes a long way in saying thanks. It’s a currency of it’s own, and without fail people’s eyes always light up when they get a free one for some reason. Everyone I gave one to today had the same wow look on their face.

   On the way up to Milwaukee I had lunch with Mark Gumbinger and Lou Rugani at the Chinese Buffet on Highway 50 in Kenosha. Mark is a film director and working on more projects and wants Lou and I to have parts in them. We had a fun lunch, and will meet up again tomorrow at Mark’s house for more brainstorming and then watch a classic movie.

   That’s another group I’m becoming part of, and I like it. Everyone in it is fun, and they are out slugging and chasing dreams just like me. Mark is a talented director, and knows what he’s doing. Lou is a multitalented actor, narrator and just a good person, as is Mark. I’d rather have that vibe in Kenosha than have to chase the slime traders in Hollywood.

   Granted, everyone in Hollywood isn’t bad, but that whole scene is very dysfunctional to say the least. There’s a lot of cocaine and falseness, and I just don’t want to be part of that game, especially this late in my own journey. Here, I can be part of the gang and get parts in everything Mark produces. It’s a fun atmosphere and creatively satisfying. I’ll take it.

   On the way home tonight I got a call from my old friend Brian Diamond. Brian and I go back over twenty years, and he was a road warrior just like me. He’s from Sacramento but moved to L.A. years ago to chase the dream. He’s more of an actor, but that’s fine. He’s a great guy and VERY smart. He gets the off stage big picture better than almost everyone.

   We get along great, and have kept in touch all these years even though it gets tougher to do with life getting in the way. He’s a year younger than me, but in the same category that we’re all becoming - OLD. Brian has always had a grip on where he was, and I got a great lesson from him as I sat back and let him talk for almost an hour straight. He was on fire.

   What he basically said was guys like us are running out of time as far as the ‘big dream’ goes. Brian has gotten off the road and now works for the state of California in his home town of Sacramento making presentations to government people. He has insurance and a pension plan, and still gets to do comedy and act from time to time as fun. He’s a success.

   He’s done one man shows and gave me some great insight on ‘Schlitz Happened’ as far as how to sell it correctly. Brian is like me in that he cuts right through any B.S. and isn’t one to sugar coat anything. He said we’re both never going to make the big time, so now we have to form some kind of happy ending with what we have. He’s right, and I know it.

   It doesn’t mean we’re losers in life, and it doesn’t mean that big time people are good or bad or happy or anything but that it’s SO rare to break through the walls of Hollywood or wherever one needs to be broken through. He had so many good points, I can’t remember them all. I told him I’m going to record it for my students, and for me too, and I will. He’s dead on, and realistic. Hollywood pressure off for now. I’m working hard in Milwaukee.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, January 10, 2011

Packerholic Pleasure

Sunday January 9th, 2011 - Wauconda, IL/Kenosha, WI

   I’m not sure how today could have gone much better. Of course it all begins and ends in three magic words - Green Bay Packers. My hopeless addiction to the green and gold was given a major fix today with a sweet win over the Philadelphia Eagles in a playoff game.

   I’m on a good high, and when it’s like this nothing is better. I don’t want to think about the dark side, because there definitely is one when they lose. I know none of this is going to get me anywhere, but I can’t help it. I’m in heaven when the Packers win, and they did.

  My intention was to not even watch the game. I’m in a very good mindset right now, and having three hours of uncut stress is the last thing I need. Watching games this big have a way of tying stomachs in a knot, and I didn’t want that today. I arranged a visit with Bert Haas from Zanies and his wife Sally and their daughter Christine. I’d hear the score later.

   Bert and Sally have always been great friends. They’ve invited me into their home like a family member countless times for holiday meals and special events. I’ve known all of their kids since birth, and they’re all wonderful. Christine is now in college and I feel old.

   Bert has been inviting me over for dinner for a while, and today was the day. He asked if I wanted to watch the game, but I told him no. It was too much pressure to watch it and have a puckered brown eye on his couch. I’d much rather catch up and visit with all three of them, and that’s what we did. It was low pressure and we had a lot of laughs. I loved it.

  We decided to go to a restaurant for dinner, and ended up at a place they knew of in their new city of Wauconda, IL. It was a very nice place, even though I can’t think of the name right now. We drove over and got seated - right next to a big screen TV with the game on.

   I tried to enjoy dinner, but it was like Keith Richards being asked to hold a bag of drugs and not sampling any. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the TV and it was torture as the Eagles started to catch up. Our waitress was a Packer fan,  but everyone else was a Bears fan and saw my flaming yellow Packer jacket and knew I was the enemy. It was a tense situation.

  They started cheering for the Eagles and the waitress and I cheered for our Packers. Our meal was absolutely delicious, and we did get some time to visit even though I got lost in the game for a while. I’m a Packerholic and I freely admit it. I’m totally hooked for life.

   On the way from the restaurant to the WLIP radio studio in Kenosha, I almost drove off the road listening to the end of the game. It was extremely tense, and the Eagles could’ve easily won the game in the last second and ruined my evening, week, month and century.

   But alas, Tramon Williams intercepted Michael Vick’s pass and that was all she wrote. I let out a war whoop in my car, and I knew it was going to be a splendiferous evening no matter the outcome of the radio show. When the Packers win, all is right with the world. When they don’t, life is not worth living. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s sadly true.

   The possibility does exist right now that the Packers and despised scum sucking maggot infested Chicago Bears could actually meet for a chance to play in the Super Bowl. That’s a delicate situation, especially since I live in Illinois and have a ton of Bears fan friends.

   These kinds of things can get very personal, and I don’t want to set off a powder keg. IF it should happen, I’ll keep it to myself. I’ll drive up to Wisconsin and hang out with all of my Packer fan friends, and enjoy the moment. That’s one game I would watch, as it won’t in all likelihood ever happen again. It would be like one of those rare full solar eclipses.

   I wonder where Brett Favre is in all of this. He turned out to be the bad guy, and he isn’t even on a Packer fan’s radar right now. Aaron Rodgers is the man, and he played a really good game today, as did the rest of the team. It was good to see them getting it together.

  Whatever the NFL has, it’s addictive. Sports in general is a drug, especially when a team one cheers for is anywhere near a championship, but football is the most intense - at least it is for me. Me and millions of Packer fans all over the world. It’s exciting right now.

   I still feel like I got cheated out of the last big run in the ‘90s because of my bank robber nightmare. I was being flown back to Milwaukee from Reno by the government to testify in court against my life long best friend, and the Packers seemed so far away at the time.

  When I got off the plane, I remember seeing green and gold everywhere. I’d dreamed for a time like that since I was a kid, and when I got it I couldn’t even enjoy it. I’m still upset about it, but there’s not much I can do now. If they go to the Super Bowl this year, I have to consider going to see it live. I missed the last one, and I may not get another chance.

  I’ll worry about that later. They have two more games to win before that happens. I like the way my life is going now, and throwing all that stress in the mix doesn’t interest me at all. I’d rather focus on all the good things that are happening. That’s where my future is.

   Tonight it was back to WLIP in Kenosha, WI for a ride on The Mothership Connection radio show. We had some great guests tonight including Richard Crowe, a famous guy in Chicago who runs haunted tours. He’s been on the phone before, but it was fun to get him in the studio live. The show is very fun, and I was glad to be able to come back and do it.

  My co-hosts Shelley Maas Hernandez and Greg DeGuire have been dong an outstanding job in my absence, and we’d be off the air if it weren’t for everyone kicking it up a notch. Diane Ebert and Gary Pansch have been great, as has Scott Markus and everyone else on the show. They have a fun time doing it when I’m gone, and it’s all worked out perfectly.

  Personally, I don’t really have to do it anymore. It’s fun to hang out, but to put in effort to prepare takes time and energy, and I’ve got other stuff going on. Shelley and Greg are the main people in charge, and they’re doing great. I’m thrilled the show could continue. If I hadn’t showed up tonight, they would have been fine without me and that’s great in my book. I helped it get started, and it’s stll alive. Like the Packers, that makes me proud.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Classic Cars And Cowboys

Saturday January 8th, 2010 - Fox Lake, IL

   Another day to just hang out and relax. I need a few days off to recharge my batteries to make a run at everything I’ve got going. Normally, I would have tried to book something for this weekend to have something to do. It would have been off the plane and right back into the car to drive to a gig somewhere, but after a lifetime of doing that I’ve had my fill.

   If it was a big show in a big venue for big money, I might consider it. Maybe even those get old after a while. Today is Elvis’s birthday. I wonder if he ever got sick of it all on his level? He flew to gigs that were in sold out arenas, but he got to fly home the same night and sleep in his own bed. Maybe that made it different, but I’d think the road is the road.

  Personally, I’m sick of it. At least for now. The ships are extra difficult because I have a lot more deadlines to hit with flights and consequences should I miss even one. In clubs, I drive there and that can be a challenge enough. Having to catch planes and boats is worse.

   It’s a grind, and there’s no other way to put it. Right now, having a gig where I could be home every day would be very desirable. That’s why I like the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ idea so much. If I do it right, I can have at least one weekend a month that’s an hour from my house where I can make a decent living and not have to be molested by airport security.

   It’s funny, as the exact opposite feeling was what drove me to leave Milwaukee back at the start of all this. I wanted to be on the road and see as many places as I could. I did, but now I have the exact opposite desire. I want to earn a living as close to home as possible.

   I turned that part of my brain off today and went to see ‘True Grit’. I’ve heard all kinds of positive reviews, and I’ve always been a big fan of Jeff Bridges. Any movie he’s in I’ll risk a ticket, and I can’t remember being disappointed very often. The guy has a charisma.

   I thought there were a few holes in the plot, but I really liked the characters in the film. I also like the Coen Brothers, and didn’t know they directed it. I probably should have, but my knowledge of pop culture and show biz is severely lacking these days. I just wanted to be entertained by a movie, and I totally was. All the characters fit in well with each other.

  Now I want to see the original with John Wayne. I know I saw it years ago, but I have no idea when or where. I’d probably enjoy it all over again. I’ve been so busy in my own life trying to chase whatever it is I’ve been chasing, I’ve neglected watching a lot of classics.

  Speaking of classics, I also went to the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, IL. I live as close as I ever have, and I’ve been wanting to go for a while now. It’s a museum, but also has cars for sale. There’s an original George Barris Batmobile, and to me that’s worth a trip alone.

   All I did was hang out and enjoy life. I loved the movie, and then went to look at all the classic cars I used to want to own, but now am fine with just looking at in a museum. I’m getting simpler as I get older, and I think it’s good. I’ll stay low maintenance, it’s easier.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weeding Out The Weenies

Friday January 7th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I guess I was plum tuckered out after all. I woke up at 1:45pm, but felt totally refreshed. I don’t really have ‘my own bed’ to sleep in now that I’ve moved, but it felt great anyway. I’m still nowhere near settled in, and my stuff is either in piles, boxes or in a storage bin.

  I’m basically starting my life over again, something I’ve done countless times before. In a perfect world, I’d have a wife and kids and house that’s paid for, and residual checks for projects I did years ago that are still paying off with royalties today. I’d be getting ready to be a grandfather soon, and start thinking of retirement with pleasant anticipation. Right.

  Instead, I’m still living like a spider in a basement a quarter century into my pursuit of a very difficult dream. I’m partially here because I choose to be, but part of that comes from a fear of making a commitment to a lease or a woman or anything else that involves trust.

   Things could be a lot worse, but they could be a lot better too. I’m right on the precipice of something new and different, and I want to make sure I really nail it this time and have a chance to salvage a winning life. Happy endings aren’t guaranteed, but if I’m the one in charge that’s writing the script - this life is going to have one. I want to be an inspiration.

   Nobody is inspired by the loser, or the one who gave up before hitting pay dirt. I have a little kick left, and I can tell this is my big chance in the next couple of years. After that, it will be a race against time for survival. It is now, but I think I have a chance at winning.

   Today I did a whole lot of nothing, but that’s what I planned. I went to pick up my mail and deposit a couple of checks, then I went to hang out with my friend Todd Hunt. He’s a business speaker, and one of the best around. His marketing plan is THE best I’ve seen.

   I always learn something from Todd. He hustles to get his work, and earns every single penny he gets paid. There’s no ‘circuit’ for speakers, and each booking is gotten by either word of mouth or self inquiry. It’s very difficult, but Todd has kept plugging for years. If you need a business speaker, contact Todd via his website at

   I love reconnecting with good people, as it allows us to compare notes and see how we can help each other with what we’re doing now. It becomes a process of weeding out the weenies, and finding a winning team to accomplish goals and rely on in times of need.

   If there’s one thing I’ve amassed in my life it’s a list of quality people, and just because life can get so hectic it’s easy to lose track sometimes. I have some time at home in these next couple of weeks, and it would do me good to reshuffle and realign my contacts list.

   Hopefully, the people on that list are in a good space too, and we’ll take whatever we’re all doing to a higher level. I’m really excited about the chances of good things happening this year on many levels. I’ve paid my dues, and I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat to do or be whatever I want. Part of that is to surround myself with fun people to share everything.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary