1. What happens in Vegas…is RICH-diculous

    Today’s drive was MUCH more manageable than the day before (only 6 hours).  We headed out of from Scottsdale just about noon after a stop at FedEx Office to fire off some paperwork…apparently some places need that info to pay us, and towards that end, we’re happy to oblige. Waited by the Tahoe while Joe sent the faxes and I made some PB and honey sandwiches for the guys on the passenger seat. It made me feel like quite the soccer mom…beard, beer gut and all.

    Another incredibly beautiful desert drive to Las Vegas with Andy at the wheel and I spent most of the afternoon tethered to the wi-fi on my phone, catching up on some emails and such.  I was crammed in the third row seat, which made for quite the mobile office, and if I may so…my knees never tasted better.  I think they call it a back-seat because those are the two things that will hurt the most after sitting there. I’m sure I looked pretty silly back there too, so technically it should be called a back-seat-leg-ego.

    There’s usually an upside, and this trip was no exception…the killer scenery lead us to the Arizona/Nevada border and one of those ‘bucket list’ type moments that one should always make time for on such a trip. We pulled off the highway and wound down a little access road to a bridge overlooking the  awe-inspiring Hoover Dam.  WOW.  Seriously…one of the most impressive structures I’ve ever seen and definitely of the sort that just cannot translate to photographs.  Looking over the edge of the bridge will certainly take your breath away (that and the walk up to the bridge…at least for us Beards).

    Arriving in downtown Vegas we checked into the Four Queens on Fremont and for a hotel casino of it’s age, it’s a great value and a comfortable stay.  One mediocre $8.95 Prime Rib dinner and a quick shower later and we were sound checking at the quaint little Vegas Beauty Bar, a salon themed bar/club that has hosted the likes of Doug Stanhope, Doug Benson and a smattering non-douged comics and bands as well.

    A little hand-flyering outside helped fill in the small, but chatty and mostly inattentive crowd (shhsh, people) and our new friend Brandt Tobler was a great addition to the show and a super guy to know.  The most interesting point of the show was near the end when the show was wrapping up.  Our publicist, Julie, pointed out to Joe that outside the bar, George Maloof, Jr (owner of the famed Palms Casino) was waiting for some friends.  Joe stepped out and invited him in, not thinking much of it.  Joe returned inside a few minutes later and got up to end the show, when in walks Maloof with two other guys and three beautiful girls in fancy black dresses, he walks right up to Joe (who was in the middle of addressing the audience), hands him $100 bill and says “These are ‘The Charlies’. They are the next big music sensation to come out of Iceland and you should let them sing a song.”  SURE!  What else are we doing? Oh, just our COMEDY SHOW…but why not.  So they sang a cappella (pretty good) and Maloof (as nice as a super rich guy could muster) thanked us for letting his friends sing, bought some shirts and CDs, vaguely invited us to hang out at the Palms sometime and then asked us to tell the crowd that the Hard Rock (casino) sucks.  We had no reason to think the Hard Rock DIDN’T suck, so we politely relayed his message.  Afterall, the owner of the Hard Rock never bought 8 tickets to last 5 mins of our show, added a hot Icelandish pop trio to the bill and handed us a hund-o (the ball is now in your court, Hard Rock guy…whoever you are).

    Spent the rest of the night getting more bad food service, flashing light overload and spending the best and most fun $70 I’ve ever lost playing BlackJack at the Fitzgerald.  I lasted at good hour I’d say, and it was well worth it.  If you’re going to start a gambling addiction, it’s best to start slow and at least enjoy pissing your money away with a slightly beer-buzzed smile on your face. I’m rarely in Vegas, and I’ve spent more money having worse times before.  Now on to L.A.!

  2. Like a (suburb of) Phoenix rising from the…

    …well, you get it.  Woke in Portales at the buttcrack of dawn…actually before it, and believe you me, Dawn needs to clean said buttcrack, it stinks.  I hopped behind the wheel of our government issue, Jack Ryan black Tahoe and proceeded to lay down 6 of the prettiest hours of scenic road miles I’ve seen in over a decade.  Seriously, for all the dry crusty boogers and huge temperature swings from day to night that the desert throws at you…this part of the country is truly majestic.  Long flat roads, views for miles, broken up intermittently by small towns usually set in the rare windy and hilly spots.  It reminds me a lot of the midwest…minus the corn and cheese curds.

    Once we hit Arizona, the cartoon-esque cacti stood at attention on both sides of the highway.  Andy pointed out that they looked like throngs of people standing with both hands raised greeting us excitedly as if to say “HEY! YOU’RE FINALLY HERE!”  Yes, we are here…even the cacti know we’re a big deal…and thanks for the welcome.

    Drove through the suburb of Scottsdale, on our way to our hotel in Phoenix. Apparently most of money in this area is in Scottsdale, so the best hotel deals were near the airport.  Check-in and a quick shower and we were off to the Martini Ranch for the show.  Easily one of the nicest and swankiest places we’ve played to date.  Management was super nice, great green room with veggies, humus, and all the water we could pack in our merch bag for Friday’s drive (you gotta know how to work the road…we do).

    Great time at Martini Ranch.  We’ll definitely be back.  Our guest beard for Scottsdale was Mike Kennedy.  Really funny, great guy and he and his girlfriend Colby helped us locate a solid meal and a brew after show.  Joe’s college buddy Dan joined us and it became plainly obvious as the meal progressed that this bar had a substantially gay clientele and our brood was appearing like 6 bears and twink out on the town with our token beautiful and busty female friend.  That was not enough to distract us from stuffing our faces.  And, after a fruitless smart phone query we discovered that while Krispy Kreme exists in AZ, they all close by 7pm.  We’ll for give you this time Phoenix…but you better get yourselves together for next time!

  3. Day 1, No sleep til…Portales?

    An hour nap is great, an hour ‘night sleep’ is decidedly NOT.  After finalizing a million little pieces of detail in Athens, packing and basically dozing off or 40-50 minutes…Joe and I pulled out of Athens at 2:30am Wednesday morning, picked up our new friend Justin, who is doing a story about this tour.  Easy checking and boarding in Atlanta and we were officially ON TOUR.

    I hate layovers…not because it adds travel time and it requires getting off a plane…but because you can never miss a flight you’re already on…at least I don’t think so.  So, the first leg flight to Denver Arrived a whopping TWO minutes before our connection was supposed to be leaving.  Lucky for us, Frontier airlines has 12 planes in it’s fleet and they’re each painted with a cute little deer on the wing (seriously).  Ours was named “Domino” and fortunately, they just shined a light at the plane and it was frozen in it’s tracks long enough for us to board the plane to Albuquerque.

    Landed in NM around 9:30am and headed to the Thrifty counter.  Already had a sweet discounted reservation (still expensive though) for a mini-van.  Some wit and charm and a little patience and persistence later, we managed to score a free upgrade to a comfy full-sized black SUV (very ‘secret service’ looking) for the price of an insurance upgrade that (because NM apparently hates car renters) it turns out we should’ve had in the first place.

    Four and half hour drive to Eastern New Mexico University where we were greeted by an enthusiastic 340 students.  Our best college show turnout to date and a really fun show.  Sold some merch, signed some autographs, took lots of photos, and then we were off to party like rock stars…rock stars who buy bread and peanut butter at the Wal-mart Supercenter.

    Every long day should end…and unfortunately this one ended at a Super 8 which was WAY more ‘8’ than Super…but sleep is sleep.  Had to get some rest for our twelve hour drive to Scottsdale, AZ on Thursday.

  4. WELCOME! to TJ’s new site…yes THAT TJ.

    Stay tuned for tweets, blogs, videos, photos, news and more.

    I hope this will be a way for me to continue connecting with great fans and friends all across the web-iverse…but it’s more than likely going to be another thing I forget to do everyday…so stay tuned for that too.  Visit my links and “like” me on Facebook, “follow” me on twitter and email me for general questions and booking inquires.  By the way, you look very nice today.