Lessons Learned From The Movie Captain Ron

Tonight I watched the movie Captain Ron again (for about the 10th time in the last 12 months) — and let my daughter Chelsea watch it for the first time. I decided the story made up for the language and the slightly inappropriate shower scene. Partly because Chelsea’s now 14, and partly because the shower scene is just darn good comedy.

The story of Captain Ron is so freaking awesome: the Harvey family of Chicago inherits an old sailboat and decides to throw caution to the wind and sail it from somewhere in the Caribbean to Miami where they will sell it. Since they’re not sailors, they hire “Captain Ron” to sail the boat and teach them how along the way.

The movie stars Martin Short as Mr. Harvey and Kurt Russell (in a Speedo) as Captain Ron. It’s a funny movie with a great moral: Get out of your rut and go DO something as a family!

When my family started this whole “living on the road thing” I hoped to be in a trailer for about a year and then graduate to a sailboat. Due to business slowing down the sailboat piggy bank hasn’t filled up yet, but I’m still working toward that.

I’m starting to feel more than a little pressure because my son Tom turned 16 last February and while I don’t know that he’ll take off as soon as he turns 18, I want to get us on a boat for a while before he is eligible to escape my clutches.

Why? Because I think people who have “typical” upbringings are at a disadvantage in life. They see things in a very narrow way which limits their choices. After all, how can you make a sharp left when everybody else is veering right if you don’t even know that left is an option?

When we started this journey we didn’t have enough money saved up. But if we had waited until things were “better” we’d never have hit the road and experienced new things…


We played on the beach in Santa Cruz.

Picked oranges outside our trailer in Bakersfield.

Walked the rim of the Grand Canyon (and got some great photos).

Watched the moon rise over the Superstition Mountains (and talked about the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine hidden there).

Wandered the streets of Tombstone where the Gunfight at the OK Corral took place.

Cheered Tom as he followed in his Uncle Nick’s footsteps and chased down an armadillo (it was catch and release, folks).

Saw the Alamo where so many American heroes lost their lives.

Visited the UFO Museum in Roswell. (“UFOs aren’t real, Dad.” Five minutes later, “Are UFOs real, Dad?”)

Drove across the London Bridge (brought brick by brick from London to Arizona).


And we met some wonderful people on the trip, including the Sauers family in Santa Nella. We ended up parked next to each other in an RV park and while there was a pretty big age gap between their kids and ours, they were still all kids and got along pretty well. After we left we continued following their travels via their blog.

And we met — and juggled with — both members of the Raspyni Brothers. Barry invited us to his house for the day to meet his family and play and Dan let us stop by his place for some juggling and an impromptu piano concert. I’d been fans of the Raspyni Bros for-freakin’-ever, so the chance to actually spend some time with them was the coolness.

Plus many more people — the families in Bastrop, the gunfighters near Tombstone, the jugglers in Austin, etc.

When you live in a house, and go to the same job every day, and see the same people all the time, you don’t have adventures. You just skate through life. And at age 47 I’m realizing life’s too short for that kind of skating — I regret the time I didn’t spend seeing new things and meeting new people.

Which is why if we had the opportunity to move onto a sailboat tomorrow, I’d do it — even though none of us know how to sail. We’d stay anchored (mostly) until we could figure out how to work the thing, but at least we’d be on the way.

I don’t see any reason to “settle down” at this point — there are too many things to see, places to visit and people to meet. How could you trade those things for a house fastened to the ground?

Magic Performing

How Many Times Can You Start Again?

Short version: I dropped out of school after the 8th grade to perform full time. Until sometime in my early 20s that’s how I made my living. Then I got into computer programming and dropped performing. Except I’ve always missed it, so 20-some years later I’m thinking I need to jump back into performing and see what happens.

However, I’ve had those thoughts before and nothing has ever come of them.

Long version: Take a couple minutes and read this page:

That’s what I wrote in late 2001 and while I’m sure I meant it at the time, I never followed through. Shortly after that is when we adopted our kids, moved (a couple times), and life just generally got very busy.

At least, that’s what I think happened. I don’t have any recollection of deciding NOT to get back into performing, it just never happened.

So here I am in mid-2010 and wishing I were a performer instead of a programmer. I have “stuff” — I’ve hauled along a box of props and books even when we decided to live on the road and moved into a 208 square foot trailer. I just need to decide to DO it.

Embarrassing Disclosure

After sitting on my can for about 25 years with typing as my most strenuous activity, I’ve become quite a large guy. (Some would say “large” is an understatement.) While I do know there are fat performers, it’s not something I’m happy about and it gives me a reason not to pursue my dream. And it’s not just “emotional” it’s practical — do you know how much it costs to buy performing clothes in XXXXXXXXXL size?

(Okay, maybe I put one or two extra Xs in there. Maybe.)

Yeah, I can lose weight (“It’s easy!” says all the skinny people.) and I’ve started on that, but it’s not something that will happen anytime soon. But I’m not willing to keep putting off my new beginning so I’m going to look for some opportunities where dressing casual will be just fine.

Those will probably be free shows, but I don’t have a problem doing some of those initially just to get some testimonials that can be used later.

Anyway, there’s my story. One time performer who wants that life again.

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