Half Past Awesome2018-08-03T12:49:35+00:00

Fire In The Soul & A Heart On The Run

May 3rd, 2016|Categories: ink, New & Unimproved|

"So, a fireman walks into a tattoo joint called "Hearts of Fire"....." And thus begins a joke that has never been told. Mostly because it's not a joke, but partly because the journey, like so many before, is unpredictable at best. It began so long ago, and the path has [...]

Paper Tigers In The Golden Cage

April 17th, 2016|Categories: New & Unimproved|

And another Sunday is spent at the firehouse, and with it, the promise of less radio chatter, fewer demands, and more time for the mind to roam across our own plains. Even our usual clientele seems less inclined to dial 911 on this day; it's as though they are intuitively gearing up [...]

Ghosts & Chaos

March 28th, 2016|Categories: Siren Songs|

THE rain falling outside the station office windows was a perfect background soundtrack to the task at hand on an Easter morning: editing employee evaluations over a pot of coffee. It's Sunday, so the rest of the crew is enjoying the holiday in the various corners of our cavernous firehouse, [...]

Soul Plane

March 23rd, 2016|Categories: Tales of Misery|

"You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks"           -W. Churchill "I wouldn't say we were elite, no; when I look at things, though, I guess you could say I've had a pretty charmed life." The old [...]

The Navigator

January 22nd, 2016|Categories: New & Unimproved|

*insert witty, heartfelt statement about life being a journey, not a destination* "For all of your suffering No one gives a good goddamn It's all about the money, son We doubt you understand"  R. Bingham A friend, a good and dear friend, came home the other day to be told [...]

Shelf Life

January 2nd, 2016|Categories: New & Unimproved|

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity." A. Einstein The first essay in this new year should be a song of unending optimism, right? In [...]

Uninvited

October 21st, 2015|Categories: Siren Songs|

"There’s a man who walks beside me/ He is who I used to be/ And I wonder if she sees him/ And confuses him with me” -Jason Isbell, “Live Oak"   "I'm so sorry...." my voice never murmurs the words, but I'm sure she saw it in my eyes. I just [...]

Till The Magnolias Bloom

September 13th, 2015|Categories: Tales of Misery|

"I have a Goodwill gift for you."  A casual sentence that sends my heart into atrial fibrillation. She's thought of me. She pulled the trigger on a dime-store gift, which is, in and of itself, significant. There's history there. Flea market, Goodwill, thrift store scores are greater than retail-bought; because [...]

It Just Happened Today, Again

September 11th, 2015|Categories: Siren Songs, Tales of Misery|

Every year on this day, we are reminded of that most dark chapter of the fire service, and our nation; I've written more than a few essays on a fireman's point of view on 9/11. When it happened I was a 26 year old side pocket, ladder-truck fireman, who's only [...]

  • All In: A Conversation With Randy Lopez
    by Uli Gulje on August 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    He's one of the most loyal, hard-working, devoted people I know. A small business owner, a family man in a BIG way and an all-around genuine individual. He's been through life in a way that might leave some salty, but contrary to that, he's a passionate, grateful, relentlessly authentic dude and just as real as anyone I've ever met. To listen to him describe his upbringing, a life in construction and the very things that shaped him into the man he is today is nothing short of a lesson in respect and love. We talk about our Dads, our kids, marriage and what it takes to maintain a positive attitude when you're a polarizing, passionate person in a vanilla, conformist world. He even quotes Eminem. Take a listen to a gentle, strong man give you an honest look at his own journey; it'll inspire the hell out of you! […]

  • Goin' Rogue: A Conversation With Ryan Mulcahy, The Rogue Barber
    by Uli Gulje on August 10, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    In this episode of The Real State, I sat down with yet another of the Renaissance Men of The Greater Springfield Area. He's called Bingo games, worked as a Camp Counselor, played drums barefoot in a band for 12 years and narrowly missed meeting his wife when she didn't show up for their first (blind) date. He ran into her the next night, used the cheesiest pickup move ever and the rest was history; in fact they married three months later, and 7 years later have one of the strongest unions around. Now, together with his wife Dacy, they own and operate The Rogue Barber & D's Wax Factory which is a fixture in Downtown Springfield and provides some of the most innovative and personal attention to detail in the business. Ryan travels the country as an ambassador and educator for products such as Hattori Hanzo (remember Kill Bill?), and with the smoothest voice around, he was willing to spend some time with me at 4 By 4 Brewing Company, where we wasted an afternoon laughing, telling stories and just enjoying a wandering conversation about all KINDS of things. Enjoy! […]

  • What'choo Fighting For?
    by Uli Gulje on August 3, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Jeff Weeks is a fellow firefighter, casual musician, father and husband, but he's also working on something much bigger than meets the eye. Although he owns Hot Fusion screen printing, he's thrown himself into a project he's called "Fight For It" where the shirts they're making are about raising awareness about causes that desperately need more attention. Tune into an fun conversation with an awesome friend! […]

  • Not A Shadow Of Doubt: A Conversation With Shadow From Q102
    by Uli Gulje on July 27, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    If you listen to Q102 here in Springfield Missouri, you know the voice of Shadow Williams. In today's conversation she brings her own brand of kick-ass confidence to 4 By 4 Brewing Co. to sit down over some delicious pints and we wander around a decade of friendship, how she got into radio, the proper pronunciation of "cilantro",  busting each other's chops and just having a good time laughing at one another.&nbs […]

  • The Growler: a conversation with 4 By 4 Brewing Co. brewer Chris Shaffer
    by Uli Gulje on July 20, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    He's thoughtful, wicked smart and after a lifetime of interesting endeavors just wants it quiet while he concocts some of the best beer I've ever tasted. He's Chris Shaffer, THE brewer of 4 By 4 Brewing Co., which not only sponsors this podcast, they offer a great experience on the Southeast side of Springfield, MO. in a family-friendly environment chock FULL of great brews. From his time guarding missiles in the Air Force to finally making the break from a corporate gig to be the full-time brewer in this partnership of friends, "The Growler" can be found in this giant laboratory whipping out a delicious blend of science and art. Enjoy a conversation with someone I've come to call a friend! […]

  • Death Becomes Her
    by Uli Gulje on July 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Michael Harris is a tour de force of love and compassion. She founded Grey Matters Fund (@GreyMattersSWMO) after going through brain cancer herself. Married to the boy she met in 4th grade after a few long diversions, she is Queen Bee of The Church of Skatan, a safe haven/local half-pipe where locals and tourists alike find themselves on a Sunday afternoon, doing their best to shred 40' of chaos. Michael loves PBR and Hamm's beer, her children, her community and all of us who feel lost in this world. In this conversation, she de-mystifies death, gives us insight into her father's influence and displays for all her ability to be about as genuine and real as a person can get. I'm grateful for her friendship, grateful for her time, and stoked that she and Troy have opened their home to wayward souls like mine. Enjoy! […]

  • Into The Mind Of Max
    by Uli Gulje on July 6, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    At 13, he's already an accomplished archer, an avid gamer, a lover of science and also one of my two favorite people in the whole world; he's Max, my second-born son, and one of the kindest kids I've ever known. On the 4th of July we sat down over some Crystal Lite and had a laugh over the funny stuff as well as taking a moment to delve into subjects as serious as gun control and school bullying. It's a short one, but it's worth a listen. Enjoy! […]

  • Gay Enough For Ya?
    by Uli Gulje on June 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Elyse Riley is a one-woman powerhouse of energy. From her work as a Sheriff's Deputy to Realtor/business owner, her tireless advocacy for the LGBQT+ Community and at-risk homeless youth, her passion for dog rescue and local charity work, there aren't too many fires Elyse doesn't have an iron in, yet she still finds time to be a wife, rugby player and dedicated friend. In this conversation, we talk about her endeavors, her perspective as a gay woman in a part of the country where tolerance isn't always in abundance. She's hilarious, loyal, witty and one of my best friends, even IF she is a cop. Enjoy! […]

  • How Do You Say Bin Laden In Italian? A Conversation With Jeff Butler
    by Uli Gulje on June 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Former Navy SEAL, CIA case officer and current Springfield Firefighter Jeff Butler is a man who's worn many hats in many parts of the world. He sits down with Uli to talk about his training in the military, his family legacy in the SEALs, the importance of Benny Hinn as the world's greatest televangelist/actor, why he likes hoppy beers and learning how to speak Italian in the CIA. Tune in for a random conversation about how he got here, and what he's learned along the way. […]

  • Killing 'Em With Kindness: The Jen Davis Interview
    by Uli Gulje on June 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    In her professional life, Jen Davis is an absolute success; she's the number one Buyer's Agent in units sold nation-wide in the Keller Williams Realty. What's her story? How did she get there? In a word....kindness. That kindness professionally transcends into her personal life as well, which is why she's absolutely one of my favorite people and a genuine friend. Always willing to help, and always with a smile, Jen makes everyone around her want to be a better person and grateful for it. Listen in as she graciously gives of her time to talk about how she got here. […]