Monthly Archives: May 2007

I think someone spiked the punch…

19 May 2007

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: contemplative

I checked out the “Louder Than Bombs” monthly Smiths night in San Francisco this last Thursday.  I usually don’t go, for a variety of reasons, but this was their first night at Beauty Bar in the Mission and Orlie and Nick were both free and so what the hell?  I didn’t plan it this way, but I ended up getting a little intoxicated.  I was only planning on having one drink to loosen up.  But when I went to get a second, I was left waiting in line for a while.  The ‘tender (who happened to be the Capt. Jack Sparrow looking guy from the local band “Immigrant”) was taking forever to get to me, and when he passed me by for the umpteenth time, I dropped my head and let out a sigh.  He took offense and called me out with something like “there are a lot of people here, and I’m doing my best!”  I honestly hadn’t meant to send him a message with my sigh, but I guess he felt bad after snapping at me, so he showed up with a free shot to share with him.  In the face of this goodwill gesture, I obviously had to drink the shot.  And then still order my original second (now third) drink!  So yeah, I was pretty loose.  Lots of dancing, singing along, stumbling, and loss of inhibition.  I won’t lie… it was a lot of fun.  At one point, a couple of girls stumbled into the men’s bathroom while I was… erm… peeing.  It took me a minute to remember and assure myself that there aren’t urinals in the women’s room, so I was not the one out-of-place.  So one of them is looking in the mirror, putting her lipstick on while I’m talking at her over my shoulder from the urinal.  I think we discussed Morrissey.  Anyway, yeah, I was not myself.  The boys and I ended up at Sparky’s.  I got to bed after 4am.  Then had to get up for work around 7am.  I was in a haze all that day.  Sour stomach.  Blech.  I hear the young folk can do this night after night and bounce right back.  I guess I’m passed that.

I hate salesmen.  All kinds.  Just in general.  I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means, but when I go into a music store and try to discuss guitars with guitar salesmen, it’s like I’m talking to a little kid.  They’re always trying to bullshit me, and I don’t even get the feeling it’s all that malicious.  I really think that they just make something up when they don’t know an answer, assuming I won’t know enough to call them on it.  As a consumer, there is no quicker way to cause me to lose all confidence in your ability to help me.  The only useful thing you can do for me at that point is ring me up and get the commission for the sale that you didn’t earn.  (It’s not always like that — sometimes they know what they’re talking about, but it’s the exception, not the rule.)  My point is: if you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, you’ll get my respect and trust if you just admit that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.  But you really should know more than I do… you do this for a living, you know.

The only reason I even thought of all that was because, despite all logic, I’ve bought a new guitar.  But in order to more comfortably afford it as well as have room for it, I have begun a very painful but necessary process of… selling… some of my less-used guitars.  I don’t really want to do this, but it’s the responsible thing to do for many reasons.  I hit a peak at 20 and am now whittling down to a more manageable “family.”  And since I really want this new one (a Gibson 335!!!), I had to start letting some others go.  If you’re interested at all, I’m currently selling the Flamekat and the ES-295.

With my recent knee-to-the-face incident, I’ve been considering looking at orthodontia for the first time in my life.  My teeth aren’t really that crooked at all, and I’ve always said I’d wait until the technology existed to put me under and have a single procedure to straighten them all in one sitting.  But I figured, I’m pretty settled now; what’s the harm in finding out what my options are?  Well my options turned out to be 18 months of my life and a price tag of about $6,000.  With all due respect to the good doctor, fuck that.  Which is to say, I’ll not be pursuing orthodontics any further at this time.

There have been mysterious (but credible) threats of mass evictions of everyone in my building for some firecode something or other.  Apparently the city of San Francisco has sued to shut us down?  And the scary part is that they may not even be the bad guys in this whole mess.  As the days have passed, this sounds more and more far-fetched.  But I’ll be sure to update you all if I’m about to be homeless.  If anyone wants to trade guitars for room and board, you may be in luck.

At work the other day, I accidentally came across a new Oracle page, and my immediate reaction was to let out an audible hiss!  Like a cat or a vampire.  A totally automatic response.  I had to laugh at myself.  A fleeting moment of being connected with whatever’s left of my animal instincts.  For one brief instant, I thought I understood how/why cats do that.

I must be having good hair days lately, or maybe I’m getting better looking in my old age?  Because I’ve been getting way more attention than is normal.  Have I been doing anything about it?  Of course not.  When women flirt with me unexpectedly, I quite literally flee!  So my apologies to the intellectual-looking girl on BART in Berkeley the other day, and the pink-haired girl at the restaurant in the Haight today, and the other one that works in the rockabilly store, too.  You’re all beautiful and probably very worthwhile people, and I would have loved to have struck up a conversation with you… but apparently I don’t like girls.

Have you seen this?  An Old Spice commercial… uh, yeah, just watch.

And finally, the quote of the week is yet another sobering truth from Taxi Driver Wisdom:

“People look so much better alone.”

Chairman of the Bored

13 May 2007

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: bored

Well aside from visiting the folks, I didn’t do a God damned thing today.  I guess that’s not such a bad thing.  I did get a lot of my eErrands done in front of this here computer.  I suppose that counts for something, huh?

I tell you, this has been an awful couple of weeks for me and just about everyone I know, friends and family.  Tragedy.  Illness.  Relationships falling apart.  Fuckin’ A, what next?  Well, one by one, we’re each finding our light at the end of our respective tunnels.  Here’s hoping we’re all better off when we come out the other side.

On a lighter note, I saw Grindhouse over the weekend.  It was pretty good… in fact, if you didn’t recognize the actors, and were it not for some of the more out-there special effects, I think most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this double feature and a couple of actual 70’s B-movies.  Well done, and pretty damn funny for the most part.  Oh, and then I saw the Yard Dogs Road Show at the Fillmore.  I had seen them once before (New Year’s a couple years back), and they were awesome then.  And they didn’t disappoint last night either.  It’s a very clever and very well-practiced show.  Amazingly tight and ultra-professional through and through.  I’m surprised these guys aren’t bigger than they are.  But yeah, check them out if you get a chance.

As I am in the habit of reporting my occasional guitar acquisitions, I figured I should also mention my guitar losses.  I have bequeathed “The Ghettar” to my pa.  You may recall that this was a cheap Strat knock-off that I only bought to take with me on business travel.  Since I’m no longer travelling, it’s been retired.  Plus, Strats really aren’t my thing anyway.  So hopefully dad will get some use out of it.  This doesn’t really constitute a big loss, but it does represent a big first step for me.  Paring down “the family” in the hopes of maybe having just a few solid axes that don’t require their own insurance policy.

I’m finally getting some traction with an original music project.  I can’t wait to get that off the ground and put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  When I’ve got something to show for it, I promise MySpace will be the first to know.  In other music news, This Charming Band is going to play Las Vegas in June!  And around the same time, we’re looking at a short all-acoustic set at 12 Galaxies.  Stay tuned, bitches.

For those of you who remember that I used to work for PeopleSoft (which was later bought by Oracle) may find this as bitterly amusing as I did: one of my current coworkers went to a PeopleSoft class in Pleasanton last week.  She informed me that in the classroom, there were multiple framed pictures of Larry Ellison with his yacht.  No paintings.  No soothing photos of mountain streams.  There were instead portraits of Larry and his yacht.  Isn’t that what despots do?  Portraits of themselves in every building, statues of themselves on every street corner?  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and at the same time, yes I could.  Because it’s exactly what I would have done if I were in his shoes.  And I were also still 18 years old.

Well, fuck.  It’s a brave new world out there.  The future’s wide open.  And who knows?  Anything could happen.

In like a lion, out like a lamb.

8 May 2007

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: indescribable

I did promise to cover the other two Morrissey shows, the next time I wrote, so let me start with that.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 – Oakland, CA
Orlie and I took BART over to the show, and ran into several friendly folks who were on their way there too and recognized us from TCB.  It’s always nice to meet people who share your interests, and Oakland was a great show for that as we ran into so many friends from our area… through Moz fandom, TCB, New Wave City, burlesque, etc.  Finally, the Bay Area had its chance to represent.  With a call of “May Day, May Day!!!” Morrissey took the stage and played another fantastic show.  The sound was a little boomy at first, but they seemed to dial it in by the time the first few songs were through.  We got to hear “Panic” for the first time this tour.  At one point, Morrissey spoke directly to Orlie and said “very stylish” when Orlie was caught dancing with Shel’s purse.  I have vague memories of Sparky’s late that night.

The only negative I have to say about the show was the demeanor of some of the fans with us in the front.  I’ll say more about it in a moment, but when it came time to get a piece of Morrissey’s shirt, the crowd was absolutely savage as the knocked several people over.  Blood was actually shed over it, quite literally.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007 – Santa Rosa, CA
Orlie, Shel, Nick, and I all drove up for this one, and met Sus there.  On the way, we stopped by a wine bar (“Willi’s” I think was the name) and had dinner.  After both cars got lost a few times, we eventually got to the show only to find the strictest security I’ve ever heard of at a concert.  No purses (sorry Orlie) and no cell phones!  Did you hear me?  No cell phones!  Apparently, this was “at the request of the band,” which I can imagine given that eveyone in the place tends to snap awway with cell phone cameras rather than just watch the show.  Maybe Moz got tired of it?

The security was really tight… the meat heads running things were from some Santa Rosa based rent-a-task-force.  I love how every one of these venues tries to take such a hard stance as though they have any idea what’s in stor for them when the lights go out and they’re the only thing standing between Moz and his fans.  They remind me of the poor saps that are first to go in horror movies.  Anyway, during the show, Nick was attacked by some crazy beatch in the front row who apparently didn’t realize that when you’re in the front row, you are going to get a little squished… she decided to hold Nick personally accountable for it.  The security threatened to throw Nick out!  He was later vindicated when the same girl punched some other girl in the face!  And they still didn’t throw her out, despite a dozen folks all around her pointing her out to security as the problem.  I could say more, but I think you get the general idea.

When Moz (who greeted us as the “transportable front row” whom “[they] follow… everywhere”) threw his shirt out this time, I got a great hold of it!  But then the fucking meat heads came over trying to break it up, and started yanking my fingers back to break my grip.  I wasn’t about to break a finger over it, so I had to let it go (though I pulled a few threads  away).  Moz actually stopped the show while this fray was in progress, and he even had his private security relieve some of the hired goons because of their brutality.

This was definitely Sus’ night though, as she not only caught a drum stick from the drummer, but she also got a direct personal handshake from Moz!  I believe we all got a piece of him last week, and no one deserved it more than she.  Surprisingly, this show didn’t sell out.  And it was not a big venue.  He mentioned again something about another T.V. show or movie filmed in the area.  He seems to be doing that at every show, and coupled with his strange picks for towns and venues (Stockton?  Santa Rosa?), we’ve begun to hypothesize that maybe this latest tour is somehow “themed.”  Is Morrissey touring old T.V. landmark towns?  Anyone know?

OK, so what I was going to say about the front row is this… I’ve been to enough shows now to recognize some patterns among the fans.  I’ve seen a lot of posturing and general ridiculousness, but I can get past it.  The most disturbing pattern though is how the front rows are basically made up of total douchebags.  To be clear, 1) we were all in the front rows too, and 2) it was not everyone that was being d-bags.  Some people (like us I hope) were there to peacefully enjoy the show at as close a proximity as we could.  We tried to be respectful of the people around us while still understanding that some others may want to try to get on stage, that everyone wants to touch Moz, etc.  There were no shortage of “fans” that were all to happy to trample small women, kick and punch their way through, dive over and onto each other, push, fight, tear, and scratch without regard for anyone else… I saw people who came to every show I was at and went back and forth along the stage, stalking Moz the whole show, and crushing everyone between themselves and the stage whenever he reached his hand out.  The whole sight sickened me.  People behaved like animals, and I can’t imagine anyone who really understood and loved Morrissey’s music behaving with such disregard for their peers.  For you d-bags, and I’m sure you know who you are, you’re a disgrace to this music.

My final word on this tour may sound negative, but please don’t think that I had anything less than a life-changing, religious experience between these four shows… I will remember this last week forever.  Thank you friends and fans, and most of all Sus and Moz who together made this all possible.  I owe you both a great deal.

So that closes the book on Moz for now… I can’t wait till the next time!  OK, a few more things before I go…

Why did it go from cold to a blistering 90-degrees in San Francisco almost over night?  The past few days have been miserable such that I’ve wished I had AC at home… which no one does in SF.  (The only good that comes of this is that in my coastal neighborhood, the intense heat brings massive fog… and an opaque wall of cool fog overtook my building not long after I got home tonight.  It almost made it all worth it.) On top of that, I’m apparently really allergic to whatever’s in the air right now.  I’ve been sneezing up a storm… runny nose… itchy eyes.  It’s like all of nature has turned against me.

For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been in what feels like a constant state of hangover.  Daily headaches, sensitivity to light, irritability.  Everything feels like it’s in slow motion.  Is it the allergies slowly coming on?  I drink a lot of caffeine.  Am I having withdrawals because of a reduced dosage I hadn’t consciously put into effect?  Is my lack of a healthy amount of nightly sleep just now catching up with me?  All of the above?  I feel like shit.

This weekend, I put on shorts and (GASP!) sandals and spent some time on Ocean Beach.  This was the first time I’d touched ocean water since I moved to SF years ago.  Why this weekend?  Why now?  I couldn’t tell you.  Surely there’s some significance.

By the way, I’m single again.  But fret not.  All is well.

“You don’t like me, but you love me;
Either way, you’re wrong.
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.
Oh, you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”

Show And Tell

4 May 2007

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: mellow

I don’t have any exciting news to report (which is not to say there isn’t any, just that I’m not going to report it to you).  Instead, I thought I’d just share some of the interesting things I’ve come across lately.

I didn’t want to mention it and take away from my last Moz-centric blog, but for those of you not in the Bay Area, did you hear about the massive freeway fire we had out here?  We woke up in Sparks on Sunday morning, and our Bay Area friends were all buzzing about it.  Apparently around 3:00am Sunday morning, a gas tanker truck overturned on the MacArthur Maze (a complex overpass union of three of our biggest freeways).  The fuel burned so hot that it melted the overpass and completely destroyed a few of the routes through there.  So the worst traffic spot in the area got way worse overnight.  It always makes me uneasy when structures of that size come down.

Next up, Sarah found me this lovely picture:

And while we’re on the subject of animals, I heard a really interesting interview on NPR the other morning… it was with one of the central figures at PETA.  And when I say it was interesting, I really mean it and not just in an interesting-only-to-Benjamin way.  Go listen to it for free on NPR’s site.  Getting into this guy’s head a little and hearing what PETA means to him, and some of his bizarre successes and failures with them… well anyway, I found it valuable.

I’ve found myself “spacing” lately… which I’m not prone to do… so it does have me wondering a bit.  There have been several occasions in the past couple of weeks where I’ve found myself talking to someone or looking at a picture of someone I know and then suddenly feel like I’m a million miles away from the situation.  I have the experience that what is happening at that moment is totally foreign… like I don’t know the person I’m talking to… or like I never knew the person in the photo… like somehow this is not my life.  That’s the best I can explain it, but it’s very unsettling.  I guess just remember this if something weird happens to me in the near future… maybe these will prove to be the early warning signs of some as-yet-undiscovered trouble.

On a not-entirely-unrelated note, my shrink moved away this week.  So if I act irrationally while I adjust, please understand.

Oh!  I thought of another thing to share!  Before the shows this Morrissey tour, they play a bunch of strange video clips for the crowd (surely picked by Moz himself).  Among them is this great clip of the famously egotistical and corny rockabilly pop icon, Vince Taylor.  I didn’t know this, but apparently he was David Bowie’s inspiration for “Ziggy Stardust.”

I promise I will write about the other two Moz shows next time… I’m just a little too beat tonight.  I will say that they’ve been playing a new song Moz has threatened to be “[their] next single.”  It’s called, “All You Need Is Me,” and much like “Ganglord,” it has proved to be quite a bit better than most of the tracks on the last album.  In fact, this new one may be my favorite Moz track in years.  Listen and watch for it!

“There’s a naked man standing and laughing in your dreams.
You know who it is… but you don’t like what it means!”