Monthly Archives: January 2008

Crazy Love

28 January 2008

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:  bummed

It’s been a rainy few weeks.  Part of my street was closed off for a while, what with it having sunken into the lake.  But aside from the occasional power outage, things seem to be back to normal around here.

I had sushi (vegetarian, of course) with Sus, Shel, and Colin the other night.  It had been months.  So delish.

This last weekend was our TCB show in Sacramento.  It was one to remember.  For whatever reason, we decided to “really give them their money’s worth” and play until the club made us stop.  We played around 30 songs I think… 2.5 hours all told.  Only about 25 of those songs had been practiced recently, so it got a little sloppy near the end… but the crowd was a little sloppy too by then.  🙂  The crowd was a good size, and as before, it was made up of hardcore Smiths/Moz fans which is great.  The Choir Boys were out in force.  And of course, our own transportable front row of Sus and Shel were in attendance — this time with Colin in tow.  We (the band) unleashed a few new ones (Sheila Take A Bow, My Love Life, and Interesting Drug).  Orlando and I shared a dance during Barbarism, and he (appropriately) pointed to me during the, “he’s just too good-looking,” lines of Boy Racer.  We also made an effort to cut down on the lag time between songs, and it seemed to really help the energy and pace of the show.  So that’s an improvement I think we’ll stick with!

The only damper on the night, aside from the rain, was the unfortunate fight that broke out on stage between some of the girlfriends.  I won’t go into detail, but the whole spectacle was disappointing, and I’m sure the crowd was not thrilled with it.  Very un-Smiths, and very unexpected.  My apologies to anyone who witnessed it, and I hope it didn’t ruin the show for you.  People acting crazy, kind of a bummer.  I just tried to stay out of it.  None of us were hurt, and as far as I know, there was no damage to any equipment.  After the show ended and some more craziness ensued, we eventually ate at Ink (as is our tradition) and headed back to the hotel.  When all was said and done, I ended up sharing a hotel room with Colin and falling asleep to the sound of his many dead-on impressions.

A side note for you guitarists and/or Marr aficionados… after some great catching up with Peter last week, and some typical lively discussion about “How Soon Is Now?”, I changed the way I play it yet again and I think this latest incarnation is the closest to the album yet.  Next time you see us, you’ll have to let me know what you think.  That’s the thing about Johnny Marr… just when you think you have it totally figured out, you listen again and you hear something you missed.  I’ve learned that when it comes to Johnny, you just never have it totally figured out.  But it’s nice to be able to revisit his songs over and over and always learn something about them that I missed before.

Speaking of studying Marr… I finally saw The Sweet And Tender Hooligans when they played in SF a week ago.  I could write pages on what I saw (or didn’t see).  I’ve met one of them, and he was really nice… but the fact is, we are not even in the same building as these guys.  You come see us, you’re going to see a rock and roll show (and apparently, the occasional girl fight).  You go see them and you’re going to get what Morrissey would sound like as elevator music.  I hope they aren’t shooting just-like-the-album-note-for-note perfect, because none of the songs were close to that level of detail — the kind of attention to detail that I hope TCB is known for.  Let’s just say I don’t think their guitarists sit around and discuss the finer points of Marr the way Peter and I do.  Anyway, the whole show was exactly what I had expected… soft… tame… limp.  Again, I could write volumes, but I’ll leave it at that.  No one could see us both and prefer them.  It’s impossible.

Changing gears… you’ve got to watch this video of a polar bear cub (embedded below for your convenience).  I can so relate.  It might as well be a home video from my house, circa 1979. Starts off slow, but picks up…

OK, that’s all for now.  Before I go, I wanted to mention that I looked and saw that this is actually my 170th blog.  Do you believe that shit?  I didn’t either.  I spent some time yesterday going through some of my old ones (with such clever titles as “Better Living Through Morrissey” and “OuijaSpace, OuijaSpace, can you help me?” and “American, Idle“) and then some of my super emo ones (such as “That’s The Story Of My Life” and “Untitled” and “I’m Worth A Million In Prizes“), and I have to say what a treasure it is to have those around.  I never kept a journal when I was growing up, so I really only have the past few years of my life documented, but to go back and see what I was writing when I last moved, or when TCB was just starting up, or when I first met this or that friend… well it’s nice to see the continuity.  I also think my blog quality was much better then.  I’m not as clever as I used to be.  You should read some of those old ones.  You’ll see.  I guess you guys won’t find them as interesting as I do, but I could seriously go back and read the last 169 of them back to back.  Feel free to do so yourself.  🙂

The quote of the week comes from me… I forget what the exact sentence was, but in an email the other day, I started a sentence with “had I had had” which I believe is correct grammar, and I also believe is notable.  I’m sure Jessica will correct me on both counts.

Had I had had that email handy, I would have been able to include the actual sentence when I wrote this blog.”

Morrissey’s New Video, featuring… me?

18 January 2008

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:  drained

So Morrissey’s video for the upcoming new single “That’s How People Grow Up” is culled from footage of last year’s Hollywood Bowl show.  Sus, Nick, and I were right near the front, and so my head is all over the place in this video.  It hasn’t been confirmed yet if this is the song’s official video, but if it is, we have been immortalized in the Morrissey catalog.


Morrissey – That’s How People Grow Up

Last night, I met a friend for dinner in Berkeley.  An old PeopleSoft buddy.  Lives out in Oregon, married to another friend of mine.  Experiences like this inevitably make me reflective… of things like how easy it is to lose track of people, and how much different peoples’ lives can diverge.  I feel like my life these days — the person I am today — is just miles away from the “me” of three years ago.  And of six years ago.  More and more, I’m learning that there just isn’t enough time.  There isn’t enough time to keep in touch with all the people you’d meant to.  There isn’t enough time to achieve all the things you wanted from life.  There isn’t time to excel in your career the way you’d wanted, and exercise like you know you should, and take those lessons you’d been meaning to, and write the next great American novel, and be the father/uncle/son you should be, and the boyfriend you should be.  And beyond this grand “to do” list of life goals and dreams and responsibilities, I have a literal “to do” list that I’m constantly working through.  Some things on that list are as simple as a quick note about something I want to mention in a blog, or a band I want to look up, or maybe more complex like a song I want to write, a friend I want to call and catch up with.  I add at least twice as many things to this list every day as I cross off.  I am slowly accepting that I will never finish my “to do” list.  It’s a constant process of doing what I have to to get through today and watching other things push further down the list until I forget about them altogether.  I have no choice but to prioritize and try to get the most bang for my proverbial buck, and sometimes important things… people… move down my list.  And disappear.  And before I know it, I’m having dinner with an old friend whom I’ve talked to maybe three times in the three years since he moved away.  And I’m making my niece’s weekend because for the first time in her life, I’m going to attend one of her birthdays… her eighth.  And I’m remembering I forgot to call Jared last weekend.  And I’m remembering that I forgot to call Mom last night like I promised.  And I still haven’t made plans with that childhood best friend that I recently reconnected with after 15+ years of no contact.  And I haven’t responded to the mounting emails from old friends and coworkers that have sat in my inbox for weeks.  And every day, that list gets a little longer, and my memory a little shorter.  (UPDATE: To further illustrate my point, I found out today — Saturday — that it was actually my niece’s ninth birthday.  Oh, and mom is in the hospital.  Don’t worry, she’s OK, and it had nothing to do with me forgetting to call her.  But holy shit, I am a bad person.)

Sorry, that ended up getting a lot heavier than I had planned.  Changing gears… but with all of that in mind, I returned to the city last night and went out to Louder Than Bombs with Sus, Shel, Orlando, Colin, and a host of other local scene characters.  Going out on a weeknight always sounds like a bad idea to me, and there are downsides of course, but for some reason, LTB has been good to me.  Alcohol has something to do with it.  I had only three drinks last night, but it was enough to make me almost sick, so you can imagine I was flying.  I remember singing loudly along to every song they played from the moment I arrived to the moment I left.  Dancing with friends, making new friends, whipping flowers around, making conversation with complete strangers, and completely forgetting the world outside that room for a few hours.  It felt right.  But after Sparky’s with Shel and Orlie, I got to bed around 4am.  And was up in time for work.  So almost no sleep and a mild hangover were my reminders of why weeknights suck to go out.  But in this case, it was worth it.

I’m glad this week is over, kiddies.  It’s been busy, but gloomy.  Things started out miserable, but got better near the end.  Hopefully that trend will continue.  And last night went a long way towards improving my disposition.  The weekend should be interesting… nieces’ birthdays, maybe go out tomorrow night, and SATH is in town.  I may actually catch their show on Sunday, if for no other reason than to remind myself why what TCB does is necessary.

Though there were many contenders, the quote of the week actually comes from a ~3 year old boy in my complex’s elevator tonight.  He was with his mom, and he babbled something to her in a foreign language I didn’t recognize.  They exchanged a few more words and she laughed.  She tells me:

“He says he likes your hair.”

There Will Be Rain

12 January 2008

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:  numb

If you live in California, you’ve spent the last two weeks getting your ass handed to you by rain, wind, rain, flooding, rain, power outages, and rain.  I woke up one morning just in time to see my alarm short out along with the power on my whole block.  I couldn’t shave that morning, and I did my pompadour by candlelight.  I almost got my car stuck in a few feet of water because my street was flooded.  The major streets were littered with debris and uprooted trees.  A tree limb fell across the BART tracks just 15 minutes after I passed there.  It’s all caused many inconveniences, but the weather today was beautiful for the first time in a long while.  Maybe we’re in the clear?  Oh, and you can thank Colin (a.k.a. “The Duchess”) for the title of tonight’s blog.

We had our big Red Devil Lounge show a few weekends back.  Around ten of SoCal’s Moz Krew were on hand, as well as most of the Choir Boys.  An old PeopleSoft friend made it out.  People from other far off places like Monterey drove to SF just to see the show.  Lots of good friends in attendance.  Spellbound put on a great set.  We played well and unleashed a few new songs.  Lots of drunken madness on stage… spilled beer on my gear, broken glass, a tampon being tossed around (thanks Nana).  No shortage of fans dancing with us up there.  Highlight of the night for me was rocking the ultra simple solo in our opener “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” while the Moz Krew reached out their hands toward the fret board and screamed “I know him!”  Thanks guys.  🙂

I should also mention that a few times during the set, mostly on the really hard songs, someone put a bandana over my eyes to blindfold me.  All in good fun, but I clammed those songs pretty hard and even had to stop playing to pull it off my face once.  Some songs I can play with my eyes closed.  The Headmaster Ritual is not one of them.  Rumor has it that Joe Satriani (who is recording an album in the North Bay) was in the back of the room for part of the set.  If there’s one person in the room that night who was most certainly not impressed with my blindfolded rendition of “The Clam-master Ritual,” it was Joe Satriani.  Oh well…

Here’s some great news… you may remember I’ve been boycotting my beloved Denny’s because of their relationship with PETA public enemy number one: Ringling Bros.  I sent Denny’s emails and got a canned response about how they stand by Ringling Brothers’ policies and track record.  I was most displeased, but last week I got the email that Denny’s has relented and bowed to the pressure that PETA and concerned patrons like myself have put on them to take responsibility for the organizations they consort with.  That’s right, Denny’s has ended its relationship with Ringling Brothers!!!  I can eat there again!  Woo hoo!  Read all about it at DeadlyDennys.com.

Recently, I saw “Walk Hard” with Shel, and later “There Will Be Blood” with Colin.  Both were great, but there are still so many to see.  Why was the summer such crap that there was nothing to watch when I wanted to go out to a movie, and then now I can’t find the time to even see them all?  I believe if I were British, the appropriate term here would be “bollocks!”

And while we’re on that subject, I’ve seen a few shows lately too.  I saw X at Slim’s.  Aside from it being a shitty night for me in general, I have to say I wasn’t impressed.  I didn’t really know their music going into it, so maybe I’d feel different if I grew up with it.  But it all sounded the same to me, the same formula for each song, the predictable guitar solo.  I dunno, maybe it wasn’t a cliché when X first started out.  For all I know, they invented that cliché.  Billy Zoom was there playing what he said was a prototype of a new Gretsch signature model so good for him I guess.  I did like how he played all night with a big blank grin on his face… nice gimmick.  🙂

Then there was what was supposed to be a Social Distortion show.  Jamie and I had coveted tickets for the most desirable night of their four-night stand: Saturday!  The day of, we found out that Mike Ness was sick and the show was postponed… later we found out it’s happening on a Thursday near the end of the month.  To go from a coveted Saturday to a last-minute Thursday… no me gusta.  I feel bad for anyone who paid scalper prices for that night.  Instead Jamie and I headed out to Slim’s to see Zoo Station.  Though I’ve played with them before (at Slim’s no less!), I never really sat back and just watched their show.  I enjoyed it!  But U2 is no Smiths.  🙂  On a related note, a member of that band who shall remain nameless tried to scalp me a ticket for a show at the Warfield for an exorbitant price a few months back, even after he recognized me as the guitarist from TCB and that we had played together recently.  For shame!  I think I laughed in his face.

And just the other night, I saw The Entrance Band, Mariee Sioux, and others at a folk night at the Great American Music Hall. Jamie’s brother was promoting it and listed us which was nice.  Hippie jam bands are not my thing, but Mariee had an amazing voice, and The Entrance Band, despite looking like characters from The Wonder Years, played a great power trio blues rock kinda thing.  The guitarist was fantastic, but he spouted hypocritical hippie advice between songs.  The most interesting thing about the night was the crowd, made up of mostly young hipsters and I guess folk people?  That’s an ugly group of people.  It’s like they’re all trying to look like computer programmers from 1977.  Thick glasses, unmatching clothes that were clearly chosen for their unique ugliness, and matted hair sticking out in every direction.  In a way I’m envious… they’ve all mutually agreed to do absolutely nothing to groom themselves, and so as long as everyone is ugly, everyone is also beautiful.  As long as no one of them violates the pact, they can all look hideous and still be desirable.  I’m jealous because in my circle, I have to shower, shave, and and sculpt my hair every day.  Think about how many more hours than me they get to sleep in over a lifetime!

All this hippie stuff reminds me, you should watch the 20 minute video at the Story Of Stuff website.  Yes, it’s heavily-slanted propaganda, but it was educational and made me think twice.  It certainly makes an interesting case for environmentalism, and it got me to sit still in front of my monitor for 20 minutes which is not easy!

I heard a joke on NPR the other day that bears repeating.  What’s the hardest part about rollerblading?  Telling your parents you’re gay.

During a Yahoo chat session a few years back, I had such a spectacular typo, if you can call it that, that I remembered it all this time.  I even saw it before I sent it, but it was just so breathtaking that I had to share it… I believe I was chatting with Lala at the time.  Recently, I’ve noticed that I have been producing some similar typos when writing emails, documents at work, etc.  I’ve started keeping track of the ones that are so off that they are notable.  I’m wondering if I have some sort of typing dyslexia?  The one from years back is the first one, “wordong,” which still makes me chuckle.  The others are more recent.  Any experts/linguists out there that know anything about this?  What the fuck’s wrong with me?  Are my fingers channeling messages from the spirit world?

  • wordong which was intended to be wrong
  • surage which was intended to be sugar
  • monuites which was intended to be minutes
  • eaitehr which was intended to be either
  • welsomce which was intended to be welcome
  • trmemnsoud which was intended to be tremendous (happened this blog!)*

OK, well that’s all the general recap stuff and random musings.  I never got around to writing my traditional massive and optimistic New Year’s blog.  Just wasn’t in the mood this year I guess.  Not that I’m pessimistic this time around, but I’m a busy bee these days and I’ve been a little too focused on the here and now lately to reflect too much on the last year or muse on what may be in store for 2008.  But I promise I will take the time to take stock soon, whether or not I end up sharing it all with you here.  But I guess I can take a few moments now… be careful.  It’s going to get heavy.

Around March of 2006, I was with Mercury on a project in downtown San Francisco.  I’m sure I told you guys about it at the time, but I fell in love with downtown.  I distinctly remember standing outside the building I was working in, just looking around me, and I decided right then and there that I needed to be down there in the hustle and bustle of the city, right in the middle of everything, around all my friends and the city folk.  I couldn’t think of anything that would make me happier.  The other day, we moved in to our new building at work.  If I stand up from my seat there, I can look out the window and see the skyscrapers all around me, and the water of the bay just a few blocks down the street.  And if I look down I see, directly across the street, the exact place I was standing that March.  Things do have a way of working out for me sometimes.  For that I am blessed and thankful.  I guess tenacity has something to do with it too.  Work is going great, and the future there looks bright.

This last year, I played some great shows at some huge venues… The Troubadour, The House Of Blues, Bimbo’s, Crash Mansion.  TCB continues to be successful and fulfilling.  Starting that spaghetti western band has been a tremendous* learning experience, and continues to be.  We’ll see where that goes, but I’m itching to be out there with original music.  Which reminds me, my resolutions this year include writing more music, and increasing my practice time.  I feel like I could/should be a lot better player than I am at my age.  I need to step it up.  I was also fortunate enough to have relationships that brought their share of good times and stretched me more than ever before.  I feel like I know myself better now than I ever have, which is not to say I’ve got it figured out yet.

I guess I’m more or less alone again.  I’m feeling empty… guilty… lonely.  Looking back at my experiences and my “patterns,” I’m beginning to wonder if I’m even capable of “normal” love these days.  To be fair, I don’t know one person who has anything close to a non-dysfunctional relationship.  I mean, we’re all crazy in different ways.  Me, I feel like I’ve gotten too heady for my own good.  Like I can talk myself into or out of anything.  My old therapist used to hypothesize that I try to logic and reason away feelings into little boxes and feel them on an “edited” basis.  Think about that… I’ve built myself mentally to take my natural emotions and immediately stifle them, filter them from myself, so that I only experience them, at least on a conscious level, when and how its convenient for me.  That sounds sociopathic!  I mean, if I can keep myself at that kind of emotional distance, imagine how far away I can keep you!  It wasn’t always like that for me.  I think maybe I need to start reclining (again) on an analyst’s couch quite soon.

OK, that may have been TMI.  But never let it be said that I’m not honest with you guys.  I didn’t mean to end things on such a sour note, though.  Everything’s going to be OK.  And everything will work out exactly as it’s meant to.  2008, bitches.  And we’ve only just started.