Monthly Archives: March 2009

I admit, I was not expecting that.

31 March 2009

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:  selective

So I went to this place called Bender’s on Friday night.  I’d never been, but it turns out to be this punk / bike messenger bar, similar to Zeitgeist, but without the Mission hipsters.  The kind of place where (I assume) real punks hang out.  I’m only going by the ripped clothes and the B.O. here, but that’s my guess.  Anyway, my main reason for going was that I had wanted to check out this guy Jesse Morris who was going to be playing.  I’ve seen him busking a few times at the Montgomery BART station, and the guy sounds more like Johnny Cash than any tribute band I’ve heard, and that’s a fact.  I admit that, not being much into punk, I was aesthetically skeptical.  But I wanted to hear his original stuff, and I wanted to hear the full band, “Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars.”  I have to say, I had a hell of a time.  The guy and his music were awesome… charismatic, energetic, funny.  There’s something unsettling about hearing what could be Johnny Cash’s ghost singing dirty songs in old country style, all while inciting a mosh pit.  But needless to say, I was impressed and will definitely try to catch them again.

The headliner that night was an added bonus… a band I’d been meaning to see for years: Cookie Mongoloid.  One of those SF Bay Area phenomena that you owe it to yourself to experience once, I guess.  This is a speed metal Sesame Street cover band.  The band looks like your standard metal group, including a lead guitar player in vest (no shirt) that would be right at home in Dethklok.  The singer comes out in a leather jacket and a full mascot-style Cookie Monster mask.  He sang in the Cookie Monster voice, and even talked in that voice between songs… you know, “me like cookies” and all that.  Not surprisingly, every song was about cookies, including classics like “C Is For Cookie” and some originals(?) like “I Lost Me Cookie In The Mosh Pit.”  He had a homemade double-barrelled pneumatic cookie gun that launched cookies into the crowd and against the ceiling.  They had about a dozen “Cookie Girls” up on stage with them, which was something like Rock Of Love contestants with a furry blue letter “C” on their chests.  During the first couple songs, they came out with buckets full of crushed cookies and relentlessly pelted the crowd with handfuls of crumbs.  Even in the back where I was, I was hit all over and ended up covered in cookie crumbs by the time I got out of there.  In short, I’d hate to be on clean-up duty that night.  Fucking bizarre, but worth seeing once for sure.  Before I move on, best cupcake idea ever:

The rest of the weekend was busy too.  I finally got a new couch, which involved a lot of hassle, twine, and bargaining with my demon-possessed elevator to get it from Palo Alto to my living room.  In addition to getting a ton of help from Dad, I got to eat with the folks and my niece before and after the ordeal.  In the end, I got a cheap (discontinued?) IKEA couch, which also happened to be the most comfortable of all the ones I tried.  It only came in this dark chocolate brown, but I dressed it up with a couple of black and white Victorian floral throw pillows and… well, I’ll stop there.  It looks classy though.  I’m pleased.  And I should mention too that at IKEA, I ran into an old East Bay friend (Kelli) that I hadn’t seen in something like seven years.  Sus is in the Midwest molesting Morrissey.  Shel is back from Hawaii.  I’m sitting right here wasting my life away documenting the sort of details of my life that no one could possibly care about.

Horror of horrors, Boudin has discontinued its butternut squash soup, which has been my only reason for getting out of bed on Wednesdays.  I’m hoping it’s a seasonal thing.  And then I heard that Snapple’s blueberry tea is off the market too.  Seriously folks, what the fuck?  This is not the first time I’ve mentioned this kind of shit.  I’m not that fussy about food, but it seems like the things I particularly like are always disappearing.  Do I just notice it more than most, or am I actually cursed?  On the topic of nostalgia, I could surf Branded In The 80s for hours, if I had hours.  So many stickers and useless garbage I remember from my youth.

OK, before I call it a night, I wanted to mention quickly that I’ve made some progress towards simplifying my life.  I sold a guitar!  Sort of.  I actually talked Dad into just having one.  But same thing.  It feels good to be rid of it.  I did update my MySpace layout in its honor.  Strange, you know selling these guitars would have been unthinkable just weeks ago.  But I’m trying to reject that collector impulse.  I see guys with bigger collections and I feel some envy.  And I don’t like that.  You can’t buy self worth, your possessions don’t define you.  I’ve got some guitars that would be hard or even impossible to replace if I ever changed my mind.  And in that context, it really is hard to let them go.  But they’re just things.  And the things we want in life change over time, right?  It’s hard to imagine me pining for “the one that got away” for the rest of my life.  Oh, if only I hadn’t sold such-and-such a guitar.  I don’t see me doing that.  *sigh*  This is what I mean about it feeling like a burden.  The things you own end up owning you.  Material things are supposed to help facilitate happy times in life, not become the focus of them.  I should be spending more time practicing and learning, and less time dealing with the finding/buying/selling of guitars.  It’s ridiculous, and it completely misses the point.  The loosely-related quote of the week comes from… oh, well you know:

“Genius lasts longer than beauty.”

— Oscar Wilde

The things you own end up owning you.

25 March 2009

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:  productive

A couple of days ago, I reported that the world was ending because Christina Ricci is engaged.  And truly, I was about ready to write us all off, when out of nowhere, a life-affirming miracle occurred: Spandau Ballet announced they’re getting back together.  It doesn’t take all the sting out of the Ricci news, but it just might be enough to keep me going.

So I’m in the process of cleaning my place.  That doesn’t happen often, so it’s nice to see the progress and how drastic a change it can be.  There’s been a growing feeling in me lately that I am somehow weighed down by my possessions.  I’ve had an urge to drastically simplify my life, including the shedding of material objects that are more a burden to me than a source of happiness.  I want to get lean and efficient and focus on just the things I really enjoy.  I was clearing out DVDs the other night.  I don’t have many, but honestly, I can’t remember the last time I watched a DVD at my place.  I don’t even rent them.  I almost never watch movies anymore.  It feels like such a waste of space, money, and time to have procured and retained them.

And believe it or not, yes folks, this extends to my beloved guitar collection.  Hold on to your hats.  There was a time in my life (the last 5+ years really) where I took a lot of pride in that collection.  It felt good to have a bunch of guitars.  Like I was somehow complete… or maybe prepared for anything?  Or maybe it was just a way to show off my good taste?  I don’t know entirely where that impulse came from, but I think that time has passed for me.  Now I figure, anybody could have a guitar collection if they made it a priority like I did.  It’s nothing special.  Just most people spend their discretionary income on a flashy car, or clothes, or travel, or home theater equipment, or whatever their passion happens to be.  Mine happens to be the guitar.  But I don’t have anything to prove anymore in that arena.  I realize now that owning a nice instrument (or several) doesn’t say anything special about me.  It’s nothing that any other person couldn’t buy with that same money.  And hell, there are plenty of rich folks who could build a house out of guitars if they wanted to, so who cares?  Status symbols like that seem ridiculous and shallow to me now.  In the end, there are better things to do with my money (and floor space) that will bring me more lasting happiness.

Holy fuck… I think I’m like… growing up.

I’m in no rush.  I don’t need to sell them this second.  I just don’t need them in my life anymore, and it would be nice if they could go to people who’ll really appreciate them rather than let them gather dust.  It’s wasteful.  Guitars are made to be played, not collected.  I have too many to give sufficient attention and love to them all.  What used to be my pride and joy now feels like a burden.  A man does not need 20 guitars.  It’s a waste of my life to deal with them… or to even think about them.  I don’t even want them in my consciousness anymore!  Be gone!  I’ve got a life to live here!

So with all that in mind, I’m going to start off-loading those instruments that I’m not getting real use out of.  These here will probably be the first to go.  You may notice one of the famous “Twins” in there.  You may also notice I don’t like warm colors.  Anyway, if you see anything you’re interested in, let me know… some rare stuff here.

Even if you aren’t selling off your prized possessions, you can still find ways to cope with this tough economy by saving money.  For instance, if you drive much in the city, you’ll want to check out this parking ticket map showing areas of San Francisco with high concentrations of tickets issued.  Good to know!

The quote of the week comes from me, describing someone else whose thought process does not always map to reality:

“His logic… uh… defies logic.”

And now, the world ends.

23 March 2009

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:  sore

Folks… Christina Ricci is engaged, and not to me.  And his name is Owen Benjamin.  And that fucker is 6’6″, a full two inches taller than I am.  So… many… reasons… to hate… him…

But if I really think about it, the fact is that the days of me lusting after a Hollywood actress, or worse, just her public image (and admittedly, privately thinking that hey, maybe someday, you never know)… well those days are long over.  Which is to say, I’m over it.  I know enough to know that your dreams rarely turn out the way you expected, and that even when you actually get exactly what you wanted, most times you find out it’s not what you thought it was going to be.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that what you want changes.  Most of the time this is a good thing, because at least for me, it often matches what’s available.  For instance, if I still wanted from life what I wanted when I was say 20, then I think I’d be less-than-thrilled with my life today.  But if I think about my life when I was 20 now, it doesn’t appeal to me anymore.  (OK, that’s not totally true… the 20-year-old me would have envied the 29-year-old me’s city life and bank account… and the 29-year-old me does somewhat envy the 20-year-old me’s sex life and eating habits.)

Anyway, my point is just that I’m beginning to think (or realize?) that there’s no silver bullet for happiness.  There’s no one thing that you can achieve or procure that’s going to allow you to finally relax and say, “I did it.  I’m a success.  It’s all beer and Skittles from here on out.”  There is no being complete.  What you want from life, how you define success, it all changes over time.  The things that made you happy 10 years ago… 10 days ago… are not necessarily the same as the things that will make you happy 10 days from now.  Not that it’s meaningless to plan long term, nor is setting goals a waste of time… but finding a way to be happy in the moment, regardless of your circumstance, is the only real guarantee.  You can spend weeks… years… of your life working towards something only to find out that when you get there, it wasn’t what you expected.  But it was only a waste if you sacrificed your own happiness along the way.  Holy shit, did I just accidentally derive the syrupy theorem of “Life is a journey, not a destination?”  What is happening to me?

In lighter news, I will almost definitely end up with a pink couch from Ikea, but that hasn’t stopped me from checking out some alternatives.  And my, are there alternatives.  How about couches made from coffins?  Also, aside from the gaudy Chevy couch I mentioned here once before, I think that someday, if and when I share a kitchen with someone, we’ll be decorating it with stuff from American Retro Furniture.  I want a restaurant booth instead of a dining room table!

The Blank show on Friday was a hoot.  The rockabilly theme went over well, and it was so nice to be able to get some public use out of a Gretsch.  It felt natural.  The crowd (maybe our biggest there yet) was sufficiently drunk and loud by the second half of the night, and we played until the club manager made us stop for closing time.  Big thanks to all the usual suspects who came out for the show, as well as some folks that don’t make it out too often.  Hope y’all had as much fun as we did!

“I started something,
And I forced you to a zone,
And you were clearly
Never meant to go.
Hair brushed and parted,
Typical me, typical me, typical me,
I started something…
And now I’m not too sure.”

I trust the views of certain people I know.

16 March 2009

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:  uncomfortable

Anyone else see Jim Cramer get nailed to the wall by Jon Stewart the other night?  Dear God, it was horrifying.  I’m trying to cling to the signs of hope here and there.  A short run of positive Dow days.  Experts predicting the beginning of the turn around before the end of 2009.  But holy shit, folks.  The economy’s sucking air, in case you didn’t know.

And on the subject of other things that you probably already knew, I’m apparently a raging liberal, according to this test Aaroncito sent me.  I scored a 281… well off the chart of averages for all the demographics I belong to, based on the summary of results at the end.

It’s been a busy few weeks.  The shows in Sacramento and Fresno were a lot of fun.  Some old friends showed up each night, and we even made some new friends.  That first Smiths album has a few tunes that aren’t so live-show-friendly.  Let me tell you, nothing grinds the evening’s momentum to a screeching halt quite like a trudge through something like “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.”  So if you ever had an interest in hearing us do that one… well, I hope you were at one of those shows.  I made it through both shows relatively peacefully, but by the time I got home, my voice was gone, and I was well on my way to being sick.  Even missed a few days of work over it.  But fret not, I’m right as rain now.  Let’s see, what else?  Cliff Notes: Louder Than Bombs was good this last weekend.  I’ve been guitar shopping lately, against my better judgment.  I went into a Good Vibrations for the first time maybe ever.  I managed to finally break (in half) my old Ikea couch from the Jared/Mission days, so I’m in the market for a new one if anyone’s got suggestions.

And this Friday, TCB is having yet another specially themed show.  We’ll be in San Jose at the Blank, playing two sets of classics as usual… but the first set will be unusual in that it will cover all of the rockabilly songs in the Smiths and Morrissey’s respective canons.  Really… all of them, you ask?  Yes.  We considered every song they recorded and picked up everything that was remotely rockabilly in nature.  Rusholme Ruffians?  Of course.  Sing Your Life?  Duh.  Pregnant For The Last Time?  You’ll hear it for the first time… this Friday at the Blank.  Don’t miss it!

Some random entertainment for you… if you’re looking for a way to kill 15 minutes, check out this list of one-hit wonders of the 1990’s.  There were so many I’d forgotten, and talk about bringing back memories.  They say that smell is our oldest sense and the most closely tied to memory.  You know how a scent you haven’t come across in years can instantly bring you back to a time and place, right?  Well, I’m convinced our pop music sense must be the next in line.  Reading through this list, it was like middle school all over again.

In a conversation with Jamie the other day, I managed to work the word “homonymous” in, as there was some confusion about if we were talking about Mac makeup or Mac computers.  But since I can’t remember the exact phrasing of my stunning display of lexical majesty, the quote of the week instead goes to her, who said this regarding me walking out the door without my wallet for the first time in years:

“You must have forgotten to take your memory pills.”