Monthly Archives: April 2009

Flying Coach With Coach

29 April 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:  accomplished

I spent a good portion of tonight working on my ongoing housecleaning.  Tonight, I tried to make yet another dent in my shredding of boxes of old paperwork.  There’s a ton of it.  Destroying all these documents.  Don’t ask me why, but I have virtually all of my pay stubs, and I’m not kidding.  I literally shredded hundreds of them tonight, back through my job selling pool supplies in 1996, my days at Blockbuster where I made so many friends, my entire PeopleSoft career from internship through consulting, my time at Mercury.  I had dozens of old credit card statements and receipts from those days too.  The last surviving records and mementos from my trip to Atlanta (complete with reminders of Crista), my stint in Thousand Oaks, etc.  Reading through some of them brought back memories.  The restaurants I ate at, the places I shopped.  Holding them in my hand tonight… the last person to touch this piece of paper was me 13 years ago.  A message from the past.

If you could, what would you say to the “you” of 13 years ago?  What advice would you give him?

Should I have kept these papers instead of destroyed them tonight?  Well, it made me wish I had been blogging or keeping a diary back then.  But in the end, I’m telling myself that keeping this stuff is like scrapbooking.  Why waste my current (and precious and limited) life cataloging my past life?  Life is short enough as it is.  As I said recently, there isn’t any time to dwell on the past.  We’ll all be dead before we have time to sort it out, catalog it, and enjoy the scrapbook.  So goodbye memories of Atlanta restaurants (like Dante’s Down The Hatch in Buckhead), and goodbye records of what hotels I stayed at on which consulting trips, and goodbye list of purchases from 2001.  There’s nothing to stop you from fading away now.  Those things seem important to me because they’re mine.  My life experiences.  But it’s so easy to get bogged down by the details of everyday life.  No one, including me, will ever need all this information.  There’s no reason to treat it like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Shredding all these papers, I shredded an offer letter I once got from a company in New York (Vitech).  I was making that career decision back around the time of my project in Reno.  I ultimately turned them down, but looking at this offer letter… it’s mind-boggling to think about all the different paths your life could go at any moment.  That job in New York you didn’t take.  That party you skipped.  The shoes you bought.  Chaos theory.  One little decision made differently, and who knows where your life would be now?  Maybe you’d be living overseas.  Maybe you would have never met me.  Maybe you’d be married. Maybe you’d have been hit by a car that very afternoon.  You can’t even get your head around it.  So many ways life could have been different.  And now, as ever, as always… infinite possibilities for your future.  And mine.

After all those musings, if you’re now bored, Starla advises you to go look at this fucking hipster.

I braved getting on a plane this last weekend for a quick round trip, for the first time in over a year.  I was expecting the worst, but despite Murphy’s Law being in full effect (my initial flight was cancelled, the flight I did get on was completely packed, turbulence so bad the passengers clapped when we landed), I survived and felt pretty good about the whole thing.  I got to meet up with Colin and his girls for a brief tea, and then it was back to the Bay.  There’s also a questionable picture Selene took of Colin and I.  I’ll see if I can nick it and put it up for you voyeurs.  Quick side note, on the flight to Burbank, Todd Bridges was on board, and on the flight back, so was Coach’s Craig T. Nelson.

I continue to hear positive feedback about that Blackthorn show a couple weekends back.  Big shows coming up, and some changes in the works regarding my gear.  I won’t bore you with the details here and now.  But I might next time.  🙂  Anyway, in addition to providing the clever title for this blog, the quote of the week comes from Sus, on the subject of her assuming absolute power over TCB:

“The whole band bear dances right now!!!  Oh my goodness, I’m so close to getting you guys to do it, I can feel it.”

Self esteem is bad for the economy.

23 April 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:  intense

Folks, I’m pleased to report that The Legendary Shack Shakers are coming back to town!  They’ll be at the Red Devil Lounge on June 9th, and that’s exactly where I’m gonna be.  The next night, they’ll be at The Blue Lamp in Sacto (is this like their TCB tour?), and the night before they’ll be at the VooDoo Lounge in SJ.  To my SF and San Jose friends, you don’t want to miss them.  This band will rock your ass to pieces with an energy on stage that puts so many of our local bands to shame.  I was skeptical too before seeing them last year, but 30 seconds of that show changed my mind.  Damn, so many good shows coming up over the next few months!

I sold another guitar, bitches!  A fancy one, too… the 12-string Ric!  That just leaves three left in this first round of thinning the herd:

OK, so I did finally join Facebook.  My first impressions are that it’s slow, and that it gives you way too many way too many messages, IMs, walls, notification emails, all flying out of every corner of the screen. After just a few minutes of being on there, I wanted to scream and jump out the window!  I’m definitely keeping it bare bones in there, but it has let me connect with a few people I’d been meaning to.  So yay for that.  But MySpace sucks up enough of my life as it is… I can’t be keeping up with every little happening on Facebook too.  This is my home, and this is where you’re gonna have the easiest time reaching me.

Our boy Gavin Newsom (who will of course one day be played by Matthew McConaughey in his biopic) is now officially running for governor.  Based on what I know about him so far, I like him.  I’ve heard some comments locally that he’s not liberal enough.  And yes, I recognize that he’s kind of a slick-talking guy.  But I’ve always liked him.  I thought his gay marriage “whether you like it or not” comment was perfect.  Sounds like something I would have said.  And he cares about his hair, and that’s important to me.  We’ll see what we learn about him as the campaign gets going.

And actually, if I can get political for a minute, I have a couple of things to soapbox about.  First, it is now clear to me that the right is batshit crazy.  I know we haven’t exactly seen eye to eye over the years, but we’ve had Obama now for what, three months?  Already the right has jumped to calling him a tyrant, a fascist, they’re dumping tea in the streets and calling for revolution… and now Texas is hinting at secession?  Are you kidding me?  Three months, dude.  We all just lived through eight agonizing years of what is likely the worst president this nation has ever had, and you’re calling for revolution after three months?  If you’ll pardon the expression… Suck it up, pussies!  (The Daily Show has been doing such an amazing job of chronicling this ridonkulousness… seriously, WATCH THIS.)

(Beware, this one’s kinda touchy.)  And second, I read comments all the time (the most recent having to do with Moz’s little freak out at Coachella) where people say to vegetarians something along the lines of “don’t tell me how to live… I’ll eat what I want, you eat what you want” and so on.  I can’t speak for all vegetarians, but for me it’s an ethical issue.  I take the “meat is murder” stance.  When I see a steak, I think “there’s an animal that didn’t need to die.”  It doesn’t matter if I’m eating it or someone else is… it still affects me.  Recently, an animal rights activist was added to the FBI’s top ten most wanted list.  It reminded me of another example… I may not agree with the opinions of anti-abortion activists, and I certainly don’t agree with them committing terrorism by bombing clinics and all that.  But I also know that to them this isn’t just a mild issue of they prefer a lifestyle that doesn’t suit everyone.  In their mind, they see it as the sanctioned murder of babies.  Think about that.  Now, if you thought kids were being murdered, wouldn’t you feel compelled to go to great lengths to stop it?  I don’t agree with the tactics or the philosophy, but I understand it.  To someone who holds that belief, you can’t use an argument like “don’t tell me how to live… I won’t dictate if you can kill your babies… so don’t dictate if I can kill mine.”  I know that’s really graphic, but do you see what I’m getting at?  It’s as absurd as saying “well that’s fine if you’re against slavery… you don’t have to own slaves… but don’t tell me I can’t.”  My main point here is simply that ethical vegetarianism is not a “to each their own” kind of issue… to at least one side of the argument, there’s a real victim in the equation.  Now I’m not about to go committing acts of terrorism myself, but again, I understand why some vegetarians don’t just keep quiet.  Anyway, hope that made sense rather than made me sound batshit crazy myself.

“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.”
Oscar Wilde

The Songs That Saved Your Night

19 April 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

I’m sure you are aware that Morrissey was supposed to play Oakland last night, but cancelled the day of.  The official story was that he was sick, which is certainly possible.  But given his history, rumors of low ticket sales, the events the day before at Coachella, and the fact that he was sighted at the DNA Lounge, I call shenanigans!

So yesterday morning, we’re all bummed (some of us had pit tickets!), and Sus (who by the way caught Moz’s entire shirt at Coachella… I’m serious) and Orlando start hatching plans to play a free show for the many stranded Moz fans who travelled to the Bay Area and now had nothing to do.  Now, none of us were really ready to play a show… having not played together in the last month, and having other plans already in the works (such as Booze, Broads, and Hotrods).  But with Orlie’s blitz to find a venue to host us on literally just a few hour’s notice, and Sus’ stand at the Paramount to redirect traffic to us, we were able to get the Bat Signal out and pull off a last-minute show at the Blackthorn.

It was a lot of fun, and there was no time to stress in the rushing around to get things ready.  We had some of our old friends in attendance, but also many Moz fans from far and wide who were looking for a place to drown their sorrows.  Hopefully they found it with us.  One of Moz’s security crew was in attendance.  It wasn’t Morrissey, but we did our best to be second best.  Hope you all had as much fun as we did.  Many of us ended up at Sparky’s afterwards including some of our new friends.  And holy shit am I sore from last night.  But anyway, so that’s the story.

By the way, check out Sus at about 4:14!

On to other topics… I hate to say this, but it may finally be time to join that other social networking site.  My impressions so far are that Facebook attracts older people, whether that means your coworkers, or your grad school friends, or even your mom.  Also, it seems to be more stalker-friendly.  I think it’s lame, and I’d be happy to never sign up.  But what it comes down to though is that some of my friends are on there now either exclusively or at least they maintain their profiles better there.  I’ve been resisting a long time, but just to be able to keep in touch with these friends and have sad digital substitutes for human contact with them, I at least want a presence on there.  I don’t have the time or the energy to maintain profiles on both sites.  MySpace is my home, and Facebook will be merely a placeholder for me to maintain a connection to my non-MySpace friends.  (Side note: what a weird time we live in.)

Friday night, I caught Wanda Jackson for the first (and possibly last) time.  She’s getting up there, but she seemed super sweet, and she could still get her voice to do what it was doing 50 years ago, so no complaints here!  There are a couple pics up (from Mari) in my tagged photos, in case you want to see how I look standing next to fun-sized rockabilly royalty.  Today, it was almost 90 degrees in some parts of the city.  Where did all this come from?  The only positive was that intense heat in the Mission and beyond usually means cool and thick fog in my neighborhood, and today was no exception.  Ocean Beach was packed, causing *GASP* actual traffic on the Great Highway.  Had a picante dinner with Jamie.  I was finally forced into going digital with my cable today… which apparently everyone else in the nation has already done.  I’m not thrilled about having to turn on more than one device at a time, but this real time guide is neat.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it in time.

Remember last week I was talking about Highway 1?  Well check this out.  Talk about several drives that give me a heart attack just thinking about them.  But you know, as with playing that unplanned show last night, that spur-of-the-moment choice to take a road home that I never take really was valuable.  These are little things, but they are steps in the right direction.  That spontaneity is important.  Being open to those opportunities not only make me a more well-rounded person, but also fit right into my recent thoughts about not wasting life doing the same thing twice.  These unexpected events are life-enriching.  Even if these things had been disasters, the stories I took from them and the experience I gained would have still made them more valuable than had I taken the same old predictable path.  And the fact that they turned out great, well, all the better!

“A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner.”
English Proverb

This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.

13 April 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:  full

Uh oh, two Fight Club quotes in the last three blog titles.  Either Chuck Palahniuk has the meaning of life all sewn up, or I’m in trouble.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, kiddies.  Work’s been kicking my ass, and I’ve been busy even on nights when I stay home.  Certain people I know turned 30.  What else?  I did make it out to a few good shows lately, too many to remember maybe, but a few that come to mind are local bands The Tunnel (finally!), Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars (again… fuckin’ great!), and a psychobilly night.  Speaking of shows, there are a ton of good ones coming up.  This weekend is Wanda Jackson and Morrissey.  Then further out, I see the ridiculous Red Elvises (whom I’ve seen once before), the New York Dolls, and then… A Camp!  That’s right, the Cardigans’ frontwoman’s side project from 2001 has a second album coming out (finally), and they’re touring the U.S. for the first time ever.  June at the Independent.  Should be excellent!  I’ve been listening enjoying that new album, as well as getting back into Radiohead a little.  (I have Lala to thank for first forcing me to get into them many years ago, and in hindsight, it really was for the best.)

For Easter, I went to see the family… which also meant I had to / got to chase my nieces all over the house.  Kids are fun, but a couple hours of that wore my ass out.  Due to accidents, I hit awful traffic on the way there and would have on the way back too had I not made the executive decision to take Highway 1 back up to SF.  Yes, it was a bit longer, but what a stunning reminder of how much I do not make the most out of living in the beautiful Bay Area.  Miles and miles of amazing views, and more than a few small and secluded beaches, made all the more romantic by the sun going down as I sped past.  Can you imagine a sunset on what is for all intents and purposes your own private beach… ladies?  Hmmm?  Ladies?

Speaking of “ladies,” Sus is back from her Moz tour, with lots of stories, pictures, and all the latest swag.  Shel is back from her triathlon in Hawaii, a trip which was — it seems — tailored to make me feel like I’m wasting my life.  Benjamin, what did you do this weekend?  Eh, I sat on my ass and straightened my apartment up a little bit.  How about you?  Oh, I competed in a triathlon.  In Hawaii.  Betch.  Thanks a lot, Shel!  😛

In my straightening up of my place, I started getting rid of a lot of stuff.  I carried a lot of shit with me when I left home, and I’m really ready to leave that packrat lifestyle behind.  All that junk just weighs you down, and you’ll be dead long before you need any of it.  So here I was, shredding all these notes, documents, and work I’ve done over the years.  Throwing out reference sheets and training manuals for old jobs.  It feels weird to be getting rid of stuff.  Some part of me all these years has said (and still says) keep it, but what have I learned this last year?  I will never need it, life is too short, there’s no time to look back.  If I ever need a training manual for the software I worked on for a living in 2002, I can buy it again.  And more to the point, if I ever find myself needing it again to begin with, that should tell me I’m going the wrong direction in my life.  I never want to do that stuff again.  I’d rather change industries completely, move to another state (or country!) just because hell!  I only have one life to live.  Why spend so much of it doing the same thing in the same place?  On my death bed, don’t I want to be able to look back and say that I tried a little of everything?  I don’t want to spend a whole decade of my precious lifespan beating my head against the same wall.  Go drive a cab in Florida.  Go tend a bar in Mexico.  Go sell books in Ireland.  I don’t know.  Anything.  Anything, however unlikely and unconventional, just for the sake of really truly exploring all the directions your life could take if you didn’t just settle for what’s obvious and easiest like we all fucking do.  And before you know it, *poof* you’re old and what have you got to show for it?  Nothing but years of doing the same thing in the same city, state, whatever.

Sorry to get all heavy there.  But this is important.  One of the things I came across (and kept) was a card from my mother dated 1994… literally half my life ago.  I would have been 15.  It’s a long card describing all the possibilities she saw for me, for the life that at age 15 was still just beginning, with all the things that as a mother she hoped for me, her only son.  The most sacred bond between mother and child.  It ends with “I hope it’s a good life.”

When I read that again after 15 years, the weight of that statement is crushing.  It sounds like what her last words to me would be if she knew she only had one sentence left.  I think about all that’s happened since then, where I am in life, and I feel an awesome responsibility to seek out my own happiness and not waste the opportunity I’ve been given at life.  A responsibility to myself, but also to her and to the people that have sacrificed over decades to put me where I am at this moment.  A responsibility to all the people that care about me.  A responsibility to see that hope realized.  Yes, it’s been a good life, but I’ve been lazy and taken it for granted, and it could be much, much better.  And no one is bound nor able to see to that but me.

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.  The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.”
Jack London