Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Halloween, bitches.

29 October 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: chipper accomplished

Courtesy of Wally himself:

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So who’s going to this Zombie Morrissey night on Friday?  And what are the big Halloween plans?

The Caterpillar

26 October 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: exhausted exhausted

Today happens to be Taylor’s birthday.  This is dedicated to the memory of her snail, Huey.

When I was a kid, maybe five years old, I was living in a condo complex in the South Bay.  My dad used to play tennis a lot, and when one of his buddies would come over to play, I’d usually follow them on my Big Wheel and hang out in the surrounding park.  This particular afternoon, I found a big green caterpillar that I was playing with, and when it was time to head home, I guess I thought I’d keep him.  I set him on the Big Wheel equivalent of a dashboard and set off down the hill towards the house.  Well, I didn’t get very far before he of course was rumbled right off of the dashboard… and right onto my front wheel.  I had squashed him.  I don’t remember how upset I was, but the actual event is one of my most vivid memories from childhood.  I remember feeling responsible.

Almost 20 years later, I’m walking around the Cal campus on a break between classes.  There’s the main thoroughfare that gets a ton of foot and bike traffic all day, and I’m walking along headed who knows where.  For whatever reason, I’m looking down and I see a green caterpillar inching his way across the walkway.  I avoid stepping on him, but I don’t stop.  I take a couple more steps, and it dawns on me that it’s a very wide and very busy walkway that he’s crossing, and there’s no chance he’s gonna make it all the way across without being crushed.  That Big Wheel memory comes flooding back, and I think: this is my big chance to save this caterpillar and make up for the one I killed when I was little.  Sounds dramatic, but honestly, that’s what hits me.  Not more than three or four seconds have gone by before I stop and go back to where I had just seen him inching along.  And it’s already too late.  There he is, squashed onto the pavement.

At that moment, I learned one of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned in the realm of “my place in the world.”  I usually hear it summed up with something along the lines of, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  Now, I realize that there was no “evil” at work here, but the spirit still applies: laziness, selfishness, indifference, isolationism, even simple neutrality can all be “evil” depending on the context.  In the same way that not telling the whole truth is basically lying… not doing the right thing is doing the wrong thing.  In those couple of steps, that three or four seconds when I was thinking to myself that it wasn’t my responsibility, that I was in a hurry to get to wherever I needed to go… that caterpillar died.

I know I’ve alluded to this story at least once in the past.  I imagine to most of you, it sounds utterly ridiculous, but it’s hard to write about even now.  It was one of those seemingly-small life experiences that really and profoundly shapes who you are.  It’s why I try to be gentle in all things.  It’s why I’m so infuriated by the tyranny of the big guy taking advantage of the little guy.  For that reason, it’s why I abhor hunting.  And I guess by extension, it’s part of why I went vegetarian.  In any situation from nation vs. nation to man vs. man to man vs. caterpillar, when you are the one in power, when you have all the advantages, it is your absolute and sacred responsibility to help protect others who are not so fortunate.  And even when in conflict, when the balance is already far in your favor, ideally both parties recognize that, and a vulgar display of power is unnecessary.  The end result of all this is that I try my best not to abuse power in situations where I’m fortunate enough to have it.  I do what I can to help the proverbial little guy.  I don’t ever kill anything purposefully.  And when I see a caterpillar in danger, you can be sure I pick it up.

A side note: Part of what moved me to write this tonight is I randomly had occasion to look up Saint Blaise this afternoon.  We share a name, but I always remembered him as the patron saint of throat ailments.  Not exactly glamorous, but you know.  Anyway, digging more into it today, I discovered that he is also the patron saint of wild animals and veterinarians… known for healing and saving animals, including a story in which he saved a pig from a wolf that was attacking it.  Anyway, it all seems fitting enough.

… in which I battle tempests, earthquakes, and the FDA.

19 October 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: tired tired

Getting right to it… a couple weekends ago… is kind of a blur at this point, but I remember that I somehow ended up eating at Chevy’s twice in the same weekend.  I also had the longest day I’ve had in a while.  It included selling a pedal board to a church, shopping at Target, a birthday dinner in Oakland, Club Gossip, Delirium, some warehouse, and driving some drunk guy home.  It was nearly a full 24 hours awake, followed by two full nights’ sleep within the next 24 hours.  This bizarre shift in my sleep pattern led to me getting up for work early that Monday.  I stuck with it and arrived early for work all week, which never happens.  I’m trying to ride that wave as long as I can, because it’s got a lot of benefits.  Among other things, I saw a sunrise.  It occurs to me that in my lifetime, I’ve seen more sunrises before going to bed than I have just leaving for the day.  Starting my day that early always reminds me of vacations.  The only time I usually ever start my day that early is when I’m catching a flight or beginning a long drive somewhere.  Something else I noticed… it’s crowded downtown!  Usually, by the time I’m rolling in, the FiDi seems pretty quiet.  But when you’re out there early, there’s considerably more hustle and bustle.  Makes me feel more a part of things down there.  Me gusta!

Oh, and it rained cats and dogs for one day.  More rain in one day than we usually get in the month of October, apparently.  And over 200 car accidents in the Bay Area that day.  Nice.  Luckily it remained clear the rest of the week and most of this last weekend, allowing me to spend a Saturday shopping with Majik, Booty, and Mr. and Mrs. Balls.  Not to mention seeing Dad’s new band for the first time… a great show in Santa Cruz that was followed by a delicious return to Mobo Sushi and its colossal menu.

Surely most of the people reading this will be aware that Morrissey is coming to town.  I’m curious to know if we’ll be hearing some new songs.  I was fortunate enough to have the incomparable Sus locate a pit ticket for me, so that’s where I will be.  I won’t tell you what it cost, but it was a lot.  Way too much.  It’s the fault of those scumbags the ticketbrokers.  I ranted about that once before, so I’ll spare you this time.  But suffice it to say that in the context of luxury problems and as a fan of live music, I consider these guys to be the scum of the earth.

You may also have heard that last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.  Holy shit, I’m old.  I was living in the South Bay in those days, and I was what, 10?  I don’t have a lot of clear memories about the event, but I think I was playing “Legendary Wings” on Nintendo.  And we spent the night at Jonah’s house.  And the schools were closed for a day or two.  I can’t even imagine what it was like for people living here in the city at the time.  Now that I live here, it’s hard to comprehend some of the damage that San Francisco suffered at the time.  (Do you remember where you were?)

We’ve lost a lot of celebrities these last few months, but I wanted to mention one that may have been overlooked.  Wrestling personality Captain Lou Albano died last week at the age of 76.  He was one of the biggest icons in the mid-80’s when I was into it, and of course the tie-in with Cyndi Lauper and The Goonies.  R.I.P.

We’ve also lost Reno 911, which I’m very sorry to report was recently cancelled.  It’s one of my favorite shows on T.V., not least because it includes ex-members of The State (such as Thomas Lennon, Moz fan and misguided SATH fan).

Watching that Goonies video reminds me that Halloween is coming up pretty quick here.  What are the plans?  I know that Zombie Morrissey night is happening that weekend, which could be fun.  I’m not necessarily jazzed about dressing up, but it’s not out of the question.  What’s going on for Halloween folks?

The quote of the week is one of my favorite horoscopes yet from The Onion:

“You’ll struggle to find a sympathetic ear this week when the FDA lowers its recommended daily intake of your goddamn bullshit.”

Hey Sugar, take a walk on the wild side…

8 October 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: crappy hungover

My neighborhood, which is quiet and all but a ghost town for 359 days of the year, is currently in the throes of its annual golf tournament.  I’ve woken up every morning this week to find my street, which is normally empty, instead lined with hundreds of cars, already parked.  Who’s up that early, and for golf?  Supposedly Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton, and whoever else are all around here somewhere.  Word is Obama himself might show up.  Based on previous years of experience, I can look forward to having to show my ID at a police road block just to get into my driveway.  And this morning was no different.  Sure, it’s unusual, but it’s not that much of a hassle.  Though it didn’t help that I was a bit… hungover?  Let me back up.

Last weekend started off with an Ocean Beach bonfire among friends.  Saw some old friends, made some new ones.  It was lovely until the cops came along to shut us down, which I guess they do to everyone around 10pm.  The next night I got to see a couple of bands I’d been meaning to for a while: The Pine Box Boys (not bad) and then the headliners, Denver’s Slim Cessna’s Auto Club (who were excellent).  They were similar to The Legendary Shack Shakers, if a bit less… kinetic.  Great tunes though, no shortage of banjos, and every bit as dark and revival.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, a coworker of mine from out of state came to visit San Francisco for the first time.  I spent the afternoon playing tour guide and doing all the things I only ever do with out-of-towners… the Golden Gate, Pier 39, etc.  Plus some local favorites like Savor, Amoeba, and Cha Cha Cha.  I gotta admit, it was a blast.  And then with someone in town, it was much easier to wrangle other folks for a happy hour last night (which normally just doesn’t seem to be part of our collective culture, though I’m hoping to get more of those going in the future).  Anyway, long story short… I ended up agreeing to a half a shot of tequila near the end of the night (being the first drink I’ve had in a year).  I know that’s not much, and it doesn’t sound possible, but I’m telling you… I felt anxious and jumpy the second I swallowed it, and for the rest of the night.  Then I woke up this morning feeling like dogshit, and for the rest of the day.  It’s probably all in my head, but just the same.  I guess I’ve already lost what little tolerance I had.  Blame in on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.  Nice experiment, but not sure I’ll be resuming my drinking career any time soon.

I also saw Zombieland this week.  It was fantastic.  Easily one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, which probably sounds silly.  It’s funny and stylish and just really well done.  Maybe even worth seing again, and how often do you see a movie in the theater twice?  OK, well maybe you often do, but I never do.  As a bonus, there were several great trailers for upcoming flicks, including this one…

OK, I have to admit something.  I somehow managed to go the last year or however long without hearing a single note of Lady Gaga’s music.  Not the least because I’ve made zero attempt to find out, and I don’t exactly keep up on my MTV, you know.  I knew nothing about her, just like I know nothing about a fuck ton of other recently-relevant bands that I only hear about in passing.  Well I saw the video for “Paparazzi” the other day and… I liked it.  It’s dark.  What’s more, I went and bought the album.  I don’t know what that means, and I don’t want to know.

Holy shit, that reminds me… did you hear Rhino Records is going away?  Maybe number one on my list of companies I wanted to work for someday.  I was such a fan of and believer in their vision of resurrecting, remastering, and reissuing great music in vast retrospectives.  I guess it’s another casualty of the economy, and perhaps the move to mp3 culture, but who is going to fill that void now?  Who’s going to unearth and clean up the classics for us?  I am heartbroken.  🙁

A general comment on life lately.  My radar can’t be that far off, can it?  I’m like a blind-folded kid gunning for a piñata.  Swing and a miss.  (And a miss… and oh yeah, another miss.)

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
— Mark Twain