Posts Tagged consulting

Vital ITIL®

2 October 2006

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

Two blogs in two days?  Heresy!

Well I’m stuck in Chicago with no car and no guitar.  What else am I going to do?  I’m coming home tomorrow night, though.  That’s right, bitches.

This trip has been very strange.  A few years ago, when I first met Crista, I was on a PeopleSoft trip to Atlanta to take a special class that ~15 consultants from all over the U.S. flew in to be a part of.  I didn’t need a rental car because I could walk to the office from the hotel.  The hotel itself, an Embassy Suites, was totally open in the middle with the rooms all around the perimeter not unlike a Vegas casino.  They had trees and a pond and a ceilingless restaurant.  The PeopleSoft office was just one rented floor in a nearby building, with a very peculiar layout.  I’d never seen anything quite like it nor since.

Here in Chicago, I’m here to take a special class with about ~15 consultants from all over the U.S.  (This is an ITIL® class if you are interested, and it is absolutely impossible that you are.)  I was instructed that I would not need a rental car because I could walk to the office from the hotel.  The hotel itself, a Sheraton, is totally open in the middle with the rooms all around the perimeter not unlike a Vegas casino.  It has trees and a pond and a ceilingless restaurant.  My new company’s office is just one rented floor in a nearby building, with a very peculiar layout.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it… except in Atlanta.  Seriously.  Almost identical layout.  I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say that I’ve been in enough office buildings in my life to know that this isn’t common.  This is like the same trip, but maybe in an alternate universe.

Someone in the class heard that I was a vegetarian today and said to me, “I mean, you don’t look like a vegetarian.”  By which I assume he meant, “you are a very large mammal.”  Although probably not quite that nice.  I would have been quite insulted (actually I was) but later someone else asked me, “is that your band on your laptop?”  I had a TCB flyer up.  I told him yes, and he said, “I figured, I mean, you look like the type.”  By which I will assume he meant I look like… a fucking rockstar.  So I guess it all evens out.

I walked about a mile to a restaurant (the hotel food is… too expensive and not very good) for dinner tonight.  The weather was OK, and other than the fact I had to run in lanes of traffic because there were large portions of street with no sidewalk, it was a nice stroll.  Apparently though, Hurricane Ditka rolled in while I was dining, and when I went to leave, it was hailing.  I called a cab though, so all was well.  It’s still T-stormin’ out the window behind me, and the cable in the hotel has been coming in and out all night.  Hence the repeat bloggin’.

Actually, speaking of hotels, you know how I’m always saying I get sick my first time in a new town (almost without fail)?  Well it turns out a recent study has shown what common sense should have already told me… hotel rooms are typically crawling with contagious germs, particularly on light switches and remote controls.  I wash my hands more often than most, but how much you want to bet that it’s my own hotel rooms that have been doing me in?  Et tu, Hilton?

And now, in an attempt to make this otherwise boring blog more interactive and more interesting to you, the reader, I’d like to get your opinions on something: what’s the most attractive way to yawn?  Or should I say “least unattractive?”  Cats and other animals look adorable when they yawn, but not humans.  I don’t think people ever look quite so ugly as when they yawn unabashedly.  Recently, a friend of mine commented on how bad it looks when someone (or at least when I) try to keep the mouth closed while yawning.  Your face contorts and apparently no amount of control on your part makes this bearable for your peers to watch.  So what’s the consensus?  Open mouth with hand over?  Inquiring narcissists want to know.

In closing, Paul Simon is still a genius.

“The Mississippi delta was shining like a National guitar…”

Da Bears…

1 October 2006

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

… and 99 Other Chicago Stereotypes, which so far appear to all be true.

I’m writing to you from a hotel near O’Hare in Chicago.  The people here really do talk funny like the old SNL sketch, so at least there’s that.  I’ve seen a few of those messy bowl haircuts and thick mustaches too.  I thought that was supposed to be a joke?  It’s like 1983 all over again.

I would paste a picture from O’Hare here if I had time to figure out how to get it from phone to blog.  Maybe later.  Or maybe one of my bitches will do it for me.  You know who you are.  *whiplash*

Before I forget, Jared is coming to San Francisco this week, so I’ll get to see him hopefully when I get home.  There’s a good chance he’ll make it to This Charming Band‘s Ireland’s 32 show this Saturday which will be both the first time he’s ever seen us play as well as a rare chance for you to meet him if you haven’t yet.  Remember also that this is Peter’s last official show with TCB!

The plans to go see Scissor Sisters on Friday didn’t happen (due to an unfortunate ticket mix-up), but it ended up being a fun night anyway.  Sus sadly had to cut out early, but Shel and Nick and I pressed on to Pop Roxx at the DNA Lounge.  We met up with Ozzolini and Meredith as well as several other club friends.  The music was horrific and it was broken up by a performance by a local band called “Triple Cobra.”  It was kinda like New York Dolls meets White Stripes only not very good.  The only thing I can say about them is that they use the old G.I. Joe “Cobra” insignia as part of their logo.  I’m jealous I didn’t think of that first.  Although I bet the band’s using it illegally.  But then, I suppose that’s the Cobra way.  Cobra-la-la-la-la-la!!!

Saturday was the Download Festival, and that one actually did happen.  At the Shoreline, Shel and Nick and I ended up going together and we caught all of the important bands.  Some of the peripheral festivities included a garage band competition where you sign up on the spot and some instruments are already set up for you to walk up and use.  It was even “staged” in a fake garage complete with basketball and hoop.  Too bad only Nick and I were there to represent, because I think TCB would have slayed them.  As it was though, the illustrious “Chesterfield Trio” was called up and could not find their drummer.  Our man Nick volunteered and played three songs with them, totally ad-libbed!  Amazing!  So I guess technically Nick played the 2006 Download Festival.  He also successfully rode a little kid’s bigwheel that we found.  I’m sure pictures will surface on MySpace very soon.

Thanks to Sus, we had 5th row seats, center stage!  I have a whole new appreciation for seeing big bands up close now that I know a little bit about what it’s like to be on that side of things.  It’s always neat to see how the big boys do their thing.  The answer is: roadies, and lots of them.  We caught the last half of the Shins set, as well as Muse (really good live showmen, but I won’t be buying any of their albums).  The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were great too, and Karen O was out there as crazy as ever.  She was dressed in a shiny green dragon costume/leotard that looked like it came from an elementary school play.  At times, she even had a little dragon hat on, bounding across the stage and spitting water into the air.  The core trio was joined by a 4th man (bass/guitar/keys) who sat idle on the floor facing away from the crowd during all the songs from the first YYY album.  The unwanted 4th wheel, as it were.

Beck was the headliner, and he put on a memorable show.  There was a marionette puppet show in the middle of the stage which included a puppet for each band member (dressed identically and holding identically modeled instruments).  They danced and sang along with the real band they shared the stage with.  The puppet show even had its own psychedelic lightshow (matching the real band’s) and a little puppet cameraman with a working “puppet cam” providing a real-time puppet’s-eye view onto the Shoreline’s jumbotron screens.  Later in the set, Beck played solo acoustic while the rest of his band ate dinner at a table right in the middle of the stage.  Eventually, they all broke into a Stomp-like percussive jam with spoons and plates and glasses.  What a creative fella that Beck is.  Oh, and insane.  I’m only sorry that I was so tired I dozed a bit during his set.  No reflection on him though.  Fucking puppets?  Man, I wish I’d thought of that.

Shifting gears…

I never know what to put as my “mood” on these blogs.  They all so sound so extreme.  How often am I really “ecstatic” or “infuriated?”  I need something a little less committal.  Although I do like that you can plug whatever you’re reading or watching(?) or listening to.  My only suggestion would be to add “what I’m currently eating” to that list.

I’ve been a little creeped out on how all the books I’ve read recently seem to relate very much to my life, and in some cases, explicitly reference things and places I do or go to.  In one such fiction, a hit man buys a dog at a pet store I went to while in Phoenix last month.  Another references my exact car.  OK, maybe lame coincidences, but it really makes the fiction real for me.  Both bizarre and totally neato.

I’m reading Chuck Palahniuk’s latest, and good Lord he is a genius.  This is an author that should receive public funding so that he can turn out work undisturbed.  This new one, Haunted, is kicking my ass.  One passage was actually so upsetting that I had to stop reading on the plane because I thought I was going to throw up.  That’s some quality writing.

In one (non-stomach-turning) passage, an extremely wealthy character is describing how being a billionaire socialite has bored her and how “poor is the new rich.”  The extensive travelling she’s done has effectively shrunken the world for her:

“Taking the Lear jet from here to Rome in six hours, it’s made escaping too easy.  The world feels so small and played out.  Globe-trotting is just the chance to feel bored more places, faster.  A boring breakfast in Bali.  A predictable lunch in Paris.  A tedious dinner in New York, and falling asleep, drunk, during just another blow job in L.A.”

OK, so that isn’t my life exactly, but it definitely sums up my feelings about too much travel in general.  In the past few years of consulting, I’ve flown all over the U.S. and been to places I would have never gone otherwise.  And for all the fun I’ve had, you know what I’m left with?  The feeling that world is a lot smaller than I thought.  Phoenix is Denver is Atlanta is… Chicago.  An over-simplification, I know, but honestly.  It becomes “no big deal.”  And I don’t like that.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always been comforted by the idea that there’s a whole big world out there that I will never understand.  I don’t ever want to be so used to cities all over the world that they become indistiguishable from each other.  I don’t ever want to feel like it’s all old hat.  I don’t want to discover all of the world’s secrets.  It’s much more valuable to me to always know that there is a great unknown out there yet to be discovered.  Sometimes I’d rather let myself imagine how amazing and wonderful some far-off place might be, rather than stay there for two weeks and see that it’s the same old place but with different street names.

Chicago is the new San Diego.

Bad News For People Who Hate Bad News

25 September 2006

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:  curious

That’s a take off on Modest Mouse.  You’re welcome, Sus.

I went to the Folsom Street Fair for the first time yesterday.  The intent was to meet up with several friends there, but everyone arrived at different times and for a myriad of reasons, I ended up only meeting up with Anna.  I think she had expected me to be shocked and horrified by what I saw, but I really wasn’t.  That’s not to say that seeing some guy dressed in a leather collar (and nothing else) blowing some other 60 year old guy in a Little Bo Peep dress on a street corner in broad daylight isn’t at least a little shocking.  But I think I’ve polluted myself with enough pornography in my lifetime that it would take a lot more than that to make me uncomfortable.  On second thought, that’s not necessarily something to brag about.

What did make me uncomfortable was the massive crowd.  You see, you can’t dangle your hands freely at your side because you simply would not be able to avoid brushing them up against the wang of one of the many, many naked old men there.  Some bear’s chest hair will brush up against your shoulders as you try to make your way through the masses.  It is unavoidable.  People flogging each other.  Fucking machines.  Leather shops.  Live sex shows.  Men dragging latex-bound and masked, bare chested women around by leashes.  I don’t think I need to recount all the things I saw there, but suffice it to say that on any city street on any other day, you’d be arrested for doing what the majority of people were doing there.  It was interesting, but I could have missed it.  But yeah, it can’t be described in words.  Go see for yourself, assuming you’re not seeing enough 60 year old penis on your own time.

The show “Scrubs,” which I’d heard so much about, is finally in syndication, and I watched several episodes this weekend.  It is hilarious.  I’m sorry I didn’t get on it sooner, but there are many seasons of reruns for me to enjoy over the next few months.

So we had our second Slim’s show on Friday night, and it was great!  I’ve never had a show where so many friends came to see us!  Sus, Shel, Anna, Jenn, Jonee, Jamie, Edna, Allison, Vicklet, and others I’m surely forgetting.  Not to mention they all brought friends of their own too.  I felt bad not getting to spend as much time with everyone as I would have liked to.  But yeah, a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, Peter could not play the show with us, so it was just me on guitar.  I was more than a little stressed out leading up to it, but the crowd seemed to enjoy the show, and though we didn’t sound near as much like the albums, I understand we sounded more like live Smiths.  We had some experimental moments where Orlandissey joined me on guitar as we hacked our way through “How Soon Is Now?”  There were pros and cons to it all, but it was a bummer to not have Peter there.

Which brings us to our first piece of major bad news: Peter has decided to leave This Charming Band.  He’s had a great run with us, and I can’t thank him enough for all his hard work with me to figure these songs out and bring them to the people.  Beyond that, he’s a good friend, and I’m very sorry to see him go.  But he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.  And until we are able to find a new guitarist, it’s all on me.  Let’s be honest… only Johnny Marr (that fucker) can do a one-man Johnny Marr, and there’s no way I can do it alone.  I like to think that Peter and I at least did a competent job of doing Johnny some justice.  I’m not saying TCB won’t still be great, but it’s time for me to really step up here, and it’s not going to be easy.  It’s an exciting new challenge, a new direction, and of course a new sound.  I know Peter would understand.  In the mean time, our next show at Ireland’s 32 on October 7th will be his last official show with us and will be a special “farewell-to-Peter” night.  This will probably be your last chance to hear songs like “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” for a long time, and songs like “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” and “How Soon Is Now?” will never quite be the same without him.

What’s that?  What’s that you say?  Oh, you want even more bad news?  Are you sure about that?  You better ask yourself if you’re really ready for it before I drop this particular bomb on you.  OK, I warned you… bombs away

Jared is not coming home.  You may recall this blog entry from last summer when he first left (yes yes, I was a lil’ emo bitch about it).  Well he has decided to stay and work in the UK for an indeterminite amount of time.  I don’t think they make words for how I feel about that.  If there’s any bright spot here (read: not black), it’s that I look at where I was a year ago and all that’s happened this last year…  I am a world away from my life back then, and it has everything to do with my friends and my bandmates.  But as much as Jared has backed me on everything over the years, it still feels weird to have these great life experiences and successes and not have him be a part of them.  But he’s got his own adventures to live out, and for the next few years at least, they’ll be in Europe.  He too has gotta do what he’s gotta do.  As much as I’d like the people who are important to me to live in my backyard forever, I understand that this is not the way life works.  It’s not ideal, but it’s not the final nail in my coffin either.

In closing, I’ve found that lately the loneliest moment of my life is the one where I actually walk out my door each week to go to the airport… when I have to face that there’s no one to say goodbye to.

Good God.  Total emo bitch.

“We kept him from the world’s glare,
And he turned into a killer.
There is no such thing in life as ‘normal.’
There is no such thing in life as ‘normal.'”

Consultants On A Plane!

21 September 2006

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:  anxious

“We’ll be dimming the cabin lights this evening to enhance the appearance of our flight attendants.”

I’m writing to you from a window seat on an A320, soaring at about 36,000 feet over Los Angeles.  (This should impress those of you who have never been on a plane and don’t know what one is.)

Before I forget, Sus’ birthday (or BFF’s b-day if you like) was on Tuesday.  If you didn’t already wish her a happy one, well you’re too late and she may never speak to you again.  And really, who could blame her?

The Blank Club was just about everything I hoped it would be.  We got a similar reaction to our last show there, but we’re a much better band now, and I think we put on a much better show.  DJ Kenny was as great as ever.  Everyone played their parts well, and aside from the clam I threw into “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” just for flavor, it was a fine performance.  Orlandissey brought plenty of fans on stage to sing and dance.  Someone slapped my ass with a maraca.  Among the attendees were several familiar faces including Dori, Bekkah, Nicole, Marissa, Sus (sporting her TCB shirt), Shel (sporting her SME shirt), and both my parents!  Good show, good friends, good times.  One of my favorite shows to date.  This Charming Band, perhaps at our at our peak.

I’ve received a lot of bad news this week, and I will cover it in a future post.  But I have a busy couple of days ahead of me, and I just don’t have it in me to get into it at the moment.  I have some other tasks I have to focus on just now.  I say that so that the people involved in the bad news don’t think it hasn’t been on my mind or that I don’t care.  Because I do.

One of the tasks at hand is our emergency Slim’s show tomorrow night.  Stung and For The Masses needed a third band on their bill, and we were happy to oblige.  Unfortunately, our man Peter is out of town and won’t be sharing the guitars with me this time around.  This means I’ve had to rework how I play several songs, and I’ll be winging my way through some of it.  It will be terrifying but fun I think.  It’ll just be the four of us, but don’t worry. We have a few all-new surprises planned to make up some of the slack.  Nick has a second show with his other band (The Family Arsenal) later that same night, so we’re taking the first slot.  That means we’re on at 9:00pm sharp!  The music of The Smiths, Morrissey, The Police, and Depeche Mode… all live.  Be there or… actually, just be there.

I’ve recently heard that both my sister Kathryn and my friend Erin are having healthy pregnancies.  From Kathryn, this means I’ll have a second niece soon.  From Erin, I’ll have what I believe is the first child mothered by an ex-girlfriend of mine.  Erin is going to be a great mom, I think.  All those cartoon voices she does will finally be put to good use.

Well the flight from Sandy Eggo* is a blessedly short one, and it’s time to shut down me laptop.  Place all carry-on items beneath the seat in front of me.  Return my seat and tray table to their full upright and locked position.  If you’re reading this, it means the landing gear deployed successfully and I made it home safe to get online and post this.  Glory be!

*Thanks, Nick!

Calle de Pacific Sorrento del Mar Blvd.

31 August 2006

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:  sleepy

Dude, Sorrento Valley.

This area that I’m working in this week is like the Labyrinth realized.  Apparently, it’s called “Sorrento Valley.”  Every street in this area winds through a series of hills and housing developments.  Worse yet, they all contain the words “Sorrento” or “del Mar.”  I’m not kidding.

Pay attention now.  This is for real.

Nearby, you’ll find Sorrento Valley Rd., which crosses Sorrento Valley Blvd.  Don’t worry though, because they both cross Vista Sorrento Pkwy.  “Del Mar” this and “Del Mar” that.  Carmel Mountain Rd. turns into Carmel Creek Rd.

On the way back from lunch today, I thought I’d take a shortcut on Ocean Air Dr., which I thought was Ocean Bluff Ave.  I would have been totally fucked, lost in those hills.  Lucky for me, they eventually cross, and I saw my mistake.  You see, Pacific Center Blvd., Pacific Mesa Blvd., and Pacific Heights Blvd. form a triangle.  But Pacific Center Blvd., that one goes on a while longer, before making a hard left and changing its name to Pacific Center Ct.

If you’re like me, when you’re memorizing directions on a new map, you latch onto the most unique and salient street names you can.  Right on Jefferson, left on Blake, left on Mallard.  Now that I can remember.  Imagine how easy it is to get lost when all you remember is “right on something Sorrento, left on something del Mar.”

Who’s responsible for this mess?  Not that I intend to be, but if I’m ever given power over this part of the state, I’m renaming every last fucking street to Malkovich Lane.

That’ll show those fuckers.

Ludo: Friend

28 August 2006

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

I’m in a pretty nice hotel, but I can still hear someone snoring through the walls.  This is why you need to live with someone before you marry them.  Assuming such things bother you, can you imagine finding out about that mess after you’ve accepted the ring?  I heard this person over the sound of TV in my room, by the way.

Do you all remember Ludo from the movie “Labyrinth?”  Jessica posted a picture of him as a comment the other day, and I seriously teared up.  I’m not kidding.  Just looking at this picture.  I can’t help it.  Ludo makes me emotional.  I’m now considering being him for Halloween, after seeing a Ludo costume up on Ebay.  He is beautiful.  In discussions with Jessica over this topic, we came across the mother of all Labyrinth sites.  This guy has every piece of Labyrinth merchandizing you can imagine, as well as some actual movie props.  Tons of pictures and info.  It made my day.

I had a pretty good weekend, for the record.  I went dancing with Orlando, Meredith, and Jeannie.  You may recall that the last time I saw Jeannie, she punched me in the face.  I wonder if agreeing to see her again sends the message that it’s OK to hit me.  This is not how I like to start things.  Anyway, so yeah, we all danced a good long while, mostly on a platform shared with our new friend Jeremiah.  Jeannie and I “battled” Orlie and Meredith.  With Jeremiah on our platform, we were unstoppable.

I also attended a tattoo expo with Anna and her best friend / psuedo lesbian girlfriend Edna.  Picture the Cow Palace filled with chubby tattooed guys with shaved heads and goatees.  And those big plugs for earrings.  Anna seemed to be exicted by these boys.  I don’t see why.  (In fact, the guys I’ve known like that have all been douche bags, but I digress…)  There were some scary folks there.  Scary for all the wrong reasons.  Luckily, Anna was there to entertain me.  You know, she is also abusive with me.  I’m noting a pattern.

Nick and I hit Leisure on Saturday.  The crowd was pretty much drunk by the time we got there, so the dance floor was a festival of stepped-on shoes and spilled drinks.  Not too bad though.  Lots of Smiths played.

Phoenix was cancelled suddenly, and so instead I find myself in San Diego this week.  In fact, I’ll be working here off and on all month, so any SoCal friends (MySpace or otherwise) let me know if you’d like to grab dinner or something.

Flying out tonight was amazing.  As the sun went down, we broke above the clouds and there was a blanket of solid cloud cover literally as far as I could see.  It was so vast and regular, that it looked like a documentary where you’re seeing the view from a helicopter flying over the snowy plains of Antarctica.  I don’t think I’m really doing it justice here.  It was beautiful though.  No mountains, no ocean, just flat and unending cloud cover stretching for hundreds of square miles before me.  Unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Something else struck me during landing.  Flying into a big city, particularly at night, is such a humbling experience.  Look out the window.  So many people.  So many people.  All of those lights and houses and cars.  Thousands of them.  Hundreds of thousands of them.  Each a little world all its own.  In every one of those cars, friends conversing, people singing along with the radio.  In every home, a family eating dinner.  Every single street light… built by someone, maintained by someone, passed every day by thousands of drivers.  And someone on the ground is looking at it at the exact moment that you are.  This is San Diego.  This is Los Angeles.  This is New York.  This is London, and Mexico City, and Prague, and Tokyo.  When you think of how much there is to learn and know and enjoy about each and every individual family member and close friend you have.  How magical each one of those people is and how you could spend a lifetime and never fully understand them.  And then look at these cities at night from an airplane… millions of people.  Millions of little worlds.  Millions of unsolvable mysteries.  There’s so much to know, it’s absolutely mind-boggling.

And so my love/hate battle with consulting continues.  Finding out I had to fly out this week gave me that old sick-to-my-stomach dread.  But then flying into a new airport, a new city, a new hotel.  The adventure of it really is worth something.

There’s a lot going on here in Southern California.  I might like to live here someday.  It’s not as beautiful as San Francisco by any stretch, but there’s just so much to see and do here all the time.

And in closing: girls smell nice.  Sometimes I forget.

Well, we’ll float on… good news is on the way.

8 August 2006

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

I hate cameras.  More on that later.

We had a couple of great shows the last two weeks.  The first was at the Blackthorn Tavern.  This place was full of drunken, rowdy types which had us all on edge at first, but after a few minutes of playing, we relaxed I think.  The stage was so small that three of us had to play on the floor.  This would not have been an issue were it not for the drunkards coming up and taking things off stage, stepping on pedals, and strumming our guitars during songs.  Highlights include getting to play “Girl Afraid” for the first time (my hands were shaking for the first time since our early shows!), Orlando going solo acoustic on “Boxers,” and meeting 2/3 of local surf band The Lava Rats.  Nice gents.  Looking forward to seeing them play soon!

Then of course was our biggest show ever at Slim’s!  This is a venue I’ve seen several big acts at, and it was truly an honor to get to play there.  Another surreal experience that I could not have imagined a year ago.  Of course the stage was huge.  We had plenty of time to set up and soundcheck.  Each band on the bill (others were Zoo Station and Tin Man) had their own green room.  Free (vegetarian!) food and drink.  To keep tuning time down, and because we had the room, I brought along four guitars.  While it was a hassle, it was worth it and I was glad to get some stage time with “Denial.”  Several friends (old, new, and some very unexpected) came to see us, and one band friend filmed the whole show for us!  We have some new mp3s from the show up on our site and MySpace.  The show itself went great, and the feedback was all tremendously positive.  The Smiths/Moz fanatics all already know about us, but now we’re finally reaching the masses, and we seem to be going over pretty well.  Zoo Station was super nice and complimentary towards us, and they put on a hell of a show themselves.  We’re looking forward to working with them again.  There’s lots I’m leaving out, but I will bore you no more.  The short version: a night to remember.

OK, SoCal friends: as previously promised, This Charming Band is returning this weekend for a second mini-tour which will include Club Addiction, The Derby, and Club London.  Look back at my blogs in April to see how much fun our last trip was.  This time around, we’re more well known, we’re a better band, and hell, we’ve got some shirts to sell.  I expect to see each and every one of you there.  Old friends of course, but there are several MySpace friends that I have yet to meet in person.  So come on down and introduce yourself!  (Just to warn you… I’m bad at recognizing people from pictures sometimes, so if you see me and I don’t acknowlege you, it’s not that I’m an asshole.  I just may not be sure if it’s you.  So be forward and say “hi!”  I want to meet you!)

ThisCharmingBand.net
myspace.com/thischarmingband

So I have this friend… we’ll call him “This Charming… Glenn.”  And he’s been travelling to Phoenix/Scottsdale a lot.  This is the story (in his words) of what happened to him last night:

So I think I got my first speeding ticket last night.  I have never even been pulled over for speeding in my life, and I like to think that it’s because I have a good sense of when it’s safe to speed and when it isn’t.  And by “safe” I mean both safe and safe from attracting the attention/ire of the police.  Well it turns out they cheat around Scottsdale.

I’ve always been aware that Arizona drivers all fly down the highway whenever possible.  Last night, I noticed everyone seemed to be driving very slow, and I couldn’t understand why.  The thought even crossed my mind that they must know something I don’t know, and yet, I broke my own rule and allowed myself to be far and away the fastest driver on the road.  After a 20 minute highway drive, just a few hundred feet before exiting, I was blinded by a flash that seemed to come from all directions.  Instantly, I began to remember having heard something on Phoenix news a while back about new traffic cameras.  A sinking feeling filled my gut as I pulled into the hotel, cracked open the laptop, and begin to research this.  All signs point to this: I was nabbed going 15mph or so over the limit by an automatic and very accurate traffic camera that has most likely gotten my license plate and a mugshot.  So I guess I may be getting a little unwelcome something in the mail in a few weeks.  Hopefully not.

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t think this is a great way to help stop speeders, but what the fuck?  This takes the whole art of avoiding cops out of the process.  I mean, if they can just put up cameras anywhere, what am I supposed to do?  Never speed?

Now I’ve done a bunch of online research that has given me advice ranging from just pay the ticket and go to traffic school in CA to avoid points on my record all the way to ignore any letters I get, play dumb, and since they can’t prove I was served, I’m off the hook.  What to do?  My current questions:

1) Will the fact that I was in a rental change anything?
2) Will the fact I live out of state change anything?
3) Will the fact that this was “business travel” change anything?
4) Will nature make a man of me yet?
5) A fine is fine… I just don’t want DMV points.  Do I get any for this?  If so, are they transferred to my home state’s DMV or is it left in AZ?  And if so, can I take local or online traffic school and have it apply in AZ?

Anyone have any experience here?

You may have heard that the great Johnny Marr has pretty much joined Modest Mouse full time.  Now one friend of mine tells me how she liked them before they were big and they used to be great and now they suck.  Another friend of mine generally has great taste in music, but I hear she hates Modest Mouse.  I gotta say, I think this is a good thing.  Johnny working with a quirky band like that… maybe we’ll get something out of it along the lines of his collaboration with Talking Heads.  High hopes, I know.  But listening to “Good News for People Who Love Bad News,” I can definitely hear a place for Johnny.  I’m excited to hear what they come up with.  I hope someday I can just call up Johnny like that and get him to play on my album.  Holy moly!

I have to come clean about something.  Everyone has one instance (and usually several) of a song that affects them in some really trite and melodramatic way.  Well, here’s mine.  I’ve found that “Float On” has near-magical powers to relax me in times of extreme stress and uncertainty.  When I’ve been worried about some kind of life stress or unexpected crisis, the first few tracks of this album and specifically “Float On” really help to put me at ease.  Yeah, that’s right.  I said it.

“And we’ll all float on
Alright, already we’ll all float on
Alright, don’t worry even if things end up a bit too heavy
We’ll all float on…”

Déjà vu, all over again…

25 July 2006

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

So for the second time in two years, my beloved employer is being acquired by a bigger company.  If you recall, this is exactly why I changed jobs last year.  Part of me is pissed off, but the rest of me is just apathetic.  I really loved PeopleSoft, and I really hated Oracle.  But this time, I haven’t gotten so attached to my current company, and I harbor no existing ill feelings for HP.  It may even turn out to be a good thing.  It just sucks to see the little guy get swallowed up into a bohemoth corporate giant.  And it sucks to be the one getting bought.  But the part of me that allowed me to really be emotionally attached to this kinda stuff died when the ultimate good guy (PeopleSoft) was swallowed up by the corporate equivalent of Darth Vader (Oracle).  Once I saw that that could happen, nothing could really hurt me anymore.   My corporate loyalty nerves are dead.

What a drama queen I can be.

New topic: I didn’t even realize that Imperial Teen is touring… sort of.  I’ve never seen them live, and the only show they have scheduled is this Saturday at Du Nord.  But I’ll be playing a show at the Blackthorn Tavern that night!  God damn it!  Well if you’re skipping our show, you should go to theirs.  And if anyone hears about them playing around here again soon, let me know!

For the first time maybe ever, I found some beauty in Phoenix tonight.  As I drove home from dinner, a constant orchestra of lightning crashing all around me, I rolled down the window and felt rain drops fall on my arm, evaporating the instant they hit me.  It was over 100° outside, dark, and so much lightning happening that I could watch it without taking my eyes off the road.  Like fireworks on New Year’s.  And still plainly visible though so far away in this flat desert city that the sound of thunder doesn’t even make it to my ears.

Too bad there isn’t a “drama queen” mood choice for MySpace blogs.  Jesus.

Oh well, my company’s getting bought, but at least this time it’s not by Oracle.  In any event, who wants to help me drink my troubles away this weekend?

“Boo unexpected corporate buyouts. Hooray beer!”

Phoenix gives new meaning to the word “hot.” Oh wait, no that’s me.

24 July 2006

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:  restless

Ready for this week’s episode of “I’m stuck in Phoenix,” where the “at least it’s a dry heat” rule no longer applies as it was 105° and humid and raining and thunderstorming when I arrived last night?  If there’s any good news, it’s that I wasn’t here last Friday when they were suffering the hottest day they’ve had in the last 10 years.  Jumpin’ Jehosaphat.

Everyone but Sus bailed on plans to see Trainwreck the other night, but it was their loss.  Trainwreck does campy southern rock, and includes Kyle Gass (of Tenacious D) though he wears a hairpiece and goes by the name “Klip Calhoun.”  Their lead singer (who also happens to have played “Lee” the super fan in one of the old Tenacious D HBO episodes) combs his mullet and moustache in a hand-held mirror… during songs.  They put on a great show at Du Nord and even covered the Tenacious D song “Lee.”  Afterwards we got to meet KG and take a picture with him!  (Jared: I got you an autographed EP from KG himself.)  So much to say about them, but if you’re interested in a trip down memory lane, view this old blog for my impression of when I first saw them a couple of years ago with the Reverend.

I happened to miss a turn while driving through San Francisco the other day, and I ended up trying to figure my way through a neighborhood I’ve never been in and probably never would have were it not for this twist of fate.  How often do you notice the license plates of parked cars that you drive by?  In the 30 seconds I spent finding my way out of this neighborhood, I noticed a car with the license plate “JENZILA.”  Given the number of cars in California, the completely unlikely chance that I’d end up on this street, and depending on how well you know me, you know that this could only be fate.  I wish there were more to the story, but that’s it.  I just noted it and drove on.  Should I have stopped and written a note?

Jesus effin’ Christ, it’s hot here.  How about that?  Did I mention that?

It’s nice to be playing shows again.  The Red Devil Lounge was fun… lots of friends (new and old) came out to see us.  “Notorious” played everything from Rick Springfield to Prince to Run DMC.  No pauses in between songs, just non-stop music.  And they were all very nice and complimentary to us.  Ireland’s 32 started off questionably with an empty room and no setlist, but by the end of the night, it was more crowded than the last time we played and we had several folks up dancing.  One girl came and sang Suedehead with us.  Another guy did a fine job on The Last Of The Famous International Playboys, and one crazy/drunk/drugged passerby did… something… during Everyday Is Like Sunday.  Not quite singing.  Just… yeah.  And then the 20th Anniversary of The Queen Is Dead at Leisure the other night was fun despite a strange crowd vibe and the fact that Orlandissey was suffering from heat stroke.  We pushed on and had a good time.  Thanks to all who came to any or all of those shows!

Are you aware that our Slim’s show with Zoo Station is coming up next weekend?  Yes, Saturday, August 5th we’ll be playing our biggest venue yet: Slim’s.  Everytime I think about it, I pee a little.  And our next SoCal mini-tour is coming up the weekend after that!  I think there are at least a few of you out there looking forward to our return.  I know I am!  More details to come…

Coming up this Saturday, we’ll be at the Blackthorn Tavern on Irving.  We’ll be playing just about every song we know, and this is supposed to be a fun venue.  So come out and find the one that you love and who loves you…

By the way, that new Les Paul sounds like rock and roll.  I’m feeling at home with it in a way that I never have with a solid body.  Don’t expect it to change my style too much, but it’s nice to have something in the rotation with a little more balls  for those occasions that call for it.  And apparently it does have somewhat of a Mike Ness vibe, which I think will please some of you little Social D acolytes.

I’ve replaced the Nokia brick phone I’ve had since 2002.  Affectionately known as the “Liberace phone,” he was pearl white and featured a pixelated rose graphic screensaver.  He also had the best feature of his time: the ability to “compose” your own MIDI-esque ringtones.  I pathetically spent time waiting on BART composing beeping monstrosities like “Miserlou” and “Thieves Like Us.”  Anyway, I didn’t want to retire him, but my cell phone service provider is upgrading their network, and I basically had no choice.  “Sorry sir, we no longer support phones from the Paleozoic era.”  Oh well, Liberace will spend his retirement resting comfortably in a drawer somewhere in my house.  This new phone (same number of course, duh!) lets me make my own ringtones out of any sound file I have on my computer.  So that’s promising.  Nothing like hearing Johnny Marr’s licks blaring at 3am when one of you animals is drunk-dialing me.

How much is good hair worth?  Frequent haircuts and expensive Japanese pomade are a constant drain, but I think they’re a good investment.  On a good day, I look in the mirror and think: you’re 27 and this is as young and dashing as you’re ever going to look again.  These may be my best years, and I’m wasting them.  Maybe it’s time to start looking for a new partner in crime.

“Somebody could walk into this room
And say your life is on fire.
It’s all over the evening news.
All about the fire in your life on the evening news.”

The Shows Must Go On

10 July 2006

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

God damn, it’s been a long time since I wrote.  I kept meaning to, and well, it kept not happening.  And now here I am with so much to write that I think I’ll just be doing a Cliff’s Notes version again.  Another one of those blogs that’s more for me so I remember all this stuff in a few years.  Read on if you dare.  In rough chronological order:

My Birthday
So my birthday weekend was relatively salvaged all things considered.  I ended up at dinner and Leisure with Shel, Allison, Taylor, and Jonee.  I sang “Ask” in the karaoke lounge in the back.  Late night at Sparky’s catching up with Jonee and saying goodbye to Tay Tay.  The actual day of, I saw a movie with Shel.  Laid back.  Good times.  One thing I should note — I had lunch that day with my parents.  At their request, I had made them a Smiths/Morrissey mix CD.  Apparently they’ve spent the last few weeks listening to it, and we spent lunch discussing Morrissey lyrics.  They actually had a really insightful take on him, and they said things like “we understand now.”  How neat/creepy is that?

A Day In The Park
The following weekend, I spent an afternoon in Dolores Park watching an outdoor opera with Orlie.  Looked around in the Haight.  Had a gimongous lunch at Asqew.  Went to Bauhaus night at Club Gossip with Orlie, Meredith, and Nick.  Saw Jenn and finally met Patricia in person.  By the way, beware!  Apparently if you piss off a certain gay man at Gossip, he will squirt you with lube.  Why would he do that?  Why does he have lube with him at the club?  Who knows?  But the threat is real!  It happened to a friend of mine.

Day On The Meadow
So Sus blessed us with several tickets to this music festival in San Jose,and what happens?  All of the ungratefuls in our group bailed last minute.  Very much against my nature, I went by myself… but I was saved by Dori and her friends who kept me company the whole time.  Why would I brave this thing (potentially) alone?  How about the Lovemakers, the Dresden Dolls, and the Violent Femmes?  You’re God damned right.  Important notes…  The Lovemakers’ new keyboardist seemed to work out fine, and he’s a looker.  The Dresden Dolls joined the Femmes for a few songs.  Gordon looks way too big and old to still have that voice (not that I don’t still love it — they played every song I wanted to hear!).  And there was some band called “Smash Up Derby” I think.  They played live mash ups.  Like Nirvana and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.  Weird.  And scary.

Bored On The 4th Of July
OK, well not quite.  Our planned BBQ on Ocean Beach fell through when plans were stalled to the last minute, and people bailed or were sick.  Orlie/Meredith and I caught the very forgettable Superman.  Hit Zeitgeist (I know… ew!) for dinner, but it was too crowded.  After a couple of drinks, we headed over to Sparky’s, walked to Hot Cookie (the Castro’s premier gay cookie shop), and ended up singing karaoke at the Mint.  I did “Stray Cat Strut” and “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get.”

Reverend Horton Heat #1
Some friends bailed, but some did not, and I ended up at the Blank with Anna (thanks Sus!).  We caught the Horrorpops’ set (better than I was expecting but ultimately lame) and were right up close for the Reverend.  This was my favorite time ever seeing him.  I got to scope out his hands during most of the songs.  Dori, Lydia, and friends were out in full force, but all I really got to see of them besides an initial hello was when Lydia took a swipe at the Rev’s mic stand.  He was not amused… see her blog for details.  These girls tell me that I only see them at their worst.  That may be… but what do you suppose it looks like to me?  I don’t know if I’d recognize you two with your halos on.

Reverend Horton Heat #2
This time, Sus, Anna, her friend, and then eventually Jamie and Andrea ended up at the Fillmore for a second go at the Rev.  Another fine show (what’d you think Sus?), and I heard the lead singer of Metallica was there too.  Some people were drunk.  Some people fell down the stairs.  I won’t name names.  🙂

Lazy Saturday
I went guitar shopping with Orlie.  Checked out the Red Devil Lounge.  Had a crepe.  Found some green milk tea with tapioca.  Spent the night getting to know a new Les Paul.  This is getting excrutiatingly boring to type out.  You, the reader, must be asleep by now.

Upcoming Shows
Holy shit.  After a month off, I’m itching to play a show.  I’ll have the opportunity coming up pretty quick here.  We have this Friday at the Red Devil Lounge, immediately followed by four consecutive Saturday shows around San Francisco… culminating at Slim’s with Zoo Station!  And the weekend after that is our second SoCal mini-tour!  We’ve never been so busy!  And we’ve got six new and resurrected songs to launch.  Here are the next two flyers:

 

Why My Pants Are On Fire
Yes, I am a liar liar, but that’s not why.  I’m in Phoenix, but the good news is that I’ve apparently reached the point again where I’m getting free stuff from travel companies.  Hertz is giving me the Prestige Collection cars and United is giving me free seat upgrades and all without me asking.  And that’s about the only good news.

Final Thoughts
I had the bright idea to get CDs and start listening to the “classic” bands that I’m apparently supposed to like.  So far, I’m unmoved.  Maybe there’s a reason why I haven’t gotten into them in all these years.  I started with the Velvet Underground.  Kings of the two-chord song.  “Heroin” and “Sweet Jane” are genius, but the rest is pretty unremarkable.  I guess they were highly influential?  I like Lou Reed and I like Nico, but VU doesn’t strike me as anything special.  Next was Siouxsie and the Banshees.  At the risk of heresy, I think they’re awful.  Almost to the point of being unmusical and unlistenable.  It really just sounds like noise to me.  Maybe as a Smiths fan, I’m just spoiled, but this stuff is so… mediocre.  Maybe it just didn’t age well.  But then I think of the Cure and DM and their stuff is beautiful.  So what gives?  Next up is Iggy and the Stooges and I have high hopes.  Currently, I’m on the Clash.  They have some good songs, but for the most part, they sound like a high school garage band to me.  I guess they were punk pioneers, but… sorry, I just don’t get it.

“Now she’s in purple.
Now she’s a turtle.”

WTF?

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