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Current Mood: accomplished
Well it was a lovely Xmas / New Year’s vacation, kiddies. So much to tell.
You know, that last week of work before Xmas, I went bowling with some coworkers. First time I’d picked up a bowling ball in 2+ years, and the very first time it left my hand, I scored a strike. Ended the game with a strike too, and at one point bowled three in a row. Finished with a 168, far and away the best score of my life. (Do bowling skills just naturally grow with age despite zero practice?) Anyway, maybe I should have taken that as a sign of good things to come…
Home For The Holidays
After being stuck at home for Xmas last year, while the rest of my family was at Disneyland, it was nice to get to spend it with them this time around. I got to see my sister’s new place and hang out with her rugrats. Spent a couple days with my mar and par. Was somewhat dismayed that the best reaction I got from any of the gifts I gave was from my grandma when she opened her 2-liter of Bombay Sapphire. As always, it was nice to “unplug” from my usual daily stresses and just mellow out in that alternate universe that is my family life.
Staring down a whole week off, I started to think that maybe I should, you know, do something. I decided on a spontaneous trip down to SoCal the day after Xmas, being the first time I’d taken my current car there, not to mention the furthest I’ve driven in a couple of years now. A good challenge, and an excellent chance to catch up with the friends that I only ever get to see when TCB plays down there, and briefly at that. I stayed on Sunset at the same place TCB used to. Fabi and Megan were kind enough to take me around to a couple of excellent honky tonks, as well as an unbelievably delicious meal at P.F. Chang’s of all places (kung pao with five-spice tofu instead of chicken… good gawd!). Oh, and they taught me the proper way to pronounce the local baseball team’s name: “Los Doyers.” I met up with Jessica and her man at The Cat & Fiddle (no Moz sightings), and then Amoeba (saw Forest Whitaker there). Sadly, I missed Colin altogether. 🙁 And there were others too that on short notice I just couldn’t hook up with. Next time though!
On the way out of town, I hit up Sunset’s Guitar Center and Sam Ash, places that historically have been rushed stops during TCB show trips. Here I got to take my time and explore. Saw the array of Gretsches that dwarfs Bay Area guitar stores, as well as a ton of vintage gear… LED Rics, 12-string 335s and Coronados, Vox 2×15 AC30s, and on and on. Candyland, basically. Anywho, I was surprised to find the drives there and back were both easier even than I remember. And I’m so glad to be a comfortable with that again, because I’d like to make little weekend SoCal trips a regular occurrence like they used to be. Too many friends down there to let so much time go by between visits, you know.
New Year’s Eve In Seattle
I popped out for a quick 24 hours in Seattle to spend New Year’s Eve playing the Showbox (SoDo) in Seattle. We were staying in a dodgy area near the airport, with strange people milling around outside for no apparent reason… reminded me a bit of the hotel from that first Fresno show a few years back. But I quickly forgot about all that in dealing with the constant waxing and waning rain all day and night. Made driving a bit of a hassle, but for once I got tremendous use out of the rental car’s GPS, and I have a new found respect for them. If I drove my own car in unknown areas more often, I might even pick one up for myself. Pretty neat.
The show was more fun than I expected, with a highly entertaining bill that included Dead Souls, Love Vigilantes, and Fascination Street. All the bands’ members seemed to be in good spirits, and we all got along great. I joined Love Vigilantes as the fake Johnny Marr in a successful rendition of Electronic’s “Getting Away With It” (which I had picked out last minute in my Hollywood hotel room earlier in the week). Some of us went to eat afterwards and found a former Denny’s. You ever seen “Coming To America?” Well this was the McDowell’s of Denny’s. Nick and Orlie can attest. It was hilarious. Instead of “Moons Over My Hammy,” they had “The Rising Sun Sandwich.” But the menu was identical in terms of content. The building, the fixtures, everything. Denny’s, but not.
One note about logistics. I got it from all sides at the airports this time around. On my way home, I was almost arrested for wearing a belt buckle that looked like brass knuckles. They were not in any way functional, but apparently they were enough to earn me a stern talking-to along the lines of “do you know how stupid it was to try to bring this on an airplane?” I am not a thirty year old man; apparently I am a 15 year old Beavis. Oh well, just doing their job I guess. My guitar was swabbed by TSA for bomb residue, and they almost wouldn’t let me bring on my pedalboard until a musician working there vouched for what it was. And aside from all this, I have never received so many disapproving looks from old folks in the airport, brazenly inspecting the stickers on my pedalboard (none of which are very offensive, save the “I <3 Hunting Accidents” one). Apparently images of Mozzer and Marc Bolan offend them. But they looked at me like I was a gutter punk moonstomping through their garden party. All hilarious to me, because I’m probably a more stand up guy than their own sons and grandsons, but whatevs. It’s the way of the world. I’m sure in their day, old folks used to fuss at them when their dresses showed ankle. Someday, I will be fussing at young’uns for whatever they’re up to. Hell, I probably already do.
It was an interesting way to ring in the new year. And a major change from last year. See last year, I didn’t want to leave the house. Too anxious. This year I flew to Seattle in the rain for one day to play a show in front of hundreds of people. What a difference a year makes, huh? 🙂
I don’t usually take a lot of long vacations. Most of my days off are used to make three-day weekends for TCB trips and such. I gotta say that this last week off is one of the few vacations I can remember that feels like it was really well spent. In a single week I made it to see the family for Xmas, drove all the way to SoCal and back, flew to Seattle and back, visited with countless friends, and learned and played a lot of music. Even made it out to New Wave City and Leisure this weekend. Oh, and I saw The Road yesterday, too. (Super creepy and also amazing. Check it out. Do it. Do it.) But yeah, I’m feeling like I really made the most of this time off. If only every week could be so action packed.
OK, so hopefully I’ll get to my “new year” blog next time. It’s been so busy, I haven’t even had the time to sit down and reflect yet, much less make plans and resolutions for 2010. But I’d say it was a pretty good trade. Nice to be spending my life lately actually living it rather than just busy planning it.
“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
— W. C. Fields