Posts Tagged maturing

2010, Come And Gone

27 December 2010

Before I get started, a quick note… when all was said and done, I made out surprisingly well on my 2010 Christmas wish list!  I scored a Dirt Devil, a Mouse Rug, and a calendar… as well as an amazing Marr/Rourke autographed Shoplifters 12″!  One of the best holidays I can remember from a loot perspective.

I know I say it every year around this time, but this seriously must have been the fastest year of my life.  It seems like just yesterday I was down on vacation in L.A. and playing a TCB show in Seattle for New Year’s.  And here I am again, closing in on another New Year holiday.  Last year, I know I had meant to do a “2009 in review” type blog, but guess I didn’t get around to it.  It’s too bad, because there was a killer link to share which of course I never got to: the now-slightly-less-relevant decade (2000-2009) in review from SFGate.  Still a great read down memory lane (when you’re done reading this of course).  Anyhow, I’m not going to do a full “2010 in review” as I have sometimes been known to do in the past.  But I will sum up some of the things I learned over the last year or so, mostly about myself:

  1. I spend too much of my life (time, effort, money) trying to be clever.
  2. I need to give up Clint Eastwood as a de facto male role model.  That quixotic idea of a quiet, mysterious, stranger… it only works in spaghetti westerns and romance novels.  Which is to say that it looks good on paper, but in practice it just makes you seem antisocial.  I need to be more outgoing, because there’s no glory in keeping to yourself all the time.
  3. There are a lot of immature people out there.  Both women and men.  It’s not worth wasting your time, though that isn’t always immediately apparent.  But in the end, they don’t have their shit together, and they can’t be reasoned with.  In that regard, I feel like I know very few actual “adults.”
  4. However, even the people you love are not perfect.  If you expect perfection or even absolute consistency from your closest friends and family, they are bound to disappoint you.  And if you expect or demand absolute consistency from yourself… well it can cause a host of mental issues that I can personally attest to.  So maybe the best you can do is strive to be as consistent as possible, allowing that you are human and can have conflicting emotions… and will not always act consistently… and will not always do exactly the right thing… and will not always be totally impartial and fair or even kind.  Despite your best efforts to be consistent, you will not always succeed, no matter what kind of priority you place on it (see #8 below).  But you can try your best and hope you get the same integrity from the people you let get close to you.  Without exception, people have character flaws and shortcomings.  People get confused and clouded by their emotions.  People have moments of weakness.  People make mistakes.  Even your favorite people.  And yes, even you.  It doesn’t make them evil.  It just makes them human.  (That’s not a free pass for anyone to do anything without consequences.  Which is hard for me to reconcile, because it complicates the process of distinguishing friend from foe.  So how do you judge?  Just by intentions?  I don’t know yet.)
  5. Life is hard.  Every time I think I’ve got a handle on it, something new comes up and turns it all on its head.  And each life problem, health problem, relationship problem that I thought I’d never have to deal with (because I was too smart, too careful, too lucky, etc.) finds a way to impact me after all.  God knows what else is in store for me over the coming decades.
  6. Speaking of the coming decades, here’s something to think about that is so commonly heard that you (like me) probably just ignore it.  But take a moment to really ponder this: how many things have you put off assuming you have time?  Any one of us could die today, tomorrow, next week… and you can bet the last thought in your head is going to be all the things you now regret never doing while you had the chance.  Realistically, it’s hard to throw caution to the wind and lead every day like it’s your last.  But think about what you did yesterday.  Now think about how differently you would have spent yesterday if you knew you would die today.  Surely you can incorporate some of that into how you spend today.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to stop being so damn scared to put myself out there creatively, to travel, to try new things, to love without reservation.  What the fuck am I protecting myself from?  I’m very fortunate… I could have been born to the Vietnam era and never made it anywhere near age 30.  I feel I have a responsibility to make use of the time I have here.  A safe life could be a life unlived.  I mean given the choice, do I want to be buried with 1) lots of joys and sorrows or 2) little of either?
  7. I don’t do well with serious illness and mortality.  I always feel this tremendous weight of being expected to have some reaction that I almost never have.  It makes me feel like a sociopath.  Detached from humanity a little bit.  At first, I didn’t wouldn’t even discuss this with my own family because I was afraid even they wouldn’t understand.  It’s not that I don’t feel it.  But when things like that get to be too much, like a circuit breaker, I shut it off completely.  And then I process it slowly over time.  It’s just my way.
  8. If there is any value in the Enneagram system, I am unquestionably a “Type One” (possibly with a “Type Nine” wing).  I hesitate to put all my eggs in that basket, and I know it’s not the be all / end all.  But if I’m being honest, I was sincerely moved by how true most of the Type One stuff rang for me.  Here’s hoping it helps me to understand myself a little more…

2010 was an amazing time to be alive, don’t doubt it for a second.  To explain… I’ll pick a random year of our lives.  Say 1994.  Think about that year.  It’s amazing to have lived it.  You were there for the one and only 1994 there will ever be.  The one history books refer to for this or that event, the one future generations will wonder about, the way you do when I say 1969 or 1776 or 82 B.C.  The year 1994 was every bit as unique and significant.  When I say “1994” what do you think of?  I think of the friends I had then.  The school I was attending.  The house I lived in.  The events, the births, the deaths, the way people dressed, the popular music, and the movies that came out.  The people I lived in the time of.  And think about it: you were there.  The one and only 1994 for all of history.  And you were there for the one and only 2010.  And you’re about to join me in being an equal participant and witness in the first and only 2011.  And that is amazing.

My New Year’s resolution remains — as always — to get an original music project off the ground.  But there’s good news on that front.  The rockabilly band I’ve been woodshedding with finally has a complete lineup, with an inaugural gig as early as February.  Stay tuned for details!  While I don’t have anything I’ve written officially on the docket yet, it’s only a matter of time.  I hope.  The related quote of the week comes from a shocking source.

“You have to dare to suck to be great.”
— Ricky Martin

Just Keeping The Population Down

17 September 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love love love the fog?  San Francisco’s Indian summer fog has arrived, and not a moment too soon.  It’s half the reason I live where I live.

Damn, Gina… I haven’t posted anything on here in over a month!  What can I say?  I go through spells of not having anything interesting to share (assuming I ever do).  It’s not that I haven’t been busy.  If anything, maybe too busy.  I figured I ought to at least check in with you, though.

Been to a bunch of great shows and events the last month or two.  Crowded House at the Warfield, The Blasters, Reverend Horton Heat’s 25th anniversary show at The Fillmore (filmed for a DVD), Wicked with Shel, Conan O’Brien live, disco dancing in stretchy gold bell-bottoms and white platforms, and Phantom Of The Paradise (spawning a minor obsession).  Had a couple of fun TCB shows in San Jose and Sacramento, where we got to debut “The Draize Train” and I got to go all guitar hero.  Got on a go-kart for the first time in over a decade, which was way more fun than I expected.  Got hit with a nasty computer virus (which I’m normally ultra-vigilant about).  There may have been more exciting events of note.  What am I forgetting?

Oh, and I finally finished watching the full Brisco County, Jr. series I remember from my youth.  Such a good show!  Such a tragedy it was only around one season (1993/94).  A quirky, sci-fi western with the incomparable Bruce Campbell, the late Julius Carry (a.k.a. Sho’nuff), and the delicious Kelly Rutherford… all written by the guy who went on to produce “Lost.”  I’m not a big DVD watcher, so this was an accomplishment for me.  Let me know if you want to borrow it.  😉

Coming up, I’ve got a few weddings to go to, including one this weekend.  Friends which also happen to be exes.  By this time next month, the clear majority of my exes will be married, if the hitched don’t already make up the majority.  It’s too depressing to do the math, but I’m pretty sure.  They’re all breeding too, or will be soon.  Good for them.  I won’t lie… it does make me feel behind the curve a bit.  I am now older than my dad was when I myself, the youngest, was born.  I’m used to feeling, frankly, more mature than most people my age (which could be horsefeathers, but hey, it’s how I feel).  Settling down is the one area where I sometimes wonder if I’m missing out on something essential.  I know there’s no “right” answer or path I have to take in life, but did I somehow fall behind my peers here?  Do they all know something I don’t know?  Or is it vice versa?  Much to ponder.

In lighter news, I’m also going to clean out my storage unit once and for all this weekend.  That means a pile of dusty crap on my living room floor for a few weeks while I sort it all out, but I think I’ve at least got a plan now.  If you have little ones who might be in the market for free toys from the 80’s and early 90’s, be sure to let me know.  It’s almost all gonna be up for giveaway.

Lots of stuff on the horizon.  TCB has a few shows in central CA in October, starting out on the tropical shores of Bakersfield (10/15) and ending in giddy Fresno (10/16).  By then, I should have my new signature guitar picks in use, woo hoo!  Then November will mark TCB’s 5th anniversary!  There’s a good chance we’ll be doing something in SF to celebrate that, so stay tuned.  I think I’ll need to write something about that, you know, looking back on the last five years and all.  And if all that weren’t enough, I’ve started playing with a few different original bands — one on the Smiths side of things, the other a rockabilly band — so we’ll see where those go.

OK, I think we’re sufficiently caught up.  Onward and upward…

My Froat Hurts

29 June 2010

I can’t believe it, but I’m down with another sore throat.  For once, I actually think this one can be blamed on allergies, but I’m not taking any chances.  The headache, the fatigue, it could be anything.  This may cause me to miss The Lost Boys in Santa Cruz.  Aww piss!

I had an exciting birthday weekend that included another great show by Slim Cessna, as well as some dinners and lunches with friends and family.  This weekend is a merciful three-day, but as I’m too lazy to drive down to SoCal for Hootenanny (I-5 on a holiday weekend?  No thanks.), I’m left with some time to kill.  Could this be the weekend I finally make some headway with storage?  Let’s consider:

The Facts
When I left the East Bay in 2004, I put everything I owned (that I wasn’t taking with me to S.F.) in a storage unit out there.  We’re talking years of toys, sports equipment, baseball cards, school papers, books, and God knows what else.  I haven’t even cracked the door on this place in the last six years.  I don’t remember all of what was in there or even how much of it there was.  For all I know, the unit was broken into the day after I left it, and I’ve been paying monthly rent on an empty unit for the better part of a decade.  This is hundreds of dollars going out the window every year, and for what?  Because I haven’t gotten off my ass to take care of it.

The Options
The way I see it, there are four possibilities, and they are as follows:

  1. Do Nothing
    There’s nothing that says I have to do anything about it now.  It’s not that expensive, and I could leave it all in storage for another 10 years if I wanted to.  The upside is that it costs me no effort.  The downside is not only the monthly rent but also the mental and spiritual weight of knowing I have all these possessions in my name that are going to waste and occupying space in my consciousness.
     
  2. Keep It
    There’s too much to move in my car in one trip, and it’s a 45 minute trip one way.  But I could take a few trips, or else rent/borrow a truck and get all of my stuff out of there.  The question is: what would I do with it?  I don’t have room in my place for all of that crap unless I want it in a big pile in the middle of my living room.  And then there are the spiders to consider.  After all these years undisturbed, I shudder to think how many critters — alive or dead — might be lurking in all those dark boxes.  The last thing I want to do is bring that nightmare into my house!  All I’d really be doing here is trading the cost of the storage unit rent for space in my living room.  No me gusta.
     
  3. Give It Away
    Now we’re getting into the more serious options.  I think the reality is that I have lived this long without this stuff, to the point I don’t even remember most of what’s in there.  Do I really need it anymore?  I guess I always thought I’d have kids someday and that they’d inherit all this stuff and it would find the perfect use.  Even if I do have kids though, they’re going to be all about Nintendo.  What would they want with an old G.I. Joe or a box of baseball cards?  I feel like the era of passing toys onto your kids has started to pass.  It’s not the same as it was with our parents’ generation, is it?  Or is it?  I can see the value in going through all these old toys again and the memories it will surely evoke.  Is that final going-through-them-in-preparation-to-give-them-away a sufficient final extraction of value?  Or do I need to keep them longer?  Or could I get away with taking and keeping pictures of them?  The memories could be preserved that way.  It feels like a scary proposition to just give all this stuff away.  For all the time and effort and money that went into collecting it and storing it for what amounts to almost my whole life… to just wake up one day and sweep it out the door?  That’s huge!
     
  4. Sell It
    This feels about the same as just giving it away.  It has the bonus of at least feeling like it’s going to someone who appreciates it.  I mean, if someone bothers to track down a Hot Wheels from me, he probably really wants that car.  So it would be like it was serving a purpose again, plus there’d be at least some money in it.  If I could snap my fingers and sell everything in that storage unit for its fair price, heck it might not even add up to what I’ve spent on storing it the last six years.  And of course it won’t be that easy.  It’d probably be a big pain in the ass to catalog and sell all of that stuff.  Ebay?  Craig’s List?  It might take weeks to move it all.  And this isn’t exactly the economy to be selling trinkets.  But I feel like I should be getting some money for it at least.  I mean, my parents paid for most of it with their hard-earned money during my childhood.  The least I could do is get a return and pass it on to them.  Just getting rid of it feels like it would be an insult.

The Horns Of A Dilemma
On the one hand, I feel like I need to shed this weight, but on the other it pains me to think of the wasted money and stress of keeping it for all this time just to suddenly dump it unceremoniously.  So in all seriousness, I’d love to get your input.  Surely some of you have been through some variation on this same experience.  Am I being ridiculous?  The Buddhist in me says “give it away, let it go, it’s served its purpose, and it’s only hurting you now.”  And I secretly fantasize about what it would feel like to know all my material possessions are right here with me, easily tracked, easily moved, and easily disposed of.  Like I’d be more mobile.  Lighter.  What to do?

The Sudden Change Of Subject
That debut album from The Drums finally came out.  It’s pretty good, kinda like Joy Division with an upbeat surf slant… and a healthy dose of new romantic.  In terms of accessibility, I think their “Summertime!” EP was a little catchier, but this album is still worth a hear.

Shedding The Past, Sartorially Speaking

29 May 2010

So for whatever reason, I got the sudden urge to clean out my closet and get rid of all the stuff that I don’t wear anymore.  Of course I wasn’t hoping to get any money out of it — I don’t wear those kinds of clothes.  But I figured if I can prevent it from going to waste and maybe gain back some of my apartment real estate in the process, everybody wins.

Well today I had at it, and I’m left pissed at all the clothes I piled up.  Sure, there were plenty of old t-shirts and shabby clothes that aren’t much good to anyone who isn’t desperate purely to keep warm.  But there were also loads of perfectly good quality bowling shirts that I used to think were so stylish.  See, back in the early and mid 2000’s, I was all into the clothes of Daddy-O’s.  Girls love the dresses there, but I was all about the bowling shirts.  I can’t knock the quality, because they really make good stuff.  But these days, those things look less rockabilly to me and more… I don’t know… douchey Vegas?  That’s not an across the board indictment, because certainly some guys can still pull it off.  It looks more appropriate on older men, I’d say.  Anyway, my point is that those things aren’t cheap, and so I’m looking at hundreds of my old consulting dollars down the drain.

I am not dumping any of my Hawaiian shirts though, because I have every intention of bringing back the Hawaiian shirt this summer.  You have been warned.

In my digging, I was surprised to find my beloved and practically unused powder blue suede shoes, as well as my real saddle shoes back before you could buy them at Hot Topic.  I came across (and kept) some sweaters and sweater shirts, several PeopleSoft shirts, a few holy skater shirts from middle school.  I had forgotten I even had a t-shirt from Shotgun Willie’s strip club in Denver.  (That’s a consultant story I’ll share in redacted form someday.)  And horror of horrors, I even found some silk boxers!  I had chosen to forget I ever used to wear silk boxers.  And the last remaining proof goes in the garbage tonight.

In fairness, I did unearth some other unnameable corruptions in the back of my closet.  I don’t know if the Dragonfly shirt company is still around, but they should be charged with crimes against humanity for some of the blasphemous garments they supplied to my wardrobe.  Plus, was I like… a raverat one point?  I have all these trippy millennium-era club shirts.  Black and white swirly patterns and weird shimmery materials.  Blanket apology to any woman who had to be seen with me in them.  I almost hesitate to give them to Goodwill, as passing on these dark testaments to the lower bounds of fashion is surely no show of any “good will.”

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “where are the pics?  I want to see these unspeakable things!”  No, you don’t.  Believe me.  You think it will enrich your life, but you are mistaken.

So long black Nike swim trunks with the giant white “swoosh” across the butt.  Goodbye hideous plush polo shirts I used to wear when I started consulting.  Au revoir countless pairs of semi-worn black slacks that span my career from working in a pool store to last year.  Sayonara black satin club/bowling shirt monstrosities.  Adios polo shirts with a stripe across the chest that I used to sport every day in place of the t-shirts I wear now.  Ciao endless piles of white t-shirts that I kept for who knows what reason.  No, I didn’t have to get rid of you today, but you’ve been going to waste in my closet for the last decade.  And the momentary fond memories of 1997-2005 that you brought back to me during this exercise is your final act.

It’s Only Tuesday

23 February 2010

For days, I feel like I’ve been in a non-stop slew of work, meetings, errands, and appointments.  Paying bills, working on taxes, learning songs.  There have been short, lucid moments where I think I have a handle on my massive “to do” list, but they’re fleeting.  It’s been a busy week.  And as Jared pointed out to me, it’s still only Tuesday.

But there is a silver lining.  I’ve got Friday off to relax and prepare for the TCB show in Santa Rosa!  This new club “Chrome Lotus” just opened up, and we’re gonna give it a go with Luv’n Rockets.  I realize this is the North Bay, and it’s a bit remote.  But if you’re anywhere north of the Golden Gate and south of the Oregon border, what else you gonna do Friday night?  Hope to see ya!

The times, they are a-changin’ folks.  In all areas of my life, things are shifting it seems.  I guess that’s always the case, but there just seem to be a lot of balls in the air at the moment.  New risks and opportunities abound.  New paths to follow at work.  New connections to make.  Some interesting travel possibilities coming up for the band.  For those, my instinct is to stress and be hesitant and skeptical.  But those trips — almost without exception — turn out to be fun.  In hindsight, some of my favorite memories over the last few years are trips I didn’t expect much of to begin with.  Portland/Seattle.  Reno.  Good times with some of my best friends.  They’re adventures.  Those trips, at first I don’t like them, but I often end up loving them.  But then, no is always easier than yes.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.

— Samuel Johnson

We’re like crystal — we break easy.

15 February 2010

I tell ya, aches and pains just come too easily these days.  My friends tell me “welcome to your 30’s.”  It’s really astounding how little physical exertion can cause me to be sore all over for a day or two.  It’s pretty much a given the day after playing a show, for instance.   Even walking around in a hilly neighborhood.  It used to be that I thought well if I’m sore then at least I’m building some muscle.  But something tells me that’s not what’s going on here.  At least not anymore.

It was a fun weekend!  We spent an afternoon at a John Hughes movie marathon at the Castro Theater.  It was actually really interesting to watch Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club in a theater and listen to the collective cheers and sighs.  Clearly, there was a lot of love in that room.  I think it was also settled once and for all that I’m so much more Jake Ryan than Farmer Ted.  At some point, we found our way into a sex shop where I finally picked up the bear flag sticker I’ve been looking for for years.  Then later in the evening we caught Balls’ Dead Souls show in Menlo Park.  Yes, Menlo Park.  Also made it out to the Tonga Room for the first time ever, and it was incredible!  Reminded me of Don The Beachcomber’s in San Jose, which my dad took me to once when I was little.  (That particular location eventually became a gay bar, then burned down, then was paved over for a freeway on-ramp.)  Anyhoo, the Tonga Room and the Fairmont in general were pretty spectacular.  And of all people, we saw Joe Montana dining and dancing.  Go figure!

If you’re around this week, Seattle’s Love Vigilantes will be at Popscene on Thursday night (2/18).  Aside from the fact that they currently include TCB‘s Nick and Paul in their ranks, there’s a good chance I’ll be making a brief guest appearance as fake Johnny Marr for a song or two!

One of the first shows I ever went to as an adult was when I went and saw The Knack at Slim’s.  They had the number one hit of the year I was born, you know… not to mention one of the biggest hooks of all time.  I remember laughing my ass off when someone tried to hand the lead singer (Doug Fieger) a joint, and he flipped out, threw it back, and went into a tirade about how drugs were for losers.  Not exactly your typical rock star behavior, but I loved it.  R.I.P. Doug!

Speaking of hooks, I’ve had this guitar riff in my head for days.  I wish I wrote it, but I’m almost positive it’s from a song… and for the life of me, I can’t remember which song.  It’s killing me!  For this sort of thing, it’ll usually come to me in a day or two (along with a huge sense of relief), but no luck so far.  I’ve been listening to The Black Angels, Rage Against The Machine, The White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, anyone who might be responsible for this crushing riff in my head.  In trying to figure out where it came from, as I said, I’ve found myself listening to The Black Angels again.  They sound like The Doors and Joy Division got together to cover Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks.”  And that’s a recipe for success.

Now You’re A Man!

1 February 2010

First, I bought a pot (08/16/07).  Then I bought dinnerware and gave up paper plates and cups (early 2008?).  I even fixed my old couch once upon a time (03/20/06).  And here we are at the next step of my maturation.  Ladies and gentlemen, I bought power tools.  And used them even!  I had some metal work I needed to do on a guitar (which I’ll discuss in a minute), and I needed a Dremel and a power drill.  Well after three trips to hardware stores to get equipment, drill bits, and screws, I was all set.  I spent two nights in my apartment making sparks like it was Flashdance, and now not only is my guitar good to go, but I think I felt my balls drop too!  Where’s that grunting Tim Allen when you need him?  Because if I’m not mistaken, I think I just became a man!

(P.S.  I so loved looking at those old blogs… reading what was going on with me in those days as well as my friends’ comments.  Le sigh!)

This Friday (2/5), This Charming Band will be playing at one of my favorite venues: San Jose’s Blank Club.  We’ve got a lot of friends in San Jose, and the shows there are a hoot, almost without exception.  Starting with this show, you may have noticed our flyer format has changed.  There are a few benefits to this, not the least of which is that they’re way easier to put together.  It also allows for a more modern and sleeker consistency, as well as a lot more room for including show details.  There are pros and cons.  True, the overall effect may be slightly less “Smithsy” than the old format, but it was getting harder and harder to find workable images and prepare those things.  With this new approach, the full picture can be seen, without having to creatively sneak in all the details in and around it.  Of course, I still love those old flyers, and I’m profoundly proud of some of them.  But we’re trying something new, and here’s the result… what do you think?  (Incidentally, this one’s a tribute to the ailing Dennis Hopper.  We love ya, Frank!)

So I hope to see you all at The Blank this weekend, where I plan to “hang out with my twang out.”  That’s right, those of you who come will bear witness to the re-debut of El Twango, my long-forgotten Fender Telecaster.  See, I got him many years ago, but frankly I was too green to contain him.  Telecasters really cut through the mix and have a very different tonal quality than any of the guitars I regularly use.  I always had a hard time dialing in a good sound, and every little flub was painfully obvious.  So after just one use in the first year of TCB, El Twango was banished to guitar collection purgatory.  Not sold off, but not played regularly either.  And there he remained for years… until I found he was the natural choice for my short-lived spaghetti western project (absolutely nails that Alessandroni-esque tone by the way, though he himself reportedly used a Strat).

So that was all in the back of my mind.  Then recently I decided that maybe it was time to give him another shot in TCB, and to my great pleasure, I found that the Tele actually “fits” me now.  And not only that, but it sounds like the vicar’s knickers on a lot of the old Smiths stuff.  “This Charming Man” was largely recorded with one, believe it or not.  Teles were also used extensively on the “Meat Is Murder” album, and they’re a favorite of Boz Boorer.  So it just makes sense.  I’ll be including El Twango in the roster on Friday, and I expect him to make regular appearances for the foreseeable future.  A new (but old) guitar, how exciting!

Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets

19 September 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 full

First off, it just so happens that it’s Sus’ birthday today.  Go wish her a happy birthday.  Go on, I’ll wait.

It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve had anything meaningful to share here.  It’s been a confusing time for me lately.  Life changes.  Work changes.  My relationship to those around me changes.  I change.  I’ve wasted hours like I haven’t in months.  I’ve coveted like I haven’t in years.  I have thoroughly cleaned my apartment for nothing in particular.  I have considered more thoughtfully what I might want from life and what I might be moving towards.  I’ve been surprised.  I’ve been disappointed.  I’ve pondered: is it better to love or be loved?

Now, in what is maybe not my most traditionally masculine admission, I find myself totally wanting to go see South Pacific at the Golden Gate Theater.  Anyone want to come with?

It can’t be this Friday though, because that would be the night of TCB‘s return to San Francisco (by way of Café Du Nord)!  This is always such a fun show, and you know how swanky Du Nord is.  We’ve got some new tunes up our sleeves, and what’s more: the opening act is Erasure-esque!  It’s no secret that I <3 Andy Bell (and South Pacific?  Hmmm…).  So, I know the economy is sucking, and I certainly don’t want to jinx it for ourselves, but the fact is that all three times we’ve played here in the past have been complete sell-outs.  So if you want a guaranteed spot at this show, don’t wait to buy your tickets!

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With all these Beatles reissues lately, I’ve taken it as a sign that I need to finally delve into their extensive catalogue.  You may be surprised to hear that prior to last week, I had never owned a Beatles album of any kind.  I mean, I knew the hits and all, but only in so far as they’ve permeated our culture so uniquely.  I’m now going chronologically through their offerings, listening and re-listening, trying to absorb it all mainly as an exercise in history, but also as songwriting education.  I’m not convinced I’m going to walk away from it all as a “super fan,” but so far, I’m appreciating what I’m hearing.  Incidentally, I wonder if Beatlemania 2.0 is bringing any more work for Beatallica?

Completely unrelated to that (despite what would seem to be an obvious Beatles connection), I picked up a Vox AC30 recently.  I’d had my eye on one for a few years, but the stars just didn’t align for me to pull the trigger.  Well, over Labor Day weekend, there were some exceptionally awesome sales, and while I resisted the initial barrage of marketing (thanks to Wally and I mutually talking each other down off the ledge), when sales were extended an extra day, I couldn’t hold out anymore.  It arrived this week, and I got into the studio this afternoon to try it out.  And it is lervely indeed.  Will it make an appearance at Friday’s Du Nord show?  TBD, folks.

The quote of the week comes from Wally, who, after hearing of my eventual surrender to the Vox, was left to face down his own G.A.S. demons:

“By the way, the sale is still on today.  Get thee behind me Satan.”

Aww, that’s so sweet!

9 August 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

Well kiddies, just got back from a pleasant weekend in Anaheim.  The House Of Blues show was our best one there yet, with a crowd that included Moz Krew, Irving, Fabi/Megan, Miles, Couch Straps’ Dan, and many more.  Saw the Lew women.  Met Balls Sr.  Visited Montebello for the first time.  Got some Claim Jumper and some decadent butterscotch pancakes.  Survived the flights.  Researched ungodly piercings with Sus and Paul.  Lost a pillow fight.  A million other things I’m forgetting to mention too.  All in only about 24 hours.  If only every day could be so eventful.  Good times.

I made the mistake of looking in on a bunch of my high school classmates on MySpace and Facebook.  Holy shitake!  The vast majority of them have goodlooking spouses and/or children in their pictures.  WTF?  I guess by now the breeders among us have gotten started.  To be expected, I suppose.  But still shocking.  Am I behind the curve?  Or did I avoid the trap?  Or…?  Meh.

So a few weeks back, I posted that parody AFSCME PSA right?  Weirdest thing… on my flight today were a ton of people wearing AFSCME shirts.  Well in other funny commercial news, who among you remembers this one:

Let’s see, what else?  I saw The English Beat with Shel, and it was amazing!  I’d never seen them before, but I was blown away.  A lot of fun, and Dave Wakeling seems like a nice guy.  Oddly enough, they were opening up for Reel Big Fish.  I don’t know how that works, but whatevs.  RBF was fun too, though we only stayed long enough to here the one song of theirs I remember from my years with Maya: “She’s Got A Girlfriend Now.”  A while back there was an SF Symphony event where they were playing old Warner Bros. cartoons, but doing the orchestral soundtrack live along with it!  I was so sorry to miss that, but I think I had a show that night.  Am I crazy or does that sound like the funnest date?  Had I a date instead of a show.  Hmmm…

I had just been thinking about that old T.V. show “The State” when I saw on Amazon that the whole series is finally coming out on DVD!  It got me to thinking about a few other of my favorite shows that are now also available in complete DVD sets.  I’m thinking Kids In The Hall… Dr. Katz… Brisco County Jr.  Part of me wants to horde that stuff, but it seems clear enough that DVDs are on their way out in favor of Blu-Ray.  I think about the folks I used to know with massive VHS collections.  So collecting DVDs seems like a similarly losing battle.  I don’t want to buy another DVD.  As rarely as I watch the ones I got, the format will be obsolete before I get my money’s worth.  I suppose that logic applies to CDs too, but I’m much more heavily invested in that, and plus there does not yet seem to be an heir apparent.  But still… I hate to think about that.  *cringe*

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If you’ve ever flown out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, then you know that they were long ago pressured to institute a ridiculous noise restriction on flights in and out of there so as not to offend the surrounding communities.  The end result is that pilots have to execute this strange take off procedure where you go nearly straight up in the air, then coast silently for a while, and then the engines kick in again.  The pilot typically explains this process before you take off, and my flight home today was no different.  The quote of the week — nay, the month — comes from the pilot during the “coasting” period of our take off today.  Just as the engines go silent, he whispers to all of us over the intercom:

“Shh… we’re flying over rich people.”

Superman Looks At 30

22 June 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: blah intense

T-minus 4 days, guys.  That’s four short days until I turn 30 years old.

What should I say?  Just give you the usual rundown?  I saw Big Sandy and The Legendary Shack Shakers.  I saw Star Trek and Drag Me To Hell.  David Carradine died.  Christina Ricci broke off her engagement.  I explored Fort Funston alone on a Tuesday afternoon.  I got sick and missed Colin’s wedding dinner, LTB, The Guana Batz, and A Camp.  All those consecutive days home sick allowed me to test what happens when I don’t shampoo my hair for days (erm… dandruff?) and not shave so I could see what I might look like with a beard.  During this down time, I managed to spill scalding water all over my left hand and almost had to cancel the Reno show.  I went to Reno after all, and my car broke down on the way.  Do people still read blogs on MySpace?  Am I wasting my time?  I feel like in the last couple of months, people have abandoned MySpace.  Is it true?

As I approach 30, I wish I had something shattering to say, but I don’t.  Maybe that’s the point though.  I feel like this should be some momentous occasion.  For all the dread and stress that’s led up to it… for all the societal and cultural pressure… I feel like this should be a major event in history.  But something that’s taken a long time to learn, something that I think some people learn when they become parents, something that I have just started to grasp myself… it’s that no one is really meaning parents told you, you are not Superman.  You are mortal.  Your time is finite.  You may be above average, but in the grand scheme of things, you aren’t that different or special from anyone else.  The big dreams you have in youth of being president or an astronaut or an NFL quarterback or a rock star… they don’t come true for virtually any of us, and even if they did, it doesn’t make you happier.

After 30 years, what have I learned?  The things you accomplish, the things you buy, the things you build… they’re just things.  What matters is what you are.  Or maybe what matters is that you are.  I think my happiness comes more and more just from existing.  In the long run, that promotion you got or didn’t get, that car you bought or didn’t, that city you did or didn’t move to… it’s not what makes you happy.  All those decisions can go “right” or “wrong” and either way, your happiness is ultimately dictated by what’s inside you, not what’s around you.

You know, I’m questioning the value of these blogs.  It’s nice to go back and read this stuff, but it’s not unlike scrapbooking.  What a waste of today’s life to spend it chronicling yesterday’s life.  To spend so much time trying to document and capture the past… when our time is so very finite.  It’s ridiculous.  Spend your life living your life, not documenting it for the future.  We won’t be here long enough for this record to possibly matter.  It’s hard to swallow that.  The idea that these dramatic gestures won’t echo throughout history.  That maybe every little thing I say or do isn’t worth capturing for posterity.  I used to think that it was all so precious, but it’s not.  It’s dust in the wind.  We’ll all be dead and gone before anyone has a chance to get serious use out of it.  All that matters is you and me and here and now.

So I guess put another way: I’ve learned to be humble.  Seriously, how can you not be humble in the face of eternity?  We’re all nothing.  If you’re lucky enough to get even 80 years on this planet, do want to spend another futile second of it trying to face down eternity?  Stop living for tomorrow!  I could write more, but I have a life to live damn it.  Time to take my own advice here and stop wasting my night away in front of the computer.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be so lucky as to read this when I’m 40, and I’ll laugh at myself.  When I look at what I thought I knew at 20… well, I have to laugh.

World, it’s been a great life so far.  I hope to take less of it for granted in my remaining years.  I will do my best to always strive to live in the moment, and appreciate every solitary second I’m lucky enough to be here.  I have a lot of regrets, but I’m choosing to use them as fuel to be stronger and wiser in the future.  To the people I’ve known so far, I hope that your life is better for having known me.  Good or bad, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for every one of you, so I thank you.  I’ve always tried to be a good and fair person.  I’ve tried to avoid hurting others whenever possible.  To anyone I’ve hurt, I’m sorry.  I didn’t always have all the answers.  I’m human, and I’ve made my share of mistakes and bad calls.  But I’ve always tried to do the right thing.

I turn 30 this Friday, and all the pressure to make a big deal of it was relieved when the opportunity to play this show came up.  We’ll be back at Ireland’s 32, where I have so many great memories of the early days of TCB.  We’ll play the Smiths and Morrissey we all love so much… and maybe some other stuff too.  It’s half birthday party and half casual TCB show.  I’m just looking forward to seeing my friends and playing a show without the usual rules.  Hope to see you there!

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