Posts Tagged shows

The Four Horsemen Of Acapulco

18 December 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: tired tired

It’s been a strange couple of weeks, no doubt.  Drama and changes with friends, “friends,” work, you name it.  Things appear to be settling down though, and I’m looking forward to the holiday break.

I boosted my holiday spirit last night by seeing El Vez and Los Straitjackets.  I’d never seen either of them live, but I was at least familiar with LSJ’s music.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was still surprised.  The Independent was as packed as I’ve ever seen it, and the show was hilarious.  Fun, but very, very weird.  LSJ was acting as El Vez’s backup band.  They’d occasionally break in with a Christmas instrumental, and the encore was mostly just them.  El Vez went through several wardrobe changes during the course of the night, from a Santa zoot suit to a shiny black jump suit with monstrous faux fur cuffs.  At some point he was dressed as a toy soldier, and there was also some sort of full body rainbow shiny suit that made him almost too reflective to look at.  He was at all times flanked by the two Elvettes, who sang as well as performed small bits of campy theater with El Vez and LSJ that reminded me some of a burlesque show.  The music was mainly mash-ups of Christmas songs and oldies, with some pop songs mixed in (such as Oasis’ “champagne supernova in the sky” though sang as “super Chevy Nova in the sky”).  So to recap, the stage was a mix of many things that you don’t normally see together… surf music, suits and lucha libre masks, Christmas music and iconography, sung by a flamboyant Mexican Elvis dressed in sparkly lamé, joined by two pinups singing, dancing, and joking.  All overtaken during the final encore by a pair of giant inflatable Santa and Frosty.  My favorite moment of the night was El Vez trying to introduce the band… “these are the four horsemen of the apoc… acop… copa… Acapulco.”

(Maybe the strangest part of the night was the crowd.  It was surprisingly older and kinda nerdy.  I guess maybe this is the “novelty act” crowd?  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like the crowd we saw at Tenacious D a few years ago.  Now that was a nerdy crowd.  That reminds me, I know they’re played out now, but I saw the Tenacious D movie on TV recently, and I’m sorry but those guys are fuckin’ funny.  They are still underrated in my book.  And is that Dave Grohl as the demon?  But I digress…)

Well Christmas is here yet again.  I know I say this every year, but this must have been the fastest of my life yet.  I can’t believe we’re here again, and that it’s almost 2010.  Even though it went by in what seemed like an instant, looking back I can see a lot has changed for me in the last year.  Panic is largely behind me, and I’ve had some fundamental shifts in my outlook on life, what direction I want to go, and what I might be ready for.  Maybe I’ll get more into that next time, but yeah… hello and goodbye 2009.  We hardly knew ye.

As I have in recent years, I continue to discourage Xmas shopping for me.  I too will be doing precious little shopping for anyone else this year.  The economy still sucks.  Many of my friends and family are out of work, or have been.  And as always, I have too much crap as it is.  For those few who are close enough to me that you’d even consider getting me something, believe me when I say I’d be just as happy to grab brunch or dinner with you.  So let’s do that instead, umkay?  But to keep the tradition alive, as I did in 2007 and 2008, I put together a list of some of the silly material things my heart secretly desires this Christmas.  So if you’ve got loads of cash and you’re looking to buy my love, look no further… this is between you, me, and Sandy Claws:

  1. A 2010 monthly calendar for my wall at work.  The theme of 2008 was bulldogs, and 2009 was wildlife.  2010?  You tell me, Santa.
  2. A fretboard belt buckle.  These unique creations are available at Black Crow Arts, and though they’re a little on the unnecessarily expensive side, I can’t deny I still want one.  Ideally one set up to match my main guitar, that 335.  I think some configuration of the GB-FV2 model ought to do it.
  3. An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.  With a compass in the stock, naturally.  (Which reminds me, how are we a week away from Christmas and I’ve not heard a single mention of this movie on T.V. yet?)
  4. Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards: Funk & Disco Grooves.  This is a tab book that covers a bunch of Chic songs, and I would love to get my hands on it… but they don’t sell it outside of the U.K. and will not sell it to me.  I’ve tried.  I may have to call in a favor from some U.K. friends.  Who can find it here:)
  5. A pair of “convertible” mittens.  I have never actually seen these in person, but I’ve heard rumors of their existence.  Apparently these are mittens that you can somehow fold back to expose you fingers for temporary dexterity.  This is great, because my hands are always the first things to freeze when it gets cold out, and regular gloves don’t really seem to help much.  Mittens though I think would do the trick.
  6. A new storage solution for CDs.  Any ideas?  After nearly two decades of collecting, I think I’m pushing a thousand, and I’m about to start putting them in cardboard office boxes.  Someday, a simple (if large) shelving unit would be the answer.  You know, if I had like… a den.  But until then?
  7. A plane that loops the loop, or perhaps a hula hoop.  Oh come on, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
  8. A 1979 Gibson Les Paul Pro Deluxe.  Goldtop, please.  I’ve fancied the idea of getting a guitar from the year I was born.  You know, to grow old with.  And I’ve also wanted a goldtop LP with P-90’s.  So with this combo, I could kill two birds with one stone.  Made for only a few years, and surprisingly not too popular on the vintage market.  They pop up on eBay, but rarely.  (Alternatively, I wouldn’t mind one of those bronze, steampunk creations by Scott Walker.)
  9. Any number of things from that German rockabilly site.  You know, this one.  I particularly like the Sun Studios and Wanderers belt buckles.  And though I don’t want it, I love the fact they have a replica Wanderers jacket for sale.  Their prices aren’t bad, but here’s the catch: the shipping is astronomical.  How do I get this shit to the U.S. without paying more in shipping than the items themselves cost?  Santa, of course.
  10. A professional painted portrait of myself.  Big enough to hang over a mantle someday.  Ideally, I’m thinking something in a dramatic Soviet-era propaganda style, but photorealistic like something by Alex Ross.  Because yes, underneath it all, I really am every bit as egotistical as I let on.

Speaking of Xmas shopping, I must confess to doing a little for myself.  For reasons I’ve mentioned here before, I generally avoid buying DVDs these days… but on Amazon, the complete series of Kids In The Hall fell to about $40, and I figure even if I only watch it once, that’s worth $40.  I’m looking forward to vegging out with that sometime soon, maybe over Xmas vacay.

Oh yeah, so I’ll be off on vacation between Xmas and New Year’s.  I think that’s too late to catch the Dickens Fair (which I missed again this year), but I still plan on taking full advantage of this time off.  Sleeping in, visiting with friends and family, seeing all those movies I’ve been meaning to, and above all just relaxing.  If you’re gonna be in town and want to make some plans, let me know!  I might even be down to travel some.  Maybe SoCal?  And then near the end of this little break, it’ll be time for TCB in Seattle on New Year’s Eve!  More on that next time, but should be a blast!  If I don’t get to it before next week, hope y’all have a great Christmas, Hanukkah, whatevs!

“When she calls me, I do not walk, I run.”

Because we must.

3 December 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: contemplative contemplative

Well this time, he didn’t cancel.  He wasn’t sick.  He didn’t collapse.  He didn’t smell any meat.  No one lobbed a cup at him, and he didn’t tell anyone to go fuck themselves.  It was a real, honest-to-goodness show!

Since this was Morrissey’s only Bay Area show, people came from far and wide to be there, and I saw a ton of people I know from around here as well as Sacramento, Fresno, and beyond.  I ran into friends, coworkers, ex-band members, and several folks from TCB shows.  Damn near everyone I can remember coming to a TCB show ever was there it seemed.  It was like “TCB, this is your life!”  It was great to visit with them, and meet the friends of friends.

We had the best seats in the house, and when I say that, I literally mean we had the first seats on the center isle, front row.  The actual and literal best seats the venue offered.  We have only Sus to thank for this magic.  I’d never heard of the opening band “Dolls & The Kicks,” but they were fantastic.  I can’t think of many occasions where I buy the opening band’s CD, much less get an autograph but I did both.  Apparently this was their first time out here?  We need to get them on Popscene’s radar ASAP.  I particularly fancied “Doll.”

Of course as soon as the opener finished their set, everyone in the pit started suspiciously eyed one another for one moment of stillness before someone stirred and spooked the lot of us into action, as we all rushed to stake out our own piece of stage-front real estate.  Sus, Shel, and I were right there, chest to stage to the left of Moz’s monitors.  And me a head taller than everyone else.  I could not have dreamed a better situation.  So as we’re all standing there waiting for the first band to move off the stage and Moz to start, we notice that my massive head is the only thing tall enough to cast a shadow on the backdrop (which you can see in my “skyline” profile picture at the time of my writing this).  I later heard from several friends seated all over the venue that my head was all but in the way throughout the show.

When Moz came out and the show started, it was wonderful of course.  Being so close to him really is mesmerizing, as silly as that sounds.  His voice was strong, and his spirits seemed high.  During the course of the night, Shel got her Cemetry Gates, Shel got her Loop, we all got Ganglord, and we all three got handshakes from the man himself.  Sus got a drumstick, and we shook some band members hands at the end as well.  For any other band, I’m the first to admit that this would be ridiculous and indefensible sycophancy.  But this is different because it’s Moz.  Among the best — if not the best — of my Morrissey concert experiences so far, and that’s saying something considering the charmed 2007 I had on that front.  Amazing… thanks Moz!  Thanks Sus!  Thanks Shel!  Thanks Balls family!

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

19 October 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: tired tired

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey Sugar, take a walk on the wild side…

8 October 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: crappy hungover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GFY

26 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: busy busy

What is it with August birthdays?  I am not exaggerating when I say that I know four people born on August 22nd.  That shit’s astronomical.  It also happened to be the day I… uh… became a man.  Ah yes, a whole year now it’s been.

Last night was the Deadbolt show in San Jose, and their first NorCal show in years… at least since I first heard about them.  A lot of fun, those guys.  On stage shooting sparks, breaking boards, throwing stuff, and just weird banter.  Merch included nudie magnets, sunglasses, and Tijuana-made beer holsters: worn like a pistol holster but designed to hold a can or bottle.  They were wearing and using them on stage, and come to think of it, the bassist had a bottle-opener screwed onto the front of his bass.  What a great idea!  (If only Mike’s Hard Lemonade wasn’t a twist top, I’d do something like that!)  It was a hell of a show, and you probably missed it.  But you got one more chance.  They’ll be at The Uptown in Oakland next Thursday.  And while the Bay Bridge is going to be closed that day, as your attorney, I advise you to make every effort to be there anyway.  Mayhaps I’ll see you there.

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a big fan of the $11 organic “milk” shakes at Cafe Gratitude.  It’s an unusual place, no question.  But if you’ve never been, I definitely recommend trying it out once.  And after all, you might spot a celeb there!  (Jamie and I once saw Kirk Hammett there.)  Anyway, I saw this article the other day.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, assuming it’s even true.  Will it stop me from stepping up to the bar and dropping $11 and declaring “I Am Cool?”  Not a chance.

In other news, I sold one of The Twins recently.  So never again will my glorious pair of turquoise Casinos grace the stage together.  Above all else, this alone should demonstrate my commitment to shedding excesses.  This is TCB history after all.  The Twins were (at least in my mind) pretty iconic of the person I was at that time.  And I’m sure some of you early TCB fans remember them, yeah?  Well, those days are gone.  I’ve moved on.  Though what I’m starting to suspect is that my guitar habit quietly transformed into a t-shirt habit.  Yes, t-shirts.  I think I pick up at least two or three a month these days.  It will be years before I ever wear them out.  What could possibly possess me to collect them that way?  Am I that desperate to be regarded as clever?  (Yes.  Yes, I am.)  Most recently, I’ve been narrowly escaping the urge to pick up obscurities like this Road House shirt.  I look at that, and I wonder: will people get it?  Another great site is 80’s Tees… so many good ones.  I’m reminded though of how my Cobra shirt is temporarily ruined by the fact that there’s a meathead G.I. Joe movie out now.  Anyway, what the hell am I saying here?  I need to stop buying shirts.

Well now, speaking of hippy restaurants and t-shirt obsessions, the quote of the week comes from the back of the Deadbolt shirt I bought last night:

“FUCK YOU HIPPY”

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*

flyer-090814

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.”

All the scars are on the inside.

21 July 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: lethergic lethargic

Last night, I saw Blue Öyster Cult at Slim’s.  Somewhere around 15 years ago, I drove to San Francisco with Jared to see what was my first concert in San Francisco: Blue Öyster Cult at Slim’s.  Even then, I guess you’d say they were well past their heyday.  But it was also way before their cowbell fame, and I don’t mind admitting that “Don’t Fear The Reaper” was among my favorite songs in infused techno intro music, so BÖC has clearly embraced their new ironic hipness… though why they weren’t cashing in on the obvious merch opportunities (HELLO?  How about a souvenir cowbell with their logo on it?) is beyond me.

I’ve been out of commission here for a month.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, but you may remember that I was questioning the value of spending too much time typing it out.  (I’m still on the fence about that.)  In the mean time, I’ve been doing alright.  Just hanging in there, weathering this shitstorm of an economy, you know.  It hasn’t stopped me from shopping though.  I’ve been shirts, and in doing so, I realized that there are websites dedicated to offering clothing that has appeared in movies.  Despite the fact that I haven’t worn a tank top in decades, I’m awfully tempted to pick up a Jack Burton replica from the insane Wing Kong site, dedicated to all things “Big Trouble In Little China.”  Interesting also (though too corny for me) is The Wanderers replica jacket.  Neato!

Oh, and somebody (anybody) I know needs to buy one of these mustache necklaces.  Almost as good as that mustache finger tattoo I saw.  Imagine being able to hold your index finger to your nose and having an automatic evil mustache.  Genius.

Before we go any further, watch this:

There have been several shows lately.  The big one for me was the birthday show of course.  Thanks to Sus, Ireland’s 32 was decorated with Kung Fu Panda balloons, inflatable guitars, party hats, and three amazing custom picture cakes (with sparkling candles)!  I was thrilled with all the folks that attended… off the top of my head, my mar and par, Sus, Anna and Sean, Deanna, Starla, Hawk, some of the Choir Boys and at least one Melano sister, Jonee (with a girl I knew from high school!), a coworker and her friends, Jen J., The Moons, and the mother of all surprises: Jared himself all the way from London!!!  Sadly, Shel was the glaring MIA, stuck across the country.  Peter was there and joined us on stage for a few songs!  We played a couple of Orlie’s originals!  Even my dad came up and played a couple of songs with us!  We ended up at Sparky’s of course, and I got to catch up with Jared till the wee hours.  I got some of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received.  It was a really laid back and fun
show… and honestly, probably the best birthday I’ve ever had.  Thanks again to all of you who made it what it was!

So far, being 30 isn’t so bad.  I don’t feel that different, so I guess that’s good.  Women tell me that men get better in their 30’s.  I’d been dreading that it would be the beginning of my decline.  We’ll see, I guess.

Anyway, then there was Santa Rosa… which was a tough sell again.  At least there was Denny’s.  Then this last weekend was Sacramento and Fresno.  It was fucking hot out there.  But it was fun, as always.  And as always, this particular trip came with its own bizarre stories.  Oh, and did I mention it was fucking hot?  At one point, my car’s thermometer (which admittedly likes to exaggerate sometimes) read 113°.  I’ll note that on my drive home tonight, it read more than 50° cooler than that.  Can you imagine?  50°!  I can’t stand heat like that.  It reminds me of Arizona.  Everything becomes more difficult.  It saps your energy.  And it makes people act crazy.  Believe me.

Man, I need to get out more.  I’ve been having fun lately, but I do a lot of the same things in the same places with the same people.  There’s comfort in that, but it doesn’t give you quite the same room to stretch and grow.  Time to shake things up a little.  Any ideas?

“My heart is on backwards.”
— Morrissey

Self esteem is bad for the economy.

23 April 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  intense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Songs That Saved Your Night

19 April 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  sore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 April 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  full

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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