Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Once most people reach my age, their personalities are pretty well defined. They know what they like and don’t like, what they can and can’t handle, where they can and can’t go. And yet, at 31, I am still constantly putting myself in situations where the likelihood of being put on-edge is through the roof.

Take right now, for instance. I am sitting at the Five Point in Belltown (a mediocre restaurant in a neighborhood I hate), waiting for my car to be serviced. The car place said they wouldn’t even call me until 11am, despite the fact that I showed up right at 9:30 when my appointment was. We went for a spin to troubleshoot the problem (good), and they were very kind and professional. Still, having made the decision that I was going to put my Friday at the mercy of these people, I could have taken a cab back to my house for the price of my breakfast.

When I arrived here about an hour ago, I sat down in the front booth on the bar side, next to the jukebox, facing the window. This is a 24-hour establishment that caters mostly to the drinking crowd, so the place was half-empty. It’s a little early for bar hijinx to take place, I thought, it will be quiet enough. Of course, music started playing almost immediately after I got comfortable. I was doing some work, but I figured I could tune it out.

Still, I noticed everything happening around me. The tourists behind me were arguing over where Denny Street is located. Someone was dropping off a delivery of several large boxes on a dolly and couldn’t get through. A man who looked like he had three dollars to his name inserted that amount into the jukebox and entered a playlist of Snoop Dog songs.

Then the whistling started. I fucking hate whistling. I looked behind me to see if I could find the offending client and determine from his plate how much longer he’d be in here. After a few of these little investigations, I found it was my waitress. Fuck me, I’m in this for the long haul. As I type this, she is attempting to whistle to the Beastie Boys song, “Fight for Your Right to Party.”

As I worked on an assignment, A boisterous white-haired man blew through the front door (which brings in a cold gust of air every time it is opened, btw) and played a series of Sinatra songs. If he wasn’t trying to chat up my waitress and a few of the tables behind me, he was pacing around, snapping his fingers. When his phone rang, he bellowed, “Call me back in a few hours. I’m listening to SINATRA!” Yes, dear. We all are.

I was served my bacon, pancakes, and two eggs sunny side up, praying I would get a call about my car before I finished eating them. Right after I finished my first strip of thick, fatty pig butt, the song “New York New York” came on and I almost lost it.

Almost six years ago, I made the transition from Austin to Manhattan. Rather, I attempted to, and this was the song that kept me hopeful and excited about starting my new life there. We were going to start over (yes, “we”), have new experiences, get new jobs, try new things, and all of that crap. While we certainly did some of that, much of it wasn’t for the better. It was a Devil’s Advocate-esque story that ended with me turning into a giant, hot, wet bag of crazy.

So I couldn’t make it there, but the song didn’t hit me where it hurt for trying. I’m still happy I had the experience, miserable as it often was. I was just shaken, since I wasn’t expecting to have memories about things like this today, especially not while attempting survival under a self-imposed public microscope.

Two songs about Chicago (my hometown) followed, and I snapped out of it. Sinatra may love it, but it’s really not my kind of place. The blocks are too big, the architecture too cold, the culture too dry. It’s a bland metropolis that threw up suburbs populated by bland people. I wanted to feel something, for instance, how much I miss my grandfather and would like to spend time with him. He must feel almost completely isolated now that my grandmother is dead. However, I feel more choked up about it now than when I was listening to those stupid Chicago songs. Grandpa happens to live in Chicago, but he has nothing to do with Chicago.

When I was in New York, my experience had nothing to do with people. Sure, people were rushing in and out of my life faster than the six train, but there was very little depth to most of those acquaintanceships. As a NYC newbie, my goal was to develop a relationship with the city, and it was love-hate, erring mostly on the side of hate. I wanted to believe I’d get used to it, and that it was right for me, but every activity was a project. It was like listening to this goddamn whistling and stuffing this mediocre food down my craw every single day. It meant constantly battling sights, sounds, and weather (like I will soon be doing on my 1.5 mile walk home since I recently learned my car won’t be done until this evening).

Unlike Seattle, which is also full of minor inconveniences for prissy introverts like myself, New York will not love you back. Despite its rough exterior, Seattle is full of little pleasing nuances that can brighten your day, like humorous graffiti, free slices of pizza, a street performer playing the Tetris theme… New York had some of that, but it all seemed commissioned, not spontaneous. That said, sponteneity isn’t even that big of a deal. A cool thing is a cool thing. But if the coincidence is part of what makes the cool thing cool, someone else’s perceived foresight ruins the gift.

Anyway, it’s going to take these guys several hours to fix my shocks, so I’m going home. I have to admit, after been here a few hours, the music, the whistling, and the idle conversation have drifted further back into the corners of my consciousness, and I managed to write this whole thing with some semblance of concentration. (I said, some.) Maybe I just need to get out more.

I decided to try my luck at traveling by commercial aircraft and spend a short weekend in San Francisco. Sea-Tac reorganized the security line for the N/S gates, so it’s no longer “choose your adventure”. This freaked me the fuck out, but I didn’t get selected for a scan. After the Great O’Hare Grope hot on the heels of Grandma’s funeral, I was ready to simply not fly at all. I’m still not too crazy about the idea.

My first stop in the Bay Area involved a Cal-Train ride to Palo Alto. The amount of transit happening that day was bizarre. I took a train to Sea-Tac, a plane to SF, the BART to the Cal-Train, and John’s car to Advantage Aviation where we flew over San Jose and Santa Cruz. That’s where Zoey and I would take weekend roadtrips and eat fried oreos on the boardwalk. Mega-nostalgia in effect.

Then John and I headed to the Fark party. It was yet another reminder than internet people in real life are still internet people. Although I’m no stranger to internet meetups, I like that Fark parties don’t happen as often and tend to be more special affairs. We always douse a lot of that “getting to know you” crap in alcohol so it’s not as painful.

I stayed at the weeeeird Hotel Vertigo and took a foggy walk to Zeitgeist to reunite with the group. After some kielbasa and a breakfast beer, we did a little tourin’. Most notably, we attended the Folsom Street Fair, which made Seattle’s Capitol Hill look conservative and uptight. Most of the pictures in that link are not safe for work, and some of the undocumented stuff I witnessed was not safe for just about anyone. But people were having fun, and that’s what matters.

Although I didn’t participate in ass-slapping, name-calling, mask-wearing hoopla, I let leave their (removable) mark on me. Since I haven’t messed with fake tattoos since I was a kid, I didn’t know I’d need to scrub it off my body to get rid of it, so I walked around like this for about about a week.

For awhile I forgot I was even wearing it, but for those who recognize the site, it probably looked more like an advertizement for the wearer rather than the company. I probably looked as obnoxious as those people who walk around with their underwear sticking out in attempt to look sexy. I was mostly in dark rooms covering Decibel Festival anyway, so I doubt people noticed.

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Electronic music, The Wizard of Oz, and things that take less than 5 minutes.

I wanted to share this, but I don’t know where to put it.