Archive for July, 2008

Bum Signs

I think that homeless people should band together and form one massive sign shop. Because no matter what city you’re in it seems like all the bums are talented at making signs. If they’re hard up for moola, why not charge people for something they already do? I can’t believe no one has ever thought of this! As with any business it would take some time to get off the ground, so the higher up bums (I assume there is a homeless hierarchy) that are almost *not* homeless anymore could charge the new homeless people a usage fee for the signs they already made, something like 5% of the days earnings.

Once the business was rolling they could have real customers and make them signs! If the bums don’t want to open a sign shop, they should at least open a sign supply shop for streetless people like myself. This is an obvious gold mine because they never seem to run out of cardboard and sharpies! And I am constantly out of cardboard and sharpies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned a cd and couldn’t find a sharpie, it is so frustrating! Pencil does not make for a good cd writing tool. I think they should use their resources to help out people like me.

All this homeless sign talk reminded me of the other week, I may have already told this story so if I have, read it again. I exited the freeway and pulled up to the stop light at the end of the ramp. As sure as sugar there was a homeless guy standing there with a sign. I had my window unrolled because it was the perfect cruise with your window down type of day. I wasn’t going to do the obvious window roll up and power lock ‘clunk’ like Phil does every time a raggedy homeless man approaches his car. So as the man approached I sat with my elbow on the sill, beboppin’ to my tunes.

‘Can you spare any change?’

“I’m sorry man, I don’t have any, but you can have this shiny red apple!”

‘I’d love to gnarl on that apple, but I ain’t got no teeth’

I looked up at the man as his face widened to reveal a gummy grin, indeed all he had was mouthful of air and red gums.
Then we both shared a good hearty laugh, because having no teeth is pretty funny.

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Only the best for me

Yesterday I got home from a crazy hard kickboxing workout session. I was tired, hungry and in serious need of some protein. I opened the fridge, there was nothing. I opened the cupboard, brushed away the cobwebs and pulled out my only option. One can of ‘Fancy’ cut green beans. I’m glad they were fancy because this is the only way I like my green beans. If you set a plate of basic, commonplace beans in front of me I won’t touch ‘em. It doesn’t matter how much pepper, salt or butter you put on them I won’t even give them a second look. Fancy is the only way to go.

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Using my skillz

Friday night I met up with my old friend Jimmy and his wife at the Portland Beavers game. I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I figured it could be fun since Jimmy is a cool cat and usually has interesting stories to tell. After driving around for the better part of 30 minutes I found a parking space in what might as well have been Vancouver, and began my trek to PGE Park.

Upon my entering the stadium Jimmy called and told me to head ‘left’ instead of towards the seats as he was buying ice cream and wanted to treat me. I walked on and finally found my friends. After a short rundown of pleasentries Jimmy turns to me:

J: “Do you like baseball?”

Me: (I didn’t know what to say since he had paid for these nice tickets) “Not really…do you?”

J: “I hate baseball”

Me: (Laughing) “Then why are we here?!”

J: (Shrugs) “I dunno, something to do I guess. You wanna beer?”

Me: “Yes.”

We tried to order a drop top and some nachos but the guy was completely out of it and seemed utterly confused as to how to do his job. Finally he got our order correct and we headed to what I thought was our seats. We enter the stadium in the completely wrong section and I’m doing my best to not spill my beer or nachos while trying to keep with Jimmy who seemed to be in some sort of foot race with an invisible man. Behind me is Joy (Jimmy’s wife) with a 5 month old strapped to her bod and a their 3 year old Ella bouncing all over the place.

Me: “Hey man, we’re not even in the right section, are we going to the correct place?”

J: “In Baseball you don’t have to sit where your ticket says.”

I rolled my mental eyes thinking we’re going to get settled into some nice close seats only to get kicked out later. Jimmy and I walk all the way down to the front row (his wife was smart enough to stay at the top of the stairs) and he tries to fanagle something with the ticket checker man. Not to my surprise the man won’t let us go any farther since our tickets are not even close to where we’re trying to go. We walk back up the stairs and go to another section near home plate. Apparently we did have some pimp tickets that let us go in these nice close areas where they have food and drinks for free, much like the suites at the Rose Garden, it was nice!

We settled in and started chatting about work, life..everything. It was good times. None of us even paid attention to the game. One thing I learned about my friend was that he has severe ADD. We just started to relax and he wanted to go to our real seats, or to the play area, or to the bounce house (for his daughter, not him). Joy and I were able to distract him for a decent amount of time so that we could relax for a bit. Eventually he won out and we did end up going to the bounce house and the play area. Never once did we sit in our actual seats.

The Beavers ended up winning and so I guess that was good, seems silly since none of us cared. Jimmy really wanted to show me his office since it was directly across the street. I was tired but I obliged him. I got the tour and as we were leaving, the door to his office latched just as Jimmy let out a little yelp. It was then he realized he had left his keys inside his office. There we were, 10:30pm in a corporate building with a 5 month old and 3 year old and no one else around, locked outside his office with his home and car keys are on the other side of the door. Talk about a sinking feeling. Jimmy paced and paced while Joy took a seat on the stairs trying to go through our options. After a few minutes Big J was so flipping mad he had to take a walk to cool off. At this point I got to see first hand just how amazing his wife is. She’s tired, the kids are tired, her husband is angry as all get out, the situation feels pretty crappy and she sat there playing with her daughter with such an open, positive attitude. Truly a sight.

While Joy was distracted with her daughter I walked over to the door and began to work my magic. This is the point where I should mention, I may or may not know a thing or two about picking locks. It’s something I picked up a while ago, and have always kept it on the down low since I figure people would think I’m some sort of weirdo crook. I will say, being a Realtor and sitting in vacant houses gives one a lot of time to practice on a variety of locks. After about a minute of magic I got the sweetest sound people hopelessly locked out can ever hear “CLICK!”. At that sound Joy’s head snapped up and her eyes shot over to my direction, “SHUT UP! No you did NOT!” There I stood with the door wide open. She ran inside to get the keys and I ran to find angry Jimmy and tell him he could go home. It was truly a thrilling end to the night. Joy was thrilled and said, “Out of all the people to get locked out with, we get the guy that knows how to pick locks…awesome”. It’s true, I’m also good at making casseroles, playing guitar and dancing like an idiot, so if anyone needs anything. Call me.

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Phil in a nutshell

If you have never had the pleasure of meeting Phil, read this cartoon and you will know/understand him perfectly. For those of you that know him I think you’ll agree this is fairly accurate. I’m sorry Phil, no offense meant by this, just….damn how true this is. :)

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All Rocked Out

This is what happens when I play my brand new guitar into the wee hours of the morning. I fall asleep with her in my arms but my fingers still know what to do.

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Denied no longer

If you know anything about me you know that I love steak, fine women, casseroles and definitely guitar. If you locked me in a room with those four things I would never leave to see the light of day again. I’ve been playing guitar for 16 years and during that time I’ve never really splurged or invested in a nice instrument for myself. There have been plenty that I have wanted, but I always had this mental block that said “you don’t need that” or “when you’re good in like 20 years, then you can buy that”. I’m not sure where this internal dialogue came from but it sucks and I could never shake it. Then I noticed different friends that had been playing for only a little while buying kick ass instruments, when this happened I realized that I could do that too! I realize this is all ridiculous, but this is what was going on in my head. For the past 8 years I have had my eye on a few different guitars. I love Gibsons and Gretschs especially the semi-hollow body variety. They’re big, beautiful and have lots of knobs. Of the semi-hollow bodies I always wanted a guitar like Chet Atkins used to play. He’s one of my favorite guitar players and I dreamed of owning a replica. Yesterday I made that dream come true.

Phil told me earlier this week, “Um…you should go to Showcase Music, I’m pretty sure they have that guitar you’ve been obsessing about for the past month”. I went there yesterday to see if he was full of it and for once he was telling the truth. I made a beeline directly for the Chet Atkins model and I heard someone say “Lookout! He’s going for the expensive ones!” They brought the beauty down and set me up to play. And play I did. Before I was gonna throw down a huge fistful of cash I wanted to make sure she was the one and she felt alright. I played and played, played past the guy trying to bang out some blues on a strat, played past the death metal head next to me sounding like a chainsaw buzzing, played through the salesman’s break, played past the afternoon snack time, played until the salesman came back and said “Can I put the guitar back now?” And to that I responded “Not today my good man, I’m feeling saucey. I think I’m gonna buy it, do you accept cash?” Maybe that last part didn’t happen but if it did that’s what I would’ve said (Kudos to whoever can tell me what movie that’s from).

I brought the beauty home (I don’t have a name yet…suggestions?) and played for a bit and thought it was nice. It wasn’t until I got motivated and changed the strings that she rocked my world. Seriously. I can’t put her down as she just sings and sings. The most amazing thing since changing the strings is that she hasn’t gone out of tune at all! I am thrilled. If you know anything about guitars you know that after you put new strings on it takes awhile for them to stretch and adjust, so they’re constantly going out of tune until they’re broken in. I don’t know if it’s the Grover tuners, the bigsby or Chet Atkins, but she just stays in tune no matter how I bend her.

This past day has really been surreal, it has been so many years in the making that I’m in a daze, a happy guitar fueled daze.

Please take a look at the videos below. The first one is a lil’ tribute to Chet. Playing a song like he would and the second one is a Stray Cats song, since Brian Setzer Plays a guitar very similar to mine, I thought it was appropriate…now if I could only play like Setzer.

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I fought the foos and the foos rocked…

Last night I went out and saw one of my all time favorite bands, The Foo Fighters. I’ve been so busy lately that the day snuck up on me and I hardly had time to get myself pumped up for the concert. I say that the Foos are one of my favorite bands but really in the past year or so I’ve forgotten this fact since I’ve hardly listened to them. I don’t have their new cd and with all the other great music I’ve been loading on my plate, sometimes awesome bands get pushed to the edge.

Last night made it all clear again why they rock. Dave Grohl is really an awesome performer, sweet songwriter and in my opinion has one of the best screams in rock n’ roll. Bundle all those things inside of a 2 hour and 20 minutes show and it makes for a great night.
Since the show was at the Rose Garden and we had actual seat tickets, Phil and I tried to time our entry into the place so that we would miss the opening bands. As if one isn’t enough there were two scheduled before the Foos were supposed to come on. We arrived about an hour and a half after the show started, found our seats but were unsure if they were between opening bands or if the main event was about to start. About 10 minutes later the lights went down, the crowd wailed and Dave Grohl came out on stage. Awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever timed a concert start that well.

The stage was to our right but they had built the stage so that a long runway extended directly out into the crowd that connected to this strange circular thing. Dave made use of the runway all throughout the show, running, jumping and skipping his way down and back. The band came out guitars blazing and for nearly 30 minutes played song after song before they stopped to actually talk to the crowd. Even though I’m all about the music, I don’t like it when a band plays a show and hardly ever acknowledges the crowd, there has to be some interaction since we’re the reason they are there. Crowd interaction is where Dave Grohl is king. He is a goofy, nerdy, funny guy that likes to play around and have fun with all his fans. I sensed some people behind us were annoyed when he’d get to talkin’ too much, but I figure it’s all part of the experience, sit back and enjoy it.

About an hour into the show the band disappeared and Dave walked out with a big black acoustic. He slowly walked down the runway strumming a chord, just taking his time. It wasn’t until Phil nudged me that I looked up and saw a huge circular stage slowly descending from the ceiling that would fit perfectly into the strange circular thing at the end of the runway. His band mates soon came out and followed him to the circular stage and they began their acoustic set. So cool. They effectively turned the sucky seats at the back of the arena into front row seats. It was a great idea.

They played on for another hour before leaving the stage and waiting for us, the crowd, to stomp and chant them back for more. Their first encore song ‘Big Me’ is close to my all time fav song. Dave played it very slow with just him, the guitar and one female backup singer. Loved it.

If you haven’t listened to much Foo Fighters, I implore you to do so. Some songs are screamy, some songs are softy, but most of them make for a rockin’ good timey. I had such a good time at the show, it was nice to get a mix of acoustic/electric and Dave Grohl’s humor and crowd massaging made it all that more entertaining. Definitely go see them live if you ever get the chance.

For a little taste of Dave’s cheesiness and to hear Big Me, click this link.

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