Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for November, 2004

I’m giving thanks

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

It’s always the first sentence that is hardest to write.

Today, Thanksgiving 2004, I feel awfully lucky and thankful. No matter what kind of craziness is going on in the world, I, for one, have been totally blessed. That sounds like a mushy and lame cliche but it is true. Even the bad things that happened to me, shaped me into a person that good things came to.

I am thankful for having an incredible, strong mother who guided me and stood behind me and watched me grow and struggle and thrive, and who understands I will never be perfect and will always need my crutches, and will always be proud of me and love me. I am thankful for my brother Tom who is funny and smart and a drummer who doesn’t get the music I listen to but will always listen anyway, and my brother Jay who is the most giving and loving person I have ever met. I am thankful for my Grandma, who loves all of us more than anything and makes all the fattening foods I love and doesn’t like George Bush.

I am thankful for my friends. I really have been blessed here. I don’t have a ton of them, but the ones I do, I would take a bullet for. I always say I could never give up music but when I really think about it, if I didn’t have the friends I have, well, life would really suck. Mark, Colleen, Cheryl, Ruth, Ariane, Lisa, Laurie, Leigh, Nancy, Jody, Chad, Bryan, Pauline – I know you all might read this – thank you for making my life a way cool place to be.

I am thankful for my job and my boss who once told me “a job is not a jail sentence” and always lets me travel when my feet get itchy. I love my job, and it never bores me – it might irritate sometimes, but it is a great job and I know these are pretty rare. So what if I will never own a summer home in the Hamptons (or wherever.) Money isn’t everything and I am thankful that I know that.

I am oh, so thankful to have spent my lifetime living in some of the most beautiful places on earth – Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Venice, and now Ocean Beach. It’s hard to be glum when there is so much beauty outside.

Then there is music. I am thankful for Wilco and Radiohead and the Delgados, Interpol and the Super Furries and all the other bands that make it so my life could never be boring. I could happily live on beans and tortillas, but please never take my CD player away.

I’m thankful that I get to travel. I’m thankful that I am a traveler through life. And finally, I am thankful that I am me and not somebody else. Even though I am a pain in the ass sometimes, I am happy I get to spend my life with me.

Sugar Rush

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

It’s been a little hard the past couple of days, because of the Wilco show. After such a joyous occasion, life seems sort of boring. I want every night to be like a going-to-see-Wilco night, but of course this is impossible, unless you are in Wilco, or doing lights or sound for Wilco, or having sex with someone in Wilco, and then it probably wouldn’t be so great anyway.

But we move on in our lives and lucky for me, something momentous has happened in the neighborhood. Something I have been waiting for, for months – no, since I moved here. Actually, I think I have been waiting my whole life, but I just didn’t know it yet. This momentous something? It’s a WINE BAR!!!!

The bars in my neighborhood of Ocean Beach, San Diego are not really known for their wine selections – it’s more like a surfer, stoner, and biker crowd around here, and they drink Bud Light and Margaritas. I love Ocean Beach for it’s non-yuppifiedness, but it also sucks that I don’t have anywhere in the ‘hood I can go and have a glass of wine and read a book, something that I have been known to do from time to time. So I do my outdoor wine-drinking and reading down at Sunset Cliffs, but it is getting a little cold out there for that now.

On the corner of Bacon and Niagara there used to be a funky Italian place that had pizza and pasta and had major spelling errors on their specials board outside. I never went in, because it looked awful. I used to walk by and think “oh, how I would love to open a wine bar in that place.” I mentioned it to the two people I know around here, even. And then, nastypizza closes, and there is a sign in the window, a WINE BAR is coming soon! That was a long time ago, and I have been waiting not-so-patiently for the new wine bar to open.

Well, tonight they did. The bar is called The OB Vine, and I have been walking by every day for weeks to check on the situation. I watched the place transform from a dingy pizzeria to a more open space, then more open space with tables, then a nicely-painted more open space with tables and tableclothes. The past few days I have been practically peeing my pants wondering WHEN, oh WHEN; today (because in some ways I am seriously in contact with higher powers) I finally called.

Sky: “Hello, The Vine, this is Sky.”
Me: (panting) “Are you open yet?”
Sky: “Yes.”
Me: (Falling over, practically dropping the phone) “Really? Since when?”
Sky: “Today is our first day, we have a limited menu, but…”

Well, I sort of had to finish working first but I walked to the post office at 5:15 and then I went straight to The Vine. And even though Wilco is over, The OB Vine is here to stay! (We hope.) I sat down at the bar and tried not to gush, unsuccessfully. The Vine looks good – a nice bar, well lit, with little hooks under the bar to hang your coat or purse (something totally unheard of in OB till now, I am fairly sure.) They have a well-thought out wine list of several pages with lots of interesting selections. It is the best wine list I have seen at any wine bar in San Diego, for sure, and right here in my own backyard! Also, when I walked in there were a bunch of cute guys lined up against the wall, waiting to serve people. This, in a neighborhood where all the servers are young blond chicks! The owner, I think, is either really smart, or he is gay.

I hung out there and drank a glass of Albarino and after, a glass of Leal Cabernet, and checked things out. The limited menu had a cheese plate with cheeses from Chimay in Belgium and from goats in Spain; there was ahi tartare and a guacamole salad. The mood was subdued, but still I managed to sneak in a couple of exchanges with Sky, who has a profile like Michelangelo?s David, but with better eyes and nostrils.

Me: “How come the Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale is the same price as a Bud?”
Sky (sweetly): “That is a good question.”

I have a big problem now. I am going to be spending too much money in this place. It is going to be hard not to sit there for hours, hard not to want to splurge on a bottle of Veuve, now that there’s a place in the ‘hood that I can do this. But I am ecstatic that there is a place for me, outside of my house. If you can’t find me at home, and you know I am not traveling, I’ll be at The Vine.

Cherry Ghost

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

I love San Diego, but if there is one thing I don’t love, it is having to go to L.A. to see live music. It gets expensive, and also, it is a generally a long, hard ride home the next day. How come L.A. gets some bands for two shows, and down here in San Diego, we get shit?

Totally pisses me off. But of course, I was not about to let that stop me from driving up to L.A. to see Wilco last night. No fucking way. There is going to be a lot of swearing in this entry. I FUCKING LOVE, LOVE, LOVE WILCO.

Yes, it totally pisses me off that they skipped San Diego, especially since the last time they were here in 2002, they sold out their show and I was one of a couple thousand people watching them. Isn’t that enough?

The TWO L.A. shows were at the Wiltern, in Koreatown. I didn’t know there was a Koreatown until I pulled up at the Ramada Inn, Koreatown. I got there at 6:00 P.M. and Mark, who’s father’s memorial service was yesterday, was taking the train in. By the time he showed up he was feeling a plethora of emotions and also, the effects of a few beers he’d had with friends and also, a half bottle of wine he consumed on the train. He was well on his way, understandably, of course. We went across the street to get some sushi. The sushi place was packed and we sat at the bar where the sushi guys were setting out immense plates of fresh fish, artfully arranged in little rectangles domino style. Frantic servers whisked them away to some room where they were feeding an army. We ordered some sushi and a plate of abalone, which we ordered because it came with a tasty looking sauce in a tiny abalone shell (which I know is illegal, the plucking of tiny abalone from the sea, and this will be the first of two abalone references of the evening.) Our abalone came with no sauce and it was also RAW. Blech. Nasty. Gross. The servers were too harried for me to ask them to throw some panko bread crumbs on it and fry it, please. I did try It – and It was Disgusting. The sushi was good, though.

Anyhow we left the sushi bar and walked across the street to the Wiltern. I must be living on another planet, because we got there at 9:00 P.M. and the opening act was already done, and Wilco was going to start any minute. Recent events on my planet are, the headliner doesn’t go on until 10:30, or even later. But whateves, the sooner the better. I ran down to the front only to be stopped by a security guard. “You can’t go down there,” he said. Huh? I asked why and he said “you have to have a wristband.” Is this some new bizarre Los Angeles custom, like for the “in” people or something? “Where do I get a wristband, then” I say. The guy tells me we have to be one of the first 200 people, then we get to go in front.

Well, this is what I say to this custom: FUCK THAT.

Couldn’t get down there though and so I was totally freaking out because my favorite American band was about to start and there were really tall guys everywhere. Really tall guys are generally nice people but at a show, they suck. I searched around for a solution, Mark running after me, the poor guy. Finally… and this is where I know the gods of rock n roll smile down on me – I see a couple of stairs, then a wooden railing. Then I see a little girl. That’s it, that’s my spot. I go and stand right behind the little girl, and from there I have a fantastic viewing spot with absolutely no chance of a tall guy getting in the way. “I am not moving from this spot,” I tell Mark. “Can you please go and get me an Absolut Raspberry and soda?” The little girl is there with her dad. There are four loud yuppie-guys on a hall pass standing next to me. One of them is asking his friends “what was that other hit by the Turtles, besides Happy Together?” His friends weren’t all chiming in at once, so I did. “Uh, that would be It Ain’t Me, Babe,” I said. They looked at me like I was insane. “I don’t think so, it was something else,” Yuppified replied. “Dude.” I said. “My ex-Stepdad was the bass player for the Turtles. Believe me, it was It Ain’t Me Babe.” They looked at me like I was lying, and proceeded to quiz me down. Would I make up a story like that though? Not only do I not want attention, but if I did I’d have a better story to tell. They sent out a volley of inane questions. “He wasn’t in the Turtles when my mom married him – he was by then an abalone diver,” I told them. I don’t think they believed me, but I didn’t really care. I’ve been to enough L.A. shows by now to know, sometimes it is just best to ignore the natives.

Thankfully, the lights went dim and Wilco emerged. Let me just say that for the next two hours, the boneheads next to me were not even a blip on my radar. It was just me, Mark behind me, the little girl in front of me, and Wilco.

And I was in TOTAL, FUCKING HEAVEN. This was a show that lifted me out of my body and put me in a place that I will be dreaming about for years. This was not even a show. It was a fantastic assault on my senses; it was better than sex. That’s it – it was better than sex. Lest you think “wow, homegirl must not have experienced blah blah blah” let me tell you, I probably have and this was much, much better.

The first few songs, all from a ghost is born, were relatively quiet and from my perch behind the little girl, I could hear much conversation around me. I tried to tune this out the best I could and not let it get to me. In the end though, all conversation would stop, because when the guitars started in (three of them, three guitars, how I love, love, love three guitars) there is no way anyone could converse in that room. I love it when the rock n roll tongue gets shoved down the non-believers throat. The little girl was one of the believers – when Wilco played the beautiful song “Muzzle of Bees,” she asked her father to pick her up to see better. Since this is my favorite song from a ghost is born, I nodded to Mark “hey, check that out.” She later wanted to be lifted during “Poor Places” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – a mini me if there ever was one. She kind of looked like me, too. It was fairly weird.

The crowd was silenced by the fourth song in the set, “Handshake Drugs,” with distortion that came down around my ears and entered my head and moved me in a way that would be addictive, if the drug companies could package it. It was the first time during the show that I knew I was experiencing brilliance. Live brilliance, ’cause I already am fairly familiar with the studio brilliance. And it kept on, a barrage of guitar and killer drums and general happiness coming from all the band members, save Jeff Tweedy who I now see should probably never speak unless he is singing, and the people bopping up and down all around me. Mark and I wanted them to play “Theolgians” in honor of his father, who had been talked up by a Catholic priest earlier in the day. When they did, Mark and I toasted Joe, his dad, and sang along.

I’m going away
Where you will look for me
Where I’m going you cannot come

No one’s ever gonna take my life from me
I lay it down
A ghost is born

Jeff Tweedy did manage to astound me with his totally inapproriate comments, little things that made me cringe, such as “We love our fans, but not enough to change the set list” when asked to play something not on the set list, and “I feel some negative energy coming from this side of the room…” Dude. These people are LOVING YOU. Be nice to them. Fine, don’t change the set list, no one will ever know.

It doesn’t really matter what a nerdy doofus he is because he is a Fucking Genius. And he totally and completely rocks my world. And out of however many thousands of nights I live and how many hundreds of shows I see, I will never forget those six guys sending arrow after arrow of happiness straight into my heart. And then Jeff sings, and I sing

Something in my veins, bloodier than blood
Something in my veins, bloodier than blood
Something in my veins, bloodier than blood
Something in my veins, bloodier than blood

What you once were isn’t what
you want to be anymore

It’s music, it’s Wilco, it’s what I live for, it’s better than sex. It is definitely better than sex.

Half of it’s you, half is me.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

It has been a week of births and deaths. While some beings are pushing themselves screaming into the world, other beings are quietly leaving.

Doesn’t it seem like crazy things happen in November? Things like Jim Jones and Guyana and Dan White shooting up the San Francisco City Hall. I guess that was a long time ago, but for some reason it seems like crazy shit just happens in the month numbered eleven. And for me, the day of eleven eleven can be even more hectic. I was happy that eleven eleven passed with no major personal craziness this year.

I am listening to Wilco live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Electric, they were there this morning. And in two days I will see them live in L.A. I must say, listening to this radio interview, I forgot how totally nerdy Jeff Tweedy is. Not that it matters. Most of my favorite people are nerds. I won’t name them here, because they might read this. In fact I can only think of two friends that aren’t nerds that might be reading this and they are Laurie Bushman and Lisa Wood. If your name is not listed here, sorry you are probably a nerd. But that is OK, for reasons stated above.

So there is half of this crazy month left. I’ve got nothing to do on Thanksgiving. Maybe I will go to the beach and drink white wine and read Vanity Fair like I do on the weekend. I could bring a turkey sandwich! Or maybe I will be totally anti and eat a Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese dinner on Thanksgiving. Before you scoff, you should try one of those things. I’ve been curing hangovers with them for years.

Between the time you push yourself out and the time you leave, quietly, you’ve got the crazy months and the boring months; the Thanksgivings with 20 nerdy friends and the Thanksgivings alone. You might have two hangovers, maybe 2000. There will be some picnics, a few coincidences, a couple of lovers you are glad didn’t work out. There will be songs that make you let out a heavy sigh, and days when you walk around with a furrowed brow. There will be random moments of pure joy. How we can absorb it all is a mystery to me.

Generalization X Part Due

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

There are two kinds of people – those who stop their car at an intersection and let a pedestrian cross before they go through, and those who motor through an intersection with absolutely no regard for anyone except themselves.

Hmmm… well, wait a minute. There are also the pedestrians. This would make it, three kinds of people. Also what about the people who sometimes waver before letting a pedestrian cross, and sometimes decide to be nice, sometimes to be an asshole?

What about people who go around in limos? That would make four kinds of people. Then there are the limo sub-groups – people in limos because they are rich, people in limos who are too crazy to be driving, and people in limos just going to the airport. But I really shouldn’t worry about sub-groups, or this entry will be totally out-of-control. In my limited experience, limo DRIVERS almost always stop, probably because they are paid by the hour. So maybe I shouldn’t even list limo people, since even if they want to run you over they can’t.

Then there are the rickshaw drivers (five kinds of people!!!) but I don’t know if they ever stop for pedestrians. Maybe you can’t stop a rickshaw because you have to have momentum, and stopping for pedestrians may screw this up. One of these days I’ll investigate more thoroughly. Probably if the momentum theory holds up, rickshaw drivers might be let off the hook when it comes to stopping for pedestrians.

Hmm… I think my theory this evening is pretty lame, now that I think about it. There are people (#6) who never leave the house, not even to be a pedestrian. And there are the Amish (er, #7…) who have horses and buggies but I am sure they almost always stop for pedestrians. Then there are the motorists who don’t stop for an Amish horse and buggy, and those that do (8,9). So making generalizations is just a totally lame waste of time, since there are so many ways to deviate from them.

Hope this all doesn’t keep me up again tonight.

Generalization X

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

When I was in college, I had an algebra tutor. Algebra was something I just couldn’t understand. I couldn’t figure out why 2 over 5 equals x over z or whatever the hell they try to do there. I mean, it seriously just didn’t compute in my brain, not in those days, and it wouldn’t in these days, either. I was, and remain, mathematically challenged.

So when I was in college I got this Chinese tutor, and she spent an hour with me going over and over the whole x over y = whatever thing. I was totally baffled but she kept on until, all of a sudden, I got it. A godly note from a Casio keyboard sounded (this being the eighties) and a pink light shined down on me. I really got it! For one second, because when the session with my tutor was over, I totally lost whatever I had, forever. Frustrated, I quit algebra and took statistics, which I would have failed except everyone else in the class failed worse than me so I got a B.

Anyway, I guess the point I am eventually going to try to make is there are some things I will never, ever understand, even if I try really hard and maybe even listen to people who seem to know what they are talking about. Such as:

That freaky red state/blue state county-by-county who-voted-for-who map of the USA. I keep staring at this thing and I must say, I am totally baffled. I won’t even go into how many red counties there are. The freaky thing is the whole composition if you look at it with a baffled mind. The patterns and non-patterns of blue; an oasis of blue in a trillion miles of red desert; large clumps of blue in weird places, like West Texas. What’s down there in West Texas that I don’t know about? Also, how come 90% of Washington D.C. voted for Kerry? Almost every county on the Mississippi River is blue, from the top of Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana, while everything around it is red. Isn’t that like, just a little weird?

I was shocked, and baffled, to find that I live in a red county. I guess I was living in a La La Land here in OB, which is as pretty far from red as one can go. If they showed OB as a county on this map, it would be blue, maybe in a sea of red, sort of like Louisville, Kentucky. But then lots of cities are tiny blue dots in seas of red. I guess I’m not so baffled about that one, but it is weird to see it so spelled out on a map.

I guess I don’t really understand the whole Democrat/Republican thing, either. Why should a person be one or the other, and why do these parties even exist? What purpose does it all serve? Also, do the people who label others, and themselves, even know what those labels mean? Maybe they are all like me, with the algebra. At least the Communist party in Italy has cool festivals with cheap wine, fried squid, and Beatles cover bands who sing in bad English; the D’s and R’s here – at least the serious ones, have pretty much forgotten a) how to have fun and b) how to get people to get into it on a regular basis.

But me being a Democrat (which I’m not, as I don’t really understand what the hell that means, it’s just the, uh, thing I’ve been labeled with and the road I’m forced to follow, since the Italian Communist Party doesn’t exist here) I do find some Republican behaviors even more baffling than my own. Such as:

Today, driving up to another Republican county, on a highway I travel often and with an assortment of people too usually the same (asshole, SUV driving, cell-phone talking, tailgating morons) I noticed an slight exception from the norm. A guy drove up right behind me, in a giant white pick-up truck, got right on my bumper, then made a quick lane change to the right and started on his whole weaving/riding the guy-in-front’s-bumper-then-brake/weaving some more/then exiting at the next exit procedure. He probably wouldn’t have been a blip on my radar since there are so many of them out there, had it not been for his two bumper stickers. One bumper sticker said one word: REPUBLICAN. The other said, REAL MEN LOVE JESUS.

OK. Excuse me, while I barf now. What the hell is going on here? I really don’t understand. For one thing, homie in his hot white truck looked about as far from a political guy as you can get; like Homer Simpson canvassing for the Green Party. Also, what is this shit about Jesus and men? Has homie ever really thought about the teachings of Jesus? Er, would Jesus exclude a fairly huge part of the world’s population from being Real Men just because they don’t believe in him? Wouldn’t Jesus be like, uh, dude, it takes a little more than that bumper sticker, believing wise? Also, would Jesus advocate that kind of driving? That kind of driving is not loving thy neighbor, that kind of driving is saying fuck you get off my road to thy neighbor. I wonder what kind of car Jesus would have? Probably a used Volvo, or a Vanagon. Probably an old Vanagon that only goes 50 miles an hour that asshole Republican truck drivers would harass! Now that is something I can understand! Hallefuckinglujah.

Super Sad Blog

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

I never left the house today – couldn’t. I don’t think an election has ever made me feel so ill before. But now that I think about it I was feeling pretty ill for the months leading up to the election. Now it is over, and it feels good to have it over. Even though the bile is still there in the pit of my stomach, perhaps a ration of Gatorade is on the way.

So what do we do now? First I want to say, I don’t hate the other half. I don’t understand why their choice was so appealing to them, but I also understand that they have regular lives and jobs (for now anyway) and families (hopefully all safe and sound and not between 18 – 30 years of age,) and that they were doing what they thought was necessary to protect these things. Hating the other half would probably be what our government wants, also I really hate hate. It just eats you up in the end. If I am going to get eaten, I want to be eaten by too many bottles of wine and too many late nights. I prefer a tastier way of getting eaten.

Often times when you ask an Italian a political question, they just shrug. They have a very distinctive way of shrugging. Like “well, what can I do?” Today, all of us on the other side have to shrug and say, well, we did the best we could, and now it is time to move on. No better place to start, than home.

Speaking of home, MY home… Donna Frye, our “write-in” candidate for mayor, is WINNING. Now this gives me hope for the future. She has a constant furrowed brow, is totally honest, and owns a SURF SHOP. It is beyond cool and sort of helps aleve the gloomy reality of four more years.

And now a lyric from the new Delgados song, “Now and Forever” for all those who threw positive energy into the universe.

There was a time when we’d sit on the ground
Never look up from the down that surrounds
If we fail we won’t fall
Are you ready to call
Now and forever

OK I’ll stop being corny now, but even though things have not changed, and probably will get worse, things HAVE changed, and will also get better. Eventually.

I personally don’t have anything to say.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

A Sound of Thunder