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

Archive for October, 2005

Stop it, you’re killing me

Saturday, October 29th, 2005



Monday, October 24th, 2005

Life sure is mellow all of a sudden. After all the craziness of the past few months I have been holing up and cooking like a madwoman. Last night I made chile rellenos and tonight I made stuffed cabbage AND stuffed zucchini. Plus I am getting ready to make a bunch of lasagna for the weekend. But I’ll do that later. Right now I have to eat something and I don’t feel like it because I have been cooking so much. After I cook a bunch of stuff all I want to do is order a pizza. Weird, huh. I’ll eat one of the chile rellenos since it would be sort of stupid to make a bunch of food and then not eat it.

It has been very dreary here. I kind of like it. I love summer and the long days but it feels good when it starts to get dark early and it is cooler out, because then you can spend the whole day in your house cooking stuff and doing other random acts of nothingness. In the summer I feel like I have to be out. In the winter, I don’t, and that is very liberating.

I know this is awfully boring, but all I can think of other than dreary days and a steamy kitchen is, in the past few days I have seen people I know down at The Vine, and two of these guys asked me about my love life. I think I have dreamed or lived this scenario so many times now it is like a broken record. I could almost say the words before they did. “Seeing anybody?” “Any men?” As always, like I have for the last year, I say “no, but I am not really into that right now.” Which I am not, but this seems to put the Baffled Bullet into some people’s brains. However adamant I am about how much I like being alone, they’ve got to interject with that “everybody needs somebody” bullshit. For one thing, that’s not really 100% true, and for another thing, I do have some somebodies, I am just not fucking them, and I don’t have to live with them.

I have been married twice and been in a bunch of relationships and I’ve kissed and/or whatever probably eight gazillion guys. It’s not like I don’t have, uh, experience. I speak the absolute truth when I say I am content being alone, that I don’t really want the hassle of going on dates and shit, that there is no way in hell I am going on match.com. But these guys still don’t believe me and say the same exact thing everytime I see them. I just don’t get it.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and I’m not saying I’m never going to be romantically or sexually involved with anyone ever again. But, I can say that I’m not pining away in loneliness and desperation (or even desire, except for Mr. Britt Daniel and that ain’t never gonna happen). I guess I just need some new retorts, like “fuck off.” (Just kidding. I would never say that to my friends.)

Anyway that’s my rant for the day. The only bad thing about not living with anyone is having too many chile rellenos around.

Recovering from Xingolati

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

Overheard Sunday morning on the Xingolati Cruise:

Dude #1: I feel like I’m on acid.
Dude #2: You probably are.

I still feel like I am on that ship, physically. I feel dizzy. It is like landing on the ground after a 14 hour plane trip times infinity, dizzy-wise. It is unsettling. But, I am going to try to use the weird feeling of being on a boat when you’ve definitely got two feet on the ground to do my best to write about what was definitely one of the craziest, funnest, most colorful experiences of my life. It was like being at the coolest party in the universe for three straight days.

I took four rolls of film, and now I gotta go and buy a scanner because seriously some of the images in my brain are never going to come out right in words. Images like tribe chicks dancing in the hot tubs with tall strawberry daquiris and lit cigarettes in their hands. Or the most outlandish crowd ever screaming the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody, as performed by the Flaming Lips, while a dozen giant balloons bounced up and down on their heads in a gold Vegas style showroom. Every deck chair on the ship taken on Sunday by the recovering from the night before-ers, the philosophy readers, the sleepers, and the still-partyingers. How about the acrobat boy with raggedy Anne hair who wore the same outfit of black leggings and a striped red and black T-Shirt and did contortionist shit 24/7? Anyone on that boat who is reading this is going to know exactly who I am talking about. It was a swaying, liquid free-for-all where you could get away with just about anything. It was the Haight-Ashbury and downtown Vegas, it was a contact high and a tequila hangover. It was insanely colorful. This is about the best I can do. You just gotta go next year.

The ship’s crew was totally blown away by us. The cruise director said it was definitely the best cruise he’d ever worked. One waiter asked if we all knew each other. It did seem like everyone talked to each other. As I was in the cafe getting coffee one morning, this young guy with blond dreadlocks and eye makeup danced up to me. “Wanna get some BREAKFAST?” When I told him no, that I had to get some coffee for my friend, he gave me a big kiss on the cheek and danced off. I’m not sure if it was all the X or what but every morning when I passed the hot tub full of people they all yelled “Hey!….” I am not the only one this happened to. It also happened to blogger Jeff who has a similar take and also some pictures on his blog.

The food… I was so sketched out before we left. It was OK at first, but it did get a little bit gross at the end there.
I really loved that crew. I loved the never-ending bottles of Champage from John the East Asian headwaiter guy’s rolling cart. I loved the lights, the colors, and the all-out happy vibe of 2000 other passengers.

Best band/experience? Mutaytor. Craziest night? Friday. Lamest guy? The one who tried to steal my bottle of Champagne when I was talking to one of the ships officers, while watching Mutaytor on Saturday night. Earliest drink? Recovery bloody mary on Sunday. Latest drink? Glass of Moet & Chandon earlier on Sunday. Craziest good karma stuff? Winning a free internet contest, almost winning the slot tournament, and winning $100 for filling out my comment card. There was no one on the ship who won more Carnival sponsored contests than me, but Colleen says it’s because only four people entered. Craziest bad stuff? Someone ODing on the ship. Slipping on the wet deck and fucking up my back on Sunday night. Being held on the ship for five hours when we arrived back in Long Beach. Just like any trip, the high has gotta be balanced by the low. But all in all, that was three of the best days of my life. Both Colleen and I agree, if we could change one thing, we’d get a cabin with a view. And that’s pretty good for an inaugural trip.

Adventures on the High Seas

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

I think I need to elaborate a little on just how awesome this cruise is.

Yesterday, I was feeling awfully rushed in Ensenada. So I came down to pay an exhorbitant price to elaborate, but then saw this sign that said “today’s winner of thirty free minutes is… SHANNON ESSA.” Cool, eh? I guess I entered some contest but I don’t even remember. Thirty minutes is going to go fast though, so here is the unedited version of the past couple days.

The ship itself is pretty cool. There are bars everywhere. Outside, there are jacuzzis filled with more tattoos and nose rings than is normal for your average Carnival cruise, I’d say. Everyone is REALLY happy. It’s like Vegas on the high seas but there ain’t no one from Kansas here (I don’t think.)

We ran into Ed Decker on deck and he invited us to have dinner with him and some other San Diegans. So eighteen of us ate together in the Destiny dining room. Lots of these guys know my brother, Tom, and one of the main guys running this thing told me he met me in OB one day, having breakfast with my brother. So, I need to somehow hook it up where my brother performs next year. Also, Lil D, you gotta come too. OB is definitely represented and this is totally cool and unexpected.

After dinner, me and Colleen went to a wine tasting that I had prebooked. Sadly they were doing a sustainabilty lecture at the same time, which is cool but I wanted the wine, not the lecture. However we did meet one Dr. James Fishhead McFreaky and his wife Sunshine and had some cool conversation with them. This and four sips of Syrah for the low, low price of $30. From there we went into the Normandie Lounge to see G. Love and Special Sauce then the Flaming Lips. It was pretty much total mayhem in there. Right when Flaming Lips started, some of the tree people moved in on us. Tree people, you know, they look like they just climbed out of a tree, they dance like they are in a Native American ritual, and they threaten to take out your eye with a flying dreadlock. But I had myself to fear also, as I was jumping up and down on a moving vessel. This can be dangerous, I assure you. There were balloons and confetti, a marriage proposition on stage, and lots of Wayne Coyne freak action. But it was motherfucking hot and insane down there, and Mutaytor was playing again on the Lido deck, so after a bit we cruised up there. That sea air felt awesome.

I love the staff on this ship, and so far I have made friends with the Champagne cart guy, who looks like a 1940’s east Asian matinee idol, and our Steward, Yusuf, and one of the waiters, Kadak. Then last night I met one of the officers, an Italian named Rosario. I’ve been quizzing all these guys down on how this whole thing runs. Everyone works seven days for eight months straight. Twelve hour days. That is INSANE. Rosario told me there are 68 different nationalities on this ship. And they are all so nice. I seriously cannot imagine being nice to people with those kind of hours. But being on this ship and seeing how everyone radiates good energy gives me a lot of hope.

My time is up. I will continue tomorrow when I get home…. one more fabulous day and night to go.

The Live Boat

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

We are in Ensenada, and I can’t wait to get back on the ship. Xingolati is AWESOME. We are having such a blast… fellow OBcian Ed Decker is on the ship, and so are some other people from OB. It’s pretty weird seeing all these familiar faces in such a bizarre environment.

The party at the hotel Thursday night was kind of lame but boy did they make it up to us yesterday. Everybody pretty much boarded and started drinking, and the vibe (one of total fun and complete abandon) intensified as the night went on. Very early on I found the Champagne Cart. Just after, I learned that while a glass of Moet & Chandon costs $15 a glass, while an entire bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne costs only $35 a bottle! So this has become my drink of choice so far, besides all the red wine I brought of course. You can buy a bottle and pretty much walk wherever on the ship, check some music out, then go to the next place. I tried to explain to some dude when I was buying my second bottle, as he was getting the shaft for the glass of Moet. “You had to go and spring numbers on me” he said. Oh well.

There is music all over the ship. The best band last night was Mutaytor. FOUR drummers! Fantastic looking people doing crazy things with burning hula hoops and shit. Tonight they are playing again, but at the same time as the Flaming Lips. Still, I might have to go check it out again.

There are four guys staying next door and yesterday while we were unpacking they were all out in the hall making a ruckus. One of them is this guy Chris who was already completely hammered by 4:30 or whenever that was. I kept seeing him all night, and so it has become my mission to photograph that guy all over the boat in whatever state he is in. I got a lot of shots – he was EVERYWHERE, with his silver glitter fedora. Then this morning I went out into the hall at 8:00 AM to go find some coffee. The hall of our floor was totally trashed – plates and glasses strewn about, towels in heaps – and who is walking toward me but Chris, doing the walk of shame right in front of my eyes. “Keep walking” I told him. “I’m gonna get your picture.” Little does he know he just gave me the best shot of the trip so far.

Also I am photographing everything we eat and the best one was last night’s 1:00 AM snack of chili, french fries, tator tots and spinach quiche. Yum!

Seriously, so far this has been a really great time and everyone on the ship is totally into it, even the crew who I think have never worked a cruise like this one. Our steward, Yusef, has already come out and told me he played guitar in a Metallicaesque band back home in Indonesia. Everyone who works on the boat is incredibly nice. All the officers are Italian and man is it hard to resist a guy in a white uniform. They were all out groovin’ to Mutaytor last night.

Two more days of this? AWESOME.

A Melody Calls

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Manchester England’s Doves will always bring back Sicily to me. Back in 2000, when I went on my solo trip there, I spent many a night listening to their first record Lost Souls, and on this last trip, I was listening to the third release Some Cities. I don’t know what it is about Doves and Sicily, but I do know their layered, guitar driven sound comes through perfectly on my little speakers in whatever dinky hotel room I may be in. They were, and will be, the soundtrack I always remember from both those trips.

It’s really weird how the music business works. I remember when Doves were first being talked about, back in 2000, and I remember that a new band called Coldplay was also one of the new hot bands. It was like, Doves and Coldplay. They were equal right then, but I liked Doves better right from the start, and most people I played both for agreed with me. But one day I was in a supermarket somewhere in Sicily, and what was playing on the canned sound system but friggin’ “Yellow,” Coldplay’s first uber-hit. I was like, whoa, these guys are being played in a supermarket in SICILY. What up with that? Then at the October 2000 Radiohead show at the Greek Theater in LA, all the cars had Coldplay flyers on them after the show. So, there was some serious marketing going on behind Coldplay. But why Coldplay and not Doves?

Last night, I saw Doves live down at the House of Blues. It’s been almost six years that I’ve been listening to them, I have all their records, but man oh man was I not prepared for this show. They totally ROCKED. It was really and truly one of the best shows I’ve seen all year, and I have seen a lot of shows. The sound was incredible and the band just totally tore it up, smoothly and professionally. And it was LOUD. It was so awesome that I wanted to go and have sex with one of them. And I am not like this, generally (with bands, anyway.) I’ve seen Coldplay, and seriously, there is no comparison, for me at least. And there I was, in shoelicking distance, not in Section You Are Fucked at a huge arena. I’ll repeat – AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME.

So today I was sort of recovering from that. I am almost always hungover after a show, but I am starting to think it is all the energy I expend that is killing me in the end. Or maybe I am just dying slowly from happiness.

Tomorrow, I head to Long Beach for the pre-Xingolati party. Bags packed, hair colored, it’s gonna be an experience for sure.

Readying for Xingolati

Monday, October 10th, 2005

In just a few days, I’ll be on the high seas off Baja on a ship full of, one would hope, crazy people. Xingolati. I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t be crazy to shell out this kind of dough to be on a boat for three days, because when you are on a boat, you can’t get off. I know because one time I went on a cruise and I swore, never again. Well, just goes to show you, never say never again.

I am getting ready. I’ve got a crazy wardrobe picked out, with almost all the Betsey Johnson I own, and my purple suede boots, and my purple glittery weird stretchy boots. My new Sigur Ros hoodie, and my yellow Esther Williams bathing suit. Plus four bottles of good wine and some earplugs.

Xingolati is a big party, but it is on a Carnival ship, and that is the cruise ship I went on before. I can’t even tell you how vile and repulsive the food was on that cruise. But I ain’t going for the food, I am going to have fun, listen to music, wear clothes I never get to wear anymore, and party with my #1 uber-bud Colleen. Still, I will be reporting back on everything, even the food. You can expect a full report of what I remember, I promise. I’ll even try to post from the ship.

Also, my brother’s wife Carrie is due to have her baby this weekend, and I am getting really pent up and excited about it. I can’t wait until he is old enough to take to shows and I can be “cool auntie Shannon who buys her nephew rock ‘n’ roll hoodies.” Jay and Carrie, if you are reading this, I will be thinking about you all the time and can’t wait for baby Ryan! I love you guys!

Everyone’s a Star

Saturday, October 8th, 2005

This week my home away from home, the OB Vine, was written up in the Night and Day section of the San Diego Union Tribune. It’s about time they (the newspaper, not the bar) got hep, but whatever. Also, let’s just hope I always have my favorite barstool. It would really suck if The Vine got so busy they didn’t care about me anymore.

Also, slowtrav.com got a big mention in an article about, well, SLOW, in the Toronto Globe & Mail today. I’ve got one thing to say, besides congrats. STEVE COHEN, MANY PEOPLE KNOW YOUR NAME. For sure I do!

Other than that, tomorrow I am working at the San Diego Little Italy Festival. I thought I might be getting a cold but I think it was maybe just exhaustion. Someone accidentally posted Britt Daniel’s personal email address on a message board. And I made it way past the 3rd without mentioning his name!

I’d never have the guts to email him though. I’m such a pussy.

Yo. My storefront is up on CafePress. Check it out. It’s almost Christmas, you know.

Musical Chairs

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Once in a while, one of those days comes along, where everything clicks into place perfectly and becomes a fantastic memory. Yesterday was one of those days. Yesterday, the music gods and the karma police were all smiling on me in a big, big way. I’m so happy that I am so impulsive and such a childish fool. Because if I wasn’t, I would have missed one of the best times of my life.

I’m not going to get into too much detail about how I got there, because I already wrote that and it was a dissertation. So let me just say I arrived at the show with two people I didn’t really know, after quite a few emails, several phone calls, and a bottle of wine poolside at the Best Western on Highland Boulevard in Hollywood, equipped with a ticket for a seat in the second row in the pool section of the friggin’ Hollywood Bowl for a band that I totally worship, Sigur Ros. When just that morning I’d been ticketless. That is the shortened version of my dissertation.

My new friends Lloyd and David had seats in the 200 section of the garden boxes, one of which was previously mine until the pool ticket materialized. It was really trippy to be around people after all those solo Hollywood shows of the summer. It was especially awesome to be with David, because he worships Sigur Ros too. We all ate french onion cheese spread and crackers and watched the opening band, Anima. Then I went down to the pool seat. Being very close to the stage in a huge venue is a pretty cool experience, and I sat crammed in with a predominately Asian audience while a now familiar scrim was lifted. It was awesome – as much as I didn’t want to leave the garden box, it was pretty spectacular being right below the stage. It was LOUD – loud as I could want, perfect, not too loud but really really loud. The band was so close I could see expressions and all the Asians lifted their cellphones constantly to take photos. Two girls in front of me – in the front row of the entire venue, got up and left after the second song, then came back around the fourth and proceeded to have a lengthy conversation. Me and the Japanese guy next to me both shushed them at the same time, then looked at each other and giggled, and at that moment I completely forgave him for his incessant cellphone photo taking. The light in his eyes when he smiled was all love for this band, and all love for anyone who loves the same way. It’s one of the best things about music, that light.

Eventually I went back up to the box to give my ticket to Lloyd, who seemed as hesitant as I was to leave the garden box. “Dude,” I said. “You HAVE to go down there. You can see Anima’s BREASTS from there.” I so did not mean this in any sexual or sexist way, but only as an observation of the eye/back of the stage where Anima were playing violins ratio. While the garden box was close, the pool seat was imminent. In my excitement telling Lloyd all this, the woman in the box in front looked back at me, and I looked back at her with an I’m so sorry I should shut the fuck up look. She smiled, and then, again, there was that light. So all of you readers who hate L.A. crowds, take note. Certainly there are some pretty lame ass people at an L.A. show. But I think we always look for the bad ones, when really, there are people like you and me EVERYWHERE. We just don’t see them too clearly unless we really look hard. It is just too much easier to notice the jerks.

Lloyd took off and I took his seat in the box. As much as I loved the pool, the sound, and the vibe, in the garden box was so much better. The band sounded lush and intense, everything bouncing off trees and the sky and people, instead of confined in a indoor space like the Avalon or Copley Hall. David and I kept looking at each other with jaws dropped, even though we’d just both seen them two nights before. I can’t even describe how beautiful it was, but if you’ll listen to Bradley’s files, and imagine yourself in an almost perfect setting… he was in Boston and we are in Hollywood, but the set list is almost exactly the same. The feeling? Almost exactly the same. Almost.

I can have no complaints, since I had already seen the band twice; and I was so totally lucky all day with the navigation of tickets and seats and new faces, that I did not, possibly even could not, let dickheads in the audience bug me. But this is only because I saw the Avalon show and the Copley show, where for the most part the audiences were perfect. Having all that space around in a garden box also helped. There is much internet chatter about an incredible moment of silence during Sigur Ros’s “Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa.” In Boston, as Bradley’s file shows, the silence was unbelievable. In my experiences at the Avalon and Copley, someone had to yell. But at the Hollywood Bowl, my god! There were not only people yelling but there was some freak black dude dancing by us that kept screaming “JOHN CAGE! JOHN MILTON CAGE!” Dude, this is so not about you, or John Cage. This is about Sigur Ros, their music, that silence, and our relation to both.

In the end though, freaky dancing guy just added to a perfect night. Just before the encore, Lloyd came back from the pool. “That was SO unbelievable,” he said. We both looked at David. “You have to go down there,” we said together. I had a sublime mixture of wine and joy running through my veins. There was a panorama of cellphones in the air, a sea of little lighted boxes. It was like a cellphone ballet on a perfect autumn night, danced to one of the best bands in the world.

Another thousand quiet wows. Another two hours of perfection. Thank you, Sigur Ros.


Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Last night was the Sigur Ros show at Copley Symphony Hall. It snuck up on me, getting back from my trip on Saturday, trying to re-enter a more still presence on Sunday, and trying to get caught up on Monday sort of took the anticipation out of it all. And it is especially weird these days to actually see a show AT HOME. Imagine, no three hour drives, no checking into hotels, no $35 “may as well go all the way” dinners.

Well. I’m still trying to stop the butterflies in my stomach from trying to break free, because that show was so beautiful that I have decided I must go to Hollywood tomorrow night, go through the drive, the hotel room, and the expensive dinner. Because there is no way Sigur Ros is going to play so close and in a place I totally love – the Hollywood Bowl, without me being there. No way no way no way.

I had an extra ticket to last night’s show, and ended up making a friend. I posted on Craigslist and Taunya responded, and we decided to go have some drinks and food (yes, expensive, but at least there was no hotel bill) before the show. She even lives in OB, and she even DROVE. So already karma is working some sweet magic here. We ate some truly rank tapas at a place called “La Gran Tapa” across from the Symphony hall, but the bottle of wine was good, a 2000 reserve Rioja that shall remain nameless due to wine holes in my brain. Taunya and I hit it off right away, so it was all good, and when we got to our seats she was very happy, as was I, at how close we were to the stage.

Since I’ve already seen Sigur Ros once this year, at the Avalon in Hollywood, I knew how awesome it was going to be, but I didn’t know the songs yet since their new record Takk had not come out. Now I’ve been listening to Takk for a couple of weeks, but even knowing the songs, I think I was equally blown away in both shows for different reasons. It was so weird being in a symphony hall. There were retired people acting as ushers who were so nice but clearly, didn’t get the music. There was a bar where I was shocked to find that there was no carding going on (later, when I went back, there was a LOT of carding going on – clearly the bartenders had a “talking to.”) It was difficult to have to sit in a seat the entire time. No one stood – ever. I think I am conditioned for movement at a show now. It was very hard to remain still. Maybe I need to take up mediation or something.

Yes I need to take up meditation. Because sitting there I just could not get my mind to shut up. I kept telling it SHUT THE FUCK UP but it wouldn’t. That’s why I have to go back tomorrow. Or at least this is the excuse I am giving myself.

I don’t really need any excuses. It was incredible. How does Jonsi do that with his voice? The highest, cleanest, notes sustained for so long the people in the audience couldn’t take it. One MUST shriek “whoo” after a minute or so. Well, I didn’t – I just whispered many “wows.” Because there are two kinds of music lovers – the whoo shriekers and the wow whisperers. Actually there are three – there is also the non-listener but I don’t think there were too many of those at this show.

One of the truly fantastic things about the internet is that you can relive a moment that happened 21 hours ago. Like here, where you can listen to Sigur Ros’s Boston show, thanks to Bradley. Like him, I have a hard time putting it all into words, but you can LISTEN. So, if you will, scroll down a bit and find the show, and at least listen to Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa. This is the song I wrote about on my Avalon entry where there was a long moment of silence until some guy whoo hooed. Last night, there were quite a few whoo whoos. But at this Boston show that Bradley recorded, no whoo hoos. Dead silence in the middle of the song. It is SO fantastic. Thank you, thank you Bradley for recording that show because right now I am listening to it, crying, remembering it all. Readers, take advantage of this gift, regardless of what kind of music you are into right now. My god.

Sigur Ros lyrics are sometimes an invented language called Hopelandic. Their music breaks my heart, even if I don’t know what it all means. Breaks my heart and mends it later. Then fills it. At the show last night a ring of light strands hit the stage vertically and the effect was one of a spaceship coming down to take the band away. Later, white birds flew everywhere, but they were light birds. It’s no wonder I want to go back tomorrow.

And now, a more silent Wow.