Friday, March 27, 2009

Rock & Roll Memories

In December I pre-ordered Pearl Jam's Super Deluxe Box Set of their debut album, "Ten." It wasn't going to be shipped until March. So it was to be a birthday present to myself. When you're older you can do that and it's not weird.

The package came today. Along with all the goodies -- 2 CD's, a DVD, 3 vinyl records, a book and other assorted goodies -- was the prized possession; A vinyl copy of my first rock concert and one of the seminal moments of my childhood. Pearl Jam's legendary free show, Drop in the Park in 1992. I was there.

As I opened the package and saw the record, I couldn't believe what I saw. There is Ed swinging over the crowd from his microphone cord. A story that I have told countless times to anyone that will listen and am thrilled I now have visual proof of the story's validity. And in the middle of the photo, adjacent to Ed's ankle, there I am, looking on in awe. Right where my finger is. That's me, wearing a Who t-shirt.

That day in Magnusson Park was a momentous occasion for a 17-year-old obsessed with music. I remember the entire day in great detail. Detail that was confirmed as I poured over the accompanying photos in the box set. Right down to what the band was wearing, I remembered.

The magic that spilled from the speakers that day still exists. I'm quite proud that I can still get that feeling from music. It's the same feeling I had as a teenager. It's more rare than it was, but it's a carbon copy. The hairs on my neck stand at attention, my head bobs instinctually and I lose myself in a musical moment.

Truthfully, I'd rather be dead than not feel it ever again.

"Hey hey, my my, rock and roll will never die,"


MTV's coverage of Drop in the Park

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Sour Ball B-Day Package

A berfday package from my brothers arrived in the post today. Freaking awesome.

There was an iTunes gift card (that's good, I need some more Blind Lemon Jefferson and Big Bill Broonzy), a DVD of In the Shadow of the Moon, a documentary I've really wanted to see, and one more item. The most important of them all.

Goofy's Sour Balls candy from Disneyland. One of the great candies in the world. An underrated and rare candy.

They can only be found in the Disney theme parks. The family was there a couple weeks ago. They had the foresight to lug a "family sized" bag of Sour Balls back for my birthday. That's how easy it is to please me. Appease the childlike sweet-tooth and I'm happy as Larry.

Candy. It's as simple as that.

Oh yeah, the Sour Balls? They're already half gone...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday with a Movie Star

I got a call from my buddy Jon Heder last week. He's here in New York doing reshoots for a film called When In Rome. We've been able to hang out a few times. They have been good times.

When I asked Jon where he was staying he paused. "You're going to laugh. I'm at the Trump Tower." Wow. When I headed to the Trump, it was just as you'd expect. Gaudy as the day is long. Pink and gold. The trash can in the loo is gold. The joint looks like Melanie Griffith threw up.

As we were leaving the hotel, and joking about how ridiculous it is that he was staying there, (and on the top floor) the Kardashian sisters passed us in the lobby. Incredibly funny.

For my fourth annual 30th birthday, Jon took me to dinner. He found a perfect joint to go to. A steak house called Quality Meats. It was spot on. Not some annoying place called Exhale or Smoke or Prey. You get what's advertised. Quality meats.

While there, I found that I have some new restaurant goals. Jon had been to the place before. So, the manager says, "Welcome back, sir." After we ordered the server brought over a tray of fine meats and cheeses. "Compliments of the chef, sir." That's two things I want to hear at a restaurant. "Welcome back" and "compliments of the chef."

The steak we both had was a "still on the bone" cut. Coming out of the delicious monster was seven inches on bone. It looked like it could have toppled Fred Flintsone's car. Then the waiter made steak sauce from scratch right there at the table. Quite impressive.

Best steak I ever had.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Returning to Manhattan

I have come home to New York City. A land where life makes sense.

As I have been out and about the first few days home, I have seen some amazing sights. The kind of oddities that make me love this city like I love the blues.

-On the 3 train was an African American man in his 40's, reading a sports article in Look Magazine from the ... 1940's. I saw an ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes. Where did he buy it?

-As I got off the train at 72nd street to go to Gray's Papaya for a hot dog breakfast -- seriously -- a Mexican mariachi band got off with me. They had been strumming away for 3 stops. I gave them a buck. Anyhoo, as they got off the train, standing on the platform, was an identical Mexican mariachi band. A mirror image. Accordion guy, short guy, fat guy, big nose guy, all with mustaches, all with dinner plate-sized belt buckles and ostrich boots, the exact same band. The two groups paused and stared at each other, both frozen with a strange fascination. I was transfixed. Would they start an accordion battle? Breakdance style. I was hoping so. Alas, nothing happened. No battle. They just nodded to one another and moved on.

-On 59th street, there was a midget whose head and face looked exactly like Jaws from the James Bond series. It was uncanny.

-While I was walking through Central Park, down Literary Walk and right next to the statue of Scottish hero Robert Burns, was a gentleman with "T-Rex arms." That is, the chap's hands were placed at the elbow. I remained perfectly still, testing if his visual acuity was based on movement. I think he still saw me.

On my way out of the Park, I walked past Strawberry Fields, next to the Dakota. There was a group of Australian tourists engaged on an impromptu John Lennon sing-along with a local busker. They were butchering "All You Need Is Love." It was great.

Moses smell the roses do I love this city.

Good night and good luck.