Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cakes And Confusion

And coffee. I pulled up the page to start writing this post, then realized I was caffeine-deficient, and wanting of a hot beverage. While I'm not this bad:

I could still use some coffee right now. I like my coffee the way I like my women: pale, sweet and acidic.

It's been a weird couple of weeks recently. I almost feel like I stumbled into a Gabriel Iglesias concert because Steppen Stonz have been bombarded with cakes. Allow me to explain, right after I get my coffee from my little coffeemaker......


Okay, better now. Y'see, Mike and Arthur are almost exactly the same age. As in Arthur is four days older than Mike. Arthur was born on May 7th, and Mike on the 11th. And their birthdays, as you might have guessed by now, have fallen during this current run of gigs. And in an ironic twist, our new keyboardist Miguel, well.... his birthday was May 15th. With three-fourths of the band having birthdays within eight days of each other, that can only lead to one thing. Cake, and lots of it. During the first two weeks of the run at CVI and John Ascuaga's Nugget, we received no less than six cakes from our loyal fans. It was wonderful and horrible at the same time. Wonderful because we have such good fans, and horrible because I think we all gained five or ten pounds each from all that cake!

And since then, I've been camped out in our old pop-up trailer, stashed behind Michelle's place up in Sun Valley (often only half-jokingly referred to as 'The World's Largest Trailer Park' or 'The World's Largest Halfway House' or more succinctly as 'The Toilet Bowl') while we run through a few weekenders, first at Casino Fandango, then up at Boomtown up in Verdi. I then have a few weeks off in Reno to conduct some other business before I can head for home for a few weeks.

But what about the 'confusion' you mentioned in the title?

Well, that started the night before last, and is continuing apace. I was inside Michelle's house playing Oblivion on their Xbox 360 (mine was physically repaired, but it's still not working right - I think I may have to reformat my 360's hard drive when I get home, but not before I get a second opinion on it), when I started to hear what I thought was rain on the roof. Turns out that I was only partially right - it was a hailstorm instead, rapidly followed by thunder and lightning, then about an inch of snow! And more snow came in the next day as well, when I encountered near-whiteout conditions driving up to Carson City to set up at the Fandango!

I lived here for three years, so you'd think that I'd be aware of these late-spring storms that come in and totally fuck everything up around here. But no! Hell, this happened last year as well, when Joy and I encountered a sudden whiteout-condition snowstorm up above Eagle Lake, about a half-hour north of Susanville, CA - on June 1st! I should know better, but I never seem to be ready or prepared for this time of year, just waiting for the desert heat to come. And it will by the middle of next week, as the usual high-desert summer kicks in with daytime high temperatures in the 90's. As it was, with the sudden snow (and then lots of standing water when it melted), I wound up having to replace both pair of shoes that I'd brought with me. One pair, that I'd originally thought would just be my regular sneakers, wound up looking and feeling so good onstage that I decided to use them as my drumming shoes, which forced me (no really, it did) to buy a second pair of cheap sneaks at Wal-Mart on the way back to Reno. And how much did I spend? Well, let's just say less than $30 for both pair of shoes - I really am a cheap bastard.

Well, the coffee's kicking in now, so I'd better cut this short. I hear the porcelain god calling my name. A lot.

Later, taters!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Do You Ever Forget..... happens to me." - Ron White

Another long journey is in the books, and I'm in my hotel room at the Carson Valley Inn again. Before I go to set up and soundcheck, I take a quick mental inventory of my things and find out what I forgot at home. Joy always tells me to make checklists, and while I know I should, I kinda resent that idea. To me, it's kinda like surrendering to my wife's habit of micromanaging (which after her years as a bureaucrat, will likely never fully disappear). But I should start using a checklist. She does have my best interests in mind, after all.

But the fog of war, as Clausewitz described it, is all-powerful. I always manage to forget something, no matter how often I check and recheck things manually. This time around, I forgot my mp3 player. It's nice to have it when I go for a walk, and very useful to kill time while setting up and tearing down. But its' headphones are the most useful for me, as those are used every night onstage, as I use them for my monitors, coming up from my little mixing board. So much better than a big clunky speaker right next to me that can be awfully loud onstage because I absolutely need to hear it over my drums.

But I'm not that worried. I have the Sennheiser over-the-ear-headphone that I use for my computer, they'll do. I prefer in-ear monitoring, but big 'phones are better than nothing at all. That's why I bought them in the first place. But they never fit right on my head, over the Sennheiser headset mic that's finally getting repaired by my old pal Leo at Strait Music in Port Angeles. So I went to earbuds, and the rest is history.

And I need to buy some rice for my foodbox. A small sewing kit, because the front button on my camouflage shorts popped off at a bathroom stall in the Guitar Center in Tacoma. And I seem to have only brought three pair of socks - I coulda sworn I'd thrown more into my duffel bag....

It never ends, does it?