28 July 2009

Is my iPod trying to tell me something?

I usually spend a lot of time getting into work in the morning.  That is to say, I could leave the house at 7:30, take the freeway and be at work by 8 with time to spare.   I don't do this.  Freeways make me crazy especially with traffic in California.  The last thing I need is to be all strung out and stressed before walking into work with a bunch of angry customers waiting for me.  To combat this, in the mornings I leave at 7:10 and take the side streets all the way from Costa Mesa to Irvine.   Sure, it's twenty minutes longer, but the scenery is nicer and I can leisurely drink my coffee, smoke cigarettes and listen to music on the way in.   It's not for everyone (especially those who enjoy extra sleep) but it works for me.

I used to listen to talk radio in the morning on the way in.  No, I take that back...my old truck didn't have an iPod connector so I was forced into listening to talk radio as apparently all the regular music stations feel as though commuters don't actually want to listen to music in the morning but would rather have us listen to them call up random people asking them to fart the theme song to Gilligan's Island.  

I love my iPod.   Besides DVR's and bacon, iPods are one of the world's best inventions.  I have approximately 13 gigs of music on it right now.  That isn't a lot by some standards.   (On a side note, I like that iTunes lets you know how many days you could continuously listen to music without ever hearing the same song.  It's a bit of a comfort to know that if I was trapped on a deserted island, I could listen to 9 straight days of music with no repeats.   Of course, this deserted island would have to have an electrical outlet as the iPod would surely run out of battery life before the 9 days and if that was the case, the deserted island probably wouldn't be all that deserted, but still).  Where was I?  Oh yes.  Anyhow, because I technically don't have all that much music, I rarely bother with playlists.  I have one that has some of my very favorite songs, but otherwise I listen to music by genre or just set the thing to shuffle.

Most mornings, I use the shuffle option.  Depending on my mood or the iPod's tendency to play a "rock block" of the same artist, I sometimes have to do a lot of song skipping.  I don't mind this.  It's a bit like legalized song gambling as I might get all pumped up listening to the Gorillaz and then the iPod thinks that a sad Patsy Cline song would best follow it up.   It's a mood gamble really, but that's part of the fun.   The iPod also, I think, has a little man inside it - I'll call him DJ Podmeister - who likes to play a themed set of shuffled songs.   I had a whole morning once where all the songs were about traveling.   Another morning I had a whole morning of songs about being dirty rotten liars.  This morning, every single song on shuffle was about getting dumped.  Was my iPod trying to tell me something?  Did DJ Podmeister know something I didn't? 

I started to get really concerned about the whole thing until DJ Podmeister put on Hellbound Hayride's "I Think You're Trying to Kill Me".    Getting murdered is so less concerning then getting dumped!

Casey a.k.a. Moe

13 July 2009

Being Regular

A lot of people don’t understand why I go to the Harp as often as I do.

One common reaction is absolute confusion. "Why are you going to there again? There are so many more things to do in southern California. You can surf, ride, ski, snowboard, jog, spend time with family, catch a game. Why go to the same bar yet again?" Yeah right, all those other options sound very appealing.

Another common reaction is vague or explicit disgust. "Do you have a drinking problem? Are you a bit of a lush?" Which you might consider to be downright rude. And you'd be right.

They simply do not understand what it is like to be a regular at a local pub. It’s more than just drinking, it’s more than just having a pint with the boys, it’s more than yourself, much much more.

To be a regular at a local pub is to be part of a family. There is no definitions on who we, the family members, are. We are old, we are young. We are married with families, we’re divorced, we’ve been single for years, we’ve been dating for years. We work in computers, construction, universities, science labs, the shopping mall. We’re Republicans, Democrats, No Party Affiliation. We are atheists, Christians, Jewish, simply Spiritual. We are meat eaters and vegetarians. We love and we hate but we are family.

To be a regular at a local pub, you would have to understand that it’s more than just a pub; it’s a public living room. We have the chairs we prefer. We know where things are. You could not be a regular without knowing each bartenders name, where they keep the extra paper towels, what shelf the champagne is on, what band is playing on Thursday night, who went home with who last Sunday. To be a regular is to listen and care that the bartender lost her dog in a fire and know that if you get too drunk that night she will drive you home after her shift. To be a regular is clearing up glasses and wiping down tables if the bartenders are too busy. It’s being able to order two chicken strips and ¾ of a pint of lager when it’s not on the menu. It’s having a tab that you forget to pay that day without anyone worrying that you aren’t good for it.

Some think of regulars at local pubs to be alcoholics and drunks. To be fair, some of us are. However, most of us are not. A regular will still come to local pub when they are on the wagon. That isn’t to say that regulars don’t get drunk, we certainly do. But that isn’t the reason why we are there; it’s an occupational hazard of the lifestyle. Regulars will stop in for one on their way to somewhere else, or they’ll spend the afternoon. Drinking isn’t what defines a regular. A regular becomes a regular to be a part of that pub family.

Being part of this pub family means that we are intertwined in each other’s lives just like any other sort of family. We’ve met each other’s children, we’ve helped each other move, we visit each other in the hospital. We rejoice in each other’s successes, and tease each other’s failures as only a family would do. We gossip, we support, we laugh, and we cry.

When we lose a member of this family it affects us all. If we are lucky, we lose members of our family because they move away. If we are lucky, we lose them to the birth of a new child. If we are lucky, we lose them to a change in their life that states that they don’t need us anymore. A lost pub family member is never truly lost this way; there is always a chance we will see them again. Sometimes, however, we lose a family member in the worst way possible.

Paul Holden, a.k.a. Vitamin Paul, a.k.a. Bababooie left the pub family this past Thursday afternoon. He was a character in the best and worst way of the word. He made us laugh, he made us crazy, he annoyed us. We knew Paul like only a pub family could. He had two beautiful children. His first ex-wife once hit him over the head with a cast iron frying pan. He believed in aliens and the British S.A.S.. He could consult us all for hours about the perfect pillow top mattress to buy only to go out and get an air mattress instead. If you were a woman, he’d hit on you. If you were that same woman, you’d laugh at his efforts, decline, but still buy him a beer. He had a tattoo of the Rolling Stones tongue on his butt which he wouldn’t mind showing you. He was 44 and still lived life like he was in his 20’s. Paul died doing what he loved. He loved the ocean and he loved body surfing. He had moved down to the peninsula this past spring and went out surfing every day. The ocean took our brother and our friend. It’s hard to grasp that he’s gone. He will not, could not, ever be forgotten.

I miss you Paulie.

If any of you knew Paul, please leave a Paul story in the comments.

09 July 2009

This is a test from your emergency broadcast system.

Just testing the post by email feature.


Thought you'd gotten rid of me, hey?

The first post on a new blog is a difficult thing to pull off. The first post of a blog sets the tone for the entire life span of a blog. A bit like your mother who when you say at seven years of age that you like flamingos will always to the end of your days (or hers) buy you flamingo related items although you lost interest in flamingos a week after making that statement. Such is the first post. If I were to say, “this here is a blog all about knitting” most of you would say, “OK, if I ever feel the need to knit, I know where to go” and would be sorely disappointed if you were to come back a year later (because, c’mon, how much information on knitting do you really want to know?) only to discover I’ve moved on to hamster training.

This is my 3rd blog. My first blog over at Diaryland was a blog of a 25 year old who didn’t know how to keep her mouth shut regarding her exploits in the local nightlife. My 2nd blog, newthisweekend.blogspot.com, was fun- but trying to find new things to do every weekend was exhausting, expensive, and just a bit limiting on what I wanted to say. This blog I’m hoping to combine the best bits of the two. I hope it’s good. I hope you stick around. I hope that I win the lotto – ah shit, I just checked. No. Damn.

I haven’t written anything more than work related emails in ages so my thought process in writing is a bit cob-webby. Seriously, there is a spider chilling out in my ear canal a bit paranoid he’s about to be evicted. I had a joke in my head about having a little broom to clean my ear out… *a-hem* Yeah, I’m a bit rusty. Give me time.

So what will this blog be about? Your guess is as good as mine. But it’s got a picture of a badger to start off with so it can’t be all that bad.