Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Week In Review

Well, at this point, it's gonna be a little more like 10 days or thereabouts. Apologies if anyone has been traumatized by the lack of postings in the last few days. What can I say? Sometimes you just need a break. Anyway, I figure the best approach here is the picture-and-comment method. I've taken a bunch, and it'll be easier than trying to narrate a thread throughout it all. And what better way to pass the time, waiting to see if tonight's show will be rained out or not? We shall proceed in reverse...

We kick it off with a view I've been waiting for, a clear shot of the Atlantic Ocean from my Boca Raton hotel room. As cool as the shot is from right inside my door, it's rather exciting when unobstructed as well. And so you get both. Boca's been great for the obvious reasons: ocean, sun, warmth, laying on the beach at midnight, staying in a hotel I'd never be able to afford if I went on vacation. Other than that, it's a little dull. Lots of families and retired folks, too much money. As a friend of one of the band members said last night, "Mercedes: the Chevrolet of Boca Raton." We were told in Tampa that we'd love Boca if we were into plastic boobies and wives who liked to compete with their daughters for attention. Yawn.

I've lamented at times that I haven't done a photodocumentary on my practice spaces throughout the last two months. We almost always have about two and a half hours of downtime between the end of sound check and downbeat of the show. If I can claim to have settled into any sort of routine for this portion of time, it would be that I find an unused room, practice there for an hour or so, mess around online, eat dinner, then get dressed for the show. Most of my practice facilities have been locker rooms of varying sizes and odors, but here and there we have an outlier. In Philadelphia, it was the Tower Theater air conditioning room, situated at the top of the theater with a floor-to-ceiling door open to the outside. In Clearwater, it was the shore of a lake. Theater employees warned me that there were gators in the lake who occasionally used the spot from which I snapped the picture for sunbathing, one of which being nine feet long. Naturally, I was thrilled with the idea of seeing one up close and personal, so I grabbed the horn and camera and made my way over. Alas, the only one I saw was swimming about 100 yards away. No picture.

This was probably the most exciting part about Clearwater. We stayed at a Hard Rock Casino Resort, and many of you know how I feel about such places. On top of it all, the pool was closed until the morning of the day we departed. A bunch of horse piss if you ask me.

What, you wanted a picture of the monuments amidst freshly-blossomed cherry trees for Washington, DC? Tough nuts, you'll get the Metro station and like it. Since our show on Sunday was canceled due to boss's illness, we had a full day off to tear around the city. I caught a little monument action on my Saturday evening run, but Sunday I went north and spent some time with hometown friends in Adams Morgan. I also found a wonderful record shop, Crooked Beat, where I scored quite the stack of 45s — in continuation of a trend started the week before in Philly.

Ok fine, here's some frickin' cherry blossoms for y'all. Since every other out-o-towner seemed to be there to see this annual phenomenon, I figured I should show some interest. This picture was taken Monday morning from the back seat of the van on the way to the airport, stuck in treacle-flow traffic. Perfect, too, because I really wouldn't have wanted to get any closer to them on such a beautiful, warm, sunny day.

Although DC gets high marks for an urban center, I still found myself counting down the days to NYC. It's a city fit for walking, but the building height limit caps the density at a point that doesn't really let it get interesting. It's row-house scale for miles and miles east of of the Potomac. I'm not sure, though, that I'd want to be surrounded with DC people at a much greater density. One can only tolerate the hill folk, GW students, lawyers, professional crowd, and general pretense to a certain extent...

Wouldn't you think that if you were staying in the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA you'd have at least a few kisses waiting on your hotel pillow, maybe a Special Dark, or a chocolate Jesus for the season? Check it out. Not even a mini Krackel. The bastards! But wouldn't you know, pull back the covers and see what you get...

Scranton, PA. Never managed to get a picture in Scranton. Too busy for photography, I guess, although there were a couple pics that I really wanted to get. Too bad, so sad. Again, I found a pretty cool record shop and bought a bunch. Perhaps I'll shoot for a posting all about recently-acquired records, as the combined take of the last few weeks is undeniably worthy of such.

No pics of Poughkeepsie either, but I can't say there were any that I missed.

We needed at least one gratuitous skyline picture for this posting, and what better way to kick off the last city to be covered in dishere posting, lovely Philadelphia? The photo was taken from a friend's roof around South and 5th, following quite the pleasant day off. Notable events in Philly: jogging to the top of the Art Museum steps and having a personal Rocky moment, stealing my sister's college friend and her roomie for a day-off-in-Philly hang, epic record shopping (to be detailed later maybe, but at the end of the day, I found a place with crates of 45s for 10 cents each... happy as a pig in shit!), and consuming an original Philly cheesesteak. The last is particularly blogworthy. Two places on the south side, situated kitty-corner from each other, both claim to have originated the cheesesteak — the garishly-lit Geno's and the humble-by-comparison Pat's — but my guides for the hour were absolutely convinced of the authenticity of Pat's story, so there we went. And how could one not trust a place adorned with framed pictures of every Italian-American hero known to humanity? It's one of those places where one must order with soup-nazi precision, else you be sent to be back of the line. Luckily for newcomers, they have ordering instructions printed next to the ordering window. I ordered a "provolone pepper steak wit" or something like that, meaning a cheesesteak with provolone plus sauteed peppers and onions. Why I couldn't order it like that, I don't know, but I probably would have been sent to the back of the line for being too specific and neglecting the local vernacular, however imposed. But the most valuable morsel of information gleaned by far: the cheese which completes a Philly steak in the truest sense is not provolone or cheddar or American or mozzarella, but Cheez-whiz. Chew on that.

And that, my lovelies, is where I must leave you: tired and hungry. As epic as the scope of this posting, so brief is the conclusion. The best to all.


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