Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bobble Bobble Buffalo

You know you've made it when you've had a bobble-head doll created in your image:

Ok, so it was probably made by one of these companies, and they were made at the request of the boss, but gadammit, I have my own freakin' BOBBLE-HEAD! Match THAT!! *

We arrived in Buffalo, NY last night. Our hotel is right downtown, which in some cities would mean being right in the middle of the action, but in this case it's only in the middle of the action if action is defined as nine-to-five commercial madness. What kind of sad mistake did urban planners make in years past, turning the hearts of our cities into lifeless wastelands? I look at the faceless buildings, walk through the concrete plazas, marvel at the lunar feel of the landscape after 5:00 on a weekday, and wonder how anyone could have ever said "Now THAT'S a good idea." Didn't they ever read their Jane Jacobs? And now we have to suffer their idiocy until it all crumbles or someone comes in with a few billion and a phalanx of bulldozers.

In all fairness, I did wander into Allentown earlier today, a funky neighborhood about a 20-minute walk north of the hotel. Had breakfast at the local Greek diner, and took a walk-around, and found a great coffee shop to sit for a while and read while Otis Redding played on the stereo. I can't remember the name, but it's kinda small, on the west side of the street (Elmwood, I believe), right across from some Steel Cafe, and there was an awesome girl named Brena working who gave me a copy of The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran when I said I'd never read him (thanks, Brena!). Every city's got people who fight back and make their own pockets of coolness.

Our venue tonight was the theater at Darien Lake amusement park. The last time I was there, I was probably 11 or 12 years old, and I was camping next door with my Boy Scout troop (209). Funny how it all comes swarming back, but seems so small 15 years later! For some idiotic reason, I didn't even think about the possibility that our passes would grant us free access to the park and rides within. We rode all the roller coasters after sound check, and it was fucking AWESOME, loops and corkscrews and 203-foot drops and all. 10 years since the last coaster... why so long!?

* Thanks again to John for his masterful video skills, which I continually exploit.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Takin' It To The Street

A couple weeks off, and we're back at it. After two sold-out shows at the Madison Square Garden Theater, we found ourselves yesterday in Saratoga Springs, NY. The town is nice enough, and the beautiful, 75-and-sunny weather (sans city humidity and nastiness!) has only helped my impression of it, though it does have a certain sterility and homogeneity that comes about when any municipality is stocked primarily with affluent white people. A couple of us tried out a few bars on the Caroline St. night life strip, but turned around within seconds upon discovering the beer-pong table or fighting through a swarm of white hats and khakis. But despite the abundance of nincompoopery, there was still fun to be had:

Walking back from dinner, John and I passed a few street musicians, and decided we needed to throw out talent into the pool. A couple smiles to the hotel clerk, and John had his drums: large plastic trash can, smaller metal trash can, champagne bucket, metal kitchen thingy. Paul played executive producer, stuffing towels and pillows inside to help get the proper sounds, and then we were off. And for a first try, I'd say we didn't do too bad...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Weather: 020 Stylin'



You can view a short video of storm footage here. I have never seen a hailstorm quite like this one, especially at the beginning of July. 30 minutes previous, we were sitting out in the garden behind the shop from which the video and pictures were taken. As the first raindrops came down, I had suggested that we should endure the storm from underneath an umbrella. My idea was quickly vetoed. For the better.

I have much more to tell, and much more to show. It was my plan to show and tell a good amount of it this evening, before I was roped into a Notting Hill pub earlier on. Blame the rain... I only did it to stay dry!