Friday, January 25, 2008

Big Heading To Wyoming

Okay, here goes...

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's entry, Aubry and I went to see Big Head Todd and The Monsters last night. So after getting off work and doing a few last minute things in preperation for our trip, we headed on down to what has become a bit of a home-away-from-home for me lately; The NorVa. Still the only place where I've caught a live act since moving to Virginia.

After braving the traffic and crowds brought into town by the Reba McIntyre and Kelly Clarkson concert a block away, we made it to The NorVa. I was a little nervous about what kind of 'seat' we were going to get, since doors opened at 7 and we weren't able to get there until after 7:15. Luckily, it wasn't a problem.

The opening band was The Ben Phelps Project. Not a bad little quintet out of the Hampton Roads area. Good vocals and the potential of a good lead guitarist. The only thing I'll take away from them is that even though their drummer is talented, he was too much for the band. I realize the drummer shouldn't always be pushed to the back and told to keep the beat, but when the band is focused on songwriting and guitar, he should not try to be center stage all the time.

After a somewhat brief intermission, the stage was set for the main event. The band came out to, suprisingly, little fanfare and jumped right into a blazing set. Rapidfire guitar changes were the only breaks in a very solid hour and a half set consisting of over twenty songs. They were pushing the new stuff but stayed true, as any good band should, to what got them here and what got the fans in the door. I caught myself several times in a bit of disbelief that I was seeing a band that had been a part of my life for so long.

Although I had never seen them live before last night, I had an idea of what Todd Park Mohr would be like on stage. There's a sound or a way of playing guitar and signing that has always come across to me in recordings, that makes it sound so effortless and smooth. It doesn't happen often but Johnny Cash had it, Jimi Hendrix had it, Stevie Ray Vaughan had it, Roy Orbison had it and Todd Park Mohr has it. I know that Big Head Todd has never acheived the widespread acclaim that these others have but I think that may be intentional. I also know that when Mohr would grin and step back to the mic after ripping through a solo the wallpaper in the place would begin to peel off and the rock n' roll would be dripping from the ceiling.

I think I've said enough.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Out Of Focus

Okay, here goes...

It is 7:35 in the morning and I'm already having trouble staying on task. Perhaps it is because I didn't get a lot of sleep last night... but I did. Maybe I didn't eat a good breakfast... but I did. Maybe I deviated from my normal, set morning routine... but I didn't. I haven't had any caffeine yet this morning, but that's not usually a problem. Hmmm, what could it be? Could it be that I'm going to see Big Head Todd and The Monsters at the NorVa tonight?! They are one of the bands that I have listened to for most of my life yet still haven't seen live!

Yeah, that will be cool. But wait... it gets better! I get off work at noon tomorrow and hop in my truck with my best gal and my dog for a 9 hour drive down to my parents' house (that's not the good part). The next morning (Saturday) dad will drop Aubry and me off at the airport for our trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming!!!

Oh man, I can't wait!!! I get excited about things but rarely do I get this excited. I usually don't catch myself with clinched fists, shaking my arms and smiling ear-to-ear, but I have several times over the past few weeks.

It looks like the weather is going to be a bit milder but keep snowing, while we're there. I don't mind the freezing cold, but if it wants to hang around the low to mid-20's and keep snowing, that's fine with me.

Anyway, I'm going to caffeinate and try to focus. I'm sure I'll be back before too long and if not, I'll try to keep this thing going while in Jackson. Hopefully with lots of great pictures.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Days, Weird Dreams

Okay, here goes...

The past week, or so, since I last posted has been pretty good. All the plans for the trip to Jackson Hole are coming together. I picked up my snowboard from its spa treatment Saturday and ordered a bag online. We were going to knock around town visiting all the interesting stores we had always wanted step into, but after a few we decided to spend our day laying on the couch watching episodes of The Office on NetFlix. That ended up being a great decision... what a great way to recharge.

Sunday was a bit of a bust. I laid around and enjoyed not having anything to do for the first time in awhile. I did go get a cup of coffee and read the paper, but that was about it.

One thing of note was that I had a really odd dream last night. The first thing I remember is my dog coming in with a bee (similar to a honey bee) on her back. I didn't think much of it until, somehow, I started getting bees under my skin. I'm not sure how they got there but they really hurt until I smacked my arm and killed them. I don't remember them ever stinging me but the sensation of them crawling under my skin and the visual of the lumps on my arms moving was awfully unnerving.

I looked up what the dream means and bees are a sign of good luck. Which makes me happy that one was on my dog. However, if they sting, it can be a bad sign. Again, I don't remember them stinging but they did hurt like hell. I think there is an obvious 'under my skin' connotation but I'm not sure why luck or being busy and productive would annoy me. I do know I've been a little anxious and nervous about this trip to Jackson going off without a hitch. Perhaps thats why... I just hope it's not an omen sort of dream.

Anyway, I know my arms were itchy with that creepy-crawly feeling when I awoke.

Does anyone out there know anything about dreams? Can you fill me in on this one?

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Return Of Metal

Okay, here goes...

This weekend was a full one. Saturday, Aubry and I bellied up to the counter for breakfast at our normal Saturday AM spot. From there we went out to make the first real, hands-on preperations for our trip to Jackson Hole at the end of this month. I dropped my snowboard off for a wax and edge. Aubry is in the market for a used pair of skies so we hit up a used sporting good store. In the end, she didn't make the jump and we were off to races. We had tried to get up in time to eat and catch an early movie but couldn't get out of bed. So, we were speeding to catch a later showing of The Golden Compass.

I was not that impressed with the film, but didn't really have a great deal of faith going into the theatre. It looked good, but what got me into it was how much flack it had received from the religious right (reich?). I really didn't see what they were talking about, but to each his own.

Last evening was spent in the loving arms of a heavy metal mosh pit care of Rob Zombie and the NorVa ( For anyone who has never seen Rob Zombie or has never seen the inside of the NorVa, allow me to paint you a picture. Rob Zombie is known for his elaborate and over the top visuals to accompany his music which has similar characteristics. The first time I saw Zombie was several years ago at a large festival show with a huge stage to hold all his exploits. There were explosions and fire shooting out of ever nook and cranny. Dancers shaking their money makers all around and at the center of it all, a wall of heavy, fuzzy noise that made my bones shake with joy, like few others have since.

Now, the NorVa is a small venue with a big reputation. They list the stage as 4.5 ft. high, 36 ft. wide, and 26 ft deep. The club itself holds 1500 of your closest friends on two floors. The main floor is where I usually reside but there is a balcony that surrounds the main floor on three sides.

That being said, Rob Zombie in that small space was incredible. No fire or explosions but a good time non-the-less. I would like to mention something that has started pissing me off at shows over the past couple years. How everyone thinks they need to take a pictures with their cell phones throughout the entire show. Along with the asthematic and/or prissy girls that line the front rail, its almost impossible to get to the front or see the band from the pit. I have no problem with girls in the pit. In the late 90's, when you started seeing more girls rubbing elbows in the sweaty mass, I was glad to see those brave and strong women down there. But now, the pink-wearing girly-girls have started getting to the show well before doors open and bringing their gym rat boyfriends to try to hold off the tide so they can hold up their cell phones and take pictures all night. This is a call to arms against people that have no business on the rail! It must end! Oh yeah, and making out with your clingy, needy, hicky-giving girlfriend before a metal show... this guy has to go too.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year, New Emotions, Old Emotions

Okay, here goes...

I haven't posted in several days, so I'll catch everyone (both of you) up quickly, except for the long, drawn out bit at the end.

Aubry and I had to work New Year's Eve. We went to a great tapas place, Bodega, for dinner. It's our favorite place to eat out and we go there for most any celebratory meal. If you ever go, get a Captain's Choice cocktail. Sort of like a mojito without the trendy guilt.

After that, we tried to hit up a bar near the house, but alas... it was closed. What!? I don't know. So, we went back to the house and lounged around looking up meaningful and/or funny songs on YouTube for a couple hours. I was keeping warm with Jack and Coke so by the time the cork was popped on the bubbly, I was feeling pretty good. We decided to go with expensive champagne this year and we learned that although it was not as sweet, it pretty much tastes the same as the cheap stuff.

Anyway, I rang in the New Year with emotions that I haven't had in a long time; hope for the upcoming year, love and contentedness. And more important than feeling love is feeling loved. Despite having been in a 6 1/2 year relationship about a year and a half ago, I don't remember feeling those emotions. Perhaps I never did.

Which brings me to what has been bothering me over the last few days. When my ex girlfriend (we'll call her Helga) and I went out separate ways, we only did so in a relationship sense. We had been together for over 6 years and continued to live together. Despite wanting to get away, I really couldn't afford to. Then, come to find out, one of my best friends, James, was interested in her. He came to me and asked me if I had a problem with seeing her and I tried as best I could to warn him away from her. In the end, I think he had been very lonely for quite awhile and had been watching most of his friends enjoy (or not) the company of someone for years.

I put my feelings aside, as I am known to do, and said that I had no right to tell him who he could pursue. I guess in the end the situation really motivated me to make the move to another state which has resulted in my new found happiness.

The reason I bring this up, is because I hear now, although he hasn't told me, that he wants to buy a house with her. But, all the vibes that I get from him with regards to his emotional state, are negative. I don't think he's really happy. I think he's just tired of being alone. Helga has mastered, with the teaching of her mother, making someone feel guilty for not doing whatever she wants done without the person realizing it. It took a year and 500 miles for me to realize this. She makes you believe that you need her and putting up with her shit is worth it. Now she's trying to pull me back into that by giving me a guilt trip about my dog (that I got just after we started living together and still have).

Since this all started, part of me has tried to keep their relationship at arms length while maintaining my friendship with James. But now I feel like I should talk to him and try to dissuade him from making, what I feel, is a huge mistake. Should I? What right do I have butting into someones life? I guess I'm scared of losing one of the only two really close friends that I have. And I can't see myself continuing our friendship with her in the picture but I don't want to tell him that. Maybe I should...

If anyone out there reads this... feel free to lend your advice. I think I could use some help on this one.