My Grandma Passed

December 14, 2016

Well, the clusterfuck that is 2016 finally encroached upon a member of my family; I can’t get out of this year fast enough.

This is a tough one for me.  She was my grandma on my dad’s side, and she’s lived in California my whole life, so I very rarely got to see her.  But, every time, she was a total sweetheart.  Just a lovely, kind, loving woman; someone you feel lucky to call your grandma.

I keep trying to remember the last time I saw her, but it’s tough.  I know she was up here, I think visiting my uncle and aunt; I maybe saw her for a few hours.  I seem to only really remember events where we made a point to take lots of pictures.  I want to say 10-12 years ago my whole family from California came up here, and we spent the day at the Point Defiance Park at the beach and whatnot.  Before that, it was when I was a teenager, when our family had our big multi-week road trip down to California.  I want to say we spent a week with her and the rest of my Cali relatives, swimming in pools, going to San Francisco, and doing it up big, before heading down to Disneyland.  Nothing much really comes to mind before that, but I’m sure I have a bunch of old photos down at my dad’s in an album.

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I Gotta Move In 7 Months

December 1, 2016

Word just came down tonight that my apartment building has been sold.  Up to this point, it’s been owned by this little old lady or something, who has abided by a policy of keeping rents locked in until a tennant moves out, then bumping it up to market rate for the new tennant and keeping them locked in until they move out, and so on and so forth.  Presumably, whoever bought the building will not have the same policy.

I live in South Lake Union.  I’m right next to the I-5 exit off of Mercer Street.  I moved in here at the beginning of July, 2011.  It’s a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, with all the kitchen appliances, an in-unit washer/dryer, and a little balcony with sliding glass doors.  It’s big, it’s spacious, it’s got lots of storage space, and with an extra-long 2-car parking space inside a garage, I’ve been paying a total of $1,260.  If you’re not familiar with this area of Seattle, that probably means nothing to you.  But, you see, South Lake Union – in the 5+ years I’ve been living here – has been completely bought-up by Amazon.  What hasn’t been bought-up by Amazon has been demolished, with fancy condos and apartments put in their place.  It’s the fastest-growing area of one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

A safe estimate for what the market value is for my apartment is around $1,900, not including the parking space.  If you spruced it up with hardwood floors, new cabinets and appliances, you’re probably talking anywhere from $2,100-$2,200.  Plus probably another $100-$150 for the garage parking spot.

Suffice it to say, I’ve gotten a tremendous deal on this place, considering where the market has gone, particularly over the last 3-4 years.

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In what’s become a tradition – now four years running – I’m home alone for Thanksgiving.  Same reasons every time:  gotta work on Friday, so there’s no sense in driving down to Tacoma for a day.  On the Wednesday (today), I get off work early, come home, make a grocery list, and head over to the madhouse that is the Capitol Hill Safeway.  I load up on food for my pig-out-fest tomorrow, come back home, and fill my evening with Christmas music and holiday movies.

This year, I got a jumpstart on the holiday season.  After the election, I just needed a break.  From everything.  From reality.  I ended up muting almost all comedians on Twitter, and really anyone who even rarely referenced Donald Trump or the election or anything politically related.  I just can’t handle all the negativity, you know?  And, believe me, my entire Twitter feed is one huge echo chamber; we’re all on the same team.  But, I just can’t right now.  If you thought the bitching and the outrage was bad leading up to the election, I couldn’t imagine how bad it would be for the next 8 years (and, make no mistake, this thing is going to take at LEAST 8 years to shift back).  It’s not fun, you know?  It’s sickening.  So, I unplugged, and in its place I’ve filled my little world with endless Christmas music in hopes to get back in some semblance of the spirit.

And, I gotta tell ya, it’s been okay!  It helps that I have a motherfucking SHITLOAD of Christmas music, to the point where I could listen to it at my usual pace and not hear the same song twice for the next two months (if I really wanted to).

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It’s been a productive couple of years when it comes to crossing off bucket-list bands to see live in concert.  In 2015, I got around to Faith No More, Motley Crue, AND Alice Cooper.  This year, a couple more biggies with the (mostly) original lineup of Guns N’ Roses and last night with Temple of the Dog.  I suppose it’s hardly fair to lump Temple of the Dog in with those other bands, as they never had an official tour in their “heyday”.  Regardless, though, even if they had, I still wouldn’t have been able to see them because I would have been 10 years old.

Of course, when I really think about it, I don’t know if I’ve EVER seen a band at the height of their initial popularity.  I saw Aerosmith in 1994, which was really more Second Wave Aerosmith than Classic Aerosmith.  I didn’t go to my first Pearl Jam show until 2005, Beastie Boys in 2004, The Flaming Lips in 2006, Stone Temple Pilots in 2008, Jane’s Addiction & Nine Inch Nails in 2009, Ween & Public Enemy in 2010, The Melvins in 2009, Phish in 2011, Butthole Surfers in 2011, Radiohead in 2012, Primus in 2012.  As I got into college, and more importantly after college when I actually HAD some money to throw around, my taste in music started to shift, as the rock n’ roll landscape started to really sour.

So, now it’s been an endless string of electronic music acts and 25th anniversary-esque reunion tours, or the dreaded Last Tour Ever tours.

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I’m just waking up after five and a half measly hours of sleep.  Oddly, I’m not all that tired, but my feet are sore, my legs have been cramping all night, I’m dirty, I’m starving, and I’m probably a little dehydrated, even though I drank about a half gallon of iced tea before I went to bed last night, at 3am.

I saw Guns N’ Roses play CenturyLink Field last night.  It was fucking insane.

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July 20th UPDATE:  see at the bottom of the post.

I generally don’t like talking about work.  In most cases, work stories are only interesting to other people in your field.  Yeah, I can probably relate to your story about that crazy day at McDonalds, but the impact of the story isn’t really going to hit home unless you’ve worked in the fast food industry, and I’ve unfortunately never had the pleasure.  Other than potentially boring my friends and family, I don’t like talking about work because I just don’t like working.  It’s a necessary evil.  It keeps me from having to live at my dad’s house, constantly worried that I’m being a burden, and it affords me a lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to, so in that sense work is a positive.  But, it eats into so much of my week, of my LIFE, that I constantly find myself wondering if any of this is worth it.  Work is more than 40 hours a week.  It dictates all of your actions for the entirety of those five days, leaving you with but a mere weekend to relax and do what you REALLY want.

I’ve always said I value my time over money, and that hasn’t changed.  That will never change.  Now, there’s obviously a threshold – I could be a bum and have all the time in the world, but obviously I’m not willing to take it to that extreme – but if I were ever able to find a way to live comfortably, do a job I’m good at, and only work 3-4 days a week, that would probably be my ideal life.  But, a 3-4 day work week doesn’t provide for any kind of future.  Whether I’ll even be around for that future is another discussion for another time, but suffice it to say, there’s a part of me that wonders if I’m not wasting my time with 401Ks and whatnot.

Anyway, like I said, I don’t like talking about work, but I have to now, because it’s on my mind and it won’t stop being on my mind until I put it out into the universe.  This is my curse.

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Various shows happened earlier this year, but the tour started in earnest on June 23rd in Detroit.  I read a review by someone after that night’s show, and it was overwhelmingly positive (something I wasn’t totally expecting).  Then, a little over a week later, they played Chicago and I caught the AV Club review; same deal.  The band sounds good, it’s awesome having so many of the classic players involved, they tear through the hits like they haven’t missed a beat, and if you just sort of lose yourself in the moment (hat tip to Eminem), it’s like you’re back in 1992 or 1988 or whatever.

I’ve known all along that they’re coming to Seattle in August, but I honestly had no intention of going.  I already saw them in 2011 in Key Arena, and I know what you’re saying, “It’s not the same!  It’s just Axl and a bunch of Hired Guns!”  Yeah, I get it.  But, for starters, it’s not like those guys were terrible musicians.  If you think Axl is going to stake his reputation to a bunch of amateurs who don’t have the chops, you’re mistaken.  I found them to be quite talented and the show overall to be better than my wildest expectations (which, admittedly, weren’t all that high).

So, would I be getting a remarkably different or better experience this time around?  With the addition of Slash & Duff and that’s it?  We’re still talking about at least half of the performers on stage not being the original core members of the Appetite For Destruction-era GNR, so what’s the big fucking deal?

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Fun With Depression

September 12, 2015

I’m in a pretty bad place right now.  Maybe it’s because I’m sick this week.  Maybe it’s because I’m grotesquely overweight again.  Maybe it’s because I’m sitting up late on a Saturday and I know I have to go to bed so I can get up early tomorrow to meet up with friends at a bar before the Seahawks game, but I’m nowhere near tired because I’m in such a bad place.

A lot of it’s probably that.  But, it all comes back to this incredible loneliness I’ve been feeling lately.  Loneliness, for me, comes and goes.  It’ll hit me hard, and then I’ll wake up and it won’t matter one bit anymore.  When it hits, it sucks, because it’s all-encompassing.  It’s all I can think about as I walk through this empty fucking apartment, trying to find ANYTHING I can watch or read that will distract from the fact that I’ve got absolutely nothing going on in my life and no one to share that nothing with.  And, it’s not like I’m even pining away for a specific someone like is usually the case.  I’m pining away for an abstract idea of a companion.

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I’m 34 years old, greatly out of shape, and I knew going into this Motley Crue concert that I’d be going solo.  I’ve got a lot of friends I could’ve asked, but I don’t know any who’d want to drive down to Tacoma on a Friday evening to see Motley Crue perform.  So, I knew a couple things:  I didn’t want to bother trying to get seats down on the floor, and I didn’t want to stand for four fucking hours (see:  34 years old, greatly out of shape).  Likewise, this wasn’t my first rodeo inside the Tacoma Dome.  You get a stage at one end, and you get a horseshoe all around the floor with seats.  If you want to get reasonably close to the band – and you don’t want to be on the floor – then you have to get seats on one of the sides.  This means you’ve either got to stand at an angle or have your neck turned to the side the whole time; neither sounded appealing.

So, I went for seats in the back, facing the stage.  I’ll admit, I underestimated just how far away from the stage you really are in these seats – which are glorified bleachers, if we’re being honest – and there were some large contraptions between us and the stage that provided a partially-blocked view, but otherwise the seats were fine.

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Motley Crue is touting it as The Final Tour, but they should really call it The Motley Crue Retirement Fund.

Back in January 2014, the band announced this would be it.  One last mega-tour to rule them all.  They spent the better part of the second half of the year touring all around North America (including stops at the White River Amphitheatre, as well as Vancouver B.C. and Spokane, all of which I ignored – mostly because White River sucks donkey balls, and the other two were too far to drive).  In January 2015, it was announced the tour would continue through the rest of the year, to be concluded on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles.  In this leg, they’d hit the Tacoma Dome on July 24th.

I bought my ticket on January 26, 2015, in the same week I bought my ticket to see Faith No More at the Paramount.  In 2015, I would chop two more bands off of my lifetime bucket list.  Motley Crue ended up setting me back about $60 with fees and all that.  Not too steep, but had I known Alice Cooper was opening, I would’ve considered it the bargain of the century.

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