28 April, 2008

So I recently turned a quarter century...

I don't think my birthday weekend could've been any better. First off the 18th landed on a Friday, perfect birthday day of the week in my opinion. I woke up feeling good, I hoped the rest of the day would follow in suit. Traffic moved swiftly, and I got to work on time. I was met by some coworkers that were freshly back from a convention in Acapulco. Mariana had a chocolate muffin in one hand. In the muffin there was no candle, instead it was a single match sticking out. We struck it and then they started with the singing, oh the singing. My boss rushed down the stairs to join in on the serenade. I always feel like the biggest fool when people are singing to me, do you? After that was said and done, my boss ran off to a meeting, but left his credit card behind. Lunch was on him, even if he couldn't be there. I did my normal routine of checking the various online communities I engage in, as well as my bank account. My tax return came in, SCORE! We worked for a few more minutes until another one of our coworkers came in. Nancy wasn't scheduled, but wanted to drop off a cheesecake for me, hell yes! Then she went on to say that there were police running around evacuating people from the area due to a sewage leak that occurred the previous day. Sure enough a police officer came to our door and said they'd be towing cars in the area. They didn't need to twist my arm any more, I told my workmates to meet up at Olamendi's for some margaritas and good food, and not to forget that credit card. Here it was; noon, and we were done with work, eating great food and having margaritas. Not a bad start to the birthday weekend if you ask me.

On my way home I figured I'd go visit 2 Wheels 1 Planet to start on a layaway plan for my bike. I drooled over it for a little, then got things started. I felt good that I was on my way to having it. Immediately I thought of all the ways I could get it paid off quickly. I should have that mindset more often. That GIANT Trance X2 will be mine!

I got home around 530, which his unheard of for a Friday. The night's plans were to have a nice big dinner at Johnny Rebs' in Orange, all my family was going to be there as well as a ton of good friends, I was excited. Celina came over, she looked good like usual, I jumped in her car and we headed off. Johnny Rebs' is the equivalent to waiting in line for a ride at Knott's Berry Farm. The makeup of the restaurant was like that of an old shanty, there was a projected cricket track and peanut shells on the ground. While the servers scrambled to get our table(s) ready, we grew in numbers inside of the small waiting area. Right as we were about to be too many in there, we got called in. I was happy to see a lady having a Mississippi Mud as we walked through, so immediately when I sat down I ordered one. We were all having a great time, there were peanut shells flying all over the place, drinks were flowing. David and Danielle snuck a little bottle of Jack Daniels in, along with a shot glass. I told him "Who needs a shot glass?" and continued to swig. Danielle said that she wanted to get a picture, I chugged, she counted to three really slowly. That turned out to be a bigger chug than I expected.

The night got a little fuzzy, I hardly touched my meal, I was just caught up in all the fun. Since we were twenty-something people all lined up in a giant row of tables, I bounced around to see everyone. All were having a good time, and I was happy for that. The food was good, the drinks were too. I left with the heaviest to-go box I've ever had, as well as a nice selection of beers from Robot. Thank you: Mom, Dad, David, Steve, Joe, CCR, AW, Mark, Talia, Tim, Kevin, Robot, Derek, Shawna, Adrie, Tom, Danielle, Paul, Brittany and even Gilbert + Nina (whom I was surprised that they were able to make it out). You all made it an amazing celebration.

I don't remember much of the ride towards home, but I do remember stopping at a liquor store and buying some Sailor Jerry. Once home, Jon came over, then Vince, so did Alicia and Christina. Not too many of the dinner crew headed over, but those that did had a good time from what the pictures told me. Adrie snapped away as Jon and Vince positioned a fake vagina to the Doll and molested me with it.

Still fully clothed and laying on top of the covers, I woke up the next morning having to piss like a racehorse. After taking care of business, I stood in the hallway wondering who was sleeping in my livingroom, I was still drunk so it took a minute or two. I got myself ready for the day; I had things to do and people to see! I was meeting David in Long Beach at Hawleywood's to get a proper haircut and hopefully a nice straight razor shave. I got to the shop, had a seat and soaked it all in. I was definitely feeling the after effects of the night before, my brain wasn't as sharp as it could be. David joined up and we waited for my turn. I got set up with Carlos, he was gonna make me look good. The cut went well minus getting rid of my beard (miscommunication, oops). He cleaned my kitchen with a straight razor after hitting my face with a hot towel, I got a neck massage via some crazy ass device, and hooked up real well with some Layrite Pomade. I looked sharp, there's no other word for it. David said was a little jealous.

After Hawleywood's, we set off to grab some food. David had the place in mind: Joe Jost's - a neighborhood bar full of retired firefighters, cops and whatnots. We had goblets full of goodness and a few Joe Jost's specials (polish sausage on rye with mustard, a pickle spear and cheese) and even played a few good games of Shuffleboard. David whooped me pretty good, he's had practice. Next on the agenda was something I'd heard mentioned the night before, but didn't take seriously... I was getting my nails done. We set off in search of a legit shop and ended up in Balboa. We walked in and David said "Give him the mani/pedi." I looked at him and said "Maybe just the manicure..." but it was too late. I got into the chair, soaked my sausages, got did up and pampered. I must say that it was really relaxing. There were some other customers in the shop, we conversed back and forth, I joked around about why I was there. It was a good time. A few hours had passed while hanging out with David, and eventually all our plans were accomplished, he dropped me off at my car and we parted ways. I called Jennifer while I was out there, but dialed a wrong number. So no going to the races for me, I headed home.

Celina was at a bridal shower, so I sat around the house alone and bored. I sent Vince a pix-message of me and my new cut; that encouraged an onslaught of man crush replies. He was just as happy about my cut as I was. Talk about an ego boost. In the midst of my boredom, I got a call from Jon. He wanted to take me out for dinner, sounded good to me. Celina called and I flashed over, she reminded me that I agreed to be hers all night, so I had to take a rain check on Jon's offer. She got back to my place, and we thought about what to do. We didn't really have plans, so we winged it. We decided to try out a sushi place here in Whittier that our friends had mentioned, then go see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Once she got back, I was starving. We didn't waste any time, I jumped in her car and we headed towards Sushi From East. We took our seat at the sushi bar right in front of the owner Iwa. He was an older Japanese fellow who talked very low and indistinct, right up until he''d shout out a joke and laugh heartily about. The menu consisted of items we'd never seen before on any sushi house menu, some of the items that were a must try were: mushrooms + scallions baked in a creamy garlic butter (amazingly rich and tender), tacos Japonesas (lettuce wraps filled with softshell crab, avocado, crab meat, and spicy cause) and of course green muscles (prepared in garlic butter without the usual mayo sauce). On top of those items, the sushi was great. The tuna sashimi was fantastic and generously prepared. Iwa gave us the usual "See you tomorrow" as we headed out the door. We'll be back.

We made it to the movie theater just in time for one of the last showings. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a lot funnier than expected. At first I thought it would all be penis jokes and no story, but I soon found out it'd be full of both. Mila Kunis looked amazing throughout most of the movie, and I developed a never before heard of crush on her, but only as long as she's in Hawaii. After we left, we found out that Opie had been at the same theater watching the same movie, but at a slightly later showtime. He sent me a few Ms. Cleo-like text messages predicting what movie I was there for. He was dead on.

Sunday morning was full of sleep. But oddly enough, I felt like I'd overshot my weekend and was supposed to be at work. Everything had been so great, I didn't think I'd get another day of good times. Sure enough I did.

At the moment, I can't remember what happened, but I do know I had a great birthday weekend. Who knows? Maybe I'll remember and update this. Probably not though...

07 April, 2008

How to beat your self up the good way...

Here I sit; without a voice, no ability to focus, aches and bruises, rasp in my throat, on the virge of being sick, charged full of vitamin C, with a burning arm, waiting for the day to end. "Wahh, cry me a river" right? WRONG! That all sounds bad, but it was all so worth it.

For the last 4 days in a row, I've been at some sort of concert. Thursday and Friday my favorite band Face To Face reunited after a nearly 5 year hiatus to start playing shows again (and to pay a few bills I'm sure). They hit the Glasshouse in Pomona for 2 "warm-up" shows before the big night at Bamboozle Left on Sunday.

Thursday night came, and the anticipation was heavy. Opie, the Coug and I have been waiting for "The Glorious Return" for months now; with the announcement of these 2 practice shows, it came 2 nights earlier. We raced out to the Glasshouse in Pomona, but got there a little too early. Oddly, there wasn't many people in the venue when we showed up. We checked out the merch and decided to wait until after the show to get anything. The Coug and I walked to Juan Pollo and I had some tacos, they were tasty. On our way back to the club we ran into Ropie and then Robot and Matt formerly of CODE 4-15. It was gonna be a good show. The first band went on, they called themselves The Chasers. After a few songs, we were glad to see that they weren't horrible. The pit was filled with older dudes, all tough as nails and messing around with each other. A fight almost broke out, but was calmed down somewhat quickly. During the set change my good friend and roommate's horribly annoying and somewhat insane ex girlfriend walked up to us (like she does everywhere we don't want to see her), she started to engage Timmy and Rosanna, Opie and I just turned our backs and wished those 2 the best. Luckily she didn't stick around longer than a few short words. I think she does all this only because she hopes David will hear about it someday. *shudders*

The second band of the night was Slick Shoes, a band I haven't heard about since high school, they came out and Rosanna said the singer got a lot uglier since. They started to play, it was real heavy and fast, we were happy. But then, like a lot of times, the singer let loose and we had enough. We walked outside and met up with Cris and Amanda. Matt and his buds came up after searching for a bar, but ending up with tall cans in the parking lot, we chatted up some and talked some hate hate hate on that see you next tuesday I mentioned earlier.

Face To Face was up next, we got inside and posted up in some good spots. The venue had filled considerably since the first 2 bands, I was happy about that. The crowd waited around for what seemed like forever. There were chants in and out, but not consecutively. Finally the band came out and there was some (pretty pathetic for the first show in almost 5 years [present company excluded]) cheering. Once the first song started up, we all went nuts. The pit started up and I hit it good, but almost instantly my week old VANS slip-on disappeared to the counter-clockwise punk brawl. I went around a few times, minus one shoe, in hopes to get it back. After getting stepped on a few too many times, I got to the side. Luckily a guy popped up right next to me and held my shoe high. I was happy to get that back, it would've been a painful hour and a half otherwise. I decided to give up on the pit after my instantaneous bad luck, and jumped into the crowd. I fought my way forward and ended up center-stage behind some dude that smelled like a cheeseburger (not in a good way).

The set was great, the crowd was really into it, the band was a little rusty (but still good). There were a few moments that Trever had to get a little help from the audience, and even slow the song down. They are older guys, so no one really held it against them. If I could rock that hard when I'm in my late 30s, I'd be happy. All in all, there were 20 songs before any encore. Once they went off stage, there were the usual chants, although they were pretty weak. My guess was that everyone's voice was out from singing, that's what happened to me at least. They came back out and played a few more songs, even touched on our weak chants. The show ended with a roar, and the crowd went home happy. Well not all of them, from what I heard, there was a pretty good fight outside the door. I didn't get to see any of it though. I was too busy finding out that the sweatshirt I wanted was sold out, should've bought it earlier... Oops.

I never did see Robot in the venue that night, but he said he saw me and Opie going absolutely nuts, good show. We all parted ways and set off for Home. Timmy and I tried to find a place to get some water and a pisser, but only ever found the water. his poor, poor bladder.


The next morning I awoke sore, but still sprung up. I knew I had to get the day over with so that I could do it all over again. My voice had come back to me by noon, so I was ready to sing along again. Cris said that he had to "rank out" because he was dead tired and sore from the night before, so I had an extra spot to fill; I first called Matt, but he didn't answer or call me back; Then I tried Jake, same thing; I called Vince and he was in, just as soon as he broke off some previous engagements (priorities!). Work flew by and traffic was surprisingly good for me. For Andrew, the same couldn't be said; it took him 2.5 hours to get home from Santa Monica. He was pissed, and surely sick of driving. Once he got to my house, we set off for Pomona once again.

This time I was able to get a photo pass, which was great because I was still sore from the night before. Nate helped me work out a way to get tix for the sold out show, without him and Brandon, I wouldn't have seen it, thanks guys. I checked in, got our tix and a wristband for me. Unfortunately we didn't make it in time to see the first band; The God Awfuls which I did want to watch. I made sure to help Timmy out and buy him a sweatshirt, then I grabbed my camera. I got to see my new buddy Ramy and his brother, we chatted a little, but I cut it short to go take some photos.

Up next was Death By Stereo. I haven't listened to them in a while, so I was a little behind on their current stuff. Luckily, they played a ton of old stuff I knew. I shot a good few photos of them, then sang along in the crowd. I was happy to have finally seen them play.

The crowd on Friday was much better than the last, energy flowed throughout everyone, the chants started as soon as the equipment came on and never stopped. Once the band had come out, people all over were going nuts. I ran up to the barricades to shoot photos as long as they'd let me. Turns out I'd be there the whole night. Watching from that close was awesome, I had to duck and cover with the crowd surfers coming over, but never had any problems. I saw one little gal get her nose broken, that sucked. The band played even better than the night before, the crowd had lots of energy the entire time, I was stoked to be watching from so close. I shot a ton of photos and had a great time. One of the oddest things to happen was some random broad biting me on the shoulder, never before have I ran into something like that at a show. She was something else, didn't know a word, but danced all weird the whole time. I hope she was high, otherwise who knows what she was thinking.

Once all was over, I got one of Chad Yarro's picks, met up with Opie and Vince and headed out. There was an ambulance outside due to the broken nose. We heard rumors of some sorta of after party that the guys from Face To Face would be at, so we waited around for the cops to vacate and went looking. We found a bar/gallery around the corner and Vince decided we should have a drink, so we did. We checked out some art, and had a delicious beer. Then Opie said we should have another, so we did. Realizing that there was no after party there, we hi-tailed it out of there. The three of us bullshitted around our cars for a little then headed out. Opie and I grabbed some Tacos El Chilango, as it used to be a great after-show tradition.


I looked forward to sleeping in, but come 930am I got a call from Celina. She wanted to make sure I was alive, I was for the most part. I slept a little more and got ready for the day. I headed out to my brothers' place (I didn't misplace the apostrophe, 2 of them live there), but after 15 minutes of driving I realized that I had forgotten the tickets on my mirror at home. I fixed all that nonsense, and wound up in Huntington a little bit later. I wanted to get to Irvine ASAP to see Supernova's set. When I got there I played a round of Guitar Hero II and waited for my bros to get ready. Stephen gave me his old BMX helmet, an early birthday present of sorts, thanks dude! We piled into David's car, grabbed some Taco Bell and were off.

Once we arrived at Bamboozle Left, parking was quick and easy, getting in was just the same. We walked up on Supernova about a song into their set. They were great like always and the crowd was totally into them. I got some shout outs from Art and Dave, and snapped a few photos with my 35mm Canon Rangefinder. I saw a few people I knew in the crowd; Julia was there and having a good time. Astraes grabbed me and said hi. Ramy was there too. Good times being surrounded with good people. I got approached by some guy that said "Aren't you The Aquabats' merch guy?" which I agreed to, he even shook my hand. I always feel kind of funny when things like that happen, but it's cool. I tell everyone that's interested, work as a roadie/merch guy at least once in your life, it's great.

After their set we went and hung out with Greg at their merch booth. He had a stogie and was in a good mood, said he had already smoked 2 that day, good man. Supernova had been added as main support for Bad Religion's show at the HOB Anaheim that night, so they were heading out pretty soon after their set. I asked about acquiring their artist passes and they graciously obliged. We said our "see ya later"s and headed off. We were sure to let them know they had some more fans now.

The day ahead was going to be a busy one, I knew a lot of friends were going to be there, and I wanted to meet up with everyone at least once. I was texting like crazy, because calling was nearly impossible with all the music happening all around. Eliza was the next one I saw, she was bored after watching her brother's band play. She and I set off backstage to see if we could find him, but to no avail. We met back up with my brothers who were in line for a batting cage. Eliza set out for her brother and we said we'd meet up again, but never did find each other again. David, Stephen and I waited for our chance at the pitching machine. David went first and did pretty good. I joked about being able to hit 10 for 10, fat chance really. I went in and hit 7 of them, one really good and hard. Stephen went in and made an embarrassment of the Partida name until the last 2. We heckled him pretty good about it.

RX Bandits were starting up soon, so we headed to the main stages. We got there just as they entered their first song. That band is awesome live, and always has been. The crowd was huge, we were pretty far back and people were packed in there pretty good. They played a lot of familiar stuff, as well as a few new ones that I didn't know. Robot was hammered and trying to find me, but we never were able to meet up. From what I hear he passed out for an hour, lost a shoe and some sunglasses, then got his shoe back. Sounds like he had a great time. Cammie met up with me and we hung out a little bit. For some odd reason, people kept scooting by here where we were standing, even though there was no good hole to walk through. She was getting annoyed by that and started elbowing big dudes, ha. She's got spunk, she owes someone $5 now though...

After they finished, we made our way to the front of the stage to see the Bouncing Souls play, but first we had to wait out Story Of The Year, who surprisingly sounded better live as opposed to recorded. There were some pretty douchey dudes pitting in front of the empty stage for SOTY, I was getting pretty sick of them, thus giving a few sharp elbows to their mid-sections.

Bouncing Souls came out and we erupted in soccer chants, circle pits and sing-a-longs. I have caught the end of their set two times, and never been able to see a full one, so I was excited. They delivered with a bang, one hit after another. I pitted something fierce, even with my camera. Astraes was nice enough to hold it so that I could go in too, thanks man. The lead singer jumped into the crowd and surfed it while singing Hopeless Romantic, it was awesome. I hope I got a picture of it, as I was running out of film and not sure if it got one off.

Reel Big Fish was next and the crowd rushed to that stage almost all at once. Little did I know, we were in for a treat. I've never seen them, and never really cared to go out of my way too. They were completely awesome, one of the most entertaining acts of the day. We sang along to plenty of the hits, and even an Enter Sandman cover. Somehow, even though I could easily see Opie about 2 people behind me, I never got to see Rosanna the entire day.

After that we had some time to kill, we walked back towards the concessions and whatnot. We watched a little bit of New Found Glory for old time's sake. The first time I ever saw Face To Face, NFG opened up for them. We heard a few songs and headed off for some food. Seen as how we had the artist's passes, I went and checked out the catering tent. I only had to meal tickets, but there were 3 of us. We ended up holding onto them and eating stuff from inside a party tent backstage. It was pretty rad because there was free Smirnoff vodka drinks, Red Bull and Bud Light. So after a few for each of us and some appetizers, we set back out for the main stage where our highlight was about to play.

Alkaline Trio was playing as we were making our way through the crowd to the front of the main stage Face To Face was playing on next. I tried to call Jennifer Lopez while A3 played, but it didn't work out. Instead I think I told Christina Aguilera (who intercepted my call out) happy birthday. How weird did that last sentence sound? I felt kinda weird writing it, whoa, all true though. It was about to be the big moment and we made our way past the barricade in attempt to get on stage. We couldn't figure out how, but didn't really try. Instead we posted up right in front of where Chad Yarro would be playing and stayed there.

Face To Face came out and thousands of screaming fans did just that. It was awesome to hear so many people singing along with my favorite band. There were a bunch of Photographers taking pictures, but they got kicked out after the 3rd song (standard show photography regulations). We thought it might be the end of our ride at the front, but we were never told a word about leaving. A few girls joined us, but half of them got kicked out as well. For that 45 minutes, we rocked out as hard as we could, sang as loud as we could and had the greatest time ever. I saw a guy that was crowd surfing get pulled over the barricade, I instantly recognized him from the previous day's show. I gave him a good ass up top. I saw him a few times after that, awesome. How he got to the front so many times, I'll never know. Stephen said he saw Opie crowd surfing and come over, I missed it, dang. After the last song in the set the crowd cheered for an encore, but there are no encores at festivals. One of the roadies was cool enough to give me and Stephen both set lists. There was someone filming the last 3 Face To Face shows, and I know I'll be all over them, I hope that surfaces soon.

While we walked off, I got to see Stephen as I've never seen him before. He was more amped up than Macho Man Randy Savage at his best. He was running up to random people asking if they had watched the set, yelling out random bursts and reliving the moment. It was great to see him so happy.

MC Lars had an unfortunate set time, from 5 minutes after Face To Face went on, until 5 minutes before they finished. Needless to say, I didn't get to watch him, although I would've loved to under better circumstances. That guy is a true homie of mine, and I ain't playin'.

Lastly, we went to see The Chariot at one of the smaller stages. I had no voice and was sore as can be, but I still wanted to see their set. They sounded really good and put on a really lively show. Lots of mic/guitar throwing, spitting, and going nuts. The drums sounded heavy as can be and the set flowed perfectly. They ended with Yanni Depp right into Heard This Noise, which worked out really nicely.

We left immediately, to avoid some of the traffic out. There weren't any other bands we really wanted to see playing, getting out was quick and the drive back had no traffic. Of course the entire way back we were regaling about how the day couldn't have gone any smoother. Once back at their house, I washed up and headed out for the rest of my night's plans.

Charlie's birthday party was happening at his house, but first I planned to meet up with Jen Lo at the Continental in Fullerton. I was able to get ahold of Mike Bukake, and he was just arriving too, although already drunk. I've missed out on Jen's last few birthdays, so I was glad to get out to this one. We had a table there and people kept showing up. Celina met me there and she looked great, Victoria finally got to meet her and was happy about that. I got a few good handshakes from the guys there, on landing a looker. We had a great time there for a few hours despite some shady dude hammered taking money from the tip. Celina and I cut out earlier than everyone else and headed over to Charlie's. We hung out there for a while, but I was starting to feel the last few days catching up with me. I got to see a good amount of cool people there, so all was good. The cops came and soon after we headed out.


I promised myself I'd sleep in, and that we did. I wasn't out of bed until well after 10, it was much needed, but still not enough. We got dressed and headed out to meet up with Anthony for lunch then over to see Steve Bach at Autumn Moon Tattoo in Anaheim. We had an appointment at 1 to get some work done. Turns out we'd be there for over 8 hours, not the plan originally, but that's what happened. We played with Steve's dog Bones a bunch, laughed at some of the weird flash on the walls and AW & I both got some ink put in. Anthony was first and got a sweet gal's profile staring at a crown. I left it up to Steve to fill in a spot on my right arm and he drew up a cross with a rose. It's just outlines and shading now, but it looks great. It'll look even better when it's colored in. I was proud of CCR for hanging in there, she's a trooper and I love her to death for it.

Later in that night we had plans in Hollywood, so we were kind of rushed for time. We grabbed some food and sped to Celina's house to meet up and leave. Our plans involved watching our friend Elmo's band The Devil's Orchestra play at Camerata, and event at Cinespace. That wasn't the only reason we went though, also playing was The GERMS. We got there and grabbed some good couch spots in front, my photographer buddy Carlton was there and surprised to see me. The first band The Black Summer Crush went on and they were pretty awesome. The guitarist had a shit ton of pedals and the drummer rocked it pretty hard. Next up was The GERMS, but with Shane West (actor dude that played Darby Crash in a recent movie) instead. They were good, but I'd rather have seen Darby Crash. The Devil's Orchestra is the house band for the event, so they played last. Elmo's one of the best, most creative drummers I've ever seen play. Even The Aquabats' Ricky fitness has said "No one should be as good as that guy." They played a heavy, powerful set and got a huge cheer. It was pretty rad.

By this time, I'm fully aware that I'm drained and need some sleep. So that's exactly what I did, we got back home and I slept my ass off. Here I am, just finished spending 4 hours on a damn blog, oops. I'll make it up work, I swear...


When's the next show?