Shinybass journal entry 08-11-14

Happy Monday morning!

It’s been an interesting week. Since visiting the hand specialist and getting this fancy splint for my finger, I have a newfound appreciation for the middle finger. The middle finger is the anchor, so to speak, of all that a hand can do. It reaches the furthest into the cookie bowl, and it also holds at least one (probably more) of your looped grocery bags. (You should be utilizing the reusable bags anyhow). It is an integral part of typing (this goes a little slower for me now), and feels everything the other fingers are getting into. Even if I lift with my index finger, my middle finger feels the pull. The middle finger is also a fine instrument to salute your not-so-favorite politician.

I was shopping the other and saw a woman with a walking boot. As if I were in a ‘fractured and healing’ support group, I struck up a conversation by asking how long she had to be in the splint. We then asked each other cause and treatment questions, as if to make the other feel better about the ordeal. We laughed about my splint causing people to think I was shooting the bird, and she then said her husband had lost 2 fingers, and constantly gives the inadvertent bird to everyone. I sit and moan about not being able to play properly for 6 weeks, and that I can’t use my right hand for menial tasks. I should be ashamed. First, I still have the finger, and second, it ain’t that bad.

Which brings me to our weekend. One look at our calendar, and the shows and distances looked a little daunting. We were doing two ‘fly dates’ in Oregon, and the shows were not close together. There would be late-night drives in a rented van with 7 of us piled in along with luggage (having a bus out there for just 2 shows wouldn’t have made financial sense), and long flights getting us to and from the West Coast. All the makings for miserable conditions.

At one time, to jump in a van with 6 friends and go make music in far-off lands was sort of what we did. When I was 18, I would have jumped in that van first and driven half way across the country. Then we get big gigs, the occasional private plane and live on an expensive bus and get jaded really quickly. In reality, the rides weren’t that bad – we didn’t have rugged terrain, and we weren’t more than 2 to a seat, so it could have been much worse. So we did our best to stay positive, even though sleeping would be at a premium.

We touched down in Portland, Oregon a town known for being slightly left of center, and my point being made as we waited at baggage claim, not 5 minutes on the ground. Choices, people. Knowing the food culture in Portland, I was anxious to eat (because I was airplane-starved), but careful not to overdo dinner, because I knew I wanted to eat again. And again. After the donut sliders (I shared), and the spinach salad, I explored the surrounding blocks, and made my way to Voodoo Donut. I won’t stand in line for donuts. It’s just not going to happen. I found a Korean food truck that served a Bibimbop wrap (AMAZING), and Jefferson and I had a coffee somewhere around the 8 o’clock hour. Probably not the smartest idea, since technically it was 10PM at home. To try and fall asleep at a reasonable time, I went back out to Dante’s and heard a funk jam session and had a local IPA. And Voodoo still had 50 people waiting outside.

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As I wandered downtown, I was just under the entrance to Chinatown and noticed this odd arrangement in a vacant lot nearby. As it turns out, there was a makeshift homeless shelter set up, with a check-in service and all, where folks can go and sleep and be safe. It wasn’t fancy, but the perimeter was a fence made of re-purposed doors, and I like the idea that people can go somewhere and be safe while they sleep.

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The next day we hopped in the van (after multiple food truck experiences) and headed to the first show in Tillamook. The drive up was pretty, and with some time to spare, we took in some sights. We drove by the Air Museum – housed in a former WWII blimp hangar, I am a little sad we didn’t get inside. We had bigger fish to fry. We decided to see Cape Lookout. Beautiful doesn’t even come close to describing the landscape. I would love to go back and rent a cabin in the spring. The water was cold, the forest thick, and Bigfoot was surely watching us.

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Our hosts at the Tillamook Fair were incredible, and catering was off the charts. Locally caught salmon and fresh local berry cobbler were highlights. The night was sultry, and even though we were a bit weary already, the 2 hour drive to the next town wasn’t the worst thing ever. OK, we were tired.

The next morning we had some 175 miles to drive to reach Hermiston, Oregon. We had a little time to get there, so the riverside lunch at the Bistro was magnificent, and the scenery along the way was breathtaking. The highway snakes along the Columbia River, with the landscape changing from a lush green to a high-desert brown as we ventured East. There was not a lot to see in Hermiston, a mostly farming and shipping town, but the hospitality was wonderful, and our show was set under the Super Moon with perfect weather. Then came ‘The Drive’.

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Our fearless FOH Engineer KT drove the 200 miles back to Portland, where we checked in at 2:30 for a 5:45 lobby call. I did manage about 2 hours of sleep in the van, which coupled with the 2 hours in my hotel room almost made me feel human. I also managed a couple hours’ sleep from Portland to San Diego (go figure THAT routing to get home). We then landed as our connecting flight was boarding, and we were the last ones on the plane. Middle seat hell, right? As fate would have it, the boys from Love and Theft were on our flight, and so I ended up sitting next to my neighbor who happens to play  guitar for L&T. Small world, small town indeed.

To say that dinner in my dining room chair last night without my behind in motion was fantastic is an understatement. It’s always great to feel that homecoming, no matter how great the shows are, or how wonderful we think we played (oh that preciously fragile ego). Like I stated last week (or 4 years ago – I can’t recall), our story is not any different than any other touring musicians’ story. Eventually we all have similar experiences, maybe the towns or shows are different. It gets funny when the stories start to cross. But I’ll leave those as our inside jokes.

Thanks for reading this week’s 1000 or so word update. School is back in session, which for me seems simply nuts since we always started after Labor Day. Oh, these kids. Baby shower coming up this weekend, which I was told I cannot attend because I would probably play with all the gadgets. It sucks being a kid at heart.

Have a wonderful week, and thanks for stopping by!

See you on the road!

 


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