Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Classy, girly, and mysterious, this little number keeps all the super men guessing!

Santa Barbara
Last Wednesday I went to Santa Barbara with my mom. I drove all the way both ways, which was good because I haven't done a lot of freeway driving in the past, and I need to practice. It went really well. Passing large trucks still makes me nervous and I tend to overcorrect, but not enough to be a real problem.
My mom is easily goes frantic while riding in a car she's not in control of, but she remained unfreaked for the most part.

It took forever to find parking in Santa Barbara, a city which seems to have decided not to have parking decks as a point of pride, but hasn't bothered to come up with a decent substitute. Ah well. Once we did find parking, it was pretty reasonably priced.

We ate lunch at a place called something like The Natural Cafe, cause my mom wanted something organic/vegetarian/healthy/whatever. I got tempeh tacos and guacamole, cause I fell in love with tempeh in Santa Cruz, and you know me and guacamole. It was pretty good, though the hippieness of the establishment compelled them to put sprouts on it which, while not unappetizing, isn't very Mexican.

Then we went to this place that sells gourmet dog treats, because "Floberz wouldn't like it if she found out I was here and didn't get her anything."

We stopped in a Scientology place (reading room?) that had these hilarious psuedo-futuristic touchscreens that played video clips of L. Ron Hubbard talking about releasing evil energy from your body. They looked very expensive, yet somehow still very unimpressive. I took a pamphlet, which explained (among other things) how the invention of psychology directly lead to the holocaust. In the words of Andy Richter, their religion is laugh out loud stupid. But such fun!

Then we stopped at a Pottery Barnish place for my mom and then the comic store for me.
Santa Barbara's Metro Comics is weird place, because it's a pretty good comic store, but still very much a comic store. They have a good selection organized in a comprehensible way (something completely alien to Captain Nemo's in San Luis), but that also makes some of the frustrating quirks of comic stores apparent.

Suppose you run a bookstore or a comic store (or for that matter, an auto supply store or a supermarket). You order 6 of product x, 6 of product y and six of product z.

In one week, you've sold 2 of x, 2 of y, and all 6 of z.
In two weeks, you've sold 5 of x, 2 of y, and you no longer have any z.

So, what do you do?
If you're a normal bookstore, you probably keep your order of x the same, drop your order of y down, and increase your order of z.
A comic store, in contrast, would keep all their orders at 6, figuring they were right about x, y will sell eventually and z is just a fluke.

No wonder comics don't sell (Angelo suggested this weirdness is the fault of the distributors, not the actual stores, and considering one company has a virtual monopoly* on distribution and can pretty much make up the rules, he may have a point.

So that was exciting.

Tom Petty
The next night, my dad and I went to see Tom Petty at the Midstate Fair. Jamie had to work at her hot dog stand, so he had asked me to go with him.

It took about an hour longer to get there than expected because the fair traffic made getting into Paso Robles, the shithole town nominally in SLO county, is normally non-existant, but the fair made it packed.
At the freeway exit, traffic was dead stopped, and we were behind a Honda Element (ick) who was pased by a Hummer (ick ick). I can't believe people actually drive those.

I'm not even going to talk about parking.

On our way from the car to the fair, we saw a wad of drunken teenagers. One of them yelled my name, and I realized I knew her from, like 10th grade. Then I realized I knew all of them. Man, being in San Luis is awkward.
They bragged that they'd taken the 1 instead of the 101 and so they probably beat us there. Then we got into line before them because they were drunk and goofy. Then it didn't matter because there was assigned seating.

The fair is basically a grease and beer filled monument to hillbilly capitalism. It doesn't seem like something that exists in the same world as I do, about as familiar as the Mos Eisley cantina.

I decided to refer to everything large and fair related as a Tilt-O-Whirl, regardless of whether or not it tilted or whirled.

We had slightly shitty seats, on high school-style bleachers to the right of the stage, but we could see ok.
The crowd was an odd bunch, roughly 1/3 indie kids my age, 1/3 yuppies my dad's age*, and 1/3 rednecks who were probably at the fair anyway and just gravitated toward the loudest thing that was near a beer vendor.
People started throwing a beach ball around the crowd, and a loud balding guy and a mustached fellow who looked like the Alabaman Freddie Mercury decided to take charge and yell at everyone who didn't throw the ball the way they wanted.
Bizarrely, both men dissapeared once the show actually started.

After waaaaay too long, Tom Petty came out. There was no opening act though, and once he and "The Heartbreakers" appeared, they immediately started rocking out.

Believe it or not, there's a time when I was really into Tom Petty, when if you'd asked me my favorite song was I would've told you "Into the Great Wide Open".
It should be noted however, that at that point I was also 8, and I haven't listened to Tom Petty much since my age has been in double digits.

This meant most of the songs sounded earlier familiar and I could usually remember the chorus but nothing else. Still, they sounded great and my memory was enough that I didn't feel totally out of the loop. I used to feel awkward at shows because I was worried people'd be annoyed if I didn't look sufficiently into it, or would make fun of me if I was too into it.
(In my blood-loss-Gwar-delirium, I was worried the singer would jump off stage and throttle me if I didn't flash the metal sign ferverently enough.)
But, of course, no one at a concert has any reason to be paying attention to me, and (from my vantage point) everyone seemed to be having a pretty good time.

Some people right next to me smoked cigarettes, which pissed me off, and (different people) smoked weed, which while not ideal, was much less bothersome, and was quite funny when a perfectly-timed puff hit me during the first chorus of "Last Dance with Mary Jane".

They didn't play my aforementioned favorite song of theirs, but they did do just about every other one I'm familiar with. My dad correctly predicted the encore ("Refugee") and felt even more badass than usual.

Since then...
Last night I watched The Hulk with Angelo, which is a weird movie, because you can tell they wanted it to be good, but they failed miserably. The first half is really talking and boring, and the second half is all CG fighting...and boring. The goofy scene transitions were probably supposed to look like a comic book, but they didn't, and evoked a late 60s B movie more than anything. Ah well.

Finished my comic pages on time this week and, uncharacteristically, I feel pretty good about them. Hopefully this trend will continue.

I hadn't seen my mom in awhile, so then she spontaneously showed up at my work today, so we ate together, which was nifty.

After work, I went with my dad to Staples, because he stepped on my headphones and broke them so we needed replacements. Staples has stopped selling cheap headphones that don't have a microphone attached. You can either buy ones without a mic for $30 or ones with a mic for $15. So after checking both Staples and grumbling, we got those. I guess I mic could come in handy...eventually.

Then we went to Jamie's for dinner and watched some of the mediocre-but-fun T3, and then I came home and watched some Tales from Crypt with Jessy, which was good fun.

The bad news is I can't find my wallet, but I'm pretty sure that it has to be around the house, so I'm trying not to be too freaked out.

*Doesn't "Virtual Monopoly" sound like a horrible CD-ROM that would've come out in 1995?
**Though of course I'm not indie and my dad is certainly not yuppie.


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Location: Oakland, CA, United States