Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Littlerock: Not just for Arkansas anymore

Not unlike Warren Harding, us four Birdmonsters are back in San Francisco, retuning to normalcy. I'm sitting here in a coffee shop which (God bless 'em) is playing "Off the Wall" (pre-permed, still black Michael Jackson) and I'm surrounded by more people than I've seen the last ten days. I know you think I'm kidding. I'm not. We spent more than a week in Littlerock California, a good twenty minutes from the nearest sign of civilization (read: commerce), and that port of sophistication was a strip of markets that sold honey in kegs, various dried fruits slathered in chocolate, and all other manner of kitchy, bumpkin cuisine. It was the sort of town I'd've hated to grow up in but now realize is "cute" before realizing I sound kind of like a grandma when I say that. No matter. It was cute. I have no regrets.

Littlerock is, as noted, out in the cuts. We had a neighbor named Dave who was a real cowboy, as in, yeah, I think he herded cows on a horse. He's retired, takes care of horses, and seemed incredibly happy. He had us over for a dinner of particularly flatulent chili, obscenely delicious corn bread, and regaled us with stories of working for the National Park Service, meeting Sam Elliot ("the real McCoy," Dave notes, which, although I'm not quite sure what he means, I completely agree with him), and his intense distaste for squirrels. Needless to say: I loved Dave.

But beyond that fine gentleman, a cashier with a vague knowledge of the English language, a grizzled, pirate-looking guy buying three King Cobras, and an old lady at the Hungarian sausage shop, we were secluded. And for a week the plan was this: Wake up when you're not tired and play music until you are. And you know what? That's exactly what heaven is like. Except in heaven, I'm way better at the banjo. Also, there will be monkeys in tuxedoes, carrying trays of proscuitto and melon. It's in the Gospel according to Luke.

The purpose for this whole sojourn was to finish some new songs, record them, and drink too much wine. Success on all three counts. In fact, realizing I might sound like the band Mommy here, but I'm really proud of what we accomplished. We returned with hours of music recorded, a good 8 or 10 songs we feel completely comfortable with, and a slew of others in various states of dissaray. The recordings themselves sound homey, warm, and alive, and, regardless of what we decide to do with them, a week's worth of ad naseum repetition on my CD player at home is in order. I even got to use my accordion. Like I said: heavenly.

But it's hard to write too much about the week, honestly. Literally every day was a twelve hour marathon of music, which, although incredibly fun, isn't necessarily great fodder for scribbling. So I'll mention this: one of my absolute favorite parts of our week in Littlerock was a Time Magazine that served as bathroom reading. Now, at first blush, you might think a week of seclusion has turned my brain to a soft, vaguely edible paste and, all things considered, I cannot deny that. In fact, the only book I brought was a 700 page tome on American History, which was a horrible choice, considering I would be drunk and music-brained all week and I'd originally started reading it because I was embarrassed this little arrogant pissant on Teen Jeopardy knew more American History than I did so I actually, you know, wanted to remember stuff about our country. I made it as far as Columbus. Impressive, I know. Anyway: the Time Magazine. Now, since I've been of an age to reasonably understand & analyze Time, it's been hokey, half-assed, and lame (see, as an example, this person's "Person of the Year"), so, quite honestly, I never read it anymore. Unless I'm in the waiting room at the dentist's office or something, but then they're probably playing the soft rock station and "Constant Craving" is probably on, so I probably zone out on the chorus instead.

I digress, I digress. This particular issue of Time was interesting because it was dated September 23rd, 1989. Firstly, I was shocked to realize that was 17 years ago and, well, you don't want to be shocked in the bathroom. It's unhealthy. Anyway, a few articles in there were just wonderful little time capsules. One bemoaned the fact that Saturday Night Live wasn't really all that funny anymore and predicted the show was on it's way out...again, this was 17 years ago. For God's sake, Phil Hartman was still on. Now we've got Bill Hader. And yes, I had to look that up. Another article was about the first Apple "portable computer" and how it weighed 16 pounds and how innovative the "mouse" was. Of course, sitting here at a laptop that weighs less than a baby's head, I find that kind of funny. I'm sure cyborg me will thing computers were pretty neanderthal in 17 years too, but for now, let's just point at 1989 and laugh our asses off.

Now? Well, we're back in society. No more cherry juice and candied apples. We're leaving for tour in a week and we've got broken gear, a van in desperate need of an oil change, and (hopefully) a job to go back to. Personally, I haven't shaved in weeks and I probably look vaguely menacing. Yep. The toddler a few tables over is scared of me. I need to shave now.


SOL's view said...

Hey thank heavens you're back. I now have something to do in the morning. Whee!!

Katie L. Thompson said...

Whatevs, dude -- beards are totally hot.

By the way, I broke my arm and I'm back in Virginia for a month or so. I had surgery and they put a metal rod in it so like, I'm one step closer to being a robot.

Sabrina said...

Glad you're back!
proscuitto and melon, funny you should like that combo. This is my favorite type of salad. I add a bit of raspberry dressing, toasted almonds and figs to it though. It's a nice little twist to the same old salad. It is like heaven, Yum!

Grant said...

Welcome back! Nice running into you today. You owe me an email though. ;-)

Dahlgren's Daddy said...

The two Littlerocks, however, do have the same sum on cumulative IQs.

elvette said...

welcome back and thanks for the Winnebago man.

birdmonster said...

Thanks one and all. We're mixing today, so I'll be hiding in a soundproof cave, gesticulating madly, furthering my descent into deafness.

SOL: I'm touched to be the coffee reading. I take that way more seriously than I should.

Katie: I wish I was a cyborg. What a ripoff.

Sabrina: The second best combination is apples and peanut butter, for the record. Also, for the record, I'm now hungry.

Grant: Hope the shows were fantastic. I'll hit you with that email today or tomorrow.

DD: Do not crap upon the dual Littlerocks of the world. They contain your sort of people. And the sort of people who might send bombs through the postal system, for that matter.

Elvette: Best. Commercial. Ever.

davidp said...

Glad you're back. Truth be told you didn't really need to tell us that you were back, we could smell it when you guys drove into the city the other day. :)

Lester Hunt said...

I've been to Littlerock! Near Lancaster, right? Beautiful country out there. This time of year, the desert is the place to be!

birdmonster said...

David: Even if that isn't true, it's true. Trust me.

Lester: Good Lord. Yes. That's the place. And it is indeed gorgeous, unless you have a phobia of Joshua Trees or large bunnies, which, well, would just be weird.

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