Wednesday, November 22, 2006

An Evening of Farewells...

Tonight was an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. First - a visit to the world famous Tower Records Sunset Strip to rummage through the scraps of merchandise before they shutter the doors for good per order of the bankruptcy courts. I spent many hours here in my teens and twenties buying rock & roll as well as "dance" music during my unfortunate Break Dance years, but that's another blog... Tonight I saw aisle upon aisle of empty racks and shelves. What was once chock full of must-have cassettes, vinyl and ultimately CDs was now just furniture to be listed on an "Asset" spreadsheet in a cubicle somewhere.

There was no vinyl left in the store, only CDs and I managed to scrape together a small purchase and contribute one last time to the great Tower Records (or, more precisely the liquidation company that purchased them). The crowd was light and the mood was somber. People were looking around taking it all in, with a palpable feeling of "I'll never see this place again" in the air. *sniff*

My take consisted of: Tom Waits - Real Gone, Look at All the Love We Found - Tribute to Sublime, Thin Lizzy - compilation CD and The Eels - Live at Town Hall.

A Guest Book of sorts with well-wishes from the loyal customers.

Next up in my self-afflicted Depress-Fest was a jaunt up the Strip to the House of Blues venue.

What better way to continue the "farewell" theme of the night than by catching a live set by rapper, player and uber-inseminator K-Fed? Brit had recently had his name changed to Fed-Ex and axed for his Ferrari back, so it's time to kick out the jams for one last rockshow! I am SO there. (note: I tried to smuggle in my digicam to capture this Milestone but the metal detectors and huge security guards were having none of it. Maybe it's best that way...)

The ticket ($22.50!) stated doors 9 o'clock, which means Kev will swagger out around 9:30 or 10 latest. Psych! When you're that hot, you keep the fans waiting yo. Fast forward to 11pm after 2 hours of ridiculously bad DJ music and watching shallow drunken women shout "I wanna have yer baby Kevin!!!!! woooooo!!!". I was this close to walking out when the lights went out and the PA system announced his name. "This better be good" I said to myself, then laughed at the contradiction in my short thought. K-Fed hipped and hopped his way through an awkward set of rap, breakdancing and shout-outs ("where's the love for K-Fed?" he axed us).
At one point after two "songs" he walked off stage and left us to be entertained by the back-up dancers and DJ mixin'. K-Fed: former backup dancer hisself, now able to walk out when he feels like it. After 30 MINUTES of performing, The Fed musta been tired cuz it was time to go, y'all.

It was now 11:30 and the show was over. No encore, no catch-the-sweaty-wifebeater, no nuthin'. Just a housefull of dedicated fans shuffling back out to the Sunset Strip, trying to make sense of what they had just seen and how they would explain it to their friends and family.

I waived goodnight to K-Fed as he hopped in the back of a City Cab and headed off to his friends place in the Valley where he's crashing on his futon until he figures out his next move. Farewell Tower....Farewell Kevin (until SuperBowl XLI that is...).

Monday, November 06, 2006

San Diego Bike Swap

Sunday Nov. 5th was the biannual San Diego Bike Swap Meet. I decided to avoid last year's routine of waking up before dawn and driving 2+ hours south to San Diego, instead this year choosing to take Amtrak down a day early, hang with friends and take it easy. We would ride our bikes from the hotel in the Gas Lamp district the next morning approx. 2-3 miles to the velodrome for the swap. Sleep in, have a little coffee, ride the bikes...sounded much better than 2 hours of freeway!

Return tickets would get us back home on the train Sunday after the swap ended.

I'm finding myself back at L.A.'s Union Station often these days.

Bike storage on Amtrak was free and easy to use.

All aboard...

A shot of the coast taken from my window seat

Santa Fe Station in downtown San Diego. The trip took 2:45 and was road-rage free.

We got settled in the hotel and went out to meet friends for dinner & drinks. Dinner was Mexican food at The Alamo in Old Town followed by drinks at The Liars Club, which, after margaritas and Makers Mark whiskey looked like this:

The alarm went off too early the next morning and I had to add in some Extra Strength Tylenol to breakfast. Ouch. Nothing a bike ride can't fix though, so off we were. I managed to find a few goodies at the swap, nothing super rare or much of a "find" but I snatched up what few things did catch my eye, such as:

leopard print SDG saddle for $1. New Thomson mtb stem for $50 and cool Salsa socks for $3

A subtle, tasteful jersey for the nice-price of $5

and last and maybe least - my new outfit consisting of an old purple "Save the World" jersey and a new pink jump helmet. Jersey $5, helmet $5. That's what - like $11 worth of stuff. Sweet.

We wrapped up the swap and headed to Ocean Beach for fish tacos before railing home.

see ya on the trails, I won't be hard to spot...