Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dwelling Portably

Deja Vu, tour style. I started in Chicago just over a week ago. I was flown out to do some programming at a big warehouse nestled behind a corn field a few hours out of the city. It was pretty productive, and I got through 40 of the band's songs for this tour, but it's a terribly isolated spot. One of the only places to eat or drink nearby is the tiki bar/Bennigans-themed joint across the parking lot from my hotel. Ah, the loneliness of Cabana Charley's. I'm just trying to pass the time with a broken TV after a marathon 15 hours of programming a light show. The opposite of success is no doubt failure.

When I finished up I went into Chicago proper for a few days. Andy took me to Hot Doug's where I had a garlic chicken sausage smothered in melted brie. It was about what I needed as my body was in a bit of a shock once confronted with the introduction of Midwestern Fall and a late night experience with a Steak and Shake. I made the rounds for a few hours. First stop Chicago comics. I finished re-reading Pattern Recognition last week and was on the hunt for the new-ish William Gibson book. I was out of luck, but I did find some assorted graphic goodness.
I wish that this place were down the street from my house. I also wish that I were in said house for more than a day or two at a time.

I did manage to find a half suitcase-full of weird windy city pap though. This dinosaur head fits like a mask over your face, and is the most hilarious thing that I've ever seen. I decided to give it to Kamil because we were meeting up for dinner that night, and he has a rather large, bulbous head, and I was dying to see him with a tiny dinosaur hovering above it. He did not disappoint.

I flew to Boston and turned up at The Liberty Hotel which, oddly enough, I had recently read about in some in-flight magazine. It is some uber-chic, dipshit hotel that used to be a prison. The hotel restaurant was called Clink. Classy. 

Instead of pondering the fate of humanity in my jail cell turned $300/night hotel room I took the Red Line out to North Quincy to see Rachel, Jeremy and little Elliott. I've had lots of friends have lots of babies this year. I think Lexi and I counted twenty-odd people with newborns recently. Elliot might take the cake, though. She was about 5 weeks old and pretty damn cute. It was nice and calming both to hold a baby, and to be able to return it to it's rightful owner when things got hairy. I don't really have much expertise in the way of handling very small people, but I think we made pals. Evidence.

I made it back to the hotel and watched the VP debate from the bathtub. It was a shambles. You betcha'. The following day was the first show of the tour at Boston University. It was a little shaky, but most everything worked and the new stuff turned out alright. Close enough for rock and roll.

That night, on route to Wallingford, Connecticut (where I kept telling everyone that famous dinnerware was from) we got cross-checked by a drunk driver on the highway. Nick has a pretty harrowing retelling of it all, which is good since I missed a fair amount of the action. I felt a collision at about 2 AM. When we pulled over to the side of the road I got off the bus, barefoot and barely awake to see the large dent in the side of the bus and a car stopped behind us. I put two and two together and assumed that the car behind us had hit us, and everyone was just fine. I guess that wasn't the case as there was a large scale pile-up on the road further behind us and several people were taken to the hospital. Brutal.  Just when I had eased myself into feigned comfort on a bus following our near-diasaterous Interpol incident last year. I woke up the next morning rather shaken, and relatively stirred to see the damage in the daylight.

Our next show was in Atlantic City. There wasn't really anywhere to get the bus fixed and, since the damage seemed to be mainly cosmetic, we let it be.

I had a terribly long day that mostly revolved around an 8 camera HD video shoot that was taking place. When I wasn't tearing up from sheer frustration I was swimming in coffee to stay awake. After 3 weeks off I'm not so accustomed to the pace of it all, I guess. 

Atlantic City is a remarkably grim place. I'm sure that's not at all surprising, but it's such an odd contrast to have a place glittering in neon to be so awash in sadness.

New York was next, with a show at Radio City. We got some looks as we limped our beaten up old beast of a tour bus through midtown with a car-sized gap in it's hull. The day was long and filled with mandatory union coffee and lunch breaks, but it all came together rather nicely.

I stayed down at Matt and Jamie's place on 4th and C after meeting up with their roomate to grab a set of keys. I ended up watching The Fountain on Jamie's 95" TV that is inexplicably at the foot of his bed, and no more than 7 feet from your face. It was pretty grand. Harley and I met up the next day, which, as the band was doing Conan O'Brian, was a day off for me. We went up to The Met for a few hours. We wandered around for a good while, and managed to find this statue of Buddha from the 1300's that is the spitting image of Interpol's keyboard tech Chad. Maybe you had to be there.

We sat on the roof deck for a bit, then met up with Amy downtown for some Myabi sushi and Army/Navy surplus shopping. Maybe my two favorite activities. If only they could be combined.....I also tracked down a new issue of Chunklet which is a grey ghost since it comes out once every three years, and even then is near impossible to track down. It still makes me laugh though. Of all the profound wisdom of Henry T. Owings I think his sentiment may be one of his finest: 'You can soak a horse's dick in vinegar, but that doesn't make it a pickle.'

I had a few hours to kill before bus call so Nick and I went to see Batman instead of watching the debate. I stand by my decision because I'm pretty sure I know how this one ends. I was reading The Red Eye in Chicago today and the editor was musing over the idea of being cast in the next Batman as the guy who had seen the previous movie seven times. I could be his sidekick. The next show was in Columbus at a venue that doubles as both an indoor and outdoor space. For one reason or another we were outdoors. It was a cool, misty Ohio day, and by the end of it I was convinced that I had every disease known to man, but hey, the lights looked good.

Today is a day off in Chicago, and I wandered back to Chicago Comics, as you do, and found a book on living on the go. This applies greatly to my current lifestyle, and to anyone who plans on being on the lam for one reason or another. That, and considering the current state of the economy it may come in handy to know how to purify your own drinking water, and make a lean-to out of a hockey stick and a pillowcase.

Broken Social Scene's folks are staying at our hotel as well. I know that David Scheid will send his kindest regards. They are playing around the corner at the Vic, which means no brew and view for me tonight. I was looking forward to wrapping my impending sickness around a few beers and a $5 double feature. Instead I think I'll linger around my new favorite website and sit in the bathtub for a few hours. Godspeed.

Today we are going nowhere

I'd like to see a copy of your figures