The string of never-ending coincidences in my life...um, never ends.
I know this isn't unique to me, which is why I love the universal art of the coincidence, but I feel like my life is one fluky happenstance after the next. And there's a philosophy to be created or celebrated here, but I've never been able to figure it out and put it all in context. There's something there though, someone pulling these mysterious strings. If it doesn't involve running into people on the street that I just finished talking about, or getting an e-mail from someone I was just thinking about, it's the little things like what happened last night.
I walked in from work to find my make-shift bookshelf had nearly toppled over. Not surprisingly for a huge nerd, I've got a ton of books. But I have no bookshelf, so half of these books sit in towering piles on my bedroom desk, the other half fills up four stacked Yaffa blocks. Since the Yaffas aren't designed to support that much weight for that long (or maybe they are and they just suck at their job), the bottom cube is leaning to the right, which is causing the whole stack to bend like a phototropic plant.
If I didn't take action immediately, I'd come home one day soon to see the crates' 75 books strewn all over the floor, breaking all the shit I've got next to them. In the process of clearing out the Yaffas -- my goal was to take out all the books in order to put the bottom block on the top and move the other three down -- I came across a tacklebox in the back of the bottom crate. The dust on this box indicated to me I hadn't opened it since moving in to the apartment, in August 2001.
I put the box aside, left the books on the floor and went to the living room for a break. At that point, TJ in OH called me from an outdoor amphitheatre in Springfield, Ohio. In a spur of the moment decision, TJ and the Mrs. decided to check out a free Dark Star Orchestra show with the band's new keyboardist, and he wanted to let me know they just broke into an Ace, Donnie and TJ favorite: B.E. Women.
As I wrote on this here blog at the time, DSO's keyboardist and founder, Scott Larned, passed away recently, something I'm sure affected the band members as much as the Dead losing Pigpen or Brent. They're back on the road, though, after hiring a pretty talented guy (from what I understand). In that obituary-like post, I mentioned how Scott met with me for a while so I could report on them for a story I was doing for my journalism class. And he was great, taking time out of his schedule and putting up with my newb-ness.
About a half-hour after TJ's call last night, I went back to my room to fix the books situation. Curiously I opened the dusty tacklebox, and found the following contents inside: my childhood Gameboy, 10-15 games (including Paperboy and Tetris of course), four double-A batteries, a mix tape from freshman year in college, a mix tape from senior year in high school and tape labeled "Scott Larned Interview -- 11/6/98."
I honestly had no idea this tape even existed. I lost the transcripted Word file, and I thought I had lost the tape in the course of moving. But there it was, untouched since the last millenium, unseen in maybe five or six years, staring me in the face 30 minutes after TJ's report on DSO's new keyboard player. I mean, what are the odds? What are the odds that I'd finally succumb to fixing my make-shift bookshelf yesterday of all days, that I'd decide to clear out all the crates and find that box and open it, that the tape would actually be in there after years of thinking I'd lost it, that DSO would be in Ohio, that TJ would decide to make an impromptu run to the show, that he'd call me right before I found the tape? I fucking love when this shit happens. And it happens all the time.
So I sat and listened to the tape with the Yankee game on mute. And I can only describe my interview style as "piss poor" and "Chris Farley-esque." I would say things like, "So, I mean, you guys are so awesome, are you just like, having fun up there, ya know?" and "So, like, does the whole band have the same goal, to start touring?" when he JUST said they did in answering the last question. Man, what an awful interviewer I was back then.
Despite my shortcomings, I got some great information from him. He told me the popular rock band Phish's drummer Jon Fishman would be sitting in with them that upcoming Tuesday, and he did. We talked about the differences between Phish and the Dead, we talked about jambands, great stuff. Well, we didn't "talk" about much -- basically I stumbled over dumb questions and he provided eloquent answers.
But still, it was great. I cringed every time I opened my mouth on the tape, but I'm glad I spent an hour listening to it. And, I will say, it's definitely weird that he's no longer alive. We'll always have that hour in the Unicorn Cafe.
(By the way, it's certainly no coincidence the Yankees fucking suck. Two awful losses in a row, to the D-Rays. Terrible. Like one of the opponents of the Pin Pals, "those guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.")
Slack Weird Plug of the Day: Phish bassist Mike Gordon gets a mention in today's Personal Journal section of the Wall Street Journal. But since you mere mortals can't read Journal articles without a password, go here instead.
Cactus and guitarist Leo Kottke have a new album coming out and the WSJ wrote a little brief about the release. This bodes well: "One track is a cover of Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion sung in a monotone and performed on a mandolin-like instrument from Turkey." To listen to Sweet Emotion, click on Mike and Leo's website above and go for it. Or just click here. Cool stuff.
But hey, writer-guy, this isn't very nice: "One man's fans include guitar playing yuppies; the other's wear tie-die shirts and avoid washing their hair." Dude, I love Pantene Pro-V. Don't be a dick.
Slack Song of the Day: Although I've never seen these guys live (at least I'm pretty sure I haven't), Assembly of Dust has been high on my list of quality bands I need to catch. They've got a cool sound and certainly put on a good show from what I'm told. So here's some AoD from April 8th, 2005 at the Knitting Factory.
First try out the show's closer from that night, Poland, then hit up the sweet sing-along cover of Up On Cripple Creek. And if that don't do the trick, Bootlegger's Advice might help you see the light.