And what a week it was! I had a very happy and busy few days...
Saturday I went on Esotouric's Charles Bukowski tour. I was joined by Carin and Tom and Tom's cousins. We used the train to get to the starting point at Philippe's in Los Angeles and left early enough to enjoy a meal there. I had a French dip- a tad different from my usual dining fare, but how could I pass up on the speciality?
Kim and Richard of Esotouric greeted us as we checked in and boarded the bus for a day of adventure. Some of us were familiar with Bukowski, while others weren't, but everyone enjoyed the tour. Kim and Richard know how to lead a tour that is interesting to just about anyone. They offer plenty of fodder on the main topic and add in other tidbits, plus some personal stories.
For Bukowski, Richard gave us lots of background and biographical information, as well as read from some of Bukowski's poems and stories. As we traveled and stopped, he also offered architectural and historic information on various points of interest. He fielded our questions well and kept the day moving at a just-right pace, throwing in humor to keep it light and just enough mystery to make us yearn for the next part of his narrative.
My friends and I are planning to go on another tour soon. There's lots to pick from with themes from literature, architecture, true (and weird) crime and more. If you're looking for something different to do or want to learn more about what has made SoCal the important and intriguing place it is today, visit http://www.esotouric.com/
Sunday I took my mom on a multitude of errands, including Target, Kohl's and the grocery store. We went to VN in San Dimas for pho. She had never had pho before, so I helped her order and explained the spices, etc. Mom opted for plain and simple, but really enjoyed the meal. We also had some spring rolls that were super yummy!
Monday was a busy and wonderful day. I started out with my office routine, then went to the Rancho in Altadena to meet with the Sundowners. The local psychedelic rockers are always a joy to hang out with and proved a good interview as well. From there I went to Pasadena to speak with Horticulturist of the Year Yvonne Savio. She treated me to a tour of her splendiforific garden, lush with fruits, veggies and flowers of all kinds.
When Yvonne told me that she runs master gardener classes in her garden I teased that it was one way to get all the work done. You could spend all day in her yard and still have plenty to do for the next week. And wow, her compost bin was really cool, as it didn't smell or look yucky and the material it issued was really rich in nutrients.
My final foray was to Hollywood to meet with Herman Rarebell. Herman is the former drummer of the Scorpions and wrote quite a few of their hits. He hasn't been lazing around since they - amicably - parted ways, instead he's pursuing his own project, Herman Ze German and has released a new album, along with the audio book, "My Life as a Scorpion."
Herman was a great interview, as he was very professional and pleasant and has a wonderful sense of humor. We swapped music stories, discussed writing and had a conversation that I wished wouldn't end. Alas, but he had other obligations that evening. Herman autographed my CD and gave me an autographed copy of his audio book. He also invited me to meet him and his wife (a beautiful woman and an accompished saxophone player!) for dinner next time I get to Brighton, England. Check out Herman's albums and more at http://www.hermanrarebell.com/
Tuesday morning I spoke with Dez of DevilDriver to preview Ozzfest. Dez was very articulate and quite nice. I must admit that I was a little surprised, as he was much more forthcoming than I expected and is the kind of guy who you'd like to hang out with and talk music over a beer or two.
You can watch for my stories on all of these people at http://www.sgvn.com/ over the coming weeks.
I went with my special guy to Magic Mountain on Wednesday. It wasn't too crowded, so we got to go on just about everything we wanted with ease. I sat out for a few of the coasters, as my back still isn't 100 percent, close, but not quite... I did, however, go on all the water rides and spent the bulk of my day damp, which was OK because the weather was nice. When I got home that night, the insides of my shoes were still wet! It was still a very happy day.
This weekend I will be going to a birthday party and then catching Los Fabulocos at the Crazy Horse in West Covina. Sunday I plan to meet Vernor at the movies. Monday will be a cool day, as Boz Scaggs is supposed to call me for an interview... I have a pretty good life...
In rotation this week: Jewel, Sting, Herman Ze German, Street Sweeper Social Club and Jarod.
Photos we got 'em: Pet pics from the Web and a photo of the Scorpions in concert in Arizona by Dave Schwartz-- his review and more photos will be posted at http://www.dabelly.com/ in a few days.
Thought o' the Week: Be thankful. I know I harp on relishing the little things in life, but truly, can you ever be grateful enough? As for me, my back is feeling much better, I'm been have some memorable adventures and, although a lot isn't perfect, things aren't too bad overall.
I have a few dreams that tug on me regularly, but I can't make them happen, instead I have to let things go and hope that they will eventually come true. I know this sounds strange, as we are always told to go after our goals, yet in reality there are some things that you just can't force to fruition; they have to bloom on their own... and sometimes they never do. In the meantime, you have the choice to focus on these things or push them aside and enjoy the things that you have and work on those that you can control.
I have a decent place to live with food in my cupboard and refrigerator and there's gas in my reliable car. I have the best friends ever, who care about me and I can count on in times of need. I have a job that I love, it allows me to be creative and learn all kinds of interesting things about our weird world. I can dance, I can sing, I read and enjoy almost anything that's offered to me.
I don't take any of these things for granted. There have been times in my life when I have gone hungry and worse. There have been times when I have been truly alone. There have been times when I have been in so much pain that all I could do was lay in bed. Even in the worst of times, I have always found that little kernel of thankfulness. I have always been able to see that little speck of good and happiness. And this week has been especially wonderful. Don't think too long or too deep, but find something in your life that you are grateful for and let that feeling flourish until it overtakes you, then relish in the joy.
Keep on rockin'