It's just what happens.
And so, I took a walk to Chinatown to meet Steve and Jim at an Irish Pub.
From there we set off to find a bit of Chinese food.
I picked the joint.
It was the only place without a soul in it. We entered and sat down.
Now, when you go into a restaurant, and the kitchen is kind of close to where you're sitting, you generally expect--after you've placed your order and the waitress brings it up to the chef--to hear signs of cooking.
No such luck.
We sat there, drinking bad, lukewarm tea for twenty minutes before we heard them fire up the wok station.
In between that we were entertained by the "ding" of the microwave going off and watching, from a distance, the chef pulling out the fish and scallops we ordered.
Yeah, I know. We should have run screaming, but we didn't.
In situations like this, as long as it's not impinging on the night's activities too much, it's generally a good idea to ride it out. A lot of times things turn out better than they seemed; if you just took off you would have never known.
This was one of those times.
The fish was light and flaky, without a hint of corn starch or msg. It had a light, ginger taste to it and the freshly cut scallions (I saw the waitress bring them from the back room to prep) were a nice addition.
The waitress even tipped us off to where the most flavor is ...
You know the song, right?
Of course you do.
We ate, ran back to the hotel, and darted to our assigned rooms to watch the presumptive candidate for vice president give her speech. Such rock stars.
As far as my feelings on Wonder Woman, I will refrain.
This blog is for serious, informative, humorous blathering and I'd like to keep it that way.
And so, I set my fancy alarm clock to wake me up at 7 a.m. to the radio.
9/4/08: Day 2.
Hmmm ... I wonder why I didn't hear the alarm.
Friends, if you're going to set an alarm clock to go off to the radio, always check to make sure it's set to a station and not to relaxing, sleep inducing static.
Live and learn, I suppose.
So anyway, I had a lovely breakfast of an omelet made to my specifications right in front of me along with a few other things that I just did penance for at the fitness center.
And then I got my secret identity for the trip.
Are you ready?
Are you sure you're ready?
Okay, here goes ...
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce to you, the finest guitar playing, ceiling fan salesman in all of the Northeast ... Arthur Shurn!!
They didn't have a badge for me so they gave me Arthur's who couldn't make it on the trip.
Arthur is our drummer, Billy's (our drummer), wife's sister's husband.
But it's hard to believe two people who tell you the same thing only different.
So they kept it on the down low.
And I made some contacts that will definitely come in handy someday.
It's fun to mess with people.
Like my new motto goes: This stuff writes itself; I just check for typos.
Our first stop was at a church downtown who was run by Roy's (our theatrical director) sister. There was no opening of the hymnals for this group.
No, we get off singing songs like Talking Heads' "Heaven."
Heaven is a place
A place where nothing
Nothing ever happens
The church, apparently, lets in tough guys like this. From left to right: Ed "Rehab" Rehor, "Stuntman" Steve Sanderson.
And that is where we rolled out classics like The Pixies' "Monkey Gone to Heaven."
Next stop: The Washington Convention Center.
After a lovely ride through downtown D.C. we ended up at the joint we were to spend the next three days at.
But somebody never told somebody else about the rock stars from Massachusetts that were going to pile in, and so there was a little trouble getting the bus into the underground parking.
In fact, we were called a Supreme Security Risk.
I capitalized those words for a reason; you'll see.
So, we took our bags and boxes and guitars and drums and ambled in the main door like we were some kind of pedestrian church group.
After a half hour of Spinal Tap moments of trying to find the performance area, we settled in to our new digs.
N.A.M.M. (the North American Assc. of Music Merchants) has a large chunk of real estate in the joint. There is a small stage in the middle and different music vendors all around it. It is interesting to note that the only professional looking gear were the giant electric organs with the thousands of knobs like you used to see set up in the mall with the lady with the gray hair and the polyester slacks playing back in the seventies.
Well, apparently, old people haven't changed much in thirty years and the knobbed and buttoned monstrosities with the pulsing rhythm tracks are back with a vengeance. The rest of the stuff all seemed like kid toys to me. Like they were saying, "We know that nobody here really wants to put a lot of money into a guitar, so here's a really cheap one that won't break the IRA."
It's kind of creepy, but at least there's plenty of congas.
This last statement becomes more poignant after you witness a twenty retiree strong drum circle at 11 am.
And there were plenty of cute moments like this one where chorus member, Gloria Parker, gets a steel drum lesson.
We took a stroll around for lunch before the big first show.
This person looks like she came dressed for this booth.
It's called Maui Wowi.
From what I remember, Maui Wowi was definitely not a drink.
Whatever you say, convention people.
Here's a little slice of madness brought to you by the fine folks at Hohner. It's our leader, Bob, along with our bassist, Jim, with a little number I'm sure you'll remember.
And this was before noon.
So we played our twenty minute set for a very enthusiastic crowd and they cut us loose for a couple of hours.
I wonder what kind of fun we can find in two hours?
This ought to fit the bill.
This is one of the many products that was on display here at the festival. It, like so many others, was a head scratcher. Now, I don't mean an actual head scratcher; you could buy one of those if you wanted. It's just that there was an infomercial every fifteen feet and, as Steve pointed out, it was mostly about making a buck and not necessarily helping people live better for the sake of humanity.
Well, I guess you could enter the contest to win a trip to Hawaii and a free Mick Jones model Les Paul Custom by doing your best "air" performance to a variety of Foreigner snippets.
Right here, we're rocking out to "Juke Box Hero."
I bet most of thse people know what a real juke box was like.
Foriegner? A.A.R.P.? Air guitar? Juke boxes? It all seems so incongrous.
But it was free and it was fun.
It even gave you a spot for a stage name on the entry form.
Strangely enough, we all have actual stage names.
But the band, as I alluded to earlier, was billed as Supreme Security Risk, and we were awesome.
Steve, Billy, and myself took a fantastic voyage through some clogged arteries.
It was a giant simulator that was suspiciously dangerous to get out of. It made my blood pressure rise just trying to get out of the damn thing.
Earlier in the day we all took a ticket to try to win a large screen TV from the Direct TV people.
Dan and I had a small dispute over when the drawing was.
In the end, we figured out that it was a four o'clock.
Steve got his picture taken with race car legend, Richard Petty.
And I, of course, couldn't resist.
We finished up with another set and packed up our gear.
But it seems that in the span of the day, Supreme Security Risk, had made a name for themselves. Well, the chorus had anyway, and we were picked up in the bowels of the Convention Center where we were turned away hours earlier. This time, instead of the cops telling us to scram, they gave us a police escort to make sure we made it out all right.
And we did.
And there's more to tell.
But I have to make it to breakfast so I can do it all over again.
Thanks for reading.