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Weekend Shenanigans: What's your favorite ELO song?

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How was your weekend?  I didn’t do jack this weekend.  It was awesome. 


Friday afternoon, Date Chick offered up her gift card to Cost Plus World Market (I think that’s what it’s called...not real good with names if there’s four words in it).  I had previously mentioned to her I wanted to get some drinking glasses for the house.  She likes to drink water and I was getting tired of cleaning the two glasses I had after every other of her visits.  I’m sort of a neat freak.  It’s the American Psycho in me.  Quick DR aside:  How is there not a rap album called “African-American Psycho?” 


Even with my wife passing nearly a year ago, trips like this are still odd for me.  I had been to this same store with my wife and I had a flashback or two.  She liked the plates. I stood in the spot where she picked out a couple for her mom...a Mother’s Day present.  I didn’t have much of an opinion when she asked.  I would’ve shown more of an interest had I known how precious the time was.  In the words of the band Killing Joke, which I’ve quoted here before:  “We cherish the seconds, counting the days.” 


I shuffled off to the glass section and picked out a set with Date Chick’s approval.  She also got me a giant candle.  (Another aside:  I’m listening to Bryan Ferry’s “Don’t Stop the Dance” right now.  What an amazing song...”Mama says love is all that matters.  Love should be deeper than your skin.  Living for the moment; lips and lashes.  Will I ever find my way again?  Don’t stop, Don’t stop the dance.”  If you don’t know this song, youtube it now.  It’s about perfect.)


We got back to my pad, and watched some "House of Cards."  I still like this show.  The characters are great but the actors are all spectacular. 


I was getting hungry so we headed out for some Vietnamese food. 


Date Chick here’s turned me on to a joint not far from where we live.  When you walk in, a little dude sporting a kind of pompadour and a Rock Hudson moustache greets you cheerfully. 


I asked him his name.  “Tony,” he said.  I don’t think it’s really Tony, but with the pompadour and ‘stache, I’d be disappointed had he said his name was Vu.  My man Tony looks like an Italian-Vietnamese stage show from the ‘60s, preferably from a scene that might’ve been cut from the movie Goodfellas. 


I wanted to slip Tony a fiver to see if he’d sing “Sukiyaki” for us, but figured he only knows Don Ho tunes.  Ho’s gotta eat too (inside joke for any Boyz In the ‘Hood fans out there).  I was also tempted to ask Tony if he’d ever seen the third season Miami Vice episode called “The Savage.”  It deals with Crockett’s experience in ‘Nam, fighting charlie.  It’s pretty good.  One of the bad guys was in the movie Slap Stick.  The dude who says, “Call a massage parlor,” when the Hanson brothers are informed they will have one phone call once they’ve been put in jail.


Date Chick and I shared some egg roll and a curry rice dish.  It’s weird...we go out and I’m not that interested in being out.  I want to be back home with Date Chick, watching House of Cards or listening to music.  Part of Date Chick’s charm is that she can sit and talk.  Or sit and not talk.  She’s happy just to be in my sphere.  And vice versa.


Back home, I lit my new candle which cast a glow over the living room.  The night had cooled and the chill mixed nicely with the playlist I had created for my Apple TV specifically for Date Chick’s visits.  I labeled it “Craft Artisan Mix(ology)” since both of us make fun of the terms ‘craft’ and ‘artisan,’ which pretty much mean ZERO.  And the whole mixology/mixologist bluff thing, too. 


My mix has 177 songs right now, with more to be added.  My friend Dave suggested tonight via text that I add some songs by Bill Nelson, formerly of Be-Bop-Deluxe.  To be considered. 


At present, I’ve got everything from ELO’s “Strange Magic,” to the Cars “You’re Not the One.”  I understand the irony, but I’m more of a melody guy.  I can forgive the lyrics not fitting the situation if the production and tune are there.  My wife, who loved music like I do, couldn’t understand how I could like certain songs which depicted a break-up or a particular heartbreak and sing along to them so cheerfully.  I would often have to save those songs for solo driving.


Saturday, I made plans to meet up with a couple friends for a bike ride.  We hadn’t done it for a while and we were all in town at the same time for the first time in forever.  My one friend was being cryptic in his texts which set off my man alarm:  He was accompanied by his on-again-off-again female friend, me thought.


But first, Date Chick wanted to meet up for a coffee.  We love coffee.  We avoid Starbucks, not because we’re anarchists/anti-corporate.  It just tastes too bitter.  We like a local place that does not specialize in java, but they make a damn good latte.  I never thought I’d be a latte dude, but after a couple trips to France, I’ve become a latte guy. 


However, this day, we agreed that 7-11 coffee would hit the spot.  And it did.  She put a gang of hazelnut creamers in her purse on my behalf.  I like to use them at home.  How about that?  Willing to go to jail for pinching a couple creamers on my behalf.  I doubt she would call a massage parlor if she gets locked up.


We took our homeless coffee and went to a Vietnamese tailor named Tina.  I doubt that’s her real name, but I like her being ‘Tina.’  Makes me think of a “Twilight Zone” episode with this creepy doll named “Talking Tina.”  I wonder if Tony knows Tina.  They should start a revue.  “The Talking Tony and Tina Show...To Go” 


My friend had given me a bunch of trousers, as the English call them.  He’s got more than a little money and a sizeable habit of consumption.  He literally feels out of whack if he doesn’t go shopping for clothes most weekends.  A couple months ago, he gave me about four trash bags chock full o' clothes.  They were, ‘gently used’ as the Goodwill says.  Some still had price tags on them.  So I took a bag to Talking Tina for a bit of hemming.  She knows Date Chick very well.  Date Chick has given Talking Tina a ton of business by writing her up on occasion via her website.  I got $2 off each trouser.

I admire people like Talking Tina.  She’s run her own business for years.  She used to take only one day off a week.  She’s excited because she’s now taking two days off a week.  She’ll use the extra day off to take care of her husband who has had two strokes.  Talking Tina isn’t rich, works her ass off, and takes care of her husband.  All in a somewhat foreign country.  Hit me in the face if I complain about stupid crap.


My bike ride was fair.  Indeed, the on-again-off-again female friend was there at my friend's, and decided to join us on the bike ride.  That changed the energy of everything.  My friend changed his tone, changed his usual talking points, and generally sounded like a man who had been de-balled.  What a bummer...he doesn’t have to be like this.  He’s playing to an audience of one and he’s that audience. 


He told on-again-off-again female friend about me and Date Chick.  I showed her a picture, and though she tried to not look impressed, I think she was.  She mentioned that she was going to try to set me up with a make-up artist friend of hers (gee...that doesn’t sound like a crazy train coming in for a landing), but I told her I wasn’t interested. 


Timing is everything.  A few months ago I would’ve jumped at it, if only for a Shenanigan.  But not today.  I wanted to get the bike ride over with so I could make some sort of plan with Date Chick.  We purposefully don’t make big plans so we don’t cramp each other’s style.  It works well for both of us. 

Btw, if you’re ever in Paris, go to Luxembourg Gardens, or ‘Luco’ as the locals call it.  It’s fantastic.  Bring a book and a baguette. 


I disposed of the friends and the on-again-off-again female friend, explaining that I had to help my mom with something.  Total bollocks, but I wanted to get out of there.  And so I did.  I kinda saw this hackneyed outing coming, so I packed my gym clothes in the car.  After a quick lift (no cardio...giving my huevos rancheros a break from the exercise bike’s seat), I headed...


Right back home where I waited on Date Chick.  She came by a couple hours later which gave me time to decompress, shower, sit around in my boxers with a cup of coffee.  As James Brown called it, "man time."


We were both hungry soon after her arrival, so, as always, the subject turned to food.  I remembered having a gift card to Pitfire, where I’d never been.  It took over a spot ocupado by Marie Callender’s which is sad.  They have a good chicken pot pie.


After picking up our pizza, panini and kale salad, we returned to my place to watch a documentary called “The Queen of Versailles.”  It’s about this nouveaux riche couple who endeavour to build a massive home in Florida.  They claim they didn’t realize it when they were planning it out, but it would be the largest home in the U.S.


Only, the financial crash happened and the husband lost a bunch of money/financing so we follow as they go from building their ‘home’ to fighting to save it from foreclosure. 


It was good.  As with alot of things I see these days, it puts things in perspective.  You don’t realize how un-important things are sometimes until your life has been turned upside down.  I quoted a lyric by The Fixx for Date Chick after the movie finished:  “How much is enough, when your soul is empty?  How much is enough, in the land of plenty?  You have everything you want, but still feel nothing at all.  How much is enough?”


Sunday started off quietly.  Since I’ve cancelled my Directv, I’ve been playing loads of music.  I downloaded itunes radio and it’s pretty fun.  I like the various stations, including “Yacht Rock” or something like this.  It plays ‘70s soft rock...America (produced by George Martin, who produced the Beatles, of course), Dan Fogelberg, Bread, etc.  It gets old fast, so I switch it to ‘classic electronic’ where I hear The Orb (‘classic?!?!?!’) and Kraftwerk amongst others.  My one qualm is that the songs repeat more often than they should considering there’s about 1 billion songs out there.  Call me crazy.


Date Chick texted me:  She wanted to get an iced coffee with salt in it.  She knows the damndest places.  It’s some kind of specialty at an oriental joint in Irvine.  I didn’t even know this shopping center existed.  I got a latte and had a sip of her coffee.  It was good.  I wish I could tell you the name of the place, but it’s all in chop stick writing.  The main business is its breads.  They have a line out the door for it.  The coffees took about 20 minutes.  Worth the wait?  Hell no.  Worth the experience?  Hell yes.  I appreciate other cultures and since  this was an oriental themed weekend, it was a nice bookend.


We (carefully) drove out of the parking lot after walking through a supermarket wreaking of kim chee and garlic and drove back to my hovel. 


I had picked through all those hand-me-down clothes from my friend and decided to sell what I didn’t need/want to Crossroads Trading.  They buy clothes for pretty much nothing, but if you have a bunch, you can walk out with a few twenties in your pocket.  Or, in my case, $81. 


Date Chick was golden...she sat there and waited with me while several people in line before us had their crap picked through.  Most of it was not purchased.  I thought my semi- high-end stuff was a shoe-in, but they only took about 3/4ths of it.  The dude said my light colored pants were not ‘in season.’ 


WTF?!  We’re in Southern California.  Last I checked, it was about 75 degrees outside with zero chance of snow for, oh, the next 10 years.  I don't shelve my khakis when winter comes.  Because it doesn't.  Whatever. 


I rewarded Date Chick with a trip to TK Burger on Bristol.  I talked up the veggie burger wrapped in lettuce.  And a side of fries.  She enjoyed it.  Although, I should’ve taken her to Little Saigon or Chinatown in keeping with the Shenanigans’ weekend pallet. 


My plan was to go to South Coast Plaza (lots of Chinese...we’re back on track!) to get some t-shirts at J.Crew.  I’m not a clothes horse, but I have a particular affinity for the cut, material and quality of J.Crew’s t-shirts.  At $24.50, they’re not cheap, but they feel great and they last a long ass time if you take care of them.  I’ve had several for years now.  And I work out in them.  Smell terrific!


It was my lucky day.  The store was having a 25% sale, so my monies from the re-sale went even further than planned.  Baller.


(Right now, I’m listening to Bobby Blue Bland’s song “Ain’t No Love In the Heart of the City.”  You just feel it when this homie sings.  He been hurt.)


Date Chick and I went down to my mom’s house to drop off some chicken boullion, as mama-san requested.  She’s sick, and since she’s old school, she don’t want no meds.  Just some chicken stock and a gang of water.  She likes Date Chick and remembers her as a girl since our families were friends.  Makes things alot easier.


We bid adieu and grabbed some more coffee.  I’m typing like a mofo right now because I had a triple shot at 3pm.


We watched “House of Cards.”  It is getting better and better.  We are down to our last two episodes and I will hate to see it go.  I hear the second season is not premiering until February 2014. 


This has to stop.  Mad Men goes on what feels like a five year hiatus and comes back with a resounding thud.  Breaking Bad bails on me.  Network tv is totally useless.  We’re reaching a Yogi Berra moment in televised entertainment:  There’s so much tv, there's nothing to see anymore. 


Date Chick hung out with me until dusk.  I love dusk in fall.  The sun sets, it’s (usually) not 90 degrees, it’s quiet and still outside for moments at a time.  The light dissolves until the candle comes into focus and, “there’s nothing left to do but breathe” as Crockett says in Miami Vice.


When she left, the house was like fall:  quiet and still.  Yeah, my “Craft Artisan Mix(ology)” mix was still playing, but I had turned the volume down while Date Chick and I were talking.  She texted me when she got home. 


I was listening to ELO.  “Can’t Get You Outta My Head.”  Do you suppose my friend Tony would sing it for five bucks?



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“How much is enough, when your soul is empty?  How much is enough, in the land of plenty?  You have everything you want, but still feel nothing at all.  How much is enough?”


Reminds me of the only Bible verse I know:  Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

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And by the way ELO is top 5 all time for me.  Those guys are fantastic.

Doesn't hurt that Jeff Lynne's name rhymes with mine.

One of my first concerts was ELO at the Forum in late January 1977.


Always loved the music in "Shine a Little Love."    Many of their songs were classics though.  

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"He’s playing to an audience of one and he’s that audience." I liked this line. I'm envisioning the dentist and his girlfriend in the first hangover movie. Close? 


Looking forward to the Scots/Irish week.


So many good ELO songs. I favor the ELO song Telephone Line.
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"He’s playing to an audience of one and he’s that audience." I liked this line. I'm envisioning the dentist and his girlfriend in the first hangover movie. Close? 
Looking forward to the Scots/Irish week.
So many good ELO songs. I favor the ELO song Telephone Line.



Another great Billy Madison scene.


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Jeezus, that's a lot of coffee.


Glad to hear Date Chick sounds like a pretty chill easy going gal. I also like that she texts you when she gets home, when she wants to do something, etc. I always liked when girls I was dating or seeing would randomly hit me up, or do things to help me feel like they missed me. I also like when they say they want something, and for some reason they're just not gonna do it unless I go too. Good for you DR, from what I remember in your past Weekend Shen posts, this kind of relationship with a female is right up your alley.


Also, it really is a peeve when friends act different just because their chicks around. It can really ruin that infrequent amount of time you actually get to hang out with your buddies.

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Love ELO.


If I had to choose one song, it would be Mr. Blue Sky.  There are just so many elements to that song that make it great.  There is a good story behind his writing it as well.


Just a note to let any of you ELO/Jeff Lynne fans know that earlier this year he re-released his solo album from the 80's remastered with extra tracks earlier this year.  He also re-released ELO's last album Zoom remastered with extra tracks.  I recommend both very much.

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