NAMM Weekend and Car progress.

I’ve had a big weekend! NAMM, the 24 hours of Daytona, and a UFC fight, a new Ipad, and I found my dream guitar.

That’s pretty much the jist of it, as I sit here at work, during break of course, kind of reflecting on it all.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been consumed with my car, and work is coming along nicely in that regard. She’s in the shop, the disc brakes came in yesterday, and I should be able to cruise her to car shows this summer! Here are a couple of pics. One and Two .

I’ve been on an amazon rampage, buying all kinds of shit I want and need, trying not to overspend, but having a hard time of it. I just ordered a copy of Ulysses by Joyce, and have just received a HUGE voluminous copy of Don Quixote, which looks like a fun challenge.

I should get to work now, and I will. Just wanted to check in before I get too far ahead of myself.

– Fred.

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Much ado about a great many things

Maybe I should post more frequently? Less frequently? 

I have to admit, this re-starting of the blog is a bit of an experiment. I could easily get many many more hits than I currently do, but I purposefully am writing this blog without really telling anybody about it. This way I can write about anything at all, without any direction, and just ramble, as I have been doing. I feel like I’m waiting for this thing to take shape, or get into a presentable format, then MAYBE I’ll start promoting it, etc. I see that  have a few subscribers, and I wonder what they think. My thoughts and writings don’t seem very linear to me lately, and I think it shows in the blog. Scatterbrained doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

Anyway, on to some recent events. . . 

My mother got some bad news today. She’s been working at AVON in Pasadena for about 20 years now. Lately, in the news, there has been writing about the closure of her plant. She is going to be out of a job, and I am gong to have to step up and start paying for more stuff. I don’t mind, but timing wise, this is the WORST time for this to happen. I know there isn’t ever a good time for bad news, but I JUST started rebuilding my Coronet, and have dumped a bunch of money I saved, into it. Perhaps the old belt strings will have to be tightened more than ever, but that’s ok. We’ve come up a long way, way too far, to panic when shit is bad. We’ll be ok, I have complete faith in our work ethic, and our smarts. Plus, all her kids are grown with great jobs, and we’re going to take care of her. Still, I can’t help but hate AVON, all in the name of a couple of extra profit dollars, (400 million! The company makes 11 billion in annual revenue!!!) they’re putting some people out, at the worst possible time, job market wise. Corporate greed and profit margins make hungry bellies, and lower a standard of living for something like 170 employees. I read that the facility is 330K square feet, with around 170 employees. 

 

The thing that gets me, is the nagging question, “How can you run a 330K facility with only 170 people, and say that you aren’t making money?” If that’s ALL the people in hat big ass distro center, I’d say it’s pretty efficient! Think back to when machinery wasn’t in place there were probably 4 or 5 times as many people working there, and those were the fat years for the company. The greedheads at the top have been trimming away ever since, and now here we are. Even though they can run that huge place with 170 people, its not enough for them. They need all that money, to line their pockets, and keep away from their faithful employees. Good people, like my mother. 

 

Ok, enough doom and gloom. . . . 

Some good things happened this week too. I’ve started reading “Do The Work”, a companion to Steven Pressfield’s book “The War of Art”, which inspired me to do a great many things last year. It has really changed my effectiveness, and has made me more productive, writing blogs, songs, drawing, doing better at work, etc. All this after just a little inspiration!  So in tribute, I bought the second book, and I hope it has the same impact. DO THE WORK is something I’ve been telling people for the longest time, and I do a lot of work, but as any artist knows, you’re never really satisfied with your body of work. 

I mentioned briefly earlier, that I have been trying to get on top of my old Dodge Coronet again. I’ve saved up some good money, and right now she’s sitting in a shop in Alhambra, CA, waiting to be worked on. The ignition and some wiring have to be done, as well as a front brake swap to Disc, from my old beat up Drum brakes. After this, it’s all about paint, and she’s DONE! This pic is what I want her to look like. 18 years of chasing down parts, heartbreaking break downs in busy intersections, and cursing the day I bought this nightmare, I’llhave surmounted one of the most stubborn and challenging things I’ve ever done! After 3 engines, 3 transmissions, a whole parts store full of oils, lubes, parts, tubes, hose, gaskets and grease, this thing is going to run. I used to be wary of saying that, but no more. She’s going to run, and I’m going to see to it, that’s all there is to it. 

I also bought a chess set, and a set of dominoes for my house. I doubt anybody will want to play either, but I had to have them on hand in case the opportunity arose. I’ve already talked a couple of guys into playing, and I hope they follow through, because I want to get better. Chess to me, seems like a puzzle, and the pieces you don’t see, are in your opponents head. I love that about the game. 

Dominoes on the other hand, are for drinking and smoky nights on a table with a few friends. I love dominoes, and like chess, what you don’t know (The dominoes your opponent is hiding) is what you need to manipulate to make stuff happen, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. 

Wednesday, I went to see Calexico at the El Rey Theatre. Awesome band, but as a Mexican, listening to white people try screaming out Gritos, it was kind of embarrassing. I wasn’t prepared to feel that badly, for that many people, all at one. It was truly horrific, and I doubt I’ll ever shout out a big grito again, for fear of sounding like that anglicized version I heard Wednesday. Other than that however, it was an amazing night. The music was incredible, and the talent on stage was out of this world. I saw one fellow sing, play the accordion, guitar, some mariachi guitar, trianlge (lol), percussion, Vibraphones, trumpet, and backup the singer with awesome harmony. All in all it was quite an awesome evening. 

Today is Saturday, it’s cold in Los Angeles, and I am starting to feel the effects of a cold that everybody at work had all month. The Emergen-c’s I’ve been drinking every morning failed to fend it off, making me sort of question there efficacy. I also had a ton of greens, foods rich in Vitamin C, no fried foods, no beer, and a good handful of different lozenges, cold eaze, halls, riccola, etc. Nothing fended off this cold, it just had to win, so here it is. 

 

On that note, I’m going to hang back on the couch today, do some laundry, and perhaps later I’ll go out for a bite. Weekend feels empty after last weekend’s buzz of excitement with Mike Watt and tons of friend around. I suppose I need my rest, but I hate a wasted weekend more than most. 

 

Until next time, thanks for reading, any feedback would be appreciated. Also, since I’m relying on word of mouth, if you have any reason to forward this to somebody please do. 

 

– Fred. 

On playing with Mike Watt, and a just plain awesome weekend.

This weekend was huge. So much was done, so much happened, it boggles my mind, and makes me wonder what is next.

Friday night was the quietest, didn’t really do anything but laundry and some dishes. Saturday started bright and early with Breakfast at Pat & Lloraines with Chato, who was sure that every different corner in the place was THE CORNER that they filmed some scenes in Reservoir Dogs. I told him to watch the movie, cause they probably switched it up, but it was funny to see him SO sure that EACH different corner was THE corner. I reminded him that there was a shot that went around the whole table, so he agreed to watch it again. We were giddy the whole day with excitement for the show, and our conversations probably suffered because of it. Here is a shot of the scene, so you can see for yourself, which corner it is.

After breakfast, our buddy Baxter came up from Lake Elsinore for the night, he wanted to go to the show with us, and showed up early to jam a bit and record some grooves. We jammed all day, had some brews, and I left to have a nap before showtime. I got in about an hour of sleep, after an hour tossing and turning, kinda nervous about the show later.

Once we were there, we hung around, the bar got PACKED, and after a while backstage waiting our turn, in walked Mike Watt. Nobody talked to him, and it seemed like he wanted to be left alone. He sat in a chair, listening to the band before us, and kinda humming along to the bass lines. He seemed to be digging it, and killing time waiting to play.

Once it was our turn, we got up on stage, I got all my gear set up in record time, and I had to wait about 10 minutes for Rob to set up his drums, and Chato to get his guitar ready. I dont use any effects at all, so I set up much quicker than the guys usually. It really doesnt help being nervous to be up on stage in front of a couple hundred people, but the bar was so packed, I stayed up there and strummed a long to the pa music to get an idea of my sound level.

We had an AWESOME show. We tore through our set like we do, we mixed up the song order so it felt a little fresher than usual, and we left them wanting more. Screaming for more actually, and some were even calling out requests, asking for songs we didnt play, but we left them craving it for next time. We seemed to have a following in there, and it really felt great to play for people who know your music.

After the show, we hung out with a TON of friends, and I got another chance to talk with the Man himself. I walked with Mike while he pushed his gear back to his vehicle.I told him about 1995 when I found his album “Ball Hog Or Tug Boat” at the Goodwill I was working at, which coincidentally was attached to the same building we had just performed in. He talked to me about his inspiration for the album, and a bit about philosophy on the bass, which was amazing because I had the same exact conversation not one day earlier with my good buddy Helbig. He told me to listen to James Jamerson because of the way I play, and  when I told him I already did, he said he knew it, he said my bass playing was really good and gave me a serious look to let me know he meant it, and I pretty much have been in a zone ever since. I’ve been floating on air, feeling awfully accomplished, and just happy as all hell to have heard him speak those words. It meant a lot, and it made me super happy.

The past couple of weekends have been really awesome. God damn I want to keep this thing going, whatever it is.

My 68 Dodge. . . .

This morning, I called a mechanic who was supposed to come down last Sunday to do some work for me, on a 1968 Dodge Coronet 500 that I own. He flaked, because it rained. Today, he said it was too cold to work on a car outside, so he wasn’t going to make it. 

Thing is, I could do this work myself, but I know what this guys is talking about, it’s TOO damned cold to work on a car today. Granted, it’s “Los Angeles Cold” so, maybe 50 during the day. Still, lying on the floor, on my back, working really hard, pushing big weight, like transmissions and holding headers up while threading bolts with another hand, can really mess you up on a cold concrete floor. Even with a creeper (like a dolly for mechanics), gloves, and a big flannel on, the cold seeps through, and eventually, you get really sore from all the little dings against cold iron you take. Not to mention knucklebusters, when your socket, wrench or screwdriver slips off, and you bust your hand good on something like an Intake Manifold. It pays to work on a car in a well lit, warm environment, with nice surgeons gloves on and 5 guys holding things for you. Working in a driveway with a flashlight in your mouth is another story. 

So anyway, I called this other guy I know,  guy, and he agreed to let me tow in my car on Wednesday morning. It’ll be nice to even see it move on a flatbed, it’s been so damned long. It’ll be even nicer to put my foot on the gas and watch her go! 

The Hot Box podcast, and MuerTones EPK is released !

Tonight, The MuerTones met at 6th and Olive streets in Downtwn Los Angeles, cracked a 12er of XX beer, (Amber), and waited for Mary, our gracious hostess, who had invited us there for a podcast interview on The Hotbox Podcast.

I was especially interested as Podcasting has piqued my interest of late, and these ladies seemed to have had it going for some time. There seemed to be a flow to their process, albeit made haphazard by herb breaks and impromptu smoke sessions in between chats.

We had an absolute blast. I brought 2 growlers of my latest homebrew, the light IPA, and all partook. Even Jeremy, the sound guy, who I forgot to hit up about a whiskey concoction I need to look into.

We got to plug our show Saturday, January 12th with Mike Watt at the Redwood, and we talked a lot of shit, joined the ladies for a smoke rotation, and had a blast in general. Really need to do more of this now that the EPK is out.

Oh, RIGHT! OUR EPK IS OUT ! Here it is ! ! ! ! 

Let us know what you think!!!!

Now, it’s 11 pm on the dot, I’m headed to bed, and ready to face the rest of the week. I’m satisfied knowing how much we got done this week, with the EPK, the PODCAST, and MIKE FREAKING WATT on Saturday. Gonna be an awesome weekend.

Fred OUT

Mondays can be awesome too.

Today on the way home I passed by my homie Chato’s house. He plays guitar in my band, The MuerTones. He showed me an EPK he’s editing at the moment, for the band, by the band, about the band. I loved it. Can’t wait to share it. He’s really got a knack for this editing thing. He turned it around in a short time, considering he had only the most random shots, from all over the place, to mix together and draw from.

Then I went home and watched a German Touring Cars race, from Munich’s Olympic stadium. Pretty awesome, Bruno Spengler won it for a BMW Team, and all the cars were very fast, looking like production car stretched out widthwise, with deep tubs for fenders, for those big wheels that snugly grab in the fastest turns. Amazing stuff.

Now it’s about 8:30, and I’m going to finish off my beer, and finish off Blood Meridian, which I faltered on. I was sure I had finished it. The book is a bit grueling, so I’m not surprised I had put it down, about halfway through. Still, I need to finish it, so I can finish the Daniel Boone Biography, so I can move onto “The Count Of Monte Cristo”, which I somehow avoided all my life, though everybody on earth seems to have read it, usually around 5th grade.

t’s cold tonight, and the old Honeywell space heater is struggling to keep my pad/apt warm.

Light IPA. . . My Homebrew, self review.

Today I went and picked up some more CO2, so I could continue pouring beer. 5 lbs of CO2 is $15, and a bargain for all the brew it carbonates. 

Here’s a pic of my latest, the light IPA.

I made this beer for my beer friends who stick to mostly light brew. I’m trying to make a more universal IPA. Something so people who drink small beer, can try a medium beer, with characteristics stressed to open there eyes to different parts of the brew. I was happy to hear Ian describe it as Citrusy, because that’s exactly what the hop character should be like. See HERE.

The beer is a bit lighter than the picture. It’s more amber than brown, with an almost red ale type tinge to it. Here’s the recipe for it, for those of you who brew.   The only difference tis time was I used the 40L crystal malt rather than 60. 40L is more for light color, and head retention. It seems to do its job for head retention. The beer laces the glass nicely, and if poured vigorously, settles into a rich creamy off white head. 

The nose is all Citrus, the beer itself tastes almost like the porverbial grapefruit juice ipa, but without the mouthy astringency of some hoppier beers. No mouth puckering bitterness, no heaviness to the malt. This is a very light beer, with the hop aroma forward, as opposed to flavor forward, like a Stone IPA, etc. This was a great way to really feature the chracter of the Centennial hops, and Im looking forward to my next SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) Amarillo and two row brew. the ingredients for that one are hanging out in my fridge for when the weather gets a little bit better. 

That’s all for today, I hope to document my next brew day, so stay tuned for that !