“Crap Door? He’s my favorite Harry Potter character.” – Chuck
“Complete intestinal reset.”
“Gold Frankenstein and Murder.” If Jesus had been born in Jersey
“Dirty baby clothes flea market” – Lisa’s apt description
“We did a puppy, a fetus, and a baseball.” Chuck telling us what he dissected in high school.
“Worm Control That Goes Above and Beyond. Just Like You.” Billboard
“Let’s catch some cancer today.” Chuck after seeing people fishing in an irrigation canal.
“Stop the Congress created Dustbowl!” Hand painted sign off of highway.
Fauna: Oh hell, I either didn’t see any or I’ve forgotten.
Our hotel was in Chowchilla (Oh no, they say we’ve got to go. Go to Chowchilla! Yeah*) and we got the hell out of there as soon as we could. We were heading towards Ventura with maybe a stop on the way. To give some sense of our location find Fresno (where Daniel La Russo’s mom still lives) on the map and that’s pretty much where we were. It was, everyone agreed, the bleakest most parched landscape we had seen; hot, dry, farming country with a uniform brown color almost completely unbroken by anything except huge signs decrying the governments water policies and their effects on the fruits and laborers of the land. There must be some kind of water war going on but all we found out was that a case of water cost $15. There was a huge fire at a recycling plant near Fresno that put an enormous plume of black smoke up into the air. We were glad to get across the hills to green again.
We drove through St. Luis Obispo and it was cute in a very upscale Caucasian kind of way. Then we busted it out to Ventura because it just takes longer to get to places out here. We were playing at a place called Zoey’s and this night easily ranked as one of the best on the tour. The people here, from the owner on down were uniformly awesome and nice. They had the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever eaten and they kept my glass of local Zinfandel topped off, always waving away any attempts to pay. The room was small but all red and kind of classy. Lots of cool people have played there according to the posters on the wall, although it’s hard to imagine more than 60-80 people fitting in the room. A bunch of the people who came to see us did so because of articles written in the local papers. I think that’s the first time it actually worked the way it’s supposed to. The owners ended up the night wearing our shirts. Lovely night all around.
So this story made our night. The guy who booked us is a young guy, mid-thirties at the oldest. Well when he was just starting out he wrote an article proffering the sensible idea that My Glove ruined the Beach Boys. For this he was sued. Wait for it…. for 10 million dollars. He said he had about $75 to his name at the time. The best part was that Al Jardine called him up and told him to, “Stay strong.” The worst part is that he had to settle. He didn’t tell us figures but somehow insurance came into play.
At the heart of Ventura is a Catholic Mission that looks exactly like an old west Mission from a movie should; (I’ll post a picture because that’s a crappy description) all stucco and crosses. I don’t know if that’s why, but this town just seemed generous at its heart. There were five thrift stores on the main drag mixed in with the usual tourist type crap. After the show it was made clear that we must visit the Ventura Pier. The Ventura website says that the pier is “reputed to be the longest in California.” Now this isn’t like trying to assess the gravitational impact dark matter has on the expansion of the universe, I’m pretty sure people have taken a yardstick and measured the infinitely finite number of long piers in California. The length of something made of wood has nothing to do with reputation but whatever, let the baby have its bottle is what I say. Regardless, walking out to the end of this very long pier at midnight with the band was wonderful. We saw something dark and ominous floating in the water and I asked what the ocean version of the Yetti was. John said it was a Squish Squash for which he was roundly mocked.
Tomorrow is San Clemente and San Diego
*To the tune of Godzilla