I took today off. For working that late schedule last week, we were offered 8 hours comp time, and I took mine today. Mid-week was fine. I was actually busy today; a positive side benefit of having a day off during the week is that every place is open for business, busses run on a more frequent schedule, and lines are shorter since everybody else is at work. Win!
Got up this morning at 7:30, spontaneously (been doing that lately…I blame my back). Took a shower, got dressed, checked the web, and took my car to the dealership for a 9:00 appointment to get my timing belt, water pump, serpentine belts, and dry seals replaced. Handed over the keys, walked next door to Thunderbird Coffee. Had a bagel and a cup. Caught the glare of a mildly nutty woman who muttered constantly to herself; first thing I heard her say was “I’m not crazy” as I walked past. Good times.
There’s this one annoying band that apparently every barrista in this damn town loves to play during their shift. Peter Bjorn and John. Fuck those guys. Every god-damned time I hear the barristas play those earworms, I want to smash the tip jar. If I never hear another god-damned tune of theirs again, I’ll be happy. It’s like “PBJ” is this year’s Moldy Peaches. Stabby. So yeah, the barristas at Thunderbird played them, and after suffering that nonsense at my other usual joints, I finally researched and discovered who it was, and now I know the true name of the devil. Dammit.
I drown out the nonsense with an album by the Greek-born DJ Dousk. A few weeks back, I heard a chillout DJ mix on the Digitally Imported Chillout stream which included a few songs he wrote; I learned who he was and picked up his album “D.I.Y.” In my opinion, this guy is one of the best understated trance-ambient musicians and DJs this year. If this stuff came from Greece, I have to wonder what else is growing wild around Europe. With it queued up on my music player, this album eventually became the soundtrack to my day.
So, with a bagel and a cup in me, I put on my headphones and ambled up the road four blocks back to my apartment for some sittin’ down, chillout lunch time. My friend Josh posted a link to a 25-part series called Rail Away, highlighting tourism and travel by rail in several countries and what kind of sites and attractions you can see during your journey. I got a few of the episodes in over the course of the day, and now I have the wanderlust to travel Europe again. I cursed Josh for giving me that itch.
I answered that itch, somewhat, by leaving the house after lunch. Since I had no car and had the day off, I decided to hop the bus downtown. Discovered that the #5 Woodrow route goes from my front door to the downtown core; all this time, I assumed it bypassed downtown and went to Riverside. Who knew? Not I. Also discovered how handy the Capital Metro trip planner is; you give it endpoints, and it tells you the routes, transfers, and times to the next connection. Sooo much easier than looking at PDFs and timetables (wooble).
Took the bus downtown and hung out at the Hideout. It’d been a few weeks since I last went. Was nice to sit there in the window during daylight hours; you see all the suits, normals, junkies, and hotties strolling past. Daytime barrista was friendly, too. Got some pictures of one of the cow sculptures that have appeared around town; apparently it’s a citywide art installation called Cow Parade, and each cow is decorated by a different person and will be auctioned off for charity. Kinda like those 8-foot tall guitar sculptures, I guess.
While at the Hideout, I got a call from the service manager telling me my car was repaired and ready. Hopped the next bus back up. Stood in the 104°F heat for 20 minutes waiting on the return bus with the belly full of black coffee; ugh. But got back to the dealership, wrote the check ($$$), picked up my car, and headed back home. Watched more train videos.
After cooling my heals, I got hungry. Had dinner at Pho Thaison. Egg roll and #1 Pho. It was the best Pho I’ve had in weeks. So damn good, I actually had a mouth-gasm. Woah mama. If you haven’t been there, I suggest you go to the location on Anderson Lane. The best in town, in my opinion.
Had my after-dinner coffee at Epoch. Chatted with my cafe buddies Willie and Doug (decent folk, all). Sweat my ass off on the porch; since I don’t smoke anymore, I don’t much get any benefit from sitting out in the heat if nobody I know is there. So after they went off, I headed home, too.
But instead of home, I went driving, following the drifting winds like a rudderless boat. Ended up at Waterloo Records. Picked up “4×4=12” by Deadmau5, and then, related to some of our discussion at Epoch, got a pair of Neil Young albums: “Harvest Moon” (1992) and “Dead Man [soundtrack]” (1996). Also got a copy of “The Big Lebowski” and “Kingpin“, which I’ve been seeking for a while now. I have the “Dead Man” soundtrack playing now, and it has put a nice polish on this decent mood I’m in. Do yourself a favor and watch the movie, and you will appreciate the power of the soundtrack; some of Young’s finest work.
So here I am, busy yet rested. Got a glass of vodka on the rocks, “Dead Man” on the playlist, a fresh blog entry, a full belly, tired feet, maintained car, new experiences, a wanderlust, and a decent mood. All told, it’s been a good day.