Thomas: So the lead actress from this movie that I just watched, 6ixtynin9, looks a lot like a tall, super-skinny version of you.
Belle: Oh yeah? What's her name?
Thomas: Lalita Panyopas.
Belle: And where's the movie from again?
Belle: So why don't you just go to Thailand and date this Lalita chick if you like her so much?
Thomas: What? Fine! Maybe I will!
Belle: BAAAAAABE! NOOOO!
Freeze, curtain falls, audience applauds.
We are nothing if not consistent in our shtick.
"Hi, may I speak to Thomas Williams?"
"May I speak to--yes, I'm sorry, Thomas Wilburn."
"You may. That's me."
"Great. Thomas, you were referred to us for an employment opportunity, is this a good time to talk to you about that?"
"...Well, I'm already employed, actually. What's the job?"
"It's for _______ Financial Services."
"Okay, thank you, no, I'm working for the World Bank and I'm really very happy there."
"So you're not even interested in part time?"
"No, I'm afraid not."
"I'm sorry, did you say financial services?"
"Yes, ___________ Financial Services."
"Do you mind if I ask who referred you to me?"
"Well... Thomas, are you familiar with how headhunting and these services work?"
"In this case, no, not particularly. That's why I'm curious."
"Oh. Well, it's a system of referrals and networking, basically."
"See, that's odd, because I don't really have any financial skills at all, really."
"Do you have management skills?"
"No, not really."
"Do you have any experience training other people?"
"No. I'm a writer."
"Yes. I write things for a living."
(terribly confused pause)
"Anyway, I already have a job, so I'm not interested. Thank you though. Goodbye."
About a year ago, I was hanging out with my friend Tomoko in her campus apartment after work. A young man with an unrequited crush on her had also stopped by, and in order to ignore him she asked me about my love life. Specifically, what about this girl I'd mentioned the last time we'd talked? How was that going?
Great! I said. She's very sweet, very cute. You know, she's got the kind of smile, when she's really happy, that the whole room just lights up.
Aw, said Tomoko. And I was a little surprised, to be honest, because I hadn't meant it in a sappy or a metaphorical way. I really thought that everything got a little brighter for that grin. For a minute or so I considered buying a light meter so I could prove it. See! I would say. 15 lumens, easy! I don't need electricity to read at night, I'll just tell her a really funny joke, because my girlfriend is that cute. And of course, she still is.
Happy Valentine's Day, Belle. Thanks for being the light of my life.
My brother gave me a Coffin Case for Christmas.
The Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester, Virginia, also known as the saddest mall in the world, now has a bubble tea stand. Previously, there was a stand selling confederate flag paraphernalia. Progress?
In a blatant attempt to move Chris Crawford down the page so it's not contantly staring me in the face, here is a new snapshot of Four String Riot Studios:
The new bass, a present to myself, is on the left. Hopefully from this picture you can see how much smaller it is than the All Star--being headless and modeled on Ned Steinberger's designs, it's significantly shorter, lighter, and less bulky--although these are not always good things. I think I'll have more to say about it later. The amp behind both basses is my actual performance rig, a GK 400RB-IV. You can also see my harmonicas in the lower left-hand corner. I really need to figure out how to integrate them into the Riot.
Showing that she knows me all too well, Belle gave me a subscription to Bass Player. I would have never worked up the initiative on my own. With so much celebratory cheer floating around, we picked up her birthday present a bit early.
Puppies, my dear! Puppies!
Note the phrasing, if you will. That title does not read "I am buying a bass," or "I have bought a bass," or even the classic musician's lament, "I'm thinking about buying a bass." No, contained in that title is an expression of delayed expectations. It is a title that says I might buy an instrument in the future, once certain conditions are met.
See this bass?
Nice, isn't it? That's a Rickenbacker 4003, Jetglo, vintage neck pickup not shown. Through a good distortion channel, it sounds like the Wrath of God descending in one massive power chord. Clean, it has a piano-like chime that enunciates every note with clarity, without losing the low thunder. The Rick's best special feature, however, is called Rick-O-Sound, a stereo output jack that lets the pickups be routed through separate effects chains--like playing two instruments at once. For a looping solo artist-slash-lunatic like me, it's a perfect machine.
That's the idea, at least. And if the local shop where I'd placed my order for this bass, 3 months ago, had come through, I'd probably be boring you with experimental symphonies and signal diagrams. Unfortunately, it's now 9 months since the order date, and there is no Rickenbacker to be found. So as soon as I pay my taxes and my tuition next week, I'll be going down to the guitar shop to get my deposit back, and I'll be ordering from MusiciansFriend.com instead.
I didn't want to do that. I wanted to support the local shop, the same way I want to support local musicians and local everything else. Musician's Friend isn't a Wal-Mart in terms employee abuse, but they're still a big multinational corporation. As far as I'm concerned, that makes them the Man, and I prefer to spend my Rock dollars fighting the Man. On the other hand, the Man will sell me a Bass, and the shop in Centreville (one of the only Rickenbacker dealers around, especially since Guitar Center isn't qualified any more) won't.
Isn't that the problem with the age of Internet commerce? Thomas Friedman can go on about his "flat earth," but what it means to the average consumer is that there's a more boring retail experience. There's no brilliance--no clerks with clever recommendations or expert help--but there's also less incompetence, when the recommendations and the help aren't so clever or expert at all. I don't enjoy shopping through a browser as much as I do in person--with books and instruments there's a tactile side to the purchase that can really add to your confidence, and considering the amount I'm spending on the Rick, that's a nice option to have. Too bad the local music shop won't cooperate.