California

Story Behind the Setlist: The Swell Season — April 2008, Oakland, CA

My fondest memories revolve around live music.

That statement may mean nothing to you, but to me, it’s everything. See, my memory is not what it used to be. (Of course, how would I know?)

Maybe my memory was always lousy. Maybe I didn’t eat enough pistachios as a kid. I’m not trying to be melodramatic; I don’t think there’s anything medical going on. The truth is that my friends will reminisce, or my wife will remind me of some place we visited a few years back. I will eventually recall, but the memories must be coaxed, primed. It’s like turning a page in a novel with two pages stuck together: I just need a minute to get them unstuck.

But music? Now that’s something my memory can get behind!

SIDE NOTE: My theory is that since everyone around me has always had amazing memories, I never felt it necessary to encode much to long-term. I saved this brain power for much more important things, like charming women and learning guitar.

Concerning concerts, I can tell you who I’ve seen, how many times I’ve seen ‘em, and which song stuck out the most. I can hack any musical memory and transport myself back to the venue, where all of a sudden I’m wearing the moody, black emo-clothing of my high school years, and I’m praying to God that the drunk stranger standing next to me will stop singing so damn loud.

Fair warning: they say every time you access a memory, you alter it. With great trepidation, then, I’m going to go ahead and access a memory for you — a really, really fond memory, one of my favorites — knowing that I might wreck it in the process. Wish me luck.

*Closes eyes, knocks on the door of his mind palace* (more…)

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Job Interview Horror Stories: Reader Email

Last week I posted Job Interview Horror Stories: AT&T Ret(hell), a brief look at one of the most uncomfortable job interviews of my life.

In response, I received some fantastic reader email. People sharing stories, feedback, and ideas.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Andy in California shares an enlightening trick from the interviewer’s perspective:

Receptionist-Male

One time I moved my secretary to my desk and when the interviewee walked in I greeted him and told him to have a seat. He proceeded to ask me all about the joint, how the pay was, benefits and all that stuff you don’t ask. Then he mentioned that he’d tried sales once and really sucked and hated it but was desperate for a 3 month gig or so.

Then the phone rang and I answered it, “Andy, can I help you?” I’m not kidding, his skin tone changed like four different shades and ended in a ‘I’m gonna puke white’ look.

I stood up, shook his hand and opened the door and said, ‘Best of luck on your job hunt!’

Thanks, Andy! I’ve heard of scenarios like this, but I never knew anyone to actually try it. Kudos.

Here’s a hectic tale from Bethany in New York: 

(more…)

28, or, How Keva Got His Groove Back

Today is my 28th birthday. I’ll spare you the whiny existential, ontological, and anthropocentric rants that have haunted my previous birthday blog posts. Like yearbook haircuts, they are hard to look back on. Speaking of yearbooks…

I saw The Ataris the other night, here in Rochester. They are this pop-punk band from the late 90’s and early 2000s that I once obsessed over. I was in and out of a lot of relationships in high school, and it’s safe to say that The Ataris were unofficial therapists for me.

They had some MTV success back around 2005 with “In This Diary” and their cover of “Boys of Summer,” but of course, their best stuff came before that on Kung Fu Records.

Anyway, I talked to The Ataris singer, Kris, at the show. I was struck by how identical he remains, at least, to the fifteen year ago version of himself that I saw many times, singing on stage in California. He looks like a 40 year old trapped in a 20 year old body. He was very nice, I don’t mean to slight him or offend him. I just mean, when he sings, “Being grown up, isn’t half as fun as growing up, these are the best days of our lives,” I get sad because I worry he believes that, that he is holding on to something that no longer exists, and that I am helping fund this sort of delusion, by paying money at the door of some sketchy club so that he can go on pretending.

WOW. Whiny existential. Sorry. Let me get back on track.

How Keva Got His Groove Back

I have this joke with my wife that I am still in my early 20s. The joke goes, 20-27 is “early twenties” and 28 and beyond is “normal twenties.” This means, as of today, that I am officially in my twenties. (more…)

How I Met Your Coffee Maker

*Kids, back in 2013 when your mom and I moved to Rochester, I had to immediately address a problem of epic proportions. So big, in fact, that the word “epic” is indeed applicable, but not entirely accurate. Rather, let’s use a better word. Let’s call it “legendary.”

The problem, kids, was the how the hell I would make my morning coffee.

See, we got rid of everything when we moved—everything that wouldn’t fit in the car. And in a blind rage of yard sales and give aways, my french press was lost and forgotten in the hubbub. As we drove across the continent, stopping at gas stations for dollar “coffee,” I prayed for a brighter future. A bolder future. An acidic future. One that involved coffee.

You know, the one.

Season 1

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It all started in Idaho when I was in my early twenties. I worked at a Natural Foods store in Coeur d’Alene where local roasters would come to teach—as monks enlighten—and they would also come to replenish their store bins. It was through these vendors (Doma, Evans Bros, and Equal Exchange) that I learned to sip, spit, and smell my coffee.

And coffee became more than just a warm liquidated caffeine which instigated BMs. Coffee became everything. I had learned the secrets of the bean. I began to taste subtle notes. I researched and learned growing and roasting techniques. My lips began to automatically scowl at shelves with Folgers and hands holding Starbucks.

I preached about Fair Trade and just wages (annoying everyone I talked to).

Before long, I couldn’t depend on work coffee. I had to make the “plunge” and buy a home maker, something my coffee monk friends would approve of. The french press, of course. It was a single cup beauty, and she served it hot, gritty, and frighteningly strong. (more…)

Proof My Life is a Movie and That I’m On To You

My favorite all-time movie is The Truman Show. I think its Jim Carrey’s finest hour on screen (Eternal Sunshine, of course, is a very close second). As a child (1998!), I remember exiting the movie theatre convinced that my life was one big TV show and everybody was in on it. There has since surfaced a mental delusion called Truman Syndrome or The Truman Show Delusion where people believe their lives are really staged plays, TV shows, or films.

I’m proud to say that I am not a sufferer of Truman Syndrome. However, I am on to you bastards. Some strange things have been happening this last week, and the only logical explanation is that I’m trapped inside a hilarious, yet tragically poignant, reality television program and/or movie. (more…)

My Post-Child Life Crisis

Sometimes life really sucks and you want to scream and tell everyone about how much it sucks. Like say, for instance, a blog about how cold its been lately. But then it warms up to 40 degrees and the sun shines and you think, “Whoa, I really blew a gasket back there. What happened?”

Yes, it’s been a tough winter for me and my wife. We moved across the country (from California coastland, no less) to upstate New York. We don’t know anybody, it’s cold, and I’m so busy with school that I can’t pee without compromising study time.

Lately, the loss of time has put me in a funk. Admittedly, I’m a creature of habit. I like coffee in the morning. I also like to do nothing in the morning. If I can swing it, I’ll read my Bible and center myself and pray and ask God to forgive my binge watching of Dexter. (more…)