Hello again, world! It’s been quite a while since my last report, and I don’t have much of an excuse. Old age hasn’t slowed down my mind much at all, which means I always have to keep busy or else I start getting a little crazy.
The recent supply crunches have been causing a lot of unplanned downtime, and it got me thinking about what I could do to fill up time and what I did before my career took off and my band got big. While I was still just a young stud playing nightly gigs at clubs and venues all over town, I took a ton of different jobs to help pay for my cruddy apartment and party-filled lifestyle.
As it happens, one of those jobs was working as a local, last-mile truck driver for a local logistics company delivering anything from food to grocery stores to furniture for big retailers. This was in ancient history when laws and expectations for truck drivers were a little more…lax, let’s call it.
I had worked at a moving company for a little while and had some experience driving medium-sized trucks around town, which was really all the trucking company needed to hire me on the spot. This was despite the fact that my work history was a little questionable, to say the least, but they were glad for the extra help and I was glad for the money.
As it turned out, it was a really well-paying gig. I made nearly $30 an hour, which back in the day was the equivalent of making well over six figures for a full-time driver. I’m fairly certain my eyes turned into giant, cartoon dollar signs after receiving my first paycheck.
I started driving longer and longer hours, even missing band practice a few times to get in just an extra run for the extra cash. With the paychecks rolling in, I seriously considered giving up the career in music that had barely begun but didn’t seem to be going anywhere – after all, I could easily get out of my roach-filled apartment and start seriously considering buying a nice McMansion in the suburbs with the kind of money I was making.
Luckily for me and my many fans, that line of thinking came to an end one fateful day when one of my driver compatriots was involved in a crash while drunk as a skunk. The rules were laxer in those days, but the injuries caused by that dummy were severe enough to create one bonanza of a lawsuit.
Unfortunately for the little family-owned trucking company I worked for, they had been seriously skimping on the insurance policies for their fleet. The lawsuit completely cleaned them out, and before long the company was forced to shut its doors and my career as a trucker came to a premature end.
When I retired from touring and was looking for new enterprises to start, logistics actually was one of the first ideas that came to mind. When I looked into what went into creating and maintaining a fleet of trucks, however, I quickly backed down from the intense wall of insurance policies required and went looking for greener pastures.
The interest remained, however, and I recently was talking to a friend in the industry who chided me for running scared rather than turning to the experts to help me through it. They talked up their insurance company – S.W.A.N. Insurance – and how they walked them through the various insurance policies they’d need and gave them some of the best rates around.
If you’re in the market for last mile insurance in San Diego, or any other policy needed to protect your logistics company, take my friend’s advice and get in contact with S.W.A.N. Insurance. They’ll walk you through the process and hook you up with all the protection you need to keep your business safe from the same fate that befell my previous employers.
It’s a sad day today, my friends. The first recording studio I ever used with my band has shuttered its doors and the building is set for demolition in the coming weeks.
I have a lot of fond memories of the place, despite how grody and dingy it always was. The first track we ever managed to get picked up and played on the radio was recorded there, as well as every demo tape we made before we got picked up by a record label.
Ever since I heard the news, I’ve been looking back fondly on the things I used to find disgusting about the place. How the faulty air conditioning vents would drip all over the place, making the carpet always kind of damp and everything smell of mildew. The drops on your skin would even leave a track of black dirt picked up along the filthy metal.
The strongest memory is of the thing they got closed down over: the bug problem. When I say you could not sit down for more than a couple of minutes without some fresh new horror climbing up your pant leg, I am not exaggerating.
I remember falling asleep during a late night recording session and waking up to a slight tickle on my nose. I sneezed, and what would I feel as I covered my mouth but the squirming of a huge, fat roach now desperately trying to escape.
Needless to say, I freaked. I got in a screaming match with the guy who owned the place, called it a dump straight to his face and said I’d never be back. Ah, memories!
Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one who had an uncomfortable run-in with the resident insect population. A local official came in with his son who complained about the conditions of the studio and slapped the owner with a health code violation, a fine, and a mandatory inspection for any other creepy crawlies.
Unfortunately for the owner (and my nostalgia), the inspection turned up a massive termite infestation that was bad enough that the building needed to be condemned. For the life of me I can’t think of why he didn’t have a Pasadena termite exterminator come out sooner, but he was a real skinflint in my youth and I suppose old habits die hard.
Something I was surprised to find out is that the old recording studio is situated pretty close to the HQ of the company I usually use for my own pest control issues, Grand Oaks Termite Control. They’re some of the best in the biz, and if he had just listened to some of the Yelp reviews, he’d have saved himself one heck of a headache:
This is the third time we’ve used Justin and Gary and they always continue to exceed our expectations. From thoroughly and thoughtfully answering all of the questions we bombarded them with, to leaving the worksite better than when they arrived, they are always so polite, courteous, and professionally. Definitely one of the few businesses we’ve grown to trust even though we don’t have the need to use them very often. Would recommend them without any hesitation. – Amy P.
I highly recommended Grand Oaks Termite Control. I had an unusual situation where there were many areas of my wood paneling and roof that were affected by termites and wood rot. I have a decorative tree growing through the front part of my home which makes it very difficult to treat without damaging the tree. When Jason came for the preliminary inspection, he knew exactly how to effectively treat my home without harming my favorite tree. His estimate was very reasonable and his communication was top notch. He kept me appraised of all the curve balls and never stuck me with any unexpected cost. I was very impressed with the workmanship of his teammate Gary who took care of all the woodwork, a true craftsman.
I can wholeheartedly recommend Grand Oaks without any hesitation. – John B.
Don’t let yourself become like the hardheaded owner of my favorite old, dingy recording studio. If you’re having pest problems, get the best professional help in the area.
Hey, everyone! Just wanted to give y’all a quick update on what I’ve been up to as of late. I know it’s been a while since I posted here, but I’m retired and enjoying myself, OK? You get this stuff for free, so stop complaining!
Anyway, you all know how I get sudden flashes of inspiration when I find new things to throw myself into headlong. Not so long ago it was sailing, and while I still enjoy going out on the boat, the lady muse is a fickle creature and has turned my attention to something else.
That something else is…a little strange, admittedly. I was recently walking through the local botanical gardens and it just so happened to coincide with the opening of their newest exhibit: the Japanese stone garden, or karesansui.
When I happened upon the garden, I was utterly captivated. I watched the caretaker make flowing paths in the rock, creating a perfectly level design that seemed to emulate the ebb and flow of life.
I had to have it.
Problem was, my yard was already filled with stuff! Hardscapes and landscaping would need to be removed or altered completely in order to accommodate the new zen garden I would be adding, and I simply did not have the tools to do it myself.
Luckily, my friends over at Torrey Pines Landscaping are world famous for their wide-ranging portfolio for landscape construction in San Diego, so I gave them a quick call and explained the situation to them. Bemused but accommodating, they agreed to help me clear the yard in preparation for the new and unusual addition.
Torrey Pines Landscaping, one of the finest local firms I have the pleasure of working with, is well known for their thoroughness, professionalism, and quality of work. If you don’t believe me, just scope out a couple of their reviews:
Torrey Pines Landscape Company Was highly recommended to us.
If you want the best this is the company to use.
When we met the owner Harry, we immediately felt very comfortable working with him and his team.
He is extremely knowledgeable, many years of experience, passionate and has a great personality. We had a lot of fun working with him. His team is top-notch. Lei, his Architectural designer and John, his Supervisor were excellent.
Always available, very professional, and dedicated.
It was impressive to watch how hard and efficient his crews worked. They were always accommodating and helpful.
Harry and his team have high standards and want the customer to be happy.
We at all times were welcome to share in choices and decisions. So ultimately, we now love our new courtyard, hardscape, landscape and driveway.
We enjoyed the journey and are thrilled with the results. It filled our expectations and more. – Melane L.
We had a fantastic experience working with Torrey Pines Landscaping. Harry and his entire crew were wonderful to work with. They designed a beautiful and functional front yard for our family that fit our lifestyle and compliments our home. They really went above and beyond with every detail and the quality of their work. Our yard stands out now and truly beautifies our home. – Christine B.
In preparation for the work to be done, I have already begun practicing my stone gardening by buying a bonsai tree featuring a mini stone landscape. While I’m not especially good at it yet, hours fly by without me even noticing.
If you’re like me and need to make some major changes in your yard, don’t hesitate getting in contact with Torrey Pines Landscaping – they’ll transform your yard into something unrecognizably beautiful.
What’s up, cool cats. Today I have a bit of a bummer story, but I figure I could make a bit of difference in some lives if I relate some of it to my adoring fans.
I have a very dear friend who I’ve known for an embarrassing number of years and decades. She has been with me through thick and thin, and has been a great help to me as I’ve gone through my admittedly extreme ups and downs in life. She’s the person who has picked me up out of a gutter in front of a dive bar at four A.M. after I was stomped by some bikers, and bailed me out of jail on more than one occasion.
This gracious and beautiful woman has a strength of personality borne from a very difficult and tumultuous life. She was an army brat, never staying in one place for more than a year or two, so she never had any close friends growing up. All she had was a few brothers and sisters, all much older than her, who never really paid her any attention; a mother who her father had married while stationed in Japan and taken back to the states, where she never really knew up from down; and finally, a drunk and abusive father.
Her home life was never good, and so as soon as she was legally able, she left for her mother’s home country of Japan to live with her grandparents. She grew up to be exceptionally beautiful, winning quite a few beauty pageants in her day. Unfortunately, her incredible looks and her poor upbringing made for a terrible mix, and the relationships she developed with men over time did not stray far from the ones she was familiar with in childhood.
She moved back to the states with her first husband, left him, and found a second one only a couple short years later. That one wouldn’t last either – and so it went, with her floating from one disaster in love to another.
There were only two really stable relationships in her life – me (which is really saying something), and her dog, Mako. I couldn’t tell you what breed or mix of breeds this little runt is – jet black fur that tufts around the neck, with a splatter of white on the chest, and the most annoying yapping bark that you could ever imagine.
Still though, that dog has been her constant companion for going on fifteen years now. She never had children, despite her many marriages, and so Mako is the sole object of her maternal love and devotion.
That’s what makes this story so sad – she recently noticed the dog had been barking a little less, coming to greet her a little less enthusiastically, and seemed a bit less excited to go on walks than usual. She took her to the vet and received the worst possible news: cardiomyopathy.
In other words, a death sentence.
She called me up in tears, and she brought the dog over to me and cried in my arms all night. I’d never seen her like that before – the woman always seemed impenetrable, always upbeat and positive about life no matter what new tragedy she was walking into.
One thing she had always neglected was healthcare – not only for herself, but for the dog. She simply had not grown up in an environment that put much stock in taking care of yourself and making healthy choices.
If she had given the dog regular checkups, the problem might have been found a little earlier – prognosis usually improves if found in the early stages of the disease. If they had caught it a little earlier, a cardiac veterinarian may have been able to give her the tools needed to extend Mako’s life comfortably and given her a little more time to say goodbye.
I, of course, didn’t tell her any of this – don’t need to rub that in her face. For those of you reading out there, however, consider this some advice borne from experience: get your dogs regular checkups, and make sure if they find a potential heart issue, get them to Dr. Carly Saelinger of Cardiac Vet. She will give you an accurate prognosis and treatment plan that will get your pet back on track, or at least give you a little more time.
As a city boy growing up, I never had a lot of opportunities to learn how to grow much of anything. My mother enjoyed her little window planter boxes and filling the apartment up with low-sunlight plants, but for the most part my experience with gardening was looking at the landscapers work at the park as I walked past on my way to or from school.
This trend continued well into adulthood – when we first started touring, I basically lived out of our van or, occasionally when we could afford to splurge a little, a hotel. At that point, my experience with gardening was limited to watching rows upon rows of corn flying past the widow as we drove yet again through the Midwest.
It wasn’t until I was well into my 30’s that I was actually able to afford property. With the usual gusto I put into things, I bought a nice ride-mower so I could get the full experience of weekly lawn care as a productive member of society and my community.
Safe to say, that energy lasted about three months until I was absolutely sick of it. It started off with the random patches of grass that died off and just absolutely refused to come back to life no matter what I or my nice neighbors did to coax it back to the land of the living. After that came the gophers and the little rodent massacre I perpetrated on my own property, which still gives me nightmares.
Problems kept on popping up, and soon my mind became consumed with how to get my lawn back into perfect working order. My (now) ex-wife became concerned as I didn’t pick up an instrument for weeks at a time, instead working outside with a little planter’s shovel plucking out weeds.
Within 3 months, I was burnt out. I couldn’t look at the grass without feeling sick, sickened at my own failure and sickened at the grass for conspiring against me. We began paying for a landscaper to come, but by then it was too late to save my appreciation for a well-manicured lawn.
As the years wore on, I must have spent tens of thousands of dollars on keeping that damn grass alive, with the various treatments and number of landscapers I’ve had working on my various properties. If someone had told me sooner that there were viable alternatives to natural turf, I would have switched in a second.
Luckily for me and all my future endeavors, I discovered that the artificial stuff has been getting some very major upgrades since my childhood getting rubber burns on the football field. Synthetic turf gives you the beautiful vibrant green of a natural grass yard, but takes only a fraction of the time, effort, and money you’d use keeping that stupid living carpet alive.
If you’re in southern California and looking to get rid of the lawn like I was, give NoMow Turf a call. They hooked me up with some very excellent turf installations, and they can do the same for you.