Friday, November 21, 2008

Home and Daylight

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I picked up Nicky at LAX late on Thursday night. I didn't mind. I like driving the empty streets of Los Angeles around the midnight hour, especially with the windows down and music cranking.

Nicky booked herself an odd return flight from Poland. She flew from Warsaw to Munich, Munich to San Francisco, and San Francisco to Los Angeles. Talk about one bitch of a journey just to get home. In her abscense, I had to fend for myself which meant that I had to cook every meal. I only cooked for myself the last two nights after I sorta got sick of eating out for dinner the first five nights. I was caught in a weird sleeping schedule and my feeding times were usually at 7 o'clock... AM and PM. Every twelve hours it was time to feed the monster. I was usually at Nick's coffeeshop the first thing in the morning for a greasy breakfast and then I'd retreat to the apartment and write all morning and afternoon before I took a break for dinner. I had a good cheesesteak one night and actually ate a salad the other night. I needed the greens to counterbalance all of the oxy that polluted my system. After dinner, I'd get ripped to to he tits wasted. Sometimes I dove back into the creative pool for a frenetic late night writing session from Midnight to sunrise. Other times I played online poker - sadly to some awful results. I've been in a bit of a losing streak over the last week. And when I wasn't writing or playing cards, I was slumped on the couch watching random movies.

I watched several random flicks such as A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints starring Robert Downey, Jr. Saints was a coming of age tale set in Queens in the 1980s and based on a memoir by Dito Montiel. Nicky told me that project came across her desk four years ago and she rejected it. It ended up being the darling of Sundance but made no money and has been in heavy rotation on the Sundance and IFC channels. Saints had some interesting scenes and shot on location in Astoria.

I have been reading "Home Before Daylight" written by Steve Parish a long time Grateful Dead roadie. He started working for the Dead in 1969 when he left New York at the age of 19 and migrated to the Bay Area. He ended up becoming one of Jerry Garcia's closest friends and spun a hilarious and behind the scenes look at the circus that accompanied the Grateful Dead. The book is particularly interesting because I'm fascinated as a Deadhead and someone who has essentially been on the road constantly for the last four plus years. I definitely related to several passages describing the loneliness of sitting in an anonymous hotel by yourself late at night along with the sheer exhaustion that accompanies road-weary souls.

Reading tons of stories about the Dead got me nostalgic for their music, particularly the stuff from the early 1970s. With the advances of the internet, the music of the Grateful Dead is widely available. It's amazing that I can find shows from a particular year within minutes. Fifteen years ago, heck ten years ago, it was a chore to find a copy of a specific show. You had to contact a lot of fellow Deadheads and sort their their bootleg collection to see if they had a match for you, then you'd have to work out a trade and hook them up with something they were looking for. The process was drawn out and took a lot of patience, but I'd got apeshit when that cassette arrived in the mail. New music was manna from the gods.

I listened to a ton of Phish, specifically the Roxy shows which wee released this week. I've been on Grace Potter and John Coltrane kick. The other night in a stupor, I blasted Blue Train on a loop. Not the entire album, just the title cut. Endlessly. Twenty? Thirty times? Too hard to count. It started around 1am and I slid into the depths of a narco-scribbling binge which didn't stop until sunrise and several thousand words later. I wonder if I pissed off the guys who lived upstairs?

I was raging solo for almost eight days. I only saw one person and it was Schecky. We met up for breakfast one morning in LA. I barely took any phone calls either. My goal was to retreat and withdraw and write. Overall, it was a productive week. Just wish I could get more of those in the future.

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