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29 October 2007

on the weekend, i made a mad-dash roadtrip up the coast and back with friends. we drove. we talked. we laughed. we feasted. we listened to music. we magically arrived everywhere at exactly the right time. we witnessed everything from horrific to incredible live music. we browsed bookshops. in short, we had a perfect three days. the details:

1000 miles: the oc to l.a. up the grapevine and through the central valley to mountain view. to san jose and palo alto. into the city (the city being san francisco). across the bay bridge to berkeley. through oakland and back to san jose. down the 101 to san luis obispo. on to santa barbara. back to l.a. and home to the oc.

gastronomic hedonism: singaporean dinner at the spice islands cafe in mountain view. the roti prata was divine and everything else yummy. brunch at country gourmet in mountain view. pumpkin pancakes with cranberry syrup and ginger butter. french toast (made with cinnamon streusel bread) topped with banana, almonds, and caramel rum syrup. an omlette with bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and roasted tomatillo salsa with sour cream and avocado. it was a flurry of shared dishes and expressions of delight. i’ve never had a more delicious brunch. i’m already planning a girls trip to the bay area just so i can take my mom and sisters there. brunch at yank sing for dim sum. i’d never done dim sum before and it took all of two minutes for me to fall in love with it. probably because we started with soup dumplings (another first for me) which were amazing. everything else was delicious, too, but i’m determined to find somewhere in to get soup dumplings. yummy. and we capped off the culinary indulgence with fabulous mexican food at a shack with a tent attached in santa barbara. i loved its quirky blue and white structure and its three-car parking lot as soon as i saw it. and the food was amazing. i envision driving to santa barbara for dinner in the future. it’s that good.

music: the reason for the trip was the bridge school benefit concert organized annually by neil and pegi young. eight artists in seven hours. regina spektor, tegan and sara, my morning jacket, john mayer, tom waits, neil young, jerry lee lewis, and metallica. that’s right. i can now say i’ve seen metallica live–something i never aspired or hoped to say. but it’s humorous. they were horrific. it was, however, entertaining to watch. both them and their fans, who were sorely disappointed (the metal-head next to us called out “come on, metallica! make it worth my money!” i think the rest of the line-up left him cold). jerry lee lewis looked stiff–like if he moved too much he’d keel over dead on the spot. but that didn’t keep him from being a dirty old man. and his penchant for putting his name into his songs was endearingly humorous. in spite of his obviously advancing age, he was fun. i had to leave during john mayer, who elicits an almost viscerally disgusted reaction in me (even if he is a good guitarist). and tegan and sara were only okay. but i loved regina (who i’m seeing again on wednesday). it was fun to see neil young, who has this very low-key but compelling stage presence. my morning jacket was fantastic–i’ll be listening to more of them in the near future. and tom waits stole the show. the man is brilliant–as a lyricist and a performer. and i took a secret pleasure in all the teeny-bopper (whether actual teenager or older) john mayer fans being forced to listen to him.

bibliophilia: a quick trip to green apple books in the only unclaimed twenty minutes we had in the city. a drive-by of city lights books en route to dim sum. and a detour off the 101 to visit leon’s in san luis obispo. can you tell we were a carful of book nuts?

college tour: some of us went to visit stanford (not me; i went to the airport to pick up george). we took a quick walk around berkeley. and we did a drive-through of cal poly san luis obispo’s campus (the other reason for our detour there). there was also a bit of pointing out various schools from the road. because the big dangerous and our scapegoat (he really is unnecessarily blamed for too much) are looking at college options.

it was a wonderful weekend. i didn’t want it to end. i’ve spent my day dealing with the let-down, wishing i was still immersed in music and laughter and conversation and friendship (with an occasional argument), driving through california’s beautiful valleys and along the coast with occasional stops at bookshops and eateries. but i suppose every day can’t be so perfect. i’m glad i had the ones i did have–they make mundane daily living much easier to deal with.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 October 2007 4:16 am

    Oh, the Bridge school benefit Concert! Pegi was on npr a while back talking about their son and the bridge school. You saw Neil. I’m super jealous. I’m also jealous you saw Jerry Lee, morning jacket and Regina. I love Regina’s album she put out last year. And Tom, you saw tom? I’m green as an apple right now. That’s awesome.

  2. 30 October 2007 11:49 am

    yeah. tom was amazing.regina’s great. i love begin to hope. i’m actually seeing her tomorrow night (i’m actually doing something on halloween this year; maybe i’ll even find some way to dress halloweeny…).sometime you should make a trip to go to the benefit concert. san francisco is a great place to vacation and the concert was incredible. you’d love it.

  3. 30 October 2007 3:26 pm

    What a fun trip…so why the hate for John Mayer. I’m not a super fan or anything…just wondering. I love Regina’s song Samson…I need to hear more! Hope you have a fun week!

  4. 30 October 2007 3:36 pm

    I saw Neil Young in concert back in 1995. Unfortunately, it was a Pearl Jam concert where Eddie Vedder was too ill to sing more than three songs. So Neil Young played. I think he did “Rockin’ in the Free World” three times.I’m not a big Neil Young fan, and I trace it to this letdown.That and I still confuse him and Neil Diamond.

  5. 31 October 2007 8:44 am

    we did that drive in july and it was amazing. we were very interested in checking out all the schools as well…from UC Berkeley to Santa Cruz to Cal State Monterey Bay. we thought about them all :) ahh the lives of future professors (and their wives)…

  6. 31 October 2007 12:55 pm

    yeah. i did a lot of thinking about possible jobs at schools. and i think i’d give my eye teeth to get one at cal poly san luis obispo. such a great town.and you don’t dig neil diamond, john white? what’s wrong with you?jen, i have a few complaints about john mayer. he’s trite. his lyrics are mostly cliche. and i hate his vocal styling. plus, as seymour says, he’s a waste of talent. i think he could be a great musician; instead he panders to his listeners. i guess it’s just the music snob in me coming out. and then there’s the lyrics to songs like “daughters” and “your body is a wonderland” which i find downright disgusting for the attitudes they portray towards women and gender.

  7. 1 November 2007 3:51 pm

    Well, I’m a fan of the lyric “warm touching warm,” if that’s what you’re asking.Sweet Caroline…

  8. 3 November 2007 8:23 pm

    Wish I could’ve shared your moment of pleasure with the John Mayer fans being forced to listen to Tom Waits. yeah. I would have loved that.But it would’ve been too overwhelming for me to see all those school campuses (campi?)–John’s applying to a few of them and I would probably have come home with an obsessed/coveting problem.

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