Where the hell have I been? Good question. But before I answer I’d just like to address anyone who is reading this because of the article in this past Saturday’s Detroit News and Free Press. You should probably visit this site, which is much more interesting. It features the artwork of my late brother Chris. Today’s piece was recently discovered in an otherwise empty sketchbook by his art teacher, Mr. Rhealt.

     Now, on with the autobiographical Drivel.

     The last week or so has been ridiculously busy for me. Last Friday, after practicing, some friends and I went to see The Amplitude‘s first show in Ann Arbor. For those of you not in the know, The Amplitude contains one Martin D. Smith, whom I’ve been in roughly eight bands with over the years. They impressed everyone with both their first-show-composure and the sheer height of their bass player.

     From there, we drove all the way to East Lansing, where we spent a disgustingly large number of hours drunkenly sitting around in an oval-esque formation, apathetically refusing to get up and change a Cure cd that was so badly scratched that it skipped roughly every third second. This large block of time was divided relatively equally between ‘catching up,’ and playing a bastardized movie game.

     The game works like this: You pick a movie and name two actors in it. The next player can then pick either actor and has to think of another movie with that actor in it. Actors can be repeated but movies cannot. Play continues around the circle until you look at the clock and realize five hours have elapsed.

     We ended up arriving back in Livonia at roughly 7 am. Waking up in the back of a van with the sun up was very weird. I went to bed for a few hours and woke up just in time to eat lunch and start tearing apart “the basement” for a show that evening.

     The show was a benefit for WHFR, and took place at Windy and Carl‘s Stormy Records. We actually played really well considering the fact that we are us. Relatively few mistakes or grave technical errors. People clapped, and we were happy. I bought a Talking Heads 45, ate pizza and went to bed exhausted.

     So concluded my spring break. But no one (including myself) really took my spring break all that seriously since I’m only enrolled in one class.

     The following week was a blur of work, school and appointments which culminated in a ridiculously busy weekend. Somewhere during the week, I managed to have a few (Cue circus music) Barnes & Noble adventures!

     The first involves a guy who had ordered an album by a group called A3. Those of you who watch the Sopranos will know them as the folks who do the theme song. Fully understanding this story will require some knowledge of how the order process works at B&N.

     When an order actually comes in, the customer is called and the item is put on hold for a week. If they don’t pick it up within a week, the item is placed in the “Better call these lazy people again” pile. Apparently he had come in to pick up his order after the one week mark, but before he got his “Stupid forgetful person” call, and the person who helped him on this fine day didn’t think to look in the idiot pile.

     Of course, I ended up being the one to obliviously make the second call. Now either the guy was having some fun with me (Most likely) or he was a full blooded sicilian. As soon as I said I had an order on hold for him he let out a long winded sigh and said “The Sopranos fellas, right?” Immediately following my affirmative reply, he began to explain the situation to me at breakneck speed, concluding his tirade with: “Looks like someone’s gettin’ it, and looks like it’s you. Don’t go nowhere.” Click.

     He never showed up, unless it was after my shift in which case I’m not too worried about it (ha!). This isn’t the first time I’ve had my life threatened by a customer.

     When I worked at a used record store I had a run-in with a drunken Rolling Stones fan. We had a ticketmaster there, and The Rolling Stones were playing somewhere huge (I forget where exactly). He came in absolutely shitfaced, and began demanding that I use some ‘tricks’ to get him a pair of $300 seats cheaply. He could not be convinced that I had no way to change the price of these tickets. When the police that my coworker had covertly called showed up, he absolutely freaked out, and turned to tell us that we would “die for this” as he was led out.

     The Police, being morons (This is required), led him across the street to the bar he had come from, so it wasn’t long before he was back in the store. In the interim, he had managed to forget that he was supposed to kill us. So no one died that time either.

     This past week has also seen the emergence of a new character at B&N: “Has figured out how to turn the water pressure way up on motion sensitive urinals and is partial to doing so right before we close so that the urinals overflow immediately after Adam uses them” guy. This particular villain struck two nights in a row last week, and I was stupid enough to piss immediately after closing on both nights.

Finally, some free tips on how to be a better customer:

For Women:

  • Don’t wear a fur coat to a chain bookstore. No one thinks you look classy, and that oprah book in your hand proves that you’re not, so give it up.
  • Don’t have really long fingernails and rap them on the counter in a precise manner. This is guaranteed not to get you better service.

For Men

  • No matter how many times you read about it in business books, using someone’s first name in conversation whenever possible is not always the right thing to do. If you’re just being friendly, don’t sweat it. If it’s more like: “So, ADAM (Dramatic pause so that my inferior register-jockey brain can comprehend the fact that you addressed me by name) you say it will be here within the week? If I have any problems with it, I’ll just remember to talk to ADAM. But there won’t be any problems, right ADAM? Thanks again, ADAM.” then you should probably kill yourself because no one likes you anyway. While sternly using my given name at key junctures in the negotiation of a retail transaction WON’T make me regard you with fearful respect, it WILL prompt me to point you out and inform the other booksellers of your “insufferable prick” status. This goes double if you look like you just walked out of a tailor.

What else?

  • Nymb played a CD release show in Ann Arbor on Friday. Their new full length, “So This is How it Is” is avaialable at the Suburban Sprawl site.
  • I am officially calling that Colby will win ‘Survivor.’
  • Also: There are two mp3’s from the forthcoming Ted Leo Full length, “The Tyranny of Distance,” available here and here.