David Bazan Band - Live on KEXP
Hi, internet. I kind of a had a miserable day.
The morning sucked for a variety of reasons. Just a bunch of general emotional weight on my shoulders.
The afternoon was spent in a high school auditorium full of crying students and staff as I supported a video stream of the funeral of a student who recently lost his battle with cancer. So that was… not fun.
Then I came straight home and received a phone call from my dad (who is on his yearly migration to Florida, until March) and he wanted to know how I was feeling and we talked about the hockey season that is about to begin and then I hung up and burst into tears because goddamn, even though he is 76 and strong like bull… he’s 76. I kind of hate that he spends over two months of every year away from home, but I very much hate that I don’t spend enough time with him when he IS home, and that’s entirely my own fault. I’m just a tiny bit afraid of dying, but I’m very afraid of losing the people I love.
Then I watched this Bazan video and cried some more because those songs mean way too much to me and speak to me far too deeply for a narrative that is purely fictional. Also, I can’t help but feel bubbles of depression rise up through me when I see musicians making a living from doing what the love - what I love. Where did I go wrong that I didn’t end up there too? Yeah, “it’s never too late” blah blah blah, right; I know. I get it. Shit. I think I’d be happy doing pretty much any job that went into the making of that video - from being the musician or recording the audio/video or asking the questions.
Now it’s only 7:21pm on Thursday and I’m not tired enough to sleep but I certainly don’t feel like being awake. I’ll just do what I always do and pick up my guitar and see what happens. Lately, more often than not, it’s not much.
20 of those 23 minutes were spent trying to blindly talk him through the process of disabling the closed captioning system on his Samsung TV, something that would’ve taken me - quite literally - about 15 seconds.
“OK. What do you see now? … OK… push the Menu button… now push the left arrow once… now what do you see? OK, now push the down arrow until you… what happened? You don’t see anything now? You’re changing channels? Wrong down arrow.”
Etc., for 20 minutes. While I patiently waited for him to stop making the same mistakes, I found myself wishing I could just pull out my iPad, open Safari, type in an IP address, and be remotely controlling the TV and adjusting its settings from the comfort of my couch.
More than anything, I want the rumors of an “Apple TV” to be true if only for the fact that it might contain a menu system and remote control that are useable by people of all technical skill levels, or remotely configurable by people with advanced skill levels.
Help us, Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, and Jony Ive… you’re our only hope.
2011 meets 1983 (by Steelopus)
It’s rare that all four of us are together. Only two of us still live in Rochester, while one took his family to LA and one in Baltimore will soon be moving her family back to San Diego.
Most families I’ve come across have some level of major drama. I’m not sure how we’ve managed to avoid those issues (good parenting definitely played a major role), but I’m glad we have.
We sat in that grass for 5 minutes as people snapped pictures of us striking poses and making silly faces, while inside the house there was the chaos of 20 Italians and 5 kids celebrating with a surprise 75th birthday party for my dad. It was a great chance for us to relax for a bit and get away from the ruckus while recreating a hilarious moment from our long-ago past.
I was just reminded that this picture exists. There are dozens more with equally hilarious poses. That was a good day.
Some days you come home to find that your dad’s neighbor bought a used riding lawn mower/tractor on Craigslist and then repaired it and sold it to your dad for a super low price and then your dad towed it to your house and parked it in your garage while you were at work and then you get home and find an early birthday present. Those days are OK. (Taken with Instagram at Casa de Lopez)
I don’t participate in the whole “favorite parts” meme, but today would be easy if I did.
Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. He’d been fishing around for weeks trying to figure out if we had anything planned for him - and we did - but we kept quiet.
This morning, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephews took the red-eye out of Los Angeles and arrived in Rochester around 9:30am. They had moved west in the spring of 2010 and had yet to come back to visit (though my parents had gone to LA twice). They parked their rental car in the neighborhood behind my parents’ house and scampered through the backyards like vagabonds until I met them in my parents’ backyard and assembled them on the deck. My sister was running interference inside the house, distracting my dad and keeping him occupied.
He has a peach tree in the backyard that he’s been working particularly hard on this spring, hoping that this would finally be the year that it produces a healthy, bug-free, crop. He spends a lot of time tending to it and talking about it. He loves that tree like a son, and that came in handy this morning. I stuck my head inside the house and exclaimed: “Dad? Did you know there are thousands of ants all over your peach tree?!” I knew that would be just the spark needed to get him to come onto the deck.
He came out and didn’t notice the visitors for a few seconds but then they stood up, “Surprise!” Hugs. Kisses. Happy tears all around. It was a total success and he got the best gift he could have asked for.
Later on, we pulled off a second surprise when my mom arrived home from work. We hadn’t told her they were coming either, and she was just as shocked and overcome with joy as my dad. I’m truly blessed to have such a great family, and few things are more rewarding than having us all together and happy.
This is my parents on their wedding day in 1965. Believe me when I tell you my mom hasn’t aged a day since. Every time I find myself struggling and thinking my life is just too damn difficult, I stop and think about all that she’s gone through.
She was born and raised in rural town of Teramo, Italy and when she was just 11 years old her family piled onto a big boat and crossed the Atlantic ocean with hundreds of other immigrants. She hardly knew a word of english yet she made friends, graduated from high school, and by 20 she had married my dad. 46 years, 4 children, and countless hardships and lost loved ones later, she’s still going strong and continuing to demonstrate what it means to be a good person. Her life has been a continuous series of hard decisions and selflessness and to this day I’m still learning lessons about how to know what’s right and what’s wrong and when it’s best to sacrifice yourself and your time for others and when it’s best to put yourself first.
Thank you mom. You’re the best and I love you.
Dad’s glove box. (Taken with Instagram at Rochester, NY)
Dad decided he wanted to play a few rounds of Texas Hold ‘Em. Then he threw his hood up and tightened the strings and I laughed and laughed and laughed. He watches too much TV.
That’s how close I came to losing my left ring finger today.
Dad and I were making some alterations to my garage door this morning (lifting the whole rails structure in advance of a new garage floor being poured next weekend). We were in the process of lifting one of the horizontal rails when we lost hold of one of the steel vertical support brackets and the spring of the door yanked it - and my hand - down, pinching it in the corner where the bracket attaches to the raill. Luckily, both my dad and I had one of our hands on the upper half of the bracket. It took a good 5 seconds for him to figure out why I was screaming before it clicked and he realized what had happened. We opened the clamp far enough for me to pull my finger out and I promptly scampered down the ladder and into the kitchen to apply ice.
I’m incredibly lucky. If it weren’t for that glove, the post likely would’ve torn right through my flesh, crushing the bone and possibly shearing the fingertip completely off.
There’s still significant pain, but I have full range of movement so I don’t think the bone or the knuckle were damaged. I’m anticipating a significantly purple fingertip tomorrow. I wish I hadn’t eaten the last Vicodin in my house a few weeks ago. Advil and Tylenol will have to suffice.
Things could’ve have been so much worse and this story could have been much more difficult to tell (and type). As a guitarist, this was my worst nightmare.
My dad? Yeah, I love him.
The patio was just the beginning. A new front stoop and walkway is our current project. After that? We’ll be pouring a new concrete floor in my garage. After that? Who knows, but I’m sure there will be something.
He’ll be 74 years old in one week, but there is no doubt that he could kick my ass. He works harder than any other person I’ve ever met. He never quits. Everything he does is done for other people’s benefit.
Does he still treat me like an ignorant 11 year old? Yes, all the time. Does it bother me? Yes, often. Is he right to treat me that way? Well, when it comes to the work you see in this photo, absolutely yes.
Hands like sand paper, the energy of a thousand suns and a heart that, while hardened like steel on the outside, is still ultimately soft and warm on the inside. I’m happy to inherit those genes.
This picture is old. It’s been sitting in my drafts since June 28, 2009. We were celebrating dad’s 73rd birthday.
Today is my parent’s 45th wedding anniversary, so I’ll just go ahead and use this picture to celebrate that occasion.
Their success simultaneously gives me hope and makes me depressed that I continue to grow older yet can’t seem to find anyone that I’d like to spend 45 years with, let alone anyone that would want to spend 45 years with me.
45 years. They don’t make marriages like they used to.
In my happy place with my rarest of guitars.
It’s a ~1962 Wandre Tri-lam that belongs to my father. I don’t know the full history of the guitar, and I’m not sure how it got to America, but I can be pretty certain it didn’t come over on the same boat that he did, because he came from Italy in the late 1950’s.
The funny thing is… I took this picture a few hours ago, then my dad called - out of the blue - from Florida to say hello (he spends a few winter months down there each year), and then he ended the conversation by saying “I love you.”
I don’t know the last time I’ve heard him say that, to anyone. I guess that’s pretty awesome.
4 years old, chillin on the couch with
Elvis my dad.