Monday, May 26, 2008

98% Chimp Rides into the Sunset

It was almost ten years ago when I first met Scot and Jef. I was living in the caretaker's apartment of a church and Scot worked at the Grand Illusion, a teensy-tiny independent movie theater just next door. Jef came around with another friend and started playing music. They were the core of the first group of friends I made in Seattle.

Jump ahead a few years and Jef and I are living in a house with a bunch of other guys. Yup, it was that sort of place. Where women would either run away screaming, or just get sucked under all the garbage, eventually to be eaten by wood ants. Still, Jef and I began writing songs together, and soon, Scot came in to play the drums.

We were together for about two years in total, and during that time Jef and I probably wrote 70 songs, if not more. I've played in many bands in my life, but it was never easier or more fun than with Scot and Jef. We even managed to play the OK Hotel just a week before it was destroyed in an earthquake.

Life goes on, though. Now days, Jef is happily married with one cute kid and a second on the way. And Scot is just about to move to England. Life may change, but our friendship will always remain strong. (Hallmark, can you read this? Seriously, it's like the front of a greeting card.)

We were 98% Chimp. And so are you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's the hottest day of the year....Let's have a photo shoot!

There are any number of things to do during a sunny, hot day in Seattle. Rent a canoe and explore Lake Washington. Dance in the fountain at the Seattle Center. Rarely, if ever, does anybody say, "It's 91-degrees outside....Let's have a photo shoot....About baking bread!" And yet, that's exactly what I did.

It was almost inevitable, really. After a week and a half of planning, after a very long day spent kneading and rising three separate types of bread, the day when we're going to be on camera and in front of hot lights and standing in front of a 500-degree oven would be the hottest day of the year. Yeah, me!

But my models, Andrew and Jane, were wonderfully good sports. And even Jane's beautiful daughter got into the act.

Thanks to all who helped make this shoot come off so well. Walter Hodges, my wife Suzette, all the little people (Mickey Rooney and Michael J. Fox)....

Next time we'll do a big shoot about freezing to death. I guarantee it will be the coldest day of the year.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Zech Johnson. Puetz Customer.

As I was saying....

I was diligently practicing what Jay Ellingson from Interbay Golf has be
en trying to teach me -- "Widen your stance. Slow down in the take away. Relax through impact until you reach full extension" -- when George Howell from KOMO news showed up, camera man trailing just behind.

I was on camera for a good five minutes, swinging away, sweating like a DC Congressman on Oprah. They ran a mic up my sweater (no, I didn't get felt up. George was a perfect gentleman) and asked me a few questions. Holy crap, is it scary trying to talk intelligently about major social issues while you're trying to hit a golf ball.

And they cut my favorite sound bite, jerks.

George: Is there enough room to build a prison here?
Me: I can't speak to that. After all, you can always build up.

They misspelled my name, too.

I now have 14 minutes and 38 seconds of fame left. Better use them wisely.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Got Bumped Off the 6 O'clock News

So I'm swatting balls on Aurora Ave....Wait, that doesn't sound right. Let's try that again.

I was at the Puetz driving range in north Seattle practicing my swing (better? still a little gay?) when I notice a very well dressed man looking at me like I'm some piece of meat. This is Aurora Ave, after all. Then I notice that there's another, much less better dressed guy lugging a huge HD camera and monster tripod around.

"Ah, ha!" I exclaim (not really). "It's one of them there news shows I've heard about. Wonder why they're.....Oh, dear God. No! They're going to want to shoot me! And my wretched golf swing!" And they do. George Howell of KOMO was very nice. Asked if I wouldn't mind them shooting me while I hit a few.

I spend the next ten minutes under the unwavering eye of that blasted TV camera. My heart's thumping at 9,000 miles an hour. I'm thinking, "Everybody is going to see this. I'm going to look like a fool!" But I manage to hit it pretty good while they film. Even put four in a row into the big net I was aiming at.

At one point the camera man went ten yards on to the range and, like an idiot, stood just to my right! This is really, really dumb. Darwin Award kind of dumb. See, the most common mis-hit in golf is called a slice. It goes to the right. But whatever. It's not my liability. I'll gladly climb a tree and shimmy out onto a half-rotten branch dangling over a precipice looking down at the Snake river
150-feet below, but ain't no way, no how, I'm standing ten yards down the driving rang just to the right of a non-professional golfer. Hell, I won't even do it if Tiger Woods. Well, maybe him. But I'd wear a helmet. (And a cup.)

After near medical coverage of my swing (last time I had to pay a guy $200 to do that), they slapped a mic on me and dropped the bomb. "How do you feel about this Puezt being considered as the site for a new prison?"

"A what!?!"

Let's just say that I wasn't the most eloquent I've ever been.
And they wanted me to talk while I hit balls! I can barely watch Wheel of Fortune and remember to breath at the same time. How am I supposed to answer questions about zoning and the impact on the neighborhood and the serious issue of prison overcrowding verses the difficulty of placing those prisons. How, I ask you. How am I supposed to answer this stuff, not sound like an idiot, and remember to hinge my wrists when I reach three o'clock in my backswing? How?

Long story short: It was supposed to air on the 6 o'clock news. It didn't. As far as I can tell I was bumped by this dog who got wedged inside somebody's truck. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Golf My Way.....Badly

So I have an obsession. (No, really?!? Quiet you!) It involves hitting a small, white ball with an oddly shaped stick until you eventually roll it into a hole cut into the ground several hundred yards away. Strange, I know. But I'm not the only one who's hooked by golf.

Every time I'm at the driving range I'm always surprised by the sheer diversity of the people trying to get the hang of this most frustrating game. White, black, Hispanic, Native American, old and young, torn jeans and expensive golf clothes, men, women and others. They're all there. All hacking away, fighting their slice, and wondering how in the heck Tiger Woods can hit it that far.

A lot of people I know think I'm crazy for liking golf so much. After all, it's not very hip. But inevitably, if I can get them out for a round at the Green Lake Pitch 'n' Putt, they finish with a smile on their face saying, "What the heck. Let's go around again."

That's when I start playing for money.