I’m in Oakland, staying at sister-in-law L’s house, thank you, thank you!

On Sunday I took the exit for Sacramento and….. too fast to react a red tail hawk dove across the exit ramp in front of my car, pounced on some unsuspecting creature in the embankment, leaped back into the air and soared again to safety. I took this as a good sign that this was an appropriate stop. Even with diligent phone surfing there were no open mics to be found on a Sunday night. My plan had been to go to the state park and shower then assess the town but the phone maps turned me around and around until I gave up and went to the Sacramento Hostel to order up a long nights rest.

Before retiring I ate some homemade lasagne and took a walk. Across the street and around the block took me to the front steps of City Hall… and “Occupy” of sorts. They reminded me of the folks that I don’t enjoy hanging out with at the coffee shop. The guys at the bar that are louder and more obnoxious just to make sure that all know they are there. One man gave me a pamphlet and I offered to sing a song. He said, “Sure!” and walked away. I started singing “we’ve WON!” and halfway through when no one stopped their conversations about drinking and blah blah, or put down their video games, I faded out, wished them luck and continued my walk.

This brought me a couple blocks later to the open house of the Church of Scientology. Curious, I went on in. I fit in nicely, almost. Every on there was wearing all black. I was wearing black cords, grey button down shirt and white Tilly hat. The building was new and shiny with video kiosks every where showing movies about Scientology. Jake greeted me and put down in front of a couple movies to help me learn about their understanding of the universe and humanity. I was interested but wanted more to have social interaction versus movie watching so I moved back out into the main lobby. Many people introduced themselves and steered me back towards the movies. Finally, Jake returned and we talked about the toxins in our environment and our bodies and how Scientology is an all denominational church. He took me down stairs in this newly opened (first day to the public) facility to show me their Purif (for purification) area with tread mills and saunas and a regiment of vitamins that would pull toxins out of their storage compartments in our fatty tissue. He told the story of the man that worked in a garage and how he sweated out pure anti-freeze, or the man who turned the towels blue with his sweat for a couple days, and the people who got radiation burns from the stored radioactive material in their bodies being released through their pores. I bought the book.

Monday morning I woke refreshed and headed out into the world of consumerism. Where I live the thrift stores pretty much don’t even have a men’s section. Boy was I delighted to, in two stops get five pairs of nice jeans for twenty dollars. That alone almost made the whole trip worth while. I also stopped at Skip’s Music and got musicians ear plugs and tried many electronic stores looking for something as outdated as a tiny little one gig memory card. “Sorry, dude, I haven’t seen something that small in years. Try Amazon.”

I cruised on and found The Bistro in Hayward. With my next gig located I climbed back in the Jetta to look for some nature. Four blocks and twenty minutes later (4:15 pm) I found, by luck, a municipal park and took a nice walk. On the way back down I came upon what the movies would let me know was a drug dealing spot. Four or five young Latino men standing around spittin’ rhymes. I asked if I could share and after letting them know multiple times that I wasn’t a cop they said they would listen. They liked “Stand”.

I ate dinner in the car then headed back to The Bistro. It is official. I like open mics in coffee shops better than bars and I was very glad to have the ear plugs. I sang well and received a few solid pieces of positive feed back.  I sang “we’ve WON!”, “Day of the Warrior” and “Stand”.  I am looking forward to performing a set of more than three songs so that I can share some of my other pieces.  Met a music distribution organization that has an intriguing compensation model and a Rap DJ on the local college radio that said “Not on my show, but I’ll talk to the morning DJ.”

Thank you phone for helping me get to sister L’s house safely.


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