Playing bass in the box.

I bought a bass guitar.  Which means I've begun to hear every "bassist joke" there is to hear.  About how they're not real musicians, about how they know nothing about music, and about how they're who groupies need to sleep with to level up before they're allowed to sleep with the real band guys.

Actually, I'm okay with that last bit.

However, a few things - Paul McCartney was the bassist.  So was that guy from Kiss.  Or Roger Waters.  Point is... bass may consist of simple notes compared to guitar.  But figuring out which simple notes to play requires a degree of musicianship, and listening, that you don't find with too many guitarists.

The last few weeks of playing bass have taught me a ridiculous amount about music.  Plain and simple.

But I'm still a little boy.  Because, see, there's this thing in bass playing - it's a set of four notes that go together when you're trying to develop a simple riff to accompany an impromptu guitar line.  It's called "box notes", because they sort of form a box shape when you connect the dots on the fret board.

It's called "playing within the box".  And I giggle like a school girl each. and. every. time.

Guess it's the only action some of these bassists get.

Someone Like Me

I'm at a grocery store.  It's around lunchtime on a sunday, and I want my deli potato salad and root beer in my belly, so I can go back to killing indiscriminate numbers of reavers in Skyrim.  Because they're not going to kill themselves, people.

The cashier takes a long look at me.  "Do I know you from somewhere?"

"Um.  Maybe?  I suck at remembering faces, sorry."

"Do you workout?"

I choke a little, biting back a laugh.  Me?  Work out?  I wear a women's size small t-shirt.  If I were to be in a movie, I'd play the guy that gets sand kicked in his face at the beginning of "Charles Atlas:  The Gay Musical".  Instead of laughing in her face, though, I lie.

"Um.  Sometimes, I guess?  Why?"

"Do you work out at the YMCA?"

Is this a gay reference?  Does she expect me to dress up like a construction worker?  "Um.  No, I don't work out there."

"Are you sure?"

"Depends.  Are you a cop?"


"I'm joking."

"Oh.  Um...."  

I'm losing her.  As in, she's stopped ringing through my delicious potato salad, and is now trying to figure things out.  "Don't worry about it."  

"It's funny.  There's someone there who looks just like you."

"Really, like me?"


"Bet you I can guess what he looks like," I say, as smarmily as possible.

"Um...." This girl does not get my sense of humour.  Or how a barcode scanner works.

"So, yeah, he's tall, black, and muscular.  Am I right?"

"No, he's about average height, super skinny, and has red hair....."

"You know what?  I'm gonna pay with debit."

I got home, told the reavers, and they laughed and laughed.  At least, 'til I Fos Rah Dah'd their asses off a cliff.

My Tattoo Guy:

I have a "tattoo guy".

This realization hit me hard, when an acquaintance asked me who did my latest tattoo, and I said "I'll introduce you to my guy."

Let's put this in perspective, here.

I go to the same coffee place at least four times a week - I know no one there, and they barely recognize me.  I haven't gone to the same barber twice in a row, pretty much ever.  I go to the same book store every week, and the same music place, but I wouldn't say any of the workers there are "my" people.  And to them, I'm just the guy who makes weird requests and then buys way too many books on Roman Military History.

I've got a thing for people that kill elephants while wearing funny hats.

So why do I have a tattoo guy?  He's given me one tattoo, and he'll be doing my next.  So why is he "my guy"?   I see him less often than I see, say, my general practitioner.  Who is most definitely not "my guy", although the last time I saw him, he did stick his finger up my butt, so maybe I owe him dinner or something.

The point is, in the last decade or so, we've entered a tattoo culture.  A lot of people have them, but it's a new cultural tradition, and people are still feeling out the boundaries.  And so, we do what our monkey-brains have programmed us to do - communicate with fellow monkeybrains.  And this is why, when friends ask me, I tell them I "have a guy".

Because I'm cool like that.

Food Run

So, last year, when I was stuck between a whole slew of shitty jobs and forced to move back to Sooke with my parents, life was pretty bad.  I have all sorts of horror stories, but the one I'm going to share involves Pizza.

See, I had worked a somewhat decent amount of hours that week, and decided I was going to buy a pizza.  I had worked a ten hour shift, and taken a two hour busride to get home.  It was nine PM, and I had just been paid.  I was going to order a late night pizza, and share it with the family members who were still awake.

This being Sooke, though, the pizza place had shut down.  I let the phone ring four times, until an annoyed guy answered and curtly told me that the place had closed fifteen minutes ago.

At nine p.m.

The fact is, Sooke basically shuts down after nine.  The only things that stay working are the gas station, the McDonald's (though only the drive-thru is open;  you can't walk in), and the street lights.  That's it.

This meant that if I was hungry, I had to walk down to the Chevron, and make do with godawful potato chips or stale donuts.

Flash forward to today.  I live in the middle of Victoria, where basically anything I want is a ten minute walk away.  There's a comic book store three blocks away, a pharmacy across the street, two liquor stores within a block, a nearby grocery store, three book stores within two blocks, a guitar store down the street, and so many coffee shops.  The point is - if I want for something, I can get it.  And if it's 3 am, and I want food... I can get food.

I think some religious folks might say that material wealth such as this does not equate to spiritual wealth.  That Sooke, for all its faults, is more spiritually "pure" because of the lack of an all-night grocery store or a donair place that can sell you fresh lamb at 3 am.  But I have to say, those people are wrong.

There is something so satisfying about ordering a midnight pizza. Or hot dogs on the street corner with Mr. Tube Steak.  Or a timmy's run at 2 am.

My theory?  Small towns rely on closed social groups - you know everyone, so you have a group to draw upon.  In a city, that's thrown out the window, and because of this, everyone subconsciously realizes "we're all in this together" and acts accordingly.

But maybe I'm just happy, because it's 1 am, and I have warm food that I didn't have to cook.