I picked them up from the airport. On the way back, we listened to Loveline. One of the callers wondered how often one should have anal sex, as if it was to be reserved for special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Anal sex would become a theme of the weekend. But not like that. Or that. (I don't know what the "Or that" could be, but there are some dirty people out there.)
Cynda introduced Kylie to my apartment. Kylie was not just there to lend her moral support; this was the furthest west she had ever been, and Cynda wanted to show this Oklahoman how awesome her life in California had been, minus the crappy husband. She would put it in just those terms later, and I suggested that it should be the new state motto—"California: It's Awesome, Even with a Crappy Husband!"
California was made a little bit more awesome by Kylie's presence in it. Kylie was an English major like me and was delighted that I pointed out Cynda's misplaced modifier. Kylie constantly compared situations to movie scenes. Kylie ruled.
We spent some time coming up with a game plan for the weekend. There were many things on the docket. Whatever they wanted to do on Thursday while I was at work, Indian food and caramel appletinis with Lisa (danea) and Rick (ellric) Thursday night, some sort of activities on Friday, Outside Lands Friday night (Beck! Radiohead!), and whatever would fit in Saturday morning before they left for home. Somewhere in there, we had to find time to watch The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. And sometime before the concert, we had to take care of Serious Business, since The Artist Soon to Be Formerly Known as Mr. arby was in possession of Cynda's ticket. Or mine. Depending on how you looked at it.
We decided to stick the movie in Friday morning, pajama party-style, as opposed to Saturday morning, when I predicted we'd want to sleep in after coming home tired from the concert. And it seemed the only slot for Serious Business was Thursday before we met Lisa and Rick.
Cynda was worried about how she would react and how she would feel seeing him again and the idea of getting the papers signed at a Taco Bell and the possibility of tainted memories, but Kylie and I assuaged her fears and told her it would all be okay. That's what we were there for.
I only had two pillows in my apartment. Kylie had claimed my couch and the pillow designated for the futon upon which Cynda would sleep, so I let Cynda have the pillow from my bed. I could rough it! But Cynda was operating on Central Time and always ended up waking a little earlier than I did, so she would pop into my bedroom each morning and toss me the pillow. So I'd get an hour or so of pillow time.
Thursday morning, I dropped the girls off at BART, and Thursday afternoon, I picked them up. In between, they had crepes and orgasmic chocolate cake and toured the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf.
Next stop: Serious Business. I drove past the extremely tight security at Mills—apparently making eye contact and nodding is all that's required for entrance—and up to Cynda's old place. Cynda asked Kylie and me to accompany her, so we did.
Cynda rang the doorbell. TASTBFKAMA opened the door and let us in. "You have far less hair than last time," I said, hoping to keep the mood light. He did have far less hair, having cut off his dreads and shaved his goatee. He looked like a different person. Cynda had cut her hair as well. I guess it's the thing to do post-breakup.
Kylie and I joked about the Wiimote to keep the room from falling into an awkward silence as Cynda and TASTBFKAMA conducted their business. She claimed a lamp she liked, her old clarinet, and her laptop. Given the offer to dig through boxes for more of her stuff, she declined. Kylie and I put the stuff in her car, leaving the two of them alone for a couple minutes.
Cynda came out and was all, "Let's go." Kylie wondered if we should check the apartment to make sure he was still in there. "What's that red stuff on your shirt?" I quipped. All told, however, it had gone as well as it could have gone, really.
And then we were off and away! Cynda felt much better. It was all in the hands of the lawyers now.
I took us to Lisa and Rick's apartment and found some parking down the street. Cynda had never been there, which is why she didn't start walking until I did. I called Lisa, who told us to stand at the corner. Stand at the corner? "Is this some sort of game?" I asked.
Then I saw her pulling out of the driveway in a Scion, and I understood. She picked us up at the corner, and she drove around the block to return the car to CityCarShare. We walked back to her building, where she recruited us to carry groceries up.
She gave Kylie a bunch of stuff, Cynda a bunch of stuff, herself a bunch of stuff, and me...a magazine. As we walked inside, I felt like a total douche, so I asked if I could take anything from someone. Kylie offered me her flowers. Flowers and a magazine! Okay. Then as we reached the elevator, the lady in charge of packages told Lisa she had one in care of her, so I grabbed that as well. It was for Cat (ceolyn). Flowers, a magazine, and a mysterious package! I looked like I was picking Lisa up for a date. Very strangely.
Lisa offered us this freaky Hint water that came in various fruit combinations like mango-grapefruit and raspberry-lime. It tasted just like water, but then you got a fruity aftertaste right after. It was weird! But it was way less bad for you than vitamin water and its gazillion grams of sugar.
Cynda and Kylie marveled at the apartment, which had recently been painted. The bathroom seemed to particularly amuse them. They even noticed the purple ceiling in the dining room that I had never noticed.
We waited for Rick. And by we I mean they. I accidentally took a nap.
We walked to Flavors of India on Lakeshore. Rick was waiting with our table. He had already ordered some appetizers, so we pored over the menu. There were five of us, so we decided to get (n - 1) dishes. Chicken tikka masala was an obvious choice, and I suggested the chicken makhani because it sounded almost identical, and I wanted to see what the difference was. I laughed at Lisa's pronouncing it as a trisyllabic word. Silly American. Rick threw in the shahi paneer and aloo saag (spinach and potato). We tried to mix it up a little since this was Kylie's first time eating Indian food. First time! I joked that for all I knew, I was the first Indian she had met.
The chicken tikka, chicken makhani, and shahi paneer all had very similar orange sauces, but they all tasted a little different. The chicken makhani was more like tandoori chicken, which was good, but chicken tikka masala still came out the clear winner. That bowl was cleaned out first. The paneer was good as well. I wasn't as much a fan of the aloo saag because the potatoes were just too...potato-ey. Rick had ordered everything to be medium spicy, which was even a little too much for some people. I, of course, had no issue and thought it could have been a little spicier.
We all had garlic naan so that our breath would be of equal stinkage.
As we walked back to the apartment, I pointed out the mural on the wall next to 580. "San Francisco really likes murals," I said. We also stopped by Walgreens so Kylie could pick up some soothing aloe lotion for her sunburn.
Back at the apartment, while Rick fixed caramel appletinis (with real caramel), Cynda gave Kylie a rubdown.
In this picture, it almost looks like she's holding a thing of frosting and she's going to write "Happy birthday!" on Kylie's back.
I showed Cynda and Kylie some Coupling. Cynda had only seen episodes from the subpar fourth season, so she didn't know what the fuss was about. I put on some classic, hilarious, non-spoilery episodes: "Inferno," "The Girl with Two Breasts," and "The Man with Two Legs" (The Great Leg, the Leg of Hope...). There was much laughter. And drinking.
Cat showed up to pick up her package and stayed for a spell. Until everyone got tired.
Very tired, as you can see. Cynda hadn't slept at all the night before, so she was bonus tired. And Kylie was out after one drink. But it had been a fun evening with people and cats (not pictured).
Welcome to Friday morning:
We got up bright and early between 8 and 9 and remained in our sleepwear. I poured us all some hippie crunchy cereal—Trader Joe's Organic Golden Flax—for a proper California breakfast.
And so we watched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which was pretty awesome. Over the last week, I had watched Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More in preparation, and even though I'm not really into Westerns, I liked them, even though I was very confused about the fact that the Man with No Name/Dollars Trilogy is not actually a real trilogy, and Clint Eastwood just happens to be playing a dude who wears the same clothes and acts the same way. The movies got progressively better, though, and TGTBATU is easily the best of the three. It's quite clever, and it's got more humor than the other two combined.
The movie experience was made all the better by our running commentary, of course. For instance, Kylie and I decided that The Good and The Ugly were soulmates, so when Tuco told someone he was "with" Blondie, I said, "Yeah, like that."
Then there was the exchange that occurred when a character from earlier in the movie reappeared. "I thought he died!" I said.
Kylie said, "Well, clearly he didn't die hard enough."
"He needed to Die Hard 2: Die Harder," I responded.
"He needs to Die Hard with a Vengeance!" added Kylie.
Shifting my focus to the other character in the scene, I finished with, "That dude better Live Free or Die Hard."
It was a great time. And then we watched the trailer, which was totally bizarre in that it made it look like the movie was about Clint Eastwood fighting in the Civil War. And the Disembodied Voice spoke only in Thes. "The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. The Blue. The Grey. The questions. The answers."
Then a scene with a shovel being thrown from offscreen. "The showdown," said the Voice. Kylie and I both thought he was going to say, "The shovel." I mentioned that Kylie ruled, right?
After the movie, we took showers and got dressed. Destination: Rubio's! Cynda really wanted Rubio's. Plus, Kylie could see Emery Bay. And I could try their world-famous fish tacos. I had a coupon!
I did not know what the big deal about fish tacos was. Until I ate one. The crunchy fish! The cabbage! The white sauce! The texture! So good! My chicken burrito was nothing in comparison. Also, big. Kylie got chicken tacos, but she did strongly consider getting a fish taco.
Every now and then, one of us would exclaim, "Beck!" or "Radiohead!"
From Rubio's, we went to Macarthur BART, where I stumbled upon the one open parking space. I had given up all hope, and then there it was! So into the city we went, I sitting alone and the girls listening to music:
I was trying to get a candid shot, but then they noticed, so instead I got all these weird looks from Cynda.
We got off at 16th and Mission. The Mission was extremely bright. Cynda had been told by a friend that the Mission was always beautiful, and I agreed. It had this preternatural ability to have great weather even when another part of the city was rainy and gloomy.
You may noticed that Cynda had to be told this by a friend. That was because she had lived here a whole year and never been to the Mission. Which is why I had to take her and Kylie there on Friday. We walked.
Kylie said this was the first time she really felt like she was Somewhere Else. It was so unlike anywhere she would find in Oklahoma.
The last song Cynda and Kylie had listened to on BART was "Shake That Ass," which meant it was now stuck in their heads. Cynda considered exactly how much an ass-shake was worth. Could I really have anything I wanted if I shook my ass for her?
I did so, and Kylie said she had to make good on it.
As we were discussing the Lovemakers, we passed a guy wearing an Oakland Is for Lovemakers shirt! I was all, "Nice shirt! Woo Lovemakers!" Except I don't think he heard me.
I noticed a decorated alley and pointed out again that San Francisco really likes murals. This was very Bay Area, so there had to be pictures:
"That's some Rebel Without a Cause shit," I remarked.
We continued down Valencia. I thought I recognized someone, but she was a stranger. I kept my eyes out anyway because I had the sense that running into people randomly in the Mission is something that would happen to me.
We turned on 19th. As we approached 19th and Dolores, I realized that our destination, Bi-Rite Creamery, was on 18th and Dolores. But this was okay, as it gave the girls a nice view of Mission Dolores Park. Kylie liked the hills and wished it snowed here because they would be really fun to ski/sled down.
Bi-Rite was definitely on 18th; there was quite a line outside. We crossed 18th, and...there was Dan (incidentist). Yes, Dan. I couldn't believe it was happening again. Apparently Dan and I are fated to continually run into each other in the Mission despite living nowhere near it. Introductions were made. He was wandering around the Mission with a girl named Theresa; they had just come from Bi-Rite. Their explorations were continuing in the other direction, though, so we took in the moment and dispersed.
We got in line for Bi-Rite. It was an ice cream kind of day. A single scoop could contain two flavors, so we examined the list of flavors. I saw that they did have the racist chocolate. The other flavor that intrigued me was brown butter pecan, as I hadn't had butter pecan in years, and I remembered liking it. Both the girls opted for brown butter pecan as well. Until they changed their minds. And then changed their minds again. We had a whole theme going, and they couldn't be bothered to stay strong. I can't even remember what they ended up getting. I think one of Kylie's flavors was orange cardamom. Ice cream was on me, in the grand tradition of treating the visitors to your local fare. Ice cream was on me, literally, when my racist chocolate melted off my cone.
(It seemed that 18th and Valencia possessed some sort of cosmic eddies because, lo and behold, standing in line as we left was the guy in the Lovemakers shirt! I told him we had just been talking about the Lovemakers and were big fans. He seemed pleased, now that he had heard me.)
We walked back to Valencia and down to Paxton Gate, where I showed them all the strange, exotic curios and carnivorous plants. Out in the garden, Kylie broke the store code and took a picture of me and Cynda eating our ice cream. I'm not sure what's up with our expressions.
Next door was 826 Valencia, a.k.a. the Pirate Store. We took a few minutes to watch the fish. Kylie liked the pufferfish. Then we walked around the rest of the place.
Cynda was idly looking at stuff when I saw the guy behind the counter get up to pull some sort of rope. I didn't remember what it did. Did it shake the treasure bucket or something?
No, it dropped a bunch of mops on Cynda.
Pirate Marshall sez, "You just got mopped." A small child laughed at her.
Surprisingly, Cynda managed to hold onto her ice cream, which remained unmopped. She was a little startled but not freaked out. She attempted to describe her emotions until the guy pointed to the list titled "I Am Being Mopped. What Should I NOT Do?" One thing was to attempt to describe your emotions.
We played some more, looking in the various drawers for pirate paraphernalia. I found a woman's head. Not a real head. I don't think. I think her name was Bertha. Or Brenda.
After an earlier discussion of Rock Band, Cynda had begun bursting out with a random utterance of "Maps!" Despite the fact that the exclamation in the song is "Wait!" (They don't love you like I love you.) Not "Maps!" (They don't map you like I map you.) So imagine her delight when we came across, well...
She was very content.
Kylie was being hilaritized by the book of things one should know about Captain Rick, and I decided that I ought to buy the book, as the money went to a good cause and it was hilarious and, besides, Dan had bought the book the last time we had run into each other in the Mission, so it was fate. Cynda wanted to buy it too, and she could keep both our copies in her purse. She ended up buying both our copies since she had presented a debit card first; she claimed it was to cover gas or whatever.
Once outside, Cynda blurted out, "Mops!" It was gold. (They don't mop you like I mop you.)
Kylie expressed a strong desire to use the restroom, a desire so strong she would even buy a beer for the privilege. Well, there was no reason not to walk into Phoenix, then. We asked a waiter where the restrooms were, and he pointed us to the back. We made use of the facilities.
While I waited for Cynda, a woman looked at my shirt. "What does it say?" she asked. I widened the material so that she could read it. She approved. Maybe if my shirt is witty enough, someone will love me!
We left without Kylie's having to buy a beer. I had eaten there a couple times before without using the restroom, so I figured they owed me.
And now, it was time to go to Golden Gate Park! The first leg of our journey began at 18th and Valencia, where we caught the 33. There were many other people on the bus going to Outside Lands; I chatted with a couple of them. Once again, Cynda and Kylie were together, leaving me alone to talk to cute girls. Other cute girls, I mean. One of them wanted ice cream, and I wished I knew more about the area so I could be of some assistance. Unfortunately, I could only tell them that they should get ice cream at Bi-Rite the next time they're in the Mission, which was not useful at all and perhaps kind of mean. One of them did mention that there was a Ben and Jerry's near the Haight, and when I saw it, I pointed it out to them, and they thanked me. I also pointed out the Haight to Kylie, as it was A Place.
The Outside Lands herd disembarked at Fulton and Stanyan, and although the website had said there was a bus stop for the 5 right there, the crowd was walking down Fulton, so we followed the crowd. We hoped they didn't intend on walking the thirty blocks to Golden Gate Park. But, ah, no, there was a stop at Fulton and Arguello.
And here a 5 was coming! And...here it was totally passing us by?? It was full! But...but...they said they were going to have extra service today!
A 5 driver going the other direction saw us all waiting and said that if we really wanted to get to Golden Gate Park, we should go down to Balboa and take the 31 down. But someone saw that there were, like, three 5s coming our way.
All three buses passed us by. All full. This was ridiculous. Our large group began to break apart, as some decided to take the driver's advice and walk the couple blocks to Balboa. We held out for one more bus to pass us by.
There was a girl at the bus stop who said that she'd seen this happen to many groups before us; the 5 was always full by the time it got here. She was just waiting for a friend; her friend might be able to take us down to another stop. But we decided that, fine, we would try Balboa, as the driver had said.
We saw some familiar faces at the 31 stop. One guy told me I had an "excellent shirt." I said I thought this would be a crowd who'd appreciate it.
A 31 was coming our way! And it...was stopping! Even though it looked absurdly full! A few people got off, and...a few people were able to squeeze in, leaving most of us behind. We had to get close to the curb, to the boarding area, to stand a chance. Come to think of it, this might have happened with the 5 instead.
Another 31 passed us by. It was cold, like the weather. But Kylie's hands were magically warm.
As was I.
I came to a sudden realization. "We were passed by 5 5s!" I said.
Cynda mocked my excitement at this, all, "'Guys, guys!'" And then Kylie or I noticed that both 5 and 31 were prime numbers. Fucking prime numbers!
I examined the map to see what our options were. Some people had already flagged down cabs, and if we didn't find a bus in the next fifteen minutes or so, we would need to do that too to make it in time for Beck. We were already missing Cold War Kids, which was fine anyway. But we'd been trying to get a bus for almost an hour. We would have been halfway there if we had walked to begin with. I saw that the 38 went straight down Geary, and even though it confused me because there were multiple versions or something, it was our last shot, and I figured no one would be crazy enough to walk two more blocks down, so maybe it wouldn't be full!
It wasn't full, but I vacillated for a minute too much because we watched a 38 pick up passengers and depart from just across the intersection. I cursed myself for not getting us there sooner. Who knew when the next one would arrive? These would probably be on a regular schedule.
We waited. And, thankfully, a 38 arrived, freakishly full...of space. We hopped on to this wonderfully non-prime-numbered bus. I hoped we weren't in for any surprises; I told them that if the bus showed any signs of turning, we needed to get off. Otherwise, I figured it would take us down to 36th easily enough.
And it did. And we walked the four blocks back up to Fulton, and by up I mean down, because Kylie got to experience the same fucking hills I did during my half-marathon.
Finally in the park, I could hear the familiar sounds of "Hang Me Up to Dry." Bloody hell, Cold War Kids were playing the one song I knew and liked! There was a massive line to get in, but one of the security people said that there was a shorter line to the left, but it was a walk. We opted for the walk, and...you guys, there was like no line at all. They did the security check patdown to make sure we had no guns, and then they scanned our tickets, and that was that. I didn't understand why anyone was waiting in the big fucking line by the entrance.
Cold War Kids were just ending, and we needed to grab some dinner before Beck started in half an hour. The options were limited, and the only reasonable one was the $6 garden burger, which seemed appropriate at Outside Lands. I even added caramelized onions and blue cheese for a couple bucks extra. Livin' large, I was.
We secured ourselves a spot, trying to get close enough to see well but far enough away to make an exit for Radiohead, who started ten minutes after Beck was scheduled to end. Except Beck didn't even start on time. Which gave the crowd even more time to amass.
There were...a lot of people.
Even in the trees.
Finally...Beck took the stage!
Cynda's camera gives you a closer look. "That's not Beck," someone behind me quipped, "that's Tom Petty!" I had the same thought.
He opened with "E-Pro," which is a fun song. That was the theme of the show, really. It was very fun. Beck didn't talk much, but his music had a good beat, so it got the crowd moving. (Hey, look, YouTube links! Click on the songs, guys; it'll almost be like you were there! And way closer than we were! Even though the sound is not very good.)
Sometimes he would have a light show. Later on, the lights actually showed the stage, and it was a very cool effect.
He played "Timebomb" and "Nausea" and "Girl" and "Devil's Haircut." He messed with some Casio keyboards for what seemed to be a live version of the Ghettochip Malfunction remix of "Hell Yes." There were some huuuuuuuge Beck fans behind us who commented that he appeared to be blowing out the speakers with the tweets and the bloops.
These guys also recognized that the little jam session was actually an intro for "Loser," which was interesting because they did the riff in a minor key so that it almost sounded like "I Might Be Wrong." It was pretty cool, if unexpectedly dark. It was hard to enjoy it, though, because the guys behind us were singing along very loudly. Look, I love "Loser" as much as the next guy, and I, too, know all the words, but I want to hear Beck sing it. MOUTH ALONG, BITCHES. MOUTH.
Beck was good and fun, but I felt like he was lacking something. Maybe he wasn't really comfortable with the venue, because it sort of felt like he was going through the motions, not really putting his whole personality into the show. Apparently he sometimes has puppets. We didn't get any puppets!
We left to "Chemtrails," my hand in Cynda's and hers in Kylie's as the three of us formed a pimp chain (tm Kylie) and maneuvered through the crowd. People had already started leaving for Radiohead, and we weren't even likely to get a halfway decent spot if we stayed any longer. At least I'd heard a bunch of songs I'd wanted to hear.
We noticed some people climbing over a fallen fence and up the hill, so we followed the crowd. Hand in hand in hand, we hiked up a hill in Golden Gate Park on our way to Radiohead. It was awesome.
Until we got to the top and saw how many people were already there.
We'd be lucky if we saw the stage, let alone the band.
Once we got down to the grass, however, it didn't seem as bad. We kept pushing more and more forward, people avoiding our pimp chain like the unbreakable bond that it was. I looked for every open spot and snaked us around blankets and through gaps.
One guy noticed my shirt and was all, "Yeah, man, that's so punk rock! I love the underground!" Which was awesomely ironic because my shirt was making fun of people like him.
We finally pushed as far as we could go.
We were better off than all those folks, at least.
Radiohead was about to make history as the first band to play at night in Golden Gate Park. And here they were!
Do you see? There are some people-shaped figures on that platform-looking thing over there!!
While it was difficult to see the band from where we were, it was not difficult to see the awesome light show and the giant screens with close-ups.
The screens on either side of the stage were great, as they had feeds from directly up Thom Yorke's nose, practically. You may notice that Radiohead appears to like the color red. Oh, boy howdy. They like a lot of colors.
The light show was incredibly well choreographed and complemented the songs really well. Color changes would often coincide with stops and starts and tempo changes in the song. For instance, a lot of the ones where the backdrops look like rain start after a lyric like "let it rain down." Only once did they bother to form any sort of shape in the background:
This was the scene for "Karma Police." I figured it was supposed to be the badge worn by the Karma Police. This was the first song they played that I loved. It took them halfway through the set to get there. They seemed to be doing a lot of In Rainbows stuff ("15 Step," "Videotape," "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"), which I wasn't as familiar with. They played some songs I didn't know or recognize (I think one was "Airbag") but liked anyway. They did hit "There There" before "Karma Police," but that's more of a like than a love.
It's a testament to how awesome the show was that even though I didn't know or care for the majority of the songs they played, I still thought they were fucking amazing live. They sounded perfect, and Thom Yorke sounded like himself, which was impressive, given the way he sings. Radiohead goes in the book with Incubus as a Band That Sounds Studio Quality on Stage.
And speaking of sound...it went out. Twice! The lights were still on, and we could see Thom continuing to sing and all, but we couldn't hear anything! Luckily, it wasn't during songs I liked (that was statistically unlikely, anyway!), but Thom took it in stride and apologized, saying he didn't know what the fuck was wrong. "Who put beer in the plug?" he asked.
At one point, Cynda picked me up by the legs and raised me above the crowd for a few seconds, and OMG I COULD SEE THE PEOPLE ON THE STAGE THEY WERE REAL.
I learned that if I stood on my tiptoes, I could see the band, but then my calves died on me, so I had to resort to the occasional hop. I used Kylie's shoulders as a launching pad and, when appropriate, drums. She felt my incredible excitement when they played "Just," which I had been wanting them to play in the back of my mind—because it rocks—but didn't actually think they would—because it's old. Maybe Mark Ronson's version has made it popular again. (Compare the linked video with this one, which is more what it looked like to me.)
I thought this picture was ruined by the hand in the middle at first, but when I looked at it, I became quite fond of it. The hand was the picture. One hand, one phone, reaching out of a sea of people to experience the wonder of Radiohead.
They also played "Idioteque," which I knew but didn't really love, and "Bodysnatchers," which is my favorite song off In Rainbows.
Even though everyone knew the show was scheduled to run to 9:55, they left the stage half an hour early so they could come back and be in Encore Mode.
They started off with "Pyramid Song," which I was expecting because maka2000 saw them a couple months ago. It was another song I loved, one that had snuck up on me, really, one of those songs where you really listen to it one day and wonder where the hell it's been hiding on your playlist because holy crap.
Now, I didn't know the song "You and Whose Army?" so I was not clear on exactly what happened at the time, but now I have figured it out. What happened was this: Thom Yorke played the piano and got waaaaay up close to the camera (see left). He got through the first few lines of the song and then, from what I hear, he played or sang a wrong note.
And he just burst out laughing.
He was laughing like a drain. That's how they laugh in England.
Then, consummate professionals, the band went right back into the song where they left off. It was hilarious and glorious and awesome. (Ah, sadly, the YouTube video doesn't include the laughter. But it is still worth watching for Thom's wacky antics. And his eyebrow.)
Then came a little song you may be familiar with called "Paranoid Android." Now, "Paranoid Android" is already an awesome song, but Radiohead has upped its awesomeness with this tour by giving it the coolest light show known to man. Because when the bridge hits, when it rocks out...it pulls this shit:
I wasn't able to get a shot of the color field that was all pink and blue and yellow like that old-school test signal on channels that weren't airing any content. In stills, this looks like shit, and, really, you can only get the awesomeness by seeing and hearing it. But don't watch that video up there. Well, watch it afterward if you want for the close-ups, but for the light show: WATCH THIS SHIT. Watch the high-quality version, as it's much clearer. The venue isn't as dark, so the lights aren't as bright and distinct, but you'll get the idea. It's totally fucking awesome. If you only watch one video, watch that one. And the one from the actual show I am writing about, on principle.
They went right into "Fake Plastic Trees." The closer was the very purple "Everything in Its Right Place," whose light show featured lyrics!
It was a pretty sweet end to an awesome show. And, you know what, at least we had a better view than this guy.
We formed our pimp chain and joined the mass exodus. We appeared to be being herded underneath a bridge, and it really looked like they had something sinister waiting for us after the tunnel, like we were going to be fed to the trolls or something. But we escaped unscathed, save my obligatory joke about having the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform under the bridge.
"Fleetwood Mac!" exclaimed Cynda for no apparent reason. She had just realized what the pimp chain had reminded her of. The song "The Chain." Kylie mocked her for not knowing things.
Now it was time to get on a bus home, which was no easy feat. Even though they were offering us as many empty buses as they could, they filled up almost instantly. Even though we waited off the curb right by the bus, A) the buses wouldn't always stop in the same place, putting people who were waiting by the future entrance at a disadvantage, and B) the swarm would push through and into the bus from the sides, putting people who weren't assholes at a disadvantage. Seriously, we waited through two or three buses and didn't move. In fact, we would be pushed back while people stuffed themselves into the bus. "They're going to be 'Packt Like Sardines in a Tin Can' [sic]," I quipped.
Finally, we got all Japanese on their asses and forced our fucking way into the next bus, each of us holding onto the other for dear life, hoping someone didn't get left behind. It was ridiculous.
We tried to keep our balance. On the way, we amused ourselves by mocking Cynda some more. Kylie asked her who the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac was, here in the bus where she couldn't use Wikipedia.
After about ten seconds, I answered, "Stevie Nicks."
"You couldn't resist, could you," said Kylie. Ooooops. I thought she was testing Cynda's immediate knowledge, not her thinking-for-ten-seconds knowledge. I felt like an ass. Especially since I've never even heard anything by Fleetwood Mac.
We got off at Market and followed the crowd, who didn't seem to believe in the existence of Civic Center, as they were all walking toward Powell BART. We were too tired to make decisions, however. Mob mentality all the way, feet be damned.
I think I accidentally took a nap on BART. Right after the show had ended, I felt fine, almost wired, but after the post-concert high wore off and bus shenanigans made me aware of my pained feet, I was beat, as were the girls. That did not stop us from listening to some Richard Cheese when we got back to my apartment. ("Why. Did you leave the keys. Upon the table?")
As I had predicted, we all felt like sleeping in Saturday morning, which was why I had suggested we take care of the movie on Friday. Their flight back to Oklahoma was at 1:40, so that didn't leave enough time to go to Berkeley and back, but we could show Kylie Piedmont and have lunch at Baja Taqueria so she could try some fish tacos. Also, I had a craving for more fish tacos because that shit was good.
The girls removed all their pink girly stuff from my bathroom, returning my bachelor pad to me. I saved Kylie from a spider. We loaded up the car and were off.
I drove slowly down Piedmont and pointed out the type of area it was, with its cobbler and world market and Fenton's Creamery. I saw the gelato place that I had yet to try and declared that Kylie had to have some gelato before she left. Kylie was interested in the cute little Piedmont library, so we stopped in there for a few minutes. I like it because it's on the way home from work and it generally has cute librarians.
Then we ate at the taqueria, where I had a fish taco and chicken taco. Cynda claimed the corn tortilla was superior, but I had really liked the flour tortilla I had asked for at Rubio's. The tacos at Baja, though, were stuffed. There was enough filling for two tacos, and it needed two tortillas to keep it together.
Somehow, it got to be almost 12:40, which was when I had intended to get them to the damn airport. I declared that we must leave. Gelato would be eaten on the road. Except it would not, because when we got there, a sign said "Back in 10." We didn't have 10! What the hell, I didn't know you could do that. What is this, 1934?
And so I drove as fast as I could down 880 toward the airport. I told Cynda to run inside and check in as soon as I hit the curb, as it was going to be very iffy on making it thirty minutes before the flight. I took the 98th Ave exit, and the road was fairly empty. I accelerated a fair bit more after checking all my mirrors to make sure there were no cops around.
Then we were on airport ground, where you're allowed to go all the way up to 45, so I went even faster. A BMW kindly got out of my way, but then a Honda appeared in front of me, so I passed it.
We could see the terminal out my windshield.
We could also see a cop on a motorcycle with his siren on in my mirror.
Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.
I pulled over to the right and rolled down my window. I heard him tell me go up to the right turn. I went up to the right turn and turned right. I wasn't sure where to go next. He told me to pull up farther ahead. I did. Shit shit shit shit. I was making them even later. They were going to miss their flight now. We were almost there. Like, they could have gotten out and run with their luggage, but that might have looked suspicious, and I didn't want them to get shot.
Always at the airport! Fucking hell.
The officer said he'd clocked me at 63 mph back there under the overpass. Er. Oops. I told him I had to get my friends to their flight on time, like he's never heard that one before, and he said that we needed to make better preparations rather than speeding. They'd had an accident at the airport recently.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. What the hell had I been thinking? Why hadn't I kept better track of time? I'm usually fucking obsessive about this shit. How did I possibly think we had time for a leisurely look at Piedmont and a visit to the library and a calm and easygoing lunch and FUCKING GELATO?
I didn't even know what the speed limit was when he clocked me. The last sign I'd seen was 15. 15. If I had been going 63 in a 15, I was dead.
Where the hell was that cop? Did he just leave? Give me my license and registration back! Oh, there he was. HURRY IT UP YO. GIRLS. FLIGHT. CALAMITY.
Finally, he gave me my ticket. 63 in a 45. Whew. A step up from my last—and up till now, only—speeding ticket, which was 50 in a 35.
I tried to leave, but some lady was in the way. OMG LADY MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND I CANNOT GO THROUGH YOU. The lady was in a car, I should note. I might have run her over otherwise.
It was something like 1:20 when we hit the curb, for fuck's sake. If I had gone the goddamn speed limit, I would be leaving the airport already. There was no way they were making their flight. I hoped they could get something else later in the day, but I told them to give me a call if they needed to stay the night.
Kylie stayed with the luggage while I ran inside and gave Cynda a goodbye hug. Then I came back and gave Kylie a goodbye hug and told her how awesome she was. It had been a great few days, downer ending notwithstanding.
But into every downer ending, a little sun must shine. Ten minutes after leaving the airport, I picked up a call on my Bluetooth—hell if I was going to be pulled over again for breaking the cell phone law—and Cynda told me they had made their flight. Somehow. Go Southwest!