Monday, June 20, 2005

Guitarmageddon 2005 and the death of an old friend

So Julie and Eric were in L.A. all weekend as the opening act for Guitarmageddon, a yearly contest sponsored by Guitar Center, which is basically the national championship for young guitarists who win at the local branches at the store, etc. It was held at the Wiltern, pictured above, a magnficent, historic building in Hollywood.

They had a blast but are totally exhausted - it was an eight hour flight each way because they had to change planes in places like Pittsburgh, PA and Charlotte, NC and on the way home...gulp...the fucking airline lost their guitars and Julie's Rickenbacker bass. Am I having heart failure? You betcha. Readers of this blog might remember that bass as the one I bought for her in NY for Christmas this year, right after which I had the great panic attack of 2004 in NY's Chinatown while awaiting a non-existent bus to get home. Also missing are C.J. Tywoniak's custom guitar and Teddi Tarnoff's one of a kind Telecaster. We are under the impression from the airline that these axes might very well be on their way to Germany right now because apparently that's where the plane was headed after the kids had their layover in Charlotte.

This is amazing to me. In these times of so-called stringent security, where everything has to be labelled and checked ninety times; how the fuck did they lose three giant guitars in cases. I'm trying not to freak out because Julie is still calm and thinks this will have a happy ending; not me; I'm busy looking for the receipt and wondering who is going to ultimately pay for this - the airline, my insurance company, or what. I am not happy. And this is right on the heels of my recent bout with airport security where I was body searched and had the contents of my suitcase dumped...I haven't written about that too much in this blog because it's currently a short story in the works...let's just say it includes something pretty funny/embarrassing that the attendants pulled out of my suitcase in front of 10 hysterically laughing kids. And airport security who were kind enough to point out where on my ticket it said I was flagged for a total search...I guess so I can alert my fellow "terrorists"? Forgive me if I am repeating myself here...I'm in no mood to go back and check all of my prior posts.

Anyway, luckily C.J.'s mom was with them on the plane and has all the airline contact info and supposedly once they locate the guitars (and bass) they will ship them to her house. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I have to admit - for once I didn't live on line while they were away this weekend; I actually cleaned my house. Yep, it was time for that every five year event, and I found things I thought I lost, found things I wish I'd lost, found things I didn't know I ever had, etc. So at least I was productive. I wasn't in writing mode -- I had a queasy feeling about their trip this time, not knowing of course about the lost instruments. I read there were five earthquakes on the west coast this week and I was a little uneasy that they were there and I was unable to concentrate. So I figured physical activity would take my mind off things.

It didn't, but at least I have a temporarily clean house. I say temporarily, because I know me, I know my kids. Within two days, we'll be back to square one. I'll be late for work looking for a lost shoe; a CD out of its case on the floor will crack under someone's sneaker, an appointment will be missed. I'm willing to bet on it.

In other news, I wasn't going to write about this but I find my fingers flying on the keyboard so I'm gonna do it. I'm really sad today because an old acquaintance suddenly passed away. As anyone who knows me is aware, I worked for Larry -- a wonderful, incredible attorney for over two decades who was not just my boss -- I consider him one of my best friends and he is definitely the only real mentor I've ever had. Probably the only person I've ever respected 100 per cent...I mean, I never question one of his decisions and even if I don't always immediately agree with advice he gives me, I always end up coming around because he's so fucking wise. He broke my heart by retiring three years ago but he was approaching seventy and it was time, even though I was in complete denial that it would ever really happen. Anyway, his very best friend was a doctor named Mike Avallone with whom our office also did business and he'd call Larry every day and Mike and I would joke around a lot before I'd put the call through...of course once Larry retired, I lost all of his friends, too. I opened up the newspaper this morning and saw Mike's obituary and just about lost it. I know this is all part of getting older and I've said it before, the hardest part about it is that change occurs so fucking rapidly and there's not a thing we can do to stop it but it sure doesn't make it any easier to handle. I emailed Larry's daughter because I'm still too emotional to call him...afraid if I do it now from the office (I'm on my lunch hour) I'll break into tears but of course I'm afraid I'll cry even worse from home. Larry's daughter told me Mike had diabetes and a pacemaker in his heart but still snuck donuts (he was a jovial, dangerously rotund fellow) and was on Cumadin for his condition. Even though he'd just seen a cardiologist and was told he was doing well, he took a bad fall on Tuesday and the Cumadin caused terrible bleeding in his brain which basically killed him but he was on life support for a few days until the EKG confirmed no activity in his brain and that was that.

So the end of another era for me. I feel kind of paralyzed by the news and I thought maybe writing about it here would make me feel better and more prepared to call Larry but I find myself crying at the moment so...