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I have to volunteer for this shift more often.

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Nov. 24th, 2007 | 02:20 pm

I left the old, broken streets of Los Angeles for Thanksgiving and its surrounding days to visit my folks. In return for redeeming some vacation time, I volunteered to work Saturday. That was the best decision I've made all weekend. Among my less fruitful choices were:

- taking Amtrak to Northern California on a delayed train, starving and desperate enough to eat any sandwich in the Stockton vending machine with an unmet expiration date, riding an overloaded train containing swearing group-home jailbait who were coaxing digits from random goateed boys with faux "grillz" and low-slung pants, and arriving three hours late on a bus driven by a guy who made sure to "don't blame me!";

- while on the train, allowing some guy to sit across from me. This allowed him to tell me he believed we had some connection because we were of the same religion and that he was a producer and I was a writer, which in his eyes gave him an invitation to namedrop like mad, and in the middle of his pretend not-drunk bantering, asked if he could be my agent, leaving me his number and email before departing the train IN FRESNO;

- leaning only slightly on a towel rack in my sister's house and managing to rip thick screws out of the two-year-old house's drywall;

- and forgetting I would be adding my sister's camera bag to my return trip luggage, which almost tipped the scales of my personal carrying weight and made the 37-mile walk back to my car feel like at least a 56-mile walk.

But that's the glass three-quarters empty. Here's where it was a quarter full:

- I got to play my mom's piano again, a pristine 30-year-old Kawai upright with the sound of a grand.

- I got to see the stars again.

- I have the whole floor to myself here at work, in a room so big I can swivel in my chair all the way around with my legs outstretched.

- I was able to enjoy the last leg of the ride to LA listening to the entire Nickel Creek concert recorded November 6th in D.C., and it was impressive as always.

- I got to have Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, dad, sis, brother, their respective spice, er, spouses, and six kids.

- I read to my four-year-old nephew one of his favorite books just before bed, a little kid novelization of the movie Cars you can order online, written in a personalized style that puts him in the middle of the action as a reporter interviewing Lightning McQueen himself!

- I bought my sister's $900 camera for $300 before she was going to sell it on Ebay. It's a Canon digital 8mp reflex that shoots 6 shots a second. If that doesn't get me to post more pictures of my surroundings, nothing will.

I should do some work, I guess.

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from: ladyniko
date: Nov. 27th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)

I am longing to play a piano again. My parental units, neither of whom play, are looking for a baby grand w/ a player system.

I have done my research on the subject of player systems and know which player unit is at the top of the list (QRS - they read DVDs, CDs, Flash & SD Memory Cards!). I also have tested out pianos and said, "Okay, Yamaha is just too loud and over priced. You're better off going for like Story & Clark or Boston pianos, which are a hell of a lot cheaper than a new Yamaha."

Of course, my mother is thinking she can get a piano for less, but not with the player system installed and not without spending a lot of money on having a piano refurbished.

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