Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Blog of the Decade!

Hey there, my awesome readers! I bet you thought I'd drop the ball on this one. For the past week I've been on the East Coast hanging out with my family in Richmond VA, making a quick run to Hoboken NJ for my cousin's wedding. I've been putting a lot of thought into this blog, and as I sit and watch the clock tick away the last minutes of 2009, and the first decade of the new millennium, I come to the point where it's time to blog... Blog, man, blog!
This decade has been a decade of change for me and my life. It was a milestone of a new era in the life and times of Shoehead. I began this millennium in South Beach Miami FL, trying to hawk Jello™ shots with my brother. It was complete washout, and then his car broke down in the Florida panhandle on our way to New Orleans. We ended up abandoning ship on an off-ramp in the middle of nowhere. My mother wired us the money for a Greyhound back to Richmond VA (I was living in Weehawken NJ at the time), and I remember thinking, this millennium is off to quite a start! I hung with my parents for a few days, and boarded the bus back to NJ. After the odyssey that was my Y2K trip, I arrived in my apartment, and literally had just set down my suitcases, when my cousin Chris knocked on the door and wanted to go out for drinks! So we went into Hoboken, and got jumped by five guys after we left the bar, leaving me with a swollen face and two shiners! Again, this decade is off to a crazy start...
A few weeks later, my brother the Jello™-Man called me and discussed giving full-time Jello™ shot hawking one more attempt. He instructed me to find the summer concert tours of Phish, Dave Matthews Band, and Jimmy Buffett and we would rent a van to gypsy around and sell the shooters at the shows. Buffett had a spring leg of his tour in the western states, so we hatched a plot to travel west, use our buddy Vince's place in Vegas as a home base, and make loads of money at the concerts. So in April, we embarked on our journey. Everything went as we planned it, except for one thing we hadn't anticipated--Jimmy Buffett fans are tailgate partyers. They're not a bunch of Grateful Dead hippies. They all brought their own libations, and couldn't even believe we were trying to sell Jello™ shots. We ended up scrapping Buffett, but we decided to try a Nascar™ event at the Las Vegas Speedway. That was actually very amusing, as we snuck into the event without tickets, and sold shooters like crazy; finally culminating in Jason getting chased through the stands by purple-shirted security guards as the Nascar™ fans cheered him on...
What this Jello™ trip did for me was open me up to the western United States. Before this, I'd never been further west than Colorado. But on our ill-fated trek, I'd within the span of a week visited for the first time Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Jose, not to mention seeing the Grand Canyon, and driving through Utah and Arizona and New Mexico! As I looked at life in Vegas, and how sunny, warm and nice it was to live there, I decide to simply stay there. Jason and I went back to my Weehawken apartment, packed up most of my stuff, and vacated my apartment within 24 hours. I stayed in Richmond for about five days at my parents to get things ready, and moved to Las Vegas May 3rd, 2000 with three suitcases on a Greyhound bus.
Life in Vegas was crazy. I got a job at Harrah's almost instantly, but the job sucked so I got another job at Rumjungle in Mandalay Bay. That was a blast! The management really didn't like your ol' pal Shoehead too much, however, so in July 2001, they fired me, and I headed to Redondo Beach to see the one friend I had in L.A. at the time.
I'm running outta time to post this blog, so here's the breakdown:
2001- I was living in Redondo Beach, and terrorists blew up my beloved World Trade Center.
2002- I fell in with some marijuana smugglers, and got arrested in Omaha NE driving weed to Chicago. The charges were dropped, thanks to an awesome lawyer! By this time I'd moved to El Segundo, with a cool roommate named Joe, and his dog, Duffy.
2003- Still smuggling (to work off my lawyer bill) I went to Mexico for the first time, and was travelling to Spokane WA a lot. We started hiking the weed across the U.S.-Canadian border ourselves, and toward the end of the year we were rolling in cash. Yay! BUT- in December my brother got arrested by Border Patrol Agents hiking through the snowy wilderness of the border. No yay...
2004- By this time I was dating the girl of my dreams who was later to become the Lovely Mrs. Shoehead. I worked on a lot of film crews, including my friends at Hemisphere Entertainment, and began really doing what I came to California to do.
2005- By this time I'd moved to Oxnard with my girlfriend (you-know-who) and was working as a shipping clerk for a printing and graphics company. Ho-hum... In August, my brother-in-law was killed by a drunk driver, and Baba and I decided to get married in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I got married, and turned 40 the same week!
2006- Still living in Oxnard, worked on The Apprentice Season -6 and several other smaller things.
2007- Went back to work as a truck driver for the same printing company, but got fired for wrecking the truck. Damn... Relocated from Oxnard to Firebaugh, CA in November.
2008- I worked on Seasons 2 and 3 of Co-ed Confidential and started working at Central California Womens Facility, as a substance abuse counselor (C-YARD!!!) which brings us to...
2009- I got laid off after they shut down C-Yard's program on October 19th. As a coincidence, the B-Yard program ended today, with a lot of my colleagues now out of work too. I chilled, soul-searched, and that brings me to here and now--visiting my family, and attending my cousin's wedding, typing out this last blog of the decade.
So you could basically say, that I'm still on the Jello™ tour. After a decade of changes and giant landmarks in my life, I look to a new decade and the next phase of my life with both optimism and uncertainty.
Happy New Year, my most awesome readers!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I'm having a pretty good time in Richmond with my family, but I'm a little sad, cuz this is the first Christmas spent without my wife, the Lovely Mrs. Shoehead. Tomorrow, we leave to go to Hoboken NJ to attend my cousin's wedding.
Merry Christmas, everyone! I'll blog later...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I made it to Richmond!

Yay! Richmond... the capitol of the Confederacy, the capitol of the Old Dominion, the capitol of sitting on a Robinson Street bar stool getting drunk! My folks picked me up from the airport last night--actually it was my father and my brother, actor Jay Fontaine--and drove me back to my parents retirement condo in the fashionable West End of Richmond. I was still on West Coast time last night so I stayed up almost all night tweeting! Yee-HA! Then I woke up and went to Trader Joes with my father. I knew that when Richmond got a TJ's, it would be some kind of milestone, like when "Two-buck Chuck" went up to $3.25... as I took a tour of West Broad Street from Gaskins Road to Short Pump, I noticed that the chains had all landed--Dave-N-Buster's, Home Depot, Michael's, big box stores, and small national chains like Omaha Steaks; Petco, and then your restaurant chains--P.F. Chang's, Appleby's, Chili's, etc... When I left, some 13 years ago, this was all woodlands and cow pastures. Short Pump was a crossroads from colonial times that had an actual short-handled water pump at a long-vanished inn. Now, the place is unrecognizable from any other suburban landscape in the United States. If I didn't know better, I could be on Shaw Avenue in Fresno, or in Paramus NJ, or northern Virginia (Alexandria, Fairfax--take your pick). It was a weird feeling of familiarity, but difference. Well, I got 2 weeks of this to digest. I think I'm gonna go down to see my old guitarist Scott, and work on some tracks for the long-awaited (15 years) Just Because album! And sit on a Robinson Street barstool and get drunk!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kinda having a rough week...

OK, I think I've officially written 2009 off. I'm just gonna hunker down, and let 2010 be my year. It's just been crazy around here. I'll go to Richmond, then my cousin's wedding in Hoboken, then let 2010 roll!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A short history of cats at Casa Shoehead

With the tragic loss of Vanilla Bean "Beansie" this week, I wanted to include a short history of my cats in recent years.
It started in 2003, when I first met the Lovely Mrs. Shoehead. She had one cat, Starva Wazzoo Kitty. After we got married, we saw a tiny kitten in a cage at our vet's, with a sign that stated "My name's Missy Cleopatra. I was found in a pillowcase in a dumpster. Could you please take me home?" So we did. That was around June of 2006. She and Starva didn't get along with each other at all, but we did keep them separate. Soon after, around August of 2006 or maybe a little later, a couple of alley cats started hanging around our little courtyard. One we called Asparagus, or just "Gus", the other had a crazy broken tail, and we called him "Cat-tail". Gussie sorta went away, but cat-tail always faithfully came around to our front door looking for food. Then, when we ended up moving to Firebaugh, we couldn't bear to leave cat-tail behind to face the dangers of--who knows what--so we loaded him up and drove him north.
Shortly after arriving at our new home, The Lovely Mrs. Shoehead noticed a little runt cat at her auntie's house that nobody wanted. he was a little grey tiger-stripe, and we took him home and called him Buster Brown. He never really felt at home, and was kind of a loner, although Cat-tail looked after him like a little brother. Eventually, Buster moved out of the house into the back garage. So we were a happy little family of 4 cats until July or August of 2008, when I looked out and saw a tiny orange kitten on my back porch. He was so malnourished and sickly, we took him in and named him Vanilla Bean Kittybone Catva, or Beans. He was a rebel much like Buster, and was always trying to escape, but finally he settled in to life in the house. Buster never really adapted, and stayed out in the back garage for months. I kept feeding him, but I went out of town for several days in April 2009, and when I got back, Buster wasn't around. I believe he moved on to another location. All went seemingly fine, when in October, I came home to find Starva dead! It was very traumatic for me. I buried her in a little rock garden in our yard. After that, the remaining three cats sorta bonded and hung out together. They were very cute, the three of them laying down sleeping all in the same direction on top of the dryer! This kept up until this week, when I found poor little Beansie dead and wet in the front yard. Now I'm down to 2 cats! I really do miss a house full of cats. I hope some needy cat finds us...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vanilla Bean Kittybone Catva July 2008-December 12 2009

Vanilla Bean Kittybone Catva, the orange cat

Yesterday was another sucky day for me. For the second time in six weeks, I had to bury one of my dear, beloved cats. As I walked to my neighbor’s house yesterday at around 2pm, I glanced over into my front yard, and saw the body of “Li’l Bean” curled up amongst the wet leaves. I walked over and picked up his stiff little body, and gave a quick examination. Preliminary examination showed no sign of foul play; this exonerates (for the moment) all the dogs, including visiting Pit-bull mix Chloe, as well as my creepy neighbor who kills cats and shoots blue jays from his back porch. While we are awaiting autopsy results for an official cause of death, it appears that “Beansie” expired naturally, probably from the cold and wetness of this week’s rainstorm. He’d had some kind of eye infection that the Lovely Mrs. Shoehead and I were trying to treat with antibiotic eye drops, so maybe he was just in a weakened state and succumbed to the elements.
For the past several days, I hadn’t seen Beansie around, and yesterday was the day I decided I was doing a thorough search. The discovery of his little water-soaked body was a disappointing end. Since the arrival of Chloe this past week, Beans, and the other remaining cats—Missy Cleopatra and Cat-tail—have been scared of this new dog, and staying away from their former safe-zone on top of the washer & dryer. In fact, I hadn’t seen either of the cats since the discovery of Bean’s body yesterday afternoon, until Cat-tail showed up this morning in the house, looking for some food. Today, I’ll look for Missy. Fingers crossed…
Li’l Bean came into my life around late July-early August of last year. One morning, I looked out on my back porch, and there was this tiny kitten; starving and filthy. He fit in the palm of my hand. Mrs. Shoehead and I took him in, gave him love and brought him back to health. As he was growing, he went through a little phase when he was trying to leave the house. He’d hang out all day in the back garage, and try to jump the fence and go to a neighbor’s house (not the creepy cat-killing sadist, the neighbor on the other side). Recently, Beansie returned to the house, and was hanging out with Missy and Cat-tail; particularly after the death of Starva. The three little kitties would curl up together on the washing machine and hang out together. I loved that! I took some pictures, that I’ll post very soon. With the arrival of Chloe, however, the little cat clique has been staying out of the house. And then, yesterday, Li’l Bean was discovered dead in the yard. Like Starva, I had a little funeral for him. I wrapped him in an old towel with his full name and a note that said what a good cat he was, and how much he’ll be missed, I also added a cat toy for him in the eternity. I said a prayer to God thanking Him for letting us have all the joy from Beans for a year, and then he was buried.
I think the storm is over now. The sun seems to be creeping up, as day breaks while I write this blog. It’s a new day, and I’m gonna miss my little friend. Good night, Beansie… You were an great little cat.