Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The thermometer in my car rarely manages to trip over the zero lately, and if it does, it loiters in the single digits. We've had a wretched, gloomy, rock-hard January to make up for our decadent November. January is the month I would vote off the island. There's nothing to look forward to this month but the end of it.

Puck's heated seats have been a godsend, and I only wish heated steering wheels were de rigueur. The unforgiving leather is brutal on my bare fingertips. The motor warms so quickly, though, that within two blocks the air pouring from the dash vents is certifiably hot, not merely warm, and the oil reaches optimal operating temperature within two miles even when I forget to plug the engine heater in at night, which seems miraculous.

The other feature I've been enjoying most (besides, of course, the fantastic gas mileage I'm getting in town) is the satellite radio, specifically the 90's station The Pulse, which plays music that was new and hot during my high school and college years. (Seems natural to maintain a soft spot -- if not a preference -- for the music from that time in each of our lives.) Green Day had just had a breakthrough with their Dookie album. Dave Matthews Band was becoming a household name with Crash and Matchbox 20, Alanis Morissette, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Hootie & the Blowfish, Savage Garden, Wallflowers, Cranberries, Everclear, Spice Girls, and Sheryl Crow were getting a lot of airplay. Remember Jewel and Fiona Apple? Gwen Stefani and No Doubt were still grungy ska in the garage. I wore plaid flannel shirts and ratty Converse All*Stars almost every day in 1995. Madonna was cranking out soundtrack hits and Selena wasn't dead yet. Neither was Bradley Nowell, and I was hooked on Sublime, slapping around on the sandy concrete of Imperial Beach in my flip-flops and board shorts, even in the January rains.

Swing was having kind of a revival then, remember, with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers? Every other day somebody came to one of my college classes in L.A. with an ankle cast. Good times. The radio was my constant companion on the long drives between San Diego and the City of Angels. I had 91X and Star 100.7 (which is now one of those automated Jack FM stations), which did these great promotions like "Whirl 'Til You Hurl," in which several contestants rode the roller coaster at Mission Beach until they couldn't take it anymore. A few were on for days. There was also a promo involving a pink Cadillac called the Surf Pig, but alas, I can't remember the details. I loved Star.

There were so many successful music acts from Long Beach (see Sublime) and Newport Beach and L.A., but few from San Diego seemed to make it very far. Ever heard of Battalion of Saints, née The Neutrons? I know, right? Or Unbroken? Exactly. Doesn't matter, really. But yesterday morning on my way to work, just as I was about to poke the stereo with my frozen first digit, I heard the beginning of something familiar, a beachy jam I once knew by heart. I left the station alone and listened to good ol' Sprung Monkey's "Get 'Em Outta Here" in its entirety, just to be warmed by the early line, "... sweet home San Diego." I was toasty all day just thinking about southern California. The song was fairly popular for a while and I think was on the soundtrack of the movie Ten Things I Hate About You. The video is unimaginative and I'm fairly certain was filmed in San Pedro and not anywhere near San Diego, but if you close your eyes and imagine yourself tan and 17 years old, you can hear the waves crash with me.


Blogger a572mike said...

Satellite Radio Rocks! Especially here in "Radio Free Wyoming". Wyoming has by far and away some of the worst radio stations of anywhere I've ever lived.

January 22, 2008 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger A said...

Yuh, doesn't it? Evanston's Magic 99 makes me homicidal.

January 22, 2008 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Doolin said...

If your feeling a little adventerous....Nicole Albanez is getting married saturday (26th)@ 3:30pm at the Handlery Resort. She asked me to let ya know. hope to see you there.

January 23, 2008 at 12:15 PM  

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