Sunday, April 13, 2008


Pinetop Perkins
You know that old saying: “NO Rest for the Wicked…”
Whale that certainly applied to us, as soon as we’d arrived and unpacked the car, it was announced to us that I’d be going waterskiing… Otay, whatever you say Clyde… So off we went to Paul & Jackie’s where the boat was parked, before hooking it up to the Buick which had just clocked approx 4,000 miles, as it felt ‘bout 17,000 miles after the past 96hrs on our Nation’s “Super Slab’s.” Oh, goody! We get to ride in the Buick some more… And now it was quite hot out, as the thermometer would creep up to 94f.

Having put the boat in the lake, which was actually part of the Colorado River which has been dammed… We had to stop in order for Clyde to jump in as he immediately started making unpleasant noises while swimming as fast as possible back to the boat as the water was still ice cold! Then it was decided that I’d drive Clyde water skiing instead, as Clyde taught me the proper take-off procedures; See this? It’s the throttle and you don’t have to be afraid… Just push it ALL the way forward when I yell go… as we were now hurtling across the lake with me unable to see where in the HELL I was going…

Otay, Mary Ellen will stand behind you and tell you when to turn, stop, speed-up, etc. as Clyde jumped back into the frigid water… GO! So, I mashed the throttle and off we went. And although I’ve driven a boat countless times before, I’ve never pulled a waterskier behind me. To which makes for a very strange sensation, basically feeling like you’re pulling an anchor or you’ve got a parachute deployed. As Mary Ellen would say turn left, I am turning left as the whole boat seemed to slew against my steering inputs. Clyde finally dropped and we circled back around with me killing the motor way before reaching him.

With our “Commander in Chief” successfully plucked from the Artic Ocean, I was given the order to keep driving, as Mary Ellen devised an ingenious way of giving me steering commands. Simply giving me either a single tap on the left or right shoulder for turns or a tap on the head to go straight as we were instantly reminded of Rata-tui… Yet, I think Mary Ellen was just having fun hitting me as I got more bonks on the head than shoulders as we cruised about Lake Austin, while Clyde pointed out the proliferation of Mc-Mansion’s dotting the shores. Of which some of them even had their own elevators down to their waterfront property… Before Clyde said there’s a cactus over on the other side… Do you see the stern wheeler dead ahead of us?

Having made it safely back to shore, I even got to drop Clyde off at the dock in order to go get the trailer and then putt-putted around the boat launch before it was time to bring her in. Although I got the boat all the way in, having killed the motor, I wasn’t squared up on the trailer’s bumpers, so Clyde pushed us out and said try it again… As I turned the key, there was nothing… C’mon Arse-hole, turn the engine on and try it again… To which I made several attempts, but there was NO sound, nothing. Do you have it in gear bozo? And even Mary Ellen tried it, but there was absolutely NO spark to the engine, so Clyde was forced to manually haul the boat onto the trailer via the winch… As Clyde would inform us several days later that the 85hp motor’s solenoid was hanging loose when he’d opened up the engine case!

Having survived another three hour cruise aboard the SS Claudia… Let’s go hear some free music, as I’d had NO idea that Spring Break is also the week long South by Southwest music festival in Austin, of which I was informed on my flight home is impossible to get a room in the city for…

So, yep, you guessed it! Time to pile back into the trusty Buick, Home sweet home, eh? Off we went, driving around Austin looking for parking before wandering around in the dark towards one of the many outdoor music venues, as the band sounded vaguely familiar, before the lead singer rambled on about how back in 1986 there was a channel named MTV that actually played music videos on it and this quirky song came on and had everybody talking about it… The band’s name was The Bodine’s and they rocked the crowd fairly well, before it was time to go home.

Having originally intended to be in Washington DC for the fifth anniversary ANTI WAR Protest Rally, we were forced to settle for the Austin Million Musician March instead, as Clyde asked us what time does it start at. The previous evening he’d been up until 1Am fashioning the “Mother of All signs!” As he was now furiously painting this four X four foot creation… SHEISA! I AIN’T CARRYING DAT SUCKER, NO WAY!

Driving near the Capitol building, it was time to dump us out in the middle of traffic and remove the ‘lil sign out of the trunk… As some nearby straggler’s got quite a chuckle out of my sentiments as Nelie was urging me to hurry up, as I was conveniently stuck underneath a bus stop awning with Clyde’s monstrous sign’s wooden pole sticking up skywards…

Thus I carried the massive sign upside down to the Capitol building’s lawn, where the Rally was to start from, simply from the stand point that the sign made an excellent sail in the light Austin breeze which was most welcome as the ambient temperature was 86f… Nothin’ like a long spiralin’ serpentine march in the heat of Texas… Remember, four lefts makes a circle…

Unfortunately only about a dozen musician’s showed up for our march thru Downtown Austin, but nevertheless it was quite fun, as we had a bagpiper in front of us and an electric acoustic guitar directly behind us… As Nelie later informed me that the singer was walking directly alongside another person pushing the cart with all of the electronic gear aboard it, while the singer and guitar player were using cordless mikes… We ended up having great fun singing along with these musicians as we belted out Not down by the Riverside to many different Peace slogans…

At the end of the march, we sat in some shade and listened to various performers play a melody of ANTI WAR songs before finally departing to go back home, upon which Clyde said he wanted to go hear some more music, to which Mary Ellen and I finally refused to budge from the apartment;

No Mas, No Mas, Err, NO Stinkin’ Buick, comprende!
Sunday we drove around getting Mary Ellen a few trip supplies, as she’d wanted to purchase a hammock with mosquito netting before leaving to return to Mexico City and that evening instead of music, we went out for Chinese, which seemed most out of character, but the food was most excellent. )What? NO STINKIN’ Music?)

Monday Mary Ellen departed for the airport and I hung out listening to a new book on tape we’d picked up at the Austin library, before Clyde and Nelie returned home from work that evening. Hey, Clyde its Saint Patrick’s day Nelie announced. Is it true that you’re supposed to pinch somebody if they’re NOT wearing green? To which Clyde announced he wanted to go hear some St. Pattie’s Day music. Leaving at 9:45PM, Clyde assured us we’d be home by 10PM since they get up at Oh-DARK Thirty to go to work.

Our first loop around the Downtown area was devoid of any Irish sounding music, so we ended up parking the car and walking around town in search of any comparable music, while finally standing outside near some street performers playing fiddle, bass, etc. Then as it started to rain, they packed up their instruments and we were off in search of some new music, with Clyde selecting Numo’s, since it didn’t require a cover charge. It was Jam night at Numo’s and although the musician’s playing were talented, their first three cover songs, including ZZ Top’s Le Grange and a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune just sounded like loud noise to me…

But it just so happened to turn out that there was a special guest in the audience. It was none other then two time Grammy winner Pinetop Perkins… Who was still playing the piano at the tender age of 94! Albeit an electric piano this evening and he actually sounded pretty damn good, especially for somebody closin’ in on the Century mark! Although at the end of the show he played the same song twice… But, hey! Me wonders if I’ll be around then to try typing crazy stories likes’ these at such an OLD age, eh?

Yet, by far without a doubt! The best musician’s heard during the entire extravaganza was Del Castillo, who happens to be a local Austin band that just really ROCKS!