Texas Part 2 – the $300 Bird and How to Get Bob Schneider’s Attention

In my last post, I touched on some of the highlights of this last trip to Texas, which included finishing a novel, spending Thanksgiving with my bff, lunching with Bruce Hughes, and seeing a lot of Austin Hipsters.
Well, a few other things happened that were worth noting, so here’s the rest of the story.

The $300 bird
I drove from Tulsa to Roanoke, TX last Wednesday – the day before Thanksgiving. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of traffic, and it was pretty steady all the way down. Right around dusk, I was driving along, minding my own business, in the passing lane somewhere between Norman and Ardmore, in Oklahoma. There were tons of cars on the road with me, but for some reason a VERY LARGE BIRD decided to commit suicide on my car – all of a sudden I hear a really loud SPLAT and something with lots of brown speckled feathers slams into my windshield on the left side. After a few seconds of utter shock I thought hey, maybe I should pull over and make sure it’s not stuck to my car or something (because the last time I took a road trip, I ended up driving half way home with a Scissor Tailed Flycatcher stuck to my grill). The bird was gone, but did manage to take out my left headlight before skidding up the car leaving a trail of guts…
Nothing on a Mercedes is cheap, including the headlamp assembly. $300 worth of Bird Damage. And that’s the discounted rate! Because fortunately I know a guy who can get me a good deal on parts, comp me on the labor, and still take me out to sushi afterwards.
Nonetheless, I was a bit shaken up and couldn’t help uttering one of my most-used phrases (right after “yes I’ll have a cappuccino,” “I love cookies,” and “where’s my yoga mat?”) – “But what does it MEAN??”
I’m not sure why birds want to end their lives on the front of my automobile. I love birds. If anyone has any ideas can you please enlighten me?

the $300 bird
poor Otto…

More driving
I feel like I was in the car for a week. There was a lot of rain, a lot of traffic, my fair share of dead fowl… and lots and lots of freeway overpasses.
I don’t know why, but I am fascinated by all those curvy freeway overpasses they have in Texas. There’s something about the blending of something so impersonal and cold with smooth, organic, curve lines. So sexy! One day I’m going to take a friend down there, shine up my windshield to within an inch of its life (get off all the bird guts), and have my friend drive me around so I can take photos of all the sexy overpasses. I’ve gotten a few good shots over the years – and someday I would love to have a gallery showing of all my overpass pictures…

curvy overpasses!

The Battle of the Resentments
On Sunday, after a really hellacious drive from Fort Worth to Austin, I blew into the Saxon Pub just in time to catch the Resentments. I won’t tell you how fast I drove to make that happen, OK…
If you ever get the chance to see the Resentments, DO IT. It’s the most amazing live music experience. The musicians are some of the very best around, the songs are so, so good – and as an extra bonus, those guys are FUNNY. The between song banter is always entertaining, and this night’s offerings were not disappointing.
Miles Zuniga: “What’s the difference between a musician and a pizza? The pizza feeds a family of 4”…
I’ve gone to shows where Bruce’s songs blow everyone else’s away. And I’ve been to shows where Scrappy steals the show, or Miles blows me away with his talent and songwriting abilities. But this time, Jeff Plankenhorn stole the show. His version of “Cold Turkey” was nothing short of incredible. Here’s a link to the song from a different night, but it’ll give you an idea of what it’s like. So, thanks Jeff!
This isn’t from Sunday’s show, but it’ll give you an idea of how great the song is:

How to get Bob Schneider’s attention in under 15 seconds
Then on Monday night, I had the privilege of seeing Bob Schneider play, again at the Saxon Pub. I ended up sitting with trumpet player / keyboardist / accordionist Ollie Steck’s Mom, who was visiting from either Chicago or Michigan. Or both. I don’t know, she wasn’t very clear. But I digress. The show was entertaining as always and the caliber of musicians he plays with is really phenomenal. And I’m not just saying that because Bruce Hughes plays bass. Everyone is amazing.
Bob is also a great storyteller. That night we were regaled about stories from when he lived in some sort of hippie co-op. And then there was some sort of sexual innuendo involving the act of eating ham (“There’s a saying around our house, once I eat your ham, you never want to leave the table,” or something like that. I don’t know. Better not to ask). It’s true that Bob can have, according to Ollie’s Mom, “a bit of a potty mouth” but I personally find it hilarious and all in good fun.
After the show, as I was leaving, Bob was outside, and I thought for a brief second about going over and saying hi. I’ve been going to see him for 4 years now, and have never met him. But then I thought, nah, I don’t want to wait around. Maybe next time. So I continued to walk to my car, but then looked over and Bob was also walking through the parking lot, alone. So my brain said DO IT before it had worked out WHAT TO SAY.
So the exchange went something like this.
Andrea: Hi Bob, I’m Andrea, a friend of Bruce’s.
(I am not sure why I say this. Maybe because I think being acquainted with the bass player will make me more legit.)
Andrea: It’s so great to meet you, I’ve been coming to see you for a while now.
We shake hands.
Bob: Oh, hi! He smiles.
Andrea: So I showed your Black Mountain video to my uncle, who is Francis Coppola, and he noticed that you spelled his name wrong.
Bob (wincing): I did? OH SHIT!!
Then someone else comes up to talk to him. I mumble something about thanks for all the great music, and walk away.

Great way to make an impression, yes?

Bob’s “Black Mountain” video, using footage from Francis Coppola’s “Dementia 13”

Monday night’s show

And the rest
Other trip highlights:

I was absolutely chilled to the bone for one week straight. Either it was cold and rainy or I was in a drafty place. On the bright side, I did discover that being cold all the time can help you lose weight.

I slept on futons that normally belonged to dogs. Not all of those dogs were happy about giving up their beds for me.

I was feeling particularly more introverted than usual, and ended up not meeting anyone in Austin that I’d wanted to. Hopefully that’ll be different next time.

I thought I was going to put my novel away for a little while, as I “finished” it on 11/30, but it keeps floating around in my head and is telling me that it needs a major rewrite – sooner rather than later. It’s not done.

To be continued…