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The first concert I attended was when I was in second grade. It was probably 1984 or so, and it was at Laguna Seca raceway, near Monterey. Of course, I grew up listening to The Beach Boys because of my dad. As a southern California native, he spent most of his teenaged days at the beach, and any music part of the surf scene was part of his scene.

I should perhaps mention that my dad was not with me at this concert. I went with a friend, who wasn’t interested in the music, and she coaxed me into riding carnival rides the entire time. Looking back, it was disappointing. But, I still have a special place in my heart for The Beach Boys even if I didn’t get to really see them live.

I’m thinking about this first concert because I went to my most recent concert last weekend. It was at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, one of the best venues around, and it was for one of my favorite bands. I had seen Wilco twice before–once the first week I had ever spent in Vermont, and the second was a couple of years ago at Shoreline. Regardless, the concert was dynamo, as was the weather. I hung out with old friends, and loved every minute of it.

I haven’t written for a while because life has been a little hectic. All of our lives are all hectic, I know. But, I seemed to have everything squared away and well-organized. And last week, it all shit the bed. I began my first Stanford class, I had several dinners with friends, I had unexpected quizzes that I hadn’t fully graded, I ducked out of work as soon as I could after the kids left, and then booked it to Tahoe for the weekend to celebrate my nephew’s 4th birthday. I’m not complaining about any of this, but I am paying the price now.

Class this week consisted of workshopping a short story I have been working on for a while, and I am very pleased with the results. I received amazing feedback–both constructive and praise–and I now have a budding novel on my hands. We shall see where it leads.

Usually when I get busy, I thrive. Miraculously, I am able to reorganize my closet at 9:45 at night, or make 12 dozen cookies for my students. But for some reason this week, I am instead just shutting down. I am beat. I need to hit the reset button, regroup, recommit, relax.

It should be easy, since San Francisco is on course to completely blow up this weekend. This city can not hold one more event. We’ve got Fleet Week, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Oracle World (which draws 20,000+ and twelve serious bands to perform every night in the middle of town), the Giants playoffs game, the 49er game, college football games, NFL games, AND America’s Cup practice. Additionally, I have a bunch of friends in town this weekend. The only room we have for any other event is an earthquake. We have absolutely covered Land, Sea, and Sky. I have already gone to the market, I will park my car on Friday afternoon, and I will see it again on Monday morning.

Despite all the events and hoopla, I am hoping to get some exercise, mellow out and read a book, cook a little–anything to remove myself from the bright lights…I need to ignore their beckoning and take a step back. I should ignore the distractions of the carnival rides, and simply enjoy the concert. After all, Stevie Wonder did say La la la la la la…


Wendy–The Beach Boys

Gumboots–Paul Simon

My Cherie Amour–Stevie Wonder

Where I End and You Begin–Radiohead

Love and Peace or Else–U2

Lady of Avenue A–The Black Crowes