Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ukulele in the Up and Down Lounge

So about three weeks ago, I had my first ukulele gig. Well, sort of. I was at Tiki Oasis. Tiki Oasis is a convention for people who collect Tiki stuff, but truth be told it's really just a good excuse for people to get rip-roaring drunk on fruity tropical drinks. Anyway, when I go to small conventions, I usually take my ukulele. I've been playing about three and a half years. I'm not great, but I can play some stuff that sounds pretty good. The problem is I make a lot of mistakes, especially when people are around. That's why I like to bring my uke to conventions. I'll find a quiet corner to play and if anyone wants to listen, they can, but there's no pressure. And I get a little practice playing in front of people.

Anyway, it was fairly late in the day, and I was thinking about leaving for the day. I had my ukulele in its case on my back. This couple, Rebecca and Dave, come up to me and ask if that is a ukulele. I say, yes.

"We need a ukulele player."

"Okay, I'm not really that great." I explain. I take it out and play something that I know I can make sound decent.

"That's perfect. What are you doing between 8 and 8:45?"

"I don't know?" I say trying to emphasize the question mark, so they would explain.

"We run this bar in one of the glass elevators here at the hotel, and we need a ukulele player. It's only about 45 minutes. It's really fun. It will be hot and sweaty, but a really good time."

I tell them to hold on. The parking situation at Tiki Oasis is really bad, so I had my wife drop me off in the morning. I gave her a call and asked if she wouldn't mind bringing me back a bit before 8 and picking me up sometime after 9. She said, okay.

"Okay, I guess I'm in. So what's going on again?"


I went home and grabbed some dinner. Then I picked up my uke to go through to go through the songs I wanted to play. I have about eight to ten songs that I know well enough to play in front of people. My plan was to get back by about 7:45, so I'd have time to find the right elevator. I ended getting there at about 7:55, which meant that I got to what I thought was the right elevator just a minute or two early. I still was a little fuzzy about the whole thing at this point.

There were about four or five women standing in front the elevator. "Are you waiting for the Up and Down Lounge?"

"Is that the bar in the elevator?" I asked.

"Yeah, so you're the entertainment?"

I nodded and took out my ukulele and started to play a little something. At this point, one of the women said that her boyfriend played ukulele, but only knew two songs. She then proceeded to sing one of them, a song I had never heard and had no clue how to play. So I'm thinking, God, I hope she doesn't keep singing some song I don't know, so I look like an idiot. Fortunately, she stopped after a verse or two. By this time, it was about 8:02 and still no sign of the couple that asked me to play, but at least I was reasonably confident that I was at the right elevator.

About 8:05, the elevator door opened, some people got out and there was they were, Dave and Rebecca. I got in and moved to the back and start playing. Dave stood behind a little teeney tiny bar and started handing out drinks. He had two and a half gallons of some Jungle Juice-looking drink in a container with a spigot on the bottom. Immediately, the elevator goes from almost empty to way way way over capacity. I'm sure that if I had taken the time to look, there would have been a sign saying that the elevator had a capacity of 12 people, and we were easily at like, 25.

The elevator starts to move and about every other stop, they have to tell people that they can't get on because if they have any more bodies, the elevator won't move. Of course, it's hot and oppressive with that many people in such a small space. I'm sweating and trying to play and probably making way more mistakes than I normally do, but everybody has a drink and is talking loudly to be heard over the other people who are talking loudly. I'm sure no one noticed when I hit the wrong notes, with all that was going on.

So things are going along just fine, I'm playing trying not to screw up too bad. About 10 or 15 minutes in, the woman standing next to me decides she needs to show her boobs. Now, I have to say, I'm old. When I was in my prime boob viewing days, women didn't just show their boobs. You had to kind a work on it. Since then, when I've been in situations where women show their boobs, I always just happen to be in the wrong place and the wrong time. Now, here it was happening right next to me. Awesome. Well, it turns out, the sight of boobs right next to me made me completely forget how to play the ukulele. I forgot how to play. I forgot what songs I knew. What songs I'd already played. I got through it somehow. It's actually kind of a blur.

After about a half hour, most of the drinks were gone and people start putting bills in Dave's shirt pocket. When the last drink was poured, the elevator emptied out and Rebecca and Dave said they were getting off at the fourth floor, where their room was. I got out too. I was hot I was sweaty. I just needed some air. Well, Dave took all of the bills out of his pocket and stuck them in my pocket. I said that we should split it or something, and he's like, naw, don't worry about it. I think I made about fifteen bucks on the deal.

So they invited me to their room for a drink. I'd been playing the whole time, so I hadn't had any. It turns out the woman who who showed her boobs and her friend were friends of Rebecca and Dave, so we all went to the went to the room for a drink.

The boob woman said she has a Facebook page, TITTY (Tits in Tikibar Toilets, Yo). She said she takes booby pictures in the bathrooms of tiki bars, but always does it in such a way that you can't see nipples. I swear I've tried to find that page about eight times. No luck. Anyway, Rebecca had taken pictures of the boob flash and was sending them to the woman. Rebecca says, "Wait, that's a nipple." And she hands the phone to the woman.

"That's not a nipple. That's my thumb." She had been holding two drinks in front of her-- umm, self.

I said, "You mind sending those to me?"  Doesn't hurt to ask. Rebecca handed me her phone to put in my number. I did, taking extra care to make sure I didn't transpose any numbers. 

After a while, Dave said they needed to change clothes. We took that as our cue to leave. I asked for a drink for the road, and we left. I ended up watching some swing band for a while before calling my wife to pick me up. In the car, I told my wife the story. She said, "You realize that you're lucky, for two reasons."

"Yeah, first, that it happened. And second, you're not pissed off about it."


Of course, I kept checking my phone for the pictures. Nothing. Damn. The next day I had a Comic-Con meeting, and I couldn't go back to Tiki Oasis. About 1:00 in the middle of the meeting, I got a text message from an unknown number. The pictures. Woohoo!

The best of the two pictures she sent
I sent a quick thank you text to Rebecca and told her that it was a lot of fun. Then of course I told the story and showed the pictures to anyone who would look. 

Post Script

So I am very bad with names, not only did I not get the woman in the picture's name. I didn't remember Dave and Rebecca's names either. The next day sent her another note:

This is Chris, the ukulele guy. By the way, I forgot you and your huband's names. If you are doing the Up and Down Lounge again next year, I'd love to play again.

About 20 minutes later, I got a response:

We are Dave and Rebecca. Would love to have you do it again next year.

So it looks like I have a recurring gig. It's only up from here. Or down, depending of what floor gets pushed.

Monday, August 20, 2018

It's Walking

I started walking. I'm trying to lose some weight. I think I'm doing okay foodwise, but I must be eating exactly the right amount of food. I'm not gaining any weight, and I'm not losing any weight. I figured that if I started walking that might kick my metabolism in the butt. Because I'm walking, I'm noticing other people walking, and I think people are getting way too serious about their walking. It's walking. 

You don't need any special clothes to go walking. It's walking. You don't need special shoes. Okay, you probably don't want shoes that hurt your feet. But you probably don't want shoes that hurt your feet anyway. You don't need a sports drink. It's not working out. It's walking. You don't need a sports bottle. Sure, I guess if you think you're going to get thirsty you could bring a bottle of water. But I honestly don't think you're going to get seriously dehydrated on your walk. You could just as easily have a drink when you get done.

I'm not trying to bash walkers or walking. Okay, I guess I am. a little bit. If you're like me and haven't exercised in a while, walking is a great place to start. It's simple. It's low impact. But it's also just walking.  Let's not get carried away.