Monday, May 3, 2010

What's happening?

It's a good question. What is happening? What's going on? What the hell is there to do, and why aren't we doing it?

Since this blog more or less focuses on my music -- live shows, recording sessions, songwriting and so on -- you have to understand that not every day is a "music day". Not to be all depressing, but it's been said that people who focus exclusively on one thing are bound for failure. Kurt Cobain was a brilliant songwriter and performer, but when he mistakenly felt his creative fire was extinguished, his solution was to eat the wrong end of a shotgun. Bad idea, Kurt. That stuff would have come back around.

As you know, I did the seventh episode of my Zak Claxton Happy Fun Show on Saturday, a couple of days ago. It was happy and fun, as planned. But I'm not currently scheduled to play again until May 11, over a week from now. I'm taking this short break purposefully; the idea is to hold back on the music for a bit until it builds up like pressure in a soda bottle. Then I play a series of shows on May 11, 12, and 14, all as a warmup for my first session back in the studio on Saturday May 15. In the meantime, I thought I'd fill you in on some possibly mundane events of the non-musical variety.

New Shades

When you live in Southern California and are already rather light sensitive (they say we green-eyed people have it the worst for some reason), sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement; they're a necessity. Here's a little Zak Fact that you may not know; in my plethora of jobs I held as a young man putting myself through college, one of them was managing a Sunglass Hut in a mall. I became a bit of a sunglass snob as a result, and pretty much refuse to buy/wear the crappy $9 shades you see at grocery stores and gas stations. That having been said, I've been doing exactly that for the last year or so. My last pair of Ray-Bans finally broke, and I bought a cheap pair (cue ZZ Top song here) to hold me over until I got some better ones. Well, that ended up being all of 2009. I kind of liked the look of my cheap sunglasses, but they were beginning to fall apart, so it was time for some new shades, baby.

This weekend, I went to the mall with Kat and my son, and swung by my old place of employment (from 20+ years ago, egad). Tried on roughly 739 pairs of shades, and it boiled down to a few pairs I liked. The winner ended up being the ones I'm sexily modeling above, some Italian-made shades from Polo by Ralph Lauren. It's been awhile since I wore an amber lens, and I forgot that I really liked it. So, the sunglass issue has been solved.

My Really Hideous Beard

Males, when they find themselves bored with the same face that stares back at them in the mirror every day, don't have the vast selection of choices that women do to make changes. I've tended to have various forms of facial hair since I found myself able to cultivate it around age 16. It started with a really cheesy mustache, and in my 20s was a full goatee for awhile. I then went clean shaven for my later 20s, but starting in my early 30s grew a small covering on my chin which has remained for most of the time since.

Well, a few weeks back, at the start of the playoff seasons for both the NBA and NHL, I found a perfectly acceptable excuse to grow more facial hair. The playoff beard is a hockey tradition, and I vowed to not shave my cheeks until both of my teams -- the L.A. Kings and the L.A. Lakers -- had either won championships or had been eliminated from the playoffs. It's a weak excuse at best, but I'll take what I can get.

The problem is that I've never been able to grow a really cool beard. I don't know why I thought that might have changed over the course of time; you only get one shot at puberty, and mine did not endow me with a rugged, manly outcropping of hair on most of my face. And yet, that hasn't stopped me from once again attempting to once again become the bearded dude that I imagine I can be. A side note: whenever I grow hair on my upper lip, I look like a huge freaking dork who wants to get his ass kicked. You have to draw a line somewhere in looking like crap, and that's mine.

So, for the time being, I'm continuing to not shave anywhere but my neck, upper cheeks, and lip, and you can see the awesome result above. It's patchy, peach-fuzzy, graying, and everything you generally don't want in a beard. But while the Kings dropped out of the NHL playoffs in the first round, the Lakers appear to be going strong, so my beard shall remain until I've run out of pseudo-legitimate reasons why it shouldn't. Well, reasons other than that I look like crap. I find myself less concerned with what other people think about me in my old age.

My Son, the Medalist

Give a proud papa a chance to brag a little. My son was voted by his class as being the "Most Fair Person" of the 2009-2010 school year, and was awarded an actual medal in front of the whole school last week. I don't talk much about my son here for privacy reasons, but suffice it to say that he's an amazing kid, with a great personality and is the light of my life. I'm always proud of him, regardless of the recognition he gets, but it's great to see him be rewarded for being fair... a highly important quality in any decent human.

Feeling Springy

Here in Redondo Beach, CA on this lovely Monday May 3rd, the weather is about as nice as weather gets, anywhere, ever. Granted, I tend to enjoy when it gets a wee bit warmer, but in my lovely suburb of Los Angeles, it stays between 55º and 70º for the grand majority of the year. Even when it's a sweltering 105º during mid-summer in the Valley, it'll be in the pleasant mid-80s here. Currently, it's 65º and not a cloud in the sky, with a high of 73º expected. I'll be spending most of this gorgeous day inside my home office as usual, but still, it's nice to know it's out there if I want to participate in its loveliness.

That's all for now. More irrelevant stuff later this week, I'm sure.

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