Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Valentine’s Day 2007

(Originally posted on MySpace on Saturday, February 17, 2007)

I wanted to write something about Valentines Day this week, but my friend DaVette did such a good job of it over at her blog, that I decided I couldn't top it. But I'm still going to talk about Valentines Day in the overall context of holidays and what they mean to me.

I'm always torn when a holiday comes. On one hand, I recognize the fact that almost every holiday is a really a marketing tool created by big business as an excuse to sell the public more crap they really don't need. And that includes the religious holidays like Easter and Christmas. Christmas especially has come to mean anything but the birth of Christ, although there is a strong movement by the religious right to wrest control of the holiday again. I think they're fighting a losing battle. Santa Claus is just too good of a commercial icon to ever replace him once again with Christ. Both are fictional characters based on real life people, but really; fat, bearded and jolly vs. emancipated, bearded and in pain. Who's going to win over the public?

But back to the point, each and every holiday these days is designed to sell. Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving…even Presidents Day is now a big "Everything-On-Sale" day. And a good many of these so-called holidays were invented by businesses just for the purpose of sales. It really makes me feel guilty to know I'm being manipulated in such a way.

But on the other hand, I love the symbolism of holidays, especially the religious ones. I love Christmas trees and lights, the Cross, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, skulls and ghosts from Halloween, turkeys and cornucopias, smaltzy sentiments and everything that comes with them. I even keep holiday and religious items up on display year round in my house. (And I don't only have Christian imagery around my house. One of my favorite items is a plaque I got from the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Its Muslim and says "Allah is the conqueror of all" in Arabic calligraphy. It's a beautiful thing, but it was pretty frightening sneaking it through customs a month after 9/11.)

So nowadays, Skip and I celebrate just about every holiday in its visual form. We aren't Christians, but we put up a Christmas tree (although it is a Christmas palm tree). We don't really care about the history of Thanksgiving, but we always have a big Thanksgiving dinner. And we have an unwritten pact that we don't exchange gifts with each other on any holiday, including birthdays, unless it something that we really need. Last Christmas Skip gave me a wallet because my old one was falling apart. I didn't get him anything. We have each other and that's all we need. But by doing this, we can celebrate the sentiments behind the holiday without completely buying into the commercialism of them, although its impossible to completely escape from that. After all, we do still buy even though we try to keep it to a minimum and we try not to buy too many pre-made cards and things like that.

So what did we do for Valentines Day this year? We woke up and had some cold cereal for breakfast. Then we did our morning computer work. We always have things to do in the morning. I read my online newspaper that consists of several websites where I get both my hard and entertainment news, as well as a comics page. Then I update my Amazon, Gemm and EBay pages. It takes anywhere from a half hour to three hours every morning.

After that, we really started our day. First we headed into Hollywood and the El Capitan Theatre to buy advance tickets to see the new Disney animated movie "Meet The Robinsons" in 3D when it opens on March 30. From there we walked across the street to the Hollywood/Highland Kodak Theatre Plaza, the theatre that the Oscars are held in, and had lunch at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant called Vert. I had a great vegetable potpie that was chock full of broccoli, turnips, carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms and other great things. We also enjoyed an afternoon martini.

When we finished there, we were off to the Beverly Center theatres. I hate those little closets they call movie theaters, but it was the only place in town playing "Happy Feet", which was the only major Oscar nominated movie I hadn't seen yet. We enjoyed the movie (more on that in two weeks) and then spent some time window-shopping in the Beverly Center. For those of you who don't know, the Beverly Center is a giant mall in the middle of Hollywood that caters almost exclusively to people with way too much money to spend. It's a lot of high-end shops with stylish, but crappy clothes and jewelry. But its fun to walk around in and stare at the crap while people watching.

After that, we drove to Beverly Hills to have dinner at McCormick & Schmick's Pacific Seafood Grill. We arrived very early, so we walked across the street to the Hotel, where the newest Puck restaurant called Cut is now located. We'll be eating there in a few weeks for our 27th anniversary and we decided to check it out in advance. It's a beautiful place and I can't wait for our dinner there. But we ended up in the bar next door, called the Sidebar, where we had a glass of wine and talked with one of the beautiful waitresses about Italy. Then it was back across the street to the Seafood grill. We had a $100 gift certificate from a wine auction we had bid on. We paid about $70 for it, so we were getting a deal on dinner. There we had a really good dinner of South African sea bass (for Skip) and wild salmon (for me) and way too much wine, which is the usual for us.

And then we headed to West Hollywood and the famous club, the Troubadour, to see Albert Hammond Jr. He's the guitarist for the Strokes, and is doing a series of solo shows to promote the upcoming release of his first solo album. I've never seen the Strokes. Skip saw them while I was in Spain, but now they're too popular and it costs too much to see them perform. So seeing the guitarist live was a good compromise for me. We arrived to find out that Har Mar Superstar was opening. I saw Har Mar once before and HATED him. He's a balding, fat guy who sings to prerecorded music while dancing around and stripping his clothes off until he's gyrating in his y-fronts. So I immediately decided I needed many drinks to get through his set. But I actually enjoyed him this time. His new music is rather good and he's got his act down to where he's actually funny, even if he still is kind of gross. So I stopped drinking and when Albert Hammond Jr. came on, I was just pleasantly buzzed and he was great. In fact, he was really great!

And then it was home and we both passed out.

And that was Valentines Day for this year. It was a great day.

And now that I've bored you this week, I'll be back next week with a new tale of touring with Thin White Rope, probably recounting several instances of near death that the band and I had. See you then.

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