Friday, September 14, 2007

Out and about

I've grown quite fond of my morning walks. I generally leave the house shortly after dawn, which is nowhere near as early as it would have been even a month ago. Stupid hemisphere, stupid wobbly planet.

Every restaurant which is open early in the morning seems to have a small cadre of morning regulars, generally older men. I watch them greet each other and the workers behind the counters. The workers sometimes have their regular orders already prepared for them. If one of the men has been absent the previous day, the others give him grief about it. Since they all look to be somewhere around retirement age, I suppose this is their way of having somewhere to go, a routine to start the day, and a sense of community. While I doubt I could be satisfied with a Croissan'wich from Burger King every morning, I am nevertheless a little jealous of their little morning community.


By 7 am, a crew of about six workers were toiling on the former grounds of the Lighthouse Diner, separating bricks into piles. Periodically, they would strike a brick with a hammer, perhaps to knock off the cement which used to hold it to another brick. I watched them work for a couple of minutes. They worked very fast.

I wonder where those bricks are going to end up. Another building, one assumes. For the rest of my walk, I am looking at all of the bricks in the buildings I pass, wondering what structures they have previously been a part of.


I stopped in at Tommy's Cafe, one of the more interesting hybrid establishments in the neighborhood. They are a full, working eatery, but also have a surprisingly large selection of new and used musical instruments. Mostly guitars, but I did spy a few other types of noisemakers in there. I was tempted for a moment by a clarinet, before recalling that I don't really have any money anymore. Not to mention that I do not play the clarinet.

I mentioned that I had not been in since they changed locations a couple of years ago and said something vaguely complimentary about the new setup, which makes the place seem much nicer than it did when it was a couple of blocks east of its current location. Now it has levels, and a much larger selection of guitars.

In exchange for my flattery, I was given one of the worst cafe mochas I have ever tasted, although in fairness it was also by far the cheapest.

And apparently they make Star Wars-themed guitars now. I spotted Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. Wonder why they only had villains. Wonder why they make Star Wars guitars. Before I left, I also started to wonder why a music store had talk radio on instead of something musical piping through the speakers.


Anonymous said...

maht - If you have to wonder why a music store isn't playing music on the overhead, it's been too long since you experienced the sensory overload that is guitar center.
While my own fabled guitar-avarice might suggest working in a guitar store could provide a beneficial barter based economy for my prediliction, a truthful admission is that I could only find such ungainful employment satisfying if I could wear 30db reducing ear plugs to work. Talk radio seems like a fair compromise.

And I have no more answer than you as to why Star Wars guitars would have been created. For me? Love guitars (check). Star Wars is an emeshed fabric of good childhood memories (check). Any desire whatsoever to strum that Boba Fett monstrosity? No. Nope. None.


Anonymous said...

"Wonder why they only had villains?"

Probably because no one wants to rock out on a guitar sporting the likeness of Wicket the Ewok.

Good post, by the way.

Unknown said...

In weeks to come you could go brick spotting around Chicago... I love these early morning vignettes. My morning thoughts tend to centre around the thought of my first cup of tea.

The Moon Topples said...

Ian: Yeah, a guitar purchase has to be based on sound more than aesthetics. The talk radio was being played at a reasonable volume. Shame on you for assuming all music shops are Guitar Center. Most of the ones in the city are reasonably-volumed.

Struggly: A tiny bit of research shows me that they also make a Yoda, so it isn't villain-exclusive, I guess. And sure, no Ewok-Rock, but maybe Han Solo would have worked.

Ver: These morning walks are influenced somewhat by my search for decent coffee in my neighborhood. So far, a complete waste of time, other than the peripheral moments of the wandering itself.

basest said...

i think the answer to the question of why they make star wars guitars is quite simply so that star wars dorks will have another pre-manufactured collectible to hang on their walls. can you imagine someone who actually plays guitar playing that on stage and feeling good about it? unless the whole band had them...then it would be kind of funny, for about 5 minutes.

Unknown said...

I had the other worst cafe mochas ever this morning and it was not the cheapest. 'Cafe a la strained sock', would have been a better entry on the menu.

Oh and talking of guitars - I watched a news story on The World Air Guitar Championship (what?). Maybe the contestants dream of a Fender Stratocaster Sith.

Taffiny said...

Really like the idea of thinking of bricks like atoms, being part of something, then when it breaks apart, becoming part of something else.

I wonder if that is true, if the bricks that make up current buildings come from previous buildings?Interesting.

Hoodie said...

Star Wars guitars seems counterintuitive to me.

Become a rocker to get chicks - Drive them away with a crazed obsession with a SciFi epic.

I love Star Wars, but would have to give a serious eyeroll to anyone jamming on a Star Wars electric.

Reading the Signs said...

I like all these observations. They way you wrote them makes them feel, somehow, very satisfying, even if they mocha was the worst one you ever had. In London I used to love sitting in proper "greasy spoon"-type caffs but you don't get that kind of place in the sticks.

The Moon Topples said...

Basest: Yeah, I could see it working for maybe one song, some sort of themed thing. Even then, though, I'd likely be cringing.

Minx: Sorry to hear about the tragic loss of yet another sock.

Taffiny: Stay tuned, as I have actual information about the bricks to post later.

Hoodie: I'm really enjoying the clear implication from myself and every single person who has commented that the guitars sound terrible. But what if they are actually great-sounding instruments? Now I'm scared.

Signs: You don't get them in the city anymore, either. One by one, all the greasy spoons are being replaced by sterile, suburban-feeling places. Or worse: their buildings are being completely removed.

sexy said...