Thursday, September 09, 2004


Post 200: Lost Tales (Thrills, Chills, Danger, And Good Citizenship)

I advised you yesterday to go look here. If you haven’t, go now.

Back? Good. So my neighbor Clippie invited me to the musical type festival referenced above. She bought the tickets, and I drove us. We got there around 5:00 PM, and this thing would be going til about midnight or so. Plus they served beer. The whole thing covered about three square blocks, which had been enclosed with barricades and such to keep the beer in and the non ticket buyers out. Beer is good. Many were consumed.

I had heard of only one of the many bands at this festival. I think Clippie knew a few of them. And we kept drinking those beers. A local casino had a few blackjack tables set up for funtime gaming. You could win a mug or a t-shirt with the casino logo. And we saw more bands. And we had more beers.

Now I am a guy. And even though I was in the middle of a huge crush on Princess Wolfie, I have to admit Clippie is good looking and, well I don’t really need to go any further than that do I? Ok maybe a little further. I have not had sex since July of 2003. Now I know I don’t need to go any further. Ok just this much further: Clippie is in a similar situation. Plus this: Guys can be foolishly optimistic about physical contact with the opposite sex. ‘Nuff said.

Among the bands, we saw a show by Nothing Less. They were great, and we even got the CD. And had more beers. Eventually, midnight came and we made our way back to the pumpkin to head home. And who knew what might happen then? Not I. My last beer: maybe 9:30. Clippie’s last beer: about 11:55.

Parking at an event like this can be tricky with limited public parking. I ended up picking a lot that had posted signs saying two hour parking, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. To me, arriving at 5:00 PM with a two hour window takes me to 7:00 PM, beyond the window of regulated parking. Seems simple enough.

At the parking lot, I had déjà vu. I often come out to a parking lot and misremember where I might have parked. Then the déjà vu ended. Clippie confirmed that the car was not in our spot. Some helpful people who apparently like to hang out in this parking lot said that some jerk from the business in question called out a bunch of tow trucks to haul off all the cars in the lot. Yes, even though the cars were not in any sort of violation of the posted regulations.

So now what? Fortunately, we had some loose change between us so I could use the pay phone. No number was posted by this evil business to call and find out where they towed the car, so I just called the police. I went ahead and pointed out to them that it must have been stolen, since I wasn’t violating any parking regulations. When they ran the plates, they did find that it had been towed, and even told me the place.

Progress. So I called the place, and they informed me that the car was there. All I had to do was show up and pay the money and all would be well. I took the lady at her word. How did I know that she was even more evil than the jerk that had me towed in the first place.

We got a cab and proceeded there. Forgive my faulty directions. We were right downtown in Modesto, California. From our starting point on 9th street, the cab took us I think east. We went over a long bridge that in mid-July had some construction on the north? side, perhaps to widen the bridge. Kinda funky and industrial and rundown in this area. The cab dropped us off and was nice enough to wait while Clippie and I confirmed the car was there. Now we’re talking close to 1:00 AM.

Cab goes away, and the (as yet unrevealed evil) lady starts to process our paperwork. It came to $160 and change. So I whip out my plastic and prepare to complete the transaction. Then the lady tells me that her machine is down, she doesn’t take checks, and we have to pay cash. Since we’d seen the area on our way in, we didn’t need Evil Tow Lady to tell us that any possible ATM’s were far away.

Naturally, I asked why she would not tell us that we had to pay cash when we called her to see if the car was there. She took the opportunity to rub our faces in her evil. Turns out, since I didn’t ask her if the credit card machine was broken down, and I didn’t ask her if she took checks, she didn’t feel the need to inform me of these facts.

Status: in the boonies, bad area, cab gone, us stuck. Options: call another cab to take us to an ATM and back to the tow company. Problem: the cab will arrive in about an hour. So maybe by 2:30 AM, we’ll be able to leave the tow place, to get money and come back. Solution: Screw that. I can walk a long way in an hour.

Clippie reluctantly agrees. So we walk. And we walk. And we walk. And finally we get back to civilization, with streetlights and everything. And the whole time, we’ve been cursing the Evil Tow Lady. And wondering why she lets her six or seven year old daughter to hang out there, playing and running around the tow lot past 1:00 AM.

And now we get back to the good citizens. A couple of the guys at the original parking lot, who had tipped us to the whole shady tow situation, happened to be cruising around and pulled up next to us.

While I can’t recall the exact words of the conversation, the gist was this: You two white people must be crazy to wander around, on foot, in this meth area, in the middle of the night. And they gave us a ride to the ATM and back to the Evil Tow Place. They enjoyed our little tale so far, and thought they might also like to give Evil Tow Lady a piece of their mind. As Evil Tow Lady started our paperwork, amidst some semi unpleasant grilling from all four of us now, there were other people arriving by cab to claim two more cars. By the time they made it inside, their cabs had also gone.

One might think that Evil Tow Lady would have learned from our experience, and notified these new people that they needed cash. But then she wouldn’t be evil, would she?

We thanked our temporary drivers for their help, got the car, and got out of there before things got really ugly. But not before telling the newcomers that Evil Tow Lady had screwed us over and should have known better when she dealt with them on the phone, which pretty much meant she had screwed them double.

Now it’s about quarter to three, and we’re hungry. We stop for food, and are home by 4:30 or so. And a good time, but no sex, was had by all. Still…

Nothing Less than the end of the world could stop me from seeing Nothing Less again at the Turlock Music Festival, along with a bunch of other bands. Who knows? Maybe there will be a new New Band Link over there on the left on Sunday.

The show is at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $10 and parking is $2. Directions are here. Zoom out a couple of notches to get the big picture on freeway approaches (Highway 99). Gates open at noon and the show ends at 11:00 PM. If you don’t want to spend the whole day there, at least consider arriving by 5:00 PM for the 9/11 tribute/memorial observation. If you hang around the B93.1 stage, where Nothing Less will headline at 10:15 PM, you might even see Lord Floppington’s human pet enjoying the bands and possibly even buying CD’s from other new bands. I already bought “Beyond Therapy,” but if Nothing Less has a new CD, I’ll be getting that too.

And don’t worry about my bad luck in July; there’s plenty of parking at the fairgrounds. And at two bucks, it’s $158 less than I paid for parking last time I saw these guys.

For a more official press release, scroll down to Turlock Music Fest on this page here. You go look now!

And if you see the guys from Nothing Less, or buy a CD or get some promo goodies from them, make sure to tell them Lord Floppington sent you. Dropping my name probably won’t get you anything, but if word of it gets back to me later, I will make sure that you are rewarded when I become benevolent dictator.
Wow! What a story. I'm glad you had such a good time despite the long walk and the $160 fee. The Turlock show I think is going to be even more amazing. The boys have some new awesome material they will be showcasing. (They are in the living room right now practicing acoustically for their radio gig tomorrow night!) By the way I don't feel the need to have a nickname in your journal but if you can think of a good one, I won't complain. (You posted anonymously in my journal and I had to read it 928438 times before I caught on.) Check my profile for a recent picture in case you'd like to say hello on Saturday! Otherwise I will just be on the look out for a big ol' lazy cat. :)

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