I was in Seattle the past few days at the offices of Bungie, the makers of the Xbox masterpiece Halo and the upcoming Halo 2. While I can’t get into why I was there or what I saw, because I was told by Microsoft honchos that my spleen and my Isles of Langerhans will be removed if I violate the non-disclosure agreement I signed, I can say this: Life sucks. The last night I was there, I checked out a haunt from the month I spent in Seattle writing Arcade Fever. It’s this punk bar called the Comet (a.k.a. the Vomit Comet); they were having one of those ironic karaoke nights, so you had dudes in fishnets and Doc Martens singing .38 Special. At one point, I looked over and was like, wow, that’s Spiral Stairs of Pavement, my favorite band of all time. I couldn’t believe it. I’d just had a conversation the other night about whether the guys in Pavement (and Guided by Voices and the Pixies) were millionaires or not. It seemed like they should be, despite their indie roots—after all, they were among the most popular indie bands of the 1990s, and had an MTV hit with “Cut Your Hair.” And, really, how could the members of a band that wrote “Frontwards,” the single greatest song in the history of man, not be millionaires? I needed to know for sure, though, and, lo and behold, there at the Comet was the horse’s mouth (or one of the horse’s mouths). Like the asshole I most certainly am, I caught Spiral’s eye the next time he walked by, burdening him with the international symbol for “I’m going to bug you now, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” He stopped, I told him I was a fan, we small-talked about what he was doing in Seattle (he lives there) and what the tuning was for the song “Here” (drop D), and then I posed the question. He laughed. He said, “I made enough to buy a house, but that’s it.” I asked if it was a million-dollar house. He told me that the drummer from the band is currently working in construction. I asked if he was constructing buildings out of all the $100 bills he has. I was so upset about this revelation that I let Spiral Stairs run off into the night. If those guys aren’t rich, I thought, what’s the point of doing anything? To have total jerkbags bug you at dive bars for the rest of your life? And that’s about when the drunk next to me, apparently a 40-something bike messenger at a Seattle law firm, started talking to me and I realized that it could be a whole lot worse.


Believe it or not, I have my third cold since I started this damn blog back in early December. That’s one per month! Gotta eat my greens, I guess.