No Sleep Til Brooklyn!

Okay, maybe there was a little sleep. But the nine days I recently spent on the road to promote Perfect From Now On were so chock-full of people-meeting and beer-drinking and shenanigans-having that sleep seemed secondary in my life – for the first time ever. Here are the highlights, in chronological order:

DAY ONE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14

1. Within seconds of my arrival at the Courtyard By Marriott hotel in Austin, I literally bump into Michelle Shocked at the lobby coffee hut. The kooky singer-songwriter is not pleased. She is also wearing a bowler. South By Southwest has officially begun.

2. Over a first supper of BBQ, my friend Leigh and I map out our game plan for the week. In addition to eating a lot more food and drinking gallons of beer and generally making merry in the music capital of the world, our game plan includes seeing a band called CPC Gangbangs.

3. A few beers later, I attend the CPC Gangbangs show. They rock harder than your grandma. And I’m not just saying that because I know guitarist/singer Paul Spence (of FUBAR fame). Check them and their awesome song “Teenage Crimewave” out here. No disrespect to your grandma!

DAY TWO: THURSDAY, MARCH 15

March 15: A few hours after waking up with a splitting hangover, I head over to the daytime Found magazine party with Leigh and meet founder Davy Rothbart. Davy is an awesome dude in a dude hat who calls me “playa” without irony. The party’s headliner is the Walkmen, and they sorta rule, despite not playing “The Rat.” How could you not play “The Rat”?

2. At my hotel’s bizarrely excellent sports bar, I meet three kids half my age from Michigan State’s radio station, Impact 89 FM, and we watch the Spartans whup Marquette in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Unlimited live music, unlimited tournament basketball, and unlimited beer — a good mood pervades my person on March 15.

DAY THREE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16

1. To pump myself up for my big evening reading at Book People, I sleep in until noon and then grab a sweet mofo of an enchilada at El Sol y La Luna, a muy delicioso Austin restarante. The turnout at the reading is incredible, considering everything that’s going on at 7pm on a Friday during SXSW: In addition to my aunt and cousin and their friends and families, twenty-plus fools ignore the Stooges show across the street to listen to me read. And check out the signage! No “Spinal Pap” moment!

2. For the first time, I learn that someone can show up to your reading, ask you a well-informed question, pose for a photo with you, say good things to your face about your book, and then write a negative review a few days later — one that completely misses the point of the book and retitles it “Perfect for Now.” Don’t read this lame-ass Daily Texan review here.

3. If you seek a great burger while in Austin, as I do after the reading, you should try the boulder-sized critter at Casino el Camino on Sixth Street. I do not recommend the establishment’s bathrooms, however. Unless you’re hunting for hantavirus.

DAY FOUR: SATURDAY, MARCH 17

1. I see CPC Gangbangs again! Yeah!

2. I watch MSU lose to University of North Carolina. No!

3. I proceed to celebrate St. Paddy’s day and my last night at SXSW by drinking my weight in Shiner Bock. Kids, do not try this at home.

DAY FIVE: SUNDAY, MARCH 18

1. I sleep.

2. Immediately upon landing in my Michigan hometown for stage two of the journey, I check out this tasty article about me in The Grand Rapids Press. (Read the full transcript here.) You are one of the good people, Troy Reimick!

3. I sleep.

DAY SIX: MONDAY, MARCH 19

1. I meet the staff at the excellent Vertigo Records in Grand Rapids. I also buy Times New Viking’s Present the Pale Reich. Mind-blowing lo-fi album. Basically Pavement meets Guided By Voices meets Sleater-Kinney. Listen to them here.

2. I haul ass out to Muskegon, MI, to meet two ardent supporters in that cultural capital’s Barnes & Noble. A great time that could only have been made better if they could have pointed me in the direction of a Chili’s.

DAY SEVEN: TUESDAY, MARCH 20

1. Ah, Ann Arbor. I arrive at the Borders HQ completely unprepared for the reading and really just thinking about how much I’d be drinking at Ashley’s afterward. But somehow the event went okay. Thirty or so yukleheads show up (one of them Ann Arbor’s own Davy Rothbart), and I stumble through a story of how my friend Greg and I once went around Ann Arbor armed with two meatball subs from Subway and placed meatballs on the seats in my favorite bathrooms and took photos of the carnage for the Michigan yearbook.

2. I hit Ashley’s with some reading attendees, including a MySpace friend named Frank, who points out correctly that Jack White has pretty much taken over the career that Billy Squier used to have.

DAY EIGHT: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21

1. I read to a full house of 70 locals at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids. When no one offers up the crucial first question at the outset of the Q+A period, I badger my brother Mark to come up with one. He asks, “Where exactly in Grand Rapids did you grow up?” My answer: “What? You’re my brother! You know where I grew up! What a stupid question!”

DAY NINE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22

1. I finally fly home, sleep-deprived and desperate for a cup of Gorilla Coffee. I deem the mini-tour a “veni vedi vici” experience, but is it too much to ask for more groupies next time?

WHY I’M ANGRY TODAY
It took me two weeks to write this. And it’s raining.

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