Let’s go with 1998, shall we? What did you have going on during that year? Was it happy times… sad times… something in between? Please tell us about it in the comments. I’m sure some of you will make me feel like a broken down old sack and say something hurtful like, “I was in third grade.” For the record, I was 35 years old in 1998. And for some reason that terrifies me. Thirty-five is not exactly young, and it was a long time ago. So… connect the dots on that shit and you’ll get to the source of my concern.
In any case, we were living in California in this house:
It was in a town with two names: Canyon Country and Santa Clarita. Literally half of our mail was addressed to one, and the other half to the other. Is that not weird? Canyon Country sounded cooler to me, so that’s the one I used. The house was on a cul-de-sac and nearly everyone who lived there was involved in the entertainment industry in some way. There were a couple of construction guys who built sets on movie lots, a woman who was a professional shopper (if you can believe it) for doodads and accessories used on TV and movie sets, a writer for King of the Hill, and a full-time employee of Adam Sandler. Everybody had kids roughly the same age and they all played together, which was pretty cool. A couple of times per year we’d put road cones at the end of the street and have a big drunken block party.
That was the best part of the California adventure — our little neighborhood. However, there were problems there, too. For one thing it was always hotter than the devil’s peehole. Some days it would get up to 112 or 114. Insane! And there were all sorts of scary-ass creatures out there, like bizarre snakes and coyotes and prehistoric-looking birds that could swoop down and carry off a toddler or maybe even a Ford Festiva. Our garage was loaded with black widow spiders, and so were all the neighbors’ garages. I mean, WTF?? That’s far from ideal. But it was a neighborhood built in the high desert. What could go wrong?
Toney and I both worked in Burbank, at WEA Home Office:
I liked and admired the people I worked with, but the job wasn’t great. It was a giant music company, but we could’ve been selling umbrellas or light bulbs or underwear and wouldn’t have known the difference. When I worked for the same company at the Atlanta branch it was a party atmosphere, closer to what you’d think working for a record company would be. But home office? No. Just meeting after meeting after meeting. So freaking corporate… I didn’t care for it from the start. I liked the fact that the building was located directly across the street from the main gate of Warner Bros. Studio, and we had access. So we had lunch at the commissary many times. Or just walked around and checked things out. I encountered several celebs over there, including George Clooney, Drew Carey, and the entire cast of Friends. That was undeniably fun.
An interesting bit of trivia: My direct boss at WEA home office had previously been in a band that was very popular in New England, that opened for the Rolling Stones on their 1965 U.S. tour(!). He’s the one on the right in this picture. He was great, one of my favorite bosses. Check out this song they recorded in 1964. Pure awesomeness.
Also, Toney was pregnant for most of that year with our second kid. She was working on a plan to leave WEA and start an in-home daycare business, which required tons of preparation, insurance policies, background checks, etc. This was a way to stay at home with the two younglings, and still have some income. I had to undergo an FBI background check myself, and submit to fingerprinting and all that jazz. Our second son was born in November, and she ran that daycare until we left in early 2000. It was horrific. Our home was transformed into a sustained-cacophony diaper and booger hut. I don’t think the 2021 Jeff Kay could handle that level of noise and chaos. But, you do what you gotta do. Right?
Here’s a picture of our two boys, a couple o’ years later, out yachting. The 1998 boy is waving at you guys. Say hello.
What were you up to in 1998? I was under a lot of stress that year, and walked around with a sphincter so cinched-off you couldn’t have fed a straightened paper clip through it. But, we were on an adventure and the adventures are what make life worth living. What do you have on this one? Please tell us about it in the comments.
And I’m calling it a day, my friends. Have a great one.
I’ll be back soon.
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I’m in the same place I was then.
I was in England, enjoying a corporate job in a lab in a basement which meant during the week in winter I only saw daylight at lunchtime. Joyous.
1998 found me pretty close to the top of my game professionally. After working the previous three jobs in mostly the states of Maryland and Center City, Philly (it’s a state of mind), I was actually working in my hometown for a family-owned company that didn’t mind doling out a bonus or two along the way and actually invested in the tools of my department (IT infrastructure). Of course, this meant that it was downhill from there on, but nobody lives forever. (Three back surgeries and a bypass later I’d moved to a state of penury which doesn’t bother to have a capital nor an expense either).
In any case, I had a newish car, a pretty good collection of 20th century American detective fiction, a house in a neighborhood with nary a cul-de-sac, a fairly regular Saturday golf eightsome, and four braces of cats. Only the cats remain; really, just their DNA since time and generation have passed. None of my docs has me penciled into their five-year income plan, but I haven’t heard the referee counting yet, so I continue to be optimistic since the other choices are stupefying. One might as well sell long-deceased crab out of the back of a pickup truck beside the Governor Ritchie Highway. I might not make it into the late innings, but I’m not going to be struck out looking.
I had been divorced for a couple of years, and had just moved into the house where I now live. I was working an office job that was OK, but not awesome.
1998 found my wife and I planning our wedding, which took place in October. I was spending most of my free time at her apartment in Valencia, which just so happens to be across the Santa Clarita Valley from your place in Canyon Country. We were practically neighbors!
I knew Valencia well. One of our favorite restaurants was over there, a place called Sisley. That is until Toney got food poisoning from some shrimp she ate there. Even back then I was warning her about grazing from the ocean floor.
Sisley’s closed down a few years ago. Couldn’t compete with the Cheesecake Factory they built across the street.
BTW, the reason for the two names is that prior to ’87 the valley was made up of four individual cities. In ’87 they incorporated into a single city – Santa Clarita. Locals still use the original city names because it makes it easier to identify what portion of the valley where you live or work. No one outside of Southern California knows where Santa Clarita is, so it’s easier to say “North of Los Angeles” or even better, “near Six Flags Magic Mountain”. The last description even worked when we were talking to people while traveling in Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve worked mostly for independent companies, and I know how hard it is to compete with bigass corporate money, corporate advertising and corporate attorneys, but any restaurant that gets run out of town by the Cheesecake Factory had already purchased their one-way train ticket to palookaville. (Cf. Bus101)
Palookaville. Home of falafel-eatin’ assholes.
And I’d rather eat at the drive-thru than the Cheesecake Factory. “Anything you want as long as it’s chicken, aka America’s cheapest meat.”
Jerry in WV says
1998…..I was 35 years old, had two teenage daughters, and had recently moved into the house that I still live in. I was working for a large law firm with offices in several states. Jeff’s high school buddy, Bill, worked there and we had a blast. I had more fun than any other job I have ever had. I traveled quite a bit but didn’t mind it. I still travel quite a bit and have grown to hate it. Fridays at the firm were great. Occasionally, after lunch, we would empty soda cans and refill them with beer and make the afternoon a bit more enjoyable. Overall, a good year!
Good to hear! Yes, Bill makes everything more fun.
The Oak says
I was but an underling working for Jerry and with Bill during the summer and breaks, at other times going to school full time and running track. Good times all around.
I had just gotten married (October of 1997) and began working as a contractor for Big Blue. The marriage lasted, the job didn’t. Being newly married, I must say, 1998 was blissfully happy. My whole family was still alive back then, too.
I’m sure your boss was a nice guy, and the RamRods sound fine, but the song on their vid is a note for note redo of the Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” with two chords minored from late 1962 or early 1963. Lots of bands did that back then, including the Dave Clark Five who were accused of using chord charts from successful songs and changing the melody a note or two. This kind of shit seemed to peak in 1967 when the Stones wore those absurd getups on the cover of Their Satanic Majesties Request and tried to sound like they were on acid when they were mostly on heroin. You can almost hear the booth speaker saying, “OK, boys, try to sound like you’re in San Francisco.” If you ever need to know the meaning of the word “embarrassed”, just take a look at Charlie’s face on the cover of TSMR. He was stuck in a band of professional drug criminals with no viable financial escape hatch. Anyway, glad the RamRods made it into corporate America where mimicry is considered an asset; I would still take any RamRods song over any song being played on Rock radio today, terrestrial or orbital.
Have fun tonight! I want a full Rolling Stones Experience review, please! LOL! Honestly, I hope you enjoy it.
(damn, I’m jealous!)
I was 28. I’d been fired from a sales job for sucking at it and had started a new job that I was almost mediocre at.
I traveled around the the US from Chicago to Boston to Alabama and spent about 120 night a year in hotels. I’d go on to cash in a crap ton of hotel rewards points over the next few years, mostly on surround sound systems (I gave one to my brother and another to a cousin).
I had a little house where I kept a bed, an dresser I’d gotten in Kindergarten, a couch, a chair, and what was at the time a high end, super crisp 36” Sony tube TV and a DVD player.
That was pretty much the extent of my furnishings.
Late in the year I attended my 10 year high school reunion. I’d spent some time talking to a girl whose grandparents lived next door to me and who I hadn’t seen in a while.
We talked for a while and I asked her on a date. She accepted. The next week she came over and as we prepared to go out on the town she explained to me that it wasn’t a date because it would upset her boyfriend.
And let me be clear. The only expectations I had for the evening were a nice night out and a chance at a second date.
And if at the end of the night one of us had decided against a second date I would have been fine with that. Good luck and God speed.
But WTF! She springs this on me as I’m putting on my coat!?
I had purchased tickets to a Second City show and felt that I should just man up, be gracious, go through with the night and move on.
I managed two out of three.
After a very chaste handshake goodbye I was seething. I was pissed because I planned a first date, not a platonic one off where I’d spend some money on her and wish her well with her boyfriend.
At that point I was so fed up with dating that I instituted what would later be known locally as The Policy.
The terms of the Policy were simple: I would not pursue women nor would I accept pursuit from women (on the VERY, VERY, unlikely chance that were to happen) under any circumstances. Dating was completely off the table.
I joined the Little Rascals He Man Woman Haters club and became the editor of their newsletter.
The Policy lasted two years. Almost to the day. I’d say that ultimately the self enforced hiatus was a good idea.
It would be another five years before I met my wife but in terms of dating things were better after I suspended The Policy.
And that’s where I was in 1998.
For over 50 years, David Bromberg has been a top notch player on the guitar and about 10 other instruments, his voice has blessed a dozen or so albums, and his innovative but steady playing has been added to the sounds of frontmen on hundreds of albums. Today he is semi-retired, which means he’s only playing about 40 hours a week. I’m posting this because Mr. Bromberg didn’t die today: he, his electric guitar, his lovely voice, and his evolving band are still at it after all these years. When you have 11 minutes and a quality set of cans or buds, I guaran-fuckin-tee you’ll enjoy this song, which David wrote in 1971 and played on his 1972 album Demon in Disguise. The video is terrific as well if you have a reasonable monitor. Old men playing music.
Thanks for posting this while DB is still alive. Your first sentence, although nicely crafted, didn’t bode well. And it’s nice that he told me to drink my whisky at a moment when I had just poured it.
As always, Boone Debby Boone Debby Boone Debby Boone Debby &c.
Chill, David has written songs with George and Ringo, and played on a total of six of their albums, has written with and played on four John Prine albums, has toured with Jerry Jeff Walker (David was the one NOT in the drunk tank) and Bob Dylan, cut 19 of his own albums, and appeared on nearly 300 others. He has somehow stayed married to the same woman for 50 years and has never been known to have a drug or alcohol problem. So when David says, “Go ahead and drink your whisky”, you better be getting your lips in sippin’ position, or glugging position as the occasion warrants. It sounds like you were appropriately prepared. The Boy Scout training paid off.
Joe Gallo says
1998, huh? I moved from NJ to SF in 1996, met my future wife, E. Persimmon. You may not remember the name, but she reviewed zines for Zine World. 1998 was living in a studio apartment above a fucking wig store near the corner of Mission and 26th St. It was $910 a month, IIRC, and expensive at the time. I worked at a mom-n-pop video store. I turned 25 that October.