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Wednesday brought us to our now familiar haunt, in what most would describe as Berkeley but is in fact Emeryville: Strings, a secret concert house that forbids bands to advertise or tell where it is. An oasis on decaying San Pablo (oops, almost gave it away!) with a Japanese-style garden designed with secret nooks, secret hot tubs, and delicate shrines, big Persian carpets on walls and floors, and lots of wood weathered by years of Bay fog, rain, and sun. Our kind host Joey opened the show with his unique guitar instrumentalizing. Richie Lawrence, in from Sacramento, added his tunes and tunefulness, a fourth unofficial Hawk in the middle of our tourette, and a mellow night of music was had by all. It’s a real trip to play at Strings — a trip back in time (or is it sideways?) to a reality that could’ve come to be on a much larger scale if the hippies had won. A bearded man wearing a big smile comes up to the merch table to tell us he got all our records for free, only paying the 40 cent cost of the blank CDR. Wow. File sharing has hit the flower children.

We bid farewell to our fine friends at Strings and head back out into the harsh, impersonal world of triumphant 21st century capitalism. But it’s not all harsh. We use Richie’s iPhone to locate the nearest Nation’s hamburgers — an East Bay chain of 24 hour burger and pie stands that delivers on every level. The shakes are thick and malty, the burgers are piled high with cheese and onions and mayo. They fall apart before you can finish them. They even offers a delicious salmon burger to which PL grants an enthusiastic seal of approval. We are happy, full, and sleepy. Next stop, bed in Tiburon.