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So we’re ready to vacate the Yosemite Bug and its towering trees, to leave our cool mountains for the hot and dry San Joaquin environs. We’re not eager to enter the rural smog zone. In the last moments in our cabin on the ridge, Rob’s doing a Lyndon Johnson in the bathroom (there’s not much choice–only a curtain separates it from the bunks), as the two Paul’s chart out Richie Lawrence’s fiendishly complex simple songs for our show at The Palms tonight. Then we roll.

We drop down through the hills, the evergreens melt away, then the oaks, now we’re in agro fields, now we’re on the 99 north. Rob’s feeling an espresso in his immediate future. If we can find a Starbucks Rob will pull his scam: order an iced doppio espresso. When the drink is presented, casually ask for a bit of soy milk. This used to go smoothly but of late the reluctantly proffered soy milk carton comes with a warning: “We’re not supposed to give away soy milk for free.” Feign innocent surprise, pour the soy milk. Voila! The $1.85 iced au lait. Rob is doing his part to bring this over-entitled union busting behemoth to its knees. Are you?Whoa! Speak of the corporate devil! Starbucks sign to the right, beacon in desolation! We make exit 195, over the 99, we pull in to the Atwater Arco/Carls/ISC Tractor Supply/Starbucks empire, black asphalt sulking in hot sun. We’re in. Rob earns his soy doppio without incident. We blog. It’s air conditioned. Why leave? Why not stay till closing time, abandon responsibilities of gigs, career, musical friendships, challenges? Why not sit here and blog, surf the web, read our friends’ Facebook musings, post musings, musings upon musings, read friends musing comments, respond with further comments, engage in comment banter, check Yahoo, check CNN, read of the latest explosion, abduction, bankruptcy, back to Facebook, wow, more comments. Why can’t we all just hang out? Let’s give it a try. Here in Atwater on the 99 amidst hardworking farmers and their overworked fields we are taking a stand for Facebook. This is how we will survive. We will camp along the monolithic parking lot wall, enter at 6 a.m. when Starbucks opens its doors, bathe in the bathroom. We will earn money on the Starbucks internet. Are you with us, brothers and sisters?