I went up north to look at houses today. This made for a long day. Also, I bought a nicer guitar, at The People's Music in Sebastopol. Not the $2300 Martin I really wanted, but a good copy of a Martin from 25 years ago. (I played a couple of the cheaper guitars and let myself be visibly unimpressed. The guy behind the counter, a big older black guy with dreads, smiled, pointed and said, "Try that one." Martin guitars are profoundly special instruments, and once you've tried out a few, you recognize their playability and ringing sound, because it talks to you through your fingers and vibrates in your bones--Martin guitars want to be played. My new guitar wants to be played.) I put new strings on it, and it seems to live up to its promise. No, it's not a Martin, but it's damn good for 1/4 to 1/8 the price.

I know, I know. But really, I submit that I could have come back from this trip proposing to spend a half million dollars on a house, and instead I just spent a few hundred dollars on a guitar, and so, when you balance everything out in the end, I actually saved money.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.