Looking California, Feeling Soda City

Big news from the Young household, friends!

No, I'm not pregnant. But Shelley and I are taking a big step nonetheless.

Last week, I accepted a job in Los Angeles, as a copy chief at FOXSports.com. Very soon, the Left Coast will be our new home! And yes ... we'll be near the In-N-Out Burger.

My first day on the job is less than a month away. I'll be flying out of Columbia on Dec. 16.

We are by turns excited, overwhelmed and a little scared, just like after a viewing of "The Deathly Hallows." We can't wait to start this new adventure together.

But it will be an incredibly emotional uprooting for us. We've basically called South Carolina home our entire lives, and Columbia has grown on me like the prettiest rash you ever saw. Shelley--who cried at the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards and the finale of "Battlestar Galactica"--will add several feet to the Congaree River with her tears.

Still, Columbia (and Georgetown, Charleston, Irmo, Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island) will always be in our hearts, and we will be claiming our new digs in the name of the Tigers and the Gamecocks (my flag will be much bigger, of course).

I'm excited about the job, and I'm also excited about sharing the same area code again with Ronnie Cleland, my erstwhile drummer and longtime friend. In fact, I'll be crashing at his place the first week or so--just like old times. Except rent in Los Angeles is a little higher than it was in Olympia.

We'll also be sharing a time zone with James Touzel, Pete Johnson and many other S.C. friends who have headed west to find their fortunes. I can't wait to take a ride up the California coast to see them all.

In the meantime, Shelley and I will be renting our two homes, so if you know of anyone in need of a nice house in Rosewood or a spacious basement for band practice, do let us know. Also, anyone in need of a well-preserved pool table or a gently used Ford Ranger pickup?

This week also marks my final two rock shows in Columbia. I'm playing tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 24) at Delaney's, a bar so good to me over the years that I wish I could pack it up and take it with me.

And then I'm playing with The Open Fires for the last time (I won't say "ever") on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Art Bar, another venue of which I have many fond, if hazy, Jager-drenched memories. We'll open up for the mighty Magnetic Flowers. And friends, I can't think of a better way to go out than that.

I'm hoping to hang with each of you before I leave on Dec. 16. Shelley will remain in Columbia for a few weeks after that to take care of last-minute details before she leaves for good sometime in January. I know she'd love to see your friendly faces while I'm gone.

Just remember: You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't make him drink unsweetened iced tea.

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