Friday, May 29, 2009
So, Im back in Philly, and I want to run down the street through crazy markets with chickens running all over, and end in a triumphant rise up the art museum stairs.
But I forgot my running shoes.
And I have no idea where all that is from here. I am in the middle of the University of Pennsylvania with it's old and oldly cool built buildings. The convention is a radio convention, and I'm put up at the Hilton - this somewhat upper-end hotel with a $10/day internet charge (needlesstosay i'm typing from a cafe and not the hotel) and 2,000 pillows on the bed. So many pillows, in fact, you cant even sit on the bed without sitting on a pile of pillows. It took me nearly 15 minutes just to take them off before crawling in to sleep last night.
We hit the first panel consisting of Citizen Cope, Moby, and such. An interesting topic of whether or not radio matters anymore to an artist/ career. The highlight was certainly Moby calling the major record labels Sauron from the Lord of the Rings, and how nice it is to see them crumble like the evil tower does at the end of the movie. Fantastic!
From there it was lunch. I mentioned that before.
Then on to hear Cracker do a short set. Cracker was on the bill for the first show I ever went to. It was Spin Doctors, Gin Blossoms, and Cracker. So, I've been a fan for a bit, and they did a special version of Happy Birthday to Me for one of the radio personel.
After Cracker, was another panel. And then more music. Cory Chisel (mellow and dark - not my favourite). Then my friend Trevor Hall did a set to promote his self-titled upcoming CD (i think you should get it - July it comes out i think). And Serena Rider finished off the set. After that we had my set and then a break for dinner. After a wonderful networking evening and a great chat catching up with Trevor, it was back to the World Cafe for the evening wrap up party.
Then the morning came. And they had a much more vegan breakfast, indeed. Granola, Cheerios, Bananas, etc. Yum. The day has been moving by pretty quickly so far, after a set by Guy Sebastian (not bad - soul-ish. if you like jamie lydell, john legand - but not that much soul). His highlight by far was Steve Cropper coming out and playing on 3 songs. Steve was the guitarist and songwriter behind most of the Memphis soul/ Stax sound (Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, etc). Then the Derek Trucks Band came on, and jammed for a while.
And now Im here. Needing to go back in!
Interesting note: The World cafe Live has hummus and other good things on its menu, but for the Convention lunch, it serves all meat sandwiches. But I was able to get some honeydew melon and a few tomoato slices, so I'm actually pretty happy about that.
Went to a Mexican restaurant last night. Took about an hour to get a burrito after I ordered it. It was a fun time though, chatting and hanging with new friends and interesting folk. Had some good cavs discussions waiting for the food. And they were playing Nirvana over the MUZAK and had the StrongMan competition on TV... but the burrito finally came, and I swear it was the size of an airline pillow. Yes. It was ok. It was a veggie burrito, and the portabellas in it were pretty tastey.
Much more adventures coming today. will write soon!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Currently I'm reading Tom Friedman's new book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded".And so that my references are correct, Friedman didn't write this, but rather found it somewhere in the vast and wide Inter-web and used it as a way to introduce one of his chapters.
"A recent study found the average American golfer walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found American golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, American golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon. Kind of makes you proud."
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
However recently I've been wondering if turning 30 is the same as having a car turn 100,000 miles.
Usually the rolling over of a odometer to 100K means a few things.
1. You're only 11,111 miles away from 1's across the board. It's an awesome goal that takes forever to get there and is over in 60 seconds (that is if you're driving the appropriate speed on the highway)
2. A perfectly good car will start to behave erratically. At 99,999 you might be thinking that everything is running smoothly, 200K will be no problem, and you can count the money you're saving by not buying a new car or fixing an old car. However, within the next 15,000 miles watch out. It's easy to rationalize the simple things that everyone agrees a car needs (i.e. good brakes, a working clutch, tires, fuel pump, fan belt, shocks/struts) and the fun things are easily rationalized as summer approahces (i.e. a/c). However I'm amazed how quickly these "little" and "necessary" things add up when you take stock of your monthly and yearly car bills. With our short attention spans we forget that we just spent 300.00 on a different fix a few weeks back. And before you know it, you've spent enough money on fixes that could have been used on that new car you've been eyeing (and one the government and automakers are begging you to buy).
So how does this relate to turning 30...
1. Well turning 100K with 111,111 looming is oddly similar to the fact that 40 is only a digit away. For the next 10 years I'm going to have to hear and feel the buildup toward this wacky age filled with parties aimed at humiliation and consumerism beating the drum to make a much too big purchase all under the guise of being "over the hill" and having a mid-life crisis. Plus, like a car, 222,222 K or 80 years old should be attainable. But lets not get our hopes up (side note: I'm writing this as Erin's grandma just celebrated her 97th birthday yesterday and is probably aiming to go on another zany trip around the world soon. She didn't take her first plane ride until 90 but in the last 7 years she's been to Italy, Germany, Ireland, Canada, and Jerusalem. All for multiple weeks each time and in all times she was the first one up and the last one of the group to go to bed. She ran circles around everyone in the parties she traveled with. An amazing individual. My grandmas are amazing individuals but that's a time for another blog)
2. Much like cars that seem to be running great break down after turning over 100K, I'm feeling the same way. Prior to the last few months, I was on a 5 year cycle for seeing doctors. It's not that I don't like doctors or feel out of place in the medical setting. It's just that I was never sick. Ibuprofen and my season allergy medication was pretty much all I needed to handle all medical emergencies in my life. However in the last few months, I've been to more doctors offices than I've been in the last 10 years. I've been to opthamalogists (twice), general doctor (twice), and a dermatologist (once). All have been related (horrible allergies, strep throat, and allergic response to amoxicilin for said strep throat), all have been necessary, but is it coincidence that they're all happening as 30 is getting ready to rear it's head. I don't think so.
Unfortunately in my case, I can't trade myself in for a newer model. I'll just have to take out a bigger HSA/FSA next year and load up on the icy-hot.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Stevie Rays was a cool place and a good show. Justin Lewis is a cool songwriter worth checking out (http://www.myspace.com/justinpaullewis). The next morning, we made it to the continental breakfast at the Quality inn. Not for food really. I was in seach of some juice. Which they had. So i stood by the counter area with the muffins and waffles, etc drinking my juice and Jen her coffee. No one was around us, no one was looking to return to the food. Yet, a lady who worked there came roaring up to us saying "I cant let you stand there and eat. You have to sit down. You cant stand there." I had no idea there were rules of sitting while eating in Quality inns in Kentucky!
Blue Mountain Coffee and Wine Bar. A cool place. There was a little aquarium around the bar. And a wonderful crowd that night as well! (Thanks John!) Many new faces, many familiar faces, and many less CDs and t shirts to take home! After the show we went to John's building and shot billiards for a bit (something i have not done a little while).
Louisville is great beauce it has so many cool vintage and thrift shops. This one in particular had an old stero with these two knobs as the only adjustments. I want to add this category to my amp! "Yes, i need more loudness!" "Hmm. I think the loudness is a bit soft, yes?" I did get an awesome new hat. It has a feather in it. Oh yes!
Heaven. ie Ramsis. Mmmm. Ramsis is the greatest restaurant in the world. Ever! I am certain, and not exaggerating at all. Their Parmesean Seitan panini is so fabulous, I am drolling uncontrolably right now. And they have Plantains!!! Plus, we tried their Roasted Veggie Panini, which was pretty equally good! Food is a huge reason i love Louisville! Besides Ramsis, there is 3rd Ave Cafe, which has so mnay good dishes including a Vegan Reuban, cheese grits (yes you heard me!), and mashed sweet potatoes. And there is Zen Garden, an amazing asian-style place with great vegan options. I cant forget Rays' Monkey House, a coffee shop that offers the best vegan cookies i mave ever had, and a grilled cheese and avacado sandwich! Mmm! Plus, their brewery, Cumberland Brews, has Great Lakes Brewery beers (weird) and Meade on tap! There is a place called Swan Dive, which looks amazing and offers Breakfast all day! (However they didn't open until 5pm, and are closed on Tuesdays, so not sure how that works... next time though).
Happy to be in the sunshine. So, for my birthday John's friend made me vegan birthday cupcakes! They were so good! Check them out (and my joy, and my hat! - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716193261&ref=profile#/photo.php?pid=1911476&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=716193261&id=639643449).
Louisville rocks cause it has things like this on it's streets. It's benches and bike racks are all kinda interesting. This is a dragon, possibly. Though not with a big beefy arm (trogdoooor!). Anyway, too much fun! can't wait to go back and rock out the Weird City!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
But at the moment I'm just basking in the experience of this morning, the sunshine, the music, the coffee, the zen of driving in to work.
I have been listening to the new Wilco CD (it's not out yet, but they've made it available to everyone on their website and someone must have ripped a copy off of that). But that's really not important right now.
I've listened to it probably 4-5 times all the way through already. But it seems to me, at this moment, that all of those times were getting me ready for this morning.
Ever since I woke up this morning I feel like I've been given the opportunity to take a step back and watch life as it happens. Not to actively take part, but to take in everything, process it, and come to a greater appreciation. Sure I've done a bunch of actions since this morning. I've showered, brushed my teeth, changed Oliver's diaper, drove into work. Heck I'm even typing right now. But it seems to that a spell has been cast and I'm just a witness.
I normally listen to NPR in the morning to catch up on world events and/or listen to some lively debate and discussion on interesting topics. Occasionally I listen to sports talk in the morning, but with the Cavs loss last night that wasn't an option.
However, this morning, I listened to the Wilco album. From the time I pulled out of Starbucks to the time I pulled into my parking spot at work the album played from start to finish. No extra time, no waiting in the car to hear the last two songs. It seems like all of the traffic that I had to deal with this morning was there to allow me to finish the album. The music took me over. Every note, every line, captivated me and became the sountrack to my experience of everything else I was taking in. Nothing on the drive looked any different than it normally does. I didn't take any different route. There was nothing new for me to see. No accidents or anything out of the ordinary. Everything was the same. But it wasn't.
I liken it to a concept Stephen King had in one of his books (I think it was Insomnia). In that book, he likened our spirits/souls to little balloons that hover over all of us. When someone dies the balloon is cut and the spirit leaves the person (that might not be exactly as it is in the book because my mind may have had some revisionist history on what i remember).
On my drive in I got to hang out in the balloon.
Right now I know that when I have a conversation, when I talk, the spell will be snapped and I'll travel right back down the string.
I've felt this way before and I'm sure I'll feel it again. It might not be triggered by the Wilco album again, maybe it will be triggered by a great Phish jam or a random song on my iPod. All I know is that music is the trigger and that when it happens I want the feeling to last as long as possible.
A few years ago, my previous band, Caribou Foot, recorded an album down in Nashville (copies are still available to anyone who'd like one). One of our songs, Dirt Nap, tried to bottle up a moment like this. We tried to record an album in one weekend which is a pretty tall task. At the end of the first night, after we've been playing for 12+hours, after we drank most of the beer in the fridge, after we were all on our 3rd and 4th wind we recorded this song. It was done live like the rest of the songs. However the recording of this is one of the few recordings I've done where I've been able to capture how I feel right now. A song where you can get caught up in the music, get sucked in, and for however long you're listening you get to float up in your balloon and watch life for awhile.
There's plenty of other songs I think that can do this. Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" can , the Decemberists "I was Meant for the Stage" has done this too. However to take part you need to be willing, to relax your mind and get lost in the music.
And once you're there the view is great.
BTW - Firestone "Stone Stock" 5/22/09 gig canceled, circumstances beyond our control.
...switching gears...we want to hear from YOU. We need your feedback to make this successful, so I'm posing a few questions here.
FAN BLOG CONTEST #1
1. Do you have the new Zach album What I Meant To Say?
2. If so, what's your favorite track and why?
Today's the 21st. The 21st unique person to comment with answers to the above questions WINS A LIMITED EDITION ZACH MERCH PRIZE.
...go ahead, we'll wait here...
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Dianne Millirons from the Just Love to Sing Gospel Singers stopped by, lending her voice to the singers in the crowd!
Hope to see y'all this week!