Archive for 2004-11

Mexico City

02004-11-18 @ 15:11

Friday night, right after the show ended and we packed up we were taken to the airport to fly to Mexico City. This time overweight and oversize charges came to $800. The plane left at twenty minutes to one on Saturday morning and we arrived in Mexico City at 6AM, which was 4AM Tijuana time.

I have heard that many airlines pay bonuses to pilots who use less fuel and was wondering whether that was the reason that the plane was so cold. I was shivering under two blankets and the battery of my digital camera discharged completely during the four hour flight.

Some of us were able to catch a couple of hours of sleep, but we must have looked like zombies when we arrived at the hotel. I was happy to notice that we were staying at the Camino Real Hotel, which is beautiful. It was designed by Ricardo Legorreta, who has had a very successful career designing houses in the style of Luis Barragan, who defined Mexican architecture in the last century. The hotel is very beautiful and you can find photos on Flickr.

I had been told that both the Auditorio Nacional and the Metropolitan Theater were booked all week and thus not available, and that the local promoter thought the Salon 21 was a good alternative. But I had reservations about the venue even before we left Santa Fe, and my suspicions came true when we arrived at Salon 21 for soundcheck. The P.A. was Mickey Mouse – see above photo – all treble and bass without any midrange – in other words without body, harsh and ugly. The venue might have been OK for our XL band, but in this converted warehouse any subtlety would get lost. The bass swirled around the hall and the echo seemed even louder than the original sound. While it was difficult to hear my guitar, Jon undoubtedly had the hardest job because the bass sounded horrible.

However, the show appeared sold-out as well and the audience was fantastic.

Hispano-American Guitar Festival

02004-11-18 @ 14:11

Thursday we flew from Albuquerque to San Diego. Overweight and oversize charges came to $50. We arrived in San Diego and met with representatives of the Hispano-American Guitar Festival who had brought vans to transport our gear to Tijuana. We checked into the hotel around 4PM. On Friday we saw the Cultural Center, which is beautiful, and had soundcheck, followed by lunch at the Euro Cafe, which was arranged by the promoter. We were told that our show had sold out in just four days.

While Jon and I had dinner at the hotel, the Cuban guitarist Ahmed Dickinson, who had performed in Tecate on Thursday, arrived at a table near us and pulled out a guitar to play several pieces for the folks at his table. We had a most enjoyable dinner listening to fabulous guitar playing. I feel that latin composers have breathed so much new life into the guitar during the last century. Just as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and others created the new latin novel, composers like Heitor Villa-Lobos, Astor Piazzola, Leo Brower and many others created a new and modern, yet unapologetically romantic style of guitar composition. I feel that these latin american composers have created the best music for guitar.

I was really looking forward to performing that night as the soundcheck showed me that the hall sounded beautiful and the equipment was adequate. But we had not played together in about a month and since I wanted to present an especially good performance I let myself get nervous right before the show and it took a while to let the adrenaline subside. I had that feeling of adrenaline in my system. It makes the fingers more unsure and inhibits the flow… But, as the adrenaline subsided I enjoyed the music more and more and the enthusiasm of the audience carried us.

A fabulous festival… I only wish I could have gone to Tijuana earlier to catch the guitarists Dusan Bogdanovic from Yugoslavia and American Eliot Fisk, who played a few days before we arrived. I highly recommend this festival for fans of the guitar.

NEW: RSS feed for tour dates

02004-11-18 @ 08:11

Paste this URL into your RSS reader:

Off to Mexico

02004-11-11 @ 07:11

Have I mentioned that I strongly dislike packing? I’ll be back with photos Monday evening or, more likely sometime on Tuesday. Hasta!

Oh, one more thing. Before you say that the Tango commuter car is too small to be safe, read this! I can’t believe how many people actually feel safer in those giant trucks. That feeling is based on some sort of strange projection. Bigger is safer? Heavier is safer? The Oak is stronger than the Bamboo? Ah, you are so wrong there. Bamboo trumps Oak. If you are going for a walk, do you wear steel-toe boots, just in case somebody drops a briefcase on your foot, or do you wear light, comfortable shoes? From my years as a bike messenger I know that small and agile mobility trumps large and slow and heavy anytime. You can’t catch me. I’ll run rings around you.

Anyway. Over and out ’till next week.

Commuter Cars

02004-11-10 @ 17:11

The red Tango prototype was just air reighted to England where Prodrive is helping develop the new Tango T600 for Production.
The Tango will be featured in the December issue of Wired magazine.

Prodrive are the people who created the race version of the Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello as well as the Subaru Impreza which won the World Rally Championship last year. How cool is that!

Starbucks – That video camera thing…

02004-11-10 @ 17:11

That video camera thing at Starbucks so got under my skin that I wrote them an email expressing my dismay. A few days later I get a reply asking me to call customer service at 1-800-23-LATTE. Soon I’m talking to a very nice woman in Seattle explaining how aggravating it is to be recorded buying a $4 dollar cup of coffee.

Ah, and then it gets good… check this out:

Ok Starbucks says the cameras are only for security. I smell bullshit. Here’s why:

1. The video system was installed by a company called C Video. That’s the company that supplied surveillance cameras at Superbowl XXXVII in Tampa. We all remember the reports on the news how they used facial recognition software to look for terrorists. Well are they doing the same thing at Starbucks? I don’t know. It is a possibility.
(Via Waiter Rant)

You can click on the title to read the rest of this Waiter Rant… Is our waiter dipping into the Sambuca too much, or might he be onto something? To be continued, I’m sure…

Commuter Cars

02004-11-10 @ 17:11

OK. Stop laughing. This is serious stuff. Come on, stop it. Wipe that smile off your face. No, we didn’t manipulate the photo and no, it didn’t shrink in the laundry. It may look kinda cute but the stats are outright amazing. Are you sitting down? Right. This little wonder accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in just 4 seconds. Oh yeah, and it maxes out at 150 mph (241 kph). These are not typos. Should you ever need to test this claim, you’ll be protected by a racing-certified roll cage and ballast for sticky cornering.

All from an emission free battery that takes only 3 hours to charge, while letting you have a range of 80 miles (129 km) per charge. If you thought the Honda Insight was economical, you’re in for a shock, ‘coz the Tango has a total cost per mile, that is approximately 30% lower. Parking? Simply nose or rear into the kerb and you’re done. Impressive huh? But bet you are still smirking. This could well be the future of commuting you’re grinning at. (oh yeh thats one of those weeny little SMART cars looking like a big ole Buick beside the Tango.)
::Tango [by WM]
(Via Treehugger.)

Wouldn’t it be fun to see ten of these racing through a city! I want one….

DVD Player Hack List

02004-11-10 @ 11:11

Searchable database of hacks that can make your DVD player region or code-free.
Thanks Jorge

Off to Mexico in the Morning

02004-11-10 @ 11:11

Tomorrow morning we will take off for Mexico. I will not take my laptop, but will bring my camera which contains a large 512MB memory card. We will return Monday evening.


02004-11-10 @ 09:11

The reason I have not mentioned the iPod2Car connector again is that it is still not installed in my car. Discovered that I need a Toyota adaptor to hook up the connector. The part is ordered and I have a new appointment next Tuesday to hook everything up… that is if I don’t decide to stay in Aguascalientes for the winter….

Tuesday Night

02004-11-09 @ 21:11

Tonight I played a couple of songs at a dinner in a restaurant in Santa Fe – unamplified. A different restaurant in the same building that I played guitar in about 18 years ago. What a trip to play there 18 years later… I played Snakecharmer and then a medley of Santa Fe and Heart Still/Beating. I remember playing a couple of hours, three nights a week there…

The reason I did not mention this little gig before is that it was a private party which rented the entire restaurant.

ICEkey – USB slim extended keyboard

02004-11-09 @ 13:11

Low profile Scissor keys reduces key stroke travel distances and eases pressure on your finger tips.

For the laptop generation. I prefer typing on my laptop to using a desktop keyboard. In fact i hate typing on a regular keyboard. OK, I should not use words like hate… but how about dislike strongly? This ICEkey keyboard is what I use in my studio. It feels good because it feels like my laptop.

Coming up on 1 1/2 hours

02004-11-09 @ 13:11

Music: hah!
Mood: left ear starting to hurt

It seems that the female journos ask the more fluffy questions so far. The first woman asked me to tell her about the meaning of each song, about the missing lyrics she says. That probably means she has not heard the album and probably knows nothing about me. I told her that the reason I make instrumental music is because I do not like lyrics…..

Now I am doing a style interview, to cover the more humane, eh, he means human side. What are you passionate about? Do you like to cook? Do you have a second home, like a beach house? This must be what it’s like to talk to People or US.

Coming up on two hours…

This last interview is the hardest. I have to leave some questions un-answered: What are your finest qualities, and your worst? I don’t know. Here comes the last question: What is your deepest desire? Well, that one is easy….

One hour and fifty minutes.

still: BMF – Beats Moving Furniture.

The end.


02004-11-09 @ 13:11

Music: none
Mood: hanging in there

I have been on the phone for over an hour, doing phone intereviews with Mexican newspapers and magazines. By now the translator can answer most questions himself. He wrote down the names of the guys in the band, he knows the instrumentation and more…

Now I am going to talk to a “very important and influential left-wing newspaper”, whatever that means. The first question is about traditional Flamenco and the concept of fusion.

I have done some press conferences in Mexico with simultaneous translation and that is very interesting. Like hearing a freaky echo of your voice… but worse. Hard to think while somebody else is talking. At first I kept stopping, but then everyone looks at you like you have lost your voice – or your mind… In any case it takes some getting used to.

Not one political question. The journo says he’ll come to the concert and is looking forward to it. I have probably met him before. Why have I still not learned Spanish? Damn! Jon was getting pretty good at it in 1996 and then he forgot everything again…

Henk Suitcase

02004-11-09 @ 11:11

henk_suitcase.jpg image
Forbes profiles the Henk suitcase—$20,000 of the finest luggage money can buy. Each unit is more than a simple bag, instead comprised of 500 different parts, fashioned from materials such as horse hair, magnesium, and carbon fiber. Twin wheels recess into the bag when not in use, and various levels on the top cause hidden compartments to open.

Since its unveiling in September, a total of zero have been sold.

The $20,000 Suitcase. Really. No kidding. [Forbes]
(Via Gizmodo.)

They built it and no one came!


02004-11-09 @ 10:11

Just venting: I bought some Whole Foods brand Basil Pesto last week. It contains parsley for crying out loud. Who would ever think that it’s a good idea, to mix the sublime Basil with the coarse Parsley. What a horrific combination! Disgusting. And they added lemon juice and walnuts and canola oil. Whole Foods does a lot of things right, but not Pesto. The only good pesto recipe is Marcella Hazan’s, and her cookbooks are great! We make big batches of pesto in the Summer (with Basil from the Farmer’s Market) following Hazan’s recipe and damn is it good! | The music industry

02004-11-09 @ 08:11

Nothing new, but good summation.

Hough Waves

02004-11-08 @ 14:11

Andreas Schjønhaug and Kristoffer Stenersen are Master of Science students at NTNU in Trondhelm, Norway who apply science to the making of art. Based on an algorithm created by Paul Hough in 1962, their Hough Waves are photographic prints that elegantly express symmetry and structure.
(Via Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting.)

Scientific American: Music and the Brain

02004-11-07 @ 15:11

Overall, findings to date indicate that music has a biological basis and that the brain has a functional organization for music. It seems fairly clear, even at this early stage of inquiry, that many brain regions participate in specific aspects of music processing, whether supporting perception (such as apprehending a melody) or evoking emotional reactions. Musicians appear to have additional specializations, particularly hyperdevelopment of some brain structures. These effects demonstrate that learning retunes the brain, increasing both the responses of individual cells and the number of cells that react strongly to sounds that become important to an individual.
Thanks Ole

I have long had the sense that music and human development have always gone hand in hand, that music in fact tunes the brain. I recommend reading the whole article as it is fascinating.

Festival Hispanoamericano de Guitarra

02004-11-06 @ 20:11

In Tijuana on the 12th:

Viernes 12
Musica / Alemania-EUA
Ottmar Liebert
$250.00 m.n.
$200.00 m.n


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