Archive for 2006-07


02006-07-31 @ 21:07

PingMag – The Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things”: Portable Chopstick Designs
Statistically about 30% of the population on the planet now use them. I think chopsticks are a great invention to pick up even the smallest bits of food, to divide bigger into smaller pieces and – what many say here in Japan – the food actually tastes better with non-metallic cutlery! Sometimes I use them even for eating pasta…

All about chopsticks. How much metal is in our system because we eat with cutlery? Silver might be good for you, stainless steel should be harmless, but what about different alloys?

Offsetting is easy

02006-07-31 @ 17:07

I just went to and offset the carbon from all of our business flights this year. The total came to about 270,000 miles – it adds up quickly when you have 8 people traveling.

Bluetooth does not equal Bluetooth

02006-07-31 @ 12:07

When I first bought my Palm Treo 650 a couple of years ago its bluetooth interacted flawlessly with my Toyota Prius’ bluetooth. I was able to take calls and end calls by pushing a button on the steering wheel with the audio coming through the stereo’s speakers even if the radio/CD player was turned off, and a microphone in the ceiling picking up my voice. After I updated the Treo software to 1.16 (?) last year my car could not hook up with the phone. I contacted Palm and they claimed it would have to be a Toyota problem because their bluetooth implementation was correct and their update had nothing to do with the connection problems. Curious then, that the bluetooth connection to my Prius works once again after the latest Treo software update to 1.20.

Post-Industrial Age?

02006-07-31 @ 09:07

Can 30% of us drag the rest into the post-industrial age?
‘Post-materialism is an economic philosophy that emphasizes quality of life and environmental sustainability issues instead of earning income and material possessions.’
(Via Click opera)

Momus looks at Post-Materialists, Culture-Creatives and others…

Santa Fe Sunday

02006-07-31 @ 09:07

I arrive home at 1:30AM on Sunday Morning. We hired a van to drive us tired lot from Albuquerque airport to Santa Fe and the driver almost take out the piñon in the middle of my driveway. I almost offer to turn the van around for him, but he manages in the end.

The ground is wet and everything looks Santa Fe-lush, which is not Hawaii-lush or Seattle-lush, but a wonderful sight in any case. Some locals claim that if the Santa Fe Monsoon lasts into August we will have a good Winter ahead of us – meaning we will get a good amount of snow.

I was dead tired on the plane from LAX, but now I am home and the tiredness has evaporated. I stay up until almost 5AM. A few hours of sleep and up again at 9AM.

28. July Friday

02006-07-30 @ 04:07

I leave the hotel around 7:20AM to go to Cafe Sierra on Lorna Street where I have a delightful strong latte (two shots of espresso). At 8:00AM I get picked up at the hotel and taken to a TV station. After getting the gloss of my facial skin expertly reduced and before the TV interview starts I conduct a brief phone interview with a radio station in Wellington using the NZ tour manager’s mobile phone. I am asked Why Flamenco and use the opportunity to mention the history of Flamenco, the Oud, Rahim AlHaj and our ListeningLounge…

The TV interview that follows also gives me the opportunity to mention the ListeningLounge and the upcoming One Guitar CD. Then back to the hotel and on shuttle busses with everyone else to the airport to fly to Wellington where we will play the last concert of this tour. Tomorrow we fly home: Wellington-Auckland-Los Angeles-Albuquerque… I might sleep for three days until we leave on Thursday for the concert in Colorado. Ah, we will travel on the bus again – how wonderful.
St. James Opear House Wellington - 4
The St. James Opera house in Wellington has great character. It is a building from the 1920s which has a stage that is slightly tilted towards the audience. For a brief time theater designers thought it clever to tilt stages so that the audience might be able to see the actors’ feet… but it was impossible and even dangerous for any dancers of course and the practice was soon dropped. I remember the feeling of pitching forward in my chair all night… 1996 we performed here I believe.
St. James Opear House Wellington - 4

Everyone is very tired, but the performance turns out well. Afterwards I sign in the lobby. A Russian brings 10 CD booklets and the DVD for me to sign and tells me that we have fans in Moscow. A young Austrian tells me he is visiting from Vienna where he attends the Music school. There are even recently immigrated Mexicans in the audience.

27. July Thursday

02006-07-30 @ 03:07

New Zealand Air allowed me to carry my guitar into the cabin and stow it on the flights from L.A. to Auckland and again from Auckland to Melbourne, but unfortunately I may not do that on the flight from Perth to Auckland – even though there is plenty of space. We have been talking about a February/March 2008 return to Australia and New Zealand to do solo performances, and I will have to research how I can protect my guitar more during the flights. I have not had any trouble flying with my guitar in the USA since I switched to the Accord case and maybe there is hope that Quantas and NZA will become more sensible in time. BTW, Quantas employees told me that they do allow guitars in softbags into the cabin, but apparently NZA does not have the same rule since this morning I saw (and heard) a NZA baggage handler bring the guitar of a fellow traveler, which was in a softbag and had been denied the cabin, to the baggage claim area. He dropped it on the floor with a thud that spoke of wood hitting stone…

Our flight arrives in Auckland at 6:10AM local time which feels like 2:10AM Perth time to us… After the carnets are signed by customs we leave for the hotel and watch the sun rise.
Sunrise Arrival in Auckland - 1
Check out THIS Internet access rip-off in the CityLife Hotel in Auckland. I would reach 50MB by uploading just 15-20 photos to Flickr. But, I am told that internet access is not really expensive here and that people pay about the same for broadband in their homes and we do in the States. It’s just the hotels that charge unbelievable sums.

Jon and I have a wonderful lunch at Mezza (?) on Durham Street. In fact I enjoy it so much that I return for dinner – nice caipirinha, too!

Tonight’s performance is in Auckland’s Town Hall, which has a lovely organ and room for a large choir – hence the steps behind the stage:
Townhall Auckland - 2
After the performance I sign again and meet a young couple from Iraq who tell me that we have fans there.

26. July Wednesday

02006-07-30 @ 03:07

Australian newspapers report today that Japan slaughtered 1,092 whales in the past arctic summer, including 226 pregnant ones. Many were killed while nursing baby whales, which were often left to die on their own. Not very clever, is it, killing the next generation as well? This must be stopped at once. Japan claims they kill whales for scientific research, but this is not killing a handful of animals. 1,092 is an unacceptable number and we all should be ashamed for allowing it to happen! Please leave any info you might have about organizations that effectively fight the Japanese whaling industry in the comments. Note: anyone can comment, but comments will only show up once approved, which can sometimes take a day or two.

About the loss of a species Gary Snyder writes in The Practice of the Wild:

The extinction of a species, each one a pilgrim of four billion years of evolution, is an irreversible loss. The ending of the lines of so many creatures with whom we have traveled this far is an occasion of profound sorrow and grief. Death can be accepted and to some degree transformed. But the loss of lineages and all their future young is not something to accept. It must be rigorously and intelligently resisted.

And later he writes:

Hundreds of million years might elapse before the equivalent of a whale or an elephant is seen again, if ever. The scale of loss is beyond any measure the planet has ever known. “Death is one thing, an end to birth is something else”

In the morning: walk across the bridge to a park that has a handful of Western Gray Roos.
Just as we get to the park, rangers arrive to feed the animals and invite us to join them. When moving slowly the kangaroo actually uses the tail like a third leg and lifts itself forward. Very useful appendage.

Next we walk into the city centre and have a late breakfast.

I like THIS sign and THIS is funny, too.

Five PM lobby call. We will fly to Auckland overnight and will arrive there Thursday morning. That evening we will perform in Auckland.

International Fund for Animal Welfare has THIS on whaling.
Greenpeace Save the Whales.
Whaleman: Stop Japanese Whaling.

25. July Tuesday

02006-07-30 @ 03:07

We have a show at the Burswood Theatre in Perth.
Beautiful venue and audience. We make more changes to the second half of the concert and start with This Year Release 10,000 Butterflies (solo), followed by Jon’s Northbound from Transit 2 and Stephen’s Thira, which is the title track of his upcoming CD. After the concert: meet and sign in the lobby. A couple of people separately express how much my music helped them while they were in a hospital with heart surgery and after a car accident. This means a lot to me. Critical praise is nice, but what’s better than being able to lift a person’s spirit!

24. July Monday

02006-07-30 @ 03:07

Travel day: flight from Adelaide to Perth. This time I can’t even hand-carry my guitar to the gate and when I see the case again in Perth it is dripping wet. Luckily the guitar is well protected and dry. To me it says a lot when people don’t care about musical instruments. Jon thinks musicians should be able to receive a formal exception when on the way to a performance or audition. We should be able to place anything that fits in the overhead compartment or the closet.

22. July Saturday

02006-07-30 @ 03:07

State Theatre on Market Street in Sydney. Amazing venue, built in 1929.
It is cold, a record Winter for Sydney, and the theater has no heat… But we have a great time and perform Jon’s piece Northbound, from Transit 2, for the first time.
Tetsuya says hello afterwards, before I have to leave for the signing. He enjoyed the performance and toys with the idea of flying to Perth to see another concert. Before he leaves we talk about two ideas for my next visit to Australia: I want to play guitar at his restaurant for a special dinner and we want to visit Tasmania together, a place he likes very much.


02006-07-30 @ 02:07

Anna Says:
Ottmar thank you! 0509021910 is a masterpiece, it moved me to tears.
Will it appear on any of the future recordings? And I loved Untitled Rumba.

Thank you Anna. THIS post explains what is happening with that piece.

21. July Friday

02006-07-30 @ 02:07

Club Marconi in Sydney. Interesting place.
Club Marconi Venue/Seating - 1

Start of the second Solo tour

02006-07-25 @ 09:07

I will start with six shows at the legendary Blue Note club in Manhattan on November 27th, 28th and 29th. There will be two shows each night at 8:00PM and 10:30PM.

Sunday 23. July

02006-07-24 @ 23:07

Early flight from Sydney to Adelaide. Unlike the Quantas flight from Melbourne to Canberra the Sydney Quantas ground person does not allow me to carry the guitar onto the plane, even though there is plenty of room in the overhead storage units.

“You can’t carry that guitar. Softcases only!”

“This case is no larger than any softcase.”

“Rules are rules.”

“The Quantas person in Melbourne let me carry it on.”

“Give me the guitar or stay here.”

Yes, I remember that sentiment from history class. We all know what happens when people follow rules rather than thinking for themselves. Mountains and Rivers are destroyed, but the State survives.

HERE are some photos of the case. All of those marks were made by the Quantas baggage handlers in Sydney or Adelaide.

Thursday 20. July

02006-07-24 @ 21:07

Drive to Newcastle. After the show there we will return to Sydney for the night.
Civic Theatre Newcastle - 3
The ceiling of the Civic Theatre.

Lunch at the restaurant next to the venue, then coffee across the square.
Dave in Café
The café has photos from New Mexico and Arizona on the wall and a little shrine to TV

During soundcheck we discover that the Motu’s fuse has been blown. The Motu is used to convert the digital signal from the softsynths on Jon’s laptop to an analog signal that goes out to the mixing console. We prefer the sound of the softsynth as opposed to a regular synthesizer. A replacement is found in Newcastle and the Motu comes to life again.

Wednesday 19. July

02006-07-24 @ 02:07

It rains off and on all day. I take a brisk long walk to get my body going after drinking more than usual last night. I find a place with Aboriginal paintings, Gallery Savah in Paddington. Beautiful, abstract, encoded, map-like, Landkarten, hidden but not secret communications, stories…

Internet access sucks so far. The Grace Hotel in Sydney is in a nice location, but has an awful policy: $3.95 for the connection (per 24 hours) and then 1 cent per 1KB with a cap at 100MB and $25… but it means that if I upload a bunch of photos, the connection times out after reaching 100MB – after a couple of hours or less… Then I tried a cafe with free WiFi access – the coffee was great, but the connection very slow even though I seemed to be the only person in the cafe with a laptop… The situation at the hotel in Melbourne was better – free WiFi in every room, but again I had a totally crappy connection. The next day I heard that some of us had better luck but it was not consistent.

Tuesday 18. July

02006-07-24 @ 02:07

7:30PM reservation at Tetsuya’s. Someone tells me the restaurant is quite near the hotel and we could easily walk. It starts raining cats and dogs about one block into the walk and we discover that it is actually six or seven blocks away. All taxis are taken already and although we try to stay under awnings we arrive soaking wet.

We are seated at a table with a view of the Japanese garden in the atrium.
Garden - Tetsuya's
A glass of 1980 champagne welcomes us…

We declare that we have all the time in the world tonight and that we would like whatever Tetsuya wants to make and yes, could he select the wines as I know very little about Aussie wines and he is a master at selecting the perfect wine with each course… in fact some the wineries make special Tetsuya-labelled wines for him…

The first dish is served in an espresso cup and contains a puree of sweet potato with a little feta cheese and arrugula… I give it one stir with the tiny spoon and drink it down in a few sips… wow! My taste-buds are waking up and I am saying to them “I told you!”…

We leave the restaurant at midnight… after four and a half hours and an unforgettable meal. An amazing symphony of flavors. Tets is a genius.

The Practice of the Wild

02006-07-24 @ 02:07

The State is destroyed, but the mountains and rivers survive
Du Fu (712-777)

The mountains and rivers are destroyed, but the State survives.
Nanao Sakaki (Born 1923)

Cycle Commuting in Sydney

02006-07-17 @ 19:07

Treehugger: Cycle Commuting, Bike Buses and SUV accidents
The Sydney Morning Herald ran stories this weekend just past, regarding the rise in cycle commuting as a reaction to the rise the oil prices. One of the city’s bicycle stores reckoned on a 20-25% in sales of bikes, and had also observed a greater number on pedal pushers on commuting routing into the central business district. The City of Sydney had earlier this year completed its own research which gave credence to such anecdotal observations. Cycle traffic across two major bridges into the city had increased five and sixfold in recent years.

Read on for the whole story.


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