Archive for 2010-11


02010-11-30 @ 12:11

View of Union Square from hotel window:

Morning Light:

Geranium blossoms:

Here is a photo from Y.’s Flickr set of photos from Sunday’s performance

Deep Thought for Tuesday:

Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.
– Terry Pratchett


02010-11-28 @ 14:11

This a a repeat from last year:

Here is another re-mixed LAVA track:

Audio MP3

You can download the 320kbps mp3 here.
Download the 24/48k FLAC here.

Sunday in San Francisco

02010-11-28 @ 14:11

Downloaded Keynote for iPad and will buy the Apple dock-connector-to-VGA-adaptor thingamajig to experiment with using my iPad to project the slideshow for my solo concerts. Would be nice not to have to travel with my laptop at times. Keynote for iPad is ten bucks and the adaptor another thirty, so I am not taking a huge risk. I don’t think I will actually put together the slideshow on the iPad, I will only use it for playback.

The setup at Anthology in San Diego on Wednesday was brilliant! Huge screen behind and above me. Both shows sold out, lovely audience, good food. What could be finer!

I love the challenge of playing solo.

Traveling on Thanksgiving was easier than expected – we flew from San Diego to the Bay Area. Once we arrived at our destination and checked into the hotel Jon and I walked around for an hour but could not find a restaurant in walking distance and settled for a Thanksgiving room service meal. No, it wasn’t Thanksgiving-themed and a choice of Thanksgiving foods was not offered.

In the evening the Anzu restaurant in the Nikko had a buffet, but I don’t care how little or how much a restaurant charges for a buffet – $65 per person at the Anzu on Thursday – a buffet is not on my list of acceptable food sources. I had a list of restaurant suggestions from friends, but for some reason I don’t want fancy on Thanksgiving… I feel it should be home-made or really simple.

I gave one concert at the Rrazz Room on Friday and two yesterday. Really enjoyed Friday, but yesterday they, meaning somebody at the Rrazz, had turned up the AC in the club and vent in the ceiling, above the stage, blew cold air right on my neck. That was unpleasant and made me feel cold. Playing guitar with cold fingers is not fun. It makes hands feel brittle, as if a finger could snap apart at any time. Tonight I will wear a hoodie…

Before the start of Friday’s Rrazz Room performance, their publicist asked Jon for a copy of the setlist, supposedly for a journalist who came to the concert. She could not wrap her mind around the fact that I don’t have one. Jon explained my M.O. and promised to send her an email with the setlist after the show.

It seems that most clubs now have their own in house 24/7 publicists, in part to obtain write-ups for the artists the club engages, but also to create fodder for the social media scene, Facebook and Twitter etc. Their other job is rather unenviable, as they have to police those social media sites as well as websites like the awful Yelp, to defend the club against malicious attacks from malcontented patrons. Nowadays it is easier than ever to smear a club or restaurant, just because they didn’t provide ketchup for your well-done filet mignon, or the food didn’t come out as fast or as hot as you hoped.

The audiences have been very nice for all of these solo performances – in Manhattan, San Diego and now San Francisco. I am quite happy (impressed even?) that people can pay attention (more or less) to solo guitar playing for 75 to 90 minutes. I haven’t noticed any flash photography, but at the Blue Note there was a young man (Adam, somebody took your place!) at the table closest to the stage who could not stop video recording my performance with his cell phone. If it turns up on YouTube, you don’t need to bother listening because I was struggling with tuning for most of that show.

Speaking of tuning, I was very happy to re-discover the regular Pro Arte Composite Normal Tension set, as the strings stay in tune beautifully and do not develop ridges from my right hand’s nails as the Titanium Trebles do. Forget the Titaniums, they are for those nail-less and sweater-wearing classical guitarists. If real men don’t eat quiche (I love it and had quiche at Café Bastille for lunch just yesterday), real men certainly don’t use Titanium Trebles. They are far too sensitive to temperature, humidity and abuse by nails.

Tonight’s guestlist: three names that end with an “o”. I will meet one of them for coffee and a long chat this afternoon.

My plans for the next two weeks contain a percussion session with the awesome Robby Rothschild, for the new incarnation of The Santa Fe Sessions. I am contemplating an exclusive licensing deal with the company we did Spanish Sun with, perhaps under the title Santa Fe. I will also work on the website with Canton. The non-flash version of the homepage must be designed and updated. I am also considering removing the Diary, and perhaps several other areas, from public view. Most likely I will keep the Diary as strictly a news page and will move all of the old posts behind a separate login or over to this Journal.

The following week I will do a personal retreat, starting on December 7th and ending on the 10th. For those four days I will disconnect all phones, shut down the computers, and spend the time mostly in meditation and doing various exercises. I drafted a time-table because I think a schedule is rather important for a retreat. I don’t want to think about what to do next, but rather follow a well thought-out plan. I think four days of brown rice mixed with lentils is called for. Perhaps Ochazuke (rice drowned in green tea with various stuff on top, e.g. pickled vegetables, green onion, rice cracker, sesame seeds, wasabi, seaweed etc.) for breakfast and with kale or spinach for lunch and dinner. Simple, healthy, easy, and quick to make. No coffee or wine, but plenty of water and green tea. I will probably post something between now and the 7th, and should resume posting on Monday the thirteenth.

Observations about Rio
Very astute, methinks.

Polar Bear Art (photo)

Hongkong Capitalism (photo)
Does capitalism (maybe I should say the variety I would call rabid capitalism) work, or will it turn our culture into Snowcrash-like corporate mini states? Is the way forward to be found in the middle (Buddhas Middle Way contains this beautiful image: the Buddha realized the meaning of the Middle Way when he sat by a river and heard a lute player in a passing boat and understood that the lute string must be tuned neither too tight nor too loose to produce a harmonious sound…), perhaps located somewhere between the social approach of the Scandinavian countries and the runaway capitalism of many Western countries?

By the way, I had never experienced “Black Friday” before, and found the atmosphere here in downtown San Francisco quite shocking. Blood dropped into a tank of piranhas came to mind. I stayed away and walked a couple of miles to Union Made, which is a lovely small store on a quiet little street between the Mission and Castro neighborhoods in San Francisco. They present fine quality men’s goods from a bunch of different brands (i.e. good curating), which include Raleigh Denim jeans. I found a wool cap/beanie to replace the one I lost somewhere between the airport and the hotel on Thursday.

While I waited for the store to open, I enjoyed Russian tea in a teahouse called Samovar. A strong pot of tea, which is slightly smokey in flavor, is brewed and placed on top of the samovar (link to explanation), which keeps it hot. The valve on the front of the machine can be used to pour hot water into the tea cup to dilute it to one’s preference. I asked for a slice of lemon, because I got used to drinking Russian tea this way on the Paris-Moscow Express and the Trans-Siberian Express. Chai s limonom – tea with lemon.

A Trevor Stone reflects on William Gibson reflecting on Orwell
I guess this link fits in… more on corporate states.

music = scent
I like the quote on neobohemia.

Google – FAIL
Good article in the New York Times. For many reasons I would like to find a different search engine. Please make suggestions in the comments. No, not Bing either.

Maybe this is a good symbol for this first decade of the 21st century

Met Bryan Ferry last night. Know what’s cooler than meeting Bryan Ferry? Being Bryan Ferry.
— James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem
(Via Nikola Tamindzic on Tumblr)

Munk Debate tackled the resolution: be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world with Tony Blair arguing for and Christoph Hitchens against.

Bicycle with Sidecar (photo)

Check out these comments, which accumulated on’s page for Brian Eno’s new album Small Craft on a Milk Sea. I am not impressed with Eno’s new CD, but ended up buying two of the guitarist’s albums (The Grape and the Grain and Honeytrap), which I like a lot. I already owned an album by the keyboard player: Insides.

In an email to SM I wrote:

It almost has the quality of an art piece. Interactive computer art,
located at… kinda brilliant, certainly hilarious, but
probably not intended.

He replied:

I find ESTEBAN POSADA DUQUE to be a metaphor for a lot of what I see in pop/mainstream culture as well as what I see in current college students. I realize this will seem as if I’m making more of this than it is, but ANYONE that can critique ANYTHING, much less music based upon a 30 second sample is simply drinking the kool-aide of the culture.

We get our news this way, we form our opinions this way, and, since we recently went through an election cycle just now, it seems that we make decisions on political representation and statute law based upon the same

Life is complex. 30 seconds isn’t enough for much of anything, except for warming up my tea in the microwave and observing particle collisions at LHC.

Having said that, I have to tell you that I find ESTEBAN POSADA DUQUE amusing, especially as he attempts to defend his (rather questionable) methodology for reviewing music. I wonder: his writing has elipsis everywhere. What’s up with that? Perhaps ESTEBAN POSADA DUQUE is a pseudonym for Brian Eno, attempting to be humorous.

What a great name… like the dude in Princess Bride! Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse, ESTEBAN POSADA DUQUE’s review, the comments added to his review, or that I spent a couple of minutes reading them…

And Another Repeat

02010-11-22 @ 18:11

This is a repeat from last year:

Here is a medley from a concert in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2004. The band was the quartet with Robby Rothschild and Ron Wagner on Percussion. I had forgotten all about this medley of three songs:

Audio MP3

You can download the 320kbps mp3 file here.

After soundcheck that day, I took that photo of Robby alone on stage.

Music Repeat

02010-11-22 @ 18:11

This is a repeat from last year:

Here are a few songs from the rehearsal on September 16th, for the trio-concert at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. These are quick rough mixes that we used to memorize the changes in the set. The snare is a bit too loud and you might notice several mistakes, but I like the energy. In September Dave commented on the trio-version of Heart Still/Beating: a modern mellow version of Cream. Actually, that was some of our inspiration – the old rock trios of guitar, bass and drumkit.

Here is Morning Arrival:

Audio MP3

Download Morning Arrival in Goa here.

Serenity on Ultracloud and Borrasca

Audio MP3

Download Serenity/Borrasca here.

Here is Firelight:

Audio MP3

Download the Firelight mp3 file here.

And this is a new and untitled piece we just started playing. Don’t know how I feel about it yet, but it is fun to play and time will tell.

Audio MP3

Download the untitled track here.


02010-11-20 @ 20:11

Cunctando regitur mundus – Waiting, one conquers all.

The Cost of Free: It’s ironic that advocates of free online content charge hefty fees to speak at events

The above article prompted a rather weak response from Doctorov: The Real Cost of Free.

Today I read the response to the response, and I am, again, in agreement with the author, Helienne Lindvall. Maybe the tide is turning at last.

Interesting character analyis of TSA agents by a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.

Figure skating with a head cold (photo)

Great piece of Manhattan history: The Abandoned Palace At 5 Beekman Street – what a building!

Would love to try this with one of these. 85mpg.

Know Your Options at the Airport | American Civil Liberties Union
All visitors and lawful permanent residents are fingerprinted on entry into the U.S. from abroad.

That’s a new one. For each and every entry?
I find that it’s getting scary.

New York

02010-11-17 @ 22:11

29th street between 6th and 8th avenue was very interesting. I noticed a pigment store, a fencing store and a Ginkgo tree….


02010-11-17 @ 12:11

Bluefin tuna protection system ‘full of holes’

THE SCALES FALL – Is there any hope for our overfished oceans?

Bluefin Tuna Black Market: How A Runaway Fishing Industry Looted The Seas

You can make your voice heard here.

Bluefin Tuna

02010-11-17 @ 11:11

Bluefin tuna protection system ‘full of holes’

THE SCALES FALL – Is there any hope for our overfished oceans?

Bluefin Tuna Black Market: How A Runaway Fishing Industry Looted The Seas

You can make your voice heard here.


02010-11-16 @ 16:11

New York was great. Playing solo is a great challenge that I enjoy very much. I had problems keeping the treble strings in tune. Told the audience that guitar players spend half of the time tuning and the other half playing out of tune. Asked Stephen about his recent experience with the D’Addario Titanium trebles and he told me he was also struggling to keep them in tune. I will put a regular set of D’Addario Composites on today and will email my rep at D’Addario to find out whether they changed the formula for the Titaniums and whether other guitarists have reported tuning problems as well. For sure the heat and humidity of the Blue Note stage did not help, but what I experienced was not fun – although probably typical for guitarists pre WW2, using gut strings…

Awoke to a sprinkling of snow on the landscape. Very pretty.

Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every person’s DNA. See this article in Discover.

The article also mentions that everyone already carries the virus that causes multiple sclerosis.

It would seem to me that, especially in light of these discoveries, we should tread more ligthly with our chemistry set. Environmental pollution might have a very negative effect on the human body’s ability to control any of those viruses.

This also ties in with something Jon and I recently discussed. Farming cultures have a natural ebb and flow of time and work, and therefore stress. In the Winter a farmer will cut wood for the oven, might pickle foods and do other odds and ends, but Winter is mainly a time, I would think, of renewal. And by the time Spring comes around one is ready to get out there and work.

Modern schedules are not only pretty hectic year round, we are adding on top of that the stress of constantly being connected. I watch people, updating something while walking, emailing while waiting for their coffee, texting while running across the street. There is no downtime, espcially in the U.S. where vacations are incredibly short. I think that drives up stress levels tremendously. Add to that the (fast-)food most people seem to allow into their bodies… and, well, you see where I am going with this.

Synthesis: Will the Internet Destroy Us? – Harvard Business Review book reviews of Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet by William H. Davidow, and You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier

First they cut Arts and Music, then they cut foreign languages… what’s next?

Saturday in Manhattan

02010-11-14 @ 00:11

Actually it’s Sunday, because it’s almost one in the Morning. Playing two shows a night is quite the work-out, especially when playing solo, and yesterday and today the Blue Note held the second show for half an hour, which meant I played from 23:00 until 00:15. I don’t know why and didn’t bother to ask.

Tonight’s first show was probably the best I have done here at the Blue Note this week. I am going to bed, but here are a few links I found entertaining.

Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere! (photo)

E-Tomb, Social Networking From The Grave

Why did you buy me that?

Which works ought to be read in their original language?
Sidhartha by Hesse, for sure.

Damn you, auto correct!

A world of tweets

Babel Tales (photos)

At last! A Five Terapixel camera

Interview w cinematographer Wally Pfister -Batman, Inception (YouTube)
Interesting bit, for me, is that the Imax camera, while analog and huge and heavy, does still have four times the resolution of the Red video cameras.

Flash Player:

Daring Fireball Linked List: Flash Player and Security Updates
Yesterday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.5. The security-related release notes for this update list 134 CVE IDs for fixed vulnerabilities. 55 of those vulnerabilities are for Flash Player alone.

Thursday in Manhattan

02010-11-11 @ 09:11

Received email with proposed poster for Germany in March. Presumably designed by the promoter’s office.

He hates the trumpets! (YouTube)
I laughed so hard when I came across this yesterday… very funny.

Knife forging by Japanese master blacksmith (YouTube)

Call of Duty’s Twisted Advertising Campaign
The next step may be video games tailored to specific groups: Going Postal – for unhappy postal workers, Going Columbine – for unhappy teenager… and so on. What could possibly go wrong?

Images from CERN’s Mini Big Bang

For Buddhism, Science is Not a Killer of Religion

Web 8.0: Avatar is Real and the Human is King

Morning coffee at Stumptown again. Nice Italian dinner at Aurora, on Broome Street, yesterday evening. Walked about 150 blocks on Wednesday.

Just remembered… last week I was listening to Jon’s new electric bass guitar track for “Reaching Out 2 U”. Then I added the original upright acoustic bass. Then I moved the old track to the left, and the new track to the right. The result is not something I would do for the album release – the idea is to use the upright until Davo’s cajon break and the bass guitar from then on – but I enjoyed it and will mix it for your listening enjoyment. Sounds very interesting on headphones.

Wednesday in Manhattan

02010-11-10 @ 07:11

Walking back to our hotel yesterday evening I remembered that I had heard that Portland’s Stumptown has a new location in Manhattan. Then I discovered that it is only a couple of blocks from our hotel. Morning coffee:

Looking up from my coffee I saw this van. “Covering the Earth”.. sure looks like red sludge is killing the planet. File under bad advertising.

Interview w Errolson Hugh from Acronym (vimeo)

Saw this bike on Green Street, near Blue In Green, which is a fantastic denim store where a very well informed Japanese sales person outfitted me with a nice pair of Japanese denim jeans:

Tuesday – Travel Day

02010-11-09 @ 22:11

Generation Why? – Zadie Smith’s review of The Social Network

Literary Writers and Social Media – a response to Zadie Smith by Alexis Madrigal

I think one of the two articles is right on and the other is the work of a hack.

I found those articles by creating a Google Alert for “Jaron Lanier”. It’s how I get much of the news I find most interesting. I have subscribed to a few dozen search terms, which can be names of people, or certain phrases.

A Google search for “ottmar liebert torrent“, which returned about 11,000 hits last year, returned nearly 47,000 last week. There are so many brave revolutionaries out there, making music free, working hard to show their love of music by giving it away. Not their own work, natch, but that is besides the point in their opinion…

Flew out of Santa Fe airport for the first time. Nice. Laid back and easy. Arrived at our Manhattan hotel at 22:00. Very hungry, after only a small breakfast! Walked ten blocks and found a restaurant where dinner was enjoyed.

Light flood (photo)

Diagram of Trump’s comb-over (photo)


02010-11-08 @ 12:11

Just found out. No vid projector at the Blue Note, but one will be available at Anthology and the Razz Room.

Funky Forest (YouTube)
Neither Funky nor Forest, but a movie (TV show?) that could only exist in Japan.

Orishiki suitcase

I like the idea, but wonder what it will look like when scratched up. Will it age well?


02010-11-06 @ 19:11

Cage Against the Machine – enjoy the silence
In other words, ubiquitous music isn’t really a new problem, but it has become worse.

Bogus Grass-Roots Politics on Twitter

Health Warnings On Cars

Modern Chapel

Saturday morning I rote a letter to a pal in Australia who was diagnosed 2 years ago with inoperable lung cancer and emphysema, which was followed by blood clots in the lung, then a collapsed lung, shingles, a 4cm x 1cm brain tumor that was removed, a spot on the hip, tumors on the left and right sides of his neck, and laser bronchoscopes, whatever that is… it does not sound good.

I spent the longest time trying to find a good ending for my letter, looking for something clever or uplifting, but in the end I simply wrote that I was happy to know him.

TG founded a distribution company when he heard NF and because of his hard work NF went double platinum in Australia and platinum in New Zealand. A feat that will probably never be repeated by an indie because of the cultural changes, i.e. people don’t buy albums… they prefer to spend the money on Starbucks.

So, Jon and I both wrote letters, which I will send off tomorrow. TG quipped that his kids have probably never seen a real letter…

HTML5 Audio Safari Extension //
HTML5 Audio Safari extension replaces a number of Flash-based audio players with the HTML5 audio element.

I removed Flash from my laptop. This Safari extension allows me to listen to audio content, like the music in this Journal without Flash. Safari is my favorite browser, although I also have Firefox and Chrome installed. I use Firefox for a few sites that don’t play nice with Safari, and Chrome for Flash content only. Chrome has built-in Flash support, so if I come across Flash content in Safari, I will copy the URL and open that site with Chrome – but that doesn’t happen often.

SM observed:

It really works efficiently as well. I was watching the CPU% as the clip played. Flash used to take CPU% by as much as 30% when watching a movie, and around 15-20% when listening to an audio clip. This thing moves it up around 1-3% … Now I can live with that.

Unfortunately the homepage is Flash, and the non-Flash version looks really crappy, I think. Will have to get together with Canton and redesign a new non-Flash homepage pronto.

Follow up from the 23. October post: the Roy denim jeans are now available at Self Edge. Ordered. Just in time – now just about sold out.


02010-11-05 @ 13:11

A tour through Stone Island‘s headquarters and research lab in Modena, Italy. (Vimeo)
Very impressive!

As I mentioned before, I am currently going through nearly twenty thousand images for the new slide show. Here are a few I noticed in passing:


02010-11-04 @ 12:11

Good luck with that thing!

Study will see if calm mind can mean healthy body
I think this should be worded differently and suggest: “Study will prove that a calm mind means a healthier body.”

Twitter Chatbot Debunks Climate Change Skeptics Without Tiring

Noodler’s Bulletproof black ink and a Speedball nib holder with a B-6 nib. Writes beautifully, even on lesser paper, like a Moleskine. Wrote several letters with this already and love it. Less costly than a fountain pen… about twenty bucks for 3 ounces of ink, the holder and the nib. Might even be less online, but I bought the holder and several nibs at our wonderful local art supply store, Artesan. The holder ($2.85) is covered with a silicon-like substance, which gives it a nice non-slip texture.

Breakfast with Jon. Afterwards I had a stranger waving at me through a window:

Rather large, don’t you think?


02010-11-03 @ 13:11

In the current issue of Monocle I found a short piece on Tateo Shimizu, a retired journalist from Japan, who in his Sixties decided that he wanted to live in Barcelona and open an authentic traditional tofu shop. His store is called, appropriately, Tofu Catalan, and sells all kinds of tofu as well as bento boxes.

I must admit, I love stories like that, about people who imagine where they want to be and what they want to do, and then go and do just that, regardless of their age. We can either stay on the safe and well-trodden path, or we can think up new adventures. Tonight I will fill a cup with sake and toast to Mr. Shimizu!

It’s crazy fan celebration day at our office. We received a number of very strange letters and emails this week… one of them mentioned casino police who belong to a dope cartel and stole a bag I would love, embroidered with a snake, and which is claimed to be worth $50,000,000.

We used to have a folder simply named “Crazy”, stuffed full with fan mail. Must find it. Well, I will toast the fools tonight as well. May you live long and prosper.


02010-11-02 @ 13:11

Shaolin Monk Throwing Sewing Needle Through a Piece of Glas (YouTube)

Shaolin Monk Balances On 2 Fingers (YouTube) – music is awful and you might want to get ready to mute

David Hockney’s iPad Drawings

Steve Hagen Interview (Zen)

My Flickr account renews in December and I am not certain I will renew for another year. I am giving you this warning in case you might want to download this or that image.

Sat with Bella at the edge of the property, where I found her this morning. She couldn’t get up and the tumor in her eye grew a lot overnight, perhaps ruptured. The old girl smelled something fierce, and I assumed the tumor was the reason. It was a smell unlike anything I have smelled before. For some reason my mind wondered about the smell of a battlefield a day or two after the battle has ended. Thankful that it’s not something I have experienced.

Later a friend came to help me get the dog to the vet. We improvised a stretcher with Bella’s pillow on a piece of plywood. She was already too weak to make a sound of protest.

Bella was 13 years old, which translates to 104 dog years in her size/weight category. I will miss her.

Afterwards my friend and I talked in my kitchen about death and dying over a few glasses of water, and he mentioned an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Then the conversation turned to Gary Snyder and Edward Abbey, and since my friend is a fan of Ed Abbey, I was able to give him a book Jack Loeffler gave me, a book he wrote about his best friend, Edward Abbey.

As he was leaving he said simply, I think of it as a life completed rather than a life lost. So simple, and so true, and so beautiful because it is true.

Now I have to get back to the new slideshows. I am looking through 17,000 photos to put something new together…

But first this:

neo bohemia
Heaven or hell, love or hate,
No matter where I turn
I meet myself.
Holding life precious is
Just living with all intensity
Hold life precious.

(Via neo bohemia)

Actually it is all said in the first three lines, I think:

Heaven or hell, love or hate,
No matter where I turn
I meet myself.

Nothing more needs to be said.


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