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

Sunday in San Francisco

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 amazon.com’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 amazon.com… 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…

Music Repeat

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:

Download Morning Arrival in Goa here.

Serenity on Ultracloud and Borrasca

Download Serenity/Borrasca here.

Here is Firelight:

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.

Download the untitled track here.