Good Morning Lisboa

I arrived in Lisbon yesterday morning after a long, long day of traveling that started in Durango at 0600. Well, all of me arrived, except my guitar. (((I like William Gibson’s idea of the “Soul Delay” of long distance travel, whereby the soul can’t keep up and will invariably arrive later.))) Guitar had to travel as baggage, because the overheads for international flights are too small and I can’t afford a business-class ticket (((Business Class: no worries, your guitar can go into this closet. Economy: your guitar travels with the other suitcases or you won’t fly.))). I am not too worried because it’s a new case that was recommended by my luthier Keith Vizcarra, who also set the case up perfectly for the instrument. Plus this guitar will stay here and won’t have to travel for a long while. (((Tip: Don’t just buy a case and jam the guitar into it. Either take the time to set up the case yourself or ask a luthier to do it. It can make a huge difference. You don’t want the guitar to move even a fraction of an inch!!))) So I spent a long time at lost baggage in Lisbon which, after 22 hours of travel, isn’t fun. As the man, who created the claim, said: “Most likely you will get a call from us tomorrow and we will deliver the guitar case to your apartment. Most likely.”

Called an Uber to the airport. The driver called my mobile and asked me where I was, because it can be difficult to find the Uber pick up spot at this airport. I replied where Uber pick ups always happen, indicating that this wasn’t my first rodeo. A few minutes later he arrived and another twenty minutes later I was in my flat, or most of me was. Too wired to sleep and too tired to do much. Eventually I walked to a favorite cafe and had lunch. That helped. Went to the store and got a few basics, something to make for dinner, milk for morning coffee. Bought another type of oatmilk, hoping to eventually find something that can replace milk for me. The two milk products I haven’t been able to replace are yoghurt and milk for coffee. I love yoghurt.

I wanted to go to sleep at 1900 yesterday but made myself stay up until around 2200. This morning I feel much improved. While I am still waiting for my guitar, my “soul” must have caught up overnight. I got up and made coffee and enjoyed the light show of the morning sun in my apartment.

Good news: I just received a phone call from the airport. My guitar was found and will be delivered later today…


“Empurre ou puxe” — which one of those words means push and which one pull? I have noticed a lot of confusion around these two words, especially since “puxe” is pronounced “push-eh”. As you might have guessed “empurre” means push and “puxe” means pull. So, if you stand in front of a door that you are trying to push open and a Portuguese person behind you helpfully says “puxe”, don’t push even harder because they are actually telling you to pull.

The Portuguese have a couple of extra snack meals, which will suit some people I know. :-) There’s one in the late morning, called “lanche da manhã” and one in mid afternoon, “lanche da tarde”. Each meal is usually accompanied by coffee. People drink a lot of coffee here and it is almost always espresso. In Lisbon a café, or espresso, is also called “bica”. Some people think that bica could be an acronym for “Beba Isto Com Açucar” – drink this with sugar – but I don’t believe it. I also learned that in Porto the same coffee is called “cimbalino”. Interestingly bica is feminine while cimbalino is masculine.

“Bico” (masculine) means spout. An espresso machine has little spouts out of which the coffee flows. That could be the origin of “Bica”? That which comes out of the coffee spout…

Moka + Saudade

I am sitting at my table, next to a fan because we have a heatwave, and am having my morning coffee. I followed Matt’s suggestion (in the comment section of this post) and boiled the water before adding it to the Moka pot. I think the purpose of this may be to make the extraction happen more quickly. What it made me realize is why the original design has those edges. I believe they make the pot more grippy. What I found was that I could not tighten my round pot enough while holding it with a towel and when pressure started to build up vapor escaped where the top and the bottom are screwed together. It is interesting that the designers of newer and stainless Moka pots didn’t figure this out! The coffee was good though and maybe I’ll try again with a silicon hot pad that affords more grip. For now I will switch back to adding room temp water.

Today the second single from “Bare Wood 2” was released on all streaming services and digital outlets. I use UnitedMasters for the digital distribution of my music. For each album or single UM autogenerate what they call a Master Link, which is supposed to make it easy for people to click on the logo of service they subscribe to and listen to the music right away. I guess it is considered too labor and time intensive to use the search function of any streaming service to find the piece. Okay. This is the master link for the new single “Saudade”. You will notice that there is a pop up that declares “I wanna get to know my fans better. Shoot me your info and I’ll add you to my contacts.”

Pause. Well, that’s not something I would ever say, is it. And I can’t figure out whether I can kill the pop-up altogether. It’s the reason I have never used the master link before. I did figure out that I can change the wording of the pop-up – but what should it say? (It’s probably also why I am not good at social media or promotion… most of the tools make me cringe…)

Let me know what you think of the master link. Useful? Bogus? Honestly, I don’t even know where that info goes, should you add your name and email to the pop-up. UnitedMasters database? Go ahead, I dare you! Also cookies… don’t you hate THOSE pop-ups? We don’t use them on this website. However, we will have to use them to make a subscription platform work better… so you don’t have to sign in every time you visit the page.

Good Morning

Running out of beans in the espresso machine I resorted to hand-grinding some beans I found in the freezer and made drip coffee. Can you *almost* smell it?

Friday in San Francisco

Three phone-interviews back to back, then a bike-ride to meet Stephen Duros for coffee downtown.
A while later I had lunch at Cafe Bastille, seating myself in such a way that I could only occasionally look at the TV showing the soccer game Ghana against Uruguay. A little earlier Warren Ellis had tweeted this:

Brazil are knocked out of the World Cup. The sun comes out. Birds sing. The earth heals itself. Everything is beautiful.

Never count out the Dutch!

I am already looking forward to playing guitar tonight!!!

This Morning we de-activated all subscriptions to ensure that no automatic payments are made. If you haven’t checked this space in a while, you can read my original note about the end of this Journal here.

As a result of this de-activation you received an email from PayPal that read:

(your name and email address) cancelled a Annual subscription. – or something like that.

Rest assured we have only told PayPal to cancel your auto-renewing payments. You will continue to be able to access the backstage area until it’s eventual (final) closing at the end of May 2011.

I received a few emails that read like this – it is just one example from a variety of responses:

I paid 20.00US for a year. This should take me through May of 2011. If this is not the case and I am not refunded, Paypal will be notified to retreive my refund for me.

Let me state that the person who sent that email already apologized for the tone of the message. All is, of course, forgiven.

But, it made me think. Most record companies, certainly all medium and large labels, have customer service call centers. You might have to communicate with a person who has a strong accent, but that person has been trained in customer service. Most musicians also have employees who deal with fans and customers. Since striking out on my own nine years ago I have attempted to engage people on a more personal level, using some of the new mediums available, blogging, Twitter, Flickr, and so on. At times that has worked very well, and I have met some very interesting people, including some who I now call friends. But, I am not cut out for this. I have neither the training nor the natural patience to engage unhappy customers.

Again, I hold no grudge and am aware that we all, myself included, have sent out emails like the one quoted above. There is something in the character of electronic mail that makes it easy for this to happen.

Conclusion: Please ignore the emails from PayPal and don’t worry, you will all have access to this space until the end of May of 2011.