June 28, 1998

June 30, 2008

10 years ago today…

So on http://www.blackcrowes.com/ they have an online radio. And today they put on the show from exactly 10 years ago today. That was a very strange time for the Black Crowes and their fans. After a hiatus of a year and losing their lead guitarist and bass player, the summer of 1998 was filled with hope and uncertainty. They started their tour with the new guys a week before this show and because of the internet really starting to catch on in summer of 1998 (for me, at least), I was able to find out almost every day what the setlist the night before or 2 nights before had been. This was a wondrous thing for me because in the mid-90s the only way for me to find out what setlists were being played on a tour, it would come from me collecting tapes and seeing what was written on the tape and thinking wow, so this was the setlist for the show in say, San Antonio in early May 1995. Now of course people at the concert send text messages to people at home who post onto the internet what the current freaking song is!

And this is my point a bit. 10 years ago today. I was just starting to use the Internet more often, going into chat rooms and finding tour dates of bands and ebay. It was at the beginning of the nadir of the internet boom of the late 90s. Think of how things have changed in 10 years. 10 years ago I was amazed at the idea of someone putting up the setlist onto some website thingy that i could access from my desk at home in my boxers. Now I’m not amazed at the idea of people sending text messages while they’re IN the concert still and before people even get to their cars in the parking lot, me, on the other side of the world now, if I’m still up, can find out what the setlist was. I can wake up tomorrow morning at 7pm and look at the stats of the just finishing Dodger game.

I have flown across the Atlantic about 20 times since then. I’ve written 4 books, had a fashion show, a music festival and photo exhibitions in 5 countries. Half of this time I have lived in Germany. That in and of itself is insane to think about. There is no way that I could have predicted in the summer of 1998 that I would ever live in Europe. In fact, that summer is memorable also because it was that fall that I moved to West LA where I lived for about 18 months. That year had an enormous impact on my life. Really, it is the last 10 years that have have the greatest impact on my entire life. I have become an adult, albeit immature and barely responsible, in this time. I have travelled the most, experienced the most, learned the most, more than I ever learned in the ages 14-24 in school. I have really learned things, like how to open a bank account in German, how to get a permanent residence permit in another country, another language, a new job that is good work for my lifestyle.

I have lived in 6 places since then (LA, OC, Toronto, PA, 2 places in Freiburg). I have made a lot of new friends but the old friendships are still strong, you know who you are, Clog, Roman, Moondog, Borrevik, and of course others but you know that distance cannot penetrate our friendships completely. I’m glad to know that all of our lives are continuing and growing.

My parents moved 6 years ago and it was probably one of the smartest things they ever did themselves and their marriage. They could barely afford it and it just skyrocketed in value right after purchasing it, and they have put a lot of money into it, buidling a huge terasse and now I hear a freakin’ waterfall somewhere next to the horseshoe pit I have yet to see as well. That house has become party central and my parents have built a 5-star resort in their backyard, I couldn’t be happier for them. My parents are still healthy, thank god, my mom has a bout of cancer 2.5 years ago but she beat it back and they’re doing great. And from this distance, it makes me feel so lucky because I can still afford to be so far away from my folks, they are both lively and fun people, in their prime of their lives.

So a lot has changed in these 10 years and basically most of it for the positive. The rest can be chalked up to growing up. Now the song “Wiser Time” is on, and the lyric that defines a lot of can be summed up: “you ask why another road song, funny but I bet you never left home, on a good day, it’s not every day, we can part the sea, on a bad day, it’s not every day, glory just beyond our reach”.


ps The Black Crowes more or less officially opened their 2008 summer tour with two shows near Boston. In the 2-hour shows, only one song was repeated and it happens to be their single on some radio stations. It’s called “Wounded Bird” but the cool this is that it was the first song one one night and the last song on the other…


Quintessential Summer

June 29, 2008

I’m sitting in a darkened room with a fan on…

There is an amazingly beautiful day outside, probably a little hot actually and in 6 hours is the Euro Cup finale with Germany and Spain. It’s going to be wild to say the least.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I helped a friend move for a couple hours and then cleaned up and went to another friend’s little afternoon garden party. There were about 8 of us drinking a few beers, eating some good barbecue food and chatting about everything and nothing. I stayed there until about 7pm and then some of the other guests walked with me into the city and then we enjoyed the weather, sitting and having a beer in 3-4 public places last night. We also got to see 10 minutes of a concert in a church with a violinist, and a cello player and I couldn’t see the other guy but it was transcendant music and put me in one of those moments where you know that you are in Europe, something that is so foreign to most people back home, sitting and drinking beer in a small square with a church and then just happening to have small concerts that night for about 5 bucks but they let us in to watch the end of it, then we went to the main outdoor chilling area in the city and were with about 200 other people sitting on steps or cobblestones and just chilling and drinking and talking and more friends joined us and we got talked into going to a club and then were sitting on a couch on a small balcony overlooking the even smaller dancefloor, enjoying the vibration of “wrong song played” to “this is the right song to play”, deciding all of this based on how much the people danced to it.

There were also a huge wine festival in one corner of the old town and there thousands of extra people in the city, also at the main church, people eating and drinking and having a great time last night, the night before this huge football game.

We’re still up in the air about going to Rome. I’ve been trying hard to find a host there and we have found one for Friday but not for Saturday or Sunday yet and for some reason this morning it discouraged me. The thing is, that little 4 day trip will easily cost me 200 euros and Chick F a hundy and we’re about to go on a HUGE, and somewhat expensive trip for the WHOLE summer so maybe if we didn’t spend 300 euros next weekend, and instead just went for the day or even one night across the rhein river to Alsace in France in a small, charming village and spent 100 euros total, ya know? Rome kicks ass (although I can’t say I loved it the first time I was there) but it will be there next year too.

We’ll see…I haven’t seen Chick F for 9 days and she just got into town about 9:30am and has been sleeping the past couple of hours. I’m looking forward to seeing her and we’re planning on watching the game together.

Ciao, people!

Weekend baby

June 26, 2008

Germany won an amazing game last night, 3-2 against Turkey. It was emotional and wild and I was safely in bed by 1am and up before 9am. I taught 5 classes today and did a pretty damn good job if I say so myself (but not great of course):
*a class about travelling, sitting and drinking a coffee and getting paid
*two presentations, one about hooligans and the other about third world economies
*two newspaper articles, one was “dear abby” and the other “dear dan savage” with risque questions about S&M and infidelity and his irreverent answers
*a presentation about Australia and then the students interviewed each other
*90 minutes of book work with students from mongolia, bulgaria, two from ukraine and china

I am now watching a bit of russia/spain football, about to open my second beer and listening to howard stern, so happy to have the next 4 days off.

I’m doing it

June 24, 2008

I’m chilling in my room at 1:44pm on a Tuesday. I took a little nap from 10-11am, mailed mom’s birthday package, had a nice little lunch and now I’m listening to Howard Stern live where it’s 7:45am in New York City. It helps me keep connected to home somehow. They’re laughing about an interview with Pacman Jones and the racism of Don Imus.

I got a call from my newest employer that said they cannot take me to the train station after class. This means that I will potentially have to sit outside the company for approximately 30 minutes waiting for the bus. My Mark Twain biography will keep me going but I hope the weather cooperates.

Now they’re interviewing a pornstar named AJ Morgan, she’s 21, she’s made 6 movies, the first five were called AJ, the OC Slut about ORANGE COUNTY, California! haahhaahah, classic!

There’s a bit of sunshine poking through now, I’m doing some research on Costa Rica and looking for a host for Rome.

I guess it’s a normal Tuesday…

Dear Barack, who asked me for money…

June 24, 2008

yeah, but why don’t you oppose telecom immunity??? I’m a registered democrat but have no qualms about helping elect people who are NOT incumbents when those already in power think that giving telecoms a get out of jail card is the right thing to do. If I broke a law like they did, I would be looking at hard time. Sorry I can’t contribute millions to your campaign, maybe I could…

Barack, please know that I support your candidacy. You are by far the right choice for this country between the 2-3 of you (you, mccain, and barr, etc) but that doesn’t mean that I will blindly follow you. You alone can stop this FISA legislation. I live in germany but am reigstered to vote in California.

good luck and as they say in Germany, “I’ve got my thumbs pressed for you”.

p.s. This is what I just wrote back to a fundraising email…

travel update (part 2)

June 23, 2008

Rome is up in the air. We’ve paid 200euros for the tix and it’s a friday to monday trip. We’re going to Central America in 5 weeks and finances and time are becoming factors. I may try and exchange the tix for a trip to Hamburg in early October and to Barcelona in November if those dates become on sale before the 4th of July. We could still very well go. You might find us in Rome in 11 days, who knows? I’ll keep ya updated.

I moved a washing machine from the 4th floor or one building and was planning on bringing it up to the 4th floor of my building but it fell on the neighbor’s toe as we lifted it onto the first step! We set it off to the side and will try again tomorrow. Props to Gregg for helping me bring that little beast down.

Gregg and I witnessed a few minutes of intense rain/hail as we got the washing machine into my building, it was impressive.


June 23, 2008

I’ve just recently spent about 350 dollars on concert tickets. I have 1 ticket for the Dec 18th, 4 for the 19th and 2 for the 20th of December at the Fillmore in San Francisco to see the Black Crowes. These will be their last 3 shows of the year and should prove epic. I’m super excited about it, I have not seen 3 Crowes’ shows back to back to back since May 2001 when I saw May 12, 14 and 15 in Santa Barbara and LA with Oasis.