Thursday, June 29, 2006

In case you're interested...

I read a piece in The Nation yesterday that moved me to add my two cents on the matter in Washington's Cousin. If you'd like to read it, it's here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Riding the new highway...

Almost seventeen years after the earthquake that rocked the Bay Area from Sonoma to Santa Cruz, San Francisco has a lovely new entrance to the 101 freeway and tonight was my first chance to ride on it.

The experience left me with a hope for that other city that has such a long way to go.

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Serendipity on the Boulevard

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jazz... Fog... Surf... & Beer

Living on the road away from my true home I find myself obsessed with places that offer a taste of home... Music, specifically jazz, takes me pretty far along.

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The strange amalgamation of gulf coast/left coast reality is strange to live with, but it's becoming the perfect reality for the human being that I have come to know myself to be.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

PRIDE 2006

My friend Rick (that's not Rick in the picture) came down from Seattle for the Pride festivities this past weekend and I tagged along for the party Saturday night and the parade Sunday morning. The whole experience, which is something that I have attended almost every year since 1978, always makes me smile. Despite what many other people think, the Pride Celebration is a chance for people to say YES to life, to living, to being alive and being free and to each and every one of us - regardless of gender identity, sexual preference, or just plain bad taste in dress - being who we are.

The highlight was of course the joyous celebrational parade that clammored down Market Street for about three hours on Sunday afternoon, led off by the "dykes on bikes" followed up by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence dancing with squares from the AIDS quilt.

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It was a reminder of friends and loved ones once here, and now gone; a reminder that we don't ever dance this dance alone.

You can see more photos of the celebration at sfgate.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Too Much Fun...

It's the second evening of summer... a little cool, a little breezy and my friend Steve and I are at the Sonoma/Marin Fair in Petaluma.... The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

Just make sure ya don't get any on ya.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rosebud... Part... God Only Knows...

The publishing empire continues to expand here in the land of SpeakLo and Mercury Media... Today we launch a new podcast production, the fourth in the Food Fetish series. Available at the Food Fetish website and at iTunes, the new show features interviews with some of the leading bartenders who will be heading up the Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans one month from now.

To go along with what will hopefully be more frequent podcast production in the FoodFetish realm, I am also beginning a new blog today... FoodFetish-The Blog a place to report more informally and (perhaps) more frequently on all things food and drink, something that most of you know I will find just about any excuse to engage in.

Right now though... the ocean is still calling... and on top of that, I've got to go get my car repaired.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Still waiting on the waves...

For the day before Father's Day, I spent the afternoon with Jennifer. We watched the U.S. keep themselves alive in the World Cup (barely) and then headed out to the beach for some surf.

BUT... being summer in Northern California the water was there, but the surf was pretty much non-ridable. We decided to bag it and head downtown for a stroll around the North Beach Streetfair and some enchiladas at Left at Albuquerquee for dinner.

This morning I took a drive along the coast from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, but the waves continue to be non-cooperative. Sooner or later it's just going to be a matter of getting in the water no matter what the surf is like... I can't hold out much longer!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I know what you're asking and the answer is no...

I have NOT gotten in the surf yet damnit!

My schedule blew apart on me on Tuesday and I wasn't able to even get to the surf before early evening. However, the break at Rodeo Beach in southern Marin was really lovely. The problem was, there were 30 people in the line up and not much room left over for an aging Kook on a Boogie Board like me.

So... I tried returning to it today, but I didn't have time first thing in the morning (when the waves were breaking beautifully) and by the time I got back to it, everything was shot... BUT... there's always tomorrow.

So... tomorrow it will be.

Monday, June 12, 2006

And an evening too...

I have the amazing great good fortune to live in what feels like the two best places on the planet. One is subject to earthquakes and the other to hurricanes and floods, but the essential amazing, magnificent beauty of life in both of these places, accompanied by the magical gift of people (friends, family, and strange strangers) who choose to share the experience with me, is so unbelievable that I have moments where it's difficult for me to breathe, let alone speak. Writing it down is a gift, because without my fingers I probably would be inescapably inarticulate.

I just spent fifteen minutes at the end of a very difficult day sitting on a bench at the western end of the North American continent gazing out across the largest body of water on the planet and LAUGHING... laughing at the top of my voice.

I've had some very difficult times (who hasn't?) in the half century that I've existed on the planet and I've had times when those moments brought me awfully close to an edge that didn't find me laughing at all. I have friends and relations who fell off that cliff that almost took me, and I'm extremely grateful for the personal reprive that I received. The last year has not exactly been a joy ride (on the other hand, maybe that's exactly what it's been) and I really don't know where this roller coaster is ultimately headed, but tomorrow (I hope) either before I head north for appointments in Marin, or afterward, in the waters off the Marin/Sonoma coast, I'll drop into those freezing cold waters and paddle into the waves for no other reason than the fact that they represent the most carefree, lighthearted, genuine joy I have ever experienced on the planet.

I am an incredibly lucky person. I am not nearly thankful enough, often enough, but the fact is... I have an amazingly gifted life.

My hope is that you have that too.


By the way... my time for yesterday was two hours, four minutes, and thirteen seconds... making me one of the last twenty-five runners in the whole race... but hey... I made it!

Check with me in 2020 and I might let ya touch my trophy (and I'm NOT kidding).


There's got to be a morning after...

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... About a dozen years ago I went to massage school and there I learned quite a bit about anatomy, so I know that this morning it really isn't true the EVERY BONE IN MY BODY IS SCREAMING OUT IN PAIN... but that's pretty much what it feels like (the up side is that I had a really incredible night's sleep).

I won't know my official time until later today, but my semi-unofficial time tells me that I did it in approximately two hours and three minutes... that's about three minutes slower than my two previous years, so I'm pretty darn psyched about that.

I figure that if I give myself another 14 years, cut my time by half, and pick up about ten minutes in handicap... hell, I can win this thing!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Are you REALLY ready????

13 hours... 48 minute...38 seconds... and the race begins.

If you click on the map/photo you can view the route (runnning right to left along the blue and red lines) as it heads up the mountain and back down to the ocean.

Two years ago when I first ran the Dipsea, I was asked over and over, "are you in shape to run the Dipsea?" Over and over, I answered... "well, I don't really know. I think so." This year, I'm even less sure. I'm pretty sure that I can do this race; I can at least FINISH it, even if I don't do my best time.

The thing is... it really doesn't matter (much). It's time to run the race and 13 hours 45 minutes and 51 seconds from now that's exactly what I plan on doing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jazz in Heaven

The New Orleans tourism office has just put out a music video with Irvin Mayfield and Ingrid Lucia promoting the city with music and a long list of everything else we love in The Crescent City (suffice to say that FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers are not on the list). My friend Mary sent it to me this morning just to make me homesick, and well... it worked. It's a fun video though, and if you haven't been to New Orleans maybe it will give you a sense of what the place is about. It's not like the toursit board of ANY city couldn't put out a similar piece... well, now that I think of it... the tourist board of ANY city COULDN'T put out a similar piece!

If you click the picture you should be able to get a direct link to the video, or you can go here and get it from the tourist office site.

If you just want to give the song a listen, you can hear it here

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Isn't It A Pity...

Billy Preston died today... He was one of those musicians who really mattered in my life. From his connections to The Beatles (music of which I was just putting into iTunes yesterday) to his on again off again Christian devotion, to his amazing performance in George Harrison's Concert Tour that I saw with my then girlfriend and soon to be bride in 1974. I will always remember his organ part (and his Jesus chant) during that show's mega-band performance of My Sweet Lord, a song he reprised at the Concert for George in 2003.

His version of Isn't It A Pity from that same show (played with Eric Clapton) seems the fitting tribute for him today.

Billy Preston played with such life and such passion that it made me want to live like he played.


On the day before the Day of the Beast... The Cowboy Antichrist rapes the Constitution in the name of family values.

Frankly... that just pisses me off a little bit.

In addition... the devil's minions are trying once again to cripple the air traffic control system... right when we need it most.


Monday, June 05, 2006

The Flying Dutchman Returns

My third day in California and already it's beginning to feel strange. Currently staying near the beach and south of San Francisco there is a definite feeling of rest and solace that I have been in need of lately, but at the same time, I am already plunging deep into the awareness that people outside of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast really don't "get" the reality of what has been going on for the past nine months, nor the great fears and difficult choices faced by folks like me who want to make a life in a place where there is so little solidity.

It isn't said... but I have already begun to pick up the glazed over expressions and the averted eyes as my daily psychic reality as New Orleanian (wherever you are)simply seeps through into conversation (and lack thereof). I have been offered a great place to stay for the month, with the connection to my office in San Francisco as well, but just three days here and I am keenly aware of the daunting task ahead of me; the disparate work responsibilities I have to reel into line, the living arrangements, and transportation arrangements, and daily attempts at finding some stable port.

The ship sails on and I am feeling the rootlessness I first experienced last fall. My cell service is intermittent and it's hard to find a place to put my clothes... Little things, that make the chaos feel just that much closer and deeply confusing.

Deep inside, I really feel the need of more than just a place to sleep, or plant my computer, or edit my writing and audio... For perhaps the first time in my half century of life, I am feeling the need for a home.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Heading out on the flight from hell... a milk run to beat all milk runs... New Orleans to OKCity (I guess if it's good enough for the Hornets it's good enough for me) then OKCity to Denver and then Denver to San Jose... By tonight I'll be sleeping half a mile from the the Pacific surf.

It's gonna be an interesting day.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Anglo Saxons In The Tropics... Part Deux

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This is the story of hurricane...

It's the first day of hurricane season, inauguration day for C. Ray, and the last day for me in New Orleans for the next month. It's a day of truly mixed feelings; on the one hand I am ready to get back to the world of things that work, get away from 95 degree heat, and into the cool clear ocean.

But... more than any other time that I have left New Orleans this year, it feels quite strange to be leaving at this point in time. It feels a lot like leaving back on August 28, heading off into some presumed form of safety while not really knowing what is going to occur. Last night's Wednesday Night Concert featured Cowboy Mouth playing the song "Home," a song that has sunk so deep into my soul over the last nine months that I can't hear the first strains without turning instantly to a puddle of tears.

There's another song off the same album (the recent releaase Voodoo Shoppe) that speaks to a whole other side of the same emotion, the connection I feel to this place and the fact that even as I leave, I know I'm coming back because... "there's nowhere else to go but the Avenue."