Secret Service bicep

I don't get starstruck easily but Y'ALL. It was the WHITE HOUSE. Obama lives here? I'm in Obama's house? I didn't meet Barack and Michelle but it didn't even matter. I stood on the porch and looked at the Washington Monument, walked around with a female secret service agent who showed us the movie theater and bowling lane. The performers at the Country Music in Performance at the White House show were great in the rehearsals I went to: Lyle Lovett, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, The Band Perry, Alison Krauss, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey, James Taylor, Lauren Alaina. I kept looking at the oil portrait of Teddy Roosevelt from my chair in the East Room, "That painting is old. It's an original. That's Teddy motherf'ing Roosevelt." I held it together, except when I touched the bicep of a secret service guy. I've never felt a muscle like that in my life and I recoiled. I sensed it would be inappropriate to curse so I just went silent.

Monstruobot and the Librarian

The Librarian opened for Monstruobot at Silverlake Lounge on Nov 8. Matthew was all "Eh, I was okay," but really, it was fantastic.

Monstruobot is Miguel Boxerinlove and Hota Martín, a duo from the Canary Islands. Matthew and Miguel have known each other online for several years but it was the first time they met in person, a joyous occasion because Hota was sweet and Miguel couldn't have been more warm and funny and silly if he'd been wearing a shirt printed of cats wearing eye patches. Oh, wait.

I tried to take a photo of him and his cat shirt but my camera konked out, only to magically start working later. My camera is not a cat person. Monstruobot wear orange prison jumpsuits onstage but are always open to new getups. I suggested a few but am way behind the curve because they have either already considered or tried my ideas: playing as bears or astronauts.

As for the type of music they make, I'm the world's worst at music description, especially for someone who works in music but also because people make up genres all the time and then act like they are A THING, YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT? DUH so I looked online and found Monstruobot described as technoise pop, new wave chillwave post-punk, and "it's like if The Cure went all 'surf's up!'" Why didn't I think of that? Probably because I'm still stuck on trying to figure out Witch house and Shoegaze.


A Gathering of Muses

Maria De Castro
A Gathering of Muses
Artist Statement: Like a canary in a coal mine, birds sense the first sense of trouble on our planet. Through their travels they are directly exposed to the effects of man on the environment. Blending cultures, religions, ethnicities, beliefs, and icons into one harmonious piece reflects my desire for a harmonious world.

San Diego Botanical Gardens

Cooper family visit

Before I got all jazzed about getting to go to a blogger conference and in between travel, I had a week at home, another chunk of time I negotiated off when I took my current job. Judy and Jim, my parents in law from Kentucky, visited us! This was cool because they'd never been to California and because it gives me perspective to show off our surroundings with new-goggles on. I've gotten used to the giant tortoise on the block and the shiny sparkly ocean at the end of the street that I've swam in a total of NEVER times since January. It sure looks refreshing, though.

We went to the San Diego botanical gardens where we saw these guys.

I doubt they have Mariachi plant people in Nashville. I only just found them but I'm going to miss them. In La Jolla we poked around the cliffs.

We went to an antiquated La Jolla bookstore where the scent of thousands of musty pages was tranquilizing. I bought a dollar book of Berlin street art. The owner spent a good deal of time sitting on the sidewalk drinking wine with his friends. That guy has something figured out.

We drove east through the hills to Iron Mountain, where it looks like someone above took handfuls of boulders and scattered them over the hills like pebbles. I remembered the rock formation I saw when I hiked Iron Mountain last Spring with Kelly and Robin, where giant's fingers reach out from the earth and up towards the sky.


Camp Mighty, the first night

There is a lot of awesome to cover from Camp Mighty last weekend. Like, a LOT. But first I've had to sleep, work, and travel (ongoing themes). I started writing this from New Bern, NC, a town I didn't know about until now - it's lovely - and am finishing in Memphis; tomorrow I fly to DC. I've also been to LA and Charlotte since I left Palm Springs on Saturday.

A week ago I was in my hotel room at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. I'd sped in from Oceanside and was trying to finish up some advance work for that week's shows before hitting the Camp Mighty welcome party that night. I wanted to clear my psychic scramble a bit before meeting a room full of strangers and also I was nervous. We'd been divided into groups with our own Facebook pages but I'd kept a low profile because I was so busy and hadn't really gotten to know anyone online.

Friday night felt like the first day of junior high and I was weirdly nervewracked with anticipation. Where will I eat lunch? Should I do my side ponytail high or low? I was also reminded of starting the Trek America job ten years ago. Then, Sara drove me down the coast from San Francisco to LA and as we got closer and closer to my drop off point, the Adventurer Hostel by LAX where happy hour margaritas were served by the grimy pool for a buck apiece, she soothed me like I was a kid going to camp, "You're going to have so much fun and make so many friends..."

So I called Sara from Palm Springs. Do you remember that speech you gave me in 2001? I also called Jocardo. He was in a car full of screaming Dominicans on the way to a club in DC so we mostly yelled at each other over the hubbub. And I did something that I never would have imagined even a few years ago: I worked on a couple of budgets WHICH CALMED ME DOWN. I told Jocardo the effect the budgets had on me and he said, "Well sure, that's something you have control over...". Oh right. Who needs therapy? Well, me but that's a different blog.

When I closed the computer and went to the party, I got my Ecco Domani glass of wine and drifted around the room, not landing anywhere until a woman whipped into my sight and stuck her hand in mine. Elaina! Elaina broke the ice like nobody's biz and was so open and energetic and funny, I immediately started feeling like me again not the little girl wearing big glasses and Forenza shorts. It didn't matter so much where I ate lunch! The tang cocktails were free! The ladies were smart and inspiring and not mean jerks! Camp Mighty was on.


Laughing quietly to myself

About how I was standing in a Memphis radio station this morning while the DJs were on the air and felt something in my sock. I (discreetly?) pulled my boot off and reached into my sock and pulled out a CHUNK OF BACON. I want to say that, "Wow, I'm that person?" But I don't think "people who find bacon in their socks" exists. Until now, my friends. Until now.

ps I had a room service cobb salad last night.


High Line view

Halle took this photo from the High Line and it reminds me of my life list. Not because I love cars, parking, and want to be an alpine mountaineer - I have zip interest in those things - but because of the juxtaposition and intersection of nature and city extremes. My favorite places have some element of extreme to them - New York, Berlin, Iceland, Alaska - and the motivation behind parts of my list is deepening those experiences. I also want to make a quilt out of old clothing so I'm not exactly a full-time adrenaline junkie. Numbers 101 and 102 on my list could be to never, ever have to try to escape from the claws of a grizzly bear or the cold embrace of an icy crevasse. Who knows, though? When I make it to that Alaskan cabin (#14), a curious bear may take it upon himself to sniff it out and I will be forced to hide indoors and sneak photos through the windows. I'm prepared for that.


charity: water

One of the things I'm doing to prepare for Camp Mighty is represent for my team, Team Two (woop!), in fundraising for charity: water. Each group's goal is $200 per person or $5,000 total. There are four groups so we are aiming to raise $20,000 before Camp Mighty even starts. Nifty, huh?

Please read below, watch the video and consider donating here. If you donate, please mention my name in the comment section. If you're in Oceanside, CA this weekend maybe I'll see you on the bike path as I will be channeling my inner 8-year-old and will be selling water and snacks and generally chatting it up on behalf of charity: water.

100% of your donation will directly fund freshwater projects in developing nations and every dollar raised is tracked to a water project.

charity: water focuses on life’s most basic need -- water. Water affects everything: education, health, poverty, and especially women and children.

One billion people live without clean drinking water all over world. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.

Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick. Clean water nearby means more than safe drinking water; it means time, freedom and incentive to change communities.

When a water project is built in a community, members can often use the new water source to grow small gardens near their homes and secure their own food supply. Self-sufficient households are less affected by external conflict, famine or inadequate government services.

charity: water served its first one million people at the end of 2009. By 2050, the world's population is estimated to grow by three billion and 90% of this growth will be in the developing world. Unless sustainable water solutions are scaled fast, regions already stressed for safe water sources will be over capacity. We’re expanding our reach to meet these demands and will not stop until every person has safe water to drink.

Water Changes Everything. from charity: water on Vimeo.

And thank you...x


Life List

1. Learn to play drums
2. Go to Japan
3. Go to Ireland
4. Write in my journal more
5. Learn bookbinding
6. Design my own website for Ronckytonk
7. Go hiking in Tennessee
8. Do vocals on a song with Matthew
9. Set up a RACECAR tour
10. Have a yard
11. Learn to sail
12. Sail on a several days trip
13. Write about my brother
14. Revisit Alaska
15. Getter better on the skateboard
16. Build an eco-house
17. Have a vegetable garden
18. See U2 in concert
19. Print up more photos from my computer
20. Revisit Berlin
21. Revisit Iceland
22. Stay in an Ice Hotel
23. Slow down enough to pay attention to my mental and physical health
24. Find some physical class and actually do it: yoga, dance etc
25. Hike (part of or whole) Appalachian Trail
26. Snowboard in Colorado
27. Go to Moogfest in Asheville, NC
28. Call or work on a letter to an old friend every week
29. Go on vacation with my closest friends
30. See Patton Oswalt stand up comedy
31. Go to the Canary Islands
32. Volunteer for CISV
33. Be a Natural Ass human generator at a Pedal Power concert
34. Go to Space Camp
35. Learn how to build a fire
36. Go fishing
37. Learn to make soups
38. Listen to storytelling at The Moth NYC
39. Visit 35 US contemporary art museums: Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT), Artspace (New Haven, CT), Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Virginia MOCA (Virginia Beach, VA), CAM St. Louis, Cincinnati CAC, CAMH (Houston), Contemporary Museum Baltimore, Chinati Foundation (Marfa, TX), DCCA (Wilmington, DE), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston),
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, MO), MMoCA (Madison, WI), MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA), MCA Chicago, MOCA Cleveland, MCA Denver, MOCAD (Detroit), MOCA GA (Atlanta), MOCA Jacksonville (Florida), MOCA Los Angeles, MOCA North Miami (Florida), MCASD (San Diego, CA), New Museum (New York, NY), CAC New Orleans, MoMA (New York, NY), MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY), Rochester Art Center (Rochester, MN), CMCA (Rockport, ME), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), SFMOMA (San Francisco),
SITE Santa Fe (New Mexico), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
40. Visit the Getty Museum (Los Angeles)
41. Visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR)
42. Become more vocal blog participant and commenter
43. See Alain de Botton speak
44. Take a class at The School of Life in London
45. Stay in a Living Architecture building in the UK
46. Learn to open and close my switchblade properly
47. Refinish the church pew Ed: donated to Goodwill
48. Get a sewing machine and learn to use it
49. Make a quilt out of old clothing or have that lady at the Madison library make it
50.  Open my Yoga for Indie Rockers DVD (still in plastic for 3+ years)
51. Be a mentor for a high school student
52. Play chess without a cheat sheet
53. Go to each distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Four Roses, Woodford Reserve, Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill
54. Go to Dollywood
55. Jump in the water on New Year's Day with the Coney Island Polar Bears
56. Go on one of my dad's historical hikes in Cincinnati
57. Go to Russia
58. Cook more
59. Visit Elinor in Sri Lanka
60. Visit Charlie
61. Take a psychology course
62. Take a class at St. John's College in Annapolis, MD
63. Go with Miguel to a coffee farm
64. Become a parent, biological or adoptive
65. Get a new bike
66. Watch all Bear Grylls programs so that I can survive anytime anywhere
67. Learn to use my camera better
68. Take more photos
69. Buy a snazzy photo lens
70. Go to Joshua Tree
71. Subscribe to Rolling Stone and Spin magazine
72. Find a place to volunteer in Nashville
73. Spend a month during winter in Scandinavian country
74. Walk around my city more
75. Read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
76. Watch or re-watch American Film Institute's top 100 films:
Citizen Kane (1941), Casablanca (1942), The Godfather (1972), Gone with the Wind (1939), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Graduate (1967), On the Waterfront (1954), Schindler's List (1993), Singin' in the Rain (1952), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Some Like it Hot (1959), Star Wars (1977), All About Eve (1950), The African Queen (1951), Psycho (1960), Chinatown (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Raging Bull (1980), E.T. (1982), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Bonnie & Clyde (1967), Apocalypse Now (1979), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Annie Hall (1977), The Godfather Part II (1974), High Noon (1952), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), It Happened One Night (1934), Midnight Cowboy (1969), The Best Years of our Life (1946), Double Indemnity (1944), Doctor Zhivago (1965), North by Northwest (1959), West Side Story (1961), Rear Window (1954), King Kong (1933), The Birth of a Nation (1915), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Taxi Driver (1976), Jaws (1975), Snow White & The Seven Dwarves (1937), Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969), The Philadelphia Story (1940), From Here to Eternity (1953), Amadeus (1984), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), The Sound of Music (1965), M*A*S*H (1970), The Third Man (1949), Fantasia (1940), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Vertigo (1958), Tootsie (1982), Stagecoach (1939), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Network (1976), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), An American in Paris (1951), Shane (1953), The French Connection (1971), Forrest Gump (1994), Ben-Hur (1959), Wuthering Heights (1939), The Gold Rush (1925), Dances With Wolves (1990), City Lights (1931), American Graffiti (1973), Rocky (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), The Wild Bunch (1969), Modern Times (1936), Giant (1956), Platoon (1986), Fargo (1996), Duck Soup (1933), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Frankenstein (1931), Easy Rider (1969), Patton (1970), The Jazz Singer (1927), My Fair Lady (1964), A Place in the Sun (1951), The Apartment (1960), Goodfellas (1990), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Searchers (1956), Bringing up Baby (1938), Unforgiven (1992), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
77. Drink a Pisco Sour on the beach
78. Move to Nashville
79. Join writer's group in Nashville
80. Own a Japanese sake cup bathtub
81. Be active participant in my neighborhood
82. Frame art that's important to me
83. Go on New Orleans walking cocktail tour
84. Collaborate on hitRECord
85. Have a drink at glass-enclosed New York Central Restaurant over 42nd St.
86. Travel by train from one US Coast to another
87. Watch or re-watch 100 documentaries:
The Cove (2010), Spellbound (2002), God's Next Army (2006), Truth or Dare (1991), TransGeneration (2004/2005), The Century of the Self (2002), The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002), A Film Unfinished (2010), When We Were Kings (1996), When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006), One Day in September (1999), Wartorn 1861-2010 (2010), Jesus Camp (2006), 9/11: Press for Truth (2006), Grizzly Man (2005), The Mormons, Frontline (2007), The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000), Shut Up & Sing (2006), Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), Man on Wire (2008), Gasland (2010), Tarnation (2003), Murderball (2005), The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004), The Filth and the Fury (2000), All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (2011), Lake of Fire (2006), Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? (2006), New World Order (2009), The Corporation (2003), Darwin's Nightmare (2004), Neshoba: The Price of Freedom (2010), Inside Job (2010), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), Paragraph 175 (2000), Brother’s Keeper (1992), Tongues Untied (1989), Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001), Food, Inc. (2008), Street Fight (2005), Bus 174 (2002), Crumb (1994), Dark Days (2000), The Fog of War (2003), Bowling for Columbine (2002), Paris Is Burning (1991), Trouble the Water (2008), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), The Celluloid Closet (1995), The War Room (1993), Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1998), The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988), Burma VJ (2008), Catfish (2010), The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007), Philosophy: Guide to Happiness (2000), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Touching the Void (2003), Supersize Me (2004), Biggie & Tupac (2002), March of the Penguins (2005), Waltz With Bashir (2008), Roger & Me (1989), The Thin Blue Line (1988), Hoop Dreams (1994), Jupiter's Wife (1995), RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007), The Cruise (1998), We Live in Public (2009), Joy Division (2007), Dogs Decoded (2010), 9/11: The Falling Man (2006), My Flesh and Blood (2003), Enemies of the People (2009), Popaganda: The Art & and Crimes of Ron English (2005), Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), Examined Life (2008), Cropsey (2009), I Like Killing Flies (2004), Hype! (1996), The Trials of Darryl Hunt (2006), The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002), No End in Sight (2007), Art & Copy (2009), Helvetica (2007), Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2000), Scratch (2001), Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), For the Bible Tells Me So (2007), The Oath (2010), Beyond Belief (2007), The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006), Sex Positive (2008), Outrage (2009), Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008), The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), A Brief History of Time (1991)
88. Have my own work space
89. Work on public speaking so that I like it again
90. Cut out dairy for a month and see what happens (whee!)
91. Listen or re-list to the 50 albums that changed music according to The Guardian UK:
The Velvet Underground and Nico, Self-titled (1967); The Beatles, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967); Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express (1977; NWA, Straight Outta Compton (1989); Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961); Marvin Gaye, What's Going On (1971); Patti Smith, Horses (1975); Bob Dylan, Bringing it All Back Home (1965); Elvis Presley, Self-titled (1956); The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966); David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972); Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (1959); Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin' Lovers (1956); Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971); Brian Eno, Discreet Music (1975); Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I love You (1967); The Stooges, Raw Power (1973); The Clash, London Calling (1979); Mary J Blige, What's the 411? (1992); The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968); The Spice Girls, Spice (1996); Kate Bush, The Hounds of Love (1985); Augustus Pablo, King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown (1976); Youssou N'Dour, Immigres (1984); James Brown, Live at the Apollo (1963); Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life (1976); Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced (1967); Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain (1984); Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (1973); The Wailers, Catch a Fire (1973); The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (1989); Otis Redding, Otis Blue (1965); Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters (1973); Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath (1970); The Ramones, The Ramones (1976); The Who, My Generation (1965); Massive Attack, Blue Lines (1991); Radiohead, The Bends (1995); Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982); Run DMC, Run DMC (1984); Chic, Self-titled (1977); The Smiths, The Smiths (1984); Primal Scream, Screamadelica (1991); Talking Heads, Fear of Music (1979); Fairport Convention, Liege and Lief (1969); The Human League, Dare (1981); Nirvana, Nevermind (1991); The Strokes, Is This It? (2001); De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising (1989); LFO, Frequencies (1991)
92. Read How Nashville Became Music City USA by Michael Kosser and listen to the artists from the book
93. Take Neill on vacation
94. Take a martial art again
95. Have a pair of custom boots made
96. Buy gifts from local and independent artists and businesses
97. Learn how to play the MF tax game
98. Keep working on being a better manager and leader and don't get complacent
99. Start a business
100. Do a form of street art