Monday, December 10, 2018
Typical Monday morning mishegas. Then board the ferry to San Francisco for the APA holiday party.
Looking at the names under the images on the wall, there’s an inescapable political overtone which saddens me a little. One hopes for a bit more diversity. For young, as yet unknown image makers to have an opportunity for exposure. While there are some fabulous stand-outs, there are also sections of four and more from the same artist. Makes me wish that a cap would become part of the entry requirements.
The social aspect of the show is a hoot. Nellie Magunda, one of the first makeup artists I ever worked with way is here. We share a hug and a giggle about old times. The rest of the San Francisco scene mill about smiling with red wine stained teeth having a fun time.
Sheri Giblin offers me a ride home, if I drive her car for her.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
In the evening of a very easy day, Emily and I collect our friends, Nicole and Brian, and drive to San Francisco to have dinner at Baretta, a fabulous restaurant in the Mission district. Drop Emily et al. at the door to seek parking. Am shocked to find a spot open up only thirty seconds into my quest. At the table, jaws drop when I appear. No expected me so soon.
The highlight of the evening is a live drag performance of two episodes of The Golden Girls, a sitcom from the eighties, at the Victoria theater. The show is much loved by Emily and Brian. What can only be deemed a true creative accomplishment, the writing holds up even though it's decades later, performed by different actors, and live instead of on television. The drag troop that enact the episodes are superlative. They mimic the original performances flawlessly, but with an original flare that makes the production very much their own.
End the evening at the Big Four, an old-school San Francisco bar with very new-school prices since the adjoining hotel was remodled. A sad reality that keeps Emily and I from visiting there more often.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Yes, but is it art?
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Pass the gentleman above driving down College avenue in Kentifeld. Inspired by his look, pull an illegal u-turn so I can meet him and take his picture. TJ is his name. A walking oasis of fabulousness among the throngs of LuLu Lemon clones running around this county.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
To Los Angeles for a meeting at Goop. The company is situated in four drab grey brick bungalows in Santa Monica. As I sign an NDA on an iPad -- don't see anything you shouldn't -- dozens of people flitter about, while many others sit slumped over their computers in digital subjugation, a position that Gabrielle has dubbed the ghoul. The density of randomly scattered people reminds me of an article I just read about the failure of open-plan offices.
Make a presentation to a group of fifteen who have been stuck in the sauna hot conference room for two consecutive meetings before me. Some try to engage, but they all have a look of tired desperation on their faces. It's clear they yearn to be free to forage the delivery menus for lunch.
Throughout the rest of the other rooms the atmosphere is abuzz with activity, activity that seems mildly discordant, like it's trying to find a path. Three young women, sitting on a couch staring at the laptop of the center seated person, speak the lingua franca of data metrics; "drilling down" into something and "thirty-thousand-foot dashboard views" of something else. I can't help wondering; this is luxury zen?
Later, Gabrielle and I hop in a Lyft to the Getty to walk around for the last hour it's open. The Lyft software attempts to get us around the dead-stopped traffic instructing the driver on a circuitous route to a shut down street. Abandon the adventure for another day.
Meet Craig T at the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills for drinks and dinner.
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Take a long drive down Lucas Valley road to roll a mind bender around my head. A revelation about something that happened when I was nineteen that explains a peripheral distortion in my psyche that I've contended with for 33 years. As I drive the headlights catch a young buck staring at me from the side of the road.
Pull over when the road dead ends to puff on a cigarette as the icy air turns my cheeks red. In the distance, in the utterly black night, I hear a horse kicking the side of a barn. Funny how driving only fifteen or so minutes from a busy freeway can feel like the being in the middle of nowhere. Am happy for the solitude.
Back in the driver's seat my nose runs as the heater defrosts my face. Round a corner to see the young buck I passed earlier leap in front of my car. It's not a problem, the wheels don't even chirp when I slam on the brakes. The buck cosses and gracefully bounds over a five foot fence like it's nothing. I'm not much for signs an wonders, but the freedom anaology is too compelling to ignore. Step on the gas, turn up the music, and smile to myself.
Friday, November 30, 2018
I was 22 in 1988 when I watched George H.W. Bush speak at Loyola Marymount University. He was making his bid for the presidency. At the end of the event, as he walked swiftly past the crowd jutting his hand in randomly, I was one of the people with whom he connected. He warmly shook my hand giving me a look of grace and respect that has always stuck with me. It wasn't until today, reading all the articles about him the wake of his passing, that I finally came to understand why such a brief interaction could have such a profound effect. The man, who for four years was the most powerful person in the world, truly cared about the people he governed.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Sitting my dentist's office. There's a pamphlet absurdly entitled "Why do I need a crown?" I yell out "Because I want to be a king." To which Sophie responds, "You'll have to show us your scepter." Things just devolved from there.
To a Christmas party at the Palace Hotel. It is massive. Several themed rooms serving food and drink to match their individual motif. Am particularly drawn to San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker room. It's just breathtaking.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
This morning I feel just slightly out out of sorts. It takes until 2 p.m. to actually pull myself together to get anything done.
Head to the hill for a hike at sunset which puts me in the dark during my return. Hear a pack of coyotes harmonizing near by, no doubt getting ready for a big night out.
Visit my parents for dinner at their house.
Friday, November 23, 2018
The acclaimed photographer Laura Crosta is in town. Meet her and her husband, Tim, for dinner at the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma. It's shocking to me that I've never been to the decades old restaurant even though it's considered a California institution. The food and drink live up to reputation.
Pass the evening exchanging travel stories while sipping on whiskey drinks. Tim and Laura are particularly indulging in letting recount my long term relationship with New Orleans.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Thanksgiving. Sleep in late then explore a new hiking trail that takes me on a 7.5 mile loop. It is marvelous. At one point I can see as far as the Pacific Ocean.
Call Emily in Florida several times. I miss her, but duty to our respective families has us on opposite ends of the country.
Am thankful for a quiet day to read a ton.
To my parents for a really nice evening of tri-tip, creamed spinach, superb cabernet, and fun conversation.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
The rain has come. High hopes that it will clear the air and aid the firefighters. The worse fire of the season, the Camp fire, has been burning furiously for thirteen days.
The week has been dead with the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow. Take the opportunity to catch up on a bunch of reading. Then make my way to Sweet Things. Am wonderfully surpised when Leah, a hopeful for my alma mater, for whom I wrote a letter of support, gifts me a pumpkin pie for my family.
Finish the night with a whiskey drink at the Buckeye where another regaular, Mary, and I have a fabulous exchange of ideas around religion.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Depart Austin and land in the massive smoke cloud that enshrouds Northern California. The Larkspur ferry is crowded with doors and windows shut tight. People are sitting on the stairs between decks, no one brave enough to stand outside without an air mask on. Emily reports the past weekend's air quality was dreadful. She escaped to Florida this morning, Thanksgiving with her family.
The air looks much improved since I left for Texas. But I might be experiencing a touch of denial.
Arrive home to a new air mask waiting for me on the table. Am hesitant to wear it lest I somehow jinx the progress the firefighters are making, or the predicted rainfall for later in the week. It seems a silly to be superstitious, but I just want this disater to end.
Sleep with all the windows close.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Breakfast at Kirby Lane, then a bit of getting lost in the Warren Gallery. It's a remarkable accomplishment. Over the last six years I've watched what was an old church become this wildlife exhibit. Rick Warren has created a Disney style educational showcase that's open to all the schools. The artistry involved is unparalleled.
To the Alamo theater where you can order food while watching a movie. It's an interesting novelty which I'm not quite sure about. Order lunch and watch Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, which is a lot of fun.
Dinner at Winebelly with Jesse and Shelby, then a soak in the jacuzzi.
Saturday, November 17, 2018
With Chantal, Chris, and their kids to the Nitro swim center just outside Austin. Four year old Elin is learning to swim. Parents and fans alike are directed to a narrow room with large windows situated along side the pool. A place for mothers and fathers to watch their kids and not be heard.
After, we head across the street to a eat at restaurant simply named Wild. The first time in my life that I've had bison hash with eggs. It's really very good.
Jesse joins for lunch, I ride back with him to Austin after a round of miniature golf.
Adam, Jesse, and I dine at Vespaio for dinner and manage to plow through what seems like a barrel of wine. Back at the Warren Gallery, we sit outside on crisp night yammering on. Adam unceremoniously lays down on the lawn couch and passes out. Jesse and I don bathing attire and head to the jacuzzi. Shae joins a few minutes later, followed by Morgan who is just home from a football game. At my request the youthful Morgan leans over the still sleeping Adam and in a energetic Texas drawl says; "Adam, my mother's coming home, I have to go to school tomorrow." Adam lurches awake confused.
The other occupants of the five room apartment on the property start trickling in from their evening's adventures and the impromptu gathering continues around the jacuzzi.
Chad corners me into a conversation that I can't keep up with. I've never heard someone speak so quickly. After a few inappropriate comments toward Morgan, ask him to maybe tone it down a bit and consider his audience. I get an incredulous stare.
At 2 a.m. I take my leave of the other revelers and head to bed.
Friday, November 16, 2018
I have one of those hangovers that's going to linger around all day like garlic breath. Sweet Jesus I'm rough around the edges.
Chantal's house is empty leaving me to navigate the fancy Delonghi espresso maker without formal training. Press what seems to be a natural order of buttons -- power, double shot -- only to have the machine vomit what looks like post bathing bath water into my cup. Oh God, if I can't have a coffee...
Thirty minutes later, Chantal returns home to tell me the first discharge from the trillion dollar coffee machine has to do with a cleaning cycle. Act riveted, but secretly could care less for the machine's Italian nuances, really just want a cup of Joe.
Trundle through the day in a fog until about 5 when I suck down my fifth espresso and go for a walk in the country. Return to the house shockingly revitalized.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
At Sara's Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in Houston, the morning before a meeting. Miss Jeanie, an elderly woman who walks with a pronounced osteoporotic stoop and speaks with a distinctive high pitched voice asks me if she can cook me breakfast. "Yes mam, three eggs please." When I ask Miss Jeanie if she minds that I helped myself to a glass of wine and a handful of crackers from the kitchen when I came in the night before at midnight, she says "Well of course I don't, it's why I left them out."
To the Vision production company for a BlinkBid meeting which goes spectacularly well.
Hurry to the Museum of Fine Art to catch an exhibit I saw advertised at the airport when I flew in: Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits From Holbein to Warhol. It is wonderful, especially the back story of the painting The Execution of Lady Jane Grey. Thought to have been lost in the 1928 flood of the Tate Gallery, it was discovered accidentally in 1973. Am sad when I have to pull myself away to catch my flight to Austin.
Meet Chantal P at the Audi dealership in South Austin and ride with her out to her house in Wimberley. Her husband Chris and I waste no time settling in front of a fire with a bottle of bourbon.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
The smoke continues. With fires also burning in Southern California, it doesn't look like I'm going to escape hazy air on my day trip to Los Angeles.
Up, down, and into a Lyft to meet Lisa and Eric for lunch. They're in from Virginia to take in LA as it were. Their son, a dinosaur enthusiast, was granted behind the scenes at the La Brea Tar Pits. I shouldn't be jealous of a twelve year old, but wow, to see the lab and all the science that goes into the continual discovery of fossils in the middle of LA.
To a meeting at This Represents. Have a wonderful conversation with two exceptionally intelligent and savvy agents. It's hard to tear myself away.
Up, down, and into traffic for the long drive home. Stop by and see Tamsen, Kelsey, Karla, and Kira at Bungalow 44. All close friends who rarely get a chance to be together.
Home to Emily, who is busy to the point of exhaustion. She soldiers on until she can't see straight. Pour two large bourbons and yammer on about our days.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Veteran's day today. Take advantage of the quiet holiday to get odds and ends done. Then to a hike. The smoke from all the wildfires lingers, stagnant in and around Mt. Tam. I don't run into a soul the whole time I'm out.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Wake at 3:30 a.m. for no good reason whatsoever. To the couch to write. It's cold. Winter is actually here. Start to feel tired again at 4:30-ish, but know Emily's alarm is due to go off in 20 minutes. She has to catch a dreadfully early flight to Pennsylvania. Decide to stay up and make her breakfast before I run her down to the Marin Airporter.
Sleep until half nine, shower, and go to my French lesson. Watch the armistice celebration in Paris, in French, to practice understanding the language. It's awfully helpful to have a Parisian sitting next to me.
A phone call with a Becky S. who lives in Paradise, CA. She, her husband, the two kids, the dog and cat had to make a hasty evacuation. She describes the tortuous waiting to hear about the fate of their house as floating. They've been watching the fire, via satellite heat maps online, encroach the corner of their property. Being Becky, she's maintaining her humor, even though it's delivered with a quaver in her voice. I can't help admiring her strength and courage and her focus on the fact that she and her family are safe.
To dinner at my dad's, our usual weekly fair of food, gin, and Inspector Lewis.
Becky sends me a text. A photo of their property. It's devastated, but, she jokes, the damned autumnal wreath on their front gate has inexplicably survived. Still no word on their house.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Wake up with a small headache. Emily has one as well. It's the forest fire smoke and ash drifting through the house as we sleep. Everyone I encounter throughout the day has bloodshot eyes. But no one is complaining. There's a common realization this catastrophe is destroying people's lives.
The day meanders by at a slow pace which is a welcome respite from the chaotic week. Half way into a sunset hike, I start to feel the smoke in my throat. Wonder if I've done something terribly dumb. The valley and the trail look positively eerie. Almost post apocalyptic.
Dinner with Emily and more, yes more, of GBBS.
Friday, November 9, 2018
The rays of morning sun on our bedroom wall look sunset orange because of the smoke in the air. The California fires have grown massively. Lives are being lost and there's little control. Emily and I take a good long time to start our day relishing that no one has to be anywhere 'till eleven-ish.
Chantal makes a rare Friday appearance in the office which affords us the opportunity to get a ton done so we can enjoy a guilt free holiday on Monday.
To wine with Amy T in San Rafael. Invite mutual friend Christine who responds saying she doesn't particularly like to frequent the wine bar we've chosen. There's a story there.
Meet Emily for dinner at Marin Joe's. In the booth behind Emily, there's seems to be a medical issue. It's all very quiet. Even when the paramedics arrive. Thankfully the woman who got dizzy and passed is alert and knows who and where she is.
Home to service our continued obsession for the Great British Baking Show.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
There's smoke in the air at mid-morning. Sadly my office neighbors and I are unfazed; here we go again. There are three forest fires raging throughout the state. One is north east of us here in Kentfield, and two in Southern California. One of which is in Thousand Oaks where they're surviving the aftermath of a mass shooting that occurred two days ago at a country western bar.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Record a podcast episode with Kimi this morning. Feel that both of us are a little unprepared. We talk about the fact after the show and implement a tighter prep schedule.
To Lynda Z's for a long overdue catchup over wine, and, wow, insanely delicious cheeses and charcuterie.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Arrive San Francisco on the ferry for a meeting with time to kill. Stop by the Slanted Door to say hello to Sheila who's working the door. She tells me she's on the three o'clock boat home.
Meeting goes well and quick. Although I feel for my accountant who was up 'till 4 a.m. the night before on a project.
On the boat scan the crowd looking for Sheila. See a tuft of blond hair between two seats up at the front. When I approach, it's clearly not the person I was looking for, but, someone I haven't seen in thirteen years. Eve G and I exchange hyper condensed versions of our last decade's histories. A blast from the past. As I say goodbye I can't stop thinking: The reason I walked up to Eve at the front of boat is because of her blonde hair, which I thought belonged to my friend Sheila, who I would not have been looking for had I not seen her earlier this afternoon at the Slanted Door when she told me she was going to be on the three o'clock boat, who I wouldn't have seen at all if my accountant wasn't running 15 minutes late giving me the time to see if Sheila was working. The mind boggles.
Off to the polls to vote then to dinner with Philip P at F3 in Sausalito. A proper catch up over a fabulous bottle of wine.
Monday, November 5, 2018
Up at 5:30, way before the sun. Emily is on a commercial with an early call time and a long distance to travel. Surprisingly feel pretty good. It's not until 9 a.m. rolls around that exhaustion and an insatiable hunger hit me.
Go to the Half Day Cafe and order an omelette and a cappuccino. Chantal arrives at 11. Can't help wondering if this is how lobotomized patients feel. Focus on finishing a recommendation letter before all my mental faculties abandon me. Conclude the first draft is pretty clever until Gabrielle enlightens me otherwise. Write a second draft that is mercifully much better.
Spend the rest of the day completing tasks that don't require a lot of thought. Look up articles on the difference between owls and larks. Turns out the human race is pretty evenly divided between morning people and night people. It's theorized to be a survival strategy, so there's always someone awake to stand guard over the village. Am further encouraged by a study that states neither type of person is better than the other.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
A lazy Sunday, a respite from the chaos of the past few weeks. Start the day late owing to the time change. Spend some time with household chores, a few longform articles, and a seriously uphill hike. The first day of standard time is always a little disconcerting with the sun setting so early. Take the mildly treacherous shortcut down the hill to make sure I have enough daylight to make it back to the car.
Friday, November 2, 2018
Chatting with the two young woman behind the counter at Sweet Things bakery in Tiburon. Am struck by their abhorrence for Facebook. Five years ago this age group, late teen, was the primary demographic of the social network. It is incredible how quickly things change in the modern technological era.
Off to Telford's for a cigar and banter with the other club members. Am thankful when we pivot away from politics. With the midterm elections just around the corner, it's all anyone wants to talk/argue about.
Pick up take away food then to my father's house for G-and-T and British procedurals.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Kimi and I record a solid podcast today. Finally, after many episodes, I feel like things are congealing.
Halloween night. Am sitting with my mother at Le Garage in Sausalito having a proper catch up over an exquisite lamb dinner. Good wine to toast both our October birthdays.
Run into Tamsen on Caladonia. She's dressed as a cheerleader. Devon, Tam, and I grab a quick drink before I head home.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
To lunch in St. Helena with Dr. Paula D and Chuck M. Discuss Worldwide Healing Hands. Thanks to Chuck, come away with a spectacular idea and direction for the nonprofit.
Back in the office by 4 staring at my computer screen trying to motivate to write marketing material for BB. Can't bring myself to write a lucid syllable. Off to the hill for a hike.
Things flow afterward, I get my assignment done by 7. Pickle and cheese sando for dinner. Await Emily's return from a shooting assignment in Palo Alto.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Sleep in 'til ten. Over eggs and coffee Emily presents me with a few fabulous gifts for my birthday. Then we're off to Shibui for sauna and massages. End the evening at The Pelican Inn for dinner.
Back home, candles atop Emily's homemade carrot cake that she admits is a little, um, cooked, on the outside. We both try a few bites before we agree, best to wait for carrot cake attempt number two.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Coffee with Emily before driving to Farmhouse Local for breakfast with Kilian, Fiona, Kieran, and Caitlan, who are in from Los Angeles and Seattle. They're on their way to Sonoma to celebrate Kilian's father's birthday.
French class with Christine. She's been out of town for the last three weeks, visiting her brand new grandson in Montreal. The baby was born in the car on the way to the hospital. Sadly my French has gotten rusty without the pressure of our weekly meeting.
Late evening hike to enjoy the last sunset of my fifty-second year.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Impromptu lunch with Lynn C and Chantal at Le Garage. Chantal, Lynn, and I gossip over white wine an quiche.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Emily and I travel to the city for a birthday party in Anne S's backyard. She and her husband Chris have been cooking for the twelve hours leading up to the celebration. Insanely delicious porkbelly, mac-and-cheese, and smoked chicken. A neighbor brings homemade pickles. The guests are marvelous. Wonderful conversations prevade.
Later, Emily and I make our way to the Big Four in Nob Hill for a civilized bourbon in an old school bar. The people watching is fascinating and fun.
Friday, October 19, 2018
Out this evening for some literary banter.
Meet fellow writer Amy C at the Swedish American hall for Amy Tan and Armistead Maupin. Am mildly disappointed when the conversation on stage goes down a political rabbit hole. Things occasionally elevate with interesting anecdotes from each author, but Armistead, who is particular gifted at telling a yarn, has trouble wrestling the microphone away from Tan whose exposition meanders. The event plays like a cult of personalities, rather than authors offering a glimpse into the tribulations writing memoir.
The first two questions during the brief Q&A are wonderful and challenge the authors to talk a bit more about the their process. Then, the last question brings up the Kavanaugh appointment and the whole thing devolves into a political rally.
Dinner afterward at Starbelly which is delicious and fun and full of fabulous conversation.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Short hike after a trying day. Many thousands of changes afoot. At least it feels like thousands. It's really just two, but it's the effect of their weight that makes them feel so massive. And, truly, these changes would have better served had they been made three years ago. But there it is.
This evening meet Chantal at an event at the Terrapin Crossroads. Outside under the heatlamps meet a wonderful new friend, Christina R, who is fabulously engaging. The rest of the cast of characters are people I know and love. As we all trade stories and laugh am thinking that I don't get out to see them often enough.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
UK calls this morning. I'll be honest; it's sometimes difficult to understand a British accent after only one cup of coffee.
Kimi and I do another episode of the podcast. It's good, but I still feel like we haven't hit our stride yet. Feel like I have to put more effort into the format. We'll get there, just hope we do it sooner than later.
Visit Gabrielle at home. She's still recuperating from her shattered knee. Good news is the PT is going well and she has a full range of motion.
Long hike along Alpine lake and a night in. Watch Solo, which is thoroughly fun. Am sad I didn't catch it in the theater.
Monday, October 15, 2018
Make an extra big breakfast for Emily who is off to Santa Barbara for a job for the week. Drop off a birthday card to my office neighbor in the main building only to find I'm a day early. Chantal drops by the office with her parent's who are visiting form Brazil. It's my first time meeting her father.
Bounce to my dad's in the city to pick up some papers, then off to the hill for a short hike. Interesting, in the past two of years since I've regularly hiked the fire road, I've only seen the ranger twice. In the last few weeks, it's been every time I've gone near sunset. Can't help thinking something happened on the trail to account for the increased patrols. Other thought is that the fire danger is so high that the MWD is practicing hyper vigilance.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
The air is remarkably clear today. I can see the ground passing underneath my flight to LA with incredible detail. It has me transfixed until we land.
Coffee with Nicole A, cocktail with Karen D and father, then arrive at Kilian and Fiona's house who are hosting me for my overnight. Fiona and I have a catch up over a wine and bourbon (respectively) before heading to the Whisky a Go Go for a show produced by my friend Craig.
The opening act, Anna Rose, takes my breath away. They perform with a singular confidence and a sophisticated style that is fabulously enthralling.
The headliner, Tatiana Demaria, puts on a high energy, expletive filled performance. Half way through her last song she saunters down from the stage, mic in hand, to finish her set among the throng of her adoring audience.
After the show ends, I spend some time with Anna Rose and her drummer Ryan to ask about a song they performed that I can't stop thinking about. It's entitle Chariot, and not publicly available yet. I beg and plead for a copy, promising under pain of death not to let it out of my control. "Maybe," comes the response with a wry smile.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Emily and I sit at the Farmshop bar for good food, and dreadful service. Emily's dinner arrives cold. Try to tell the bartender, but he's busy at the other end of the thirty foot long bar. Grab a server who is kind enough to send the food back to the kitchen. A new version of the dish reappears lava hot and without utensils. Give Emily my knife and fork and use my fingers for my cured meat plate. Wait for ages to cash out, bartender down the other end again. Feel like we're missing Shroud of Turin viewing or something. Finally ambush a server at working at one of the computers. Leave amazed at how little the overpriced restaurant cares about their diners. Then wonder why I keep going back.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
I seem to be in ghastly lull this week. Nothing is inspiring. There's too much traffic on Drake, the grinding wail of the leaf blowers outside my window are driving me mad, and lunch was a bore.
Monday, October 8, 2018
Up early to talk to the British about how to indicate taxes on advances for BB. Thing is that everyone has their own version of "standard practice." The one source I consider definitive is growing impatient because I appear to be asking the same question over and over. By 11 Chantal and I make a decision and insruct the boys in Brazil.
Rest of the day is a boring standard Monday.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Out the door early to accompany Emily on a shoot at Tilden park. Stop at the Brewed Awaking café on the way home. It's half a block away from the UC Berkeley campus. Am astonished by the conversation of two young students at the table next to us. Many words are spoken, little is said. "Yeah," and "yeah-no," with a vocal fry accent pervade the dialog. Wonder if I've aged out of reality all together, then rationalize; the students are young and on their own for the first time in their lives. How much depth should I expect?
Grab hiking boots and head to Cataract falls for a longer than anticipated hike. It's perfect weather and the trail is devoid of other hikers. Most of Northern California are near the Golden Gate Bridge watching the Blue Angels.
Mildly sore, Emily and I head back home for white wine and crab cakes.
Friday, October 5, 2018
Lunch in the city at the Slanted Door with Shelly, a friend I've not seen for twenty years. Run into Sheila and her husband on the boat back to Marin.
The son of Emily's friend Nicole, Matthew, mentioned he was a huge fan of Agents of Sheild a few weeks ago. So I called the writer of the show and got a poster that the cast most generously signed for him.
Joe's for food pickup and off to my father's for G&T and British procedurals.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Wake to a deluge which passes by 9 a.m.
Lunch with Dr. Dhanda at Farmestead in St. Helena. We talk about how to raise money for Worldwide Healing Hands, where I serve as a board member. Even though it's a non-profit, it's still a business in a highly competitive marketplace. Asking for money for a good cause is almost a bloodsport these days.
Make it back home by mid-afternoon and promptly pass out for fifteen minutes. Sometimes a glass of wine at lunch is nothing, and sometimes it knocks me off my feet.
To the office to realize I can't deal with the office. Hike, then go to office in a more productive mood.
Kimi sends me a note. The sound quality of our last podcast is off on my end. It's not horrible, but... Need to decide if we should re-do it.
Monday, October 1, 2018
First rain of the year this afternoon. It was more like someone dumped a bucket of water and then ran. Still, this being California and all, happy to get what liquid we can.
Been thinking about Halloween. Used to be, back in LA, I'd build some sort of haunted set in front of my house. Prop houses and practical effects studios were incredibly generous with discounts knowing that their wares were being used to entertain kids. I miss that stuff.
Emily is not a Halloween person per se, but my guess, if I come up with a fabulous idea, she'll hop on board. Now, I just need the idea.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Hike through a cold fog. A sure sign that winter is coming.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Last three days could not have been more insipid. A stark contrast to Sunday (see below). Having an office seems like such a sham when all I seem to do there is yammer on the phone. Makes me wonder if I shouldn't work from bed. Still, the work must get done, and the wheels must keep turning.
Evenings have been fun. Great British Baking Show mania continues in the house. Emily has made close to fifty baked goods in the last week. Everyone I've given cupcakes to, multiple times over, are beginning to winge about their waste-lines.
Today, sprint through work up until 1 p.m. and then to the docks to meet John L and Kimberley L for an afternoon of sailing. The wind hits 29 knots, strongest I've ever been in on the bay. Make it out past the Golden Gate Bridge to commune with dolphins who breach all around us. Make for port and then cocktails and dinner at the Buckeye.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Emily and I take a much needed day off and depart on a slow drive to Bodega Bay for a glass of wine. On the way back I climb up and over a tall gate to take a picture of the Nicasio reservoir. Emily, not one to trespass, hides her face in her hands laughing. It's not until I'm done with the snap that I see the joke. Twenty feet to the left of the gate is a three foot high guardrail that I easily step over to get back to the car.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
All I'm going to say about today is that I recklessly wasted what could have been a perfect day. The idiocy of compulsive distraction. Short hike under a cloud of mild embarrassment. Look east, the sunrise of a new day can't happen quick enough.
Friday, September 21, 2018
Pilates, phone calls, and more phone calls. Finally get to settle in to writing when the phone rings. My car is ready. By the time I drop the rental car and pick up mine and navigate Friday traffic an hour has passed. Bye bye afternoon. Pick up blueberry pie and head to Telfords for a cigar.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
I can write a Tuesday blues song today. What a disaster. Reminds me of my teenage days when I worked on my own car engines. The thing would start but sputter in idle and never quite find a smooth running groove. That's how my head feels.
Crawl through the maze of setting up a launchd routine on the office mac, answer emails under duress, and basically scowl at the world for existing. Am pretty sure it scowled back.
One highlight, Article delivered our new coffee table. It looks beautiful in the living room.
Watch baking show to cheer up and go to bed none too glad the day is over.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Take the 4:10 ferry to San Francisco and Charmaine's, a roof top bar that's trying just a little too hard to be fabulous. A door man grants entry, and a young woman calls the elevator which ascends to the booze. That said, the drinks are fantastic, as is the view on the deck where Chris S and I sit in front a dancing fire bantering about food and photography.
Our seats are situated with a view of the elevator doors which affords a survey of the arriving patrons. The tech industry may have made San Francisco rich, but it has utterly obliterated any sense of fashion. Tragic hipness and cliche'd homogeny repeatedly stream out of the sliding doors. It's sad really, in decades past San Francisco used to be a hub of aesthetic avant-garde. No more.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Crawling over the passenger seat lasted less than a six hours before it drove me utterly mad. Rent a car from Enterprise for the shop rate. Saunter through my day exiting and entering the car through the driver’s side door, happier than a pig in...
Early evening go to Book Passage in Sausalito to attend Kimberley and Jill’s book release event; 100 Things to do in San Francisco Before You Die. It’s quite good. Dinner afterward with Kimberley, John, et al.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The fallout from the car break-in is worse than anticipated. $2,000 to get door fixed. Insurance is only partially helpful. Defiantly resolve to crawl over the passenger seat (the driver's door stuck closed from the damage) until I can get the car to the shop.
To San Francisco to take dad to the hospital for various scans and such. Then back to Marin for dinner and the guilty pleasure of The Great British Baking Show.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Act on an impulse, go for a hike in the early afternoon, before Kimi and I are to record an episode of our podcast. Come down the hill to see all the windows of my car are open. Get closer to see the lock has been drilled out. My wallet, credit cards, and cash are gone.
Sheriff arrives and we are both astounded the area would see any crime at all. Am almost sheepish to say that I saw someone drive up, and act oddly. Kick myself for not going with my gut and taking better precaution.
The criminals are able to make six thousand dollars of purchases before I can cancel the cards. Which I do from my iPhone literally minutes after I discover the crime. The thief was clever. He exploited a glitch in the Infiniti security system which opens all the windows if the valet key is held hard to the right. Do it with a drill for the same effect and no triggering of the alarm.
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Dinner with dad, and mom, and Emily at Harris’. A rare thing to have both parents out at the same time. Not all goes according to plan, but we are here. Emily, ever the empath, is lovely with her supportive nudges under the table.
Saturday, September 8, 2018
You wouldn't think purchasing a coffee table would be so arduous, but Emily and I have been to five different furniture stores with no luck. It doesn't help that I didn't get a great night's sleep. I'm grumbling most of the time.
Finally, while Emily and I sit in pedicure chairs at the nail salon, we find something we both like online at Article. Through the magic of Apple pay, the table is purchased in less that time than it takes to get a parafin treatment. Emily and I celebrate with wine and cheese at Fishers in Larkspur Landing.
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Land at Denver airport to change planes to continue on to Oakland. Or so I thought. My ticket, which I booked during a chaotic work day a few weeks ago, has Emily and I catching a connector to San Francisco. My car is in a parking lot at Oakland.
The fine people at Southwest won't let me change my flight for luv or money. Which is odd because I've switched from SFO to OAK or vice versa a few times in the past--at this very airport. After ten minutes of back and forth with the gate agent, resign myself to do as the ticket says. On the way down the jetway get an alert on my Southwest app letting me know I can indeed change my ticket. It's too late, the wheels go up, the plane angles toward SF.
Send Emily home with all the luggage, then chat with Southwest gate agents at SFO. They're all shocked at what happened and have no problem throwing the Denver folks under the bus. "She must be new," they say. "There were three of them," I respond. They try to contain their laughter. "Maybe they were all new, or maybe it's just Denver folks." Guffaws.
Board a BART train to OAK so I can retrieve my car. As the train hums toward the East Bay, I start a twitter discussion with Southwest. Their attitude; gosh, wish we could undo that situation. You have to wonder about people who see the world in terms of computer vernacular. After twenty minutes of back and forth, get nowhere. Drive home through 60 minutes of traffic.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Nice thing about being on the east coast is my east coast calls are at normal hours. Spend the morning navigating the Publicis labyrinth. My July submitted invoice has been tossed around the agency like a hot potato, no one wants to take the responsibility to pay it.
Feeling like I've survived a battle, decide to take a half day off. Lunch at the First and Last Tavern with a stop by a roadside stand for a cup of ice cream that rivals my favorite I found at the Touleries in Paris.
Emily and I beat the heat at swimming hole in Cotton Hollow park. During dinner, convince myself I should do something more sensible with my evening than binge-watch a baking show. The intention evaporates five minutes into an episode.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
On the train to Connecticut wondering why I just paid a forth-five dollar change-ticket-fee to arrive 20 minutes earlier than my originally scheduled arrival. 'Twasn't meant to be that way. The "earlier" train I changed to was fifty minutes late. Need to be less reactionary.
Dinner at Emily's mother's house. First home cooked meal in weeks. Mothers are a universal awesomeness. Later am introduced to the Great British Baking Show. Smile and settle in, silently committing to watch one episode before excusing myself to my book. Midnight, I'm the only one awake, thoroughly hooked on the drama of sponge cake, proving, and the intensity of tiramisu. Manage four episodes before sheer exhaustion forces me to bed.
Monday, September 3, 2018
Arrive New York. Am immediately covered in a sheen of my own sweat. It’s hot, really hot. Drop my stuff at Jane’s in Greewhich village and meet Jenny K for drinks at Gotham.
After drinks, off to dinner with Jane. An Italian joint, low key, good food, and bussers who seem mildly put off by the existence of customers.
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Sell my mother's kayak to one of the nicest guys ever to come from a Craig's List transaction. We make plans to have a beer next time I find myself in Sacramento. Lunch with mom to catch up, and give her the loot from the sale. A walk among the trees, then dinner with my father over drinks and British procedurals, as per usual.
Friday, August 31, 2018
A day of meetings. Well, sort of. Lunch at Slanted Door with my lawyer. Work gets done to be sure, but over a several of glasses of Riesling. Then Ed swings by for a an all too short chat before Tamsen and I have to catch the 3:30 boat back to Marin. Am reminded of a girl I knew, an attorney, in New Orleans. The lawyer lunches on Fridays started at noon at Galatoire, and ended at six, with most pouring themselves into a cab to get home.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Dull and grey outside. Humid, not quite cold, not quite warm. Any decision made about clothes this morning will be the wrong one in an hour. Hear the echoes of my east coast friends in my head, "Layer your clothes." Um, this California, we don't do that.
Spend the day working with Chantal. We're quick to recognize that our vociferous disagreement from the previous day is very much water under the bridge. Later, take the ferry to San Francisco for drinks with Jean at The Salt House. A favorite watering hole that is remarkably slow for a Wednesday night. Am I witnessing a harbinger? Drinks and staff are all in their usual top form. The capriciousness of a city that has trend instead of blood coursing through its veins.
Ferry home just in time to slide through the door of the grocery store before it closes.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Spend the morning writing copy for someone elses web site. It puts me in an intolerable mood which sets the tone for the rest of the day. Thankfully Tamsen arrives to the office cheery and we're able to trudge through a list of banal tasks without any casualties.
Later, hear that a long article I wrote for a new photo blog is well liked, but that the blog launch has been relagated to red headed step child status. It seems that the company is going to focus on creating a YouTube page instead. Apparently the blog will still be published, but the sense I get is that it's going to be used as a SEO tool rather than a serious publication. None too thrilled that my free writing efforts have been downgraded, I give implicit instructions that my article is not it be used at all. Kimi and I can find a better home for my hard work. By the end of the day I'm swirling in "no good deed goes unpunished" malaise.
Escape to the mountain for a hike and wonder if animals have crap days. A reprieve comes in the form of last minute dinner plans. Tamsen and I grab a drink and a plate a ribs and conclude we're the most fabulous people at the bar.
Monday, August 27, 2018
Finish reading a remarkable book entitled American Kingpin by Nick Bilton. It chronicles the creation of the Silk Road web site and the multi-agency hunt to bring it and its creator, down.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
I'm at the Cerro Pampa Oyster Cup Charity Polo Tournament with my friend Katie. That no one gets injured with long handle mallets flying around is a testament to the skill of the riders. Which is something to behold. The thunderous sound of hooves on the field is downright intimidating when all the players come racing down the field.
Meet a slew new friends, all of whom are wonderfully good natured and very welcoming. Am repeatedly invited to more polo events and even to take lessons. I'm appreciative of the enthusiasm but caution that putting me on field atop of 1600 pounds of fast moving beast is a recipe for doom. Of course, after my second glass of champaign, I find myself seriously considering the notion.
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Kimi and I have gone from recording our podcast on an iPhone in a parked car to using reasonably good microphones and talking once a week. I still don't feel like we've found our footing quite yet, but it's getting close.
Long hike and then a trip to Petaluma to drop of a copy of Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves to a bartender who's moving to France next week.
Get home and settle in to watch Christopher Nolan's Prestige, I barely get a third of the way in before I abandon it. The story is just not for me.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Food allergies are an incredible nuisance. Something at lunch kicked off a histamine reaction that left me in a dense mental fog for three hours. It's just dreadful, too tired to function, not tired enough to sleep. I imagine sleep deprivation torture to be similar.
After snapping out of the haze--it does indeed happen that fast--I feel like a new man. Make my way to dinner to meet Gabrielle and her boyfriend, David, that I've heard so much about. He's good company, and one tall sombitch. He has aspirations for the real estate, but, in truth, the lad should be a professional adventurer.
Monday, August 20, 2018
Have somehow gotten myself into a pattern of waking exactly at 4 a.m. over the last three mornings. At first I thought it might be because of the cocktails Friday and Saturday night, but last night I was a teetotaler.
The day unfolds almost entirely on the phone. Kimi and I are trying to come up with a new web site design for BB. The current one is far too geared toward photographers, our market is expanding rapidly into agencies and production companies. The mockup I spent a few hours cobbling together on Sunday is dismissed and I find myself frustrated that my graphic design skills aren't stronger.
Tamsen pops by for one of our barbecue, bourbon, and Borne nights. We both agree that The Borne Ultimatum is the best movie of the series.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
It's a quiet Sunday morning. Over a strong coffee, decide to remove two articles lingering in the background of my web site; they're just out of plain view, but close enough to easily link to. The pieces (with photos) received a ton of attention when they were released, but now, they read as a little too dated. Like I'm clinging to some past glory. In truth, once they come down, my psyche feels a little lighter. Which gets me thinking; is it possible to ever get a true sense of the expiry date of one's creative works. Plan to broach the subject with Kimi as a possible topic for the podcast.
Later, my day is made when I get to Facetime with Julia, Olive the dog, and Caitlin. They're at Julia's new digs for the next four years, Lewis and Clark College.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
The final comp of the Twenty Years Behind Bars book cover I shot in July arrived from Mark Hanson this morning. I absolutely love it.
InfiniteBlue, a dot-com domain that I've owned for ages, but never used for anything meaningful sold for a tidy sum this morning. Which prompts me to rush to my dad's house. He's been using the domain for his email address. Spend an hour trying to find him and icloud handle he likes. Unsuccessful, leave him to his own musings on the matter.
Race up to Petaluma to meet Philip for wine and bites. We spend hours catching up on everything from industry gossip to existentialist banter on visual story telling. Drive home slowly, the back way, blaring rock-and-roll under a dense field of stars. Give silent homage to the inventor of the sun roof.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Kimi and I try our hand at doing the podcast remotely. Shockingly, all goes well and we've got the followup to our distraction episode in the can.
Later, to Petaluma for dinner with Elaine. Oysters and vodka, oh my. Take a healthy oyster, drop in shot glass half full with vodka, drop a big dab of hot horseradish on top, and plop into my mouth. Chew to get all the flavors mashed together.
On the way home, drop by the Roaring Donkey's open mike night. Get to hear bad comedy and good music. Seriously think about giving the open mike a go next week.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
I've been wanting to come up with a new tag line for BlinkBid for ages. Something that captures the expanded capabilities of what we've been building into software over the last year. Set out this morning to do just that. After many hours of banging my head against the wall, snipping at people like a terrier because they've called while I'm in a creative grump, I've come up with something that I like; "From vision to fruition lies bidding and producing."
Sufficiently pleased with myself, call everyone I was rude to and apologize, then escape the office for a hike.
Off to San Francisco for happy hour with two new friends, Stephanie and Matt. Phenomenal, funny, interesting people that I'm looking forward to seeing again with Emily. On the way home I accidentally find myself on the street of my childhood. Haven't seen the flat where I grew up in twenty years. It brings back an overwhelming flood of memories.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Drive to fog enshrouded San Francisco for an afternoon at my parents. Talk to my father about family business and then he and I hang a new set of blinds. Getting out of the city during the Outside Lands music festival is challenging. Eventually make it to the bridge and the sunshine. Spend the day in blissful solitude doing nothing that I should be doing.
Friday, August 10, 2018
Standard operating Friday. See Sarah for pilates this morning. Office, emails, phone blather. Fun lunch with Tam Tam. Quick adventure to Tiburon to Sweet Things. A cigar with Greg and John. Dinner with dad who wants to turn my office into an impromptu examination room next week so he can look at Tamsen's injured knee.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Arrive at Greens restaurant at Fort Mason Center for lunch with Victoria. Thing is, there is no Greens. A construction crew has the place stripped down to the floor boards. Pop into The Interval café next door to get the gossip. A kitchen fire six weeks earlier.
A few further doors down, Radhaus is in its third day of operation. A bright, wide open, beer hall of a space with lots of white tile. The bar counter looks like it was fashioned from a very tall fallen tree. The food and the beer are very German and very good.
The rest of the day is essentially a shit show. That's two in a row. Can't tell if it's me, the weather, or a cosmic anomaly.
Go to the Buckeye to pick up graphics materials from Jeff for the book cover I shot a few weeks earlier. Run into a slew of people I know. That place is starting to feel like a school yard with cocktails. Vow to go out less and enjoy the environs of my own home. Truth be told, I'm pining for an adventure, anywhere.
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
The industry has been quiet these past two weeks. I forgot, when I was shooting pictures for a living, August was always dead. Call two prominent producers who confirm what I'm sensing. They both tell me that the machine revs up again right after labor day. Kimi and I switch our goals to accommodate the sleepy month. A gift really. A chance to revamp a few things in BlinkBid that have been bugging me for months.
It's a hot, dry, still day outside. Everything is cast in orange. A product of the smoke from all the wildfires around California. With each of the last three fire seasons being worst than the last, you'd expect the local governments to start considering some preventative measures. Sadly, their big accomplishment of the summer is outlawing straws.
Take the opportunity to work on a treatment that I started writing two weeks ago. Manage to finish in time to send the first draft to my trusted readers before I have to drive to the city. Visit my father, then off to a pub in the Sunset district to meet a writer friend for dinner. Amy and I have a proper catch up over whiskey, wine, and fried foods.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Take advantage of a quiet Sunday to catch up on everything I avoided during the previous week. Then set out on the same 11 mile trek to the East Peak of Mt. Tam that Tamsen and I did on the 20th of June.
Arrive at the vistor center to find that the bathrooms, or, more importantly, the drinking fountain is out of order. Was really counting on that to fill up my water bottle. At the fire watch tower, make a short video and send to Emilly in Connecticut. Then start down to try and get back to my car before sunset.
Ten minutes into my decent, find a narrow trail that leads into the underbrush. Am certain this is the top end of the short cut that bisects all the switchbacks. Five yards in, a spine tingling buzz. A rattler is reared up and none too pleased about seeing me. We both freeze and stare at each other for a minute. Take two slow steps backward to get out of striking distance. The rapid buzz of the rattle slows to a shake and then ceases, but the snake remains in a striking posture. Pull out my phone to shoot a picture which immediately gets the rattle going again. Feel like I should leave a dead mouse or something, as a thank you for the photo, instead I slowly back up and jump back on the fire road. Pick up the short cut a little further down.
Find this on the California Fish and Wildlife site: When hiking, stick to well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day. Clever, those professional wildlife folks.
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Facetime with Emily. I miss her. Morning coffee is just not the same without her here engaging our regular banter about all things happening in world.
A wonderfully uneventful day followed by late night cocktails with friends who have been drinking since late afternoon. They're plowed. The conversation is stilted and trivial, I've paid way too much for tomato and burrata, and I've just been served Grand Mariner in a shot glass. Drive home disappointed with myself, and eighty bucks poorer. A few hours earlier my gut was telling me to stay home. Should have gone with my gut.
Friday, August 3, 2018
I have absolutely no specific reason why, but in the month August, the sunsets feel different than in June and July. It's the late afternoon breeze we get here in central Marin. It kind of hints at the coming of fall. My pseudo scientific conjecture is that it has to do with the Earth's angle to the sun etcetera.
Start the day snaking the shower drain. A chore I loathe, but it brings me a bizarre gratification when it's completed. Especially when I see the water flowing effortlessly down the drain.
Fridays are sort of a de facto day off for my industry. Barely any emails come through and I can't raise a soul on the telephone. A lazy lunch and an afternoon of squirming through mundane tasks.
Talk to Kimi in LA. She advises that my clever photo gallery idea isn't all that clever. The photographic art market is severely depressed. My time would better be spent writing instead of pursuing avenues to distract me from my writing. She's right of course. In the end am happy I only lost $13.24 on purchasing the gallery's domain name.
Puff on a strong cigar at my smoking club, it leaves me slightly light headed. Leave a little woozy, and make my way to dinner with my father in San Francisco. I feel much better after I eat.
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Wake up too early and on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Desperately try to improve my mood with loud music, strong coffee, and a long shower. Nothing works. Conclude that I'm not meant for day to day office mishegoss, I'm much better on the road.
At the office I take a stab at finishing a rewrite of TV treatment that I'd like to send down Los Angeles. Feel like I'm pulling syllables out of my fingertips with fish hooks. The first two thirds of the rewrite flowed like a swollen spring stream while on the plane to Connecticut last week. Now I can't seem to find the focus to finish what should be an ordinary task.
The day passes with me barely servicing a to-do list and answering emails. Tamsen arrives to step in for Gabrielle who is still in the hospital. I come up with what I think is a good idea for a photo gallery, but can't shake the feeling that I'm caught up in a vortex of distraction. Am thankful when I get on the phone with Kimi and we actually get something accomplished.
Chantal and I arrive at Bungalow 44 for our quarterly dinner meeting where we discuss the merritts of everything except work. There are a ton of friends and acquaintances at the restaurant. The evening turns into the saving grace of a dreadfully broken day.
Monday, July 30, 2018
After a miserable un-refreshing night's sleep am up at 6.30 to take Emily to the Marin Airporter. Amid all the chaos and travel of the last two weeks I have a palpable sense of not having had enough time with her. Now she's off for a month to help her mother. Even though I'll join her for a few days in the coming weeks, it's not the same as livin' our day to day. Am struck by the thought of a paradox; the mundanities of quotidian routine are actually quite special in there own right.
The practicalities of the office assault me as soon as I walk in the door. With Gabrielle out, I have to help cover customer service. I don't know how she does it. The vitriolic emails of some people is overwhelming. Am thankful that this is our slow season.
Chantal is in, which makes for a lot of fun banter and a remarkable efficiency as we plot the next steps for our company. By the end of the day I've solved a problem that's been vexing me for over a year.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Our friend and colleague, Gabrielle, met with some dreadful luck this afternoon, she broke her tibial plateau. Consult my orthopedic father to get a true assessment of what that means. His standard answer; he needs to see the x-rays. But, he says, the poor girl has as long road ahead.
Emily and I repair to a wine and cheese shop down the way to get some time alone before she has to return to Connecticut. I can see the pain of her father's death in her eyes. It's not constant, the sadness seems to flow and ebb like a tide. She's been remarkably brave.
Dinner at the house with Julia, visiting us from Los Angeles. I still haven't quite got the knack of keeping turkey burgers from sticking to stanless steel pan.
Friday, July 27, 2018
In my continued quest to fly on time, I'm trying Southwest Airline's new direct flight from Newark to Oakland. The train from Penn station to Newark International is crowded but on time and fabulously affordable. Think about all the times I've been driven in a fancy black town car to JFK. Traffic is traffic no matter how comfortable the seat. Think I prefer the gentle rocking back in forth of the train's cadence and the marvelously distracting people watching.
All goes without a hitch and I land on time in Oakland only mildly bleary eyed. Make dinner for Emily and her friend Julia, thankful to eat a meal at home for the first time in two weeks.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Summertime in New York. I feel like I’ve stepped out of the shower and dressed without touching a towel. I'm walking to Wall street for a meeting at an advertising agency. In the conference room, I'm the only one over thirty-five. Everyone I speak to is fabulous but they all have an east coast abruptness that takes me a second to get used to. It always does when I visit Manhattan.
One young woman, Virginia, who I've spoken with on the phone, has the driest, most hilarious sense of humor I've encountered in ages. Her wit and timing make me wonder why she's not on stage.
Meet with Elise and her production coordinator, Katheleen, for Vietnamese lunch. Elise and I pack several months worth of news and gossip into a forty-five minutes by talking very quickly. Kathleen enjoys her food and watches us like we're a dinner act.
A general meeting with a new agency that's launching in September. The founding agent is a veteran of the industry and one of the most delightful people I've ever met.
Finish my day at Art and Motion. It's fun to put faces to the voices that I've spoken to over the years.
Drinks with one of my oldest photography friends Laura, and close the night with dinner at an Italian restaurant with Jane who has been kind enough to put me up at her place in Greenwich Village.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Bill is laid to rest with full military honors. A gun volley and taps flawlessly played by a young member of the United States Marines in dress whites. Two other Marines lift the flag off his coffin, fold it, and present it to Bill's wife. The brief miltary ceremony is incredibly moving. Godspeed my friend, you were one of the good ones.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Calling hours for Bill. Friends visit, tell stories, laugh, and say goodbye to a much loved friend. The family's tears come in short torrents, like tropical rain storms that suddenly swell up and then dissipate. The old darling is going to be missed by many.
Monday, July 23, 2018
Keeping my promise to avoid SFO at all costs, an experiment: fly to the east coast via OAK—using public transportation to get the airport. From ferry to Bart (using their new OAK airtrain service) to TSA security is an hour and twenty minutes. Forty minutes longer than taking a car on a day without traffic (ha). Twenty minutes longer than driving on any given weekday.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Tough news this morning. Emily's father passed away unexpectedly. It's all very surreal. A gentle giant of a man who loved daily breakfast with his friends, communing with the neighborhood cat, and spending time with his family, is gone. Find myself tightly embracing the precious memories of his ceaseless smile and the echoes of his dry, repetitive humor.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
My last day in Los Angeles. Kimi begrudgingly makes her way to the west side so we can meet. Have an extended lunch and then get an inordinate amount of work done. We always move quickly through our agenda when we're face to face. She mentions that she's got a great idea for a podcast episode, but won't tell me until it's time to record.
Meet with Emily B for a long coffee at her office. Another long-time friend I haven't seen for a while. Talk about movies, movies, and cats.
Dinner at Republique with Ali. Getting there is a bit if chore. Up until this evening I've had remarkable luck with traffic. When at last I arrive the evening commences with phenomenal food and epic conversation.
Monday, July 16, 2018
It's Florida muggy in Los Angeles today. Make my way down to an ad agency in Playa for a BlinkBid meeting. Arrive shockingly early. There wasn't a lick of traffic. Caffeine seems in order. Around the corner at a Peet's coffee I run into one of my oldest LA friends, Mikey. We're just catching up when I look at my watch a realize that I'm on the verge of being late.
Lunch at Urth in Venice, for old-times-sake. It's packed which makes for fabulous people watching.
Commence the amazing friends tour; coffee with Jaron on Sawtelle. Dinner and cigars with Craig at the Grand Havana Room.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
The plan; get to the airport way early, watch the World Cup finals, hop on a flight to LA. It falls apart enroute when a Southwest text message informs me that my flight is cancelled and the next available departure is four hours later.
Watch France relentlessly overcome the heroic efforts of the Croatians to win the World Cup. I was routing for Les Bleus, but I can't help feeling a little for the Croatian team.
Get a standby position at the very last minute and make it to LA only three hours later than anticipated. Resolve never to fly out of SFO again.
Dinner with Karen and Fiona at Salt in MDR. The restaurant lives inside a fabulous Marina Del Rey hotel, which has been around since the incpetion of the marina.
Thursday, July 12, 2018
On location at The Buckeye Roadhouse shooting a book cover for the soon to be released Another, Twenty Years Behind Bars by Jeff Burkhart. Look through the view finder thinking that it never gets old realizing a creative vision that tells a story. We're working fast, and around restaurant staff who are readying for lunch. The wonderful Tamsen plays the role of "girl passed out on bar." The books's author does a spectacular job looking like a mildly dispirited bartender.
Out sailing wearing new sunglasses specifically for the sport. Academically I know how important good eyewear is, but wow, what a difference. Never feel my eyes squint once. Looking out across the ocean, just outside the Golden Gate Bride, a water spout reveals the location of a whale. As the boat gets closer, the sea creature breaks the surface with it's massive tale. I'm as giddy as a child.
The day finishes where it started, only this time I'm eating dinner with friends at the Buckeye's bar instead of shooting pictures of it.
Sunday, July 8, 2018
My business partner's son, William, celebrates his first birthday today. It's a wonderful affair with incredible food, good people, and birthday cake that is so rich in chocolatey goodness that after I eat a piece I find myself running around looking for conversation. Any conversation.
After the birthday party, trek down the road to the Barfly's lair for a whiskey education and tasting. The history of my favorite spirit is incredibly vast. We get to try some bourbons that can't be found anywhere except at auction for thousands of dollars. With the taste of bourbon still on our palate, the two Johns, Jamie, and myself head to dinner.
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Drive to John's house (he's got cable TV) at 7.00 a.m. for chocolate croissant, strong coffee, and England vs Sweden. Emily, (of Swedish decent) none too happy that I'm rooting for England. England prevails and moves up to the semi finals.
The rest of the day is spent visiting my father while in a light fog of sleep deprivation. On the boat I got used to waking with the sunrise at 5.30 a.m., a habit that seems to have followed me to the shore. Totally incompatible with my owl like tendency to get to sleep on the later side.
End the day with dinner and fabulous conversation at Elaine's house in Petaluma.
Friday, July 6, 2018
Re-entry into my normal life is proving to be difficult. I swear two thirds of my brain is in revolt. Am finding it hard to focus on the things that need to get done. My legs feel like they're rocking a little, as if I were still on the boat. The best part of the day is my regularly scheduled dinner with my dad.
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Happy birthday America.
Prepare to leave the boat to drive Kilian's son to the Sacramento airport and then make my way home. As it turns out someone else heading south-west and can easily provide an airport ride. After a tequila shot, and five minutes of peer pressure from a gaggle of kids, I cave and agree to stay another night.
Sunday, July 1, 2018
This is a view of Shasta Dam at 6.00 a.m. We're on the patio boat motoring in to the bar on shore to watch the World Cup soccer matches. I'm not what you'd call a "morning person", but there's something to the quiet beauty of the early hours. Especially with a cup of good coffee in your hand.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Speeding up highway 505. There's a mushroom cloud in my rear view mirror. Like I've narrowly escaped a nuclear blast. It feels like an apt metaphor for the first half of my year. It is in fact the smoke from the wildfires in Lake County. Turn the music up, press on the gas, and forge ahead.
Arrive at Bridge Bay marina in the late afternoon. The lake isn't as high as last summer, but not drought years low either. At the docked houseboat it's all smiles and embraces as we wait for everyone else to arrive.
Thursday, June 28, 2018
A wave of anticipation for my annual trip to lake Shasta has overcome me resulting in a mad state of tidying up home and work so I can depart without any lingering responsibilities. The forecast for the next few days promises a heat wave peaking at 109F. Sweet Jesus, me thinks most of this year's trip is going to be spent in the water.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
It started out as small hike in the Marin watershed. It turned into a nine mile jaunt up and back to the top of the east peak of Mount Tamalpais. The distraction of fabulous conversation with my friend Tamsen kept us going to a point when Tamsen's competitive spirit continually urged us to round "one more switchback." Soon we we're in sight of the top. By the time we descended to within a half mile of the car, my legs are jello.
Monday, June 18, 2018
Duck out of work early to celebrate Emily's birthday. Head to the spa for clay masks, sauna, and a massage. Then off to Muir beach to watch a fog enshrouded sunset. Finish the day with a delicious pint at the Pelican Inn.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
A few days ago Kimi and I recorded an episode of the Chaos and Creativity podcast dedicated to discovering how the overuse of technology affects our creative abilities. Our concerns are different; Kimi subconsciously looks at her iPhone too often durring the day. I'm easily distracted by the vast myriad of content available on the internet, a mode of procrastination justified by the age old cliché; "I'm learning something new about my business, or my life, or my relationship."
Last thursday I took steps to drastically diminish my exposure to the internet. Things like eating lunch outside, instead of in front of my computer, leaving my phone in the car instead of taking it into a restaurant. I also cancelled email subscriptions to just about everything. Probably the toughest act was deleting the vast majority of my bookmarks. Even though I haven't looked at most of them in years, it still bizarrely felt like I was throwing something tangible away.
My physical and emotional reaction has been surprising. On the one hand, my head feels more free to engage in abstract thinking. The darker side is what I can only classify as classic withdrawal symptoms; urges and agitation. A real eye opener about how are existence is inextricably entangled with internet, and how insidious that entanglement can become if it is unchecked.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
I've been a bachelor this weekend, what with Emily down in LA visiting her friend. Expected I would have engaged in far more debaucherous deeds than sleeping in, catching up on reading a slew of longform articles, and writing a ton. There's always tonight. But, to paraphrase from Feris Bueller's Day Off, I just can't think of anything fun to do.
Monday, June 4, 2018
Human again. Well, almost. Still have a touch of cough which means I'm still not able to hike. Heavy breathing kicks off a hacking fit. The flu is really a two to three week illness if we're talking in terms of being back to 100 percent.
The weekend was low key with the exception of a fabulous dinner with new friends, Nicole and Brian. Their teenage son joined us after he got off work from the nearby burger joint. I couldn't help thinking what a cool job it must be to work at a diner. Fast paced, a wide diversity of people. He regaled us with stories of all the food modifications requested by the people of this high maintenance county I live in. "I'll have the meaty meat burger sans meat please." Stuff like that. What a hoot.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
The trip to Arizona, and then to St. Louis immediately following have taken their toll. Woke yesterday morning feeling mildly listless with a tickle in the back of my throat. This morning it's full blown. I feel like crap. Thankfully it's a holiday weekend, there won't be any expectations for higher intelligence.
Have just heard from Kilian, he and his wife were due for an overnight at our place, up from LA. He's bedridden as well and won't be traveling. Must be in the air.
Emily says I've been complaining about feeling low energy for over a week. Last time I had these symptoms it was walking pneumonia.
Emily ran out and got me an orange carrot juice blend from one of those fancy juice shops that require a credit-check before selling your any of their over priced brews. I avoid asking how much it cost and pour the elixir into a glass with reserved ceremony. To be honest, it's delish.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
My reverence for actors is absolute. I'm at the RGG studios in St. Louis. This is the second day of looking at a camera talking about the business of photography for an upcoming video series. I've never done anything so difficult. Mangled words, mumbling, and speaking too quickly are my crimes against the endeavor. The directors, Sean and Gary, and the DP, Seth, have exhibited biblical patience with me. I'm forever in their debt.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
An act of blatant extravagance. Fly to Phoenix to meet Chantal — in from Texas — for spa treatments and dinner at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale. Was incredibly lucky to also connect with Shannon, an old friend whom I hadn't seen ten years. Then back to California the next day to return to the daily rigors.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
I've written a speech for Dr. Paula Dhanda to deliver at MedShare's 20th anniversary event. We're at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Meet the announcer for The Giants, Renel Brooks-Moon, in the green room before the event starts. Fabulous is really the only appropriate word one can use to describe her.
The speech goes well, if not mildly more serious than the vibe of the room. One of the inherent challenges of speech writing. Another challenge, for me at least, is the detachment of not being the presenter of my work. So it goes.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Drive two and half hours south west to Pacific Grove for dinner with photographer Brian Smith and producer Pamela Barry. They're both here for a Sony event. Can't remember having ever been to PG. It's one of those rarities in that it still feels like a California coastal town versus a manufactured version of a California coastal town.
At dinner the conversation picks up right where it left off the last time we saw each other over a year ago.
Sunday, April 29, 2018
It's an auspicious day today. I can't put my finger on why, but everything feels different. Maybe it's due to a full moon this evening. A full, Pink Moon.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
From the lofty elevation afforded by a satellite map, this ditch looked like a crazy shortcut to the top of the east peak of Mt. Tamalpais. Had been meaning to seek it out for months when I happened on it tonight while hiking up a switchback. It's thirty minutes 'till sunset, it's cold, and I'm in a t-shirt. What could go wrong?
Following the ditch is tough. It's deep and steep and claustrophobic with foliage. But, in the end, my hunch is correct and I'm spit out on to a familiar fire road. It took a third of the time to descend, via ditch, than it did to climb up. My legs are a little beat up, nothing a bourbon and two Advil won't fix. New discoveries, no matter how trivial, are always a bit of thrill.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
The clear sunny sky at Tomales Point is misleading. The wind blowing off the Pacific Ocean and through the trees is chilling me to the bone. I love this trail. It's basically nine and half miles of spectacular ocean view that's shared with free roaming Elk. They're very polite and keep themselves to themselves.
At my suggestion Emily and I break off the trail to sit on a patch of grass and have a chin wag. As we do, I can't help looking around thinking how lucky I am to live so close to this place. I won't realize for three days that I'm sitting in a patch of poison oak that will make my lower legs look like I belong in a leper colony.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Foxes are revered in Gaelic lore. It feels auspicious to see two of them on the trail.
Truth be told, in the waning light of the day, I thought they might be mountain lion cubs. So I was mildly concerned that their mother might be lingering nearby as I approached to take the photo. It wasn't 'till I got back to the car and took a good look at the picture that I realized that I had seen a young pair of bold foxes and not cougars cubs.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Bob Jimenez was a San Francisco news anchor at KRON TV in the late seventies and early eighties. Through my mother's acquaintance with him, I got behind the scenes access to a news broadcast. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and my eyes just about bugged out of my head as I watched and listened to the show come together in real time.
Decades later, I'm here in New York on my way to see my friend Ellen, a producer for Good Morning America. She walks out of the door at the ABC building, and, just as we're about to walk to a restaurant, she asks if I want to see the TV studios. "Yes please," I say.
As soon a we get to the control room for Nightline, I get the same sense of awe and amazement as I had when I was a kid in San Francisco.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
On those rare days when the fog manages to linger late in the afternoon, I feel like I'm in another country. Or a Tolkien novel.