Friday, May 3, 2019
Jimmy and Molly's dog, Pip, decides that I've had quite enough sleep, so in a dexterous move he hops up on to my bed and slathers me with loving licks to wake me.
Say goodbye to Molly and thank her for the hospitality as she hops out the door to work. After a shower, get into a Lyft. Inexplicably the software keeps changing the address I enter to something different. After a few minutes the driver and I agree on a cash price and exit out of the Lyft system altogether. I call out turn by turn instructions as he tells me the story of his life.
Meet Julia for breakfast downtown before we're to meander slowly to the Portland Art Museum. On the way I spy a building with the worlds Je ne veux pas travailer painted above the door. Peer in the window which offers no discernable indications as to what they do there. Curiosity urges me to open the door and ask. It's the office for the band Pink Martini, the french phrase above the door, I don't want to work, is from the first song of the band's first album.
At the Portland Art Museum Julia meets profesor Read and her classmates from the apocalypse and armageddon class for an exclusive look at etchings, block prints, and lithographs spanning from the 15th century to the 1980s. Am thrilled to be included.
The incredible work is presented by curator Mary Weaver Chapin, PHD. Looking at the pieces is inspiring, and hearing the student's analysis reveals the clever thoughts of ambitious minds. My favorite is Death Waits by Percy Smith. An image of death waiting next to the trenches of a WWI battle field. But I'm also struck by Warrington Colescott's wonderfully bizarre and irreverent work from the seventies.
Alas, I have to duck out and catch a plane just as the class wraps up.
Land in California and finish the day at the office before going to my father's for dinner.
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Drive to OAK to catch a plane to Portland. Thankfully sail through TSA, the text message alert I received earlier saying the flight was delayed thirty-five minutes has been amended, they're back on time. Just about make on board in time.
Land at PDX and make my way to Lewis and Clark to meet Julia. We grab lunch at the campus café before she shows me around. Last time I was here it was evening and winter. The place has a completely different feel in the bright light of a spring day. A gorgeous new wood bridge that traverses a forrest gully is the highlight of the tour.
Run into a group if Julia's friends. I feel like a college student again, sitting on the lawn, baking in the sun, yammering about all things.
Reality slaps me across the face when I listen to Julia's exceedingly cool friend, Eduardo, speak in the vernacular of his age group. Trying to emulate him by using phrases like; "that's what's up," or, "tight," will make me look like tragic middle-aged man trying to regain his youth, so I stick the Queen's English and hope for the best.
Julia's friends Eduardo and Gigi are wonderful. Clever, ambitious, and fun to be around. After an hour or so we head back to Julia's dorm room where she shyly plays me a song on her guitar that she's a tad nervous to perform for her music class in just under an hour.
Try to work at the school's café. Alas smoke from the microwave used to heat sandwiches and the basic chaos of the room prompts me to find quieter environs. Which I do, on the bottom floor of the Miller building. Lie down on padded bench and pass out.
Julia and I meet Molly, my host for the evening, at a bistro somewhere downtown. Garlic fries, calamari atop foie gras slathered toast, beef tar tar, and drinks all around. Back to Jimmy and Molly's for nightcap and conversation. Jimmy, always the gentleman, forces himself out of bed to come downstairs to say hello. Our mutual friends Adam and his daughter, are in from Austin and apparently kept Jimmy up way past his bedtime night before. Am sad that Adam has already hit the hay without an opportunity to say hello, but he has to depart in the pre-dawn to make an early flight.
Julia grabs a taxi back to campus, Molly heads upstairs, and I start dreaming as soon as my head hits the pillow in the guest bedroom.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Run up to Petaluma to help Elaine with a broken dishwasher, get an invitation to a Katie's impromptu birthday celebration at Nicks's Cove enroute. The restaurant is in the middle of nowhere in Marshall, near Tomales Bay. Arrive late-ish, the atmosphere is a little off. Katie tells me on the way back to Petaluma there was a spat between a couple at the table that deflated the mood.
Spend and hour installing two new pulleys for the dishwasher door before heading back home.
Monday, April 29, 2019
One of my oldest friends and fellow photographer, Laura C, is in from New York. While Laura makes her way in to the city from SFO, she's asked Gabrielle and I to stop by a liquor store on Geary street to pick up a consignment of nips. Those mini-bottles of booze found on airplane service carts, or in any bar in South Carolina up until 2006. Laura is going to use them as leave-behinds for a slew of meetings she has this week.
Booze bottles in the bag, Gabrielle and I arrive at a gorgeous Victorian just north of The Haight belonging to Laura's friends Anne and Darek. The interior is stunning, the original Victorian decor has been preserved or recreated. It's like walking through a time portal, but not a dusty one, the house is dynamic and active and mesmerizing in its beauty. As Darek demonstrates the original gas lights, I feel like I'm in a Dickensian novel.
Gabrielle hops a cab to a Nina Simone event, Laura, Anne, Darek, and I go to dinner at Rinataro. Epic Japanese for the well paid San Franciscan. The scene is contemporary, fabulous, and suffused with the irony.
Her event over, Gabrielle meets back up to get a ride back with me to Marin, but not before a nightcap at her favorite bar, Madrone. It's Motown Monday. Music, dancing, and general fabulousness. Meet Devina and Mahasen two young women visiting from New Jersey for Devina's 24th birthday celebration. By the time I get home, I can't believe it's only Monday.
Saturday, April 27, 2019
A day of reading (backlog of longform articles) and rabbit holes. Manage to spend the day avoiding everyone except the wonderful chats with Emily on the phone. Also take a few hours to purge the old, organize the essential, and get myself generally sorted out.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Catch the 5:10 p.m. ferry to San Francisco to meet Suzee B for a glass of wine. We have a nice time of it, and she's kind enough to agrree to meet my friend Elizabeth who'll be at the Palm Springs Photo Festival at the same time as Suzee.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
An incredibly fitful night's sleep. Feel human again. Make note of everything I did yesterday in the hopes of creating a routine that will yield slumber like this all the time. Somehow I don't think raising my stress level to a point exploding and drinking vodka is a healthy formula. Nonetheless there's something to be learned here.
To the Buckeye to re-shoot the Twenty Years Behind Bars II book cover. This is probably the very last commercial photo project of my career. Seems fitting that it all ends in a bar.
Another hot day. Run through BlinkBid calls. Hastily throw together a mockup of the book cover to show Jeff before sending the elements off to a professional post producer.
Gabrielle and I hike in the early afternoon and then meet Tamsen for drinks and dinner at the Buckeye.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
The temperate climate of Spring seems to have come and gone in less than seventy-two hours. Today is uncomfortably hot. The mood in the office is grumbly. Not horribly so, but I think we'd all rather be on a lake somewhere cinching up chin straps of sunhats against a light breeze.
Meet Sheri G at a café in San Anselmo for an iced tea and to borrow her camera. I have to shoot the politically correct version of Jeff's book cover tomorrow. The one I did last year with Tamsen on the bar met with too much controversy.
Barely keep my afternoon together and ultimately go crashing down through a time wasting rabbit hole. A little foggy, drive to Petaluma for dinner with Elaine. Make it home and pass out happy that the day is done.
Sunday, April 21, 2019
A long overdue get together with my mother. She arrives at noon for Easter lunch. French omelets, salad, and coffee. We pass hours yammering on about everything. Careful to avoid subjects that we both know will cloud the good time.
Late afternoon embark upon a very long hike to the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. Decide to make this an Easter tradition. Conclude the ten mile hike just before dark. Legs shaky.
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Write most of the day. The first two hours of work end up on the fire. Traipsed down a wrong path. Pick things back up in the late afternoon, only to have to stop to go to dinner.
Dinner at Central Market with Katie B. A fabulous catchup. Then a nightcap at the Buckeye.
Get home and decide this is my last night out for a long while.
Friday, April 19, 2019
Wake this morning well rested but restless. The day passes in a perfunctory fashion. Write a rant about Apple, post it for a few hours only to delete it. It's a concious decision to understand that no matter what I say, or how loudly I say it, it won't have an effect. Best to be informed and choose the wisest path based on that information. When a wise man sees a tsunami he doesn't yell at it for existing, he runs to higher ground.
Smoke a cigar in the early evening, then grab food from Joe's to bring to my father's house for dinner.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
This week I've been out every night. The trend continues. Drinks with Lynda at her maison fabulous.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Dinner with Anne S at The Commissary, as much as I've been on a rant about eating out in San Francisco, I am thoroughly enjoying our dinner. Catch up about the old days and try to get our head around the new ones. A spectacular evening.
The bonus is getting to drop Anne off at home and say hello to her husband, Chris. A photographer who is a spectacular portraitist. Also get to say hi to their daughter who seems to be sprinting to young adulthood with a viola in her hand.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
This week is high stress. It shouldn't be, but deadlines that have been procrastinated upon—uhhh. Forge ahead anyway, cognizant of the notion that stress stifles creativity and critical thinking.
To dinner and drinks with Philip. Attempt to go to a place we haven't been in Petaluma, Central Market, inexplicably they're closed Tuesdays. End up at our usual The Speak Easy.
Monday, April 15, 2019
The only thing I can think of this morning is how many people sacrificed their weekend to sort receipts. Tax days that fall on Mondays are tough on the r-and-r days that precede them.
Somewhere in the ether of the internet I read how the companies that offer tax services and software successfully lobbied to curtail the US government's efforts to make a free tax filing web site. This, of course, will only screw the middle class and those struggling below that because the people in upper tax brackets can, and do, hire accountants out of hand.
Lunch with Dr. Dhanda in Nappa. The drive up and back I take call after call. Understand it's and efficient way to get these tasks done, but I much prefer listening to music loudly with the windows and the sunroof open. (Or is it a moon roof? I never quite know.)
Stay at the office way too late, Emily is out of town so my workaholic tendencies are running unchecked. Get home and scrounge just enough raw material for a French omelette and salad; served with a large bourbon. Settle in for the last three episodes of Alias Grace, one of the most intriguing, and one of my most favorite mini-series on Netflix.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
By invitation, Hopper, John, Julie, and I get a private tour of the USS Pampanito, a submarine that served in World War II. Our guide, Pete, a retired submariner, tells us the most wonderful stories about living life underwater, including the choice spot to sleep in midship bunk area.
Walking through the boat it's hard to imagine 83 sailors living in such a confined space. If I couldn't be captain, I'd be the cook.
Hopper and I lunch at Radhaus at Fort Mason, and then saunter through a craft fair. Try as I might to be open minded about other people's arts and crafts, I keep getting astonished by the prices of hand made goods. Straw hats for boat or beach at $59, candles massaged into existence while being read poetry for $30. Comparably a similar straw hat at Target, $4. "But it hasn't been hand dipped in organic dye," I'm told.
Still, in this exceedingly wealthy city business is brisk thanks to the Millennial the sect. Must-have items like lightbulbs from the Edison era are very popular. Back to the future for $50.
Leave Hopper in the city and head home. The midday beer leaves me a little sleepy. Rally just before sunset for a hike, and then go to see The Brink, a documentary about Steve Bannon.
Late supper at the Buckeye.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
The day is the day, stunningly gorgeous, but suffused with confusion and disappointment. No matter, do my best to press on.
The night is much better, Hopper and I head to the Buckeye for dinner and a catch up since her return from southeast Asia. Run into some of my friends, but manage to cloister ourselves so I can hear stories of her adventurous travels. As she's now a vegetarian, it throws a wrench into our normal routine of sharing a plate of ribs. Which really means, I don't eat enough on concert with my cocktails. Still the night is memorable and fun.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
The first pictures ever of a black hole were released today. It is an astonishing accomplishment. My mind is lost all day long as I consider, amateurishly, the physics of how light and space and time are contorted by the gravitational forces of a black hole. I could spend hours, days, pondering all of it. Sadly the mind bending realities of real life beckon. Still to be alive today feels pretty darn good.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Awake at four a.m. for no discernable reason. Settle in with my book and read for an hour before I feel like falling back asleep. Open one eye at eight to catch Emily running out the door. Finally wake at half past nine to see text messages from the office. The insurance claim person I'm scheduled to meet is there, early. Rush out the door to meet her, she could not be nicer and we conclude our business quickly.
The rest of the morning is spent working with Gabrielle to finish a long article entitled Naked Truths in Fashion Photography for Chaos and Creativity.
Emily and I grab an early dinner at Le Garage, our last night together for a while. She's off to Connecticut for a month tomorrow.
Monday, April 8, 2019
Standard operating day with the exception of getting my car back from the the shop.
It was the evening hike that was exceptional. Large wisps of white fog slowly snaked their way through the green trees. It was the quietest I've ever heard the hill. Out of nowhere, an epiphany. Several vexing problems I've been wrestling with for ages all solved at once. It was relief and elation all at the same time. No idea where it came from, but one rarely does. Better to be happy with the outcome, me thinks.
Celebrate with baguette, cheese, salami, and bourbon for dinner.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Emily is up and out early this morning, a shoot down the peninsula. It takes me another two hours to conjure the energy to peel my head away from my pillow.
Coffee, banana bread, and the last hour of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a movie I started last night. It's just wonderful. Slightly melodramatic, a dash of mystery, stunning locations, and super performances by the actors. A true escape flick.
As the final credits roll, all I want to do is day dream about far away places. Sadly work calls. Break things up with a hike and then into the city for a meeting. Sundays weren't meant to be this busy, but there you have it.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
I've eaten something that I'm allergic to which has put me in a severe histamine haze. I'm groggy, exhausted, and can't focus.
The weather isn't helping. It's a dull grey breezeless day.
Emily and I embark on a walk, and, after an hour or so, find ourselves at a wine bar. One glass too many on a stomach filled only with cheese and baguette. Home for dinner. Start to feel better just before it's time to go to sleep. A day lost to body chemistry intolerances.
Friday, April 5, 2019
The return of the kid. After two months of travel, Gabrielle's tan, genteel face is back at the office. Spend the morning getting caught up on all things BlinkBid. Then off to Equator at Proof Lab for a coffee and her travel stories. Lunch, finish up a few odds and ends, then Gabrielle and I go for a hike.
Everything is spectacularly lush, the Phoenix Lake reservoir is fabulously full. California looks good in green.
Dinner with dad and home early to for a good long read before falling asleep.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Not a great day. A spot of chaos rips through my head like the storm that perpetually skates along the surface of Venus. Still, I manage to soldier through to the end of the day when I get to visit Elaine G up at her house in Petaluma for dinner.
End the evening at my office at 11 p.m. to finish up last minute details for a London client, and to expiate for a few missteps over the last two days. Off home at 11:43.
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Out early to Pilates, which sounds just silly to say in words. But true to the trite and the transcendent is my commitment to this space.
Send a "happy birthday" text message to Hopper, only to realize that I'm a day late as seen from her time zone in Sri Lanka. Chastise myself a bit for not being cleverer.
The day elevates to magical when Emily and I depart to Woodside and the Filoli house. The weather could not be more perfect. We laugh and tell stories as we saunter through the stunning gardens. My favorite part is the old pool. I have a real penchant for water features.
Inside I fantasize about having the kind of money that affords such a grand old manor, and living in a time when grand old manors are de rigueur. What a thing to think that one would need every piece of Tiffany silver in the chest to service a dinner party. It's a social extrovert's dream.
But it's the library that captures my heart Ah, if only.
As the sun starts to set, Emily and I leave for Le Garage and a proper French meal and bottle of French wine. A beautiful way to end a beautiful day.
Thursday, March 28, 2019
The absence of a full crew in the office for such an extended period has brought new thoughts of how to run the company to bear. Growing pains, as I'ver heard them called. Thankfully Chantal returns Monday.
After a grueling morning, off to the city to my father's. Rain was predicted to drop for about ten minutes and so it does just as I'm winding my way through the transition road form Park Presidio to Nineteenth Ave. And then whack. Am rear-ended by a pickup truck.
The young woman driving the truck sits in my passenger seat, her friend in the back so we can exchange information out of the deluge. I feel sorry for her, it's her first accident, her hand shake like leaves as she tries to look up insurance information on her phone.
Get my father's car smog checked just before the garage closes. Then to a glass of wine with my friend Kathy for her birthday.
Join John L at the Buckeye for dinner where we have fabulous catch up about everything.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Am still lending a hand with customer support for BlinkBid. It is astounding to interact with people who try to game our system so they don't have pay for our software. They are so sincerely full of shit. Apparently this will be my role until the 5th of April. Not sure I'm gonna make it that long.
Finally, after too many long days in my office, make it to the hill for a long hike. A much needed respite from people.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
The day, hardly worth talking about. Lot's of customer service emails in light of everyone being out of town, and poor planning on my part. Paying for those sins now.
The bright spot comes in the evening at home; dinner with Emily followed by the final two episodes of A Very English Scandal. Without a doubt one of the most brilliant shows on TV er Amazon Prime.
Monday, March 25, 2019
Am communicating with people in the three different times zones this morning; London, New York, and Sao Paolo. It's maddening, each one needs something from me by a specific time, in their time zone. I don't recommend this for anyone. I can't tell if it's breakfast, tea time, cocktail hour, or dinner time.
Every soul who works for me is either in another country, or traveling. Makes for a cavernously empty office. Which may be a blessing; no one will see me slowly lose my mind today.
Sunday, March 24, 2019
It's a daft idea. Drive my overdue leased car to Los Angeles, pick up the new one, and drive back the same day. Twelve hours total driving time.
Emily and I have breakfast and coffee before I depart with an overnight bag in the trunk. Vow to make at least four stops on the way down, and eat healthily to avoid sugar crashes and drowsiness. Also vow that if I'm exhausted when I arrive in LA, I'll stay the night.
Four and half hours and a slew of BBC Crowd Science podcasts in, reach the foot of The Grapevine, the part of interstate 5 that ascends the canyon to the Tejon Pass in the Tehachapi Mountains. When traveling in winter this is the part of the drive that one checks for weather closures. Today there's ony been some intermittent rain.
After a ten minute break I start my drive up the hill. A few minutes later, cruising at 75 MPH, a fire truck, its lights flashing and siren wailing, is trying to make left onto the freeway from the center median. The traffic isn't slowing so I rapidly decelerate and flash my high beams. The heavy truck pulls out in front of me and does its best to gain speed on the precipitously steep grade. Pass the truck on the right and continue on for a mile or so until I get to a wall of break lights glowing through a tule fog. The traffic is stopped.
The fire truck passes me on the left in the fire lane. It's followed by a CHP car. A second CHP car in the fire lane stops a few car length ahead of me. The officer gets out and starts deploying traffic flares, moving cars to right the best he can. Another CHP vehicle arrives to help.
Open my window and ask the officer what's going on. A fifty car chain reaction crash about a mile up. He tell's me if I can scooch over to the freeway exit, I can make right on one road, and a left on another which will take me all the way to Gorman, effectively bypassing the accident.
The densely packed traffic jam is full of polite people, we all work together carefully allowing each of us make our way to the exit. The tule fog has all of us driving judiciously.
Pass the accident to my left on the freeway. It is chaos. A car is smoldering and there are dozens of smashed vehicles. In a few minutes I make it Gorman and back onto the interstate which is wide open.
Meet my car broker, Tracy, at the Infiniti dealership and swap cars. Talk to Tracy for a few minutes before she has to get back to work. It's 6 p.m. I feel good. The northbound side of the I5 is open past the accident. Decide to go for it.
Make it home by midnight, exhausted. Yet, having had an entire day in the car has given me an wonderful opportunity to ponder a myriad of things, listen to some great music, and fabulous science podcasts. All in all a fantastic journey.
Look online for the news of accident. It's a catastrophe. Thankfully, no human deaths. Sadly, a horse in a three-horse trailer didn't make it, but the other two did. All the injuries were minor excepty one sustained by twenty-two month old baby who had to be airlifted to a hospital. Can't stop thinking, had I not stopped at the base of the Grapevine for a breather...
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Drive to San Francisco with Kimi to do a podcast with super agent Heather Elder. The episode goes swimmingly, we record for over an hour. Then a quick video of Heather answering fun questions.
As Kimi, Heather, and I yammer on over a glass of white, we lose track of time. Tamsen sends us a text from the Buckeye to say it's slammed with an hour wait. Reconfigure our plan to all meet at Le Garage for wine and food.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Work tasks so boring it's barely worth the syllables to mention them.
Later, write a letter to the core three of my company, not so much to shake the tree, but to ruffle the leaves a little. It’s remarkably cathartic and inspires brisk intelligent conversation on how to keep our our current momentum in motion.
Emily and I settle in and watch The Tree of Life, a movie I've meaning to watch for years. It is a cinematic triumph. Am kicking myself for not having seen it on the big screen.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Start the day with the best intentions to catchup on some work—manage to be distracted by everything else except what needs to get done. Am sure it has to do with some deep seated psychological procrastination tendencies. I'm just not suited to the drudgery of quotidian tasks that don't lead to a creative result. Still, the work must get done, so the wheels can keep rolling.
Toil over getting a new car lease or buying out my current car. The whole thing is dreadfully boring. Conclude that when one drives as much as I do, a car lease is part of the cost of living in California. So glorified over-insured car rental it is. Probably a good thing in the end. I miss having a black car. Call my car broker and give her the green light to get me a new automobile.
The half moon tonight is going to be high in the just sky after sunset. This gives me the leeway to start my hike way late. My return trip to the car is stunning. A warm spring-like wind blows and the fire road has a cool blue moonlit cast to it.
Start re-watching season 7 of Game of Thrones to prepare for the final season coming next month.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Up at 4 a.m.—can't sleep. Write for a few hours before going back to bed.
I should have held off my complaining yesterday. Today is worse. I feel like a feather in a whirlwind. Upheaval at a major production company in NY, Chantal is attending her son who had to be rushed to the hospital in Brazil. Try to remember the phrase "that which does not kill us..."
Two o'clock and the dust has settled. All that remains is to clean up the mess.
Meet Lynn C and her husband Sheldon for drinks and snacks in Albany. Sadly Emily is feeling poorly and can't join. Get home, pass out.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Have decided to send today down the river. It was a three ring circus of shit-shows. Usually, on days like these, an escape to the forest puts things right. But I was so backed up I barely made it in time to meet Emily for dinner. On the way home Emily played Rush Hour by Mac Miller, that put everything right enough to get to sleep.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Tamsen joins at the office today. With her help, plow through a tiresome to-do list. Lunch, errands, then TamTam and I head to the hills for a short hike. The first half of which I spend bitching about the company who did the Master Class video of me. They've done something sneaky and unsavory. And, in the light of being caught they don't have the courage to admit it. They're communicating in doublespeak. Just another day in a savage industry. It's a jungle out there.
Am supposed to go to the city to meet my friend for a drink, but the freeway construction on 101 has cars gridlocked. Reports of over an hour to travel less than a mile pervade. In classic bureaucratic style, CalTrans did little to communicate about the carmegeddon they were going to cause, catching people totally unaware. Cancel my get-together for another day.
I suppose there are worse things than being trapped in Marin.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Stunning day outside. Crisp, clear, and the occasional gusts of wind. Go to Equator Coffee at the Proof Lab surf shop for coffee by myself.
Standard Monday morning mishigas until the early afternoon when I go down a rabbit hole that steals two and half hours of my day. Total waste of time. Mildly frustrated, run errands in San Rafael which takes twice as long owing to the hour and the traffic that comes with that time of day. Deep breath. Return to office, change and go hike—thankful for the extra hour light thanks to DST.
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Up early to meet Jean F in Pleasant Hill at Diablo Ink, a tattoo shop highly recommended by my friend Rebecca. A group of us long time regulars—as in decades long—of the annual Summer houseboat trip at Lake Shasta are all getting the same tattoo designed by Jimmy N. Caitlin, Hollace, and Coco were the first to get theirs in Seattle on the 17th of February.
Jean and my ankle tattoos make four and five of the fellowship of the Shasta.
Back home with just enough time to get dressed up. Emily and I take my parent's out for a decadent dinner at Harris' to celebrate my father's ninety-first birthday.
Get home early enough to catch a classic episode of Absolutely Fabulous. It's a show that I inexplicably get a hankering for every so often.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Emily and I escape to the car for a long drive up highway one to Bodega Bay. With all the rain there's barley a soul on the road. A much needed quiet day off.
Thursday, March 7, 2019
The day progresses slowly with phone calls to far away time zones. Chantal is in Brazil, she's taking a week off to be with her family before she meets our developers for a two day meeting. I've got the office to myself which explains why it looks like a college dorm room. Really have to pull this place together.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
I can barely describe what a shit-show this morning has turned out to be because I'm on the age of hyperventilating. Every turn is a crisis. Hopper and Chantal are traveling, backup assistant one is out, and backup assistant two is shooting a gig. Never thought of myself as dependent, but...
Granted this is all occurring in Marin county, one of the most beautiful and wealthy places on the planet. It's not like I don't know where my next meal is coming from. But that's as far as my calming mechanism has taken me. I'm out for blood.
Call Kimi, over the last two decades she's talked me off more ledges than anyone on the planet. Her advice is simple, piss off and go for a hike where people are not.
So I do.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
My master class in the business of photography dropped today. The trailer looks great, I look tired. Can't help but to wonder why it's sitting behind a pay wall. As I remember the original discussions it was supposed to be free for all as a promotional thing for RGG and BlinkBid. Leave the drama in Kimi's capable hands.
Am still reeling from the news about Kieth Flint. Today I'm being selfish with my sadness. I never got see him and The Prodigy live. Each new release the band dropped was always a well timed dose of rebellion adrenaline for your's truly. Am sure the band will soldier on, but man oh man what a loss.
Monday, March 4, 2019
As I'm about to hop into the shower, Emily tells me Kieth Flint is dead. The news hits me like a ton of bricks. The Prodigy is one of the more significant influences on my life. Try not let it dampen the day, but it does give one pause.
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Today is all about getting away from everyone for three hours. Seven miles of mist, mud, and waterfalls. Fabulous.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
After a mountain of work—penance for being away all week in New York—get to the hill just as the sun is going down. Not that I can see the sunset. It is incredibly foggy. Eerily so. I'm not usually given skittishness, but my visibility is restricted to about fifty meters. Out in the nothingness all manner of forest sounds leap out at me over a din of patter from large water droplets falling from the tree branches. Eventually the light is barely visible. Small bushes look like wolves and small trees look like Sasquatches. Make it back to the car in total darkness amid a symphony of coyote howls.
Reprieve comes in a bourbon glass at the famed Tosca restaurant. John and Julie have invited me to join them for a drink and desert. I order the squid, which is remarkably good, and cannoli.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
In complete contrast to yesterday morning, today starts a little rough around the edges. Calls to the United Kingdom sans coffee support. Brutal. Am trying affect a smooth cheery voice, all I can manage is a gravelly resonance reminiscent of an nineteenth century brothel owner who smoked too much.
Owing to the lateness of the hour, Brigid and I have an abbreviated version of our coffee routine at the café downstairs.
Race back at the Fashion Institute to give another talk. Again the room is packed. Young, clever, soon-to-be photographers looking me up and down with discerning eyes. The insecure side of me wants to scream; look fools I was shooting pictures before you were a glint in your parents' eyes. But as the coffee kicks in, and my vocal chords loosen up, insecurity fades and rationality returns. The talk goes well.
Race back to the Jane's apartment, make a few more calls to the UK then on the subway to LGA. Arrive the airport in record time still wondering why I thought I remembered taking a train to and from the airport last time. Then put two-and-two together to realize it was Newark with the train and LaGuardia with the bus.
Land in Dallas for a ninety minute layover. To the bar for overpriced bourbon and wretched prime-rib quesadilla. A young woman in her early twenties saddles up next to me. Turns out she's an assistant buyer for Nieman Marcus, we have a wonderful conversation about the fashion industry.
The weariness from the previous night starts to hit me as I board my flight to SFO. Make the critical choice to keep drinking bourbon and write for almost the entirety of the four hour flight. Land in San Francisco crosseyed tired.
Conjure just enough energy to drive home. My dreams of falling into my comfy bed are thwarted by a closed Golden Gate Bridge. They're still doing the late night bridge deck replacement or some such nonsense.
Kiss Emily just before she reminds me that I have to get up in four and half hours to take her to the Airporter so she can catch her flight to Virginia.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
A spectacularly good night's sleep has me feeling remarkably together and well prepared for the day. At a French café just downstairs from Jane's apartment, Brigid and I yammer on and drink coffee and eat croissant. She's off to NYU to attend classes, I'm off to the Fashion Institute to speak.
The room is packed with nineteen and twenty year old photographer hopefuls. The talk is well received and I get to field some marvelously astute questions. Jayne W and I have a quick lunch before I rush over to JN Productions to say hello to Elise who's not having the best of days. Thankful for a desk to work at until my next appointment nearby, I bang through the day's digital drudgery.
To The Great Bowery for a meeting where I run into Liz, the CEO of GB, on the elevator. She's a lovely bright eyed woman with a wonderfully enthusiastic spirit. Manage to pick up on her South African accent which mildly impresses.
Meet with Ivan for a wonderfully long chat about everything from Moscow in the late eighties—he and I were both there at same time, although he was twelve and I was twenty-four—to the state of social media and entertainment. Funny that no one says they like social media anymore. It's just this weird loathsome thing that has inculcated into our lives that we begrudgingly engage with, or proudly pronounce that we don't use at all.
After Ivan and I say our goodbyes, race over to The Smith near the ABC studios to have a drink with Ellen C. We have a too short but nice catchup before she has to go back to writing tomorrow's Good Morning America episode, and I have to get on subway to get to Jane's birthday party.
Philip P, a California based producer, sends me a text to say he's in town for a shoot, so I invite him Jane's shindig. Dinner at Scampi in Chelsea with a great group of people. We all sing happy birthday to Jane and finish the night at her apartment with a nightcap. After everyone heads home, Brigid and I stay up gossiping until two.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
It's 4 a.m., when Californians must awake to show up in time for cocktail hour in New York. The torrential wind and rain that have been swirling around all night continue, making driving on the empty freeways mildly perilous.
Land in Denver for a brief layover. This airport is always ridiculously crowded. Am desperate for anything resembling healthy food. Find nothing, so I inhale one of Emily's homemade banana blueberry muffins tucked away in my bag.
Arrive Laguardia starving, but am keen to hold out for dinner in the city. The MTA machine is incapable of processing transactions so I can't get a much needed subway card for the bus ride to the subway station. There are two others in the same boat so we collectively agree to hop on the bus and plead our case. As the bus arrives, I'm unanimously elected spokesperson which turns out to be unnecessary as every one gets on the bus en masse and no one is checking fare receipts.
Land on the doorstep of Jane's, hugs and kisses all around. Call Chantal and Kimi who have both asked me to check in. Turns out that Kimi and I, unbeknownst to either one of us, were in the same terminal at the same time during my layover in Denver. Too bizarre, literally seventeen gates away from each other at the same time.
Dinner at Bar Sardine with Jane and Brigid. The resto is awesome. Spectacularly well made drinks and the best burger I've ever tasted. Back to the apartment for a nightcap and much needed sleep.
Sunday, February 24, 2019
A long fabulous morning with Emily before I trot over to the office. Am off to New York day after tomorrow, and I have a ton of stuff to catch up on before I leave. That said, have resolved to start taking weekends off...staring next weekend.
Get only the bare minimum done before I pull an internal prima donna and decide I'm too important for all this nonsense. Hit the hill for a hike and come across this sign which I'm sure is a cryptic metaphor for something in my life, I just don't know what.
For the first time in over two decades, I'm not watching the Academy Awards. The politics behind it all got too heady for me this year. I'll try again next year.
Pick up a bottle of bourbon on the way home so Emily and I can fully get into the True Detective vibe. The ending gets much more enthusiasm from me than Emily, in short, I love it.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Off to the dentist, which, bizarrely, I look forward to. The treatments are the treatments, but the people that work there are wonderful. I love them all, even when they point out a simple, obvious oversight that reveals me to be an idiot.
A few days ago in this space—don't look I've done an Orwellian revision—I criticized the end of True Detective, which wasn't actually the end. I'm calling it the Netflix effect. I binged watched the first six episodes of True Detective assuming that the whole season had dropped at the same time, like Netflix does. Sophie and Jessica disabused me of my presumption. I called Emily and we both screamed with glee.
Coordinate with Gabrielle who is texting from the future, she's fifteen hours ahead of me in Thailand. Then hit the hill before finishing the day over homemade chicken soup and the latest episode of True Detective.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Busy, busy, busy. Chantal is in. With Gabrielle on a scuba boat somewhere off the coast of Thailand sans cell service, we're picking up the slack. Am sure there is a derivative of Murphy's law that says; when you have the least amount of help is when the shit will hit the fan. And so it does.
By mid afternoon Chantal and I are exhausted. Grab myself a hike and then off home to help Emily set up her new computer. Em takes me out for dinner to Insalata as a thank you. It's a slow night which means we get to gossip a ton with out favorite bartender, Paris.
Monday, February 18, 2019
Feel like utter shit today. Didn't sleep well and my stomach is waging a revolt. Still, forge ahead with a meeting in Emeryville and then record a podcast episode. Probably not my best work, but not my worst either. The rest of the world is enjoying the holiday, think that would have been a good choice for me as well. Should have parked my ass on the couch and watched a James Bond marathon.
Drinks with Carla S in San Francisco at a new place Cow Marlowe, it took over the East Meets West space on Fillmore. Funny how all the new places are so similar to all the other places that were once new. Feel like going out for drinks in San Francisco is as difficult as looking for good, original content on the internet; everything is derivative of everything else and run by a corporation that tries to mask its existence with an authentic veneer.
Ultimately the devil is in the details. Precision pours, overly attentive servers who say "perfect" way too much, who constantly clear your table so you'll feel compelled to fill the emptiness with more food and drink purchases. Else a glass containing your check is dropped on the vast open landscape of your tabletop to hint that it might be time to vacate and make the space you're occupying revenue generating again.
Yep, I'm definitely in a grump.
Sunday, February 17, 2019
After a fabulous morning of caffeine and chatting Em and I do a mini hike off of Panorama Highway. Then to the spa for a well deserved day of pampering.
Sufficiently spoiled, we take a drive to the Nicasio Reservoir to take in the sunset.
Home for dinner and to watch the director's cut of Amadeus. If you want my advice, stay away from the director's cut, the included scenes, deleted from the original release, add nothing but frustration.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
It's 12:15 a.m. and I'm at my office mildly inebriated scrawling an essay on the white board. After an hour writing and editing, I sit back, look at the work, then erase it all in the spirit of a Buddhist sand mandala.
Some creative works are meant to serve as evolutionary bridges. As such they are meant to be ephemeral, to be destroyed just after the completion of their creation.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Surprise Emily with one of those large garish helium "I love you" balloons attached to a bag from Le Labo, an epic perfume line.
Kimi is back at Oakland. Southwest has cancelled her rebooked 10:30 a.m. flight from last night. Southwest's treatment of passengers in this situation has been uncharacteristically horrible.
Lunch with Amy C at a Pho shop in Noe Valley, then to meet my dad to take him to the hospital for blood tests and other mishigas. Back at my parent's house, take a call with Kelly M. from Apostrophe. One of the most dynamic business owners I've ever known.
Back to Marin to catch the last vestiges of light for a hike. Home to make Emily dinner for Valentine's day.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
See Julie C for drinks and a catchup. Then race home to dinner with Emily.
Just got a call from Kimi. She's stranded at Oakland airport. Southwest had delays of four hours. Then cancelled the last flight to Los Angeles. Kimi is in a cab back to the San Francisco to try again tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Pick Kimi up at the ferry terminal at midday. Back at the office, I'm still trying to coordinate time zones with Gabrielle who is working from Bangkok. Some how I can't get plus fifteen hours to compute properly in my head.
Kimi and I tweak the Chaos and Creativity web site and choose a new logo. I love it. Finish writing an article about the value of free and post. Sprint through more work, exhausted at the end of the day. Drop Kimi at the ferry so she can join her friend in the city. Emily and I eat dinner, drink bourbon, and watch the riveting season three of True Detective.
Monday, February 11, 2019
Kimi arrives at the office from Los Angeles. It's go time. We immediately hop on the road and head to St. Helena for lunch with Dr. Paula about World Wide Healing. On the way, we take about five calls in a row. Can't help noticing how productive we are in transit. The lunch is delish and fabulously productive.
Head back south to get some marketing work done, and then to dinner at Kimi's favorite, The Buckeye. Run into John C and Julie C (not married, both just happen to have last names starting with the letter C) sitting at the bar. We all get a booth together and have a good time of it. Run back home to Emily while Kimi heads to the city to stay at friend's.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Wake just before ten. Emily reminds me of a pilates class I have in just a few minutes. Sprint out the door slightly out of sorts, what with having left the house without a proper cup of coffee.
The day feels a little like a Monday on a Sunday. Bit of work, a meeting, then join Emily at the house to sweep her up. We head to the pub at the Pelican Inn for a drink and dinner. It's easy to feel like I'm in England in this place. The fireplace is big enough to stand in, and the fire warms the wood floored room with low ceilings.
Well fed, we go home for a nightcap and and episode of our latest obsession, Sex Education. It's like a modern version of a John Hughes movie except it's set in England.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Hiking in the wind driven rain which turns to hail for a few minutes and then back to rain. It's wonderful, not a soul on the hill. Get to my turnaround point and head back down. It will be dark by the time I get to get the car. A pang of embarrassment, another hiker has caught me making a selfie video to send to Emily.
The young woman approaching me is one I see often during these later hours. In the past my effusive salutations have been met with a terse "hi" as she passes without altering her pace. This evening, in an attempt to cajole more than one syllable out of her, I say, "It's my favorite late evening hiker, how are you?"
Maybe next time.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Have decided that busy work doesn't suit me at all. Still, I trudge on begrudgingly and wonder if I shouldn't have stayed a photographer and watch my career decay as I slowly aged out of the industry. That thought in mind, find new enthusiasm for tragically boring tasks and soldier on.
Dinner plans in the city are cancelled with news that a gas explosion has erupted on Geary at Parker. Watch the raw video feed from a traffic helicopter while listening to the San Francisco Fire Department radio communications channel on Broadcastify. It's much more interesting than being tortured by newscaster palaver.
First hike in days. Not a soul on the hill. The valley is positively roaring with swollen creeks and robust waterfalls redistributing the near constant rainfall of the last few days. Catch a wonderful picture of the crescent moon rise between dark clouds.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Up and four a.m. for no apparent reason. Work a bit on the novel.
Things at the office are mildly frenetic. We've suddenly caught the eye of companies and investment groups who what to buy us. I defer all this to Chantal, it's her element. I'm way too emotional for hard core negotiations. Undoubtedly a result of having had an agent for thirty years of my creative career.
Wine with Emily's friend from the advertising world, Martin R. Nicest guy you could ever meet. So smart at such a young age. Can see he and Gabrielle becoming friends.
Monday, February 4, 2019
Drinks with one of my heroes, Kelly Montez. Meet at a pub and yammer on for hours. The comfort and the fun reinforces my core thoughts on drinking, keep your fancy mixology establishments and give me a pub, tavern, or saloon.
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Realize the absurdity of last night's pledge to watch less TV, it's Superbowl Sunday. Breakfast with Em, then to John L's for the game. The most boring game in history. New England wins, w-o-o h-o-o. Was really pulling for the rams.
Used to love to watch the ads, but even those are tragically predictable and contrived. And overwhelmingly numerous.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
The wind is blowing like mad. I love it.
French this morning. I'm embarrassed to admit to my tutor that I'm a bit behind. Still the lesson goes well, and progress feels made.
A few hours at the office before a hike and I swoop in to pick up Emily for a glass of wine at Le Garage. One glass turns into a bottle and a platter of cheese. We have an incredible time as the rain falls outside.
Finish watching Sharp Objects, mildly disappointed at the ending. Then move on to a documentary about the Fyre festival. It is mind blowing how a few well placed social media posts led to one of the most profound failures and frauds in history. By the end of the evening, after four hours of movies, I swear off TV.
Friday, February 1, 2019
Sweet Jesus. It's a string of calls for BB this morning, all are enlightening as I close in on solving a development conundrum. Errands around San Rafael which are hampered by a closed road and my inexplicable ability hit ever red light in Marin county.
The day gets measurably better when Gabrielle and I lunch at Jane's tacos. Afterward, drive to Chantal's in Novato for a quick meet, then off to Barnes with Emily. Em and I stop in at new Mexican restaurant that replaced the dreadful PF Changs. We have a Mescal and then head home. Cigar, and then to my parent's for the usual Friday night dinner and British procedural.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
It's a long morning of phone calls, followed by a development strategy meeting with Chantal that goes a little sideways. I'm in a contentious mood, and my patience is short. Decisions have to be made, priorities organized, and my inbox is full of requests for BB tweaks. Today is not that day.
To dinner at Kimberley and John's. It's the best part of the day. Good wine, food, and best of all, good conversation.
Can feel something niggling in the back of my head. It's been there a while. A realization that I need to come to terms with, something that I've been wrestling with, that finally needs to be toppled and pushed out.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Chaos and Creativity has a permanent home on the Ghost blogging platform as of today. We left Medium for fear of ending up behind a paywall or continuing to be behind the self pardoning nag windows.
Have concluded that any article writing I do from here on out will be done on C&C. It's odd to think I have a blog again, but I do. And surprisingly am looking forward to writing for it. Not only for sheer joy of writing, but for the freedom. I honestly can't see myself writing for other publications any time soon. I just don't have the patience for the politics—or, better put, I had spectacular run for fifteen years. But now, it's time to pursue my own projects exclusively. Even writing that out-loud, as it were, is liberating.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Two weeks of not using my big screen at work. Paradoxically I get more done. I have theories. A good topic for the podcast.
Midmorning meeting at Poppy Creative in Sausalito, I love these people. Traci T is just wonderful, and fabulously smart.
Afternoon with Chantal. The amount of work we have to get done is totally overwhelming, but we plod through diligently. Wish I had more organizational discipline. It's not that I'm disorganized, but when faced with a ton of pedantic things to marshal, I'm more inclined to throw my arms up and find a bar. The only exception is creative work. Wrangling chaos in that arena comes as easy as breathing to me.
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Coffee with and old friend—with whom I had a falling out—to bury the hatchet. It takes five minutes to realize there's no hatchet to bury. A myriad of missed communications, wrong email addresses, and general misconstruing had us both at silent odds for no reason. Harmony restored, 2019 can continue without any bad blood out there.
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The day starts enthisusiastically with impossibly blue skies. A few hours later the clouds encroach and the temperature drops.
In a bid to change the office vibe, store or donate two shelves worth of books and go on to shred five folders full of receipts from over thrirteen years ago. The whole process is marvelously cathartic if not mildy soul sucking. Sometimes nostalgia is mildly agitating.
Quick hike and then home to dinner with Emily. We're watching Sharp Objects which is intense and, at times, a little disorienting. The writing utilizes sudden partial flashbacks which don't congeal with any context until the end of the episode. I'm trying to keep and artist's open mind about the technique but feel the slow revelations frustrating. As I watch, my emotions stew in a mire of uncertainty. I'm unsure if the movie is about a serial killer or the emotional issues of the protagonist. Both are interesting, but the addition of the flashback layer makes me feel like I'm watching a book instead of reading one.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Pick up Kimi from her friend's house in San Francisco. We've both gotten a good night of sleep and are ebullient as we drive to get coffees from Equator in Larkspur. Text my office neighbor, Caity, to ask if she wants me to bring her a cappuccino. Hear back wile were driving so we stop at the Half Day Cafe's pickup window to get Caity's caffeine.
As we park Kimi gets a text message. She looks at her phone and says, "I hope this isn't bad news." Leave her to make a call, when I return, the news is the worst possible. One of her closest friends and partner in Play Like a Girl, Laura Peters, of Psychic Love, passed away during the night.
Kimi doesn't get a second to breathe before her phone is abuzz with calls and texts from music publications looking for a comment. It angers me how the media is so mercilessly vulturous.
The office is full, and even with the sad news, the atmosphere remains respectfully congenial. Kimi, one of the strongest women I know, is stoic, but honest, saying the reality hasn't hit yet.
Am able to sneak a hike in before Kimi, Gabrielle, and I head to dinner at Buckeye Roadhouse. It turns out to be one of the best dinners ever as the conversation gets more interesting and candid at every turn. Drop Kimi, then Gabrielle, and head home. Get through one paragraph of my book before I pass out.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
The night's sleep does not go to plan. Which is a roundabout way of saying I got too little shuteye—a bonafide word I've just discovered. Up and out at 6 a.m. to make Emily breakfast before the car fetches her to the airport. Kisses goodbye and I'm back in the sack willing another hour or two of sleep. Stare at the ceiling as all my anxieties float aimlessly around my head. Coffee.
Gabrielle and I go together to pick up Kimi from the Oakland airport, she's in from LA. In spite of sleep my deprivation, we actually get some work done.
Stop by the flat to pick up a few things. A note on the table informs me the maintenance man has been by and fixed the leaky kitchen faucets. Unfortunately the shower faucet that I ask to be repaired drips on. Stop by the management office to see red faces after realizing the work order was written up incorrectly. So the mistake won't be noticed, I suggest we wait a week to put in a new order. Everyone readily agrees.
Feeling the restlessness of no exercise for the last two days, depart on a long hike alone. Get back to the car an hour later a changed man. Have a chat with Coco from the car. She's back in school at Lewis and Clark. Get back to the office, Kimi and I facetime Coco and get a tour of her dorm room and a gander at her latest jewelry creations.
Kimi and I head to Le Garage for dinner. On the way we call Tamsen, who lives a minute from the restaurant, and goad her into joining us in despite declarations of "needing to get things done." I promise up and down that she can leave after 30 minutes and she can drink sparkling water instead of wine. An hour-and-a-half and one bottle of French red later, she's still with us, laughing and having a great time of it.
Monday, January 21, 2019
Pick up mom from the hospital post hip replacement surgery. She's in good form. My parents together is another story all together, but, in the end, we all pull our weight and make it to their house after a brief stop at the pharmacy for pain meds.
Get back home to Emily who is franetic trying to make an impossible deadline on the eve of her departure back to the east coast for a job. We agree that the day is totally off and we can't wait for it be over. The Great British Baking Show lends a sense of civilized relief to a challenging day.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Make a fancy breakfast for Emily's first morning back home in a week. We discuss the job she has just finished and her quick turnaround, she's back on plane for Maryland on Tuesday.
Tell her about my desperately mediocre experience at the Farm Shop and we decide that going out for drinks has become highly overrated. The experience of going to many of the bars in Marin and San Francisco has become an exercise in getting fleeced. We think back to our last trip to Paris and how going out to meet friends for a drink in Europe is much more of a congenial social excursion rather than a contrived Disneyland-ish outing requiring a heavy financial commitment.
By way of an experiment, and protest, we decide to cut our dinners or drinks out by more than two thirds. By our reckoning we think this will save us enough money to take a trip somewhere within a few weeks. It will also give incentive to use the Insta-Pot I purchased two weeks ago that's been sitting unopened on the kitchen floor.
To the office for an incredibly frustrating morning of distractions. Then off to the city to help my father.
Make it back to Marin just in time to catch a quick hike.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Get dolled up to attend a charity event at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. On the way a stop at the hospital to visit my mother. She's just had her hip replaced this afternoon. My father is there, he informs that the surgery has gone well.
Join Julie C and John C at the benefit event for military veterans. After the event ends, Julie, John, and I grab drinks at the hotel bar.
Stop by the hospital again, on the way home. My mother is in some discomfort as the effect pain meds diminish.
Home and immediately to bed.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
It pours with rain. A quick haircut with a substitute stylist, mine if off having a baby.
Meet Tamsen for a hike. We're hopeful that we can take advantage of lull in the weather. The storm that's coming is predicted to be torrential.
After an hour hike, we get back to the car just as the first drops start to fall. Pick up BBQ, the deluge and wind are in full force. Umbrellas are ripped from peoples hands walking the parking lot of the mall. Tamsar and I get to my house and settle in with Casino Royale, BBQ, and bourbon.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
On grey rainy days like today we in California always say something like, "it's a good thing, we need the water," as veiled way to cover up our disappointment that the sun is concealed by cloud cover.
Come across an article that contends the use of sunscreen causes a Vitamin D deficiency. It says skin cancer comes from burning, repair, and burning, not normal tanning. And taking Vitamin D supplements to counter the compulsive sunscreen slathering that's been heavily advocated for the last three decades is all but useless and, in fact, preventing Vitamin D absorption from the sun via the sun is deleterious to one's health. The article is backed by compelling statistics of numerous studies. In light of recently reading Steven Poole's book Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas, I think that the article may be on to something and, indeed, radically important.
It's a busy day that goes by remarkably fast. By late afternoon my hopes for a break in the rain to take a much needed trek up the hill are dashed. The deluge continues unabated and it's cold outside to boot.
Meet Lynn C for drinks and charcuterie at the Farm Shop in Larkspur. I consistently try to like this place, I mean the interior is nice, the location is great, and the food is good, but it just misses every time. It's not welcoming. The bar is half a block long which feels like an assembly line for drinking. One is largely ignored by the bartenders. The drinks are a little overpriced and too carefully measured which gives the drinking experience an Orwellian overtone. The cocktails are are served in glasses that look specifically designed to embellish the precision measures. Kind of like drinking out of a wine glass with a horizontal hash mark half way up to demark the correct level of wine to pour. Bartenders are artists in their own right, let them splash a few milliliters more or less of the components of a cocktail according to their taste and style. I am not a number, I am a drinker.
Monday, January 14, 2019
My intention to sleep solidly through until six a.m. is handily thwarted by a nightmare that shocks me awake at four. Try all my various insomnia remedies, none work. What's really necessary is a less busy life. Leap out of bed at 5:45 to make breakfast for Em and then take her to SFO for her flight to Maryland.
Back home by seven-thrityish and pass out until five minutes before my nine o'lock UK call.
Learn that Magnum photos in the UK is going to start using BB. That means our software is used by the two largest photojournalism archives in the world; National Geographic and Magnum. It's cause for ebullient lunch with Chantal.
The day passes under rain clouds. Which is good, this state always needs the water. Inexplicably short circuit a perfectly good work momentum and piss away two hours on something daft. Mildly disappointed in myself decide that only a home cooked meal, James Bond, and a large whiskey can pull me back together. It does.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Start the day writing over breakfast. Completely trash the first two chapters of the novel in lieu of more succinct opening.
A lazy day of catching up on tons of emails. I really don't see the need for so much communication. Have a nice chat with Emily T, the youth of today, who is in New York.
See Leah, my favorite USC candidate, at the bakery. Pick up the normal fare at Joe's and head to my father's for dinner.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Spend the day wrangling various tasks to help Emily prep for her trip to Baltimore tomorrow. Make a half hearted attempt at getting some of my own work done, but decide that tomorrow is better suited for catching up.
Pick up Kira S from Mill Valley and drive to the city for dinner at the The Slanted Door with our friend Jane who's in from New York for a few days. Bridgid, Jane's daughter, makes a surprise appearance which turns the evening into a fabulous time.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Meet with producer Karen D who was kind enough to fly from Los Angeles to the BB offices here in Kentfield. It's a long day made more tolerable with lunch at Taco Janes. Chantal and I cross swords a few times. Two different styles of managing a meeting. In the end it all works out fabulously.
Monday, January 7, 2019
Start at 6:30 a.m. totally befuddled why I'm up so early. Dive into an article due by midday for Kimi, a contemporary take on a piece I did a decade ago.
At the office for an hour before the fabulous two show up, Gabrielle at ten and Chantal at eleven. Kick C and G out at noon so I record a podcast with Kimi who's in LA.
Chantal and I go through a tiresome but necessary list of decisions for the company. Gabrielle departs, feel like today was a burn for her. Lot's of stuff on her plate. Chantal runs out a bit later.
The busy day ends with dodging a personal bullet. Can be quite discouraging to go down old trodden roads, but I just about do it before pulling back, realizing that it's a tired prospect.
Quick hike just after sunset before heading home. Start a new series, Killing Eve, which is brilliant and the highlight of the day.
Sunday, January 6, 2019
At work today and it's not going well. My mind is still in travel mode and weekends, even after long holidays, are meant for fun. Outside it's dumping rain for the second day.
Settle in for a long fabulous call with Ali. It's been months since we've caught up.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Spend part of the day at the office. A break in the rain gives me and opportunity for a short trek on the hill. Emily and I head out to the movies to see Favorite which is just incredible. Spend the rest the evening sipping bourbon, eating great food, and talking about the movie.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
San Luis Obispo—Have a chat with Diane, one of the proprietors of Petit Soleil, at breakfast. For some reason I'm having a difficult time sounding intelligent. My mouth opens and dumb words flop out like suicidal salmon leaping out of a creek onto the shore. Too many familial social interactions over the last few weeks of the holidays me thinks.
Sufficiently recovered from our eleven mile hike two days ago, Emily and I head to Lake Laguna for a farewell trek. The sky is a crisp blue owing to the winds that have been whipping around for the last few days.
Get word that my meeting scheduled for this evening is postponed for two weeks which Emily and and I take as a sign to extend our departure time. Celebrate with a trip to Montaña De Oro to see the cliffs and feel the wind. Without a doubt one of the most beautiful parks in California.
As the sun sets, we grab our bags and hit the road. Make remarkably good time home. Whip up a quick dinner and settle in for a movie before heading to bed. There's a palpable sense that vacation is over and although the week is eerily quiet because the holiday fell midweek, my calendar tells a dreadful story that tomorrow is full of calls and tasks.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
San Luis Obispo—Meet Emily for coffee in downtown SLO. Then meander around the town a bit.
Dinner at Korberl at Blue to see one of our favorite bartenders who's in a bit of a snit. He makes us a too sweet Manhattan before he tells us that he's not actually working the bar this evening. Nevertheless, the evening is a hit under the care of Jeremy, the bartender on duty. Unable to finish the Manhattan, Emily and engage in tasting tour of bourbons ryes as we eat our way through a myriad of small plates of food.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
San Luis Obispo—To Irish Hills for a short hike which turns into a long hike when Emily declares she wants to see the ocean. Up and up and up on the Ocean View trail without any idea how far we have to trek to see the actual view.
As the sun sinks closer to the hill tops, I check my watch; an hour until sunset, followed by 30 to 35 minutes of twilight (civil and nautical). After that we'll lose our depth perception (astronomical twilight). A mountain biker tells us that we're less than a mile a from the top. We soldier on. From what I remember of the map posted at the trailhead, we've come too far to go back the way we came with the remaining light.
At last the top. Acknowledge the view, a hug, a kiss, and a selfie, then it's time to get a wiggle on to get back to the car before dark. Confirm with another mountain biker that we're headed in the right direction. We are, but the wide sweeping gesture he makes with his hands to describe the canyon we have to walk through leads me to believe that I radically underestimated the distance.
The descent is breathtaking. The silence and the soft breeze provide an other-worldly ambiance. Through the trees, on the faces of distant hills, we see the remnants of sunset. The clock is a concern now.
Break off of the Ocean View trail to the Froom Creek trail which takes through the previously described canyon. Emily and I talk about how the pale dirt and rock feel like we're traversing a western desert. Round a point and hear traffic din which gives us hope that we might indeed make it before the light fades. But, looking at the canyon walls, I think how they're spectacularly efficient at reverberation. My guess is the soundscape we hear is actually a long long way off. Forge ahead in good spirits.
The rocky terrain and tired legs cause more missteps and stone kicking. Remind Emily to stay focused. Fatigue, haste, and rough ground make ideal conditions for ankle sprains. She chides me for speaking the obvious. Finally the connector trail which leads us to the trail we started on. To the right, across 200 yards of grass and brambles, a fence and the Costco parking lot. In front of us another three quarters of a mile of trail to the car. The silhouettes of a group of kids on mountain bikes are barely discernable. We make the call to go off trail, through the brambles, and a muddy creek to the parking lot.
Find a TJ Max. Walk in looking slightly bedraggled and smelling outdoorsy. Emily buys, for a great price, a fabulous new coat to defrost under. Next door at Whole Foods, we eat packaged sushi while waiting for a Lyft to take us back to our car. All in all we trekked just over ten miles. A fabulous way to start the new year.