Make music with the chatter in here, And whisper all the notes in my ears April 1, 2012 No Comments

Bird by Bird presents a story in which a young man has to write a paper on birds — He’s done all the research, has all the material sprawled out on the table, day by day passes, yet not a word….till the last day — he’s a wreck, he doesn’t know where to start….then grandma walks by and tells the young man ‘bird by bird, bird by bird.’

One of the birds in regard to living in Europe is watching the history of the European Union unfold, getting the perspective firsthand, and having ‘locals’ weigh in on the pros and cons.

Greece is always in the news — I see it as truly one of the places that has ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ — Infinitely complex circumstances there, in which media pundits and armchair warriors all seem to have an answer….framing the question through the lens of our dated and beat up institutions.  Michael Lewis brings the human account in a nice short about the enigmas of the country in Boomerang, perhaps the most entertaining book I read in 2011.

This past summer I got to listen to some opinions of a Greek fella and a German gal in the Biergarten regarding EU solidarity.  I’ll always remember that conversation, and I’m gracious to hear these perspectives.

It’s on the bucket list to visit Greece, in the meantime I hope the hooligans stay in the Trojan Horse.

 

IMF Trojan Horse

IMF Trojan Horse

We were chasing rabbits on the hill, And that prairie-life was great, but never real March 31, 2012 No Comments

Part II in an exorcism series — 

It’s amazing the fluidity of a good singer / songwriters.  Sondre Lerche’s Two Way Monologue album still ranks as one of my favorites of all time, fortunately we were lucky enough to catch him in Brussels in 2011 supporting his new album.  Start with a guitar and few chords, have a thought, organize it in your head, simplify it in song, influence a tribe.

I’ve come to understand why artists like Sondre stay ‘underground’ while the radio keeps broadcasting the sedate perfect pitch.

It’s often the same in ‘business’, some want to improvise, others want to follow the rules to a T.  Improvisation makes the difference between a good jazz bad and Hoobastank, and the difference between Ev Williams and Rupert Murdoch in regard to digital strategy (especially in the realm of digital strategy.)

I miss the artistry in a town like Austin Texas.  I wish it wasn’t such an echo chamber for coolness, and it could project some of that out to the rest of the uncool world.  Similarly, I hope the digital world opens ears to new Sondre Lerche fans….and similarly, I hope barriers to collaboration at large are kept at bay.

Sondre Lerche in Brussels

Sondre Lerche in Brussels

Exercise your freedom, Exorcise those demons, You have got to love what you do March 29, 2012 No Comments

The last couple weeks I’ve though about the immense writers block that’s hit me like a ton of bricks over the last few years.

Reasons Include:

  1. New Friends – I have to laugh at the old guard that still cling to the mechanics of the tools in regard to the answer, and look with intrigue at the crowd but yet not embrace it.  I’ve always thought the mechanics of the tools are easy, the psychology of true connectedness is much more difficult, once you strip all the artifical boundaries and realize true human aspects.
  2. A heart that’s full up like a landfill, a job that slowly kills you, bruises that won’t heal – Quoting Radiohead and presenting my opinion of the typical desk job that takes people from their calling to sit them in front of the computer for less than virtuous reasons.  I’m feeling a bit trapped by that thought, largely from my own devices….no matter how golden those chains are, or how lovely that bottle of Vino tastes, I’m excited at the prospect of sooner than later letting go.
  3. Spoiled Rotten – Living in the middle of Europe, so much stimuli — Too much to process and appreciate.  I dreamed of this day since 2004 and it’s been everything I’ve dreamed of and more, but sometimes the dream is better kept intact, rather than becoming a reality.  When the time comes to go home, home won’t be the same anymore, that’s the prize and the cost of displacement. 
  4. Getting Married – I never thought I’d reach this juncture in life, and the cliches are all correct….when you meet the right person, you know it, there isn’t a shadow of a doubt, etc, etc.  The path to the journey to last a lifetime has been emotionally difficult.  What I’ve learned is that to truly be able to accept love, you have to know what it feels to hurt someone deeply and to be hurt deeply — Both ends of that sword are sharp and painful.

So what’s next?  More exercising of demons, through the lens of innocence and experience.

A picture is worth a thousand words…..When I see the picture of the young man on the golden ball looking up at the fortress in Salzburg, I get itchy to burn a mold on the fire of history.

salzburg

Salzburg

 

Everyone sells stuff they don’t believe in, Movie actors do it all the time, Guys with cases full of useless health drinks, In politics they quote statistics full of lies February 2, 2012 No Comments

The time of year comes to devote some brain cells to the best albums of 2011, usually done in before year is over, a bit late this year, but better late than never.

Trying to strike that whole balance between objectivity and old favorites, what comes out is what’s occupying my ears the most in the car and at home, and a bit of commentary for the ages of what it means in context and in time.

10 – Vandaveer – Dig Down Deep – What made me originally made me fall in love with this group was their pool session at SXSW Austin Texas and later to discover their laundry session in Paris — No matter the venue they’re on my bucket list to see in concert, stunning lyrics, great tempo, and amazing mood the band carries around.

9 – Old 97’s – Grand Theater Vol 2 – 5 stars based on 16 reviews on amazon so far…why?  I have to think we go back to the theme for my 2010 artists where I say its all about the stories in the music, these are completely zany but they work, this album brings me my favorite song of the year, Perfume, and Rhett Miller sings this tune beautifully.

8 - Brandon Flowers – Flamingo – Here’s my sellout moment where I choose lead singer from the killer’s solo act as one of my favorites, but what an amazing juxtaposition, not just in music, but lyrics — my favorite tune, ‘The Clock was Tickin’ — The subtext to me says screw climbing the corporate ladder.

7 – Pickwick – Don’t have an album yet, but its the most anticipated artists of the year 2012 for me.  I can’t wait to see them live, spin their album, buy their t-shirt, tell friends and whatever else humanly possibly to make these gentlemen successful.  Favorite video of the year, favorite video of the year by a long shot, Pickwick singing blackout in the library.

6 – DJ Oetzi – Greatest Hits – If you’ve ever left a trail of puke going home from a festival in Germany listening to tunes by this DJ, you’ll understand.  Enough Said.  Props to the ‘Burger Song’

5 – The Head and the Heart – Self Titled – Caught at the tail end of 2010 while cruising around in Northern Italy, this band is phenomenal yet simple – the crisp voice of the singer will have you coming back for more., mamma did once tell me, you’re already home when you feel loved. G and D chord completely through a song never sounded so good —

4 – Dean and Britta – Back Numbers — I don’t recall at the moment if this album was in my tops last year, if so, it deserves a spot again – Pop this on in the train across Europe and its the perfect soundtrack to contemplating the meaning of life, and there’s not a moment wasted contemplating this and your place in it.

3 – Mason Jennings – Minnesota – Standouts are ‘Raindrops on the Kitchen Floor’, which at first listen gave me goosebumps, and “wake up’, which challenges your potentially conceited point of view and tears away the hubris.  Not to mention this album has a very retro feel in many of the albums, I can only imagine the Electric Fetus in Duluth sells out of this album constantly :)

2 – Roxette – Charm School – Lyrics that make the world sing, simple yet powerful, ‘have you ever had the feeling, you take it all for granted, the universe revealed and it didn’t make sense at all’ — got these guys off the bucket list this year in Barcelona

1 – Ben Folds – Lonely Ave – A smartass you can grow old with, that’s him, Ben Folds, who proclaims he used to be a sentimental guy — now he’s taking jabs at all the right things.  I plan on recording my commute to work and putting it to song, Doc Pomus will be the tune.  Brilliant combo with Nick Horby, and Belinda has to be my second favorite song of the year.

So there you have it, 2011 resembled something like Boblingen through an instagram lens. The weekends were epic, the week sucked beyond words.  2012 will be an adventure, approximately 100 years before 2112 and Rush’s prophecies.  Stay tuned.

Boblingen

Boblingen

serve it up in cups from overseas November 7, 2011 No Comments

An interesting venture this summer was Cinque Terre, a place I’d imagine would slide right into the ocean sooner than later without maintenance.  One of those books that changed my life, The World Without Us, I see it in real life here, both somewhere to marvel at the creations of humanity and marvel at the powers of nature in the same view.

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books -Walt Whitman

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Oh Summer Snail! Climb Mount Fuji, but slowly! Slowly! -Matsuo Basho November 6, 2011 No Comments

A wise sage delivers this message via google talk.  This reminds me to beat stress and re-balance life, and understand when you’ve become busy just being busy and work to do something about it.  Life’s too short   I haven’t written all summer despite amazing things always happening….I hope to break the gridlock word by word.

A few weeks ago we had the amazing opportunity to see Mt. Fuji, another world.

Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji

Run on beside me and away we will go, Down to the water where the water is cold, Bring all your money then throw it away, Those three words get easier to say November 3, 2011 No Comments

If I had to sum up life for the summer in a post, it’d resemble something like the Transfăgărășan road, and the stark differences in seeing it in real life vs. the lens of a navigation system.

It’s had its twists and turns and excitement, not to mention a brilliant vibrancy.  It’s the difference between seeing something from a wiki page and actually being there.

Ceaușescu built the ‘road to nowhere’, over the Carpathian Mountains — We stumble on it by accident, logic to us to go ‘this way,’ navigation system told us to go ‘that way’, ‘that way’ wound up being a breathtaking drive which culminated by heading down this road filled with switchbacks — Little did we know the road was only open 2-3 months out of the year due to snow fall.

Transylvania is just as eerie or more so than all the folklore tells — Dracula, majestic falls, and a culture not yet touched by homogenization, its amazing.

What we saw, touched, tasted, smelled and felt

Transfăgărășan

What it looked like on the navi, I’ve always thought this is a machine takes the excitement out of a trip, but this time it lead us there.

Navigation in Romania

 

You chased the sun around the Cote d’Azur, Until the light of youth became obscured, and left you on your own and in the shade August 16, 2011 No Comments

Making a blanket generalization it seems as if everytime I try to capture the spirit of Europe in a song it meanders back to A Lady of a Certain Age.  Seems as if Europe is way ahead when it comes to a balanced and integrated approach to life, a feeling and a history that’s too hard to put down in words.

The macro worldview has lost virtue, Europe appears to be at the forefront of setting the reclamination of virtue as its goal, dragging the politicians, oligarchs, and technology along with it.  It has a great set of invisible hands guiding the path.

The ability to keep rediscovering that goal personally is a constant challange.

In the past I was excited to be a technologist, the days when I mistook productivity for efficiency.  Paddling hard with the daily grind, I forget what’s important and unique….I lose the hunger to transcend, and you forget that there is no true winner in a finite game.

The goals then and the goals now are extremely different, as we all struggle to determine just what is the goal of the 21st century man.

Earth, From a Smallville Kryptonite Induced Lens

and a thousands points of light cut through the great storm in the sky, and the hands criss-cross and all the clocks on the walls told different times August 15, 2011 No Comments

Public Spaces in Stuttgart – Fantastic for people watching

Stuttgart Schlossplatz

I’ve got the answers to the tangled knot, Sleep tight in your cot August 14, 2011 No Comments

I can’t recall the time (if ever) I went to a party that started at midnight, so a new experience was in the works Saturday night. Perkins Park VIP, we make the trek for a birthday party.  I forgot that people actually stay up late these days, looking around going ‘wow,’ this place (the whole city) is packed!

Two drinks, two hours, I’m toast, but what a cool experience.

Perkins Park Stuttgart