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/////////////// june07

insideoutside
I've been working hard in the garden these last few months so I thought I'd post a few photos of the greens. I've actually trimmed down the cactus garden but have been adding more color by the rock fountain. I've reworked the path stones throughout and have expanded the patio deck with more brick.

I've also been working inside too - I replaced my crappy sliding glass patio doors with some French doors and had my bedroom painted. I posted a bunch of pictures; take a look.


/////////////// april07

lightningstrikesoncenottwice
It's all over for the Tampa Lightning this year. We made it to the first round again, but that's nothing like two seasons ago when we brought home the Stanley Cup. And it looks like two of my favorite players, Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeny Artyukhin will not be back next season. Feds played like shit all season while R2 apparently will be stuck in Russia yet again. Who will sponsor "pucks and pups" with Feds on the move? Who will rip off opponent's helmuts and use them to bean players over the head with Artyukhin gone? I'm counting on big things from Shane O'Brien next season. Here are some photos from a few of the games I went to this past season.

videopleasures
Some cool DVDs I've been checking out recently include a bunch of John Ford classics (I never tire of Monument Valley) and some Orsen Wells films (never a huge Citizen Kane fan, but I found some noir-ish Wells titles I really like). Ford: Stagecoach, The Searchers and Fort Apache. Wells: The Lady From Shanghai and A Touch Of Evil. Also, Akira Kurasawa's Seven Samuri received its second Criterion release and it's GREAT.


/////////////// march07

thewhocan'texplain
The last two dates of the Who's North American tour were quite eventful; I had scored 6th row center tickets for Tampa's Ford Amphitheater and 7th row center tickets for Hollywood's Hard Rock Cafe, so I was one excited Floridian. I had seen the band earlier on this tour at Madison Square Garden, and during the last tour at the Hollywood Bowl in California, but those seats were not as good. In Tampa however, 16 bars into the opener "I Can't Explain", Daltrey walked off, apparently ill. The band stopped mid-song and exited the stage but after a few minutes Pete came back out to apologize and "explain". The possibilities were very intriguing; I was hoping the band would play Daltrey-less (I much prefer Pete's vocal delivery) or at the very least Pete would do a short solo acoustic set. But neither was to be. My friend Bobby and I returned to see a rescheduled Tampa show a week later, while my friend Lawson and I hit the superior tour ender in Hollywood. Pete, at 61 years old, and drummer Zak Starkey really put on a great, energetic show but I did miss Rabbit. Here are a few pictures from those shows.


/////////////// january07

martinisinlajolla
Earlier this month Outback Steakhouse flew me out to the opening of their newest restaurant theme - Blue Coral Seafood & Spirits - in La Jolla, California; I had built their website in 2006. My friend Bobby tagged along and we stretched out the trip a few days so we could visit the San Diego Zoo. To spare ourselves the misery of a connecting flight, we flew direct to Los Angeles, rented a stylish PT Cruiser, and drove down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway to our hotel in San Diego, taking in Compton (Bobby's choice) and Laguna (my choice) along the way. Take a look at some photos from the trip here.


/////////////// november06

martingibsonlarriveeguild

I've been juggling the acoustic guitar collection this past year, trying out a few new instruments, trading in some, returning others, but I've finally settled on a nice mix for the studio. I did try a few all mahogany acoustics, but ultimately I returned to the tried-and-true spruce tops. Anyhoo, these are the final six (which is probably four too many). If you are my friend please do not allow me to even look at another acoustic guitar. I did get wind of an intervention last year, but apparently my friends don't love me enough for that just yet. Either that, or they just like coming over and playing the guitars.


/////////////// october06

whatididlastsummer
Last summer, I went on tour with the Who. Well, not really, but Pete's girlfriend Rachel (the coolest Yoko ever) hosted a great web show with Pete called "In The Attic". At most stops during the Who's European Tour Pete and Rachel would set up a trailer backstage and invite guest musicians in to jam unplugged. Additionally, many Who shows throughout the tour were webcasted free or for a nominal charitible donation. The Who part was famously suspended (apparently some Daltrey issue) but twelve of the "In The Attic" segments have been edited and posted by Pete and Rachel. Check them out... they feature great bands like Flaming Lips, The Fratellis, The Magic Numbers, Rose Hill Drive...


/////////////// september06

thewhomadisonsquaregarden
Me, Eric, April and Bobby spent a few days in Manhattan in September; I had scored a pair of Who tickets for Madison Square Garden a month earlier. While in Manhattan we checked out the Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center, CBGB's final week, Central Park and Greenwich Village. I also got to visit with my cousin Jayne, who I hadn't seen in years! Here are a few photos from the trip.


/////////////// august06

newstudiogear
I have been slowly adding some new gear to my home recording studio, including some cool mic preamps like a Vintech 1272, a Universal Audio 6176 and a Grace 201. The Vintech is built right here in Tampa Florida, and adds tons of rich color, while the Grace is very pure and transparent. I haven't figured out the UA 6176 yet.


/////////////// july06

webdevelopment
Things have been quite crazy lately; check out the latest websites I've built (for Roy's Restaurant; for OSI Restaurant Partners; and for Blue Coral Seafood and Spirits.) View my online portfolio here.


/////////////// april05

unodostrescatorce
April has been a great month -- I just got back from a week-long vacation in Las Vegas and Phoenix, where I saw two U2 shows with my friends Bobby and Earl. Here are a bunch of photos from the trip.
(View older photo albums)

godfatherofworldmusic

As if the U2 concerts weren't enough music for me this month, I got to see sitar legend Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka in recital at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Apparently my friends Nick and Bobby both have crushes on young Anoushka. Tabla great Tanmoy Bose joined Ravi and Anoushka in an inspiring performance which showed that the 85 year old Shankar still has nimble playing fingers, even if the sitar's tuning pegs are too difficult for him to turn these days. Fortunately, on the great DVD Concert For George, all the tuning has been edited out.

sweetsmart&sassy
I just picked up some new gear for the studio, including this sweet Gretsch 6118 Double Anniversary, in a two-tone smoked green color so ugly it's cool. I dropped in some great TV Jones Filtertron pickups and glued down a tunematic bridge for this mama. A nice playing guitar. I also scored two old low powered guitar amplifiers -- a smart 1974 Fender Princeton Reverb and a sassy 1963 Ampeg Reverberocket. Restoration on said smart and sassy amps has begun. Here is a studio photo showing a bunch of my little amps. In the boring utilitarian department, I added a Presonus 8-channel Light Pipe mic pre to my recording system. Don't count on any photos of that anytime soon.

obsession
Every couple of months I find a DVD release to obsess over. Last year it was Fritz Lang's The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). Before that the Superbit transfer of Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Lately, I've been really enjoying a different sort of movie -- the archival 4 disc Edison - The Invention of the Movies (1891 - 1918), a cool collaboration between Kino, The Museum of Modern Art and The Library of Congress. Wow!

fromtheashes
Two up-and-coming bands that I really dug faded into obscurity last year, but their members have recently surfaced with new projects, and get this, new websites. Watashi Wa was a great pop rock band from California, but lead singer Seth Roberts has resurfaced to front Eager Seas. This is good stuff from a great frontman. Look for an August release on Tooth and Nail Records. Also, The Silent Treatment was a great emo trio out of sunny Bradenton Florida; a trio I had the pleasure to befriend and manage. Two of the three members have formed Daylight District, expanding the lineup with Michigan Winter renegades, creating a keyboard-based, jammy, rap sound far removed from their TST guitar roots.

digitalpleasures
Some cool DVDs that I've been checking out these last few months include the following digital wonders:
Short Cuts -- Robert Altman's ensemble film based on short stories by Raymond Carver
My Own Private Idaho -- Gus Van Sant's dark portrait of two street hustlers complete with a pedal steel and theremin-laced soundtrack
Return To Sin City - A Tribute to Gram Parsons -- Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Seven Samurai -- Akira Kurosawa's epic adventure


/////////////// january05

Things have been pretty quiet web-design-wise this month. I've been pretty busy putting in a small recording studio and live rehearsal room in my house. After years of acquiring guitars and amps I can finally crank up at 3am and not have the neighbors banging on the walls or calling the cops. Talk about freedom! Here are some photos that show the framing construction of the room. The cats don't seem to mind all the noise... check 'um out.


/////////////// december04

design&development
After launching new sites for Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill earlier this quarter, I focused on reservations pages for Roy's Restaurant and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. I also built an online contest for Carrabba's Italian Grill as well as Holiday emails for Outback and Carrabba's. Updates to the Catalogs America and McMullen Roofing sites were also made.

favoritedvdthisyear
My favorite dvd release this year was Criterion's restored The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) •• . This classic German pulp crime thriller is just as striking as director Fritz Lang's better known masterpieces - Metropolis (1927) and M (1931). Bedridden in an asylum, Mabuse scribbles out his testament of crime and terror while associates on the outside receive his plans through his supernatural hypnotic powers. I love Lang's extreme, overlapping editing and his creative use of sound. Bonus material includes a riveting interview with Lang in which he recalls his infamous meeting with Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels. Apparently the film's political overtones had hit too close to home -- Hitler banned The Testament of Dr. Mabuse and Lang fled Germany for his life. Also just restored and released on Kino, Fritz Lang's Spies (1928) and Woman In The Moon (1929). Great stuff.

twentyfourhourinfluenza
The best cure I've found for this season's flu outbreak has been gulping Echinacea tea and honey in bed while watching all 27 hour episodes of The O.C. Season 1 DVD box set. It helps the flu but does nothing for bed sores. I love Seth's irreverent humor. OK, so it's no cure, but it does kill time when you're sick. Happy Chismukkah!

fifteenminutesoffame
It's a small world. In November U2 rode down Manhattan on a flatbed truck while taping a new video, ending with a surprise concert. During the flatbed trip, Larry took a break and Bono hauled up an eager drummer to jam on "I Will Follow." Turns out the drummer was my friend Kevin's cousin Greg, who had hosted Kevin's band Pulling Birds during our first NYC visit in 1999.

favoritecdsthisyear
No personal website is complete without a list of favorite CDs released in 2004.
Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere
Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
Keene - Hopes and Fears
Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Tom Waits - Real Gone
Elliott Smith - from a basement on the hill
Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - Shake the Sheets
John Vanderslice - Cellar Door
Interpol - Antics
Franz Ferdinand
U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

copyrightinfringement

Here is a frantic version of Charles Mingus' Folk Forms, featuring the amazing Eric Dolphy on alto sax. This studio recording for Candid Records includes Mingus' phony "club" song introductions. I love the chaotic interplay and the way Mingus leads the band from behind the bass. The quartet also featured Ted Curson (trumpet) and, of course, Danny Richmond (drums).

I first caught the California-based quartet Watashi Wa in an Orlando club in 2003. Their first song was All Of Me, and within 4 bars I was hooked. I recently heard that the group was disbanding, which is a shame. Lead singer Seth Roberts had great passion and audience connectivity while guitarist Luke Page tapped in the delay effects and melody. Sorta U2 sounding. The band's uplifting songs were rich with pop sensibilities. Watashi Wa is Japanese for "I Am," likely a biblical reference.

Despite penning too many sappy love songs during his career, Paul McCartney was an early experimentalist, even before Lennon's avant garde recordings, creating those great tape loops on John's Tomorrow Never Knows. Paul played some GREAT uncredited lead guitar solos on several Beatles songs (Taxman and Good Morning Good Morning for example). He also wrote and recorded some fun/weird/silly stuff—my favorites are from his whimsical RAM album (1971) but check out Morse Moose And The Grey Goose, a silly track recorded in 1978 (in a make-shift studio on boats floating off the Virgin Islands) and buried on Wings' London Town.

eadgbe
I've polished up and have been playing my Gretsch lately -- it's my only guitar with a vibrato so it really comes in handy for subtle textures. It's a 6120 reissue with a history... I started out with a 6119, thinner and with faux f-holes, finished in a deep cherry red and with nickel-plated hardware, but I soon swapped for the thicker, boomier 6120. I didn't care for its upscale gold hardware so I replaced it all with the nickel hardware from the 6119 as part of the deal. (I accidentally left one tiny gold screw that secures the truss rod cover. Damn.) My friend Russell ended up with the hybrid cherry red and gold hardware guitar, while my orange Gretsch sports the cooler nickel. Wade from Pulling Birds used this guitar for a year or so during the band's heyday. This month I installed some great TV Jones replacement pickups and had a new bone nut installed. She really sings. It's great to have her back in action.

missing
I lost my dad in September. For much of our lives together we were strangers. I thank God that the last three years were our closest.


/////////////// october04

design&development
After months of work, the new Outback Steakhouse website just went live; I was the development lead. Earlier this summer, a new Bonefish Grill site went live (co-design, development lead.) Their menu is so good that I sorta wish I was paid with food and wine. Other recent projects include several blast email campaigns for Carrabba's Italian Grill  ••  •• .

n'orleans
clickThis month Outback Steakhouse, my biggest client, graciously invited me to join their marketing department's annual trip. This year the gang flew to New Orleans for debauchery on Bourbon Street. After the first hellacious night we took in some sightseeing and shopping. While the girls opted for hot sauce souvenirs, I managed to find two cool African masks for my collection in an ethnic art shop off Decatur in the French Market. Meanwhile back in Florida, Hurricane Jeanne extended the group's stay long enough to raise a few eyebrows back at the home office. Ain't Mother Nature a bitch? Photos here ma'am.

digitalpleasures
I've been obsessing over old Fritz Lang / German Expressionist movies lately. Criterion's new DVD release for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) is wunderbar. And the interview with Lang on disc two, recounting his infamous meeting with Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels, is nearly as gripping as the movie. Restorations of Lang's M (Criterion, 1931) and Metropolis (Kino, 1927) are not to be missed either. Check out a Metropolis trailer: wmv.

tooclosetocall
Keep the rhetoric straight with FactCheck.org, and play down the polls with the Electoral Vote predictor. And have fun with the incumbent by building a better Bush.

morecopyrightinfringement
Sessions for Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (1970), an experimental electric fusion of jazz, funk, rock, raga and avant-garde, produced several songs left off the original double album, including Guinnevere, recently released in a comprehensive box.

King Crimson's Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part One) always deserves another listen. Ambient percussion, heavy metal guitar, funky fusion, fuzz bass, violin interludes, cowbells, whistles and horns, and noodley riffage. Features Robert Fripp (guitar) and Bill Bruford (drums), plus David Cross (violin), John Wetton (bass) and Jamie Muir (percussion).

/////////////// augustseptember04

outtadodge
In August, my buddy Bobby and I flew to Los Angeles to catch the Who at the Hollywood Bowl. My last cross-continent Who-trek saw me touch down in clickVegas the day Entwistle died (Ticketmaster refund, less service charges of course.) In Los Angeles we checked out Malibu, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Laurel Canyon and Mulhulland Drive before deciding to bolt up the coast to San Francisco. There we hit Fisherman's Wharf, the Piers, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. Then we took a boat under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. Back in Los Angeles we hit Third Street Promenade, Hollywood Boulevard, the Stars Walk-of-Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Finally ... the Hollywood Bowl for the Who. Oh yeah, we bumped into Ron Jeremy at the airport. A pretty crazy four days! I made a mix CD for the trip; Rufus Wainwright - California; Dr. Dre - California Love; Joni Mitchell - California; Merle Haggard - California Cotton Fields (couldn't find the Gram Parsons version); Bad Religion - Los Angeles Is Burning, Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue ... etc., plus a bunch of Brian Wilson & John Phillips masterpieces. And a few early Who tunes: Happy Jack; Boris The Spider.

newfamilymembers
Say hello to Preston and his stubborn larger brother Bright, two Himalayans, at 4 months.

digitalpleasures
One of my all-time favorite Hitchcock movies,
the often overlooked and underrated wartime thriller Foreign Correspondent (1940), was just released in a Warner Bros. 9-title DVD box. I love the great production sequences like the windmill interior, the "umbrella" chase and the airplane crash. The set also features Hitchcock's quintessential Strangers on A Train (1951) and North By Northwest (1959).

More: The Stone's Gimme Shelter and a DVD boot of their '72 tour; Sonic Youth - Corporate Ghost compilation DVD; King Crimson - Neil And Jack And Me live DVD featuring in their 80's quartet incarnation.

morecopyrightinfringement
Here are two rare alternate takes of John's Lennon's Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). The official release on The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965) was take four. Take one, with a heavier feel and more sitar parts, was released on Anthology, but here is the previously unreleased take two, with an arrangement somewhere between take one and take four, and take three, basically a great John and Paul acoustic duet.

Sweet Honey In The Rock is an acapella gospel ensemble who create music of social and spiritual importance. Check out Are There Any Rights I'm Entitled To from their 1976 debut.

surfinusa
For frustrated drummers (like myself) here are a couple of fun links: Ken's Virtual Drum kit /// Shankar Drum Ganesh Machine /// Drum Machine. There's also Curveball to play.

eadgbe
My Explorer has been feeling pretty buttery lately. It's a limited edition natural color Gibson '76 Reissue that I retrograded with Gibson '57 Reissue pickups and vintage top hat knobs. The stock pickups had high output ceramic magnets with a slightly brittle tone; the '57s with alnico magnets are much smoother and suit my taste much better. I'm not usually a fan of gold hardware but it looks so cool on this guitar. The Explorer's all mahogany construction gives her a darker sound than say my Les Paul, which features a maple top on the mahogany body. The pickups on both guitars are identical.