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
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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).
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.
Some cool DVDs that I've been checking out these last few months
include the following digital wonders:
Cuts -- Robert Altman's ensemble film based on short stories
by Raymond Carver
Own Private Idaho -- Gus Van Sant's dark portrait of two
street hustlers complete with a pedal steel and theremin-laced
To Sin City - A Tribute to Gram Parsons -- Wild horses couldn't
drag me away
Samurai -- Akira Kurosawa's epic adventure
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
After launching new sites for Outback
Steakhouse and Bonefish
Grill earlier this quarter, I focused on reservations pages
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.
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
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)
In The Moon (1929). Great stuff.
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!
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.
No personal website is complete without a list of favorite CDs
released in 2004.
Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere
Lynn - Van Lear Rose
Hopes and Fears
Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Tom Waits -
Smith - from a basement on the hill
A Ghost is Born
Ted Leo and The
Pharmacists - Shake the Sheets
Vanderslice - Cellar Door
U2 - How To
Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
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.
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.
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.
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 •• •• .
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
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.
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.
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).
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 Vegas
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
hello to Preston and his stubborn larger brother Bright, two
Himalayans, at 4 months.
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).
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.
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.
For frustrated drummers (like myself) here are a couple of fun
Virtual Drum kit /// Shankar
Drum Ganesh Machine /// Drum
There's also Curveball to
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.