Apple Store London

Monday: In total geek-like fashion, I’m here in London seeing the sights. One of the first stops had to be Apple’s largest store in the world. The one right here in the Regent House. So I’m updating my news one more time while I’m here in England right from a 12″ iBook at the Apple. Told ya, true geek.

Having a blast on my last day. I’ve driven, ridden a double decker bus, rode a train, and been in the Tube (the Underground). And not to forget an English horse. My movie should be: Plains, Trains, Automobiles, Subways, Buses, & Livestock. Of course I’d have to write the screenplay and the soundtrack.

Have a great day.


Sunday Dinner

Sunday, sunday, sunday…

I always feel like I’m going to hear about the Bigfoot Monster Trucks and Hot Rod cars when I hear three sundays in a row. We were hosting a party here last night. Lots of music, laughter, chatter, alcohol and tons of smoke.

Today we went out to ride a horse. This was my first experience of riding English style. Though similar to the American West Marlboro-Man style, it isn’t the same. The saddle is smaller and the stirrups are shaped different. We took turns moseying around the corral, then we set up the jump. Now I’ve ridden a whole lot of western style riding out on mountains and rural west type things, but never have I jumped over a man made obstacle on a horse, on purpose. So, they started it gentle by putting the bar on the ground, then slowly raising its height. Eventually they put it up to where the horse left the ground and I was hanging on to stay on the horse. Up in the air, and whompf, I landed where one foot came out of the stirrup and my hand got smushed by the saddle. It was fun. I think there is video of my adventure and if I get a copy of it, I’ll post it.

Next up is a traditional English Sunday Dinner. Then its off to London to futz around a be a true tourist. I don’t think I’ll be around a computer so I’ll provide a wrap-up when I get back to the states. It’s been a great trip.


Double Decker Bus

Oh the places of England. We spent time in the downtown area of Birmingham. The Bullring I believe it was called. But I’m forgetting the trip to it. We caught the bus, not just any bus, a double decker bus! I’d never been in one before. So what did I do? I went straight to the top of course! Like a little kid, grabbed a seat in the front of the second story of the bus. Ever see the movieDead Poets Society? There’s a scene where the professor tells the students to stand atop the desk to gain a different view of the world. Well, riding atop a double decker bus is much like that. At least for me it was. Silly, I know.

The Bullring is a massive shopping complex complete with modern stores, an ancient church, buildings with unique designs, and an outdoor market. The outdoor market was very reminiscent of those I experienced in Oaxaca Mexico. Throngs of people everywhere all shopping and visiting. We decided to pop into an HMV music store. I was impressed by the sheer variety of music they had and with the way they lay out the store. Another thing I noticed was an entire area of the store dedicated to singles. No, not people without mates, but CD singles of music. Tons, and Tons of them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a thing in the states. Thus you freely purchase about any current single on the charts right there on CD. I guess being an American we’ve been trained to think only about the full album/CD/LP and not the 45 or the more modern CD single. No wonder we have such an issue with downloading music. It opened my mind to the fact that I’d prefer to sell a whole bunch of singles in case anyone didn’t care for the whole album. That’s a benefit of iTunes for me right now. But when I release Practical Insanity I will make sure that I do singles of several of the songs.

We rode the train back. That way I got to experience as much of the English transportation system as I could. Getting a ticket was similar to getting a ticket for the Los Angeles Subway – nothing like a New York one. You’re free to get on the train without a ticket, but they have a conductor who comes along to check for tickets. If you don’t have one, then you’re bumming. The fine for not buying a ticket is £10 + the cost of the ticket. So it totals out to about $20 in the u.s. Whereas the one way ride is £2.30 (approximately $4 u.s.).

Later I made pizza for everyone. I’m kinda famous for my pizza making skills. So I decided to treat eveyrone to my version of American pizza for the hospitality I’ve been so graciously getting. To my delight everyone loved it! Then we took off for the dog track. Now mind you I’ve never been to any race track. But we were given complimentary tickets and went to make an evening of it. So I sat down to my first dog race and looked over the stats of the dogs. I couldn’t tell what any of it meant. So I did my best to decipher what I thought was important and made my pick. The lights went down and the little rabbit thing went round the track and off the dogs went. Interestingly, I remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs was at the dog track and playing with the motorized bunny. 🙂 Any way, I was watching the dogs going around and too my surprise… the dogs I picked to win were leading and in the order I picked them in! At the end of the race I was a winner. I’ve got to chalk it up to beginners luck as the dog that came in first was considered the worst dog in the heat. Go Figure.

Afterwards I was invited to my first official poker game. I went to a flat somewhere in the depths of Birmingham where there were a few blokes I had met over the previous couple of days. They were all in the throws of the game when we arrived. I got to buy in and start playing. Now again, I’m a complete beginner. I play a few hands and get into the swing of it. I won a few. In fact I won too much to be able to buy more chips at the last buy in. I kept playing and was happy that I wasn’t the first one out. Actually I lasted until the last five, then finally crapped out. That was the end of the evening.

More to come later… think London.


Driving on the wrong side

Hello everyone,

One thing I forgot to mention in yesterdays news was the fact that I got to drive here in Birmingham. After getting over the initial wow of actually being on the opposite side of the car and of course the opposite side of the road, it was quite fun. 🙂 woo hoo. Now I’ve driven in England, the US, Mexico, and France. What a treat.

Today was more of a lazy day in terms of going out for seeing the sites. Instead we went around town visiting friends and letting them all know that I’m an american musician – which seems to instantly mean I’m a rockstar. Well, I guess when you whip out a custom signature pick it sort of helps. Heh.

Visited the Cadbury factory store in order to purchase some chocolate. Now I’ve got loads of Cadbury chocolate to give out to friends when I get back to the States. Which reminds me… Geez, all these pints of ale must be screwing with my brain, I bought some serious English Toffee yesterday as well. Very, very tasty stuff.

Tomorrow it’s off to the races. I think we’re headed to the dog track where I can put a few pounds down. I’ve also started reading Sting’s book. It’s off to a racing start. Of course I’ll do a book report on it when I’ve finished it. I almost feel like I’m back in school, writing down what the hell I think about for reading a book. Does anyone really care what I think about it?!?


Out to Wales

In case you haven’t been following up for the past several days, I’ve been in England. Check the news archives for my previous adventures.

Yesterday we went out to Wales, which originally due to my ignorance I thought was in the UK. However it isn’t, it’s considered its own country. Duh – silly American. The country side looks much like Birmingham’s, but the road signs all contain English and Gaelic signs (at least I think it was Gaelic). We hung out and had a dinner at a local restaurant. It was quite tasty.

Today we tripped out to Stratford Upon Avon. For those not in the know, this is where Mr. William Shakespeare was born. We strolled around the town. Got to see little shops, houses, and of course the insurgence of Americanism. I had no idea Shakespeare had an affinity for Pizza Hut. We went to the church were he was baptised and now where his bones are apparently at rest. Interesting enough, the church was built in stages a very long time ago, with the first part in 1331. We then tooled around to the house where he was born and the house where he died. The one thing I noticed was how short all the doorways are. I should have some pictures of it when I get back to the states, and I’ll post how tall I look in comparison.

We were shopping at a local market this evening and while we were in there over the store speakers comes on something that you’d never hear in the States… Ozzy Ozbourne was on the loudspeaker system in a grocery market! I had to stop and think about that for a second. Anyway, I guess it could be expected as Ozzy is from Birmingham. Heh. Tonight after dinner I believe we’re going out to the Jug of Ale in Mosely. To have a Pint and catch some live music.

Book Review: I finished Rich Dad Poor Dad last night. Here’s the premise: its about changing your thinking to help you be wealthy and not a slave to money. Instead it’s a way of thinking that money should work for you and not the other way around. I guess I just stated the same thing twice oh well. The most interesting aspect is the change in definition as to what an asset and a liability really is. Already it’s given me a swift kick in the butt. Its not an easy concept for most people to change their thinking about money, but if you’re willing, this book is probably your best start for doing so!

Again, check the archives for previous Englandisms and check back over the next several days as I plan on updating daily. Until then “Cheers!”.


Hooked on Tea and Crumpets

Now that I’ve been hooked on tea and crumpets, I’ve finally been fed a proper Fish and Chips dinner. Actually, I ordered Steak and Onion pie with Chips and had a piece of fish to go with it. It was quite good. Last night I was treated to a trip to a pub The Actress and the Bishop. We had a couple of pints and watched a band fronted by a guy who used to play in the days of Traffic. Brit-blues-pop is alive and well. One severe difference between Los Angeles and England bar wise is: people actually sit and appreciate the music instead of contantly talking. The second major difference is: smoke. People smoke like chimminey’s. That I don’t miss – I do appreciate that people can’t smoke in bars in LA.

On the subject of music, I have the distinct feeling that here in the U.K. music is more important to people. Its more pervasive on the TV and with the people I’ve met, they seek out music, rather than waiting to have it fed to them. I actually dig that concept. Maybe I’ve just never noticed it in America. I guess I’ll find out when I get back.

Today we’re heading to Wales. It should be a fun trip. Tomorrow I may be playing an open mic in Mosely, who knows.

In the written word, I’ve started reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’ll give my thoughts on it, when I finish the book.

Have a great day!

England and books

Alrighty, I’ve been in England for only a few hours and I’ve already had my first Crumpet and several cups of tea. It took me a few minutes to get used to seeing cars driving on the opposite side of the road. But now I’m cool with it and it seems quite normal. Maybe I’ll take a chance at driving. Though I think it would be odd to have the stick on the opposite hand to drive.

In the meantime, I’ll be attempting to make some updates on my trip around the UK countryside.

Book Review of the Moment: Under the Banner of Heaven. Talk about a serious look into the concept of polygamy and what people do to get around it’s illegality is amazing. This book is also an impromptu look into the history of the Mormon Church and how it gots its start. UTBOH is a real page turner. I couldn’t stop reading. I found it extremely strange to read about a faction of Mormon’s called Mormon Fundamentalism. Though the book sometimes feels a bit scattered in its composition, I really liked it. I understand the religious nature of people and that they often feel about religion the way they feel about music. People often can’t deal with opposing views from their own. Despite that, I would recommend reading this book. If nothing else, it’s an exciting story based on real events and facts.


Heading to England

I’m heading to England! Woo Hoo. I’m excited, as I’ve never really been there before. Well, I was once there for two hours in Heathrow, but I don’t count that. Ten days baby.

I’ve been fevorishly working on creating instrumental versions of all my songs for licensing to film, tv and radio. So I’m in the midst of all that. Also, my drummer Donny and I are working on making us one of the most advanced live “jam” bands ever. We’ve discovered a great way to make on the fly changes to the songs and yet still retain the capability to have that ‘just-like-the-record’ type feel. It’s awesome! The next full band show will certainly be cool.

In other coolio type news… I’ve finally got my own signature picks! That’s right the same pick I normally play now has my signature on it. If you are interested in getting some for yourself, you can send me a S.A.S.E. (self addressed stamped envelope), and I’ll send you one back. If you want more than one then e-mail me about it first.

Movie Pick of the Week: Hitch. Will Smith has done it again. He’s got himself another hit on his hands. Despite this being a cutesy romantic flick, it’s actually quite good. I think because it comes from how people actually act when they’re attempting to court the opposite sex. As much as everyone would like to have a coach to get the chance to meet someone, it really comes down to you and your own ability to be who you are. Despite the built in romantic comedy factor that’s geared towards women, I think men will get a kick out of it too. I recommend it.


Favor Me in video

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

First off, new live video posted in the Clubhouse. The song: Favor Me. Not a member? Time to sign up now, it’s free and you’ll be happy you got to see the video, among all the other goodies located there.

Did ya catch the Super Bowl? I was hanging with a bunch of friends in Hermosa Beach. Little food, little beer, lots of fun. The game itself was pretty good (I’m not a football fan, this is like the one game I watch a year). Some amazing plays. But of course the true nature of the Super Bowl is all the entertainment that occurs away from the football players. The pre-show that is now longer than the actual game is to put it midly – dopey. The commericals are still the highlight of the mid-game fun. My favs were the sky-divers, the godaddy senate hearing, the frozen driver, and the market “robbery”. The worst one of the bunch: Napster (could it have been any lamer?).

Paul McCartney was the Super Bowl’s safe bet. Wouldn’t likely be a wardrobe malfunction with that man. The music and the quality of the performance was a real winner. I even appreciated the fact it was live and not pre-taped. Shows that someone can entertain and actually sing for real – without the need to be relying on a site gag.

Movie Pick of the Week: Hotel Rwanda. I caught this one on a whim. I knew going in it would be a tough movie. In case you don’t know, Hotel Rwanda is based on a major massacre that happened there back in the mid 90’s. Don Cheadle is proving his acting skills in a breakout role. Unfortunately I have the feeling this movie is going to be ignored. There is a lot of pain and hard choices made in this movie. It draws you in and jerks you around as you’re witnessing genocide from the inside of the situation. This movie is not for the faint of heart. If you can’t take cold blooded killing, and lots of blood, you may wish to stay away. I highly recommend this film – even if you are squimish.

More content updates coming soon…