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Loren’s Travels

This Hotel Room

I’m on the road again, this time in San Jose for the World Science Fiction Convention!

For those of you who recognize the title of this blog, here’s a version of the Steve Goodman song that goes with it.

I’ve been in a surprising variety of hotels and motels the past few weeks, from the Carolinas to Key West to California. They’ve all been at least decent; the Hyatt in San Jose that I just checked into last night seems to be the best of the lot. It’s *huge* for one – it’s not a hundred-dollar room in a two-hundred dollar neighborhood; the room appears to be worth the money. Which is a pleasant surprise.

The next pleasant surprise is that there’s a free breakfast for hotel guests. My experience in the past has been that there’s this weird thing with hotels and motels and what they give you for the price.

At the low end, you’ve got your fleabags and Motel 6s, etc. In those, you get a small room, and very few amenities. Then there’s the midrange, where you get all this and breakfast too.

On the high end, a lot of places don’t do the free breakfast thing – they figure that if you can afford the room, you can afford an overpriced breakfast. The high-end places are also less likely to put stuff like shampoos, etc. in your rooms; same thing. (The Hyatt has soap and shampoo in the bathroom. 🙂 ) So I’m very happy to see that I don’t have to buy breakfast goodies when I make my run over to Trader Joes later.

The Zen of Traveling

So…I recently took a six-day trip from my home in FL to visit my brother and his family at their new place in North Carolina. I hadn’t seen them since leaving California four years ago, so I figured it was time.

From here to there one way, according to my odometer, is about 825 miles. Definitely doable as a two-day trip each way by car. And I chose to take the car, because I’d never traveled through most of that area before and wanted to.

Spoiler: I had a really good time and a mostly-interesting drive, including getting caught up in a police raid in South Carolina. Memorable times. 🙂

The problem I had more and more as the days went by: There was too much to see, and most of it just went whizzing by my window at slightly over the speed limit of whatever road I was on at the time. Farm stands. Battlefields. Alligator farms. Islands with sightseeing cruises. Waterfront bars. Interesting restaurants. And the more miles I drove, the sadder I got for the missed opportunities.

Granted, I did make some stops, planned and otherwise. But I saw so many more interesting places where I *could* have stopped, in a world with infinite spare time.

Our Western culture is very destination- and goal-oriented. The objective is the destination; get there as fast as you can. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, the journey is as important as the destination. And in Buddhism, the journey (from a root word meaning “day”) can be entirely internal; sitting still and paying attention are valued. One of my favorite contemporary Buddhist sayings is, “Don’t do something, just sit there.”

To me, there’s a balance point somewhere between “sitting there” and “go as fast as you can to get to the destination.” And my balance point isn’t going to be in the same place as anyone else’s. I reach a point where I get tired and/or burn out, long about 4-5 days into most trips, and I have to schedule down time to help me enjoy the last part of longer trips. Other people can go for weeks. Still others, half a day. It’s all good.

For me, I think that what I want to try next year, after my current “dance card” of travel plans is over, is a trip where each night’s stopping point is maybe 4-5 hours down the road. That way, I can take 8-9 hours for that trip and do side excursions, without worrying about being on the road til midnight. And I’d put a rest day in the middle. I’ll let you know how that works out.

This would still involve some trip planning, because many places you need reservations to get into, especially in the busy seasons. I have friends who either live in RVs or who own RVs and travel a lot. And that solves some of the flexibility issue of travel – how far can you go in a day, and how do you know there will be a place where you can sleep when you get there? I don’t know that I’m ever likely to be an RV person. But it’s interesting to contemplate as a part-time solution to the random travel blues.

Where’s your sweet spot, when you travel? Do you like to get there, stay in one place, and then go home? Or are you about the journey? Or some of each?

For me…I think the first of those trips will take me back to northeast Florida, and the stretch from Jacksonville to the Space Coast. And I’ll catch some of the goodies I missed this time and spend a little more time in one or two places I discovered I like. And I won’t have to drive more than about five hours in any one day.

“Excuse me, officer…”

A funny thing happened to me this morning, when I went to get gas for my car.

I started the day in Beaufort SC, on my way to visit my brother in NC. I’d had a fairly nice evening the night before, got in at a reasonable hour, and got on the road relatively early because the Internet at the hotel was spotty so I couldn’t distract myself with it for very long.

Before I could head north, I needed to first head south. I’d tweaked my left knee in the middle of the night because, things at different heights in my motel room than at home. That’s all the context I’m giving you. And one of the things I left at home was my knee brace. So I figured I’d go get a spare, and searched Google Maps for the nearest CVS or Walgreens. There was one about three miles south of me in Port Royal, so I decided to head there.

On the way, I noticed that the car was ready for more gas. It gets great mileage, but still needs to be fed now and then. So when I spotted a convenience mart/gas station with good pricing, I stopped in. I had to wait a bit to give the people my money, because several other folks were in there getting other things that had nothing to do with gasoline. And in fact, I remarked to myself, “It’s strange that the hardest thing to buy at a gas station is gas.”

But I gave them the twenty and went to fill the car. Topped it up to $18.50 worth of gas, hung up the nozzle, and as I turned to go back in for my change, half a dozen cop cars pulled in. Two blocked the driveways, and the rest drove in, found parking, and discharged members of law enforcement who started heading toward the store.

This is at roughly 8:40 AM. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but after all my years in California, my first thought is, “Do I have to take cover before someone starts shooting?” Not someplace my brain was equipped to go at that early hour. I tried to catch the eye of one of the officers; nobody was paying me any attention. I thought about driving away, but I knew there was still $1.50 inside that store that belonged to me. So I started slowly and cautiously sidling in the direction of the building.

This caught the attention of one of the police officers, who said, “They’re closed because we need to serve a search warrant.” I replied, “I’ve got a buck fifty in change coming; can I get that, or should I just go away?” The officer told me I could go get my change.

So I went inside. On the way, three other officers also tried to tell me the place was closed, and to each of them I repeated my story *and* that the other officer had told me I could go get my change.

Finally I get inside. There were two people working in there; an older man and an older woman. When I went in, they were just handcuffing the man, and I overheard something about, “You can’t sell that in this state.” I have no clue what “that” was. After waiting a few minutes while they were sorting stuff out (and a fifth officer attempted to tell me the store was closed, to which I repeated my sad tale and volunteered to abandon my twelve bits if it would help), the woman was allowed to go over to the register, where my change was already awaiting me on top of the register. I took it, thanked her, and made a rapid and polite exit. Drove around the end of one of the blockading cop cars (he waved me on), and went on down the street to the Rite-Aid, where I found my new knee brace.

I have no clue what was going on besides what I’m describing. There was a younger woman there who’d been in the store when I was buying gas; after I came out from getting my change, she was talking with one of the officers. I don’t know whether it was just “small town” and they knew each other, or if perhaps she’d gone in as an undercover buyer after the cops got a report. Could have been either.

So that was my little adventure with a police raid in Beaufort County SC this morning. It’s amazing how one can have a guilty conscience even without doing anything wrong; I was keeping an eye over my shoulder until somewhat after I crossed the county line.

I didn’t take pictures; I figured that might be in bad taste.

I got tickets for tonight’s Mega Millions lottery while I was there. On the off chance I win something, I hope that whatever the guy working inside was nabbed for it doesn’t invalidate the tickets.

Update: One of my better-motivated friends (thanks, Janet!) tracked down the story. Turns out someone at the station was selling fake pee – synthetic urine for beating drug tests.

It really doesn’t get much stranger than that.

To Boldly Go…

A couple of weeks ago, the world lost an explorer whom I’d never taken the time to get to know while he was alive. And I wish I had.

I’m referring to Anthony Bourdain, chef, explorer, and travel personality. Perhaps someday he’ll be the Patron Saint of Trying New Things for the First Church of Hedonism; I don’t know. Regardless, I’d heard of him but had no clue about what he did. My understanding of contemporary culture has some holes in it; I know.

After reading some short tributes to him, which praised his adventuring spirit, I decided that I should check out some of the tribute reruns of his program, Parts Unknown, that were showing that weekend on CNN. And while pieces of it drag, most of it is fascinating, as he explores and reveals little nooks and crannies of the world that are easy to miss when you’re on the Interstates or in the air. It doesn’t hurt that he seems to have had a very good crew, camerapeople and editors/producers.

Along the way I discovered that he and I were both working in restaurants on Cape Cod in the first half of the 1970s. He fell in love with it; I decided I really never wanted to work in food service again. So it goes.

I started off the year committing to doing one new creative thing a week. I managed the better part of four months on that before falling off the wagon. I’m going to try something different and perhaps less constraining – to do one new thing every week. Try a new recipe. Try a restaurant I’ve never been to. Go to a new place. Hopefully I’ll still do the occasional new bit of music and/or video. It beats sitting in front of the computer all day.

Though I think I will draw the line at seal eyeballs and warthog rectums.

I’m already getting ideas, just as I drive around. There’s a Cajun place about halfway from here to Port Charlotte that I keep driving by. There are tons of restaurants up and down US 41 within half an hour of here. Hell, there are probably two or three waterfront restaurants in the area I’ve never been in.

Last week, I made Mongolian beef for the first time from an Internet recipe. It came out awesome. One of my Facebook friends helped me remember that one of my favorite foods in Key West is a Mongolian beef (bulgogi) taco at Garbo’s, and that gave me a couple of ideas for other ways to fix it for meals. It’s a crock pot/instant pot recipe, so it’s not hard to do. Give it a try.

One of Mr. Bourdain’s other shows had him in South Carolina, and along the way he stopped at a very interesting BBQ place. I’m going to be up that way next month, going to visit my brother, so I think I’m going to drive out of my way to find that restaurant and try their ‘Q for myself. I’ll let you know how it is.

Sail on, Mr. Bourdain. May you spend the next however-long exploring marvelous places and cuisines, where everything is delicious and nothing hurts.

Thing of the Week #2: New Song – On the Beach

So…this week, I’m sharing a song that I started working on last month, but have only recently “finished” polishing and rewriting.

I’m fortunate enough to live ten minutes from a lovely beach. On one recent afternoon, I decided to head over there to take a walk and let the sounds of the surf mellow me out. Which I succeeded in doing, but along the way, I started hearing bits of a song chorus about the beach in my head, so I played with it and let it work itself out a bit. And then I started populating the rest of the song.

Some of the bits in the song come from that particular trip – for instance, I did see the “family in the water posing for a picture.” Other bits I had to add from other beach and recreation spots – Englewood Beach doesn’t have a food concession, for one thing, and there’s a rule about bringing alcohol there. But in the end, I think I created a rather nice beach that I hope to find and spend some time on, one of these days. With friends.

The song is titled “On the Beach,” and you can enjoy it here: https://youtu.be/aIdPvs0y_ak

Other than that, I’ve been working on two other songs that aren’t coalescing yet – each of them has about two pages’ worth of lyrics scribbled, but not organized in any coherent way. There’s also a possible short comedy skit on handling telemarketers, and I got a concept for something (and a cool title) that needs lots of fleshing out. Back to the drawing board!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Well, we survived 2017, or at least anyone reading this email did. Some folks didn’t, and while we’ll miss them, they will always be with us in our memories.

My year had its ups and downs. I got an album done and out. I played some shows here and there, all of which were fun. I spent time with friends old and new. I watched a total eclipse of the sun, and ran away from a category 5 hurricane. I went back to the Virgin Islands for the first time since I was in my teens.

Going into 2018, I’ve decided to challenge myself a bit and to put that challenge out there, whether I meet it or not. And what I’m going to do involves changing how I create and put things out into the world.

I’ve got a decent set of creative skills and creative tools. I take decent pictures, I can make good, entertaining videos, I write songs, and I have some clues on how to connect all of those things together. I just need to do more if it.

So here’s my commitment to me and to you. It’s not an original idea; artists like Jonathan Coulton have been here before. I’m committing to creating and delivering a new “thing” each and every week for 2018. It might be a new song. It might be a video of me doing a cover of someone else’s work. It might be an instrumental, a photo collage, a poem, or a video travelog of me somewhere. Or a video apology for not accomplishing what I promised that week. 🙂 Because I’m going to be accountable to you as well as to myself.

What this will hopefully accomplish is to keep me from self-censoring as much, which may be keeping some worthwhile bits from getting the exposure they deserve. It’ll make me exercise my creative “muscles” more regularly. And maybe the more regular communication and creativity will bring us a bit closer together over time.

My commitment is to me, but I’m making myself accountable to you. I would like nothing better than to get so into this with you that if something doesn’t come out when it should, some of you will take the time to ask me about it, hold my feet to the fire to see how I’m keeping my commitments. If I screw up, I’ll be embarrassed. Maybe that’ll be enough to keep me from screwing up. It’s worth a shot.

My plan right now is to deliver my weekly “things” using my blog, which has been grossly underused, and then to let y’all know via these emails, Facebook, and other social media. If the increased frequency of messages from me (going to once a week) is too much for you, you’ll drop off, and that’s okay. Hopefully the new content will entice you to stay.

Here’s my first “thing of the week,” an a capella version of one of my favorite songs:

Loren sings “As Time Goes By”

I’ll still be doing shows – I have two scheduled already, and have been talking to folks about others. But that’s not going to be where I’m focused.

I hope you’ll be joining me on this new adventure!

Cleaning the Beach

Sand...and water

Sand…and water

I spent this morning helping pick up trash along Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Except they don’t call it “picking up trash” anymore; they call it “habitat restoration.” Maybe it helped them get a grant; I don’t know. All I know is that it’s an occasion for me to combine two of my favorite pastimes, walking along a beach and helping out the Earth.

It’s kind of ironic that we spend 364 days a year messing up the place and one day a year cleaning up after ourselves. Whatever happened to always leaving a place cleaner than we found it? We are so disconnected from the Circle of Life…

One of the other things I get to do while out walking the beach is let my mind wander and play in the surroundings. Ocean Beach is a fairly large expanse of sand – acres and acres, most of it above the high tide line. It’s got dunes, older, established ones and newer ones just beginning to emerge from beneath people’s footprints. And out amidst all that sand, my mind starts to wander to places from fiction, like Arrakis and Tattooine. Which leads to some very strange thoughts:

“The Jundland wastes are not to be traveled lightly…”

“Wow…someone wearing the same shoes as me must have come through here already today. Looks like they carved their name into the same type of tree as me. Wait – they have the same name I do! What are the odds of that?”

IMG_3366

In addition to the various stairways down to the sand, there’s one ramp. It doesn’t look like the park vehicles have been using it, and I have to wonder if it was put in just so folks in wheelchairs could make it down to the sand, where their wheels would get stuck and they could be sacrificed to Shai-Hulud.

(Meanwhile, another part of my brain envisions wheelchairs with big balloon tires that float on the sand, sort of like dune buggies for the mobility-challenged.)

I picked up about a bucket’s worth of old bags, wrappers, bottle caps, and a whole lot of cigarette butts. I don’t know what they make cigarette filters out of, but it’ll outlast the cockroaches.

It was an interesting juxtaposition of opposites: sand and water, sun/sky and clouds, beach and cold weather – it barely cracked 60 there, and it’s not even summertime yet. (Mark Twain was definitely right, assuming he ever did actually say that.)

I didn’t just do this alone; I was in the company of some of the folks from the Latitude 38 Parrothead Club. After a couple of hours of reducing the amount of human detritus out in the sand, we settled in for a fine lunch and conversation, “partying with a purpose.”

Here are a couple more pictures from my day. Enjoy!

IMG_3355 IMG_3362

And one picture from downstairs at the Beach Chalet, showing a Krakenesque stairway ornament I liked:

IMG_3367

What did you do this weekend?

Cheers,

Loren

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On the Road, One More Time…

Hi!

I just got back a few days ago from an amazing week in Florida. The trip combined beaches, good music, fun with friends, and new and exciting possibilities in an extremely good mix.

Picture of the Sauce Boss

The Sauce Boss, mixing blues and gumbo

The main attraction was a trop rock event called Music on the Bay (MOTB). No, I wasn’t playing at it, but that didn’t make it any less fun. I got to enjoy music by some of the best of my fellow trop rockers, including Sunny Jim White, the Trop Rock Junkies, Jimmy Parrish, Jack Mosley, Michael J Weiss, and the Sauce Boss, some of whom I hadn’t seen play before. If you weren’t there, you could have heard most of it broadcast live on Songwriter’s Island Radio – well worth checking out anyway! (They play my stuff too.)

Picture of the beach at Whiskey Joe's

The Beach at Whiskey Joe’s

The event was held at an amazingly beautiful place called Whiskey Joe’s, on the shores of Tampa Bay, site of the previous two MOTB’s, and of a memorable show of my own last year. They put up a new, bigger stage this year at the other end of the beach from the regular tiki stage. The main acts were at the new stage; they had songwriters playing shorter sets at the original stage. It was a good idea that worked very well for the bigger acts and the folks who watched them, not so well for the songwriters and the vendors who’d set up by the smaller stage. It was their first time doing this, and I guess they’ll make adjustments for next year.

They’ve got about ten palapa tables scattered around the beach near the tiki bar, which were auctioned off for charity. I got to park myself at one of those for the weekend by pitching in with a friend. Having that “home base” was very helpful to me, since I’d flown in from out of town and had none of the usual beach accessories with me. (I could have borrowed from friends, with some advance planning.) Thanks to my friend Diane Rutledge for sharing her space and company with me. Diane is a friend, a lover and supporter of this music we all do, and masterful behind the wheel of her Mustang.

Picture of back yard and Gulf view

Yes, you *can* see the Gulf from here!

Picture of the back gate to the beach

Gateway to the beach!

To save money, I stayed about an hour away, at the home of a couple of friends (Pablo & Diana) in Holmes Beach. To local lovers of trop rock music, it’s also known as the Sandbox, where I’ve also had the joy and honor of playing, a time or two. Tucked away half a block from the Gulf on Anna Maria Island, it’s a delightful oasis complete with pool, stage, beach chairs, dogs, and cats. When we weren’t up in Tampa, we all had a delightful and comfortable time. And you won’t find two nicer or more kindly and giving people than Pablo and Diana.

My view every morning

My view every morning

Walking the beach...

Walking the beach…

...I found some interesting shells and such!

…I found some interesting shells and such!

The best part of staying down there was that I could (and did) walk the beach every morning before heading up to Tampa. While I sing and write songs about beach life, I don’t get to live it half as often as I’d like. And there’s something about the sound of the surf that just releases all of my tension and calms my soul.

If more people started their day with a walk on the beach, I think this would be a much nicer world to walk around in.

The wildlife there was pretty active. I saw a couple of rays pop up out of the water, and dolphins swimming out beyond the surf break. I also saw pelicans aplenty, parrots, and even an osprey or two.

Picture of the beach near sunset

Sunset at the Beach

Picture of sunset

Watching the sun go down.

Best of all were the sunsets. I caught several of them up at Whiskey Joe’s, but also managed to watch one down on the island. Even without supporting clouds, it was spectacular.

In my “Copious Free Time,” as Tom Lehrer would say, I did some exploring, down through Sarasota to Englewood, including stops at a couple of beach bars, and wrote a silly new pirate song. Because I *could*. And I grew my knowledge of what’s what and where in that part of the world. I even found the local Trader Joe’s!

It was an amazing trip, during which I spent time with some equally amazing and wonderful people, whom I am truly privileged to have as friends. Thanks to each of my friends who enriched my week in some way, small or large – Diane, James, Victor, Gary, Cathy, Heather, Sue, Bryan, Effie, Michael, Millie, Koz, Terry, Batman & Jill, Rho, Gabrielle, and the rest of the waitstaff at Whiskey Joe’s, LaDonna, and of course Pablo & Diana! And to the many others whose names may be slipping my mind right now, but who are no less important to how beautifully it all turned out.

Part of what helped make it so much fun was that I treated it as an adventure, even the occasional setbacks and snafus. It’s magical, the way that my choices in the moment can help me either enjoy another beautiful day in Paradise or plunge me back into the world of traffic jams, inconsiderate people, and disturbing headlines. Yes, I still have to deal with the day-to-day world…but if I’m “in Paradise” in my head, it goes a lot more easily and I have a lot more fun at it. And sometimes, keeping my smile and “Paradise state of mind” when some narrow-visioned SOB is trying to piss me off is the sweetest kind of victory.

I won’t get back to Florida until May, but I’ve got pictures and memories to help me keep that “island state of mind” back here in the Bay Area. Not that I have a whole lot of trouble doing that most days, as we’ve got some pretty darned amazing scenery and people here too.

Picture of sunset by the Bay

Sunset by the Bay – beautiful sunsets are everywhere!

Cheers, and thanks for listening!

Loren

———

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Looking Back; Looking Ahead

Did you know that the month of January was named after the Roman god Janus? This guy had a second face on the back of his head, so he could look forward and backward at the same time.

Which is pretty much what I tend to do every year around this time, as Janus’ month approaches. And oh, what a wealth of memories lies in my past this year!

I started the year fresh off the release of my fifth album, “Of All the Rum Joints.”  Adding the songs on this album to my catalog and repertoire gave me even more depth and flexibility for playing entertaining shows.

And play I did. In 2013, I made about 40 appearances, playing house concerts, bars, yacht clubs, and Parrothead gatherings from coast to coast. I played shows in California, Minnesota, Iowa, and Florida. I played where the Atlantic Ocean blends with the Gulf of Mexico, on an island in the San Francisco Bay, and on the shores of Tampa Bay and the Peace River. Along the way, I spent time by the waters of Lake Minnetonka and the San Juan de Fuca Strait, and took ferry rides at opposite corners of the continental US. Everyplace I went, I made new friends and “evangelists” for my music and performances.

I used to joke that I’d play “weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals.” This past year, I played for a wedding anniversary and played in front of a funeral parlor. Two out of three ain’t bad. 🙂

I also wrote about a dozen songs, several of which will be released in 2014 and more of which you’ll get to hear at shows here and there. I think the songs being released next year are among the best I’ve ever written, and I hope you’ll agree.

In my personal life, which kind of mixes itself up with my music life, I made a decision that took me most of the year to work out: I decided it’s time to relocate. Last November, the Universe started sending me messages that I should consider moving to Florida, and after hemming and hawing and thinking about it and doing research for most of this year, a couple of months ago I made the decision to move. Not to Key West; I’d love to live in the Keys, but can’t really afford it. And affordability is part of what’s driving this move. But to southwest Florida, within easy driving distance of the Gulf and within a day’s drive of Key West.

I’ve still got some planning and prep work to do before I can pick up everything I own, cram it into something transportable (I’m leaning toward PODS), and take it and myself across country for only the second time. And I have to wait for a few things to happen, one of them definitely calendar-based, that will make it financially feasible. But by next November, I expect to be in a new home in a new place.

It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s sad, in a way – I’ll miss this place, and all my friends here.

Hopefully Janus, who presides over new beginnings and transitions, will help me out.

Getting to the Keys

In just a couple of weeks, it will have been ten years since my first trip to Key West. I will, of course, be celebrating that tenth anniversary by spending even more time in the Keys than I ever have on a single trip.

(You can listen to my song, “Living Key West,” while reading this. Just click the link.)

Southernmost - beautiful beach!

Southernmost – beautiful beach!

As part of my preparations this year, I’m rereading the book that probably did the most, after years of Buffett music, to get my fundament out of its comfortable rut here in the Bay Area and on a plane to south Florida. The book is titled Callahan’s Key, by Spider Robinson, a somewhat wacky romp by a loose “tribe” of individuals, formerly the clientele of Callahan’s Place, formerly the clientele of Mary’s Place, sick and tired of Long Island, who caravan to Key West to open up a bar and get telepathic in the hopes of saving the Universe. The back cover calls it an “improbable tale of impending doom, a road trip, space, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.”

Oh, and they all tell puns.

I’m not making any of this up.

As a writer, Spider has been influenced by the likes of Robert A Heinlein and John D. MacDonald, among many others. His descriptions and characters draw you in and keep you reading, even when you’re not entirely sure what’s going on. This book introduced me to the Keys, to Key West, and to some of the fascinating places there – Schooner Wharf, Mallory Square, and more. And motivated me to go *see* these places for myself.

So I did. 🙂

And over the years, I’ve collected my own share of pictures and stories about being in the Keys.

Picture of sunset at Mallory Square

Sunset at Mallory Square

This is the way I want to go to work every day.

This is the way I want to go to work every day.

Reef them sails before we capsize!

Even the cloudy days are beautiful.

Ten years of memories…and more to be made! 🙂

So this year I’m arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on 10/26. Yes, I’ll miss Fantasy Fest again. So it goes. Instead of racing to get to Key West like I have the past few years – needed to make the trip quickly in order to make gigs – I’m taking my time. I’ll spend two days traveling the 160 or so miles from FLL to Mile Zero, checking out places I’ve never been before, taking pictures, making memories. I’m hoping that Eric Stone will have his new bar, Dockside, open by the time I get there on the 27th; if not, I can always hang out at the Sunset Grill. Or both – I’ll have the time. 🙂

My “big gig” of the week is Monday night in Key West at the Rum Barrel. It’s my second year there, which is another first for me. I’ve got a four-hour set starting at 7, I’ll have Allen “Frankendread” Holland playing steel pan with me, and I know that a few of my musical friends will be stopping by to play a few.

I’ve got a show at Green World Gallery on Thursday at 2:30, will be in Key West Chris‘ showcase at Durty Harry’s sometime after that, and will otherwise be roaming the island with my guitar, hopefully playing a few songs here and there.

As well as getting off the beaten track every now and then to recharge and maybe write something new.

I bid farewell to Key West on Monday the 4th, and fly home on Tuesday the 5th.

There and back again, ten years after my first trip.

Should be fun.