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Chasing The America’s Cup

Picture of Louis Vuitton cup race

Out on the water – Italy vs. New Zealand

Last weekend, I finally made it down to the Bay to watch the AC-72s race in the Louis Vuitton Cup final – the prelude to the America’s Cup race series, which will begin on September 7. The current Cup races are exciting in that you can see them from the shore, and don’t need to be on an expensive boat. All you need to do is get to either the America’s Cup “park” at Pier 29, or someplace like Pier 39, the Jeremiah O’Brien (last of the “Liberty Ships” from WWII, or Marina Green. All will provide good views of at least part of the race course, fog permitting.

Here’s a map of the course and the best viewing areas.

The America’s Cup is one of the longest-running trophy series in the world, having been going on for 162 years. It has a very interesting and eclectic history, including races held around the world, politics, money, and the occasional crazed Maori. The current defenders of the Cup, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, got to specify many of the rules and guidelines under which this year’s races are being run.

Picture of Schooner America

Schooner America, near Pier 29 in San Francisco

The first Cup race back in 1851 was won by the first Schooner America, competing against 15 British boats off the Isle of Wight. The current Schooner America is a replica of that boat. She’s in town now, as the picture shows, but back around 2005 or 6, I got to sail and play on her down in Key West. Playing songs like “Southern Cross” on a boat with that much history…it gave me chills.

Picture of Loren on Schooner America

Performing on Schooner America

It was also fascinating to look at the “superyachts” tied up for the duration, and to spend time in a couple of the on-site bars at the Park. Apparently some of the fixtures in the Sports Bar came from the Oracle AC-72 that pitch-poled and was destroyed a few months back. The drinks are tasty, but way overpriced.

One of the "Superyachts"

One of the “Superyachts”

Superyacht Musashi

Superyacht Musashi

Another "Superyacht"

Another “Superyacht” – with the NZ AC-72 behind it

Anyway, I had an exciting and fun day, even if I *did* get sunburned. In San Francisco. City of foggy days.

Getting to the Village and a viewing location like Pier 39 can be as easy as parking your car at a BART station in the East Bay (especially on the weekends), taking BART to Embarcadero Station in San Francisco, and heading north along the waterfront. If you can’t walk the mile or so to Pier 39, there are buses and pedicabs that can take you the distance.

The Cup races themselves begin on September 7, and run in a best-of-17 series between Oracle USA and Team Emirates (New Zealand). It’s a great time of year to visit the City by the Bay, and if you’re here for the races, maybe you’ll see me wandering around somewhere! Get all the info you need on the America’s Cup series on their Website.

Morning Musings…

Inspired by the drizzle outside my window.

“Rain like tears” is a metaphor

Been overused this way too long by everyone

But sitting here staring at the weepy sky

I sigh, and wish that I could see blue skies and sun

The grass and flowers, they don’t care

They like it there, soaking up the water

I wish that I could see the world their way

And some days, I think I oughta.

Sailors to the Rescue!

I occasionally uncover some really cool stuff while out meeting new people and finding new places I want to try to play. Today was one of those days.

One of my Meetup groups, the Oakland Sailing Club, posted a note about a fundraiser this afternoon at the Alameda Yacht Club for the International Rescue Group. As it turns out, these folks are a relief organization based here in the Bay Area, working with sailors around the world to deliver relief supplies and aid after natural disasters. They’re currently refitting a 57′ trawler for relief work over at Alameda Point.

They’re looking for donations and help in finishing up this new boat, and they’ll have free cruises for people who help out. So check out their Website.

The event was held at Alameda Yacht Club, one of the eight or nine “drinking clubs with a boat problem” in Alameda. I was fortunate to get to spend some time hanging out with some of the club members as well, including Clair and Mark. It might work out for me to make a bit of music over there sometime soon.

Here are a couple of pictures from the day:


Stephen Michael and his band were playing some good rock music.


A view from the back deck at Alameda Yacht Club

A view from the back deck at Alameda Yacht Club

Daffodils in the Morning

Spring is rapidly arriving here in the Bay Area! Fruit trees are starting to bloom, and the bulbs are starting to break through and flower after their long naps.

Picture of daffodils

At this time of year, daffodils greet visitors to my house.

Some of the first flowers to rear their lovely heads are the daffodils. Ours start to show up in early to mid-February, and by now, they’re in full bloom and starting to pass their peak.

The interesting bit about daffodils is that, without a period of chill and darkness, they can’t bloom. I think that may be true for people as well.

Think about it. Contrast is one of the most powerful tools available to the artist for a reason. Nobody oohs and ahs for hours at a picture of a polar bear in a snowstorm. ๐Ÿ™‚ But a picture of ocean water, with many different shades of blue and green, always changing…that fascinates folks. Including me.

A picture of the ocean

What makes looking at the water interesting is that it is always changing, and the contrasts between light and dark, blue and green.

Without winter, we wouldn’t appreciate the spring *or* the tropics as much.

Without the occasional challenges and sadness in our lives…we wouldn’t appreciate the joy.

And those challenges, if we choose, can become the vehicles by which we consciously learn to shift into a happier place no matter what we’re in the middle of. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.

I’ve written songs as a result of some of the challenges I’ve been through, and sometimes they help me in the challenges of the present. Sometimes, they help other people with *their* challenges – as the old song goes, “It’s still the same old story.”

One of my older songs, “Clueless in Key Largo,” was about the challenge of love lost, and the opportunity to heal that in a beautiful place.

One of my newer songs, “Looking at You,” is in many ways about that challenge having been met and beaten. With style.

It’s still the same old story.

New Drink Idea!

I came up with a new idea for a drink this morning, while cooking up a “breakfast skillet” of potatoes, onions, garlic, and cheese. I wanted something sort of like a mimosa, but I didn’t have champagne and wasn’t feeling like drinking this early. And fruit juice was too heavy by itself. Here’s what I did:

Daffodil in the Morning

In a tumbler, add ice if you want. Then add:

1 part orange-pineapple juice

1 part fizzy water (mine is lime-flavored)

Mix. Serve with brunch.

It’s tasty, not too heavy, and I’m not going to need a late morning nap because I had too much champagne. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s what it looked like this morning. You can add your favorite garnishes to make it prettier, or serve it in a champagne glass with a strawberry in it if you want it to look more mimosa-like.

Picture of new drink - Daffodil in the Morning

Daffodil in the Morning

My MOTM 2012 schedule

This handy-dandy graphic tells you where I’m playing:

Picture showing Loren's 2012 Key West tour schedule

Subject to change (my Monday night gig now begins at 6:30, f’rinstance) and me showing up other places in town.

Real-time status of where I am will be posted as follows:

  • Short notes: Twitter
  • Longer stuff: Facebook personal page, music page if I can get there using my iPad
  • Retrospectives: Here on this blog

The text version, with links:

  • Monday 10/29 early afternoon: Pit Stop Party, MM 101, Key Largo
  • Monday 10/29 6:30-10:30 PM: Rum Barrel, Front St. Key West
  • Wednesday 10/31 9:30-noon: Catamaran concert, with Dani Hoy & Key West Chris
  • Thursday 3 PM: Team drink and “Usual Suspects” group photo, Casablanca at Bogart’s, 904 Duval St.
  • Thursday 4 PM: Tropical Songwriters Showcase (runs noon-8) at T’s Bistro, 1114 Duval St.
  • Friday 1 PM: Green World Gallery, 712B Duval St. (Webcam available for remote viewing)

Thank you! :)

At this time, as I’m very close to having my new CDs in hand, I want to give special thanks to those of my Kickstarter friends and backers who’ve gone “above and beyond” in supporting this project:

Ben Reynolds

Amy Hanson

Robert Adams

Tom Backus

Eric Stone

Barb Hammett

Carl Debevec

Bill Zilberman

Ronnie Tsunami

Susan Fabula

Theresa Miyashi

Bee Gentry

Diane Rutledge

Geo Mealer

Carole Parker

Turk Sims

Tracey Blackstone

Trader Scott

You are a fine and wonderful bunch of Usual Suspects. ๐Ÿ™‚

Booze Reviews: Parrot Bay Frozen Strawberry Daquiri

I’m starting to see more of these pre-mixed, freeze-your-own, single-serving drink concoctions in the marketplace. I may previously have mentioned the Shark Attack frozen margarita pops – I know I did on Facebook. I can’t say I much cared for that one; they apparently used a fairly cheap tequila and the flavor was a bit on the nasty side. It *did* work well as “ice” for a properly-made margarita, when I squeezed it out into a glass and added my own ingredients.

(While you’re reading this, to get you in the mood, try my song “Margarita Monday.” If you like it, consider buying the album. End of commercial plug. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

On a recent trip to BevMo, I noticed some packages by a company called Parrot Bay. They had several options – pina colada, mango daquiri, strawberry daquiri. I decided to sample the strawberry daquiri, as it’s the flavor I was most likely to enjoy from that list.

It comes at room temperature as liquid in a sealed pouch:

picture of Parrot Bay strawberry daquiri package.

It says to freeze for six hours and then consume. Well, I left it in the freezer for a couple of days before I got around to trying it.ย  Even after squishing it up in the package, it still came out with the consistency of semi-solid sherbet rather than a frozen drink:

Picture of the Parrot Bay daquiri in a glass

As you can see, it was pretty chunky. Not one to be daunted by this, I got a spoon and figured I’d eat it like sherbet, at least until it melted partway. Which it did, over the course of consuming it. In small bites, to avoid the dreaded Brain Freeze.

My opinion: It was flavorful, but not excitingly so. It definitely had a strawberry flavor, but not a fresh strawberry flavor. You would never mistake it for the type where you blended your own frozen strawberries with rum.

The package said it was 5% alcohol – about the same as beer – and a “malt beverage.” Which kind of makes it like the frozen version of something like Bacardi Silver. If it had been a bit less frozen, I might have tried adding a bit of real rum to it, just to see what the result was.

On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 7. Sort of like kissing your sister, if your sister was okay-looking, treated you well, and didn’t have bad breath. You’re still better off making your own if you can, but if you’re going out on a picnic and don’t have room for the gas-powered blender, this isn’t a horrible option.

Self-Worth and the Internet Marketplace

What makes something worth X dollars and not Y? And how do we determine our own self-worth, in this age of free downloads, crowdfunding, and instant everything?

In this article, Doug Shineman talks about YouTube’s business model for embedding advertising. In it, he builds his case by talking about retail vs. auction methods of sales and valuation.

In the retail model, stores sell a widget for, say, $10. At an auction, the widget will sell for the highest bid. That might be $1 one day and $25 the next, depending on the crowd and how many people want it how badly. Same widget – different prices.

If you the reader have been following me at all, you’ll know that at the moment I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund my newest CD, Of All the Rum Joints. As that campaign has developed, I’ve been learning some interesting things about my own self-worth and how I determine it.

It’s been eye-opening. I expect I’ll learn even more about myself by the time it wraps up next week.

You see, I don’t always have the strongest self-image in the world. This may surprise you, because I’m pretty good at “faking it ’til I make it.” And I’m not good at asking for stuff for myself like this, because I occasionally doubt I’m “worth it,” and like most folks I hate rejection. ๐Ÿ™‚ But what determines that worth?

In the case of this project, it’s apparently the number of people willing to put their money behind me and my music, and how much they’re willing to pledge. I had a “panic moment” of “what happens if nobody signs up,” and how embarassing that would feel to me. But I went ahead and did it anyway, figuring I really had nothing to lose but a bit of time and perhaps a bit of face.

I’m fighting a lot of old programming to get to this place. My Mom, bless her soul, left me a number of interesting mental “tapes,” including “don’t make a fool of yourself,” “what will people think,” and “be prepared for disappointment.” She meant well…but these are exactly the wrong tapes to support me in doing what I’m doing as an artist. And I’ve had to put a lot of work into resolving those tapes and creating new ones that serve me better.

Well, so far I’m doing almost as well as I hoped on Kickstarter, and maybe better than I expected. I’m over 2/3 of the way to making my goal, and at this point even if I don’t make it, I’ll feel like I’ve given it my best and gotten a good response. And that my music really *is* “worth it,” at least to enough people for me to feel validated.

And for better or worse, that helps me to feel better about myself, doing what I’m doing.

Which I think might make Mom happy, even if she *was* a bit overprotective along the way.

If you haven’t already checked out my Kickstarter project, I recommend it. It’s good reading and you get videos of three new songs, whether you pledge anything or not.

But I hope you will. After all, I’m worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ And what I’m offering is well worth your support.

Product Review: iKlip by IK Multimedia

I’ve had my iPad for a month or so now. I’ve been finding it increasingly useful, and when I go to Florida in a week and a couple of days, I’ll take it and not take my old Mac laptop. Even if I don’t have the remote access thing for my desktop totally debugged by then, I think I can manage for about a week without an actual computer.

One of the functions I’m trying out that I like is that of using my iPad to store and play instrumental “backing tracks” during my shows. I’d been doing this with my old iPod, but that’s not as useful, and the “click click click” every time you change songs or volume levels is really distracting during a show.

Enter the iKlip. It’s one of many devices designed to attach an iPad to a mic stand. After looking over a few online, I bought an iKlip. Overall, I’m satisfied with it, but there are a few things I wish it did better.

Pluses: It does exactly what they say it will. It attaches to my mic stands. It gives my iPad a place to live. It apparently handles all three generations of iPad, with the included adapter clips.


  • In order to install it on a mic stand, you have to remove anything else at the end of the mic stand. As I use boom mikes, I have to remove the boom and the little star-shaped nut before I can slide the mount down onto the mic stand. So moving it from stand to stand (which I do, as I’ve got a duplicate rig set up at home for rehearsals) is a pain.
  • It is not only possible, but way too easy to install the stand part of the mount upside down. I discovered this last night after getting to my gig and installing it. I made it mostly work, but the bracket piece doesn’t lock into position when it’s installed that way. It’s hard to describe in English.
  • I only just ten minutes ago figured out how to install the iPad 2/3 adapter clips, after trying to puzzle it out for the last couple of weeks. Yes, the diagram shows you where they go, IKEA-style. But they don’t tell you how to push the clips into place until they lock. I’d been trying to fit them every which-way, without success.
  • When installed, one of the top clips is so close to the volume rocker on the iPad that it’s hard to turn the volume down using that rocker. During a show, when I’m adjusting the volume of tracks, that’s an issue because I have to do this fairly quickly. I guess I’ll get used to it.

Overall, I have to say it’s worth the approximately $35 I paid for it. But I’m going to have to buy another one in order to have the functionality I want – being able to mount my iPad on two different mic stands at different times – without having to repeatedly disassemble and reassemble the mic stands.

As I need another adapter, I may see what else is on the market rather than buying a second iKlip. Stay tuned.

Taking it on the Road

I’m going to be a bit busy with travel the next few months. Well, actually with travel *and* working on my upcoming album *and* the 97 other things that make up a Life. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m really excited today about my upcoming trips.

May 17-20: Phins to the West, Laughlin NV

This just in: I’m performing on the Horizon stage (at Registration) on Friday 5/18 at 2:30 PM. If you’re out at PTTW, I hope you’ll stop by. It’s a short set, so it’ll be all-originals, and I’m thinking of weighing it a bit heavily on new material.

PTTW is one of the big West Coast Phlockings that happens every year. It attracts some extremely talented musicians and a whole lot of fun people. It’s at the AVI Casino and resort, right on the Colorado River at the pointy end of Nevada. I’m looking forward to a good time.

June 13-18: Meet Me in the Keys mini-tour, Key Largo to Key West

This is part of what I love about my weekend job. I get to go to the Florida Keys twice a year on business.

The Coconut Castaways, Howard Livingston’s fan club, has an annual weekend-long party in Key West. This year, they’ve invited me to join them and make some music. Being no fool, I accepted. I’ll be playing for them on Wednesday night, and then wandering around town doing my usual two-songs-here, three there thing the rest of the time if I can find friends who’ll share their stage. I’m still hoping for a house concert or some such in the Upper Keys on Sunday; if you want to help make that happen, give me a call.

This will be the first time I’ll be in Key West with some actual time to kick back. If you’re going to be there, let’s get together and have drinks somewhere.

July 4-8: Upstate NY – Trop Starz & Tiki Barz mini-tour

The third trip of my summer touring trifecta comes to my old stomping grounds of upstate NY on the Fourth of July. Anchoring this trip will be my appearance at Trop Starz & Tiki Barz, a Phlocking in Binghamton, NY. This will be another fun, fine event with lots of excellent live music. I’m still available for other shows on July 5 and July 8, anywhere within a couple of hours of Binghamton and preferably not more than a half-dozen hours out of my likely flight hub of Buffalo.

Three trips, time spent with friends and fun people listening to excellent music, and making a bit of it myself. All of it coming up in the next couple of months!

I hope to see you somewhere on the road!