Josh Rouse, LA, Hmmm

Been busier than I could imagine the past week or so. Most of my time has been gobbled up in work, calls back East to check on my Mom and various other "life responsibilities".

On the activities front:

I caught Josh Rouse at the Swedish American Hall the other night. This man never ceases to amaze me. I still remember seeing him open for Son Volt back in 1997 and being thoroughly underwhelmed. Since the release of "Under Cold Blue Stars" a few years later, Mr. Rouse's career has really taken off. Once a somewhat dull performer and average songwriter, Rouse has matured into an absolutely outstanding stage presence and one of the premiere songwriters on the planet (I would say in the US, but he now resides in Spain). Although I appreciate his early work, I was glad to see him play songs mostly from his last two records, as well as material from his upcoming release. He absolutely captivated a sold-out crowd. The racuous response in this no-drinking, no-talking venue was mesmerizing. A beautiful performance.

Last weekend I took a little roadtrip to LA with my buddy Chris. Going in, I didn't expect much from LA; I've never really considered it to be "my kinda town". For a number of reasons, most notably the entrance of a new classic person into my life, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I enjoy the new folks I met, but the LA "scene", was less of a scene and more of just a good time. I'm excited to return at the end of February and explore some more. Hopefully this exploration will bring me to McCabe's Guitar Shop, Amoeba and ummm, some other stuff that's escaping me.

It's been a good week.


i wasn't able to make it to oakland, but i did stop into the sf spca and the sf animal shelter. i'll say this - holy f'n heartbreaking. every single pup just stares at you with eyes begging to be taken home. i wanted to round up about 200 of them and bring them back to my dump. i ended up spending time with two, both of which are german shepherd mixes. the one was a katrina survivor and this pup nearly brought tears to my eyes. when i inquired about her history, it turns out that not only did she survive katrina, but she's had cancer numerous times (her name's ETTA: I also hung out with MAYA who was a blast.

there's no question that i'm going to have a dog in the very near future, but first off, if i get a dog that exceeds 35 lbs., i have to have my landlord amend my lease (he allowed for a dog under 35 lbs. - the shelter won't allow a larger sized dog w/out his permission).

i will say this: i encourage as many people as possible to visit spca's or their local shelters. EVERY single dog i saw seemed amazingly loving and just dying to get out of there. it was great to see so many people there looking to give these dogs home, but man was it somewhat saddening.

other things i did today:
-spent about 30 mins. talking to a dude about facial moisturizers
-almost had to break up a VERY near brawl in the local thrift shop. two older guys were arguing over a pair of skid-marked pants and it almost got ugly.
-drank coffee
-bought some stuff


This year will be my fourth trip to Austin for the South By Southwest Music Conference. I was introduced in 1999, returned in 2000 and took a few years off before heading back in 2005. Over these three years I have seen some of the greatest live performances of my life. Slobberbone at Club de Ville in 1999 still stands as the best single performance I've ever witnessed. Brent Best and co. played in the POURING rain for well over an hour. During the encore the band charged through Neil Young's "Powderfinger" as well as The Gourds' "Web Before You Walk Into It" (joined by a belligerently drunk Jimmy Smith).

Other amazing performances I've seen: Elliott Smith, The Jayhawks, Varnaline, South San Gabriel, Marah, Noodles, The Backsliders, Joe Henry, Steve Earle, Anna Fermin....the list just goes on and on.

This year may be the best lineup yet. I would list off some of the bands I'm excited to see, but that'd take me 7-8 hours. If you're a fan of good music, you should do everything in your power to make the haul to Austin, Texas the third week of March. See you then.



After going well over a year without cable, I decided to pick up Direct TV after settling into the new place. Sure, it's cheap, but I already regret it. I basically wanted to cable for sports (not finding much there), news (oh good lord...cnn is just hysterical...msnbc has become a joke, and errr, what else is there? i guess i should check out the bbc), movies (how many times can i see "Closer" (which was grossly overrated) or "Ray" (well, none, since I haven't seen it yet)) and maybe the History Channel, Discovery and less than a handful of others.

Every time I flip on the TV I just flip. And flip. And flip. It's nothing but crap. I was excited to watch the Steelers yesterday, but that was on national TV. Aside from an occasiona entertaining experience like that, I usually flip for a few minutes and ultimately settle back into a book, hours upon hours of music, jumping jacks (ok, haven't done that (yet)), or work on the apartment.

I can't believe how bad television, and news networks in particular, has gotten. Once CNN kicked Aaron Brown to the curb in favor of 24 hr. Anderson Cooper marathons, I figured that was the final straw. Nevertheless, I was drawn in. That's their goal isn't it? Guess I grabbed the bait.

Embarcadero Skies

Ok, trust be told, I don't think it was the Embarcadero...I just like the sound of it (and the borrowed line from Jeff Tweedy).

Today, I strapped on the running shoes and made the voyage down Gough and to the water. The run down was interesting. There were a number of times that the slope was so steep that I thought I was gonna blow out a knee Eric Dickerson-style. Fortunately, I made it down. Once it flattened out, I had a surge of energy I hadn't felt it some time. I haven't been consistently running for 3-4 months, but man did it feel like I hadn't skipped a beat. Maybe it's the vitamins. It certainly can't be the smoking.

I got to the water and was able to look at the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz for the first time in my life. Man was it a beautiful scene. I sat on a bench, turned on Emmylou Harris' "Wrecking Ball" and relaxed. There were couples, dogs running after balls, joggers, people sipping coffee. It felt great. Peaceful. Iron & Wine on the walk home complimented a near perfect day.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I usually see my father once or twice a year. Whenever we get together, whether with more family, extended family, my girlfriend at the time or my siblings' significant others or friends, my father almost always throws out the, "If you could have dinner with five people living or dead, who would they be?" Usually my five changes, but he's aware of one person who's always at that fantasy dinner, and that person is Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King would be 77 years old today. I find that amazing. He's been gone since 1968, five years before I was born, yet had he lived, he'd still be at a fairly young age. Although we've made progress, had he not been assassinated that day in Memphis, imagine where we could be today.

Dr. King is one individual who deserves the easily thrown around accolade of being a "hero". He was a man of peace, humility, vision and love. When I consider what religion means to me, King is the closest it comes to being an ideal human being. He fought for his people, but he also fought for us all. As the founder of the SCLC he had difficulties with the more violent arms of the civil rights movement, namely SNCC and the Black Panthers. He worked with them as his group was trying to meet similar ends, yet his SCLC was determined to reach those goals peacefully.

Americans love holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanskgiving - these are all holidays that bring us together. Tomorrow we take the day off to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King. If there's ever a holiday that deserves thanks, it's MLK Day. He was a wonderful man.

Justice Alito

Looks like Samuel Alito will take a pretty easy ride onto the Supreme Court. With Roberts and Alito replacing Renhquist and O'Connor this should strike some fear in the progressive minds throughout the country. Sure, most on the left will be fearful of the big issues like womens' right to choose, the death penalty and other contentious and divisive issues. There's little question that these are major issues facing this country, issues that cut to the fabric of who we are as a nation. That said, we must not forget about the issues that the media pays little heed to. With Samuel Alito joining the highest court of the land and cementing the court in favor of the conservative right, we must not forget the smaller issues that will be not only tested, but likely swung to the right. Don't forget privacy, presidential authority, checks and balances and the social issues that this country has historically kept in balance. I want to remain proud to be an American. I think we all do. Top 20

0 is a great site for music fanatics. They track everything you've listened to. My top 20 artists since June (and songs listened to):


It Only Took 1 Year

But after moving West, I am finally a resident of San Francisco. This weekend's haul was grueling but a pretty funny time as well. New Years in SF left a bit to be desired but I'm never one for NYE anyway. The good moments always happen when you least expect it. Cliche.

I'm now fairly settled in Pac Heights, SF. The commute to work is an absolute breeze, the apartment is cozy and the atmosphere of the city is starting to seep in. Similar to when I moved to the South Bay, I do have a little of that "Wait, ummm, what am I doing here?" feeling, but I think a lot of that can be attributed to how quiet the city's been the past week or so.

It's another new beginning of sorts. Nevertheless, although I lived in Brooklyn for about five years, this is the first time I've ever actually lived IN a major city. Richard Buckner on Friday night will be a nice introduction.

We'll see how it goes....