Nov
2009

9

Ode to the Inner Sunset

The Inner Sunset has been my home for almost a decade. I love so many things about this place. Pub trans runs through here to almost every point in the city. It’s a tourist destination, but almost devoid of the issues that usually plague such places. It’s populated by a unpretentious multi cultural community that makes this neighborhood feel particularly separate from the rest of San Francisco.
Golden gate park is the best park on this planet. I certainly haven’t explored every facet of this 3 mile long outdoor playground, but I’ve given it a good go. The Botanical Garden is one of my first destinations when I’m seeking inspiration. Awesome festivals sweep through every season. I anticipate the first gorgeous days in the spring when hippie hill explodes with activity.  Bocce and Frisbee tossing in Big Rec was a staple in our social gatherings. There have been countless strolls through the park to the beach, always followed by a tasty beer at the Chalet.
The food here is out of control. Rarely a week goes by without Singapore curry noodles from the Lime Tree. Ebisu kills my wallet, but is simply too delicious to ignore.  The friendly and hopefully permanent fixture of Darla, and her brownie rewards.  Arezmendi’s, Plutos, Nan King Road Bistro, Underdogs organic sausages, it just goes on and on. I vaguely recall some crazy late night donut runs. The multiple late night pizza options are especially close to my heart. I’ve earned more free slices at Pizza on Irving then I care to admit. Even Andronico’s, which is that bane of my existence with its insane prices, is sadly the epitome of convenience and delicious sandwiches. Fortunately, I can balance it out with cheap, quality produce at the produce store @ 10th. And now there’s a killer farmers market to boot. Good work, community.
The amazing new library. The Smokedaddies at the Blackthorn, every Wednesday. Thursday nights at the Academy of Science museum. Unusually friendly homeless folks. Walking, not driving, to the hospital. Catching the occasionally inspiring sunsets from the top of the hill on Funston. The ever present crowd outside of San Tung. Bobby the butcher. The sporadic telescope folks. The many incarnations of the Brewery. The growing facebook community. The “Yes We Can” house. A wave and smile from the folks at the cheese shop. The awesomeness that was the Canvas cafe. Pondering how there can be so many nail salons. I freaking love the Inner Sunset. I think I’ve been clear on that.
I’ve done an incredible amount with my life while living here.  I composed five albums of downtempo electronic music here. The second album was named “Inner Sunset” and has the processional for my wedding on it. You can download all my music for free @ www.generalfuzz.net (they’re worth listening to – my last album was voted #9 in the top 200 albums ever played on the nationally syndicated radio show “echoes”). Bija Yoga changed my life forever. I no longer have chronic back and wrist pain, and have been taught the extreme importance of breathing. I never set foot inside a yoga studio three years ago, and now plan on attending Yoga classes for the rest of my life.
My girlfriend and I moved in together for the first time on 8th Ave. Right when I walked out the door, the aromas from Pasquales would hit me like a mack truck and I would start salivating, even if I just ate. We got married a few years later and moved all the way down to 14th and Lincoln. Now we are about to embark on the “east bay shuffle”. You know, the one that often happens when you get pregnant. So it’s on to the next phase of our lives. Transitions are difficult, and I particularly suck at them. That’s ok. I’m sure there will be lots to appreciate about the next chapter in our lives. Allegedly life also thrives on the other side of that bridge.
Anyhow, I hope that you are able to touch upon why this neighborhood is so freaking special. I’ll miss it terribly.
Except for the fog.
That I can live without.
James

The Inner Sunset has been my home for almost a decade. I love so many things about this place. Pub trans runs through here to almost every point in the city. It’s a tourist destination, but almost devoid of the issues that usually plague such places. It’s populated by a unpretentious multi cultural community that makes this neighborhood feel particularly separate from the rest of San Francisco.

Golden gate park is the best park on this planet. I certainly haven’t explored every facet of this 3 mile long outdoor playground, but I’ve given it a good go. The Botanical Garden is one of my first destinations when I’m seeking inspiration. Awesome festivals sweep through every season. I anticipate the first gorgeous days in the spring when hippie hill explodes with activity.  Bocce and Frisbee tossing in Big Rec was a staple in our social gatherings. There have been countless strolls through the park to the beach, always followed by a tasty beer at the Chalet.

The food here is out of control. Rarely a week goes by without Singapore curry noodles from the Lime Tree. Ebisu kills my wallet, but is simply too delicious to ignore.  The friendly and hopefully permanent fixture of Darla, and her brownie rewards.  Arezmendi’s, Plutos, Nan King Road Bistro, Underdogs organic sausages, it just goes on and on. I vaguely recall some crazy late night donut runs. The multiple late night pizza options are especially close to my heart. I’ve earned more free slices at Irving Street Pizza then I care to admit. Even Andronico’s, which is that bane of my existence with its insane prices, is sadly the epitome of convenience and delicious sandwiches. Fortunately, I can balance it out with cheap, quality produce at the produce store @ 10th. And now there’s a killer farmers market to boot. Good work, community.

The amazing new library. The Smokedaddies at the Blackthorn, every Wednesday. Thursday nights at the Academy of Science museum. Unusually friendly homeless folks. Walking, not driving, to the hospital. Catching the occasionally inspiring sunsets from the top of the hill on Funston. The ever present crowd outside of San Tung. Bobby the butcher. The sporadic telescope folks. The many incarnations of the Brewery. The growing facebook community. The “Yes We Can” house. A wave and smile from the folks at the cheese shop. The awesomeness that was the Canvas cafe. Pondering how there can be so many nail salons. I freaking love the Inner Sunset. I think I’ve been clear on that.

I’ve done an incredible amount with my life while living here.  I composed five albums of downtempo electronic music here. The second album was named “Inner Sunset” and has the processional for my wedding on it. You can download all my music for free @ www.generalfuzz.net (they’re worth listening to – my last album was voted #9 in the top 200 albums ever played on the nationally syndicated radio show echoes). Bija Yoga changed my life forever. I no longer have chronic back and wrist pain, and have been taught the extreme importance of breathing. I never set foot inside a yoga studio three years ago, and now plan on attending Yoga classes for the rest of my life.

My girlfriend and I moved in together for the first time on 8th Ave. Right when I walked out the door, the aromas from Pasquales would hit me like a mack truck and I would start salivating, even if I just ate. We got married a few years later and moved all the way down to 14th and Lincoln. Now we are about to embark on the “east bay shuffle”. You know, the one that often happens when you get pregnant. So it’s on to the next phase of our lives. Transitions are difficult, and I particularly suck at them. That’s ok. I’m sure there will be lots to appreciate about the next chapter in our lives. Allegedly life also thrives on the other side of that bridge.

Anyhow, I hope that you are able to touch upon why this neighborhood is so freaking special. I’ll miss it terribly.

Except for the fog.

That I can live without.

Nov
2009

0

Luck + Preparation = Sweet Butter Pie

I’ve been a fan of Jon Hopkins for a year or two now. I discovered his music when someone said I sounded like him, which now I take to be a huge compliment. Earlier in the week I saw he was going to play in SF, and figured I should catch him. He was opening up for Roypsopp, whom I’ve never heard of. I checked them out online, decided they were sorta fun, and figured I’d go pick up a ticket at the show.
On Thursday morning, I discovered that the show was sold out. Ropysopp is far more popular then I realized. I checked craigslist, saw many people looking for tickets, and figured it wasn’t going to happen. No big deal. I was sorta checking craigslist every hour or so, when I ran across a post selling a ticket for face, but the buyer had to pick it up. I was downtown with no car, figured it wasn’t going to happen with the demand for the ticket. I wrote the buyer, got the address, google mapped it, and saw it was in the far south part of the city. There was no way I could get there fast. Google maps introduced a new option to see what your public transportation options, and upon clicking it I learned there was a bus that left from right in front of my building, and the line ended at the exact address of the selling. And the bus left in 3 minutes. So I went for it. I dropped everything at work, ran downstairs, called the seller, jumped on the bus, and headed to south san francisco. Sure enough, the bus dropped me off at the exact location I needed to be. I found the seller, bought the ticket, and because we were at the end of the line for the bus, the driver was smoking a cigarette, and I was able to get back on the same bus to bring me right back to work, just in time for our weekly social gathering. Booyeah.
Then off to the show, which was at the grand. I hate the grand. Security made a huge stink over my metal water bottle last time I was there and the sound is generally terrible. It turns out that the Warfield bought the grand, security didn’t care at all about my water bottle or laptop, and they’ve put in an entirely new stack of speakers since I’ve last been there. I got there right when Jon Hopkins took the stage, and his set blew me away. The way he adapted his mostly mellow musing to a dyanamic, occationally bombastic, live show was inspiring. His setup was all tactile and no laptop, so watching him deftly trigger and manipulate tracks was fairly engaging, which is unusual for this type of music. The light show brought it home. I was really impressed, which is no easy feat with my extreme electronic music snobbery. My only complaint was that it was too short, under an hour, but thats what happens when your the opener. For a sold out show, it was really empty, which was fine with me.
There’s always a voice in the back of my mind that when I go to a show like this that it would be perfect if I could meet the artist, do a short speil and a cd handoff. The likelyhood of this happening is almost nill, since the artist has to be milling around in the audience and I have to capture their attention. After Jon’s set, I scoped out the two areas that he was most likely to appear, and lo and behold, I saw him appear from the stage door. I asked him if he knew about echoes, and it turned out he just recorded a living room concert from them a couple weeks ago. Holy perfect. I did my self promotion thing, made the connection, and felt on top of the world. I don’t expect anything to come from these connections. They rarely do. It was just that it an unbelivable feeling to accomplish really unlikely goals. I just felt completely intune with the universe – that special combination of luck and prepardness.
I have to admit, Royskopp didn’t reel me in. They place got jammed, hipsters were everywhere, and it just wasn’t my scene. They do write some fun music though. I stayed for an hour and then bailed, hoping to make it home before Stiners went to bed. I got home in the nick of time, putting a cap on a perfect day. After tucking Stina in to bed and saying goodnight, I felt like the luckest guy in the world.

I’ve been a fan of Jon Hopkins for a year or two now. I discovered his music when someone said I sounded like him, which I now take to be a huge compliment. Earlier in the week I saw he was going to play in SF, and since he hails from the UK and I’m on my show bender, I figured I should catch him. He was opening up for Royksopp, whom I’ve never heard of.  I checked them out online, decided they were sorta fun, and figured I’d go pick up a ticket at the show.

On Thursday morning, I discovered that the show was sold out. Royksopp is far more popular then I realized. I checked craigslist, saw many people looking for tickets, and figured it wasn’t going to happen. No big deal. I was haphazardly checked craigslist every once in a while, when I ran across a fresh post selling a ticket for face, but the buyer had to come pick it up. I was downtown with no car, so it wasn’t realistic with the demand for the ticket. I called the seller, got the address, google mapped it, and saw it was in the far south part of the city. There was no way I could get there fast. Google maps will now plot your public transportation options, and upon clicking the pub trans link I learned there was a bus that left from right in front of my building, and the line ended at the exact address of the selling. And the bus left in 3 minutes. So I went for it. I dropped everything at work, ran downstairs, jumped on the bus, and headed to south SF. Sure enough, the bus dropped me off at the exact location I needed to be. I found the seller, bought the ticket, and since we were at the end of the line for the bus, the driver was smoking a cigarette, and I was able to get back on the same bus to bring me right back to work, just in time for our weekly social gathering. Booyeah.

Then off to the show, which was at the Grand. I hate the grand. Security made a huge stink over my metal water bottle last time I was there and the sound is generally terrible. It turns out that the Warfield just bought the Grand. Shockingly, security didn’t care at all about my water bottle or laptop, and they’ve put in an entirely new stack of speakers since I’ve last been there. Issues magically resolved. I got there right when Jon Hopkins took the stage, and his set blew me away. The way he adapted his mostly mellow musing to a dynamic, occasionally bombastic, live show was inspiring. His setup was all tactile and no laptop, so watching him deftly trigger and manipulate tracks was fairly engaging, which is unusual for this type of music. The light show brought it home. I was really impressed, which is no easy feat with my extreme electronic music snobbery. My only complaint was that it was too short, under an hour, but that’s what happens when your the opener.

There’s always a voice in the back of my mind that when I go to a show like this that it would be perfect if I could meet the artist, do a short shpiel and a cd handoff. The likely hood of this happening is almost nil, since the artist has to be milling around in the audience and I have to capture their attention. After Jon’s set, I scoped out the two areas that he was most likely to appear, and lo and behold, I saw him appear from the stage door. So I went up to him, chatted about venues in the city, and I asked him if he knew about echoes, and it turned out he just recorded a living room concert from them a couple weeks ago. Perfect. That gave me a fantastic license to do my self promotion thing and make the connection. I  felt on top of the world. I don’t expect anything to come from these connections. They rarely do. Its just an unbelievable feeling to accomplish a really unlikely goal. I just felt completely in tune with the universe – that special combination of luck and preparedness.

I have to admit, Royskopp didn’t reel me in. They place got jammed, hipsters were everywhere, and it just wasn’t my scene. They do write some fun music though. I stayed for an hour and then bailed, hoping to make it home before Stiners went to bed. I made it back in the nick of time. After tucking Stina in to bed and saying goodnight, I actually felt like the luckiest guy in the world.

Nov
2009

1

East Bay Ahoy!

Life, which seemed to be a little more open to interpretation a few short months ago, has become rather tightly focused of late. The destination of this journey is baby, and there several well defined hoops that we are jumping through. Even though I know its more about the journey then the destination, its hard to lose track of the destination at this point. Of couse, life can always throw us a few curve balls, so I remain supple and open to its flow.
The fabulous news is that we’ve found our fabulous new home in the east bay. We’re wicked psyched about that. Now we need to move all our stuff from A to B. Fortunatly, with Stina at the helm, we’re already ahead of schedule. We’ve already donated and sold ALL of our excess possessions, and there’s a solid showing of boxes already stacked around the house. All the art is down, and this apartment sucks way more then it did a week ago. As much as I’m sad to leave our fabulous neighborhood, this long goodbye is prepping me to look forward to starting our next chapter.
We celebrated Halloween in the only way we know how – in a cabin in Yosemite surrounded by hippies and killer music. I really brought my A game for our final appearance at Las Tortugas, the best music festival in the universe. Strangers commented on all costume changes. I freaking RAGED all weekend long, while Stina rested comfortably in our sweet sweet love cabin. Unforuntatly our neighbors raged much harder then we did, blasting the tunes till past 6 am. I was too tired to be affected by it, but alas, Stina complete lack of raging rendered her helpless to the onslaught of noice. I think I’d give top honors to Dumpstafunk, with Umphree’s second, and Tea Leaf Green third. TLG really brought it big this year.
Last friday one of my band dreams came true when Sean Lehe paired up with Asher Fulero in “Mo-Ped”. They were rounded out by Marshall Harrell (New Monsoon) on bass and Dave Brogan (ALO) on kit. I started off the evening right at JP Cutler’s suprise b-day dinner, and then dove deep in the Mo-Ped show. Those guys can freaking jam. I ran into bunches of folks from Los Tortugas, and one person who knew me as the guy with lots of costumes. Booyeah.
My internet love is running at an all time high right now. Craigslist allowed me to trade an office chair for a bike, which is AWESOME. Craigslist did a head fake though with tickets to Widespead Panic, what with the dude bailing on me last minute. So I jumped on the Bart, headed to the GORGEOUS new Fox Theater, and got second row center balcony tickets from the box office! Aww yeah! Then I forced the two folks who had to accompany me in (cause I had a dangerous laptop and might be able to “take pictures” – no lie, this is the reason I was accompanied by TWO security peeps) to wait at the merch booth while I snapped up the LAST killer poster. Booyeah! Then I happily checked my bag + poster, and rocked the fuck! WSP was awesome.
Last night we went to see Kate and Maggie dance in the go go spectacular, which was surprisingly awesome. Its insane how talented my friends are. Like Tom, who competed in a Championship Triathlon this past weekend. Or Amanda Gean, who ran 20 miles. Or Tony, who went fishing.

Life, which seemed to be a little more open to interpretation a few short months ago, has become rather tightly focused of late. The destination of this journey is baby, and there several well defined hoops that we are jumping through. Even though I know its more about the journey then the destination, its hard to lose track of the destination at this point. Of course, life can always throw us a few curve balls, so every morning I tense up, clutch my sweet ass, and shut my eyes as I boldly attack my day.

The good word is that we’ve found our fabulous new home in the east bay. We’re wicked psyched about that. Now we need to move all our stuff from A to B. Fortunately, with Stina at the helm, we’re already ahead of schedule. We’ve already donated and sold all of our excess possessions, and there’s a solid showing of boxes stacked around the house. All the art is down, and this apartment now sucks way more then it did a week ago. As much as I’m sad to leave our amazing neighborhood, this long goodbye is on the verge of dragging on, and I’m beginning to anticipate starting the next chapter of our lives.

We celebrated Halloween in the only way we know how – in a cabin in Yosemite surrounded by hippies and killer music. I really brought my A game for our probable final appearance at Las Tortugas, the best music festival in the universe. Strangers commented on all costume changes. I freaking RAGED all weekend long, while Stina rested comfortably in our sweet sweet love cabin. Unforuntatly our neighbors raged much harder then we did, blasting the tunes till past 6 am. I was too tired to be affected by it, but alas, Stina complete lack of raging rendered her helpless to the onslaught of  “bonus rock”. I think I’d give top honors to Dumpstafunk, with Umphree’s second, and Tea Leaf Green third. TLG really brought it big this year.

Last friday one of my band dreams came true when Sean Lehe paired up with Asher Fulero in “Mo-Ped“. They were rounded out by Marshall Harrell (New Monsoon) on bass and Dave Brogan (ALO) on kit. I started off the evening right at JP Cutler’s suprise b-day dinner, and then dove deep in the Mo-Ped show. Those guys can freaking jam. I ran into bunches of folks from Los Tortugas, and one person who knew me as the guy with lots of costumes. Booyeah.

My internet love is running at an all time high right now. Craigslist allowed me to trade an office chair for a bike, which is AWESOME. Craigslist did a head fake though with tickets to Widespead Panic, what with the dude bailing on me last minute. So I jumped on the Bart, headed to the GORGEOUS new Fox Theater, and got second row center balcony tickets from the box office! Aww yeah! Then I forced the two folks who had to accompany me in (cause I had a dangerous laptop and might be able to “take pictures” – no lie, this is the reason I was accompanied by TWO security peeps) to wait at the merch booth while I snapped up the LAST killer poster. Booyeah! Then I happily checked my bag + poster, and rocked the fuck out! WSP was awesome. No “Tall Boy” though.

On Friday we went to see Kate and Maggie dance in the Go Go Spectacular, which was surprisingly awesome. Its insane how talented my friends are. Like Tom, who competed in a Championship Triathlon this past weekend. Or Amanda Gean, who ran 20 miles. Or Dave SG, who not only helped clean and pack all our art, but ate all the food in the house.