Hi. Another year, another essay. For the attention-span-challenged (we know who we are)-
- A good year. Lotsa stuff happening. As usual…
- Health good, no big changes
- Started a band, wrote/recorded a cool song, took a performance class, did a couple shows. Played bass, sang. Ended the band (creative differences). Taking Berklee electric bass classes.
- Spent a lot of time in San Diego with Patricia. Interesting place.
- First full year as a landlord. In a separate process, learned how to do an eviction.
- 1st place in my Porsche autocross class
- 2000 bike miles, up from 900 in 2006
I ended 2006 putting a band together with Jen Flaa, based on her business plan for a functioning, profitable music group. We wrote a song together in January, using her vocals and chorus melody, me contributing a verse melody, arrangement, and rhythm section. I recorded her vocals in my loft, which sounded surprisingly good. We joined her friend Didier Bouvet (guitar) in a performance master class at Blue Bear in SF, learning acting techniques to communicate stories as a group on stage. You’d be surprised how much narrative depth is available in songs like Mother Mother and Harder to Breathe. Also pretty fun. I wrote and produced the backing rhythm tracks that we played/sang to, using Berklee skills from the previous year.
However… as Jen and I worked together, we ran into differences of opinion around musical styles, among other things- she wants to do metal and harder rock, I’m really more of a funk / groove / pop guy, so we went our separate ways. Given that it was really her band, she kept the name and domain; I ended up with shared custody of the one song we wrote (Live To Rock). We ended things with a couple performances â€” Jen, Didier, me â€” with a gig at a Blue Bear showcase at the Red Devil Lounge in SF. I also got solo stage time, singing my song Creekside over an instrumental backing track.
Late in the year, I started a second round of Berklee classes, signing up for their 3-class Bass Certificate program. Hard, but useful. It’s been a great way to take bass lessons and get broad exposure to electric bass repertoire.
My calendar shows that Patricia and I spent 101 days together in 2007; not bad for a relationship with someone 500 miles away. I accumulated three sets of Southwest free travel vouchers, am on their A List, and have more free drink coupons than my liver will tolerate. She also spent a fair amount of time in SF, giving her a chance to keep in touch with her friends here. Two of our big activities were family related- her neice’s wedding in Colorado, and a Christmas trip to my sister Kathy’s place in Dallas. We also spent a week in the desert at Burning Man, my second time, her third, a weekend at Disneyland for her birthday, and did a hot-air balloon ride in San Diego for mine.
However (that word again)… long-distance relationships are costly, somewhat in cash, more in time and energy. She wasn’t getting many opportunities to engage with her new community in San Diego, and I seemed to be spending all my time flying or recovering from flying. They’re also long-distance, meaning the other person is really Not Around, in a more-intense way than just being across town. Given her career in San Diego, and my rootedness in SF and the Bay Area, we decided to end things in late January. I’m not particularly happy about the outcome, but we kinda ran out of other options.
2007 was my first full year as a landlord, after purchasing a family rental from my mother’s estate. I know landlording doesn’t have a great rep, but I find it kinda gratifying, more so even than when Betty-my-ex and I owned a house together in Campbell. I think it’s an opportunity to connect with my early family experiences of rental management- the maintenance issues, financial aspects pro and con, providing living space to people, and a feeling of being connected with the community.
I also made progress on closing out my mother’s estate (one of her decorative plates shown), getting down to a single property left to liquidate by the end of the year. I had an unexpected learning experience over the summer- my brother had invited a couple friends of his to live in our mother’s house while I was prepping it for sale, so it wouldn’t be unoccupied for several months. When it came time for them to leave, they decided they really liked living there, and declined to go. Did you know that the Solano County Court doesn’t accept eviction forms that aren’t stapled exactly right, and two-hole-punched at the top? So that stretched out the process by at least three months.
Driving & Biking
By focusing on autocross competition in 2007, I was able to build up enough points in GGR Autocross series to place first in the AX13 class, mostly stock early Boxsters and older 911s. Some of my win was just showing up a lot (isn’t there a rule about that?), but a couple of the weekends saw me doing some decent driving. The Boxster is a great car when you get into its rhythms and have it set up well. A next point up the competition ladder might be a top-10 finish in the overall handicapped standings, or moving into track competition, but both of those require more commitment- more money for setup and tires, more seat time, more weekends. Am still debating, might decide that I’m done with my bit of racing competition.
Have been increasing my bicycle time over the years, hitting 2000 miles in 2007, including SF to Palo Alto and Richmond to Vallejo. I’ve signed up for a couple of century (100 mile) rides in 2008, would like to see my overall mileage double again in 2008 to around 4000 miles. There’s a surprising number of interesting rides around the Bay Area, especially if you include Napa and the wine country.
That’s about it. Lots of smaller things, a third “however…” I’ll tell you about if you’re interested, and a few pix up on Flickr.