I thought this morning that I would use this evening to catch up on tour info and go a little further in depth than I have lately. We’re gonna have to go back a few weeks to catch up though…

When we played Madison Square Garden in the early part of the month, we got to see a bunch of our old dear friends who work there on the local crew. Beef, Larry and Cha were all there. Cha as you may or may not remember has been treating stomach cancer for nearly a year now. I tried to help by putting up a little website for him call Friends of Cha, which his buddies got the idea from another friend who has the same challenge, Gungi. His model for using the web to help him out with the monetary strain was what I had in mind though we kind of stalled out with the actual donation/Paypal linking because of some concerns that haven’t been sorted out. Still, it’s a place for people to leave messages  for him and for us to put news if he likes. Cha was rigging with his pump on, getting the cocktail to help him battle the cancer while pulling chain and earning a living. The thing about us guys is that we only know what we do and working seems to be it. When we stop moving… well, we fear what that does.

The Garden was a challenge for me because the wing space between our rolling stage and the hockey dasher was about 3 feet. It was also a main pathway for people coming and going from front of house. I lost my cool more than once; maybe I never had it and just experienced a quiet moment in the midst of freaking out. The shows ended up being mighty fine and were well received by the crowd and press alike. Getting to see the boys was my reward; even the 5 story backward spiral load out couldn’t get me down.

We wandered off to Chicago next where I was lucky enough to see Brian and Melissa as well as the beautiful loft they put their time into. MK and I did a little guitar crawl at the usual shops, not finding what we needed but handling a few highly priced slabs of wood. The United Center was a wireless drag; heck, all of central Chicago is for the digital TV stations broadcast off the Sears Tower which sit right in my frequency range. They no longer make or support this stuff and it’s a good reason why. It certainly limits your choices in a busy airwave town like this.

Oakland was no better for wireless but I did get to visit my Mom in Northern California. We had a really nice visit when my camera wasn’t stuck to my face shooting foliage. I also got to see my sister, Luca and the boys on the way back over a yummy Italian dinner (Gratze!). Luca is part of my motivation of trying to be a little more long form. I appreciate the rant form too as it gives chance to stretch, explore and really find out what you want to talk about. The mircroburst nature of the other social networking forms is lost on him and I totally understand.

“standing on the corner”

“Light changed”

“Just had a Mocha Tossed-the-lot-of…”

I feel the appeal of delivering one liners but in the end, what are you saying? I have enough chaff in my inbox and will attempt to not pollute the airwaves, adding to my wireless problems in reality or not. I honestly don’t know how someone could have 6000 friends and have that window open on my desktop… it would be like writing “Walden Pond” in the middle of a U2 concert…

See? Luca proved his point already…

Oakland was two shows and I think (will I jinx myself now?) that I finally hit my stride on the second show, 13 shows into the tour officially. It was the first day I didn’t visibly freak out in front of anybody. I’m not telling what was going on inside my head, that is a blog for another day…

We escaped and headed south to LA as the fires were starting to come under control and the winds were dying down. The first day the air was still pretty cruddy but not like I have seen it when I was living there during other fire seasons… we lucked out timing-wise though I really feel for Stip as even with two days off they still are not letting people into the area his house was in for another week or so. The photos of his property were heartbreaking; two totally destroyed cars, a pile of cinderblocks and a pile of ash. For people who live most of the year without a home, you would think that it would be easier for us to see but it isn’t. Home is the goal, what you’re working to keep, pay off and get back to. What happens when it’s gone? Too many people have to find out now a days…

While in LA I got the chance to see Tom and Sally; they have a new pair of dogs which my cat outweighs by… well, a lot. He could take them both before breakfast with one paw tied behind his rump. Breakfast on the second day with my Uncle, a pretty decent sweep through the west when you get to see at least that much family.

The first day at the ever funky Sports Arena was old cartage guy day with original Bitterman Circle members 1,2 and 3 there (Kevin No-Dog was out of the country). Bob R. showed up using the French Toast trick and delivered some classic short stories. Show #1 had some interesting audio features which lead to some detective work the following day. Wireless again was narrow and wobbly, but hey, we got through. Show #2 became a little more theatrical and together, as you can see here…

The bad part was missing out on seeing a few people this trip west. Bob P. and his family reached out but my timing was bad. The last two days off I didn’t take enough time to recharge and my first day was a little unfocused. I should know better.

The good news is I got some good shots up north and again today in St. Paul, MN. Photography is really a new world for me and it’s fun to learn to see in a new way…I’ll figure out the settings at some point after I learn English spelling, Spanish grammar and how to speak  to stagehands.  We have only one show up here in Minnesota and then it’s another mad dash east to end the US leg…

More to come…