Friday, November 28, 2014

dear jack conte of pomplamoose:

I have some thoughts about the blog you wrote about Pomplamoose's 28 day tour budget. To give you a little context, I am not a musician, nor am I a part of the music industry as anything more than a fan. I dipped my baby toe in the industry waters for a very short time and quickly came to the realization that I couldn't hack it in the business solely because I had a very hard time asking musicians for money, even if I provided services for that money.
I also read Bob Lefsetz' letter/blog regularly and have done for a few years now. Essentially, I'm a nobody who has a scope on both sides of the story that is being presented to the internets.

I "like" your page on Facebook as a casual fan of the way you do business for yourselves. I'm not a doe-eyed, unconditionally adoring fan, nor did I attend your show when you were in town, but since I "like" your page on Facebook, I read your tour cost blog the day you posted it. While I admire your publicly posting your financials because no one else is doing it, I read it as having a few holes and presentation problems that made it obvious to me that you wanted to tell a specific story with the information so you presented it in a way that fit the story you wanted to tell. That was a little disappointing to me and it diminished any of my appreciation for what you had done. The resulting Lefsetz letter, his "mailbag" email and your subsequent response prompted me to write this.

There are 2 main points that I have an opinion on:

1. I truly feel that 85% of the backlash you've been receiving could have been avoided by issuing a preface or epilogue to your blog post: "These are the financials of a band that does NOT tour regularly and whose main source of income does NOT come from touring". Of course, anyone who knows who you are and what you do would know that, but that single sentence puts the whole story in a different light - it adds a different level of understanding. You must realize that Pomplamoose is unique in the music industry because of this. There are very few, if any other, independent bands whose income doesn't come primarily from touring. Touring 200+ days of the year. Which is tremendously difficult on anyone. So the people who actually do that are, understandably, perturbed about these financials.

2. I feel that you have picked the wrong target of your vitriol in Bob Lefsetz. Lefsetz is NOT a journalist as stated in your second blog. He is a blogger and is, therefore, not held to the same moral and ethical standard that journalists are. He presents his opinion just as every other blogger does - just as you do. He read your financials blog because several of his readers had forwarded him the link (not because he was trolling for a target) and then he presented his opinion of it in a blog. A blog that was pretty mild in my opinion compared to some of his "screeds". It seems that you're taking umbrage with the responses that his blog received rather than his blog itself. Lefsetz has always posted a "mailbag" blog when he's had informed and opinionated responses to a more popular blog of his - why would he stop doing that for you? From what I can see, your anger comes from the fact that he published the email responses he received from his blog about your band that impugn your integrity. If that's the case, you need to take umbrage with the people who wrote those responses, not with Lefsetz. He publishes their names and email addresses unless they specifically ask him not to. In this case, it looks like you need to call out Andy, Hugo Burnham, John Gaulke, Mike, Mike Vial, Ken McKean, Karly Brecher, Jack Casey, Derek See, Mike Kaiser, Mike Langford, Chris Sink, Ken Oliver, John Parikhal, Bill West, Brendan O'Connell, Scott Brill-Lehn and Hoodie Allen, not Bob Lefsetz.
Additionally, if your accomplishments aren't enough to keep you warm at night and ignore the 20 people who have called you out on simple presentation errors ("haters") then perhaps you need to put on your big boy manties and decide if you're in the right business. It is a luxury to all other musicians out there to not HAVE to tour to make an adequate living. If you are going to get butt hurt every time someone says something that makes you feel the need to defend the story you want to tell (because that is what it is - the story you WANT TO TELL, not the story as it really is) and not ignore the people while you're acknowledging and appreciating your accomplishments, then you need to look closer at yourself.

All the Lefsetz and other stuff out there opposing, contradicting or eviscerating your story is simply a difference of opinion and experience. It's not hate. The whole "haters gonna hate" is so easy and flip and incorrect that it diminishes any cache that you may have had with people in the middle. Your calling out Lefsetz specifically, is pretty childish and it's not the best use of your time, the facts or your fans energy.

So, go frolic in your field in Napa and enjoy the fact that you can feed and house yourself very comfortably while pursuing your passion of being the internet's bar band - the most popular bar band in the world. That is a luxury a vast majority of the people in this world don't share in.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin #5 - Bullock Texas State History Museum

You can read about the introduction and reasoning behind this here...


Let's just say, this was about as exciting as it sounds:

I went to the Texas State History Museum yesterday and it was an idiotic move on my part for several reasons: holiday, weekend, first Sunday of the month = free admission, tons of idiotic people who don't know how to use stairs, etc. but hey! it was free!

It's 3 levels of Texas. All Texas. All the time. Which I don't mind because I really do love me some Texas. I just don't love so many of the people in Texas. I would have had a much better time if I were in there all alone looking at the displays. But even if I were all alone, taking my time, dawdling, it would still be a place that you only need to visit once. So that's where this stick goes - in the "done it, don't need to do it again" jar.
It was the right amount of kitsch that Texas needs (bigger because...), they had "period folks" a couple per floor at various exhibits, was air conditioned and an entire half floor was dedicated to oil. Its where every grade school kid within 100 miles goes at least once a year on a field trip.

Side note: there are lots of "Bullock" named things here in Texas and every time I see or hear of one (Sandra included) I think of Jm J Bullock. What's that guy doing now? What's the deal with the lack of I in the first name? How do you pronounce that? Like Hmmmmm but with a J at the beginning? Jmmmmm? He played one hell of a sassy neighbor.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin #4 - Umlauf Sculpture Garden & a Disqualification

You can read about the introduction and reasoning behind this here...


This week's popsicle stick was slightly dramatic in the picking: there was an initial pick that got moved to next weekend (hey, the activity is FREE next weekend), the next pick marked the first official disqualification (more at the end) and then we finally got to the pick that happened:

You can find out about the gardens here.

If you look at the map page of the site, you'll see that it is quite literally in the middle of town. On a fairly busy road to get to another major city park. And it's probably one of the quietest places in town. It's beautiful, cooler than other places because it's so shaded and full of water and there are several places to sit and just think and contemplate and be around nature, arty things and beauty.
About 60% of the sculptures are religious - HEAVILY religious - with the longer, more minimalists faces of early 20th century and even medieval icon art.

One of my favorite things about this place is how carefully they thought out the placement of the sculptures in the natural setting. My favorite examples:

And another:

And when talking about the non-religious sculptures, there is an awareness of movement and detail that is awesome and beautiful:

And another:

This one reminds me of my friend Carlos - St. Francis & his little birds:

And all the rest:

Oh, and did I mention that it's free admission throughout the summer (donations are encouraged)? Even better!

However, even though it is quiet and peaceful and beautiful, it is something much more enjoyed with others. It's be a fabulous romantic date night or even proposal place. As well, the sculptures are never changed out - there is a rotating art exhibit (last photo) but those are fairly few and far between so this goes into the "don't need to do it again" jar. For myself solely. I'll gladly take guests there when they visit if they'd like and such, but I don't really NEED to go back.


Finally, the disqualification. The 2nd stick chose was for batting cages. BATTING CAGES. You know the ones: at a "family fun park" of some sort with a putt putt course and maybe some go carts that you can pop tokens in and hit big yellow balls at varying speeds depending on the cage you choose.
APPARENTLY those don't exist in abundance in Austin. As a matter of fact, there's only ONE. It's about 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) north in Pflugerville. And you have to pay $8 for the privilege to pay for the batting cages! Usury! Out of the question! I just want to hit balls yo!
The only other options are these ultra competitive baseball camps for the high schoolers and university players to train at. The cages are inside only (no fun!) and they're expensive too! $20 for 30 minutes! And a high pressure environment?!? No thank you!
So, this stick has been disqualified. I'm slightly disappointed in this town today.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin #3 - City Wide Garage Sale

You can read about the introduction and reasoning behind this here...


I know it's been a couple of weeks, but work has been crazy. This week came popsicle stick #3:

This has been going on here in Austin for YEARS but I never went. I got curious because the signs are everywhere and I wanted to check out the format and such: is it really a bunch of people from a neighborhood getting together to sell their unused stuff? Or was it more of an antique mall set up? Or was it a whole bunch of sales people selling garages? Who knows?

As you can see here, the website is fairly unclear.

So, I convinced a friend of mine who hadn't been before either to come with me so we could see what this was all about. We go to the Palmer Events Center and pay $7 for parking and walk over to find that it costs $6 to get in. So... I have to pay to shop and rifle through other people's junk? Strike 1 right there.
We pay, we go in and we find that it's much more antique mall than it is garage sale. Yes, there's haggling and no price is fixed, but it's the same with an antique mall - nothing is really fixed at those as long as you can get a hold of the booth owner.
We gave it a chance and meandered through the aisles making sure to hit each booth/table/etc but it wasn't anything special. If you need a set of glass nubbled stemware from the late 70's that's missing a glass or entire boxes of sports cards or tables and tables of questionable linens, this is the place for you. Otherwise, disappointing. This stick goes in the "don't need to do this again" jar.

We left and were going to find something else to do but realized that we were virtually in the middle of town and why waste $7 on parking for an hour of disappointment? We decided to walk down to the park and find the new boardwalk on Town Lake (I'll never call it Lady Bird Lake) and see what the haps was. We weren't TOO far, but we were further than we thought away from the start of it so we had already walked about 2 miles to find it. It was hot, we were hungry and thirsty so we diverted to the Joe's Crab Shack (also very disappointing but it was the nearest food) for lunch and beverages before heading back. We took the main road back and stopped for some Sandy's Hamburgers and called it a day.

In reality, 3 popsicle sticks were completed on this day as Sandy's and Town Lake are in my jar but since they weren't the one chosen this week and because I want to do them again and right, this only counts as one.

Final tally: great day but paying to shop and paying to shop at a disappointing place/event = a big fat NO jar.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin #2 - Radha Madhav Dham Hindu Temple

You can read about the introduction and reasoning behind this here...


Today I picked popsicle stick #2:

You can find out more information about the temple here.

This gorgeous and quiet place is about 15 minutes outside of Austin proper, west of the "Y" (which is a place I've now decided I could totally live) in an area that's starting to blow up with houses on larger tracts of land. All along the road to get there, there are new developments or communities where you can buy the land and build your own home which is a neat idea, but a little sad because that means it won't stay as quiet and peaceful as it is for too long.

I arrived at the end of the Sunday Service, in time to watch the Satsang, which is the lighted devotional for Krishna and Lakshmi and all the other idols, including their Jagadguru, Shree Maharajji, which is the equivalent of a saint in the Hindu tradition. It's kind of silly and hokey in an awesome way the way they've pasted this guru's likeness in all of the scenes with the gods around the temple. They even have a cardboard cutout of him sitting in the throne-type chair that's in the temple. They have him photo-bombing everything and it's kind of rad. I didn't take any photos inside the temple or of the temple directly because it didn't feel right to, but you've got to believe it is sumptuous in only the way a temple in the Hill Country of Texas can be. If you let yourself be not cynical and choose to see the lightness of it all, it really is beautiful.

The temple sits on 200 acres that they have used to try to replicate holy places of the Hindu faith that are in India on. There is lily pond with dragonflies of all shapes and sizes as well as lotus blooms that is a recreation of the Prem Sarovar.

There is a "hill" (which I use very loosely) of flowers and plants surrounded be grazing land which is a replica of the Govardhan Hill and there are little cow statues chillin in the middle of the plants on the "hill".

There are several other little shrine areas around the grounds as well as more modern, western buildings because the temple also serves as a school, vacation area and retreat:

There are a couple of lady and dude peacocks squawking away too. Man, are they beautiful.

All in all, it was a very peaceful, very quiet place to just hang out. There are several picnic tables and benches around the property so you can bring a lunch or snack and sit and enjoy the area. And let me just say:

Damn, Texas. Damn.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin #1 - Hamilton Pool Preserve

You can read about the introduction and reasoning behind this here...


Today marked my first official popsicle stick:

You can find out the specifics about the pool here but, needless to say, it was an early morning. I don't have a lot of photos (none really) because the weather was ominous and there wasn't a point at which I could take out my phone at the pool.

The pool opens at 9am and, per everything I read and all the direction I got from others, best practice was to be there at or just before 9am. The park only has parking for 75 cars and there is always a line to get in - after the first 75, it's one out, one in. Even on this very gloomy looking morning:

I got there at 8:45, waited in line for about 20 minutes and got in. There were a surprising number of people considering it wasn't warm or sunny. Once you park it's a beautiful quarter mile hike down to the pool and, by this point, it was raining fairly steadily. About 100 yards away you start hearing the laughs and sounds of the people that are already there and it opens up into a gorgeous natural grotto. I get there, put my stuff down, take off my shoes and immediately jump in the water. Then it starts to rain hard. Then the thunder comes but I stay in... until we see lightning. So everyone was told to get out of the water and we chilled a little until the rain did the same and went back in. Until it all happened again. And again. All told, I was there for 2 hours before I left and, as I was leaving, I saw that they weren't letting anyone else in due to the weather.

In the middle of all this, I met a very nice girl names Ashley who was in from Houston to visit Austin and had originally come to the pool with her very pregnant niece, but the hike down to the pool was too much for her, so she went back to their hotel and Ashley stayed. I got her to come into the water a bit and swim out into it and we chatted during the times they advised us to be out of the water. She is an awesome gal and we exchanged numbers as she a a few of her friends are coming back to the area at the end of June for a more vacationy vacation.

All in all, this stick goes into the "lets do it again" jar because it needs a chance when it's hot and sunny and because I need to hike the trail up to the Pedernales River. For now, I apologize for the lackluster writing showing but I'm exhausted from not having slept last night and distracted by the cat that just traumatized herself. I need to put the screen door back up and then I need a nap.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin - Introduction & #0.5


We all know that the one thing I can't stop talking about is how bad a year last year was for me. Well, most of the stuff surrounding the badness has come to a conclusion and I'm in a position, my usual position, of digging myself out of a hole that the last year put me in. Besides all that, my fiddlefooted nature is trying to get the best of me again and I'm feeling the urge to leave again.

Lately, I've felt like I can't find quiet or silence since I've been back - both in sound and in feeling. I've felt displaced and, most recently, defeated. Majorly defeated. So my first instinct, as always, is to leave again. To a place that is a couple of years from it's cusp of awesome. Research shows that would be Boise (nope nope nope), Louisville (maybe... I'd be close enough to go see my Redlegs play in Cincinnati), Dallas (meh), Oklahoma City (probably not), and the like. But then a friend of mine just asked, "why don't you just stay?" and I don't have a good answer to that.

I don't like not having a good answer.
So I'm going to give it a shot.

I'm going to see if I can find the Austin I left (stupidly), the Austin I could wander through in the middle of the night, the Austin I left because I was happy and scared of that and what it meant. To facilitate my search, I've enlisted popsicle sticks:

Popsicle sticks with activities, most of which are Austin-specific, some aren't. One of which I will do, see, visit, complete each week. I also have 3 jars: the main one, the "did it, don't need to do it again" jar and the "did it and I totally need to do it again" jar in which to put the stick when I'm done. There aren't 100 of them, but there aren't only 10 either so I think it'll be a fair shot. If I can't find a way to be happy, to be still here after I've completed all of them, I'll leave knowing that I gave it a real shot but that it's just not for me anymore.

Finally, I'm going to use this place as a kind of accountability test for this. Whether I like the activity or not, I'll put a little something up here explaining what I did, what jar it will go into and why I did or didn't like it. So, without futher ado...


Today, I kind of did one by default. I have a stick in the jar for the French Legation Museum and I just happened to attend a shindig there today so I consider it a half since I didn't actually go into the museum. It was nice to get out into the awesome weather and see... interesting and enjoy the Circus Chicken Dog (adorable) and watch hip parents and their hip kids enjoy the hip hipness of the event and day. There were hot dogs and a tree for me to sit under, so I was cool but I felt a little lonely. I probably did that to myself though because that's what I do.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Martin Freeman is Britain's spirit animal

last night i dreamt that i was in a room full of british actors dressed as the contemporary role they were most famous for: benedict cumberbatch as sherlock, tom hiddleston as loki (dancing in a corner alone), sir pat as jean-luc picard, sir ian as gandalf, michael caine as alfred because, even though he's known for more critical roles, a lot of his more contemporary roles are alfred-like in nature, james mcavoy in a half goat get up because i'm pretty sure most of the world has only seen him in the narnia films, ewan macgregor as a strung out junkie, gerard butler dressed as a spartan and getting druuuunk, etc.

there were no colonists allowed: no russell crowe, david wenham, eric bana, chris hemsworth, mel gibson, etc.

however, martin freeman was there looking all adorable and straight-mouthed and he was the only one not in costume. i asked why and everyone said, "what would he be? he's been most everything iconic and british in the past 10 years: bilbo baggins, dr. watson, arthur dent, tim canterbury... so we just let him be him. he's our spirit animal."

then stephen merchant walked in all tall, pale amazon-like wrapped in an american flag and benedict cumberbacth made a poo face.

then i woke up.


Sunday, March 9, 2014


Was a good day.
8am hot yoga
Breakfast, hugs and good talks with louenrain
Squishy hugs with fudge, sweet beautiful clean non-cotton mouthy weed with con and charming a large handful of nerds
2 hours of doing nothing with the cat
An awesome, new to me as a whole but not in pieces Austin band
Ian Moore being Ian Moore
Sleepy times for 545am yoga 

Any day with hugs is a good day.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Dear Mac,

"I heard the news today, oh boy..."
I don't know where to begin, so i'll just jump in the middle and see where this goes. I can't begin to imagine how hard the last few years have been for you: being an amazing, beautiful, vibrant, active light of a woman physically and mentally degenerating so rapidly, without definition, without an answer, without a way to help yourself or for anyone else to help you. Seeing your strength and beauty evolve into a wholly different kind of beauty and strength over that time and through those trials was a sad but touching privilege for me.
Knowing you and the kind of person you were, it had to have been a tough hit to your independence, what you felt to be your essence, to have this trial put upon you so suddenly and seemingly without cause. But the grace with which you handled it and continued to live your life without compromise is inspiring.
While this won't be a popular opinion, I feel like you truly encompassed that grace and uncompromising attitude with your final decision. Your light and loveliness will be sorely missed by all who knew you and we are all devastated for your family's loss, however I am proud that you empowered yourself, finally, in what had to be the only way you knew how. Made this last act yours when it felt like everything else in you was being taken by forces beyond your control. In my opinion, that was a very brave thing to do - to live for yourself one last time.
I just needed to say that for you, for me. I'll never be angry that you made that decision. In being paralyzed by your situation in every way imaginable, you found the power and energy to take action. To take the only action that you felt was left at your disposal to make you feel better and I can't, in good consciousness, ever be mad about that.

I love you Mac and will miss you dearly. You'll always have a place of honor in my heart.