Weird Shit Velcro – Stories About Navigating The Human Landscape

I have captivated all of my friends and family for many years with my dating and daily life stories. Thus, this blog is my opportunity to share these amusing and ridiculous anecdotes with anyone who is interested, bored with their life, passing time or just has the awesome, shit ass luck to run upon it by chance. If nothing else, you will be entertained…start with March 20 "You will be entertained….too good to make up."


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Back in New York and there’s nothing like turbulence to make me instantly become really religious……

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And perhaps a bit more anxious initially when the man who sits down next to me introduces himself by saying he had a panic attack on the 8AM flight and had to get off.  Luckily he had taken 3 Ativan before the 4PM apparently and seemed quite relaxed as he snapped his gum. Turns out that due to the crazy storms in the Midwest the flight was very turbulent in my opinion and apparently the Pilots thought that as well as they had the staff sit for the majority of the flight. Over the last year I have become unsure as to what I believe in terms of “God” per se but I do believe in some higher power. That said, on turbulent flights I become quite religious and “please God” is a semi-regular phrase.  Said man, Sam, actually ended up comforting me and talking to me throughout the flight to distract me so I wouldn’t worry about dying. It’s really not the flying part that scares me. It’s the dying in an airplane crash. Fast I suppose but I think I would definitely have a heart attack and that’s what would probably get me. Which is ok actually.

Anyway, I am now back and in less than 24 hours I have not left my house,even to get groceries, but been inundated with mundane work.  I realized today that, although I have a comfortable, even lovely to some, home – to me it is really one large office. I have worked at home for 13 years and when I am home I feel like I should always be working. Its sort of a problem that needs to be resolved ASAP.  It’s great to have work but I need to get out more and that was what was nice about CA – there is so much to do!

I spoke to a wonderful woman tonight who works for me and lives in Canada – turns out she may be my longest relationship – going on 9-10 years it seems. Neither of us could remember when she started. Anyway, she said “aren’t there so many things to do at night in NYC?” And I replied “yes but once you’ve done them, you’ve done them.” It’s great to go out to the theater, new restaurants, old dives, music clubs, dance clubs,the symphony and the unending plethora of charity benefits which I stopped attending some time ago unless I really care. But I have done all of this and as I have mentioned, thinking out loud here, I am done. I’ve done the clubs until 5AM and seen everyone from The Who to the Allman Brothers (several times) to Coldplay. And even Bobby Short back in the day when my mother dragged me to see him at the Cafe Carlyle at 11:30PM for dinner.   I have gone to the US Open almost every year even though ticket prices have escalated to an insane amount. And I have seen a ton of theater, some comedy and probably not spent enough time in museums of late.

For me, there was just so much more to do in SF. Maybe because it was all new and I had to explore. Maybe I would get bored there in time but it was nice to wake up and look at the ocean. Even in Sebastopol not on the water, but near, this past weekend, it was gorgeous – the mountains, trees, cows, lambs, wine….all signs point to go. Just need to figure it out…in the meantime….this spoke to me. I got lucky and met a few very kind people in CA and it/they made all the difference.

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Restlessness and sailing…

ImageI went sailing with my west coast “Trip”last weekend and it was incredible. Great to get out on the water, breathe the air and try to not knock the skipper off the boat with the boom. It was quite windy and things got a little hairy but thankfully he remained on board. I have no idea what would have happened had he gone overboard. Anyway, the picture pretty much epitomizes my life at this point in time….for the moment this has become a travel blog but as I am heading back to NYC tomorrow I am sure there will be many more fun stories to share. But for now….a magnificent view and a moment of relaxation.ImageImage


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Sebastopol and Jimmy Vaughn…and the actual landscape is perfection….

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I am not sure what I am more shocked about – that Jimmy Vaughn’s band manager wouldn’t let a blind man out the stage door right next to him and made him walk up, down and around or the fact that I just spent 20 minutes talking to Jimmy Vaughn about Austin and Lake Travis and I neglected to take a photo? Of us. And I definitely did not compliment him enough…and, an hour or so before, Jimmy’s manager did own up to the fact that he has a small penis. No comment. He was an asshole of sort of inordinate purportion.

I am sad that I can’t seem to figure out how to add a video onto my blog because Jimmy was one of the most talented guitar players I have seen of late or probably ever frankly. Derek Trucks rocks but this man was fucking awesome!

I have been in Northern California for 3 weeks and I have to say that every day has gotten a little bit better. It’s growing on me…stories to come when I am less tired. One sentence that sums up my life at the moment is – there are no coincidences. Everything, and I mean every weird, strange, crazy small world, my worlds are colliding sort of thing is happening for a reason. Except for the fact that I was propositioned by a couple as I was getting into my car after the show. Now that was actually somewhat unexpected and new…welcome to the country!

I worked my ass off while “living” in Sausalito more in the last three weeks than I have in the past year. It was fascinating, interesting, cool, stressful, fun, musical, beautiful and shockingly hard to let go….more later. Pictures paint a thousand words….I just wish I had brought my good camera and not my iPhone. Ridiculous if you know me. But no wonder I have always loved Sonoma Coast Chardonnays…what took me so long to find this place?ImageImageImageImageImage

This seems counter intuitive or something…I’m just sayin’ImageThe church from the movie The Birds….I learned that town in which it was filmed was near the coast when I was buying salt water taffy while thinking I don’t remember the ocean in that movie and everyone else thought I was too young to understand.

Taking all of the above into consideration and too many stories to even tell, it’s starting to seem like it’s a pretty good place to start the rest of your life. Or my life.


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I’ve hit the Northern California wall….

As you may have surmised from the two riveting blog posts I have written in the past week, sadly, I had pretty much decided that Northern CA is not for me. That said, I had a decent day, reconnected with an old friend which was really nice and attended a work conference that was more interesting than I had imagined pretty much solely because of one presenter that I think has come up with a genius idea of medical diagnoses via crowd sourcing with a gamification component as well as a social good aspect – check out CrowdMed.com – fantastic idea!

Anyway, I finally came back to the place I am subletting, lay on the couch and talked to Trip who embodies NYC which I can’t believe I actually miss. We hang up after an hour and I opened a note that was left on my door.  It literally read as follows: “My sleep has been disrupted for the last week and a half. Crazy music from 5am-730am along with an alarm on most days from 715-till 730am. I’ve been awakened at 230am with more crazy music followed by more sounds. It is now over being able to listen to another night. Management has been notified. Police next.” WTF!

So first of all I am almost never awake at 5am unless I had a crazy night out and am going to bed at 5ish. Second, I don’t even have a radio here and can barely work the TV as crazy as it sounds it isn’t even in the realm of possibility.  Most nights I have been out and come home to purely sleep. Let’s put it this way….I called said extremely old writer of said note, apologized (for nothing but why not try) and explained that I only WISH I have had something going at those hours to have had music playing. She was not amused and  screamed at me because I called her “ma’am” which I thought was polite.  I then questioned the construction noises that have permeated my sleep on the weekends at inopportune hours which apparently is her construction and she informed me that she is on the board. So I guess time of construction doesn’t matter. OK! People out here do not get east coast sarcasm. AT ALL. I have officially thrown in the towel.  I am scared for what tomorrow brings…..I may be a bit homesick. And need a cup of tea….


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Sparkling rose, a crab sandwich, a native New Yorker SF Ambassador, houseboats and Tangible Hope….

 

Sometimes all you need is a little reminder of home to make everything better. That can come in many shapes, sizes and forms but tonight the package was a cool new transplanted friend of a friend with whom I had a “chick date”. Don’t get crazy, just because I am in SF doesn’t mean I have switched teams, even though I often wish there was a third option, but it was great to actually eat, drink and talk openly and freely with Lena Dunham’s body double. My San Francisco Ambassador.  Someone who “got” the New York/East coast me. Her mannerisms, demeanor, hair, speech pattern, voice quality and even outfit screamed Hannah in almost every way.  She is three steps removed from the real deal and so am I if I thought about it but she got it.  She was cool and could actually converse in an intelligent bantering manner with someone, who too, is also upfront in terms of what they often think. Neither one of us over-thought the conversation and it was great to just cut to the chase.  How novel. This week.

And it was so awesome to go explore the houseboat scene of Sausalito with her…sometimes pictures speak a million words or all the words you can’t think of at that moment….or even now.

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This is named “The Train Wreck”….

I am not even sure what I think of this car and plate….ok the car is awesome!Image

At the end of my night I met a lovely woman who has started a foundation named Tangible Hope. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. That was exactly what I needed.  I am going to spend the next week being open minded and maybe this isn’t “my permanent place” and maybe it’s the wrong coast but I am going to certainly check it out and enjoy it while I can.  It is so goddamn beautiful I must say….this evening I hiked the hills, saw the beautiful trees, flowers and views and decided I must explore. Even if I am one of the non-geriatrics that lives here at the moment.  I think I just need to import some East coasters….I do remember this feeling at the end of my tenure in LA. The phrase “bi-coastal” is really starting to make sense.


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Northern CA – where inefficient and weird are the normal….

The environmental landscape in the bay area is beautiful. The water, the mountains, boats, kayaks, paddle boarders, sailboats all make the human landscape somewhat more tolerable.  I had thought that people in Northern California would be friendly, laid back, low key and cool but sadly have found that not to be the case.  Well, I have met a few. They say that no matter where you go there you are. And that is true but the “you” here is unlike anything I have ever encountered.

I have sampled a variety of venues, towns, restaurants, dive bars, upscale restaurants and even a music festival in Napa yesterday called Bottle Rock.  And while the people watching is somewhat interesting at times, I have met more lightly veiled angry people in the last week here than possibly ever in my life.  I can honestly say that although I have frequently felt that New Yorkers are angry and can be mean at least they are upfront about it and there is no bullshit.  Here there seem to be a lot of mixed up people who are trying to perhaps find themselves or solve their problems via meditation, yoga, retreats, different “healing” techniques but only very slightly below the surface they are very, as a friend who lives in Napa said to me earlier today, “argumentative”.  At a minimum I would agree.

I lived in LA and worked in the film business and dealt with some of the douchiest people in the world possibly.  LA can be very plastic and superficial and there are a lot of assholes but at least they kind of know it.  They almost embrace it. Especially the agents who are often nebbishy Jewish guys who you knew were semi-losers in high school but now they have made it and have some blond with fake tits on their arm and they think they have got it all.  And maybe for them they have. So I salute them – sorta. They are still kinda dicks to deal with and as an attorney I was always told I should have been an agent. And maybe I should have as I probably would have been very good at it. But I digress.

The inhabitants of Marin county and some of San Francisco seem to be in constant denial and they proclaim to be one thing but the execution is something else entirely. I have used the word “weird” more in the last week than ever in my life despite the name of this blog. Perhaps that is because I can’t put my finger on how I should describe the folks out here. All I know is it’s not what I expected. At all. I was hoping for low key and kind.   I have realized more than ever this week that kindness, at this stage of the game, for me is the most important trait in a person. It may manifest itself in different ways but if one is not kind then I don’t really want them in my life.  I am not feeling an overwhelming amount of kindness out here….that said, I have met a few people this week who made it much better.  A French chef from one of the better restaurants in Sausalito – certainly one with the best view.  A married guy Scott from the concert yesterday who knew all the words of my favorite Jackson Browne song and had good taste in wine. A man I met in the ferry building while having wine who sent me an awesome list of things to do/see. As well as a new friend with whom I shared a rocky beginning but then had a nice two hour talk.

The common denominator seems to be that people I really have gelled with have had major things happen to them that changed the trajectory of their lives in a massive way. And that is why I am here to explore…..maybe a few photos will exemplify at least the landscape, both human and other, a bit better…..

 

The man who greeted me when I got off the ferry after a long work day….

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Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite at Bottle Rock yesterday…

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My view…

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The view from my new favorite restaurant…or at least the people who work there are my favorite….Image


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Last Man Standing….

For those of you that know me, my night ended in a challenging game of pool (ok maybe two) with my French 30 year old male friend, Jacques, in Sausalito, communicating in Italian to a random woman (who I had thought was French) and this was the last “man” standing on the table….need I say more?   My lovely lucky 13…….bonne nuit!

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Who knew cookies could be so crunchy and unexpected trajectories were so common?

ImageThe view as I happily escaped from my urban landscape….

Since I arrived in Sausalito I have met several people whose life trajectories were changed by things beyond their control. I have realized in the last 72 hours that I can completely relate to that circumstance.  Unfortunately, I am finding that I can’t relate or connect to most other aspects of people’s personalities in this town.  Maybe it’s because it takes me 5 days to wind down from NYC life when I go on vacation. Maybe it’s because I am not a morning person and now I am working on east coast time, on possibly the wrong coast, and starting work today at 630AM was brutal. In fact, tonight I started to think that many of the inhabitants of this area may (and this is just a preliminary guess) be more covertly angry at the world than those in NYC but they try to hide it beneath a veil of “enlightenment”, weed and yoga. Now don’t get me wrong as I am not opposed to the former two aspects – have never been able to get into yoga I must admit – but, in my mind, I did start to compare this area to Vermont tonight. I am starting to feel like Northern California is similar to Vermont but on the ocean and perhaps crunchier. Time will tell but these are my initial thoughts. I do prefer people who are openly angry to those that are passive aggressive, flakey or use phrases like “bless her heart” in the South to cover up a blatant insult.

The micro-climate weather situation is actually making me miss spring in NYC. And LA weather frankly. I can’t believe I left LA because I missed “seasons”?! What the heck is wrong with sunny and 72 every day? Nothing!!!!! I must say there is nothing wrong with that. The monotony and homogeneity of the people with whom I interacted with in the film business in LA is another story but there is a different sort of monotony/homogeneity here. It’s sort of a crunchy, semi-intellectual, I am finding my higher self monotony that is a bit taxing I must admit. We will see….for now, as a dear, old NYC friend pointed out….at least there are Sausalito cookies…..ImageAnd beautiful views…during the dayImageAnd at night.ImageFor now, a different view is all I needed to work on my perspective.


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The plane and the public picker…ahhh here I come Cali!

Planes are very confining. And germ filled. How many times have you gotten on a plane and people around you are coughing and the air is re-circulated and two days later you have a cold?  Once a woman next to me, who I found out was a flight attendant, wiped down the seat, arm rest, seat belt buckle and TV with an anti-bacterial wipe. I will admit that I am somewhat of a germaphobe but even I looked at her like she was a bit crazy. Her response was “do you have any idea how many people sit in these seats and what they do here?” “No” – I said and thought that I surprisingly, being me, really hadn’t ever pondered that. She retorted “these rarely, if ever get cleaned, and believe me I see some disgusting things.” I didn’t even want to know. Ever since then I usually do wipe down the seat, arm rests, buckle and TV. The reason for this practice was reinforced after my flight today.

I have been lucky to have traveled a great deal throughout my life having gone to school in the South, in Europe and lived out West (I grew up in the northeast).  Often, I have made and maintained friendships created during cross-country flights. Sometimes I have gotten dates out of a three-hour flight and a few times I felt like I had an entire relationship in 6-7 hours. Complete with break-up.

On overnight flights, I like to introduce myself to my companion of the evening before the flight begins. My opener is “as we will essentially be sleeping together tonight let’s get to know each other a bit.” I find it’s a good ice breaker.  

That said, when the person sitting next to you, or luckily in the present case two seats away with an empty seat between us, is fidgety and continuously, seemingly endlessly, picks his nose throughout a five-hour flight I find it incredibly disgusting.  He looked normal– whatever that means – and clean cut at first glance but I have never really seen anything quite like this before. I kept looking over (insert glaring look here) and he stopped momentarily and then started again as soon as I turn to read or write. Yes I wrote most of this on the plane and now am revising at 1:55AM PT. Almost 5AM ET. Good God.  Anyway, I thought about offering him a tissue for about an hour but realized he clearly has no manners or social conscience so why bother.  How about going to the bathroom?!  Now there’s a concept.

I have never been able to comprehend the public nose picker. Now, let’s be honest, we all have had to do it at some point but most of us do so in private.  But, some, feel it’s acceptable to prod, poke and pick just happily out in the open.  This is one of those situations. His inability to sit still definitely intensified since he had a Cabernet. Thank God he only had one. Then his shoes came off, the laughing out loud increased and the incessant touching of his crotch began. Why do some people on planes act like they are at home alone on their living room couch? I am imagining this probably medicated due to ADD or ADHD late twenty-something year old, New York native on his couch picking, twitching his head with his hand down his pants. Ok I am officially making myself nauseas.  

This is exactly the reason that I think it’s an incredibly bad idea to allow people to talk on cell phones while flying. That’s what’s coming and I must mention that I really don’t want to hear other people’s conversations, work, problems, life issues, wife issues, accents etc when I am barely a few inches away!

The flight got in an hour early thankfully and there was no way I was letting the picker get my suitcase down from the overhead compartment!  The germaphobe in me couldn’t wait to get off that plane!  Not surprisingly he didn’t even offer to help…whew! 

The good news is that I woke up to this view…..

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