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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Airplane Bloggin: I Know Where I Live…


I am up in the air again.  I’m invoking George Clooney, but in coach.  I have my shoes off, an empty seat next to me, and I’ve left most of the belongings I had on my flight West in the West, in Maui.  I’m traveling with just  backpack, crammed with a computer, phone, wallet and a pair of black dress shoes.  The scuba equipment and my clothes are staying in Maui, at least for now.  I gave up my NYC apt December a year ago.  I now have my things scattered, or homes, if you will, in Venice, Miami (at the family apt in South beach), in Las Vegas (at the corporate apartment) and now at Dave P’s place in Haiku, Maui.  Subtract NYC, Alburquerque, add Las Vegas, add Haiku.  What’s next – I’d tell you, but you’re as likely to be able to guess as I am.

The two and a half weeks I spent in Maui were interesting.  Spending it on a ranch, complete with goats and dairy cows, with the former manager for Blues Traveler, who moved their a year ago.  Maui is definitely an interesting spot, attracting forward thinking people and people backing away from previous troubles in their lives.  Definitely out of the loop in some ways, forwards and back.

It’s a place of surpassing physical beauty, where everything seems to grow, and yet it’s a place that confounds on some levels.  It appeared to me to be almost entirely segregated between white and Polynesian Hawaiians and for a place that can sustain so much growth and agriculture, food is remarkably expensive and 90 percent of it, including the bananas, are imported.  Weird wacky stuff there.

What else is Maui?  Lots of good but not great scuba (they have algae problems and chlorine problems), with eels and turtles (but not enough coral).   Lovely beaches, both calm ones south and west, and turbulently gorgeous ones on the northside (where Haiki is).  In fact, the legendary Jaws had a minor break while I was there, with waves upto forty feet, and big wave pro surfers being towed into oncoming monsters via jet ski.  Something to see. 

Maui is also flooded, it seems with young people checking out on society, all ages of pseudo-hippies (not to be confused with hipsters), and folks with various drug addictions, depending on where you go.  It’s certainly a place where you can get away with being one of the foregoing, with being an iconoclast, a rebel or a wackadoo (to use a technical terms).  In those ways, it certainly reminds me of home base Venice.

We met some movers, some shakers, and most of all a fair number of surfers.  Met with Susan Casey about my client’s film about the BP Gulf coverup, “The Big Fix,” at Maui TedX (look it up to hear her talk), the Editor in Chief of O Magazine and former journalist at Outside Magazine.  We also the Mayor’s office on an environmental initiative for Maui, and with decendants to the former king of the Hawaiian islands.  We also met with the guy who pumps out Woody Harrelson’s intestines (among many others).  Things certainly stay interesting.  We’ll see if all of these meetings finally lead somewhere productive. 

I’m on the plane back to LA, then to Vegas, where I am going to watch my (our) Giants in the Superbowl tomorrow.  Apparently Charles has arranged for us to attend a superbowl party at the (hold applause til the end please, not) home of Carrot Top’s manager.  He’s apparently a Charles fan.  How could you not be.  We’ll then be hosting (BriteSol) a company for perhaps our first potentially lighting deal, and then the aforementioned Hawaiians are coming to see the technology in Vegas.  Six of them, which is about a ton of Hawaiians if recent history holds true.  They’re big, but they move fast. 

And then one or two more days back in Las Vegas, and back on a six AM flight back to Maui.  No time for Venice this trip.  No time for my own bed, my own room, my gym, my juicer, my whatever. 

I live where I am these days.  I have good reasons.   Where will I end up spending most of my time – I don’t know, ask the wind. 

Well, the valium I take for flight anxiety is beginning to take the edge off a bit after a rocky takeoff.  That’s good, and since I’m back to flying on Thursday, I’ll bid you an adieu and sign off here.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Airplane Bloggin’: Maui Wowie



Just a short entry, as I am hoping to fall asleep (with help from 10mg of diazepam and a double vodka bloody marie at Wolfgang Pucks, Terminal 7 LAX, and I recommend the pepporoni pizza with mushrooms highly), and as I have been blogging quite a bit lately, so there isn’t as much backnews on which to catch up.

After some hemming and hawing, I pulled the trigger on a trip to Maui with Charles.  The ostensible purpose of the trip is oversight and structuring of the business around a prototype build for which our friend Dave P. arranged the financing.  Dave P. is an environmental activities, with a huge solar farm on his property in Maui.  He sells power back to the municipality after carving off what he needs.  He’s also the former manager of Blues Traveller and the co-creator of the Horde Tour, which he sold to Clear Channel.  He’s super tied into the music scenes and is a frequent attendee, with his posse of the exceedingly wealthy, exceedingly interesting (or both) in tow. 

We’ll be staying on his property, where it is also planned that a camera monitoring system is to be installed to keep an eye of Jaws.  I am not talking about Universal’s big mechanical shark of the past, but rather the biggest wave break in Maui (or maybe in Hawaii, I am not sure).  Dave, who lives on the coastline abutting Jaws, gets hundreds of calls and texts in the morning when surfers from all over want to check in to see how Jaws is breaking that day.  The idea here is to install a stream, sponsored for the sake of charity by surf gear and other companies, so that the avid surfers can stop burning up Dave’s cel every AM.  Seems like a multi-tasked good cause.  Hoping to get that up and running during the week we’ll be in Maui as well.

Finally, Charles, who’s becoming well-known to both of the readers of this blog, whether they comment or not, is doing a Ted talk.  The Ted Conference was put on by a friend of Dave P’s, hence the connection.  I haven’t attended a Ted talk yet, so maybe I’ll make my way over, though honestly the prospect of sitting in an auditorium when I could be out enjoying the sun and surf and waterfalls seems less than appealing.

With all of this in store, I jammed my backpack and a trusted carryon with a little bit of clothing and a ton of scuba gear.  With a little luck, we’ll get the prototype built, the camera running and I’ll get narced ones or twice.  

Not so grumpy today, but for the sake of consistency, that hobgoblin of little minds, I’ll bid you adieu as

Grumps.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Airplane Bloggin: Quetzalcoatl Stole My Pillow, Pt. 2












Writing now from the semi-comfort of my somewhat chilly house in Venice, Ca. 

I missed the second half of the Giant game, after seeing the G-Men take a 20-10 lead on a ridiculously defended hail mary pass at the end of the first half, at a Chili’s (really) in Guadalajara Airport.  When we landed in Phoenix for our change, and I turned my phone on, I got a New York Times update about the Giants spanking the Pack (sorry Mark, Newman, Basch, it is what it is). 

I also missed the Golden Globes on television (much less, going to any of the parties).  Not that I am such a fan, but I usually watch.  Sounds like some worthy movies took the gold. 

To continue the blog I was writing before having to literally sprint on still semi-wounded ankle to catch the connection to LAX….

After the hacienda party (pics attached), we took the long bus ride back to the Riu Plaza hotel (which is very nice).  I was exhausted, running on perhaps three hours of sleep over the previous two days, and I wasn’t going anywhere. 

Until.

Charles, who had slept on the bus despite the cacophony, was downstairs telling me that I had to come downstairs, that quite a crowd had developed, including the girls who had been our chaperones the night before (and friends).  

I rallied, I rose, I showered and I departed, sleepless still.  Went downstairs to the hotel bar, where we had the local tequila, which they shoot with lime and salt just like in the states.  Jada, who had been our hostess on the first night, was again there to provide, with a few of her close friends along for the trip.  We didn’t even leave the hotel until after one thirty AM, and headed to Barra Bar, a baroque testament to Guadalajara nightlife, complete with a full assortment of disco and electronic and funny foam hats.  Mind you, Jada did all this on a broken foot – making her a kindred spirit. 

The second night ended earlier than the first.  My best recollection is being asleep at around 5AM.  Some of the crew were headed back to Bar Americanos at around 4AM but I was not just hitting a wall by then, I was burying myself underneath it.   We bid goodbye to Jada, who went out for a late dinner with another of the BG crew, and I was asleep minutes after my head hit the pillow. 

The next morning, Sunday, was brunch in the hotel, a bit of saying goodbye, and on the road.  And now I am back in Venice, catching up on (blogging and) correspondence, and preparing to hit the road again on Wednesday, this time to Maui (at least I think so).

Til then, remaining yours, somewhat faithfully (what happens in Guadalajara stays in Guadalajara, didn’t you know)

Grumps.  

Airplane Bloggin: Quetzalcoatl Stole My Pillow



On the way back from a short jaunt in Guadelajara Mexico.  Charles and I had grabbed a Friday afternoon commuter to Phoenix, and then the evening flight south into Mexico’s second largest city. 

We were attending the ribbon cutting for a company with which Charles is involved, Blue Gold.  Blue Gold’s tech basically purifies water, regardless of its toxicity or turbidity, and makes it usable for agriculture, industry, drinking.    Pretty important stuff.  The pilot project actually is taking leachate water from a dumpsite and making it usable for agriculture.  And a single mobile plant churns out enough water to keep a small city in ice cubes. 

But lets take a step back. On our arrival, and meeting some of the BG folks, we went out on the town in Guadelajara.  First stop was a rock club, Old Jack’s, with a more than passable cover band barking out music, quite adeptly, as varied as The Doors, Coldplay and Kings of Leon.  We tossed a few back, Grumpy made a friend J, and then we headed to an underground club, Bar Americanos, in a warehouse type space.  With the assistance of your friendly neighborhood bartended, and a change to central time zone, somehow we were out til almost 6AM, before retreating to the hotel for perhaps three hours of sleep before jumping on the bus to the ribbon cutting. 

For obvious reasons, I was a bit piqued in the morning, and directly following the speeches and ceremony we headed out to a hacienda owned by a local (Mexican) business partner, where we were plied with tequila (I abstained at the party), which was actually invented in Jalisco, the state where Guadelajara is.  I know, pretty cool.  There was a dance show, more mariachi than you could shake a senorita at, and a lovely outdoor meal.  I somehow avoided full on grumpster mode due to fatigue, at least until we got back on the bus for the 90 minute ride back to hotel (expletives regarding behavior of tequila-induced maniacs excised). 

Landed in Phoenix – Blogger Interuptus.  TBC. 




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Airplane Bloggin’: South of Border Edition

(posted days late from Guadelajara Airport on the way back to Estados Unidos)

I have to begin by apologizing.  To the crickets.  Yes, I’ll acknowledge that I haven’t much of a readership.  That’s OK – I write for me, just like Ivan Drago.  Yes, just like that.  I am the Ivan Drago of bloggers.  I have no idea what that means.

I am currently on the way to Guadelajara, Mexico, which, for the geographically undistinguished, is the second largest city in Mexico, a very distant second.  I am going with Charles, who’s been previously described in this space as truly the most interesting man in the world.  He hasn’t done anything to lower my estimation in that regard, and my presence on this trip bears testament.

We are headed to Guadelajara because Charles is a partner in a technology company that is providing a clean water solution to a part of the world that desperately needs it.  In fairness, most of the world needs it, but Guadelajara is as good a place to start as any.  I’m assuming I’ll even be able to post this at my hotel – it looked nice enough online.  I’m sure they have the internet in Guadelajara, right?)  The ribbon cutting for the installation of this technology is tomorrow – with environmental bigwigs and financial titans with an environmental bent apparently circumventing the globe to attend.   Prince of Monaco, supposedly, that sort of person.  Me?  Well, I am basically attending as what…?  Moral support?  Legal safety valve?  Charles’ caddy?   Whatever, it seems like an amazing development and I’m happy to be invited (and on someone else’s dime).  THe big issue is going to be whether I can find a place to watch the Giants deep in southern Mexico.  Got my doubts.  I’ve been amped up on football (not futbol) quite a bit more than usual the past month, so I’ll be disappointed not to be able to watch the whole game.  However, some things need to take precendence.

In other news, the environmental technology company with which I am involved has rented a corporate apartment in Las Vegas.  Charles and I are the primary residents to be.  Its nothing fancy, but its clean, quiet, everything works and there is good water pressure (I’m very big on good water pressure).  It does mean though, after a short hiatus of seven months, I am once again splitting time between two cities.  It was Albuquerque and LA before this, and before that, LA and NYC.  Vegas is a bit closer, a four hour drive at the right time of day (perhaps a bit more), but once again I’ll be back and forth it seems.  Not necessarily my life’s dream or preference, but as I said before, some things have to take precedence. 

I flew from Miami with the folks (three weeks all in) straight back to Vegas for work, and spent last week at the Flamingo (5/10 on the yikes factor) before the corporate apartment was ready.  One night there and we left for LA.  I got a whole, lets call it, forty hours in Venice before getting the call on Mexico.  I’m not complaining, and I was actually getting a bit bored sitting in Venice for the day on Thursday.  Charles, interesting man that he us, came to the rescue, and so this too, should be interesting. 

I’ll let you know.