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Travel

Sometimes I go places.

Music Bank
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Plane Crash! Stories from the Backline, Volume 1

Tour

aa_logo2So American Airlines changed its logo. They should have changed their ground crew, too, because during our on-time pushback from the gate at LAX yesterday morning, my plane backed into another plane.

So I was in a plane crash. Really.

Apparently, the ground crew dude was on crack or busy texting his girlfriend or something because someone failed to notice the giant airplane right next to us. A nine-year-old girl on our flight, however, didn’t miss it, and was heard to tell her parent that we were about to hit that plane. Lo and behold, she was correct.

Needless to say, this caused some consternation on the flight deck and among the crew, and eventually led to our disembarkation and a wait of a couple hours while they drummed up some other plane and probably kept some other poor schlubs on the ground so we could go. Of course, I missed my flight from Chicago to Heathrow, but the tour travel agent is like a ninja and nothing can stop her, so she made it all better.

MusicBankSo I’m in London. I’m at a place called Music Bank Studios. It was probably a bullet factory during WWII or something, because it’s got that weird, ambling character of old European compounds that’s both charming and infuriating. Because of the late arrival of my flight (the flight was on time, it was the change that made me late), I had to take a cab that cost >$200. Couple that with the fact that London has no idea about bypasses or highways around things, and you had me riding from Heathrow to the studio through the center of London. Absurd.

I found myself laughing out loud in the back seat, though, because we passed like every major monument in London, and those were just the ones I recognized through my bleary-eyed haze. I mean, the Natural History museum, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, the Eye, the Fire Memorial the Tower of London complex, and then we crossed the Tower Bridge. It was too much. If only I hadn’t had Britain’s most taciturn cabbie, I could have been getting like the private tour of London monuments.

Anyway, now I’m here, and after the break, I’ve posted the bigger version of the picture here so you can see some details. I tried to grab a pic of the London skyline from here, but there’s nothing really to see. I have a couple things, but they all suck. I might eventually make an album here with random shots from tour, and if I do, you’ll get to see all my failed attempts at photography from this gig.

As Shang Tsung says: “It has begun!”

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A poem about English Pronunciation

USA! USA!

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it?s written)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and
streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

(more)

Where we were headed
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Mt Whitney Pics

Vacation
Where we were headed

Where we were headed

So Mt. Whitney wasn’t a vacation, per se, but I don”t have an “Outdoor Torture” category, so for lack of a better place to put it, some notes on my hike go here.

I’m not sure where to start, really.

campsite by the river

campsite by the river

We arrived Monday at around midday for our Wednesday hike (Drew had somehow gotten tickets for Papa’s birthday on the 25th, which is supposed to be impossible, given that they issue ~150 passes/day for the mountain, which always sell out almost immediately) and got a great campsite.

like many of these posts of this era, something clearly got lost in translation.  In this case, I’ve found pictures, but lost the rest of what the post was supposed to be, and even the various SQL dumps can’t be made to cough up posts they don’t have.  Pics after the fold.
(…MO 2016_0803)
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I owe some updates

Vacation

There is a lot of updating to do, as since my last update, I climbed Mt Whitney and spent a couple days in Vegas.  I’ve got pictures and a bit of video that I may edit together.  I’ve got a shoot for The Brownie Project on Thursday, too, which is looking fun.  Anyway, maybe in the morning I’ll upload some pix of the climb, which seems a lot less hardcore since I’m watching Discovery’s Everest right now.

Anyway, happy Tuesday night.

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Good morning from Atlanta!

Tour

Today promises to be hot and humid, muggy and all-around July-in-Georgia weather. Scattered thunderstorms? Yeah. Humidity in the low 90’s? Yeah. I know nothing about our show except that it’s outdoors.

Anyway, yesterday I learned two things about video on the Kindle Fire. First, it’s way easier to put video on a Fire than on an iPad (shocker, right?). Rad. Second, the Kindle Fire doesn’t see .mp4 video when you boot it up into your browser. Weak. I was all set to finally catch the last Harry Potter movies on the flight yesterday, and, well, poof.

Show day today, travel day tomorrow. Back in LA in time for Bootie Beach Party and then Sunday the crazy run-up to hiking Mt. Whitney begins. Drew comes into town Sunday, and in advance of our departure Monday morning, I’ve gotta pick up some last-minute hiking shit and make my kickass trail mix. Might try to get a run in between now and then, too. We’ll see.

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I’m in Michigan

Vacation

I was supposed to be skiing Wednesday, Thursday and today, but after 3 hours of rainy skiing Wednesday and no skiing (or break from the rain) on Thursday, I awoke today to gray-but-dry-skies, a fresh inch of snow on the ground (the only inch we have here) and the slopes opening for business as usual.

I only skied for about 5.5 hours today, but that’s okay – I’m fat and out of shape and committed to getting more skiing in this winter, both with Casey AND with Drew.  I’m even considering looking into doing a group ski thing up to Big Bear or Mountain High or whatever – we’ll see.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in – it’s been another long-ass time.  Ann Arbor again tomorrow, then Cleveland.  Back to Detroit (where I’d like to buy a house) on Monday, then to LA and business for the week before Christmas.

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NYC went by fast

Travel

I need a “work travel” section, it would appear.

Anyway, I’m home in LA, trying to get caught up on the things I’ve got to do (I’m looking at you, NetTheory) and cleaned up for the weekend, which promises to be a whirlwind of packing, running around, ridiculous drinking and other debaucherous stuff.

I only took product photos while I was in NYC, so I have nothing to show you (wait, that’s a lie!), but I’ll be better about that for the next update.  Branded shoots have been happening, actually, so that’s good!

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Tour is Over

Tour

I made it home!

24 hours on planes and in airports from Lisbon made it happen, but despite the absurdity of security theatre, lost passports (yes, I lost my passport on the flight from Portugal to LHR) and fat guys in middle seats, I made it home anyway.

boobies!After Barcelona (which was every bit as cool as I remembered it, btw), we went up to San Sebastian.  The drive wasn’t too long and we got there in plenty of time to go to the beach and get me heartily sunburned. It was hard not to be sunburned when there were so many topless girls on the beach – how do you leave?  The picture on the left is one that was sent to me by one of the guys that had no qualms about taking pictures of random chicks on nude beaches (I need to be more like him) and cropped by someone with basic photoshop skills (me).  What you can’t see in this picture is that I really had a good reason to be sunburned.  I promise.

More nonsense about the end of the tour and what I hope the future brings after the break.

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Last Day Off!

Tour

bruggeI’m in Barcelona at the moment, checking my emails and generally getting caught back up on the world since I’ve been offline the last few days.  We did a 14-hour ride and an 18-hour ride separated only by a show day in Brugge (Bruges?), so I spent longer on the bus getting to and from the place than in the place itself.

I managed to walk around Brugge before the light faded, taking my time in a nice reminder of having been there before, back in High School.  I’ve had plenty of reasons to think back favorably on that trip over the years, but none so frequently as this leg, where I’ve re-visited four of the towns we saw then (London, Brugge, Venice, Munich).  Good stuff.

Anyway, once I’m caught up, I’ll be wandering around town at least to see the Gaudi cathedral, and maybe to walk La Rambla again.  We’ll see. Bigger pic after the break.

myself
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Athens

Tour

acropolis_selfI made it to Athens, survived the 4-shows-in-5-days nonsense and managed to spend a couple hours this morning at the top of the hill in the Acropolis. It’s small enough to wander all over and shoot photos even in a couple hours.  The part of Athens that’s right around the base of the hill is really picturesque, actually, and probably worth a walk back this evening for dinner.
We’ll see.

The obvious advantages of getting there as the place opened (temperature, crowds) were in full effect here, since it allowed me to wander around the lower grounds on the South side of the hill without feeling like I was going to die of heat exhaustion or be engulfed in crowds.  No amount of postponement, however, could keep me from being pulled to the top of the hill and noticing with chagrin how little I remembered from my Humanities classes 17ish years ago.  There was a time when I could have told you not only when each building was built but who designed it and particulars about each building. Sadly, that’s not true anymore.

Absurdist musings  and a picture of the Parthenon after the break.

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Intern-ageddon!

Tour

I’ve been *days* without internet.  It’s been amazing and horrifying, enlightening and torturous.  We’ve done 4 shows in 5 days and I’m fucking exhausted, to be totally honest. Landed in Athens this evening and have a day off tomorrow, so, barring total mental meltdown, i’ll be checking out the acropolis tomorrow and looking at all the old shit atop that most famous of Greek hills.

Pictures, naturally, to follow.

Haggia Sophia
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Istanbul!

Tour

Istanbul was way cooler than I thought it would be.

Maybe it’s because I’m a guy (I heard that some of the girls on our tour dealt with sexism that would miss me entirely) and maybe it’s because I had just come from Cairo, where literally everything was either falling down or being put up and the people were pretty much unaffected by all of it, maybe it’s because Takumi had a friend who was willing to drive us around and play tourguide, or at least tour facilitator, but whatever the cause, I was impressed.

More nonsense after the break.

New Library at Alexandria
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Egypt – Days 4-6

Vacation

On Friday, I let myself have a true vacation, a real break from just about everything, and just read my book (I think I was thrashing through the last few pages of A Short History of Nearly Everything) and worked on my screenplay.  As an aside, I really need to start typing my screenplays so I can properly call them screenplays rather than feel guilty for not calling them ideas, which, at this point, is all they are, but whatever.  It’s like I got into my head that to be a better writer, I needed to do a lot of prepwork, but then I take so long doing that prep that the world passes me by and I end up bored with the story, interested in another thing, or just forget about the first project altogether.  It’s absurd.
Back to Friday.

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Happy 4th of July!

USA! USA!

No Egypt update today – I took the day to just chill, write and catch up on work-stuff.

But HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

I appreciate you all the more when I’m away like this.

Facade of the Egyptian Museum
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Egypt – Day 3

Vacation

Facade of the Egyptian MuseumWelcome back!

Today’s installment takes us to the Egyptian Museum in big, bad Tahrir Square, through that self-same roundabout, across Cairo into the City of the Dead and to a Mosque built over 800 years ago, as well as to a few other places I may or may not get to.

I can’t decide if I recommend reading any further today, actually, because today was so much weirder than yesterday and definitely contained less iconic stuff (although King Tut’s shit is pretty well-known).  It did give me an eye-opening view of what the city is like from street level, that’s for sure.

Onwards!

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Egypt – Day 2

Vacation

Today I forced myself out of bed at 6am (okay, 6:20) and after meandering a bit, went to grab breakfast, then came back to the room to finish getting ready for my epic hilltop day.  Plan was to walk up there early, wander around the outside of the pyramids, then, depending on time and energy and the sense of the place, maybe pay for admission to the Great Pyramid.  Admission to the grounds is 60EGP.  The walk was easy, but the concierge was right that it’s better to take a taxi – even at 745 the sun is already getting brutal and there’s noise and dust… actually it was kind of fun.

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Egypt, Day 1

Vacation

In case you were wondering about the weather for the next few stories, I figure I’ll just post the 10-day forecast and see if it deviates at all.  Easier to be a meterologist here than in LA, even, I bet.

cairo_weather

I arrived without any trouble at the airport, got through customs (the entry visa was either $15 or 90EGP, which as far as I can figure it is cheaper in $, but who am I to understand the trivialities of exchange rates?  Anyway, I talked to a few cabbies (or they talked to me), and settled on a guy who was affable and agreed to take me to the hotel for 100EGP. With the exchange rate at 5-to-1ish, I couldn’t complain.  Anyway, he actually misunderstood where I wanted to go (unless he was a fabulous actor, in which case, snaps to him) and when I showed him written, he didn’t know it.  Hilarity ensued.  Not really – we just took surface streets half way to the pyramids, which was actually way more interesting, if a bit slower.  My guy even had to stop for gas, which cost 3GBP and seemed like maybe half a tank.  We drove around the entry to the ring road looking for the hotel, and after only stopping twice for questions and backing down a major thoroughfare, we managed it eventually.  Of course, he asked for double his initial fare, and, after thinking about it a second, I paid him, happily, even.  Now, I know I was supposed to negotiate, scream and yell, etc., but I had nothing smaller than a 100, and I just felt soft today.  Maybe this is my way of giving to charity, since I distain beggars.

Updates and complete story after the break.

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Aarhus is pretty

Tour

Anyway, the rain held off for the show yesterday, soaking the opening act, but behaving for us, both through the eternal load in and the load-out.  Good stuff.  Now I’m off to Scotland, where I speak some of the language.  It’ll be nice, since I’ve been moping around feeling badly that I don’t speak Danish or Finnish or Norwegian. This afternoon I also will be booking my place to stay in Cairo, rounding out the necessaries for that particular trip.

Fun times!

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Neuschwanstein Castle’s Epic Roadie Day

Tour

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated – the big updates somehow intimidate me and I shy away from writing them.  So, in tradition long-held, I instead wait a long time, then write about something totally different.

ERD_Neu_087Such as Epic Roadie Day, Neuschwanstein edition.

On my day off in Munich (they didn’t fly us to Oslo early but kept us in Munich late), I spent a day in Bavaria in almost identical fashion to the way it was spent almost seventeen years ago.  This time, rather than 30 irresponsible high school kids, I was with 6 other irresponsible roadies.  We went (by subway, train, bus and horse-drawn carriage) to Neuschwanstein castle, the name of which I’d long forgotten, since back in 1994, we always called it Crazy Ludwig’s Castle.

On this day, however, we were visiting on the 125th anniversary of the man’s death (by mysterious circumstances – he was found dead in a lake with no water in his lungs and having had a history of strong swimming – they called it drowning anyway), which was coincidence and nothing else.  I remembered the outside of the castle, not the inside, but that’s probably because they didn’t let us take pictures inside the castle either time.  Dumb rule no matter where it is enforced.  Makes the place forgettable.

Much more musing after the break.

Now with full gallery – only YEARS delayed!
(…MO 2016_0803)
Scooter by Coliseum
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Roma!

Vacation

We were at the Coliseum!  Or is it Colosseum? Whatever it is, I got to Zagreb from Rome yesterday by way of Venice and wanted to post a quick update saying that I’m back in the blogging game with a vengeance!  Or at least back with a small whimper.

Rome was awesome.  The Pantheon is still amazing, there’s an ancient pyramid somewhere south of the city, Pompei is a totally-doable day trip, although you have to be prepared because it’s effing huge, and the Sistine Chapel really does have a lot of paint in it.  Renting a scooter was awesome although driving in Rome was frustrating because I’d swear I knew where I was going and *boom* we were across town in a giant park about to get on the freeway.  Ah well.

More details after the break.

eyelash
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helter skelter shelter

Tour

I’ve been doing shows. Since last I updated, i think it’s been four, with a fifth tonight.  A lot, whatever the number is.  Des Moines, Atlanta, Orlando and Houston in six days, at least.  My bus has been running all over the country, hither and yon, all around Robin Hood’s barn, there and back again, even.

In Des Moines I took a few more pictures for BRANDED (not on the site yet, of course, but I’ll work on it some today), which counts as the first time I’ve done a shoot on the road.  Totally do-able, although without lights, it’s sort of an exercise in futility.  At least it was an exercise in something, though since I’ve been entirely stagnant since I got out here on this leg.  Good thing it’s short.

I managed also to get a couple of flights booked yesterday (two out of the five I need to book), and that was fine, but I was really aiming for three, with four as the outside goal.  I seem to have lost my mojo for the flight finding that I did the other day, because not only couldn’t I find the same times, I couldn’t even remember what airline they were on. Yeesh.  Anyway, I’ll try that again today, now that I’ve caught up on JVS work today.  Still have some PCW work to get through and bills, though both of those will have to wait ’till the next town (Memphis?), because my time is almost exhausted here.

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Hotel Review – New Orleans Sheraton

Tour

I haven’t written a hotel review in awhile, so here’s one for you.

The Sheraton New Orleans hotel has fascinating elevators with no floor buttons, but air conditioners that don’t condition and all-flat-sheet bed construction.  Overall, that makes for a sad matt.  Don’t read any further unless you really want to read a hotel review.  Seriously.

Venue Setup
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I survived the Canadian Government collapse

Tour

Canada has no government, apparently.  You’d never know, though ’cause no one is running in the streets, the police are still out in force, and everything seems pretty much normal.  Canada is so polite.

So in the 2 weeks since my last update, a lot has happened.  Figures, right? I’ve had weird internet access, as well as generally more to do than I usually have.  This leg of the tour has been very Matt-friendly with its venues, with the East Coast, Vegas and a week off in Chicago, where I spent a lot of time with Stephanie and a lot of time writing.

There’s plenty to tell, and I’ll probably post a few pictures, so I’ll put a bunch of crap after the break.