Tuesday, April 29, 2008

San Francisco on the company dime

I recently got back from a business trip to San Fran. I went to the Interwoven conference, GearUp 2008. The conference was pretty good, considering a large chuck of my time was spent in rooms about 3 floors below street level listening to discussions of varying degrees of usefulness. But that's what a conference is, and that's what I knew I'd be doing. They fed us pretty well, and the hotel was pretty nice. And the topics were generally pretty good.

There were a couple of good speakers. One was Guy Kawasaki, who was highly entertaining. He's written several books and is currently a venture capitalist. Tim Ferris spoke too, and he was interesting as well. He just wrote a book called "The 4-Hour Work Week". He looks like a better-looking Steve-o from Jackass.

San Francisco, what little time I spent actually in the city, was great. It was my third time there. I managed to walk around a bit. The hotel was in the downtown / South of Market area, so I walked around SoMa a bit and then down to the Embarcadero along the water. One night I joined the local culture in a pub called the Chieftain and had a couple pints while witnessing a trivia contest. My last day there, I had a whole afternoon free, so I took a bus up to the Haight and went to Amoeba Records. Wow, that place is pretty impressive! It's beyond huge. I walked out with only 4 CDs -- I exercised restraint. The bus ride there was also fun and interesting. Public transportation is usually a great way to see a city. I've never used the SF Muni before -- only cable cars -- and this time worked out pretty well. SF is really a beautiful city. If I *had* to have a west coast perch, I think I'd opt for SF. Assuming that, you know, money was no option.

It's good to be home, though. I missed Liz and Jane a lot. We had tried to work it so they'd come with me, but in the end we decided it would be more trouble than it was worth.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Carbon/Silicon @ 9:30, April 6

Boy, this show was a real surprise. We went in with pretty low expectations, and they were well exceeded. Carbon/Silicon is the new-ish band with Mick Jones (The Clash) and Tony James (Generation X). I had downloaded a bunch of their songs a while ago, and to be honest I didn't really listen to many of them since I wasn't too into the ones I did listen to. But "The News" has been getting some airplay on 94.7, and it's a pretty darn catchy song, so I thought maybe the show might be okay.

It didn't take long for my expectations to be bounced out the door. Mick Jones is a real kick to see live. He's so loose and easy-going -- really refreshing. He was joking and smiling and exchanging looks w/ the band. It was clear he was enjoying himself. The songs were fairly simple/straight-forward: simple riffs and solid rock beats. I think that might've been what turned me off to the songs I downloaded... maybe a bit light, a bit repetitive. But wow, when I heard 'em played live with some oomph behind them, it was great! So, now I've seen all members of The Clash, except for Topper, at the 9:30, but not as The Clash. :-)

The crowd was definitely into the show and was a mix but mostly older folks (like me). It's also a real pleasure to see a show at 9:30 that isn't sold out! You can actually move around... What else can I say except what a great show for a Sunday night! Thanks, Mick!