I ran across some public art in San Francisco that left me with a feeling of whimsy and also with the thought…”What simple thing can I do that will blow people’s minds when they encounter it?” Still pondering, but here is my inspiration:

Suspended above the sidewalk:

Books Suspended

The sidewalk:

Sidewalk Words

MCC Sign

Last year in August I took a 2 day trip to California to meet up with some longtime friends and see Mary Chapin Carpenter play. It was so fun that when the chance came up again this year, I took it. The Adventure of Awakedom started last Saturday when Susan played a rockin’ show, and I got home from that at 2 AM. I slept fast and got to the airport at about 5 AM (thanks, roommate driver!) and flew to Sacramento, where my California buddies picked me up and we drove to Napa for the first show. My sleep deprivation didn’t even bother me because the show was so good and our seats were AMAAAAZING. Just call me Third Row Center.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

I spent Monday wandering around San Francisco, which is a city I love. I walked around for about 5 hours, not drinking water. Even though you’re by an ocean and you’re not used to being by an ocean…doesn’t make it so you don’t need to drink water. You don’t just take in moisture by osmosis. I ignored this fact, though, and the end of my wanderings came with a raging headache. It was still ok, though, because…I love San Francisco.

The next day we took a leisurely drive down to Saratoga, near San Jose, for a show at the Mountain Winery…one of the most stunning venues I have ever seen. The show was excellent again and it was all a blur, but I found myself in Austin by the next afternoon and at a Susan show in Houston by evening. I’m still trying to find that sleep, but I’m not sure where I left it.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

There’s not much about MCC that I can say that I haven’t already said. I think she’s one of the best songwriters in America. I cut my guitar teeth on her first 5 albums and continue to learn from her. Her band is full of folks I admire. I learn things about words and music when I watch them all play, and that’s my goal.

It’s nice to fly somewhere different and see someone you admire, though it made me glad that I get to work daily with people I admire on the same level and beyond, because I know them. Good feeling.

Now to drink some water!

Welcome to a new series here on jpo.com – the stream of consciousness type. Go!

that is so crazy that this venue has not immediately called or emailed me back to say “hell yes” and “let’s book this” and “let’s get crazy on the promo!” i mean, i was cordial if not overly exclamatory in my initial email. i like to use exclamation points! they prove i am a friendly and honest person! so it wasn’t that they think i’m a jerk booking agent. it’s not that they don’t like the music. EVERYONE likes the music. if you are an american you like this music I am booking. maybe the email is still circling in orbit – where do emails go? it has to go through my gmail to the domain email i work from to their email…maybe they filter their domain email through yahoo? or god forbid, HOTMAIL? maybe that email is having a tough time crossing over into the fourth e-ring and is just hanging out in e-limbo before it crosses over into the bowels of hotmail. maybe that’s why i haven’t heard back. but it’s been 6 days!!! six whole days! that is like…7 days less than it took for the whole Cuban missile crisis to shake out and I am pretty sure what i am trying to make happen here is not Soviet rocket science. i wonder how long it took Kennedy to get a message to his secretary of defense. they didn’t even have a fax machine. maybe they used an Enigma machine. or maybe that was German. maybe i should check my spam folder. oh. there is a reply from 2.5 days ago. i’ve lost 2.5 days! i hope they don’t think i’m not interested! i’m cordial and honest! please email me back again. when are they going to reply to my reply?

Thai Food!

Oh, “stay healthy.” How generic, Jana. Why not just copy and paste an article from Women’s Day and call it good?

I know, we should all stay healthy for health’s sake…but touring around in a car or van poses some unique obstacles, hence…Women’s Day isn’t going to cut it for this series. What follows are just simply some things I have found to either work or not work for me. Everyone is different, but we’re all sitting in cars a lot.

– Weekends. We go on trips lasting 2-3 days that don’t really require a whole lot of food forethought. We carry a box full of every kind of good granola bar we know of…Lara, Cliff, Kashi. Having variety really helps when you are faced with the decision of granola bar or granola bar. Usually venues or the kind folks we stay with take care of food things, too. Home cooked food is awesome. Venue food is tricky, because the onion rings are always going to look good, but if there’s a salad, get a salad. This is generic advice stuff, but when your tab is covered and you’re staring at the “Fried 3 Sampler” versus the grilled chicken salad, it gets hard. Just do it.

– A week. All of the above plus go to the store and pack a cooler. Things we buy include almonds, trail mix, apples, plums, bananas, string cheese, carrots, and something carby. Don’t get everything with carbs, because you’re still sitting a lot even if you buy whole grain carbs instead of eat deep fried ones. The trick to having a cooler is to keep it iced and to actually eat the stuff in it. I am Offender No. 1 when it comes to thinking carrots are a good idea at the time and then not eating them for the whole trip. Note to self: Just eat the carrots!

– A month. This clearly requires some maintenance and pruning of your cooler supply. The good news is use this as an opportunity to get to know a cool grocery store in some other town (or a Wal-Mart, whatever works if you shop at 2 AM) and replenish once a week or so. We tour up in Montana in the summer which means we get local cherries. Be a local foodie, because it usually means you’re eating better.

Sometimes you just don’t want to eat anything from the cooler. If you have to open that lid one more time and find the string cheese under the one Red Delicious that is hiding next to the baby carrots you just might surely pass away right there from boredom. Since you’ve been awesome about your budget by using a cooler, you can afford to eat out! We choose Thai food when we can, because we like it and the ingredients are usually fresh…bottom line, don’t go fast food. Don’t do it. Try to eat food from places that start with whole ingredients.

Fruit and Veggies in Seattle
If you tour in Seattle you have scored.

So I sound all preachy and locavore and stuff, but the truth is we stop at truck stops and convenience stores a lot. The good news is Subway has become the new megalith of fast food, and they’re big about truck stop locations. Granted, if you’re comparing Subway to Whole Foods, you’re still eating fairly badly…but at least you are getting vegetables in your diet. Load up on the vegetables and then load up again. They try to get away with putting 2 cucumber slices on your sandwich, but don’t fall for it. Demand thine veggies! Once again, besides Subway, do not do fast food. Or eat it once a week, not every day.

Just be sane and thoughtful about it, and then remember that your calorie burning is severely reduced because all you’re doing is sitting, so subtract accordingly. Sometimes, a granola bar is all you need.


It’s almost ridiculous. This is not one of those cat blogs, which I avoid because I feel like it’s silly to look at cat blogs (but the real reason is I’d spend my whole day looking at cat blogs because cats are da bomb). This photo I took yesterday on Dan’s neighbor’s porch surely makes this look like an offshoot of Cat Fancy, doesn’t it? I don’t know little dude’s name, but he’s orange and fuzzy.

Thus my evening with Dan started with that cuteness and just got better. I’ve worked with Dan for over 3 years now…at Red Leaf School of Music and now at Rubicon Artist Development. It is what it says, he spends all day developing artists. I’m working on tracking these artists while they are developed (check out our video blogs about each artist…everyone is so different and still the same!)

We headed to Uchi, one of Austin’s most famous, respected, revered, what-have-you dining establishments. I’m a sushi fan but I don’t eat it that often, and I usually stick with what I know. I handed the ordering reigns over to Dan and he pretty much rocked it. Over the course of the evening we ate beef off a 500 degree Hot Rock, yellowtail, tuna, salmon, walu, scallops, and something called a shag roll that you ate with a squid ink sauce (for real, the squid ink probably impressed me the most. I don’t know if that makes me easy or hard to impress).


Because we’re always looking for lessons in life, even in our culinary indulgences…we noted that the staff was super attentive and knew their stuff. They’d suggest things for us based on what we’d already had. They suggested we end with a really light (ack! I forgot what! yellowtail?) with a hint of mint. It was delightful. The vibe of the place was as you’d expect…dark but classy, streamlined but not sterile. Presentation is key, but ingredients are the “it” thing. Main lesson? World class all the way. No half-arsing.

Off to world class some projects for the day, may yours be the same!

Map on the Wall

I was obsessed with maps as a kid. I got it from my Dad, who would sit and read atlases for fun, not even because we were going anywhere. I’m not sure how you could read an atlas, but he did it. I never went that far, but from a young age I was perhaps not-so-stealthily removing the free map from the National Geographic Magazines from the school library and deciding they should be on my wall.

For fun in 2nd grade, I kid you not, I took it upon myself to copy every flag from every country in the encyclopedia. You know that “flags of the world” section? Instead of just looking at it in the book, I made my own. Apparently I had a geography itch.

I’m not sure about the flag part of it, but the map orientation has certainly parlayed into a fun time booking shows for people. I’m currently webbing tour routes through The Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and the Northeast. I’m finding that for all my map staring I still have no general guesstimate on how far Portland is from Denver (20 hours, ideal gigs: Boise, Salt Lake City…help me). It’s daunting and fun and interesting all at the same time. Once I find a proper SLC venue it’ll feel less daunting. Come on, Utah!