Saturday, October 10, 2009


October 2-3, 2009

Rob writes:

After Allan and Bernadette's wedding reception started to wind down a little, I caught a ride back to San Francisco for a Friday night in the city.

My first stop was Brian and Theresa's house, where I'd be sleeping the next couple of nights. The hospitality is second to none at Hotel Hayle. Brian even gave me a ride to the airport Sunday morning!

After dropping off my stuff, I headed over to the SOMA district to meet some friends and catch a late-night funk extravaganza at DNA Lounge. It was an all-star line-up of Eric Krasno (guitar - Soulive), Zigaboo Modeliste (drums - Meters), George Porter Jr. (bass - Meters) and Ivan Neville (keys).

The 3 New Orleans guys were the real heavyweights of the show, whereas Krasno's laid-back, jazzy guitar style didn't completely fit in.

Turns out this all-star show was really a 10th wedding anniversary for Erik and Nicole Keller.

Somewhere around 2:30am, Eric McFadden came out to jam on a few tunes. The man is an absolute beast on the guitar!

Still going strong, despite having been awake for over 24 hours (thanks to my early morning flight 2 time zones away). The show finally ended at exactly 3am.

Saturday was a very full day as well, thanks to the 9th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival - a weekend of free music in Golden Gate Park!

I had hardly walked in the gate when I ran into this crew! Definitely a treat.

My buddy John and I tried to find our way toward the Rooster Stage to find my friend Holly, but the crowd was huge. And this was just one of six stages!

Eventually we found Holly, a buddy of mine from my year in Guatemala.

Holly had a great picnic setup with wine and snacks, on a nice perch on the hill overlooking the stage.

The crowd just kept going up and over the hill.

I hung with Holly for awhile and saw an excellent set by Jorma Kaukonen, as well as an upbeat bluesy set by Boz Skaggs with his all-star band (pictured above).

Also caught part of a singer-songwriter circle with Allison Moorer, Dar Williams, Steve Earle, and Tom Morello. (Yes, THAT Tom Morello!)

Eventually I made it down from the hill to check out more of the festival.

At the Banjo Stage, the crowd was even bigger.

Fortunately, Steve and Beth had been out there since morning saving a spot. It was great to run into folks here, especially Lisa! (not pictured, unfortunately)


Finally it was time to go, the sun setting behind me, the full moon rising in front, and a fierce Pacific wind at my back as I made my way down Fulton Street.

After an evening of superb wine and Thai food, Brian and I made our way over to one of the best little music "clubhouses" in the Bay Area, the Connecticut Yankee to meet up with some friends and check out the latest Garaj Mahal side-project, Levy's Love Lounge.

It was definitely one of the smaller audiences I've seen for live music at this place, but the good thing is that I knew almost half the people there! It was great seeing Ellen, Greg, Lexy, Jimmy, Bridget, Dave, and of course, Fritz!

And it was great listening to Alan Hertz (drums) and Eric Levy (keys) play together in that intense, mesmerizing jazz-fusion way that it seems only they can do.

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Friday, October 09, 2009


Friday, October 2, 2009

Rob flew out to San Francisco recently to for his buddy Allan's wedding to his sweetie Bernadette.

The wedding was actually in the beautiful wine country of Sonoma, at a sort of wine country galleria called Cornerstone Gardens. Allan's sister and brother had great things to say.

Jubilee, Eric and Lisa in the back row.

The reception was a great time to catch up with old friends - Lenny, Eric, Lisa, Rickie, and Taro.

Allan's brother Aaron (who flew in from Malaysia) with Jubilee and Tyler.

Tracy and Chappy!

At the dinner table with the ladies. Our table was named Rocktail Bay, after an incredible beach destination in South Africa where the newlyweds would be honeymooning.

The dance party got off to a quick start.

The hora!

Not sure what this dance is called.

Check out the rest of Rob's visit to San Francisco

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September 22-26, 2009

An all-expenses-paid business trip to Puerto Rico? Sure, why not? Thanks to Carley's job at Mississippi Geographic Alliance, she had the opportunity to attend the National Conference on Geography Education. It would have been great if Rob and Rowan could have gone too! Oh well, hopefully next time.

The conference was held in the hotel zone right on the beach in a touristy part of the capital, San Juan.

Carley's swanky hotel pool even had a swim-up bar. Too bad there was hardly ever a bartender here!

Carley's roommate for the week, Rebecca, who was here from Colorado to attend the conference.

Most of the week was spent in conferences all day long, but there was time to get out for a couple of excursions.

One excursion was a tour of Old San Juan.

This shot reminds me of San Francisco.

El Morro Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort has been used since the 1500s to guard Puerto Rico, and it was pretty cool to see the layers of construction from then, all the way up until WWII.

The structure at the top was an observation tower during WWII.

A sentry tower.

Carley's on the lookout!

Rebecca's on the lookout!

A view of the city from the fort.

Another excursion was a day trip to El Yunque rainforest.

The piping is part of an effort to preserve the Puerto Rican Parrot (how's that for alliteration!), considered a critically endangered species.

Do you see him?

Giant snail poo!

La Coca Waterfall.

The Spanish used to imprison virgin princesses here.

Never mind. It's an observation tower built by the Forest Service.

The view from the tower.

Later we stopped at a local bar before kayaking a bio-luminescent bay (of which I don't have pics but was absolutely incredible!)

Our cute geography student tour guide, Francisco, asked me for a salsa dance. Claro que si!

Typical Puerto Rican food included lots of seafood.

And fried plantains!

For dessert you could always buy ice cream on the beach!

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