Dec 13, 2009

Sounds & Chords = ESL

For a few years now, I've had this magical draw to Sweden & Norway. Not for reasons that maybe most people have. Mine main reason was from meeting some Norwegians in Georgia. They kept visiting California after that...and I couldn't fathom going that far north for the longest time. Then one day I decided to just go there. Play a show in a few towns with local musicians... and learn about the people making this beautiful music that I couldn't get out of my head. The main thing has been noticing the similarities and types of people that I've met. There really is something to be said about finding the 'you' in different cities. Having energy-based connections to people that have not been raised speaking your native tongue. But rather have been raised conditioned on learning English as a tool in hopes that it will be useful to you to benefit from. In Sweden, English is their official second language. ESL. Obviously it has been helpful to me- but I've also met many a Swede that doesn't speak English very well (as well as other foreigners).... It's those people that I've connected to the most, which is strange- but looking at it in this way- makes sense. The people have mostly all been musicians. Being a musician as well, I think we all belong in this 'club'- where we've chosen to slightly live in this other plane. The place where sounds are words. Where emotions are chords. The chords and sounds have been the conversation. I am a magnet to the ESL folks. I have figured out the way to speak that doesn't involve all of the slang. It's difficult, Californians are sooooo into slang I've realized. I'm back in California. After 4 years of moving around every 2 months and collectively spending 8 months in Scandinavia, I am yearning for all of my friends over there to come and experience California. Slowly, people are making their way over here. So happy that by being a musician, this also allows you to travel so much. Thankfully, my friends are able to tour and this brings all of us together in strange cities and odd times. I had a discussion yesterday with a friend from Bergen, and he was saying that he felt that there was something missing in his life. I have also had this feeling for months now. We both agreed it was the feeling of missing a community- a 'village.' Like college, where you are surrounded with people chasing the same tiger. The self-education tiger. Together, we will be the ones. We also discussed this idea that it seems the more we travel, the more we see how much we're missing out on. It brings loneliness. On the opposite side of loneliness, the traveling, the touring, the exploring, brings together so many like-minded people that it's difficult to come down from that. People, perhaps, are not meant to see this much. So let's continue to build a village. Remember to stay in touch. Thankfully, I just got an email this second from Jenny Wilson in Sweden saying that she will come to California for the first time in March. Look for a Rubies/Jenny Wilson show that will bring people together by sounds and song. I hope we sound like a village. I'm on the 'staying still' plan. Come to California.
I'm posting this picture again. A picture I took in Bergen in 2007 after recording some songs and riding a bike along the water.

Jenny Wilson. Coming to California!

Dec 9, 2009

Cheese, Please.

So there is this phenomenal food store up the street here in Oakland called 'Market Hall.' I go in there every day. Incredible selection of cheeses! I recently went in there to buy a bunch of cheese for a cheese course that I was in charge of at a big dinner last Friday. I really wanted to focus on mountain cheeses- similar to the cheeses I grew up eating from Switzerland. Sharp, smooth, crystally, sweet, and so good that you cry one single tear. Here are a few of the cheeses I picked out with some description. The only mountain cheese that isn't pictured here that really needs mentioning is an American cheese- 'Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve'- it's from Wisconsin and might be one of the top 3 cheeses from America in my opinion and you can buy it online! The 2 families that make this cheese uses centuries-old techniques that originated from the alpine region in France. You can taste the fresh grasses, herbs, clovers and wildflowers that the cows graze. The cheese counter at Market Hall might have one of the biggest selection of cheese in all of California. On a fateful evening last week, I had some peeps, Terri, Jamie, and Lauren over at 3am to try the cheese and last weekend I was at a karaoke bar and served cheese from the trunk of my car to a girl from Grindelwald (in Santa Barbara!). I felt like a pusher. Ps. My dad made cheese in his little town of Grindelwald. P.P.S. My twin sisters husband Adrian was a cheesemonger there at Market Hall. I guess we got a thing about it. Tell me about your favorite cheese. Cheese, please.
Everyone loves this one! It won. It has Fenugreek in it. Fenugreek is a herb and seed that has a maple-like smell and taste. Nutty, fresh, no lingering aftertaste. A super gouda.

A cheddar from the UK. Super aged, tangy, sweet. Such a different flavor profile compared the the sharp mountain cheeses from Germany and Switzerland.

Wowzers. Imagine your favorite Gruyere- now times it by a million.
Super aged German mountain cheese. Aged cow's milk cheese. This cheese was introduced the the San Francisco area a couple years ago by a German woman whose Grandfather was a master cheesemaker in the Allgäuer alps where this cheese is from. It's very similar to some cheeses from Grindelwald. There is a timeless practice where cowherders lead their herds up the mountains in spring to graze on the new grass, then bring them back down in the fall to the barns for the winter. Around September 18 marks the official start of "Almabtrieb" (descent), where the farmers decorate their cows with flowers and the prize cow with really elaborate bouquets. It's a rad thing to check out if you are in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. Hirtenkäse literally meand 'herdsman cheese.' Superyum.
Another cheese from the Allgäuer region. A washed rind artisan cheese. Semi-soft- super creamy, buttery, and somehow still bright and fresh. Earthy flavor and begs to be melted. I had a BLT toasted sandwich on a great loaf of crusty bread with this melted on it. Really good raw or melted.

Dec 7, 2009

Circles Are Everywhere

Have you ever deliberately noticed EVERYTHING? I've noticed circles everywhere. Tennis, food, nature, toys, eyes, shapes, emotions....circular living, people. A friend of a friend has turrets. It's no laughing matter- HOWEVER - the funny part is that his 'trigger' word is 'balls.' Balls, Balls, Balls.