Pete’s Magic

Pete’s Magic

When I was a kid, we had a neighborhood bike shop named Pete’s. It was in a dirty white house on the corner with a mountain...

read more
Common Beauty

Common Beauty

Avila Beach, California This morning I peered out our bedroom window. The sun was angling across the yard, lighting up the...

read more
Ara’s Garden

Ara’s Garden

Monterey, California Ara lived down the street in one of those houses that sits way back from the road with a big front...

read more
A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

Joshua Tree National Park, California I was walking next to a park several blocks from our house when I saw a dead crow in...

read more
The Shapes to Come

The Shapes to Come

Berlin, Germany This morning, I walked through the yard of the Monterey Museum of Art and came across a pair of sculptures...

read more
Our Mutual Relative

Our Mutual Relative

Venice Beach, California I’m walking through the Park. Spring’s starting to look like summer with leaved trees, a warm sun,...

read more
The Green Button

The Green Button

Otari MTR-12 Mastering Tape Machine I sat down between the speakers and pushed the green play button on the remote. I heard...

read more
Welcomed by the Sun

Welcomed by the Sun

Pacific Grove, California I love spring. Everything's coming alive, waking from a long sleep, welcomed by the warm sun,...

read more
Vintage Apothecary

Vintage Apothecary

Tuolumne, California I have my version of this, a way of carrying myself that helps me fit into the world. It fascinates...

read more
Slow and Easy Float

Slow and Easy Float

Desert Hot Springs, California Last week we drove out to the Mojave Desert to a 1940s motel with a natural hot spring. I've...

read more
Hairy Legs Stomping

Hairy Legs Stomping

Mission Bell, Monterey, California I had a girlfriend, Ann, who owned a horse sixteen hands tall. She named it, Freedom,...

read more
Applying the Future

Applying the Future

The Fourth Floor, Monterey, California They've been painting the trim on our office building. What does it feel like to be...

read more
Generous Nuances

Generous Nuances

Window Shopping, Monterey, California I had an attorney named Allan Stamm. He was over 70 years old when I hired him to put...

read more
Infirm Adherence

Infirm Adherence

Somewhere, California I’ve been thinking about the word integrity. Merriam-Webster defines it as: firm adherence to a code...

read more
Message In a Bottle

Message In a Bottle

Anywhere, California I walked into a public restroom and found beautiful white and violet flowers sitting next to the sink...

read more
Shaded in Yellow

Shaded in Yellow

Monterey Vista, Monterey, California With a cold winter chill in the air, I walked up a hill towards our house; my coat...

read more
Garish Plastic Flowers

Garish Plastic Flowers

El Carmelo Cemetery, Pacific Grove, California Early one morning, I was out for my Sunday morning romp on my bike. On the...

read more
Pokers and Paper

Pokers and Paper

Asilomar State Beach, Monterey, California Early last Sunday morning down at the wharf, we saw an older woman with a bag...

read more
Groovy Ruts

Groovy Ruts

In-flight, Monterey, California The twinkling lights are coming down, and the eggnog is going sour. Everything seems the...

read more
The Flame of Intention

The Flame of Intention

Highway I-25 north of Chugwater, Wyoming The week between the holidays has a feel. No other week feels quite like it. For...

read more
Space and Silence

Space and Silence

Berlin, Germany The sun felt warm, friendly, and inviting on my face; I just leaned up against the concrete wall and let it...

read more
The Beauty of Use

The Beauty of Use

Multivox Premier 100R Guitar Amplifier The Japanese have a word, wabi-sabi, which means finding beauty in the imperfection...

read more
The Blank Wall

The Blank Wall

Black Sand Beach, Sayulita, Mexico What should we do with the blank wall in our living room? Yes, we could put a piece of...

read more
Morrie’s Alchemy

Morrie’s Alchemy

First Rain, Monterey, California Thanksgiving evening after dessert, our host passed around paper and pens and asked us to...

read more
Surface Tension

Surface Tension

Berlin, Germany When I think of surface tension, I'm usually thinking of bugs skipping across water. It's the attraction...

read more
A Healthier Bondage

A Healthier Bondage

Somewherezig, Germany I saw a cigarette butt on the sidewalk. A long butt more than half a cigarette, and I felt a pang, an...

read more
Slow Moving Sideways

Slow Moving Sideways

Tiergarten, Biergarten, Berlin, Germany It’s a Sunday afternoon in the beer garden with people laughing and munching wurst,...

read more
An Accent with Quiche

An Accent with Quiche

Zumevhere, Germany I sat in the Paris Bakery, sipping an Americano, eating spinach quiche, and trying to read. Two older...

read more
Happy Accidents

Happy Accidents

Big Sur, California I’m fascinated by the creative process. There’s nothing, and then there’s something; ideas and feelings...

read more
A Problem with Porridge

A Problem with Porridge

Kindergarden, Berlin, Germany When I was five years old, one of my older brothers taught me how to ride a bike on a beat-up...

read more
Fresh Cashews Old Songs

Fresh Cashews Old Songs

König Galerie, Berlin, Germany I never know how I’m going to feel. I go to the river expecting a good time, smell fresh...

read more
A Crockpot and A Wig

A Crockpot and A Wig

Jettenbach, Germany A woman down the street had an estate sale. I met Sandra as soon as I walked in the gate, cheerful and...

read more
Two Hands Up

Two Hands Up

Desert Hot Springs, California I drove down the road with both hands on top the wheel, thumbs touching one another, gliding...

read more
Chainsaw

Chainsaw

Fiscalini Preserve, Cambria, California I went for a walk in the forest. As I left the house, I heard a chainsaw, not...

read more
Beach Board Arm Head

Beach Board Arm Head

Asilomar State Beach, Monterey, California I stood and watched the beach, the sun reflected off the rough surface of the...

read more
Bill’s Old Jacket

Bill’s Old Jacket

Municipal Pier, Monterey, California I was out walking in our old Venice neighborhood one afternoon. I turned the corner to...

read more
Knife on the Right

Knife on the Right

Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, California A few years ago, I started experimenting with different ways to set the table....

read more
Maria’s Super Power

Maria’s Super Power

Nepenthe, Big Sur, California We employed a woman named Maria Martinez. She came by once a week to clean and moved through...

read more
Meditation Slut

Meditation Slut

Millennium Bridge Sculpture, Commons Park, Denver, Colorado There are many different types of meditation: mindfulness,...

read more
Mary Jane & Ice Cream

Mary Jane & Ice Cream

The Peace Fence, Monterey, California It was hard to get. You had to have connections. If you looked right, long hair, bell...

read more
The Clean Fish

The Clean Fish

Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, California Late one afternoon, it started to rain, a soft, cold mountain rain, and my dad went...

read more
An Altar of Nothing

An Altar of Nothing

San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey, CA An Altar of Nothing I was in a meditation group for over a decade. The meetings were...

read more
Gear Myth and Berries

Gear Myth and Berries

Neve 1066 I still have a bunch of old analog audio gear. Some of it keeps going up in value, and people still use this...

read more
Missive 52: Flight

Missive 52: Flight

San Jacinto Wilderness, California I’ve been writing my weekly missive for a year. I named them missives because I didn’t...

read more
Listen to the Crows

Listen to the Crows

Del Monte Forest, Monterey, California I was walking on a path through the Del Monte forest when a crow flew over and...

read more
Lost in Process

Lost in Process

Municipal Pier Monterey, California It was a bright mid-tempo rock song, and everyone wanted to get it right. We were...

read more
The Banyan Tree

The Banyan Tree

Banyan tree, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii They look like tattoos. The tree’s over a hundred years old, and the writing is in many...

read more
Touch vs Feel

Touch vs Feel

I recently spent some time in Mexico with an old friend, Galen Wathen, a chiropractor turned bodyworker. During our...

read more
The Missing Gorilla

The Missing Gorilla

In a recent study, a number of radiologists looked at a series of X-rays as if they were looking for lung cancer. On one of...

read more
In the hand of a Dream

In the hand of a Dream

Shure PE50SP Vocal Microphone This Shure PE50 pictured in the photo belongs to Donna Rawlins (my wife). She used it, on and...

read more
Hiding in Silence

Hiding in Silence

Photo of original wall, San Carlos Cathedral One of the fascinating things about seeing paintings by the old masters is...

read more
Earth Day, 49 Years 

Earth Day, 49 Years 

Haleakala Sunset, Maui, Hawaii I remember the first Earth Day in 1970. We used different words back then: water pollution,...

read more
2285

2285

When walking through a forest, I’ve noticed certain unique trees, usually located some distance from each other: they are...

read more
Saving Grace

Saving Grace

The summer I was sixteen, I thought, this may be my last summer to goof off because I’ll probably have to work every summer...

read more
Craft Meets Art

Craft Meets Art

On a recent trip to Mexico, we met a woman who worked on a foot-pump Singer sewing machine with hand-tooled silver inlays....

read more
Process and Time

Process and Time

Years ago, I was walking through the halls of a small record company in Hollywood and bumped into the CEO. An artist friend...

read more
A Shade of Aesthetic

A Shade of Aesthetic

My dad hated rock music. He tolerated it, but mostly he scoffed at it, even the Beatles. We were watching the Lawrence Welk...

read more
Antiquated Music

Antiquated Music

Sonic expressions have been tumbling out of humanity for a long time. We have archeological evidence that humans have been...

read more
Music and Cheese

Music and Cheese

At my first real job in a recording studio, sitting in sessions and watching the producers, engineers, musicians, and...

read more
Woven into the Fabric

Woven into the Fabric

One of the things I’ve always loved about working in the studio is walking in, flipping on the equipment, opening the...

read more
Loud

Loud

Volume gets everyone's attention. It’s powerful, and all too often, it can’t be ignored. But it’s also a cheap trick. You...

read more
Guitar vs. Drum

Guitar vs. Drum

I read an article the other day that stated, “In the digital era, guitars no longer rule popular music.” Yeah, well, that’s...

read more
Order and Chaos

Order and Chaos

The minds propensity to construct order out of chaos is unavoidable. It’s an undefinable idea and extremely difficult for...

read more
Quality vs. Popularity

Quality vs. Popularity

Donna and I went into a popular restaurant in Palm Springs, and because it was crowded, we thought, “it must be good.” But...

read more
The Creative Process

The Creative Process

I’ve always been fascinated by the creative process. There’s nothing, and then, there’s something. Many books and courses...

read more
Audio has Attitude

Audio has Attitude

When I recorded guitars for rock bands, I hated those little effects boxes guitar players love. I preferred instead to plug...

read more
A Deeper Focus

A Deeper Focus

I love to photograph rain puddles, focusing deep into the water to reveal the trees, clouds, and sky from a new...

read more
Balance and Craft

Balance and Craft

I ordered a sandwich the other day at a local shop; they make great sandwiches, but some of the workers make them better...

read more
Is art instinctive?

Is art instinctive?

Instinct is defined as a natural propensity, an intuitive way, an innate behavior, from Latin: instinctus, which means...

read more
Now

Now

Now There are only 26 letters and a handful of dots, lines, and squiggles, and with that, we can represent all the ideas of...

read more
Artistic Integrity 

Artistic Integrity 

In the film industry, it takes hundreds of artists to produce a movie; it’s the same for all of the creative industries,...

read more
Essence

Essence

"There’s the whole Buddhist thing about the essence of a bowl being its emptiness—that’s why it’s useful. Its emptiness...

read more
Software Illusion 

Software Illusion 

I’ve spent a lot of time and effort learning software. I think we all have. To some degree these programs have become the...

read more
Adjust to Taste 

Adjust to Taste 

EQ (equalization) is a professional version of the tone controls on your stereo. It’s the most basic and simple tool in the...

read more
Psychoacoustics

Psychoacoustics

You can park a film on a frame and have a discussion about it, point to the different aspects, everyone’s looking at the...

read more
Alchemy of Design

Alchemy of Design

Putting a frame on anything has a way of validating it. Even a lousy song or film benefits from good sound design and a...

read more
Is Listening an Art?

Is Listening an Art?

There’s an education to listening, an understanding, a willingness to attend.  Like the simple tuning of a guitar or the...

read more
Getting Started

Getting Started

It’s natural to want to have it all planned out first, but it’s impossible to see around corners.  Often, you can only see...

read more
Design Dodging 

Design Dodging 

I worked with Andy Johns (producer, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones), we were recording a band, and I kept reaching up and...

read more
Don’t think

Don’t think

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.  It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy.  You can’t...

read more
Creative Exposure

Creative Exposure

The creative process contains an uncomfortable element of exposure, like taking your clothes off in front of strangers......

read more
Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual

I walk into the room, usually, in the morning, I’m always the first to arrive so, for now, I’m alone. I open up the room,...

read more