Monday, December 14, 2009

Live From Tomorrow

Hello Family,

I've decided to name my online travel journal "Live From Tomorrow." I hope you find it fun and informative. It is NOT designed to make you jealous, but if you do feel that way, I'm only partially sorry. Here goes:

11:40am - Depart SFO
1:00pm - Arrive LAX

5pm - Met up with the old Street Elements family (David Bracken & Terry Smith) and hung out at Snoop Dogg's album release party at the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal City. Those things are much more fun when you're not working.

9pm - Visited Asa at the studio in Silverlake. We played each other some of what we're both working on: what I would call "the good, the bad, and the commercial." Asa and I have been collaborating musically since the 6th grade talent show at St. Paul's, so I'm really proud to see him doing the damn thing. Over the years we've come to appreciate each others critical feedback because we genuinely like each others' work, but are not afraid to say, "You know, that kinda sucks, that part were you added the didgeridoo. I think it needs more cowbell instead."

11pm - Crashed at the Comfort Inn in Hawthorne, near LAX. I get a little discount because of my affiliation with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Plus all they had was a King Bed Suite with kitchen and jacuzzi, so I scored pretty big! I'm kinda famous for hating on L.A., and I refuse to spend more than 48 hours in a row there, so this was truly the perfect visit to the other California.

11:40am - Depart LAX
- Read Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" cover to cover, stopping only to use the bathroom or wolf down a pack of airline snacks. Probably the best fiction Thriller I've read since Caleb Carr's "The Alienist." Also, an interesting time to read that book, considering that Guam is what I would call, Catolica Da Gema (Catholic to the Yolk).

4:20pm - Arrive Tokyo Narita Airport
- Americans always assume that we are on the cutting edge of everything. One trip to the bathroom at Narita Airport shattered this illusion for me. A toilet with more buttons than a Comcast remote. Call me unadventurous, but I had to pass up the free enema. There's just no margin for error when you've got to catch a connecting flight, but maybe on the way back.

- Purchased my first ever Digital Book on my Kindle: George Carlin's "Last Words." What a smart, unique, and hilarious old man. Sometimes I find myself being deeply moved by every single book I read, whether its the Tao Te Ching, or a Safeway checkout aisle trash novel by Danielle Steele (don't tell Sammie I called it that!). But in this case, I am sure that Carlin's "sortabiography" is powerful, especially for anyone that has struggled, or will struggle with their art as a profession.

9:30pm - Depart Tokyo Narita Airport. Let's just say that Japanese planes are built for Japanese people, and I am not Japanese (or 5 foot anything).

2:00am - Arrived at Guam Hagatña Airport. I had a hard time convincing customs that I was not here to play music professionally, considering I was lugging my 100-pound keyboard with me, chock-full of stickers from various concerts and tours. Then I just showed them my bag of soccer cleats and explained that 3 months is a long time to be without anything you're passionate about.

3am - Had my first meal at Linda's - The official greasy spoon of the island. While downing a plate of fried rice, portuguese sausage, and undercooked fried eggs (that's how they like it), I discovered my new favorite condiment: Fennu Denne. It's a simple blend of soy sauce, lemon juice, onions and peppers. I put it on EVERYTHING now!

4am - Arrived at Vicky's family's house (Erlinda Montecalvo & Ray Leon Guerrero) in the "village" of Toto.

10am - Breakfast by Erlinda, and this time the fennu denne was homemade! I spent a few hours just hanging out and talking with Erlinda while Vicky headed to the University of Guam to teach her last day of classes. UOG is an open enrollment University, separate from the local Community College. Vicky is teaching 4 college creative writing classes, and even has her own office on campus: very cool, very intellectual, very Vicky!

6pm - Participated in my first on-island meeting with Guam's Coalition for Peace & Justice. We are currently working to educate the population about the pending military build-up and how it will affect the island. The U.S. Military recently released an 11,000 page Environmental Impact Statement, obviously designed more to drown any concerned citizen with paperwork, than to inform. The main challenge is to break down the document, challenge it's assumptions, and get the information out to the people on island. All the regular challenges abound: apathy, access to email, strong history of military entrenchment on the island, etc. It doesn't help that the military delayed the release of the document until the Xmas holiday, allowing only for 90 day comment period. I have been working with the group from the states for several years, so it was cool see some familiar faces at the meeting.

10pm - Hung out at Dreamin'k: a bar / tatoo parlor recently opened up by Vicky's older brother. He was off-island, so Vicky was filling in as the bartender. I met a bunch of good peoples, and got a crash course in Chimorru slang. I can now say "It's Nothing" in 5 languages, including Ethiopian, German, Chimorru, and Guido (see "fahgetaboutit").


1pm - Attended my first ever traditional Chimorru Catholic wedding (Vicky's friends from High School) at the Cathedral, presided over by the archbishop of the diocese. Typical catholic: beautiful building, boring service. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, call yourself a sinner, stand up, sit down, etc. But I do love Jesus, so I felt right at home and took communion for the first time in a few years.

3pm - Attended the Guam Music Festival where the Peace & Justice Coalition had a booth to do outreach education about the military buildup. The festival was headlined by Kymani Marley, but Ooklah the Moc definitely stole the show. I did a show with them a few years back in Hawaii, but we performed at the same time on different stages, so this was the first time I actually got to hear their music... very, very good... I'll be copping that album at some point!

10pm - Returned to the wedding reception, then hit the House of Brutus for live music. When the band started doing covers of Journey ("Don't Stop Believing") and Janet Jackson (without Janet Jackson), I decided that jet lag was a worthy excuse, so we called it a night.

2pm - Visited Vicky's Aunt's house in the village of Santa Rita, where we celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the village.

Within seconds of arriving at the "fiesta" barbeque, I came to the conclusion that the Chimorru people are kissing cousins of what we call "Regular Blacks" (as opposed to Africans in Africa, or those funny sounding dark people scattered throughout Europe and Scandinavia). Picture a whole lot of Earth Wind & Fire, Anita Baker, and Boyz II Men, and NOT a whole lot of vegetables. Plus I spotted a few Obama T-shirts! I also got my first taste of "tuba," or coconut moonshine... very sweet, deceptively dangerous.

8pm After the fiesta, we hit the Santa Fe Grille for some beachside reading by sunset, where I finished my first ever digital book. While I will never stop buying books (just like records), I do admit that there is a place for the Kindle in this strange new post-racial world (I like to call everything post-racial, now that Obama is president).

So, as you can see, I haven't done much since I've been here. It's pretty boring, I think I'll come home early...


  1. Guam's tight. Who's that girl with the big head in all the pictures?

  2. Hey Andrew
    We are happy that you are happy. Have a good time and stay well. Jean and Joe Hurd

  3. Andrew, this is so cool! I don't tell you enough, but I envy your ability to just be free and do whatever your heart fancies.

    You'll be the uncle with the best stories. :-)