eine Nacht mit meinem Bruder

It’s 7:03 AM on a Saturday morning. I’ve been awake for almost two hours, reminiscing on last night, a great Friday. Behind me, Taylor is happily (and very loudly I might add) snoring, oblivious to me as I listen to a mix on my iPod that includes Christmas music, easing into the day, writing and reading. YES, I still have an iPod (two, actually) that plays music 24/7. It literally never turns off, I think realistically it has been playing continuously for almost ten months (stopping only to switch between one iPod to the other.) Just now, “Little Drummer Boy”, “Christmas Song”, and “Christmas in New Orleans” sandwiched “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails and a track for the score from The Dark Knight soundtrack. It’s the end of May, and that’s what Saturday mornings at my house sound like. Christmas sounds. Christmas sounds a lot like NIN and The Dark Knight. And Christmas in May sounds so much better when your best pal, a 100 lb American Bulldog, is snoring to the cadence of NIN, Van Halen, Hans Zimmer, Burl Ives, and Nat King Cole.

I have not had my coffee yet. And while I have only become a coffee drinker recently, the first day of the rest of my life starting on 21 February 2015, I don’t crave it. Yet. (I’ve been told it’s a virtual certainty.) However, I sure as sh!t love it, especially the Philtered Soul from Philz Coffee, a Sausalito staple near where I live, with another location a block from where I work in Redwood City. Coffee fuels my creativity, especially in the morning. It only seems like yesterday (12/18/14 to be exact) that my brother-in-law introduced me to coffee (with a shot of Baileys) to welcome a wonderful holiday morning with the family outside DC. I’d never felt anything like it! (Well, in truth I’d had, but that’s not a story for public consumption.) I went on to paint four of my best watercolours, each inspired by my hike in Arches National Park in Utah with two of my best friends a month prior to my descent into coffee heaven.

Thinking of those times focused my thoughts on the entire concept of time. In the movie Interstellar, time is a resource they must use to weigh against all decisions they would make, traveling through the universe. And I thought of how precious a commodity time really is. This very moment is gone before you know it. And that’s why living each one to the fullest and appreciating all of it – the good, the bad, and the ugly, in all its glory and heartache – is so very important. I had plans last night, plans that I was excited for, when all of a sudden I get a text from my brother that he had landed in Oakland, in town for the weekend for a last minute work trip. So what did I do? I dropped everything I was doing and/or about to do, to hang out with him. Cos that’s what brothers do.

I’m sure many people would say this, but I truly believe I’ve surrounded myself with some of the most incredible people that walks our planet. They fuel much of my zest for life; and time with them is always time well spent. Those are the moments you cherish – this moment and every moment thereafter.

My brother and I are about as different as two people can possibly be different, from our personalities to our perspective on life to how we dress to how we act. He’s a tough guy, there’s no mistaking it; but a tough guy with a kind soul (even if he won’t admit it). And yet, there are tons of similarities too. The most obvious is our passion for the things we are passionate about. Sports is the most evident outlet. Both my brothers in fact are a little insane. Truthfully, a lot insane. I don’t know another Denver Broncos fan or a New York Giants fan that comes close to their loyalty. (Denver Broncos visited me yesterday.) They have the passion of a seven-year-old kid centering his young life on the ups and downs of his beloved team. I’ve got a little bit of crazy in me too; but it’s simmered down significantly since my youth when I would throw chairs after a loss (most epic meltdown, after the 49ers loss at home to the Cowboys in the 91 NFC Championship Game – I still despise Alvin Harper and that dam 71-yard slant pattern). But that was a long time ago.

I loved catching up with my brother. He’s an extremely thoughtful conversationalist, and our talks are always rich, sometimes pointed and many times animated. He has virtually no filter and a night out with him is freakin’ hilarious, as I survey how other people react to his demeanor. He doesn’t change his personality for anyone; and instead, everyone else reacts to him. It’s a gift. The waiter at Nick’s Fishmarket at Fisherman’s Wharf surely did not know what to make of him. He loves to throw F-bombs and is fairly loud about it, with nary a malicious intent behind any of it. He is a funny man. He is a caring man. Loyal to a fault, he’s got the back of everyone he cares about.

When I drove back home last night after dinner, I drove home with a massive smile.

In a short time, I will be driving to Napa for BottleRock. Napa (and Sonoma) is stunningly beautiful and quite the destination spot in and of itself. Add to it a three-day music festival, you’ve got a dose of heaven. BottleRock features a great lineup including No Doubt, Passion Pit (whom I saw at a tiny venue “The Empty Bottle” in Chicago on a Sunday night, as well as a year later at Lollapalooza), Foster The People (whom I also saw at Lollapalooza one year), The Avett Brothers, Los Lobos, The Gypsy Kings, Michael Franti (whom I saw in Chicago three times and in DC), The Chris Robinson Brotherhood (who went to high school with my best friend’s older brother), Public Enemy, Snoop, Cage the Elephant, Imagine Dragons, Scott Weiland (frontman for Stone Temple Pilots), as well as a host of others. What am I excited about? Besides hanging out with one of my closest friends and her cousin, two words: ROBERT PLANT!!! Anyone who knows me, knows that I freakin’ love Led Zeppelin, the greatest rock ’n roll band of all-time, the one band in my opinion, that has never had a bad song. Every single one of them is a work of art. Adding to that, Robert Plant’s solo career (which has spanned considerably longer than the life of the band) is epic as well. At 67 years young, he’s a prime example of loving what he does and living life to the fullest no matter how many candles he’s blown out each year. I AM SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED.

It’s only Saturday morning and I’ve already had a phenomenal weekend.

Time to take Taylor to the dog park.
Time for coffee.
Time for Philz.
Time to hit the road. I’ll have great thoughts of my time last night with my brother and, as I do on all road trips, thoughts of my family and friends, my dog as I venture north through the California countryside.

Robert Plant.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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