Bob Schneider @ Antone’s in Austin

I had never seen Bob Schneider perform until Friday night at Antone’s in Austin and I’m sure glad I bought last minute tickets.  From what I’ve heard and now I can swear to … he is an outstanding performer and shines when he can work the crowd at smaller venues like Antone’s.
His band includes talented musicians that have great stage presence. Bob is one of those artists that has such a clear voice and great vocals and he sounds the same live as he does on his studio recordings.  Every live show is recorded and made available to fans that attended that show.  Bob releases those under the Frunk label.  The show I attended was pressed on 2 discs that I grabbed after the show for 15 bucks.
The lovely Harmoni Kelley on bass and vocals.
Conrad Chouchroun: drums, xylophone, vocals, human beat box!
Jon Sanchez: guitar, vocals
A bit of trivia on Bob … During the summer of 2010, Bob Schneider and his friend accepted an invitation to cruise around Lake Travis near their home in Austin–an afternoon that unwittingly wound up inspiring the singer and songwriter’s latest album, A Perfect Day.  Schneider–who’s watched Austin become a mecca for the movie industry–pretty much assigned himself the impetus for the song “Penelope Cruz,” however.
“I think she’s one of the most attractive women in Hollywood,” he notes, “and I read somewhere that she dated pretty much everybody she’s made a movie with. So I was like, ‘I wish I was an actor so I could make a movie with Penelope Cruz’– and have sex with her, basically. And then another part of thought it would be cool if I had a song with her name in it, because then someone might go, ‘Hey, there’s some guy who wrote a song called ‘Penelope Cruz.’ We should check that out’ and somehow I could go out with Penelope Cruz. But she just got married to Javier Bardem, so that fucked up my whole plan…”
Bob currently has a long-standing Monday night residency at the Saxon Pub in Austin, and on occasion, the Scabs, all while maintaining a tireless touring schedule. Although he tours nationwide, he is still known best as a true Austin musician. His musical influences spread into the far reaches of musical culture—funk, soul, folk, lounge, rap, punk, even some melodic experimentalism.
He is also known for having dated Sandra Bullock. It is speculated that the breakup following their relationship became fodder for his music, although Schneider has been known to deny autobiographical content in his music.I think Bob is a funny, charming, and extremely talented performer.  Check him out.

Argesti – Jewelry Box Makers From Florence

Argesti are artisans of luxurious cases for  jewelry, watches, pens and games.  They combine precious woods for unbelievable workmanship.  I love my cuff links box … keeps those french cuff jewels nicely organized.

2 drawers for good storage.  Got mine from Neiman Marcus a couple of years ago.  More information on

HRD Coffee Shop in San Francisco

“Good Eats, Nice Peeps, Grab a Seat” sums it up for this awesome little food joint a few blocks away from AT&T ball park in San Francisco.  HRD was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives” on the food network.

I went there on a Thursday for lunch and the line snaked out the door – people waiting to dig into their amazing kimchee burritos, steak sandwiches and a variety of Korean goodies guaranteed to rock your taste buds!

The menu mixes things up with elements ranging from Chinese and Korean blended with American and Mexican at bargain prices!

HRD in it’s current incarnation is owned by David Yeung who took over the reins about three years ago following the retirement of his uncle Ben Chan, who ran the Chinese lunch spot for fifty years!  The dining area is small but clean with orange stools for a communal style dining experience with another adjoining area with four tables and chairs for a bit more private affair.

The Kimchee burrito is a nice way to ease into your first indulgence at HRD.  It’s a nice big flour roll stuffed with spicy pork, kimchi fried rice blended with sweet kochu chang, Korean spicy bean paste, drizzled with sour cream and diced cubes of kiwi that make for foil wrapped magic.  It is freakin amazing!

I did try the Mongolian Cheesesteak the following day for lunch.  Grilled bread with thinly sliced beef smothered with grilled onions, green pepper and melted cheese and hoisin-sambal sauce with a side of crisp fries!

The creators are always dishing out service with smiles!

Like everything else in San Francisco, the ingredients are top notch.  The meat comes from Niman Ranch.  If you want to avoid the lines go at 2pm although the lines move pretty quickly.  Most locals buy the grub and leave so you’ll have no problem grabbing a seat if you want to eat in house.

What does HRD stand for you ask?  “Human Resources Department” of course.  Seriously … ask the owner!

Ride Like a Pro West Coast

Mark Paz is a Los Angeles based motorcycle pro who runs a business called “Ride Like a Pro, West Coast” … a skills training motorcycle course.  Mark’s bio includes a stint with the FBI which afforded him the opportunity to receive formal instruction from the Los Angeles Police Department Motorcycle Training Unit.  About five years ago he started the California version of Ride Like A Pro (The East Coast version was initiated by Jerry Palladino) to share these enforcement riding techniques with the motorcycling community.

Mark Paz pictured below (left) along with his trusty wing man and former student Josh.

My friend from Santa Monica – Navin Bhatia introduced and referred me to Mark and thought I would benefit from taking the class.  I’m glad I did!  It’s essentially a 5 hour class in a school parking lot near LAX (scheduled on Sundays generally).  In his course Mark includes the following drills for his students:

The Slow Race
Twelve foot slow cone weave
Twenty four foot circle
Off set cone weave
U-Turn Exercise
Iron Cross Intersection
Twenty four foot Figure 8
Counter Steering
Threshold Combination Braking

These drills enable the rider to lean a motorcycle over and turn tighter at slow speeds.

Mark has a nice inventory of Kawasaki KZ1000 police motorcycles that you can use if you don’t want to use your bike.  I would recommend that especially if you don’t want to drop your bike.  During this course I dropped the bike several times and I’m glad I did because Mark teaches you how to pick up these beasts!

My take on the course is that it’s a class that is de riguer … that most riders regardless of skill would benefit from!  It is demanding mentally and physically but when you’re done and our riding on your own – the lessons stick in your head and make you a better rider!

I was pleasantly surprised how patient, encouraging and helpful Mark and Josh were in their approach but that’s how professional instructors ought to be.  I have come across some really pedestrian instructors in the past and this was a refreshing change.

With my friend Navin in the picture below.

Mark builds in plenty of break time to recover, discuss the drills and help you build confidence along the way.  I was all smiles by the end of the class – yes I survived and felt good about what I learned.

With my fellow students and Mark.

One other thing to note – you can repeat the class free of charge within a year!  The class costs $150 + another $150 if you want to train on one of Mark’s bikes.  I highly and unconditionally recommend the class.