First off, I keep neglecting to post that I am on the verge of starting yet another tour. I've already put up a new page about my tour dates. You'll see there's still some missing info. This will be filled in when I get it.
For now, a brief list of where I'll be is as follows:
• February 9, 2011 (Wed) 10 PM Akron, OH: Zero Defex at The Matinee 812 W. Market St. Akron, OH
• February 15, 2011 (Tues) 7 PM 7:00 pm Lawrence, KS: Kansas Zen Center 423 New York St, Lawrence, KS 66044
• February 17, 2011 (Thu) 7:30 PM Kansas City, MO: Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64112
• February 20, 2011 (Sun) Cedar Rapids, IA: Cedar Rapids Zen Center 1618 Bever Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
• February 22, 2011 (Tue) 6:30 PM St Louis, MO: Seki’s Japanese Restaurant 6335 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO
• February 26, 2011 (Sat) St Louis, MO: Missouri Zen Center, 220 Spring Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119
• March 5, 2011 (Sat) Cocoa, FL
• March 15-20, 2011 Saskatoon, SK, Canada
• March 25, 2011 (Fri) 12-2 pm Stony Brook University: SBU Campus Book Store Basement of Melville Library 100 Nicolls Road Setauket-East Setauket, NY 11733
• March 26, 2011 (Sat) 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM Sony Brook University: Stony Brook Buddhism Study Group Meditation Workshop
• April 22-24, 2011 (Fri-Sun) Nashville, TN
• April 29-May 1, 2011 (Fri-Sun) Atlanta, GA
The book tour site has links to all of the webpages for these places (where I could find them). So go there for further information.
Secondly, for those who have been asking, I have just heard from the publishers that Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika by Gudo Nishijima and Brad Warner will be available in March. Amazon still lists it both as coming out on January first and as being unavailable. Hopefully they'll soon re-list it as available for pre-order.
Thirdly, I stupidly fell in love with and subsequently bought a bass. It's a lovely 1975 Fender Precision, apparently once owned by someone who abused the poor thing horribly. There are scratches that look like knife marks, as well as what appear to be burn marks in the finish. This bass has been through Heck! But it played so beautifully and sounded precisely the way I've always dreamed a bass guitar should sound, so I bought it even though I really cannot afford it. (FYI, it was not even close to as expensive as an instrument of this vintage ought to have been)
This means I need to sell the two basses I already own. Nobody really needs three bass guitars anyway. I thought that before I put them on Craig's List or eBay for just anyone to purchase I'd offer them up here and see what happens.
One is the 1974 Fender Musicmaster seen in this photo at the Matinee in Akron, Ohio in 2007. This is the gig that was written about in the book Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma. Imagine! You could actually own the bass I played in the gig from the book! What a thrill! (I'm geeky enough that if I were a fan of someone, this kind of thing would be really cool to me. So I'm not making fun at all here.)
It has some minor issues with the jack. It cuts out sometimes and you have to jiggle the plug to get the sound back. This is a very small problem that would take a couple minutes with a soldering iron to fix. Unfortunately I don't have a soldering iron. Otherwise the bass is amazing. There are a couple little dings in the finish. But all that stuff you've heard about short scale basses sounding less awesome than long scale basses is a lie! This thing sounds incredible. I used it on all tracks on the Zero Defex CD. You can listen to the MP3 samples of the tracks there to hear what it sounds like.
I paid about $700 for this back when I had a decent job. You can find Musicmasters for less than that and you can find them for more than that. I'd like to get at least what I paid for it. It's an American-made vintage instrument.
The other is my Ibanez Rickenbacker copy, which can also be seen in this video. It is not a Rickenbacker, but an incredible simulation. The only significant difference is that the neck is bolted on. It doesn't go through the body like a real Rick. It is probably also not made out of the same type of wood that Rickenbacker used. But I do not know for sure.
In the 1970s Ibanez produced a lot of very high quality copies of US-made guitars and basses. They had a lot of trouble over these when the US companies sued them for violating their intellectual property rights by copying their designs. Rickenbacker was especially vigorous in pursuing those cases. Thus, while Ibanez and other Japanese companies' copies of Fenders and Gibsons are still easy to find, you will not find very many Rickenbacker copies anymore. In fact, this is the only Ibanez Rick copy I have ever seen or even heard of. It is one of only two copies I have ever seen of a Rickenbacker bass.
The Ibanez is probably worth at least $1000 to a collector. I didn't pay that much for it because the guy who was selling it just didn't want it anymore. I got real lucky on this one. An actual Rickenbacker 4001 bass will set you back three or four grand and will not look or sound significantly different from this (if you ask me, at least).
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. We'll talk. I'm really sad to see these go, so you'll have to be nice to me.