Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Cynthia and I went to visit Pablo's grave today. We found a beautiful phoenix bird right after the last time we were there when Cynthia wanted Pablo to be a phoenix. It was so peaceful there. We laid out a picnic blanket and had a snack. We brought the phoenix up there along with Cynthia's paper dolls from her story book of 'Pablove.' There is a second story coming from the adventure today and here are some of the pics from it...
love to you all, xxoo, Sarah & Cynthia
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The little boy, who is wearing a basketball jersey with a white tee shirt underneath, is looking at me. His arm is pointed in Chili's direction. He is happy. He is about to pet a dog as his family breakfasts two tables away, peering over in the direction of the chubby yellow dog who may or may not be nice.
'Yes!' I insist. 'She's very friendly.' And before my mind can edit my heart, 'And she loves to play with little boys.' The boy knelt down and began to pet Chili. She looked up at me, then at him. Her tongue continued to wag.
After a couple minutes the boy looked over at his dad looking at him. He stood up. 'Thank you.' He walked away.
Chili stood up, sniffing the air the boy left in his wake. Her ears perked up. She looked at me. She came over for a snuggle. Maybe a minute passed. A little girl and her mom emerged from inside La Mill.
'Is your dog nice?' Another tiny voice, this time from a girl. Her mother stood by her side. She was wearing a shirt that Jo Ann also has. My interaction with the girl was the same as it had been with the boy a couple minutes earlier. The girl's interaction with Chili was the same as the boy's. Chili soaked up the attention the same way she does with everyone - she glowed from her eyes and leaned into the petting hand strokes.
After a bit, the little girl looked up. 'Thank you' to me. 'Bye bye' to Chili. Mom and daughter walked down the sidewalk, stopping two tables down from us. The little boy and the little girl were brother and sister.
I wanted to walk over and thank them for, well, just being kids with Chili. I wanted to tell them about my little boy. That his name was Pablo. That 13 weeks ago, he and I sat at the very same table they'd breakfasted on. I wanted to thank the parents for allowing their children to bring a ray of light to Chili, and to me.
I did none of that. Instead, I sat in my chair and watched the family as they made plans for their next Sunday stop. Took a sip of my coffee. Let the thoughts settle. Practiced sitting with my feelings.
A sip or two later, a message floated up: the words I wanted to say to the family, are words I need to say to myself, within myself. The sweetness that flowed through me was for me, not meant to be given away and dulled in a social exchange; a gift to help me glide along my way.
A few sips later, high as a kite on French Press-extracted caffeine, a larger message - perhaps a question about a concept I like to believe - wafted its way up to my brain: was it Pablo himself who guided two children to interact with his Papa and his beloved Chili dawg?
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I had a couple meetings yesterday at Warner Bros Records. Some Dangerbird business, some Pablove Foundation business. A nice mix. The Pablove meeting was with Holly Adams, Diarmuid Quinn and Piero Giramonti. Holly had to suffer through far too much cycling geek talk as we settled in to talk about the Pablove Across America stuff. This trio is part of our extended family at Warner - a big group of people comprised of longtime and some new friends who have banded together to help us market and raise corporate funds for Pablove Across America.
As I was walking out of that meeting, a friend of mine, Brant Weil, was standing outside Diarmuid's office. Not surprising to see him. He's a marketing exec at Warner. As I approached Brant, a smile appeared on his face - not always the case when a label guy sees a band manager. Since Brant and I don't have a project together at the moment, I knew that we were all good. 'I have a story to tell you,' he said as we stepped down the stairs into the lobby.
He began by saying something Jo Ann and I have heard countless times over the past 16 months. I'm paraphrasing here, but it went something like this: 'I've started to write this story to you a million times, but all I've got is this half-written email.' I laughed and said one of my favorite sayings of late. 'I get it dude.'
That's my fave turn lately cos it's true and cos it applies to so many things I hear from so many people. Somebody might start to tell me about their confusion and how much it hurts.
Me: 'I get it dude.'
Somebody might write an email describing a wonderful shift in their day that was inspired by simply letting go of a useless hurt or resentment.
Me: 'I get it dude.'
And my favorite, the story of the half-written email. Interestingly, that one is about the email itself, not the story it half-tells in its incomplete state. I do get the half-written email. Like, I understand it. I don't 'get' it until it's signed, sealed and delivered. Terrible attempt at levity, I know.
The thing about the half-written email - we all have them in our DRAFTS folder right now, right? - is this: it's a trick our intellect plays on our emotional selves. The thing between our ears hedges and holds back. The emotional fire dims. Gets bummed. Then the phone rings. Then the moment passes. Something like that... That's the way it always happens to me.
Brant's story was touching. It felt great to hear how Pablo's death has affected him. He was out of town when Pablo passed away. The blog post from that day hit Brant in a way that caused him to not second-guess. I'll leave it at that cos I didn't ask him for permission to tell his story. The main message is that I am grateful Brant told me his story. Whether it had come in the completed form of that half-written email or in person, as it did, his words inspired me. Made me feel clear and full of hope.
Running into Brant was unexpected. And yet it feels like our meeting was meant to happen. Like if it hadn't happened something wouldn't feel quite right about Friday September 11 2009.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
We are so so so happy to f i n a l l y announce the Pablove Across America ride. Countless people have helped us get here. I will write plenty about the specific efforts of Dangerbird, Filter, Sram, Felt Bikes and others in the coming days. Today's main event is to reveal the details of our new venture.
This is our first major push to expand the Pablove Foundation. You have all been incredibly supportive tin the past 16 months. Today, we ask that you continue your support of our efforts to help kids with cancer. Please spread the word FAR and WIDE. Our goal is to raise $1 million as my friend and cycling coach Rick Babington ride from St Augustine FL to Pablo's grave at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills here in Los Angeles.
The beginning of the PAA story is on the video with Lance Armstrong and I. The rest of it—every little detail—is on the brand new Pablove Foundation website, which launched a few minutes ago. (You may have to clear the cache in your web browser for it to appear.)
We have three specific requests to make:
• Embed the Pablove Across America website widget on your Facebook page, blog, website, or wherever.
• Spread the above video FAR and WIDE
• Invite as many people as you can think of to check out the Pablove Foundation site, and ask them to get involved. And to pass it on to their friends.
Wow. Am I selling Kool-Aid here? No, something far more important. Today is the day we are taking the big, important step to further Pablo's legacy of love and boundless energy. To grow the Pablove Foundation and grow our coffers so we can help children who have cancer—and their families—to have a better time in their treatment experience.
Before we shot the video, Lance and I talked about Pablo and his kids. We've both spent many afternoons with our climbing the old trains in Travel Town. As we rode side by side to the ride start at the Zoo, I pointed out to Lance the big grass field where I taught Pablo how to ride without training wheels.
As we approached the crowd of 1000-plus riders, cops and press - with news helicopters hovering around overhead - my gut filled with butterflies. To ride into that crowd next to the man whose call to action created the melee was a deeply powerful experience. As I looked over to Lance to thank him for his unflinching support, the crowd swallowed him. The head police officer on the scene approached him with a giant smile on his face. Shook his hand. Asked how he and his men could make the ride smooth and safe. Interesting, cos on the way there Lance asked me if I thought the cops would be cool. Today's ride was a Twitter flash mob. No permits. Just a bunch of riders doing what we riders do - turning over the cranks. In this case, to show solidarity with a man whose life mission is to help every single person within 10 miles of Griffith Park and beyond.
That's the way cancer works. Turns out it'll touch the lives of everyone who is reading this and everyone you see today. All day.
The video will be posted by noon LA time. Can't wait for you to see it. Can't wait to gety this thing rolling for real. The entire Dangerbird family, along with Filter Marketing and a l o t of other people and companies, has built quite a machine with Pablove and the PAA ride. I get the same feeling when I walk into our office that I did riding into that crowd this morning: butterflies.
And you know about those....
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
My buddy Todd Rubenstein is an entertainment lawyer by day and a volunteer instructor for the Inside Out Writers program by night. He invited me to sit with seven young men from Block H. These guys meet with Todd every Wednesday. They listen to Todd read a piece of writing, something that sets the tone for the day. Back in June, Todd carried his own printed Pablog post into the Wednesday night writers circle. He read it as the week's writing sample, to get the kids started on a topic. He told me later that the kids dug deep in their writing that week, that they related to Pablo's story a lot.
Walking into jail tonight I felt at home. Not because the walls in my house are painted piss yellow, but because I feel like I'm in lockdown. When I wake up in the morning I feel like the walls are closing in. In normal times I feel like that once in a while. Having it start first thing in the morning is pain on top of pain. It feels small, tight, like a jail cell. These rooms also remind me of hospital rooms. You get a bed, a place to wash up, and some people behind a central desk. Here they are called guards or discipline officers. At Childrens Hospital they're called nurses, and they're much nicer. But they don't have to deal with fights and discipline and s**t like that.
Walking in here, I felt hope. Hope for the dudes who live here. I get to leave. They don't. My greatest hope for love and for the dudes in here is that they can connect with their love and empathy and turn around whatever it is that got them here. I grew up not feeling a lot of love. I don't know everyone's story in this room, but I bet a lot of these guys are growing up the way I did. My parents left me with someone who messed me up. Felt a lot of anger, got in a lot of trouble. And that was just what I got caught doing. Somewhere in my 20s I got sick of trouble and started asking for help. That's when the word LOVE showed up on the street signs. I'm not a whole lot different than the guys in this room. A lot of people offered me help. I said 'no' time after time. At some point, after the millionth time, I started saying 'yes.' That's when I opened myself up to the possibility of love. It started with finding a way to accept myself, to stop believing I was a piece of shit. When I learned how to love me, I was able to love others.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I have carried these two cards in my wallet for five years. Today, I'm letting them go. Gonna mail them to myself—from the office to the house. When they arrive at home, I will put them in a memento box. The mailing part is something I made up. Don't ask me what it means. It's just a way to symbolize and formalize the letting go-ness.
I've carried these cards around for the exact reason you might think. They remind me of Scott. And I like to be reminded of him. Five years is a long time. 1,825 days. Almost the entire length of Pablo's life. In all those days, these cards made me happy, sad, angry and, ultimately, proud of the time Scott shared with me in his life. They always remind me of one thing Scott said to me the night before he died. I was sitting at the foot of his bed, my head on the covers. I was tired. Spent. Flattened. He was temperature immune—not in need of a blanket or a sheet, or even a shirt—just laying on his hospital bed, flitting in and out of sleep. As I lay in my study hall sleeping pose, I felt him lift his foot off the mattress. He rubbed the top of my head with his foot in a playful way. I looked up at him. In his almost-gone voice, he said something to me so simple, so hard for me to accept. Such a gift. He said, 'You're a good guy.' I felt so many things in the moments after those four words hit my ears. Seen is one of them. Scott always saw me, and always made me feel seen and heard. He took so much time out of his life to be interested in my life, particularly when I was in my formative years. Scott was seven years older than me, eight years older than Dean, so it's especially powerful that he reached back for us. The age disparity would rule that out in many peoples' lives.
I have tried to live up to Scott's assertion. Hasn't been easy. Sometimes I feel like a complete f*** up. Who doesn't?
Before I pull out the memento box, let me tell you about these cards.
The yellow one is a frequent drinker punch card from Intelligentsia in Chicago. This was years and years before Intelly Silverlake came about. In fact, Scott would have sold his house in Chicago and moved here in an instant if he'd have known this single fact. I swear! He'd be simply stunned at how supportive James Marcotte, Kyle Glanville and the Intelly LA crew have been with The Pablove Foundation. Scott, Dean and I started going to Intelly when there was only one location, on Broadway. Then they opened one in the lobby of the Monadnock Building in the Loop. That building was the first skyscraper. Right in the thick of the streets that Scott loved. The streets lined with buildings whose stories Scott knew by heart. When Scott was in the hospital that last time, he had a unquenchable thirst for Mexican Coke. In Chicago, you can't find that stuff as easily as you can in LA. Intelly had it. At one point, we'd bought both Loop locations out of stock. And he still wanted more!
The blue one is a Chicago Transit Authority card. I did many train rides from Midway and O'Hare airports to Scott's house south of Grant Park and the Loop. One time I got all the way to the Loop and realized I'd forgotten my suit in Midway. Had to jump off the train, drop down the stairs and ascend to the other side of the platform. It was my final and longest trip to Chicago. It was clear to Scott and to all of us that he was near the end of his life. That's why I was carrying a suit. I was frazzled running all the way back to Midway, feeling I was disappointing my brother by adding an extra 90 minutes to my arrival time. Plus, I didn't want to have to deal with buying a new suit if it had been nicked. In the end, all was alright. The damn suit bag was exactly where I'd left it, draped over the back of chair.
I feel better having told you all this. Thank you for listening.