As I travelled the world as a young man, the one thing that
always really got to me was the feeling that America was…lacking something that
almost every other country had. A rock-solid connection to a shared history,
perhaps you could call it.
In other words, a culture! Hah!
It’s a pretty common observation, I know, but whenever you’d
walk out into a city like Budapest or Prague, you could see thousands of years
of history built straight into the very essence of the town around you. With
each block came structures that were built hundreds of years ago by people who
knew that they’d never get to use them, but knew that future generations would.
There’s something to that concept that got lost in
translation as people packed their bags and moved here. It may be because we
got all the poor buggers of Europe moving over here in the early days whose
idea of adequate shelter is a thatched roof on a pile of rotten logs, but
whatever the case may be, I feel we got short-shifted in the exchange. Their
houses and the landscaping surrounding their dwellings captured a feeling, a
spirit, a people! Ours are…pragmatic. The frontier spirit, I guess.
Since our first tours out to Europe and then my own personal
travels to places like North Africa, India, China, Southeast Asia, and Japan, I’ve
been determined to grab a little of that time-transcendent energy and put it
into a home
that my family can use for generations to come. If you’ve read this blog
for any length of time, you know the family aspect of my life can definitely
use some work, but I do believe I have the house and its landscaping worked out
The perfect generational house has to have the permanent, opulent
yard to match, and for that I found an incredible company to help me get my
plans worked out just to my liking, Torrey
Pines Landscaping in La Jolla. Those guys have made some genuinely
incredible landscapes over the years, and they’ve helped me on more than one
occasion work up some landscaping plans that would be fit for a minor Asiatic prince,
harem and all.
For the real major jobs, the company provides a full CAD
(computer aided design) mockup of what the yard is going to look like, and as
changes are made or requested, you get real time updates on how those changes
are going to affect your landscaping without the need to just visualize it in
your head. This leads to you being less stressed during construction and makes
it way easier for everyone since you’re way more likely to fall in love with
the design instead of making last minute adjustments.
So, if you’re looking to reclaim a little of that Old World
spirit in your abode to pass on to future generations through some landscaping in your La Jolla home,
I can’t recommend Torrey Pines Landscaping enough.
One addiction I got into while on tour (don’t worry about
the many others) was an obsession with gambling. Every night in the bus we’d
get a poker game going with the boys in the band and the roadies, with the
driver and security joining in once we reached the hotel for the night. I can
still remember the thrill of victory during a night drive from San Francisco to
Tucson as I finally took the pot, only to realize a split second later that we
had played up until we were a half hour away from the venue and I hadn’t slept
in 32 hours.
That night’s show was frantic, to say the least.
As my other addictions were, ahem, taken care of over the
years and I got older, the desire to gamble has always stayed with me, lurking
beneath the shadows, ready to raise its pernicious head whenever the
opportunity presented itself. Instead of kicking it with more yoga like
everything else, however, I realized I could use this particular impulse for
some constructive use in my post-retirement life.
That constructive use? Buying businesses for cheap, turning them around, and then selling them again for a healthy profit. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those skeevy dudes who buys otherwise healthy businesses, guts them to improve accounting profits then sells them to a competitor. I’m way too vain to not leave the company way better than when I found it.
That being said, even at a discount, a lot of these
businesses don’t come cheap, and every single one of them is a major gamble I
take with what income I get from the residuals from my touring days. The thrill
of making the purchase, seeing what mess I’ve brought upon myself, and laying
out a plan to turn the company around scratches the same itch I get from
playing the tables at Morongo or Caesar’s. I just have the added benefit of
really helping some of the employees I inherit.
There is one risk I never, ever take when buying one of
these enterprises, however – not buying business insurance. I have very little stomach
for lawyers, and even less for the litigious morons our society seems to spit
out at an ever-increasing rate, so ensuring every company I take on is one of
the primary first steps I take once I’m in control.
During a search for insurance providers for my most recent
acquisition, I came into contact with a local star who really put the other
agents I’ve worked with to shame with his attentiveness and solid workmanlike
spirit – Byron Galindo. His Venice
Beach-based insurance firm knocked it out of the park during our initial
discussions about the nature of the business and how they could serve our
As a natural gambler, if there’s any risk I would advise any
young man never to entertain, its going through life without some insurance
where you can get it. So much of life is random happenstance, and if you
voluntarily invite greater risk than normal, its best to have a way to mitigate
it at least on some fronts.
For that, I recommend insurance. If you’re in the Venice
Beach area, I’d further recommend looking into Galindo Insurance.
I think one of the reasons for my success as a creative
force has been to some inherent restlessness in my soul, the ever-present
desire for new experiences and novelty. I know for a fact this is why I’ve had
so many ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, and ex-everythings. I get restless and bored
without some new interest driving me to learn or experience something totally
foreign to me.
So, I recently read a wild book about a guy in the mid-1800s
who decided to ditch his studies and head out on a ship to experience the life
of a sailor (Two Years Before the Mast, great read, totally recommend), and it
got me thinking – hey, the ocean is this crazy, mercurial thing that can’t be
tamed. I’m a crazy, mercurial thing that can’t be tamed. There’s probably a sort
of kinship I can form with this thing.
Long story short, I’ve decided to take up sailing. As I age
and I watch the other guys around me descend into drinking and golfing, in that
order, I figure at least the unpredictability of life on the waves will keep my
wits sharp and my liver semi-functional.
Once I set my mind on picking up the art of sailing, all that
was left was to relocate to a new house that would complete this impulsive
pursuit and make it easy to get from boat to home. I’ve travelled around the
world and lived all over, and one place I’ve wanted to come back to is the
beach cities in Orange County – there’s not a more beautiful place in the world
with more gorgeous divorcees per square foot.
real estate in the county looking as erratic as it is, I decided to just
dive in and go for it. My penchant for custom housing is well documented in
this blog; what I like in the look of my home changes about as often as my
hobbies. So, as I searched up and down the OC coast, Balboa immediately stuck
out with its amazing beachfront and the variety in how people designed their
properties over the years.
As I walked down the road, one particular custom
home on Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach caught my attention. The things I
look for in a house can be boiled down to: if it fits my lifestyle, if the
location is right, and if it has character. This house checked all my boxes: a
breezy beachy character with a ton of open space for bringing the boys back
after a hard day on the open water or a yacht club party with plenty of modern accoutrements
that say, “yes, I am a wealthy person who owns a boat.”
The house was constructed by Sailhouse Construction, a native
Newport Beach company that has been building incredible homes that are peppered
all over the peninsula and the larger Newport Beach area. The name alone was
enough to convince me that it’s probably fated for me to own one of their
properties, so we’re already in the process of trying to close a deal.
Images of myself with a captain’s hat, a big blue peacoat
and a corncob pipe stuck in my bearded face staring steely at a rough sea are
already playing in my head, so you can imagine how excited I am to get moved in
and start on the next adventure. I’m also pretty excited not to be living in
the boat I bought last week that’s languishing in the Balboa Marina, which in
hindsight may have been jumping the gun a bit.
If you’ve looked at these photos and said, ‘Man, I want to
look into some of these shiny digs’, give the construction company a look. They’ve
done some pretty incredible work.
170 Newport Center Dr Suite 220, Newport Beach, CA 92660