Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Capitol Pic

So, I'm sure you're anxious to see pics from our visit to the Capitol today, right?

Tough. Look at them anyway. Here's the first one:

I'm the bald guy third from the right thinking, "Wow, we have a lot more directors than I remember!?"

If you want to see more, go here. In fact, go there anyway. You'll be glad you did.

Oh, and you will notice something out of the ordinary in the other pics. The governor's right eye seems to be distorted. He apparently had a "racquetball incident." Seems even 24-hour bodyguards can't protect you from everything.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Caption Contest

Ok. You're about to see a picture of a very handsome man. When you do, give me your best caption and submit via the comment link. If you don't know the man in the pic, you can still play, but your chances of winning are seriously reduced.

I have included the inaugural caption underneath the photo. Scroll slowly, now.


Are you sure?



"The UWM Panther Pep Band wants YOU!"

On your mark, get set, go.

Ben D, Traci, and me

Had a good Easter with the family. The name of the third boy has now been changed to Benjamin Davis, so that he can be called by my late maternal grandfather’s name, Ben D. For the record, “Ben” was not short for anything, it was just “Ben.” “D” was not short for anything either. “D” was literally his middle name, as his mother was from the country and had always heard people referred to by their first name then a single letter.

Landon continues to be a mess. By looking at him, you can already tell that he is up to something, and that something may not be something good. He is a little white ball of mischief and poop.

I have a friend that was in Athens for four years and moved away last year. We never really had much of anything to do with each other when she lived here. Now that she is some 500 miles away, it has become clear that we actually have a lot in common. How convenient. In any case, our conversations have become a valuable part of my daily routine, and I am glad she makes herself available to listen and talk.

Change seems to be all around. Some of it I like, and some of it confuses and frustrates me. My blog is titled what it is for a related reason. I can’t count the number of times I have heard the phrase “I wish I didn’t care so much” being used to paint a very emotional person as some sort of social martyr. There’s nothing noble about that at all. There is something to be said for minding your own business, I’m just not very good at it. I hope that doesn’t make me expendable. For every snag it causes, it most certainly provides benefits as well. I'm sure it's awfully easy to forget, though, when it’s getting on your nerves.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

…and we’re buhaaackuh!

I tried to sleep with the shades open last night, as I refused to set an alarm clock and thought I might wake up to the sun. Unfortunately, the royal blue light from a bank sign on a twenty-story building in downtown Chattanooga insisted on repeatedly hitting my left eye in that exact spot one just can’t ignore as he is trying to sleep. So I had to shut the “total blackout” shades that can frequently be found in luxury hotels. Once I did, it became much easier to sleep.

And sleep I did, almost into the double digits. It was nice.

I woke up, turned down an invitation to attend the Aquarium with some of the students who are dearest to me, and headed to the Starbucks just outside the lobby of our hotel. I drank my coffee, had a piece of blueberry cakestrudelscone and read the paper. I called Russ and wished him a happy birthday two days late and enjoyed the light breeze, 68-degree temperature, and my “I’m not a hobo but I wish I was” hoody.

Off we went to the game. We received a police escort, the first I have ever been a part of in my ten years of basketball games. It struck me, as we entered the parking lot of the arena, how much fun this ride really has been. I have so, so many memories of basketball in particular that I think are really unique. Easily the most memorable have been those of the post-season tournaments.

I remember Albuquerque the first time, which was 1996. I remember spelling “Albuquerque” the first time, which I thought was a good thing to know since I was flying there by myself. That was the site where I became irritated at Raym0nd C@stleberry’s talking and improvising in the middle of a rehearsal we were having outside the hotel. We were on a hillside that was literally on the edge of the desert. I called him down at the end of the rehearsal and he responded to my correction with a bit of lip. I responded to his lip by throwing his flip folder off of the side of the hill. Good thing his pages were loose and there was a nice breeze, as his parts were blown swiftly into the desert like tumbleweed. As long as I am alive, I will remember Raym0nd dropping his horn and chasing his parts like a dog after a pickup truck.

Denver the same year was fun too. There was a bar two blocks from the hotel, and I’m pretty sure they covered their expenses for the month in the five days we were there. Brad, Warren, and I virtually hiked to Golden and took the city bus back. A band member set off the fire alarm in the middle of the night before the game. We lost by just a few to Syracuse. We should have won.

The next year, we played UTC in Charlotte. The band arrived as tip-off was happening due to traffic and incompetence on the part of the venue staff. We would lose the game, and Tubby would flee to UK three weeks later.

And even today, as I was putting on my standard black sweater vest and tie, I was watching the first game of the two-game set at the arena at which we would be playing. Minutes later, I was at the game which I was just watching on tv. Minutes after that, I was in the elevator with this HUGE woman who would be playing against us. Shortly after that, I was actually on the same network that I was watching a few minutes earlier. Not many people get to experience that.

After the game, I led our people back to the bus and stood silently and watched as they loaded the equipment back on the bus for the trip home. I got that lump in my throat again – the same one I had in Tampa. But this one was different. This one was appreciative of the singularly wonderful experiences I have had with these people.

I got on the bus, listened with a giggle to the lighthearted argument over whether to watch a movie or basketball. I handed my pass and a pen to Matt Phillips and told him to sign it and then pass it to the next band member. I counted my people and relaxed in my seat one last time, and watched the arena fade behind us.

We went to the hotel, packed up and hit the road. As we approached I-24, I looked to the west and said, “Hold your horses.” Then I looked to the east, and then to I-75 South with a fondness that will disappear when they bury me.

I am very glad to have been a part of something so fulfilling, and very proud to have been Georgian when I did.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Chattavegas and the Guvnah

Tonight the bball band and I find ourselves in Chattanooga ("America's Dairyland"). This is a different group than the Texas bunch, with the exception of two or three who were kind enough to pull double duty to help out their fellow band members. Awww. This hotel is pretty great. It's actually got food around it and what not, and has the most comfortable beds of any hotel chain I have ever experienced. The last Sherat0n in which I stayed was the site of the Great Naked Sleepwalking Incident of Brotherly Love. I am double-locking my doors and have left a pair of boxers outside my door just in case.

Kudos to the Panthers of UWM and their fearless leader for one hell of a run in the NCAA Tournament. Proud of ya.

The bus on which we travelled to this fair (which is a IV) city had sattelite television on board. With the exception of the time spent watching The Incredibles, we did not miss a minute of Men's March Madness. This is fine and good, but it sure is a shame that students are no longer forced to dream up silly games or songs to fill their time. Bummer.

My colleagues and I will have the privilege of meeting the governor this coming Tuesday. We will be presenting him with a copy of the print commemorating the band's 100th season , and he will declare a day to be determined (hopefully soon) "Redc0at Band Day." I’m looking forward to that.

Russ, I thought your birthday was today (Friday). Ellen can tell you why. So happy birthday and good job getting squeezed out and all.

Charles, thanks for what you wrote. That’s pretty cool, and confirms for me exactly why I did stick around all these years.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Necessary conflict

So on my one day of not being able to read blogs, Russ decides to get all political and stuff and brings up his favorite political topic: gerrymandering. Not really, I just like the way “gerrymandering” sounds. It should mean “illicit sexual activity in a public place,” or “tampering with a hairpiece.” Unfortunately it doesn’t, because the world would be a better place if that’s what it was.

Actually Russ’s interest was in gun control. I do not want my blog to become a political rant, because I can think of ten million things I would rather do than talk about a political topic that will ultimately not change anyone’s opinion or the government’s policy. But here is something that I have thought for a long time.

Utopia does not exist. It is impossible for it to exist, because that existence would enable a selfish opportunist to take advantage of it, thus ruining the party for everyone. And while I have no contempt for the idealist (I consider myself one much of the time), it is important to remember that government is not only responsible for creating the best possible end. It is also responsible for creating the best possible now. So, while we seek a perfect world, let us set aside the green grass and rainbows for a moment and be realistic.

Absolute power sucks. It also corrupts absolutely, and thus it must be avoided at all costs. Any government that you “trust” is a government that is one step too close to absolute power for my taste. Not trusting a government doesn’t imply disobedience, disloyalty, or intent to overthrow. It means not simply believing a government always intends the best for you or for everyone. It would be different if people were perfect or if the government weren’t run by people. Unfortunately Catholic bishops and Steve Jobs have a long way to go before solving those problems, so we have an imperfect government.


When a government is corrupt, unfairness must result. This is an unfairness of the most fundamental effect – an unfairness that, because of the government’s breadth and power can change or end one’s freedom, one’s opportunity or ability to function in society, or one’s very life. This is an easy thing to hear and accept when it’s a Kevin Costner movie, but probably not so easy to deal with when it is you that some selfish or mad agent of the government has decided needs to go to jail or die. Imagine what is effectively the government deciding that you will suffer an injustice. Imagine how hopeless you would feel and your knowledge and belief that what you were enduring was not just mean, inconvenient, or painful but truly wrong in a global sense.

(For the record, this is why I am now opposed to the death penalty from a governmental standpoint)

How are we to avoid absolute power? Well, the traditional argument is that we do so by election. This is somewhat true – with regular elections we avoid that power’s permanence. But this has never managed to prevent congress from giving itself pay raises, or a president’s pardoning his own brother or the “crooked” ex-president from his own party. Unfortunately, elections are not won on a term-long record, rather they are won on well-timed moves and effective spin. Anyone who cries that recalls are the answer to this has never tried to get a county commissioner recalled, much less a federal official. Election can not prevent absolute power in non-election years.

In my experiences with the band, we have struggled with many big decisions. The discussion surrounding the most controversial of those often revolved around “how the band would take” a given decision. In other words, if we made a profoundly unpopular decision, how many people would walk? Would they revolt by standing on the field and refusing to play at pregame? We rarely, but occasionally had to consider whether or not a decision would be so unpopular as to make us powerless by way of overthrow.

I believe this is what the founders intended with the second amendment. I believe that they desired to keep the government honest by way of the remote but real threat of its own destruction. Hell, they knew about the power of guns and a few overtaxed colonists. The way they overcame the oppression of the Brits was by overthrow, and they knew that the presence of this possibility was an effective method of preventing oppression (at home at least) by the government (whether the oppressed was an individual or a “sovereign state”).

In other words, there is a necessary level of conflict between a free people and her government – a level of conflict which facilitates the checking of the government by the governed and vice versa. Unfortunately, conflict results in discomfort, lack of ease, the occasional bruise, and yes, death. Ask Amadou Diallo. You can’t.

This level of conflict works on multiple levels. The government itself avoids overthrow by tempering its more harsh instincts or necessities in favor of a palatable alternative. The government agent avoids being destroyed by respecting that each individual is capable of defending herself from the government. Yes, it also results in hardship. Police officers have to exercise a frightened and uncomfortable caution when they approach citizens. While I know this makes keeping the peace difficult, I personally prefer this to a world in which officers walk up to anyone and tell them what to do with no justification, or worse force them to do something with no regard for their rights (I know that courts are supposed to prevent this, but they often only “prevent” things after they have happened.).

The only way this conflict is effective is if the people are physically capable of defending themselves against their government, both individually and collectively, just as the government is capable of defending itself against its people. In order for this to be possible, the people must have access to the same weapons as their government.

Now, that is obviously impossible on a mass level. Sorry, you dumbass militias out there, but you ain’t gettin’ you no Howitzer no time soon, bubba. Not to mention the fact that no bunch of redneck gun-toters is going to overthrow the IGA on Poplar and Main, much less the federal government. That’s stupid.

But a citizen’s having access to the same weaponry that the beat cop in the neighborhood has is pretty good insurance against Lt. Coaltrain deciding he needs some man-love on a slow day. Sorry, but if I were the one pursued in that case, I would shoot first and ask questions later. That threat is theoretically what prevents that Beatty-esque pervert from exercising his sick, twisted, but unfortunately absolute power over me.

I think it completely sucks that guns are used to kill innocent people. I think it is horrendous that a kid can take a weapon into a school and kill himself and his classmates because his girlfriend isn’t ready or he failed to save his game of Halo 2. I think that judge, and that court reporter, and those cops served nobly and most certainly didn’t deserve to die for what were most likely very thankless jobs.

But I think I would care for the alternative far less. Better the thug to kill a few in a futile attempt at freedom than the omnipotent to kill the masses because they don’t fit “the profile."

For better or for worse, this country didn’t develop out of peace and love. It developed out of restlessness and anger at an oppressive government that was put into action with endurance, ruggedness, and guns. The government won’t be giving up its guns, and in order to avoid absolute power, I suspect that the people won’t be either.

I do believe that most people are fundamentally good, and that the most responsible governors respect citizenship and seek to avoid unchecked government power. Those aren't the people from whom this insurance policy protects the people. The problems of the world rarely result from the good.

I am opposed to gun control which would tip the balance of power so far away from the people that the government could become unmanageably oppressive. In other words, if the government can use those weapons against her people, then a justice that embraces neither over the other should not prohibit the people from defending themselves from their government.

You might think I’m crazy. You should hear me when I’m drunk.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Home again

Well we obviously had a great time at the game. We won, and enjoyed every second of it. After the game, we took the whole bunch to On the Border. There were many rumors as to who would be picking up the check. The answer was “you will,” where you≠Brett. We went to the charter service at Love Field and waited for the team and the plane.

The team arrived promptly. The plane did not. But it got there, and we began security screening as the baggage handlers handled the baggage…

apparently very poorly at some point, as they somehow managed to “scratch” the cargo door. Unfortunately, this necessitated calling a certified aircraft mechanic to come in and inspect the plane to make sure it was fit to fly.

After much hijinx, including a successful attempt by one of our members to secure the promise of a cigar in Chattanooga from the head coach of the team, we were off. I couldn’t sleep, but the ride back was absolutely beautiful. I have always been intrigued by the appearance of the world from the air, especially cities and the surroundings. I enjoy seeing the glow of the downtowns and watching the number of lights gradually fade as you pass over the rural areas, so that those few lights take on the resemblance of candles floating on a lake.

*unable to contain laughter anymore, he accidentally spews laughter and saliva all over the screen*

I did that just to be ridiculous. But it was pretty. We also passed over the thunderstorms which would hit Atlanta the next day. Watching lightning from above is amazing.


We arrived at the back door of the coliseum at 6:43 am Eastern Time, some 3 hours after our initial estimated arrival time. I went home, showered and headed to the office. I was actually coherent most of the day, whereas I normally wouldn’t be coherent all day.

Now my schedule is all whacked, but I think it was probably worth it.

I realized something on this trip. Though I am entering a field in which most work is done by individuals or small groups, I very much enjoy traveling with a large group of people like that. It is fun to watch their inhibitions slowly disappear, especially when a portion of the group like the team lives such a public life. It is neat watching them open themselves to the band guys, and allowing themselves to be a unique human for a while, rather than just another all-American or masthead caption. I will have to find a way to be involved in something like this in the next chapter, because I am reminded that I don’t have all the answers, and that there is some unique value to each person you encounter. I’m just not enough to occupy myself forever, and I suspect that’s why there is more than one person in existence.

Speaking of that, you’re all wrong about gun control and Schiavo.

I’m just kidding, but I will offer my $.02 soon. Dinner with a very dear friend tonight, and I’m trying to take head-pictures so I will remember what this feels like when it’s not so easy to experience anymore.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Movie Day

Correction: Having heard the name several times today, the correct nickname is "el Pus."

I ate my second meal at a particular burger establishment for lunch, as most of the restaurants at the mall were closed when we arrived. This was also the only establishment at the mall that had a tv set, which was critical to observing the continuation of the bracket-busting that has been so prevalent in this year’s tournament.

We brought them back to the hotel, where a game of basketball ensued between several band members and cheerleaders. I am told that one of the female cheerleaders was a prep bball player, and that she took several of the band boys to school. Good on you.

Tonight was movie night, at the same old mall. I once again ate at the same burger establishment and am, in Gunner’s words, "in dire need of fiber." Most of the people went to see "The Ring 2." A few went to see "Million Dollar Baby," and even fewer to see "The Pacifier." I am a sap, and enjoyed "Hitch"… everyone else had already seen it. Loved it.

I left the theater with this big grin on my face, having laughed a lot over the previous 90 minutes. As I sauntered down the hallway, a few of the cheerleaders were looking at the ground as though something horrible had happened, and one in particular was coughing excessively and being watched on and off by the others. I went up to Schmateman, and at first there was silence. He then whispered that they had all absolutely wailed at the end of "Million Dollar Baby." It became obvious that they weren’t quite over that awkward moment at the end of the movie when everyone knows that everyone else cried, but doesn’t want to admit it yet. I was still smiling.

We returned to the hotel, in the midst of some crass, typical basketball band-esque discussion.

I think we are on the Uno Monday night at 7 Eastern. We should be back in Athens around 4am Tuesday morning.

New pet peeve: hotel toilets that have to "think about it" before flushing.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Win and Periphery

We gave everyone the morning off and headed for the arena around 11:30 central time. Everything was pretty much normal. We sat and watched UT dismantle Or@l Roberts (insert crass basketball band cheer here). The UT and TX Tech fans were there in force. We were pretty much expecting this. We are also expecting to have a crowd that is overwhelmingly against us on Monday night.

The band for the team we were playing against arrived about 10 minutes before the game. This is a little unusual. They are a portion of a "scatter" band, like the old UV@ prototype: student-run without very much attention to the traditional components of musicality: not my thing, but to each his/her own. It made the fact that we didn’t have any natural first trumpets not such a big deal.

I had to pull rank on the other band (we were the higher seed) at one point because they were trying to dictate who played at what time in such a way that would be to our disadvantage. I hate doing that and wish people would just play.

The highlight of the game was when we were up 2-1 and the band began chanting "twice your score!"

The guard (JH) that got hurt says she will play Monday.

Went back to the hotel and watched some men’s hoops. The local CBS affiliate was carrying the Nevada game, so we couldn’t watch Corley and company until well into the second half of that game.

We were preparing to take the band to another mall tonight, and were giving them per diem in the lobby of the hotel in view of a tv where we could watch the conclusion of the UWM game. Though it was already time to be on the bus, Schmateman and I just didn’t think it would be right to not see the game to the end to make sure the good guys won. We were 17 minutes late leaving as a result, and we were glad we did it.

I ate with a few of the band members, a real pleasure that I am glad I am recognizing while I still can. I managed to find another book that I had to have. Some members of our party were 27 minutes late from dinner. This is becoming chronic.

We will learn our game time tomorrow and will be home Tuesday morning while it’s still dark.

Two other points:

1. Yay Corley!
2. I have earned two new nicknames on this trip. The first is "Coach" since the cheerleading coach isn’t here. The second is "Le Pus" because I refused to ride the bull before we got to Billy Bob’s. For the record, no one rode the damn bull.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Day 2 in the Big D

This morning, a few of the cheerleaders headed to Six Flags. I don't quite get that since we've got one close to home, but it is what it is.

We took the rest of the folks to the west side, where we were promised there would be sufficient dining and shopping to occupy our people for three hours. After eating for thirty minutes, then walking around for another thirty minutes, most of them found that there indeed was not enough to occupy them for this period of time. Normally, this would concern me, as an unoccupied band member is usually a liability.

They managed not to break or burn anything (to my knowledge, as of now) and there was only one injury. However, some of them ruined our planned Sunday activity (the Kennedy stuff) by going ahead and completing the tour, which may result in unoccupied band members on Sunday.

We brought them back and took a couple of hours off. Tonight, we headed to Ft. Worth to the Stock Yards for dinner and a little bit of browsing. For some reason, the band kept pestering me to sing "Yellow Rose of Texas," because they thing that sort of thing is funny. I had a great steak (at a price) with several of the guys. We then intended to go to Billy Bob's Texas, but there was a significant cover charge.

Because the breakfast buffet at the hote is $15, we decided to let the guys off at Walmart on the way home. Their instructions were to return as quickly as possible. As they came back, I had accounted for all but one of them. The "one" was found right inside the door, bag beside him, sitting and playing Moto Death Race 3000 or some other such motorcycle video game crap. Wow.

We returned to the hotel. I signed on to blog and check your blogs, and there was a knock on the door. It was Sam, who was standing in the hall with a pillow. He was turned slightly to the side, and looked as though he was distracted.

He was... by the 20 other band members holding pillows who were prepared to attempt entry into my room. They entered successfully and demanded to hear "Yellow Rose of Texas." We looked it up, and proceeded to sing it and select other hits of the pop and country genres before they realized that I was old and had to get to sleep some time.

This game on at 2:30 E on the deuce. Go Dawgs. Go Panthers.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just point me to South Fork

We made it safely to Texas ("The Magnolia State") this afternoon, after a rather unremarkable flight. I had one student not show up having never mentioned the possibility of his not showing up, and needless to say I am livid. Those who did bother to fulfill their responsibility seem to be having fun. The hotel on this trip is significantly better than the hotel in Greenville. And as yet, I have become aware of no illegal activity on the property. The night is still young.

Cheerleading coach couldn't make it on this trip, so it's me and Schmateman. We took them to the mall this evening for dinner, then sat at Fuddru{ker's and watched bball.

Fine, ok. Sorry, Scott. I had already picked Bama way before the selections were announced and it was stupid. Honestly, I didn't even see UWM on the bracket when I was picking, and the first thing I did was pick Bama all the way to the Four. There is a reason I am a musician by trade. Russ, tell 'em, please.

Thanks for the lines, Will. Much appreciated. Trina, you're talking about Physics again.

Funny how getting away can sometimes make you feel better.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Heading Out

Tomorrow morning, 27 bandos and I will be headed to Dallas, Texas ("The Crescent City") for the first and possibly second rounds of the Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament. Kind of unfortunate that we will potentially and probably play two straight Texas teams in, well, Texas. If you want to watch, check out ESPN(2) at 2:30 PM ET on Saturday.

Well, if you haven't noticed, the inevitable resistance has begun. We all knew I was going to do this sooner or later, and now I have. I don't feel like leaving. I know this has to get better at some point, but I am prepared for that to be some time in coming. I'm going to need you, you know who you are, and I am not just saying that to make you feel important. Seriously.

I did begin looking seriously at property in Nashville today. I think I am going to go with something a little smaller in an effort to save a couple of hundred bucks a month. This whole self-employment thing is a bit daunting too!

In lighter news, my bracket can beat up your bracket.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

All this talk about leaving Athens

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of friends because I did not feel that I needed friends. I was shy, independent, and basically smart enough to handle most of my own situations. I was by myself and everything was basically fine.

I think that began to change when I became involved in band for the first time. I started realizing that, while I didn’t “need” anyone else, that other people could contribute to my life in ways that the intentionally lonely can not understand. As I began appreciating my friendships, I noticed that I had a very difficult time leaving those people when I was required to do so. My departure from Nashville the first time was met with a great deal of fanfare and lots of tears. When I left my high school in Atlanta to come to Athens, the same thing happened. I’m sure everyone has a hard time leaving the people they love, but I am convinced that I experience more emotional anguish in that process than most.

I sat tonight reading Trina’s brief mention of my numbered days in Athens, Oob’s recounting the fun from last night, Will’s comment about wanting to be here so badly, and considering my friend Sarah’s frequent away message about the people you love always being in your heart and “if you’re lucky, a plane ride away.”

And it finally really hit me what’s going on.

You know, Athens is a great place (many believe too good to be true). Few sights are more beautiful than College and Broad with your coffee cup and best friend, Sanford when the fans decide to finally show up, or anything at all on North Campus. I know I will miss the town and all of its beauty, charm, red and blackness, and all. But that’s not really the point.

The pain of leaving really is knowing what tremendous effort and planning will be spent achieving the pure bliss of beer, a perfect night, and the perfect smell of meat on a grill with the people you enjoy being around. The pain is in knowing that the spontaneous visit just to say hi or listen to a new tune will be much more difficult when I’m 250 miles away. The pain is in missing leftover chicken enchiladas with my neighbor, Gunner showing up when I have a crisis that I deem worthy of tears, Eva sitting on the granite bulldog like a coin-operated horse in front of a Big K. The pain is in missing Ellen and Russ cooking breakfast for whoever found him or herself at the house on the morning after a game. It’s in the way you all completely ignore the mess in my den or notice when the kitchen is clean.

Damnit, I wish there was another way to do this.

There are people in the world with real pain. There are victims of genocide, marines who must leave their families to fight a war that a little nagging part of their brain says might not be just. There are cancer patients, amputees, victims of horrible accidents and natural disasters. I feel petty to so much as mention my little heartache at all when real pain exists in the world.

And I guess that’s why I feel blessed… blessed that the greatest pain I know right now is that the spoils of my best friendships will be a little less convenient or less frequent.

So, my vote is that we should blow it out. We should take every opportunity to enjoy being where we are when we are, so the tears we cry in a few months will be happy ones for having created experiences worth remembering rather than sad ones for having not not appreciated the ones we loved in those few days when they were readily available to us. This is probably a good rule of thumb to practice anyway.

Yes, my shirt is wet and I’ve used a bit of tissue in writing this. This certainly won’t be the last time this happens. But I intend to do so while soaking up every last bit of the people that I love while it’s still easy to do so.

And rest assured, the minute I can afford the payments on a place here, I’ll be right back. And we’ll pick up… like nothing ever happened.

The new arrival

My brother and his wife learned today that the new baby will be a boy: Benjamin Grant. I can hear the insanity now.

Farts are...

very very funny.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


I hesitate to mention politics, because I would prefer to enjoy the company of my friends rather than get all hot and bothered discussing politics with them. I’m not even trying to start something, I just kinda think something is about to change and I want to say it out loud.

It's a pretty well known fact that I am relatively conservative in my politics. I tend not to force that belief onto anyone because (call me a wus if you want) doing so rarely changes anyone's opinion and I am not sure I am right about everything. I'm always re-evaluating my politics, I don't believe everything that's on Fox News (or CNN), I think O'Reilly is just flat mean, and I'm not really sure whether or not I am indecisive. My religion test rated me as a Muslim, but I'm actually a Christian who loves whiskey, sucks at going to church, and doesn't see the point in insisting that you're wrong when I've got all those dirty clothes sitting in the floor (literally). But generally I am a supply-sider that wants to be left alone.

I don't think anyone on the left hesitates to give the Republicans credit for one thing: they know how to win an election. I think that a lot of the moral Right has been willing to deal with widespread corporate consolidation, the government’s looking the other way from questionable (if not blatantly illegal) accounting practices, and treating employees like valueless pawns because it hasn’t been hitting those people in their own pocketbooks (or male handbags). I know of at least two examples of this in my family, and at least two of my dear friends.

I think those people are starting to feel it now. Too many people are being let go or getting pay docked in the name of… say it together: a stock price. Some of these people have “W” stickers on the backs of their cars and immediately flip the channel when Franken or Garofalo appear on their tv screens. And I don’t think it’s going to be long before those people echo Network and say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

And if the other side is listening, and plays its cards vewy cewfuwwy, I think it’s enough for something to change… soon.

My $.02.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Shameless Plug

My last concert with Symphonic Band will be April 19th at 8:00 PM in the big hall. DLK is doing the Frescobaldi Toccata. Then I've got Esprit de Corps, October, and First Suite. Just pass it along to anyone you think would like to know or be there. I would love to see anyone who can make it.

名 语言;国语;措辞;句话

Gunner calls this morning. The transcript is roughly as follows:

G: Dude, I need a favor.
B: [thinking physical labor will be involved, and mentally manipulating his schedule to find a reason that he will not be available] Um, ok.
G: I'm driving and I have accidentally changed the language on my iPod.
B: Ok.
G: I changed it to Chinese and I can't figure out how to change it back.
B: Why not?
G: Because I can't read Chinese.
B: Ok, hang on a second and let me fire mine up.

[Brett retrieves his iPod from the stack of books he bought in Greenville, a Wendy's napkin, several blank CD's, and the Phil Vassar CD which has been in his back room since he made the first compilation for his now-neighbor some eleven months ago]

B: Ok, have you updated your iPod software.
G: Um, I dunno.
B: Well can you remember if the first word on your menu is "browse" or "music?"
G: I think it's mus... no, wai... it's brow... it's definitely music. I think.
B: Ok, go all the way to the bottom and then up three and punch the button.
G: Oka.. no, it makes it play.

[Brett, always willing to sacrifice for the sake of his friends, unless it involves physical labor, memorizes how to change the settings... then boldly changes the language of his own iPod to talk Gunner through the process - all at the risk of himself becoming stuck in another language.]

B: Hmmm. Well, scroll down until you see the thing that looks like it is four characters, with like three horizontal lines, and then like a box thing, with what looks like an "E" on the end of it.

[note: Gunner was apparently driving all this time. Nice.]

G: Hmmm. An "E."
B: Yup, an "E." Well it looks like an "E" but it isn't.
G: Well I don't see it, I'll just select the shortest word.
B: Ok.
G: Wai... aha, there it is in English. Reset. Awesome dude, thanks.
B: Drive carefully.

Eh, I should blog

Ok, that makes three. Would you please tell them to get on the bandwagon so Tony can think of something else cool for us all to copy? Grazi.

Gunner, I can't comment on your blog. It's not that I can't bring myself to, I can. It's just that blogger won't let me for some reason. So belated thanks on nodding to those two places for me. My grandmother will appreciate it. By the way, the fist-pounder in the situation you describe bears a profoundly strong resemblance to someone I used to know and respect. Wonder if the same fate could be in store, if indeed you are referring to a real person, which of course I don't know that you are.

Kit, Trina used to drive a truck, and looks real good when you see that beautiful red hair in contrast to what many feel was a pink shirt. I don't think she ever won Phase Five, but she has certainly played it. Mmm, Winston lights in a soft pack, hot coffee, a get-your-ass-off-the-back-of-the-truck-and-move-speakers smile, and an affinity for Norway and physics make her extry special. Don't say it out loud... would hate to blow her cover.

A famous Christmas song is her grandfather.

Hoping for a relaxing weekend, and company.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Is the world ending

Now Kit, as in Jeremiah, is blogging. Can someone name someone who hasn't blogged or isn't blogging?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

You should be dancin' (yeah)

Congratulations to Corley and company who will be going to the Big Dance in two weeks, thanks to their win tonight on the Uno. I would like to propose that we no longer refer to schools who are going to the tournament as "going dancing." I think that was cool in 1992 or so, right about the time when "One Shining Moment" seemed like a good idea.

Also, I should make you future educators and coaches aware of a new threat to your career. Don't fall into the same trap this guy did. And if you do, don't say I didn't warn you.

Not Mickelson's best moment

Golf fans, a student sent me this. It just looks wrong, but funny. *hand covers face with nose poking out between third and fourth fingers*

Another way to make money

Russ, MAKE Ellen go to this site, just make sure she doesn't have the credit card when she does.

Also, just heard Corley's band playing Rock 'n' Roll. Gujab!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Pics, Cheese, and Beer

Welcome Corley to blogdom. Scott has been on the internet for over a year, and has an active email account (oooh!). He lives in Wisconsin now, and his pep band will be on ESPN this Tuesday at 9pm. You should check it.

Thanks to Robin, who took a couple of pictures for me at basketball, specifically this past weekend. I don't own a digital camera, and my repeated attempts to draw the things I have seen at basketball ball games onto my blog using the _, |, \, /, (, and ) keys have only resulted in frustration. Fortunately Robin has a digital camera, and knows how to use it. Incidentally, Robin is a an outstanding oboist and musician, and one hell of a model American.

First, as if the ticker on ESPN wasn't enough, here is proof of the arse-kicking we gave Ole Miss on Friday.
bball 005
Good times.

Next here is most of the basketball band at Wendy's eating Thanksgiving Style after the game.
bball 007
Driver Buck looks thrilled to be there. I can almost hear the band singing, "We gather together to ask the L..." with an expletive thrown in for good measure.

The next picture requires some explanation. I've been wearing a knit cap that my brother gave me. I wear it all the time because I like it, even though I'm sure people think I'm trying to look cool and don't.

Having observed this, the band thought I needed a new cap. Here's what they chose, very large so you might be able to read what it says...
bball 010
That's right, it says "Whore Master." Don't ask because, even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Wouldn't believe

First off, Russ, I'm definitely thinking about Ryan. It's stunning to think about, and I think his family's sharing the situation with everyone is beneficial to even those of us who don't know him. It has definitely made me think.

We had an interesting evening. Ladies couldn't quite pull it out, but it was a valiant effort. We returned to the hotel after the game, and dropped five people off who did not want food. The other 25 of us headed out to find sustenance. We found a little place that had three food establishments next to one another, and let them go. After they were finished we got everyone back on the bus. My phones rings. It's one of the students we dropped off.

"Uh, there are a bunch of cops around the hotel, and I asked one of them what was going on. He said that some guy had been shot in the back and they were trying to find the shooter."

Hmm. I've had lots of unusual situations with the band, but this was a first.

Not really being the type to bring a bus full of students to a crime scene (especially when their accomodations were at the crime scene), I decided that we would wait right in that fast food parking lot until the situation cleared up. We, of course, had to make contact with all five of the students we dropped off to let them know what was happening and to stay in their rooms with the door double-locked.

It was interesting watching some of the people on the bus deal with the information. Until you learn not to panic, your inclination is, well, to panic.

In any case, we waited for about an hour. Because we have the cheerleaders with us, driving immediately back to Athens was not an option. I had left a message for the lieutenant on the scene to call me and let me know what the situation was before we would return. I wasn't hearing back from him.

I finally decided that I was tired of waiting, so we would drive by the hotel just to see how bad it was, and maybe speak to an officer to find out what the situation was. All this time, my cell phone was failing to receive calls, which is just perfect timing. Russ, pass along my strongest middle finger to your employer for that. I had decided that, if we didn't like the situation, that we would go in and get the students we had dropped off, and would find another hotel somewhere to spend the night. Then we would come back in the morning, get our stuff, and check out.

As we head back to do the drive-by, a voice mail appears on my cell phone. It was the officer from 10 minutes earlier telling me that they had the shooter and that it was safe to return.

So we did, with a few wrinkled nerves and residual uncertainty... nothing that an extra hour of sleep won't fix.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Trina's right

Well, in one respect, and most certainly not in another.

This day started off as "Most Crappiestest Day Ever" Day. Trina and Gunner gave me a headache last night which I felt this morning. I had to get up at 8 to do my thing (which I know isn't early to most of you, but it is to me... stick it in your junk drawer). I packed and continuously found myself forgetting something.

I finally got to school and had to return home for something I forgot, which begat Trina's adventure with me. Without per diem, we returned to the school so I could handle things with the bus and Trey could return to the bank to get the per diem. I was shocked to return to the school to no bus at all. Paper work foul-ups on someone else's part (not at the school) resulted in the bus being an hour late.

As the cheerleaders are riding with us on this trip, we had to first drop them off at the team hotel. The band has been pretty cool about the fact that the cheerleaders are staying at the Hyatt and we are at... well, the Comfort Inn. Nevertheless, the traffic in Greenville was just as stupid as it was in Athens, which made for lots of fun.

When we arrived at our hotel, it looked like your standard Comfort Inn, except a little more crappierer. But it was clean so it was fine... until many of us began walking to the dining establishments which were said to have been close by. Note that phrase if you click the link. This is what we in the business call bullshit. So many went hungry.

Game was great. Hopefully tomorrow's little spat with LSU will yield a better result than our last two meetings with them.

There was a nice moment or two though. After the game, we returned to the hotel and then driver Buck took about 20 of the members down the road a couple of miles to enjoy a nice sandwich from the Sonic or Wendy's. Sitting with several very cool students, I was somehow cause to make the following statement: "You know, there's a reason they don't put gunpowder in ice cream." While I suppose there is, WTF?

As the six of us crossed the street to meet the rest of the group at Wendy's I was kinda "aww"ed when I saw that the 14 members and driver Buck had pulled tables together and were enjoying their meal thanksgiving style. Robin will have pics of this soon.

What was even cooler was that when they were leaving, they put every one of those tables back where they found them, and the place was spotless. My how things have changed.

Sorry, but...

the other guy's perspective is just as important as your own...

and so is the perspective of the guy whose perspective hinges on guy #1's perspective. The truth is important in an eternal sense. But the truth of the second person's perspective of the first guy's perspective is as important as any truth right now.

Deal or don't. Anyone hungry?

Peanut Butter?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

We have a problem

We now have two Sarah's (there's nothing possessive about that but "Sarahs" doesn't look write [sic]) who are commenting on this blog. One is the dear friend next door neighbor who puts up with my crap and makes me try new food which I think I hate but that I like when she cooks it. One is the old friend up north who goes to school at the place where I once really wanted to go to school and said I could make a living as a prostitute.

I can't tell which is which when they comment. The comments could easily come from either one of them, but the inflection would most certainly be different between the two.

What to do?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Perfectly valid questions (and some statements)

Poor Dawgs. My last ever game in the Steg and we just couldn't hang on. Ugh.

I bought a 12-pack of 8 oz. Dr. Peppers, and in thinking about it, I am now convinced that I made that purchase "because they were cute." Sometimes Ellen's influence on me is all too clear.

Has anyone ever been introduced to someone by email? As in, "Hey guys, the two of you have a lot in common so Brett, this is [insert person who will remain nameless for now]." I have.

When we say that someone "shall remain nameless," that's really not true at all. Let's say that it was true. The second someone referred to you anonymously and said that you would remain nameless, I'll bet you would be like really pissed off to have to re-monogram everything and explain what happened to the people who print your checks.

Has anyone ever had mule fritters?

How do you "spill peanut butter" on your best pair of dress pants? Ask me, I can tell you.

Has anyone ever felt like Andy Rooney without all the wrinkled parts?


Pensive. I've been pensive lately... er, most of my life.

I have the John Williams arrangement of Tara on iTunes at home. I've been listening to it a lot lately knowing I'm leaving Athens, and I frequently imagine conducting it as an encore at my last concert at UGA. It probably won't happen, but I have a vivid imagination.

At any rate (tribute to my dad's "anyway" saying), I also have my crossfade setting on iTunes set to quickly play the next selection. So I will play Tara and get into that, and imagine this great ending and then... "The Authority Song" starts.

I love that. It's like you've imagined this huge ending to this huge chapter in your life, and in no time flat the next chapter begins... and what better way than with "The Authority Song?"

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Love, whatever that means

I feel neither qualified nor in my place to detail the course of events that has caused my very dear friend to be in pain. But it does bring to mind a question of syntax that has often bugged me.

There is a commercial that has been playing for some time that uses the Nazareth song "Love Hurts" as it's background music. I think the statement "Love Hurts" is untrue, unless one has unfortunate wounds in unfortunate places or fails to stretch adequately from time to time. Can love be tough or difficult? Perhaps, or perhaps it is not love but the results or the periphery of love that are actually difficult.

I think many people mistake the act of love (which in it's purest form is a decision, not an act, an emotion, or anything uncontrollable) for the subject of love. Love is not difficult, in fact it is quite easy. It might be hard to show it, express it, prove it, get it back from someone to whom you give it, or endure it's consequences. But it is quite easy to simply love. Love itself doesn't really hurt, in fact it feels quite nice... so much so that some of us do it without really thinking about the consequences (which often do hurt). Tough love is not love at all. It is actually a tough result of love, and often a tough thing to watch, endure, or inflict... but it is most certainly not love.

And unfortunately, we all endure a very, very, very difficult consequence of love at some point in our lives. It is not love that causes this: it is the periphery, the loved, or the great equation that is fate/reality that does. And it is most certainly no cause to be sorry that we have loved or to even think of not loving again.

Knowing that everyone has to deal with it doesn't make the pain any more palatable. And for the record, the second-worst-thing to being in love-related pain is knowing that someone you love is in it and that there isn't a damned thing you can do to fix it.

Many splendored? Perhaps not. But probably worth it when you cash in your chips.