Thursday, June 30, 2005

"This is it" (sing it like Kenny Loggins w/ M. McDonald)

I’m being brief again tonight, but not so much in the undergarment sense.

I was on jury doody from 9am to 4:40pm today. I was quite tickled at this. I think I will be able to link you to a related story next week, but until then, I am one of a very few guardians of the people’s secrets. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it (*grabs crotch, spits, is embarrassed when saliva and a fair amount of phlegm from his current summer cold inadvertently land on his sandle-laden foot, runs to bed, sucks thumb, and passes out reading Curious George and the Fight for Social Security Reform*).

As it is after midnight, today will be my last day as an employee of the Univ of Ga. It is already strange, but it’s cool.

As mentioned in my digression above (left my Ritalin in the props truck on the way to the Tennessee game in 2001) I have a bit of a summer cold. I am insufferable, though I think that is the dumbest word ever. I know, I know, it sorta makes sense. But I hate colds, and am certainly suffering at a level previously unknown by humans beings. I am just as oppressed as the Rwandans*, and I don’t like it one bit.

To make matters worse, Trina beat me in football tonight.

Notes: * - This is just stoopid.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I Will Survive

In fact I did survive this weekend. I will present thoughts, opinions, observations, and signs of the apocalypse dervied therefrom (huh?) in an upcoming entry.

But, the short version is:

•Very nice dinner and coffee with a timeless friend.
•Writing drill
•Writing drill while I had company
•Writing drill while I had company, most of which were drinking the alcohol
•Funkle Show, at which the mayor was in attendance (although I think she was there to see the band before us). It got nasty, and we had to separate her and Gunner*.
•Last minute encore with the boys next door, aka Modern Skirts. There's nothing like playing an tune you haven't played in a year with a show buzz. Russ recounts this nicely here.

•Writing Drill
•Journey from Athens to Wrens (two of a very few plural town names in Georgia)
•The Wedding of the Year
•The Wedding Party of the Epoch
•The Hotel Sleeping Situation of the Dreams of Survivor Creator Mark Burnett
•The ride back
•Rape... my apartment, Ln had her way with it, and the scars are most definitely permanent. Pics coming soon.

I'm sure glad the weekend's over. Now I can relax.

* - This is not true.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

One good reason I am a songwriter

If you read last night’s blog, you know that my washing machine is broken.

I called my brother. He’s the handy type… ya know, likes NASCAR and beer, but not so much Shostakovich or NPR. Anyway, he knows a guy who will “give me the part for cost,” if the problem is what I think it is. He, being a wise soul, told me to take the washing machine apart and see if a belt is loose. If it is, or if I see a dead one, he will get me one “real cheap.” So, I decided tonight to take his advice.

Here are some statistics on my venture.

•Amount of light in the laundry room due to the semi-successful Sauve-B@wcum Dimmer Experiment of The Year 2000: 10-15 lumens, enough to light a small country, namely one in which the primary residents are Ken and Barbie
•Number of washing machines successfully moved to the kitchen: 1
•Number of dogs barking at the noise produced by the process of moving said appliances: 1 or 2… I can’t tell them apart
•Number of garments currently residing in the Matt Tinnell Memorial Sink: 18
•Number of times someone has been kicked out of my house by someone other than me: 1
•Number of times that person was Matt Tinne||: 1
•Number of gallons of water emptied onto the laundry room floor during the moving process: approximately 4.2, minus the .1 used to clean the fork which hadn’t been touched since the Great “Could a Utensil Be Used As a Nail?” Incident of 2001
•Number of literal (not fantasized) screws remaining in aforementioned laundry room: 8
•Number of times the following phrase was uttered in the disassembly process – “That thing won’t pop, no wait, is that supposed to do that?… look, a Tic-Ta… that’s not a Tic-Tac… I wonder if I have any superglue, or gum, that’ll do it, gum… why is the machine tilting 45 degrees to the lef… no right… that was a weird Tic-Tac”: 4
•Number of lighters found in space previously occupied by said washer: 3
•Number of times cranium made violent contact with a then-un-noticed inanimate object: 3
•Number of belts repaired or observed: 1, a leather weave belt I had left from 1999 that I found behind the washer. If you hold it up to your ear, you can hear that tune by the Goo Goo Dolls from “City of Angels.”
•Number of belts repaired or observed that have any sort of pertinence to the functionality of a washing machine: 0
•Number of text messages sent to evoke laughs in the people who will be helping me repair the mess I have made: 2
•Number of times the phrase “What the [insert expletive]?” may be uttered in the re-assembly process by said text message recipients: ∞
•Number of brides, in whose wedding I was best man, who will lament the shape of my kitchen as a result of said attempt: 1
•Number of laughs expressed about then-current predicament: 2
•Number of laughs expressed about potential results of predicament: 13, give or take a little gas

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Mission Critical" - a symphonic essay in "four" movements

Movement I - Dolce stupidato

Memory #4 took place in late 1998. The Univ of Ga (pronounced exactly as it is spelled) was preparing itself for the then-surely-soon-to-be-disastrous Y2K. For the record, I don’t know how we ever got through that horrible morning. The traffic lights weren’t working*, the phones were down**, the television stations were scrambled in some weird sort of pattern that looked like a cross between a paisley and the face of Edward James Olmos*, and Blogger was down… huh. Weird.

I always thought Edward James Olmos's name sounded like "Edward James Almost." I always wondered if he had ever heard of Tantalus, or maybe felt like he was consistently just shy of acheiving his goals. Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, the university computing department was rapidly and diligently preparing for this impending disaster by classifying the importance of all of the university units’ computers as “Secondary” (or something like that) and “Mission Critical.” UCNS sent an email to that effect to all unit supervisors, asking that each classify his or her unit as one or the other.

When my supervisor (he was a Georgia Voter… woo hoo) responded to the email, he was insistent that the band was “mission critical.”

When the band cures cancer or gets a prominent athletic figure fired, then will I consider it mission critical. Until then, I will simply consider it “the way things ought to be.” That was, unfortunately, not an option.

Movement II – Presto Romannoodlo

I have been bursting my ars this evening doing a last minute (but pretty well-paying) gig for a high school in Missouri that Knight pumped me for in order to earn the extra grand that might make the year work. I am tired of arranging for now. I’m looking forward to getting sick of writing drill so I can arrange again.

Movement III – Maestoso Hollabacko

Sorry, but I dig the new Will Smith, the new Black Eyed Peas, the old Katie Holmes, and the new Gwen Stefani. I think it’s all scrumtrilescent.

Movement IV – Kenmo Whatthefucko

My washing machine was doing its job (which would be washing) just moments ago, when it suddenly began making a sound like an oboe with allergies. When I asked it “What up, G,” it just stared at me, like I was an idiot.

Well, everyone talks to their washing machine, so I demanded, and I mean demanded, an answer. I got none. There are few things I hate in life, but among them is getting the cold shoulder from an appliance. That is unasseptable.

I’ve got a feeling there’s more to this story.

Movement V – (Hidden Movement)

Chief commented on my blog today. I thought that was funny.


* - This is not true.
** - This, likewise, is not true.
*** - Uh huh, that's right, except not.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Alright, I am pooped... whupped... tarred. I will offer more details soon, but this was a mountain weekend. Long story short, me and a few buddies of mine head a few times every summer to the North Georgia mountains and stay with some dear friends who have a beautiful place in the mountains. On the second day of the trip, we tube down the Chattooga River for three or four hours and drink margaritas all the way down. It is always fun, and this time was no exception.

Tonight, however, my body is screaming at me to get to bed. So, for the first time I remember in months or years, I will be in bed before 11:30 Eastern (PM, that is... and yes, that probably needed to be clarified). So, I hope those of you who are Daddies and those of you who aren't whose Daddies are still around had a great Father's Day. My Dad and I did, along with a great weekend with great friends and experiences that are glued in my mental scrapbook.

L'Chaim, damnit!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Weekend and an Outside Memory

Great trip. Gunner’s dad is exactly who he is, and there is no other person he could possibly be. Spot on.

Incidentally, he will be joining Russ, Ln, Gunner, and me in Brentwood (the site of my new home, hereinafter known as “the ‘Twood”) for Georgia’s victory over Tennesseeeeeeeuuhheeee this fall. He happens to be a fan of the Vols (hereinafter known as “Poppycock”) and will thus be a good sport and a graceful loser this October. Nevertheless, you must meet him. He is salt-of-the-earth, honest, and concerned with more than himself. It is easy to see how Gunner became who he is.

Because Gunner said I would, I will tell you briefly about the new place. It’s not a hole in the wall. If there was a hole in the wall, there wouldn’t be any apartment left. It’s tiny, but it makes the parts of you that you wish were bigger look bigger (and unpierced!). Ok, here we go. The complex is called…. wait for it….. “Player’s Club.” Laugh. Go ahead. It’s better than “Shit Village,” the “Ain’tgettinnoplay Club" (thanks, Sarah), or “The Crabs at Piss Hollow.” I will give you the address when the lease is final. Guffaw now. Send baked goods and love notes later.

Editor’s Note: The remainder of this entry is catharsis and is born of my need to relive the past and spit out my recollection and the results of my long term pondering. If you’re not in the mood, stop now. You will not be held accountable for the remainder of the material.

I made the decision to leave on December 30, 2004. Go back and re-read if you wish. Since that time, it has been possible for me to back out. I could have changed my mind, and would have been welcomed back here for another year or several, though that would have been in profoundly bad taste. Early this week, it became impossible for me to back out, for reasons that will be revealed in the very near future. Now that I’ve sunk money into a place, it becomes impossible to stay in Athens.

The days I am living in right now seem very strange to me, largely because I have been anticipating them for years. I have wondered what leaving would feel like, how the place would look different, how the local newscaster’s voices would begin to sound less like old friends and more like long lost acquaintances. It is strange, and frankly rather painful, but it still somehow seems profoundly right.

What is still amazing to me is the beginning of the process of deciding to leave. I will not detail some of this, as it sometimes deals with affairs far too personal to more than one person. I don’t mind opening myself up on this blog, but I’m not going to open up anyone else.

What I am willing to say is that I was dealing with a personal situation, which involved myself and another human being. Though I had been talking seriously for eight months about moving on, there was someone in Athens who made staying here worth seriously considering. As the time when it became apparent that what I had hoped would be wouldn’t, I needed to seriously look at what might be next.

Just prior to this night, the Gunner was at my place talking to me about the size of the world and my perception of it. He was insistent that I take my time in Chicago to discover… to look around and realize that I wasn’t that big of a part of the equation that makes the ball spin. Trina would later join me for a viewing of Pushing Tin, which I highly recommend. I took the same message from this film.

All at once, I seemed to be bombarded with art, entertainment, advice, and what I interpreted to be signs or clues, all of which seemed to speak to that sentiment. Notable among them was “Glasgow Love Theme” from Love Actually, “Let Go” by Frou Frou (from the Garden State soundtrack), and one other song.

Though I was once perturbed and somewhat nauseated at the final work, I look back on my little experience with this song with a very grateful fondness. I left Athens for Charlotte on a small USAir twin-engine plane. I did fine on the flight from Charlotte to Chicago. Once I landed at O’Hare, I had a very difficult time getting to the train. I encountered a woman on the flight whose business was raising money for children who were victims of cancer. She detailed her life for me, and she had every reason to be upset or hang it up, but she pressed on. She was 20 years my senior, but I’ll bet she understood good wine and a nice elevation over Michigan Avenue. She encountered a Russian man who spoke no English who was trying to get to his family in Phoenix. We spoke on her cell phone with his English-speaking family in Arizona trying to get him to his connecting flight, and possibly to a bed for the 10-hour layover he had from Moscow.

After parting company with her, I rode the “L” into the city with the second shift United Airlines workers returning to their homes. If you have never ridden the L from O’Hare to something inside the loop, the ride is right at 50 minutes. There was no music, just the sound of the train hiccupping against the track over miles and miles of once great neighborhoods which had gradually become parodies of their former selves. Potential stories seeped from each airline worker. I asked myself, as I looked at each of their faces, whether one person’s job as a ramp worker at O’Hare was an opportunity or a necessity. I wondered if his family was proud of him for going to work and earning a wage, or disappointed in him for not becoming a suit. I didn’t know, and wasn’t going to ask. What I came to realize is that there are six billion stories in the world, and more that have passed untold.

As the train’s “cl-clunk” continued southeast through the chilly late night into Downtown Chicago, tens of thousands of apartment windows helplessly watched us pass by, stuck for the foreseeable future exactly where they were. Myself restless and not yet emotionally comfortable with the situation at home, I retrieved my iPod from the black nylon and brown feaux-leather backpack in which I held the personal belongings to which I had thought I might require ready access. I scrolled my iPod to the most recent purchase, which was a tune by Brad Cotter. In itself the song is worthy of existence, but does not come off as a work one might consider to be timeless.

My interpretation differs.

Untold impossibilities and hopes were all around me as my head bounced with the train and the white factory earphones began to play the plunky piano part and Cotter’s frankly not terribly profound words:

“So any pretty woman I didn't take the time to kiss
Any crazy thing I didn't do
'I meant to'
Any dirty liar I didn't stare right in the eye
And make him tell the naked truth
'I meant to'
I'm always on the run
Things get lost
Some things get done
But if I didn't have all the fun I meant to
'I meant to'
And if I never came out and said
To each and everyone I love
How much I really do
'I meant to'

“Maybe this one chance
Is all we really have
Maybe all you got is what you get to
I ain't gonna cry
I'll give it my best try
Then kiss the world goodbye
And say 'I meant to'”

For some reason, this simple little tune reminded me of every time I was alone, on some sort of mission, and scared. I was pissed, and I realized that it was ok to be pissed, scared, alone, poor, unemployed, uncertain… as long as you weren’t stagnant. It didn’t come from so much from the lyrics as from this awfully strange combination of a love-never-had lost, a well-considered discussion, a well-chosen movie, a Russian bound for Phoenix in Chicago, a train full of blue collar workers, and a guy doing an ok job of what I want to do well crammed into a 3.5 megabyte mp3 in a 4” x 2.5” white case in my backpack at exactly the right time and exactly the right place.

That night, the world got bigger. My immediate problems became much less significant and my emerging necessities became priorities. My existence as one six-billionth of the world became somewhat more fathomable. And my then-future regrets became my future attempts.

I love where I live, and I will not be happy when I leave. But I am more thankful than I can tell you that I now know that I won't have to live with those sick, unforgivable words:

“I meant to.”

Friday, June 10, 2005

Memory 3: A Lesson in Human Potential

I found a button on the street today*, and it brought to mind the subject of memory number three.

The date: Thursday March 22, 2001
The location: The ‘kstone, number 182.
The time: Way too late, as usual.

The significance of this date in sports history is much bigger than many may think:

• Underdog 6-seed Southern Cal eliminated Kentucky from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, effectively ending the career of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith’s son, Saul.
• Future Bulldog great Musa Smith broke his foot in spring practice.
• The San Antonio Spurs defeated your Atlanta Hawks, 115-101 (Editor’s Note: In actuality, nothing could be less significant than this).
• Mankind’s greatest grassroots sporting movement began.

No, not midget-tossing. That happened much earlier, somewhere in Auburn if I’m not mistaken. I’m talking about Phase-freakin’-Five.

Let me point out, before continuing with the story, that we’re still talking about this. Yes, some of you thought this would be a passing fancy, that this would be a fad that would fade into the annals (hu huh) of failed start-up leagues such as the USFL, the ABL, and the XFL.

But, vah! The WPFA lives on! The World Phase Five Association Triumvirate in fact is sending a delegate to Nashville, Tennessee next Tuesday to view, and perhaps sign a lease on a new venue for play. Naysayers, be warned. Phase Five is alive and well in the hearts and minds of your children and grandchildren.

On March 22, 2001, a very wise and uniquely attractive group of gentlemen were at what would become Knight Court, then known as 182 Creekst0ne Drive. Never to be the movie-watching type, and as yet not in possession of a Playstation 2, these gentlemen sought a new, more intelligent yet fan-friendly diversion. If you were present at the roast (which by the way, supposedly ended last Saturday), you know the details of the sport (or, should I say “lifestyle”) as so eloquently detailed by Phase Fiver Corley. But the end of the first match was particularly powerful and moving.

Three pioneers, traveling then uncharted territory, braved the often cruel and blurry conditions of the first four phases with boldness and aplomb. Momentary setbacks – the Object’s bouncing lifelessly off of a pebble on the sidewalk, a particularly cumbersome trip to retrieve the rebound from under the Explorer – caused them no reconsideration of their purpose.

The question remained, as Knight began to approach the Holy Grail of Sport. As many have asked, “Will anyone ever run a four-minute mile,” or “Will anyone ever break the single-season home run record,” we too were forced to ask: “Yes, reaching Phase Five is noble and right, but is it achievable?”

As Knight announced his full name (Michael D. Knight… the “D” stands for “Damn!”), his hometown, and his phase of pursuit, he knelt as though appealing to the God of Sport for grace and accuracy. He peered at the Cup, and he understood it. Mike took three steps back from the foul line, stood in the stretch, took a small hop for good luck in the direction of the house, and lobbed the Object toward its destination. A gentle arc preceded a bounce, that was most certainly guided by a Loving Creator, into the house. The Object cleared the couch, and with a firm nudge removed the Cup from its perch. With that bounce the question was answered: a resounding “Yes!” accompanied by the collective roar of 6 billion human beings who lived vicariously through Knight’s successful foray into the unknown capabilities of the human animal.

Upon realizing the weight of his accomplishment and its implications for the future of humanity, Mike did what any reasonable person would do. He leapt toward the heavens with one finger in the air, raised the other arm in victory, and ran toward the house like none had ever run before. He then made a sharp right turn toward unit #180, and then to the end of the driveway, turning left onto Creekst0ne Drive. His spirit burst forth upon the world, as his hands lowered from their raised position to the center of his shirt. Here, he grabbed the garment from the center, and forcefully pulled the shirt from his person, and into the record books. As Mike ran in jubilation up the hill (the site of a later feat of sport), the buttons securing the shirt were ripped from their stitches and tumbled in random fashion around the site of his joy.

Mike screamed in excitement, as the other players applauded his accomplishment and he lifted his shirt into the air… victorious. A sole button tumbled into the yard where I would one day find it, to remind me of that day and the power of three believers.

Since that fateful night, eight more champions would be crowned and their names permanently inscribed on the Cup. Knight would later be named the first (and to-date only) member of the Phase Five Hall of Fame. Talk show hosts would gush over the worldwide craze, and scholars would debate the societal implications of "The New Recreation,” as academics would come to refer to the movement.

In the future, the venue will change. The First Generation will make way for subsequent generations of Phase Fivers. Rules will come, and rules will go.

But legends, my friends… legends never die.

*This statement is untrue.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A New Memory and A New Hairstyle

Man, do y'all remember that time I took Gunner's post, copied it, and replaced like every third word? That was funny! Seems like only yesterday.

Oh, and... Brothers and Sisters, tonight, I went to the skin. Thank you and good night.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Have a take! They're four for a dollar at T@rget

In a world rife with people who rarely an original thought have, I lucky myself consider. In spite of the widely varying belief structures of the group of people I generally refer to as associates, almost all of them are able to 1) be polite about a different point of view without ad hominem attacks, and 2) be thoughful enough to actually ponder the points someone is making an effort to share. Not that they change their opinions, but, at least they approach life from a relatively considered basis. They don’t let others instruct them in what to think. Each, in his or her own way, has a persona that is bold enough to allow for personal growth without being overly pressured by popular opinion.

Creative people often have flaws. Flaws that allow them to experience life in all its ecstasy and all its torment. But from fumbling because of their flaws, they also gain a sense of integrity and strength. I’ve often wondered if I would rather be lead by the person who has never experienced “Head up butt syndrome”, or by the person who has fornicated with the General’s small lion – not literally, of course - and still has the scars to prove it. Somehow, to me anyway, that second person seems to be the more, how should I say this… “human.” They’ve lived and can relate to life as it happens to those around them. I don’t think I care to have my life in the hands of those who haven’t lived their own.

That desire for life must be the burning mass in cosmos that draws us together. Like moths to a flame, which sometimes burns, we recognize the booze, er, spirits - for lack of a more clear name here - of those souls and just know they are a part of the collective. It’s not something we discuss. It’s not something we even want to discuss. It is what it is.

Doubtless, you are wondering what prompts this philosophical entry, so I will explain. Earlier today I read a piece by Leonard Pitts, a syndicated opinion columnist, about what it takes to write for a living. Pitts had learned that a writer in some Tennessee newspaper had been cutting and pasting his words into columns on a regular basis and calling them original work. He caused the gentleman’s termination.

As I looked through the five to four-hundred blogs that I read on a regular basis, I couldn’t fathom ANY of us doing so in our blogs, in our jobs, or in our lives. Trying to use another’s thoughts as our own. Taking credit for another’s work. Bettering ourselves through the effort of another without giving credit. I just conceive of that.

This is not a challenge to Mike or Tim to see if you can write one another’s blog entries and see if anyone catches it. And, since no one spends as much time in the reading room, or refers to it as often as RS, I have little to no fear of anyone attempting a character study and putting it to the test.

The thing I find I can count on is that, one way or the other, agree or disagree, our thoughts are our own. They each offer a unique point of view to this petri dish we inhabit, and I value each of them as they allow me to see through your eyes.

I really, really do.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Goldschlager and Omelets

During my last few weeks in Athens, I have decided to commemorate my first thirteen years in my permanent hometown with some of the stories I remember from over the years. It should be noted, those of you who are students of mine, that (much like my roast) much of the hilarity that has ensued has resulted from, shall we say, living, um, on the edge? Of sanity? Of sobriety? In the process, I can honestly say that I have learned ten times as much from the negative results of and the mistakes associated with, um, “partying” than I have from the positive results. The positive results almost always had to do with the fallibility, wisdom, humor, and kindness of the people I was with. So, don’t take this as encouragement. In fact, live, um, vicariously through me, then go study.

It is well known that I don’t exactly “wake up on time.” Ever. During one semester in particular, I had a practicum which required my skinny butt to get out of bed around 6:40am each Friday in order to get to this required activity. After two failed attempts to do so, the impending threat of being dropped from the course associated with the practicum brought my friends and I to decide that the necessary remedy would be for me to stay at their place so they could wake me up.

For the sake of protecting the innocent, we will call these friends “Brad” and “Warren.” Ok, who are we kidding? Those are their real names.

Most Friday mornings, I would sleep on the couch, awakened by my dear friends by one of them holding a cup of freshly brewed coffee under my nose until I exhibited some sign of life.

As an aside, it was sometimes deemed wisest for me to sleep in Warren’s bedroom on the floor. Warren is what we might call a “wav file pioneer” or at least an early junkie. He had a huge stereo in his room connected to his mac, and had managed to rig the machine to play a selected wav file at a specified time. On one of the Friday mornings, Warren set the mac to play a specific wav file at 6:40 am, in order to complete the difficult task of waking me up. I have never been so scared in my life as I was that morning as I was treated to the sounds of the “Theme from Shaft” blaring from Warren’s stereo (which was set to 11). “Shut yo’ mouth.”

Anyway, on a particular Friday night, after having stayed there, I decided to go ahead and stay another night. A night of moderate to heavy drinking ensued. We probably watched The Nutty Professor, as we did about twice a week. Then, for some stupid reason, Brad got into the Goldschlager. For those of you who are non-drinkers, this is pretty much the equivalent of an infant “getting into the bleach.”

Brad wasn’t and isn’t much of a drinker… unless he can derive some ridiculously valuable result from it to which he may lay glad claim in a more sober state (take that as you wish). But on this night, he indulged beyond the point of necessity or good taste, and went to bed smiling and cursing (for the record, when Brad curses, it means he is happy).

The following morning, I woke to the smell of an Atkins-friendly breakfast cooking, the sounds of “Theme from the Dukes of Hazzard” and “Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott” being shot from the afterburners of Warren’s stereo, and the admonition of “Dude…. ‘t’s breakfast. Get your ass up.”

Brad, who was cooking as Warren pretended to do something productive (but was more likely rearranging the order of the wav files of the SEC fight songs on his playlist), made a critical mistake in the process of cooking. For some reason, Brad decided that there was something in the freezer that he needed in order to finish cooking breakfast. I sat covered on the couch, bleary-eyed but observant as I watched Brad open the freezer. I noted the most visible contents of said freezer to be the bottle of Goldschlager which had bent his liver the night before.

Apparently Brad did too. As he eyed the contents of the freezer, he himself froze. He stared, lifeless for about five seconds, coughed twice, then ran as he never has to the bathroom where the proof of the night before was emptied into the toilet by way of his filthy mouth, and into the Clarke County sewer… only from the sight of the offending beverage.

He has never denied this, but doesn’t like to talk about it. So if you ask him, don’t say I brought it up… so to speak.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Reverse unroast


I mean that.

I'm not going to wrap the weekend up because, like Russ, I am piss tired. Nevertheless, whilst it's fresh on my mind and my sobriety is at a peak level, I would like to offer a few thoughts about some of the people who made this weekend great. This list is in no particular order, except that the organizers and then everyone are at the end. I didn’t get close to saying thanks to everyone, but you’ll be hearing from me soon (Editor’s note: after writing for quite some time, I felt that it was in my best interest to point out that the expression “a few thoughts” in this paragraph should be interpreted to mean “many thoughts.” Thank you.).

Kit - You have an amazing knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I jest. I never fail to genuinely enjoy myself when I am around you, and I will always enjoy your company.

S. Oob - You are an amazing woman. I always thought so when you were here, but who you have become is like extra-rad. Ridiculous eloquence. If you ever decide to try to write a song, please let me know. You will change your corner of the world.

James Earl Cox - You do not change. That's not a command, it's a fact. When I worry about everything changing after I'm gone, I think about you and I realize that the only way you will ever change is if you die. I like that, and I hereby promise to tailgate at your funeral as we did at your wedding, because you wouldn't have it any other way. You are as dear to me as anyone.

Laura - I get a little bit perturbed with the amount of positivity you exude sometimes because I don't see it. Yet, when I listen to you, I am consistently amazed at the good you find in me and everyone else. I love this about you, and will be relying on this for the next several years. You continue to be the person I call when I'm not sure I'm all that I'm cracked up to be... and probably will.

Dave D. – You absolutely nailed the soundtrack for the night. That’s one hell of an ear you’ve got on you, and I get the feeling that you might be in the right place. I greatly respect your musicianship, treasure your friendship, and look forward to more listening, playing, and singing with you as the opportunities present themselves. (PS – get your background singing chops warm… you will be receiving a phone call… I-75 north to Chattanooga, I-24 west to Nashville. Call the cell, I will talk you the rest of the way in.)

Leslie and Michael O. - L, I hope your husband knows he married up. In fact I know he does. I loved what you had to say and am humbled at the way you approached that moment. I won't ever forget that, and am on the verge of tears thinking about the way you verbalized my relationships and their impacts. Michael, thank you for getting in bed with me. Seriously, you always make me feel comfortable, welcome, and valuable. I have been pissed at you and around you before, but I have never ever been uncomfortable. I like being able to be myself, and you allow that. I miss being around you.

Corley - You might be the most loyal person I have ever encountered in my life. If I ever have kids, I would very much like for them to know you and to understand that the way you treat people is the way that it is supposed to be done. What's wrong with the world is that people aren't more like you.

Knight - Your mind is amazing to me. I know that lots of times you have to wade through bullshit to get to my real thoughts, and that I can say lots of stuff that is unnecessary. I really feel blessed to have a friend who can find the truth, and then make it funny if the situation warrants. What is frankly just as cool is that, when you have nothing to say, you say nothing. You are the essence of humor and discretion.

Trey – I am sorry about causing your divorce. The reason I continue to pursue you, though, is because I always learn something when I am near you. While your nickname (“Oh Great and Mighty Trey, Knower of Physics and Things About Europe”) was meant in jest, it’s actually pretty much true. You keep me honest and thoughtful, and you also sometimes cause me to be on time. Pinky swear that my leaving will not prevent our frequent grilling, drinking, football, and arguments about politics. A condition of my marriage to anyone will be that she must allow my mistress to remain a part of my life.

Ellen – Let’s make sure that you don’t ever meet my mother again… she will be sickened to find out that someone loves me more than she does. The feeling is unconditionally reciprocal.

Leigh – Outside of my family, the only person with whom I still have contact whom I have known longer than you is Warren. I have so many great, then weird, then defensive, then great memories of you from when we were younger and from recent days as well. I very deeply treasure that we are still a part of each other’s lives. You absolutely do everything right, and I find myself consistently trying to be more like you, minus the boobs.

Russ – I’m not sure I have been through as much shit with anyone as I have been with you. For the record, the idea to combine Dwight and the Pumpkin was a stroke of brilliance. When I think about things and talk to the Dude, I hope that what it is that you are supposed to be doing will present itself to you. You know all the other stuff, and I’m not going into it… I wouldn’t have spent 1/10 the amount of time with you that I have if I didn’t feel that way.

Tim – You might be the unlikeliest friend I have ever had. You do thousands of things for me, but the very best is to act as a mirror. In September and October, you kept me from melting down as well as anyone could have. That wasn’t the first time. How I ever got a friend like you, I will never understand.

Russ and Tim – Gentlemen, you could not have done it any better. I was, am, and will always be beyond grateful and stunned at the effort and thought you gave to my send-off. I suspect I will never understand what would have motivated such a well thought-out farewell, but I am going to assume that it’s a reflection of what you think and feel. That was way more than I could ever have asked for, and you have left one boy in awe of what has happened.

Everyone – Thank you for being here and being a part of this, whether physically or just by way of your second-hand contributions and thoughts. My new motivation is to write, pitch, and plug as hard as I can to ensure that that will not have been the last time we are together and having the time of our lives. You are all incredible and made me feel as good as I ever could have conceived about the time and energy I spent in this place.

I am as scared right now as I have ever been. But your being here has made this look possible, reasonable, and wise. Thank you so so much for doing what you did. I can’t tell you what it means to me. I do love you.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nuttin' much

Don't take that the wrong way.

I'm hangin (don't take that the wrong way) outside the music camp office being rarely consulted with. But I wanted to get a quick plug in for anyone who may be coming to Athens for the festivities of this weekend. You may know that Blue Sky Coffee closed at the beginning of the year. That had been my favorite coffee house since I arrived in town, and I really really hated to see it go. I have no problem with St@rbucks per se. But if I have to pay way too much for a cup of coffee, I would prefer for it to go to the proprietor of a local business rather than the coffers of a corporation that has successfully implemented a plan for a worldwide caffeine empire.

In fact, here's a suggestion for a possible conspiracy with no basis in fact or evidence. Is it possible that St@rbuck's is lobbying for the implementation of Pax Americana?

At any rate, I have been noticing for some time that workers have been painting the front of the former Blue Sky. Curious, I walked in the other day when it appeared that the place had been opened. Behind the counter, a young woman wearing a Blue Sky t-shirt asked to take my order, and it was exactly like old Blue Sky... eerily so. I paid, and just like the old days walked over to the carafe/decanter/thermos/pourer thingy, and there was the name of the blend: Dancing Goats, again, just like the old days. I added the sleeve to the cup... said "Blue Sky" on it.

My point? (Finally) If you're in the Classic City this weekend, or any time soon, maybe think about giving the local guy a shot. It's called Walker's, but they have obviously made an effort to retain the Blue Sky flavor. If you don't know where it is, it's on the south end of College Ave, two doors up the hill from the Corporation for Global Domination (and Rhyming).