Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here's my imitation of the southeastern U.S. right now:

"Oh my God. OhmiGod, OhmiGod, OhmiGod, Ohmig, Ohmig, Ohmig, og, og, g, g, g, g."

It would be different if it was a scream that resulted from extreme pleasure, and maybe that's [on the way]. To borrow some advice my mother gave me when I freaked out at about 4 years old, let me say: "Ssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Animals Speaking for God

I’m sure I am like a lot of people who are aghast at what has happened on the gulf coast over the last three days.

I was horrified when I realized the true destruction that took place in those cities and towns. I’ve never really been one to sympathize with a camera whore, and I don’t tend to feel the anguish for those who emote on camera as much as I do for the faceless, who choose to suffer and mourn in silence and relative privacy. It doesn’t take a nun or a relief worker to perceive the suffering that is taking place from still pictures of nothing but the environment that is left, sans the commentary of a field reporter who hopes to one day anchor the evening news or the sympathy-starved victim who produces tears and shrieks when the red light turns on. If you have a reasonable amount of room in your heart and a little bit of imagination, you can tell how bad it is. “Horrible” is nothing but a word, and it doesn’t adequately serve the real loss of property, history, direction, hope, and life that anyone with even a tinge of a capacity for sympathy can at least perceive. Comment and drama simply aren’t necessary. It is Hell down there right now.

I became angered, however, as I watched the generous rescuing the able and the opportunistic raping the property and efforts of the productive. I am not referring to those without the ability or the means to evacuate. The bravado of those who would “ride out” a hurricane is well known… in fact, I have often thought until today that I would like to do that some day (though I wouldn’t have stayed around for that one, and I would have told you so before this past weekend). What some once thought brave or stupid has now been proven far worse: selfish. For every person capable of leaving the coast who was rescued today, a person who had no choice other than to remain and hope for the best waited for help, stranded by circumstance… or worse. I don’t know from watching which ones to be angry toward, because I don’t know their backgrounds. But, the history of human nature tells me that some of them are the ones whose rescue is celebrated at the top of the hour on basic cable.

I became angered at the looters. I’m sure several could justify their wading into and stealing items from the Walgreen’s on Canal as “fair.” “After all,” one might say, “that’s a big corporation, with way more stuff than I’ve got. I need it more than Walgreen’s.” What that person either doesn’t know or respect is that that corporation is usually just a front – the namesake of the investment of the enterprising, (yes) the rich, or (yes) the responsible. There is a 75-year old woman in western Tennessee who worked blisters and arthritis into her future at a sewing machine in a shoe plant for forty years, quietly and consistently putting a little bit aside while barely getting by, because she refused to retire on the government dole. Money saved doesn’t simply become more valuable by being saved. When it is coupled with the mental and physical work of human beings, assuming that the money is well managed, it becomes an investment and (hopefully) does become more valuable. Thus, some of her life savings is in Walgreen's stock, because it's safe and pays enough of a dividend to make sure her savings beat inflation by a little bit. Those who looted from that store stole from the retirement account of a rural grandmother who has nothing but her nest egg and her memories. She worked for it the hard way, she still lives in the same shack her late husband built in 1955, and she by God ain’t rich.

I suspect Lord of the Flies disturbs us because we fear that it is true. Actually, we know it is. I am disheartened by our resignation to that without resistance. I lose the faith in humanity that I gained after 9/11 when I hear those who justify our cruelest deeds with the reminder that human beings are animals, and are victims of their own instincts. Some are content to accept that the absence of civilization must result in the absence of civility.

I want and expect a little better than that of myself, and I hope you do too.

I am also struck by the recollection of several people claiming to interpret God’s intentions at disasters of the past. I still laugh in disbelief when I hear someone claim that AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuals. Tell that to Ryan White. I still shake my head when I remember a prominent evangelist’s accusation that those who tolerate abortion in America were complicit in the World Trade Center attacks. I don’t suppose that this hurricane was God’s punishment for a nation that allows its evangelists to call for the assassination of foreign leaders. You don’t think?

Of course not. Even to the most fundamental of fundamentalists, that is bad theology. So are “Death to the infidels” and “Death to Chavez.”

At the end of the day, it all comes back to that glorious tragic imperfection. The facet of our being that allows freckles to make a person singularly beautiful is the same one that allows us to disregard warnings of impending disaster at the expense of the life of someone who was incapable of helping herself. The part of us that yielded Post-It Notes is the same one that stole from that grandmother. The trait that gave us the perfectly imperfect “blue” note (the harmonic necessity of jazz and everything after it) is the same one that foolishly recommends killing in the name of God.

We’re absolutely imperfect. That imperfection results in our greatest quirks, discoveries, and inventions, and also in our most destructive acts of selfishness. The difference in the two is in that humans have the ability to listen to themselves – to think, to self-analyze, to determine the compatibility of the potential result of our flaws with a basic morality that only exists to perpetuate our existence – and then to discipline themselves to honor only the best manifestations of their imperfections.

The way I know to sum it up best comes from one of those silly lists I sometimes make of nothing more than things I believe. And the most fundamental of those is that, yes, we are animals.

But we’re not just animals.


PS - If you've got a little something to spare and want to help out, you can donate to the Red Cross with your credit or debit card right here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

1. A tree limb of considerable girth fell moments ago onto my bet-roon window. No damage, but I am pretty sure I will wake to the sound of a chainsaw, or worse yet, a nail file.

2. I figured out what bothers me about the name of the fading hurricane. The rhyme and meter of it remind me of the name "Funky Cold Medina." For some reason, the thought of Matt L@uer saying "Funky Cold Medina" disturbs me.

I'm not okay with that.
I don't even know why you would take coffee in the bathroom.

Monday, August 29, 2005

And, I'm sorry? Hurricane Katrina?

Sounds like the opening act on the 1985 Falco North American Tour. Can't we do better? Why not Hurricane Gertrude, or Hurricane Crack Ho?
Seriously.... I get it.... change songs!

"I'm stayin' up. Wooooh!"

Thing #1 - Name that band.

Thing #2 - In the style of Warren and Russ...

Dear Weather Channel,

I realize that you are trying to better "brand" yourself by changing your music to "Foxnews-esque Variations on Our Audio Logo" for Loud Drums, Synthesizer, and Fake Piano during Local on the 8's. But I really used to enjoy basking in the shame (the type that can only exist in one raised hard-core protestant and trained in the classical musical tradition) of enjoying the occasional Pat Metheny or Rippingtons that you used to play. So, I present a simple "either/or" request:

Could you please either:

1. Go back to playing that naughty, naughty Quiet Storm music, which I will probably consider "sensual" by the time I'm in my 40's.... or
B. Could you play the second movement of the piece. This one is getting old.


Thing #3 - I swear on all that is holy that the following phrase is in the latest advisory from NOAA for the greater NOLA area: "WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS."


Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Sh*t is Katrina, K-A-T-R-I-N-A, I said the...

Wow. I'm totally not messing around on this.

My sleep schedule is completely whacked. At one point in time I would have treated my insomnia with a nightcap, but those days are gone. Now, I just kinda suck it up and lay in the bed until I fall asleep.

When I went to bed at about 1:30 this morning, the We@ther Channel was talking about a Category 3 which could become a Category 4. I just sorta thought, "You know what, it looks worse than that." Somewhere around 3:15 this morning, it moved to a 4, and it just seemed like it would get worse.

When I finally fell asleep around 7am, it was still a 4. When I woke up a little after 2 this afternoon, it had become a 5 and the whole world was freaking out. Obviously this thing is pretty serious, but I didn't and don't understand why they were underestimating this thing, especially as devastating as it could be in New Orleans.

Our weather calls for gusts over 60 mph starting in the early morning Tuesday. It's the wrong kind of quiet outside, and lots of people are at the grocery store. No, I didn't buy milk and bread. Every good southerner known that milk won't keep if the power is out. The answer is beer and pork rinds (though I bought neither).

But that's nothing.

Man, I hope you guys in Louisiana are taking care of yourselves. I promise to resume my disdain for LSU as soon as this thing clears up, but seriously... duck and cover... stop drop and roll... put your right foot in and shake it all about... whatever.

But take care.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I should have known

Warning: Portions of this post could be deemed flat-out inflammatory. So, please don't get pissed. Just enjoy. For the record, to make sure no one gets mad, I have insulted myself three or more times.

I don’t know if you knew this existed or not. At some point tonight, I decided to make tuna salad (you know what they say… when you get tuna shit, make tuna salad). It occurred to me at some point in the process that I had forgotten the best way to hard-boil an egg. This site popped up when I Googled "How to hard-boil an egg." Laugh now, and I will pee in your wheaties when I have a hit song on the radio and still no money to show for it. Then I will ask you for money.

Now… thinking I know the regular readers of my blog, I have hand-picked some timely articles from this site for you to peruse. Don’t thank me, I’m just trying to help.

Trina and Dave


Gunner and Sarah S.



Princess Jen

Tony... or this one.


Brett again


Mr. Band Director

Brett, yet again... oh, and don't forget this one.



Brett again


I'm "sorry" if I left anyone "out." Leslie, I just couldn't do it... and they didn't have a category called "how to support your virgin friend who is well into his twenties." Will and Natalie, I'm not sure if y'all read regularly, and I don't have anything on you right now. There's still time.

Good weekends.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ode to a Coffee Maker

When I realized at twenty years old that I wasn’t “very good at waking up,” my Mom shelled out a few bucks for me to get you. You were so young, innocent, and loyal, and you worked like a charm (the “working” type of charm).

You sat on my little dorm room refrigerator, which had been converted to a beer cooler/bedside table. Every morning at 6:30 you would “perk” up. You would still be there, waiting patiently for me after I hit snooze for the seventh time on the dog alarm clock (which was really a cat alarm clock… some of you know the one – broken trumpet in one hand, blasted Reveille and “WAKE UP!!!!!! Rrrrriiiiisssse and sshhhiiine!!!”). When I cursed after spilling hot coffee all over myself and bedsheets as I tried to pour a cup of coffee while still asleep, you didn’t laugh. No, no, you just sat there, and made sure that the next cup I spilled would scald my fair skin even worse than the last one.

When I moved into a place by myself for the first time, you got one hell of a workout. You never complained when I abused you… running multiple pots on a late night of drill writing, then waking me up when I had to be at the trucks at 3:30 in the morning for yet another loss to Tennessee.

You were never stylish or fancy. You offered no frothy milk crap concoction to put on top of a cup of pure caffeine. You just spit out wake juice, over, and over, and over again. You cured multiple hangovers, got me through comps. You even cooperated on that New Year’s eve when Russ, Ellen, and I decided that we would try being Irish.

That worked out.

When I moved to Music City, you pledged to continue feeding the caffeine addiction which I share with my fellow musicians. You did so nobly, and with never a vile word.

And now, you have gone to be with Mr. Coffee himself. As I drop by the new Target tonight on my way home, and I toss you into the dumpster some twenty feet in front of my apartment door, a little part of me will be gone… nay, a large part.

You were the truest friend.
You were (sniff) the greatest enabler.
You were the one thing I could count on (except for my cable modem…. wait).

May you rest in pieces.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

First, better, or different

There is a great quote from Loretta Lynn which basically said that, in order to succeed wildly in Nashville (or anywhere for that matter) that one needs to be “first, better, or different.”

One of the big ideas Adam and I had for the weekend was to write together. We’ve been doing this on and off for years. While Adam would not characterize himself a songwriter, he’s been listening to country music long enough (28 years) to know the difference between something not good, something good, and something great. We wrote some interesting things together years ago… in fact, my first big trip to Nashville was a direct result of Adam’s repeated absence from co-writing sessions… I got pissed off enough that I needed to leave Athens for a few days. That trip was long enough that some people thought I had actually moved.

For the record, Adam also brings something else to the table in that he dates a lot, has a girlfriend, and in fact probably rarely spends a night alone. That's a welcome perspective around here. No pity, just fact (Leslie!).

We got started on Friday night, to little avail. We got pretty serious about it again on Saturday night, and actually came up with something interesting that I don’t know that I had heard before. By the time 5:00 am had rolled around, my writing chops were somewhere in the bottom of a bottle of JD. I woke up, knowing that Adam intended to head home fairly soon that day, to the sound of his continuing to debate lines. Never the one to turn down a qualified and knowledgeable co-write, I fought through the morning doldrums to the point where I was ready to debate lines with him. We finally got to the point at which I was content enough with the tune to put it on a disc. For those of you who don’t know, I decided some time back not to spend $700 a piece on demos, but rather to sink about $3500 into a home studio, because I knew I could do what the studios in town can do in the comfort of my own home… and usually be damn happier with the results than those of the alternative.

What started as a “quick demo” that should have taken 45 minutes (at the very most) turned into a full-on 12-hour home session. For the record, sessions are normally three hours, but we re-wrote and re-wrote, and messed with the recording, and aimed a little higher than the washed-up producer on Demonbreun who only wants your money. He stayed in Nashville one more night to finish the demo, and we did fine.

What was really cool throughout the process, though, was remembering that quote. I’m definitely not first. So I tried to make sure I was driving our writing in a “better,” or “different” direction throughout the course of both the writing and the production.

Truth be told, most of the lines were Adam’s. My job was to say “no.” I said “no” enough, that Adam dug a little harder on lines, and I wrapped them up. And eventually we wound up with something that made both of us rather uncomfortable. Which is good.

One hard thing to remember when you’re writing, is that if what you are writing sounds like the stuff that’s already on the radio, then you are two years behind. There were little awkwardnesses - moments where it felt like there should be lyrics and weren’t, asymmetries, rhymes where we didn’t expect them to be, and ways of saying the only thing country music ever says that I hadn’t heard before.

In a way, this was just a microcosm for the whole “learning who you are” bit that I have been sick of hearing about since watching Mister Rogers as a child. Maybe it isn’t so much who you are as much as it is what part of what you have to offer that might be different enough to be right on the money. I have been learning to appreciate my own differences – all of those little things that I bring that it seems no one else does, whether it be in teaching, writing, simply being around, or whatever it is I happen to be doing.

And after listening to the tune for a day and a half… yeah, it sounds like something that could be on the radio, but currently isn’t. I intend to keep chasing those strange things… those moments or components that are awkward, and see where they lead. I think that probably applies no more to writing than anything else.

It feels like a matter of time right now, and in many ways I am made of that these days. But I don't see the point in waiting around to do the same old thing that everyone else is doing.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I pulled the entry on Todd's ad, then said, oh what the hell. I guess if I had done that ad, I would have expected it to be all over the world pretty soon. So, I just put it back up.

For the record here's a picture with Todd (sorta) in it, from 1995. You've all seen it before.

You can see Drum Major M@tt King looking straight ahead, but refusing to join in. Todd and Carrie C. are to his right... pretty much doing the same thing while I'm getting my ass kicked.

Some of you may remember the goofy "Thanks!" picture that sat in my office forever, with me, Candy, and Adam posing in concert and marching apparel. There was a fourth, Tin@ M0tley, but she lives in Mew Mexico. At any rate, Adam and I caught Candy, Bryant, and Grant in Mufreesboro this weekend, and recreated the pic ten years after the fact. That will be up soon, along with a scan of the original.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Adam joins me from Cincinatti today for two and one-half days of revelling in the music business and bitching about why I'm not getting cuts and he's not getting gigs. This is an old pastime that we have been practicing for about 11 years, but haven't had a chance to do since spring '03 in Albuquerque.

In a way, it will be sorta sad when he's working as much as he wants and I'm getting cuts all of the time.

Who am I kidding? No it won't.

14 days, plus, for y'all. About 19 for me.

Additional observations:
- I am highly disturbed that the phrases "Peace on you" and "Piss on you" sound so similar. I think this may be the cause of the current problems the Americans seem to have with the Muslim world... just a little dialect problem, that's all.
- South Carolina is way better in NCAA Football 06 than I think they're going to be in real life. It is making me nervous, though.
- Everytime they talk about that BTK killer, I always think of Burger King.

Note to those who comment

1. That's what makes this fun, so keeps those cards and letters coming in.
2. I finally got comment spammed, so I added the word verification requirement for comments. I apologize in advance for the additional 4.3 seconds this will require.
3. Maybe I will come up with something to say soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More letting go

I headed out today for a meeting with this guy. I’ve actually been anticipating this meeting since I first let my then-boss know that I was leaving UGA. He had some contact with him regarding a little project he’s working on for Georgia. A few days later, I was talking with this guy as I did and still do frequently… one of my very dear music friends and one hell of a good human being. Turns out, he was working on the same project with the first guy. A nice relationship developed there, and they have since begun working very closely.

After numerous failed attempts to meet in Athens, we were finally to meet today at this place. About the time I hit Edmonson Pike at 4:30, the skies opened up. As is the case in many towns, the rain slowed traffic to a pace slower than the most sensitive version of “Lush Life” you have ever heard. Wisely, so I thought, I got off of I-65 and turned left onto Wedgewood and right on 12th. Somehow, I wound up on the north side of Broadway without ever remembering crossing it. As the rain continued, I maneuvered to 17th, heading south, in an attempt to get back to Demonbreun. Through four lights I sat as drivers in the road perpendicular to mine crossed into the intersection, failing or refusing to accurately calculate their likelihood of passing successfully to the other side of the intersection before the light changed.

When I finally arrived (fifteen minutes late), I met Bruce. I had seen his picture dozens of times, and had heard his tunes thousands. For some reason, I was taken aback when I heard his accent. I don’t know… I guess I should have figured that someone from Gainesville, Georgia would have a fairly southern accent, but his picture didn’t look like he would. He did, and I was naturally much more at ease when I realized it.

We talked about the project he’s undertaking, and my goals here. When it was revealed to him that I did have aspirations of writing pop music and doing some producing, he reminded me that this wasn’t just a country town. “That girl in the black dress behind you?” he whispered, “She’s an A and R director for C@pitol in town snooping around for new bands. It’s not just twang and 1, 4, 5 here anymore.” I just laughed and thought about how cool that was.

He pulls out his cell phone to check the time, and says, “I’m sorry but I’ve got to get out of here, oddly enough for thi…. wait… you should come with me!” Before I could say, “Where?” he was on the phone leaving a voice mail saying that I would be “perfect to help out with what we’re doing before the Vanderbilt game” and asking if it was ok for me to come along. The person whom he had intended to reach called back immediately, and it was, of course, fine for me to come along. I guess I should have mentioned, Bruce is a UGA alum. In fact he’s now got a place in Athens because of the “project.” It’s right above Masada, and I’m jealous.

I made my way to Cool Springs, and found myself at a restaurant being introduced to six other alums and a development officer and telling my story repeatedly… often hearing, “So you just dropped everything and moved up here?” or, “What did you do with the band?” Three hours of a dinner three pay-grades above mine and discussion that frequently included such phrases as “Coach Magill,” “right there on Clayton,” “hop over to the Grill,” “the Redcoats,” and “D.J.” ensued. I learned of famous Nashville personalities who share my collegiate affiliation, and traded stories which revealed much fewer than six degrees of separation between me and the old friends I just met. Email addresses and numbers were exchanged and we began to leave the restaurant. Across the parking lot, echoes of “We’ll see you soon,” and “Write a hit” bounced off of the walls of the adjacent mall, and then I was back on my way home in more ways than one.

I just love it when plans change for the better. Almost invariably, the allowance of life to happen to me results in a far more satisfactory end than any design I could ever have written. The more “delicious ambiguity” I experience, the more I realize that there is far more value in this move than potential financial earnings. I am learning to enjoy the ride.

It’s about time.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Biz Rant

Ok, I am officially in a pissy mood. Probably just another side effect of learning to be by myself a lot more. Plus, I'm ready to be writing and I can't just yet.

At any rate, because a few folks wanted to see it, I am posting a link to the music business blog. I put it on a separate page for several reasons, but I will include a permanent link on the right (your right, my left). It's pretty involved, but maybe you will find out something new. I think I'm going to bed, and hopefully my mood will improve.

Entry of necessity

This is one of those entries that you post because you haven’t posted in a while and you don’t want to be made an example of. How about a glimpse into the random thoughts that have been in my brain lately? Excellent! Glad you agree.

1. I had a nice convergence of thoughts on Thursday as I watched DCI Quarterfinals. Boston’s show centered around “Joy” - the emotion not the girl or the dishwashing liquid. The “B” section of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” hit me particularly strongly at about the same time as the Skirt’s last album title “This is Winning and Thinking,” the latest Foo Fighter’s tune “The Best of You,” and my slow but steady progression into the business. I don’t imagine Bach necessarily thought that he was writing something timeless when he wrote that. But it now, to me anyway, seems to say “This was the best there was in the early 1700’s. This was being true and beautiful in 1716,” or whenever it was written. Makes you want to be pretty careful about what you write down and call art.

2. The visit from S. Oob Thursday night was great. Of course it was great to see her… she always has intelligent thoughts and observations, along with an interesting narrative of her own day-to-day. It was also the first person whom I really knew that I had seen in two weeks. I hope my downloading songs from iTunes and my annoying piano play-along didn’t keep you awake.

3. I accidentally called FDR right in the middle of RCB staff introductions on Saturday. So I was reintroduced to the band as a staff member by way of cell phone. Their response was very generous and exactly what I needed. Gunner later called as they were playing Battle Hymn and The Chant for the first time. It sounded great from what I could tell. I can’t wait to hear them live… four weeks.

4. I heard a very interesting tracking session for a major gospel act last week, thanks to an old acquaintance (the engineer) who was kind enough to invite me in. The process is amazing, and is loose enough around the edges that I think I would be very happy in production some day. You wind up having to put a lot of your own money up for those things, so that’s several years away.

5. This coming week, co-writes begin becoming more of a reality. Two co-writers (or potential ones) are returning from out of town, and at least one that I have established here looks as though it may take place this week. More of why I’m here in the first place.

6. I’m about 8 days from being done working my “day job” for quite a while, and I will be able to focus a little more on writing the good stuff.

7. Kit, thank you. I think I would take that over money any day, though some money would be nice.

8. Very special thanks to ln, and Gunner who helped me fact-find for a tune I’m rewriting. For the record, I’m glad I checked with you, because I was way off.

9. Lastly, I have decided not to post my music business explanation blog because it sounds too didactic. That is, unless I hear from you that you really want it, in which case I will post. Please don’t say you do out of pity… I only want to put it up if someone wants to read it.

Hoping my schedule gets back to normal pretty soon. I have seen the sun come up before getting to sleep each of the last four night/mornings. That is all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

An old true... um... ism, a thought about real love, and a note to Peter Jennings

1. This is old as dirt, but I read it in a book again today and thought it was worth revisiting.

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington Chemistry midterm.

"Bonus question: Is hell exothermic or endothermic?" Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (how gas cools when it expands and heats when compressed). However, one student wrote this:

"First, we need to know how the mass of hell is changing with time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets into hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.

Now we look at the rate of change of volume in hell. Because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the volume of hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:
1) If hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase until all hell breaks loose.
2) Of course, if hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Teresa Banyan during my Freshman year- that ‘it will be a cold day in hell before I sleep with you.’- and take into account that I have still not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then #2 cannot be true; and thus I am sure that hell is exothermic and will not freeze.”

2. I feel terrible about Dana Reeve and her news from today. But the entire time I watched her with her ailing husband, I completely gushed in private admiration for her, the grace with which she carried herself, and the absolute unconditional love she exhibited for her husband.

Hang in there, Lois. Lots of people are pulling for you.

3. I don't know if you went by Pete to your friends or not, but that's what I'm going to call you. Pete, if you're looking back, I hope you appreciate the way that people remember you. Not very many people are talented and personable enough to enjoy tribute like your memory is receiving now. I suspect that we wouldn't have agreed with each other on a lot of things, but it sure would have been fun to waste an afternoon trying. Men like you and Brokaw are what I would choose to be if I wanted to be someone other than myself.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


The new M0tley Crue tour is called the "C@rnival of Sins" Tour. That's too much.

Oooh scary.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Letting it happen

Today was a neat day. I spent the first part writing drill and helping around the old office by email and phone.

This is the flashback portion of the entry. Flashback with me to last Monday (Dlalalaloo, Dlalalaloo, Dlalalaloo).

I sat at the 'Bird for several hours almost entirely unhappy with the experience. After his performance, I said "Nice work" to the one writer on the night who I felt deserved more stage time than he got. He said, "thanks," and went about his way.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. You will recall that I sat in a cool green chair. Well, the same writer came up and sat down next to me, and I introduced myself. His name is Scott. He told me he was playing a "round" on Friday night at this place. I told him I would make it a point to be there. (Editor's note: A "round" is what most people would consider a "line." You take turns playing 3 or 4 songs, then it's someone else's turn.)

Moments after this, four women were looking for a place to sit, and they chose the edge of the raised portion of floor upon which the afforementioned chair sits. When they did, they realized that I was sitting behind them. In an effort not to be rude, they asked if that was ok. Of course it was fine. Nothing else was said that night.

Fast forward to tonight. I went to the Quarter to hear Scott. I was one of five people in the audience in the beginning. So, rather than introduce the performers to the crowd, the host of the night introduced the audience to the performers. I think this was a good idea. Scott's stuff was good, and you can tell he has great ideas and really wants to do this. When he finished we agreed to keep in touch and write when he gets back to town.

Moments later, a woman walks in and sets a fiddle on a table and asks the bartender for an ice water. I recognized her as the attractive woman at the far end of "the group of four" who sat by me on Tuesday. After hearing her play and sing (which she does quite nicely), I learned that she had once attended this fine institution, then this fine institution, then this fine institution. After discussing career goals, etc, she invites me to the lounge of this hotel to hear her roommate play another round.

I went, and loved what I heard and who I met. Her friends, who are writers are very cool. She introduced me to the unofficial "may0r of music r0w," who was very encouraging, and an established writer or two. She also talked me through the process of getting on that writer's night.

I'm glad I didn't sit on my butt and write drill tonight. There is time for that tomorrow. And if you ever read this Alisa, thank you very much. This is starting to feel like the right move.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Makes you feel like you're home

Mmmk, Dawg Fans. My dear old Redcoat friend/bassoonist/mellophonist/mom Amy has a station on Live 365 that is worth tuning into for a while. Lots of cool stuff that makes it feel like it's a gameday in the Classic City. Take a listen if you get a chance. If you have the means to donate to help with licensing fees you can do that there too. Click here to check it out.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Little to report

Wrote drill most of the day today. Saw Cooper's band this evening, and they're doing really well. I like hearing my own stuff being performed well.

I started your blog on the business tonight, but it is going to be very involved and very long. It's coming soon, but more pressing things are at hand. I guess that's all.

Oh yeah... I wrote the beginning of a song tonight. Been awhile, and that's kinda why I moved here. That's probably a good thing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

That's More Like It

Let me be very plain about this. I don’t have a plan. I just know what I want to do and that I probably need to be here to do it.

At least ten times since 1997, I have been in town and heard something great, only to return home knowing that I was, or was capable of something, better. What I thought I would do once I got here was to simply experience the town, the industry, the community. Get a feel for it. Find out where and when it’s okay to drink. Learn the idiosyncrasies of this particular place, and then feel my way into it.

Last night was obviously pretty pathetic, but tonight was much better. I went here to hear this person, this person*, and many other writers. In fact I sat in this chair to hear the show.

I heard great stuff. I heard writers that I think I could write with, and do so very well.

But most importantly, I watched and listened. I realized about 30 minutes into this show, “Man, these people are almost as screwed up as I am.” And I liked it.

I guess a part of leaving was also the desire to be around more people like me. Not that the people at home aren’t, but very few of them want to do this like I do. Here, they do. No one lets a good song be performed without making sure it has a good harmony part or four. People scream "Damnit" when someone sings a hook they wish they had written, and they shake their heads in disbelief when someone makes perfectly perfect sense in a tune. It’s reassuring. It lets me know that this idea isn’t crazy… that in fact, there are thousands of people who do it everyday and think that the opportunity to do it is worth ridiculous acts of carelessness or self-endangerment. In fact, there are parts of this town in which that is normal. Hmmm.

I still owe you a blog on how the business works, so this won't make sense to some of you. But, purely for the purpose of my own comparison from good days to bad, right now I think I am 14 months to signing and 18 months to first cut. This is the most random speculation possible, but I'm just curious to find out later on if I knew what I was talking about.

In related unrelated news, I caught up with an old UGA friend who is an engineer here. After some discussion about my goals, he agreed to let me sit in on a tracking session for one of these. Just another part of the learning experience that I am really looking forward to.

* Totally recommend Shelly's tune "Tiny Town." What country could be if it ever decided to be.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Archetypal Moving Misery

It is settling in slowly. That I am actually here and doing what I am doing after talking about it for at least 12 years, that I can be defined primarily as “struggling songwriter,” that the rest is up to me… it is settling in.

I got up today and did several things around the house. I learned from Ln and Sarah S. that staying organized has the potential to make things easier, so I’m doing my best. Hopefully the 7th time is the charm. After around the fifth load of clothes, I was making a snack when I heard a dripping noise. Though some may find comfort, or even pride, in that, depending on their domestic circumstances, I currently do not. It usually means one of the following things:

1. A liquor drink has been spilled and forgotten.
2. I have done a poor job of connecting the washing machine hoses to their appropriate mates (see the great Washing Machine Floods Brett’s House on His Third Day In Said House Caper of the Year 2000).
3. A dead body has been planted in my dwelling place before being appropriately drained. Side Note: If you are going to plant a dead body in my house, please do so with some sense of tidiness and selflessness: Drain the fluids first, then plant the body. Grazi.
4. Trina has chosen Chinese Water Torture over sleeplessness and wants some company (but didn’t bother to call, which is fine).
5. It’s raining.
6. The neighbor upstairs clogged her toilet, and still believed she could “handle this one” after the water had flooded half of her den.

Well, in this case, #6 applies. I fully expect to be compensated, preferably in the form of a homemade desert or a publishing deal. At this point, however, I have not been contacted regarding a settlement. I do believe that the Garden State Soundtrack will have to play loudly at, say, 4:15 AM. Maybe that will teach her to lay off of the fiber.

In my progressing age, I have recalled that everything goes wrong when I move and become uncomfortable. This usually waits to occur until I am completely alone. Then it roars. When I moved to Michelle Drive, I arrived alone on move-in to find my bedroom window busted by attempted burglars and made unsuccessful phone calls to attorneys in an attempt to get out of the lease. When I moved into the ‘kstone, the aforementioned caper happened, then I struggled mightily to get everything into the house, then the filing cabinet stayed in the front bathroom for six weeks. Here, you’ve got the Great Feces Shower of 2005. Along with that, evvv-uuuu-rrrr-yyy damned time I bent my head toward the coffee maker to check my “grounds level” or make a strategic ergonomic change in coffee maker positioning, I promptly jammed my forehead into the corner of the stove hood in exactly the wrong spot and with authority. Five times!!! This is a known complication of moving with the idiosyncrasies and accident-proneness that I am well known to possess. It is also directly related to being in a really pissy mood. I will get through it, but now would not be the time to ask me to help you move or assist with your do-it-yourself enema. I’m probably not game.

After touching base with a few people in town, I made my way to the BlueB|rd CafĂ©. From now on, I will refer to this establishment as “the Bird,” for Googlic reasons. Regarding the night, I will attempt to be vague and not overly opinionated… let’s just say that 0pen Mic Night at the Bird completely sucks ass. Merle H@gg@rd appeared twice, yet was never there. I also heard Yoko Ono in the shape of a 57-year old man who closed his eyes and acted like he was blind every time someone approached an acceptable level of mediocrity. When he sang high notes it sounded like Darth Brooks. Two kids under the age of 14 performed, and frankly much better than most did. I plan to attempt to circumvent this part of getting into the business, to fail, and then to blog more about how pissed I am that I have to listen to this.

But there was a moment or two today when I realized that it has finally happened. I was driving up 65, and noticed that I didn’t feel like I should be anywhere else. I made the turns like I knew them. I listened to the local traffic, like someone interested in local traffic. I realized that I had no place that I had to be, and that I was free to do this… slowly, quietly, and under the radar – the only way I know how to do anything.

I am still a little scared and progressively a little more comfortable. I get a little excited every time I find another empty picture frame, but then I get a little lump in my throat every time I find the picture that will fill it. And occasionally, the lump gives way.

I miss my friends. I miss feeling like I’m at home. You don’t have to comment anymore saying you’re with me, because I know you are. It simply is. It sucks. And it will get better. There was never any other way. If there was I would have taken it.

On the other hand, I remember this feeling precisely. It was 1992. I was sitting in a dorm room on Lumpkin pissed because I was at a university that I didn’t want to attend, separated from my family, and only knowing three people in my new home. I was sure, just positive, that if I stuck it out that I could be a part of it, and hopefully I could be good enough at it to be drum major some day. But one thing after the other went wrong… profoundly wrong. That seemed to have worked out ok, and I don’t have any reason to believe that this will be any different.

If you’ve ever heard me describe myself frankly, you know that the Dwight-esque party line is “Horrible initiative and tremendous endurance.” Here’s where part two kicks in… along with a little bit of belief and a whole lot of patience.


Monday, August 01, 2005

I am not Purdue, but I am here...

and safe. The fridge and pantry are stocked and half of the 'splorer is unloaded. The rest I will do in daylight.

I'm pretty worn out tonight, so I won't offer a great deal of commentary tonight. However, here are three pics.

The first is from great old friend A. Kirkland. He was driving to a BOA Symposium and snapped this pic in rural Illinois. Apparently HDS has gotten into utilities and is still just as possessive and self-absorbed as when he was a band director.


The last two are from my trip through Dacula today to meet my new nephew. Here is Ben. D in my arms. I was comfortable but I sure as hell don't look like it.


The third is a tight shot of his little hands. It's a little hard to make out unless you know that this is Ben holding onto my index finger.


More commentary and hijinx tomorrow. Good night, America!