Monday, October 31, 2005

I've been away from computers for the better part of two weeks now, and I must admit it has been a refreshing change. Unfortunately, I'm headed back to Tennessee for two weeks tomorrow morning. It is time to get back to work. I will provide more details upon my return.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hello from Outer Space

I'm sitting in one of my former offices, waiting on a phone call that will enable me to handle some last minute business on campus for an old friend. In the meantime, I thought I would preempt complaints of my non-bloggedness by, um, blogging.

The weekend has been great as it usually is when it's spent in Athens. I spent the first four nights at JNC's, which gave a lot of great friends a chance to drop by and say hello. Wednesday, I caught up with Trina. Thursday I literally sat alone in the Cubmansion and actually listened to music. The very thought.... Friday I wrote, got to pick on Ln, laugh at Russ, and become wisdomized by Gunner. The next night, I enjoyed the parade as well as dinner with a mentor and his family. There was a ballgame in there somewhere (damnit, DJ) the next day, which was followed by more Trina, more Gunner, more Cub, Brett-analysis by Chief, and time well-spent with my replacement. Sunday was jazz, followed by dinner, desert, DespHouse, and on-and-off movies with my very dear friend Sarah. Tonight I teach a seminar and then a little more hanging before heading back in the morning.

It's funny. I worried so much before I left about how I would get by. Almost daily, something else pops up. I find myself with more work than I would have imagined and having more fun than I would have imagined, all while doing what I have wanted to do for a long time. Life is good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I am heading back to the motherland this morning (Wed) for a couple of meetings and rehearsals, a football game (and homecoming), a guest speaking engagement, hopefully some time with friends, and perhaps an appearance at a church bizarre or meeting of the ladies’ auxiliary. Who knows. If you’re in the area, have a few minutes, and would like to grab a cup of coffee or a turkey leg, call me. You probably have my number.

I seem to have an amazing knack for making the simple complicated, the easy difficult, and relaxed awkward. More of the same. Yay.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I had an awesome weekend with my old friend. It was just perfect to see her, and I know she was happy to get away from school for a couple of days. Long story short, I think we both had a blast, and I think we both needed that. I know you don’t give a gator about the details of the conversations we had, and so I won’t trouble you with that… except to say that my dear friend really likes to talk about feces.

While she was here, we took a brief trip back to my original hometown of Mt. Julie+, just to look around at the places where I grew up. I hadn’t been there in several years, and I don’t plan to go back anytime soon. I was more uncomfortable being there than I remember being much of anywhere ever, with the possible exception of a certain winter cabin in Lake Dillon, Colorado. I’m sure an entry on the subject is forthcoming.

In other news, you may recall my statements of excitement this summer regarding the fall potential of a band for which I write. Things apparently went pretty well for them Saturday afternoon. I’m proud.

This evening and the next couple of days are covered with late-season drill, and a couple of transcriptions. It is looking like the year will be financially better than it is for most “starving songwriters,” as the work seems to keep rolling in. This is very good news. In even better news, the writing seems to improve daily (it did this afternoon) and a couple of nice pitch opportunities have presented themselves. In the little time that I am here for the next two weeks (and some that I am not), I will by trying to get things together for those.

And for those of you who love to follow my mental state, things are good. I have realized, as a friend said to me when considering this move, that home is “portable.” At the time, I thought she meant that wherever you lived was home. Now I’m realizing that it isn’t… you take home with you. Nevertheless, I am more or less comfortable here now, though I know in my heart of hearts that there will be good and bad days. What the last two weeks have proven is that “the ones you love are always in your heart and if you're very lucky... a plane ride away.”

And lastly, for those of you to whom the previous quote applies: Please keep cheering, calling, and coming up to remind me that you are there. I’ve got that look in my eye, but the next few months are critical… every little thing helps.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm Every Woman

Not really. I stole that from a song. In fact, I’m actually a boy, and not a woman. I thought the title was catchy.

My synapses fire in twelve different directions tonight, so let’s see if we can make some sense out of this.

The weekend

The weekend was almost perfect. Gunner, Chief, the Diva, Blog This, and Georgiagirl had a great time watching the Dawgs restore order to the football world. I am not as thrilled with the outcome as many are, as I don’t think the win was as impressive as a lot of people think. I’m ridiculously glad we won, but we’re not even halfway finished.

After reveling a bit too much in the recreational activities that not working at a game tends to allow, we experienced a brief recurrence of the “No Bullshit Policy,” which shall henceforth be renamed the “Bullshit Policy.” To date, I can’t recall a time when the old “No Bullshit Policy” ever resulted in the revelation of truth. It rather normally revealed an imaginative mind’s twisting of reality in such a way that multiple dear friends became profoundly pissed off at the words that were coming out of my mouth (Tell ‘em, Dave). It’s an occasional byproduct of my weirdness, but I am learning that there are far more productive and less dramatic ways to allow my own creations to see the light of day. In the meantime, I will only say that I deeply appreciate the understanding and forgiveness of those who were this week’s victims. I think I have almost victimized everyone, so I hope this phase is ending. Nevertheless, I thank you and love you all for being willing to deal with my worst moments and hanging around for my better ones. Just so you have something to look forward to, please know that there are many better ones on the way.

Good (mostly) times, good football, good drink, and good friends. Go dawgs.

The beginning of the week

The adjustment to a life in which I am not constantly needed, asked questions, and depended upon continues. In many spare moments of this relative “free” time, I have indulged in the Bravo Network’s “West Wing” Marathon. Though the policy is frequently not my own, I love the writing and the point of this show. I kept getting one lesson out of every episode: “Stay on message.” For me these days, I think that instruction is closely akin to the line near the end of Star Wars, “Stay on target,” or the caption on your second grade report card, “Stays on task.”

On Tuesday, I attended a somewhat productive band rehearsal, then had a great conversation with an old friend who is supremely capable of reminding me of who I am when I get “off message.” It was exactly what I needed. I posted a blog about it for a few hours, knowing that those who really need or care to know what’s going on in my head would probably see the entry. I then removed it, knowing that casual readers of my blog neither want nor need to know the more intimate details of my life. I like this practice and intend to continue it for things that don’t need to remain a part of the record.

Writer’s blog

I have been writing for some time with a former attorney (from Atlanta) turned songwriter named Bob. Brad has requested that he be referred to in internal communication as “Matlock,” and I have agreed to comply.

I wasn’t really thrilled with the early efforts and communication in my writing with Matlock. He tended to look for phrases like “heart on the shelf” and “killin’ me” and so on… the long since cliché snapshots of a once brilliant common practice of writing songs in this genre. But there is something about Matlock. He is in his mid-50’s and has the wisdom of a man who has experienced great heartache, a divorce, the separation from one of his children, and the tell-tale stress of a somewhat free spirit who attempted to live a textbook life that was never to have been one in which he felt at home. I have since begun to learn how perceptive he is, and have truly begun to look forward to our writing sessions every week.

This week, Matlock and I assumed new roles. Being able to tell that I am very far into the process of making sense out my life, Matlock transformed himself from songwriter to opportunistic therapist (utilizing the Socratic method of which many attorneys are fond) and he began to drag a song out of me, one piece at a time. In a brilliant combination of prodding and questioning, followed by stepping out of the room, Matlock gave me the impetus and then the space to create something new. And it is new. If we ever write something great together, you will be shocked when Matlock steps onto the stage to accept his trophy, because you would never have guessed it. We only finished one verse tonight, as he recognized early on that I hadn’t sorted the entire story of this song out in my head. He said to me, “This is too important to try and rush. We need to get this right, and we need to make sure we have fully explored the idea that you are pursuing.” We broke and will meet again next week.

I had to kinda step back tonight and realize it. But for all of the bitching I do about being lonely and lost in this town, I have five tunes that I believe in, growling and reeling for completion. That’s the first time I have ever had five things I believed in on deck. This is good.

This weekend

The Dawgs return to this state again this Saturday. A very dear friend and I have decided to seize the opportunity to make a weekend of it. When I’m not obsessing over one of these tunes, I am hopping up and down to the annoyance of my downstairs neighbors in excitement for an upcoming weekend of laughs and gourmet meals (as long as I can be kept away from the kitchen utensils). I am so excited about dropping the guitar for a few days and soaking up the moments of being with someone who gets me. It’s harder to do these days, and that makes the times when we can infinitely more valuable. This is exactly what I have needed for a long time, and I’m just as excited as I can be.


There are still good days and bad days, and to expect that that is going to change completely misses the point. I’m doing a pretty decent job of realizing that the only end we ever encounter is one which we won’t be alive for. I’m pretty free right now, with few obligations, and I’m doing a pretty good job of making something of it (though there is much more to be done). Not to be hokey (yet to be hokey), but I understand more everyday that this isn’t about looking for something. It is about knowing, believing, and enjoying where you are, when you are….

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It has been brought to my attention that I missed several nicknames. Here are those that were omitted from the original post, in no particular order.


So there.

Friday, October 07, 2005


If you really really believe that you too aren't gullible, I would urge you to watch this trailer. It's just proof that we can all be manipulated and that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is brilliant.

The difference, abbreviated random time, and nicknames

I have always deeply appreciated the line of thought that says "There is very little difference between a rut and a groove." I find myself in one or the other. Judging by the product of tonight, it seems much more like a groove right now. I far prefer it that way.

I was walking back into my apartment from a brief trip to a local fast food establishment, when, from overhead, I heard "Bre+t B@wcum!" This was quite alarming, as I am one of a very few people in this town who know my own name at this point in time. I looked up to the balcony above my apartment (yes, the balcony of the place that once flooded my home with fecal blessings, and the same abode of whose residents I frequently complain regarding their "walking too heavily"). It was an old friend from my high school church days in Gwinnetia... cigarette in hand, in town for a church conference. My how times have changed, but it was nice to see him. At least we're all paying the same penance, or learning the same truths, or untruths, or whatever the hell (I mean heaven! I mean heaven!) they are.

My cable went out in the 3rd quarter of the Tech game, which deprived me of the right to see Tech get beat in heartbreaking fashion. The world truly is unjust. (Editor's note: The game began to air [or perhaps "err" is more appropriate] just as I was checking this entry. Gonna be a long night.)

So instead, I wrote me a song, that had nothing to do with a guy named Jim Bob Cooter. I will however be checking my own genealogy to see if I am related to him. I would say that's a distinct possibility.

For the record: My brother and I were given the names we were given because my parents had an strong wish that no one would shorten or bastardize our names. My brother's name is Ch@d. To this day, the only nickname he has is "Ch@ddy Ch@ddy Bangbang." As a child, mine was "Bre++y Bre++y Dingding." Since then, I can list several bastardizations that have been created by people who love (or once did) me, that I think are more severe than someone even being named Noel or Russell:

Brettus Maximus
Brettisimus Maximus (which I suppose ranks most highly among this and the previous two)
Bre++y (ex-girlfriend, who shall remain nameless [though she has at least one], once said upon receiving water from my Brit@ filter, "Where'd you get good water, Bre++y?" I don't know why that has stuck with me.)
Breast (a personal favorite... you think I am kidding)
Breast BallsCum
Bawc (after which my younger brother was named "ReBawc")
Brettskers (stop)
Uncle Brett

I have also received a few other nicknames, unrelated to my actual name.

Buddy (if you are a male, and you use this, I will kill your favorite pet, or disconnect your cable, whichever is easiest)
Tiger (a no-no)
Champ (an absolute no-no, unless you are on deck to birth my children, in which case I might let it slide)
Chief (that's now my father)
El Pus
Kirb (which could just as easily have been "Curb")
Tos+ito Man
Little Buddy (I will deal with the grand jury in whatever way is necessary if you use this)

So there. I like nicknames, but I think I have enough.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mmmmmmk, Molly. Here you go.

Random: You are the first Molly I have ever known.
Song(s): 3x5 and Rocksteady
Jello: I'll bet you like the taste of green jello, but have a hard time getting over the color (afraid it will taste minty or of fiber)
Inside joke: Think professor's eating habits on studio trips
First Memory: Passing you as I walked from the back to the office while you were in Jazz Band your freshman year. Clearest: Your facial expression at the beginning of the "rescue" at Acrophobia.
Animal: An owl.
Wondered: (Oh, come on.) What you are thinking... like all of the time?

Enjoy, and use none of this against me.

If you weren't aware that this was true...

... come on back from the cave. But just in case, you need to see this brief and absolutely true profile of the third string quarterback for the Vawlz. This is the official website. I swear on the arm of D.J. Shockley that this is true.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Due to a contractual obligation into which I entered by commenting on Molly's blog, I am hereby required to post the questions and answers of a recent, sort of survey/therapy session/self-validation exercise to which she was a party. The words below do not necessarily represent the views of Blogger, the University of Ge0rgia, or your's truly.


Molly's Categories of Enlightenment

1. I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle with you in****
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me.
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your journal. You MUST. It is written.

Molly's Specific Response

1. Random: Your baby picture on facebook cracks me up
2. Song/movie: Country music reminds me of you!
3. Jello: i bet you have an opinion on jello
4. Inside joke: asdfl;kj (word verification)... that still cracks me up
5. First/clearest memory: my first memory of you is great- "No no no, like this: I'm so happyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy... That you love meeee..... Doobee doobee doowahhh, doo doo, dahhhhhhhh. DAT DAT." I remember being really amused.
6. Animal: A GEORGIA BULLDAWG. even though you seem to like those mah-zou-rah people.
7. ?: ARE YOU GOING TO CHINA!??!?! :)


I hope that you are enlightened. You may be excused now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Some kids never make it that close

Here is a pic of my old friend, taking his son M@son onto the field to give the drumline the go-ahead at pregame before the B0ise St. game. Beautiful.


Special thanks to ln for the pic.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"We were young and we were improving" - John Cougar Mellencamp

I have returned to the Patch after a killer weekend in C0lumbia with MDK and the Mizz0u Band. I will first offer some statistics and then a brief recap of the activities.

Total number of miles traveled from Nashville to Columbia and back: 936
Number of those miles traveling approximately 10 mph behind a tractor in rural Illinois: 2.5
Driving time from Nashville to Columbia: 8 hours 10 minutes
Driving time from Columbia to Nashville: 7 hours 54 minutes
Total travel time if the phrase “I’ll be there in two seconds” were true: ≈4 seconds
Number of seconds I listened to the radio on the return trip: 0
Number of Eisenhower Interstate Highways traveled: 5 (65, 24, 57, 64, 70)
Number of significant rivers crossed: 5 (Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri)
Number of times I said “At the end of the day” after resolving to stop saying that: 13
Number of nights in Columbia: 3
Number of nights we had drinks and dinner at the Heide|berg: 3
Final score of the UT-MU game if the teams had been reversed: MU 51, UT 20
Seconds I had visual contact with MDK upon arrival in Columbia before hearing the phrase “Yeah, man”: 0
Number of phone calls I made to friends as the MU Band was playing, in hopes they could hear the band playing my charts: 5
Number of Georgia-Vanderbilt games I will be attending this year, due to losing my judging gig in Atlanta: 1

Here are the details.

I left Nashville some five hours after I had planned to leave, due to some late night writing and recording and some early (ha!) morning errands. MDK sent directions, and I hadn’t looked at a map in weeks, so I simply followed his email. Up 65 through town, to 24 North through Paducah. I was looking very intently for I-57. I crossed a bridge and saw a sign that said “Welcome to Illinois.” Being somewhat deficient in my Midwestern geography, I reacted in a way that might best be classified as “violently horrible panic.” I pulled off at the nearest rest stop to find that I was indeed on the right path, and almost stopped and saw this in Metropolis, IL.

On I traipsed to I-64 West, and suddenly found myself in the middle of gigantic cornfields and flat land in rural southern Illinois. I had, of course, seen this on TV and from the air. But I had never driven through it. It’s real… I promise, and it’s amazing.

I approached St. Louis at sunset with plans to drive through the city regardless of traffic, just to see the sites. I got several amazing glimpses of the arch (the other arch), the old and new Busch Stadia, and several other cool landmarks. That is a really great drive. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

I continued on I-70 to Columbia. Upon arrival I went with MDK to this place for drinks and dinner. He led me back to his house (he actually owns a house) which is very cool. His garage is all organized. He has an island in his kitchen, and there are no random items on the floor. It’s like a real house and stuff. Then it was time to call it a night, which oddly enough, it was.

I woke the next morning to a phone call explaining that a band for which I had written had entered the competition I was to judge in Atlanta on the 15th, so I was disqualified from judging. #$%^&*()#%. That was going to be a wonderful time to spend with one of the great human beings of this epoch, not to mention a chance to put a nice bit of change in my pocket. MDK then gave me the $10 tour of Columbia, which included a trip to eat lunch here for some of the best pizza I have had in years. We also went to the mall, where I purchased the 3rd pair of sunglasses I have bought in the last month.

After a quick trip “to the house,” we went to band. The band is wonderful. They learn quickly, play very musically, and march a lot of different styles very well. Some of the things that I wasn’t really sure would translate to a university band in a brief amount of rehearsal time were done better than I could have expected anyone to have performed them. Not to mention the fact that they are simply fun, hard-working university band students – my favorite kind of people. Incidentally, I got to hear MDK give one of the great all time bitch-out lines to the band in a moment of (their) brainfartedness: “I will not allow you to perform the signature moves of this band in that manner.” Nice.

After rehearsal, MDK and I joined this legend (read halfway down and MDK is mentioned by Br@ndt in this interview) and his son, yes, at the Berg for drinks and dinner. I have heard that voice on shows since I was 14 years old, and was thrilled to get the chance to sit and get to know him a bit. It was almost totally surreal and very cool.

Gameday. 7:00 am downbeat. Ugh.

We were first to the field. Once the students arrived and the section warm-ups began, I was tickled to see the tubas wake the inhabitants of a Tex@ss RV with their warm-up. I also enjoyed the “You’re late” exercise that the drumline performed for anyone who arrived after the published call time.

Rehearsal went well and we were off to the game. The only thing I will say about the game is that the band was wonderful. You can read the rest online. Well, and this. College football is the most fun when you have a team to root for. I felt bad for MU, and yes, took the defeat a bit personally. Not like I take a Georgia loss personally (ruins an entire month), but I felt like an MU fan. I think I am.

Amy joined us after the game. We caught a good bit of the AL-FL ars-whooping and the close ISU-NEB game. Then we were off to, yes, the Berg once again for dinner and drinks and drinks. I met more of MDK’s friends there, and they were strangely like people I would have expected to meet and befriend at Georgia.

A little SNL and we were out again. We rose at a decent hour and had breakfast and the newly opened (and first!) W@ffle H0use in Columbia.

Around noon, I headed back to the Patch with: at least one cup each from the Berg, Sh@kespeare’s, and the stadium; a shirt from the Berg; roughly $75 of Mizz0u gear; the first booty in the Great South-Midwest Beer Exchange of 2005; many many unforgettable memories; and the wish to go back soon.

There really is no place like home, and by that I mean home home (for me, Athens). But spending a bit of time in Columbia gave me a better understanding of why MDK loves it there so much. After watching the way that the TX people insisted that their way was the only way, then experiencing the joy and unique virtues of someone else’s home, I hope I have never insisted that mine was the only way. I felt very comfortable and welcome in Columbia, and I really do hope I get to go back sometime soon. And I have a little better understanding of what home is.

And of course, it was just perfect to get to see my old friend, and watching him do what he does best.

Miz-z0u-rah and Go Dawgs.