Tuesday, November 29, 2005

This just in...

It is 4:53 PM local time and it is almost completely dark here. Unacceptable. This has got to change.
Now that I am well-rested and less angry, an explanation on my last post is in order.

I had been working on a recording for about 7 hours and had programmed a cool drum track. In an effort to finish the tune, I used a keystroke that should have copied my basic groove several times. Instead, it reduced my entire bar to one note. I wasn't paying attention and did this several times. When I attempted to undo or revert to saved, Apple went "whoa!" and said what it said. I wound up having to reprogram the entire drum track on tired eyes and ears. I'm not okay with that.

There... I'm not that crazy.
You see the time of day.

Any time an Apple program responds with the following message, I get really concerned:

"Please report to Apple how you did this!"

Damnit, with a capital "mni."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Outlet Malls, Face, and Mierda Breath

• Upon arriving at my folks house on Wednesday afternoon, my mother took me to the outlet mall and bought clothes like I was just about to experience my first day of middle school. I was a bit confused, as the butt cut and mousse were nowhere to be found, but I was and am grateful nevertheless. No details were available at press time, but let’s just say that I now have jeans and shoes that don’t make me look like the son of a crackwhore.

• My brother was away all weekend, as most junior pilots at major airlines will tend to be over the Thanksgiving holiday. My sister-in law opted to keep my three nephews at my parents’ house on Wednesday and Thursday. That gave me a lot more time to hang out with them.

The middle nephew, who is 2 (and a half) seemed to cling to me more than usual which (as all uncles and aunts know) is a particularly cool thing. He became somewhat obsessed with my iPod. So I played him a few of my own songs, making clear that they were mine. Then I played him a song that I can’t quit thinking about (“Fix Y0u,” by C0ldplay), making clear that it was not mine. He 1) began to identify the song as “Face” because of the big chorus at the end, and 2) began erroneously identifying the song as “Uncle Brett’s Song” by the time I left Friday morning. Sister-in-law snapped pictures of him today:

1) Listening to his “iPod” and Uncle Brett’s Song...
uncle brett's song

2) ...and calling me on a fake cell phone to tell me about it.
talking to uncle brett

GeorgiaGirl briefly recounts our game of kickball with great old Redc0at friends on Friday afternoon. All I will say is that I am somehow still sore, in that good sort of way that causes you to laugh every time you have to use your hands to lift your leg off of the clutch while driving 85 mph (that’s “miles per hour,” Tech grads). I can’t wait to spend time with all of those friends again. I really really miss them, and more so now than I would ever have thought when I was in school.

• Great weekend… hell, anytime you beat a particularly irritable, feisty, and drunk Tech fandom it’s going to have been a good weekend.

• Today’s drive back to Nashville was unnecessarily long once again, thanks to ridiculous traffic in Chattanooga, of all places. Between this and a couple of unfortunate retail experiences, I created a complex plan of fighting back against:
- gas stations with no parking and disgusting restrooms
- counties that completely refuse to address their traffic issues when the only things that should be causing them are rushes of visitors to a now second-rate aquarium and closing time at the Kryst@l Corporate Headquarters, and
- State Police who refuse to address transport vehicles breaking significant traffic laws on major interstate mountain passes, causing accidents which result in twenty mile traffic jams three days after Thanksgiving.

This plan, certain to shock a nation*, was to be (probably incorrectly) called “Lista de la Mierda." However, the American economy can thank me, as cooler heads have prevailed, and I will now sleep on my decision whether or not to rock the economic boat in pursuit of better traffic, toilet seats free of human waste, and properly stocked coffee cups at convenience stores everywhere. Tonight, a nation waits with baited breath.**

* - Not really.
** - That phrase makes me think of, well just really bad breath.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Two things:

•I think I'm getting into an Eminem phase. Hmm.

•This is stolen from Traci, and very important. I don't know why this is just now coming up.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sometimes I wonder if I really moved

I found myself back in Marietta later Thursday night than I had planned on being there. I hung out with Russell for a good bit that night and Friday morning, then once again made the trek to Athens. I met a great friend for coffee that afternoon, and said some things out loud that I think she has a unique ability to listen to because of her familiarity yet distinct third-party status with me. Off to band, followed by dinner with the Byrd R0lands, then great conversation with Trey which was very reminiscent of the old days, and hopefully is similar to more nights in the future.

I skipped Saturday morning band for the first time in a very long time, and it was nice. I ran into the Wolfe’s and Big Oob’s very quickly, then met Brad, Warren, and Steve F (old friend from the band) and hung out for a few minutes before the game. The game was obviously great, and there was enough time remaining afterwards for plenty more hanging out. That hanging out got a little bit more out of hand than I had planned on, but everyone was safe and understanding after the results were obvious (the next day).

Sunday, I met my dearest friend for lunch, Walk the Line, and dinner. The movie was absolutely phenomenal and I highly recommend it. I am still amazed thinking about it. I got to spend more time with her today, and then finally had to leave in the middle of one of the colder nastier rains I remember seeing in some time. I absolutely hate leaving… one minute you’re at home and comfortable with great laughs and conversation… the next you’re listening to a dj for hours, with the exception of a few welcome phone calls and text messages. Hate that. Bad.

To make matters worse, today was the longest trip I ever remember from Athens to Nashville. It was six hours in duration. Precipitation had begun before I left, and lasted five of those six hours. As I got halfway up the mountain, the rain turned to huge snowflakes, and conditions remained blizzard-like for the next twenty minutes. It was like a Winter Wonderland, except in the fall, and without the wonder.

I don’t know what’s coming in the future. I do know that I have work to take care of here, and that I have to be here to do it. On the other hand, I don’t know a soul in the world who has friends like I do… and at this point, it makes me most comfortable to realize that I could eventually do this in Atlanta or Athens once I get established. I get the distinct feeling that I’m going to always have those friends… I want it that way, and wouldn’t mind putting a few miles on a car to live around the people who love me most. I feel best when I think about that possibility, but I recently quit predicting the future – so we’ll see.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Obviously, the traffic after the Auburn game was pretty significant. I have never sat through it as much as I did that evening, largely because I am usually in no rush to get to wherever I am staying (nor are most people). After finally arriving at my weekend residence at a little past 2:00 am, I slept for a little over four hours, then headed north and west.

Wasting not a moment of time, I stopped only for breakfast, fuel, and to pick up my suit from my place in Nashville. I continued westward two more hours to the site of the funeral, which happens to be the place where my parents grew up and the town where I spent a lot of time when I was growing up. This was another of those strange and uncomfortable experiences that I don’t really wish to repeat any time soon… something about life moving on and being glad in hindsight that it did.

In one of the all-time weird moments, the first time I saw my brother after the end of the Auburn game was as he was joining me in the line of pallbearers (He is an Auburn grad). We were exchanging banter about the game, agreeing that the interference call on P0pe was crap, and 30 seconds later found ourselves in the chapel preparing to bury our grandmother. I have no idea how to feel about that.

Funeral was fine. Everyone handled it well. I spent a little bit of time with my last living grandparent (who fed me the best barbecue sauce I have ever had in my life), my folks, and my nephews. My brother’s house is going to be unbearably loud in about a year. Then I headed back here, which is where I am now(?).

Random observations:

• Noise canceling headphones really just make enough noise that you can’t hear the other noise.
• The CMA announced 18 months ago that they would be moving their awards ceremony to NYC for one year. Though people really hated the idea at the time, it seems to have worked beautifully based on the number of country artists who have been on network tv over the last couple of days.
• While working today, I overheard a major cable news outlet talking about new slogans for New Jersey, and encouraging the audience to send in suggestions by email. I made one up, followed the instructions, and five minutes later heard my suggestion read on the air. I got tickled.
• My abandonment of daily nicotine intake has also resulted in a reduction of my daily caffeine intake, which seems backwards but is probably good.
• In the past six months, if I have been watching TV and found that Fletch was on, I haven’t once failed to immediately tune in. In fact, it’s on right now.
• I think I am less funny lately, and I don’t know why… but that’s just tough.
• I would like to see someone play Dodgeball with Pilates balls.
• Would someone please let me know when short socks with tennis shoes are not cool again? I didn’t even notice that they had become ok, and I don’t want to miss the inevitable non-coolness that they are sure to experience soon (and maybe already are).
• “Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo.”
• Tune you should be hearing on the radio right now, but probably aren't: "Banj0 B0y" by Ry@n Shupe and the Rubberb@nd.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Georgia...

... and happy, but a bit bummed.

My grandmother died this evening. This was not my most dearly loved Granny Sue. But she was a woman for whom I had a great deal of sympathy and intrigue.

Mom called tonight while I was at the home of Blog This and GeorgiaGirl. Unfortunately, I will have to leave Georgia early to attend the funeral. I will make the game, but not much more. I will be back for KY.

I am thankful that I don't have to permit a world in which women must live the way that this woman did. She was wonderful... a very loving caring woman. But she was also brainwashed into believing that she was less than the other gender. She believed that she owed men something. She felt that there were joys in life of which she was unworthy. She perceived herself to be second tier.

God rest her soul, I am sorry that she is gone... she was a long-term Alzheimer’s patient. But I am glad she isn't suffering anymore. And I am very glad that she no longer feels like a second-class citizen.

I don't understand a lot of things about the world. But I wonder what she could have contributed if she had only been permitted to contribute.

Please... no comments of sympathy. We haven't been close since I was a child.

But I admit that this only further confuses my perception of an already confusing world.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Like I'm in School Again

I'm heading back to Georgia tomorrow (today) for the weekend game and a little bit of socializing. This unfortunately won't be one of those Wednesday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon extended weekends... too much going on.

As you can see, it's after 1:30am local time. I find myself looking for that damn last line that I have to finish tonight. This totally feels like school again... trying to finish a paper into the wee (as opposed to "Weeeee!") hours of the morning, with no choice but to stay up and get it finished. It's kinda cool. It also kinda completely sucks. I hope it pays off this time, but I'm prepared for it not to... just like the last 20 or 50 times I've submitted to a publisher. What a life.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

If you know my address, you will get this.

I received a package today from a client. Inside was the CD containing the original versions of the tunes which I am to arrange for his show. At the top of the disc, it reads "SGHS '06." At the bottom it reads, "Hot Droppin' Player's Court Remix." Nice.

I'm really not just any idiot

Here's what happens when I buy a digital camera and decide that I really really really really wants to use it. In the great tradition of photojournalism, I offer "A Day In the Life of Me" or "Not Just Any Idiot Can Successfully Operate a Digital Camera Without Slaving Over A Japanese-Composed User's Manual."

I set out around 2:00 PM CST for my writing appointment with Matlock. Because I have been consistently been hitting school traffic lately, he decided that I should try a new route. While on this route, I realized how pretty the changing colors of the leaves were, and thought it would be wise to attempt to operate the camera and drive at the same time. I get progressively better and better at it as I go, though I managed to get no decent shot of the leaves (It is a lot more difficult to drive while you are looking at the viewfinder than you might think).

Oh, and Secretary of the local chapter of Mensa here slowly realized that he might get better shots if he rolled his window down. By then, I was already going too fast to get a good shot... a problem for which I could fathom no solution. It was a pretty drive though, for everyone except my roadmates who weren't too tickled with my swerving every time I checked the focus.







You were just looking at the southern rural parts of Nashville and the western outskirts of Franklin... nary an outhouse in sight.

I arrived and Matlock and I bantered about Georgia football, old songs, day spas, Dr. Pepper, mice, and of course music. After actually writing for awhile (which honestly sometimes doesn't happen), I told Matlock that I needed to test my new camera on him. The first time I tried, I think Matlock was making some sort of funny face, or was conjuring some type of demon spirit thingy, or both.


The second time, I'm pretty sure it was my fault.


The third time, however, was a charm ("Bumblebee Tuna!").


Afterwards, I drove to |ndependence HS for their final marching band rehearsal of the season. Upon stepping out of the car, I was intrigued by what appeared to be a flash card on the ground. In a move that "exposed" my digital camera virginity, I thought I should take a picture of it.


Just out of curiousity, I decided to get a closer look to see if I could guess what class the card was from.


I thought to myself, that's a dead giveaway. Then I flipped the card over to find that I was mistaken.


Latin. I should have guessed!

Into the school I went, first visiting with Cooper in his office while his DM's warmed the band up (Note: my camera skills become worse here).


Once Cooper went into rehearsal...


... I snapped a picture of his desk.


Not that I'm one to be talking, but I know that I see a clothes hanger, a McD0nald's cup, a tie, a D@s@ni bottle, a Chic-fi|-@ cow, and a Sh@rpie. But I can't tell whether that orange box is Theraflu or Phazyme.

Anyway, I was shortly thereafter dispatched to sectionals where the tubas and I would work our way through the 2/3 completed "Armed Forces Salute." Gunner, you'll be really tickled to know that he put the Navy last! Here is my third and final attempt to get a decent shot of the tubas. They appear to be out of focus, but they're actually just vibrating.


After spending 30 minutes in sectionals (of which I was useful for about 22), I turned the section back over to the students, and went back to the office. Just to see if my poor picture-taking was my own fault, I made one of the drum majors take a picture of me in Cooper's chair. I became validated, but not very much.


Rehearsal ended and I returned to the 'scourt for, well pretty much what you're reading. However, I did take one last picture that I thought was pretty cool. This is the pit instructor's dog (the breed of which is, honestly, pit bull... get it?). This is Coda.


Hopefully, tomorrow we can work on focus and shutter speed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Just another day in Nashville

Lately I've been kinda hyper-productive, which I guess is good.

This evening I had a co-write with a friend that I have seen a lot but haven't been able to write with very much. If any of you knows the tune about the mobile phone, this is the same guy with whom I wrote that. We decided to look back into that tune at some point soon, and we started a new one.

I have to say that my enthusiasm for writing with another individual is in a down cycle right now... I think he tends to simply admire the artistry of other tunes and imitate it in what we write. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, and we seem to have pretty decent results. We are actually writing tomorrow.

Dave, on the other hand, is only a couple of years older than me, so we can work a little faster... and we never need to discuss whether or not a phrase is in the modern vernacular (Matlock and I had a prolonged discussion about the phrase "spooning" the other day... co-writing can be unusual). Dave does speak from a bit of a position of knowledge and authority in the industry, so I trust his critique and praise. He's also a musician, which, um, helps. At any rate, I really enjoy writing with him and it was nice to get back together again.

I guess that's kinda why I'm here. Not much else to tell.

(PS - Kenny L0ggins dropped into Dave's office yesterday. There's a really neat story, which I won't blog, but I will tell anyone who cares to know.)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Waiting for you

First of all, go here and watch what Sarah sent with the sound at a reasonable volume at a time when you aren’t at work. Cute.

I had a pretty serious debate with a dear friend a couple of weeks ago about whether or not everything happens for a reason... you know, why do great parents get killed in car accidents, why do wonderful people develop Parkinson’s Disease, why do the nicest and most talented people get mugged when doing what amounts to charity work, why do people kill each other? I have mulled over that statement for some time and have come to no conclusion that makes me feel any better. There are at least two ways of thinking about this, and a third that is probably the most accurate.

Obviously, everything does happen for a reason. That is, there is no effect that takes place without cause. That’s not what people mean when they say that, but it is what the phrase literally means. I knows, I’m a smartass.

A second way of thinking about it is to believe that whoever thought all this Existence stuff up has a gigantic blueprint. And on this blueprint is a ginormous flowchart of causes and effects. And each of the effects, even the ones that are perceived as negative to an individual, have lines that lead from themselves to further effects. In other words, the thing people really mean when they say “Everything happens for a reason” is that each effect is also a cause for a later event that theoretically fulfills a part of the blueprint and hopefully (if the Architect is just, within our perception anyway) leads to the greatest possible outcome for one’s life.

I don’t know if this is true. I won’t get into religion too deeply here, but it does seem odd that those who say that everything happens for a reason usually also subscribe to a belief system that accepts free will as a given. Well, free will pretty much removes the possibility that everything happens for a reason. However, not all events are caused by the deeds of humans, so it is possible that some bad things do indeed happen for a reason designed by something greater than us. It does make me feel a little better to think that at least those negative truths can bear positive results.

There is however a third, but backwards, way of thinking about this. That is that sooner or later each of our stories will be finished, and someone will hopefully care enough about us to remember our story and to pass it along to someone who never got to know us, but would benefit from knowing about us (ie, Great Grandchildren).* When that story is told, they will describe a set of events. Then they will recount what happened after the first set of events. Each circumstance, each encounter, each feeling and action and lapse in judgment and moment of greatness will have a cause. And each will of course have an effect. In the story that someone tells about me many years from now with a young person on his or her knee, she will talk about the way my life unfolded; and in that context, everything will have happened for a reason, and therefore does.

So I’ve been thinking about that, and contemplating the sometimes negative view of my current situation. I think I may be having a little more of a difficult time with the change of scenery than a lot of people might, just because I was so accustomed to being surrounded by many people. I suspect that everyone who finds himself alone in a new place thinks the same thing, so I don’t know if that’s valid or not.

What I do know from considering these questions is that there may be opportunity in being alone. I had several habits when I lived in Athens that, quite frankly, were perpetuated by being surrounded by people and being busy all of the time (For the record, I still don’t have a decent perspective for what busy actually is.). There were also good habits that I had a difficult time getting into for the same reasons. The removal of myself from that situation, coupled with a little willpower, some good research, and a motivation that is solely internal could reap some pretty great results that might just make my life more effective, more enjoyable, and maybe even longer.

So the past week has been about improvement – about taking advantage of the fact that I am alone, the fact that no one who wants to be near me can be right now, and the fact that I have a decent amount of time on my hands. Hopefully, the next week will yield results as pleasing as this week’s.

I’m definitely not saying that I wouldn’t change my circumstances if I could. I would. But there is this nagging notion that says that I’m not really ready for circumstances to be any different than they are right now. And the only obvious thing for me to do is to take advantage of the way things are. Maybe the next effect in this story will be better than I could have written myself. Maybe it won’t.

*Side note: In the 04 band video, Jim Black accompanied game day with the Se@l tune, “Waiting For You.” After watching that, I wished that I had thought to address this very subject with rookie band members. I think it’s an awesome thing to think about the history of the band waiting for a new member’s place in it. Oh well... too late for that now. UnLESS... (*thinking, but knowing that the people who would need to won't think the same thing*)

Saturday, November 05, 2005


And if you are interested, look at what this town has done to C@rrie Underw00d.

Addie, the future of blogging, and Leprechauns

1. I went out tonight to hear an acquaintance from New York. She was a student of a former colleague of mine, and he introduced us by way of email several months ago. She’s got a nice Americana sensibility about her, and a great voice. She’s currently a very successful actress in New York, but she seems to be very serious about this as well.

2. SES seems to think that the blog trend is fading for a lot of us, and sadly, I fear that she may be right. I hope not though.

3. I am not even moderately amused by the following list of American holidays I have made in follow-up to a rant I made toward Trina last week. Nevertheless, I need to post it so I can stop thinking about when I am going to post it. In an effort to prove our celebrations somewhat strange, I am listing the name of the holiday, the thing it celebrates, and how it is celebrated. Enjoy.

Holiday: MLK Day
Celebrates: Memory of Slain Civil Rights Activist
How we celebrate: Part of Country Goes To Church and Memorial Services While Part of Country Runs Errands That They Have Been Putting Off

Holiday: St. Patrick's Day
Celebrates: Irish Bishop Who Converted Ireland from Paganism to Catholicism
How we celebrate: Drink (preferably green beer), Wear Green, Persecute Those Who Don't Wear Green By Way of Simple Battery, Dye Major Tributaries Green, Cause Thousands of High School Band Students to Permanently Despise Parades, Tell Stories About Little Magical Men, Scour Grass for Abnormal Plant Life and Believe This Discovery Brightens Our Future.

Holiday: Memorial Day
Celebrates: Memory of Military Dead
How we celebrate: Grill Out, Drink, and Open the Pool

Holiday: Independence Day
Celebrates: Declaration of Independence signing (though it wasn't signed that day)
How we celebrate: Grill Out, Drink, Blow Shit Up, Wonder if the Radio Will Ever Play Anything Other than Martina McBride or Lee Greenwood Ever Again

Holiday: Labor Day
Celebrates: American Work Force
How we celebrate: Don’t Go To Work, Grill Out, Drink, and Close the Pool

Holiday: Columbus Day
Celebrates: Discovery of America (by someone who was arguably not the first to do so, and in fact never set foot in what is now the United States).
How we celebrate: Bankers have secret super-fun sex parties (this is as yet an unproven theory) while everyone else bitches about the bank being closed.

Holiday: Halloween
Celebrates: Caricatures of the Dead
How we celebrate: Dress Up as Someone We Aren't, Beg Others For Unhealthy Food… Pass Tradition Onto Our Kids and Hope the Obesidy Problem Disappears.

Holiday: Thanksgiving
Celebrates: The Creator/Provider in the Context of a Historic Friendly Understanding with a Race we Would Later Force to Vacate the Premises
How we celebrate: Eat Turkey, Drink (in some cases), Watch Football, Sleep, Plan How To Spend Money For the Next Six Weeks

Holiday: Christmas
Celebrates: The Birth of Christ (on a day on which he was not born)
How we celebrate: Fat Man in Red Suit Delivers Toys To Kids (the volume of which is determined by their behavior and their parents' earning ability). Turkey. Sleep. Football. Stimulate the Economy. Perpetuate the Career of Manheim Steamroller.

Holiday: New Years Day
Celebrates: The Beginning of a New Year
How we celebrate: Drink, Kiss Someone, Count Slowly From a High Number Down to One, Blow Horns, Comment on How Young Dick Clark Looks, Say We are Going to Do Things That We Aren't Going to Do.

Weird. Whatever… now I can stop thinking about it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This is awful.... funny

KNOXVILLE, TN (AP)-A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a Knoxville, Tennessee, courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt in keeping with child custody laws and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently away of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to Phillip Fulmer of the University of Tennessee football team, whom the boy firmly believes is not capable of beating anyone.