Sunday, April 30, 2006

Does anyone who is free like Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Nashville, or me enough to go with the last of these to a show of the first two of these on July 10 in the third of these?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back from Charlotte. The only thing I really care to share is that there was a difficulty with a rehearsal that the group I was with had planned to hold at the hotel. The difficulty? There wasn't a room for it. So, I offered the suggestion that I use for most problems:

"Let's go to the bar."


Note the disco ball above the dance floor. Seven hours earlier this room was kicking with single forty-somethings. This morning it was kicking with the sounds of plastic reeds and missed E-flats in the Key of Bb.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bitchy and Amplified

I confirmed this morning that I am in a bitchy mood. The two examples from yesterday were amplified today by a situation in which I threatened to walk from one of my better gigs over something that really wasn't worth threatening to walk over. I think it's the residual effect of something that I promised not to whine about anymore, combined with feeling cooped up in this apartment and a shitty mattress that I still haven't replaced.

I am really looking forward to that laptop getting here (kinda) so I can go to my favorite coffee shop and work elsewhere.

Kudos to Anonymous for introducing herself. She has one of the world's most important, and often thankless, jobs (Mom), and it looks like she was once a band person (who I believe are generally the best, if not the weirdest, people in the world... the person I promised not to talk about was one too). Welcome, Stephanie. Comment anytime, especially when I get silly or mean.

Charlotte tomorrow. Cheers.

Nothing but an update

If I hear another news reporter cue tape with, “And that provided more questions than answers,” I’m going to vomit on my television, or nearby if I can’t quite make it.

I am 90% sure that I am definitely going to buy a laptop on Thursday. I am 100% sure that I probably will. I’m also probably definitely sure that I’m also going to buy a portable keyboard so I can work when I am away from this apartment (aka – “The What Shack”) and so I can go somewhere else in town and work when I want to. Well, 95% sure of that part. I’m feeling cooped up in this place, as evidenced by my outing of Russ’s non-surgeon, and my rant against Anonymous on Kit’s blog.

Aaaaaanyway. Work continues through Thursday, when I run to Charlotte for a quick escort trip. Then I’m back Saturday to hopefully wrap up this year’s horn scoring...

"Hopefully wrap up" means I will be working until late June, and then some.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Idol Chatter 4/25/06

Two solid weeks for Chris. Elliot continues to be the artist that Ace would have been if he hadn't relied on being pretty. My crush on Katharine is at its worst yet. Goodbye Kellie.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Oh... and Mr. Band Director Guy made me a mixed CD that rivals "How To Win Friends and Influence People" in its importance to society. Highlights include "Vibeology" by Paula Abdul, "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger, and "Come Sail Away" by Styx as covered by Eric Cartman.

Take a seat "Sgt. Pepper's"... you have been improved upon.

" I move to dissolve the corporation in a pool of margaritas." - Steely Dan

That's how I felt about going to Atlanta this week, and I feel like that's pretty much what happened. I had great times with great friends with a suprisingly high degree of moderation, hopefully taught someone something, and had some good driving time to put the pieces back together how I wanted to.

I've got wonderful friends who would hop in front of a train for me if they thought it would do any good. I got out of Athens just in time to avoid a situation in which I would have been absolutely miserable. I've got enough work to pay the bills. I'm in the best place in the world to do what I really want to do with my career. I've got enough freedom from obligations to do something that I want to do on a daily basis.

So, I've put the Bowling Green thing to bed... no more whining about that topic. I'm going to do my best not to think about it either. It won't do me any good, I've got enough to do and think about as it is, and every day I sulk about it is one that I won't get back.

Hope everyone had good weekends.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I am thinking that being alone might be the best thing I could have asked for.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Here's a photo I got for Christmas from my sister-in-law. I still haven't put it away and I don't think I will... I stare at it every day. If you don't know, that's my brother on your left, me on your right, and Billy Bob Thornton in your center. You can also see the verrrrry classy reflection of me (the current one) and the camera.

Brett, Chad, and Santa


That’s what you hear before you order. If you know what you hear after you order, please comment with that. The first to do so will win my conditionally undying affection for an undetermined period of time.

Back to Georgia we* traipse Wednesday morning for two clinics and a judging gig at this guy’s school, trivia with anyone who is there (including the GGBlogPongs), dinner with all three members of Barrow County Oobdom, hanging with this person’s fam-damily, an evening with the folks, and a clinic here. (*Catches breath*). It should be fun, and it will be nice to be around some familiar faces and voices for a few days.

I really appreciate the words lots of you had for me since my rant. Things are getting better, though I really am thinking that there are a couple of changes that I want to make. They will wait until I get back here. Not getting what you want sometimes can motivate you to do some things that will make you better, and that’s fine and good. In a perfect world, none of us would need a reason to better ourselves, beyond the simple desire to be better for our own sakes. As for me, a disappointment or external stimulus often helps me get my shit together – so I’ll go ahead and take advantage of it.

A couple of you in particular pointed something out to me yesterday and today that I had never realized. No details here, but it was really nice to hear. I’ve mentioned before that I think it’s easy to ruin a positive situation or trait of someone by pointing it out (what one might call “Ron Burgundying” something). But every now and then, a well-timed friend can answer the question “Why bother?” before you have even had time to mope enough to ask the question. You know who you are, so thanks. You helped a lot.

There is an old anecdote about a songwriter who had just been through a breakup. Several of his songwriter “friends” take him to the local bar to chase the pain with some booze. On about the third drink, the “friends” begin to press the conversation in the way that some real friends would when they act as novice therapists. In this case, however, the emotional spill from the victim of the breakup is met with more than nods. As one of them asks, “So man, how do you feel,” rather than grinning knowingly and putting their arm on his shoulder, they instead break out pens and paper, recording the miserable thoughts of the poor sap in an effort to capture the germ of the next great American breakup song.

Since none of you are actively pursuing a songwriting career to my knowledge, when you see me this week and I find myself on the wrong side of getting over my little head-hanging episode, do me a favor and give me that hook back when I can do something with it. I’ll make it worth your while… in a PG-13-Rated way.

I’ll try to blog while I’m in God’s Country, but we’ll see what happens.


Notes: * - Someone pointed out to me years ago that I have a defense mechanism that I often don’t realize I am employing. I think I picked it up from Garth Brooks or Brad**, as in “We’ll talk to you later.” Aaaaaanyway. That mechanism is referring to myself in the plural, perhaps in an effort to spread the blame for my (usually rather benign) actions between myself and multiple other versions of myself (which most certainly don’t exist). I’ve never stopped doing that, and I don’t think I’m going to.

** - This phrase, when taken out of context, could sound really, really bad. For some reason, I began to think of things that someone might actually have picked up from Garth Brooks… namely a rash or some other type of unsightly medical condition. It then occurred to me that raw numbers and unfortunate facts within the human condition probably allow for the possibility that there are groupies out there who take pride in the STD’s that they have picked up from rock stars along the way. Sick as it is, I am quite certain that, at some point in time, someone has felt that they had trumped someone else by picking up a more severe ailment from another star… as in:

Groupie #1: “I got genital warts from Mick Jagger.”
Groupie #2: “Oh yeah, well I got Hepatitis C from Tommy Lee!?”
Groupie #1: “Touché.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Idol Chatter 4/18

Do it. It'll make you feel good.

Obviously, Kelli was the weakest tonight. She could get a sympathy vote, but I don't think so... too many other people were too good. I don't think Katharine was as good as they made her out to be, but she was solid and hasn't gotten any less beautiful... seriously, she is stunning in a realistic way. I thought Chris earned points tonight too.

I still think Ace is the most talented person on the show, and I think he has consistently underperformed his own abilities since the show began. I also look at him and wonder if there is any brain activity going on back there. I always expect an errant camera to catch him drooling. Paris - not what they said she was, either. I want Elliot to do well because he is so freaking average, but he just doesn't have "it."

My bottom three: Kelli, Ace, Elliot. Kelli exits.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mountain Out of a Molehill (but it's my molehill, and it takes a while to read)

Please do not read this if you don’t know me pretty well. You will think I am insane, and those who know me will be no more convinced of this fact by this entry than they have been by my words and behavior over the last several years. If you do know me, I am really sure I’m blowing this out of proportion, but I needed this one. No need to say you're sorry. You've been pulling for me to get everything I wanted for ages, and I'm sure that hasn't changed.

Ok, so here’s the explanation from earlier. I’m writing when the feeling is fresh on my brain, and I don’t expect this to be an entry of immense joy or enthusiasm. Because I’m not telling the world exactly who I’m talking about, I am going to use her real name. I don’t think she would mind.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I have never been very good in the whole relationship department. I’ve never been in one that lasted more than six months. I never date, and I am horrified by the prospect of walking up to a girl and talking to her out of the blue. Figuring out how to handle a relationship or the potential for one has been a gigantic exercise in trial and error, and I have batted right at 1.000 in the error department. Yet, finding someone who “gets” me has been on the very front of my mind 24 hours a day seven days a week since I was very, very young. In fact, I think I might have been a very early bloomer in terms of developing the desire to be with someone. I’ve also been a very late bloomer in terms of the realization of this and several components of that realization. You know what I mean.

At any rate, since my last attempt (which started in January 2004, basically ended in December 2004, and should be used as the training manual for how not to do it), I had more or less laid low (so to speak) in spite of the fact that it had still been on my mind 100% of the time. I tried the online thing with very disappointing results, and had finally started to believe in March that it just wasn’t ever going to work out.

I began to contemplate no longer using the online services, as they had never resulted in so much as a single date… not one. As sure as I started thinking about quitting, I was contacted by a woman named Anne about a month ago. She is a professor in a field that I like a lot at a university a little over an hour away from here. A very thought-provoking conversation ensued, and I began to be challenged by our differences and intrigued by our similarities. She had so many characteristics that I like and that I rarely ever find, and she was absolutely beautiful to boot.

Pretty soon, I made the trek to her town for a first date. The email conversation continued, and it became more and more engaging as it did so. Then there was a second date, then a third, and I began to start thinking that she was just different enough for this to work in some form. Refreshingly, for the first time I stopped trying to predict the future or guess how far this was going to go. If you know me, you know that’s huge.

I was really enjoying myself. She would tell me how strange I was, and tell me that she liked that. She let me tell the truth about what I thought and felt and never judged me on it, even if it wasn’t the same as what she thought and felt. Again, the world changed for me a little bit, and I liked the change… a lot. Her quirks and idiosyncrasies, her earthy way of living, the smell of her house, and the unlikely Midwestern accent in a Texas girl became things that I liked, and things that I looked forward to continuing to experience.

Things were going great, and I was looking forward to her coming down here tomorrow night for dinner, an art exhibit, and a movie I had saved for her. And then in a bit of irony, a conversation we had about the “ones that got away” became very relevant as she told me today that one of her old flames had been unexpectedly rekindled on a camping trip with friends this past weekend. She was very kind, very apologetic, and as graceful as one could be when letting go of someone.

It may seem ridiculous that I would feel somewhat upset at the departure of someone that I’ve known for only a month. In fact, it probably is. I think about the pain of divorces that more than one of you have gone through, and I feel petty. I think about the hundreds of miles of distance that some of you endure between yourself and someone that feels like home to you, and I feel shallow. I think about the breakups that some of you have endured with people you have loved for years or the people I know who’s best and greatest love has passed away, and I feel like an incomprehensibly self-absorbed fuck.

It is, however, to be expected when I have had such a hard time finding someone that seems compatible with me that it hits me pretty hard – it’s the only thing I know. Add to that my lack of “profoundly intense ambivalence,” and you get a seemingly empty freedom that wasn’t so empty a few hours ago. Those little stimuli that were opening the world, distracting me in the most welcome of ways, and making me smile at random moments throughout the day – those things went from fantastic promises of imminent comfort to impossible memories of how I can not feel, in an instant.

And so I’m a little lost. I forgot what this felt like, and I wonder if it’s really worth repeating in pursuit of something that, with each passing day, I become more and more convinced does not exist. I feel like I’m too old to be dabbling in this anymore. I feel like I shouldn’t toss more money at something when it only results in consistent disappointment. And I would love to tell you that I feel like I should quit looking, but I would only be convincing myself of that in an attempt to motivate kharma or God or Fate or a character played by Michael Landon to present the long-awaited answer to me in the form of a chance meeting by taxi accident or not-so-inadvertent collision in the laundromat.

Truth be told, I would like to not want this anymore.

I’m not crying. I’m not writhing in misery in my den floor alternating between fetal and prostrate positions screaming, “Why?” I’m not even going to rinse this one away with a Jack and Dr. Pepper (well, we’ll see…). This isn’t about Anne (who I think many of you really would have liked, by the way). It’s about not understanding why I can not either find it or shake the desire to do so.

So, I guess I’ll do what I know to do. I’ll think about it. I’ll be a little bit amazed at how quickly reality can change. I’ll wonder what she’s up to, and be a little bit bummed tomorrow night when I’m working and monitoring Idol in the background instead of fulfilling our plans for the evening. I’ll be glad I didn’t find tickets to see David Sedaris tomorrow night. I’ll work today and tomorrow and try to get ahead. I’ll go to Atlanta Wednesday and enjoy the ease that is only available to me through the presence of my dear friends.

And in the process, I’ll be considering change. I’ll be trying to find the opportunity in an otherwise downer of a situation. I’ll be thinking about what I should be doing and am not, or what I should be thinking and am not. I’ll remind myself that I would rather be alone than wish I was.

And I’ll hope that I run into Anne one day. I’ll hope that, if and when I do, that we’re both happy and content, and that we’ll trade a big hug – that we’ll smile at each other, and in doing so acknowledge a fondness for the really brief period of time that just ended.

When I’m done thinking about all of these things, I’ll remember that I was fine before I met her, and that I’m fine now. I am.

But this is getting very, very old.

I'll post more later. This will mean something to only a few of you, but I won't be making any more trips to Bowling Green. Time to rethink.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

And is this a good thing? If I don't allow myself to be completely cynical about higher education, then it doesn't make a bit of sense to me.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I just saw "Thank You for Smoking," and I thought it was great. If you only see one movie this year, I recommend that this be one of them.

Also, any readers who have spent a significant amount of time in Athens, GA will appreciate this link to This comes from Sarah S. It'll give you a chuckle.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I hate creative ruts, but it seems that I have been in one for a few days. In order not to sit there and think about what's not happening, I've done the only three things I know to do:

1. Keep trying.
2. Change the routine.
3. Get out of the apartment.

Number one is working somewhat. The results of number two and number three remain to be seen. However, in the process of doing so, I saw a show tonight at my favorite coffee shop in town. For obvious reasons I will post the name of neither the venue nor the artist. Let's just say the person is an up-and-comer.

Long story short (if that's still possible), I witnessed a performance meltdown on par with the worst nightmare any Athens musician has ever had. Naturally, it was the band's fault (as I clearly remember from my old job, it almost always is), and everyone handled it very gracefully. Nevertheless, it was selfishly comforting to see that there is a hitch in the creative giddy-up of someone other than myself. Things are looking up, I reckon, or at least sideways.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Successes and Works in Progress

I'm back, yet again, from Athens. It was a wonderful but all too brief trip. The Gunner's Tuesday concert was expertly programmed and conducted. I was very proud of his work, as were all of us who made it back for the to-do. Good show, old friend.

As Gunner and Russ will tell you, it's very nice when several of us can get back together for a little bit, though I admittedly miss the days of being able to do so on a whim. Following the concert, the Gunner, Chief, Russ, and Trina sat for a spell at the 283. Every imaginable conversation ensued, as it usually does. It's funny... at the moment when you hear the Chief laugh, any time or distance that had separated you from your dearest friends is then confirmed to be gone.

Here are two pics:

The relieved Gunner and the newly employed Russ on the East.

The laughing Leigh and the apparently bloated Brett on the West.

I promise that Trina was there, but somehow she didn't get in the picture. If you look carefully though, I think you can see a little bit of her aura at the bottom or the first picture. Or that could be my finger.

Congratulations to Russ as well for retiring the retail gig and returning to a field he loves. You'll be great.

If you blog and you don't review your material on a regular basis, I recommend going back to the beginning and reading your entire output every now and then. It is amazing how much things have changed in eighteen months.

I'm the middle of that phase of work where the ideas are more scarce than normal. This will change but the sooner the better for everyone's sake. Wish me luck, send good thoughts, or have a beer for me... whichever you prefer.

....... oh, and MT and Cranberry Goddess, thanks for the memories, but I can't figure out who either of you is. Drop me an email and let me know when you get a chance. Thank you!

Idol Chatter 4/11/06

Damnit, Ln. How's that?

Monday, April 10, 2006

I am in Athens and surrounding areas for a quick runout on Monday and Tuesday to hear a couple of concerts by dear old friends, and then back here to work. Life in Nashville is beautiful.

Friday, April 07, 2006

This afternoon has been a busy weather afternoon here in the Mid-South. The local TV station has been covering numerous thunderstorms and tornadoes throughout the area. As they identify a location of fairly certain trouble, the meteorologists have been advising people to go to their "safe area."

Unfortunately, I misunderstood them and I went to my "happy place." It's been a pleasant and worry-free afternoon, but it's a damn good thing I didn't get hit with a tornado.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ok, so this is completely dorky. But I miss Chorale #3 (told you).
Three things:

1. I hate being sick.
2. I hate being sick and not being able to sleep.
3. (To people on tv) Screaming the truth makes it no more true than when it is spoken in moderate tones.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Idol Chatter and Nashville Cattiness 4/4/06

I don't know why I'm bothering, because I haven't been watching. But here it is. I will catch up soon.

I think I'm getting sick, and I don't like that.

Oh, and take a look at the trailer for the first 9/11 movie that people are complaining about. In spite of their sensitivity, I think the time is almost exactly right. Be warned, it is pretty sobering.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Damnit. More like "One Shitting Moment."

Home again and the airport


I’m back from a couple of weeks away. I already posted pics of DC. Shortly thereafter I headed to Chicago for five days to escort another group around town.

I love Chicago. Most of you know that I go once every December. I have had a couple of other chances to go over the years, almost always on someone else’s dime (which I really like). I took an opportunity or two while I was there this time to venture out on my own without looking too intently at a map. I really enjoyed that, and have started to take a great deal of pleasure in going somewhere other than home and acting like I live there. I even wound up helping a nice couple from Detroit find their way to their destination on the L one day. “Just going” makes the world a little bit bigger and a little more amazing every time I do it. I hope to find more chances to do that soon.

Otherwise, life is pretty busy right now. I like being busy, at least the kind of busy that I am these days. My workload is very heavy, and that is a welcome thing. I have started enjoying the simplicity of reading and working out again more than I have in some time. Other parts of my life are better than they have been in some time as well, but none of it seems appropriate to blog about at this point. Nevertheless, life is good.

An overly romantic monologue about the airport

One of the few things that my brother and I enjoyed doing together when we were small was looking at airplanes. We would frequently get my grandparents’ 1962 set of encyclopedias and turn to “Airplane” and just look at the pictures, amazed each time by the same old photos as though it was the first time we had seen them. Our favorite activity was sitting by the side of the runway at the Nashville airport (when you could still do that) and watching the planes land and depart. We were both thrilled when a group trip to the airport once allowed us to sit in the cockpit of an airline jet. We were always intrigued by the pictures or the real thing, and that interest obviously became a profession for him.

At some point, I developed a sort of intellectual/emotional crush on airports. When the then-new Nashville airport terminal was opened in 1988 or so, I would often get my mom to take me to the ticketing area and drop me off for a while. I found a strange joy in wandering around, looking at the different kinds of people that the airport welcomed, considering the number and variety of people that was required to get passengers on an airplane and an airplane off the ground, and just soaking it up.

Today, in spite of the complications that are present in air travel, I still enjoy that. I think airports are amazing meeting points of the most diverse types of people, intents, and destinations. It’s one of the few places that must accommodate the most privileged and the most disadvantaged, as upscale bars and massage spas catering to wealthy clients are regularly passed by wheelchairs and motorized carts transporting the disabled and elderly. It’s one of those places which notoriously houses beginnings and endings, as soldiers arrive from and depart to their orders, kids meet and then say “goodbye” to their non-custodial parents surrounding a rare week together, and best men and bride’s maids arrive for the events peripheral to the weddings of friends from whom they are separated by far too much distance. It’s where long-distance boyfriends and girlfriends meet their other for a much-anticipated weekend, and then depart after being fulfilled by companionship or devastated by the unfortunate result of loving someone that isn’t physically near them. Ex’s, corpses, citizens, nationals, rock stars, washed-up wrestlers, hopeful late-stage cancer patients, alive and productive movers, future murderers, future saints, the lonely, the loved, the glamorous, the people of “inner beauty,” the excited, and the disappointed meet at their most dynamic at the airport.

(I’m a bit troubled by a minor similarity between that bit of gushing about the airport and the lyrics to “Car Wash.”)

Sorry for the wax. I’m still intrigued by the airport and that combination of negative and positive energy that contributes to its vibrancy. I look forward to more destinations in the future, and to more experiences of the crossroads of all of those people heading in different directions for very different reasons.