Sunday, December 30, 2007

What's going on

My trip to Chicago was very nice. In case I haven't told you, I was the tour escort for the orchestra from this school. It was not a terribly work-intensive job, so I had a fair amount of time to venture down to the Hilton and participate in the sober portions of the Midwest festivities.

The time available to spend with dear old friends was woefully insufficient. But I was able to get a lot of very good information about a new musical pursuit that I have been considering. I will fill you in on that as it develops. Just know that I'm very excited.

After way too much time away from my woman, I returned to Athens for way too little time with her. Then I was off to Forsyth County for time with my folks.

Christmas has changed quite a bit since my brother has had kids. It has changed more drastically since he moved his family to Nashville. For the first time I remember, there were no gifts exchanged on Christmas Eve (or "Christmas Eve Day" as my Granny would say) or Christmas Day. It was very nice to spend no-pressure time with my parents and grandmother. I miss them very badly, and have realized more as I age how good they have been to me. I hope I give them a bit of that back.

Meghan came to Forsyth County moments after my brother and his family arrived. The "stuff" portion of Christmas ensued, along with all of the pandemonium that typically accompanies it. Between my renewed appreciation for my folks and the joy of being with Meghan, it really was the best Christmas I remember. I am hoping for many, many more like that one.

"Stuff-wise" (which seems increasingly insignificant every year), it was also very nice. My folks gave me an 80 Gb iPod to replace the one that has been tits up for about a year. They also gave me a portable tailgating grill, which I know will get a great deal of use in the coming years, and a cool rolling laptop desk for the den. I also got some great clothes and some arranging/theory texts, which are to me as a stuffed toy is to a dog. My brother and sister-in-law gave Meghan and me a gift certificate to Farm 255, where we have really wanted to eat but haven't wanted to finance. Two dear friends also gave me a framed print of "Seven Tubas," which I have wanted for years. More gifts to come soon.

I've got friends in town now for the new year, and I can't wait for the Sugar Bowl. I also have a turkey sandwich sitting beside me that isn't going to eat itself.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Overheard at Midway (by many)

||: "The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... The moving walkway is ending... " :||

Unpacking, laundry, recovery, and packing today. Home tonight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December Demons

This complaint is two-pronged, and really silly. I suspect it is born out of a little-self confidence issue that comes from not being formally trained in my current occupation, along with a tendency in some to find fault easily and in others to find sources of amazement easily.

I recently have been writing an arrangement for a saxophone ensemble (and three, two, one, snicker at a volume of your choosing). As I began, I thought carefully about the key in which I would write considering the range of the melody versus that of the instruments for which I was writing, the intonation tendencies of the family into which those instruments belong, and the form of the arrangement (which in this case would include a significant modulation). Without too much effort, I chose the key of F Major - a key that any decent wind arranger will use on a frequent basis.

As I began writing, I began thinking about the key of F. And it occurred to me that even "F" wasn't a great choice, as the notes F and C are terrible notes on the E-flat and the B-flat horns respectively. On the other hand, the notes A and E are wonderful notes on the same instruments, and they would play key functions (no pun intended) in the arrangement because of its jazz style and the frequent occurrence of major-seventh chords therein. Thus I began looking for another key that would fit the guidelines that I set forth at the beginning, including the presence of a nice key a minor third above the tonic for the modulation.

In this quest, what I found was that there isn't any great key. I could find a significant amount of problems in every key I considered. That brought me back to the spring in which I was writing for a grade six high school band, and the director wanted to rid the arrangement of the two B-naturals in the tuba part (I almost always write them up when I encounter them) which where not at huge moments in the show. And as I thought about this, I grew even more frustrated at the complications of the horribly imperfect tonal system that we have, and began to be convinced that I simply didn't know what I was doing.

Last evening, I was in a discussion with an undergraduate student who studies music at a university within my region of the country whose Director of Bands is an arranger of note (again, no pun intended) and someone whose work I have admired since I was in middle school. The student was talking about taking the arranging and orchestration course with this professor, and I became pleasantly jealous of the opportunity has we was receiving.

As this student continued to rave, he was using large words - strong words like "unbelievable," "amazing," and "mind-blowing." As he did so, my jealousy began to fade just a bit. I can count on two hands the "amazing" musical or academic experiences I have ever had. And short of the discovery of new buttons on an instrument or a groundbreaking-ly effective system of making students able to implement the complexities of interesting tonality in a simple manner, I found it very hard to believe that the course was that amazing.

And then, the Midwest Demons crept in. And they began to tell me what they tell me every year at about this time. You have no idea what you're doing. There is a world of information that everyone but you possesses, and you can not have it. You're a fraud.

It happens every year. And I hate it.

At the end of the day, I know it isn't true. There are handshakes and pieces of paper that lend instant credibility to some, whether they actually warrant it or not. Though I realize this, I often find myself unable to stop thinking about how some components of my professional life might be different now if I had focused more diligently or chosen a selected mentorship or two more carefully.

It happens every year and I am far too young, even still, to be asking questions like this.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to give me a suite at the Hyatt, but they did. I hate that I will have to enjoy it alone.

Man, if FDR were here, he would be all over some room service.

Also, my group isn't even here yet, and they're already an hour and forty-five minutes behind.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dan Fogelberg exits.

David D0ver introduced me to his music. While it was a bit on the soft side, I liked it more than I ever admitted. Rest in peace, and thanks for the tunes.
I'm off to Chicago, with an entire football season's worth of unwritten blog entries awaiting attention. I am really hoping to get some of these out during my travels.

For those of you who are Chicago-bound: I will be there, but will working for the travel company. So I won't be around a whole lot, and I most definitely will not be participating in our traditional downstairs-bar-tomfoolery... until Friday. I'll be over around 9pm Friday night. I hope I catch you there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Adjudication Sheet - NHHS

Music - I (Comments on tape)

Visual - I (Comments on tape)

General Effect - I (Comments on tape)

Arrangements - III (Comments reviewed every night when I cry myself to sleep)

Interview - II ("Found someone?" Where? In a shoebox? Didn't T. Nichols find something in a shoebox once?)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Helluvah Mayor of Norcross

In case you haven't heard, there will soon be a new mayor of Norcross. And yes, it most certainly is that Bucky...

... and not this Bucky...


Sunday, December 02, 2007

The B(C)S

I am sure that Georgia will get its title in the not too distant future. And I am sure that I will be excited when it happens. I will unfortunately have to pinch myself before I get too many drinks into the celebration. I will have to remind myself that there is no national championship.

The "Football Bowl Subdivision" is too big to determine a champion, which is exactly why it is the only sport and division in which the NCAA does not recognize a champion. So we're all, myself included, getting worked up over something that doesn't exist.

But I did take a few things from this weekend:

- Kirk Herbstreit and ESPN are both whores.
- LSU made a mistake by giving Les Miles an extension. They caved and they will regret it. Les Miles sold his soul to the Devil, and he should begin feeling a special warmth in his ass-area any minute now.
- Georgia has every motivational item they will need for the Sugar Bowl, and every game next year (especially the LSU game). I am not the first to say that I hope they associate the disappointment they feel tonight with the way they played on October 6.
- I would be remiss if I didn't say that the BCS is bullshit. Ask a Mizzou fan.

Mark Bradley says it better than anyone in a column that insures that I will continue to read him for some time to come. It took me four words of Terence Moore's column to remind myself why I am not, however, a subscriber.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Trash talk

On my way home this afternoon from the Thanksgiving weekend with family, I spoke with Meghan briefly to let her know that I was on my way back to Athens. I stopped at a local Wendy's for a bite. I stopped at the QT as I often do for a tankful of cheap gas and a cupful of convenient coffee. And then I was on my way.

As I approached the Athens Perimeter, I took a brief detour to the Oconee County Kroger for a couple of toiletries that had begun to run low over the weekend. I scooped up the paper remnants of my coffee and meal stops, and crushed them in my hand as I lifted myself from the car. On my way into the Kroger, I stuffed the trash in the can outside the entrance thinking little of what was in the bag.

After shopping, I returned to my apartment and began the errands that follow a return home. I put a new trash bag in the Gigantic Trash Can of Death. I emptied my pockets and suitcase of coins and deposited them into the Gigantic Change Bucket of Love, put dirty clothes in the hamper, replaced newly unused luggage in the closet where it belongs, and retrieved the new computer from its hiding place.

I sat for a moment wondering when I might see Meghan tonight, and realized that I hadn't heard from her in quite a while. I began looking for my cell phone, and realized that I had, at the very least, not put it in one of its two normal resting places. I popped onto G-Chat to see if I could find Russell, and I sure enough did. We did the good old call-and-listen drill to no avail.

It was at about this time that I began to get that sinking feeling that the Wendy's bag I put into the container outside Kroger may have contained my phone. Because Meghan was still out of town, there was no one to accompany me who could call the number to avoid my having to swim through the garbage bag of a public trash can. Via G-Chat, Russell talked me out of going and buying a new phone. Instead, he proposed to call me five times at exactly 3:30 pm. I accepted.

I arrived at the Kroger at 3:10, with little plan other than to wait around for his call. Just to avoid an uncomfortable situation, I went ahead and spoke to the man at the customer service counter. He made sure there had been no phones turned in, and assured me that it would be fine if I dug through the garbage in front of their store in case Russell's call confirmed my suspicions. For the record, if this had been Publix I am relatively sure that employees would have been lining up to dig through the can for me.

I went back outside at about 3:20 pm and stood in front of the store without any apparent purpose, trying my damnedest not to look like I was getting tricky. I listened carefully, in spite of the fact that it was not yet 3:30 pm. In moments, sure enough, I heard the unmistakable ringing of my own phone muffled by other people's shit and the shell of a plastic garbage can. Having thought better of the idea of sifting through garbage in the rain in front of Kroger, I explained myself to the employee who was collecting shopping carts and asked if he cared if I took the garbage bag home. He shrugged his shoulders.

I opened the can, pulled the bag out, and tied the top, already seeing a Wendy's bag that I believed to be mine inside. I traipsed through the parking lot, protected from embarrassment by a cold windy rain that made everyone just want to be at home under a blanket. I threw the bag in the trunk, entered the car, and turned the key. As I left the parking lot, I noted the time on my clock (3:27) and began to expect a series of phone calls through the back seat.

As expected, I heard the phone ring behind the whistle of the wind and the white noise of the rainfall as soon as I hit the bypass. The combination of sounds continued almost all the way home. It made me giggle a bit, but in truth I was really happy not to have to shell out another hundred dollars or so for a phone that I probably won't like. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is for someone who finds himself attempting to undo the often costly effects of his clumsiness more frequently than he cares to admit. I was just a little happier about this than I probably should have been.

I arrived at home, opened the back door, and opened the garbage bag just outside. Protected by gloves, and tempted to don a condom just in case, I went straight for the Wendy's bag, opened it, and found my phone inside. After a nice rubdown with a Lysol wipe, I was on that phone with Russell thanking him for his help.

This makes two Sundays in a row on which I have had to manually search a used garbage bag for an item of value. I am going to try to buck the trend this week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

• I am really glad that we got out of Saturday alive. The relatively flat play of the first half is something about which a lot of people were rightfully worried. Between the Celebration against Florida and the Blackout, I was becoming afraid that CMR would have to slaughter some type of live animal in order to maintain that kind of enthusiasm. Fortunately, they were capable of surviving even when the coach was out of carrots.

• When it became apparent on Saturday that Georgia would have some difficulty winning without dancing girls or fireworks, I began thinking a lot about the responsible motivation of young people in significant pursuits. I had already been thinking about this in light of Alan and Michael's discussion of the raison d'etre of each of their programs. The flat first half only confirmed my feeling:

The only sustainable reason for the pursuit of any activity that requires significant dedicated time and effort is the activity itself. Put another way, "If playing football for a school with a very compelling 115-year football tradition in front of 93,000 raving fans in America's greatest college town in the most competetive league in your sport isn't enough to get you excited enough to play with the greatest enthusiasm of which you are capable, then nothing will consistently motivate you." Audiences (whether professional or novice) can be and often are fickle, trendy, or simply absent. You, on the other hand, will be present for most of the things that you do. It's probably a good idea to make sure you enjoy whatever that activity is. If you're lucky, maybe someone else's opinion will be similar to yours.

• A little utility trip to the Mall of Georgia this evening turned into a lovely dinner and pre-holiday mall-strolling. I found myself reviewing the past year of my life as I thought about the upcoming festivities.

I don't think it has ocurred to me before how much I truly treat the holidays as an inventory period. It can be a little sad, because it reminds you that those who are slowly slipping away from you are doing so. It can also be downright beautiful when you compare a walk through the lights and the scents of the mall alongside someone you love against your rushed marches of the past.

I don't know. This time of year just makes me think a lot.

• Without posting his full Googlable name, can anyone identify the person to whom this ass belongs?

(Note: I most certainly didn't take this picture.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

HT: DawgPost via Georgia Sports Blog

I just erased a four-paragraph writing about my enjoyment of last Saturday's blackout. The more I obsessed over the entry, the more I realized that I couldn't begin to tell the story that my memory recalls, so I will let it remain a memory. Kudos to those who have been able to make it make sense in text.

As I began to revisit the failed attempt, I noticed that it had yet again been over a week since I wrote in my blog. There was a point in time in which my blogging habits were the internet equivalent of Old Faithful. That has most definitely ceased to be the case since I moved, and I don't apologize for it.

If you haven't figured it out, life has changed quite a bit for me lately. If you had told me in January that I would find myself living in Athens, Georgia again for a year, I would have told you that I would be as attentive and appreciative as possible during that year. If you had told me back then that I would find the person I have found, I would have told you that I would be spending my time learning what I needed to learn about her and enjoying the time I had with her.

I distinctly recall one year ago. I had just had a wreck in Nashville. I was terribly lonely, and I wanted to be in Athens. Somehow I now find myself happy, very far from lonely and seven minutes from downtown Athens.

By the time I blink twice, my daily time with Meghan will be more scarce and I won't be living in Athens. And just as I found myself loving the moments in which I found myself on Saturday, I have recently felt that it has been best for me to spend less time writing about the experience I am having and more time having it.

It has been a very wise use of my time.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back in Bullets

• First and foremost, many of you know that my dad is in the hospital with heart concerns once again. No need to comment with thoughts, prayers, etc. I already know. Regardless, he had tests today and will undergo heart catheterization at St. J0seph's tomorrow. More when I have it.

• Meanwhile, I am scheduled to go to Nashville with Steve on Thursday. We toyed with the idea of going to the CMA's on Wednesday. And then we semi-jokingly agreed that we would be there at some other point anyway. Thursday it is, assuming all in the first bullet is going well.

• I am some two weeks into my ownership of this. I am very happy to be recording again, and am repeatedly amazed at how much generally happier I am when I can do so.

Are you wearing black Saturday? I absolutely despise the idea, but I'm totally in because the players asked. Although I'm not fond of the requested attire, I am completely jacked about the game.

• Speaking of the game, it would be really really cool if the Athletic Association wouldn't interrupt the Georgia-Bulldogs Cheer at an important point in the game with one of the Chrysler commercials disguised as a Bulldog Music Video (Georgia vs. Troy, 4:34 First Half).

Like really cool...

In fact, if they do it again, there is no way in hell that I well ever buy a Chrysler. Come to think of it, there is no way in hell that I am buying one anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2007

When are these Tech grads going to learn? Say it with me people: When you go to a strip club always, always, always, always use cash. HT - Meghan

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My vitals

I have been thinking about my health a lot lately.

With a couple of friends fighting their way out of serious long-term illnesses, I am reminded that I am as mortal as they come. I have recently experienced some extremely minor health nuisances that could have been signs of a greater problem had they become chronic (They have, for the record, subsided as expected). In addition, I will be forced to change health insurance as of my birthday due to my move to Georgia.

The pessimist in me worries about the worst imaginable product of all of these circumstances. In the back of my mind, I worry that I may have contracted Mad Cow Disease, and that the new policy won’t cover the necessary treatment because it would be a pre-existing condition. I then worry that the illness will present as horribly as possible, and that my friends will be forced to hold car washes to help defray my medical costs. Unfortunately, these car washes will be shut down due to the drought. As a result, an unattractive nurse will walk into the Mad Cow Ward of the local hospital, lift me into her excessively flabby arms, and carry me out of the hospital. Once outside, she will deposit me into a ditch from which my friends will walk with their heads down and shaking, wishing there was something else they could have done.

I know.

Seriously, though. The combined traits of worrier and dreamer that I possess have the capacity to make my worst medical fears seem very real, especially when my health coverage is in flux. I can worry myself into an amazing frenzy over a cough or a canker sore, and every little itch, bump, creak, tingle, or asymmetrical fart will further convince me that something is wrong… bad wrong. At some point, reason returns, and I become calm once again.

This has happened before, but this time is different. It is different in that I now value my life in ways that I have not valued it before. I am rather sure that this is because I am sharing much of it with someone else. It is no secret that I endured a bit of self-destructive behavior in my twenties, and that remnants of that behavior splashed into my early thirties. Though I have often made the statement that “the leading cause of death is life,” there are decisions that I made back then that I would change if I could. Every time I get a chest cold, I regret every drag from “back when” because I know I inhaled as a result of a lower valuation of my life than I now acknowledge.

Fortunately I do have my health (*knocks on wood*), and I am lucky (really?) enough to have realized how much I love being alive under circumstances which allow me to do something about it.

I guess I tell you all of this to get to a point. I clearly haven’t been updating you on every piece of minutiae in my life lately. That is largely because I have been spending a lot of time enjoying it and not very much time thinking about it. Things are wonderful. I am very happy. And I am awake and doing my best to appreciate every moment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blandard What's Up Entry

I am, once again, on the literal and proverbial couch, watching the 1983 Sugar Bowl (the flea flicker to Herschel just happened) and telling you what little I have in my head that is appropriate for universal consumption.

From my relative absence of late, you may have reasoned that I have become no less busy since I wrote recently about the strangeness of working in the band room once again. That "two weeks only" is now in danger of becoming a month. The nostalgic fuzziness of returning to a place that holds the memories of nearly half of my life has worn mostly off.

I am now working just enough hours to make sure that operations continue, and working little enough that it is in the personal best interest of those in charge to hire someone permanent. In the meantime, the school is basically paying the money that my insurance company wouldn't pay for my computer.

Serendiptous as the temporary gig is, I am ready (as Dwight once said) not to be a shepherd anymore. More pressing matters await.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Ok... Most of the world has been acquainted with this video for some time. But I am afraid that many, if not most, of my friends have not seen it in its entirety. This completely reminds me of numerous (but slightly less awkward) times when I have been forced to be the speaker when I was totally unprepared to do so. I feel horrible for this guy. But I love the very end when his co-anchor thanks him, and he manages a "hhyeah."



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Things that make me happy

In no particular order...

Hoodies (on me)
Butter (on my gir... nevermind)
Learning new stuff
College football
Having a coach who doesn't put up with shit
Typing with a beer in one hnad
Fall weather
Neck rubs
Scalp rubs
My girlfriend
My girlfriend's accusations of "mushy blogging"
Finishing a song, and doing it well
Salty mashed potatoes
Using the phrase "the hell" in the middle of any sentence
Learning that Teflon was once used on missile noses
Brown paper packages tied up with string
Made-up fight song lyrics
Checks written to me
Ceiling fans

I have been thinking lately that being cool may not be all that it is cracked up to be, and that maybe being giddy and simply tickled to be alive, well, and happy is. Perhaps I will try the latter for a while.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I seriously want to know...

Why do farts smell worse at a school or university than they do at home? Seriously?
I have added a link to "Troy Kicks Cancer" so you too can keep up with the progress of an old friend.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Well, hell...

In the course of my second beer this afternoon, I have been trying to compare my disappointment from today's game to a similar one of the past. I have tried West Virginia 05-06. I've tried Tennessee last year, Auburn '97 and Tech 2000. But I just can't make the comparison. I can't come up with a good reason why this happened.

I really hope there is some growing up going on out there today. I am getting tired of hoping that is true.

Time for another beer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The inmates and the asylum

It really is a strange night on Creek Stone Drive.

I am alone, which is certainly not the norm of late. Meghan is enjoying a date night with the girls, which theoretically includes none of the activities that some of you might hope would take place (I think it's a little "Grey's Anatomy," a little dinner, and a lot of girl talk). One supposes that a little independence and individuality are good things, and I suppose I agree. But I prefer here when she is in it.

I am watching the #8 Kentucky Wildcats play at the #11 South Carolina Gamecocks, and it's a good game. What has happened to football?

I am tired from work. Yeah, work... at UGA... sound familiar? You may have heard that Trina finally turned out the lights in the band room. Unfortunately, they didn't have anyone to hold down the fort as Trina left for greener pastures and more serene workdays. So I agreed to come in for two weeks (and two weeks ONLY) to help smooth the transition to the new Trina. Few experiences have ever been as surreal as the first morning on the bypass driving to campus dressed much like I used to be every (late) morning (or early afternoon.... or late afternoon). And within the confines of 116, life is new and strange. I'm not saying it's good or bad, better or worse. I'm just saying life is strange in yet another bizarro version of something I once knew far too well.


P.S. - Hang in there, Troy.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Stu and M at the Grill Satidy morning.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yay, Russ([ell]ty)!

... and ...

Happy Birthday, Larry Munson!

Playing "Happy Birthday" for him five or six years ago is one of my favorite memories.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stupid Question Day

I would like to warn all those I will see this Friday that I fully intend to celebrate Stupid Question Day. It's about damn time we had a holiday that celebrates one of the more common occurences in real life. Perhaps Congress will get on board and create more relevant celebrations. I propose:

- Walking Backwards In a Crowd Without Looking First Day
- Saying "Bring On the Gators" When the Game Is Still One Month Away Day
- Pulling Your Goaltender When You're Riding a Fifty-One Game Win Streak Day
- Smoking Marijuana Before A Court-Mandated Drug Test Day

I never appreciated the smartass advice of one too many self-amusing dads from my childhood when they would say, "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people." There are stupid questions, and my favorite is:

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

BamaDay Bullets

• I have been in a funk all week because of a minor but extremely painful medical hiccup. No, not hemorrhoids again. And no, I'm not having another outbreak. But it has left me in a bad mood, and when I'm in a bad mood nothing goes right. Fortunately for today, I am not in a bad mood.

• I wonder if they have HGTV in HDTV.

• I see no reason why clapper-activated audible alarms are not factory-installed in the following items to facilitate their easy location:

- Keychains
- Remote Controls
- Wallets

And now it occurs to me that the reason why is because it would create a cacophony at sporting and performing arts events.

• From

cacophony - 1656, from Gk. kakophonia, from kakophonos "harsh sounding," from kakos "bad, evil" + phone "voice" (see fame). Kako- was a common prefix in Gk., and has often crossed over into Eng., e.g. cacography, the opposite of calligraphy (q.v.). Etymologists connect it with PIE *kakka- "to defecate."

I have long suspected that this was true, but never realized it until... well, just now.

• Now that my insurance company has paid me what they owe me, one of these is in my immediate future as well. It is long overdue.

• It's not really any big secret that I am not a fan of the press. Come to think of it I'm not a fan of a lot of things, including the press, government, or people in general really. Wow, I'm not really sure I'm not in a bad mood.

Aaaaaaaaanyway... My contempt for the press was further justified this week as I listened to ESPN report as fact that CMR was closing practice because he was worrying about Saban spying. He clearly stated that he was doing so more out of concern for revelations resulting from the reports of well-meaning observers, rather than because of any specific external threat. I'm not sure he's telling the whole truth, but I grew tired of ESPN offering editorial commentary regarding his true motivation as fact. But boy it sure does make for a much more interesting game, which happens to be on ESPN and ESPNHD at 7:45 ET tonight, now doesn't it?

And gosh, I don't see any reason why Coach Richt should do anything other than trust that Coach Saban is on the up and up.

Alabama has sold its soul. Rarely before have I wished this badly for the Dawgs to win and win big. Rarely before have I hoped this much that there is a Hell.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seemed to go the way it was supposed to?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Over the past several years, I have refused to participate in very much "appointment television" viewing. I have tried, with moderate success, to keep up with American Idol simply because its contents impact my field of business. I catch The Office when I can because it is hilarious and can be enjoyed without extensive knowledge of the events of past episodes. Otherwise, my tendency to travel a lot and the fact that I didn't have a DVR compelled me not to become engaged in any television series that required my regular viewing in order to enjoy it.

When I moved, I decided it was finally time to pay the extra few bucks a month for a DVR. Meghan and I also dove headfirst into prior seasons of two shows which the DVR would allow me to see, without fear of missing significant developments. We completed the first season of Heroes in about four days and loved it. We are currently halfway through season two of Lost (which she has already seen). I had beeen told that I would enjoy this show, but I had no idea.

At a time when television is perceived to be getting worse, these shows in particular buck the trend and are totally worth the time I have spent watching them. The company doesn't hurt either.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I would hate to go an entire week without blogging, and I would be in danger of doing so if I didn't write within the next few hours. I guess I don't have quite as much time to write these days as I did a few scant months ago, and that is just fine with me. Things are good though... the dawgs are good, the tunes are good, the girl is good. And that, friends, means life is good.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wake up!

It's as though I have been asleep for eight months. And just this morning, that feeling in the pit of my stomach became something much more serious. Today is Friday, and tomorrow is Satidy. And - remember this phrase - not just any Satidy.

I have told you before how much this sport means to me, and if I care for you very much then you probably feel the same way. Somehow, I think in May or June of every year that I will somehow outgrow this obsession, and it never seems to happen... I don't think it ever will.

Here in Athens, traffic has stiffened over the last day-and-a-half. Here in Meghan's living room, the smell of her pre-gameday creations has exploded through the apartment (red velvet cupcakes with chocolate chips!). In Atlanta, friends are calling to finalize plans and the reponsibilities for tailgating supplies. Smiles, eyebrows, and pulses are raised all over town, and the normally quiet parts of the day have been replaced with non-stop frenzy. Athens is buzzing and so am I, with as much brilliance as in any year before.

It's as though I have been asleep for eight months. But tomorrow is Saturday, and now I am wide awake. I hope you are too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bom Chicka What?

I realize that no one who reads this blog has ever viewed pornographic material. I am sure, however, that many of you know someone who has, and that most of that many are familiar with the cliche musical motive from the High Music that is pornographic film score.

During a "slow" moment at summer camp, someone presented a couple of commercials that parodied that motive. There are posted below for your pleasure (more or less safe for work, unless you work at a convent):

After viewing these and a European version from the same campaign which used a different version of this motive, a debate ensued regarding the exact spelling and pronunciation of the motive. Due to the inherent handicap in attempting to orally dictate (he he) the performance of an instrument, the debate has never been resolved. It has however resulted in some interesting, and often downright ridiculous, interpretations of the lick (he he).

I do not understand how I have gotten this far into the entry (he he) without using the word "seminal."


At some point, someone with an idle mind and a bit too much free time wondered aloud what the version of the motive might sound like for specific styles of porn. Some of the answers are below. You may provide your own if you wish:

- Urologist Porn = "Bow Chicka Wee-wee"
- Cheerleader Porn = "Boom Chicka Rah-Rah"
- Belinda Carlisle Porn = "Bow Chicka Go-Go"
- Dog-lover Porn = "Bow Chick Chihuahua"
- Fozzy Bear Porn = "Bow Chicka Wocka Wocka"
- Georgia Bulldog Porn = "Bow Chicka Woof Woof"


Friday, August 24, 2007

If you don't think...

the Gators are bad for the SEC, bad for fashion or the future of taste in commercial music, and simply bad for America, then you clearly haven't seen this video. Before you listen/watch, have a trash can and a bottle of PediaLyte ready. It is a truly horrible combination of portions of Grease and the B-52's' "Love Shack," bred with the worst imaginable subject matter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


As mentioned below, I am in Athens and basically settled. I have moved into a duplex apartment in the same neighborhood in which I lived in my last five years in town.

There are some unusual sensations that have occasionally bubbled up in the early days of my return. Living here and not having an affiliation with the university is unusual if welcome. Living in a seemingly suddenly altered version of a town, to whose changes I previously had been too close to observe, scrambles my sense of space. And in perhaps the cheapest but most palpable sense, living in an apartment with the reverse floor plan of my old home sometimes makes this feel like a bit of a Bizarro Athens.

And I think Bizarro Athens is a fitting way to say it. For me, it is a version of Athens in which I am not so busy that I can’t think. It’s a version of Athens in which I can genuinely enjoy living rather than paddling with all of my might most of the time. This version of Athens contains a lot of history but few ties, a lot of potential but few demands. It is also the site, for me, of contentment rather than panic, and love rather than need. If it is Bizarro Athens, I prefer it in many ways to the original.

As I reread that, I realize that that is a bit unfair to suggest that I was lonely the last time I lived here. You know what I mean.

The longer I am alive, the more clearly I hear screams of testimony from those who know the truth that still sounds like a whisper to me: Life is too short not to do what makes you happy. That is exactly what I am doing. It seems to be working.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

In Athens.
I'm almost as tired as I am happy.
Move in on Monday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Overdue Relief for the Gigantic Change Bucket of Love

Those of you who have been to my home at any point in the last seven years or so may recall the existence of some incarnation of what has most recently been known as the Gigantic Change Bucket of Love (which, incidentally, is the companion item to the Gigantic Trash Can of Death). When I moved to Nashville in 2005, the weight of the bucket was such that its relocation required a furniture dolly. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to moving it again.

Late on Saturday, M made a very welcome pseudo-surprise trip to Nashville to bring some semblance of order to my life and belongings as she helped me pack for my impending move back to Athens. After some discussion, we decided against a socially embarassing, financially costly, and potentially chiropractically disastrous trip to the local Coinstar machine. Instead, we counted and rolled the contents of the Gigantic Change Bucket of Love. I had estimated the value of the contents to be approximately four-hundred dollars U.S.

After approximately eight total hours of rolling coins, which was accompanied by the broadcast of approximately two Braves games and one episode of the Daily Show, the rollable payload of the vessel was calculated to be $417.50. After adding the one-dollar coins (to which I repeatedly insisted on erroneously referring as "Dollar Bill Coins"), the total booty came to $434.50.

Big plans are being made for the windfall, one of which involves food and one of which involves strings and country music (And no, I am not bringing back Jessi, the Sexually Ambiguous Gospel Puppet). Below is a photo of the bottom of the bucket in case you haven't seen it. It is unlikely that you will see it again for the next several years, so look while you can.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

• My utilities have all been moved to the new residence. If you try to reach me at 615-VERMIN-7, you will get a disconnected message.

• I saw DCI Quarters last night in the theatre, and was mostly pleasantly surprised at the creativity and level of performance. Having never marched, taught, or judged the activity, here are my brief impressions:

- Crown is on the edge of competing for a title. I am thrilled to have watched its rise.
- I will be interested to see what is next for the Academy.
- I have personally grown tired of some of the more formulaic designs that repeated themselves this year.
- I think horn lines, as a rule, are not playing enough. I have felt this way since Denver.
- The Cadets show made me feel weird. I agree with pulling the corps for lines, and I think the booing was unacceptable and a bad sign for the future of drum corps.

• I am as happy as I remember being.

• After getting my oil changed and tires rotated, picking up some boxes and visiting with family, I am going to see this group at Russell's request. This means that I have to go to the Williamson County Fair, one of a type of event that I have always thought was inappropriately named in the same way that the abbreviation for Oklahoma "could be better."

• Knibb High School Football rules.

Monday, August 06, 2007

On my way back from lunch

Sorry (kinda) for the prolonged break. I am finished teaching for the foreseeable future, almost finished writing, and I'm getting ready to pack some boxes and back up the G*&*%$#@&*ed truck yet again. Life is as busy as I remember it post-RCB, and that's fine. But it will be nice to breathe for a moment in the near future.

Nashville tomorrow morning. Bouncing between Georgia and Tennessee after that for two weeks. Athens on 8/20.

Meaningful blog entry soon. Promise.

No, really.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Also, it occured to me in the middle of rehearsal tonight that Erroll Garner and Johnny Burke were writing about stalking the object of the song "Misty."
• This photograph was taken (poorly) at the camp I'm teaching in Clint0n, S. Car0lina. I like to call it "What Time Is It In Clint0n, Madame Prime Minister."


The webcam at the camp I'm teaching.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brevity via Bullets

I could ramble for days about the current contents of my mind, but there is simply no time. Here are glimpses without much substance. I hope to return to full emotional nudity in about two weeks.

• I am about two solid days from being finished with arranging and drill work for a while. I have never been more ready for some time away.

• My official unofficial relocation date will be August 11, 2007.

• I am concerned and confused about Ron Mexico's current debacle. On one hand, it seems like we fail to learn from the situations that should have taught us about the dangers of presumed guilt. If you know what an indictment is, then you know that no guilt has been proven. On the other, I have to think that the NFL has pretty good reason to believe that something is up.

If he's guilty, I want him to spend the rest of his life in a cage. If not, I want him to learn how to throw and how to keep his middle finger retracted as he leaves the field of play.

• After a couple of days in Athens starting on Wednesday, the activities on tap include two band camps and one wedding. As much as I don't miss having to live it every day, I do miss teaching very much. M and I spent a bit of time talking about that this weekend, and it began to occur to me how much of who I once was sits almost completely dormant for all but 1.5 weeks per year. I'm not sure that's how that's supposed to be.

• I am thinking that a post-rush trip to Ikea is in my future. Desk.

• I am also beginning to think that I may be a better cook than I have given myself credit for being.

• I lost near my entire music catalog to the jackasses that robbed me. The bad news is that I have to pay to replenish it. The good news is that I can replenish it however I choose. I am open to suggestions of individual tunes, full albums, or entire genres that may not necessarily have been on my "most played" playlist. Among the list of things of which I didn't have enough the first time are Beethoven piano works, Delbert McClinton, Pink Floyd, Nanci Griffith, Radiohead, Steve Reich and company, latin jazz, and Stephen Sondheim. You know what to do.

• Life remains incredibly good. So much to tell you, so much work to do, and miles to go before... whatever.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Smile

I spent a long weekend working, watching drum corps, meeting friends new and old, and being comfortable in Athens. Other than meeting Meghan's sister (who reminds me significantly of an old friend that many of us knew through marriage, adore to death, but don't get to see anymore) and brother-in-law, there weren't too many out-of-the-ordinary details that warrant publication.

That, for me, is the most enjoyable thing about all of this; that the otherwise seemingly mundane is anything but. Though there will be singular moments in the future, I suspect that the time I will continue to most appreciate is the clockwork moment on the walk through the parking lot into Target when the space between my fingers is slowly filled by those of someone who matters. The arms then sway, the pace advances into something dangerously close to a skip, and the boring task ahead becomes secondary to what "the pleasure of the company at hand" describes insufficiently.

As I was driving back to Nashville last night, I was singing along to one of the CD's that have been the staples of my travel listening since the begining of June. Somewhere around exit 300 on I-75 North, I noticed that I was singing full volume, which I tend not to do. Then I noticed that my voice seemed to match perfectly the timbre and intonation of the vocalists on the recording, which never happens. And then I noticed that I was smiling an unreserved, non-manufactured smile that I don't remember smiling before. That probably tells you all you need to know.

It is hokey, campy, and mushy, with puppy dogs, rainbows, green grass, and probably an effing leprechaun thrown in for good measure. And for once, that doesn't seem to bother me... except for the leprechaun, which is downright creepy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Belated Bullets

This truly is the busy season, and there simply hasn't been a lot of time in which to update. There is a lot going on, however, so I revert to the much duplicated bullets.

• The insurance claim on the burglary is underway, and I expect to be able to replace the computer with something more practical. The Playstation will likely not be replaced, unless Kip wants to loan me his. Otherwise it looks like everything is going to be fine, with the exception of the lost effort and time and a few pissed off band directors.

• Well, that's not entirely true. Another result is that I am far busier than I wish I were right now. I lost several days worth of work, and I suppose that's just tough.

• My family is engaged in a slow migration north. My brother and his wife and kids just moved to Nashville last week. In fact, my sister-in-law has recently become an avid reader of this little journal. Hi, T@nnis!!!! (I'm not sure that she knows that I know that.)

• Just as this migration is happening, I think I am going to change venue myself. My family has been gracious enough to offer me spare rooms in their homes for the next year, while my apartment manager seems to think that I would like to pay $30/month more for a property that clearly isn't safe. Not happening. So, if you want to find me after August 15, you will need to look in Nashville and Athens. But it is a better idea to call my cell phone rather than look. I have been known to be rather stealthy.

I plan to return to Nashville full-time in a year. Stop worrying. Now. I swear I am a big boy, even though I don't always act like it.

• The previous bullet offers news of a pretty significant change. That's certainly not the only one. In the last ten days, I have also acquired a new belt, a new pair of sunglasses, a new cell phone, and two (2) new pairs of jeans. Strange days, indeed. Most peculiar, Mama. (Sorry, Mr. Lennon)

Oh, and I am growing my hair out.

• More than most things in the world, I truly wish that I had ready access to a recorded performance of the "Du, du, duhh" sound effect that they play on Jeopardy which indicates that no contestant has responded in time. I could make sooooo much use of this, mostly toward myself.

• Ok, ok. Gunner called yesterday. Based on the previous entry, he theorized that I had gotten a dog. Well, I haven't.

"Someone who matters" is named Meghan. She loves football. She cooks like Paula Deen. She can kick my ass. She likes things clean and organized. She seems to believe in the truth, spoken as sarcastically or brutally as necessary to get the point across. She is a musician and a teacher. She is a Georgia Bulldog, by God. She is a brilliant combination of beautiful, smart, funny, cynical, hopeful, and compassionate. She is none too aware of any of the above. She also happens to like me.

Believe me, the feeling is mutual.

I have been trying to be cool and pretend that I am not excited about this. It clearly isn't working. As I write, I have a grin on my face that wraps all the way around my head... well, and it's there pretty much all the time right now. But to keep on telling you about it would be to pretend that I could tell you how amazing this feels. But I can't.

Anyway, between being completely busy with work, completely distracted in the most pleasant of possible ways, and completely over dealing with the minutiae of an insurance claim and a temporary change of scenery, I now appear to be the one who isn't updating. I'm kinda sorry, and I'm kinda not.

Friday, July 06, 2007

No place

The group whose tour I have been managing for five days has just departed Chicago for Georgia. This has been a more exhausting week than any in recent memory and, for at least that reason, I am glad it's over. I should be back at home by 1:30 PM local time, and I can not wait.

As life has changed over the last month or so, I intentionally have been either cryptic or quiet about many of the things that are closest to me. It has been necessary in order to respect the feelings of many with interests in the events of that time. And frankly, musing mostly to myself and very limited others rather than to the world gave these changes the best chance to settle in as I prefer... slowly.

I can assure you that I soon will not be so guarded. Trust me, I still have a lot to tell you, and I anticipate having a lot more to tell you. But I will do so on my schedule. Just know that life is very, very good... or it will be in about seven hours, when I am at home in Nashville with someone who matters. Now more than ever, there truly is no place like home.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

For the thirtieth time... the DeS0t0 Hilt0n is not in Chicago.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Seen at Gin0's East on N. Wells St., Chicago, IL.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hecan'thitHecan'thitHecan'thitHecan'thitHecan'thitHe Sssssswiiiinnnngggg Bataaaaaaah

There is very little that I can tell you about our experience at Wrigley Field yesterday. I can describe the way tradition seizes you the second you exit the Addison L Station, but you won't feel it. I can suggest how much better a $6 Budweiser goes down when it is consumed five rows from the top of Section 525 on a perfect day for baseball inside the Friendly Confines, but you won't be able to taste it. I can narrate the friendly ribbing between opposing fans, the roar of approval after Scotty Pippen released the final note of "Take Me Out To the Ballgame," or the sweetness of a fortunate bat's crack, but it would be useless.

So, I will post a few pictures for your perusal. Just know that they do the experience no justice. Everyone should do this at least once. I will do it again. Apologies in advance to Knight (who's team is the subject of a great jab on a pictured t-shirt) and to Russell (who was there, but isn't pictured at all).

When you do it make sure you pick a game that means something, root root root for a team (even if it isn't your normal team), and take good company with you.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Winner of the day for June 28, 2007

This guy.

This guy was complaining before the bus ever left Midway. This guy had an intense conversation with his wife on the phone about some mixture of orange juice and milk that he really needed her to shake well. This guy then called someone else to tell them to check on his wife and make sure she shook that thing. Then this guy called his son's baseball coach to ask if he would be ready to pitch this fall. This guy then called his son to tell him what his baseball coach said. This guy embraced the words shit and f*%k like they were the first and last names of his long lost love. And then, in an instance of further proof that God loves and wants us to be happy, this guy left the bus. I wish he had been accompanied by the flight attendant sitting behind me, who spoke fff and filed her toenails the entire way to Racine.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Brewtown Brett

In 67 minutes I will get in my heterosexual Honda Civic and drive it to Nashville International Airport (Motto: "Y'all come back now, y'hear?"). I will leave that Civic in a parking space in the economy lot (always at bus stop #7 if you need to borrow my wheels), and will then trust my travel to the friendly pilots of Southwest Airlines. They will take me to Chicago's Midway International Airport, where I will leave the rest of the driving to a coach operator for Wisconsin Coach. The coach operator will take me to Milwaukee, Wisconsin ("The Emerald City"), where Scorley will meet me.

On tap for us for the next few days are a brewery tour, some music, some drinking, Cubbies vs. Brewers at Wrigley (He is going to be so pissed when he sees me wearing a Cubs hat), and a lot of catching up. Russ[el]ty will join us for a portion of the weekend as well.

On Sunday, I return to Chicago ("Beantown") where I will work with this group. I return to Nashville on Friday, hopefully to find an apartment that contains the same belongings it will contain when I leave.

Life is funny right now. Some things completely suck (being robbed, hitting every traffic light in greater Nashville, razor burn) and others are amazing (what I get to do for a living, learning to like beer, Athens and its contents).

Monday, June 25, 2007

7:59 A.M. EDT

On the Thursday of my recent beach bummery bumnation bummification relaxation/work, I played a mighty fine round of golf with my dad and brother. Around the ninth hole, I realized that I had left my cell phone at the condominium and wondered to myself whether the absence of its distraction had contributed to my relative success (120 was the score, and yes... to me that is success). I decided that it had and I continued to play as though I hadn't a care in the world, though I was truthfully worried about what awful things might be going on without my knowledge.

When I returned to the condo, I raced to my cell phone in typical me fashion to find that I had missed five phone calls, one of which was from the 615 area code. At this point in my life and career, an unrecognized call from 615 either means something very good or very bad. Voicemail revealed that this was probably not a pleasant ocassion, as my apartment management company called and needed to speak to me the same day.

I already knew why.

When I reached the office, the property manager reported that my apartment had apparently been burglarized overnight. A resident had noticed a hole and broken blinds in a window. The manager and a maintenance worker entered the apartment and said that it appeared that nothing had been taken, though my Kurzweil keyboard was on the floor which she "thought was odd." I asked if there was still a television in the den. "Yes." Was there still a computer in the den? "Yes." It couldn't possibly be that bad if that was the case.

After leaving Myrtle Beach, I headed to Athens for the balance of the weekend. When I arrived in Nashville early this afternoon, I entered my apartment to survey the damage. Here is what I found.

This is the rock that someone threw thru through my window, reportedly somewhere around 4am Thursday morning. That thing that looks like a piano in the background is supposed to sit on that thing that looks like a keyboard stand in the background. The rock on the floor seems to indicate that this was probably not the result of unnoticed activity in the New Madrid Fault.

This was apparently where the rock struck the coffee table that sits in my den. Also, someone who matters is this very second saying, "Know how I know you're gay? Your real couch pattern would strike Charles Nelson Reilly as 'flamboyant.'"

This is what my closet looked like when I arrived home. You don't have to believe me when I say that it didn't look like this when I left, but you should. It was apparent that the intruders were looking for something.

This is what they found... family silver, given to me by my grandmother. I thought surely it was hidden well enough, but it apparently wasn't.

This is my computer desk. There is a monitor, my Jack Daniel's thermometer, my RCB Christmas ornament, my "Go Dawgz" Chick-fil-a cow from the '98 Peach, and my prized "We Are The Champions" photo from '03 Tennessee. But something is missing from that computer desk. If you guessed "computer," you guessed right.

All told, it appears that I have lost my computer, my PS2, and possibly some silver. After two phone calls and a four-hour-and-thirty-minute wait on a stormy Monday afternoon, I still haven't seen the police. I haven't touched a thing in my apartment. I am hungry and ready to unpack and get to work, and I can't.

I wish I could be entirely peachy about this and write it off as "just stuff." I was not conscientious about backing up every single idea I ever had, and so some are lost with the computer. Some demos will have to be re-recorded from scratch, and some lyrics recreated from memory. Some previously written show material that has already been sold but is undelivered will have to be re-written. And most unfortunately, some potential seeds of something great and some moments of someone else's semi-sober whimsy that were secretly captured on disc will simply have to be remembered.

I don't like this. Life was infinitely better at 7:59 this morning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pilot - "Sea Change" or "The Morning After"

I am in North Myrtle Beach, SC with my family soaking up a few rays, drinking a few drinks, and doing a lot of work. This is the final week in a month away from my apartment in Nashville that has been far more eventful than I anticipated. If I had known some of what has happened was going to happen, I would have packed much differently.

On Sunday morning, I claimed a spot at the Starbucks at College and Broad (Walker's was closed) and sipped on the usual. Minutes later, Brad pulled up a chair and was followed closely by Kit. It is notable that both of these gentlemen (as many of my friends do) enter a social situation as though it is assumed that they have always been theoretically present in the situation... as though they are actors playing bit parts who have been waiting in the wings in view of all of the other actors in a television show. There is rarely fanfare when either arrives. Each simply sits and joins in the conversation already in progress, though Kit is likely to let you know the seriousness of his hangover and Brad the seriousness of his gas.

Their actor-like entrances only enable one of my more excessively romantic exercises, as I often over-dramatize my life by looking at it like a television series that changes name, tone, night and time on an all too frequent basis. Their entrance on Sunday morning was particularly appropriate for my pensive review of the previous weeks in Athens and their culmination at Saturday night's event. It felt like the wrap-up of the pilot of a one-hour drama.

(At this point, you should play the Wrecker's song "Hard to Love You" starting at the 2:55 mark. Fade it in and continue to read. This is because the music fits, not the words. No better way to end a pilot episode than with a Medium F%#k Tempo shuffle.)

As speculation about the feelings and next moves of people who matter concluded, the weight of those far too brief weeks in Athens applied itself to me. My throat lumped. Scenes that resulted from the ecstatic curves thrown me by Whoever Is Making Decisions presented themselves a page at a time in chronological order. As the latest scenes played, the feeling began to settle that the next thing was now.

The camera slowly began to rise from the three of us as we prepared to move on, and the music became louder. I sat, delaying the moment when I would stand and depart, heading to the sea and a million thoughts about what all of these changes might mean. College square became smaller and smaller, soon put in context of the downtown area at large, then the city, then the continent, then the earth. Finally the screen went black.

Two brief still credits appeared, and the pilot was over. This could be one hell of a show.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I so badly want to write about the events of the last week or so, but I just can't right now. In fact, I really won't even be able to discuss it on Saturday night. It is complicated, beautiful, and painful for many all at once. It is also very much unresolved, and may remain so for quite some time. That's going to have to be enough.

There are hearts on high alert tonight.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A quick breath

The first week of camp has passed, and things are basically good. For the first time ever under the current camp administration, no one was sent home. I think it has less to do with an alleged "smoothness" of the operation, and more to do with a softening of a once rather stern administration. Regardless, the experience so far has itself been more pleasant than most years I remember.

I continue to be nothing short of giddy about being in Athens. When I lived here, I was more conscious than most of the charmed life I was leading. Being away confirms that I was right. A bad day in Athens is still better than a great day at Tech, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The thought of making my part-time home here again at some point in the future constantly remains in the front of my mind. I'm trying very hard to appreciate it while I am here.

An aspect of Athens that is at once refreshing and sad is that the people change. It really is heartbreaking to be here and witness a part of what amounts to the end of an era on the first floor. There are a million things one could say (and I'm sure one will next Saturday), but none will do it justice. I don't know if it really was simpler and more enjoyable ten years ago, but my memory says it was. I miss that very badly. I know I'm not the only one...

And while those you love and care about move on to other things, there are also new people whose paths cross yours. For all of the bitterness about impending departures, there is consolation in the joy of new associations. This has been one of the nicest things about being here.

Probably a very light week of blogging once again this week. I'm under the gun to finish a lot of work and help run a camp at the same time. Life will be busy. But life will also be in Athens. Be jealous.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

In Athens in prep work for summer camp, just like this time last year... Time at a premium... Verbs also at a premium... More later.... Vowels also at a premium...


Thursday, May 24, 2007

A few things I have learned since I moved

By the time I return from my impending month-long trip back to Georgia, it will have been nearly two years since I left the world of the gainfully employed to pursue this whatever-it-is that I’m after. I was at another show tonight, and it occurred to me in the middle of the show that this was the case. I began to think about some of the things that I think I have learned over this period of time, understanding that more time behind the pen can prove some of these things to be true or false. I thought I would jot some of those things down - if for no other reason, so I can look back in a couple of years and laugh.

1. This business is huge. There are simply a lot of people in the game… way too many to meet.

2. Among those many are some incredibly talented people, and a few not-so-talented people. Many of the talented people won’t make it, and a few of the not-so-talented people will. Even if you are very talented, work very hard, treat people right, and follow the steps you’re supposed to follow, there is a distinct possibility that you will not make it. The cost of the attempt is that it takes a long time with no guarantees.

3. There are ways of being encouraging and “community-minded” without being untruthful.

4. I have made a good decision not to act in haste in my activities in the business. It has always taken me a long time to get comfortable, and even longer to find my way. That is a process of which I am still in the middle, and may or may not continue to be for some time.

5. In this business (much like in relationships… I wish I had known this earlier), there are situations that require your obsession, aggression, and persistence. There are also many, many situations that require your patience, passivity, contemplation, independent confidence, and willingness to walk away. Good judgment about which of these applies in a given situation comes only from experience. And experience comes – as they say – from bad judgment (or if you’re lucky, observing someone else’s bad judgment).

6. You can not judge what you wrote yesterday against something that a 20-year pro wrote and re-wrote with another pro many years and spins ago on their best day and expect to feel adequate.

7. You can not assume that you are as good as you are going to get and expect to want to continue.

8. You can not get better by sitting around thinking about it.

9. There are reasons why there is a songwriting “community,” and among them is not “so you can sit on half of a great song wondering when the rest of it will become obvious.”

10. If it sounds like something that "could be on the radio right now," then it is probably two years behind its time.

I very strongly believe that the decision to move was a very very good one. But in all honesty, if I had known two-and-a-half years ago that things would be as they are now, I am not sure that I would have made the move. It's a good thing I did it when I did.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Truth in greeting cards

Well, Adam H. sent this to me, and he didn't put it on his blog, so I am putting it on mine. Here are several particularly strong greeting cards from (Motto: "When you care enough to hit send."). How about five that would be appropriate from me to a few people I know? Who would get which and why will be left up to your imagination. Sorry in advance for pissing you off if you think one is intended for you... it probably is.

Card #1
Card #2
Card #3
Card #4
and finally, Card #5.

PS - I have been debating about whether to accompany this story (which took place just outside my actual childhood hometown) with a headline contest or a monologue questioning why so many people still think that their government can somehow be trustworthy. I'm going with the headline contest if you've got something.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mr. Jack

I can only add two things to what Russ had to say:

1. It will change the way you drink whiskey.
2. Here's what I got with the $60 I spent but did not have.

Actually Russ bought the bottle, and we didn't get it there. But we did spend quite a bit of time sampling the product once we got back. That's what was left of the bottle.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I have so been tagged

Traci tagged me to complete the "8 Things" meme, which theoretically requires me to complete the requirements and then tag 8 other people to do the same. I, however, am a bit of a party pooper when it comes to things of this nature. Because I know the people who read this blog, I would guess that 80-90% of you will respond to the message that you have been tagged with a loud verbal "What the f*ck!??? Come on, Brett! Really. Really?" And then you won't think I am cool, and I am not ok with that.

However, I can not say "no" to Traci... partially because she is smarter than I am (I am simultaneouly intimidated by and attracted to smart women... a true double whammy), partially because someone supposedly under my charge was somewhat responsible for her unfortunate #5, partially because it might be in my best interest, and partially because bullets are soooooo April 2007.

So instead, I will "suggest" that a few people undertake this, and let Darwin do the rest. 8 random facts about you... blog about 'em, preferably with details containing sexual, violent, or gossip-laden undertones... tag recommend the exercise to someone else (preferably someone who either doesn't blog enough or wasn't around for the last such exercise... I'm going < 8), and let them know about it... watch the words as they fly through the internet.

The facts:

1. I have three permanent scars above my neck:

- One on top of my head from falling in my elementary school hall on the way to day-care in second grade.
- One on stage right of my forehead. My dad pulled a napping Brett from the back seat of the car when I was three-years old and, thinking I was awake, set me down in a standing-like position. The wheel of his mid-70's Buick Century interfered with the path of my forehead to the ground.
- One on stage left on my cheek. My face was cut open by the teeth of a baseball teammate diving for a fly ball in a scrimmage game in fifth grade. I am horribly self-conscious about it, which is why I don't tend to smile a lot (I only see it when I smile) and why I mistakenly think growing a beard is a good idea every few years.

2. When I hear dummy lyrics to a song I'm writing, they are real words but they make no sense. One I'm working on right now has the dummy lyrics, "Rides like hell, burning like a lizard in an old man's shoe." I know. I know.

3. I hate my apartment but I need to stay in it one more year. The AC is so loud, however, that it is literally becoming a cliche. When it comes on, I have more than once caught myself saying, "Oh, puhhhllllleeeeaaaazzzzeeee!" Again, I know.

4. I get tv crushes on women who are not the normal tv crushes. Here are four of them:

- The Movie Star
- The Domestic Woman
- The TV Personality
- The Singer

5. Whenever I instant message anyone, I always think it's a nuisance. When I get a phone call about business without an advance email, text, or IM, I also almost always think it's a nuisance.

6. I think I can tell if someone has bad breath just by looking at them.

7. I almost always despise working in groups, and pretty much have from the start. The first time I ever cursed was when my second-grade teacher assigned a group project. I think I almost always work better alone and slowly.

However, in extreeeeeemely rare circumstances I find working with an individual to be far superior to working alone. I can count those times on one hand, and sometimes it feels like that is what I am looking for when I'm just looking around.

8. When I remember things I miss, I remember very tiny real or combinations of similar instances and the feeling that accompanies them. I spend a significant amount of my thought and energy attempting to recreate or improve upon those moments. Examples would include:

- The last 4 notes of Chorale #3.
- My grandfather laughing.
- The moment right after the "money line" of your best song, from behind the guitar.
- The vacuum of activity in the rest of the world that comes with a first kiss.
- The taste of Big League Chew, as my Mom and I were walking out of Food Town.
- Catching a glimpse through the portals of the seats in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for the first time.
- The first sip of Jack and Coke on a spring or fall evening in downtown Athens, followed faithfully by the words, "Well, how are ya'?"
- Diesel fumes three minutes before the buses leave for home.
- My first and last names called out from a distance from an old friend I haven't seen in years, as though they aren't sure that I am alive but that they're glad I am.

Who should do this?

- Scorley
- Hagood
- Adam H.
- Anyone who doesn't like dead kittens

Participating in the re-tagging pyramid scheme not necessary.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Bluebird

It has now been over ten years since I began making the trek to the Bluebird C@fe. My first trips were in the middle of college. Sometimes I came by myself, and other times I had as many as three friends with me.

We would leave Athens at 1:00 PM on a Monday and arrive at the front of the room just in time to get my name on the list for the 0pen mic night. Usually, however, there were enough people in front of you who didn't get to play the previous week that you left only with the experience of having been an audience member and a slip of paper that moved you to the front of the line the next time you came to play. So in essence, you had to make the ten-hour round trip once just in order to get the privilege of playing your two songs the next time you made the ten-hour round trip. Nevertheless we did it several times during college. We were usually home by 1:30 the next morning, and we usually (read "rarely") made it to class the next morning.

Over the years, the place has alternately thrilled and disappointed me through no fault of its own. Just as the industry ebbs and flows, so does the quality of the artistry that it produces, and thus also does the intensity of fascination with said artistry and the venues that offer it. I was back there tonight to hear a friend and c0-writer, on a night that normally doesn't bode well for crowds in Nashville. I heard some very nice stuff, and had some realizations about the business and my place in it or not in it that will remain private.

All that is to say that my appreciation for the little joint is on the positive end of the curve right now. I will probably go back soon, perhaps with you. Maybe you'll even stop in to see me there someday soon.

But if you never make it by, hopefully you will at least get to drive past it to see it in its own environment. Though I'm sure this is a mountain of a molehill, I have always found the setting of the Bluebird to be a highly appropriate symbol of the relative insignificance of even the biggest participant in the business of music.

First, the view from the front of the unofficial mecca of s0ngwriting (Sorry... you can't read the banner for the glare... It says "The Bluebird C@fe").

And now the view from fifty yards away, still within the confines of the strip mall in which the Bluebird sits (It's the little blip of light shaped like a backward "7" just to the right of the center of the picture).

Just something to remember, whether you're the next Santana or the next Sanjaya.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Not much to tell...

• I am home again, and actually don't have to travel again for a couple of weeks. I am more pleased than I can possibly tell you, but I'm also completely exhausted.

• I finally got around to seeing The Godfather Part II last week, having only seen The Godfather last October. The more I think about it, the more I realize that both are films that are so great that they ruin all other films (like Steely Dan is to music, or Sorkin is to television). If you haven't seen them (and I know you are out there), hurry up and do it before the war.

• If you're like me (and that seems highly unlikely), you are frequently disturbed by what is sometimes referred to as "Art." In my prior job, I spent an awful lot of time mumbling under my breath about the king's nudity. I recently ran across an article written by one of my songwriting heroes about what is and isn't Art. After reading it, I feel justified in my cynicism.

• I'm restless, but I don't feel like moving.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The last of my "weekend" escort jobs (not what you think... if only it were) begins today. Pigeon Forge and memories of a lifetime are the destinations (pffft) Thursday through Saturday.

Musically, this has been one of the most interesting weeks in memory. My musical confidence has swung from a big high Saturday evening, to a pretty brutal low Monday morning and then back up Tuesday afternoon. If you have ever tried to write music of any kind, you know that confidence makes or breaks your productivity. It has done both so far this week.

And in other news, it is so on.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Two pictures from the second Charlotte trip

I still giggle like a middle school trumpet player every time I see this.

Oh, and apparently the state of North Carolina finally has that whole time travel thing down. (Click it and read carefully)

Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Also, I reeeeaaaalllly want to meet the person who first thought it was a good idea to memorialize a dead friend with a decal on the back of their car.