10.31.2003

a perpetual state of negotiation

now playing: mogwai, "nick drake"

(hit their site if for no other reason than to see the pic of tony the tiger with siegfried and roy...i almost pissed myself)


i love my children. i hate the holidays.

halloween, thanksgiving, and christmas, all within the span of 90 days, usher in the annual parental negotiation phase...where every waking moment of their lives are fodder for bartering and negotiation.

it should be noted, that i am typically a pretty capable negotiator, and i can usually compromise with just about anyone - i have to keep myself in check in some instances to keep myself from giving away too much, because i am, of course, perpetually concerned with how i'm perceived...but i usually fare best with a sane and logical negotiating partner. this is never the case with the person whom fate has cast as the mother of my children.

i won't even go into what it is that informs my decisions where relationships are concerned - hell, that could well be a topic for nanowrimo if i didn't already have a thought about where i wanted to go with that...maybe next year. but this woman hears nothing said by any voice that doesn't come from inside her head, so there's a huge amount of futility involved, which to this day only comes to light after i've made some attempt to communicate something to her, only to realize that she hasn't heard a word i've said.

i've had two ex-girlfriends who were single mothers, one of whom i almost married. neither had any real contact with their parental counterparts while we were together, and i often mentioned to them how lucky they were that they didn't have to fight/bicker/negotiate/bargain in damn near every aspect of their kids' lives - this statement, of course, carries no weight when you're calling the cable company to have the TV shut off because you can't afford it and you're receiving zero funds in the support category...but i lack that particular perspective on the situation.

i am tired of constantly having to barter for time that legally belongs to me, though.

as an adult who has pretty vivid memories of my childhood, knowing what i now know to be true about those times has given me some serious perspective about what was actually going on around me at a given point in my life. and both of my kids are extremely sharp. they get it. and someday, they'll get it all, and it'll be obvious to them what was going on at a given time, and hopefully will make peace with things as they turned out with a minimum of therapy.

this is my wish, anyway.

in the meantime, i have to try to scramble to gain their availability for halloween if they are to go door-to-door in my neighborhood at all.

it's tough to negotiate when no one is talking back.

the bubbles

now playing: mary chapin carpenter, "come on come on"

you see them at the bottom of the pot, starting to rise slowly from the floor up to the surface right before the water starts to boil...

that particular pot is my personal metaphor for the day thus far.

i'm finding more and more that the concept of planning is a waste of time in my life as its' presently being lived. i honestly don't know anyone else who has demands on their time coming from more directions than i do. now, here i go, climbing up on the soapbox again, to bitch and moan and do my little "woe is me" dance, but the fact is, i absolutely have to learn to start drawing some lines and creating some boundaries and practicing the fine art of saying "no" on occasion.

i blew my entire morning working on a laptop that wouldn't acknowledge the presence of its soundcard drivers, even though they were installed, showed up ok in device manager, and had an IRQ assigned. it was maddening, and it wasn't on my LOSTD (list of shit to do), so i'm hopelessly behind enough at this point that i don't feel as though i'll make any further headway today (it is, after all, almost 4 o'clock), so i've now sunk into my large, comfy "fuck it" persona, and will probably ride out the day sittin' right here, thank you very much. the price i'll pay for that is that i'll almost definitely be in here at least one day this weekend. i have a maniac QA manager running around the plant like the fuckin' pied piper, setting up workstations with accounts from some ISO9001 company, and so far, not a lot of them are working properly - and not too many of our workstations have soundcards on them, and they're necessary for the online tutorials that come with this stuff. so there's more work right there, in addition to the troubleshooting angle....

wrong move at the wrong time.

throw it on the pile.

the irritant, though, is just feeling taken for granted. feeling as though everyone feels that they should be at the top of my list...or at least behaving like it. i'm starting to get the feeling that i'm never gonna get caught up, never gonna get everyone off my back. i've put myself in the position, though, by doing all my own warranty work and by committing to so many customers and taking on so much work - so i can only resent it in an internal sense, a passive sense...because most of these demands are legitimate, so what am i supposed to do? it's business. i have to make good on my word to complete projects, to make house calls for paid customers who have large issues with their machines, to answer phone calls at crazy hours - i signed up for this.

my family, however, did not.

and guess who gets the short straw where tom's time is concerned?

i have to find a way to say no, to say not right now, to politely decline...otherwise, i'm not gonna last much longer. this is becoming too much.

10.30.2003

take 74213498, rolling....

now playing: without a trace

long, LONG day at the studio - finally got to meet marc moss, blakes' partner in crime for the three aunt pat albums...nice guy. he played me some remixes of some rare stevie nicks tracks he'd worked on, and then blake and i got to work - we set up two amps, a fender vibrolux and a marshall head that was never even turned on, much less used. we finished two complete tracks in what i've come to know as typical blake style - i call it subtractive recording...recording dozens more tracks than you need and then sitting and analyzing them, maybe comping them together into a single track, maybe just using the first one you did, but essentially, subtractive recording involves throwing absolutely everything at the wall, and then scraping stuff off until you have something.

admittedly, there was a fair amount of subtractive recording during the making of "our mutual angels", so it's not a foreign concept to me...

i think that blake worries that i become impatient during all this, but patience isn't as much of a factor as my muso-biological clock...i have a finite amount of "keepers" in me...there are X number of good takes in me before i start becoming either bored or tired and things get either too mechanical or too sloppy. but i can typically reel 'em off for longer than i need to, because people usually only want one good take...but then sometimes there are exceptions...

gotta finish some stuff here at the house this weekend - the jodi project starts very soon, and i have to go get the van next week.

all the stuff i need to do before bed, but all i want to do is sleep. it was 4 am when i got home this morning, 6:30 when i got up...so i'm overdue.

10.29.2003

competition commuting, and the proper care and maintenance of damn near anything

now playing: little feat, "spanish moon/skin it back (live)"

i gotta get this stuff down while i'm thinking about it...

somehow, it's closing in on midnight and i'm back at work. i have three things that i must get out of my way before tomorrow comes and i'm not here to deal with them, so here i sit...obviously very dilligently taking care of them (note to the non-sarcastic: blogging is not on the to-do list)

what is it that drives people so crazy about the way people drive if it doesn't really affect them? I have a relatively simple rule that i try to adhere to, in terms of my attitude towards other drivers - if it doesn't affect me directly, then more power to them. if someone flies up my ass, i move over and let 'em have the road. sometimes i'm in a hurry, sometimes i'm not. if someone has a more intense agenda than i do, then i'll move over. it's not mine to say how fast someone else should drive.

i do get pissed every time the universe points out to me that i seem to be the only living organism on the planet with this mindset. in pittsburgh for the charlie show a couple of weekends ago, we were driving into town at a little before 9 in the morning on a saturday (it should be pointed out that p'burgh seems to share philadelphia's attitude that any artery flowing into or out of its boundaries should be limited to two lanes for reasons i'll never fully grasp) - there was a gentleman who perfectly fit the MO of what i like to call a "bingo ranger" - oversized luxury car driven by a very tiny head with large cataract lenses on it, perpetually in search of the $500 winning card by driving from bingo hall to bingo hall like a modern day headless horseman. he was nestled in the left lane, locked into a steady but maddening 54 mph, and i had to be ready for soundcheck in roughly an hour.

i finally found my hole, and around him i went...and boy, did this crusty old bastard ever take it personally...he immediately accelerated and tried to catch up with me, but i was driving a rental car, and i would not be denied. i lost him in less than a minute.

well, five or six minutes later, here comes this uncle baxter-mobile SCREAMIN' up the interstate behind me...he cuts in front of me, and immediately resumes his state of 54 mph.

now, did he honestly think that by doing this, i'd see the error of my ways and sit contentedly behind him with my tail between my legs....???

i passed him again and blew him a kiss and waved at him with a smile on my face...i swear i thought i saw the vein in his neck pop out. i singlehandedly succeeded in ruining this guys' day, simply because i had to be somewhere and he was crampin' my style. it was nothing personal - hell, i didn't even know the guy. but i bet that guys' blood pressure has yet to return to a semi-normal state.

one of the people at the APCA regional that day was an author who had studied conflict extensively, and this experience made for some interesting conversation after the instruments were put away. he was an ex-FBI officer who had been with the bureau during j edgar's day...i bit my tongue and didn't ask the two biggest questions i wanted to pop the guy:

1. how do you feel about the blame rhetoric going on in the wake of 9/11 regarding the field office reports that may have thwarted the attacks in the first place?

and...

2. where did j edgar buy his shoes? i bet for a guy of his stature, he had to have had a source for stihletto pumps in ultra-wide. my son needs a pair for halloween.

get this - dylan is going to school as edgar allen poe, but is actually going trick or treating as a prostitute. i started calling him "edgar allan hoe" a couple of days ago, and now everyone's calling him that.


one final story, and i have to get my work done.

today, one of our super-flaky users comes in bitchin' and complainin' that someone got gunk all over her phone by taping down her hook (so that when she answered the phone, it continued to ring, because the tab wouldn't come up). she was completely melodramatic and indignant about it - you'd think someone walked up behind her and felt her up. anyway, mary ann - my office mate - stokes the fire and asks her if she's gone to HR yet, and recommends she does so...i'm sitting here shaking my head, and made a not very friendly remark that would indicate that the two of them might have some pent up sexual frustration, and then Frantic Girl leaves with her handset in her hands...

ten minutes later, she comes back and announces indignantly that "they've really done it now...now my phone doesn't work!"

i asked all the pertinent questions, and coax her into telling me that "it worked before i cleaned it off"...

i said, "what did you do to clean it off?"

"i ran some water over it in the bathroom...."

yep. genius girl took the handset into the bathroom and held it under the faucet in the sink.

i told her that this method works great for getting stuck VHS tapes out of the VCR, too, but that you have to leave it plugged in so that the eject mechanism will work.

the truly sad thing is that there's more than a passing chance that i may someday have her charbroiled carcass on my conscience.

relatives should not breed. nothing good comes of it.


more bones

now playing: october project, "paths of desire"

dig this guy - no denyin' whose kid he is. you wouldn't believe how impressed his mom was when he came home from TN knowing how to play mandolin...

this picture is from an outdoor carnival that we played this past summer...i seem to have a lot of pics of me with this guitar. it is something special, though. i have five telecasters, and this one is the best of the lot.

also from tennessee this past summer is yours truly with ed king from lynyrd skynyrd. ed is one of the nicest guys i've met on his particular rung of the food chain - i took ed and his wife sharon out to dinner the night we got into nashville, and we all enjoyed their company a great deal. can't wait to go down and see him again.

on the subject of skynyrd, i heard some cuts from a fan-generated tribute cd today that was just awful. the worst part was that there were a number of cuts on the record by a nationally known tribute band, and they had no clue. didn't play the solos right, timing was off, vocals were lousy. other than that, i guess it was ok. i didn't hear anyone do a solo right on any of them. too bad our boys didn't get wind of this before it came to fruition...i would've loved to have gotten a stone road treatment on there.

tomorrow is "melt blake's brain in the studio" day. gotta go home and pack my stuff...that is, after i drive to emmaus to try and sort through some PC problems for one of my clients. and just like that, another week will be over. many phone calls to make before the nights' over, though.

walked outside today to scamper across route 61 to the supermarket for lunch, and smelled someone's wood fire burning...one of my absolute favorite smells. definitely in my all time top five smells.

definite sign of autumn. never mind all those leaves in the parking lot....


another grey morning

now playing: jonatha brooke, "inconsolable"

now playing in my head: james taylor, "another grey morning"



raining. again today.

hardly unexpected, i guess...but it is starting to take its toll. i was glad the kids were overnight last night - it meant getting up a little earlier to manage the shower queue, but i hate it when they have to walk to the bus stop in shitty weather. i think i've talked before about how much that bothers me. i've actually started getting up early and picking them up at their moms' and driving them up on bad days.

got a note this morning from my buddy jay, expressing some enthusiasm for my modus operandi regarding jodi's album. i woke up this morning with patty griffin's song "top of the world" in my head, thinking that would be a great song for jodi to cover...i also thought we could do a kickass version of "too soon" by eastmountainsouth.

now, though, i find myself sitting at work with no desire to do anything but curl up underneath my desk and take a nap. generally speaking, i'm pretty impervious to the weather, but today it's not helping.


Repetition in the morning air
Is just too much to bear
And no one seems to care
If another day goes creeping by
Empty and ashamed
Like an old unwanted memory
That no one will claim
The clouds with their heads on the ground
She’s gonna have to come down

She said "move me, move me
I’m locked up inside"
Well, I didn’t understand her
Though God knows I tried
She said "make me angry
But just make me cry
But no more grey morning
I think I’d rather die"


10.28.2003

the stories we could tell...

now playing: rain falling on the sidewalk outside - otherwise, silence...i like this song.

i promised a while back i'd post my poco chronicle - somewhere, there are orange cones being retrieved from a stretch of the road to hell, freshly paved with my good intentions...i will, i will. i promise. stand by.

went to dinner with the gang tonight, and marvelled yet again at the playfulness that exists between my son and my daughter...there was a baby at the table next to us who just became enthralled with jayda for a few minutes - i told her that "you happy babies must have some kind of unspoken cosmic connection of some sort...".

she said, "yep. i was a happy baby. not that i remember much about it...."

both of my kids could be a case study in excessive intake of bovine growth hormone, i think. i gave up on trying to get 12 and under discounts for them years ago, because frankly, i wouldn't have believed that they were under 12...and if i don't believe it, then i can't sell it. whether it's true or not. they're not taller than i am or anything, but i just don't see them as being that age to begin with.

wendy is a trip. i think that if i could keep her up for 3 days straight, she'd still gallop up and down the stairs. when we first moved in together, every time she went up or down, i was certain she'd fallen. i still think that one day she's gonna take the sandy denny plunge and seriously hurt herself...

i started ripping the studio up tonight. i could only go so far into it, because i have a new console coming in and i've got some wiring harnesses on the way as well - and i want to try to wire that up before i go too far into setting the peripheral stuff up. i don't think it's going to take as long as i initially thought it would, though, and i think that the new layout is gonna be much more user friendly.

i think i know how i'm going to do the jodi record.

just like i did back in the day.

i think i'm gonna have her in and we're gonna set up upstairs and cut basic tracks for everything that we want to do, running the guitar direct, and getting her vocal in the room. maybe i'll keep the vocals from these sessions, maybe i won't, but i won't really have to worry about it until close to the end of the project. after i've gotten those tracks finished, i'm going to build on the basic track, replace the initial guitar track, overdub other instruments, and put down whatever rhythm track i might use after all the vocals are done from the basic tracks.

i realize this is totally backwards from conventional wisdom, where making records are concerned, but i think it can work, in jodi's case. get the absolute best vocal i can get in an intimate guitar and vocal setting, and then build the tracks around the vocal, as opposed to building tracks around scratch vocals and coming back and doing them for real later.

hell, i might have her come in and take a pass or two at the vocals after the tracks are constructed, but somehow, i doubt it. i'm betting that i get the best performances out of jodi without headphones.

now that i'm starting to whip the room into shape, i'm starting to get psyched about doing this. jodi's not the total flakeball that michelle nagy has historically been, and i think it'll be a lot more satisfying in the end. i just got an email from michelle yesterday, plugging a gig, and running down the list of the folks in her band - this not more than a month after she called me, telling me how much it'd mean to her to have me on board, how comfortable i made her, etc., etc - and i can feel the earth giving 'way beneath my feet, because i know what's coming next...

she came up during the summer and cut some demos here, and i only heard from her the one time since. i can't be in michelles' band. it was all i could do to be in her presence back in the day - she made me crazy many, many times while we were managed by the same company, and not being managed by the same guy doesn't make her any easier to take sometimes.

i'd like to see her do well, but she's trying to be everything to everybody, and i don't know of any instance where that has ever worked for anyone. the demo she sent me started off with a folky tune and went headfirst into this heavy hip-hop thing - it was exhausting. she can't decide whether she wants to be beyonce or lucinda williams. and you can't fuckin' be both.

boy, have i mentioned lately how much i enjoy doin' sideman work?

studio good. guitars good. divas bad.

diggin' up bones

now playing: kate bush, "cloudbusting"

today has been an excellent day for sifting through old crap and finding little surprises amongst the 160GB or so of storage i have scattered amongst various removable hard drives. i found some great stuff.

this picture just kills me...i have this picture, and an unscanned pic of dylan playing the mandolin, hanging on the wall next to the door, right next to the letterbox where i hang my keys. they're the last thing i see before i leave the house.

i have a very vivid memory that's thankfully recorded to videotape of jayda wearing this outfit, dancing around the living room to tori amos' "winter". i get teary just picturing it in my head. it just kills me.

then, there's a moment in my parade of hairstyles that always manages to extract a grin at the very least from people who see these old pics...i have to say, though - my generation, at present, has a fraction of the apology material that today's kids are gonna have. i'd much rather explain a mullet than to somehow try and rationalize my pants hangin' off my ass with my underwear stickin' out. just wait. you'll see.

i'm an incredibly lucky parent. my kids bicker as much as could be expected, i guess, but for the most part jayda and dylan are a unit. i hear stories of siblings that hated each other for their entire childhoods, and to this day i don't really relate well to my family...we're from different planets, for pete's sake. but jayda and dylan, for all their moments of spitefullness and such, are a team.

i'll never, ever forget this night. i had a gig at the late, lamented fast folk cafe in new york city, and it was a relatively early show, and it was summer, so i brought the kids with me. we were driving across I-78, and dylan looked across at the skyline and asked incredulously, "is that the entire state building?

so we go do the gig...the other guy in the pic is christopher smith, who was then writing for performing songwriter magazine (he's since moved on to billboard, so i'm told), and then we all go out to dinner...me, the kids, chris, and my manager, matt asbell, and a few other folks from the magazine, including neil fagan). and we're sitting really close to the door to the ladies' room. and everytime (no shit, every single time) a woman comes by our table to go to the bathroom, dylans' eyes and head follow them from the corner of the table to the bathroom door. it was the funniest thing i think i ever saw.

they were lucky enough to have spent time in nyc and remember what the skyline used to look like....they've grown up on the road with me. in fact, we were discussing once where in our apartment to put the christmas tree...and i came up with the novel concept that it should be in the room where we all spend the most time...and dylan volunteered, "maybe we should put it in the van...."


time will tell, i guess whether that's a good thing or not.

10.27.2003

deeply satisfying sofa nap

now playing - monday night football from a neutral corner in arizona

i have an infinite capacity for the surreal.

i realized this tonight when i saw toni braxton sexin' it up alongside bocephus during the monday night football intro.

unbelievable.

there most definitely is such a thing as bad publicity.

dylan came over tonight and worked on his homework on my computer here in the living room, and then came over and sat down next to me on the sofa and snuggled up next to me with his gameboy...we fell asleep together until a little before 9, when wendy woke me to talk to her parents on the phone. that's when i realized he had curled up next to me and fallen asleep. i had draped my arm over him, and he put his arm around my forearm and fell asleep.

for all the tribulations that come with parenting in this day and age, those fleeting little moments are their own reward.

talked to the blakemeister today, whos' having some ADAT issues, so i went shopping for him to pick up another machine as either a spare or a permanent second machine for blake...it's well after eleven, but i'm still considering heading upstairs and doing some work before the night is up...i have laundry in, so there's a premeditated excuse.

of course, i also have tons of other stuff to do, and - oddly - some energy to devote to it...courtesy of the father/son power nap earlier. wendy retired a half hour ago or so.

the chargers are depressing me, though. gotta change the channel. vh-1 classic. yeah.

so, let's recap...this month, i'm working on finishing blake's album (we have all day thursday booked at target in delaware), and getting the jodi project off the ground. i also need to get upstate and pick up the new console as soon as i get the van into the state.

i fear, especially of late, that the blog is turning into a combination of a giant "to do" list, peppered with whining about how much i have to do. i hope that's not the case, but i think that realizing that it's leaning that way is probably a pretty good indication that this is exactly what's happening....

i don't know if i mentioned it, but the stone road gig on saturday was a halloween party, and i walked in dressed as the late lowell george from little feat. i thought i looked pretty authentic, myself... although i'd have preferred to have gotten a pic during our 10 minute version of "dixie chicken" while i was playing slide on my open-g strat...then i'd a'been a dead ringer.

that was such a totally unintentional awful fucking pun that i almost went back and changed what i wrote.

quin got it immediately - he started laughing when i walked into the hall, and informed me right away that he knew exactly who i was supposed to be. other than wendy, who conceived the idea in the first place, he was the only one who "got it". and that's just fine by me. that was kinda the point in the first place.

lowell george was, very simply put, one bad motherfucker. nobody else sounded like him. he had a signature - he could play one note and you knew it was him. there are really only a few slide players that you can say that about - mister dave is certainly one of them...ry cooder and duane allman pretty much round out that list for me...there just ain't too many more. not that there aren't other slide players i love to listen to, but that's my gospel quartet, man. lowell, mister dave, duane and ry...damn.

the big ending to the stone road shows has been, for some time now, this drawn-out version of "rocky mountain way" where i do the first solo through the talk box, and then plug in my lap steel and just go off for a few minutes at the end of the song. i've always been a disciple of slide guitar, in various forms...whether it's my black dobro, or my 1946 rickenbacher lap steel or my new hawaiian steel guitar, i can't make it through a gig without grabbing one of them. i just love that sound. it speaks to me.

well, i think i'm gonna concede defeat and turn in for the night. i have to get mister dylan outta bed in time to shower in the morning....two hampton men sharing the shower first thing in the morning is a logistical nightmare, lemme tell ya.

the holy USB driver grail

now playing: coldplay, "trouble"

someday, someone is going to perfect driver downloads for OEM systems. dell is closest to getting it right, but they still have a ways to go. gateway doesn't have a fuckin' clue.

i draw parallels sometimes between being a PC support tech and being a mechanic - it's a skill that never really loses its lustre, man...there's always someone who needs to know what you know. but i'll tell ya what - i'm soon gonna stop working on systems that i didn't build personally. i'm just tired of the bullshit. i've never had to scour the earth for a driver for a system that i built, because i know what i use and where to find them...others, i can't say that about.

just got a call from dylan - he wants to come over tonight. overtime has, as such, been pre-empted by my sons' report on ohio.

i was just talking for a long time to an old buddy of mine, who was kind enough to point out that i should post some gig stories that have gone unmentioned here thus far. and - maybe it's high time i did just that. just not right now.

i need to wrap some stuff up here and move on to the next thing...before my nostrils go under the waterline.



clocks spinning out of control

now playing: dee carstensen, "this time around"

this day has flown by - as days have a tendency to do when you're a zombie. i've kinda stumbled through this morning and was a little shocked to find that it had mutated into an afternoon at some point. i got out of bed a little earlier than normal this morning to go pick the kids up at their moms' house and drive them up to the bus stop...this is a concept that i've never fully made peace with. the entire time i was growing up, i never had to go anywhere to catch the bus. the bus stopped in front of my house and picked me up and took me to school, and then stopped in front of my house at the end of the day and dropped me off. there was no walking to the bus stop and waiting out in the elements for the bus to come.

i think that's bullshit. still do, always will. call me cantankerous, i don't care.

i'm kinda on autopilot here, have been gliding through my tasks...knowing full well that i've got a bunch of stuff on my plate that has a ticking sound...i'm slogging through a windows/office setup on a machine i just repaired that'll be picked up tomorrow. it's going smoothly enough, but it just occured to me how many activation codes i have committed to memory - on this machine, i haven't had to look up a one yet. windows xp - got it. office xp - got it. easy cd creator? done deal. winzip? sure. (ok, so winzip is free, but you have to have the code to get rid of the nag screen that comes up every time you open it....)

people marvel at this. i just think it's...well, a little odd. disturbing, even.

there's a ton of shit that i need to deal with, though - in terms of needing to get loose ends sewn up and taking care of some projects and getting some of the sites finished that are halfway done or in various states of not-finished-yet-ness, including my own...i'm prepping to submit my name for opening the poco show in sellersville, and don't even have a site to reference when i do. i need to fix that. i'm going to finish a couple of paid projects first, though - so i can relax a little bit. it's getting to the point that i have so much stuff on my plate that i sometimes forget just what i have on my list...but i've actually made quite a bit of progress just today, so i shouldn't complain too much...after all, it could be the other way 'round.

10.26.2003

grey

now playing - kansas city chiefs 28, buffalo bills 5, third quarter

what a perfect day for sleeping in after back to back gigs - i didn't get out of bed until after 2pm.

overcast all day. threatening to rain, but no rain ever seriously materialized - warm, very warm for this time of year...a good day for doing nothing, which was the exact opposite of what i'd planned.

bukowski said, "sundays kill more men than bombs...". i know exactly what he meant.

i have work (both work work and home work) hanging over my head, that i'd planned on taking on today - i have piles around my desk that require my attention; they're still there. i made it in to work today and restarted the problematic ODBC server, and then wendy and i went to cracker barrel for dinner. we came home, abandoning thoughts of going to see jackson browne here in town tonight, and have done nothing in the time since getting home.

now, i know that there are days that you set aside for downtime, and to rest and recover from your week, but i just end up feeling like i've pissed time away when i let myself do that. especially when i've got so much stuff to do.

i had a guardian angel step in at the eleventh hour and save my ass on friday afternoon before i left work. he'll probably never read this, but thanks, man. i appreciate your help.

the place that stone road played on friday night is becoming one of my favorite places to play - we're still having trouble bringing people in there, but it's such a cool room....it's the kind of place that probably used to exist all over reading, in various corners, but due to the urban rot that's settled in on the city, almost all of them have either moved out or shuttered. this place has been here for a hundred years, and in the room where we play, there are pictures on the walls that are easily pre WWII, and you just know that the paneling hasn't changed since general ike was in the white house. i love it. the people that do show up there love us, and it's gratifying to play for them. we kicked ass, too. both friday and saturday, we played very well. i was a little disappointed yet again on saturday with the vocals - i don't know why this is proving to be such a thorn in our sides, because it's not an insurmountable problem, but for some reason we rehearse it one way and play it another way live. it's really starting to piss me off.

the good news, though, is that the instrumental rappore between donnie and i is getting stronger - we pulled off some pretty slick stuff this weekend that we didn't anticipate or rehearse, and it felt good. i really felt good standing in front of my amp this weekend, too - there were some flaky things going on with my overall sound a couple of weeks prior that have been ironed out in the time since, and i think my rig sounds about as good now as it ever has.

a very musically satisfying weekend - taskwise, there's a few things hanging over my head that i need to come up with some solutions for within the next couple of days.

10.24.2003

mandatory shift

now playing: dan fogelberg, "gypsy wind"

i need to do something to change direction, soon. i have two gigs this weekend that i'd much rather go enjoy playing than play in the state of mind i'm currently in. i'm on the verge of being ready to break shit at this point.

this whole thing is the result of failing to plan for the possibility of someone not doing their fucking job. i just bought a replacement for my van, which is in failing health and being retired from daily driver status, and applied for a routine loan from my 401K funds to cover it. this was three weeks ago, and i should've had the money two weeks ago, and i've said things to people on the phone in the last few days that i wouldn't say to my worst enemy - complete strangers who are just trying to get through their day and earn a paycheck, but who find themselves in the unenviable position of being on the receiving end of my wrath.

meanwhile, though, there's one of the nicest guys you'd ever hope to meet whos' been waiting for money that was promised to him by a certain date, sitting on the other end of this transaction and, through no fault of his own, becoming less and less of a nice guy with every day that passes without his money. people sell things for reasons, and this case is no exception. i made a commitment to buy this vehicle, with resources that are rightfully mine, and who looks like the asshole here? me.

and, what with my need for approval and not-even-remotely-subconscious desire for people to like me, this is fuckin' me up. i shouldn't really care what this guy thinks of me, i'll have no reason to connect with him ever again after this is over, but it's important to me that i make this right. no, it's not my fault that i'm being jerked around, but as much as it's not my fault, it's not his problem.

this, combined with the cumulative stress of sharing one vehicle amongst all the tasks and motives that drive a houseful of people on any given day, well....i've fuckin' had it, man.

but i need to snap out of this. i don't think for a minute that it's 100 percent about the money or the van or the carpool situation, but it's the dominant boot that resides on my adams' apple at the moment.

got a nice email from jodi today, whos' totally ready to get started on her record. that should prove to be a nice diversion...none of my bands are working at all the first three weeks of november, so that should be a good place to get started.

i have web work dripping outta various body cavities, too, including some stuff that i don't know how to do yet. thank God the world series will be over this weekend. i'm suffering from a total lack of ability to concentrate on anything else right now, when i'm home in the evenings....

how pathetic is that?

oh, and i must publicly admit that i brazenly stole the "now playing" concept from one of the blogs that i'm linked to. it seems like such a natural thing to include for someone who has music playing from various sources every waking hour of their day. i'm thinking right now that maybe i should go back and listen to gypsy wind over and over again, but face the fire is on now, and that's my "close my eyes and pretend i'm playing the guitar solo in front of a huge darkened crowd of people" song. i usually only take the time to learn solos note for note if it's a song that i'm conceivably going to be playing with one of the bands i'm in, or something of that nature...and sometimes, i don't even learn those note for note. (one area where i plan to make up for that is copping some of the george marinelli solos from charlie degenhart's first record. they're just too good not to play them faithfully.) that guitar outro on that fogelberg song, though, is a hell of a solo. and i learned it without the usual downloaded educational aids, too.

so, i'm hoping that something happens in my favor with regard to my primary source of preoccupation so that i can find some motivation to enjoy these gigs this weekend...it'd suck not to.

10.23.2003

lunch=life, the sequel

so i went to arby's and sat at a table where i could see the whole room and watched a little blond boy chat with his mom.

this fits into my metaphor in that it was pleasant enough, but it wasn't necessarily what i wanted - it just happened to be the path of least resistance. in order to get what i want, i have to know specifically what i want, and that, more often than not, is the obstacle...so i settle for arbys', which isn't awful, it just wasn't exactly what i was shootin' for.

this is probably the most telling parable about the path i've ended up on that i could come up with...i'm not miserable, not discontent, not a grinch...but when i've had the opportunities to take a little extra time and drive the extra distance to fiores' for the meat sauce that i love, i've often opted to just settle for the big montana instead.

i wrote a song that ended up on our mutual angels called brand new distance that exists in a couple of versions - the one that ended up on the album was missing this verse:

we've all had to sacrifice
but it's a lonely price i've paid
for cutting these dreams down to size
to fit into this life we've made


so it's not as though this is a new revelation.

this week coming up includes a day off from work to go with blake to target studios to "finish up some loud stuff". i'm also supposed to pick up one of the new vans this week, too, but there's too little time for too much stuff, it seems...christmas is bearin' down on my ass, too....

lunch=life

sometimes the metaphors trickle in to your consciousness, other times they slam ya while you're standing at the urinal at work...

author unknown...well, at least he prefers to be



it's approaching lunchtime, and i'm standing there, wondering what i want..do i really want anything? i'm not really hungry, which is odd - odd in that i haven't really been hungry for a while now, a couple of days...i've eaten here and there, but nothing in the realm of my normal intake. i just don't really have any interest.

i had 40 hours in yesterday afternoon already. i'm tired of being here. i'm tired of being at home, too. i walk into my house and look around and just want to set off a crate of dynamite and start over with nothing on the top floor of a warehouse somewhere with a sofa and a fridge and my computer and my guitars...

i'm tired.

and, for once, i'm hungry too, but i don't know what for. i'm thinking pasta, but i dunno...whenever i crave pasta, i'm almost always disappointed, ultimately, in the chasm between what i hoped it would taste like and what i end up with. i'm not that far from fiores', so maybe i'll go there for lunch. but that doesn't really match up with the taste of what i'm craving...in my head.

the craving probably doesn't have a match, though. but that's where lunch, and ultimately, my life has brought me to at this point....hungry for something very specific, but with no fucking clue what that specific something might be.


10.22.2003

and then, there are the days....

...that your mother dared not tell you about.

had to cancel stone road rehearsal last night, due to being stuck at work by myself to deal with a whole series of printer problems that affected invoicing that ultimately never were solved - had to sit on it until today. this coming the day after i spent 21 hours here ripping out and rewiring and rearranging the server array (what i lovingly refer to as "the closet from hell"). anyway, donnie didn't get my message until he had already left on his way here, and was probably rather annoyed, although he tried to give the appearance of taking it in stride. i don't think he was any more bummed about it than i was, though. i was hoping we'd be able to spend some time refining some stuff that we've been kinda plodding through for a while, but it wasn't to be.

at the end of the day today, i'll have over 40 hours in already. it's wednesday.

i love my job, though - don't get me wrong. it's been a handful this week, but i like it here a lot. but this week, piled on top of a number of other situations, are wearin' a little thin. transportation chief amongst them, "grover" (my '85 VW van) is terminally ill, and needs life saving surgery that's going to be done in stages over any number of weeks to months - which put me in a position to have to buy another ride. a half hour on eBay and the mission was largely accomplished, and what is damn near a clone of good ol' grover is awaiting my trip to pick him up. the primary hinderance there is the total and complete apathy of the 401K administration here, who approved a loan against my account 3 weeks ago, and insist that they mailed a check on 10/9. as you can imagine, no check has yet arrived. so i'm uptight because the guy i'm buying the van from is getting impatient, and we've had to hustle arrangements here to get people to where they need to be. we picked up a rental car last week to get us to the gigs over the weekend (one of which was in pittsburgh), since wendys' car had to go into the shop as well, at the same time...it's just gotten completely ridiculous, and this would be a non-issue if the idiots at MetLife would just do their fucking job.

in the meantime, cramming a gig's worth of equipment into anything less than my old buddy grover has been a bit of an inconvienence, and not having room for everyone in the car has added to the problem... as if there weren't enough tension around the house right now to begin with.

this is one of those days when i want to go home and draw the shades in the bedroom and curl up under the covers and stew in my own juice.

also - late breaking news - maryann either has a bad case of the sniffles or was crying when i came back from lunch. dunno what the deal was there. i'm afraid to ask, because if i do, she'll probably tell me.

i know too much about maryann already...enough to start a blog in and of itself...

poco is coming to eastern pa soon - 12/13 at the sellersville theatre. trying to get on the bill as we speak, but not sure if it's gonna pan out or not...the guy handling the booking is also the guy who books the philadelphia folk festival, so he'll be a tough sell. i tried to elbow my way in through another door - i called rick, their manager, and i called george grantham to see if they would pull any strings, but george preferred to stay out of business matters, and rick was pretty sure that it was booked as "an evening with" and wasn't sure about adding anyone to the bill...so this may or may not happen. oh, well. it's the night of the RAM Christmas party, anyway.

think it's time to go find somewhere to hide.

10.20.2003

sunday mornin' comin' down...

it's amazing, to me, how half an hour of a monday can wipe the slate of a great weekend completely clean...

first of all, i made it through the whole thing alive, and got everywhere i was supposed to get - thanks to a clutch substitution at the wheel on the way back from pittsburgh. props, wendy. my buddy mitch, the bleedin' heart liberal, had to rescind his offer late in the week last week, and i know he feels like shit about it. i know he feels like shit about it because i haven't heard from him since. in true tom hampton fashion, i think he's layin' low because he feels that he's wronged me in some form. i say "in true tom hampton fashion" because that's what i'd typically do if i felt there was potential for some kind of tension or awkwardness. i'm such a coward.


do not fret, my big-hearted friend. much as it woulda been cool to have had you along, it's all good.

i will be expectin' to see you at a stone road gig soon, though.

i think this weekend will be our official "southern rock martyr" weekend - since the skynyrd plane crash anniversary is on the 20th of october, and duane allman died on the 29th. we'll be doing a whole set of nothing but allmans and skynyrd during both shows. it's gonna be a blast.

charlie was an absolute pleasure, as usual - he's one of those guys who can make a little energy go a long way...he always makes me feel good about being on his team. he could totally steal tony robbins' thunder and run away with it, if he were so motivated. you just feel better after having been around him for a while. i think that's one of his greatest assets, and will be a big part of why he's in a good place to have a future in this racket.

i've been given a lot of time this weekend to think about things like this. watching charlie do his thing, it's obvious why he's forging ahead and i got bogged down in the quicksand...i don't think i ever managed his level of confidence and/or optimism. when i play with charlie, i feel like i'm a better musician - his attitude inspires a level of confidence that i don't always manage to muster on my own.

which is why i'll follow this guy anywhere.

the youngers gig was cramped, to say the least - i still don't understand why they book a full band into that room - there's room where the band sets up for two people to stand comfortably, and that's really about it...jesse has to stand in front of the drumkit, and todd and randy are completely up each others' asses - it's a logistical tension recipe. todd wants to book dates at a place here in town called bixlers', where i used to play as a solo act, and barely had room for that. i've already made it plain that i'll be bowing out of any dates booked there.

the stone road show was just what the doctor ordered - a complete reversal of last weeks' show, save for the shaky wobblies on the harmonies to the newish eagles song we're doing...but we also added "mr jones" by counting crows and "running on empty" (with special guests jodi and todd) to the set that night, and it all felt like things were back to normal to me. the levels were perfect, my guitars sounded exactly the way they were supposed to, everyone was in a great frame of mind...it was really the perfect gig to close out two straight days of sleeplessness, to be sure.

once i closed my eyes sunday morning at around 4 am, they never opened again until well into the early game. as usual, none of the games i wanted to see were on tv here...the eagles bore me, and the afternoon game was, i believe, buffalo vs. washington. yawn. no titans, no patriots, nope, just boring crappy games...but then, since the baseball postseason, i've had no real motivation to watch football...it just seems too early in the season, still.

still tired from the weekend, somewhat...but much, much work to do.

10.17.2003

procrastination and the postseason

so, off i go into the night in a few hours, and wishing i was a little more psyched than i'm feeling at the moment...

the youngers are bendin' over backwards to accomodate my weekend deathwish - picking me up right at the door and driving me to the gig and back. todd knows the drill, he's followed me on enough of these impossible, two-gigs-in-one-day, diving-for-impossible-catches trips to know what i'm tryin' to pull off. lately, in thinking about everything that i try to cram into my life and what i should weed out to try and create some sanity within it, the youngers always creep really close to the top of the "trim" list - everyone in the band is involved with other bands, other projects, other things - and it feels like it'd be the most logical thing to try to ease my way out of, but i'm drawn to it somehow. todd and i have a bond that goes back a long time, and my gut tells me that when i pull out, that gets damaged somehow.

we're like an old married couple - we both have traits that drive each other crazy, but somehow we're still here....

i remember, when i started this blog, it was going to be an extension of my website, and it was going to deal pretty much exclusively with what was going on in that arena of my career, and i'd leave it at that, for fear of exposing too much of what was going on in my head to uninterested parties...there are lines that are drawn in my head that i attempt not to cross, but it's becoming more difficult over time.

for instance, i find myself completely perplexed at the inevitability of a marlins-yankees world series, when it simply should not have been. it's even more heartbreaking due to the fact that both teams were a mere five outs away from finishing off the other team when all hell broke loose.

two years, three sports, four teams i've allowed myself to get caught up in emotionally, and every one of 'em have let me down. makes it hard to remember that in 2001 i got to see the patriots win a superbowl and curt schilling pitch the diamondbacks to a world series title, which removed a little of the scar tissue of the '92 phillies for me...the anaheim angels series win was inspiring, but i wasn't really following them until the series itself.

maybe it's time to outgrow sports, man. i get too caught up in this stuff.

anyway, the demise of the cubs/red sox world series turned out to be the yet another unfulfilled pipe dream. and it was all ed king wanted for his birthday, too, man. just an all-around fuckin' shame.

anyway, i think i've elaborated already on this weekends' events - it all gets underway in about an hour or so. i met wendy for lunch, and i think she's out scouting potential clothing for tomorrow afternoons' brief show - she sure does cover my ass a lot. i could have easily taken today off completely, making sure everything was in order for the weekend, but instead here i sit...and the fact is, it's crept up on me a bit. i ordered two brand new fishman resonator pickups that only arrived yesterday, which means that i can't really take my dobro or my national with me tomorrow, as i had no time to put the pickups in...it'll end up being mandolin and lap steel, i think - but that's fine. that's what i do best, anyway. i am a little terrified that going in late tonight and prepping/packing for the gig is probably not the best idea, but i'm usually pretty thorough.

my buddy mitch, the "bleeding heart liberal", has a sick friend to tend to and can't come along for the activities this weekend. i know how much he was looking forward to this, and i can only imagine he must be pretty bummed. hearts don't get much bigger than his, man. (when i annointed him with rush the pill poppers' famous catchphrase last week, he wasn't sure what i meant...it's a blessing, buddy, not a curse.)

i'm sure the mental checklist of what to do/when to be/what to wear/which songs to play will pass through my brain many, many times this evening....

i can't remember there ever being a time when i wasn't the world's biggest procrastinator. and i only get better with age.


10.15.2003

the things that julia cameron would have me say...

julia cameron, author of the artists way, among other books, is a proponent of what she calls "morning pages"...whereas you wake up in the morning and write down at least three pages of stream of consciousness thoughts - with the mindset that your censors aren't awake yet at that point, and what comes out onto the page is more honest at that time of day.

it is in this spirit that i offer up these thoughts today....

the red sox do not deserve to go to the world series.

nomar garciaparra should be riding the back of a garbage truck.

grady little should bench ortiz, nomar and mueller for their complete lack of productivity in the postseason for the last two games and put someone in who may stand a chance of moving baserunners.

the cubs do deserve to go to the world series, but they should take pudge with them. he's played his ass off.

the only reason george w hasn't been victim of at least one assassination attempt is that it would stick us with cheney.

when an american president can detain someone without charging them with a crime indefinitely, without access to a lawyer (please google jose padilla or consider the guantanamo bay debacle), what is it, exactly, that makes him a better man than saddam hussein?

how is it possible that more people in our country care more about who gets voted off the fuckin' island than the fact that our country has become exactly what we all profess to stand against in countries like iraq and others?

what fuckin' genius twisted our brains to accept the notion that "support our troops" translates to "send them away to die for dubious reasons"?

why is it that the same half dozen dumbasses here at work seem to account for over 70 percent of my time, spent fixing the same "i dunno what i did to it" problems?

so many questions...

i'm calling this AM to get a rental rate for whatever is gonna get the dubious distinction of getting me from points A-K this coming weekend. i think i'm gonna get a full week out of it, as wendys' car will in all likelihood be going in for service tomorrow. will be so glad when the vehicle situation is worked out. i loathe driving her car, and i've had no choice for the last couple of weeks, since the grover fatality - i need my elbow room, man, and i can't even reach my wallet when i'm sitting in her car.

perhaps by afternoon, there will be happier thoughts...




i'll sleep when i'm dead...

yes, i'd like to make a reservation for the warren zevon suite at the betty ford hotel, please...

i've said at times in the past that i think jerry garcia had it about as right as you could have it...he lived about three lifetimes in a little over 50 years, and got out. i don't know that he planned it that way, or that it would have even been part of his philosophy, really...he didn't seem the type to have that kind of outlook.

me, however, i'm bent on gettin' as much in as i can before homer simpson knocks on my door dressed as the grim reaper.

this weekend, i play with the youngers on friday night in easton, pa - which should damn near be easton, nj, as far as i'm concerned. then, i have to leave from there and head to pittsburgh to play a 1pm showcase with my buddy charlie degenhart, and then back to the rollicking bingo capital of the world here in berks county for a stone road gig. i've recruited the capable driving assistance of my fellow bleeding heart liberal mitch dieghan to split the driving with me, as i dunno if i can do that whole stretch "on the natch", as jim croce used to say.

somehow, though, all my stretches have been on the natch...and God (the only guy who rates capitalization in my little chaotic grammar world) has seen fit to take the wheel a time or two. back when i did nothing but drive from room to room, playing in corners all alone at night, there were a number of times that i would wake up in the morning in my bed and not remember having passed certain things that i know i must have driven past on my way home. entire stretches of interstate would be wiped from my memory. the only explanation for this that i'm able to foster is that i must've been asleep or very near it.

which means that eventually the law of averages will probably catch up to me and i'll go down the way harry chapin and michael hedges did...in the seat of my car. or, if it's to be this weekend, someone else's car.

we're gonna rent something for the trip this weekend - i just bought another van, a VW, almost exactly like the one i had sans sunroof, a couple years newer, and with half the miles on it. i had hoped to pick it up this week, but it's become pretty obvious that this is not gonna happen, what with work being what it is right now and the time not being available. but - that's cool. probably not a good idea to pound seven hundred miles down its throat the minute i get the title folded into my wallet.

a banjo has invaded my house and has captivated everyone who touches it, from wendy to my son the dirtmonkie. in fact, i've taught him most of the riffs from "dueling banjos" already...last weekend, he sat out on the porch with it, plucking out the beginning notes quite deliberately, and i couldn't help but wonder what the neighbors musta thought...

the weissenborn clone has arrived, and it is absolutely beautiful. it's got some miles on it, but it sings. i'm loathe to even change the strings - i'm afraid i'll somehow screw it up. i will, eventually, end up writing the guy i bought it from to inquire as to what was on it, but i'm not sure if he'll know or not. it's a K&S guitar, a company that folded some years back and morphed into superior guitars and are continuing to produce some fine, fine instruments. anyone that gets a rave review from mister dave is ok with me.

this is an instrument that sounds familiar, but doesn't sound like anything else. i know that makes no sense, but that's the only way i can describe it. i still can't believe i got it for what i paid for it. pinch me.

this past weekend wasn't one of the better stone road shows...in fact, i walked outta there pretty severely disappointed with what we passed off as a performance. this weekend will be a good opportunity to redeem ourselves, as we'll be in familiar company in a room that most of us have felt comfortable in...and i really hope we kick some ass, because i sorely need to feel that, after phoning last weekend in.

i crossed paths with an old concert promoter that i used to work with on a regular basis not too long ago, and was reacquainted with the extent to which a person can delude themselves - he's got a show coming into town this sunday with the little river band and al stewart, and they're not doing so hot on ticket sales, and i'm hoping they don't lose their asses, but they never seem to be able to do anything right...i hear these numbers from these guys with regard to how much they spend promoting these shows, and yet no one knows about them...part of me wants to jump in and help them out, and part of me just wants to keep my distance and sadly shake my head. knowing my penchant for overextending myself, i'm almost afraid of what's going to happen...

i've been removing some stuff from the studio, buying some extra equipment, and thinking a lot in terms of rewiring and rebuilding and getting ready for the jodi album - i'm anxious to get marty higgins' ass out here too, to cut some stuff. i had put a lot of energy into putting it together and never got it to gel with the computer integration the way i thought it would, but i've taken some steps to iron that out, in terms of getting rid of some obsolete equipment that i'd pushed too hard to incorporate, and once the wiring is redone, i think i'm gonna be in a really good place to go into these records.

pushing 1 am....gotta sleep.

sorry, warren...not quite there yet, man. check back this weekend.