now playing: zz top, "leila"

i wonder sometimes if it's human nature for the brain to look backwards when what's happening in the present becomes difficult to deal with, to consider, to think about...

it seems like it's that way in my head. i think it's odd that i'm only just now coming to that conclusion when i've been faced with instances of it (both in myself and other people) so often.

for instance, when i was in the navy, stationed in wales, i met my future sister-in-law and her soon-to-be husband, and the three of us were inseparable. you'd think that i'd feel like a third wheel in such a situation, but we all got along great, and we went everywhere together. i remember sitting in the middle of the back seat of her car, with my head poked between the front seats like the family pet when we'd go places...but i never felt (nor did they ever make me feel) like the odd man. we were a great team, and we had some pretty amazing adventures...some of which i may someday relay here, but i don't bring this up because of any of that.

i met and married jodi's sister jill, and we had two kickass kids before we divorced seven years later. but, what with being married to jodi's sister and all, we were still in touch quite often. the threesome never translated into the foursome with the same ease and comfort it had maintained thousands of miles away in another time and place...it was just never the same.

and hell, i don't think it was ever supposed to be. everything was different at that point. and if there's one thing that i've learned in my 35 or so years on this planet, it's that a moment is a moment, and you don't recreate them at will...they happen and hopefully you appreciate them while they're happening, and they're gone. i think that a life is a very large collection of moments, if you will...and those moments breed friendships and cement (or destroy) relationships and create memories - and that's what a life becomes, when you get right down to it. a large collection of moments. hopefully, you live a life that allows for an affinity for the present and anticipation of the future, while maintaining an appreciation of the past. otherwise, it becomes too easy to dwell on what's come before without any thought of what might be in front of you.

over time, it became apparent to me that all jodi and her husband really had to hold onto was that brief time that we were together back in wales. every time i'd see them, talk would inevitably turn to that time, or something we'd done then, or musing over the fates of some of the other people we'd known during that period.

what i was finding out was that they tended to dwell in the "then" because their "now" kinda sucked - they were rearing a child who had proven difficult for either of them to handle, and i don't think that they ever really adapted to being with each other outside that particular environment. it seemed like they really wanted to be the jodi and art that they were when they were still in the navy, still in wales, but they weren't anymore - and they never really came to terms with that.

(as an aside, i think that the relationship i had with her sister suffered the same fate...but i digress.)

i guess i'm just wondering if this percolating nostalgia regarding my first apartment of late might be symptomatic of a larger, unaddressed issue rooted in the present.

i mean, that seems largely unlikely...but it's not entirely impossible.

i do, however, have a very real sense of some things needing to be fixed...things of the "i can't get past this until it's remedied" nature. and, of course, i have no real idea what the remedy itself is. i don't even know if the remedy is on my plate, in terms of who fixes it. i don't know if the conversation from last night will end up addressing the problem, or actually making it worse. i definitely get the sense that the discussion isn't over, though.

and yeah, i know how cryptic all this must sound...but i think it best for the moment. sorry.


the talk

now playing: shawn colvin, "ricochet in time"

i think there's a pretty good possibility that i'll be having a rather difficult conversation this evening.

wish me luck.



now playing: marty higgins, “california”

the big news, today, for me:

weekend movie grosses:

dodgeball: $18.5 million on 3020 screens.
white chicks: $19.6 million on 2726 screens.


fahrenheit 9/11: $21.6 million on…868 screens.

a word to all the detractors of this movie: go on…call all the theatres you want to, rant all you want about it…you simply can’t make the truth go away.

the kids went to see it with me on friday afternoon, and then i took wendy later that day. dylan, specifically, had a very strong reaction to the movie. as we were walking out, i asked him, “do you still think you might want to go into the military someday?”

he didn’t even look at me, but shook his head no as we were walking…and as i moved up to walk beside him, i could see by the expression on his face that he was on the verge of tears, so i stopped him where he stood and just held him for a minute or two while he let it out...

i asked him much later what it was about the movie that caused him to react that way, and he said that it was the combination of the footage from post-liberation bagdhad and the cockiness and arrogance of some of the soldiers who were doing all this...i think he had a really hard time trying to understand how it is that we could do something like this.

i've got 25 years on him, and i'm still having a hard time with it myself.

wendy didn't fare much better - she cried through most of the movie.

her nerves are pretty close to her skin. dylan (not unlike his father) seems to go with the "measuring cup" reactive method...meaning that all is held in reserve until it reaches the top lip of the internal cup, and then it comes pouring out.

i don't know that this is ever healthy, but that's the way it seems to happen.

i returned the kids to their moms' after the movie on friday so that they could get ready for a (later pre-empted due to rain) pool party, and wendy and i went about the task of packing...friday night spilled over into saturday morning without any opportunity for sleep on my part. wendy managed to squeeze an hour in, but the only sleep i got was on the sofa waiting for the movers to arrive. after that, i got a short nap in between 4:30/5:00 and 7ish, and then went out to the village tavern gig...stumbled home at 2:30 and collapsed on the sofa. i don't think i even moved for the next ten hours.

our prior estimates for our move were, as i suspected, far short of reality. bless his heart, man, jamie and the two guys who he brought on for the day busted their asses, but there's still another truckload of stuff to go. we got the first truck unloaded at the new house at a little after three in the afternoon, and i told them that we didn't have to do this all today, and they were tired enough to agree with me. so we'll have this week to get things squared away and they'll make the final run this saturday morning.

looking around me at this house, i can scarcely believe that i live there. the neighborhood is amazing, the house itself is wonderful, and it's going to be perfect for everything that i've planned for it. i can't believe that i get to live there. little things have made impressions - like having the kitchen table placed where it is makes it really easy to bring the groceries in from the car and plop them down there without having to even go all the way into the kitchen, for instance. the placement of light switches. the layout of the laundry area. the back porch/patio area.

it's just a million little things, ya know...

i find myself thinking, as this move progresses, about my first solo apartment quite a bit lately, in a nostalgic kinda way.

this place was a dump, mind you...it was two rooms and a bath, with a kitchenette built into one wall. at the time, i wasn't even able to fill that up. i really didn't have anything. i had just split up with the kids' mom, and i was starting out by myself for what could be called the first time...i had gone into the navy after high school instead of college, and when i came out, i went straight into cohabitation with her. i had never really had a place of my own, unencumbered, ever...and that was it.

i've been remembering things like buying my first bed and carrying the mattress and then the box springs up three flights of steps and falling backwards onto it, exhausted from the move...about how i could leave the window next to my bed open even in the driving rain, because the screen outside it was covered with ivy, and i loved hearing the rain on the leaves. i also heard the verve's urban hymns album for the first time through that window, and i still think of that night and hearing that music over that particular circuit every time i hear those songs.

i remember the toy basketball hoop that hung from the closet door, and how i used to sit in my chair and shoot baskets at it...i remember mark magwire's 62nd home run on the tiny TV that i had, sitting on the wall unit behind my desk. i had a headset that i used to talk on the phone that would reach to the sink so i could do dishes and talk on the phone, which i thought was the coolest thing. i remember taking my bike downstairs and riding around the streets of reading at hours that you shouldn't really be out on the streets of reading - and finding it very peaceful, overall...in fact, that was one of my favorite things to do during that time...ride my bike around town at night. it worked wonders for clearing the senses.

it kinda represented starting over, for me...going back to square one and building up from there. i've moved several times since then, picking up roommates on occasion, other times dropping them...but that apartment (and that time) seems to symbolize a simplicity to me that i don't really have access to anymore. i don't know if i could do that again...give up everything i have and go start over on the top floor of a tenement in the city. i don't know if i'd even allow myself to consider that an option - i'm too tied into my life as it is.

but i'm glad i did it once.

on the refrigerator in our new house, justin left a fortune from a fortune cookie from what must have been a pretty important meal some time in his not-too-distant past. it reads:

"now is the time to try something new."

i think that we're both doing that right now. while moving is old hat for me by now, this feels very much like something new to me, for reasons that i think are still revealing themselves.


yesterday, i drove to kutztown university to deposit my ninth grader into their capable hands for a five week college prep program called upward bound. i feel like i was thrust ahead a number of years, moving my daughter into a college dorm...i mean, high school hasn't even started in earnest for her yet...but there we all were - myself, wendy, jayda's mom, brother and stepsister, all conspiring unconsciously to make the whole process as nerve-wracking for jayda as we possibly could. we got there and jill and chelsea immediately began wiping down everything in the room with damp rags, and jayda's mom set right to work dictating to jayda where she should put this, how she should set that up, et cetera, until the annoyed look on jayda's face seemed obvious enough to me that i got up and went out into the hallway for a while. dylan decided to go check out the rec room in the basement of the residence hall, and wendy followed me out. we stayed out of the way until her roommate showed up, and we went inside to help them get things squared away...not too much later, a little after an hour after we arrived, dylan, wendy and i were on our way home.

i don't think i'd have felt like such a hopelessly archaic human fossil if i'd taken her to summer camp, or the dropoff for a girl scout trip...something of that nature. this is college, man...friggin' college.

sometimes i honestly couldn't begin to tell you where the time went.


before i close, a quick peek into how TV and the media is helping to preserve the sanctity of marriage in america.


temporary minority insanity

now playing: shane nicholson, "designed to fade"

every now and again, i do something that i don't fully realize the impact of until after i've done it.

this has been a pretty shitty week in a lot of aspects...an overwhelming workload at home to prepare for the move, a perpetually degrading relationship with my boss at work, and my seemingly endless transportation concerns...but today i managed to concoct a self-inflicted smile for a few minutes.

i stopped at the bank to cash a check sent to me by my far-too-generous in-laws for some computer work i did for them recently. it was just a few minutes before 3pm - their closing time - when i walked in. (in retrospect, i made a mental note that i remembered reading that the vast majority of bank robberies occur either right after opening or right before closing)

i handed the teller my signed check and my drivers' license, and she asked if i had an account there.

"yeah, i do," i replied - but before i could recite the account number, she asked, "do you have an atm card?"

i don't really know if it was out of a sense of agitation or if i somehow felt the need to chip away at her for a bit, but i replied, "yeah, i have an atm card...right here....but wouldn't it make it easier on you if i just gave you the number?"

she said, "well, i guess it doesn't matter...most people don't know their numbers off the top of their head..."

so i replied with mock indignation, "ok, FINE. i'll get you the card then. i wasn't sure if i could trust you with the number anyway..."

somehow i thought that might get a chuckle, or at least a grin, but in hindsight, i have no idea why that woulda been considered to be funny.

"sir, i just need to verify your account."

so, without going completely Adam Sandler on her, i stepped back from the window a bit, folded my arms across my chest and said...

"this isn't because i'm black, is it?"

her eyes rolled up from the computer screen as her lower lip dropped for a moment, expressionless for a split second until the teller next to her started roaring...then she saw the statement for what it was and started laughing herself.

i didn't really react until i'd left the bank and the gas station and was driving back to work, and i thought about it, and laughed until i hurt.

i needed that.

the searing pain in the frontal area of my legs has all but disappeared now, leftover sunburn from fathers' day at the reading phillies game, which we won against the bowie baysox, 4-2. i discovered on this day that my daughter has a crush on the shortstop, gonzalez, who hit a solo home run and was named player of the game that day. she, of course, is convinced that he made the extra effort because she was there. then we went to a movie and to a cabbageless late meal at cracker barrell (it was either CB or denny's...those places seem to have a calming effect on us, for some reason).

it was a day that, from a productivity standpoint, could have probably been better spent doing other things - but i wouldn't change a thing about the way the day turned out (except maybe to factor some more sunscreen into the equation somewhere).

well, actually, i take that back.

i would've had jayda leave her walkman in the car when we went into the movie theatre.

she's her father's daughter - from the time i received my first walkman as a going-away gift when i left for the navy, i was surgically attached to it for ages...it was my constant companion in iceland during the year i was there...i used to take day-long walks with my parka pockets filled with tapes, and it just wouldn't have been the same without it. there are songs that, to this day, conjure images of that time of my life, thanks to that addictive little bastard.

jayda's walkman, however, comes with the modern style of headphones that allow whatever she's playing to be shared with the world at virtually the same volume. I've already put her headphones on after objecting to the volume of her music, only to discover that it's nowhere near as loud as the volume you hear next to her would have you believe.

this wouldn't be a problem, so much, if i could tolerate the music she listens to even a little bit.

jayda is under the spell of what she calls "spanish reggae". now, already, i have an issue with this before we even get into what the music sounds like. let me explain.

reggae is jamaican in origin. this is not to say that people from other countries are forbidden from either playing or enjoying reggae...not in the least. however, to call her music "spanish reggae" is misleading in a sense, because it has literally no roots or resemblance to reggae whatsoever, in the grand Bob Marley notion of the word.

it's all incredibly repetitive, in a rhythmic sense...perhaps that's the correlation. not repetitive, however, in the hypnotic manner that traditional reggae is...repetitive moreso in the irritating, generic, painful manner in which disco was repetitive...every song has the same backbeat - a disjointed, irregular, pseudo-tango beat that you'd instantly recall having heard coming from the trunk of a Honda Accord coming to a traffic light near you.

it's rather like a shotgun marriage of hiphop and the Macarena.

i hear ya, man, i hear ya...what's not to like?

i know, i must be crazy. but, you see, it's the law. i'm the parent of a teenager, and she's required by law to seek out a form of music that i loathe and fall in love with it.

so, with that in mind, you have to understand...it was me that drove her to this awful fate...this lapse in musical taste.

if only i'd been a fan of lawrence welk's champagne music, or the lilting polka strains of jimmy sturr, or even the yodeler from hell, slim whitman....perhaps she wouldn't have been consigned to this ill destiny.

i'll burn in hell for turning her to this awful, awful music.

i know that there are studies and focus groups that examine and re-examine things like urban violence and gun culture and issues related to the wellspring of death and pain that riddles our streets in our times, but quite simply, i think it's the music.

and believe me, i know how codgerly that sounds....but i'm becoming more and more inclined to believe that it's true.

not because of the lyrical glorification of violence or life on the street or any of the reasons that have been trumpeted over and over by others, though. my reasons for this belief are much more simple.

you listen to this music for more than an hour or so and you want to kill somebody. period.

not because the lyrics told you to or anything so subconscious as that...but very simply put, this music is an irritant, man. 90 minutes and you're looking around the room for something to hit somebody with.

just say no, man.....just say no.


break? are you kiddin' me?

now playing: the voices in my head making known their disapproval of my current inactivity

yeah, yeah, yeah, i know. there's no reason i should be sitting here clicking away when this entire house is screaming at me to get off my ass and get back to work.

it's ten o'clock and the movers that i personally hired to transport our collective crap from point A (here) to point B (there) will be on my doorstep in barely over 96 hours or so.

and i've gotten pitifully little done in the time that i've had thus far, and i've got so much shit to do that i want to call a timeout and start over.

i'm going to get off my ass now, though, and start working...and then i'm going to coerce my mate to do so as well in as nice a way as i can.

back to work.


my so-called twenty hour nap

now playing: lori mckenna, "never die young" (on garageband.com radio)

so i had to terminate a business relationship yesterday with my mechanic.

after having left my van with him for two months, having gotten it back for roughly a week and a half before taking it back again, and leaving it there for yet another month, i just went and got my key yesterday and drove off. he didn't really say anything to me about it...there was no confrontation or anything of that nature, just "here's your key" and that was about it. the last straw was calling two weeks ago and being told that he'd try to get to it that week...i drove by the place and saw that it had been moved last weekend, so i called and asked if they'd made any progress this past monday, and no, there hadn't been. so i called yesterday and got the same message, so i went and got it.

when i got there, the van was parked in the back corner of the reserve lot (not even in front of the place), and they had to tow the car in front of it out of the way to get it out.

i'd say i would be totally justified in assuming that not only was i not a priority, but i didn't appear to even be in the on-deck circle. and the van had been there a month.

so they either hate my guts or they have so much work that the $1500-2000 a year, on average, that they've gotten from maintaining the family's vehicles is chump change to them.

it should also be noted that we're not talking pep boys here...this is a family-owned, independent shop...not sure what their issue is. i'd be a little more concerned with customer service if i were a member of a dying species, as they are....

i build and service computers for people as a side job, and have for some time now...and one of the reasons that i think i'm able to do this and that this business keeps multiplying is that i respond to people. or at least i like to think i do...all the signs say so, anyway. these guys, though...why not just say that you don't have time to do the work if that's the case?

i don't get it. but that's fine.

so in the past couple of weeks, what with my jukebox computer being down and all, i've had to search out some new sources for music here in the little shop of cyber-horrors at work...and i've become somewhat addicted to both folkalley.com and garageband.com in that time...and having been weaned off my static (rather humongous, but static nonetheless) collection of mp3's has been a refreshing change, i have to say...i've heard some crap, but i've heard some real gems, too...it's been inspiring - but i'm missing my marty higgins tunes today. gonna have to get that thing working.

most of the workstations here seem to have msn.com as their default home page...today i was working on someones' machine and saw a link for an article called regrets of a good father, which i copied and gave a permanent home here. a recommended read, certainly...and it revived a thought that i'd had the other night, regarding something of a deterioration in communications that seems to be happening right now, where my relationships with my kids are concerned.

there was a specific instance with jayda a couple of weeks ago, in which i had found a printout of an instant message conversation she'd had with someone on the 'net that had a disturbing revelation about a now-irrelevant boyfriend that she'd obviously made no mention of to anyone else. i confronted her about it, and she wrote it off as a non-issue, since she was no longer with him - and i can appreciate that stance, too, really...i think i was concerned on two fronts: one being that she would choose to remain that close to him, knowing what she may or may not have known about him at the time - but also because she hadn't said anything to me about any of this. i mean, it wasn't anything that she personally needed to be ashamed of or secretive about...and if she hadn't left her composition books from school in the back seat of the car for her papers to blow about in the wind, i still wouldn't know.

i guess i was a little bothered by this initially, until i remembered how i had handled this kind of thing with my parents - i mean, i told my mom absolutely nothing, especially as i grew into adolescence and started to encounter all the emotional turmoil that these years brought crushing down upon my previously humdrum (and decidedly non-hormonal) existence.

i mean, before that it was all too easy - there weren't any hard conversations to have, for the most part...it was all about what was on tv, what was for dinner, who was mad at who within the narrow realm of my extended family of first cousins at a given time. these aren't hard conversations to have with anyone, really...parents or otherwise.

but as those issues gave way to the added pressures of junior high school, which meant going from a small elementary school with roughly 20 kids in my class to heading off to junior high with the cumulative 6th grade classes from every elementary school in my county - which was a big deal at the time. with that age came interest in girls and the need to stretch out and start to find out who i was...and rock and roll, my saving grace.

it all hit me pretty much at the same time...and the only real coping skills i had were drawn from tv, really. i thought that the families and the relationships on tv were the norm, that they were what i should be aspiring to...and i started to form some pretty harsh judgements about the people around me as a result. that, combined with everything else, didn't exactly make me the most emotionally available person to my mom or anyone else in my family.

i was also pretty sensitive, even for a kid of that age. i'd form crushes and then be totally heartbroken when nothing became of it...one time in particular that i remembered recently, there was a girl that rode my bus to school who also went to my church - we used to sit together on the bus every day, we got along really well...but girls at that age just don't have the proper radar as often as not (witness angela and brian krakow from my so called life...yeah, you know what i mean)...anyway, i don't think that, to this day, she ever realized that i liked her that way...but there was an afternoon at church when she was fawning over this guy marty bearden - and i just couldn't understand it. i mean, certainly, we all find the flaws in our competition without much trouble, but there was nothing in this guy that should've gotten the attention of a girl like her...but all that aside, this just crushed me. i just couldn't believe it.

i came home from church and went back to my room...i put an album on and pulled back the changer arm so that it'd repeat over and over again, and crawled into bed. i just wanted to cry, and i didn't want to talk to anybody - least of all my mother. i just knew that no one else had any clue as to what i was feeling. how could they? i couldn't make any sense of it myself, how could she? i didn't really want to find out, anyway...i just wanted to suffer in silence.

so i lay there, curled up, and listened to side one of jackson browne's "late for the sky" and slept for 20 hours...straight through until time to get up and go to school the next morning.

not long after we got home, though, my mom came into my room and wanted to know what was wrong...and, of course, i insisted that nothing whatsoever was bothering me, nothing was wrong, everything was just fine - and i expected her to believe that a perfectly healthy teenage boy in bed, under the covers in the middle of the afternoon on sunday was, of course, absolutely normal. which is bullshit, of course...i wasn't ok and everything was bothering me...but i wasn't about to cop to any of this to my mom, because she just didn't understand me. had no idea what i was going through.

of course, had i just been willing to open my mouth, i might've discovered that this, too, was bullshit...it took some years for me to realize that i wasn't the only person who'd ever had their hopes crushed or their heart broken. not that my mom was necessarily the best person to go to for sage advice or comfort - she seldom offered up much of either - but i found my confidantes and built my own little support system from scratch as time went by.

in retrospect, i wish i'd maybe made a little more effort to build my mother into that support system, but i never felt close enough to her to do so.

i often wonder, now that time has passed and i stand on the edge of teenage fatherhood looking over into the abyss, if the same fate awaits me...if i'll find myself ostracized by my children as they go through the trials of adolescence because they don't think i "get it". for the most part, i think we have a great relationship...we've managed to salvage a strong bond from the circumstances that put us under separate roofs, and we enjoy each other a great deal - most of the time.

i guess the whole discovery of the IM printout just reminded me that there's plenty that i don't know about...plenty that isn't shared over the booth table at denny's...plenty of stuff that you just don't tell dad about.

i think the best you can do under those circumstances is to make yourself as available to them as you can and create an environment for them to feel as comfortable with you as is possible...and hope for the best.

here's hoping for the best.

now -- into the abyss.


temporarily speechless

now playing: jackson browne, "that girl could sing"

somedays, man...i just don't know what to make of what goes on in people's heads.

you see someone do something that's just out-and-out stupid, and you're stuck, standing there shaking your head, jaw hanging open...and of the thousands of things you'll think of later, retorts you could've used, comeback lines, whatever...nothing pops into your head or out of your mouth at first. whatever it was that struck you into such a state has left you unable to react for a moment.

a few minutes ago, i opened up CNN.com to find a headline that stated, verbatim, "Panel: Iraq not involved in 9/11 attacks". it went on to read, "the panel investigating the september 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks found that there was 'no credible evidence that iraq and al qaeda cooperated on attacks against the united states,' according to a staff report released today. the report contradicts recent statements from the bush administration that saddam hussein had ties to al qaeda."

now, for those of you who may also frequent the site, you may be aware of their QuickVote poll that crops up on their index page...on the very same webpage containing this story, almost impossible not to see on a full-screen rendering of the page, is the QuickVote.

todays' QuickVote question: "do you think al qaeda and iraq cooperated to attack the u.s. on 9/11?"

so, of course, i click "no" and the vote button, which opens the results in a new window. the results as of my vote were 70% no, 30% yes.

yeah, that's right. a full thirty percent, or 23,284 people believed - even after having been exposed on that very page to the news that the 9/11 commision found no such evidence - that saddam was at the drawing board with osama when the attacks were masterminded and set into motion.

the realist in me shouldn't be surprised in the least. i see evidence almost every day of just how willing people are to believe whatever they're told...my mind flashes back to the scene in so i married an axe murderer where charlies' mother tells him that the weekly world news has the sixth largest circulation in the world...

so somebody is buying all those tabloid papers...watching all that reality tv...snatching up all those britney spears CDs...

...and buying into the propoganda that's being flung at them about what's going on in our country.

28,000 people! keep in mind - this is only people who take the time to vote in a non-scientific internet poll on a single news website....and it's enough to fill a minor league ballpark, a hockey rink, an outdoor concert arena...

i just can't believe it. seriously, WTF?

there are people - large numbers of them - who are so devoted to this administration that they're willing to believe the voices in their head over the voices of reason.

this is a terrifying, terrifying time in the history of our nation.

UPDATE: as of 11pm this evening, with 196978 votes registered, the number of people who absolutely refuse to face facts has escalated to 60,930, or 31 percent of the vote count.

you poor, dumb bastards.


now playing: dan fogelberg, "more than ever"


that's really about the only word for it...blah.

i haven't really come to terms with the concept of being awake, and it's after 11am. granted, it was after 1am when i went to bed, but this "blah" syndrome is becoming more and more common of late. probably a combination of getting older and the total disrespect i've shown my health for most of my days coming around for payback.

it's working - i have zero energy at the moment. today at work our email server refuses to run at under 95% utilization and as such, no one is having much luck getting into their email...so the phone has been ringing at a pretty steady pace all day. that on top of trying to get my "utility pc" in the shop back online with more storage, so i can run backups to the hard drive on it...all done with the supreme motivation of stephen wright on nyquil.

i think i'm going to be taking the 25th of the month off...i'm definitely going to need more than a day to pull this move off. i should probably start recruiting soon, too - although i'm not sure if i'm going to need to or not yet, since i haven't done an official deal with jamie yet, save for reserving the date and committing to hiring him.

jayda has an orientation saturday morning at kutztown university, and then i have to go to the annual mengel birthday bash afterward...but the rest of the weekend will be spent packing.

also, a word about the redesign of the journal - it's for no other reason than to blend better with the general color scheme of the rest of my website. the forum will be undergoing a similar change very, very soon. then all will at least give the impression of concern on my part...hopefully....

i still can't get over how tired i am these past couple of days.


homeward bound

now playing: lynn miles, "this heart that lives in winter"

for reasons that i don't really understand, i always feel like crap if i sleep longer than 8 hours on a weeknight.

i can sleep 'til noon on a weekend and be all right with the world, but if i fall asleep before 10 pm on a weeknight, i'm guaranteed to be useless the next day.

my mission today is to accept this as fact and set aside whatever denial i might want to continue to engage in...'cuz i can no longer ignore the facts.

last night, i went upstairs after wendy and i got home at around 9:50, with intentions to change clothes and get ready to do some packing...i laid down across the bed before i did, though, and didn't wake up until 1:30 in the morning...having mysteriously shed my clothes in the time since, although i don't remember doing so. we had a huge thunderstorm last night, with lightning illuminating the entire bedroom and claps of thunder that shook the entire house. i was surprised i didn't hear every car alarm on the block go off - a few peals sounded as though they'd struck on the sidewalk below the bedroom window.

i fell back to sleep with no effort whatsoever after lying there for a few minutes, reveling in the perceived security of the bedroom...listening to the rain fall outside and the violence of the storm. the last thought that i remember was that i was glad i wasn't playing lap steel with a metal folding chair at the moment...

it looks as though we've secured movers for the day of the 26th - a buddy of mine from work has offered to take the job on, but i told him that i wouldn't even begin to discuss his fee until he came over and took a look around the house at all the crap we have. otherwise, i know he'd undercharge me, and i don't want that on my head. i want to still be his friend after this is all over...and i know that if i were in his position and walked in my house after coughing up a lowball figure, i'd be bummed.

i do intend to dismantle as much as i possibly can over the course of this and next week, though, to try and make this as easy as possible on the wretched souls who find themselves involved in this whole process.

last night was supposed to be "clean out the fridge and dismantle the studio" night, but i blew it.

which means i'll just have to work extra hard tonight when i get home from rehearsal. 's ok.

some major decisions were made last night, though, over a chicken strips salad and wendy's customary serving of bacon at denny's...

1. we're going to give the kids the bookshelves that we currently own - we have some white ones that'll go with jayda's existing furniture, and dylan will get the others, as they fit in with his room and what he has..and we'll probably replace them with a matching set, as opposed to the hodgepodge that we currently have.

2. the wall unit that i currently have in the studio will be put in the garage, and i'll have to build a new one for the new studio space, with its drastically lower ceilings and different layout.

3. while actually turning the attic into a living space might be prohibitive, we will probably turn the small side of the attic (in the back of the house) into an art area, with the drafting table and the easel relocated up there. the light in the window at the back seems perfect for such a thing...although we'll have to address some climate issues. it seems like a good "get away from the rest of the occupants of the house" space, though.

4. most of the stuff to be stored in the garage will be going upstairs - while the downstairs area will be used for bicycles and the like, and for a workshop-esque space. i neglected to ask if there's a full electrical service out there...but there's overhead lights, so that should be sufficient to get started. plus, it gives me a place to put those great cabinets that i have in the basement now that i'd hate to have to get rid of...although i don't see myself setting up a computer shop out there.

i'm ruminating waaaay too much about this stuff in this particular space, though..suffice to say i'm pretty psyched about this move.

this weekend, jayda begins her participation in kutztown universitys' upward bound program - which, to summarize, takes her in as a full time student, living in the dorm for five weeks.

i'm interested to see what effect this program has on her - whether she enjoys it or not. i don't think that she has any idea just how wide open the possibilities that lay before her are. even in this day and age, when the gap between the haves and the have-nots has opened to unheard of proportions, she has an incredibly bright future, if she'll resolve herself to going out and making it happen for her. i worry that she doesn't realize this sometimes...for reasons i won't really get into too much here.

i think that she'll do pretty well in the long run, though. she's too smart not to.


now that was what i was tryin' to say...

one of the great things about art that involves the spoken word in any form - be it songs, poetry, literature...or the oft-maligned political cartoon - is that it puts something into perspective for us that we have a hard time finding our own words for.

i think this is just brilliant.

courtesy of my friend and activist extraordinnaire, mitch dieghan:

and that's the last i'll have to say about it.


tension and peace

now playing: the voices in my head...

i remember once, a long time ago, jayda and dylan were accompanying me on a trip to find a christmas tree...on the way home, we were discussing where to put it in the cramped apartment that i called home at the time...

i made a statement along the lines of, "we should have it in whatever room we spend the most time in."

dylan, in character, replied...

"then maybe we should just put it in the van."

a few minutes ago, i was making the fifteen minute trek home from work (i had to go in to finish what i left by leaving at an hour that would ensure i'd be able to make my gig)...during that fifteen minutes, i listened to "losing you" by marti jones, "to love is to bury" by cowboy junkies, and "something to believe in" by shawn colvin...after the last song, i had to turn the stereo off. there was nothing that could've followed that song anyway. it was the perfect way to finish this crazy day.

and as i drove home tonight, in the light fog that lay all around me, without another car on the road to contend with, i felt like i could probably live in the car if i had to.

i feel pretty content right now...i got through everything i had to do today, and i feel like i have a plan for the weekend, and all feels right with the world.

tonight, donnie was late getting to the carnival we'd been booked to play, and it made for a pretty tense night...but dylan got up and played with us to start off the second show, and things had relaxed somewhat by then. there wasn't much of a crowd due to the threat of rain, but by the end of the night, we'd regained our footing.

we closed the night with me putting my antique gibson lap steel guitar down on the front of the stage, jumping off the edge, and playing it with a metal folding chair, WWF style.

that certainly worked off a bit of the tension of the week...the look on darryl's face was priceless.


ok, enough already

now playing: nik everett, "love equals blue"

i sure am tired of being told what a great american ronald reagan was.

i felt a bit of a sense of loss initially when i had heard he died, but that sure didn't take long to evaporate in the face of all the lapses of memory that the endless parade of talking heads in the media have been subjected to.

a couple of quick bursts of history, here and here, for those of us too self-absorbed to have been paying attention at the time....

also took a great deal of guilty pleasure in this post on moby's journal, although i should realistically be terrified...our country is being run by the blues brothers?

"we're on a mission from God...."

i find myself sitting here, thinking about the events of the past few years, and the religiously-driven rhetoric that spews forth from this administration, and i can't help but come back, over and over, to the fact that precious few of jesus' teachings show up in these peoples' agendas. this was evident in the reagan era, and it's evident today.

what would jesus do, indeed? would he invent some carelessly thrown together agenda for going to war and slaughtering people for the betterment of the bank account of some influential friends? would he allow an agenda of greed to expand the divide that separates the haves from the have nots?

as a spiritual person who believes in God, i'm appalled that my elected officials would do these things in jesus' name...acting as a self-appointed representative of God, doing God's alleged will by enforcing it in other nations where we have no right to do so, save for the rights we've assumed for ourselves.

somehow, i have a hard time picturing jesus wearing a robe with pictures of tanks and bombers and a caption reading, "the eagle's pissed off!" on it....although that seems to be a popular notion on the bumper stickers in these parts....

but HEY - latest MSNBC poll shows kerry leading bush by 7 points.

so hopefully, better days are ahead.

the move is official - i gave our landlord notice last night over the phone, and went to drop off her rent check this morning...she met me at the door with a form to sign, and proceeded to tell me that she wanted sixty days' notice, that the lease specified sixty days' notice, that i was forfeiting my right to my security deposit and that she wanted rent for july in addition to that...so i'm thinking there'll be some sparring with her over this situation before we're completely out and all is settled.

i never really gave this much thought - in terms of when we'd be leaving or moving out of her house - but i knew that she'd be the antithesis of maryann ciarlone, my last landlord, who returned my entire deposit, no questions asked...i think she'll end up being more like the landlord before her, who wanted money from us over and above the security deposit that they weren't returning to pay for the padding they put on their itemized list of deductions from the deposit for things like dusting the venetian blinds and such.

moving is a pain in the ass - but this is the last time i plan on doing this for a long, long time.



wednesday morning

now playing: kathleen edwards, "lone wolf"

ok, a few things today...

first of all, this from the rittenhouse review (linked at right), who excerpted from the new york times:

Carbohydrates and Cholesterol Head for the Courts

A 53-year-old man sued the estate of Dr. Robert C. Atkins and the company that promotes his diet yesterday. The suit says following the Atkins diet for two years raised the man’s cholesterol so much that his arteries became clogged and required a medical procedure to open them.

The suit is apparently the first to involve the diet, the most prominent and controversial low-carbohydrate regimen and the one most associated with assertions that followers could eat all the red meat and saturated fat they wanted and still lose weight.

The plaintiff, Jody Gorran, who is being assisted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy group that supports a vegan diet, is seeking $28,000 in damages. Mr. Gorran said he was using the suit to tell other people about the dangers of the diet and to have its promoters include warnings in books, other products and Web sites.

now, this guy apparently gained 8 pounds while on the diet for two years...and his cholesterol went from 146 to 230. but ya gotta give him props for his stick-to-it-iveness, i guess.

listened to our NPR affiliate on the way to work this morning, and derived a great deal of pleasure from listening to excerpts of ashcroft's grilling in congress yesterday over this whole torture memo situation. i downloaded it this morning when i came in (quickly, before it disappears from the 'net) to read it over...hell, maybe i'll forward it to my congressman myself, since ashcroft refused to release it...which is entertaining in itself. ("i'm sorry, congressman, but that memo contains sensitive information, and as such, i cannot provide it to you. but you can download it from the wall street journal's website....") or, if so inclined, you can get it from my site here.

speaking of ashcroft, this photo appeared on CNN today, accompanying the torture memo story:

now, tell me - what's the look on that half a face directly over his shoulder conveying? i'm kinda seeing a "yeah, right" expression...but he could also be soiling his underwear, it's hard to say. i know if i were onboard that particular political ship right now, i'd have a hard time keeping anything down.

iceberg, right ahead, motherfuckers.

this torture memo troubles me. i read over a great deal of it this morning, and basically it's a long diatribe stating that the rules that are supposed to govern the rest of the international community do not apply here, because they're not federal law.


i guess all i'll say is this: if we do not adhere to international standards, then we have no right to act indignant when other countries elect to ignore the same guidelines. in other words, don't take on the holier-than-thou stance and try to assume some form of moral high ground over the nick berg situation or anything of that ilk if you're busy rewriting the rule books and picking and choosing which parts of the Geneva Convention are convienent for you to abide by.

another qualified insight on the torture memo here.

it saddens me that we've lowered ourselves to this point.

it saddens me that jessica lynch was treated better by her iraqi captors than we saw fit to treat the abu gharib detainees.

and God only knows what goes on at gitmo.

we - the united states of america - have officially become the moral equivalent of all those countries we've railed against for decades.


roll them cases out and lift them amps....

now playing: joe walsh "help me through the night"

i have to go back and check to see if that's a james gang tune, or if it's one of joes' solo pieces. the version in the mp3 player is from hell freezes over, with all those amazing backing vocals.

i remember saying to blake and wendy that joe should sing lead on every song, because it'd mean that you'd get those amazing, pretty maids all in a row harmonies on every song....they didn't share my enthusiasm for the idea, though.

so we all made the trek to justin's house last night, at one time or another...everyone seems to like it. i was ready to go ahead and do the deal on the spot, but i told the kids they had 24 hours to think about it, and i wanted to honor my word. there's a huge garage, two floors...the basement is all i had hoped it would be (save for the panelling), and there's an attic that runs the length of the house.

in other words, storage of all the crap that we're currently tripping over is not going to be an issue. the kitchen is large enough that more than one person at a time can actually occupy it, and the laundry area is separate from the rest of the basement (turn one way at the bottom of the stairs for laundry, the other way for the rest of the basement...seriously cool.)

so....long story short - barring a serious objection from one of my offspring, it looks as though i'll be doing what i said i would not do again under any circumstances until i was ready to leave berks county - moving.

jayda wants the basement or the attic - the attic is pretty much uninhabitable, and i've already claimed the lions' share of the basement...although it remains to be seen how that'll pan out...the time for serious discussion and planning is ahead of us, where all that's concerned...i do think, though, that i'll probably take up both rooms - between housing seventy-plus stringed instruments and setting up the studio. the good news is that the drums can come home...i was surprised to find a kit set up in justin's basement when we went to look at the house last night.

unusual...to have this sense of excitement and dread at the same time. it looks, though, like it's time to start saving boxes again.

i got a laugh out of jayda, when she walked in and declared that she already lived there...apparently the layout is very similar to the layout at her mothers' house...i could see what she meant in a lot of ways - the dining room, converted to additional living space - the angle of the stairs - the bedroom layout upstairs...it was kinda comical.

justin, though...i'm gonna be sad to see him go. last night, we ended up hanging out with him and theresa for a long time after we'd gone through the house, and i got this sense of having really only just met someone that i'd had the potential to have been closer to if there'd been more of an opportunity...kinda like having met your potential best friend on the last day of school. i kinda feel like i let an opportunity pass to have gotten to know him better, in all this time that he's been an acquaintance.

the upside is that he has no choice but to stay in touch.

ok...so where do i start?

so much to do....


inclined to agree

now playing: beavis and butthead on MTV2

well...let's review.

i was supposed to go look at my friend justin's house today...he told me yesterday that he's moving to seattle, and is trying to rent his house, which is a duplex and considerably larger than my current house, with a finished basement. part of the reason for my interest is that justin is a musician as well, and also has a fully functioning studio in his house...so i'm obviously interested in finding out what the place is like. this, plus a somewhat confrontational situation with a next door neighbor over the neighborhood kids making too much noise (!!?!??!!??) have combined to negate, somewhat, the spectre of having to pack and move again...which i swore i'd never, ever do again unless i actually bought a house (which will never again happen for me as a resident of the reading, pa area. this isn't home for me.).

anyway, he gave me his number and directions, and i have no idea what the hell i did with this information...i even drove back to work today to see if i left it there, and i can't find this page of legal pad paper anywhere. so, not only did i not make it to justins', i didn't have his phone number to call him to tell him why, or to get directions again.

so justin probably thinks i'm a dick. and i'd be inclined to agree with him.

i woke up this morning to a phone call from barry, saying that our gig has been cancelled and resheduled for tomorrow at the same time.

so, groggy from sleep, i call him back to get the story, and he tells me that they had a rain date from the outset, and that due to the weather, we'd have to play tomorrow.

now, this creates a problem for me, as the gig is from 5pm to 8pm, and wendys' plane arrives in philadelphia at 6:50pm. i was also supposed to teach a computer class tomorrow at 3 pm to a couple of people who've bought PC's from me recently.

so i'm gonna have to cancel on them, from the looks of things.

so they'll probably think i'm a dick. and i'd be inclined to agree with them.



i tried to call wendy, got her voicemail...and i'm sitting here, stewing, trying to brainstorm...when jayda calls and asks when i'm coming to pick her up.

now, i'm totally focused on gig mode at the moment, and had totally forgotten that i had told her that i wanted her and dylan to come along to look at justins' house...but i had also asked her if she wanted to come sing with me at the gig at the bandshell...

so i said to her, "sorry, honey, but the gig's been postponed 'til tomorrow...you can come with me then if you want to..."

now, jayda's talking about looking at the house and i'm talking about her sitting in at the gig, and i'm totally not getting that she's on a different page than i am...and i didn't realize it until much later when the lightbulb went off over my head and it occured to me that this was what she was expecting to me to pick her up to go see justin's house.

so, jayda probably thinks i'm a dick. and i'd be inclined to agree with her.

anyway, i've been thinking all day about who might be available to pick wendy up from the airport...samantha isn't an option, because she's a complainer when it comes to driving, and i just don't wanna hear it. blake? i think blake is going to the airport himself this weekend to get on a plane...i may call him tomorrow, though, if no other option avails itself. i thought about asking donnies' girlfriend faye - i'm pretty sure she knows the turf, but i don't know if she's a viable candidate or not...

i left wendy a voicemail over fourteen hours ago, and haven't heard from her yet. i had her number at her grandmothers' place, but i can't find that either.

there are two worst case scenarios here - either i blow off the gig, or wendy sits at the philadelphia airport for two hours until i get there to pick her up.

so tomorrow, either wendy or my bandmates are gonna think i'm a dick...and i'd be inclined to agree with them.

right now, i'm praying like hell that it continues to rain so the gig disappears altogether.

tampa bay beat calgary to force a game 7 in the stanley cup playoffs - i switched allegiance to tampa bay after nieminen's dirty hit on lecavalier in game 4...that, and the fact that dave andreychuk has been playing in the nhl since my junior year in high school and still hasn't won a stanley cup...but the dirty hits just piss me off. nieminen was suspended for game 5 for his hit, and that's not the first time. and, true to form, simon put a hit on st. louis tonight that was just as dirty, although probably not a suspendable hit...

just play the game, man. play the goddamn game and hit fair.

tampa bay won, though. not so for smarty jones.

i can't remember the last time i watched a horse race. in fact, i'm not sure i ever have. but i turned on the belmont today, to see if our local hero would pull out the triple crown...and my heart sank when he lost it in the stretch.

did i say fuck already?

i'm going to try to be resolute in not joining the throng of pontificators who will no doubt wax poetic over ronald reagan for a length of time to be determined...but it's a hard subject to avoid at the moment...

during the time that reagan was president, i wasn't overtly concerned with politics...when he took office, i was a sophomore in high school - by the time he was out, i had gotten out of a four year navy hitch and had moved here to pennsylvania and gotten a job and joined the working class. i thought iran/contra was pretty shady, and in retrospect it almost seems as if he singlehandedly invented deficit spending in government...but i liked the guy. i thought he was charismatic, and funny even. not that those are necessarily great leadership traits, but i had a hard time disliking him personally. i saw him in a motorcade once, when i was stationed in washington at the pentagon, and my stomach flipped...i was stopped in a car behind a cop who had blocked off the street i was driving down, and i wasn't expecting anything like that. but then again, i saw caspar weinberger walking down the steps of the pentagon once that year as well...guess it's the law of averages, when you live and work in Oz.

anyway, i guess i just feel like another component of my youth is gone.

on a totally unrelated subject, i just saw brad paisley's video for "celebrity" today and nearly pissed my pants. it really is that funny.

not so funny is the reality of what it must mean that i'm starting to watch vh-1 country with an ever-increasing frequency lately...

i think i must be a dick. and i'd be inclined to agree with me.


congratulations to my marital stunt double...

now playing: mindy smith, "down in flames"

belated congratulations to new south dakota congresswoman and person most likely to be mistaken for my wife* in ideal lighting, stephanie herseth...

*yeah, i'm crushin' on her...thank god she's a democrat - otherwise, i'd be severely troubled regarding the current proximity of my politics and my libido. the prospect is scary enough as it is. i mean, sure - it starts off innocently enough...crushing on an extremely attractive congresswoman from another state. sure...but it always leads to harder stuff. next thing you know, i'll be waking up in a cold sweat from nightmares starring barbara bush in a leather wife-beater t-shirt, in stocks with ted kennedy standing behind her holding a dewars' bottle in one hand and a cat o'nine tails in the other....

ok, i gotta stop myself before i check myself into the hospital...


just a couple of thoughts....

now playing: jars of clay, "frail"

...before i scramble out the door...

first one would be that in my own personal, invented version of heaven, this song would be playing softly in the background at the end of most days. might have to revisit this one before bedtime.


my son called a minute ago, and wants me to pick him up after work - keep in mind that the kids have been with me every day since thursday. six straight days, and he wants to come back tonight.

i have to go to keiths' after work to pick up my gretsch, and dylan wants to come along.

this is the last week of school here. jayda is on a trip to dorney park today with some classmates...dylan went to hersheypark last week in a torrential downpour that actually let up somewhat after the morning passed...

i've said it before...i've been looking forward to the end of this school year more than i ever remember looking forward to it as a child.

dylan got a 100% on his lap steel guitar science project, an 89 on his WebQuest project, and an A on his third project. I'm a little concerned, though, about how a cheating scandal that affected his entire class is going to affect his reading grade.

they don't get their report cards until after schools' out...in the mail.

what a cop-out. i had to carry mine home, in hand, before the end of school.

did more pictures today, while reformatting and refurbishing the operations managers' laptop...i think that my nightmares will soon be populated by a monster with a huge head and two Photoshop icons for eyes....

blogger: i've been fighting off the urge to migrate to movable type for some time now, and the only tangible thing keeping me from doing so has been good old fashioned laziness...

but i'll tell ya what - if you don't soon fix the error message that i get everytime i submit a post with my haloscan script in it, laziness will give way to frustration and i'll be gone.

just tellin' ya, man.

tomorrow night, my old roomate michael tolcher is back in town, playing at the trocadero in philadelphia - friday night, i'm sitting in with lil' ragu, and saturday, stone road is playing a street fair in shoemakersville, at the bandshell. sunday, wendy comes home from maine...or, it could be said, comes back to PA from home.

the days have flown by....


doesn't seem so long ago....

now playing: kathleen edwards, "six o'clock news"

just happened to be thinkin' about you two.