now playing: willy porter, "infinity"

i guess that for a time it's going to be somewhat awkward to try and talk about much of anything else here, having spilled my guts...but life hasn't stopped dead in its tracks, and there are other things going on - although i'd say it's a fair bet that my attention span is narrowed somewhat...

i actually went to look at new cars this past weekend. after having my own means of transportation frozen in space and time for about two weeks now, i took a reference from mary ann and went to a dealer in lancaster that had given her a good deal, and felt confident that they would do the same for me...but i'm thinking that i should've probably known better.

in fact, i never got excited about the prospect the way i would've if i'd been confident that we were going to be able to work something out. even as i was making my initial plans to go with samantha to the dealer, she was much more excited for me than i was for myself. my intuition doesn't often fail me. i know when i walk out of interviews, for instance, whether or not i'll get the job. i've been right every time. scary, i know, but i've been right every time. and i knew before i left on saturday afternoon that i'd be coming home in the same vehicle i went in.

the thing that killed the deal was knowing what kind of deal mary ann had gotten...she had about $3K left on her existing loan, and they had to factor the payoff for that in...she had $1250 available in cash for a down payment, and her payments were around $400 a month.

now, for the same vehicle, with $1500 down and no loan to pay off, they wanted to tell me that my payments would be more than hers?

sorry, but fuck off. i'll get a few more miles out of my hippie van first. i'm desperate, but not that desperate.

i feel as though all i did this past weekend was sleep...and that wouldn't be entirely untrue, either. i think i might've finally given up all my past lofty expectations, with regard to what i'd like to think i'm capable of accomplishing during the two days that i'm not tied to this desk...with winter firmly in place, it just seems somewhat ridiculous to try and convince myself of how much i can do when history and habit have continued to make a liar of me over and over again when i make plans for the weekend.

i think that, all total, i was awake this weekend for a grand total of roughly sixteen to seventeen hours, from saturday morning to sunday night...that includes my typical late-sunday-night bout of insomnia, brought about by sleeping all weekend. even with full awareness that i can only really do eight or nine hours in the current bed without excruciating back pain, i slept until almost three in the afternoon yesterday. wendy had to come up and bribe me out of bed, and i don't even remember the bribe being so effective as the guilt from lying there and listening to the phone ring incessantly (really - incessantly) all morning long. knowing the situation with jill's family, i finally wrestled myself out of bed and into the shower...

...and today i have zero energy.

i think that's a combination of shitty sleeping habits and emotional fatigue, but analysis be damned...i am what i am at the moment. tired.

i still have to go home and call AAA to arrange a tow truck for the van, so that it makes it into the shop tomorrow morning - no matter what happens with the pursuit of a newer, more reliable ride, i have to get the van fixed. it can't sit on the curb indefinitely, and if i'm buying something else, then it goes on the block. time to let it pay back a fraction of what i've spent on it over the past two years.

anyway, enough ruminating on mundane tasks that lie ahead of me in the almost immediate future...i suppose it's easier to dwell on insignificant things when so much is on the verge of changing - but it doesn't make for very good conversation.

almost gone now

now playing: shawn colvin, "dead of the night"

i wonder at the wisdom of posting things that are deeply personal here on this page...it is, after all, attached to a website that is largely for professional use, although there is a great deal of personal stuff here as well (pictures and this journal among them).

with that in mind, i'm not sure exactly how much i want to say here about what's transpiring in my life as my most recent relationship is headed into the sunset....i'm certainly not going to go completely off the deep end, and i'm not going to insult the folks who stop by here on a regular basis who know what's happening by pretending that nothing's going on.

i think that tact and civility lie somewhere betwixt those two approaches.

wendy and i are splitting up. it's a mutual decision -- so mutual, in fact, that it turns out that both of us were setting the wheels in motion to an extent before we had "the talk". we've both been pretty unhappy with where our lives are right now, and neither of us have dealt with it very well...she dealt with it by withdrawing from the family unit and existing on her own island within the house, and i dealt with it by tuning her out and focusing on what i had to do to get myself and two kids through the trials and tribulations of our own existences. while we've stumbled achingly close to the ledge that so many couples go over, i think we've come to this point in time to do this differently than most...and from a purely logical standpoint, i'm glad we're acting on it sooner than later.

it's more complicated than that, but i think that about sums it up...she has her side to the story, and i have mine, and (unlike so many other similar situations where such tales are told), they seem to mesh, for the most part...i think we both know exactly what we've been guilty of, what we did wrong, what we could've done differently - although in my case, i don't know if i'm even capable of doing this any differently than i have. the fact is, i don't know if my life is structured in such a way that really even allows for this. i don't know if, between working the hours that i do and everything else that goes on in my life, if it's anything less than pointless and delusional to think that someone else should settle for what i'm capable of contributing to a relationship right now.

truth be told, she and i went on "auto pilot" a long time ago...when you put all else aside and expend your energy on resentment (and behave as such), you're essentially making an investment in failure - and now, we're reaping the rewards of our investment.

to answer the obvious question, yes - i think it is too late to try and reverse the course we're on. i think that, when you peel back all the very similar layers at the top, there are some pretty fundamental differences beneath the surface in what we're about...what we want, what we expect, how we operate...different enough that the fact that we both love the same kinds of music and appreciate a lot of the same things and know each other so well isn't enough to compensate for the things that lie further down that have brought us to where we are.

the good news is that there hasn't been any pivotal disastrous event that has brought us to this...and that while there's been a lot of sadness and anger, i think we got around to this in time to do this in what i think is the right way - neither of us hate the other, nor do we wish to punish the other for not being different enough to have met whatever expectations we might've constructed to make the other "acceptable".

the fact is, i love her. i wouldn't have married her if i didn't. and i still love her.

...but i also can't deny the reasons why this is necessary...why our parting ways is unavoidable.

i won't start down that road here - it's relevant, but it's not really important. not anymore.

as we've talked about this during the course of the week, we've both committed to doing our best to enjoy the short time we have left - between now and when the movers pull up in front of the house (she's going, i'm staying - i love this house too much to give it up, and i think she wants a fresh start under a new roof). i don't know how long that's going to be, or how capable of this i am, but if it's possible, i would much rather avoid going out under a cloud if we can toss aside our differences and try to stay connected for this short time to what drew us together in the first place.

this weekend, we've tried to do that...i've had to stay close to home because of my kids' grandfathers' illness, and i've spoken with or seen them multiple times each day since he took ill...but i cancelled plans to have my friend samantha go with me to lancaster this weekend to go car shopping because their mom had asked if dylan could come to the house for the afternoon/evening, and wendy offered to go instead, so we went...we came home and rented movies and stayed in most of the weekend - save for a charmed trip to cracker barrel for dinner sunday night (parked right in front of the door, got a table right next to a roaring open fire), we stayed in, ignored the phone (sorry, if that included you - hopefully you'll understand), and watched movies.

the last of the batch was "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind".

towards the end of the movie, as jim carrey's character is running through the chasms of his own memory with kate winslet's character in tow, trying to escape from the forces that are working to erase her from his mind, they find their way back to the moment that they met - indicating that almost everything has been erased at this point, with the procedure working from most recent to earliest...

i don't remember the exact exchange, but at one point, they're lying on the beach next to each other, and she looks at him and says, "i'm almost gone now"...and he replies, "what do we do?"

she looks over at him, smiles, and says, "enjoy it."

wish me luck.


the chairman recognizes the vague synopsis committee....

now playing: eastmountainsouth, "on your way"

i may or may not have mentioned this before in this space...my tendencies towards how i communicate when something big is going on. usually, it involves extremes - i'm either overly vocal about what's on my mind or i say little or nothing at all about it while i process what's going on.

something big is going on.

and right now, this song that i've been listening to on repeat for about half an hour seems to say what's bouncing about in my head better than i can....

i hope he never hurts you
like i know i hurt you
but i was undecided
and it was all that i could do

but if he says he loves you
like i know i loved you
then there's a way to trust him
and i'll get over you

so let his heart surround you
and let his arms protect you
and hold you every morning
the way that i could never do
another life has blessed you
he wants the same as you do
so i must find the courage
to send you on your way

all the nights reflecting in our chance connecting
help me find the meaning in the life i had with you
i wish i'd heard when you said that your heart could not wait
but it was my decision to send you on your way....

i hope he loves you
like i loved you
i hope he knows you like i do
'cause if he loves you like i love you
then i can send you on your way...

i must find the courage
to send you on your way

to send you on your way....

this isn't a time for pointing fingers, or bashing anyone, or dwelling on the million little things that have brought us to this place.

this feels more like a time for introspection, and giving some thought to where my actual place in this world lies, i think.

and that's really about all i feel like saying right now.

i know that i've been rather silent in this space lately, and there's certainly the possibility that i'll be somewhat silent in this space for the short term...i don't really process this kind of thing normally, i don't think.

but i gotta do it in my own way....in my own time.


i write what the drummers in my head tell me to...

now playing: jimmie spheeris, "somewhere there's a river"

the pounding in my head has, over the course of the last few hours, finally started to subside - well over twenty four hours after starting. i don't have anything convienent to blame it on - and i'm not typically someone whos' beset by such things. certainly, not to the extent that i'd miss work for it...especially when i know what it'll cost me to miss work between now and april (my anniversary date, at which point my personal days are replenished)...and now's not a good time to be frittering away income opportunities...not in the face of some of the changes that are about to take place in my life.

i just got off the phone with pete errich (of the band shame) a few minutes ago...he had called to ask about a DVD burning project i'd committed to some time back which, naturally, i haven't finished yet. we also took advantage of the opportunity to mutually "rant"...

pete is a teacher at governor mifflin high school, and he's in the interesting position of being a "long term substitute" - which is to say he's not a member of the union, but he's allowed the benefit of showing up for work every day and fulfilling all the duties and responsibilities of an "actual" teacher...and i think he must like it. if he didn't like it, he wouldn't be so passionate about it.

anyway, we talked for a while about what teachers are up against now, and the general mentality of the kids he comes face to face with...and i'm not sure how they do it. i mean, i used to want to be a teacher when i was in high school - but i wanted to be a cool teacher. you know the one i'm talking about. i wanted to be mr. vernon, my civics teacher...or mr. belvin, who taught psychology in high school...one of those teachers. i thought at the time that anything i could do to displace a mrs. o'neal from american history or mr. rickman from study hall would be my contribution to furthering the human race in some form or fashion.

looking back, i think that it was about my desire to have that kind of charisma - i wanted to be able to relate to other people as easily as it appeared that they did...and they made it look easy. they got up in front of a room full of hormonal teenagers and they made their subjects interesting, even though i couldn't have been less interested in what they were teaching at the time. odd, now that i find both psychology and government fascinating. guess it could be related somehow.

pete said, though, that there are teachers who show up for work in sweatpants because there's no actual dress code in their contract...which he found offensive because he takes pride in his job and considers himself a professional. i wonder what kind of teacher shows up in front of his class in sweatpants? i just can't imagine that. what the fuck, really? no one says anything?

i guess it's indicative, in some ways, of the entitlement society that we've created. ironically, from pete's perspective, he gets to see it from both ends of the generation gap - he gets to see the kids who feel the system owes them a break bitch and complain about how the system is out to get them...and he gets to see the bitter, pathetic fifty-somethings who show up for school in their sweatpants because they don't feel that they owe it to the system to present an image that deserves respect...or that their job owes it to them to allow them to wear the same clothes they rake leaves in, i dunno.

as an aside, i have to say that i don't think i've ever heard anyone who's covered wild horses who hasn't done a better job of the song than the rolling stones did. this is a case where the original version of the song is hands-down the worst.

so far.

(had to throw that in there, before the fuckin' black eyed peas or someone got their hands on it....)

i've been mentally preparing myself for the worst, where the kids' grandfather is concerned...his health has been deteriorating for a while now, and his kidneys have failed over the weekend. jill is keeping a surprisingly stiff upper lip, when you consider how huge this would be if he weren't to make it. i feel bad for her, and for the kids...i haven't had any contact with him for the past eight years (since jill and i parted under less-than-ideal circumstances), and he hasn't spoken to me since. everyone else in the family has mended fences with me, but not him. in fact, the last words i recall hearing him speak were when he told his dog to "bite his fuckin' leg off" when i came to the door at jills' house to pick up the kids.

those who marvel at my ability to hold a grudge - i'm "not even the makin's of a pimple on his ass" (to quote the fictitious willie brown character in walter hill's crossroads). he's the king.

and i have to say, it'll be one of my regrets that the opportunity never presented itself for us to mend our relationship. we used to be buddies. we'd go to mountain springs bluegrass festival together and we'd roam the parking lots, with our guitars in hand and jump into little impromptu jam sessions that happened all through the campground area...holidays back then always involved instruments coming out of cases and we'd play around the kitchen table at jill's parents' house. (this was before holidays became an olympic-scale event in mutual humiliation and sarcasm. again, i learned at the feet of the best.)

in those days, there was definitely a different vibe surrounding the family than there was in later years, as i was searching for a seam in the fabric to slip through...it turned pretty ugly over time, and it got to the point where i'd avoid family functions as much as i could...family reunions, holidays - if i could come up with an excuse for staying away, i did...because it got to a point where if someone didn't leave in a flurry of tears, someone would ultimately feel as though they hadn't done their best.

still, hindsight can do a lot to erase the bad and leave only the good, and that's what i hold on to.

i sincerely hope the old boy pulls through...even if he would prefer to see me as a chew toy for his hyperactive winross dog.

two things i have to finish for jayda tomorrow - i have to finalize the remix of alicia keys' song karma for her to use in the talent show, and i have to help her finish her science fair project.

and i think that maybe i should probably take a shower and put on some clean clothes and hope that maybe fifteen minutes' worth of hot water on the back of my ailing skull might help the throbbing to subside.

hell, where would we be without wishful thinking, anyway?


the waning weekend

now playing: dan fogelberg, "to the morning"

a couple of things today, from the new york times:

quotation of the day:

"Let me tell you something important. As long as my country is under occupation, I feel that my vote means nothing."
WALID MUHAMMAD, the imam of a major Sunni mosque in Iraq.

also, a nice little chiding editorial on american idol as well.

today, we got our contestants for this years' superbowl - it'll be the eagles versus the patriots, both of whom won their respective championship games by healthy margins.

today, though, we also lost johnny carson. it doesn't seem that long ago that we said goodbye to rodney dangerfield, and now johnny's gone.

we won't see their likes again. i mean, seriously, who could ever hope to replace carson? leno has failed, letterman has his own trip...and everyone else whos' been placed in such a position has essentially used carson's template and hasn't contributed anything original to the fray.

oh, before i forget - Coalition Of The Willing, 2003-2005. R.I.P.

i guess that if they're coming clean about abandoning their search for WMD, then why keep on beating that particular horse, huh?

anyway, here's some more scary shit...enjoy. oh, and a great play-by-play counterpoint on the Idiot-In-Chief's inaugural speech.

i've been enjoying the downtime and the relative quiet of being snowed in for the weekend...and don't really feel terribly opinionated at the moment. i'm sure that by tomorrow, i'll be back to my old, long-winded self.

enjoy the weather.


before bedtime...

now playing: the tune on the sundance channel

a couple of things, before bedtime...

first, more creepy coincidental words from rob brezny:

" Bibliophile Anne N. Marino loves the "welcoming mysteriousness" of those buildings where large collections of books are housed for public use. "Walking into a library," she wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, "I'm filled with a sense of belonging; my mind becomes clear, my heart rate slows; I can think."

Your assignment in the coming week, Leo, is to identify the places that make you feel like that, and then spend as much time as possible inside of them."

i think that, were there a rule book for life as we tend to live it, that towards the front of the book should be written the following:

your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be an individual alive within the world you're born into. should you choose this path, you will have to accept several inalienable truths...chief among them is that the world doesn't owe you a day off, and the world typically doesn't care if you're having a bad day. the world will give you no quarter should you choose to withdraw from it to nurse your wounds, and it will still be moving at its own pace when you decide to re-embrace your membership in it. you have the gift of free will, and may choose to live within the world or within yourself...should you choose the latter, you will be best served by remembering always that you are but part of the whole. abandon all thoughts of the world playing the game on your terms, for the game isn't played that way.



now playing: marshall crenshaw, "our town"

so we finally got our first real snowfall last night...it wasn't much by comparison to what the doomsayers are predicting for this weekend, but maybe a couple of inches. enough, certainly, to accumulate on the streets and the sidewalks and such.

(side note: i made a bet with a co-worker yesterday - my paycheck to a soda from the vending machine - that i'd end up shovelling the sidewalk when i got home from work last night, even though it wouldn't be until almost eleven o'clock...and the 20 ounce bottle that's sitting next to my monitor is standing testament to the fact that familiarity with ones' actions will trump faith in ones' intentions every time. every time.)

the bus driver on the night route back into reading is a real card - he was running late last night, and when he finally got to the bus stop, i said to him that he was startin' to worry me there for a minute....he said, "well, ya know...i had to sober up a little."

as we were driving back into town, i thought for a minute about trying to take pictures out the window of the bus with my phone, but i knew beforehand that it'd be an exercise in futility - i do wish i'd had some way of capturing what the tree limbs looked like that were so close to the window as they flew by that i thought i could stick my hand out and touch them as they passed.

i did take some pictures during the walk home, but i haven't loaded the phone software onto my computer at home yet...not that i've really sat down in front of it at all this week, but i'll get to it eventually. it was so peaceful, these streets where there's normally so much calamity - salsa music and hip-hop blaring from cars, people yelling from behind closed windows overlooking the street...last night, there was none of that. it was also nearly ten degrees warmer than the night before...maybe not a big difference at other points on the thermometer, but when you're talking about the difference between eleven degrees and twenty-one, it's actually pretty significant.

scarier still is that i've actually come to enjoy this routine. i can't say that i'd want to do this all the time, but for this particular period, it's almost comforting...it's an extension, somewhat, of my short run of "downtime" after everyone else has left at work and i have that time to myself to do what i need to do...it's my most productive period of the day, the hours between 5 and whenever i leave for home. i can work on projects uninterrupted by phone calls about missing documents or emails that never arrived or printers that won't accomodate users, and i can do so without any real inference from the outside world.

same for the walk home - i'm alone with my thoughts. no manic seesawing back and forth from one awful tv show to the other...no reluctant participation in mindless, idle, trivial chatter...no telephone, no email...no staring at the infuriating piles of potluck miscellanea that litter the house - none o'that.

and i gotta say...i'm becoming rather fond of it.


it goes to ELEVEN....

now playing: simon and garfunkel, "the only living boy in new york"

"i get all the news i need from the weather report...." - paul simon

when i walked onto the bus last night across the street from work, the driver asked me where i was going. "shillington", i told him.

"man...i feel sorry for you", he said.

i replied, "how bad could it be? i mean, you see these athletes on tv in the freezing cold with short sleeves...so i figure if i walk relatively quickly and keep moving, i should be fine, right?"

he chuckled..."well, you'd better sprint home, then."

"well, given the choice of freezing to death or having a heart attack, i'll flip a coin. i don't see myself running all the way home to keep warm."

the lady sitting behind me was offering up options - she seemed to have the bus schedule committed to memory - and the only solution she offered up was the one i was already aware of...to pick up the "nightline" bus and get off just on the other side of the bridge and walk from there...but i decided to go ahead and hoof it the whole way. i didn't see the point in waiting for the nightline to come through, and i'd probably make better time if i just started walking right away.

i was very close to being right - i heard the nightline bus pull through the intersection not long after i'd walked past it. but then again, we're only talking about saving eight blocks or so of my route, so i didn't consider it much of a difference.

when i walked over the bingaman street bridge at around 9:15 or so, it was thirteen degrees, according to the rotating hot dog man that spins above berks packing.

i stopped in at queen city for dinner and to warm up a bit before moving on - my new favorite waitress was working and it was relatively quiet, so i was treated to the readers' digest condensed version of her custody battle for her daughter, and how her father has played the system pretty masterfully to annoint her daughter a citizen of new jersey to keep her away from her mother - what a nightmare. i remember thinking two things as she was telling me her story - one being that hatred and spite can motivate people in pretty evil ways...and the other thought was that my divorce has gone better than some peoples' marriages. i've never had to deal with anything like that, and i know it's a lot more commonplace than i'd like to believe it is. certainly, there are things that i'd change if i could about my own co-parenting situation that "it could be worse" doesn't explain away, but when you hear these kinds of stories from people like hope or rachel or any number of other people in similar situations, "it could be worse" goes a long way. i wondered, as i bundled up for the rest of the walk home, if i were even capable of some of the things i'd heard about in these kinds of stories...i mean, for all the turbulence that i went through with jill, i never hated her. she was frustrating and stubborn and maddeningly insistent that she remembered things that she was completely off base on and any number of other things, but i never hated her - i just wanted to get away from her. over time, i felt sorry that my kids didn't feel that they had that option...and, truth be told, they didn't. even if they decided to come live with me, she'd still have visitation, and it's pretty clear that she'd use that time to unleash a guilt attack that no kid would be able to withstand if they ever did make such a decision.

example: my daughter says she has no desire to drive because she knows that if she got her license, her mom's insurance would go through the roof, and that it's not really an option. and that the only way out of that quandry would be to move in with me, and jayda doesn't consider that an option, either.

now, what kid thinks that way about such things as car insurance of their own fruition? that came from somewhere other than jayda's own (highly evolved as they may be) cognitive powers.

but - as i said, if that's the worst i have to deal with (in terms of the parameters of my co-parenting situation), i'll take it.

hope has made a pretty solid recovery from her initial deal of the cards - her husband has pointed her in the direction of some competent legal help, and she's managed to regain a lot of lost ground. some women in her situation would have lost contact with their children entirely, so i count her as lucky.

after my third soda (which was a mistake, for reasons we'll discuss later), i said goodnight and started walking again at a few minutes before ten.

it's interesting, walking a route that you travel by car on a regular basis - you take in a lot more detail around you at the slower pace (an obvious enough point, i know), and you notice things that you wouldn't stand a chance in hell of noticing as you drive by. for instance, there's music coming from the service bay at a.w. golden twenty four hours a day. there was someone shouting in spanish at the top of their lungs inside a church on fifth street. a block up the street, there were three police cruisers with their lights on sitting at the corner.

i couldn't help but wonder if the two observations might've been related somehow.

people put the most interesting things out for the trash man...like disassembled lime green end tables, for instance.

i wonder how those ever got in the front door in the first place.

anyway, i did find that (thankfully) a brisk walk definitely kept most of me from feeling the effects of the cold the way i had feared i might...when i walked past the drugstore adjacent to governor mifflin high school, it was eleven degrees - but the only place i really felt it was my face and ears. a couple of times, i had to cup my hands around my mouth and exhale to get some warm air on my cheeks - and i definitely checked to make sure that i didn't have a case of "dumb-and-dumber nose"...that would not have been acceptable.

anyway, as i started getting closer to home, i discovered that those three sodas from queen city had run their course and were ready for the final stage of their journey, if you get my drift...but there was nowhere to deal with that between where i was and home, save ducking into someone's yard, or something equally screwy, and i wasn't havin' none o'that. nope.

so i was treated to the effects of extreme cold on one's kidneys under said circumstances - which would be an interesting series of random cramps in your lower abdomen and in your back at the appropriate spots. nothing excruciating or unbearable, but enough to let you know that certain parts of your body aren't too happy with your decisions.

all that aside, though, i made it home in one, unfrostbitten piece, and none the worse for wear. i put a load of laundry in and changed clothes and called it a night.

i'm not sure how far the walk was, but it wasn't nearly as bad as i had conjured it to be - certainly not bad enough to dissuade future walks home, anyway.

lest there be precipitation...then we'll be calling a cab, thank you very much.


lest ye be not judged....

now playing: eastmountainsouth, "one picture"

i gotta tell ya - you definitely have some serious variety on your work jukebox when you segue from loreena mckennitt to kiss...that's kinda jarring, from a listeners' standpoint.

happened today. right here in my shop. no shit.


i'm taking the bus to and from work this week...and it's been an adventure in people-watching, if nothing else. i'd prefer to have done this in weather a little less punishing...but then again, if the weather weren't as bone-chilling as it is at the moment, i'd still be driving, because the van would probably start. as it is, it's cold and the van ain't goin' nowhere.

i'm moving on to a new mechanic this time - one who doesn't appear to be quite so eager to shrug his shoulders when you describe a problem to him. i've also made an appointment to go look at something new on saturday...i don't know how that's going to work out. to say that i'm skeptical is a bit of a leap...i'm sooo beyond skeptical.

i had hoped to jump into something substantial before now, but as it is the bus comes in twenty minutes or so, and i'd rather not wait for the next pass...as i don't see it getting warmer as the night deepens...so this will be necessarily brief.

i'm a pretty judgemental person, i think. i wasn't always this way...certainly not to the extent that i am now, anyway. but i'm finding that some pretty awful things pop into my head from time to time when i'm observing people in whatever element they present themselves to me.

today, for instance, i watched the same disheveled woman in a purple sweatsuit check the pay phones at the bus terminal for ignored change three times in the twenty minutes or so i was there...and not a single person used any one of them during that time. my first impression was that she might've been "special", but a conversation i overheard eliminated that possibility (she was perfectly capable of normal Berks County conversation, anyway)...so i moved past "special" and went directly to one of two other possibilities - "bored" or "stupid" - or both...of course, it could be a nervous behavioral thing, or something of that nature, but watching her stand there in her lavender purple sweatsuit with her kelly green coat and her black boots kept bringing be back to "not too bright"....

now, for all i know, she might be brilliant and color blind...or maybe she was homeless, maybe destitute...but i jumped right off the "stupid" rock without really taking a step back to give her the benefit of the doubt.

i'd like to be able to write that off to my very consistent disposition at that hour of the day (not one prone to reach for kindness in the face of agitation, to be certain), but i don't think that's the foundation of it. i think i'm just way more judgemental about people that i have no basis for judgement than i'd like to admit to myself.

kinda shitty.

i sure do wish i'd have taken a picture of her outfit, though.

judgemental or not, it was truly a sight to behold.

another thing i've noticed in my bus-related travels...the railroad tracks pass through reading right at the edge of the sovereign center...and there are the customary barriers to traffic on penn street in front of the arena, but there's also a "mini-barrier" that falls at the curb of the sidewalk as well...

...which prompted me to wonder - how fucking thick to you have to be to need a two-by-four falling in your path to keep you from walking into a train?

just as my ride home pulled up next to me, as if to illustrate how it worked, the rails dropped and the bell went off...but then they rose again, as if it were all a joke. i have witnesses. this really happened.


off to feel the exhilirating sensation of nosehairs crystallizing....


early to bed, early to rise...like it or not.

now playing: merle haggard, "mama tried"

got up early this morning and took the bus to work. the wrong bus, actually - the one i should've taken was the one that came roughly an hour before the one i got on, because there's a connector i was supposed to have taken...but it's all good. i was here by 8:30, and it only took a little over an hour by bus to travel the 20 or so minutes it takes me to drive to work.

and people wonder why so few commuters are willing to take public transportation...gee, could it have something to do with having to get up that much earlier to travel the same distance?

well, it would for me.

left the van at home today, because on the way home on saturday night it started shutting itself off every time i came to a stop. it took about ten minutes to get it to start in the first place, for some reason - and then i had to rev it up and jerk it into gear to get it to go. luckily, traffic was sparse on saturday night and the signal gods smiled upon me...i only hit two red lights the whole way home - and all total, i only had to go through the whole restart procedure about half a dozen times (to include stop signs and such), and i was able to get back - with the gas pedal all the way to the floor, i averaged about 40 miles an hour.

i talked to the mechanic this morning, and he thinks it's a vacuum leak - relatively easy to fix.


i got home at around one in the morning...wendy was still up, watching the credits roll on saturday night live...i checked my mail and went up to bed a few minutes later as she was manically flipping back and forth between a dog show and grown men and women building a treehouse on one of the seventeen or eighteen thinly-disguised reality-slash-home-improvement shows that she's addicted to...you know the ones, right? where people move into each others' houses for the weekend and totally trash a room by doing stupid shit like gluing paint cans to the ceiling and whatnot?

yeah, you know.

anyway, in a move that's becoming less rare with each passing day, i actually went to bed before she did - leaving her and her dog show to pass the rest of the late night hours. it had been a long enough day.

i had to get up early that morning and take her to work (which i did without condition or complaint), because her door locks were frozen and she couldn't get in to her car. then i came home and took a shower and picked up the mornings' refreshments for the weekly meeting of the Mentally Guitarded Support Group. All the usual suspects were there, plus a couple of new guys, including steve o'boyle of uglyamps.com, and a fine drummer as well. he brought an amp that he'd just finished ("something that i threw together", he says), and lil' ragu plugged into it and played for a while - as good as it sounded with his guitar plugged into it, it sounded even better with his harp microphone.

but, i was on a mission - ragu brought all his keith amos creations in (as did i) to have their pictures taken, and i set up a spot and started taking pictures - first as a group, then individually - for the new website. i had also taken an entire vanload of work in - including the lions' share of my road rig, three lap steels, a test-bed strat to install a set of pickups in that i wanted to try out, my new black dillion les paul with p-90's in that that's going to get the neil young treatment, and some other stuff.

as everyone was filtering out, keith had to leave to go pick sue up, and i stayed until keith got back (since he'd left the shop unlocked for me)...then i scrambled to pick wendy up and to get to pottstown for a babysitting assignment, hanging with my ex-girlfriend's daughter for the night...and we had a BLAST. i took her to the mall for something to eat, and then we went to the arcade for a while. not unlike her chaperone, she was tired as a result of the long day, and we didn't stay as long as we could've.

dylan called me from his cellphone during our trip to the mall to ask me if i saw the "lumberjack lingerie" commercial that ran during the steelers game.

and as disjointed as this synopsis of the weekend reads is about how it felt...

sunday i didn't do shit...i slept in and watched football. i was supposed to join the gang at tivoli's for a birthday party, but i knew the van was being a little bitch (and i didn't feel like grovelling to use the car) so i stayed home. i watched the second half of the eagles game and fell asleep for the second half of the pats game. then i pried myself up off the sofa and took a shower and went to queen city for something to eat and came home and did a load of laundry while i changed guitar strings - then back to bed.

a total waste of a day if ever there was one, really...although i did work a little on the graphics for the new amosguitars.com site, it wasn't really enough to justify my existence on january 16th, 2005.

i feel, somehow, as though i have a ton of stuff bubbling just under the surface right now - BIG stuff. as though at some point, something is going to rake across the thin membrane keeping it all in at some point and it's going to come gushing out in a pretty reckless fashion. i've kept a pretty civil lid on some of it for a while now, but i'm not sure how much longer that's going to be the case. it's tough to talk about, because i know that some of the likely affected parties read these words on a regular basis - and i'm not sure how i feel about that.

(of course in saying that, i probably have a bunch of people needlessly worried that i'm going to go Columbine on them, and i'd say that this is a complete non-possibility...for, oh, 98% of you anyway....)

holdin' it together, though...for a little while longer, anyway....


burritos and goosebumps

now playing: jimmie spheeris, "lost in the midway"

at this moment, i am standing at the pinnacle of occupational cuisine - i am eating a half pound beef and bean burrito, and relishing it.

no shit. really.

i stand here upon the mountaintop, looking down from my throne upon the little .0034875 oz. cans of fruit cocktail and the primal scream sausage sandwiches and the bacon, egg, and cheese muffins with my prize clutched firmly in my grasp...feeling the heat seeping through the plastic wrapper and savoring how it feels on my hands...

...knowing full well that no matter how long i let this bastard cool down, that at some point i'm going to bite into it and scald the inside of my mouth. it won't be the first bite, and likely won't be the second...it'll be the bite that i take right after i've somehow allowed myself to believe that this burrito is special. it's not like all the others...this one will be the one that doesn't kick my ass when i bite into the "hot spot" and send me lunging for what's left of the soda on my desk...or worse yet, wait until i'm about two thirds finished and spring a leak in the end that will ultimately end up either on my clothing or my desk....

yes...i am convinced that this is a special beef and bean burrito....i can just feel it.

but i won't know for about another, oh, twenty minutes. because i've developed a technique of sorts here.

you have to nuke it for about the same period of time as a bag of popcorn to make sure there aren't any cold spots in the middle - because, uncomfortable as getting the roof of your mouth reduced to fodder for the burn unit at the trauma center might be, this is still preferrable to biting into an area that wasn't fully "nuked" somewhere in the middle of the thing.


so last night, while i was poking around on the internet and listening to the clips on the kulaks' woodshed site, i found a performance by eastmountainsouth on there of a song called one picture...

wow. just wow.

i think that Kat may just be my favorite female singer ever. i know how huge that statement is, coming from me, but goddamn...she's just plain amazing. her voice is beautiful and understated and can express so many different things, and all without any of the mariah carey bullshit that every "chick singer" seems to want to indulge in nowadays...she gives me chills.

well, ok...her and patty griffin. and maybe one or two more.

you know how people like me are by now.

i said wow already, didn't i?

i wish i could say that i have more on my mind lately than frozen burritos and the occasional fleeting moment of genius rendered over the internet...certainly, i do have more on my brain than this, but sometimes it's easier to focus on the less awkward things that pass through ones' consciousness...or on the awkward things that pass through someone else's consciousness. my friend angelas' husband kevin had something removed from the side of his face earlier this week that's being analyzed as to its origins - they won't know what the deal is until tuesday, with regard to what it was. annette, the woman who sits right outside the shop, is distraught about her dogs' illness. betty, the HR director, is sorting through her aunt's posessions after having to move her into a nursing home. valerie's husband is ill...jill's boyfriend almost lost his job this month, courtesy of a prankster who pulled him into a stunt that he had nothing to do with...

i can talk about other people's problems all day long.

just don't ask me what i'm thinking, and we'll be fine.

so...so...what you're sayin' is...is....oh, shit.

now playing: kulak's woodshed webcast

ok, so i haven't done this in a while, but i do relish a good "i told you so" moment...

rob cordry hit the nail on the head earlier tonight....

"blame saddam hussein, john...after all, it's his fault for not having the weapons..."


dylan's got a girlfriend, dylan's got a girlfriend....

now playing: eastmountainsouth, "rain come down"

boy...i've alternately felt like i have a ton to talk about and then nothing at all for a while now.

there are a few things that i'd love to rattle on about, but i think that the top item on that list is best kept under wraps for now, until next of kin are notified, etc., etc. - so mums' the word on that one, for now.

i can tell you that my son now has a girlfriend.

her name is samantha, and she's led to dylan's newfound discovery of alexander graham bell's most famous invention...the kid who won't answer the phone when it rings right next to his head has now passed into the next world. dylan lunges for the phone now. go figure.

i'm a little skeptical, frankly.

given my sons' penchant for bending the truth, it's hard not to take his total refusal to part with details about who she is, where she lives, etc., as perhaps his constructing her from the uncharted depths of his imagination. lord knows, it wouldn't be out of character for him to do so. but, his sister says she thinks that she's legit.

so there you have it. both of my kids are "dating".

(although it should be pointed out that, according to dylan, when he asked her out, he didn't really "ask her out" as we might think of it. apparently, the word "out" doesn't mean the same thing when you're between 12 and 16 as it does when you're...oh, say, 30 or so. when he told me he asked her out, i asked him where he was taking her...and he honestly had no clue what the hell i meant by that. so i have to remember to substitute the word steady for the word out when i talk to dylan.)

i would like to hope that he would handle this process better than i did at his age. considering that dylan is, in fact, me when i was at his age, that might very well be wishful thinking.

i wouldn't go back and be that age now for any amount of money.

speaking of being that age, though, i have another pic to share of the rock and roll guitar god that i posted here last week, but this one goes back a little further. these two guys are both in the other pic as well (he said, thus eliminating any mystery whatsoever about just where the hell i might be getting these from..)

now, this is an oldie but goodie....it was originally on the back of a postcard, and it was creased all to hell...i spent a considerable amount of time in photoshop giving it a cyber-ironing.

i wonder how many pictures like this exist in this country...pictures of teenage boys during the post-Beatle era sowing their rock and roll oats. i bet there are assloads of them tucked into shoeboxes and various places across the country.

which leads me to wonder what one might think years from now when they're going through all my crap after i've passed on to the next level...

...or, on second thought, maybe i won't think about what one might think years from now when they're going through all my crap after i've passed on to the next level, thank you very much.


so much for the myth of the quick reinstall

now playing: patty smyth, "no mistakes"

well, tonight was the night i took care of my own house for once...i hauled my three-foot tall computer into the kitchen, took the cover off, and started my usual troubleshooting routine...i didn't think it was going to be anything major, but i'm getting a strange error, and this is a MoBo that has the cute little 4-LED diagnostic card built in to it, and it's telling me that there's a parity error somewhere. i tried resetting the BIOS to the factory default settings, and removed everything from the board but the proc, RAM, and video card, to no avail.

so this one seems to be ready to prove out the old "save the best for last" adage. this one isn't gonna be a one-nighter.

which is fine...i knew i was going to be reinstalling windows anyway, now it just makes migrating a couple of things a little more interesting.

sooo...i guess i'll go grab my tools and change some guitar strings and go to bed.

tomorrow's another day.

oh, shit - i almost forgot!

go check this out. you'll piss your pants.

is that....is it really? yeah, i think it's....HOLY CRAP!

now playing: marty higgins, "drivin' her home"

every now and then, someone will do something - just a gesture, often something they wouldn't consider to be terribly significant - that will totally make your day.

someone walked into my office today and handed me a picture that just bowled me over.

i'm not going to mention any names, because i know that the individual in this picture will eventually see this, and i'm reeeal curious to hear what he has to say about it....

ladies and gentlemen, i give to you - rockin' and rollin' from berks county, pennsylvania - BAXTER!

and no, i have no idea what the guy on the right has in his mouth...nor do i know exactly what year this picture was taken. i didn't really have time to ask - it was here and then the courier disappeared on me before i could get off the phone.

it sure did put a smile on my face, though.



now playing: aunt pat, "up here"

just a few random thoughts today....

***first of all, the band cock robin was probably one of the best bands of that period of the early-to-mid eighties that gave us all the mainstream synth-pop bands like animotion and a-ha and the like. their self-titled debut record still puts a smile on my face to this day.

...and you'd think they'd have at least a fan website, but no - nothing.

so i guess we shouldn't look for them on bands reunited anytime soon.

***last week, i took the kids and some friends to the mall and made the remark (on the way in) that santa claus should be held over at the mall until new years' so people could come in and complain if they didn't get what they wanted for christmas.

so, after saying this, wouldn't you know that as we're leaving, the mall santa comes pulling into the parking lot right in front of us? i walked toward his car, and i could see that familiar look of fear in the eyes of my children....that "oh my god, he's gonna do/say/eat something embarrasing" look that i know so well...

all i said, though, was "you're really the absolute last person that i'd expect to see at the mall spending a gift certificate today, santa. tough year, huh?"

***after having gotten roughly nine hours' sleep since sunday night before work, i find myself somewhat torn about this evening - much as i would love to go home and tear into my own computer...the actual last frontier at this point...i'm finding myself drawn to the thought of going to bed before ten p.m....i can't begin to tell you how divine that appears to be at this precise moment.

***if the rest of this weeks' hair days are as bad as these past three have been, i might have to abandon the whole big lebowski look for something a little more tame.

***my buddy >charlie degenhart is having a cd release party for his brand new EP a week from this thursday, and guitar god george marinelli is taking over the guitar chair in charlies' band for that show.

hey, george - i know this is nothing personal and all, but just promise you'll be cool about it when i go after your slot in
bonnies' band, ok? cool.


***i think i'll count myself lucky if that post-repair godawful smell in my van doesn't kill me before this weekend, when i can actually see it in the daylight to try and find the cause of it.

***i think i'm rooting for san diego this year in the nfl playoffs. why? doug flutie. it's an underdog thing.

that's really about it for tonight...thank you for tuning in, and good night.


sun comes up, it's tuesday mornin'

now playing: poco, "restrain"

in the first authentic political good news since the election, it appears that the GOP leadership in the house of representatives has come to its collective senses regarding the whole tom delay issue, and they decided to step back from shielding his sneaky little ass from the repercussions of his meddling in affairs outside his reach of power...now, whether that'll have any real impact on his fate remains to be seen, but it's good to see that their bravado isn't as arrogantly outward as it appeared to be...not on this issue, anyway.

also, it looks like a few folks have decided that maybe this whole alberto gonzales thing isn't such a good idea after all.

golly gee...who knew, huh?

oh, and there's one more reason today that sandra bullock is still on my freebie list.

got a call on my cell last night, on the way home from work, from the great ragu, asking if i wanted to do another acoustic gig this saturday...it'll be nice to be able to redeem myself vocally from the christmas eve gig, when i was barely able to croak at all. last time, the poor bastard had to pretty much carry the gig by himself, while i sat there and limply chopped my way through three hours of the ol' one-four-five just to get through the afternoon.

i actually got through quite a bit of the crap on the kitchen table last night - i had some trouble formatting a drive in my buddy todd's machine, but i used a third-party program to force the issue, and it was done this morning when i got up. i also got our troublesome laptop back up and running, without formatting the drive - although that'll be the next step, once all the data on it has been transferred to another machine.

i have an appointment to take betty's machine to her house tomorrow night, and that leaves but one machine that needs to be fixed - my own. (actually, that's not entirely true - joe cala's machine was sitting outside my door this morning with a note on it, but it doesn't appear to be anything too daunting.)

the effects of having been up well into the wee hours of the last two evenings/mornings has certainly taken their toll - it's taken longer this morning to get going than i'm accustomed to. then again, i slept a good chunk of sunday away at the behest of a pretty rare (for me, anyway) screaming headache - i had agreed to stop over at a neighbors' house to take a look at their computer, and i wasn't up to leaving the house until sunday night at around 9 o'clock or so.

there isn't much that stops me quite like that did...hoping not to have to deal with that again anytime soon.

so, AAAANYway...

i've been giving some thought lately to what my next project is going to be...or isn't going to be. and really, the only thing i seem to know right now is that i don't know what that is. i've exchanged some emails with a guy in the york area who has a good grasp on a concept for a new band, but he seems to work almost as much as i do, and he's on second shift - so i don't know if this is a realistic pursuit or not. it'd certainly make it difficult to work, if nothing else.

the joint project with ragu hasn't really been discussed much, of late - so i don't really know if that was just a lark or whether it actually might end up happening at some point...one thing i've noticed about ragu which is pretty common among guitar players (and i know you're probably reading this, brother - but i think you're aware of it as much as anyone) is that he turns up for solos but never turns back down to his pre-solo level. so, as the night goes on, he gets gradually louder and louder until by the end of the night, it's deafening if it's a small room. like i said, it's a common problem among guitar players, but it's also pretty easily corrected if you're aware of the issue. it's just that i haven't had to deal with it in so long, i don't know how i'd deal with it if my buddy and i were in the same band...in stone road, donnie used to play roughly the same volume for his solos by using his amp's channel switching, but he was almost always too quiet, if you can believe that...we always had a hard time hearing him when he soloed. i've used a volume pedal for just about as long as i've been playing electric guitar to deal with the volume issue. i set my amp to the volume it's gonna be by the end of the second song, and then i use the volume pedal to back off when i'm not taking a lead. that way, i know that my solo volume is exactly the same all night long, and it's a piece of cake to back off when i finish a solo.

but i've always had a policy of letting whomever i'm in a band with be themselves, and i don't feel terribly comfortable in the role of "coach"...and as such, i usually depend upon the better angels of people's nature to inform them - as opposed to trying to steer them myself. i've found that one person out of maybe twenty or thirty react to that with the professionalism that you'd ideally expect, and take your suggestions as just that, as opposed to lumping your constructive thoughts in with whatever other things they might perceive as criticism. and honestly, i don't think ragu would take it the wrong way if i told him any of this stuff in a band scenario - lord knows, i've already heard plenty of people tell him in so many words that "he plays too fuckin' loud". but ragu is one of those guys, man...you know the guy i'm talking about...when he starts taking a solo, he just goes somewhere else, man. don't try to talk to him, because he won't hear you. he's somewhere in the cosmos, looking down on all of us with his eyes rolled back in his head and his best "guitar face" on, doing his thing.

and i dig that about him.

i think the mecosta county line option is still open, even though i haven't really talked to keith about it in a while - that one is a longshot, simply because i'm not a huge fan of country music as it is, and i know that whatever sympathetic bone in my body towards it would simply rot from gangarine if i started playing country music on a regular basis - so i think that anything i might end up doing with them would be on a one-off basis....just to preserve my sanity.

there's my existing projects - nik doesn't gig very often, and really - that's probably a good thing. original projects aren't exactly moneymakers, and i'd probably end up having to throw in the towel if nik's band took up the lion's share of my time. blake is even less of an issue, from the calendar-clogging standpoint. in fact, i've played more gigs in the past year with charlie degenhart than i have with blake. marty gigs a little less sporadically, but i seldom get a call when he does...i think he's content to do most of his shows by himself.

and of course, some of you who know me well are reading this and thinking, "shut the fuck up and take the winter off like you said you were, beeeotch..."

(paraphrasing carrie fisher in when harry met sally):

"you're right, you're right, i know you're right..."


how 'bout that brezny fella?

now playing: blake allen, "the wind"

every once in a while, rob brezny decides to fuck with my head.

this would be one of those weeks....

"This should be the year you devote yourself to the maddening and glorious details, Leo. I encourage you to dive into the mysteries of intricacy as you master the thousand and one practical matters that will ultimately make your dreams come true. You might want to memorize the following quote from philosopher William James: "I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillaries."

"I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success..."

stop looking over my shoulder, Rob.

the bittersweet diatribe

now playing: marty higgins, "big city lights"

you'd think, being the nostalgic wuss that i am, that i'd be all about a long, bittersweet "goodbye 2004" diatribe...and i've been giving it some thought, but i'm at a bit of a loss to come up with much of anything, for some reason.

the things that come immediately to mind:

2004 will be forever known to new england sports fans as the year that both the football patriots and their beloved boston red sox shared championship titles in their respective sports. i'll admit, personally, that the drama and excitement of the baseball postseason totally ruined the first two-thirds of the football season for me. i just couldn't get excited about it after having gotten so caught up in the red sox/yankees story. what an amazing year to be a red sox fan.

the repercussions of the 2004 election have yet to be felt by this country...although i'm sure that we'll all have ample opportunity to look back with 20/20 vision at some point at the grave mistake we collectively made this year.

those of you who've been long time readers don't have to be told how much i had invested in this election on an emotional level...in the time since, i've done a pretty serious about-face. i've pretty much detached myself from the whole situation at this point. in the days and weeks after the election, all anyone seemed to want to talk about was how much the democratic party had alienated itself from the core beliefs of the big, wide, sprawling redstate area we've come to know as "jesusland". while the house of representatives is busying itself passing legislation making it ok for tom delay to be a criminal and still hold his office, the left is so busy wringing its hands and trying to figure out how to curry favor with the inhabitants of jesusland that they can't be bothered to put up anything resembling a serious protest.

all this year, i harbored the belief that this election was too important to flirt with the idea of voting for guaranteed third-party losers...and i still feel that way, honestly. i don't think dubya is any less of a dangerous buffoon than i did on november 2nd, but i care a lot less about what happens as a result of his buffoonery than i did then.

you assholes bought and paid for him...so get ready to reap the benefits. when you've watched as social security is pillaged, when you've lost beloved family members in unnecessary wars, when you can't see a doctor because you have no means by which to pay for it...think back to where you were on november 2nd and ask yourself how comfortable you are with what you did that day.

i'll be suffering right alongside you, but i'll know i did the right thing.

in retrospect, i actually stand by my remarks made not long after the election on these pages - when i said that i was actually somewhat relieved that kerry did not win, and that bush will get to sleep in the bed he shit in. these next four years will be "interesting times", indeed.

on a personal level, i've gotten to work on some amazing music - my friend nik everett put out his first new record in many, many years...and invited me to join his band. blake allen, who invited me aboard the sinking ship that was aunt pat just before their demise, finished his first solo album this year, to be titled ghosting - i got to do damn near everything that i'm capable of doing on it...guitars, lap steel, dobro, mandolin...in addition to singing all over it. it's been one of my favorite projects that i've ever participated in, and i can't wait to see it come out this year. my buddy charlie degenhart signed a record deal with an indie label in nashville and released an EP called april's fool just a few months ago, and it's a great little record. although i will say that charlie and i are gonna have to have a heart-to-heart about his new arrangement of fourth of july next time i see him face to face...we did get to play together once this year, back in october, and it was a blast as usual.

then, as most of you know, my white-trash-trailer-park-classic-rock-cover band broke up this year, as well...stone road lasted as long as my marriage to the mother of my children, and it seemed to be just long enough. while darryl and i have vowed to put another project together this spring, i'm actually enjoying not having to be anyplace in particular on weekends right now. there are a number of other projects floating around in the atmosphere around my head as well, but i don't put a great deal of stock into anything until i see it actually materializing...so it's just as well not to even get into any of that.

one of my favorite things right now is saturday mornings with the Mentally Guitarded Breakfast Club at keith amos' shop. i've made some great friends down there, and it's just about the only thing that i'm willing to get out of bed for at that ungodly hour on saturday mornings.

i found, and lost, a great vw mechanic...and might have found another, although i'm not ready to come right out and say that just yet, either...i got my van back this past week from having the transmisssion fluid flushed and filtered, and there's...well, there's this...this smell in there that i can't put my finger on. it smells a little like bad milk, a little like baby vomit..maybe a mix of the two. and it's one of those things that you can't wait to root out and take care of, until you park the van in front of the house and go in and start dealing with any number of other things and it's forgotten about....until you turn the key in the door the next morning and open it up to that wonderful aroma that is, of course, right where you left it...

(..and i know what you're thinking, but i already took all the garbage out, and that didn't fix it.)

let's see...we moved again - into my friend justin knotts' house as he was packing to move to the west coast.

that was an interesting time...i think that the month and a half surrounding that period was actually pretty pivotal, for me. i had been considering moving to nashville myself in the month or so leading up to that point. i had all but decided that i was going to move forward with that particular plan, and dylan had said that he wanted to come with me when we talked about it. but as i thought about it, i knew that it'd be too much...too much for dylan to cope with, in light of how much i'd realistically be available to him, if i followed through with my reasons for moving there in the first place. how happy would dylan be, really? how would he feel about totally upheaving his life to move a thousand miles away with me, only to watch me packing to go on the road with someone on a regular basis? would he be so willing to make this committment to end up a housemate to wendy - someone he'd already had some issues with at about the same time?

but - justin's house became available at about that time and i committed to the house. i knew that justin had a studio in the basement, and when we got a chance to look at the house, i knew we were supposed to live there. but, in retrospect, it's hard not to look at the larger implications of taking on the house - based on how completely ready i was to move in the opposite direction not long before we signed on for it. i think that, quite simply, justin was supposed to move and i wasn't. not yet, anyway. not now. and...maybe not ever.

much as i'd like to think that i'm capable of "getting on the bus", i might have to come to terms with the fact that i might not be as capable...or as willing (as scary a thought as that is when i chew on it) as i've always thought i was.

in the time since moving in, though, i've become convinced that wendy and i could move into the now-vacant ames distribution center across from where i work, and we'd manage to clutter the hundreds of thousands of empty square feet to the point that i'd still feel that sense of overwhelming helplessness when i walk in the front door every night. where did all this shit come from? has become my mantra of sorts....kind of my own personal substitute for lucy, i'm home...

but it's still so much more livable than our previous accomodations, in terms of space and layout...it really is. i wish the kids' rooms were bigger - and that the attic were more easily made habitable (since that's where jayda wanted her room to be), but there isn't much that i want to change about the house as it sits right this minute. (well, except for insulating the garage and redoing the electricity in the garage and setting up a shop area in the laundry room area and soundproofing the middle room in the studio section of the basement and...and...ok. i'm obviously much more ambitious than i would care to let on.)

and the clutter issue isn't unconquerable...in fact, i think some strides were made in that direction over the weekend. it's just a matter of whether those strides were temporary or permanent. they've certainly failed to stick in the past....but it doesn't always have to be that way.

i've watched my children grow another year older.

wendy lost both her grandmothers this year...and i don't think a day goes by that she doesn't feel that particular loss.

i had a minor health scare (which i threatened to elaborate on here, but never did) that has since become a non-issue.

and this year, i'll cross a milestone as i turn another year older...and try to be grateful for the opportunity to do so.

i think that, after all these years of postponing the grand decision regarding what i want to be when i grow up, i have to start thinking in terms of already having done so. i've evaded and avoided it for a couple of decades, somehow - and i'm not sure what it means, really...to think in terms of being a "grown-up", save for changing a few behaviors that i'm not really comfortable with in the first place. somehow, though, i've managed for all my life thus far to equate being a grownup with resignation and acceptance of my lot in life as having this depressing degree of finality...which is to say that once i start "actin' my age", then i have to accept that i already am what i'm gonna be when i grow up, and that there's nothing further down the road to look forward to...that i'm just gonna ride it out from this point forward and play the hand i'm dealt and leave it at that.

i've carried that mindset a staggering distance, believe me.