2.28.2005

no reason to ever leave the house

now playing: dan fogelberg, "in the passage"


favorite quote from the oscars:


"my grandmothers' gone now, but she still talks to me in my dreams....

...and i can't wait to go to sleep tonight, because we've got a lot to talk about."



jamie foxx, accepting his best actor award for his portrayal of ray charles in the movie ray




got an instant message today from an old navy buddy - apparently, there's a pretty solid movement afoot to stage a reunion this coming labor day weekend for our old crew from one of my duty stations in the navy...we'd tried this once before, a few years ago, and it petered out - but this time, there's apparently a little more organization behind it.

i'm not sure i want to get too deeply into some of the things that happened there just now - it'd take longer than i really have at the moment. i'm trying to finish the work to get the amos guitars site ready to go live, and i'm probably gonna be leaving a little earlier than i probably would under normal circumstances, too.

i think i might've found keith a buyer for his antique ford, too...if that pans out, i know he'll be a happy camper.



i had a conversation last week with a guy who works here - good guy, very curious about computers...married with a son from a previous marriage at home and two small children with his second wife. i'm not sure how it even came up, but i had told him that wendy and i were splitting up, and he confided in me that he's been having thoughts about going the same route...he said that he doesn't feel as though his wife has a great deal in common with him anymore, that they don't really make any kind of effort to stay connected, and that he feels like he lives with two families - the one he shares with his son and the one he shares with his wife. the thing that struck me most about our conversation, though, was this one particular thing that he said....

...he said that it's not even so much that he doesn't want to be married anymore, but that sometimes he feels like packing up his shit and moving out and finding his own place. in his mind, it's not really so much about his marriage deteriorating as it is about needing his own space. he feels like he needs a place to hide, to get away from his family when their issues get to be too much.


the conversation struck a nerve with me on a couple of different levels - on one hand, i can certainly relate to his situation, since i'm in a very similar place...as much as i know i'll miss having wendy around once the changing of the guard has taken place, i'm already in the frame of mind that has me looking around the house and making plans - mentally moving this there and that over here and tossing this if it doesn't make the move...things of that nature. so the thought of craving a space of your own isn't foreign to me...but the more striking aspect of his position was that he wasn't so much unhappy with his wife, or the prospect of being married, but his craving for solitude was claiming a bigger portion of his thoughts than any desire to contemplate the problems of his relationship.


it made me wonder - have we, as a species, started to lose a grip on our ability to co-exist with one another?


you see certain aspects of it all the time - whether in one's own family, in their relationships with co-workers, with schoolmates, with whomever we might have an opportunity to deal with within the routine of our daily lives. we just don't have the "face time" with other people that we used to be required to have in order to get through our lives. conversation (whether face to face or over the telephone) has gradually given way to email and instant messages, which give us time to contemplate responses and simulatenously robs us of any semblance of nuanced communication...some of us have the ability to hammer out an email that actually communicates - but communication via the internet has done more harm than good to our collective ability to connect with one another. the circuit may be open, but the path along the wires doesn't foster a real sense of connection very often.

instead of going out, instead of doing things with our family, instead of calling people on their birthday or holidays, instead of sitting down to dinner at the same time with the whole family present, we all eat individually when we feel like it...we order take out instead of eating together...we send "e-cards" to say things that we either can't or won't...and we tend to avoid contact with our own families, because we see things in them that we don't like and we'd prefer not to deal with them - so we want to run away from them.


some of us make that choice - we decide that there's really no way that we're going to find anything resembling acceptance among these people, or we decide with no real evidence that things have just got to be better elsewhere, and we run away.

because running away is always....always...easier than staying put and examing our circumstances.


i feel like i should point out that i'm not advocating staying in an unhealthy situation out of some twisted sense of loyalty, or because it's what someone else thinks you should do or anything of that nature...what i'm trying to say is that a lot of times, we simply don't know how bad things are (or aren't) until the final box is in the back of the truck and you're on your way to the next place, the next quiet place, the next place that you can call your own and no one elses' - until such time as you bring someone else into it, once you've convienently forgotten why it was that you craved this solitude in the first place.



"do you realize, janet, that in modern day society, there's practically no reason to ever leave the house - AT ALL?"

(steve dunn (campbell scott) in singles)



it really does seem sometimes as though it's collectively much easier for us to hide from each other than to contend with the challenges that we pose to one another. "easy" really is the word, too...it takes no effort whatsoever to hide in an apartment by ourselves and clutch the remote in one hand and order takeout over the internet and check our email and screen our phone calls and avoid contact with anyone whom we might deem the least bit unpleasant. it might require some work on our behalf to figure out how to deal with the person who just doesn't fit into our personal grand scheme of things - a difficult boss or a whiny co-worker or a child who craves more attention than we're willing to muster or, dare i say it, a partner who doesn't fit our preconceived notion of what it was that we expected of them.



"people need people, steve. and it's not just about sex. well, maybe sixty percent."

(janet livermore (bridget fonda) to steve dunn during the same conversation in singles)


i can't speak for anyone else but myself, where this situation is concerned...and the only thing i seem to be sure of is that i don't know what it is that i need right now.


which probably means that a little solitude is in order.

2.26.2005

sex with cars

now playing: the bee gees, "how deep is your love"


earlier this week, someone asked me how the van was running, and my reply was, "fine, so far...right now it's lulling me back into a false sense of security so it can fuck me again."

well, to put it bluntly, if you see me glowing tomorrow, you'll know what happened.


we left it in the parking lot tonight - wendy picked dylan up and we went out for dinner, and i had them drop me off back at work so i could check on the backup, and i'd drive home after i'd checked everything out.

so i came back in, switched the tapes, and went outside to start 'er up, and there it still sits.


stranger than usual tonight is the fact that when you turn it over, it will actually start - but then belts start whining and it starts gradually sputtering...and the minute you touch the accelerator, whether lightly or all the way to the floor, it shuts itself off.


so this weekend, i'm putting about a dozen guitars and various and sundry other items up for sale on eBay and we're gonna remedy this fucking problem once and for all. i had hoped that it would hold out another two months, since it's due for inspection in april and i could probably get a couple more bucks for it with an '06 sticker on it...at this point, though, i'm not sure if it's worth what i'll get for it in trade for the satisfaction i'll get from taking a fucking sledgehammer to it when it's been replaced.


funny moment on the way back from dinner...


somehow, dylan had miscontstrued the meaning of bar mitzvah via some rumors he'd heard from his friends, and he was under the impression that jewish boys were circumcised when they were 13 years old as part of the mitzvah process.

as wendy was explaining to him what the real deal was, i chimed in and told him that i had to circumcise myself - i immediately had his attention.

"huh?"


"yeah, man...i was hiking in the mountains, and this huge boulder fell right on my foreskin. i was trapped, and i couldn't move, and i had to choose between circumcising myself and going for help or dying in the wilderness with my foreskin trapped beneath that huge boulder."

wendy had, by now, chimed in and started trying to discredit my story....

"where were you ever hiking in the mountains?"

"the grand tetons, man. hey, look...if you don't believe me, i can take you there. it's still there, under that big-assed boulder. i can show it to you."

i kept going..."that took some serious courage on my part, man....it's not every man that can take a bowie knife to their constant companion like that. it was one of the defining moments of my life. seriously."


of course, i had nothing to say by that point that should've been taken seriously...


anyway, wendy is coming back to bail me out...i had walked across the street to catch the bus, and was standing inside the foyer, waiting for it to stop outside, and the sonofabitch didn't even slow down! the other guy who drives the route earlier sits and waits for riders, but this jackass was obviously in a hurry to get back.

i'll be making a phone call on monday morning about that asshole...because i'm sure i'll be no less fired up then than i am now, considering i'll probably be taking the bus then, too.


then i can try my hand at some verbal circumcision.


my mom's birthday is in less than a minute....

2.25.2005

greetings from the bottomless pit...

now playing: michael hedges, "i carry your heart"



so it appears that yours truly may be on the moral majority's radar this week.


some backstory...


last week, my buddy todd came over here with a newspaper article in hand headlined hamburg: no rock bands in talent program. it went on to say how the hamburg school board was going to refuse to allow "rock bands" to play during the high schools' talent show this year, for fear that moshing may erupt during the show.

now, for the benefit of those of you who aren't familiar with the local turf, hamburg is a podunk town about thirty minutes or so north of the sprawling metropolis of reading...small in just about every definition of the word. they have a weekly paper which carries the typical small town gossip as news - fueling rumors about police officers, breaking scandals about teachers who have improper relations with their students, and egging on rivalries between township commisioners...right alongside the church bulletins and bake sale notices.

now, it might further benefit you to understand the stigma surrounding the inner city where i live...

reading, the city, and berks county couldn't be further apart in the figurative sense...reading is a shithole in many, many ways...dilapidated housing, high welfare rolls and unemployment, and a general air of apathy cast a perpetual gray over the city. it's a city that offers all the disadvantages of living in a major urban area, but none of the benefits...no real nightlife to speak of, very few cultural attractions, and so on and so forth.

over the years, the line of delineation between "the city" and "the county" have blurred somewhat, but not in people's minds.

i haven't lived in this area long enough to know what "old reading" was like, but from what i understand, it's a night-and-day thing...reading apparently used to be a thriving city, but that hasn't been the case in the time that i've lived here. it's a vague shell of what it used to be. and those who have lived here long enough to remember "old reading" like to lay the blame for that at the feet of the rather large hispanic population that inhabit the city - since they're a convienent target. no one wants to look at the fact that urban decay and what some people call "white flight" affects cities everywhere...affluent people seldom stay in urban areas when given the choice to live elsewhere, and that leaves the cities inhabited by low income families of all nationalities who often don't have the capital (or the dignity or self-esteem) to invest of themselves into their accomodations...and believe me when i say it's no different here. the flight of affluence (both personal and corporate) from the city to the outlying areas began long before i arrived, and with a few scant exceptions, there aren't many signs of hope apparent when you drive through the city.

when you leave the city and head for the outlying areas, there really aren't that many signs (with the exception of the few boroughs where the "haves" have grouped together) that things are much different outside of reading...yet when you talk to people or listen to others' conversations, the sense of their perceived superiority to the city and its inhabitants is pretty acute. the references to "the city", for instance...lines like "i had to go to the city for it, i didn't have any choice", or "they're pretty nice, for people who live in the city", or "why would you want to go into the city?" and the like...it's "the city" and "those people" - as if somehow saying the word "hispanic" would acknowledge the elephant in the room.

the best place to see an example of this?

go to a sporting event that involves a city school and a suburban school.


i used to go to jayda's basketball games, and i'd purposely sit close to the middle of the bleachers so i could overhear what other people would say...things like, "holy shit - lookit the size of that one black one over there..." certainly weren't uncommon. and you could see the look of thinly-veiled discomfort on some of the faces in the stands at the prospect of their perfumed, prim and proper, neatly groomed christian white children having to face off against the racially mixed unwashed heathen bastard children of unwed mothers on the other team. you could actually see some of them squirm...disdain from the parents in the stands, and unmitigated fear in the eyes of courtney and heather on the basketball court as they prepared to square off against laquanda and rosario on the other team.

seriously. all you need to know to get inside the head of the average berks countian on this particular level lies in those two phrases.

"the city" and "those people".



i know this is a lot of backstory, but if you're not familiar with the lay of the land, it's necessary.



anyway, hamburg - arguably the king of the "those people" and "the city" mentality - had apparently just had their high school talent show hijacked by the school board and the "rock bands" had been thrown out on their ear...all due to a fear of moshing.

so, i guess it could be said that todd knew what he was doing when he brought the article over for me to read, because i fired off a letter to the editor that read as follows:



Earlier this month, I had the privelege of providing sound reinforcement for the annual Talent Show at Reading High School. I agreed to do so because my daughter was performing during the show, and after having sat through the entire show, I was incredibly impressed with the variety and skill level exhibited by the students of the most maliciously maligned educational facility in Berks County. There were singers, dancers, rappers, musicians – the whole gamut of performing arts was represented at the show.

The show was held after hours in the auditorium, and the kids played to a packed house, with many more students than parents showing up to support their classmates. Were they loud? You bet they were. But there wasn’t a single reportable incident during the show.

So you can just imagine my surprise when I picked up the paper today to find out that our northern neighbors in sleepy little Hamburg have been quietly cultivating a reputation as the mosh pit capital of the world. I mean, really – whodathunkit? Hamburg?

I think that the kind of paranoia apparent in Hamburgs’ decision to disallow “rock bands” from playing at the talent show is tragic. I won’t pretend for a minute that I enjoy some of what passes for pop music in 2005. I think most of it is crap. But I doubt my current mindset differs much from my own parents’ disposition the first time they saw or heard some of what I listened to as a teenager. But, as a parent, I also realize that their music is their music, and I respect their right to listen to (or sing and play) anything they want, within reasonable limits.

Maybe Hamburg would do well to learn the simple lesson that the pistol-wielding thugs who attend Reading High have already taken to heart – something like this isn’t about the School Board or the Faculty or the Teachers. This is the students’ moment, and it shouldn’t be taken away from them just because we don’t relate to or identify with it.

And, Hamburg – if you can’t control your student body at assemblies, you’ve got bigger problems than rock bands playing at the talent show.


Tom Hampton
Shillington




off it went, and they printed about sixty percent of it in monday's paper. i got some jabs from some of the folks at work about it, all friendly, and i didn't think anything else about it. BUT - in the time since, it's gone on to become a "story"...it was on the front page of the weekly hamburg newspamphlet, and the reading eagle ran two other articles on the story, one on the front page...and long story short, it looks like the bands are going to get to play now...and thankfully, kevin bacon and dermot mulroney didn't have to come dancing down main street to make it happen.

sooooo...end of story, right?


well, not quite.


last night, i came home and this envelope was on the "mail table" right inside the door....











inside the envelope was a pamphlet titled 'the solution" - containing an uplifting message about god's love and avoiding eternal damnation and the like...and on the back of the pamphlet was scribbled this little nugget of wisdom:












so at this point i guess there's no more mystery surrounding how i'll be spending the afterlife, folks.


the only thing i'm really curious about, though...would be what kinda music would be in my buddy mister swaggart's record collection....

2.23.2005

heavy sheep

now playing: the eagles, "new kid in town"



courtesy of my guitar buddy, bob stirner:

"the music business is a cruel and shallow money trench...a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.

...there's also a negative side."


hunter s. thompson



additional quote from my buddy blake, uttered while driving through the country in the rain:

"man...i'll bet sheep get really heavy in the rain."




i've managed, somehow, to crawl over a couple of pretty major humps at work, and it feels liberating to have done so...the largest of them, compiling a database tracking every PC and marrying it to the software installed on it, and tying that information to the purchase orders for the machines and the software finished up in a marathon sixteen hour day last weekend...and this week, i've finally managed to finish the XSL/CSS code for the template that the CEO wanted to print out labels for his DVD collection from a database he maintains. we finalized all that yesterday in a 90-minute "this is how you use it" session in his office that effectively kept me from another appointment i'd hoped to honor at lunchtime (taking my van over for a quick inspection to see if we can determine what the cute little hammering noise is that's coming from my front suspension every now and then)...but now that both of those projects are done, i do feel considerably lighter when i walk in the door here at the beginning of the day.

now today, i have to shut down our main file server at lunchtime, pull the SCSI card and the tape drive that are running on the box, and set up a new machine specifically to run the backup hardware here in the office. and it needs to be up and running by morning.

so i'll probably take that long lunch today and go home and grab some stuff and come back in and hunker down for the night - because it's gonna be a long one...


last night, i sat down and went through every single piece of mail i could find in the house to try and collect some semblance of an idea as to where i stand financially - i need to try and get a glimpse of the picture so that i can plan accordingly from this point forward, and to try to come up with a "system" of some sort. i've taken steps in this direction before, but i've never made a very real commitment to staying on course. it's a problem i've had for years - every dollar that comes my way is "found" money, and i've never had anything vaguely resembling financial discipline. while i've been no more responsible lately than in the past, i've definitely gotten myself into more dire straits in the distant past than in the recent past...and i've let the fact that it's relatively easy for me to make money cloud things over for a long time now.

i feel a need, though, with everything that's happening in my life right now, to fix that...in terms of having a heightened sense of awareness of where i stand at any given time. i don't know how long it'll last - because i know how easy it is for me to pile envelopes on the table next to the door when i come home and promptly forget that they ever showed up...especially when there's a lot going on.

and it might be interesting to consider that as i'm typing all this, i'm exchanging emails with the webmaster of the joe walsh fan club and pondering whether or not to buy tickets for their upcoming show in reading at the "you must be fucking kidding me" price of $130 so that i can attend the meet and greet afterward...so the truth of the matter is that no matter how sincere i might be about trying to set things right, i'm every bit that easily sidetracked.

good judgement will prevail and i'll talk myself out of it, but i'm honestly considering it at the moment...and for that alone, someone should whack me across the testicles with a wooden yardstick. and as the pain wracks my body, i should be made to scream "where's felder's cut?" over and over again at the top of my lungs until i regain the ability to stand upright.


in somewhat related news, i just started a dialogue with the manager of an eagles tribute band who are looking for a singer - they need someone to fill the don henley spot, apparently. we had a great discussion about it yesterday, and it sounds like they really understand what's necessary to construct that kind of band...whether anything comes of it or not remains to be seen, but it could be a good opportunity. it's right up my alley, in terms of what i'm willing to play...and if the right gigs are there, it'd be great. i just don't know if i'm willing to join another start-up...i think i've been hoping that i'd find something that was already a working entity, something that would allow me to step into a working situation and hit the ground running.

maybe this is it, maybe it's not...i remain guarded about it at this point.

i've been doing a small amount of fill-in work with a couple of country bands, and while that's ok - it's not what i want to do. i've been perusing the want ads (gigfinder.com, phillymusic.com, so on, so forth...the usual haunts) looking for potential work, but everything i've come across so far has been mediocre at best - one ad looked really promising until i downloaded one of their mp3's - i got through about 45 seconds of it before i had to turn it off. i got a quizzical look from my office mate - "what the hell was that?" - and that was it for them.

i think the unspoken message here is that there just aren't that many bands that are playing what i want to play anymore...all the bands that are playing the clubs seem to be either really poor renditions of "classic rock" done by hacks, or really loud, awful versions of already awful material that's on the radio or MTV right now...also done by hacks. it almost seems like you have to either reside in (or be willing to associate yourself with) a state of mediocrity in order to be able to form a unit and play out...i'm starting to understand why so many great players play for themselves in their basement and aren't in bands. but - it wasn't always that way. that's the thing that kills me. there was once enough work for everyone, and there were genuinely good bands on the circuit who were willing to take the trouble to learn to play the songs and go out and execute them...as opposed to the prevailing apathetic "that's close enough, man" ethic that seems to prevail now.

i'm starting to find myself considering the prospect that i may have amassed all this experience, may have worked this hard on my ability, may have sacrificed all this time, may have accumulated all this equipment - to arrive at a place where i may have to seriously consider not playing anymore.


that's a pretty terrifying concept.

2.21.2005

speed bumps

now playing: joe walsh, "in my car"



yawn.


came in against my will this morning to a bit of a mess (but came in i did, because i knew that my partner across the room would be out because her daughter-in-law was having some kind of gallstone surgery, and she was taking off to help with her kids...and if i didn't come in, we'd have a repeat of the disastrous day when the boss was the only one here)...it seems that the new spam firewall that we put in on friday managed to block all outside email for the entire weekend. i did exactly as i was told - i backed up the configuration on the old one and loaded it into the new one as soon as i had it powered up and out of the box...but apparently it didn't register the DNS server from the old machine, so that field was blank - which meant that every incoming email was blocked with an "no valid recipient" or "fake sender domain" error.

needless to say, there's some unhappiness about that in the ranks.


i returned home this weekend, rather uneventfully...not that i expected it to be any different. considering my state, the only way i could've done less this weekend would've been by not getting out of bed at all - but that's not an option. in fact, i'm thinking about packing wendy's bed early and buying another mattress...i have about a six hour limit in this bed before i feel like i need cortisone just to get out of it. i had started to think that it was me until i had an extended opportunity to sleep elsewhere, and now i'm pretty much convinced that it's not me at all. i think i got my most productive rest between the point when i got up and went downstairs and the point that i woke up on the sofa. other than that, i actually sat on my ass and watched movies all weekend...funny girl on sunday afternoon, desk set (a spencer tracy/katherine hepburn classic...the next to last movie they made together) on saturday night, right after one of the worst movies in the history of man (saturday night fever)...and finally - after much fanfare from my son - napoleon dynamite last night.

dylan spent most of the weekend with his buddy derrick, but then came over last night - they're both at my house to make up for some lost time from last week now. he brought some great stories with him. apparently, derrick had a couple of friends, jose and steve (steve is the latino kid, jose is caucasian...go figure) stay over with them. at some point, they were playing video games and derrick turned down the music from the game and put on a shania twain cd instead - at which point, one of the kids said to derrick, "man...is this the music you jerk off to?

to which derrick replied, "well, it's not the only music..."


apparently, these remarks were caught on videotape, too.

so there's video evidence of what could potentially be the most embarrasing public remarks of his short life.


have i repeated my "no way would i want to be a teenager now" rant lately?


the last time the three of us went out for dinner together, they did nothing but laugh - in fact, jayda caught dylan off-guard and he ended up spraying mountain dew out his nose across the table at her.


i want to think that the speed bumps from the last couple of weeks might be behind us for a bit. i know there'll be more, but i do appreciate the smooth road between them right now.


there was a great saturday night live retrospective on tv last night...something i'd love to have on video if it ever shows up in purchasable form. live from new york: saturday night live - the first five years. they actually dared to interview the writers, which is where the real story of the genesis of that show lies. those people were brilliant - and while they've had some good writers in the time since, i don't think that show will ever again live up to the legend that looms over it from that first cast and the writers who wrote for them.

but then again, we'll never live in times like those again, either.


last night, while we were sitting together on the sofa after the kids had gone upstairs watching tv, wendy looked over at me and said, "we're gonna be ok, you and me...aren't we?"

i wasn't sure, initially, if that was a question or an affirmation...and before i really got a chance to answer her, she'd managed to change the subject, so i don't know if she heard me or not.

there's been no real packing...the only sign that change is underfoot would be a slow stream of purchases on her behalf that are starting to clog the few remaining spaces in the house with their presence - new glasses, new pillows, things of that nature.

and i know that eventually, i'm going to have to start my own steady stream - it just seems at this point that there's not much point in crowding the house even further than it already is. that, plus i have a ton of other stuff to pay for, pay off, and pay on between now and the point when i'll actually need to replace some of these things...so i'm not going to sweat it for the moment. there's plenty of other stuff to sweat.

we were 40 miles outside of barstow when the acid kicked in...

now playing: stephen stills and manassas, "the treasure (take one)"



Hunter S. Thompson Dies at 67
'Fear and Loathing' Writer Apparently Committed Suicide


By Martin Weil and Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, February 21, 2005; Page A04



Hunter S. Thompson, whose life and writing, vivid and quirky reflections of each other, made him one of the principal symbols of the American counterculture, shot and killed himself yesterday at his home near Aspen.

Thompson, 67, was celebrated as a practitioner of an outraged form of personal journalism, offering off-beat ideas and observations in a style that was wildly and vividly his own and that brought him cult-like status and widespread recognition.

His books on politics and society were regarded as groundbreaking among journalists and other students of current affairs in their irreverence and often angry insights.

Among those for which he was famed are "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail." He rode for almost a year with the Hell's Angels motorcycle outfit for research on another book. In all he wrote at least a dozen.

Jonathan Yardley, writing last year in The Washington Post, called him "a genuinely unique figure in American journalism," citing his comic writing and social criticism.

Thompson, often seen wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap and with a cigarette dangling from his lips, showed up frequently as Uncle Duke in "Doonesbury," the Garry Trudeau comic strip.

Part of what created his image of outlaw independence and defiance of norms and conventions was his claim to intimate familiarity with a variety of drugs and mind altering chemicals.

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone . . . but they've always worked for me," he once wrote.

Pitkin County, Colo., Sheriff Bob Braudis said in a brief telephone interview that Thompson was alone in his kitchen of his Woody Creek home when he shot himself with a handgun. His wife was at a gym, Braudis said.

The sheriff said Thompson had seemed "still on top of his game."

But Braudis's wife, Louisa Davidson, said "he was not going to age gracefully, he was going to go out with a bang. He was tormented."

Thompson was known for a style that he described as "gonzo journalism," a form of "new journalism." It was based on the idea that fidelity to fact did not always blaze the way to truth.

Instead, "gonzo journalism" and its practitioners suggested that a deeper truth could be found in the ambiguous zones between fact and fiction.

"Objective journalism is one of the main reasons that American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long," Thompson told interviewers in a characteristic pronouncement on both institutions.

"You can't be objective about Nixon," he said. "How can you be objective about Clinton?"

Among the writers and works he cited as major influences were most of the classic American authors, including Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway, many or most read early in life. He also named the Biblical book of Revelation.

He was born in Louisville, and after a wild youth entered the Air Force, according to one account, as part of a parole agreement.

His writing career is traced to the 1950s, when he contributed to a base newspaper while in the Air Force.

He later wrote unpublished fiction, reported for the mainstream media from Latin America, and made his name with his Hell's Angels article in Harper's magazine.

His star rose while he worked for Rolling Stone magazine, where the "Fear and Loathing" books first appeared.

His beat, he once said was "the death of the American dream." Interviewers later suggested to him that he in a way embodied that dream. They said he exploded in profanity, but conceded that perhaps he did.

2.16.2005

if i may explain...

now playing: poco, "indian summer"


there's a conversation that i've had several times over with several different people regarding my decision to go couch camping while wendy's parents are in town to help her find a place to live post-breakup. it varies in actual content, but the theme seems to be pretty consistent. it always seems to follow the lines of "it's your house, why are you the one staying somewhere else" or "why can't they just find a hotel" or something similarly knee-jerk in its insinuation.

usually, all that i need to rebuke that line of thought is a simple "what would you do in my shoes?". if it's someone who's familiar with the situation and with what i'm trying to do, that usually wraps it up pretty nicely.

but for those who might not be, (and who may similarly have been directed here by me for said explanation), i offer the following thoughts.



first of all, this is not an acrimonious breakup. no one here has any desire to cause anyone else any more hurt or resentment than what comes with the territory, and we've actually managed to go out of our way to be kind to one another and not engage in the usual repetitive laundry-listing of faults and blame-hurling that seems to be so common in these situations.

and guess what? so far, it's working.

and in that spirit, when wendy told me that her parents were coming up to help her find a place, i told her i'd go somewhere else while they were here - and she immediately told me that it wasn't necessary to do so, that they weren't coming to cause trouble, et cetera...and i knew that they were a little too centered to be the kind of people who'd drive 1250 miles just to kick my ass - although i did make jokes about her father making a couple of phone calls and having me sent to gitmo with all the rest of the "enemy combatants". and frankly, i could probably have stayed in the house without affecting their mission, in terms of its execution.

but no one involved here could deny that there wouldn't be an extra element of tension created by my presence in the house while they were going about this.

whether they would want to have to deal with that or not i can't say. i can say whether or not i'd want to deal with it, though - and that's why i feel better about being out of the way.

and i think that, as a parent, if i were in their shoes i'd probably breathe a bit of a sigh of relief at the prospect of not having me around, too. were i doing the same thing they're doing with my daughter, i'd definitely find it stressful enough a prospect to take on what they've taken on in and of itself - coming up on what amounts to a moment's notice to help their daughter sort out living arrangements, and trying to do so as quickly as possible so that they can feel that she's taken care of - that's enough to worry about as it is, without having the additional stress of potential conflict in the air around you.

they insisted, as did wendy, that this wasn't necessary, and that's very kind of them. i appreciate their concern for my welfare. and, the thing is - i've been fine. i've had some good friends offer couches or extra beds, and i've managed to get along just fine through this thus far.

the benefit for me, in addition to the things i've talked about, has been this unexpected gift of solitude.

i didn't consider it when i initially decided to do things this way, but i think it's been a real gift for me to have the "alone time" that i've had this week. i didn't know i needed it as badly as i did. it's been invaluable - so much so that i've actually kindly declined offers for shelter a couple of nights in exchange for sleeping in places that might be less comfortable, but with less human contact. (and before you fill up the comments with thoughts about how awful it must be to sleep in the van, let me assure you - it doesn't suck. not as bad as it has at certain times in the past when conditions were much worse than they've been this week.)

i think that at some point, this kind of time was probably the basis for the first kid who was ever sent to his room after misbehaving - it's nearly impossible to give events in your life the kind of consideration you're capable of if you don't have time for introspection.


and i need to give myself time to get used to the idea of being single again, too.


the latest word from wendy is that they've settled on an offer for the only house that they looked at that she really felt good about, and that they're going to draw up an intent-to-purchase contract this week, and that they may actually be leaving this weekend. the owners of wendys' new house won't be settling on their new place until early in april, so she'll have plenty of time to get ready for the move...i had honestly expected this to take much longer. so much so that i actually made other plans for the weekend, and now i feel bad about having made them...so i'm conflicted about it now, where i was actually kinda looking forward to it before.


anyway...

from the looks of things, there's an actual datestamp on these proceedings at this point. it's no longer an open-ended thing.


i never thought of finality as something that would have degrees, or stages...i always had a pretty primitive notion that at some point, something was over, and that was pretty much the long and the short of it. now, though, it's pretty intensely obvious that there are layers of finality - certainly degrees and stages. there'll be a final box to pack, there'll be a final trip to the grocery store, a final weekend, a final night together....a final look around...


and then once the truck pulls away, all those "lasts" will combine into one huge sense of how over it really is.


hopefully between now and the first week in april, we can maintain this newfound sense of kindness and concern for each other that seems to have been borne out of the ashes of the resentment and anger that we were so proficient at for so long.


after all...those "lasts" are going to be hard enough as it is.

2.15.2005

worth a thousand words

now playing: john gorka, "love is our cross to bear"


so i finally installed the software that i needed to download all the pictures from my cell phone onto the computer and got it installed and working...and i pulled some of them into photoshop and corrected the contrast so they wouldn't look as though they were taken through fogged windows - and i figured i'd share a few of them with you.

(dial up users...sorry for the potentially slow download times...)



ok, this first one amused me quite a bit...as you're walking past the sovereign center in reading on penn street, going back towards the center of town, there's a railroad crossing. at this crossing, there's this bar that comes down in addition to the ones that fall across the street to block traffic. when i saw this the other day, i couldn't help but wonder what kind of person needs this extra layer of protection to keep them from walking into the path, or the side of, a moving train...











these shots were taken during the van downtime that found me walking home from the bus stop. reading actually isn't so bad in the dark of night and under the cover of snow...here's a couple:



































this one is my personal favorite. it makes my ass cold just thinking about it:










this shot is from one of the last gigs i did with stone road. they had set the christmas tree up in the corner i was playing in, and in the picture the lights from the tree make it look as though my amps are on fire. far out.









the view from walnut street at the bridge next to the world cafe live:









i parked next to this dog when i went to pick up chinese food a while back. i've never seen a dog as intent as this one on maintaining his bearing...i'd move and try to get its attention and instead of moving its head, it would shift its eyes in my direction for a split second, and then go back to this pose.

if they let animals guard buckingham palace, this dog would pass the audition with flying colors:









this is not a label that i particularly want to see on anything that i'd use in a capacity where its flavor was an issue, honestly:










and this picture (even though it pales by comparison to having actually seen it) is the reason i decided to get a cellphone with a camera in it in the first place. i stopped to get gas after dropping the kids off for the bus and took this shot before going inside...











almost lunchtime - craving something warm, i think....

2.14.2005

favorite toys

now playing: lifehouse, "simon"


when i was a kid (and i mean kid - barely old enough to remember this, but i remember it nonetheless), i lived in a small apartment with my mom and dad and my baby brother - my mom was working at this place adjacent to it, if i remember correctly, but all those kinds of details are a blur to me now.

here's what i do remember.

my dad had gotten me a toy guitar - it was as big as i was, and it was made of wood, not plastic, and it had real strings on it. hell, it might not have been a toy, i don't know. he had given me one later in life that he'd found in a house that he was working in that was a real one, but it didn't have any strings on it. at this point in my life, i'm almost sure it was a martin 00-17 or 000-17, because many years later when i owned one, it felt instantly familiar...the color of the wood, the feel of the neck...and i remembered that guitar that my dad found in the house in memphis the minute i played it.

but anyway, this guitar that he'd gotten me when i was still essentially a toddler...it did feel to me, at the time, that it was as big as i was, and i thought it was indestructible.

anyway, to this day, i still don't know why i did this. all i know was that i did it, and i got my ass beat for it.

(maybe it says something about human nature that we still analyze our motives for things that we did as tiny children, even decades later, but i digress...)


the guitar was laying on the sofa. and i was climbing on the sofa, which was up against a wall of the apartment, and i managed to get up onto the back of the sofa and i was standing on the back of the sofa, with my back against the wall.

i sidestepped over to the part of the back of the sofa that was right above the guitar, and i jumped off the back of the sofa and extended my legs and landed, ass-first, on my favorite toy...i felt the top of it crunch under me, and i laughed.

i was sitting in a pile of splinters that used to be my guitar, and i was laughing. i don't know why i thought it was funny...maybe the way it felt when i landed on it, i don't know. but i had just succeeded in destroying my guitar, and i had no clue why i'd done it.

so, obvious ending...dad grabs me from the wreckage and beats my ass, asks why i did it and i said i didn't know, which probably only pissed him off more - after all, adults assume that all actions have logical motivations, right?

i know i do...


i find myself remembering this tonight, though, and for the longest time i wasn't sure why it had occured to me...but i think there's a parable in that story, where it pertains to my life as it's going right now.



in some ways, i feel as though right now i'm suspended in mid-air, having just jumped from the back of the sofa...and my ass is careening through the air toward something that, in moments, will be destroyed on impact as a result of my actions, and i'm powerless to stop it from happening, now that my feet have left the point at which i still had other options.


now that i've jumped, my only option is to brace for the impact.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

comments...and the temporary new look

just a quick note - i had to tear down the whole fucking house to get the toilet to flush, here, so to speak...


if you choose to comment, please use the haloscan comments, as opposed to the blogger comments, as i'll soon be sitting down to figure out how to make this whole mess right again. in the meantime, i'll try to remain calm and keep the profanity to a minimum.


fuckers.


oops, sorry.

top five, all time things that i love about wendy

now playing: karla bonoff, "restless nights"



a valentines' day memorial list, if you will.

with whatever necessary apologies to nick hornby....this might read better if you can imagine john cusack reading them off into the camera, but this'll have to do. i'm on a budget.



ok, in no particular order - number one:


some people smile with their lips, some people use some of their face - wendy smiles with her whole body. and everyone around her knows it when she does. she adds something to the air around her that wasn't there before she was.


number two:

she's not afraid to show the world that she remembers what it's like to inhabit the innocence of a child...taking pleasure in little things that other people who've forgotten will take for granted. she still delights in sesame street, for instance. (not to mention that awful computer-animated disney show, roly-poly-oley...or whatever it's called.) granted, sometimes this means that she cries at times that are uncomfortable or maybe inconvienent, but i don't think you get one without the other.


number three:

i know she thinks this is why i married her, but it's not. still, i'd be remiss to leave this off my top five, all time list - she knows her guitars. trust me, this is pretty huge. she can tell the seemingly insignificant differences between a les paul standard and a les paul custom from a sizable distance...and while this part maybe doesn't reflect on wendy directly, i love the reaction that i get when i tell other people that she can do that...that little hint of envy that shows up on my friends' faces. it's just one of many amazing things that she can do.


number four:

i know this is a direct cop from the book/movie, but it's no less true...i love the way she smells. it's some kind of mystery of human chemistry, but some people just feel like...home.

she fits.



number five:


i love the fact that (on the all-too rare occasions when i was able to make time to do so) she could make the world outside the door disappear just by sitting down on the sofa with me and reading a book next to me or watching TV with me. i didn't always love her choices in programming, but every now and then we'd do it right - pop some popcorn, put on a movie, and ignore the phone and just enjoy each other. those are the moments that i want to take with me when this comes to its inevitable conclusion.





sure, i could make a top five, all time list of the things about laur - uh, wendy - that make me crazy, but that's the kind of thinking that got me here....

2.13.2005

goodbye, booger...i mean, blogger

ok, assholes. congratulations.


not sure when time will allow, but i'll be moving the blog to another publishing system sometime this week.


i don't know why you assholes feel that you have to break something in order to "improve" it, but i'll be bidding you a fond "good riddance" as soon as i back everything up here and get it ready to move on.


if anyone has any suggestions for a system that has worked well for them (preferrably someone who's used haloscan in their blog), please feel free to email me and let me know...since comments seem to be a thing of the past with these dicks.


your patience during this move will be appreciated...certainly, i've got so little going on right now that taking this on will surely be a piece of cake.

not your average sunday morning

now playing: shane nicholson, "life on mars"


for better or worse, i think the songs from shane's album are going to be forever tied to the end of this relationship. i just can't stop listening to this album. so - sorry, shane. and to eastmountainsouth, too.

your music has henceforth been consigned to the bittersweet.


i haven't perceived any real change in my habits, but somehow i've lost six pounds in the last two weeks. go figure.

the only reason i know this is because i was standing on the shipping scale a couple of weeks ago while i was working on the computer next to it, and i saw how much i weighed then...this morning i noticed that the pants i'm wearing are fitting a little more loosely than they normally do, so i walked down after i got settled in at work, and lo and behold - i seem to have misplaced six pounds. dunno what happened.


i accepted keith's invitation to play the gig with his band last night, and walked away with some extra cushion to my budget for the week, which was a nice bonus. and i actually enjoyed playing with them...it was my first actual publig gig since the dissolution of stone road, and it was nice to be up and in front of a crowd again. i still don't know how i'd feel about playing country music full time, but i felt pretty good about it last night.

well, except for one little thing.


after the first set, i walked into the back and turned on my cellphone (which i'd turned off in the afternoon when i went to work and had neglected to turn back on) and had four voicemails, all from jill.

it turns out she had a situation on her hands.


now, i don't know why it didn't occur to me - well, no, that's not true. i did know why. it didn't occur to me that something like this would happen because i had faith in my daughters' sense of what's appropriate and what's not. i really never thought in a million years she'd come to where she's come to.

anyway, yesterday after she returned from school, she told her mom that she and her stepsister chelsea were going for a walk and off they went.

after a couple of hours had passed, her mom started to wonder where she'd gotten to...she usually ends up at her friend frankies' house. but when a call to frankie's failed to turn her up, her mom started to worry.

cut to about an hour later, which finds jill standing in front of Loser Boyfriend's house on 8th street in the city.

she knocks on the door, and an older guy answers, and she asks for jayda...and this guy (apparently either the dad or the uncle or whoever...you never really fuckin' know) says she's not there, and he closes the door and locks it. so she knocks on it again, and Loser Boyfriend comes down and says that they were there earlier, but that they left - and jill (God love her at times like these, she's fuckin' ferocious) tells him that if the girls aren't outside the house in two minutes, she's calling the police. (which i would've done the minute i got there, personally...)

and sure enough, a couple of minutes later, out they come.


i've told jayda since before she was old enough for it to be an issue that i would trust her until she gave me a reason not to.

that day has officially arrived.


as i was saying, though, maybe it should have occured to me that she might consider doing something like this from the moment that i made it clear to her that i didn't care for the guy. after all, her mother has already made that clear to her, and i think she saw her time at my house as the only real opportunity that she had to spend any time with him outside of school. once that appeared to be gone, she obviously felt that she had to resort to shit like this to see this asshole.

i wonder if she stopped for a moment to consider what her life would be like after she got caught.

because now, her social life outside of school is, for any and all practical purposes, over. there'll be no picking her and her friends up and taking them to or retrieving them from the mall, the movies, nothing. her life will consist of getting up and going to school and coming home to whichever house is home that night and sitting there until it's time to get up and do it again. having already lost her cellphone, i'd say that it's a certainty at this point that she won't be getting it back at all, and i told her mother last night to make sure that she knew the whereabouts of dylan's, since i'll be keeping it in my posession until such time as he pulls his academic shit together. i talked to wendy briefly about possibly getting a cheap replacement for jayda's and giving it to her parents so she could keep in touch. all the cellphones are still on wendy's account right now - we haven't split them off yet - so it'd be an alternative to cancelling the account altogether and paying the early termination fees that would go along with cancelling the account altogether.


i just can't, for the life of me, figure out how we got to this place.

from early on in their lives, my kids' personalities seemed to be fleshed out pretty vividly...dylan was the introspective dreamer - the mix of shy and goofy that he seemed to inherit from his father. jayda was the bubbly, happy and yet centered and responsible of the pair. she was always ahead of her time in her ability to reason and to relate to people. she was incredibly intelligent and intuitive, where other people were concerned.

i would never in a million years have thought that she'd have ended up making some of the choices she's made.

ever since Loser Asshole Boyfriend (LAB for short...that's what we'll call him from this point forward) has come into the picture, she's been different. i can't really put my finger on it - what it is specifically that has sparked this change in her, but it seems too chronologically close to be coincidental. She's affected an accent that seems to be a permanent thing now - i can't even imagine how that came to pass, but she talks now as if english was a second language to her. i've heard her affect this in the past, in the presence of certain people, but when the partner in conversation eventually disappeared, so did the vocal affectation. now it almost seems to be a permanent thing.

her ambition - once so obvious - has started to wither as well.

so much of what i love about my daughter is still present, but i'm starting to wonder how long i can count on that. she's still an excellent student - her grades haven't slipped at all. i've seen no evidence of any kind of introduction to anything that could be considered substance abuse on her part...i think she still has a disdain for that, to some extent. and up until very recently, she used to call me at work and we'd talk about her day, about school, about whatever...but that hasn't happened for a while now.

i've watched as one by one, certain friends of hers have become sexually active - some of them girls i've known since they were toddlers. now i have to wonder if my daughter has joined the club.

also, without going too far down the path of trashing LAB and his family, i have to wonder what kind of fucking lowlife would stand in the doorway of their house and lie to a parent about the whereabouts of their child? i mean, as an adult, (not counting them as parents because frankly, i don't know who the fuck they were) i'd think that'd be below you if you had a single ounce of decency as a human being.

not something that you'll find in the LAB household, obviously.



i know my kids aren't five and seven anymore. i know they're older and that their social structures are different now. i don't know when being in a relationship as a teenager took on such a premium. i can't even begin to go into how much things have changed now from when i was in high school, even though we're talking twenty years' time, but at what point did the act of being in a relationship (or not) take on so much importance in one's social standing? i never had a steady girlfriend in high school, and even then, i didn't feel like i was missing out on anything by not being with someone...nor did i feel judged by the people i surrounded myself with for not keeping a girlfriend. jayda, though, seems to see it as a necessity. i don't know, maybe it's not that - it's not as though she's unattractive, and wouldn't have options at a given time...but the choices she's made in that department have, at times, concerned me quite a bit.

never more than now, though...that's for damn sure.

never more than now.


last night, after the gig, i went back to keiths' house and curled up with a pillow in the guest room and laid awake for what must've been at least an hour thinking about all this, and what (if anything) i can do to try to reverse the course she's hell bent on staying on. jill told me last night that jayda told her that her dad hates her. i don't know how much of that is the typical melodramatic teenage embellishment of our last couple of conversations, or if she really, truly believes that.

the fact is, though, if i didn't love her, i wouldn't care what she does with herself or her life. i'd give her free reign to go spend as much time with LAB as she wanted. hell, get a whole slew of LABs and divide your time among them as you see fit. it wouldn't matter to me if i felt the way about her that she's convinced that i do.

i think, though, that as advanced as jayda is on so many levels, that inside she's still a little girl in some ways. and right now, she wants to think that any attempt on the part of her mother and i to keep her from something that she wants is an act of hatred. i remember that mindset pretty well myself.


i don't think you grow out of that at her age. that comes later, when you have an appreciation for what it means to be a parent, maybe.


i guess that if i needed something extra to make these next few months a little more trying than they're already gonna be, i need look no further.



last night, after i finally fell asleep, i dreamed that i got a call to sub for jeff pevar in the touring band for crosby stills and nash - not that any of this has any foundation whatsoever in truth, but kenny passarelli was playing bass for them, and when jeff had to leave the tour, he recommended me to the band, and they hired me based on his recommendation. not that any of this happened in the dream, but i remember that being the reason i was there. they were playing at a theatre in new jersey somewhere, and i got there early and set up next to kenny, and we were chatting as i set up. the lights went down and they walked onstage and started while i was still getting my equipment set up, but i was ready by the second verse of the first song - which was "do for the others", a stephen song. i put a kick-ass, david lindley-style lap steel part on the song and stills turned around and smiled at me.

after the show, he came over and we were chatting - he looked a lot younger than he looks now in my dream, and we were chatting about some of my instruments and i was asking him questions about his playing. after we finished talking, i noticed that the theatre had almost completely emptied out, and i said something about having to go, and he asked me where i was going, and i said that i had to get up to go to work in the morning.

he said, "stay right here for a minute," and walked away for just a second, and came back and said that he was going to go talk to david and graham about having me stay with the tour...they were going to be playing this particular hall for six more nights, and then moving on to someplace in upstate new york for a week, and would i come along if i got the gig...


and then i woke up.


i do wish i'd stayed asleep long enough to ask him what chord voicing he used for the intro to "carry on", though.


always wondered about that....

2.12.2005

hey, blogger....

you assholes have about 24 hours to stop fucking with my comments, or it's off to movable type i go.


to the rest of you, sorry about the temporary outage.

sleepless

now playing: dan fogelberg, "since you've asked"


i don't even know where to begin...to try and sum up this week.

it's all but over now, although this huge project that i have due on monday morning will easily drag the week well into, and past, the weekend. i had a visit from our CEO this afternoon regarding an unrelated matter, and i told him what i was in the middle of..."i'm starting to have dreams about it," i told him.

i don't think my relationship with my daughter has recovered from the events surrounding her losing her cellphone, and some of the things i said to her on sunday night after we dropped her boyfriend off at his house during the first ten minutes of the fourth quarter of the super bowl. i think we will, eventually, get past this, and i do have a lot of faith in jayda...i think that some of the fears that i have about her immediate path are probably unfounded, but the voices in my head definitely know how devil's advocate works.

last night was parent-teacher conference night for dylan...which is an abbreviated way of saying that it's time once again to take away all of dylan's shit. last night i referred to it as the "walk of shame" when we were leaving mrs. morrisey's classroom to head down to the conference.

the fact is, dylan's grades are not horrible. they could definitely be worse, and they'd be what he deserved if he were, in fact, an average or below average student. and maybe he is an average or below average student...but the evidence points in other directions. for instance, the thing that kept him from excelling in a couple of his classes was simply not bringing home tests to be signed. i said to mr. ward (his science teacher) that this wasn't homework...it was a "to do" list. there's no real work involved in getting someone else to sign a paper, but apparently where dylan is concerned, this is just too great a burden to bear.

and the thing is, it's not as though the tests he has to bring in for signatures have awful grades on them...his test scores are actually quite good. so why, one would ask, is this such a huge mental block for him?

i sure as hell wish i knew.

but, also, it's not just that...there are tests he's neglected to make up, he hadn't turned in his vocabulary notebook to his english teacher...and when he's out, as he was a couple of times this year for extended periods of time, he can't be bothered to take the intiative to find out what he has to make up to get caught up with the rest of his class.

it seems to boil down to a potentially fatal mixture of laziness and apathy. the kind that finds you working as head fry cook at thirty-five and sharing a two bedroom apartment with three other people.

i know he's capable of more than that. and i think that eventually, if something touches that tiny spot in his head and trips off that lever that i believe to be in there, then he'll find his passion and perhaps some motivation will come hand in hand with that. but, the thing is, being smart never outweighs being lazy...so he has to overcome that in order for his brain to serve him well at all.



tonight (should i ever be able to fall asleep) will be spent on the sofa at my ex-girlfriend samantha's house. shanna kicked my ass at mario-kart earlier tonight...then we watched a movie and she went to bed. right now it's almost 1:30 in the morning, and i'm sitting in the dark on the sofa with my laptop fired up, writing because i can't fall asleep, even though i should be damn near dead right now. tomorrow night, i've been asked to sit in with a friends' band for a gig in fleetwood, and i'll probably spend tomorrow night at his house, and i haven't even thought about sunday yet - todd offered the sofa for sunday, but i honestly don't know how sunday is going to pan out yet...for all i know at this point, i may work straight through sunday night into monday morning if this project at work continues to go the way it has...although there should be no interruptions at work this weekend...no one calling because they can't retrieve their email, no one calling because their print jobs are locked up, none of that crap.


i'll get it finished...because i have no other choice, really.


i still don't know how i feel about the fact that i couldn't have been able to tell the difference from last night at my house and any other night at my house...expectations sure can fuck things up if you give them room to. i really thought, based on how well things have gone between wendy and i literally from the moment that we had "the talk", that this might not have been the case. certainly, i don't hold out any hope for reconciliation at this point, because the wheels are in motion and there's really no stopping them at this point, no matter what i might think.

and i think that, in a way, what happened last night was supposed to be a signpost...fate's way of saying, "this is why this is happening. this is why this has come to this point in the first place. don't forget the things that made you unhappy in this relationship in the first place."

and that's all valid, really. i married someone who literally lacks the ability to turn off the TV until she's completely drained of energy and ready to fall asleep within minutes. and i need to respect the way that (among other things) has affected my ability to be compassionate towards her, the way it's contributed to my resentment and anger over these past few years.

the fact is, this is who she is. and i need to accept that and allow for it and not be so personally arrogant as to think that because she's with me, certain fundamental things about her are going to change.

life doesn't work that way. no more for me than it has for her in her expectations that certain things about me might be changed.

and i think that last night, as she sat mesmerized by the television as the last hours of the evening frittered away, life was telling me something.

it was saying, "don't be a chump, tom. this is reality. the lengths that you two have gone to to be more compassionate and more attentive and more loving over these past two weeks - that's the fantasy. that's you and her playing out what you thought you were getting. so, here, tom. take a good look, because this is what you're giving up. now listen to me and take all this in before you do something stupid like spend sixty-five bucks to have roses delivered to the library on valentines' day with that corny-assed card that you thought up last week. put it out of your mind, and focus on the task at hand."


"....just let it go, man. let it go."


so this morning i got up early, got ready for work, and grabbed my laptop, my cell phone, my camera, and a basket full of clothes, and left for work knowing that i wouldn't be home for a minimum of a week....and possibly more, from what i understand.

and i know somehow...i don't know how or why i know this, but i just know...that when i go back - when the work at hand is done and the parents have done this business and headed back south temporarily until such time as they return to help her move - things will be different.

again, i don't know how i know...i just know.

this whole sense of resolving to enjoy each other that we've had for the past couple of weeks is going to fade into the shadows of the tasks at hand, and things are going to take on a whole new light. maybe it'll be subtle, maybe it'll be night and day...but i think that when i left the house this morning, it was the end of a very short era.



it's hot in here. it's going to be interesting trying to sleep, but i feel like i have to try, or the weekend is gonna suck more than it potentially could.

2.10.2005

the waning hours

now playing: sex in the city, ad nauseum


so how, you might ask, did i spend the last night in the house with my soon-to-be ex-wife?

well, i rushed home from dylans' parent-teacher conference to an empty house...wendy came home at about 20 before 9 with her dinner in a bag (so much for potentially taking her out to dinner). so, i left and went to queen city to grab a bite, since i was starving...and wendy called to remind me that someone had come to pick up their computer.

so i gulped down dinner, drove back to leesport to pick up the computer that i'd forgotten to bring home with me, and got home at around ten after ten. computer delivered, customer happy, evening over, for the most part.

since that time, wendy has been camped in front of the television, glued to the season four DVD of sex in the city. since mom and dad are arriving early tomorrow afternoon instead of late tomorrow afternoon/early tomorrow evening, i need to have myself ready to leave in the morning, ne'er to return.

i'm setting the alarm early in the morning, because i'm stopping at the shop on the way to work...i have laundry in the dryer which should be finished in a few minutes...at that point, i'll be off to bed.

and my wife will still be camped in front of the TV. she's moved on to the directors' comments now....so it's gonna be a long night for her.


obviously, i'll be missed.


a good week to be Right

now playing: shane nicholson, "let's get started"



ok, i've held out long enough.


has anyone noticed what a great week this has been to be a republican?


first of all, from the washington post (registration required):

BOSTON, Feb. 8 -- A federal judge in New Hampshire sentenced the former president of an Alexandria political consulting firm on Tuesday to five months in prison, the first jail term handed out in connection with the jamming of state Democratic Party phone lines on Election Day in 2002.

Allen Raymond, who headed the now-defunct company GOP Marketplace, which was hired by New Hampshire Republicans for election-related telemarketing services, pleaded guilty last summer to one count of conspiring to make harassing phone calls.

He apologized before U.S. District Judge Joseph DiClerico, who imposed the sentence. It included a $15,600 fine.

"Your honor, I did a bad thing," he said, according to the Associated Press. "While what I did was outside my character, I take full responsibility for my actions."

Raymond was the first to be sentenced of three men charged after the revelation that Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont were peppered with more than 800 computer-generated calls over a period of 90 minutes on the morning of Nov. 5, 2002.

Firefighters in Manchester, who were offering rides to the polls independently of the two parties, were also targeted, prosecutors said. Police later determined that an Idaho-based firm called Milo Enterprises had been engaged by GOP Marketplace to make automated hang-up calls.

State Democratic Party Chairman Kathy Sullivan said the incident -- which occurred as voters were choosing a senator, two House members, a governor and many state officials -- was designed to boost GOP prospects by suppressing turnout. Republicans swept most major races that day.

"They were trying to make it difficult for seniors and people who were economically depressed to get to vote," Sullivan said. "This was way more than a dirty trick. This was a serious crime, and the judge clearly took it seriously."

Republican State Committee Chairman Warren Henderson said in a written statement that he was "personally offended at this illegal and unethical assault on the integrity of our democratic process."



but, HEY - the biggie this week:

Medicare Drug Benefit May Cost $1.2 Trillion
Estimate Dwarfs Bush's Original Price Tag

By Ceci Connolly and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 9, 2005; Page A01

The White House released budget figures yesterday indicating that the new Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost more than $1.2 trillion in the coming decade, a much higher price tag than President Bush suggested when he narrowly won passage of the law in late 2003.

The projections represent the most complete picture to date of how much the program will cost after it begins next year. The expense of the new drug benefit has been a source of much controversy since the day Congress approved it, with Democrats and some Republicans complaining that the White House has consistently low-balled the expected cost to the government.

As recently as September, Medicare chief Mark B. McClellan said the new drug package would cost $534 billion over 10 years. Last night, he acknowledged that the cumulative cost of the program between 2006 and 2015 will reach $1.2 trillion, but he cited several major savings and offsets that he said will reduce the federal government's bottom-line cost to $720 billion.

The disclosure prompted new criticism by Democrats about the administration's long-term budget estimates. It also showed that Medicare, the national medical insurance program for seniors, may pose a far more serious budgetary problem in the com- ing decade than concerns about the solvency of Social Security.

At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) taunted Treasury Secretary John W. Snow about the rhetorical discrepancies.

"If you're looking for a crisis, I would suggest you look at a crisis that was self-made in just last year, because the crisis exists in what's happened to Medicare by weighing it down," Emanuel said. "Those of us who told you it was going to cost twice as much were right."


and not that you needed me to tell you this:


Blueprint Calls for Bigger, More Powerful Government
Some Conservatives Express Concern at Agenda

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 9, 2005; Page A01

President Bush's second-term agenda would expand not only the size of the federal government but also its influence over the lives of millions of Americans by imposing new national restrictions on high schools, court cases and marriages.

In a clear break from Republican campaigns of the 1990s to downsize government and devolve power to the states, Bush is fostering what amounts to an era of new federalism in which the national government shapes, not shrinks, programs and institutions to comport with various conservative ideals, according to Republicans inside and outside the White House.

Bush is calling for new federal accountability and testing requirements for all public high schools, after imposing similar mandates on grades three through eight during his first term. To limit lawsuits against businesses and professionals, he is proposing to put a federal cap on damage awards for medical malpractice, to force class-action cases into federal courts and to help create a national settlement of outstanding asbestos-related cases.

On social policy, the president is pushing a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage in the states and continuing to define and expand the federal government's role in encouraging religious groups to help administer social programs such as community drug-rehabilitation efforts.

"We have moved from devolution, which was just pushing back as much power as possible to the states, back to where government is limited but active," said John Bridgeland, director of Bush's domestic policy council in the first term. Bridgeland and current White House officials see Bush's governing philosophy as a smart way to modernize the government, empower individuals and broaden the appeal of the GOP.

Bush maintains a stated desire to streamline the government. On Monday, he sent Congress a budget that would eliminate or consolidate 150 programs. But a growing number of conservatives are uneasy with what they deride as "big-government conservatism."

"He keeps expanding the federal involvement into state and local affairs," said Chris Edwards, a tax and budget expert at the Cato Institute, a think tank that often supports the president's agenda. "My hope would be that there would be an electoral rebuke of big [-government] Republicans like there was when the tectonic plates shifted in 1994."



how does this sort of thing play out from city to city, town to town, across our fair country?


well, one need only look as far as a couple of well-hidden articles in our very own reading eagle to find out:

(right next to one another on page A6 of today's paper)


McMahon hits Bush on proposed budget
Reading's mayor says cutting grants for law enforcement by 46 percent in the next fiscal year would be unconscionable.

Mayor Tom McMahon on Wednesday called President Bush's proposed crime-fighting budget cuts irresponsible, urging residents to write letters to the president and local legislators to show their opposition.
"This is unconscionable, and I am absolutely aghast," McMahon said of the president's proposal that would cut $1.85 million in crime-fighting programs in Berks. "It's inconceivable that he would propose these budget cuts."
Under his proposed $2.57 trilliion budget unveiled Monday, Bush wants to cut grants to law enforcement by 46 percent - to $1.5 billion from $2.8 billion.


oh, and right next to that:

Cuts would have huge impact in Berks, officials say
The elimination of Community Development block grants would cost the county about $3 million annually, according to an official.

Road, sewer, playground, and other projects would go undone or local taxes would be forced upward to pay for them under President Bush's budget proposal, local community-development officials said Wednesday.
Berks County has been receiving about $3 million annually in federal Community Development block grants to distribute to municipalities for such projects...that translates to about 0.2-mill in county taxes, or $20 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.
Also in jeapordy is $140,000 that goes to the Berks Community Action Program's family-center program and $50,000 that goes to the Greater Berks Food Bank.
Community action would lose another $650,000 for other programs, such as job training and youth mentoring.
Under Bush's $2.57 trillion budget proposal unveiled Monday, a long list of programs for housing and urban development, commerce, agriculture, financial initiatives and health and human services would be eliminated.
In their place, Bush would create the Strengthening America's Communities Initiative. The money would go only to low-income communities.
"If this happens, Berks County wouldn't qualify for any of these funds," said Community Development Director Kenneth L. Pick. "The city might."


Read that last sentence again, once or twice, all you assclowns who helped Bush carry Berks County.


I'm still chuckling at you gullible bastards.

(oh, by the way - the Eagle is about the last possible paper one could label "liberal media". I had to type those two articles myself, because they were conspicuously absent from their webpage, FYI.)



2.08.2005

lethal emotional cocktail

now playing: michael mcdonald, "i can let go now"


i still remember seeing him play this song on saturday night live years ago, by himself...him on the piano.

chills.


first of all, birthday wishes to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 - on this day in that year, Bill Clinton signed the legislation that has become famous for allowing companies like Fox and Clear Channel Communications to swallow our media whole during a ceremony at the library of congress.

nine years later, i still have no fucking idea what he was thinking.

definitely the second worst move of his presidency.


(and no, monica doesn't get top honors...nafta does.)





so, i'm sitting here stewing, still pissed about the jayda cellphone situation, still stewing a little bit from the conversation she and i had on the way home on sunday night, giving way too much space to the voice that's telling me what a shitty parent i've been, and how i haven't taught my kids some of what i think should be their core values...

i talked to my daughter a few minutes ago - recapped what exactly it was that happened yesterday, told her that i had called the school to see if anyone had turned it in, so on and so forth...and the subject of "what to do" came up. she immediately went to "my birthday is in a month" and i cut her off and told her that the only way the phone was being restored to its original standing was if she paid to replace it with her own money. not birthday money, or any other money that originated from my wallet. her money.

you might imagine that this did not go over well.

in fact, it went over "not well" enough that she's not coming over tonight (tuesdays and thursdays are usually my nights, for the uninitiated....).


so...i guess it could be said that i've definitely raised a pair of entitled kids.


hell, i'm not even sure how it is that i came to this point....but here i am.



and i'm heapin' all that on top of everything else that's going on right now.


makes for a pretty lethal emotional cocktail, to be sure.


i'm no good (and never have been, frankly) at self-diffusion. i don't have any sort of self-repair functionality. i usually have to just sit with whatever is kicking my ass and feel whatever it is that i'm feeling until i've thought it through and am ready to move past it.

i'm three days and counting until i take my short vacation from living at home so that wendy and company can have whatever time they need to get a bead on a place for her to live...so that the two of us can put ourselves in places where we can no longer be a disappointment to one another. i've gotten generous offers of sofas from a couple of friends, and the plan (as it stands right now) is to spread myself out enough that no one person gets sick of havin' me around...as i have no idea how long this is going to take.


i haven't worn my wedding band now for almost three weeks, and there's still a small indent in my finger where it used to be. i keep finding myself running my thumb over the place where it used to be, mimicking the motion i used to make when i'd spin it 'round my finger during idle moments.

use number 37 for wedding band: fidgeting accessory.


while she's doing her best to pretend everything is no different than it was before, i keep flying back and forth across the room in my head, bouncing from the "i wish her and all evidence of her were gone already so i didn't have to feel this" wall over to the "i can't believe this is gonna be over soon" wall. and every time i land against the opposing surface, it seems like there's a new bruise that i didn't have before.


i just wanna go home and pile under the covers and shut the rest of the world off for the night. i don't feel like listening to any shit from anyone in particular. in fact, i don't even want to look at another human being right now.


i've had quite enough today.


as an aside, i'm considering making this a private journal - since the contents have very little to do with music or with my personal "career" as a musician. and, since it's tied to a site which promotes this specific mission, i'm wondering if i might be mixing oil and water by including this as part of that site...whether it be politics or personal content, i've always struggled with the possibility (nay, the probability) that my journal is probably out of place on my site.


i guess i'm bringing this up because i'm curious as to what the few of you who read this on a regular basis think about that particular logic - am i being ridiculous, or should i hide this from the rest of the site?


i dunno...i've never been uncomfortable having it up and available - perhaps those who find themselves unwitting characters in my story might very well find it awkward, and they certainly have that right...no one has ever asked me specifically to exclude them from any given event, so i haven't. this has been the one place that i can go and throw whatever i want against the wall - whether it sticks or not. so, i don't plan to close the journal...just perhaps "un-link" it from my site and replace it with something more music-centric for the purposes of the site.

i've never felt the need to do that before, but i'm finding that it might be necessary at this point.


of course, tomorrow is another day and i may decide that i'm full of shit and just leave it where it is.






2.07.2005

todays' lesson learned

now playing: the daily show with jon stewart


the lesson i've learned today is:


when you buy your daughter an eighty dollar cell phone and spend a year simultaneously buying her minutes for it while watching her dribble it like a basketball down the sidewalk because she's too fuckin' cool to wear pants with pockets in them...

don't

don't

don't

don't

DON'T....


...go out the following christmas and buy her a phone worth three times the value of the one she's systematically destroyed over the course of the past year.

result? dropped in the street and lost not even two months after getting it.

i don't think i'm gonna feel better until someone kicks me in the nuts and calls me a stupid motherfucker.

really, what the fuck was i thinking?


angry? me?


nooooooooooooooo......





debatable logic

now playing: dar williams, "it's a war in there"


well, what to say about the implosion of the eagles last night?


i think they had a solid shot until the last five minutes of the game, when they gave up and played as if their asses were already kicked...no no-huddle, no sense of urgency - it was as if they'd smoked too much dope at halftime, diggin' on the nostagia-trip halftime show. i expected the game to be a lot more one-sided than it was, but they played tough...new england kept trying to run corey dillion to the left side of the line, over and over again, with the same result every time...he only began to have some degree of success when he started running to the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.

the eagles played the whole back half of the fourth quarter like a team that was down by twenty points and already beaten.


so, to summarize - the eagles beat themselves last night, just like they usually do in clutch situations.



in other news, wendy's parents arrive in reading on friday - that's this friday.

we're not messin' around, here.

one of the houses she's looking at is literally a block away from where we live now...close enough that i could probably drop a football into her back yard from the sidewalk in front of my house. she seems perfectly comfortable with the concept, which strikes me as odd...i would think she'd want a bit more distance between the two of us. perhaps this is just me projecting my own feelings onto this - in that maybe i'd be a bit more comfortable with some additional distance. i'd rather not have to consciously subdue the temptation to keep tabs on her...to drive by on occasion to see if she has "company" and the like. and how would she feel about seeing a strange car in her old parking space, should the tables be turned? i mean, that particular phase (the curiosity phase, if you will) usually passes rather quickly, but then again, i've never had an ex end up quite so underfoot.

it took me a while to get a hand on the logic behind staying in pennsylvania in the first place...this one may take a while, too.

i might look at it differently if it were a situation where we'd be inclined to stay in touch after our separation, but i don't think that's going to be the case. she has a good relationship with the other two partners from what one might consider significant relationships...her ex-fiance', steve (called "the toad" for the early part of our relationship), and her college boyfriend, adam (who lives just three hours south of us, in northern virginia). i would come right out and predict that wendy and adam stand a good chance of reconnecting after the dust settles here, but adam has a child by another woman who, while not romantically connected to him, is still very much a part of his life. and i'd have to say, based on the paranoia and thinly-veiled hostility that wendy has exhibited towards certain past girlfriends of mine, that this probably wouldn't play very well with her on a real-life, day-to-day basis.

in theory, maybe.

in practice, probably not.

but then again, what do i know?

i know that she's already bought tickets to an o's-red sox game that they're attending together in the spring...and i know that she's had them for a while now. i know that she saw him last fall, but only bothered to formally come clean and tell me about it within the last couple of weeks. i know that she's had a handful of pictures of his son incorporated into her computer screensaver for months now.

so, inasmuch as predictions go, it could be said that the writing is on the wall, and has been for some time now...but it's not as if i busted my ass to do anything about it. in fact, if i were totally honest with myself, i think i've actually hoped at times that they would end up together at some point. i'm sure that i've probably felt in the past that if they were to reconnect, then i'd be off the hook, somehow. whether that logic makes sense at all is highly debatable, but i'm sure that i've thought this at some point.


the circumstances of their breakup essentially had to do with distance and nothing else. there was no acrimony, no hard feelings, no bitterness toward the other...the only issue was that she was in one place and he was in another - or at least that's the way it's been outlined to me. so it's almost as if they never actually "broke up", in the traditional sense of the word.

but i'm relatively certain that, whatever might happen or not happen, i won't be around to witness it.

because i don't think that being friends after the split is in the cards for us. i don't think there's any genuine interest in that on either side of the table.

this is much more likely to be a "clean break" split...once the truck pulls away, that'll be it. unless she leaves something behind or something trivial like that, that'll be the last time i see her.


and i think i've made peace with that, too. there doesn't seem to be much point in making it harder than it has to be by dragging things out. other than the sporadic "do you have my crowded house cd?" phone call, i think this whole thing will be forgotten in a years' time. certainly, for her i would think it will...it might take a little longer for the individual keeping the house that we shared (moi), but i think that we've both been unhappy for long enough that there's very little desire to think about revisiting any of this.


and right now, i feel pretty OK about that.


feel free to ask me again, though, in a couple of months.


especially if i have to drive by her house for whatever reason and see a car with virginia plates and a car seat parked on the curb.


i know how pathetic all this sounds...but let he who is without sin cast the first barb.








2.04.2005

the freezing and forgetting

now playing: frou frou, "let go" (from the garden state soundtrack)


today, even happy songs make me sad.



this morning, before i left for work, i had to gather a bunch of microphones and cables from the studio and cram them into my backpack so i wouldn't have to return home before the talent show tonight (that my daughter is taking part in, and that i essentially took over last night - i might elaborate, and then again, i might not)...

long before i started making my journal public, i had a private journal. i've kept one, with varying degrees of regularity, since 1984 or so. there are obviously some pretty significant differences in the kinds of things one would record on paper and the kinds of things one would post on the internet for public consumption (although i'm starting to feel the line blur quite a bit...), but i haven't kept a written one in some time. the last written one i kept happened to be in my backpack, and i sat down and read part of it before i left for work.



here's a piece or two.






"...back home from a weekend that i'm pretty sure has changed my life.

i was with wendy from saturday night until tuesday morning - she turned out to be every bit as amazing as i knew somehow she'd be, and it became very obvious very quickly how strong the attraction was between us - first of all, she was beautiful - i had expected her to look considerably different than she did - i thought she'd be not quite so skinny, i thought her eyes would be narrower...it's strange, i thought i had a pretty good bead on what she'd look like, but i wasn't as close as i thought i'd be - which is certainly not to say i was disappointed in the least. the eyes that i saw when we met were big, beautiful, almost three-dimensional...full of comfort, oddly.

i had expected this encounter to be much more awkward those first moments that we'd met - instead, it became apparent that we were only picking up where we'd left off. after that, everything else felt easy."

---------------------------------------


"...i've had to make the usual transitional steps from living by myself - which i enjoyed, compared to what i hear most people say - but i feel good about this. i don't find myself having problems acclimating to having her here, not like i thought i would. she's adjusted wonderfully to being in the company of my kids, and loves them dearly.

we've hit our snags - i'm still the same person i was in other relationships. other people's anger still rubs me the wrong way, and there are few (if any) layers between wendys' feelings and opinions and the atmosphere...and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that she speaks before she considers the consequences of her words more often than not...but i consider it an opportunity to work on dealing with conflict when it comes up, instead of shutting down and stewing, which has been my penchant in the past."



(i think i can safely report at this time that i have failed pretty miserably on that front...i'm still a sulker extraordinnaire.)


---------------------------------------


(on vacation in maine)


"...this has been a weekend that i don't think any of us are gonna forget for a while - the kids have had an amazing time...swimming in the pond, tubing behind the boat, watching the sun go down on popham beach...jayda ran around today taking pictures of the cottages on the shore, of the ocean - dylan galloped around inside the fort...this is in addition to meeting a huge chunk of wendy's family and getting bombarded with back-to-school gifts from wendys' parents. tomorrow, we start the drive back to reality - back to our as-yet-unsettled new house, to my job, to our lives -

...i have to say how good i feel about how strong the bond between my children and i have grown over the course of these past months, and for the role wendy has played in that."


---------------------------------------





this wasn't that long ago, ya know...and it's sobering to think about how drastically things can change in such a short time. now, we find ourselves sharing a home and behaving largely like we have these past couple of years...exchanging pleasantries when we're not feeling overly tired of one another - tolerating each other at the points when that doesn't apply.


i find myself in a place, though, where i really miss the wendy from august of four years ago...but i feel this knowing full well that neither of us are going to encounter the tom and wendy from that period of time again. we've let too much anger and resentment go by unchecked and undiscussed, and we've succeeded in nothing less than destroying whoever it was that we were when we started down this road. now that there's an air of finality that colors every interaction we have, it imposes a bittersweet element into things that certainly doesn't exist in a day-to-day routine that has no thought of an ending in sight.

there's probably a great deal of that bittersweetness that comes into play now, as i give space to all these thoughts...wondering how it is that we could've gone from there to here in the way that we have without being able to put a finger on when the tide started to turn - but it's all so much water under the bridge at this point. discussions about the mechanics of our separation take place now in the same spirit as a discussion about scheduling around dropping off the car to have the front end aligned...any sense of sadness about the impending separation has given way to a sense of resolution and determination that's almost devoid of emotion altogether.



and that's fine, really. i mean, it has to be. at times, i need to remember that it was me that initiated this process.


although, judging by the way i've felt about the whole thing in the time since, you'd never guess.






i threw your keys in the water
i looked back
they'd frozen halfway down in the ice
they froze up so quickly
the keys and their owners
even after the anger had all turned silent

the everyday turned solitary
so it came to february...



"february", dar williams









2.03.2005

great guitar stories, part 326

now playing: willy porter, "infinity"


i just can't believe this...i guess this means my bid is cancelled, then.




Fans find Peter Yarrow's guitar on eBay


MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Fans of Peter, Paul & Mary know a hot guitar when they see one.

A handmade Larrivee acoustic guitar owned by Peter Yarrow disappeared on a flight from Washington to Fort Lauderdale in December 2000. It looked like it was gone for good until something like it surfaced on an eBay auction.

Browsers recognized the six-string guitar and notified eBay and Yarrow. The online auction company canceled the auction and e-mailed law enforcement. Within an hour Monday, FBI spokeswoman Judy Orijuela said, agents found the guitar in the Miami suburb of Sunny Isles Beach.

"I'm very delighted, and so is Puff the Magic Dragon," Yarrow said.

Arrangements for returning the guitar hadn't been made, but Yarrow was anxious to get back his beloved instrument.

"It's an old friend you know, and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival," the 66-year-old singer said Tuesday while traveling from Washington to New York. "It was a real loss at the time, but ultimately I accepted it, and now I have the joy of its return and I'm more than pleasantly surprised. I'm overjoyed."

The guitar, made in 1973, was in a case bearing Yarrow's name when it disappeared. A $500 reward for its recovery went unclaimed. Larrivee's custom guitars sell for $10,000 and up.

Yarrow said it was the Canadian guitar maker's first guitar with steel strings, and it was a favorite for concerts, recordings, protest marches and even a visit to the White House.

"You don't make music on other guitars like you do on this," he said. "It's got its own personality and it has that history and it knows it."

Yarrow never named the guitar but was thinking about calling it G.B., short for Gracious Boomerang.

At his request, no criminal charges will be filed. The man auctioning the guitar told agents that he was "doing a favor for a friend of a friend of a friend" and gave the names of everyone involved, Orijuela said.

Peter, Paul & Mary, known for songs such as "If I Had a Hammer" and "Puff, The Magic Dragon," canceled the opening concerts on a tour this year after Mary Travers underwent chemotherapy for leukemia late last year, but Yarrow said he will take the recovered guitar on a planned spring tour.





don't make me come OVER there....

now playing: clannad, "almost feels too late to turn"


so it stands to reason that the day i get my van back, the furnace goes.


i woke up yesterday morning oblivious to the fact that there was no heat in the house until i got into the shower and whatever warm water there had been had been purged from the pipes and the, shall we say, non-warm water took its place. at that point, the problem had my full attention. i jumped out (quickly) and called the kids' mom to tell her what was going on and have her come pick them up so they wouldn't have to go through the same ritual before going to school yesterday. the level in the oil tank was low - we weren't out, but it was very close - so i called and arranged for an emergency delivery, thinking that the problem was in the level of oil in the tank. they came at around noon, primed and restarted the boiler, and it kicked back on and we were in business - when i came home yesterday afternoon to get my checkbook before picking up the van, it was plenty warm in the house, and it was fine all night last night. yet this morning, again, there's no heat and no hot water.

i don't feel so cold as one would think - i don't know if it's a tolerance built up from a couple of weeks of walking home from the bus stop, or if it's just my natural inclination to run a few degrees above normal, but i've been ok so far this morning. i sent wendy off to work since she was a sport and stayed home yesterday to take care of things, and today i have to step up and deal with the problem...and i've been alright thus far, but my fingers are starting to tingle a bit now, and it's getting a little uncomfortable. i think i'm going to have to confine myself to a room and plug in the space heater soon.

this will be the second day in two weeks i've missed, although i do plan on going in and getting a couple of projects finished - i've been tasked with documenting all the procedures for the backup for our ISO certification, and i had promised it by the end of the day yesterday. then, of course, once i opened my mouth, i got a rash of service calls, and then had to go pick up the van, which took longer than it should have. i stayed last night and worked on it, but then i had to leave and go to darryl's for a bit before coming home...thinking that i could finish it today.


once again, fate steps in and slaps me with a nice, loud "that's what you get for thinking".


in wendy and tom news, wendy told me last night that her parents are planning on buying an investment property with their share of her grandmothers' estate - and that, in considering the turn of events here, they've decided to buy something here for a short-term investment so that she can have a place to stay, and then sell it when she finishes college and gets her teaching certificate (the same college/teaching certificate plan that she abandoned after receiving my blessing to take off work for over a year and a half in 2002/2003 - that's a song i've heard before, but this is no longer my problem or concern). anyway, they've apparently been looking at properties via the internet and have had no luck doing so that way, so they're planning a visit. wendy doesn't know when yet, but it's obviously going to be sooner than later.

i think she anticipated that i'd have a problem with them staying here - i don't. i won't, however, stay here while they're here. not because i have a problem with either of them - i actually like her parents a great deal - but based on some of the things wendy has told me that she's said to them in conversation, i think it'd be best if i find somewhere else to stay while they're here. one thing in particular - she said that her mom had said to her that "it was a good thing we don't live close because your father was pretty pissed at tom last night", or something to that extent...and her father is a pretty even-keeled guy, so it must've been some grade-A "my husband is an asshole" stuff.

her father, mark, actually called me at work quite some time ago, and we had a long discussion about the merits and challenges of being mr. wendy gilbert, and it felt (at the time) like a productive conversation...i can't imagine he's unaware of the perils and pitfalls of being mr. wendy. after all, he was standing right next to her as she screamed at me at the top of her lungs right before i drove away from her during one of our visits to maine some time back...they've seen it firsthand. they must know.

and yet somehow, she's managed to torque this guy up over the phone to the point that he would've considered paying me a little visit not long ago, had it been realistic to do so. i mean, i actually joked with her (before i knew this and as we were beginning to have "the talks") that her dad was probably going to make a couple of phone calls and i'd probably end up in Gitmo (he's retired from a very high position in the military), but i had no idea at the time that any of what she'd told me had gone down.

so, needless to say, i'm not necessarily jumping at the chance to welcome two more sets of judging eyes into the house so everyone can take turns talking about what a huge fucking disappointment i've been - so i think i'll scout out a sofa and a bathroom elsewhere for a few days.


wendy is NOT HAPPY about this - she seems to think i have no reason to feel this way, and that there wouldn't be a problem at all - and i can't help but sense a teensy bit of delusion on that line of thinking. i'm a parent, and i can't say that i'd feel or behave any differently than i'm sure mark and joanne have felt (and could possibly behave, under the proper set of circumstances) in the same situation. so why invite trouble? we have to get used to this sooner or later anyway, right?

ironically, one of the things i said to chris yesterday during a rare lengthy conversation was that i think that all of us care (a great deal more than we're willing to admit to anyone) what other people think of us - and i'm certain that that's playing a large role in my decision to get out of the way of this. although, in this situation, it might be more accurate to say that i care about how what they think of me might play itself out in my presence. i can't change what they think of me, and at this point in time, with the actual countdown clock already ticking on Tom and Wendy, it doesn't feel relevant or important. i don't feel any need to try and tell my side of the story, or defend my actions...it just seems like a waste of time.

the other day, wendy started to criticize me for airing our difficulties to other people (a certain person in particular she seemed more concerned with than others), and i felt as though i needed to turn the tables and run off a list of names of her friends and confidants (to include exes) and ask who she'd confided in, and i found that it wasn't necessarily a very short list...and that's fine. that's the way this works - when we're hurt or disappointed, we turn to people that we know will provide a sympathetic ear. if you have a conflict with someone, you're not going to get a shoulder from the person you have the conflict with. it doesn't work that way. so you go elsewhere.

however, i think that if you took a survey of some of the people around me, you'd have a hard time finding anyone to tell you that i've disparaged her in any way, said anything that was attacking or hurtful - it's just not necessary, and it doesn't fix anything and i don't feel better for having done it. the stock explanation has essentially been that she and i have different expectations of what should be contributed to a relationship, and neither of us are doing much to live up to the others', and there's no sense in wasting any more of our time on a disappointing relationship...obviously you don't read it the same way to everyone, and the conversation takes on a different tone (as opposed to the very "press release" feel of what i just said) with different people, but i haven't felt the need to rehash any of the specific gripes i have, or read off my laundry list of "things that suck about wendy" or any of that shit.


but i'm not so confident that i've been extended the same courtesy.


otherwise, i don't think i'd be getting visitors who've wanted, at various times in the very recent past, to kick my ass.




2.01.2005

fly, eagles, fly...on the road to...ANOTHER ASS WHOOPIN'

now playing: shawn colvin, "matter of minutes"


so - i just put a poll up on my oft-neglected forum regarding the super bowl, if any of you are feeling so inclined...


it appears as though terrell owens will play on sunday - which will cement the downfall of the team. they all pulled their shit together and took their game up a notch when he went down, and they managed somehow to get into the big game...now, though, with King Braggart back in pads, they're all gonna relax those schpincter muscles that they've had tightened up this past month, and they're gonna end up with great big red, white, and blue tire tracks on their asses.


just so it's in print - it's gonna be patriots 31, eagles 17.


you heard it here first.