3.29.2005

o, christmas tree, o christmas treeeee....

now playing: bret alexander, "gentleman east"


boy...where do these days go?

out of work today, sick as a dog - can't breathe very well, except through my mouth, which has left my lips in pretty sad shape (the constant air passing over them gives them a beating that even chap-stick can't stand up to)...generally listless and achy all over, and not feeling terribly functional.

there's a ton of stuff that i've wanted to post here these past few days, but it's gonna have to wait until tomorrow, when i have a better command of my faculties, i think.


tonight i picked up the kids and we went for a drive as the sun was going down - jayda and dylan were in a not-so-rare-these-days frame of mind...dylan cracking jokes and taking advantage of his comic opportunities and keeping jayda and i in stitches. we saw a pretty neat sunset in the hills to the west as we were making our way back towards home...i remember thinking how habits engrained in them early on in life still seem to surface all these years later. jayda, especially, loves going out for drives to nowhere in particular...and i'm pretty certain that i've sown that seed. i've been taking her for drives since she was a month old. when she was very small, her mom and i took her to tennessee...and one of the mornings we were there, she wouldn't stop crying, so i put her in her car seat and we drove from savannah back to walnut grove, the small village where i grew up. i drove her past the school and through the back roads, to the cemetery where my grandfather was buried - she slept for the entire trip...even when i took her out of her car seat to carry her to her great-grandfathers' gravesite.

one other specific time that i remember was when she and dylan were both still very small...small enough that they could both be shirtless without raising an eyebrow...i put them both into the back of the van and rolled down all the windows and we drove south, towards lancaster and amish country. the sun was out, and i had marty higgins' first album in the tape deck, and it was just a perfect day to have the wind blowing through your hair, with good music mingling with it as it floated through the car.


they're so conditioned to spending time that way that once, a while back, when we were discussing where to put our christmas tree in the apartment we had at the time, i made the statement that "while it should traditionally be in the front room of the house, i think it should be in the place we spend the most time in."



dylan replied, "then you should put it in the van."



if i'd thought of it at the time, i'd have gotten one of those pine-tree deodorizers and let him decorate it.

3.24.2005

rod price

now playing: dan fogelberg, "in the passage"


looks like we've lost another one (as graham nash would say).


most telling line of the obituary:

" After many years of touring he settled in Wilton in 1994.

Many in town knew Price as a loving father who never missed his son's baseball, soccer or basketball games. Fewer people knew of Price's musical background."



rest in peace, rod. we'll miss you.

3.23.2005

pre-emptive rest

now playing: poco, "high and dry (live)"


a couple of folks emailed about the fact that there were pics in my last post, and then there weren't - i was asked very politely to sit on them for a bit until we could go through them all. so, let's just say they're "pending approval".


tonight at work there was a barbershop quartet rehearsal going on in the conference room adjacent to the cafeteria. wow, those guys can sing.

it's not my kind of music, but i'm a total harmony slut, and if i hadn't been so busy i would've probably punched out and sat in the lunchroom and listened to them.

we're prepping for a seriously major upgrade and overhaul at work - and most of the gruntwork will (naturally) fall upon my shoulders...tonight i was to do some rearranging in the server closet, but the one rack is going to have to be completely dismantled, and i didn't have the proper tools available - i also have a couple of thoughts that i want to share with the boss in the morning before i go any further...

so i guess i should consider getting some pre-emptive rest...life is gonna be interesting for the next couple of weeks.

livin' in the band

now playing: eagles, "after the thrill is gone"


on the subject of joe walsh, i found this little tidbit from an old post earlier....enjoy.



ok, so here's the big secret.


this past sunday a longtime friend of both the band poco and the extended poco family had a surprise 50th birthday party...he was duped into thinking it was a work function, and six months of planning by his wife and children and a lot of the poco folks somehow managed to go undetected until the moment he walked in the room.

a little backstory, though...

i had agreed to provide a sound system, PA equipment, and backline gear (amps, etc) for the party. i had spoken to a friend about borrowing some of their gear to add to what i had, and since borrowing their gear would be reason enough to justify bringing him along, i thought of him first...because there was definitely reason for him to want to be there.

well, first the van died...it decided last week to refrain from shifting gears (as we've discussed), so i called my buddy mitch dieghan and we discussed using his truck...until such time as i heard from the chief party coordinator jon rosenbaum that the weather was supposed to suck on sunday. so ok, scratch the truck, then.

shit.

ok, call mike...

oh, wait - there's another problem. now, mike can't make it on sunday, either...some band business has come up, and he's not going to be able to go. ok, forgivable...i can respect his position.

but that leaves me without either PA or transportation on the day before this gig.

so i made a couple of calls, charlies' wife dorothy made a couple of calls, and we managed, through enticing third parties and mixing and matching equipment from other folks, to get the necessary gear in place for the party. literally, just in time to open the doors to people.

now why, you might ask, was it so important to have all this gear?


because POCO was playing the party.

(those unfamiliar with the band and with my ties with them can go back here for a not-so-short refresher course)


dorothy and her family had really pulled out all the stops for this. and it was contingent upon there being a sound system for them to play through.

well, we pulled it off. and i had enough room (since i'd managed to get help with some of the bigger items) to bring my drums along. since the band was playing as a trio (without a drummer), i floated the possibility of sitting in on drums...and got the thumbs up.


i was going to be playing with my heroes.


after the equipment was set up, we did a short soundcheck - after which paul looked over at me with a big grin on his face and said, "there's one for your bio!"

we chuckled for a bit, then dissipated to wait for the guest of honor to arrive - after he came in and stumbled around in a stupor for a few minutes absorbing what was happening, the band played a few songs as a trio, and then we all broke for dinner. after dinner, the band played "happy birthday" to charlie as they cut the cake, and then we did a rather long set together afterward...started with cajun moon...relatively easy song, good one to start....

then rusty mentions made of stone and how i cut the song on my album and asks me to sing it! so he summons me over and sets me up with an acoustic and we do made of stone together with the guys singing harmony while i took the lead.

i think i remembered all the words in order this time...the first time i ever played the song in front of rusty, that wasn't the case (this was at the in-store at the nashville tower records location mentioned in the linked entry above.)

it was a moment, to be sure.

after that, rusty asked me to do another song...i blurted out "indian summer" and headed back to the drumkit...he meant for me to keep playing guitar, i think, but i was more comfortable behind the drums for this show. it was rather low-key, and there were certainly enough capable guitarists in this band as it was. i was enjoying playing drums with them - it had been in the back of my mind ever since jon called me from springfield when george fell ill, and i had felt that, since that time, i would have had a shot at filling in for george during his illness if i'd gone to the show with jon when he invited me.

but, all that aside - we finished the set some time later after having trotted through a handful of poco classics and a couple of songs that i don't think too many people have heard them do - "twist and shout" and "what i'd say", for instance - before we called it a night.

lots of handshaking and smiles later, the car was loaded and wendy and i were on our way back south through the insane new jersey traffic.


as the adrenaline settled in a bit and we were able to relax, i told her, "i'm really glad you came along tonight."

"thanks,", she said. "why?"

"because you understand this. you get how important this was to me. and frankly, i don't know that it's really hit home with me yet...but i know that you know. thank you."


wendy is very much a part of the extended poco family - people know her when we show up at events or at parties, and the band remembers her...hell, we went to a poco show on our honeymoon...and we'd entertained thoughts of asking richie furay to marry us at one point. this poco family is as much hers as it is mine now...



it's now 1:30 am, and i must, must, MUST go to bed.

3.22.2005

spent the last night, rocky mountain way...

now playing: ambrosia, "how much i feel"


well, the weekend is over - but the kind of day its' been hasn't provided much space for relief from the stresses of the last week. email is limping, and we're contemplating where to move user archives and the like, and the tape drive that we use for our backups is broken. big time. with a tape stuck in it.

it's monday.


anyway, i bolted out of work on friday to sprint downtown for the eagles show, and got there just in time to be escorted in with the folks who were there for the joe walsh meet and greet - i had cooked up a scheme to get out of having to go to the show afterward, but it backfired on me...i was going to sell the ticket i bought for the show after the meet and greet was finished, but the person that was supposed to buy it either didn't show up or was swallowed up in the throngs of people - i don't know which. but one of the people that i met at the meet and greet was michael anthony smith of the river, whom i didn't know to be who he was until after we'd talked about guitars for some time...but they talked me into staying for the show once it became apparent that i wasn't going to be able to get out of it, and in retrospect, i'm kinda glad i did. it was a long show...started at eight, and clocked in at over three hours with an intermission...and i was sitting about thirty feet from the side of the stage that joe and steuart smith were sharing. in that respect, it was more like a guitar clinic than a concert - i could see everything that was going on pretty clearly from where i sat, and the sound was pretty amazing. their vocals are still pretty unreal.

they played a lot of older songs, including one of these nights, which surprised me - and they did a pretty fiery version of don henley's dirty laundry that included a joe walsh guitar solo that just took my head off. he was really fired up.

during the time backstage, joe made a point of introducing himself to everyone there, and signed autographs and posed for pictures, even though it had been stated unequivocally that there would be no such shenanigans during the time he had to spend with us. after he'd gotten a chance to meet everyone, he talked about upcoming eagles shows and said that once the eagles tour is over, there were plans for a james gang reunion and tour, most likely to include some USO shows for the troops. he seemed like he could possibly be the most unaffected of the lot, although i have nothing upon which to base that comparison...but he was genuinely nice to everyone who came back to see him, and he apologized for not being more involved with discussions on his website - and then he went out and played with the band for three hours.

in the time since the concert, i've had four or five people tell me that they saw me on the projection screen on joes' "helmet cam" - which cracks me up. i didn't think there was anything so distinctive about my mug that would allow someone to pick it out of a throng of people on a jumbotron at a concert - unless it was just sheer size that made it stand out.


all in all, it was a great night - until i tried to strike up a conversation with joe's guitar tech.


when i saw him from my seat, he looked an awful lot like mike detemple, and i asked him if that's who he was...and he proceeded to tell me a few choice reasons why i had no reason to think that he was who i thought he was. i told him then that i'd only ever seen pictures of him - he runs ads in vintage guitar every month, and that's the only reason i thought -

- but he cut me off right there...and said, in his thick british accent, "i know who 'e fuckin' is, man!"

and before he finished, i just turned around and walked away...since i think that's what he was going for in the first place.


anyway, all that aside - here are a couple of shots from the show, courtesy of my 64-crayola-pixel camera phone:











i know, i know...the detail really is amazing, ain't it? yeah...one more from the show:











and then, there's the man himself, posing with the mug that's visible from space...or at least from the helmet-cam:











then joe chatting with michael anthony smith from the river:











there's much more to report from the weekend yet, but i'm running out of time...so i don't know how much i'll be able to get done tonight. stand by, though.

3.18.2005

uncle rico revisited

now playing: firefall, "so long"


the first thing i did this morning when i got settled in at work was to set up a new winamp playlist...i went through my abridged mp3 collection on my jukebox computer at work and found roughly a hundred songs that fit todays' criteria, which is nothing newer than 1979...no exceptions. and i made a conscious decision to leave out the eagles, fleetwood mac, and any other bands that are too synonymous with that time for me. it's all one hit wonders and artists who never made the kind of impact on the charts at any other time that they did during the end of the seventies. we've got jim photoglo in there...firefall, obviously...little river band, ambrosia, and so on and so forth...now, i did let bob seger squeak through, but that was about it. no superstars - just the "bubbling under the hot 100" kinds of acts that i used to hear on the radio all the time when i was just beginning to explore the complexities of life as a teenager.


(maybe it goes without saying, but there are no songs on this list from the saturday night fever soundtrack, either...damn, i hated that stuff when i was a kid...)


that's where i'm gonna live today, then, in my head - 1978 or so. when my problems were a lot more insignificant than they are now...when i was learning my way around our new junior high school and starting to discover girls and rock and roll at the same time - and found that rock and roll was much more alluring and a lot easier to understand than the opposite sex...before i had any idea what being a grownup entailed, and before i had any idea just how insignificant the problems i had then would be when compared to some of the issues we face as adults.

they had just built the junior high school the year before i went there, and at the time it was a pretty modern building - now, it's pure camp..but back then, it was pretty awesome. the cafeteria-slash-auditorium was in the center of the thing, and all the classrooms were "pods" that shot off the center of the thing...they were all circles that surrounded the one big circle - made it pretty easy to navigate, once you knew which classes were in which "pods". with the exception of a couple of fights i got into, i had a pretty normal existence at school, i think...good friends, the occasional crush that never really blossomed into anything - tammy daniels, who lived across a field from my house and rode my bus to school - she was really cute, but she was another one for whom terminal mutual shyness was a problem. kelly finch, whom i've talked about here before...but i digress.



where real life is concerned, though, i have a ton of phone calls to make in conjunction with an affair on sunday - i have to try to arrange transportation for a PA system and backline for a show, i have to make sure that all my help is onboard, and i have to coordinate my directions with my friend jon and call around to borrow a couple of things that i don't have for this deal.

i should be excited about this, and honestly - if i hadn't made a commitment to my friends that i'd do this, i probably wouldn't go at all.


after this is over and i'm able to discuss it openly, you'll think i'm fuckin' insane for having made that statement.


christ, i'm not even feeling any kind of anticipation about the joe walsh meet and greet tonight. i should be stoked...he's one of the reasons i decided to learn to play guitar. he makes it look like so much fun...and he always manages to play the perfect part for whatever he's playing, and he never overplays - and that's an important ethic to me.

i should be a lot more excited about getting to meet him than i feel at the moment...but i don't seem to find much joy in anything these past few days. the weight of everything that's going on around me right now is getting to be a bit much.


but...when this is over, i'm sure i'll sing a slightly different tune.

3.17.2005

more motor madness

now playing: jann arden, "shooting horses"



feast or famine, man...feast or famine.


i'm not sure just exactly what i've done to myself here, but i just committed over the phone last night to close to a dozen solo acoustic gigs. i was double-recommended for this particular adventure by both mike noecker from shame and by dave cullen - which is something of an honor...it's always good to be highly thought of by ones' peers, i think. the first of them starts the first week of april, and they run into july as it stands right now.

i'm strangely excited by the prospect of doing this again...i mean, it's been quite some time since i've done solo acoustic work with any kind of regularity. the last few times i've done solo gigs were at a labor day party and at my friend roger's surprise birthday party, and not much else since the waning days of the mutual angels era...and for the most part, i can't say that i've missed it.

now, though, faced with the prospect of working in that vein again, i'm actually feeling pretty good about it. the contact guy has been really nice to deal with, and the room has an excellent reputation. it'll be interesting, though, to see how what i do translates now. it feels like a million years ago that i did this on a regular basis.


last night, i sat down and did an ebay search for "vanagon" to get a feel for what was out there and what they were going for - i guess i could say that i was a little encouraged by what i saw, in terms of what some similar to mine were going for...a little encouraged. that'd be about it.

it was my hope that this thing was gonna last long enough for me to put a sticker on it, but i'm starting to have my doubts...now i've got issues with the transmission refusing to shift when it should, and at this point i'm feeling pretty strongly that it'd take a pretty solid offer to get that thing out from under my original idea of driving it to the scrapyard and pulling a sledgehammer from the back and pummelling it until i have no more strength left....then taking a nap and pummelling it some more.

i can't wait to be rid of that treacherous motherfucker.


yesterday, though, i was talking to chris, and she offered to let me borrow her honda civic until the van is operable...the only catch was that the inspection on it ran out in february (she hasn't used it, and it was sitting in the driveway all winter...so it wasn't a negligence issue - she just doesn't drive it). that meant that, of course, the registration had expired as well. so i went online and she gave me her information over the phone to get the registration updated, but i still have to get it in for inspection before some eagle-eyed officer of the law sees me in it and he goes through the famous warner brothers cartoon "dollar signs replacing his pupils" transformation as he's pulling me to the curb. driving it back to reading last night under cover of darkness wasn't so stressful - driving it this morning was a different story. i'm pretty sure that it'll need, at a minimum, rear brakes and some exhaust work to pass inspection - normal wear and tear stuff...but that'd be cheaper than renting another gaudy-assed PT cruiser for a week. i'm not gonna count the teeth on the gift horse - it's a weight off my shoulders not to have to worry so much about the van having to be back up and running right this minute for a change.

that doesn't address the larger problem of finding something reliable and permanent...but i think i'll be ready for that soon.


wendy and i have both been too distracted by other issues this week to interact very much - she's got a huge report due for the state at the end of the month, and there's a meeting scheduled on monday to outline what the plans are for dealing with an upcoming merger of the township where her library is and an adjacent township - apparently, there's a regulation on the books that says that a municipality cannot have two fully functioning libraries - one must become a branch of the other. wendys' library has been there the longest, while the other townships' library is the equivalent of a MASH field hospital at the moment...but i know she's worried about what happens with her job as and after the dust settles. as for me, i've got a pretty important day lined up on sunday, and my perpetual vehicular woes are compounding with every little thing that goes wrong. every time something else breaks, i feel that much more like an asshole for continuing to nurse this piece of shit along. if i had back every cent i'd sunk into it over the past year, it wouldn't be difficult at all to buy something a lot nicer.

in fact, i've pretty much resolved myself to selling it once it's drivable and i can snap some pictures in the daylight to get it up on the 'net. i don't even care anymore about it passing inspection. at this point, getting it ready for a sticker is more effort than i'm willing to put into it.


and the funk that it inspires is creeping into every corner of my brain.

it must die. soon.



seriously, i should be on a cloud right now. i've got the shop to myself for the rest of the week, i just got a nice batch of solo acoustic work that'll last through the spring into the summer, i'm going to get to meet one of my guitar heroes tomorrow night, and then there's this sunday thing...

i should be at the top of my game...but this van shit has become a fucking emotional ball and chain around my neck that refuses to let me take any joy in any of that. it's pretty goddamn sad.


i will try to set that aside for the time being, though.


i'm not sure why, but i'm finding myself strangely affected by the song it might be you by stephen bishop lately...it just makes me sad. that song used to remind me of one of my high school crushes, cheryl worley. she was one of those girls that i used to love to look at - she was sooo pretty, but she was hard to talk to. i don't think it was because she didn't want to talk to me so much as because she just didn't seem to have anything to say...lots of one word answers and such. she was smart, though...just not much of a conversationalist. she had a great smile and the whole shy thing just melted me...but i was so timid that i wasn't able to connect with her - and those kinds of crushes don't have much of a shelf life.

i don't know why that song is making a comeback...but that one and romeo and juliet by dire straits...and infinity by willy porter...there are a few real zingers in my playlist today.


so tired...i can't remember the last time that midnight found me somewhere other than in bed. i'm already feeling as though i could sleep, and it's not even dark outside yet.



well...maybe it's time to call the kids and see what the plan is for this evening...

3.11.2005

shaken, not stirred

now playing: mae moore, "bohemia"



settling in for a long night at work - my nerve endings have been much closer to my skin than usual today, and at this point, i'm exhausted and lonely and sad...and while i can normally think of plenty of places i'd usually rather be, tonight i seem to be most suited for my own company.


i could probably sum up my state of mind as an emotional cocktail with equal parts of hurt, angry, and stupid...with varying degrees of prominence for each...





he's a quiet man...that's all she said
he's a thoughtful man...it's just he likes to keep his thoughts up in his head
and we finally meet - and she tries to draw him out a bit
she says, "he's writing something...hey, now - why don't you talk about it?"

and he doesn't make a sound
he's just staring at his coffee
and i know there's all this beauty and this greatness she'll defend

but i think it's all my friend

.....

sometimes i see myself fine
sometimes i need a witness
and i like the whole truth but -
there are nights i only need forgiveness
sometimes they say, "i don't know who you are...but let me walk with you some.."
and i say, i am alone, that's all...
you can't save me from all the wrong i've done

but they're waiting just the same
with their flashlights and their semaphores
and i act like i have faith and like that faith never ends

but i really just have friends...




dar williams, "my friends"

3.10.2005

simplex circuits

now playing: joe walsh, "pretty maids all in a row"



yeah, yeah, yeah...it's officially an eagles song...sue me.


i told wendy once that joe should sing lead on all their songs, because the harmonies would always be amazing...she looked at me like i'd just sprouted a horn from my forehead. i knew what i meant, though.



there's something i need to address regarding wendy and some things i said here recently.


wendy insists that she was truly sick last weekend when she was sequestered in her room, and while i don't think that being sick in and of itself was the sum total of her motivation to stay in the bedroom most of the weekend, i don't think i gave her a fair treatment when i talked about it here. the brian wilson comparison was a cheap shot, to be specific, and i've felt bad about it ever since i posted it.

i know i'm capable of using more tact in discussing these kinds of things than i was in that entry...and while i stand by parts of what i said, certain parts - certain likely obvious parts - were in pretty poor taste. and for that, i apologize to her and to anyone else intimately familiar with our situation who might've been offended by my judgemental lapse in choice of words.




i've started and then abandoned about three different entries, on various subjects, over the course of the past few days...on why it is that i'm really starting to resent certain aspects of what it is that i do for a living (the endless parade of stupid people who refuse to utilize just a modicum of common sense where their machines are concerned...that's a big one right now)...on some recent thoughts about the pros and cons of familiarity and how it can be a source of peace as well as a poisonous breeder of apathy...but i haven't finished any of them yet. work and life have been conspiring to prevent the usual lengthy streams of introspection that often come with long sessions of installing windows and such.

my office mate is back today...her first day back is always tough, because i find myself having silence withdrawals. she was out yesterday, and although i was swamped, the air in the office was blissfully devoid of idle chitchat and divorce updates and really bad puns...only the strains of god's own winamp playlist and the hum of the perpetual desk fans (which are necessary in here, since this room is the warmest by a long shot of any in the building. and yes, it has been mentioned that computers should be serviced and stored in a cooler environment...to no avail.)

so i've gone from tony bennett softly crooning "the way you look tonight" over the gentle hum of the fan behind me to mary ann in all her glory with both barrels blazing from the moment i walked in this morning.

yeah, it's requiring some adjustment.


she's not malicious, and she means well...it's just that some days, i'm better equipped to be social than others...and some days, i'm not inclined to be social at all. to anybody.

i don't know that today is necessarily one of those days - but i do have a low, low tolerance for chitchat today.

and it hasn't even slowed down today....


i'm starting to think that perhaps she's one of those people for whom the actual act of having a conversation is secondary to just talking...talking, nonstop, oblivious to whether or not she's being heard, or whether whomever she harbors the delusion of talking to is even listening to her. she'll sit there at her desk and blather on indefinitely without any real sense of whether i'm paying attention or not - and the only logical deduction i can draw from that is that she doesn't give a fuck whether i'm listening or not, as long as she's able to talk...and here i sit in the midst of the small-talk cyclone, clinging to my composure like bill paxton and helen hunt in twister - strapped to a pipe with my legs parallel to the ground from the force of the wind.



i got home last night from a double bill of nik everett rehearsal and a frenetic trip back to leesport to finish end of day data processing before midnight to find wendy awake, working on a library project...she and i ended up staying up until 3 am this morning, talking about some recent frustrations and weighing a commitment to keep certain things inside the house until such time as the moving vans have come and gone (among other things). it didn't feel like a three hour conversation at all, though - it was actually refreshing. she and i rarely have those kinds of conversations...the kind that we both contribute to. wendy could be compared to my officemate in a sense - although that wouldn't be a fair comparison in most ways. there are times when wendy's a simplex circuit - she only works in one direction at a time. she can send, and she can receive, but she doesn't react well to attempts to coax her into sending and receiving at the same time. this is something i've mentioned to her before, and i know she's cognizant of it, but i don't think that she's aware she's doing it when she's doing it...but if you bring it up after the fact, she tends to concede that she does it. it's just part of the DNA that makes up who she is. but last night was devoid of the usual tension that exists when it's necessary to navigate certain waters...it's something that i honestly wish we'd done more of.


it ended on a good note, though, overall...


i think i'm starting to get waaaay too much perspective on what it must be like to be premenstrual - one minute i want to apologize for being an ass and tell her how much i love her, and then before i even finish the thought i want to put her stuff in storage and get her a hotel until she makes settlement just to get her out of the house so i can put this behind me.

and back.

and forth.

and so on.

it's really quite maddening...and likely a good chunk of the reason people choose not to end relationships in the manner that we've tried to end this one.


it takes a lot outta ya.




if you trip between the days
if you fall between the lines
and you're paying no attention
to the warning signs

too much static in the air
too much sugar in my mouth
and every single possibility
all worked out

we are only satellites
we are only satellites
we just spin around
and wait for the night to roll in
wait for the night to roll in
wait for the night to roll in...

...'cause that's the only time we shine



shane nicholson, "satellite song"


situational introvert

now playing: shane nicholson, "the best day of the year"




fellas...you wanna quick tip from your ol' buddy tom on how to bring your ego down to a manageable size?


stop by the online personal ads. seriously.



today, before i left for lunch, i stopped over at match.com and had a look around - i did a search for women ages 32-40 looking for men who were non-smokers and leaned liberal in their political beliefs...because, frankly, these are my only real criteria. the politics can be negotiated to a certain extent, but the smoking things' a dealbreaker for me. i didn't enter any criteria for body type or build or any of that bullshit, or hair color or whatever...i just wanted to take a swing through and see what was out there.

i'm not really sure what it was that prompted me to, even - unless it was an afterthought brought on by last night's conversation with wendy before bed (possible), or maybe i'm just starting to feel curious about what else might be out there (understandable, but ill-advised)...or perhaps i just like to be reminded every now and then just how pathetic it's possible to feel.


with the exception of a small handful of the women who've taken the time to write very well-written ads that actually give the reader some insight into who they are and what they expect, so, so many of them were identical...so much so that i was starting to think that the same woman wrote them all. seriously. i was starting to think that perhaps some lonely, 74-year old woman in northern berks county was writing these ads for all these other women in absentia, having placed an ad offering her ad-writing services in the penny pincher or something like that....


the most interesting thing i remember reading was one woman (a Leo) who called herself a "situational introvert" - that struck a chord with me. i like that phrase. i might have to borrow it sometime.

but some of them pointed out to me the degree to which i definitely do not have my shit together.


33 and 34 year old women who make over $70K a year, discussing their favorite mediterranean vacation spots, their fabulous jobs...and they all want "a man who knows what he wants and whos' willing to go after it...someone with a sense of humor...a man whos' secure and confident and who loves his work but also loves to play, too..."...and of course, there's the ever present "vital statistics" portion of the ad, too...the part where they spell out just how young or old you can be, how tall or short...and the "build" guideline, which invariably reads slim, average, athletic and not much else....


now, look - i know as well as anyone that men are probably the more shallow of the sexes, when it comes to holding physical appearance up to so much scrutiny...and i didn't necessarily get the impression that a majority of them were overtly obvious about it when they wrote out their wishlists. the thing i did find interesting was how many of them (especially the ones in the age group i ran the search for) seemed to be adamant about their requirement that their potential mate be childless...that struck me as interesting...because a healthy percentage of the women who turned up in this age bracket had been previously married, and a lot of them had children. it makes for some interesting speculation to ask oneself how realistic it is on their behalf to expect to find a man of the same age who didn't have paternal ties.


the whole experience, though, got me to thinking what i'd put in an ad if i was going to create a profile and throw it up there for the scrutiny of the masses - would i do as it seems so many have and string together a list of what good qualities i could muster in a description, or would it be best to be honest about who i am and see what that would attract?


something like this:



"overly sensitive tortured-artist personality whose age and waist size hang dangerously and precariously close to being the same number....still renting after having soured on the homeowner experience...drives a twenty year old volkswagen van and has become a case-study in automotive co-dependency...works the occasional 50 hour workweek if he happens to take a weekday off, thus making it almost impossible to plan around schedule or rely on his presence at times.... musician/computer geek/workaholic/parental chauffeur, seeks an independent woman who can glean a lot from a little - who might have to make do for days at a time on IM's and phone calls, participate in sporadic roadside bailouts when said volkswagen van has sufficiently lulled him to distraction, negotiate relationships with children from previous marriage who can be as moody as he can at times, and who can anticipate which version of me might be coming in the door on a given night and adjust accordingly, depending on mood..."


i'm sure i'd have to be a little more detailed, but that's what i think i'm gonna go with if i decide to go that route.


strangely seductive scenario, i know...i'm gonna be beatin' the babes off with a stick, man.

3.07.2005

gods' own winamp playlist

now playing: jonatha brooke, "inconsolable"



i finally got a copy of my old temporary roommate michael tolcher's record over the weekend, along with a bunch of other stuff that i left in the van and brought to work with me...there was a ben arnold cd that i used to have that had disappeared on me, an old jann arden album that i never owned, and a couple of other things...but i haven't been able to shut off my current winamp playlist yet today...it's almost as if i set this list up with prior knowledge of what kind of mood i'd be in when i came to work today...we've got marty higgins, patty griffin, shane nicholson, blake allen, the innocence mission, eastmountainsouth, october project...i just can't bring myself to interrupt any of this yet.


i mean, i want to listen to mike's record...i've liked what i've heard of it so far. but i'm in one of my moods, and i don't want to marry his record to my frame of mind right now. does that make sense at all?


one of my main missions today is to bring a couple of people together and prepare for something that's happening in less than two weeks...something that i can't talk about in public yet. i've made the appropriate phone calls and sent out the appropriate emails - now i just have to wait and see if this is going to come together today or not. i do have a couple of options, so i want to wait and see what happens with the first round of calls before i move on to plan B. i know that the guy i've got in mind would be the perfect guy for the gig, and i know he'd enjoy it more than anyone else i have in mind, so i'm resting my hopes with him for now.


later, when i can talk about this, it'll all make perfect sense.


ooooooh....richochet in time by shawn colvin...

some music has the effect on me that i would imagine the act of stroking a pet has...this song just kinda runs across my frazzled nerve endings in that kind of manner. it comes on and i can actually feel certain muscles in my body give way a little.

i needed that.

3.06.2005

just like brian wilson did....

now playing: shane nicholson, "nice to be here"



wendy hasn't left the bedroom all weekend.

yesterday, i saw her once when she crossed paths with me on the way to the bathroom, and once when she came downstairs to find something to eat. it's now three in the afternoon, and she's on a par to repeat yesterday (one trip to the bathroom). she made mention of not feeling well, but i would think that would involve more than one trip to the bathroom a day.

lights off, tv on, catatonic on the bed.

i'm not sure if this has anything to do with my decision a few days ago to move out of the bedroom or if it's because the kids are here, or what it is...but at this point, it's looking like it sure is gonna be a long month.

all the boxes i've brought home from work for her remain stacked, unfilled, on the back porch.

i've moved wendy three times - from maine to here, then from my old apartment on oley street to west reading, and then from west reading to this house. each time, the modus operandi has been the same - put off packing until the last minute and then scramble like a madman half an hour before the truck shows up in front of your steps to take you away. the two moves we've actually done together have both had the benefit of having an extra months' rent paid on the vacated property, and we've done lots of short runs to bring over the remnants from moving day. and i'm getting the sense that things won't be any different this time, either - moving day will come, people will show up to take the major stuff, and there'll be a long parade of rob and laura-esque visits to pick up the stuff she didn't take on moving day for who-knows-how-long-after-that.

because from where we now stand, it's been roughly three weeks since her parents came and went, since the new house has been picked out and secured...and there isn't a single tangible piece of evidence anywhere in the house that she's packed anything.

for all the lip service that she gives to feeling better, being more clear about her goals, blah blah blah...all i'm seeing is the same old wendy.



went to breakfast yesterday with the kids and their mom - jadya had an appointment for a consultation with the oral surgeons who will be removing her wisdom teeth (oh, and i got to see the xray, too...let's just say this is happening right on time) - so i got up, got showered and dressed, and then got her up to get ready...dylan was in the basement playstationing, so when her mom came to pick her up, i herded dylan into the shower and we all met for breakfast afterwards.

while we were sitting at the table, jayda dropped the bomb on her mother that she thinks that she wants to move in with me for a while, because she needs a break from the chaos that seems to be the rule of the day at her house. now, i'm not sure why she chose that particular moment to let that fly - maybe it was because we were all being civil and friendly and it felt like a comfortable time for her to bring it up - but she wasn't met with a great deal of opposition. in fact, jill seemed downright receptive to the idea. of course, we've discussed this more times than i could count, and it's never actually materialized a plan...so we'll see what ultimately happens. i was amazed at her little display of bravery, though.



my short-lived stint as a country guitar player is over as of today - i just finished two nights of work with my friend keiths' band - i told him last night that when i agreed to do this, it felt more like a favor, like something i was doing more out of loyalty to our friendship than because it was something i thought i'd enjoy...but it was actually fun. i still don't think i could do it on anything above a sporadic basis, but it was a nice change of pace...both from what i normally do, and from what i haven't been doing for a few months.

i might have to rethink any future offers to join country bands, though, depending on the material - and how often they play. while i felt ok playing with my friends this weekend, i'd have to weigh how much enthusiasm i'd be able to muster where playing this stuff more often would be concerned.


another life lesson in never say never, i guess.

3.04.2005

if you don't have anything good to say...

now playing: eastmountainsouth, "on your way"



i was actually several paragraphs into an entry, and decided that perhaps some days, it's better not to say anything at all.


i don't know how eager i am to even get into any of this today. or tomorrow.


and besides - the rest of the world has plenty of irritability and frustration to go around - i doubt that you need to come here to find it.


back...later. maybe.

3.03.2005

bottom of the third

now playing: patty griffin, "rain"


so yesterday was wendys' birthday...i bought her roses, made dinner reservations and dropped the roses off at the restaurant, the whole nine yards. i raced home and took a shower and changed clothes..then i picked her up and took her to dinner, where the lions' share of the few tidbits of conversation that interrupted the silence at the table seemed to involve the extent to which i "took advantage of her", in terms of using her car during times when my van has been in the shop. rather ironic coming from someone whos' insisted on being reimbursed for every cent she's spent on just about every major domestic expense she's had to step up and deal with for the length of our marriage.

for the price of the flowers and the meal, i could've probably gotten her what i figure she really wanted - a couple seasons' worth of gilmore girls on DVD - and in retrospect, i kinda wish i had. woulda been easier than all the effort i put into this particular outing...and certainly a lot less depressing.

there were three netflix envelopes waiting for her when we got home...i think that netflix should personalize their envelopes, depending on where they're going. a netflix packet in our mail should have the words abandon all hope, all ye who enter here on the front of it. that'd pretty much sum it up at my house.

anyway, i didn't feel like being an accessory to another sex in the city marathon, so i went straight to bed. i could have probably spent some energy on laundry, but i had none. i just wanted to sleep.

at exactly 2:51 am, i was awakened by this sound coming from downstairs - the word 'caterwaul' comes immediately to mind, but that word has connotations of either pain or despair. it didn't sound as though it came directly from either of those sources, but it certainly had its sonic roots somewhere in the neighborhood of 'caterwaul'. it was piercingly loud, and it lasted about six seconds. it wasn't a scream, but it had the volume of one. it wasn't musical, but it had a cascading sort of cadence to it...kinda like what you might expect to hear if humans made the same noises that cats do when they're feeling amorous. i really don't know what kind of a place it came from. i knew who it came from, though...there were only the two of us in the house, and i had been sleeping.

i got up and went halfway down the stairs and said, "are you alright?" she was still sitting on the sofa, watching TV.


3 in the morning.


she said, "you had to be there."


i thought momentarily about making a crack about how her new neighbors would potentially warm up to hearing shit like that at three in the morning, since her new house is directly connected to her neighbors on either side...but it was, after all, three in the morning. and i didn't feel like starting any shit, since i had hopes of trying to get back to sleep.


3 in the morning.


those of you who know me well know how heavily i sleep. i'm not awakened easily. i went back to bed shaking my head in a quizzical, what the fuck sorta way...it took me a long time to get back to sleep, but i did.

i was dreaming about going to bed at my grandfathers' house...it was a saturday night and all the cousins were over, and i was just turning in and the lights had just gone off when my alarm clock went off this morning.

and even though i feel like i got plenty of sleep, that's still kinda managed to fuck up my equilibrium this morning.


add to all this the fact that my right wrist is in an ace bandage due to a neat little spill i took while de-icing the car...diagnosis is a light sprain, and it's not terribly painful, but a little stiff nonetheless. yesterday and today it seems as though my back hurts more than my wrist, but i did happen to land on my wrist and not my back, so the swelling was considerably more conspicuous there.

just in time for the two gigs i agreed to do this weekend for keiths' band as a sub.


i also found out yesterday that my daughter, miss jayda potato, will have to have surgery very soon to remove all four of her wisdom teeth, which are impacted and causing her no small amount of discomfort. she'll find out tomorrow when this is supposed to occur.


in a lot of ways, my life right now feels like a baseball game that's reached the third inning with a score of 19-2. everyone knows what the outcome is going to be, there's no mystery regarding the games' conclusion, but the six innings that remain have to be played out nonetheless...everything you could potentially do between now and the final out is essentially a waste of time spent going through the motions, but the game is nine innings, so you play nine innings - regardless of how hopeless the act of actually playing might be.