the agony of defeat

there comes that time, when you must look at the clock, and then at your word count, and concede that there’s really no possibility that you’re going to make the goal that has been set for you.

this would be that time.

i made a valiant effort – i got in around 6,000 words this weekend, but it wasn’t enough. the pull of everything else that i needed and wanted to do over the course of this month was stronger than the urge to make the goal. so, to those who have succeeded, i extend my congratulations, and i will very likely see you next year.

the odd thing is that i still have a pretty strong urge to finish the book…but i do need a bit more time to get my facts straight. there were a couple of sequences that were off kilter, a few things that i actually had to go back and re-read old journals and the like to clarify – and i was still off in a lot of instances.

now, though, i have some people who are clamoring for an ending…so i have a commitment to finish this thing, but i want it to be right, and i want it to read well. i’m not so sure that either of those things are true at the moment.

and it’s early enough, now, that i can still salvage some portion of this weekend for something constructive….so this is my goal, now.


now playing: atlanta rhythm section, “champagne jam”

not particularly happy about working today, especially considering that i only got to bed at 2am when we got home from donnie and faye’s house…but there’s something strangely peaceful about coming to work when only a third or so of the normal inhabitants are here…i will get much done today.

we opted out of actually preparing food this year…decided to dine out, and actually had a really good time. we figured the place that would come closest to getting it right that everyone would enjoy would be cracker barrel, and we were right…we parked right in front of the door and walked right in. i thought when we pulled into the lot that they might’ve been closed, there were so few cars there. it was perfect. the kids were in good spirits and we spent most of dinner giggling…

nanowrimo update: i have three days left…inlcuding today…to come up with 17,000 or so words.

i’d have to say that the odds don’t look too hot here…chances of actually finishing are feeling somewhat doubtful. but i’m not throwing in the towel just yet.

i know that everyone else who maintains one of these things probably does this, but i’ve never been one to let something like being cliched become an obstacle…so here, then, is my gratitude list.

(i actually used to keep a gratitude journal, back during the luddite days when people actually used to write these kinds of things down manually…can you believe that?)

a short diatribe concerning appreciation and thankfulness…

***the whos:

the insular group of individuals that comprise my immediate family: wendy, jayda, and dylan
wendy is my companion, jayda is my confidant and dylan is my mirror; soulmates, all of them.
(i’m especially thankful that, during the time that so often sees parents and children growing apart as they find their way into their own circles, that my children grow closer to me. they remind me that my remaining time on this planet is precious…i try to give them as much of it as i can, and they prove to me constantly what a wise investment this has been. to watch them grow has been the great joy of my life.)

my extended stone road family…darryl, barry, quin, and donnie
it’s hard to explain to someone who’s never experienced it, this circuit that exists between people who do what we do. going out and playing our asses off is the best team sport ever. if you don’t play an instrument or sing and you’ve thought about taking a swing at it, do. even if you do it in the privacy of your own undisclosed location and no one else ever hears a note that you generate but yourself, it really is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. and, not unlike sex, it’s a lot more fun to do with others than by yourself….but by yourself is pretty OK too. the time it takes to become somewhat adept at an instrument pays for itself. i’ve been blessed with talents that have allowed me to go places and do things i’d have never gotten to experience otherwise…and even though i might have peaked some time ago by the world’s standards of success, i’m having the time of my life right now. blake allen, charlie degenhart, marty higgins, todd bartolo and the youngers – i love playing with you guys, and i constantly look forward to the next one.

my circle of friends
this becomes dangerous…to name names or not to name names – that is the question. i guess we’ll just put it this way….if you’re not reading this, then i’m not talking about you specifically. how’s that?
without being quite so pat, there are some folks that i’ve managed to reconnect with in the past year that i’m really glad to have managed to track down. on a weeknight in the fall, i drove my kids two and a half hours south on a school night to the washington dc area to meet my friend thor from high school, who i hadn’t seen for twenty years – thanks to the internet, we’re now back in touch. the kids got a huge kick out of him, and we all had a blast. you just can’t not mention that.

my heroes
in stream of consciousness order:

my kids, my mother and grandfather, david phillips, jerry opdycke, tom del colle, craig wilson, con healy, david lindley, ed king, tom wood, luther crotts, jim johnson, duane allman, lindsey buckingham, sonny landreth, stevie ray vaughn, jackson browne, stephen stills, frank perry, jerry garcia, jimmie spheeris, david wilcox, henry “heineken” beck, john gorka, doug hopkins, ry cooder, rusty young, paul cotton, richie furay, lightnin’ hopkins, joe walsh, neil peart, george marinelli, garry lee, silent bob….to name a few, of course.
(these kinds of lists are tailor-made for “head slapping”, V8 style, after the fact. i’m sure i left out someone who’s vitally important to me…..)

***the whats:

for saving my life, for giving me hope, for offering me a future, for lifting my spirits and giving me insight, for bandaging my loneliness and letting me know that there were other people out there who shared my experiences. for speaking to me personally and for those who responded to me personally, i’m grateful.

i’ve historically had a hard time talking about this out loud, for fear of sounding arrogant or vain, but i’m thankful for the level of expertise i’ve managed to accumulate to this point in my life. i’m thankful that i’ve had the opportunities in my life that my talent has enabled me to take advantage of, and i’m thankful for the resources that have enabled me to pursue as many of the talents that i’ve been able to. i’m thankful for the roomful of guitars, lap steels, mandolins, banjos, and assorted stringed mayhem that lives in my house, downstairs from my home studio for which i am also thankful.

i’m thankful that i fell backwards into this line of work as i was coming into the autumn of my musical aspirations. it’s a perfect fit – almost as if i’d been doing this all along. it keeps my interest, and i feel like i’m contributing something by helping people who feel overwhelmed and illiterate by all this. it’s a good gig to have.

the usual stuff
health, freedom, food, clothing, shelter…i take more for granted than most, and am way too quick to jump on the “woe is me” train if things aren’t going my way – i’m very much a byproduct of the age of entitlement, much to my own chagrin sometimes. thankfully, every now and then i get to drive home in the splendor of a sunset like the one dylan and i got on the way home from GuitarDay last weekend, and it puts things in a more healthy perspective.

so, i’m feeling rather humbled and grateful now, having put all this in a form where i have to digest it all at once…but can’t help but mourn the fact that none of it is eligible to throw at my word count…ah, well. that’s work for another day. or two (since that’s all that’s left….).


now playing: america, “children”

it’s quarter to three in the morning, and wendy and i are home, sitting at our parallel desks in the living room…she’s reading the news from home and i’m eating ice cream to soothe the needles and razors in my throat from the gig earlier tonight. my voice held out just long enough – by the time the end of the fourth set rolled around, i was just screaming to be heard, but it was great. we were able to play at a comfortable volume – loud enough to fill the room, but not so loud that we were pounding each other into submission….

donnie and i had a great night. we were totally in sync for most of the night. the circuit is beginning to open up there, without the preliminary work that i had assumed would be needed for it to happen. we haven’t really had any opportunities yet to work out some of the parts that i’m looking forward to nailing down, and it dawned on me tonight that maybe this is a good thing – we’re developing a rappore without forcing it, and that’ll make it easier to sit down and work out stuff like that once we have time to do that.

everyone was in such great spirits tonight…it really was a great gig.

one of the officers of the club came up to me personally between the second and third sets and told us that we were the best band that he’d seen there in the eighteen years he’d been coming there.


wendy asked me on the way home how i would describe what it was that she saw taking place when donnie and i were playing and we fell into sync the way we’re starting to.

i thought about it for a while, and the only analogy i can really come up with was being in a country where no one spoke english, and you could only vaguely understand a word here or there, and then bumping into someone who speaks english and being able to have a real conversation.

that’s pretty close.

do i look fat in these leather chaps?

now playing: nick drake, “pink moon”

i don’t handle responsibility well, i don’t think.

i’ve been handed quite a bit extra lately, here at work, and my knees are buckling. i know that ultimately, i’m going to get my feet planted and get a good push to get myself righted…but i just want to crawl under my desk today and forget that i’m a grownup.

my daughter is home, sick as hell – and i think i’m next, because my voice is moving slowly into harvey fierstein territory…i’ll soon be running through the offices, screaming, “david! david! why did i just put my mother on a plane to atlanta?” and, of course, this’ll be all well and good here today, but tomorrow night stone road plays a biker thanksgiving party, and i dunno how forgiving they’ll be when i sing my medley of air supply songs with this voice…i mean, i know how forgiving and sensitive those guys can be, but you just don’t sing those great old air supply songs without being able to give it your all, man. i mean…they might get angry. if i’m not one hundred percent, then they may take to idle chatter during our set…or worse, get up and move to the hors’duerves table while i’m singing…and, maybe – just maybe – if they’ve been drinking early enough…they may ask the entertainment committee not to bring us back next year. how completely and utterly brash.

if this appears to be the case, though, and they’re not responding, then we’ll have to pull out the heavy artillery and throw some rowdy, rambunctious music at them.

yes, that’s right.

i’m talking about heavy music, man. stuff like tom jones or maybe even michael bolton!! so a word to the wise, you leatherclad fuckers…we’re gonna rock your world tomorrow night! whoooooohooooo! yeaaaaaaaaaa!

now, sing with us….

“maaaakin’ looooooove…oudddda nuthin’ at aaaaaaaalllllll…..”

you want me to fix what?

now playing: dolly varden, “be a part”

so right out of the gate, today, i’m being asked to fix something that doesn’t even resemble a computer. and, to quote the most overplayed band in rock and roll history, “i see a bad moon rising….”

nothing good can possibly come from this. but i will do as they ask.

ahwell. been reflecting on saturday night’s show, and what lies in store for the rest of the year…wednesday night, we’re playing a huge pre-thanksgiving party for an area biker club. i love those…and it should be a blast.

and i know that, all things considered, we had a good night on saturday night, when you factor in that we haven’t played in almost a month, but the vocal situation is still bothering me. i’ll admit it, right here, in a public forum…our vocals haven’t quite recovered from shawn’s dismissal. donnie hasn’t really found his way into the vocal mix yet on any of the songs he doesn’t sing lead on, and quinn doesn’t have shawns’ range. so, while a lot of the songs don’t really notice that he’s not around anymore, the ones that do make his absence pretty obvious. thankfully, there are only a few – but i remain convinced that we can overcome this.

saturday night’s gig was at one of those places that has a pretty tiny area for the band to set up in, so i had to stand right in front of darryl’s kit. literally, right in front of it….where i could feel the wind from his kick drum on the back of my leg.

huh huh huh huh huh…that was cool

ok, off i go into the realm of the unknown and unqualified…i seriously hope i don’t fry this thing…

mojo letter

now playing: redskins vs. dolphins on espn

long ago, i saw an episode of mork and mindy where a guy had died in her father’s music store…some guy that no one liked just dropped right there in the place, and when his wife came rushing to the store, they all told her how much they like him and what a great guy he was…so, mork disappears into the back room and uses an alien power he has that only works once every dozen centuries or so to bring this guy back to life. he does this, he says later, because everyone loved this guy so much…and doesn’t understand why everyone would say these things if the guy was an asshole – and they’re all pissed that he wasted this opportunity on the dickhead that no one likes.

fast forward to about six thirty tonight, when (after finishing some errands at work) i head over to the redner’s across the street from work…the redner’s immortalized in my earlier post…yeah, that one. the soup post.

anyway, i walk into the back toward the deli section and i can’t help but notice that the nasty-assed soup that i complained about was gone…replaced by the soup that they had before, the soup that wasn’t broken but that they insisted on fixing anyway.

so, i’m thinking to myself…i actually got what i wanted here. i wrote a letter, and it actually worked…bad soup gone.

so, i’m wondering – what if i’d put up with the soup and written my letter elsewhere, if that one was gonna actually work, then i shoulda used it for something a little more important. why didn’t i write dubya a letter, telling him to repeal the patriot act, bring our troops home, and look for another job.

no, i had to waste my mojo letter on soup.

i sure do feel like a selfish bastard.


now playing: jay ferguson, “thunder island”

(it should be mentioned that “now playing” features a kickass slide guitar solo from joe walsh…just in case you were interested)

this weekend, there’s a stone road gig. it feels like decades since we played last. sheesh, take three weeks off and you start to forget what people look like…

this weekend, i will tell you now lest it not be said afterward, will be busy as hell. i have a dozen things i want to do, and i’m 24 hours away from being officially ten thousand words behind in my nanowrimo committment, so that’s weighing heavily on my mind, as well.

i got out my journals last night when i got home and started reading through some of them – there sure was a lot of stuff that i’d forgotten in the time since all this happened. some things that happened, some things that were said, some names that i’d happily put in archive and wiped from my hard drive, if you will…but it’ll definitely make the next couple of chapters in the book a little more truthful and vivid…

…should i get a chance to write them this next 24 hours.

perhaps a regret or two…

now playing: jim photoglo, “we were meant to be lovers”

they say that hindsight is always 20/20.

in working so much on this book lately, and thinking about the events that led into and out of my stab at commercial success as a musician…combined with the recent onslaught of celebrity personalities like paris hilton* and everyone’s favorite sulker eminem* being bitten in the ass by past indiscretions, i have to wonder:

would it have helped my chances for success if i’d done a lot more stupid stuff when i was younger?

i mean, we all know from our experiences in life that there are decisions that we make that affect the rest of our lives in some way or another…even decisions that seemed somewhat insignificant at the time. but, as the news is pointing out to us – there are some things that just seem destined to come back to haunt you.

by now, you’d think that it’d be a no brainer to never, ever videotape yourself doin’ the nasty. it would appear that ms. hilton never heard of pamela anderson and tommy lee, or tonya harding…and she’s not old enough to remember the whole rob lowe episode, i guess…

so that’s my downfall, where my old aspirations are concerned. i never rolled tape. it’s not that i never did anything stupid or childish, i just never documented myself for posterity in full reproductive splendor.

having said this, i think it’s time to relive the dream. i’m gonna write a batch of new songs and start shopping them around and start psyching myself up to make a new record. maybe i’ll write one or two that make plentiful use of the “N” word and deride a few racial or religious groups…

at the same time, i’m gonna videotape myself having sex with as many different women as i possibly can. wendy, you’re just gonna have to bear with me on this one. i may not get another shot. and while whatever recognition my actual talent receives from the whole process will be fleeting, at least i can entertain the strong possibility of becoming governor of california later in life.

in fact, i might get an early start on picking a running mate…so if anyone has kato kaelin’s phone number, hook me up. i don’t think joey buttafuoco would identify with west coast voters…sorry, man.

anyway, back to my point….

if you’re interested in being videotaped having sex with me, drop me an email. i’ll do my best to squeeze you in as soon as possible.

if you’re reading this, anna nichole smith – i’m afraid you’re not eligible for this offer. sorry.

or…what the hell. maybe you are.

*these are CNN links, and as such will expire, oh…probably before i’m done typing…

is this a scrunchy i see before me?

now playing: my wife’s awful taste in television

there are those who think that those who specialize in an area or a vocation excel in it all the time…but i’ve always thought the opposite to be true. most mechanics i know drive beaters, most cooks live at the drive thru, most carpenters have huge to-do lists at their own homes, and thus it is with those of us who make a vocation in the computer field…the PC that i type on as we speak has one monitor unplugged next to it, with a perpetual glowing reminder that reads “no signal input or cable disconnected”…

there are half a dozen computers in my house. one of those, the one in my daughters’ room, has had problems burning CD’s for over a month – i just got that fixed this evening. i also took a look at her printer, which she had told me this past weekend was jammed pretty solidly.

i opened up the printer, removed the remnants of paper from it, and found a hair tie wrapped around one of the internal pinch rollers – formerly freshly fallen from the desk it sits next to, i would assume. we both got a good laugh out of that one.

after i finished getting miss jayda squared away, i walked next door to my erstwhile studio to get back into the process of rennovations that have been stopping and starting for some time now, and ended up standing in the middle of the room for fifteen minutes or so, trying to get a handle on where everything would go when i reassembled everything. damn that guy who sold me the console and threw the stand in for free! if he hadn’t given me that option, i’d have a pretty solid handle on what i was going to do…but now that i have a stand for my console, i’m thinking that i might want to use it, and move the desk that it would sit on otherwise somewhere else in the room and do things differently.

choices, choices, choices…

today’s guitar thought

now playing: christopher cross, “sailing”

joe walsh on playing hotel california on guitar:

“It continues to be quite a challenge to play correctly,” Walsh said. “You have to pay attention [to] the interplay between the two guitars. I don’t know where we were at when we thought those parts up.

“But we were somewhere,” he added, laughing. “I would hate to be another guitar player who has to figure the song out. I can barely play it. And I wrote it!”

…so if you see me later today and my chest is stickin’ out a little bit, you’ll know why. and yes, that noise you hear is my ego purring. *grin*