someone to keep in your thoughts…

now playing: super seventies internet radio

via my friend jon rosenbaum, i just found out that george grantham, drummer for one of my favorite bands, poco, had a stroke onstage last night during a show in springfield, mass. and was rushed to the hospital. he’s there, in critical condition, as of 4:30 today, and the prognosis is rather gray. he’s regained consciousness a couple of times, but hasn’t been terribly responsive.

his wife and daughter are there with him, at the hospital, and they’re waiting for some definitive word as to his outlook.

george is 57 years old.

keep him in your prayers, if you would be so kind.

i’ve never told any of my poco stories here, just because it’s never occured to me to do so.

i’ll save them for hopefully happier times.

guitars and cruxifiction…sort of

now playing: james taylor, “mexico”

new hampshire primary is today. early reports show that wesley clark has an early lead. the plot thickens…

here in the great northeast, we’re getting a pretty severe pounding in the weather department…everything is frozen, including the windshield wipers on my van…had to pull over and scrape on the way to work this morning.

i’m thinking that this might be God’s way of showing the philadelphia area, in yet another way, what it’s like in buffalo

two days in a row now, i’ve forgotten to bring in the box of girl scout cookies that sit next to the front door of my house. this speaks less to my forgetfulness, however, than it does to my inability to get out of bed at an hour that would allow for remembering to bring them, i think. i seem to wake lately with the attitude that i am above the law of the alarm clock and capable of making up any impossible discrepancy between the hour that the clock rings and the hour that i decide it’s time for me to get up. i think it’s more a deluded state of mind than an arrogant one, though.

of course, i wouldn’t have heard the alarm at all had wendy not come downstairs and retrieved me from the sofa…i got home last night at 8:45 and spent the next three-plus hours washing all the dishes from the weekend – sat down on the sofa and lost consciousness. woke up (what seemed like) fifteen minutes later to wendy on the stairs, and went upstairs at around 5:45 to sleep a few more minutes…

am contemplating a future in part-time music retail, of sorts…a distributor that i’ve formed a friendship with is setting me up in their system as a dealer, and i’m going to start reselling their products in this area on a part-time basis over the ‘net and face-to-face, since i do seem to come in contact with a lot of musicians…but whether or not i follow through depends on what i think about the first instrument i receive from him, which will be a black 12 string rickenbacker copy…i’m familiar with the company in name only at this point, as i haven’t owned any of their instruments yet, but i’ll be forming a pretty quick opinion once i have one in my hands…

…the funny thing is, i’m not even interested in doing it as a money-making venture so much as i’d like to be able to help people get their hands on these…they’re damn near impossible to find, and i’ve been waiting for this particular shipment of these to come in for almost six months. so i’m psyched to get my hands on this one, to see if they’re what my often absent sense of optimism would like to think they’ll turn out to be.

i have this mental image of myself selling guitars out of the back of my van…

anyway, i talked to quin yesterday for about half an hour – he’s going to be playing the valentines’ day stone road show with us, which pleases me greatly…i’ve missed him these last couple of shows. we’ve had a pair of great shows back to back, and if you weren’t paying attention, you might not even have noticed he was gone, but goddamn…i sure do. he is making quite a bit of headway in getting caught up on his work, though, and he’s gotten to spend some quality time with his sons, and i’m glad to know this…

dylan and i finished the final odds and ends in the studio this weekend, and now pretty much everything that should be operational upstairs is operational upstairs. i had some interesting problems getting the guitar port to work with the new PC up there, but a quick uninstall/reinstall fixed that, and now dylan is learning how to route signals on the mixing console to be able to play his guitar in the studio. he’s making pretty unbelievable progress…and he’s proving himself a capable student. for instance, one of the songs he started working on was a papa roach song, “last resort”. i showed him how to use the “half speed” function in guitar port to slow a song down while you’re initially learning it, and he learned the intro riff in one day…but he learned it by sliding his fingers from fret to fret to play it, and i sat down with him and explained that this was a lethal habit to get into, as it was really important to learn dexterity and to develop his left hand skills, etc, etc, blah blah blah…the next day, he’d learned the riff by playing it with the first three fingers of his left hand. just like that. he’s still not able to play it full speed, but he knows it.

i think perhaps his musical gene may not be so recessive after all.

he was in the studio with me when i cut a lowell-george-esque slide guitar part for one of blake’s songs called “cleaning” the other night, listening intently…when i was finished, he asked sternly, “what did you think of that pass?”….almost asking without asking if i thought it was good enough…with the Belushi Eyebrow raised ever so slightly…

i’m thinkin’ he’s into it.

a local news story that i found….uh, interesting….

from the reading eagle website:

Boy who was nailed to wall by students still no Eagles fan

Brian Hilbert pays with ripped clothes for his opinion of the local team. The four classmates responsible have been suspended and cited and will pay for the garments, officials say.

By Keith Mayer

A 16-year-old Gilbertsville boy who police say was nailed to a wall by his clothes by four classmates earlier this month after he criticized the Philadelphia Eagles, said Monday that he still doesn’t like the team.

But Brian Hilbert also knows his opinion and his staunch support of the Tennessee Titans brought on the rough treatment.

“They (the classmates) didn’t really like that I said their team stinks,” Hilbert said.

Meanwhile, Oley Township police filed criminal mischief and harassment citations against Jeremy R. Trout, 18, of the 700 block of Mimosa Lane, Exeter Township, and three 17-year-old boys from the Boyertown and Gilbertsville areas.

Hilbert and the other teens are carpentry students at the Berks Career and Technology Center East Campus, officials said. They were working on the house that students build as a project.

Police withheld the names of the 17-year-olds. The citations were filed in the office of Oley District Justice Ronald C. Mest.

Police also want the teens to pay restitution for Hilbert’s clothes.

Mest said he is waiting for Hilbert’s parents to tell him the cost of the clothes.

Authorities gave this account of the Jan. 13 assault:

Hilbert argued about the Eagles with his classmates, who then used a hammer to nail him up by his clothes to a framed-out wall in a house the students were building along Old State Road in Oley Township.

Hilbert ripped his clothes to free himself while the others watched and laughed.

The 17-year-olds, all Boyertown High School seniors, and Trout, an Exeter High School senior, have been suspended for 10 days, officials said.

Hilbert said he and the other boys traded barbs over the two football teams.

“We weren’t getting loud, then I figured it was over,” Hilbert said.

The other boys then lured Hilbert into the basement and scuffled with him, police said. They held him against the wall and nailed his clothes, investigators said.

Hilbert said he grew up around mostly Eagles fans, including his family.

“I guess I wanted to be the different one,” he said.

Hilbert’s father, Gary L., said he and his wife, Paula K., are proud of the way their son handled the situation.

“The other students thought that by bullying him they could change his mind,” said the elder Hilbert, who added that he’s an Eagles fan. “But he stood his ground, and both his mother and I are really proud of him for that.”


…all i know is it’s a goddamn shame he wasn’t a panthers fan. ‘course, they may have really nailed him to the wall if he was….

pc’s, politics, and lowell george’s ghost

now playing: james gang, “walk away”

so today, i’m paying for last night’s incompetence.

i finished putting together what should have been my PC-building masterpiece – the last hurdle to clear in order to render the studio completely operational – and it would not power up. there was power to the motherboard, but the machine wouldn’t actually boot up – hitting the power switch yielded no results. i spent at least three hours on it last night and the net result, as of now, is a goose egg. i gotta get this thing up and running, man. i need it to be workin’.

i’m building one identical to the one i just built for blake, and i want to know that it’s not an issue that’s gonna replicate itself outside of the case it sits in…and the machine that used to inhabit this case ran just fine in there. so i’m on edge a bit about the whole computer mess…which will remain a mess until such time as i manage to get home later tonight. sheesh.

i’m having lunch tomorrow with a representative of the company that i mentioned some time back…the company that might take me on as a consultant of sorts. it seems that she has some opinions about the current state of their IT department that she’d rather not relay until she meets with me face to face…which is understandable, i suppose. color me intrigued.

having taken yesterday off due to an unnatural preoccupation with spending as much time as possible in the bathroom, i find myself approaching the tail end of midweek completely overwhelmed with work – three laptops that need to be completely configured and ready to fly by friday morning…which gives me exactly one working day, after today, to make that happen. add to that three machines that need my attention, and a laptop that refuses to boot and has left a user stranded without a machine, and you have the makings of an occupational nightmare.

i’m gonna be a little preoccupied for a few days.

so the iowa caucuses have come and gone, and it appears the self-destruction of howard dean has begun…new hampshire is creeping up on us, and john kerry is surging, donations pouring in…and a few days ago, no one would have predicted any of this. i’m still not sure what to make of it. i’d personally love to live in a world in which dennis kucinich would be a serious, viable candidate for president, but i think the reality of the situation is that we don’t deserve him. the american population at large is too apathetically bloated and selfish and disconnected from the rest of the world to benefit from a kucinich presidency.

not when there’s a new season of american idol getting underway, and the survivor all star season coming up in a couple of weeks.

pass the fuckin’ doritos.

hmmm…i guess i do know what i make of it, after all.

other sites are analyzing the content of the state of the union address with far more detail than i personally care to go into…stop by at left of the aisle or patriot watch or collective sigh or alternet for an indepth ridiculing of our unelected president and his tirade last evening…i will say that i laughed out loud when he read from the teleprompter, “the patriot act is due to expire this year” to the unfettered applause of the democratic side of the congress…the look on his face at that moment was worth sitting through the rest of the speech.

i guarantee that the individual responsible for leaving that window of opportunity in the speech is filling out the insta-applications at fast food joints this morning.

also: click on the capital games link across the way to read david corns’ take on the address…always insightful, and always able to spot a fabrication or a spin a mile away.

in other news…

between swings at the snooze button, i dreamt this morning that i was learning slide guitar tricks from lowell george‘s ghost, and the only person who could see or talk to him was me. we were in my grandfather’s old house back in tennessee, and he was playing one of my stratocasters that i have set up specifically for slide, and i was trying to get him to listen to a tape i had made, but he kept saying, “it don’t matter, man. it don’t matter. here. just do this…” and he’d rip off a lick that would just sound amazing, and then he’d hand me the guitar and the 3/4 socket that he’d been wearing on his left hand, and i’d play something that sounded just like what he’d just played and then try again to get him to listen to this tape…i have no idea what was on the tape, but it was mighty important to me that he hear it.

lowell was an absolute monster on slide guitar…if you’ve never, for whatever reason, been exposed to little feat, you owe it to yourself. they spawned an entire branch of the rock and roll stylistic tree. no shit. and lowell was the driver of the truck.

“I can’t find a soul who’ll take on this mess
It’s those rock and roll hours, early graves without flowers
Please, please darlin’ put my mind at rest
I’m beggin’ please darlin’ put my mind at rest…”

stop back by anytime, lowell. i usually set my alarm for around six…

cold, thin air

now playing: joni mitchell, “a case of you”

came in this morning and immediately loaded up the trusty mp3 jukebox with about 3 1/2 hours’ worth of joni. i think it’s gonna be that kind of day/night.

the entire northeast is frozen solid this week – should make for some interesting football matchups this weekend, to say the least…it’ll be interesting to see how the colts’ self-important quarterback holds up in this…he was pouting on the sideline during the final quarter of the last meetup between the pats and his team, and while it’ll be tight, i think the pats have the advantage. the colts’ punter, who has yet to punt at all during this years’ playoffs, will definitely see some action.

we won’t even go into the fate that awaits the philadelphia heimlichs

it’s not as cold here as it is there, where pictures are surfacing on the internet of icicles hanging down from ceilings of houses freshly extinguished by firefighters, but it’s plenty cold for most peoples’ taste. the air is brittle and harsh, and the wind at night is pretty intense – i drove jayda and her boyfriend last night to drop him off at his house and even at that hour (9pm) the wind was pretty fierce. i was up late (doing dishes and laundry, and playing with my new toy and i could hear it picking up steam into the early morning hours…crazy.

today could well be the longest workday of my week – and that’s taking into consideration my fourteen hour day on tuesday. i have eighteen machines to prepare for deployment today, and a couple of repairs to fit into this same period of time…insane. just insane.

but thursdays’ paycheck will be a welcome reward for all the crap i’ve gone through the past couple of weeks…i have some debts to atone for. enough, in fact, that i probably wouldn’t flinch at another two weeks like these if circumstances made it necessary. nor will i flinch at the thought of not getting out of bed tomorrow until well past my usual weekday hour…i’m abandoning my usual practice of beating myself up for sleeping in on the weekends. i have things i want to do this weekend, but i’m not going to torture myself if they don’t get done. i’m expecting my buddy mitch to come out this weekend for the stone road show tomorrow night and stay for football on sunday…he’s such a blast to have around. just the fact that he’s in the room makes the air thinner…and my house could stand for the air to be thinner lately.

i didn’t mean to say it, but i meant what i said….*

now playing: james taylor, “believe it or not”

you know, just once….just once – it’d be nice if somebody in a position of alleged importance could open their mouth without feeling like they had to backpedal and apologize all over themselves as if they had no idea that what they said would arouse a little controversy.

and i’ll tell ya another thing.

much as you may hate to hear it, howard dean was right when he said that in order to win, he needed to be the candidate for the guy with the confederate flag on his truck. and i lost a healthy amount of respect for him when he apologized for having said it, to be honest.

where are the courage of your convictions? or is it that you have no real convictions?

gettin’ pretty irate around here lately….maybe i should take a day or two off….

*quoted from james mcmurtry’s “too long in the wasteland”

bush in 30 seconds

now playing: dan fogelberg, “to the morning”

i actually went to bed at 10:30 last night. go figure.

out of frustration, somewhat, as i had been tuned in to the bush in 30 seconds webcast, but lost my connection and couldn’t re-establish it after almost 15 minutes of trying. i’m not sure if i’ve made my peace with the winner yet, but i can understand what i perceive to be their reasons for picking it…it does make a point that sidesteps the issue of beleaguering the iraq war, taking bush to task for the deficit as opposed to some of the harder-hitting ads that made the final cut. my personal choice would’ve been this one or more likely, this one. you can watch the second one with the sound off and still get the full impact. goosebumps.

with every day that passes by, it becomes just that much more obvious to me that the vast majority of the populace has turned a completely blind eye to what’s going on in this country. the new book that paul o’neill figures so heavily in potentially confirms what so many of us have suspected to be truth all along, regarding agendas in the bush administration…no one in the know has seen fit to deny any of his statements, but instead are gearing up for a probe to investigate whether or not he compromised classified information in going public.

well, let’s just hope that this particular witch hunt moves with the expediency of the valerie plame leak investigation. i’m sure we’ll have him nailed to the wall in no time.

yep…divert their attention to the matter of whether classified information was leaked or not. because, hell, we all know that none of ’em even remember that whole Plume business – if they ever knew about it at all! goddamn, i love it when a plan comes together….we make a big enough stink to make him look like a laid-off postal worker, the hordes will completely ignore the fact that we didn’t bother to deny any of it…yeeeeeHAW!

perhaps it’d just ‘wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture’ (as Dana Carvey’s GB Sr. would say) to go around denying o’neills’ allegations this soon after none other than colin powell himself made some pretty damning statements regarding our misleading motives for war. in fact, as late as february 2001, powell himself stated that iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

oh, fuck all that, anyway. ‘survivor all-star’ premieres right after the superbowl, yo!

i have to be at work tomorrow morning at five in the morning. we just had a major power outage that severely weakened the relays in the breaker box that supplies power to the server closet here, and that’s when we’re scheduling the replacement of it. as it stands, i already have an apparent corrupt MAS200 installation on a server as a result of today’s outage. that’d be lovely, huh? be at work all night tonight and have to be back at five in the morning.

i had almost seventy hours in last week. i bet i beat that mark this week.

deja vu?

now playing: fleetwood mac, “beautiful child”

this post, from berry’s world, made some leeway in cheering me up earlier tonight:


BuzzFlash steers us to a story advising Democrats to, bascially, start making out our will, as we are in for an ass-whupping come the general election. Some excerpts:

‘This is a year of turmoil and terror in the Democratic Party: Their likely presidential nominee battered, bloodied, and ridiculed even before the general election has begun…’

‘Rarely, in contemporary American politics, has a prospective Democratic presidential standard-bearer emerged successfully from his early primaries burdened by so many deep public doubts about his character within his own party.’

‘In over three decades of political reporting, I cannot recall a time when some of the Democratic Party’s senior strategists and adviser have spoken with such brutal candor about their likely nominee and his perceived weaknesses.’

‘Indeed, many Democrats fear that their primaries are about to deliver to them “the worst of all worlds, a bleeding front-runner stumbling over the finish line” to receive the Democratic presidential nomination. (Democratic consultant David) Sawyer said.’

Gosh, are things really so gloomy? Is all hope lost?

Not when you consider the story was written by Donald Lambro in June of 1992, and the hopeless Democratic candidate was a fella by the name of Bill Clinton.

**end quote**

as dubya’s daddy showed us then, a lot can happen in less than a year, where public opinion is concerned.

we sure are a fickle lot….thank god.

let me in, immigration man…*

now playing: shawn colvin and dave matthews, “eleanor”

out of some sinister curiosity, i sat down in front of the tv last night and flipped back and forth between hardball and the o’reilly smackdown, which was especially convienent since our cable system has msnbc and fox news exiled next to each other on concurrent channels.

understand that this was necessary, in my mind, because i wanted to know how his droids were going to react to his immigration ploy. i was a little surprised, actually, to see that they weren’t terribly pleased…o’reilly, especially, was pretty harsh (cue gomer pyle: suhPRIZE suhPRIZE suhPRIZE!) – and chris matthews had the patron saint of disgruntledness, pat buchanan, on as a guest. (speaking of buchanan, does anyone remember this buchanan article that came out just before the war in iraq?)

matthews also had former JFK defense secretary robert macnamara on…talk about someone who knows how to skirt offering an opinion, man…

anyway, i did eventually go to bed. i’m not sleepin’ much lately.

jayda – if you’re reading this, you must click here and read through these. i immediately thought of you when i saw this, you could have written these yourself…well, you and jhonen vasquez could have probably collaborated on them, anyway.

(the rest of you may feel free as to click away as well…you just might not find them as funny as we would…)

entries are short lately due to some serious multitasking that seems to have taken over my life and work…hope to soon escape “random thoughts” mode.

*from the song of the same name by graham nash

times are hard for dreamers

now playing: poco, “midnight rain”

did i say something yesterday about being optimistic?

had a long (almost two hour) conversation last night with quin, the hammond organ player in one of my bands, stone road. he’s been having some health problems and has been overrun with his business lately…and as such, he’s taking a leave of absence for a couple of months.

all this time, i’d been looking forward to getting through the glut of gigs that we had at the end of the year so that we could get back into a regular rehearsal schedule for a month or so and start tightening some screws, but this serves to delay that process somewhat. in some ways, it needn’t do so, as donnie and i have some serious work in front of us to tighten up the interplay between us – and this need not affect that. i just have this perception that this reflects a dissipating of motivation on quin’s part, although that never really felt apparent during our conversation last night at all – he was pretty straightforward with regards to what was going on with him, and i respect that. after all, it’s a leave of absence, no notice was given. it’s just hard for me not to take this personally, that’s all – because so often, when someone leaves a band, that’s all it’s about…personalities. i’ve often said that putting a band together is similar to getting married several times over, because being in a band with someone is a pretty intense relationship…in my mind, anyway. i know that to someone who hasn’t experienced this, it probably sounds trite or melodramatic, but i think it’s true. in order to do your best work with other musicians in that particular setting, you really have to have the proper circuits open between everyone. this isn’t to say that i can’t walk into a situation with a handful of guys that i’ve never played with before and do my thing…i can.

i guess this is where my marriage analogy really bears fruit…you can walk into a bar and pick someone up and follow through and you’ll most likely have had a pretty good time at the end of the night, when the dust settles…but there’s something that you gain via the familiarity of a companion – an understanding of each other, of what and what not to say, of what works and what doesn’t…and you form a common bond that outshines the temporary form over time.

i really feel like i have that with this group of guys…quin included. which is probably why it’s hard to keep from taking this personally. i just have to remind myself that it’s a leave of absence.

he’s our secret weapon, though. no one else does what he does.

there’s no replacing him. actually, if i think about it…

right now, there’s no replacing anyone in this band, should anything go south for whatever reason.

arrogantly, i’ve always thought that my perfect band would be a clone of myself on every instrument. i think, though, that this band may be about as good as it’s possible to get at what it is that we do. i’ve had a number of conversations with my buddy mitch about this – about appreciating what it is that we have, and relishing it when the opportunity presents itself…mitch was there for our last show together for the foreseeable future, and i’m glad that i can say that.

we’ll miss ya, quin. hurry back, brother.

we’ll keep your bench warm.


came up to bed last night at around 1:30 am, and amelie was on tv when i came into the bedroom…why is this movie never on at a decent hour?

i love the conversation between nino and the man (men) in the picture on the card that amelie left on his bike…one of my favorite scenes in the movie.


oh, and the jodi album project, discussed last month, is back on again – now that the distractions of the holidays are behind us…her song list has changed a few dozen times, and i think that what’s gonna happen is that we’re gonna move ahead with getting together and just rolling tape and recording whatever feels best, and working further on the ones that call out to be worked out past that. I’m thinking of it as the Johnny Cash Method, for the moment.

i’ve all but decided that i’m going to do an albums’ worth of john gorka songs. whether they’ll actually make it onto a disc or not is unlikely, save for a few one-offs for friends here and there, but that was probably a safe assumption to begin with.

of course, this time tomorrow i may blow that off, too.