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

goodbye, tug.

now playing: david crosby, “laughing”

Rest in peace, tug mcgraw.

last time i saw tug was the last time a lot of us saw him…getting out of the car to walk to the pitchers’ mound at the closing ceremonies at veterans stadium. there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, man. or at least not on the sofa.

you definitely left your mark, man. thanks for the memories.

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.

a far too typical sunday

now playing: chris whitley, “big sky country”

i’ll tell ya what, some days i could go without looking at a PC. this is shaping up to be one of them.

i have a machine in front of me that i really wanted to deliver tonight…it’s an upgrade project (i’m not typically fond of upgrade projects to begin with), and it’s become a stubborn upgrade project. i suppose i shouldn’t bitch, because these projects go my way far more often than they don’t, but my personally-enforced delivery date is looming over my head, and i’d really like to get paid for this before the bank opens tomorrow, so that i may please Our Benevolent Lady Of The Rent Payment. the combination of christmas and the skewered manner in which our paychecks are delivered this time of year have joined forces to constrict my cashflow somewhat. it’s purely a temporary situation…’specially if i manage to deliver this pitifully confused machine that i’m trying to upgrade.

i shall prevail, though. i generally do.

i have the technology.

i think that i’m actually in a good place to make some financial headway this month, actually…i have a couple of things that have been hanging over my head for some time that i’m going to get out of the way this month, and as i’ve been dealing with the glut of indie computer work that’s come my way, i may be in a pretty good place by the middle of the month to take care of a few things.

right after the holidays is a strange time for optimism, for me, but there ya have it.

dylan is making huge strides in both his guitar and bass playing lately. he’s learning songs now, and is learning how to voice chords on guitar and note substitution on the bass…if he continues to show this much enthusiasm down the stretch, he may become quite a player. it’s good to see him inspired. when i came downstairs this morning, he was sitting on the sofa with one of my guitars on, playing “smoke on the water”. i also taught him john mcvies’ bass run that opens the closing section of “the chain” earlier this past week, and he’s pretty much mastered that by now, too. he has a tendency to get frustrated with himself when it doesn’t come to him as quickly as he’d like for it to, but i’m trying to gently push him past that. that particular brand of frustration is dangerous…because you have to get past it in order to get to a point as a player where things come quickly enough to avoid that kind of frustration in the first place.

yesterday, i bought a guitar port for the studio that i think we’ll both be sharing – i wasn’t completely sold on it as a recording tool, but it kicks ass as an educational tool…and i feel as though i’ve been stuck in a rut for some time now, and i think it’ll be great for dylan, now that he’s starting to show some motivation. i also bought a behringer V-amp for recording, as it seems to be modeled more towards studio use. i’m avoiding the POD until i see what the guitar port sounds like. this isn’t stuff that i would typically even consider using, but the confines of my studio make it somewhat impractical to record blaring guitar amps in the traditional manner there…i have folks on either side of me who’d be oblivious simply by removing their hearing aids, but that doesn’t address the uncomfortability factor involved in making that much noise in a suburban area such as that where i live.

couldn’t do much for my playing, that’s for sure. i don’t handle awkwardness well.

dylan sure did look comfortable, man…wearin’ his eddie george jersey from last night with that PRS slung over his shoulder. once he gets it, look out.

late breaking news (as per CNNSI): green bay and seattle are going into overtime tied at 27.


now playing: aunt pat, “saddest cowgirl”

so after today, there’s the weekend, and then it’s back to the usual day-to-day.

i don’t know that i really got much of a sense of being aware of the holidays at all this year, save for christmas eve, during my traditional “buy a bottle of champagne and stay up wrapping all the kids’ presents while watching ‘it’s a wonderful life’ and the alastair sim version of ‘a christmas carol’ on tv” routine. that was about it, really.

last night, i found myself in the studio, listening to some history and digging up old mixes from “our mutual angels”…turned out to be interesting. i heard some things that were ultimately left out of the final mixes that were intriguing, and some of the songs actually sounded better in rawer form than they did on the album. one song, “is that enough”, specifically suffered at the hands of some pretty ruthless edits. an entire verse was left out, and a nice little instrumental transition as well. but, ya know….whaddayagonnado?

independent side work keeps pouring in – which is great. i never got the callback regarding the consulting gig that could still be up in the air, for all i know….this time of year is pretty chaotic for trying to deal with situations like this, with key people being indisposed at various times. i’ll give it a week or so before i resign myself to considering it a good idea that never moved past the discussion stage.

i’m starting this weekend with my usual high hopes and to-be-dashed-at-a-later-date expectations regarding what i’d like to get done…the odds are against me, considering that it’s wild card weekend and that there are two games a piece on saturday and sunday, and i’m recognizing this fact now, as i make my plans to rearrange the basement and move stuff down from the regular quarters and work on tracks for blake’s record. so i guess i’ll just acknowledge right now that my weekend will probably consist of sleeping too much and lounging in front of the tv watching football.

every time i use the word “lazy” to describe myself to anyone who knows me, i get this look of disbelief, as if i’d just grown a foot long tree out of my forehead. no one i know thinks of me as lazy but myself….well, probably my kids from time to time…i’ll have to ask them. i feel lazy when i know that my plate is full, but i choose to utilize downtime instead of being responsible and getting the work done. maybe it’s a combination of laziness and procrastination.

when i say this to friends, though, they see a guy hustling from work to people’s houses to do computer work and then going home to pick up guitars to rush to a gig and back home to sleep a few hours before getting up and going right back out there to do it again…and perhaps lazy doesn’t present itself as an adjective for good reason, but i have a tendency to feel guilty if there’s a project on the table and i’m not working on it for whatever reason.

this weekend, with all that i have to do, i think the word ‘lazy’ may very well make a cameo appearance.