| Sunday May 7, 2006
Amanda's gone again today. She has two different out of town shoots. I figured I'd use the time to catch up on everything. But of course I didn't. I'm still feeling down in the dumps about the situation back at home.
I talked to my Grandmother for a while. We were trying to make some decisions. It's basically the "where do we go from here" talk that I never wanted to have to have. It's just so very sad for her to be having to go through this. And every tiny bit of pain that goes into me because of the lack of caring of "the others" becomes a shard that I have a harder and harder time not wishing to jab each of them in their hearts Of course, I guess they'd need the metaphorical heart for that to work. There's been enough heart attacks in my family for me to assume that these people have the physiological component that is known as a heart. But they certainly don't have the kind that poets and singers go on and on about...
But I must stop talking about that. It does no good. It's something I feel must be said but I also can't dwell on it.
Because of feeling this way, I simply wasn't able to concentrate on work. I spent the day trying to figure out my new software. By the end of the day, I had made a lot of progress. I've actually now figured out how to successfully convert PAL DVD's to NTSC (which is huge for me as a collector). I also figured out how to properly chapter and index not only DVDs but how to put very specific ones on DVD so that I can do the kind of sophisticated tracking ID's that we have on C'mon, Accept Your Joy.
I spent the whole day doing this. Yes, it was kind of a waste but it was also kind of necessary for rejuvenation. We'll see if I suddenly get a lot more done. Usually blowing off a day helps me with efficiency for the foreseeable future afterwards.
I tried to cook my own dinner and wound up burning up most of it from being distracted by the computer. What was left of my meal was filled out by popcorn. So is this what it would be like if I lived alone?
Amanda wound up getting home a little after 8 so we both decompressed with the Simpsons, Family Guy, etc. Just before bed we wound up flipping around. For some reason, my remote froze on TV Land. I wound up watching what must've been the only totally happy episode of Good Times ever.
It helped to soothe the savage breast...but only enough to get through the night.
| Saturday May 6, 2006
Today was not so good. First off, I'm in that post-show depression mode that comes when I know I don't have another show soon. The weird thing is that I feel this way even after a bad gig (although last night was okay). That's just who I am. I play.
And I found out today that my Grandmother had a terrible day and night yesterday. She finally got the doctor to take a little time with her. The doctor was shocked at her condition. So she was prescribed some stuff to make that terrible swelling go down. She went home alone and took it. Then she nearly collapsed. Her body started cramping all over. When I talked to her today she sounded so sad. But it wasn't from her health as much as it was from the fact that as she said "Now I know just how alone I really am". Apparently she tried to track down a couple of people and could never get them. I just hope they weren't screening her call. And of course, those were the people who she could call. She's been told by her own children not to bother. So she wound up literally rolling on the floor in pain without anyone to help her. I begged her today to please just call the hospital if anything like that ever happens again. Thankfully, Amanda's parents happened to check in on her about the time that things started getting bad so when I got home at 2 am, I had a message saying to check in on her. When I did, I cannot put into words how heartbreaking it was to hear her trying to figure out this "situation." This is the person who I never once in my whole life heard say "no" to someone who needed help. If there is karma, it's failing her. We've all screwed up and she has too on occasion but she always looked out for others and now she's basically lost.
I'm glad my brother's there to take up a little bit of the slack but I'm afraid things are still slack...
I'm also very, very tired. Amanda and I tried to put up the speaker wire for one of our 5.1 speakers. She wound up doing most of it herself.
To try to get my mind off of things, we decided to go see a movie for a change. Since we're lucky enough to be in Athens, we chose Thank You For Smoking. While there was nothing in it that needed to be seen specifically on a big screen, it was still a great movie that I highly recommend. It says a lot about where we are in the USA in 2006.
After the movie, Amanda and I went downtown. For some reason, she was craving The Grill. It's an Athens greasy-spoon, retro institution. I'm not a big fan of those places but it's what she wanted. And luckily, what I got tonight was pretty darn good. I just chose a salad instead of fries as a side and everything was alright. Of course, in Athens, a greasy spoon is a bit different than in other small Southern cities...
Then we went around to Hot Corner coffee. Amanda wanted to show me some artwork she'd seen there a couple of weeks before during one of her shoots. It was pretty cool stuff by a guy named Jeff Owens. I'd actually seen some of his stuff around town. I especially found some of his '70s KISS references funny. Check out his website and see if you can spot any in his work. Some of it is pretty subtle... Or just go there to see some super cool art / graphics done Athens style.
| Friday May 5, 2006
(Now I know what it's like to have my shoulder gnawed on by a lumberjack!)
Tonight we ushered in the Satisfactionista era at the Caledonia in Athens.
Ah, it started early today, didn't it? By 8:30 in the morning I started getting calls about the difficulties in getting the band members to the show tonight. First Frank called wanting Mike's number. He's in South Carolina on a job and was hoping that Mike could give him a ride to the gig. Not long afterwards I get a call from Mike saying that he was having car trouble and didn't know what he was going to do.
After the 4/1 show drama, I just said "screw it" to myself. I'm not going to let it get to me this time. I'm looking forward to having some fun and unveiling some new songs.
I sent out my usual show announcements...only I was in such a hurry that that it wound up as full of typos as this diary has become. I even forgot to mention the venue in the first batch. Oh well - the point got across and I've never really noticed those announcements bringing in any extra people anyway.
On the positive side, we got asked to play at a "Battle Of The Bands" sponsored by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. You can check out the details at the highlighted links. So that'll be our other May gig. The coolest part for me is that it's also a benefit show. I love it when playing my silly little songs can help a cause. Here's the charity site. Check it out. Help 'em if you can.
Oh yeah - and if any of you ever buy from Half.com or Ebay, I have a scammer warning for you. I ordered a CD from a seller called "CrazyPricesInc". Not only did I never get my CD, he called me a "scammer, liar and thief" in my feedback. He never responded to any of my contacts from January to May and today he basically laughed in my face, said I was "probably some 12 year old kid" and basically that I was out of luck. And as it turns out, he's done this to a whole lot more people.
So I filed an official claim against him. And you've been warned...
Thursday May 4, 2006
Ack! I let myself get very sidetracked today. I tried to do some simple stuff with my new Nero software and it won't do it. Then it says I need an upgrade. Then it says there is no upgrade as I have the latest. FRUS-TRAT-ING! And when I try to use the online customer support, it says my ID that came with the software is invalid. AAAAACCCCCCKKKKK! So I spent way too much time on that before giving up for now. But I WON'T be beaten even if I don't win.
I called my Sister to check up on her and hers today. Missy seemed to be doing better than the last time we spoke...which is a relief. I also talked to my niece Nichole. Her life seems to be getting right on track. She's making great grades again (it's been a while) and she's cleaning up her personal life as she's replaced the trouble-swirler that she called "boyfriend" with a younger, cleaner burning model.
I'm proud of her.
She's also playing ball again. My Dad would be extra proud of his Granddaughter for that! I just wish I could get out there to see a game. I must say that the childhood memories I have of bat's cracking, gloves slapping and bleachers is calling me. It does it every year at this time. I'm not a sports person by any means but when you spend your formative years at a ball field, you can't help but feel the call every spring.
I wish I could say my nephew Robbie was doing as well. He seems rudderless and a bit out of control right now. I'm worried about him and I wish I could spend more time with him. I just have to remind myself how much better Nichole's doing than she was one year ago when she was Robbie's age. Maybe it's just his time and he'll pull it together by next year, too. Here's hoping.
And McKayla? Well, she's McKayling on along. She's learning to manipulate the adults around her and attempt to get her way by any means necessary. I wonder where she picked that up...
| Wednesday May 3, 2006
It's starting to become a little more busy it seems. Today, I got hired to be the official photographer for StarFest in Atlanta on July 22. There's not a web site for it yet (that I know of) but the show is sponsored by the radio station Star 94. They also did most of the On The Bricks shows and have the same promoter (with a new company) and same publicity firm - so the old team will kind of be back together for at least a day! And I'll make a bit more money than I did back then, too! I'll make a few more by shooting the luncheon and lineup announcement on May 17, too!
I also had an odd assignment. Since I thought I wouldn't be busy today, I took the bait from Acoustic Magazine. They sent me an email asking if I had any photos of a guitar teacher and student. Well, of course I didn't but I just happen to live very close to a music store. So I offered to try and set up something. I called the Musician's Warehouse Annex (which is located on the other side of the Mall that I live near) and asked if I could come photo a teacher / student. They were up for it. So I dashed down there and got Jason Fowler (who plays with a band called Ultraphonic) to play the role of teacher. He managed to rope in a drummer friend of his to be the student. I got the shots and edited 'em quick. Acoustic called them "perfect" and said they plan to use them in at least one upcoming piece plus they're going to keep 'em in stock to use for future issues. So that could be cool.
Their sister magazine, Bass Guitar, also bought one of my images of Earth, Wind & Fire's bass player Verdine White. So photography's starting to do something again.
And did I mention the picture of Ben E. King that's going in a music textbook for kids in the Netherlands? That's kind of cool to know that my work's being viewed over there where things like art and music education are valued.
I guess maybe that whole "spend money to make money" thing is looking like it worked yet again. Gimme a couple of months and I'll give you the final verdict on it for this round but seriously, every time I've invested in photography, I've made the money back and then some within a few months. And I need some right about now!
Speaking of which, Grandma's having some more money problems. So I'm having to dig into what's left of my Dad's account to help her. I'm glad I made the decision to take his money and look out for her. I did use a bit to upgrade my camera and I gave my brother and sister similar amounts but almost all of the money has gone to looking out for my Grandmother. If her "family" was worth their salt, my Dad wouldn't be having to take care of her from the grave but hey - he's proved that he's more helpful dead than they are alive. Thanks, Dad. I don't know how Grandma could make it through 2006 without you. And don't think we've forgotten it.
Before I get sidetracked with those hypocrite relatives of mine, let me get back to now.
We've got a show this week and you know what? I don't know the lyrics. I've found myself forgetting the old ones and I haven't learned the new ones. Friday's show's looking better and better. But I plan to have fun no matter what. I'm sure there'll be plenty of drama (as there always is when you have people filtering in from all over the Southeast) but I'm going to do my best not to let it stress me out. I just wanna play some rock and roll.
| Tuesday May 2, 2006
I got a lot done today. I had a bunch of snail mails to get out. I had to get my pics from 3 Rivers out as well. Luckily, my CD burning program waited until immediately after I'd burned that important disc to crash.
So after Amanda left for class for the evening, I wound up heading out to Best Buy to buy more software to get me through. They had a killer deal for Nero Ultra Edition 7 for (believe it or not) $29.99 (it lists for $100) so I scooped it up. It's a DVD authoring suite as well as audio so I'll be able to consolidate it all now. Of course, I'm sure there'll be another learning curve and some getting-used-to-it-time. In fact, I spent until 10 pm trying to figure it out without much luck.
I kept wanting to call home. I needed to check on my Grandmother. I wanted to call my sister and see how she and the kids have been doing. I wanted to call my Mom since I haven't heard from her in a while. I didn't do any of it. Instead I tried to figure out a bunch of allegedly self-explanatory stuff.
Monday May 1, 2006
Happy Birthday, Frank!
I don't know where you are today but I hope you're having a good one. Thanks for all the bass playing (not to mention the songs you've written with me) Oh yeah - and let's not forget about a zillion years worth of toleration (it goes both ways, donit?)
Today I got a lot of this here diary done. Too bad it didn't get updated because what I got done was only in bits and pieces. At least I'm making progress. Still, this thing is quite often like an albatross around my neck.
But every now and again, I look back through it. I've now documented every day of my life for more than the last two years. I can't believe how much has changed, how much hasn't, all that I've accomplished and all of the things I didn't. It's all here. It may be boring at times but it's real. And I'm not delusional enough to do this for "the public" or some kind of audience. I was inspired to do this after my Dad died. I remember thinking just how much it would mean to me if I could read a diary of his to know what had been going on. So when I got the chance, I started this one for my family and close friends. I've since been shocked to learn how many other people occasionally check in. It's a bit odd but it's alright.
What I really wasn't expecting is how much I'd wind up appreciating this document myself. When I look back, I can't believe how much I've forgotten. I have a great memory - but even the best memory is full of holes. This here'll plug some of 'em...even if it does weigh like an albatross more often than not.