Sunday September 11, 2005


9/11. Yep, I know exactly where I was and what was going on four years ago. Nothing else needs to be said.

Today was much better than that. I got a little sleep last night. I'm still worn out but I was focused enough to be able to get the CD face totally redone. It was also comforting to get back to calling my Grandmother on Sunday morning. That's the way we've always done it. Things must be getting back on track's hoping.

We had rehearsal today for 3-hours. We started out by working up "Everybody's Trying." You know, this is another one of those that I thought wasn't that great. It's really turned into a fairly unique sounding song. It also feels to me like one that Q-Sign would've done and as that's the band of mine who's catalog I most often raid, that must be a good thing. "Everybody's Trying" is more complex than I'd realized but the guys are where they can do it now. I presented it to them 11 months ago. Then, there's no way we could've done it. Now - hey, it rocks!

After that, we just flew through as many of the songs as we could, including our first attempt at doing C'mon, Accept Your Joy in its entirety and in order. I found at that it's really hard for me to sing the songs in the album order so I don't think I'll ever want to do it that way. We'll see I guess. As for the band, we played alright...certainly not great. At times we were all playing the right parts but it didn't feel together. It's just a matter of playing. We'll get it.

In the evening I came home and tidied up more of the CD art.

I think I'm finished with that now. Now it's just a matter of getting the official go ahead tomorrow from the manufacturer...

"Pray for Mojo..."






Saturday September 10, 2005






I spent all day today on band stuff. I worked on redoing the CD artwork (which I also worked on last night 'til bedtime). Why, when I know that the manufacturer's printer was off would I do that? Well, because it can still be improved and I'm trying to make it where EVEN IF they're equipment is off, what we send them CAN'T look bad. It sounds crazy but that's my goal. So I redid EVERYTHING to some extent. Only the front cover and under CD collage still exist in basically the same way. Everything else had to be modified.

Frank and Tom came over about 1 to begin discussing our options and strategies regarding this and the "band dynamic" and all kind of other stuff that wasn't on the agenda. I think we came to some understanding. A frustrated Amanda (tired of sitting on the side line) felt she had to weigh in on things as well. At any rate, I do feel like we're on the right track again. I was worried for awhile but we seem to working better than ever now (even if we are a bit rusty again from lack of playing).

When they left a few hours later, I went right back to working on the layout and artwork. I got the entire 6 panel booklet redone as well as the back tray today. That's a lot when you've put in every lyric and more thank you's than can be healthy (at least for the designer). It looks much cleaner and sleeker now. There's no way to be pretty with that much information but it'll do. We're going for a new world record for most info in a 6-panel insert! I think we've got a shot.

By the way, I'm totally out of my mind from exhaustion, stress and sitting behind a computer all day. I really feel like I'm on the verge of collapsing. I couldn't sleep at all last night. It was awful. I just hope tonight's a little better. At least now I know that progress is being made.




Friday September 9, 2005

Lew Dickey, Jr. in his Atlanta office.


Of course I can't just catch up! I've got to catch up with as many obstacles and pop-ups as I can stand. I'm not complaing about this one, though, 'cause it pays. I got a call for another Retna shoot for Billboard Magazine for this morning. I had to go photo a media exec named Lew Dickey. The office was absolutely unreal. I've never seen anything like it. Just his area was bigger than my house, looked more homey and had spectacular balconies with views of Atlanta all around.

Being a businessman, he wasn't exactly the most electric personality to photo but he was courteous, obliging and we got the job done in 15 minutes flat. That's the way it's done.

Of course, all this, the editing and uploading slowed down my progress on the ketchup. I still haven't even gotten the reports done for our last 3 shows. And things are about to heat up even more. Maybe I should just check myself in to a "relaxation" facility of my own. I'm burned out.


The CD's of C'mon, Accept Your Joy arrived today. I nearly collapsed in a pile when I opened them. The printing job is just plain bad. My printer did a better job. This won't do. This is just more stress. I wound up on the phone with the guy who runs the CD manufacturing company. We're trying to work this out. It will be reprinted but our CD release date is next Tuesday, 4 days from now. What are we going to do?

It'll take at least ten days to turn around a new batch...

We put too much work into this to settle. It will be right or it won't be. And for the last time I'M NOT A PERFECTIONIST! I'm a satisfactionist. I have coined it and I stand by it.

Wait and see. We will figure this out and it will wind up being the right thing...somehow. I have to believe that. Luckily, that's been the history with this band so far. Every time the impossible to fix has been reached, we've not only fixed it but made it better. I don't intend to let that end here.





Thursday September 8, 2005



Back to the grind now...

I'm home and trying to catch up. The list of things to do seems totally insurmountable. I got a chunk of this diary done but there are still large gaps missing in the last month. It'll get done when it does. That's all I can say and all that my next few days should be about...catching up.




Wednesday September 7, 2005

Happy birthday to you...




Today was all about my Grandmother. It's been a heck of a year for her so far but she crossed that line to 75 today. I'm so proud of her for how she's handled the trauma of a broken hip, surgery, quitting smoking, physical therapy and more than anyone should have to handle at this stage of her life. On top of that, her last great hope of a child finally deserted her a couple of weeks ago. Hey, he hung in there for a whole week of helping her everyday. You shouldn't expect to be inconvenienced for longer than that should you? I don't know. There are only 2 McKays that were born with that name and still I have it that are related to me and I'm unconditionally proud of. Me and my brother. Now it's my Mom, sister and brother, my neices and nephews, Vern, April and Amanda's family. I'd also have to count a few of my close friends as family (you know who you are) and Phyllis up ther in NC. The rest of ye? Well, I'm glad we had a few good times but I'd just as soon never have to deal with any of you again if I can expect nothing better than your behavior over the last month. Contrary to your belief, we never needed you. We never relied on you (thankfully) and now, you can go on to your ease of sleeping at night. You have shirked your responsibilities and your birth rights. Good riddance to you. I remember when...

Indicative of that?

My Grandmother's 75th birthday was celebrated by me and Amanda picking her up and taking her out to lunch. It was her first time FREE since August 3. She had a bit of trouble getting around but she did okay. It must have been good to get out. She wanted to go to a buffet and requested this place called Western Sizzlin'. It was basically a homestyle food bar place. And it was much better than I thought it would be. Benji joined us and later, my sister Missy and baby McKayla came along. McKayla drummed with straws while we all sat in the "pool room" portion of the restaraunt. It was much nicer and more relaxing than the hectic smoking area we would've had to sit in the last time Grandma could go out. After lunch, we decided to swing back by her house so she could see the progress we'd made while she was at Springdale for rehab. When we got there, the across the street neighbor (Richard Ammons) was cutting the grass (see Roger?). What a nice, beautiful gesture for a neighbor. I will go out of my to help them if I ever get a chance to return it. Now that was a surprise, but we also had a lady named Pat give the interior a going over. We knew about that but I was quite impressed at her work. The house was in better shape than it has been in years. We're getting by alright I'm proud to say. It's been incredibly stressful but seeing it fall together now is a good thing.

I hated having to take Grandma back out to Springdale. Home isn't quite home without her.

Later in the afternoon, Benji, Amanda, Missy, McKayla and I went back out to Springdale with my Mom, Vern, Nichole and Robbie for cake and presents. This totally surprised her. She racked up with lots of clothes and some other stuff she needed. She seemed happy. I left them all there celebrating. Amanda and I had to get back to Athens.

Too much still on the burner there.

But people are the most important and I would've been nowhere else on my Grandmother's 75th birthday than with her.



Tuesday September 6, 2005





Errands for Grandma everyone, errands for Grandma. That's what I did today. Had to deal with the bank, pharmacy and grab some groceries. I had to take out the garbage (which includes the last lil' bit from my Dad's room that couldn't be salvaged) and drop off his clothes for charity.

In the a.m., I went and picked up the new Stones album. It's not as great as I heard it would be but it's still pretty solid. If "Sweet Neocon" was released as a single I think it would bring them back to relevance. I think being in your sixties, it must be a lot harder to push the envelope than being in THE sixties. Oh well. It's a solid 3 and a half star album and a bit rawer than the last few. I also dig "Look What The Cat Dragged In", "Rough Justice" and "You Got It In For Me." Several others are good but those are probably my favorites. If you like the Stones, check it out. It's anything but a disappointment. Of course, it's no Sticky Fingers either!

Amanda and I had to meet with lawyers today regarding our wills. Big fun, eh, and not nearly as morbid as my usual Camden days (note the sarcastic tone). Enough of that. It's done.

Then we joined her parents for a lunch at Chili's. I got the guiltless pasta. Good choice. 'Twas the same thing I had in Chattanooga but it was much better here. Amanda's dad even discussed politics with us without anyone getting agitated. That's gotta be a step in the right direction. Progress? We'll hope.





Monday September 5, 2005



So, happy Labor Day or something. I don't know what the official greeting is. I had a good one. This is one of the few LESS stressful days I've had lately. Amanda and I went for a medium length hike through Hunt Country (fox hunting, mind you) around her parents' house. I needed the exercise.

Then I got back to it and I finished it. Yep, I finished clearing my Dad's room. It's done. Nearly 2 years later. I did a bit of it yesterday and just had a little left today. Amanda came in and helped with the last few minutes of it. I'm going to donate most of the clothes to charity. I hope some of them wind up with Katrina victims but there's no way to be sure.I was kind of depressed after that. I guess that doesn't need an explanation.

After I finished with Dad's room, I didn't feel like hanging out and being sociable with friends so we went for another walk. The weather was so beautiful. It felt like the end of summer. Again. Always an again. Amanda's mom then cooked an amazing dinner for us. It was such a beautiful night that we went out to Hampton Park and shared a hot fudge sundae. Tonight was perfect. I need about 364 days like this in a row to get back on an even keel.


Click here for last week with Katrina, Chattanooga, the return to GATH and home...