Sunday September 3, 2006

I can't cut the grass and do yard work as well as my Dad did but I can do it as well as he taught me!



Well, after seeing how strangers who get paid well to do yard work do it, I decided to tackle this thing myself. My Dad and Grandfather put too much work in that yard for it to be treated like it has over the last year and a month or so. I may be the only one but at least I still have respect for that little bit of land. Amanda's Mom gave me a container of gas for the lawn mower and then Amanda and I went on out there. We went back to Dad's shed, removed the cobwebs and got the lawnmower out. I poured the gas in and pulled the chord. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. I got very irritated VERY quickly. I was determined. I kept trying. All I did was hurt my arm. This lawn mower hasn't been used in more than 2 years at this point. Maybe it needs a new spark plug. Whatever it is, it won't work.

I was very upset. Then Amanda snuck across the street to ask the neighbors if they could help out. By the time I caught up with her, Connie had offered their push mower. It wasn't self-propelled like Dad's but it worked. After she gave us a tour of her rather impressive back yard garden, I got back to Grandma's, filled this one with gas and got on it.

I decided to tackle the hardest, highest parts in the backyard first. It was hard to get it through some of the worst spots but you know what? It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. It almost felt like my Dad was out there with me as I went over every foot of that yard just like he had so many times. I had to go over some of the higher spots a few times and I actually ran out of gas more than once. I refilled it at least 3 times and spent probably 3 solid hours cutting. Each time I ran out of gas, I'd go in and down something cold. Lemme tell ya, ain't nothin' like a banana popsicle or a glass of apple juice to keep me going on a day like today.

While I was out in the yard, Amanda ran some errands for Grandma. She also went back to her parents' and got some clean clothes for me when she saw how sweaty I was getting out there. When I finally got done, I took a triumphant shower (my first one in that house since I took off with Amanda all those years ago), then we took Grandma back out to Western Sizzlin' yet again (She wanted it so she got it). I will say this, they have decaf sweet tea there. I love that!

My hands were sore and I was pretty tired but it was more about the heat than the work. All those who always acted like it was such a chore are just full of it. It may not be the most fun thing in the world but I kind of enjoyed doing it. Now I kind of understand why my Dad spent so much time in that yard. It gives you time to zone out and refocus. It was good for me.

I'm still going to hate not being able to spend my Grandmother's birthday with her next week but at least she can look outside and see that the grass has been cut better than it has been in nearly 3 years. If I can't be there, at least my work will be. Sure, there was a time over a year ago when someone drove their riding lawn mower over it a few times. Guess what. I did it better.

After all that, we headed over to my sister's house. My Mom and Vern were coming into town to bring back Nichole and Robbie from their weekend with them. I'm a bit disappointed with Robbie. He's gotten into more trouble at school again. He's a good kid. It's a shame that he feels like he has to act out for some reason. I hope he gets a hold while he still can. At least Nichole seems to have settled a bit.

We took this time to deliver our little present to McKayla for her second birthday. It was a little cute stuffed elephant that Amanda loved when she saw it. McKayla seemed to really like it too!

It was 9:30 or so by the time we got there and everyone was tired. Benji showed up but he just kind of sat there watching TV. I didn't even get a chance to speak more than a couple of words to him before he took off. Vern fell asleep on the couch. At least I got to spend a bit of time with Mom, Missy and the kids.

About 10:30, we headed back to Amanda's parents' to crash. I was tired and proud of myself for doing a job that my Dad would've been proud of me for doing.




Saturday September 2, 2006








I mailed out some of my vines from Camden today. Then I came back and spent a bit 'o' time with the other family around the pool. Amanda's cousin and her husband were there. I got to meet him for the first time because they chose the day that I got the opportunity to photo The Rolling Stones to get married last year. I felt guilty (I've always liked Rachel and her whole family) but I just couldn't miss the opportunity to photo the Stones just in case I never got the chance again. Well, 11 months later, the two of 'em have a kid on the way. Congrats to 'em!

I left everyone there by the pool, swung by the cemetery to visit MY Dad the only way I can and then headed on to Grandma's. I got her out, we ran several errands and I took her out to a massive lunch at Western Sizzlin' (her choice) in Lugoff. I ate way too much for that early in the day!

When we got back home, I looked around the yard. Man, the people that she hired to do the yard work really hacked up the hedges and shrubs. Not only that, they left the parts that they cut laying on top where they fell. Now they've turned brown on top. I spent a while picking all the dead, chopped parts out. It was awful and the grass wasn't much better. It was high in some places, low in others. It ain't that hard to cut grass, is it? I mean, c'mon!

After that, I hooked back up with Amanda's family at El Palenque. I'm not a big fan of Mexican food but it was pretty good tonight. And of course, we got the chance to spend a little more time with Rachel and Steven before they took off back home to Savannah.





Friday September 1, 2006



So it's September, huh? The band hasn't played a full set since June 30 I think. And it wasn't the best one. Things are gonna be so different when we get back out. It'll be easy to forget the rut that we got into. The rut began nearly a year ago and its been a slow slide but I'm happy to say that we're on the way back up.

I got this diary mostly caught up today. Of course, now I've gotta let it get behind before I upload it. Wouldn't wanna cause a shock to your system.

In the evening, Amanda and I headed east. We got back to Camden sometime around 10 pm.

"Home, home again. I like to be here when I can..."




Thursday August 31, 2006





Amanda got word that her Dad was having a little blip on the health screen this morning. He's fine, though. September's really good for making us worry about Dads so you'll have to forgive us if we're more concerned than we should be! We'll check on him in person tomorrow.

I've been getting a few sales here and there at WireImage I'm proud to say. Just today, a MUSE pic got bought by New Musical Express (that's NME to some of us) in the UK. I'd love to have a copy of that one with my pics in it. I've been in it a few times but don't have a single copy with my photos.

By the way, while you weren't looking I sneaked up a review of some Journey re-issues at Concert Shots. If you wanna check it out, gopher it.

Oh - are you feeling a little too comfortable? Excuse me, I didn't realize. This might help get that anxiety built back up.



Wednesday August 30, 2006



I spent my day tidying the computer. I'm running low on space and had to do a lot of backing up, deleting, juggling etc. I think I've got enough to get me through another little while now.

In the evening, Joe came over. He wanted to work on some harmonies for "Waiting For The Siren" so we did that before heading over to "Everybody's Trying". Joe's really excited about this one. He had some interesting ideas too. Looks like Joe might wind up with a writing credit for what he's putting into it. I guess it'll be the first McKay / Orr tune. That was fast! He also chose to start working on "Goodbye Tuesday". I had to go back to our original demo and isolate the tracks to figure out the other part. They're so entwined, you can't really pull 'em apart in the mix. The middle 8 of that one is gonna be great now. We'll finally have the guitar harmonies in there! It's sounding good, I'm telling you. He also added bits of harmony to "Towel Cape Song" and we wrote a harmony guitar part for the intro to "Happy Here & Now". It's getting better and better!



Tuesday August 29, 2006






Amanda stayed home today. She just wasn't feeling well. I took it upon myself to make another spin through the music stores. I'm still looking for a keyboard player and any other musicians that I may be able to figure out a way to work with.

For the record, I am really getting excited about the Critical Darlings again. Joe has made all the difference in the world to me. So many limitations are lifted by having him in the band.

In the late afternoon, Amanda and I watched Danny Deckchair. It was alright. I didn't love it but I liked it more than I thought I would. After that was done, I ran down to Nuci's to drop off a demo to Joshua. He's a guitarist based here in town. I know, I know, I've got all I need. But I wanna know what all there is, too. To be totally truthful, Joshua might be a good fit with Jerry and Aaron that I've gotten together with a couple of times. If I remember, I may hook 'em up.

After I got finished with all of that, Amanda requested that we watch the Guns 'N' Roses show from '88 at The Ritz in NY. I forgot just how many great songs they had right out of the gate. The quality of the disc wasn't as high as I'd hoped but it was cool to see it again anyway.



Monday August 28, 2006 looks like Pollstar's going to use one of my Carlos Mencia pics for the next cover. I know I mentioned it last week but I got my confirmation this morning! So that's cool. They also had me send over some Mat Kearney pics for another potential cover!

I spent my day today editing photos of course. I made some bad decisions on which camera to use at which times last night...especially during Mary J. Blige. Oh well - live and learn. I got enough to get by. Considering how brief a time I had to photo LeToya I think I did pretty well!

To see the gallery of LeToya pics at Wire Image, click here.
This would be the place to view Jaheim
And let's not Mary J. Blige and her gallery

Click here for last week with Mary J. Blige, LeToya, Jaheim, James Gang, Cinderella and a Poison hissy fight for the ages!