Sunday October 15, 2006




I woke up in Camden today. I checked my email to find contact from my ol' Q-Sign partner Tom O' Gorman. He sent me some mp3's of a UK band called Ocean Colour Scene to listen to. He compared them to Q-Sign and the Darlings. I can't listen on the Camden computer but I'll look forward to 'em when I get home. The package I sent him way over in the UAE finally made it. He said it's been in his car player ever since. It's bizarre for me to think of those lil' songs I wrote playing on a car stereo in Dubai, United Arab Emirates but it's a cool bizarre.

That new song of mine, "An Uncertain Flight", did some more self-writing today. It demanded that I use lyrics that have been floating in my head for the better part of a decade. I didn't think they'd work but the song was right (as usual). They fit in perfectly and made the title and the rest make more sense. It's strange how that works.

I went by the cemetery and then spent my day at Grandma's. Amanda went horseback riding with her Mom. We caught back up in the late afternoon to meet for my sister's and Dwayne's birthday celebration. Since mine is next week, it was also for me. Of course, my Mom, Vern and the kids were about an hour and a half late. They had plenty of excuses but the truth is that they just plain left later than they should've. It's a good thing that Grandma wouldn't come. (To those of you who I addressed yesterday - see, I can't even get her to come to my party a mile away). It was cold out there. I would've had to take her back anyway after all that wait. On the positive side, it's the first time my sister and brother and I just stood around talking in a loooonnnng time. So that was nice in its own way and offset the frustration considerably. Amanda and Dwayne were bored but hey, at least we were spending time together.

When my Mom got there, I noticed how red-faced she was. It was sunburn. She grew up on a farm and had spent so much time trying to get away from it and now she's back on a farm with Vern. It's all so cyclical, eh? For what it's worth, she seems to appreciate it now. We all gorged. I spent a bit 'o' time with Nichole and Robbie while McKayla ran around spreading cuteness everywhere. It was a good night despite the cake with candles for all of us on it that was in danger of burning down the whole building!

It was so late by the time we got done that we just went on home to crash. This is what I came home for. I needed it. I feel connected again and that's good because I don't know when I'll be able to make it home next.




Saturday October 14, 2006











First off, Happy Birthday, Dwayne! Yep, it's the season for birthdays in my family. I hope you have a good 'un!

I got up and got to work today. Ain't no Saturdays in my world. Of course there are rarely Mondays either so it works itself out. I had to edit all of my pics and get 'em online so that I could hit the road and go home. Unfortunately, my server was painfully slow. It said it would take 9 hours to upload something that should take about 30 minutes. I couldn't do that. I had to complain big time. I did. The problem was fixed. Of course, now I have to have an appointment for them to come work on the system. I set it up for Tuesday of next week. We'll see if they solve it. I'm just glad the pics got up even if it was slower than it should've been.

Here's the Brett Dennen pics from last night.

And los John Mayer picos can be found here.

I got home in the late afternoon. We dropped the stuff off at Amanda's parents and then I called Grandma to let her know I was home safely. Apparently, she went over to visit certain family members last night (she's a masochist that way) and they pulled her over the coals again. The stupid thing is just how clueless they are. I find it amusing that they are so far gone and lost that they just don't get it. Their own delusions have so clouded reality that they have no idea what's going on. They apparently even think I'm always home and taking her out to dinner with all of my riches and wealth. Yes, they apparently believe that even though they know that I live 200 miles away. Of course, the funny thing is that I just happen to be home tonight. I told Grandma to call 'em up. Let's invite 'em out to dinner and talk it out. I'll gladly address all of their concerns face to face. I don't want to fight, I don't want to argue but if they have concerns with me, they should be directed at me and not at my Grandmother. For the record, the dinner invitation was never sent out because my Grandmother decided that it would just be "stirring the pot". She was probably right but I'm still open to the communication being open and therefore...

...Please forgive me, but I believe a full-on rant is in order here. And forgive me for regularly switching from 1st to 2nd to 3rd person. That's the way it came out so you'll have to deal with it. I think you can handle it.

"Have you heard the latest?"

First off, I apparently upset some of my Grandmother's family (she still claims them) with comments I made in my diary. What horrible things did I say about them that would make them jump on someone who didn't say it? Well, I said that I thought I did a better job cutting the grass than anyone since my Dad. Yep. That was enough to get them in arms. But you know what? I do believe that. I saw that yard.

Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled and thankful every time they did stuff for my Grandmother (waaaaayyyyy back when they still had a consciences). I wish they were still doing it. They oughtta be. Everyone's lives would be much easier and happier. Besides, I never would've had the opportunity to know that I did a better job than the others had I not been forced to do it!

And anyway, I'm not trying to hurt anyone. I'm not trying to disparage anyone. I am, however, saying what I feel. They should know me well enough to know that I would say it to their faces. Why should I be afraid to say it here?

And since they're apparently reading it, I will direct this directly to them.

Are you afraid that others might find out what you've become? Don't worry about it. They may smile at you but anyone who's known you more than an hour and has half a brain cell left can see right through you. We all know. None of us can believe how far you've sunk. Most of us feel sorry for you.

But the thing is, I haven't always had criticisms for them even in the last few years. In fact, go back to the early days of this diary and you'll see that. You can go back to just after Grandma broke her hip and see how thankful I was for them to be there. Before that, you can see my concern when my uncle was hospitalized. Do they see that? Of course not! They instead take it upon themselves to get riled up because I'm proud of myself for doing a good job doing something that shouldn't be my responsibility but was left to me when none of them had the decency to do it. And yes, I realize that's a strong statement but I can't help but feeling that way. I hate it that it's come to that. But they caused it, they prolong it and they've caused more suffering and undue pain than they'll ever willingly acknowledge.

It's not too late for them to make a change and get back on the right path but do you think they will? I don't. They're too busy rolling in old jealousies and thinking about dead rivals. In the '70s and '80s they blamed my step-grandfather for their actions. In the '90s - 2003, they blamed my Dad. Now they blame me or even worse, this inanimate diary. If I wasn't here, they'd find something else to blame. Would they blame the neighbor across the street? Would they blame the pecan tree in the back yard? Who knows but I guarantee they could find somewhere else to place the blame for what THEY have done!

They apparently even think that my Grandmother is feeding me what to write here. They couldn't be more wrong. In fact, she's been asking me to censor myself and not write about anything to do with those people here. She was convinced that they were reading it and continually getting upset over stuff that was said. I couldn't believe that people that allegedly want nothing to do with me would waste their precious time reading the ramblings of an "idiot" (or "idget" as the person who said it pronounced it). Guess what! Grandma was right. They do check in here. Why would they do that? What could they possibly gain? I don't get it. It makes no sense to me but then, they don't make sense to me and haven't since they decided they could so easily turn their backs on someone who would NEVER turn her back on them.

And yes, Grandma does talk to me about the things that bother her. Yes, she needs someone to talk to that will actually allow her to actively participate in the conversation. I care about her. That's what you do when you care. You talk about what's important in your life and you try to help each other. Maybe they didn't realize that!

So again yes, we talk about virtually everything but as far as those people go, a lot of it is her pleading with me to not speak the truth as I see it about them in this diary.

It's funny that the only ones that have ever had a problem with this DIARY are the same ones that had a problem with me before it existed. And they would still have a problem if I removed it (which I have no intention of doing).

To them I have to ask:

Why do I get the feeling that some of you scour over the diary looking for mentions of you or even reading into things that have nothing to do with you. It's kind of sad, really. Have you got any of my diary listings stored on your computer or copied? That's cool with me. I don't mind. It's just semi-pathetic if you're the ones complaining.

You know, I have a slight bit of respect for those who don't like me / don't want to see me and therefore don't read the diary. That makes sense. For those of you who don't approve but read this anyway – well, that's like the kind of person who claims to be a Christian but supports a certain war. Excuse my grammar but it don't add up.

For the record, if my Grandmother had the power over me that they think she does, this blog would've been deleted a long time ago. She again pleaded with me today to take it down. The answer is NO. If you don't like what's here, don't read it. I'm entitled to my opinions and I will state them here as I feel. This is a DIARY. It is MY OPINION. That's it.

And to those of you who know that I mean you:

Just because you and yours have mistaken gossip as gospel for so many years doesn't mean that everyone does. Some of us UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE.

You know, it's my opinion that I did a better job with the grass even (gasp) without weed eating! Can you believe that? I'm not saying it's fact. I'm saying that it's my opinion just like I'm saying that it's my opinion that I don't see how those people can sleep at night.

And those of you who go to church on Sunday are even sadder. You know, I'm talking about those of you who claim to love your neighbor as yourself. Yes, I'm talking about those who claim to believe in a higher power who will someday judge your behavior. If that's true, do you have any idea what you're in store for?

There are a couple of you who claim to rely on God to help you make decisions. To you I can only say that I find your actions blasphemous in context with your alleged beliefs.

You could make a difference. You could turn this tide. You could be the solution instead of a big part of the problem. Obviously, I met a certain preacher when some insisted that he speak at my Dad's funeral despite the fact that he didn't even know my Dad. I was against it but allowed it out of my respect for you. He seemed nice and sincere during the time I spent with him. As your preacher, do you think he could / would justify your actions? As a so-called Christian (who repeatedly points it out to anyone who'll listen), you not only make yourself look bad but you make your Church look bad. If they'll have someone who so flagrantly plays with Biblical teachings to fit their own agenda, why should I assume that anyone else in your congregation will be different? The Jehovah's Witness have a phrase, “accurate knowledge”. You should google THAT instead of trying to justify your clearly non-Christian actions.

I'm not a Christian per se. At least not in the way that some of you claim to be. It's funny, though, that some of the clergy that I've studied with have called me a “true Christian”. And yes, I have studied the Bible and have some working knowledge of it. But I've studied more about it than just what's been fed to me by others trying to justify an agenda whether it be Catholic, Baptist, Snake Handling or Rabbit Thumping. I will truly do unto others as I would have them do unto me as far as I possibly can. Meanwhile you can't even follow the one and only important rule in the Christian church. And you wonder why things are like they are for you?

There's no reason to wonder. Your delusions and growing disillusion was bought and paid for with the goodness that you once had in you. You traded that goodness for false pride and beliefs stretched so far to cover yourself on both sides that the middle was torn wide open. You are not what you claim to be. You know it and so do a lot more people than you realize. I still believe that you can change but I know that time is running out fast for you and the people to whom you should be beating a path to make amends. You know it too. I don't think you're unintelligent...just belligerent. And every day that goes by without a positive action from you, you prove how uncaring you can be. The sad thing is that I know SOME of you still have souls to save (excuse the apparent altar call). But time is running out fast.

I have never intended to hurt any of you in action or by words. Can you say the same about me? I'm speaking my mind here. I'm sorry if it bothers you but that's not my intent. My intent is only to be who I am. And despite the occasional protests, I will continue to do so. But if you don't want to read what I have to say, just don't. Don't get me wrong, you're welcome at my web site (unlike me at your home), but I won't take orders on what to do from you. You have no power over me. You never have. You never attempted to earn it. I used to at least respect you but you have totally eroded that. And I certainly can't trust you, especially with Mr. & Mrs. Sneaky-Snooper (who've been known to use questionable procedures that reveal their true nature and motivation) looking for ways to up the soap-opera value. I don't have time for that. I have a life.

My feelings and ideas about you aren't FED to me. My feelings and ideas about you are based on WHAT I HAVE SEEN, HEARD AND BEEN SUBJECTED TO FIRST HAND FROM YOU !

Do you understand that? If you can't, you might want to think back. If you do, it should all become perfectly clear. Just because I was a child doesn't mean I was stupid and it doesn't mean I wasn't paying attention. In fact, I truly believe that my faculties at 5 were clearer and in better order than yours at 50 to 55. Again, that's my opinion and I'm entitled to it.

You have always appeared to have some sick delight when something went wrong for me, my Dad, my Mom, my siblings and my Grandmother. Where does that come from? Can you really hold on to such jealousies and bitterness from decades ago and not expect that it's not going to eventually destroy you from the inside out? C'mon, even an "idget" can understand that. I could give specific examples here. I could tell you about the times that my Dad's eyes filled with tears because of the betrayals he felt he suffered from you. I could tell you about people snooping around in MY personal life to feed you information to support your delusions and / or to simply make me look bad. What's the point in making this any longer than it already is. You know what I'm talking about so I don't need to detail it. Just know that I know! And I don't even have to go digging and get myself dirty to know. I've seen it without snooping.

Why is it that the only way you can seem to feel good about yourself is to believe that someone else is below you or inferior. Well, we aren't. My Dad wasn't. I'm certainly not. I am who I am. It's a shame that you have a problem with who I am. It's a shame that you have a problem with the brashness and arrogance that you perceive. And I acknowledge that I often come across that way. But I'd rather be that way any day as compared to what I see in your passive-aggressive attempts to continue your mind-numbingly dull soap opera. And I think your problem with me is really nothing more than a problem with yourself. I'm not playing a role in it. I'm just an easy scapegoat and so is my Grandmother. But in all honesty, I'd rather be a scapegoat than a phony in sheep's clothing.

You always treated me as an outsider and now you're upset that the outsider is telling about what he can see on the inside. If you had ever treated me like family, we might be family. But you chose not to be family repeatedly. I made the effort for way too long. I eventually gave up on you. That's why we're nothing more than relatives at this point.

For what it's worth, the prodigal son of the family is still missed. Yep, that other Uncle of mine always showed me respect. He always treated me like family. He proved to me that he cared over and over again. He spent time with me. He was proud of me and I was proud of him. He and my Dad were real brothers. They were bonded by more than blood. It's a crushing shame that my Dad went the last ten years of his life without spending any time with that brother that he loved so much. He didn't want to talk much about him over that time but every time he did tears came to his eyes. If you're reading this, he missed you so much. You need to know that. He shed many a tear over losing you. He shed many a tear believing that you didn't love him back. I know that you always did. He couldn't believe it. He went to his grave thinking that you didn't care about him anymore. I have to contrast that image of his sadness in my memory against when you were still around. He would drop anything and everyone to spend time with you. And he would sit on the couch waiting. Every single car that drove by, he would jump up and look out the window to see if it was you. He loved you more than you'll ever know. And I thank you for the good times that we had.

While you were fun, encouraging and real family, the local Aunt and Uncle did nothing more than tolerate me. They never showed me they cared about ME. In fact, they only seemed agitated when they found out I was doing well in school. On the flip side, they seemed delighted to find out when I wasn't. And they're the so-called Christian family. You, however, spent time with me. You told me that my guitar playing was "beautiful". You encouraged me. You inspired me. You were family. When you disappeared and abandoned us, you hurt me deeply. But you crushed your brother and Mother. It's too late to make up for that time with your brother but your Mom's still there right now.

C'mon, I know you still have something in you somewhere that lets you know that it's time to come home. I would love to spend time with you again. I miss you. And you were never just a relative like some of the other ones. I hate the fact that I didn't get to see your daughter / my cousin grow up.

During the days surrounding my Dad's funeral, you were one of the only comforts I had. And we didn't even really talk. The reason that you were a comfort is because my Dad's in you and you were always in my Dad. I see him in you. He's in me, too. I know you know that. I'm just a little more wordy! I remember the night of October 1, 2003. We all sat out on the porch. I kept thinking how NO ONE ON THIS PLANET would have loved this more than my Dad and he's the only one not here. But if there was any way possible, I know that he was. I remember Grandma calling me to come in the house for something. She leaned out of the screen door. I said, "No. I'm not going to be the first one to leave this porch because if I know us, it'll be the last time it's going to happen." And I didn't. In fact, I was the last person to leave that porch that night.

That's why I also called you back to Dad's room before the funeral to give you that watch, which was the only thing of value that I had to give. It was the only thing I could do to say what I needed to say. I just hope you'll keep your word and make sure it gets back to me when and if anything happens to you. You'll never know how hard it was to give that to you. It had just been presented to me at the wake. One of the teary-eyed Cogsdill employees walked up to me with it draped across her hand. She said that Dad had just asked her to have it repaired for him. She said the he said he wanted to make sure that it was working so he could leave it to me when he died. Yes, he knew. I passed it on to you. I hope you know how much that watch means to me.

I also miss your son. As is the curse with a lot of people in our family, he misinterpreted some things and none of us have heard from him since. Your first daughter is one I'm more ambivalent about it. I feel she was fairly well messed up by her childhood. I hope she's seeing clearer these days. She's a good person underneath all of that horrible stuff she's got to drag along with her.

There's also my local cousin that I spent so much time with (whenever I was allowed). I miss him. Of course, I also miss my Dad and to be honest, I think the odds of that cousin that I knew still being around anywhere are less likely than my Dad showing up at Christmas this year. Of course, when this cousin bold-faced lied to me while standing over my Father's death bed, he pretty much killed any feeling left for him. That's what proved to me that the good kid that I grew up with was "no longer with us". The guy I knew would have never done something so horribly unforgivable. During the phone call when I was told that my Dad was dead, this cousin was standing there with my Dad's body nearby. He asked me in what sounded like sincerity, "What can I do for you?" I appreciated that. I then said, "Don't ask me unless you intend to do it" and he said "What do you need?" I answered the only way I could. I said, "Look out for Grandma. And I don't mean now or over the next few days because we'll all be there. I mean to look after her after everyone's gone back home. Look out for her over the next few weeks and months." He said "Done". He lied. He didn't even show up for the holidays. He doesn't even phone her on her birthday. There's no way to justify that beyond saying that the person that I thought I knew died at some point even though his body is still wandering around. That's the same way I feel about most of them. I think they're zombies.

Is there life, heart, soul, compassion and love left in any of you? If so, we'd love to see it. You people often complain that I think I know it all. Well, I'd love to see you prove me wrong because I don't believe there's enough good left in you to do what you know you should do. PROVE ME WRONG! PLEASE. I'd love to be wrong in this case.

There are still a couple of you out there with minds of your own. I understand that you may not like my methodology but whether or not you'll admit it, I know that you know that what I'm saying is right.

I hope eventually you'll be truer to yourselves than to those around you who would continue to hold you down. You are missed.

The rest never would've been.

To those of you who are past redemption, I say this. You have betrayed your families. You have betrayed your religion. You have betrayed your consciences. And you have betrayed yourselves by attempting to justify your other betrayals.

I am thankful that it is not my place to forgive you.

I am sorry about your health problems and I hope you get ‘em straightened out. Your conscience problems, however, I have to believe are terminal. Maybe God will send a miracle your way and you'll learn how to feel empathy again. Then again, maybe God has decided to spend his time on people that he feels might actually be willing to improve themselves instead of sliding further and further down into all of the mud they've slung in the past.

Personally, I don't know. I don't pretend to be God's mouthpiece like some do. I'm only stating my opinion. Aside from the shame brought on me by the family members who I'm addressing here, I couldn't ask for more in my life without being greedy. I'm okay. My conscience is clear. I feel good about the decisions I'm making.

I have my own faith.

Tomorrow's going to be good for me.

How about you?

In fact, even tonight is good. Despite the negative energy constantly sent my way by some of you, I was giddy to be home. I spent my Saturday night on October 14, 2006 sitting at the other end of the table in that little house on Birch Road. A Sanford & Son marathon played on the TV. We talked and we laughed. Yes, that world still exists even into 2006. It was relaxed. It was home. It felt good.

It could be there for you. All you have to do is make the decision to be a part of the family that you once walked away from.

I'd love to talk to you anytime, anywhere in the hopes of making some positive progress. I'm here for you just like family should be. I'm easy to get in touch with. Call me. It's the same ol' number. Or hey, if that's too hard just click here and email. I'm around.

Whether this story has a happy or tragic ending is all up to you! What do you choose?





Friday October 13, 2006

John Mayer rocks out
on Missy Day '06.



Hello and happy birthday to ya. It looks like (contrary to previous reports) I'm going to be able to see you this weekend. I was supposed to have a shoot tomorrow night but I've decided that the call of home, the fall and our birthdays is more important. Since I talked to Mom the other night, I've been trying to figure a way to make it work. I finally decided that I'd have to hope that Eric Clapton will make it back again sometime. I need to come home. I hope whatever party is planned will wind up being tomorrow or Sunday so I can make it. If not, I'm still thinking about you. I do still have a shoot tonight (John Mayer) but I'll be leaving in the a.m. as soon as I get my pics edited and uploaded. I'll look forward to seeing you then. In the meantime, happy, happy birthday!

And so there you go. Leave it to Friday the 13th for me to be able to triumph over the diary after months of being waaaaayyyyy behind. I finally feel like my life's getting back into control. That means I need to go ahead and start biting off more than I can chew so I can get behind again. As for this brief triumphant moment...


I also had a good conversation on the phone with Frank today. He's had a little time to unwind and relax this week. Apparently, he's feeling much more focused and together. He's also "officially changed his mind" about a band issue that could lead to some very interesting things over the next 6 months. I'll post more after I can update the other guys.

In the evening, Amanda and I traipsed off to Atlanta for my latest shooting spree. I wound up running late. When I got there, I had some brief security issues due to my escort already having gone in. Luckily, since they know me, I managed to get through. I ran down and didn't even have time to format my card. There was this goofy looking guy onstage with an acoustic. He looked like a geeky teenager. The bassist looked like his Grandfather and there was beatnik on the drums. For some reason, I wanted to hate this guy who called himself Brett Dennen but the truth is, the songs were quite good. He may have been listening to too many Paul Simon albums (if it can be judged from the 2 songs I heard before going back out) but he was good at it.

After I photo'd Brett, I went back out and waited with Amanda (we had no tickets for this one). It was COLD. It was even colder in the venue with that icy wind whipping over the sold out amphitheater crowd. I got back in after Brett finished and wound up hanging out with Holli (from LiveNation) for a while. We usually don't get a chance to chat and it was nice to do that for a change. She's been so wonderful to me over the past few years. I can't believe how many friends I have in this moment. Sure there are still some gray clouds in my sky but life is good for me in October 2006 and I'm not too jaded to acknowledge it and appreciate it.

John Mayer came out looking like John Mayer...only a little more of him. I wish I could've seen the whole set tonight. While I'm not really a fan of his albums, I'm always intrigued to just listen to him play live. He blew me away the first time I photo'd him at his 2-night stand in Athens 4 years ago (Where on the second night I took the pic that became possibly his first national cover shot - for Pollstar. He later told me that that pic was his favorite live photo of him.). But if his musicianship blew me away then, I can't even speak about now. He's so subtly tasteful these days and the finesse in his playing proves that he's learning from the masters. Even though I only saw 2 and a half songs, the growth was so obvious. The boy can play! I'm envious.

Amanda and I had to get out of there, though. Somewhere on the massive Atlanta highway, I even had to do something I don't like. I had to get on the phone. Y' see, since Amanda and I were running so late, I didn't get to call my sister for her birthday yet. Amanda pushed me to go ahead and call NOW. I did. Good thing. Apparently, she was about to step out of the door when I called. I would've felt terrible had I missed her. I wouldn't have wanted her to think I forgot.

I didn't.

Happy birthday, Missy.




Thursday October 12, 2006





The melody to "An Uncertain Flight" is still lodged in my head this morning. More lyrics are coming on their own. I'm not going to force it. I'm going to let the magic continue. We'll see if this trick will work.

While it was forming, I took the time to email original Darling Tom Bavis. He left the band (officially) on October 16 of last year. I tried so hard to keep him in the project. I miss the chemistry that we had and the cohesiveness of what we did. Even more than that, though, I miss our friendship. The only reason I started this band was because I liked Tom. I feel like I owe it to myself, the band, the work we created and the time we spent working on it to at least let him know how I feel. So I did. It may be pathetic in its way but it's been gnawing at me. And to be truthful, even if I regret sending it, I'd have regretted more if I didn't make the effort. With or without the band, there is no sensible reason for us not to still be friends. Every time I've reached out since he left, I've gotten a cold shoulder. I don't expect less this time. But I can hope that one day he'll remember with fondness instead of bitterness. What we did is something that neither of us can do without each other. Granted, I can still do and so can he. Many people have let me know that they prefer the band now. But as I've said before, there's a chemistry thing that goes beyond the raw talent. I'm just glad I've got Frank and Joe still. And I'm glad that I've got a drummer that's willing to do all that he's doing. That's more than I have the right to ask. Maybe I should just be satisfied. More or less, I am, because I'd probably do everything I did during the waning days of the original lineup exactly the same today under the same circumstances.

So maybe I should be satisfied with satisfaction...

...Or maybe I should keep pushing until I'm happy.

Yeah - I think that's a better idea.

Onward and upward.

I've started trying to pencil in some more shows for the band. There are a couple that will hopefully be confirmed soon even if I still feel more changes coming within the band format.

To cheer me up a little, I got a quote from Dana at WireImage about me that made me feel good when I was slightly depressed. She called me one of WireImage's "great concert shooters" to John Mayer's publicist. It may not sound that impressive but if you realize that WireImage has THE GREATEST concert photographers on the planet, maybe you can understand. It made me feel good when I needed to hear something positive. So thanks, Dana.

To end my daily blah-blah, I wanted to add this. I wish I could disagree with any of it. I saw it posted on Moby's blog and thought it was worth sharing.

"Essay by E.L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. Doctorow has received the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howell Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the residentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

An Essay On Our President
by E.L. Doctorow

I fault this president (George W. Bush) for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him; you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion, which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life....

They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission- accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it.

So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options, but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to, but because you have to.

This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing --- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader.
The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children....

He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills --- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into is his characteristic trouble.

Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective war making, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves."




Wednesday October 11, 2006





I'm feeling much, MUCH better today. I drove around running errands. I wound up swinging by Flagpole to pick up some checks. I went by the post office, the bank and all that usual exciting stuff. For the drive, I finally listened to Lindsey Buckingham's new CD from front to back. It may not be the best CD of the year but it's the one that's sunk its hooks into me the deepest. As I said the other day, I really shouldn't relate to these songs that much at my age but I do. I know I'll be listening to these songs for the rest of my life.

After listening to Lindsey all day, I put the capo that my Dad bought for me for Christmas one year and put it on the guitar. The guitar played me a new song which was clearly influenced by Lindsey as well as The Stones and The Who. What the guitar gave me was something that sounds more like ME than the Critical Darlings. The working title is "An Uncertain Flight". It sounds like a real rocker, eh? Um, no. And I have no idea where the melody came from. I've never written one like that. I'm excited about this turn of events. It came from nowhere. This may be just a personal favorite but if I can finish up the lyrics (3/4 came automatically with the guitar part) and do the melody and guitar part justice, I'll have something very special.



Tuesday October 10, 2006








I got back on "Things Got Weird" yet again today. I'm so sick of it right now (momentarily). I've worked harder on this song than I have on anything since the Q-Sign days. And maybe I didn't need to do that. I just really believe in the song and want to help Joe become a writer for the Darlings. I think we're there. I'm just burned out on it now. I retracked and changed my backups. Then I remixed it again. And this is all for a home demo.

I finally got the Lindsey Buckingham CD Under The Skin in the mail. I put it in to listen to it during my lunch break. I only made it through the first song. I heard what he can do with one vocal and one guitar part on the opening song. Suddenly, I felt my talent by comparison. It wasn't a good feeling. It certainly put me in my place. I was emotionally struck too. I really shouldn't relate so strongly with someone so much older than I am, but I did. I had to turn it off after that first song or I knew I wouldn't be able to finish up my work.

I have no idea why but I feel totally out of it today. After I finished mixing "Things Got Weird", Frank came over. He wasn't exactly "on it" either. We tried to work out his parts for "Something Real" but it wasn't happening. He was there for a couple of hours and we basically got, well, nothing done.

Frank took off, I had a dinner break and then when Amanda left for her class, I attacked the demos again. Finally, there was some accomplishment. I hit "Waiting For The Siren", "If I Could" and "Happy Here & Now". I got 'em all done within a couple of hours. And I'm happy enough with 'em. It's nice to know that I can knock out my own stuff quickly and efficiently.

Soon after stopping, I got a phone call from Jeff Walls (formerly of Guadalcanal Diary and currently of The Woggles). He looked me up after seeing my images of him and the other Woggles from the show a couple of weeks ago. I told him I'd make him a CD of the images for his personal collection. We had a nice little conversation about the tour and his time sharing a bus with The Zombies. Apparently, The Woggles had a hand in getting Colin and Rod to drag out "Beechwood Park". I was glad to be able to personally thank him for that. He then told me that The Zombies only played that song in Atlanta and Charleston...and that was it. Wow!

Sometime around this point, the migraine that I had last night came back. It sucked. Seriously. It must be headphone / recording related. I crawled through the rest of the night. Again, it was relatively mild but it was certainly enough to keep me down.




Monday October 9, 2006




Happy 66th Birthday, John Lennon!

So anyway, I'd like to make a recommendation that we officially change the meaning of "N" in N. Korea to "Nuclear". Maybe this is the something big I've been sensing on the horizon. Who knows? The truth of the matter is that nothing less should be expected in the world climate we live in that's lead with the (ahem) less than thoughtful leadership that we have. Let's see how fast we back down to China and Russia's demands when they start saying we can't do this or that. For about the last 50 years, we've been great at "setting right" smaller countries. Now we're not even great at that. Do you really think we're in any position to pick on someone our own size? And believe me, China and Russia will side with N. Korea even if it's not overt. It'll start over disagreements in possible sanctions and get worse from there. Mark my words. Therefore, they're siding with Iran. Therefore, it's going to wind up being us vs. them. And we can't even be decisive when the "them" is Iraq. What do you think we can do against an opponent with actual power?

We have more. We are stronger. We may be closer to moral (note I didn't say "moral" - and even "close" is debatable). The truth that goes hand in hand with that, though, is that we have much more to lose. And I've got a feeling we're going to have to lose a lot more before the apathetic, distracted populace of America gets it TOGETHER. I'm not claiming to know what the right thing to do is but I know when I see something wrong. And I'm seeing that all over the place.

So yeah - it's John Lennon's birthday. "Give Peace A Chance" is hopelessly naive at this point. That wouldn't have worked in Hitler's time either. We had the chance to "Give Peace A Chance". We didn't. We chose, when stung by a couple of rogue hornets, to take a stick and start pounding at the nest. Then the ones hitting the hornets nest wonder out loud why we now have thousands of hornets coming at us.

Maye we should've just called an exterminator instead of a rodeo clown.

Yeah - so happy birthday, John Lennon. We could use you and your abilities in this fight. Surely, your message would've been adapted for the times and you'd be a lot more lucid and to the point than the great non-communicators that we're stuck with early in this century.

Enough of that.

I spent my day working more on Joe's song. In the afternoon Frank and Joe both came over. First we jawboned (See, I read our word-a-day calendar) the lyrics. Joe was quite reasonable and cool headed. He was firm when he needed to be and malleable when that was the right course. After today, I know that he and I can really create. By the early evening, we had tracked his solo and vocals. I added in my backups and did some rough mixdowns. So we're now starting to yield tangible results from the compiling that we've been doing since the end of the Joy sessions.

The only bad thing was that I wound up with a headache that became a migraine. I always forget just how much these things hurt. On the migraine scale, this was a mild one but it's still awful.

Oh yeah - my Mom called. That was a nice distraction from the pain. I haven't spoken to her in nearly a month. I've been thinking of her every day and hoping she's doing okay. She was asking if I'd be able to make it home for my sister's birthday celebration this weekend (which they usually turn into a double one since mine's the next weekend) but I just don't think I can. I think I'll be photo'ing John Mayer on Friday and either Eric Clapton or The Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Saturday. I've gotta say that it's tempting to drop it all.

I feel home pulling me again.

I wanna go back.

Click here for last week for the beginning of when "Things Got Weird"...and for Lindsey Buckingham...and I'm sure I had more to blab about.