Everything/Nothing

Here’s one of my “random” posts you’ve all come to love.  Some of you seem to have come to love them so much you’re picking up the trend on your own blogs, in fact!  Looking at YOU Dave!  🙂

  1. My throat feels weird.  Kinda clogged.  Not really having trouble breathing or anything like that…but it’s an irritant.  I just hope this isn’t going to turn into something worse.  I’d really like to go ONE month without a cold or a toothache or something like that.
  2. Billy Mays died.  That one actually shocked me.  I’m not SAD exactly, but I was surprised.  Ed McMahon was old and had been having health problems.  Farrah Fawcett had cancer, and we all knew it was a 50/50 shot.  Michael Jackson, in hindsight (if nothing else), always seemed destined to burn-out young.  But Billy Mays was kind of out of nowhere………  Is it too soon to make a home portable defibrillator joke?
  3. Speaking of celebrity deaths…  A guy I’ve known for 15 years called me a name and then removed me from his Facebook “friends” list after I posted that I was “sadder about Farrah Fawcett who, to my knowledge, had never been brought up on child molestation charges nor settled out of court on said charges.”  So…apparently, the line with him was Michael Jackson.  Big man, huh?
  4. Why is it that when a man gets his heart broken by a woman, he gets mad at that specific woman…but when a woman gets her heart broken by a man, she gets mad at ALL men.  Like I just read where someone wrote, “Boys suck.”  That’s not fair.  I’m pretty sure I don’t suck.  The guy that screwed her over does, I’m sure…but some of us are okay.  Just always kinda bugs me, and I’m not sure why.  🙂
  5. Blue Tattoo’s recording is coming together.  We’ve got drums down on four or five tracks and we should make some significant progress this week as well.  Johnny’s taking a couple of weeks off to deal with his wedding and other stuff, so it’s just guitars and vocals for a couple of nights.  Should move pretty quickly, and I’m excited about it.
  6. I keep mentioning that “New Year’s Eve” project.  I’m planning on releasing it as a FREE download through this blog.  I think I’ve arrived at a final mix, but I may want to re-do the vocal track on one song.  I’m not quite sure I got everything out of it that I could.  I’ll be listening to a semi-final mix tomorrow, and it should be up by this time next week, if it all comes together like I think it will.
  7. I got my mail today, and imagine my surprise to find a letter from my previous employer.  (For those who don’t know, they’re a college.)  The letter was asking me to donate to their “America’s Best” campaign—a fundraiser for the school.  Now, I’ll fore-go shaking my finger at including the word “America” as an appeal to our individual patriotism…I’ll grudgingly let that go…  But, I did get a chuckle out of it.  I mean…didn’t them laying me off pretty much add up to me giving them like $28,000?
  8. Speaking of jobs…I really like my new job.  The office is pretty relaxed and we all get along pretty well.  Sure, we have our tense moments like anyone else, but it all seems overcome-able.  I’ve been pretty happy since I fell into the new gig.  (Only reason I don’t tell you where the new gig is is that I say some pretty stupid stuff on this blog, and I wouldn’t want it to reflect poorly on them.)  My sister-in-law commented that “You seem really happy with your new job.”  Which is true…but she said it with that tone of “I’m not sure I’ve ever SEEN you this happy.”  And maybe that’s true.  Hard to say.  To be fair, I haven’t really done anything massively stupid yet or gotten in trouble for anything…but at the same time…yes.  I’m happy.  It’s weird, right?
  9. For some reason, WordPress does not have the word “blog” in its dictionary, and it always gets underlined during the spell-check.  Does that seem really strange to anyone else?
  10. …and let’s ride this thing out with some CD Reviews…
    1. Chickenfoot – Made up of Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani, and Chad Smith, it’s…kind of what you expect.  Fun stuff, but not too deep.  Definitely worth a summer listen, and I’ll probably go see the show when it comes to town.  But, at the same time, I don’t imagine it being the #1 CD in my rotation for years to come.  Lots of fun…what a Van Halen reunion should’ve sounded like.  Worth the $10…which I haven’t actually paid because I borrowed it from my brother.  (I’ll get that back to you Tuesday, Dave.)
    2. Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound” – Nice little record.  Kind of a punk heart, but more of a greaser/rock/alternative vibe to it than anything else, in my opinion.  The title seems to suit it.  This one has definite playlist potential.  (I’ll also return this one on Tuesday, Dave…but I’ll probably buy it for myself after the next paycheck.)
    3. Live – “Live at the Paradiso” – GREAT live record.  One of the better live records I’ve heard in a long time.  It’s really cool to hear the audience singing along, sometimes insisting that the band follow THEM.  It must be amazing to have a big crowd like that be so in love with your words…and the band was freaking ON.  A few years ago, they wrote the lyric, “With Live, it’s game seven every single night.”  I think this record captures that.
    4. Dream Theater – “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” – Long winded…VERY long winded.  But it’s got some nice meat in there…it’s just that Portnoy and Petrucci REALLY need to bring in an outside producer again.  There are some good songs in there if you chop about five minutes out of each of them and let LaBrie sing, like he’s supposed to.
    5. Spinal Tap – “Back from the Dead” – The Tap boys re-recorded a bunch of the songs that made the movie such a hit, plus a few new offerings.  It’s silly and fun.  I’ve got to say, I prefer some of the originals, mostly because I’ve lived with them so long…but this release is pretty good.
    6. Legendary Shack Shakers – “Believe” – I bought this along with “Swampblood.”  I like them both about the same.  If you’re looking to see what they’re like live, this ISN’T it.  By comparison, in fact, the records are a little boring…but once you’ve had time to put some space between yourself and the show, the records are really good.  “Believe” is probably the superior of the two…and definitely the place I’d recommend starting if you’ve never heard them…but “Swampblood” has some really great moments, too.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading.  Please enjoy your return to the Internet.

A List of Things You Can’t Say in a Tent…

My brother said #5 on this list in reference to wanting to flee a boring conversation. I replied, “Just another thing you can’t say in a tent.” He then threw down the challenge for me to post a list of things you can’t say in a tent…so here are ten things. But maybe it’s more accurate to say they’re ten things you’d SHOULDN’T say in a tent, because you’d sound like an idiot…technically, I guess you CAN say anything you want to in a tent.

 

…but I digress…

 

Here’s the list (sorry this isn’t very funny!):

  1. Does this ottoman look alright over here?
  2. Great…now it’s all over the wallpaper.
  3. Go to your room!
  4. This is more comfortable than my bed at home.
  5. Where the f**k’s the door?
  6. Nice lamp!
  7. Can you turn up the AC?
  8. You hold the drywall and I’ll screw it down.
  9. This is not a tent.
  10. I’ll be in the tub.

 

…and as a bonus, a few things you CAN say in a tent that would sound dirty in any other situation…

 

  • Unzip it and let’s get going.
  • Don’t touch it! You’ll flood the whole place!
  • It’s poking me right in the thigh…I can’t sleep like this.
  • The flaps are stuck!
  • You pull this end and I’ll try to keep it up.
  • My bag’s wet! I told you not to touch it!
  • Tent pole!
  • I think the three of us will fit, but one of us will have to be sideways.

 

…so there ya go.

I Guess I’ll Have to be the One to Say it…

Michael Jackson was NOT bigger than Elvis.

 

Michael Jackson was NOT bigger than the Beatles.

 

Michael Jackson WAS a creepy guy who was several times brought up on charges of sexual misconduct with CHILDREN, and at least twice settled out of court, paying off his possible victims.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to mourning Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett, who actually deserve the attention and dignity.

 

Comments are disabled on this post.  I don’t want to hear it.

 

EDIT: …okay…but I’ll give you the “Thriller” video.  That was awesome.

Done Got M’Shack Shook…

Went and saw Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers last night at the Firebird in downtown St. Louis.  GREAT show.  They tore up the stage.  Col. J. D. might be the last of the great living front-men.  It took me about half the show before I could peel my eyes off of him long enough to realize that there were other guys on the stage.

 

The really interesting part, though was meeting the bass player.  He’s a guy called Mark Robertson.  Nice guy.  Most notably, he had previously been in such bands as This Train and was a member of the Ragamuffin Band in the years leading up to (and just after) the death of Rich Mullins (having seen Rich the day he died).  He also produced Mitch McVicker’s first record.  Running across him was a surprise.  The Shakers aren’t exactly a Christian band.  Knowing that they had toured with acts like Hank III and The Reverend Horton Heat, (and with song titles like “Where’s the Devil when you Need Him?”) I went in knowing what to expect…and I didn’t expect to see Mark.

 

He talked with Dave (Knobel) and me for about 20 minutes about his days on the Christian circuit.  For the record, the guy’s still very much a Christian.  Music’s just his job, not his ministry.  He maintained that it’s always been that way for him, even when he was in the Ragamuffins.  He’d occasionally do radio interviews where they’d ask him if he saw his work as a ministry or a job and he’d usually reply, “It’s a job.  You don’t get paid for ministry.”  People hated that.

 

During the conversation, we talked a lot about Rich Mullins (one of the few Christian acts I’ve ever really dug) and a lot about faith and music.  It was pretty cool…and probably very weird for Mark.  I’d imagine the Rich Mullins/Shack Shakers crossover isn’t too big.  He actually thanked us for talking to him.  I don’t think I’ve had a touring artist say that to me before.

 

A few additional popcorn notes about meeting Mark:

  • He plays a string bass that he had hand made.  The guys who made it carved the entire book of Nehemiah into the binding.
  • He’s not a fan of Sarah Palin.
  • He’s also not a fan of Carmen.
  • He used the f-word at least twice, and also spoke reverently of Jesus (which was like a cool-breeze on a Summer’s day, to me).
  • Other folks were gathering around listening to some of his Christian-rock stories and they weren’t immediately repulsed—which might be the best ministry he’s got going right now, playing in the sleezy bars.  (My opinion, not necessarily his.)
  • Rich Mullins “smoked like a chimney.”
  • He was making more money with This Train, but the Shack Shakers are better known, world-wide.
  • He still sees the other guys in the Ragamuffin Band pretty regularly, and Rick Elias borrowed a bass from him that he’d really like to get back.
  • The difference between playing for 500 people and playing for 50?  “For 500, I get paid a little better.  For 50, I play a little better.”  (We were closer to the 50-range, by the way…probably closer to 100-150 by the end of the night.)

 

So…that was a fun, weird evening.  Also, due to a slight mis-direction, I saw the place where Washington ends (in the city).  That was weird.

 

…and Dave (this time Brink), I bought you a shirt.  You owe me $15.  …also, you left your sunglasses in my car on Friday.  That doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, but I thought you might be missing them.

————

…and happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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In an unrelated note, my spell-checker isn’t catching a lot of things…sorry for anything terribly stupid that slipped through.

Rest in Peace, Tom

Now I’m REALLY tired of writing these damn things…

 

Tom Anders was a volunteer at the SLCC Library for…longer than I was there.  He and his wife Lorraine were an old, retired couple by the time I became a student, much less an employee.  They would shelve books, organize cards, etc…whatever we needed.  Didn’t expect a dime.  Just liked doing it.

 

Most people on campus didn’t even know they were there.  They came in for a couple of hours on Fridays for 10+ years.  Always quiet and mild-mannered…they just worked away and didn’t bother anyone, and no one bothered them.  The only people who took notice were the Library workers.  And we loved them.

 

Lorraine is still with us, but Tom just died.  He was very old.  A war vet (and not Vietnam).  A cantankerous old guy.  Funny in that way old men are funny.  In the time I knew him, I watched his memory and physical abilities slip until about two years ago, their children made the decision to move the Anders into an assisted living facility (not a nursing home…more of a retirement home).  As an irony, I’ve driven by their retirement home ever since I started the new job.

 

Before they were moved, Jan Fordyce (Librarian before me) had a great idea.  She arranged for the Anders to attend a Chapel service at the college and Dr. Chambers mentioned them.  He pointed them out and noted that they’ve been faithfully working in there for over ten years, and the school presented them with a plaque for their loyal service, a copy of which hangs in the Library now.  Virtually none of the students knew who they were, but I was WELL proud of our student body that day.  The entire Chapel rose to their feet and applauded, where normally they would have just sat and nodded.  They made a LOT of noise.  Genuinely touching.  It’s one of the few times I ever teared up in Chapel (which should tell you something about either the regularity of my attendance or the typical quality of the speakers, but I’m not sure which).  I bet that was the last time anyone really made a big deal of him on this Earth.  I feel good to have had a small role in that.  But I bet the ovation when he walked through the Pearly Gates was even bigger…everyone there probably knew just who he was.

 

So…

 

Tom’s gone.  Larry’s gone.  Joe’s gone…  It’s getting to where if you walked into the Library and I liked you, you’d better watch out.  (So, Dayna…Matt…heads-up, alright?)  At least Tom had a nice, long, full life.  That’s something.  But it’d be really nice if no one else died for a while…’kay?

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Current Listening:

  • I’ve recently dug out my old Madison Greene CDs.  I miss those guys.

Rest in Peace, Larry…

Let me just start by saying I’m getting more than a little tired of writing these damn things.

 

Larry Gammage was a student at SLCC when I was a student.  He was older than me, but we were in a bunch of classes together.  I knew him as a funny yet maybe a little-bit shy guy—and I was FLOORED to find out how dynamic and energetic a preacher he was in one class.  He always shook my hand when he saw me and talked to me like an old friend even when months or years passed between meetings.  Larry was a regular in the Library, even after he was long-gone from the school’s list of students.  He would walk in, stand just out of view of any of the folks in the office, pound on the desk and shout “SERVICE!”  I’d always come out and say, “Yes?  Can I help you, sir?” in a slightly waiter-ish tone.  But he never wanted anything but to shake my hand and ask me how I was doing.

 

I’m not at SLCC anymore…and I know this is going to sound like I’m saying it just because he died, but in my last week there, it struck me that I’d probably never hear him shout for service again…I guess that’s really true now.

 

Larry was a good man.  He was raising his son in the best way he knew how and he had a really good head on his shoulders.  He went into the hospital with severe stomach pains (likely related to treatments; he’d been on dialysis).  While there, he had a intestinal aneurysm and, according to the account I read, “died quickly.”  At least it was quick.  It’s just a shame that living without folks like Larry in the world sounds like an interminably SLOW existence.  People always say that the dead “are in a better place” and that we’ll “see them again…”  And as much as I believe that, I’ve never gotten used to the fact that I still wish they hadn’t died.  I wish that now.

 

…and he wore really nice hats, too.  I always liked his hats.

 

Larry.  I’ll miss you.  It was an honor to serve a man like you when you’d come into the Library.  And once more for the road…

 

“Yes?  Can I help you, sir?”