Busy Week V

Okay, so Thanksgiving has come and gone—and, no I didn’t go shopping this morning.  In fact, I got out of bed at about 2:00 this afternoon, thankyouverymuch.


Thanksgiving was pretty good.  They asked me to do the blessing again this year, which is kind of nice.  I think I mentioned that last year, too…that was a task that usually fell to one of the “grown-ups” in the family for YEARS when I was a kid, and more recently was the job of my cousin Terry (a Baptist minister, and friend of the blog).  Terry hasn’t been there the past two years, so I’ve been handed the torch.  I’d assume that if he’s there next year, he’ll be doing it.  Last year, his wife was about to have a baby and this year…actually I’m not sure why he wasn’t there this year.  Forgot to ask.  Assuming that since he was just in Arkansas last month, they probably didn’t want to make a 10 hour drive (again) this month.  Anyway…I did the prayer, and that’s one of those cool things that kind of makes me feel like Im IN the family now, and actually considered one of the “grown-ups,” ha ha. 


The food was good.  Someone finally made bread that was pretty much identical to my Great-Aunt Clara’s bread.  I don’t think it was Clara herself, but it’s the closest I’ve had to it in YEARS.  The turkey was good,  The mashed potatoes were good.  The chocolate pie was good.  I just couldn’t eat enough of it all…filled up quickly and was kind of bummed out that I couldn’t shovel more in.  (And, of course, I’m VERY hungry right now, with no appealing food on hand…so I’ll be hitting a drive-thru before too long.)


My Aunt Stella (who’d undergone a stroke I wrote about here in May or June—I forget when exactly) was there and looked pretty good.  She was using a walker, but often got up without it and started moving around, leading several family members to wag their fingers and remind her to use it.  (The fact that she doesn’t want to and thinks we’re all making too big a deal of it is a pretty good sign, if you ask me.)  Aunt Deet was there too.  She’s had Parkinson’s and a bunch of other health problems for years.  She didn’t look as good as Stella, but to be fair, she’s also 10 years older.  I tried talking to Deet for a while, but couldn’t really hear her, and she was a little incoherent, sadly…but still, it was nice that she was there.


Also got to catch up with the younger relatives in Pam, Duke, Mitch, Drew…etcetcetc…  Good to see everyone, and always fun to catch up.


Nodded off on the drive home because Dave’s iPod playlist had a bunch of songs I didn’t know on it and there was nothing to keep me awake as a result.  Snored so loud I woke myself up.  embarrassing.  Then, when we got home, we capped off the night by getting McDonald’s…which is either kind of depressing since we only had fast-food as an option, or is a perfect representation of American culture, depending on how you look at it.  Either way, I now have my FOURTH collectible Coca-Cola glass (free with purchase of a large value meal, for a limited time only!), as a result.  For some reason, I’ve been ALL OVER that promotion since hearing about it.  I got all four this week…and I’m not buying them separately…I’ve gotten FOUR large value meals from McDonald’s this week.  Probably not the best idea, health-wise…but…free glasses!


So that was yesterday.  Today is the kind of lighter day of the busy week…but I still plan on doing some work around the house today, hopefully getting some sound-protection-stuff up in my basement…or at the VERY least just cleaning up a little so it’s not totally embarrassing when Feldman and his band come over tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  I’ve got a lot of crap down there.  (Fortunately, still no sign of that possible mouse—or worse—that Dave thinks he saw.)


Current Listening:

  • Wilco – “Wilco (the album)” — This will be in my top 3 of the year…those 3 spaces keep switching around though.  In a week or two, I’ll post the full list, and hopefully have set into stone which one gets first-place.

Busy Week IV

Long one today, too.


Work wasn’t too stressful or anything.  I was just sleepy.  I learned how to do claims today (or at least how to set them up…I still don’t know how to do dispatching).  It wasn’t as hard as I imagined it being (not that it was “easy” either, though).  Unfortunately, though, I didn’t seem to really be needed on that today.  It was a LOT lighter today.  I should’ve listened to my manager three weeks ago when she said I should learn that so I could’ve been helpful yesterday.  Oh well…I’m ready for next time, anyway.  (And, to be fair, my job’s been pretty busy and I haven’t had the TIME to learn that until this week, when I just happened to get a little bit ahead yesterday while everyone else was behind…funny how that worked out.)


I’m presently at Dave and Valerie’s place.  They’ve gone to bed, as have Tessa (the kid) and Jake (the dog).  Lemmy (the cat) is still wandering around, trying to figure out what I’m doing here.  I’m about to watch Star Trek, then I’ll probably try going to bed.  I’m pretty exhausted after getting up super-early to open the office and working all day.  Then the long drive home and the long drive to Dave and Valerie’s…it’s been a big day.  Not really strenuous activity, but for some reason, driving a lot always takes it out of me.  Don’t know why…but if memory serves, Mom had that, too.


So…Thanksgiving in just about 10 hours!  My favorite holiday…some of my favorite food…some of my favorite family stories…this should be good.  Hopefully I’ll actually get to sleep this year (last year, insomnia kicked my ass and I stayed up all night).  Looking forward to it, no matter how tired I might get, though!  🙂


…now here’s hoping I get some rest on Friday and also get done what I need to at the house to prepare for recording Feldman on Saturday.  I’ll keep you posted.


Current Listening (in the car):

  • Drive-By Truckers.  (I like listening to DBT any time I’m going to see this half of the family for some reason…of course, it’s not like I need an excuse to listen to DBT!)


…oh, and on a side note…if you get a chance, go to YouTube and check out the Muppet version of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Busy Week III

Tough one today.


Work was hard.  We got pretty slammed by new claims at the end of the day.  Good for business…but bad timing, with only two of us in the office, neither of which particularly knew how to do that aspect of the job.  So, tomorrow, I’ve volunteered to be trained up in that process.  I want to know how to do it, partially because I like to keep learning things, but also because I don’t like finding myself in more-or-less helpless situations like today.  There was a TON of work that needed doing, but there was nothing I could do to help…so I’m going to learn how for next time (which I would imagine would be Christmas-ish…).  We got through it, to some extent…but boy were we tired and happy to see 5:00 roll around.  Hopefully, I can help out with that a little tomorrow.  I like contributing to our team, and I hope I catch on to this quickly enough that I can even start making a dent tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, I’m a pretty quick learner…so let’s just see HOW quick!  🙂


After work, I went home and got ready for band practice.  We finished up all the stuff Chris had to do, so now it’s down to some of my stuff and the vocal tracks and we’re finally DONE.  Looking forward to that.  This process has been exhausting.  I’ve been enjoying it, for the most part…but it sure has taken a while and has been draining all the life out of me on Tuesday nights.  I’m sure it’ll be worth it, though…the other guys have turned in awesome performances, and I’m just hoping my own measure up.  I’m hoping I can mix it in a reasonable amount of time, as well.  That’s the tricky bit…but I have a working-template from five earlier tracks.  Needs some tweaking…but I think it’ll be a good starting point, anyway…


Dave thinks he saw a mouse in my basement, though…  I didn’t notice myself, and I certainly haven’t noticed anything over the past couple of days that would indicate a mouse…but it DID just get cold today, so maybe it ran inside looking for warmth.  I do have a kind of crappy storm-door downstairs that it’d probably be easy for a mouse to find its way underneath.  So, looks like it’s mouse-hunting time.  And sorry PETA, but I’m an advocate of the traps that KILL the little suckers.


Looking forward to tomorrow being the last day of the week for this week.  I’m super-excited about Thanksgiving!  It’s my favorite holiday, and I’m glad it’s here.  It’s almost taking me by surprize, because it doesn’t even SEEM like Thanksgiving time yet!  I guess when you work in a job like mine, you kind of lose track.  In the church/parachurch jobs I’ve had, every holiday is promoted for a really long time in advance…but in my world now, it’s pretty much just random data-entry and phone-calls…kind of the same thing every day…so it’s easy to forget what time of year it is!  🙂  So Thanksgiving being in like two days is a kind of welcome surprise for me this year.  Pretty cool…is this how it works for everyone else with a secular job, too?  Maybe I’m starting to understand why people get excited for the Holidays, now that it’s not an integral part of my job!


Oh…and by the way, I’m at the six-month mark of my job now.  (My first day was May 18th.)  I was thinking of marking the occasion somehow…but instead I forgot about it until just now.  So…uhh…  Yay!  I guess…  It’s been a good six-months.  Some of the best months of my life, in some ways.  I’ve been happy lately.  I’ve been telling people that I’ve been “so happy, I don’t trust it.”  It’s been good, and I’ve very grateful for this job and especially for the people that I work with, who I LOOK FORWARD to seeing every day—and I know how much of a rarity that is, too!  My friends (and family members, come to think of it) all seem to complain about their jobs…but I don’t have to do that.  That’s an amazing thing, and I hope I never take it for granted.  (I also hope I don’t find any reasons to start complaining anytime soon, lol!)


And on that note…I’m opening tomorrow, so I’m getting up early.  I should go to bed.  I’ll be spending the night at Dave and Valerie’s place tomorrow so I don’t have to get up ridiculously early on Thanksgiving Day…so we’ll see if I find the opportunity to blog tomorrow…but so far, the “busy week” is running a little behind, but isn’t too terrible.




Current Reading:

  • Marilynne Robinson – “Gilead” — I started reading this a couple of years ago (when it was new) but got distracted and didn’t really get too far into it (only a dozen or so pages).  Nick Hornby (a favorite author of mine) recommended it as a “modern classic” in one of his books on reading (saying it’s among the finest novels he’s read and saying it made him a better person—even joking that he was going to give up his atheism and become a priest as a result, ha ha).  So I’m going to give it another go, based on having REALLY wanted to read it at the time, and based on Nick’s recommendation.  I’ll keep you posted.  Hoping to get a good chunk of it done in the car on the way to the family dinner.

Busy Week II

One day into the week and I’m already behind.  Big shock, I know.  🙂


Went to work.  Things went well.  For the next two days, it’s just Larry and me in the office.  Larry and I get along quite well, so it should be fine.  It’ll probably be a little quiet though.  For some reason, when the two of us get to working alone, we tend to stop talking to one another and just focus on work.  Oh, we have our moments, sure…but by and large, I imagine the next two days being less chatty than usual.  Not a bad thing…just kind of what happens when there’s only two of you.


My acoustic panels DID arrive.  Didn’t get any of them hung up yet…but I did kind of start planning for it.  The thing is, now I need some cardboard for backing-material, since I’m not too keen on gluing these things right to the drywall.  I think that once I’ve got all the cardboard up, it’ll be a fairly quick job.  …need to find a caulking-gun for the glue, though…




Didn’t do any recording.  I was pretty wiped out after work, and my back hurt.  Took a nap instead.  Hoping things feel better in that respect tomorrow.


Hopefully I’ll get back on schedule for tomorrow and band practice will go off without a hitch.


Looking forward to the Feldman recording over the weekend, even though it’s going to be keeping me busy and waking me up kind of early on Sunday.  All told, though, it’s a pretty easy day’s work for me…so it should be good.  I always like engineering during a recording session.  It’s pretty much just pushing buttons.


We shall see, but we shall see…


Current Watching:

  • Jeeves and Wooster – The one where Wooster keeps bumping into the same black-face minstrels who’re playing “Lady of Spain” on banjos.  Which is just about as funny as it sounds…no matter how funny it sounds to you!  🙂

Busy Week

I’ve got a big week ahead of me.  It’s a holiday week, of course.  So that means I’ve only got three days of work…but that doesn’t mean I’m exactly taking it easy.


Here’s a brief itinerary of the week ahead…

  1. Monday
    • Work
    • My acoustic panels arrive.  I plan to at least START unpacking them after work.
    • Probably record a couple of guitar tracks I’ve been meaning to get around to.
  2. Tuesday
    • Work
    • Band practice.  Likely finish up on Teague’s parts and maybe do some vocals or some of my still outstanding tracks.
  3. Wednesday
    • Work…  And I’m getting up EARLY this day and opening.  We’re under-staffed with people taking a couple of days off for Thanksgiving plans…gonna be a long day, but thankfully it’s also the last day of work for the week, so I can deal with the fatigue involved.
    • If I’ve got the energy (which I won’t) I’ll probably finish up some guitar tracks, unless I’m just going to go straight to Dave and Valerie’s place and sleep over in order to get up and moving in time for Thanksgiving.
  4. Thursday
    • Thanksgiving Day.
    • Go to Cape Girardeau.  Eat lots of food.  Come home from Cape Girardeau.  Sleep.
  5. Friday
    • Sleep in.
    • Finish unpacking all those acoustic panels and do something to get them up on the wall, hopefully covering over at least one of the two big-ass windows I’ve got.
    • Clean up a bit…
    • Finish up my work on all previous recording projects, if time.
  6. Saturday
    • Mike Feldman’s coming over with the current incarnation of his band to record bass and drums for their new record.  Early start.  9 a.m.
    • Hopefully wrap by about 5 p.m. (or sooner) and get dinner.
    • Likely to crack open a Boddingtons or two to relax and bid a LOOOOONG week farewell.
  7. Sunday
    • Probably church, if I can get out of bed after all the exhaustion.
    • Mike Feldman’s coming over to finish up his guitar tracks–which should go pretty quickly, since he’s awesome at guitar.
    • Simpsons…Family Guy…Venture Bros…bed.


…so that’s my super-busy week.  Why is my vacation week so freaking PACKED?!?  I thought I’d thought ahead on this one…but November seems to have gotten away from me a little.  Hopefully I’ll find the strength to blog a thing or two as well…but we’ll see.


And next month…Christmas!  🙂


Okay…that’s it for now.  It’s after 2 a.m. and I should go to bed.  So I’m-a-doin’ that…


Current Listening:

  • Springsteen – “Working on a Dream”

My Christmas List

Here’s my Christmas List for this year.  Dad, Dave, Valerie, and possibly Susan, if you ever read my blog…study up.  🙂


Stuff in red is stuff I really want (and/or am just shocked I don’t have yet).


  • Monty Python – Life of Brian
  • Monty Python  – Meaning of Life
  • Fierce Creatures
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Nuns on the Run
  • Splitting Heirs
  • Monty Python Series (Likely kinda pricey…but if it weren’t, this’d be red.)
  • Blackadder Remastered Series (It’s in a brown cover.  May be expensive, though.)
  • That new Star Trek movie, I guess…
  • Also still trying to round out the Simpsons collection.  I need Season 9 and onward.



  • Wilco
    • Sky Blue Sky
    • Kicking Television (Live in Chicago)
  • Tom Waits – Glitter and Doom Live
  • Beatles
    • Sgt. Pepper
    • Let it Be
    • White album
    • Let it Be…Naked
  • Mastodon – Crack the Skye
  • Pearl Jam – Backspacer (ONLY AVAILABLE AT TARGET)



  • Nick Hornby – An Education : The Screenplay, Fever Pitch
  • Leonard Cohen – Book of Longing (Might necessitate an Interwebs order.)
  • Kurt Vonnegut – “Look at the Birdie”
  • Chris Coake – We’re in Trouble
  • Nick Flynn – Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
  • Sarah Vowell – Assassination Vacation
  • George Saunders – The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil
  • Zadie Smith – On Beauty
  • Frank Portman – King Dork


(The following are graphic novels)

  • The Beats : A Graphic History – Harvey Pekar
  • Stitches: A Memoir – David Small
  • Final Crisis – Grant Morrison (et al) (DC Comics – this one should be easy to find.)
  • Batman: Battle for the Cowl – also Morrison, et al…also DC…also easy.



  • Gift cards are always welcome—particularly to Best Buy, Kohls, and Guitar Center.
  • Need some flannel shirts.  I’d recommend XL as a size.
  • Could use some thermal-type shirts in any colour but black or white…again in XL.
  • Money, also, is always welcomed.




A few additional notes for people who are wondering how it can possibly be that I’m missing so much Python, so much music, and what the deal is with that “I guess…” on the Star Trek thing…


  • The Python – I’ve just never bought it somehow.  Some of the shows are only so-so, and the GOOD ones have been pretty consistently aired on BBC America over the past few years…so I haven’t had the need.  But lately (past year-ish), I’ve been wanting to watch more Python, and I can never seem to find it on TV.  The lack of the movies is pretty shocking, though.  I mean, I freaking LOVE Life of Brian…but I’ve never owned it.  I don’t know why.  Trying to change that.
  • The music…
    • Re: Mastodon and Pearl Jam – I’ve been listening to them both online, and I’ve been enjoying them.  In fact, Mastodon’s “Crack the Skye” is EASILY in my Top 5 for 2009, if not my Top 3…but I just haven’t bought it in physical form…and I want the DISC, not the MP3s.
    • Re: The Tom Waits record…new live album…and I’m really disappointed that I’m making myself wait until Christmas or after to hear it…but that’ll just make it better…right?
    • The Beatles stuff.  I have every Beatles song ever recorded—including an ass-load of stuff you’d never WANT—thanks to the “Purple Chick” people (person?).  But, I would like to hear the new remasters.  “Let it Be” is particularly highlighted because it’s my favorite Beatles record.  I thought about just saying I’d like the Beatles remasters as a whole…but the last time I put something like “I don’t own any Beatles” on my Christmas List, I only got ONE CD, and it was “Magical Mystery Tour.”  Yikes.
  • The “I guess” on the Star Trek movie…  Okay.  I love Star Trek…which is exactly why I have my serious doubts about this movie, especially after reading about it from critics and armchair-critics (like myself) alike.  I just don’t trust it…and more than that, I don’t trust J. J. Abrams.  Okay, so LOST is awesome, and I enjoyed Cloverfield…but look at the rest of the guy’s career…  Alias?  Felicity?  Fringe?  And again, I have to say Felicity???  Guys done a lot of crap I just didn’t like.  (Fine if it’s your cup of tea…but it’s not mine.)  I just don’t trust him to handle something I love in the way it should be handled…I mean…the jackass inserted a Slusho! cup in the background of the movie!  His cross-breed-whoring alone might ruin it for me, even though most people say it’s “not even noticeable.”  (Also I don’t think we really NEED a prequel to Star Trek, since we got pretty much all of the history in the shows and REAL movies…but whatever.)  Still…enough of me wants to see it that I put it on my list…mostly because I know I’ll never buy it for myself.


…and that’s the “why” for anyone that was curious.  Which, I know…you weren’t.

Let’s Get RANDOM, Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!!

Apologies for the post-title.  


Here’s some random stuff that’s up in my brain-box.


  1. I’ve got 9 new songs with nowhere to go.  No new upcoming Derek-record in the forecast.  None of it’s appropriate for Blue Tattoo.  Maybe it’ll hit the website…or maybe I’ll develop an alter-ego who does the kind of stuff I’ve been writing lately.  Whatever happens…there are at least a couple of them that I think have some real potential.  I’m just not sure where yet.
  2. I can’t believe I didn’t mention it on the blog…but my dad’s car caught on fire the other week.  He was at the mall when he saw smoke coming out from under the hood.  He opened the hood.  There were flames.  He then closed the hood and called 9-1-1.  Obvious total loss on that one.  He was almost stuck with the storage and salvage, but thankfully my job came in handy in real life (which—no offense to anyone—almost NEVER happened when I was a Librarian) and I was able to advise him to see if they’d trade him the salvage for the storage and call that even.  Still got stuck with the towing…but on a car from like 1996, $150 for not having to be stuck with selling the burned-up remains is a pretty good deal.  So thanks, work!  (Particular thanks to Larry, who knows that stuff and told me what to tell him.)
  3. Blue Tattoo should be able to FINALLY wrap at least the drums at our next session.  Full record details forthcoming.
  4. Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  That snuck up on me!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (super-sorry, Jesus) and I’m looking forward to the good food and catching up with some of the family I don’t see too often.  But, yikes…I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving…which means it’s almost CHRISTMAS, too!  Double-yikes!
  5. Over my super-short Thanksgiving break (one of the bummers about no longer working in the education world is that you’ve got shorter breaks—if any—but that’s cool), I’ll be recording a new record for Mike Feldman.  Mike and I, as some of you know, go way back.  I’ve played bass on every record he’s done so far, but this time I’m just doing the engineering (though I’ll probably also sneak onto the record playing some harmonica and singing some back-up).  I haven’t been in his band for a little bit, and he’s using the new guy to play bass—which I’m totally cool with, since he’s an excellent player.  I’m kind of excited about this record.  Mike’s played me some of the songs on it, and they’re pretty good.  Mostly secular (if not totally), and I think Mike’s secular lyrics are way better than his Christian stuff, which I mean as a compliment.  (I think it’s actually harder to write a good secular lyric than to write a good Christian one.)  It’ll be cool to stretch my engineering-legs with a band that I know will be an easy day’s work in the record.  The mix will take some work…but I’ve been virtually guaranteed that we’ll only need ONE session for the majority of the recording…probably with a couple of “one-take” recordings, too.  So that’ll be cool…I’ve just got to get those acoustic panels up before then.
  6. Oh yeah…I’m buying acoustic panels.  I’ve needed to sound-proof that basement for years—especially since some uppity neighbor started calling the police on my band practices a while ago.  With what Mike’s paying me for the project, I’m making the place a little bit more air-tight.  It’s not quite as big a project as it sounds.  The hardest part is cleaning up enough to do it!  🙂
  7. As we speak (…or type…whatever…shut up…), I’m re-watching “The Fellowship of the Ring.”  Still an awesome movie.  I know it’s not even been 10 years, but it’s just nice to see that it holds up after multiple viewings, y’know?
  8. My Christmas list is done…I’ll probably post that here sooner or later.  I did that last year, I think…I remember it being fun.  So why not?
  9. My niece has chicken-pox.  I had that when I was in like second-grade…but I’m still going to avoid her for a bit—no offense, anyone…I’m just paranoid.  🙂  It’s a little known fact that you CAN get chicken pox twice (though it’s rare).  It’s also a little known fact that the same virus that causes the pox causes shingles in adults.  So, best not to risk it if you don’t have to, I say.  (Also, just in case it was a misdiagnosis and she’s actually got measles…I didn’t ever have that…so I REALLY don’t want to risk that one as an adult!)  No offense, Tessa (or Dave or Valerie, for that matter), but I’ll see you in a week.  🙂 
  10. I’m a big fan of the Venture Bros. (airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming).  It’s been super-good this season.  I miss the character of Brock, and I hope he’ll be back soon…but otherwise, it’s been excellent.  Last night’s episode was packed with David Bowie references (they even mentioned Tin Machine, and at one point a character modelled on Brian Eno showed up).  Sometimes, I think they’re writing just for me.
  11. A few weeks (months?) ago, I mentioned that I’d been reading Nick Hornby’s new book “Juliet, Naked.”  I don’t think I ever reviewed it, though.  In short, it’s a really long time later, and I’m finding myself still thinking about the characters and wishing there was more of them.  It’s quite possibly my new favorite not only Hornby novel, but novel in general.  You should probably buy a copy if you’re into the whole “what makes a musician tick” thing.  It takes a chapter or two to really get going, but it’s pure GOLD after that.  I finished it ages ago, and I still know the character names without having to look them up.  That’s only happened to me a couple of times before.  So, right on, Nick.  (I’ve thought about writing him a fan-letter, but when you start writing to an author, you get really judgmental of your own writing…it’s kind of a slippery slope…)


That’s all I can think of for tonight.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Maybe next time we’ll do the Christmas List thing…or maybe not.  We’ll see.


Current Listening:

  • Bowie, thanks to Jackson and Doc…  🙂