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Tuesday, April 3, 2007     Waiting for Godin
(9:43 pm)

On March 8, I ordered a Godin Guitar from Gorby's Music. It's been one SNAFU after another. The guitar, in theory, shipped today. What I don't understand is why there are five tracking numbers. Each parcel weighs between 14 and 16 pounds. I suppose a guitar might weigh that much. My Les Paul's shipping weight was 20 pounds, I seem to recall. Are they sending five guitars? Do I get all of them? Since the guitar was promised in a week and it's taken a month, I feel rather like the characters in Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godin. Until I have the instrument in hand I'm still leary about whether things will go right. What a nightmare!


Quote of the Day: "The key to success isn't much good until one discovers the right lock to insert it in."
 
-- Tehyi Hsieh , Chinese educator, writer and diplomat

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Ya gotta start at the bottom.


Thanks to Em for today's cookie fortune. I finally got some more fortune cookies but I have to wait until my new computer is here and loaded with software and the scanner hooked up to scan them in. Soon.

In other news, someone stole 20 light posts from MacCorkle Avenue in Charleston. . . Huh? what the. . . ???

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Monday, April 9, 2007     Rebuilding
(2:15 pm)

It's been a few days. I've been trying to rebuild my computer system (and playing with my new Godin guitar). I really, really, really hate bringing a computer up to usefulness from scratch. At least I had no trouble getting Microsoft Office to activate. I figured it would give me grief, since the license for it is only good for three machines and I'd already installed it on my old machine, the laptop, and Ann's machine. Amazingly enough it went right through. I still have about 2/3 of my stuff to reinstall and/or move over to the appropriate place. I'm using this process to better organize things and keep data files in a more standard configuration. It's loads of fun. I had to reformat one of the old hard drives and I can't get the new machine to recognize the other one. Fortunately I had almost up-to-date backups on another drive that this machine will acknowledge. These external USB 2.0 hard drives are a little hinckey at times.


Quote of the Day: "We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive"

-- Albert Einstein


I grew up watching the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. My grandfather (mother's side) got the newspaper daily. I got into the habit of glancing through it as a teen. Near the beginning of my working life I was a DJ and broadcast engineer and got most of my news directly from the UPI teletype in the lobby of the radio stations I worked at. After I got married the second time and got a television, I started watching the evening news again when I could, and I subscribed to the morning paper. Working nights I started picking up most of my news from the radio again, and once we got cable CNN became a major source. Nowadays we still take the paper, watch the evening news most days, follow major breaking and ongoing events on CNN and MS-NBC. We both keep an eye on things via CNN, MSN, and other news sites online as well. We're probably better informed than ever, but I feel like I know less, probably simply because I'm more aware of how much is going on out there every day. There's no conceivable way to keep up with it all. Sometimes I think Big Brother may have been right, in reverse -- More is Less.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Oh! to be young again. . .


My brain is a pile of mush today. I can't seem to even get it to think lustful thoughts about Brittany Spears. Well, actually, I can't do that any time. Jessica Simpson, however, is another story -- especially in her role as Daisy Dukes. I've had my new computer less than a week, and already I'm out of USB ports, including a 4-port hub. I think I need another USB card or something.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007     Farewell to the Master
(9:56 am)

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

Kurt Vonnegut, one of the shining literary lights of his generation died last night in New York. In my eyes he was a modern-day Mark Twain, with a twist, on steroids. I think future generations will look upon him as one of the most important writers of this era. He was wildly popular and greatly admired during the 70's and early 80's, but as the conservative cabal took over in this country, his esteem waned and his place in literature was taken by the likes of Tom Clancy and Stephen King. We're much the poorer for it. We are diminished in his absence from this world. Enjoy your stay in Tralfamador, Mr. Vonnegut. Another of my heroes is gone. Eventually you think maybe I'll realize that I have to be my own hero in order to go to my eternal reward holding someone in high regard?


Quote of the Day: "Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.' "

-- Kurt Vonnegut (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater -- 1965)


Is there anyone left to me insofar as those who share my outlook and can express it in such a fantastic manner as Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Anton Wilson? I suppose we still have Tom Robbins, and perhaps a few others of lesser stature, but dammit, I'm going to miss Vonnegut and RAW.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Ch-ch-ch-changes.


I'm still working on getting my new computer in a condition as useful as the old one. The old one was fine except for the fact that it didn't work anymore.

The old lady who lived across the street and up one house died. I guess her brother tried to call and got no answer and came to check. She wasn't the most gregarious of neighbors. She was determined to be self-sufficient, and that may have been the end of her. Like it or not, we all depend on others, some to a greater extent. I agree in large measure with Blanche DuBois (Streetcar Named Desire), "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." I've also found that those strangers on whom one may depend often don't stay strangers for long. Anyway, I'm sure June will enjoy the company of Kurt Vonnegut, even if she has no idea who he is.

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Monday, April 16, 2007     Music & Mayhem
(1:40 pm)

The world just moves too fast for me to run it anymore. I'm hereby submitting my resignation. Someone else can keep the asteroids from hitting the planet, make sure the rivers run, keep global warming in check, stop killings on college campuses and in the streets of Baghdad, and disabuse the religious right of their delusions. Heaven knows I've not been doing a very good job of late.


Quote of the Day: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't."

-- William Shakespeare


John Bentley had a Vox AD30VT amplifier for sale at the flea market. It's just like my AD100VT only smaller and lighter. I'd considered getting it to lug around simply because it's lighter and sounds very similar to my full-sized combo amp. Yesterday I decided to take the plunge. I went up to the flea market in the rain and got there just as John was packing it in (his basement was flooding and he needed to go home). He sold it just before shutting down Saturday. Bummer! I should have called first. I'm still thinking about getting one, though. My Fender Blues Jr. is okay but I really love the sound of the Vox.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

. . . except myself. . .


The typical banter is ongoing on CNN, MS-NBC, and the F-word News (ha!) channel over the shootings at Virginia Tech. Everyone is speculating as to what caused it and how can we prevent it in the future. It all comes down to a couple of things. Fear. We need to change the paradigm under which we're to function in society to eliminate the pervasive fear -- fear of financial ruin, fear of social failure, fear of harm from others, all manners of fear -- in our society. People don't get handguns and range about killing people at random or with specific intent unless there is a fear in them so powerful that they don't see any other way of dealing with their problems. The culture of consumerism that places so much value on what we have and what we can afford pushes people into corners that they can't get out of gracefully. The winner-take-all attitude where some of us have more than everything and others have less than nothing puts undue strain on the social contract. We have allowed greed and avarice to structure our social interaction. We have to find a way to bring compassion, rationality, and calm back into our daily lives. If we don't, the radical Muslims won't destroy us; we'll do it ourselves. We're mass-producing sociopaths with our social mores. We have to stop it, now!


(10:21 pm)Almost Forgot
 

Friday night, I finally made it on the open stage at Unity. I didn't make too big a fool of myself. . . Well, maybe I did and the audience was just too polite to laugh outloud or boo and jeer. I discovered one thing in the process. Plan ahead. I should have checked how one song would work using the guitar with a strap, standing up. And I should have briefed Ron a little more extensively on the structure of the piece. Oh well, at least my rendition of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Lucky Man" was received well and met with polite, if not enthusiastic applause.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007     Being Blank
(3:17 pm)

One of John M. Bennett's "things" was/is stickers with two words on them -- Be Blank. It's a Zen-like admonition that I sometimes try to rememeber, especially when stalking inspiration or trying to calm a too busy mind. Today, however, it seems to come all too easily. No matter how hard I try to concentrate on anything, I just drift off into oblivion. I suspect it's the onset of spring fever.


Quote of the Day: ". . . a person has not only perceptions but a will to perceive, not only a capacity to observe the world but a capacity to alter his or her observation of it -- which, in the end, is the capacity to alter the world itself. Those people who recognize that imagination is reality's master, we call 'sages,' and those who act upon it, we call 'artists.'"

-- Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All p. 91)


I was at a friend's house yesterday. We worked on molding an old jazz riff I've been playing for years into an actual song. We laid down a guitar and synthesizer track with drum machine accompaniment, then overlaid a bass track and synth fills and accents. I think it came out fair. You can download or stream it here: SONG. Kind of ignore the train wreck at the end. I haven't had the opportunity to edit that out yet. I'd have liked to have spent more time but I was kind of bummed out and really needed to get back. On the way down there, something hit my windshield and made a nice three-inch circle of cracks almost dead center. This, in addition to the other pock I got on the same stretch of I-64 some time ago has necessitated having the whole thing replaced. The guy from Guardian Glass will be here tomorrow.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Love, love, love.  All you need is love.


I put the photos of last Friday's session at the Unity Open Stage up on my PrimaryWizard site. No pictures of me, since I was wielding the camera. Sorry.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007     I Hate Waiting
(3:48 pm)

I've been waiting around all day for one thing or another. First it was the guy who was supposed to replace my windshield. He finally got here around 2:30. I placed a phone order with a company in New Jersey yesterday before noon. I'd not received a confirmation, so I called back. They said there was a problem with my credit card. Called the bank. Called the company. Called the bank. E-mailed the company. Checked the tracking site. Called the bank. Called the company. Finally a few minutes ago the fellow I talked to said the order had been shipped. Yee-frickin'-haw! Still nothing on the tracking site. I guess I'm still waiting. You'd think in this age of electronic communication that most transactions would be pretty much instantaneous. Not the case. I transferred money between bank accounts on a number of occasions. The money instantly goes away on the 'from' account, but can take up to a day and a half to show up on the 'to' account. Where's the money in the mean time? And why does it have to take any longer to show up in account B than it takes to disappear from account A? Banks have a good racket. I want one equally as devious and profitable.


Quote of the Day: "Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship."

-- Oscar Wilde


I wonder if ol' Oscar is related to Zack Wilde? Actually, Zack spells his last name with a 'y' -- Wylde. Still, that could easily be an affectation. Come to think of it, he spells his first name 'Zakk.' I'll bet the whole thing is affectation. He is a hellua player, though.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Chance of a lifetime!


They're getting ready to raise the price of a stamp to 41¢ sometime soon, and I still have a whole roll of 37¢ stamps and a shitload of 2¢ stamps to make up the current difference. Now I'll have to double up on the twofers and buy some 4¢ ones when I run out. I'll have to lay in a supply of the 'forever' stamps when they come out, but I don't know, a whole roll of stamps plus whatever loose ones I have may last me the rest of my days. Hell, a nickel and a bottle of ale might last me that long!

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Monday, April 23, 2007     The Cruelest Month
(12:37 pm)

April is living up to its T.S. Eliot designated title of "cruelest month." The massacre at Virginia Tech (didn't they used to be VPI?) is just one in a series of tragedies happening in a short span of days. The days surrounding the VT slaughter are also anniversaries of the Columbine fiasco and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. To top it all off, April 20 is Hitler's birthday. Avoid April if at all possible.


Quote of the Day: "Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."

-- Albert Einstein


Well, I'm out of fortune cookie fortunes. I suppose it's time to get some Chinese take-out again. Tonight, though, we're having Italian sausage sandwiches with Italian peppers and mozzarella. Yummy.

Digital Camera Image [2007_0421Image0002] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 400, Macro, 1/60, f/5.6, Canon 17-85mm lens @ 85mm, built-in flash]
"A Tribute in Remembrance of Don Ho"

I think I'm about done acquiring music gear. This morning I ordered some things to allow me to record. I got my synth and small amp Saturday. The only thing I need now is room. Ha! Actually I could use a bass, bass amp, drums and other percussion, and a nice mixer, but that may or may not happen. I'll see if I can recruit a rhythm section first. Hopefully Dave and I will get back together soon and do some more things. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

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Friday, April 27, 2007     Catching Up
(9:55 am)

I need to catch up on my record keeping. My list of musical instrument and equipment serial numbers and vital data has fallen a bit behind. I think I'm one guitar, a synthesizer, and some miscellaneous gear behind.


(3:22 pm)Lapse
 

Well, I'd intended to finish this entry, but I got side-tracked. I wandered off, went to the Post Office and two music stores. I bought a bass. Used, cheap, but okay. I've been needing a bass. I'll have to teach Ann to play. Ha! Riiight.


Quote of the Day: "Love of power, operating through greed and through personal ambition, was the cause of all these evils."

-- Thucydides


I keep wandering off. I got three new pieces of equipment today and I've been running around getting things to work with them. I need to rearrange some things, and I haven't the slightest notion how to do it.

Thanks to Emily for today's fortune


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Smile!  You're on candid everything!


(9:14 pm)Re-lapse
 

We had Chinese from Main Kwong for dinner. Three more fortunes. Maybe I should go to the Asian market in South Charleston and just buy a big bag of fortune cookies.

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Monday, April 30, 2007     85 and Sunny
(2:24 pm)

It's a gorgeous day, so what do I do? Sleep in and stay inside all day listening to music. I've been immersing myself in music lately. In additon to the instruments and equipment I've bought, I've gotten a bunch of new CD's and MP3's. For a very long time I avoided much in the way of music. There were years at a time when I hardly touched a guitar and almost never played a CD or LP. Now that I've reawakened the spirit of Orpheus in myself, I feel much better. An old friend and I were talking Saturday. He follows this journal project. He said I seemed happier these days. I guess he's right. By the way, I want to wish him well again. He had bypass surgery recently. Stick with the program, Robin. As you said years ago: we need to take care of ourselves so we'll have someone to argue with in our old age.


Quote of the Day: "The sugar, she just didn't have any ounces, any pinches, any pints. The loony legacy of money was that the arithmetic by which things were measured had become more valuable than the things themselves."

-- Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All, p. 408


I've discovered Joss Stone. For those of you who don't know who she is, picture a sweet little brown-eyed ash blonde from England, slim, pretty, with a middle that seems to have an extra section in it, barefoot, adorable, fighting acne outbreaks (she's just out of her teens), and channeling Janis Joplin. The girl's voice is amazing and she seems to be, in addtion to fantastically talented and level-headed, the sweetest thing on the planet. I watched two hours worth of concert footage and music videos today. She's amazing. I'd like to see her veer a little bit away from "soul" music, more into the bluesy stuff like Joplin did, or some more funky flavors. Even still, her voice is so wonderful and she's a delight to watch.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

What am I doing down here, then?!


I remind myself of some old lyrics, "Too old to rock and roll, too young to die." So, then, now what? I suppose if the Rolling Stones are still plugging away, I can too, since several of them are older than I am. And I've outlived a lot of my contemporaries. I guess I wasn't into drugs and extreme behavior enough to have died young as a rock 'n' roll legend. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. As my life gets longer on the was end and shorter on the will be, I think of mortal things and contemplate what the world will be without me. About the same, I'd guess.


(6:14 pm)National Poetry Month
 

It just occurred to me that April is National Poetry Month, and that today is April 30 and I've let the entire month get away with only an oblique reference to T. S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" as my sole homage to the observance. I'm sorry. Other things have been on my mind. Maybe I'll do better in May.

The thermometer crept alarmingly close to the 90 degree mark today. I had to turn on the A/C to keep things at a reasonable level. Can't wait for August!

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