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Wednesday, August 6, 2008     I'm Baaaack!
(10:38 am)

. . . for what it's worth.

My computer is finally hooked up, set up (for the most part) and working well. Well, working, at any rate. I have most of what I need on it from CD's and DVD's. Now I just need to re-download or ferret out on my backup drives the other things I use on a regular basis. One good thing about a total crash like this is that I usually get rid of a lot of junk. One bad thing is that I end up with newer versions of things I liked and now the newer versions are less useful than the old ones. Stuffit comes to mind. The new version doesn't have an unpack-only option, so I have to run the trial version and wait 10 seconds and click another button just to unzip something. I like the old version better. Oh well. I tried but the versions they have are the same thing. I think the version I used to have that I liked was the old shareware version. The earliest version they have is v5 and that still expires and gives problems. Whatever happened to the days of yore when programs that did whatever you wanted could be found either free or at a very low cost? the days when everyone wasn't out to make their fortune by writing trivial, but useful bits of code? days when things that were free were concommitantly free of spyware, bugs, trojans, and other undesirables? Come to think of it, where did the days go when casual sex wasn't Russian Roulette and the most serious concern was a minor infection or pregnancy? Things just ain't like they used to be.

How was that paragraph for rambling? Pretty good, if I do say so myself. This just became an exercise in free association and stream-of-consciousness writing.

Today's Promise Message:

Applications for imp now being accepted.

I had something to say about ADHD and modern culture, but I think I'll save it for another day. Too much still to do to spend time on that. Besides, I think I'd like to mull it over for a few more days at least. Later, folks! It's good to be back.


Thursday, August 7, 2008     Trying to Get Back in the Swing of Things
(9:57 am)

My friend, Jeremy, stopped by yesterday evening. We had a nice visit. I don't have company nearly as much as I used to, nor do I visit people as often. I really should get out more. I do manage to go to the flea market most weekends. I do the open stage once a month, but I need to perform more often, just to keep my chops up. Inertia is a terrible thing.

Today's Promise Message:

. . . yeah, and joint pain, and bodily functions gone awry, and man! am I ever glad wrinkles don't hurt!

Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer, knowing that, if you're like most of the American (or as I call us, USers) public, you have the attention span of a gnat. Why do we have such short attention spans? What makes adults so impatient and in such a hurry, and what is the reason that so many children are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD? Is it a higher occurrence or better recognition of the problems? Well. . . I think it's a higher occurrence, and the reason for this can be traced directly back to MTV. MTV is responsible for the widespread dissemination of music videos. Somehow the production values on Music videos demanded that no single shot be held for more than a second. Adding to this, and probably stemming from it, television commercials went from being 30 and 60 seconds long to 15 seconds, and now as few as five seconds in duration. The cable channels started displaying their brand on the screen at all times, and now even the broadcast channels do it. And they run small promos and commercial messages at the bottom of the screen even during the shows. CNN, MSNBC, Faux News, and the other news outlets clutter up the screen to the point that you can't possibly grasp everything before some of it changes. We have been conditioned by commercial interests to absorb things at a quicker rate, at the expense of savoring the full experience of any one thing. Children are sat down in front of the electronic tit, parents content to have them quiet for enough time to wash clothes, fix dinner, masturbate, or mop the hall. It's turning them into Zombies in the meantime -- little creatures who can't pay attention to anything unless it's flowing by at a speed where it takes all of their attention to just follow the flow. And when they aren't being bombarded with commercial messages and the flip-flip-flip changes of modern video production values, they try to deal with the contiguous nature of perceived reality and their minds can't handle it. Therefore, they act up (not "act out," as those morons from New Jersey would have us say) in an effort to get reality to change in a fashion similar to a music video. Production values need to change. We need to present one thing at a time, and allow time for the impressionable brains of the young to absorb it and process it. Speed kills.

Quote of the Day: "All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values."

-- Marshall McLuhan (Canadian communications theorist Educator, Writer and Social Reformer, 1911-1980)

Every time a computer dies or a hard disk format gets blown or a Windows installation goes sour, the information residing on my system gets more jumbled. I should methodically clean it up and pare it down to where I don't have various copies of different versions of the same thing lying about all over the place. It is quite cluttered at this point, and oft times I have to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for something that should be properly categorized, adequately backed up and easily located. But I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Who has time for that shit?


Wednesday, August 13, 2008     Taylor Road Show
(12:43 pm)

Sean and I went to the Taylor Road Show at Route 60 Music in Barboursville yesterday evening. We had a good time and got to play a lot of really nice Taylor guitars. There were some really special ones there. I had been to Pied Piper the day before to get some strings and trade a nut I'd bought that didn't fit. The two guys who run the Road Show were there showing off the new Taylor solid bodies, a nice custom shop 526 and a figured koa Jumbo. I plunked around on all of them. Niiiiice. I really want that Custom solid body. It's the most expensive of the solids (of course!). I also liked the single coil model I saw last night. The Classic and Standard are nice, too, but the Custom is my favorite. What I'd really like is to have at least one of each model. I'd love one of the 516's too, or maybe that 414 I played last night with the ovankol back and sides. Wow, what a beautiful sound. Still, all in all, my 310ce still has the best sound of any Taylor I've ever played. My ultimate would be a presentation series, sculpted to my specifications. Once I'm wealthy I'll go to the factory and talk to the man himself (or Brian -- Hi! Brian!) and have them put together an instrument with a Sitka spruce top, Ovalkol back and sides, and a nice inlay with Abalone accents. If I had my druthers I'd have a wide selection of both the electric and acoustic electrics by Taylor.

Quote of the Day: "I'm not good enough to be playin' much acoustic guitar onstage. Man, you gotta let so right; I mean, the tones, the feel, the sound. Plus, acoustic blues guitar is just that much harder on the fingers. I really appreciate when someone can blow me away with live acoustic blues."

-- Johnny Winter

I think I need a Taylor T5, too. It provides the options of having the ES-175/ES-335 type sounds that my current aresenal is lacking. Since I'm making a wish list, I'd like to add a GS body style Babicz guitar as well. There are several guitars in the Premier Guitar magazine the Taylor guys gave us last night too, that I'd at least like to try out. I really need to go to a full-line guitar store -- not that I can afford even one of what I want. . .

Today's Promise Message:

I didn't know I was lost.  Maybe I'm just undiscovered. . .

Speaking of guitars, I'm still hacking away at my Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top. I've got the Carvin pickups in it, and all new components but it still doesn't work. I got some three conductor shielded cable to run from the pots to the switch to the output jack, but it looks as though I'll have to take the pickups out to route the cable. I have some four conductor that's a smaller diameter that may be able to be snaked through without taking the strings off and lifting the pickups, but I somehow doubt it. . . Now that I think about it, I think the four conductor would work better, since it has shielding around each of the two pairs. I'd be able to run those to the pots and use the other pair as a hot/ground pair to the output jack and maintain the shielding the whole distance, which would make it quieter. I think I'll give that a shot.


Monday, August 18, 2008     Music, Music, Music
(3:49 pm)

Last Tuesday was the Taylor Roadshow. Wednesday and Thursday I worked a little more on my Epiphone Les Paul. Friday evening Ann and I went to the Baptist Temple Lighthouse Café where My buddies, John Lily and Ron Sowell, were playing. Saturday evening I stopped by the Empty Glass and chatted with one of the guys who used to work the door back when I ran sound there. I was on my way to the Bluegrass Kitchen to see Andy Park play. I got to stick around for about an hour and a half of his act. Sunday, not much to do with music. Today, I got frustrated trying to work on the Les Paul again. My hands just aren't steady enough to do that kind of work anymore, and I'm making a mess of it. I don't know who to turn to. I've had two people throw up their hands over it, another who tried and failed and charged me for the effort. I don't know who to trust who wouldn't screw me on the charges and would get it right. It's so crazy-making. I hooked up the pickups, one at a time, directly to the output jack. They sound fantastic. Now if I can just the the tone and volume controls and pickup selector and coil-splitter switches hooked up right, I'll have a nice instrument. I've already got more money in the thing than it's worth, and I'm loathe to sink much more into it. It's starting to bring me down. Tomorrow, a local band is having a CD release bash. I think I'll go to that. Sounds like good fun.

Quote of the Day: "It is not hardness of heart or evil passions that drive certain individuals to atheism, but rather a scrupulous intellectual honesty."

-- Steve Allen

I woke up the other night, having heard a band in my dream playing a song. I remembered part of the first verse and the chorus and wrote them down on a pad I keep beside the bed for various purposes. I'm thinking I can make a song out of these scraps -- and the subject is one I'd never be able to write about in my conscious mind as it's beyond my actual experience. Interesting. I'll let ya know how it goes.

Today's Promise Message:

Just like the time for being serious. . .

Slowly getting the computer back in shape. I flinch every time I install something new or change something for fear it will start hanging up again. I guess I'm just getting paranoid in my old age.


Thursday, August 21, 2008     Something About Tuesdays
(1:45 pm)

Last Tuesday Sean and I went to the Taylor Roadshow in Barboursville. This Tuesday, Ann and I went to The Wild Rumpus CD release party at the Highwater Lounge at Songer Whitewater near Fayetteville, an equal distance in the opposite direction from Barbousville. Not as easy to get to, either, having to cross Gauley Mountain and some other twisty-turny up-and-down bits of highway, too. Still, all in all, it was a good time. We bought the CD and the tee-shirt. At one point during the first set, there was a hula-hoop solo. You'd had to have been there. . .

Today's Promise Message:

To whom?

We were all over the place yesterday. The plan was to do the yard work (check), go to Joe's Fish Market for bread (check), go to Drug Emporium in Kanawha City (check), do lunch (check). . . This is where it went south (east, actually). While I was sitting in the van waiting for Ann to come out of Burger King, my phone rang. It was Sean's girlfriend. She, her sister and mother were stranded near Montgomery (ground we'd covered the night before on the way to Fayetteville) at the cemetery where Trish and Leica's dad's ashes are interred. Caroline's car wouldn't go. The starter was bad. They'd called the tow truck but they needed transportation back to town. I said, "Sure." Ann came out of Burger King and I informed her of the situation. Off to Montgomery. After that rather large detour, we stopped at the Exxon station and were robbed, er, I mean, got gas. Then we dropped the ladies off at home. Now, back to the list. We went back to Kanawha City, then up the road to Big Lots (check). Next we went to Lowe's for string for the weed eater (check). Across the street to Kroger for groceries (check). Home again, home again, jiggity jog. There were still items missing from our list, so after unloading at home, we went off to Big Lots on Patrick Street (check) and Drug Emporium also on Patrick Street (check). By this time I was really late having my evening meal, so we stopped at Long John Silvers. Bad move. The fish was lousy and the cole slaw was possibly toxic. Oh well. The lobster bites were tasty. The only thing we missed on our outing was going to Capitol Market. I may go there later today, or possibly tomorrow. It was a long day, and we were both exhausted by the time we landed for good.

Quote of the Day: "I was the enemy of the major studio. I believed in one man - one film. I believed one man should make the film. And I believed the director should be that one man. One man should do it - I didn't give a damn who. I just couldn't accept art as a committee. I could only accept art as an extension of an individual."

-- Frank Capra - Film Director (1897- 1991)

I want to write songs. I've written a few. Some were decent, most sucked. One of the earliest ones I wrote got ripped off. That discouraged me a lot. I've been keeping a hook book, bits and pieces and hooks that might work in a song. So far nothing complete. One large piece of a song came to me in a dream. I mentioned this in the previous entry. I need to work my head into a space were I start recognizing events, situations, places, and words that would work into songs. I need to record or write down some of the bits of music I come up with that might work, too. It's a process.


(8:18 pm)Blogs

There's a new enterprise on the web,, which purports to be a listing of all the blogs in West Virginia. Well, folks, you missed one! I have been doing this since 1999, actually since 1997 in another form. I doubt very seriously if anyone else in this state predates me, or if there are any, they can be counted on one hand. Even before the Internet became what it is today, I operated a BBS which had commentary as well, constituting what passes for a blog these day. I started this in 1984. So, why am I not on their page? Who knows? How do I get my site in front of their eyes to be included? Again, who knows? I can find no way on their site to submit a site for consideration. For that matter, there's no mention of any way whatsoever to contact them. How the hell are they finding the blogs? I'm at a loss.

Maybe an e-mail to something like I really don't have a clue. I guess I could dig the newspaper out of the trash and see if it has anything.


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