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Thursday, February 1, 2007     Short Month, Busy Time
(12:25 pm)

My annual ophthalmologist's appointment is coming up in a couple weeks. I have to get the van inspected this month as well as a minor recall on it and the scheduled maintenance. My driver's license expires at the end of the month (on my birthday). I was going to try to make it to the monthly open mic night at the Unity Fellowship last month, but I was sick, so I guess I'll give it another shot on the ninth. February likes to keep me busy so I don't get depressed.

Quote of the Day: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?"

-- Satchel Paige

Since February is Black History Month, I'll try to make every quote of the day this month by an African-American or other Black notable. In addition to Black History Month, February is also AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, American Heart Month, Learn Italian Month, Library Lovers Month, National Cherry Pie Month, National Senior Independence Month, National Time Management Month, and Youth Leadership Month. For a more complete listing and lists of the specific days and weeks in February, see the Brownielocks page where I found these examples. One thing I noticed is that my birthday (28th) is Inconvenience Yourself Day. Sounds about right. . .

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.


Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Friday, February 2, 2007     It's Groundhog Day!
(6:52 pm)

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Quote of the Day: "You don't have a peaceful revolution. You don't have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. There's no such thing as a non-violent revolution. Revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way."

-- Malcom X

Ten degrees tomorrow night. Brrrrrrrrrrr.

Punxatawney Phil did NOT see his shadow. That's supposed to mean an early spring. The way I figure it, we'll have snow until May. I used to work for the fellow that helped start that Punxatawney Phil gig. His name was Charlie Earhardt. He owned the AM radio station in Sutton, WV. I worked there two separate times. In some ways, at certain times, I miss being a DJ. It's kind of like when a headache goes away. You miss it in a manner of speaking, but wouldn't want it back.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007     Time Flies
(11:08 am)

It doesn't seem like four days since I made an entry here. I've been busy. It's been cold. It just now hit double digits. This is the coldest it's been in ten years. I'm not sure what the overnight low was but I'm sure it was somewhere in the close vicinity of zero.

Quote of the Day: "When you're young, the silliest notions seem the greatest achievements."

-- Pearl Bailey

I'd write more, but sitting here in this corner of the dining room, my hands are getting cold and stiff. This weather is ridiculous. The furnace can't really keep up with it. The lack of insulation and the stark chill in the air are going to drive our heating costs into triple digits this winter. Where's global warming when I need it?



Thursday, February 8, 2007     Weather's Got Me Down
(2:44 pm)

This weather has me beat. I'm either too hot or too cold and there's no in-between. I feel perfectly lousy. I've been playing my guitars a lot lately. The only one I've not played much is my 12-string. I'm not sure why. I'm just not as infatuated with it as I used to be. I'd love to be able to jam with some people, but I don't know anyone anymore. Most of the people I used to play music with, like most of my friends, have either died or moved. I'm the only one who sticks around here, feeling bad, wallowing in self-pity over not having friends to do things with.

Quote of the Day: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

-- Frederick Douglass (1857)

Speaking of guitars, mine (as a general rule) need adjustments and tweaking. They all play well enough and sound great as is, but only the Hamer is tight. It's a Ferrari compared to my Les Paul, which is a Cadillac. They both rock, but the Hamer is a hot rod. It smokes. Always has.

Bogged down on the book again. No art. No photography. I'd love to get out and about, but where would I go, especially in this weather. I'll check the street conditions and maybe go to the Unity open mic tomorrow night. They should have that more frequently than once a month.


Monday, February 12, 2007     I've Been Canceled!
(11:00 am)

My annual Ophthalmologist's appointment was supposed to be a couple hours ago. Around seven-thirty this morning they call (while I was shaving, no less) and told me Dr. Nunley wouldn't be in today. I've been rescheduled. I realize that planning such things a year in advance is always a little iffy, but still it's an imposition to me. I wonder is he has the flu? Hung over? Had an emergency surgery? Has to babysit the kids while his wife goes to the doctor? It could be any number of things. With me, it could probably be a lot more. . .

Quote of the Day: "A word to the wise ain't necessary -- it's the stupid ones who need advice."

-- Bill Cosby

I know that's my second Cos quote this month, but I like that one.

Ann and I went to the Unity Open Stage Friday night. A good time was had by all. Ann fell in love with a Celtic instrument called a bowed psaltery. There was a trio of instrumentalists two of whom, Greg and Tish Westman, are the resident woodworkers at Tamarack's wood studio. Together with a fellow named Jackie (didn't get the last name) who played psalteries and dulcimers. It was wonderful. Ron Sowell, the host, and his friend John from Nashville did several numbers, including Aretha's "Do Right Woman." A long-time acquaintance, Doug Imbrogno, did a couple numbers. On one, he played the keyboard. On the other he played what appeared to be a stringed canoe paddle. Actually it was a Washburn travel guitar, similar to the Martin Backpacker. There was young woman named Cassie who played a blue Ibanez and sang. One of the songs she did was STP's "Plush." A fellow who followed us in to the church on his bicycle (it was about 10 degrees out, mind you), Archie Humphreys, did a couple songs. His marvelous voice was somewhere between Tom Waits and Lenoard Cohen, with maybe a little Joe Cocker thrown in. I enjoyed his performance very much. Next month, if my voice is in decent shape I might get up on the stage and make a total fool of myself.


Friday, February 16, 2007     Back Among the Living
(1:37 pm)

It's been a long week. I've not felt very well, and the weather hasn't helped things any either. I managed to change the strings on two of my guitars -- the Hamer and the cheap-o Squier Affinity Telecaster. I'll tell you what. That little Tele is an amazing instrument for the price. New, it runs around $169. I got it used for substantially less and added a new pearlized pick guard, so even with that and new strings I have less than the street price of a new one. It's way less than a top-of-the-line Fender Tele, but it sounds just as good, and as far as playability, you can't tell much difference from the "good ones." Did I mention, it's Candy Apple Red? I put buttons on the strap of all my guitars (except the Ovation, which is in the case at the moment). I even managed to jerry-rig a pin for my Hitchhiker's Guide "Don't Panic" button.

Quote of the Day: "Parents have become so convinced educators know what is best for children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts."

-- Marian Wright Edelman

Eight of my black&white photographs are online at Unlikely Stories. This is a great online magazine of literature and the arts. I feel honored to have been included.

I should have included one more photograph to make it nine, so they could have arranged them 3 X 3. Perhaps this one:

Digital Camera Image [2006_0311Image0001] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO  200, Program AE, 1/400, f/7.1, 50mm Macro lens]
"Winter's Gray Peeling Away"

Monday, February 19, 2007     Broken WIndows
(11:17 pm)

A couple days ago, Windows did an automatic update. Ever since I've had nothing but problems. My e-mail won't download most of the time. It keeps telling me the system is out of memory. I know better. Everything is slower and hangs up more frequently, too. I think it's Microsoft's way of pressuring me into upgrading to their outrageously expensive Vista operating system. I have no idea what to do. Shit like this discourages me to no end.

Now my Internet connection is hosed. I give up.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007     Stalking Normality
(11:13 am)

Got up this morning and things were closer to normal. The Internet connection was working again and the cable was back on. I'm still having the memory problems. Ann's computer downloaded updates at the same time mine did, but hers works fine. I don't get it. I haven't checked the laptop yet. I've checked for viruses, trojans, worms, and spyware, but so far I've not been able to uncover anything. Something is definitely wrong though.

Quote of the Day: "America is woven of many strands. I would recognise them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not prophecy, but description."

-- Ralph Ellison

The weather appears to have broken. I'm skeptical.


Thursday, February 22, 2007     Devolution
(11:30 am)

I hate to say it, but this project has devolved into a <shudder> blog! I've just been writing about daily occurrences, posting no art, no rants, no photographs, no useful or interesting information -- just mundane, boring bullshit about my lackluster daily life. So be it.

Quote of the Day: "We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends."

-- Dr. March McLeod Bethune

Now, what to do about the devolution problem. . . Things have deteriorated to the point where my thoughts seldom stray beyond the pedestrian. There are probably several factors involved, fear, pain, the inability to deal with rejection (Thanks, Dad). I think that if I felt good, I'd do more. As it is, I play guitar (alone), watch television (by definition a solitary activity), eat alone (I don't drink alone -- yet), deal with computer problems (I have e-mail again thanks to Mozilla Thunderbird -- Outlook Express won't even start up now), and read. I don't really do any of the creative things that most people identify with me. I don't get out much. Even with three trips to the mountains in the past year, I've barely put 6,000 miles on the van. If you look up "stick in the mud" in the dictionary, you'll probably find my picture. Trouble is, I have no idea how to get out of this quicksand.

Speaking of photographs. . . here's one I had Ann take of me the other day. I had just gotten up and looked in the mirror. It cracked me up. Looks like the wind had been blowing in my dreams.

Digital Camera Image [2007_0218Image0007] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 400, Portrait, 1/60, f/4.5, Tamron 28-300 mm LD Lens @ 54 mm, built-in flash]
"Which Way the Wind Blows?"

See, even this deals with nothing beyond my skin or field of vision. I've become a hermit. I think having part of my face removed had something to do with my withdrawl from the rest of the world. My self-confidence has dwindled. I've noticed that people pay less attention to me now. I had a nice conversation with John Bentley last Saturday at the flea market. That was the first conversation I've had in a long time beyond what is considered polite when encountering another human being. Friends have left the area. Friends have died. Friends have fallen away. I've made some effort to expand my circle, but no one seems interested. I guess I'll just continue my therapy here. And how does that make you feel?


Friday, February 23, 2007     Corrupting Influence
(3:28 pm)

Last weekend John Bentley gave me an old copy of "Vintage Guitar" magazine, the issue for November 2006 to be precise. In it was an article by Dan Erlewine of Stewart-McDonald's Guitar Shop Supply about the decomposition gases created by disintegrating plastic parts on guitars corroding surrounding materials such as metal, plastic, and finishes. The photos and descriptions were sobering. Who knew plastic would fall apart so destructively? Several years back I had to re-upholster the inside of my Gibson SG case because the foam rubber padding under the velour had crumbled to dust. I've had the padding in a couple of car ceilings do the same thing. I suppose if that would succumb to the ravages of time, so would other, more rigid and rugged plastics as well. Perhaps this is a larger problem than we might imagine. How many plastic parts are on or in durable goods that are supposed to last in excess of 20 years? Could these gases be harmful to humans as well? Maybe they cause autism. There has been a dramatic increase in the "plastic era." Something to think about. . .

Quote of the Day: "Music is the greatest communication in the world. Even if people don't understand the language that you're singing in, they still know good music when they hear it."

-- Lou Rawls

I suppose I could debate that with old Lou. I think people can recognize music they like regardless of the language, unless they're big sticklers for lyrics, and then being able to understand the words might be useful. I think a person who appreciates good music regardless of genre and has a high standard of excellence can recognize good music in any language, but the person who can do that is rare. I'd just have to leave it at most music lovers being able to apprehend that which is good in the kind of music they appreciate. Then again, there are those to whom most anything sounds good -- those who nominate and vote for grammys for instance.

A long, long time ago for a short time I owned a late-fifties/early sixties Gold Top Les Paul. I broke the neck off of it keeping my drummer from getting shot by a drunken fool. It would have cost more to get it fixed than I could afford so I sold it basically for scrap to a Gibson collector in Ohio. This morning I found one exactly like it on the Gruhn Guitars website. They want $120,000 for it. Had I been able to keep it, that guitar would have paid for nearly every other guitar I want, including the Les Paul Supreme, a PRS, a new Hamer, and the Garvin California Special. I'm devastated.

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