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Saturday, March 1, 2008     Still Kicking!
(3:54 pm)

Well, I survived another one. One year older. Wiser? Hard to say. I'm starting to somewhat pull out of my birthday funk. On the other hand, this up and down weather has me aching in places I didn't even know I had. Tired, achy, sore, bone weary. So, what else is new?

Quote of the Day: "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.John Steinbeck ."

-- John Steinbeck

I used to get ideas by the boxful. Now, not so much. And those ideas I do get evaporate for the most part before I can do much with them. I try writing things down but I forget to carry writing materials with me, or I have my ideas in the shower. Maybe I need to get one of those underwater slates and markers like divers use. . .

Here's something I did fourteen years ago. Never felt like showing it to anyone before now. Something compelling about it to me today, though. . .

Chalk on Bristol board
"Bird Head Prototype"

I ordered the Les Paul wiring kit yesterday. I'll be soldering and threading wires through the guitar body one day next week. Oh, fun. I really hope it isn't the pickup. Anyway, at least the knobs will fit this way. I ordered four new speed knobs for my new Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II, too. I don't care for the bell knobs that come on the Epiphone Les Pauls -- some of the Gibson ones too. I have some sweet-sounding and sweet-playing guitars now. I'm content (for the moment). I need to adjust the intonation on several of my guitars. My Michael Kelly Patriot Limited needs it the worst.


Friday, March 7, 2008     March -- In Like a Schizo Lion-Lamb
(10:42 am)

March and April are the most dissociative months of the year. My feelings about them are the same. At the same time I love them and despise their cummulative 61 days. The weather can't make up its mind for more than half a day at a time. We're likely to have 75 or 80 degrees, sun, and a a light breeze by noon, only to have it snow and blow shortly after sundown on the same day. Rain? Sure, you got it. Snow? Without question? Things in between? Absolutely. Wind? Natch. Kite-destroying bluster at your request. Or even without your request. Hot? Even that's possible. The tulips, crocuses, narcissuses (narcissi?), daffodils are peeking through the ground, taking their chances at frostbite and sunburn in equal probability. I walk out in the morning clad in hat, gloves and coat, umbrella in hand, and by the time I get back, I'm carrying all of said items, useless as they are for 75, sunny, and calm. And heaven forbid you should walk out of the house in a 70 degree morning without said items in tow. You'll rue the day. . . Don't ya just love spring?

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

I could use a pleasant surprise about now.

I had another terrible experience ordering things from Musician's Friend. They'd sent me a coupon worth 20% off my next purchase, so, despite all the problems I'd encountered previously, I gave them a chance. Well, for the most part everything went well, except for a guitar case. It was warped and scuffed up, so I had to return it. It took an inordinate amount of time to get it back. It arrived, intact and all is well near as I can determine, but I'm still not happy with their service. I'd advise against ordering from them unless you're not in any kind of hurry and if you don't mind UPS shipping. I've had problems with UPS in the recent past, so I prefer FedEx. I've heard from other people that they have the antithetical experience, excellent service from UPS and shit from FedEx. Is nothing consistent? Can I never have confidence in recommending one thing over another to anyone, even on the next block? The world has gone to shit. I want that T-shirt I saw: Where are we going, and wny am I in this handbasket?

Quote of the Day: "History is the nightmare from which we are trying to awaken. "

-- James Joyce, Ulysses

Really? I thought it was life.


Thursday, March 13, 2008     Spring For A Day!
(3:44 pm)

What lovely weather we're having! It's mid-70's, sunny, light breeze. Perfect. It's supposed to start raining later with possible snow by Sunday evening. St. Paddy's Day will be nice, then back to more rain. I thought all that rain was supposed to be next month. Nothing is ever what it's supposed to be around here.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

I think I prefer diamonds.

I keep trying to read, but I nod off every few pages. Pages? Sentences! If I go outside and sit on the swing and try to read, I get distracted by whatever moves. In that respect I'm much like a cat. I just wish I was as agile and graceful. Sleek, too. That would be nice.

Quote of the Day: "Play a new thing every day. Learning one new passing chord or a note combination will get you moving towards something that will serve you later on. Someday, a song will come along that all of those things will relate to."

-- Ry Cooder

That's some good advice. I recently bought a chord finder book. I've been trying to pick up something new every day from it or from the Guitar Grimoire book I bought years ago. It's vast in its scope. I used to have the second volume, but Sean lost it for me somewhere. I saw the set offered online somewhere the other day. I thought about getting the other volumes (I think there are four now). I'd like to have the DVD's too. That'd be handy. Who am I kidding? Serious study of the instrument at this point in my life would be silly. Just about the time I'd have the chops built up I'd be playing "Don't Fear the Reaper" when along he'd come and take my hand.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008     Oops. I missed the Ides
(10:17 am)

I forgot to beware the Ides of March. Does that mean I'm in trouble? The Ides was (were?) Saturday. Since I forgot to beware them, is that why eight people in Morgantown won my Powerball jackpot? Rats! Now I have to wait until it cycles up into the serious millions again. I'm getting a little tired of waiting, ya know?

Quote of the Day: "I have lost friends, some by death... others through sheer inability to cross the street."

-- Virginia Woolfe

Taxes are done. We get a refund of a whole $16.00! Could have been worse. . .

Digital Camera Image [2007_0916Image0004 [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 800, Shutter Priority AE, 1/500, f/11, Partial Metering, Tamron 28-300mm lens @ 148mm]
"Anyone know what this is?"

Spring is just a few short days away. I can say that I've looked forward more to previous springs. The economy is tanking. Ronald Reagan started this crap. Bush I continued it. Clinton put the skids under it temorarily. Bush II then proceeded to buy up all the handbaskets and here we go folks. Have a nice ride! Republicans are always the ones to put the whole country in a mess trying to keep their rich-bitch friends in the high clover, then they whine and cry as the Democrats try to pull our cookies out of the fire. What people need to realize is that money and the accumulation of same is not the be-all and end-all of life. We need to focus on other goals and ideals and rearrange the distribution of wealth to those ends. Commerce is not the whole of living. Business is an artificial construct of the mind and can be adjusted just by thinking. We need to rethink nearly everything, including our enthusiastic participation in the "global economy." The globalization of economics has taken the sovereignty away from the sundry nations. When this happens, tribalization takes over as the unit of fealty. Look at all the little groups asserting themselves in Africa, the Middle East, and East LA. When your economic determinism is taken so far out of the individuals hands, they have to assert their importance to themselves in any other way they can. Tribes, gangs, and other local hostile groups are one of the few ways to do so that make sense in this era. By saying they make sense, I mean in a purely visceral way. We have to do something to wrest control of our destinies from the multinational corporations and the morally (and probably soon-to-be fiscally) bankrupt investment houses. As Richard Rose, a Zen Master from my home state, said, "The brokerage houses go about their business with a fearful dignity, posing paper empires as monolithic structures -- which in reality are eroded by simple rumor, buffeted easily by winds of chance, and can be sent tumbling by psychological factors not fairly understood by even the most masterful wizards of brokerage alchemy."

We may be in for some rough times ahead, folks, with the price of gasoline rising to record levels, dragging the cost of nearly everything else upward as well. It may come to the point where even the paltry amount I spend every month to keep this and my other sites up and running may prove to be better used elsewhere, like for food, housing, utilities, etc. I am not optimistic.


Thursday, March 20, 2008     Decline and Fall of the English Language
(6:26 pm)

Is there a single college basketball player in the US who can do a 10 second quip on television without saying "you know" eight times? I swear to gawd, one player on the news a few minutes ago said, "You know, you just, you know, have to come out ready to play, you know, 'cause, you know, you have to come out ready to play." WTF??? I'd love to be able to convince just one college coach to teach his players to speak to the press and the public in general without using those two words or saying "uh," "um," or "er." Just one. You know?

Digital Camera Image [2008_0219Image0001, modified, cropped] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 400, Portrait mode, 1/60, f/5.6, Internal Flash, Canon 17-85mm lens @ 64mm]
"The Alien in My Living Room (Fear No Alien)"

The above alien is made from a discarded styrofoam wig head I found several years ago lying on the sidewalk next to some bags of trash. I trimmed it and painted it, gave it a tulle scarf and called it my Alien Aviator. Right now he sits on the bannister post at the turn of the stairs going to the second storey. He's had many places to sit. Sometimes he wears hats, other times, wigs, or other buttons and whatever else seems (in?)appropriate at any given time. I like my alien. He's unlike Roger from "American Dad" in many respects. He doesn't get into things, make trouble, or eat a lot. The main difference, though, is he is without a body. Maybe one of these days when I'm feeling ambitious I'll make him one.

Hillary Clinton was here yesterday. Barack Obama was here today. I wonder if he spelled it O'Bama on Monday? Who do I favor for president? Anyone but McCain, except Nader.

Quote of the Day: "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

-- Buddha

Well, it's spring, and yesterday there were 84 MPH winds at the airport and a tornado touched down in the northern part of the county. The wind here in the city was pretty horrendous, too. I haven't seen it rain as hard as it did early yesterday evening in a very long time. I've seen some heavy rain in various place on this planet, but that rain here last evening ranked among the hardest. It was like the bottom fell out of the sky and all the water fell at once. The rain didn't last long, but I'm sure it produced as much rainfall as a normal precipitation even last several times longer. Today has been colder and dryer (thank goodness). Can't wait to see what April has to offer.


Monday, March 24, 2008     Murderer's Row
(2:59 pm)

If West Virginia wins the game against Xavier on Thursday, they'll face the prospect of playing three number one seeds in a row. On the other side of the bracket, Davidson faces the same prospect. The NCAA tournament is as bad as the NFL playoffs and worse, in some respects, than the Baseball World Series, or the Stanley Cup playoffs. I say this because, in order to win the national title, you have to, after being selected to play, win six games in a row. I suppose it's possible that one or more of the number one seed will get beaten, but it's not too likely that more than one will fall, since going into the Sweet Sixteen (third round), all four of them are still standing. Some of the scores in the games against the number one seeds have been daunting -- 30 points difference in some cases. I have confidence in West Virginia, but Murderer's Row is a dangerous place with talented and mean teams. I wish them luck.

Quote of the Day: "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything."

-- G.K. Chesterton

I ordered a loop pedal today. I'll be antsy now until it gets here. I'm sure it will take longer than I want. I can't wait to get it and try some of the tricks it will make possible. I'll probably go out to the Boss web site and download and print the manual before it arrives so I'll be familiar with its operation. I'm so excited!

I went to House of Music and Pied Piper today. I met a fellow who plays in a local group. He was a pretty nice guy. I showed him the ropes on the Zoom G2.1u pedal that I have. He liked it. I told Jim that if he buys it I get the commission.


Monday, March 31, 2008     The Changing Nature of Things
(10:04 am)

This journal started out as a pretty much every day thing. It has dwindled now to pretty much a once a week thing with the occasional spurt of entries otherwise. I don't quite know what to say about that. It's not that I'm especially tired of doing it. I don't think it's the extra attention I've given to other online projects. I suspect it's an extension of my lack of artistic inspiration. To be quite honest, the well seems dry. Health problems, injuries, financial twists and turns, personal difficulties, reevaluation of my life and attitudes (something every thinking person should do continuously) have all contributed to a lessening of the desire to put more of what I'm doing and thinking out here for the world to see. It's not that I have altered too much as far as my philosophy or politics, nor my artistic proclivities or general order of things. I just periodically have to question and evaluate them. Sometimes and event triggers this, other times a person. Sometimes the "need" to do so seemingly arises out of nowhere. It's always an intense and deeply difficult process (if it's done right). I've been going through one of these phases recently. This particular process is not as deep or intense as some have been. I'm not sure whether I've build a solid base for my paradigm and faith or whether things closer to the surface just need more attention at this time.

Now that you're completely confused. . .

Amazingly Enough, I Don't Give a Shit.

Quote of the Day: "Reexamine all that you have been told in school, or in church or in any book. Dismiss whatever insults your soul."

-- Walt Whitman

It's not where you end up in life that matters. It's how far you end up from where you started.

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