Friday, December 16, 2005

Ever since the Dems were outmaneuvered on the Murtha proposal last month, I've had that sinking feeling, now confirmed: The Democrats are blowing it. We will not gain shit in the midterms, due to infighting. Nancy Pelosi is a joke. A "latte liberal" everywhere else in the country, and considered a conservative, pro-business democrat in her own district. And when folks in your own party in places like North Dakota are telling DNC leader Howard Dean (a little loose at the lip but has the sack to stand up to the GOP) to "shut up" it just makes everyone look bad. Pelosi's basically admitting that there's no cohesion in the party. And...she's right of course. But that doesn't make her "RIGHT."

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm not a hippie, but something seems amiss in the cosmos. All signs are pointing to a change in direction. I'm not sure what that means yet, but I do know that my present course is a dirt road off the main highway and the brush is getting thicker. At least the Pack managed to win a game. In Gado we Trust.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The "I love the 00s" retrospective is becoming sharper in focus. Current "pet rocks":

Myspace. Friendster. "Internet 2.0." "How does 1% and a flat $99 fee sound for a new mortgage. Hi, this is Barney Aldridge, and that sounds like the best deal I've ever heard of." Snake Oil salesmen selling eventual bankruptcy to a generation of folks who can't afford that $600,000 house in the Bay Area on their slacker income. vCast (yet more wireless airtime for extremely tiny clips on a phone when you can do the same with iPod). TiVo (in name only. the Mosaic of the zips). And, of course, blogging.

Things that will endure: iPods/mp3s/podcasts and iPod video, VoIP and Skype, Wi-fi, Broken English, emoticons and abbreviations like "lol," the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Last night ABC News chose to highlight excerpts of John Lennon's well known 1970 interview as the 25th Anniversary of his Assassination approaches. And now I realize why, but I didn't last night. I guess they're releasing audio of it.

The interview is one that I first read in my mailroom days, but I had also read the 1980 Playboy interview which, I think, is a better representation of the man. Last night I got a little peeved that they would highlight the somewhat bitter 1970 interview...and got me to thinking that it's the conservative conspiracy to take over the news media, etc. etc., to cast our hero in a more negative light. But that interview's been in the public domain for years, and I think anyone who wants to read that one should do it side by side with the Playboy 1980 interview to get a proper perspective.

Rant over.
With the football season written off and the work day slow, I'm a bit bored these days, fumbling around the internet with nary a purpose. I've been reading a book my mom gave me, "Evening in the Palace of Reason," which is based on a meeting between J.S. Bach and Frederick the Great of Prussia, and is a loose history of that time frame, of the 30 years war and the reformation, among other things. It gets a bit dry when the subject of counterpoint is discussed in detail, but I've always been a sucker for a good bit of historial writing from a different angle. I'm still playing catch-up in the education dept. in many ways. How do you explain someone who barely read fiction as a child and then goes on to get an English and Political Science degree, when his real goal was a career in music? I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. But I'm glad I'm here, aimless boredom notwithstanding.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ok, here's the thing about suicide: You will not be able to put together a cogent narrative to create peace for yourself. In doing that, you will always have more questions than answers. It's common for people to look for the "cause" or something/someone to point the finger at to blame. Doesn't work. I learned this ten years ago and now I am re-learning it again. I'm sorry, but I can't subscribe to the notion that this is all part of god's "plan." Doesn't work. I can't blame it on drugs. That's not it. Could it be that someone got my friend started on drugs, and I should blame whoever that is? There's a little problem with that, and it's called "free will." We do not always know the consequences of our actions and where they will lead, but none of that is relevant here. Neither is the notion that depression is simply a disease in the same way that getting cancer or having a heart condition is a disease. That's also an oversimplification. There's a reason why therapy is always recommended (but not often followed) when the doctor signs off on that prozac prescription, or whatever. Even then, just because something is treatable doesn't mean it can always be cured. And while I violently disagree with the premises in this regard with creationism, some things are a mystery. That doesn't mean you give up trying, but it also doesn't mean you're going to ever find "the answer," much less make peace with something that doesn't make any goddamned sense.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ha. Happy Thanksgiving. Also, you heard it from the horse's mouth. The Packers' season is officially over.

On a more somber note, I'll be in Berlin, Wisconsin for the weekend. A good friend of mine from childhood has passed away.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

I think the Dems are making a big mistake to vote with the GOP to continue the war, regardless if their re-write of Murtha's resolution is a cynical ploy or not. The Midterms will not be won on nuance. Either you're for it, or against it, right? That's how the GOP has decided to frame it. Well, yeah, I'm against the war, and I'm FOR an immediate pullout. Dems should vote for this. Can someone convince me otherwise? Nuance lost Kerry the election, and I fear this could be a big mo-shift for Repubs during the midterms, because they can use this as support for their lies. "Rep. So and So voted against pullout" and toss flip-flop in there. By the time the Dem Rep. gets into the second paragraph of the explanation, they will have lost about half of the people in the district actually listening. Call their Goddamn Bluff of the Bluff, Goddamn it!
A four word, Hamradiocentral plea to any Democrat or Republican opposed to continuing this conflict in Iraq, now up for a vote: Don't be a pussy. Think things will be any more chaotic if we pull out? We kept that logic with Vietnam, and eventually had to pull out anyway.
Need I repeat your own words, Mr. Cheney?

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction, and he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, against us." August 2003.

Who's irresponsible? Who's dishonest and reprehensible? Fuck you, Dick.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I was wondering when someone would write an article about customer rudeness and how it's handled in the outsourced call centers.

It's interesting that the escalation process routes these customers to second tier centers back in the United States. Which begs the question, does this represent a hidden cost? And if so, is the savings by outsourcing significant enough to outweigh those costs? And if not, what about company perception?

I've spent far too long in a CS envionment, and I can tell you that there's a significant number of customers who know how to work the system. They bitch and escalate, and most companies give them what they want. If customers are polite, they get no freebies. Kind of a fucked up system, eh? If I were to run a company, I'd run it exactly the opposite. Fuck churn. Go ahead and cancel. We do not reward assholes. I believe that's how Southwest does it, but I could be wrong.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Samkon Gado for President.

Michael Newdow should suggest that we change the slogan on Wisconsin money to say "In Gado We Trust."

Kidding aside, it was nice to see a win. Hey, if we win the rest of our games, we can still have a winning season. Just 7 games to go for that 8 game winning streak.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Champs Elysses Posted by Picasa
Happy Veterans' day. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black:

"Bush singled out Syria for particular criticism, saying its government had taken 'two disturbing steps' in recent days. He cited the arrest of Syria pro-democracy activist Kamal Labwani and a 'strident speech' by President Bashar Assad. In that speech, Assad said his government would cooperate with a U.N. investigation that implicated Syrian officials in the killing of a Lebanese leader, but warned he would no longer 'play their game' if Syria 'is going to be harmed.'

Bush said Syria 'must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy.'"

Didn't we stop "playing their game" (meaning the U.N. and some of our allies) when we went into Iraq unilaterally? How many different ways can I say that the war in Iraq is making matters worse? We've escalated the conflict. We've inspired young jihadists to strap on a bomb and walk into hotels and restaurants all over the world. It's only going to get worse, my friends.
I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I'm starting to think that the U.S. Government is piping some strange chemicals or hallucinogens into Ralph Nader's water.

The NFL Players' Association should realize that wrapping their cause around a purported crusader like Drew Rosenhaus will do them more harm than good. Beware false prophets.

So much for last thoughts. The story's not going away because I think anyone vaguely interested in sports realizes what's at stake. If Rosenhaus gets his way and the Eagles are forced to play T.O., it will be bad for the league and, ultimately, bad for the players and the agents representing the players, not to mention the game. Why? Because others will follow the lead, feigning injuries in a contract year, mouthing off to the press about their fellow teammates. If this is the kind of thing that organized labor wraps itself around, then in the long run management will win the hearts and minds of the majority.

On a related subject: Creationism. I liked Charles Osgood's take on "Intelligent Design," and I'm paraphrasing through what my wife recounted from listening on the radio: "I wish I had that as an excuse when I was taking my final exam in biology class." And from this point on, anyone who mentions "Intelligent Design" to me will be corrected. It is creationism. Repeat it early and often: Creationism, creationism, creationism. Kudos to Dover, PA. As for Kansas, here is an interesting article, not directly related to creationism, but it will be to the politics in the state in the long run. As more people from other regions of the country, especially California, heh heh, move to places like Kansas for cheap housing and wide open space, the dominance of the Operation Rescue folks will get watered down.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Last thoughts on T.O. Boomer Esiason's a cock, but he's right on with this take.

I'm about to go into a meeting to tell the folks who want to sell us a $5,000 a month self-service phone system that our average call volume per day is 1.5 calls.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Heh heh. Sterling Sharpe's on the radio as I write this. Suit up, Sterl. We need 'ya! I don't understand why Rome keeps bringing up the subject of giving Rodgers a shot to run the Pack. The team's problems are not Favre's fault and putting Rodgers in, before he's ready, would make matters worse if that's possible.

It appears more and more likely that the last member of the old company, the one I was hired out of the blue for back in August of 2004, may be leaving soon. That would mean I am the last employee of that company, still around to witness a complete turnaround of personnel, including the Chairman, CEO, owner. If someone would have given me a looking glass back in October of 2004, when my boss first told me I was going to be let go (before the new person who took over told me I'd be staying the the very next day...both are now gone), I would have laughed. But here I sit.

I've taken the book back up (finally). I'm awaiting the edited version of my previous draft from my second cousin, who used to be a big time copy editor in the 60s. In the mean time, I'm moving on and paring down. There are a lot of technical details and family anecdotes that I've decided to cut. I need to tighten the narrative, and keep the comic angle. Well, it's not going to be a complete comedy...I'm not capable of sustaining that. But it will be an insightful look at how to navigate through the wilderness when you're not entirely sure what your foundations truly are. Where are your roots? Do you have any, or are you stumbling through life, haphazardly. Mine's the latter. Whether anyone will be interested to read it is another matter entirely. If I can pass a dozen readers, then I will consider it a success. Mainly it's been a good way to pass the time through boring day gigs.

Next Blackbirds session is slated for 11/19. I'm going back up to Chris's studio for help with guitar overdubs. My new house won't be ready for any functional recording for a while. It's a little bit at a time 'til then.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Terrell Owens is the Dennis Rodman of the NFL. With each passing year, he regresses further into childhood, like he was born on the planet Ork. Besides how crappy the season has been for the Pack, another reason why this football season sucks so bad is because of all the attention being given to crybabies like T.O. I think Andy Reid's about to pull a Gruden, meaning to send T.O. packing like Gruden did with Keyshawn Johnson a couple of years ago. Of course he's talented, but so was Jeff George. George had a rocket of an arm, and now no team will touch him with a ten foot pole. And why would they? Football's a team sport, and the last thing any team needs in such a competitive league is a fucking nut-job or a head case keeping the public eye on the locker room. If Reid doesn't pull a Gruden on him, then I'm losing respect for him.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

There are a lot of boxes in our new digs down here in Santa Clara. The vocals for the Bye Bye Blackbirds have just about been completed, just prior to my move south. I think some things may need to be re-done, but not much in my estimation. It's interesting, because I've been kind of a hard-ass on the pitch of the three part harmonies they've been doing, and I get really bogged down when in the thick of it. In older days, I would have reacted against some of the things I am doing and saying now. Then, a day or two later, when I roll tape again to go over the session, I'm pretty fucking amazed at how often those guys pull off the harmonies together at once around one mike. And these are not always the basic 1-3-5 harmonies. They'll do tri-tones, all sorts of different combinations. Billy Duke's got the best intuitive sense of vocal harmony that I've ever worked with, better than my own. Ian also has this great voice that adds an interesting timbre and quality to the group stuff. And Bradley's solid. All three, as well as their drummer, Lenny, are multi-instrumentalists. So it's interesting to work with others who share my sensibilities.

I'm also enjoying this process because it's helping me to regain my confidence at tape-op and behind the board. I don't have a lot of gear knowledge (well, because I don't have a lot of gear) . Nevertheless, I DO have access to better rooms than the early days of Beulah when that was my primary responsibility. It would have been nice to have the option to set up a mike in the shower stall and have some reverberation from the bathroom tiles on "Heartstrings," for example. Back in those days, I was a little feisty and feeling claustrophobic in that sweaty old practice space.

Chris Palmatier has been invaluable so far, especially in the room/mike/pre setup to capture the live takes. I've learned two things. 1. I will never record drums by themselves and layer everything else later, one by one, again. 2. I will track these live takes to analog first, before moving to a digital program. I wait to stand corrected that Protools sounds better than even 1/2" analog, 16 track tape. As far as headroom issues or hiss, here's what you do: crank up the levels as high as you can without them distorting on playback, and print with the built-in DBX or Dolby S.

My place of employment is now less than a 10 minute drive away. I have to say, even though the company's going nowhere and I expect to be laid off or for the company to go under any day now, in the time I have left, I am going to enjoy the short commute and my "maytag repair man" role. For once I don't have to work Satan hours or have Satan's commute.

Finally, on a political note, the Special Election is a joke, of course, but this one's easy: NO on everything except Prop. 79. If anyone reading this thinks that the best form of protest is to abstain, may I remind you that the best form of protest is to show up and vote no on everything, even 79 if you want to take a stand against the idiocy of having this special election in the first place. But I am voting yes on 79. The proposition system itself in California is obviously getting out of hand, and should be abolished. There is no such thing as "direct democracy." Never will be. Until this state repeals these stupid propositions, like 13, for example, it will always be in credit card debt.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Worst. Football Season. Ever. What can one say about the Pack? I don't buy the talking heads on sports radio when they say they should bench Favre for Rodgers this season. We don't have anyone to throw to other than Donald Driver and Bubba Franks, no one to run the ball effectively, a patchwork O-line, a shitty secondary, and on and on. Rodgers hasn't moved the ball in the times he's been in the game, even in garbage time. All we can do is sit and suffer, and read that series JSonline's doing about Favre and revel in the past. It's what Packer fans had done until Wolf came to town in ' about the glory days of the 60s. Now we can talk about the glory days of the 90s and hope that we can have them again in the....20s. Seems to be a 30 year cycle with the Pack. Look at the championships. And then there are the gory years. It appears we are on the gory road for a while.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The move is nigh...this Saturday in fact (finally)! We move to Santa Clara for two years, and then probably Rochester NY, my wife's hometown, to buy a house and simplify our lives.

On that note, the SF Chron had an interesting article in its series about how difficult it is for many "middle class" folks to live out in the Bay Area, citing economists' concerns that the super rich now have so much disposable income that it's driving prices up for everyone else. And I thought about how much I miss Bill Clinton, as he made a point in both elections, especially his first, to cite the failure of "trickle down economics" and he repeated that point ad infinitum. And now, of course, we've returned to that mindset. Look where it's gotten us.

When will people in rural America understand that the party they continue to vote for threatens their way of life with its policies? . I'm not sure the Dems have latched onto that message simply enough.

K & I certainly won't be able to afford to buy a house and live here. We do not want to keep up with the Joneses. We don't like the weather THAT much! So the way things are necessitates a move where the cost of living is a little lower and the weather is shittier. I don't mind, having been born and raised in Wisconsin. K & I feel bad for folks our age who were born and raised in SF and find it harder and harder to survive in the only city they've ever known as their own.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

W/re to my post last 5/25 about Mike Tice, it finally seems the press is catching on. Heh heh.

This had seemed to be the worst football season for a long time, until last weekend's 52-3 rout of the Saints. Now the Packers are 1-4 just like last year. And since Detroit and Chicago lead the division now with 2-3 records, there's always hope.

The much better without Randy Moss, eh? #4 in the power rankings, eh? Take off, eh?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New things are on the horizon. Since the Packers stink this year and the A's season is just about over, I've decided to start recording some of my own material and also to continue to try and find sporadic work recording other bands, whenever I can. The preface is that I am not going to hustle and only record what I'm into. Period.

I was thinking back about some old posts in here, about how I defended Mike Sherman as being a better GM/Coach than Mike Holmgren was, and I still stand by that. However, it seems the Packers are now paying for some of his GM decisions in the past, though I'm not convinced Ted Thompson is the answer. Sherman's gotten a bit conservative and stale, and it seems teams have adjusted to his offensive schemes, particularly the running game. Having to trade the two guards certainly didn't help matters, though I'm not sure how much coverage has been given about salary cap issues.

As far as New Orleans, Katrina, Rita and all of that, I've gotten a barrage of emails from my conservative uncle lately, so you know the GOP spin machine is up to no good. I guess that's what they're talking about when they say they're putting Karl Rove in charge of the "relief" effort. Here's a particularly heinous email being circulated by a "doctor":

"The following from a Mississippi MD:
I am going to tell it straight, blunt, raw, and I don't give a damn. Long read, I know but please do read.

I went to volunteer on Saturday at the George R. Brown convention for two reasons:

A: I wanted to help people to get a warm fuzzy.

B: Curiosity.

I've been watching the news lately and have seen scenes that have made me
want to vomit. And no it wasn't dead bodies, the city under water, or the
sludge everywhere. It was PEOPLE"S BEHAVIOR. The people on T. V. (99% being
Black) where DEMANDING help. They were not asking nicely but demanding as
if society owed these people something. Well the honest truth is WE DON'T.

Help should be asked for in a kind manner and then appreciated. This is not
what the press (FOX in particular) was showing. What I was seeing was a
group of people who are yelling, demanding, looting, killing, raping, and
SHOOTING back at the demanded help!!!!! So I'm thinking this can't possibly
be true can it???? So I decide to submit to the DEMAND for help out of
SHOCK. I couldn't believe this to be true of the majority of the people who
are the weakest of society. So I went to volunteer and help folks out and
see the truth. So I will tell the following story and you decide:

I arrived at the Astrodome only to find out that there are too many
volunteers and that volunteers were needed at the George R. Brown
Convention Center. As I was walking up to the Convention Center I noticed a
line of cars that wrapped around blocks filled with donations. These where
ordinary Houstonians coming with truckloads and trunks full of water,
diapers, clothes, blankets, food, all types of good stuff. And lots of it
was NEW.

I felt that warm fuzzy while helping unload these vehicles of
these wonderful human beings. I then went inside the building and noticed
approximately 100,000 sq. ft. of clothes, shoes, jackets, toys and all
types of goodies all organized and ready for the people in need. I signed
up, received a name badge and was on my merry way excited to be useful.

I toured the place to get familiar with my surrounding; the entire place is
probably around 2 million sq. ft. I noticed rows as far as the eye can see
of mattresses, not cots, BLOW UP MATTRESSES!!! All of which had nice
pillows and plenty of blankets. 2 to 3 bottles of water lay on every bed.

These full size to queen size beds by the way were comfortable, I laid in
one to see for myself. I went to look at the medical area. I couldn't
believe what my eyes were seeing!!! A makeshift hospital created in 24
hours!!! It was unbelievable, they even had a pharmacy. I also noticed that
they created showers, which would also have hot water. I went upstairs to
the third floor to find a HUGE cafeteria created in under 24 hours! Rows of
tables, chairs and food everywhere - enough to feed an army! I'm not
talking about crap food either. They had Jason's deli food, apples,
oranges, coke, diet coke, lemonade, orange juice, cookies, all types of
chips and sandwiches.

All the beverages by the way was put on ice and chilled. In a matter of
about 24 hours or less an entire mini-city was erected by volunteers for the
poor evacuees. This was not your rundown crap shelter, it was BUM HEAVEN.

So that was the layout: great food, comfy beds, clean showers, free medical
help. By the way, there was a library and a theatre room I forgot to mention.

Great stuff, right?

Well here is what happened on my journey -

I started by handing out COLD water bottles to evacuees as they got off the
bus. Many would take them and only 20% or less said thank you. Lots of them
would shake their heads and ask for sodas! So this went on for about 20-30
minutes until I was sick of being an unappreciated servant. I figured certainly
these folks would appreciate some food!!! So I went upstairs to serve these
beloved evacuees some GOOD food that I wish I could have at the moment.

***The following statements are graphic, truthful, and discuss UNRATIONAL behavior***

Evacuees come slowly to receive this mountain of food that is worth serving
to a king! I tell them that we have 2 types of great deli sandwiches to
choose from - ham and turkey. Many look at the food in disgust and DEMAND
burgers, pizza, and even McDonalds. Jason's deli is better than McDonalds!

Only 1 out of ten people who took something would say "thank
you" the rest took items as if it was their God given right to be served
without a shred of appreciation!!! They would ask for beer and liquor. They
complained that we didn't have good enough food. They refused food and
laughed at us. They treated us volunteers as if we where SLAVES. No, not all
of them of course, but 70% did. 20% were appreciative, 10% took the
food without any comment and the other 70% had some disgusting comment to
say. Some had the nerve to laugh at us. And when I snapped back at them for
being mean, they would curse at me.

Needless to say I was in utter shock.

They would eat their food and leave their mess on the table. Some would
pick up their stuff; many would leave it for the volunteers to pick up. I
left that real quick to go down and help set up some more beds. I saw many
young ladies carrying mattresses and I helped for a while.

Then I realized something.

There were hundreds of able bodied young men who could help! I
asked a group of young evacuees in their teens and early twenties to help.
I got cursed at for asking them to help!!! One said "We just lost our
fucking homes and you want us to work!!" The next said "Ya Cracker, you got
a home we don't". I looked at them in disbelief. Here are women walking by
carrying THEIR BEDS and they can't lift a finger and help themselves!


I waved them off and turned away and was laughed at and more. "White boy
jokes" were made at me. I felt no need to waste my breath on a bunch of
pitiful losers. I went to a nearby restroom where I noticed a man shaving.

I used the restroom, washed my hands and saw this man throw his razor
towards the trash can... he missed. He walked out leaving his disgusting
razor on the floor for some "cracker" to pick up. Even the little kids were
demanding. I saw only ONE white family and only TWO Hispanic families.
The rest were blacks. Sorry, 20% to 30% decent blacks and 70% LOSERS.

I would call them N*****S, but the actual definition of a n*****r is one
who is ignorant. These people were not ignorant.. they where ARROGANT
ASSHOLES. The majority of which are thugs and lifetime lazy ass welfare
recipients. We are inviting the lowest of the low to Houston. And like
idiots we are serving the people who will soon steal our cars, rape,
murder, and destroy our city while stealing from our pockets on a daily
basis through the welfare checks they take. We will fund our own destruction.

By "US" I don't mean a specific race, I mean the people who work hard, work
smart, have values and morals. Only people who want to help themselves
should be helped, the others should be allowed to destroy themselves. I do

not want to work hard, give the government close to half the money I earn
so they can in turn give it to a bunch of losers.

I don't believe in being poor for life. My family immigrated here, we came
here poor, and now thank God, and due to HARD WORK we are doing fine. If
immigrants, who come here, don't know the language, can work and become

If we continue to reward these losers then we will soon destroy our great
country. I just witnessed selfish, arrogant, unappreciative behavior by the
very people who need help the most. Now these same people who cursed me,
refused my city's generosity, who refuse to help themselves are DEMANDING
handouts on their own terms. They prance around as if they are owed
something, and when they do receive a handout, they say it's not good
enough! Well you know what? These types of people can go to hell for all I care.
Richard L. Johnston, M. D.
[Note, I called the numbers posted on the email, and he retracted, saying he wasn't the author]


Nice bedside manner, eh? Says a little about the man's psyche, but that's about it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

My wife and I were turning on the TV in a youth hostel in Stockholm, watching dramatic news footage of Katrina approaching New Orleans the night of August 28th. It was Fox News, and there was footage of Michael Brown, head of FEMA, talking about how ready they were for what may come. I have to say, for once, the overly dramatic news coverage of that network, fit what was to come. And we've watched Brown today saying, in effect, that "all I can say is we're taking care of shit now." How can it take FOUR DAYS to bring basic food/water/etc., when you earlier talked about how prepared your agency was for the worst case scenario? That douchebag needs to be fired immediately.

I am embarrassed for my country right now. I still believe in the idea of America, I still stop when the National Anthem is played, and I believe that our flag means something, but these days it is more of an ideal and not the way things are. If it were up to me, I'd say a good start in sending a message to the world would be to drive all of the Hummers and Excursions and everything else representative of our arrogance into a very large ampitheatre, where molten metal is already spewing orange in some pit that everyone can see, and we melt down all of that shit in a kind of "disco sucks" rally, and we use the result to repair whatever is needed in our public infrastructure. And to drive the point home: "Remember New Orleans. This is what happens when you have 'limited government.' You get what you pay for."

Friday, July 22, 2005

I don't know anyone, other than the clients he represents, who likes this guy. Let me count the ways. Oh yeah, let's not forget him, though he can hold out for as long as he likes.

I am reminded of why Socialism would never work. Because in order for it to work, everyone in the community has to buy into it. And for those like Rosenhaus, the only solution to preserve that kind of a system is to kill people like him. And, of course, we already witnessed that tendency in action in the last century.

That said, it is possible to designate an enterprise, and utilize socialistic principles for the betterment of that enterprise. And it has worked for the NFL relatively well, but if it were up to Rosenhaus, all of that would be thrown out the window. I love how he tries to paint himself as a crusader for fairness to the players. I'm not sure why I'm wasting so much time on this topic, other than my frustration that the PACK is affected.

Monday, July 11, 2005

And Now....

for the worst kept secret in politics today.

People might be making comparisons to Watergate at this point, but it looks a little more like Iran Contra to me. Reagan's excuse was Alzheimer's. W's? Just plain stupidity. It would be nice to see Cheney go down, but he's too slick for that. Or, if you will...tricky.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

As Buzzflash points out this morning:

"Okay, Here's the Game Plan. Have Right Wing Fundamentalists Attack Gonzales as Not Extreme Enough. Have Bush Criticize Right Wing Fundamentalists, Ergo Making Alberto 'The Torturer and Executioner's Handmaiden' Gonzales Appear 'Moderate.' Then Nominate Him for Supreme Court as a 'Moderate.' Macchiavelli Gives Busheviks Two Thumbs Up for This One."


And, as my friend Tim says: "Ashcroft is coming, we're fucked no matter who W. picks. He won't make the mistakes of Reagan and Bush1, he will make sure he puts a cocksucker in there."


Friday, July 01, 2005

Well, here comes the barrage...

And here I thought Rehnquist was gonna be the first to go. His resignation is no big deal, but O'Connor's could have implications for Roe supporters. Then again, you never know. For every Thomas or Scalia, there's also a Souter or Blackmun or Earl Warren (the latter three were also GOP nominees that came back to haunt them). That said, interesting is the case of Alberto Gonzales, current Attorney General. I find it odd that his name would be leaked by White House Sources so soon (according to Bob "No Fact" Novak, notorious right wing commentator), and that conservative opposition to his nomination is already out of the floodgates, as if they knew something in advance. Call me paranoid, but that looks like a smokescreen, and I said so in signing this petition. Gonzales is supposedly a "moderate" on the Roe topic, but let's not forget his memo implying that torture tactics are ok for interrogating prisoners. I smell a rat in this. If Dems in the house or senate are breathing a sigh of relief at this nomination, watch out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Time to take stock. First, sports: In baseball, the A's officially suck. In football, everybody's writing the Packers off this year and giving the Vikings a whopping #4 in the power rankings? When will these people ever learn that they're bound to disappoint so long as Tice remains their head coach? Not that I'm complaining. They got away with one in last year's playoffs. But since everyone's touting what a great offseason they've had, let's not forget Tice's little gambling problem. I'm not convinced Detroit is the team to beat in the North yet, either, because I think Joey Harrington is a total and complete douche.

Politics? I think the Republicans actually won when they stooped down in the gutter, threatening the "nuclear option." Time will tell, but they got what they wanted, didn't they? Owen's in, and we'll see who else. In the long run, we're dead, to paraphrase Keynes.

Work? I am now one of the remaining two employees from the original 17 of my former company before it was bought out by our current CEO. It's funny, I know more about the business we're in than he does. I wonder, at what point will he realize that he's about to lose a lot of money that will never come back? So long as I keep getting my paychecks, I guess I can't complain too much even if I'm dying on the vine in this stuffy office.

Music? Since Beulah disbanded I hadn't been doing much until the last couple of months, starting with a trumpet session up in Seattle for Death Cab for Cutie. I also did a bit for Abbey, former Beulah keyboard player, who brought over his 8-track to a barbecue recently. I also did a similar thing for Jay Underwood, former Beulah intern, for a record of his under the moniker: The Light Footwork. I'm digging that record, a good first effort, though I can smell, feel and taste the protools a mile away. Last week I did another trumpet session for Dave Gleason's Wasted Days, a part that resembled a little of that mariachi feel from Cash's "Ring of Fire." I've also agreed to produce and help engineer a record by a band called "The Bye Bye Blackbird," consisting of former members of my good pal Yuji Oniki's band back when he lived six blocks away. He now lives in Woodstock, NY.

So I guess that means I'm coming out of my musical slumber, if slowly and tentatively. I think I'll always find trumpet work, as I have a good feel and I'm quick and to the point. I doubt I'll get a lot of guitar work. They're a dime a dozen and my guitar playing, though rock solid rhythmically, is nothing special. Miles is working on some songs and he's coming along. He says he'll be sending something along sooner or later. I'm also going to travel south to borrow the old 16 track I recorded Beulah's second record, "When Your Heartstrings Break," with.

The book is coming along, I'm finished with draft three. I'm now also beginning to put together my website, where I'll likely be selling that book directly, unless someone latches onto it. I figure a simple paypal account ought to do it. I can design the printing myself with a little practice in Quark, methinks. Then it's just a question of finding someone to print it for relatively cheap in low volume. I'm not sure if that options exists or not, but I'll cross that bridge when I get past draft six.

The Beulah DVD has a release date: August 2nd, almost a year to the day after our final show in New York last year.

And finally, I've asked Eli, our old bass player, who's still in New York until 6/1, to form a one-off gig band to play some of my songs based on C# tuned acoustic guitar. The idea is to have avant garde players swirling around in dissonance while I do my fairly understated and straightforward acoustic shtick. Easier said than done? We'll see. I'll also likely record if the gig goes well. This is down the road a piece, probably this fall at the earliest. I'm thinking the Hemlock (though they don't know it yet). And if I do record something, I'll probably just directly sell that one at a time from my site, as yet to be named. Oh, and launch a record label: 1099 Records. It's the truth!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bin Laden's winning the war. Think about it. He wanted a holy war and, in a sense, he's getting one. Since September 11th, all signs point to more division. America is no longer looked to for leadership, culturally or literally. Countries we used to be allied with are now looking for other avenues of support, or are asserting their own, separate identity. Even Canada, fer Chrissakes! Don't even get me started about Vatican City.

I'm thinking back, now, to an entry in David Byrne's journal, on April 16th, when I first started reading it. He talked about how the U.S. Government may be shutting itself off from foreign avenues of influence, making it harder for international performers to come into the states, etc. He also spoke about a lack of new books from other cultures being translated to English and being sold in the U.S.

"Part of the backwash, or blowback as the CIA calls it, of globalization is that cultures and regions around the world have rediscovered their own cultural resources. Rather than simply seeing themselves as a market for American goods they see America as a market for their goods, services and culture. It goes both ways. So, while the US might not be interested — there isn’t a true reciprocity — the self-image of many nations has changed. Music charts in most countries are no longer dominated by U.S. or English language product, much or which was force-fed and is no longer seen as relevant, and likewise the book lists around the world are no longer dominated by translations of English language writers — there is a more equitable balance… though this balance is not reflected in the U.S. Rome still believes that it makes and the rest of the world should simply buy and consume."

I would take this idea a step further and say that it is exactly what Bin Laden has been intending. Not that I blame this on him, but that we're collectively reacting in exactly the wrong way. We should be working together and looking for things we share with other countries, not trying to elbow our way around and try to convince the rest of the world that our version of democracy, our version of capitalism and the culture/entertainment that goes along with that, is something that would create a peaceful world. We cannot expect a peaceful world when we throw out the expectation that, in order to do business with us, you need to be like us.

I haven't really articulated this as clearly as I would like, but I'll continue to refine my thinking as the days, weeks and months pass. The point is this: since 9/11, the world has splintered. Folks are building walls around their houses and are, in a sense, afraid to go out and talk to the neighbors.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Where to start? JT "The Brick" has put it out there that he thinks Bonds is faking the knee surgery and that the real reason is that he's sitting out the year in the hope that the steriods thing will blow over. I thought I heard that in a commercial. Maybe I'm getting it wrong. Anyway, if true, that theory has been given some good, factual plausibility today with this article in the Chronicle. I especially like this bit:

"In more than 30 pages of documents obtained by The Chronicle from the medical board, Ting is accused of repeated negligence, including prescribing 'dangerous drugs and controlled substances to friends and acquaintances, particularly athletes, for whom he kept no medical records or for whom the medical records were fictitious, inadequate or inaccurate.'"

More later...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Rich Harden is kicking some serious ass right now. Go A's!

About two or three years ago, my friend Jason had moved to Oakland and we began following the A's more closely. Since I live in Oakland, and am also a Green Bay Packer fan, making the leap to root for the Green and Gold in Oakland was a no brainer. There's a lot to like: Underdog, small market team with a low payroll, yet they consistently do well year in and year out thanks to Billy Beane's smart management. I'm not going to claim to be a baseball expert, so I'm not going to chime in with a lot of stats, but the sense I get is this: Trading Mulder and Hudson in this past offseason is looking better and better each inning Harden pitches. They themselves say he's got better stuff than they do. But the big plus is the help we've gotten in the bullpen. Last year at about this time, our starters were doing their job, only to have someone in the bullpen blow the game.

This year, the pitching is good all around, except Zito's had a few stinky innings that have decided the outcome of the game. Our hitting could be better. Once Chavy breaks out of his slump and someone else steps up, that will hopefully change. Swisher looks promising. I'm not so certain that we need to keep putting Kielty in there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I guess I should have looked sooner, but David Byrne's Journal (don't call it a blog!) is quite an engaging read. And I guess I should take heed of the "don't call it a blog" advice. I've been writing Journals since 1990 on paper, but the past year or two have seen my writings split between places like this and actual paper. Oftentimes it's the mundane, but every once in a while I hit a nerve. I'm often too lazy to compose my thoughts, certainly on a sustained basis like Mr. Byrne. But it's a little unfair. I'm caught in a debt/work trap and have to spend most of my day doing work I don't want to be doing, and I'm a little drained for the creativity part. That will change in a couple of years, once the plan my wife and I have put in place finally gets rolling.

Construction of the in-law unit has been delayed again, this time due to a problem with the foundation. So...we wait. While followers of Lyndon Larouche move in the upstairs unit in our current apartment and make noise until 3 or 4 in the morning. And we wait.

David Byrne and Talking Heads changed my life. I was living in Berlin, Wisconsin, vaguely dreaming of playing/writing music, but those dreams hadn't coalesced in terms of the direction I wanted to GO. "I Zimbra" changed that in an instant, one evening some time in 1985. It would take me a while before things clicked for me in my own attempts, ten years in fact.

The first result was a crude, haphazard four and eight track recording called "Handsome Western States," and our group name: Beulah. All that has come and gone by now, and here I sit, cubicled, waiting for the next move.

I'm putting the finishing touches on my musical journey, probably more of a comedy than anything, but there is a hearty section on Beulah that most people will probably want to read it for, and I'm trying to get the tone right. It's difficult. Writing about my earlier life in bands is easy, because mostly I can put it off as comic farce, a Spinal Tappian (to give it an academic flair) odyssey of gigs in hospital parking lots, junior high dances, and the like. I formed my first rock band in a church. Not many people can probably claim least any that have gone beyond the bedroom or a few local clubs.

Anyway, more to come. I'll probably be launching my own website soon, and this page will disappear. I will then come out and identify myself in earnest, and stop writing cryptically and quasi anonymously. Then again, I'm pretty much anonymous anyway. And bored out of my fucking mind as of late.

I have an exciting trumpet session trip to Seattle this weekend, though. I'll post when I return.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Excuse the ignorance of details, but something's going on here. Why would someone flat out say that the market was "extremely overbought?"

I don't suppose politics have anything to do with it? There is no collusion in the Energy industry. The market does what the market does, right? There are no implications in knowing that the White House and both houses in Congress are GOP controlled, with oil men entrenched in all branches, correct? Demand going up 2% in the U.S. is enough to double gas prices? "Tightening supply?" Please elaborate what that means. "Increased restrictions?" Are you trying to blame this on clean air laws? Where are the numbers? I'll bet they don't add up.

It's said that psychology is the driving force behind economics. If that's so, then the U.S. Government is driving that psychology, as it relates to Energy in general and oil/gas in particular, in an upward direction. Market experts are saying one thing, but official U.S. sources are saying another. We couldn't trust Bush/Cheney with Iraq, why should we trust them on this? Excuse me if this explanation seems simplistic.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The NYT published an article yesterday, Trading Places: Real Estate instead of Dot-Coms, that affirms what my wife and I, and also my brother and father, have been talking about for a while now. But I'll take it a step further than the measured tones of the author: this baby's gonna burst!

For about a year and a half, we were involved in a situation where we felt like the people buying the house we're renting were speculating. They kept sending messages, along with the broker who sealed the deal, that the owners were going to move in. But somehow we had gotten wind that it was a 1031, exchange of property, so we read the rules and knew the owners weren't going to sell their house in Hercules to move into Oakland. So we stayed put and then they tried all kinds of other loopholes to try and circumvent the Rent Control rules. Long story short, we stayed, fought them in the Rent board, won, of sorts. At least, their exorbitant rent increase did not go through...though the rent board met them halfway. Meanwhile, the lady upstairs moved out in November and they had not found a renter for the place until now.

The loophole they claimed in the beginning was "debt service costs." We also found out they'd had a bankruptcy. Now, I don't know about you, but buying a home in Northern California and then claiming debt service cost after a bankruptcy sounds like speculation to me. As the article states, in San Jose, the cost of a home is 25 percent more than what it would cost to rent it in a year.If I'm reading right...

So...we shall see.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Crude Oil prices spiking suddenly, as final vote approaches for ANWR. I smell a rat. It's not as if global temperatures have spiked in China and the US in the past month. It's still winter in many places, folks. Oh, and what of Ted Stevens saying he has been clinically depressed because we're not drilling there? Pathetic.

The Roman Catholic Church putting in its two cents about Schiavo: to the effect of "no human being has the right to decide whether or not one lives or dies." Huh? Then why was she hooked up to a feeding tube in the first place? That's the logic of their statement.

Privatization of Social Security, and how it would increase the deficit and National Debt. Yet another example of the GOP long term strategy: starve the Treasury now to force the next generation's hand in rolling back the New Deal...and place the economic power into fewer and fewer hands.

The bill restricting Chapter 7 Bankruptcies. Mean what you say by restricting Corporations to do the same.

Mike Tice scalping tickets. I've been saying for years that this man is a dumbass. But maybe it should be good news for Packer fans.


Trumer Pils. Best Pilsener I've had, and the best new beer in a good long while.

UW Milwaukee and UW Madison in the Sweet 16.

Brett Favre returns for at least another year. Good for the NFL, bad for the Vikings, Bears and Lions.

Poll taken stating that 70% of Americans disagree that Congress and the President have any business intervening in the Schiavo case.

Polls showing that the majority of Americans are against the President's plans to privatize Social Security.

Howard Dean as DNC chair. This bodes well for the Party in the future. He too has read Lakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant," as of now the best roadmap Dems have for the near term.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I'm starting to think the blog phenomenon could end up being something featured on VH1's "I love the 00's." Remember 2004, when people were blogging? Maybe it's me.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Well, it's looking more and more like Dean's going to get the DNC party chairmanship. I was an early supporter of his Presidential campaign. Something has to be done, and I don't see the harm in giving him a try at DNC chair. I think he's a good choice. He's articulate, smart, and now he can prove his ability to be able to unite the party. I wonder how much of his support is hinged by people who would rather see him there than to run for Prez again? Not sure I know what I'm talking about in all of this.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Well it's about fucking time someone listened to me. Maybe the Pack will do better next year with a new secondary coach. Maybe it's a bit premature to fire Slowik, too. Give him a year, then we'll see. The article has a point there.

Trade show duty is booty. That's all I have to say. Changing ownership at a company that only has eight employees shouldn't be as messy as this one is. Sorry for being cryptic, but I don't wanna be in the papers or on "fucked company."

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Playoffs?! PLAYoffs?! I'm just trying to win a game. Oh, if Jim Mora (Sr.!) was the Packers' coach during last week's debacle. I can only wonder what the tirade would have been. I'd been an advocate of Mike Sherman's before, touting his ability to be able to handle the dual role of Head Coach and General Manager better than Holmgren did in Seattle. This year I, as many other Packer fans, began to have second thoughts. I'm thinking the death of Mark Hatley last summer may have had a factor. Hatley probably handled many of the duties that a GM would normally handle, giving Sherman the final say. But he died right before the preseason started so it would have been foolish to find a replacement mid season.

In a twist of irony, at least considering my post about Sherman v. Holmgren, Bob Harlan has brought in Ted Thompson, Holmgren's "Hatley" since '99. Thompson comes highly regarded from Ron Wolf, so we'll see. My good friend Jason's dad was privy to a rumor about the defensive shakeup this past year, stemming from the 4th and 26 debacle at the Philly game last year:

Donatell actually strongly objected to the call that was made on that play, but Sherman overruled him and then fired him for insubordination. This pissed off McKenzie, who felt Donatell was taking the fall for Sherman's error. I don't know about all of that, situations of the kind are rarely as airtight as this rumor would suggest, so I'm not buying it. However, losing McKenzie did to our defense on a smaller scale what Ricky Williams' abrupt departure did to the Dolphins' offense.

Everybody wants their new defensive coach to say things like "we're going to be aggressive," but you don't want to tip the pitch. Slowik's scheme shot it's wad in the Carolina game, and then it took five games for our team to recover, and at that point we were running more of a base defense, with Al Harris playing man to man against the #1 receiver for the rest of the season. We had three rookies rotating in and out, and I think either Darren Sharper's been playing hurt or is past his prime. Losing Grady Jackson during those five games after Carolina, and the back up nose tackle, didn't help matters, but KGB's not effective at anything except the occasional pass rush. God I miss Reggie White! Oh, and Santana Dotson, an unsung hero on the front four.

Where am I going with this? Well, for starters, I hope Thompson doesn't waste too much energy in trying to find an eventual replacement for Favre. Brett had a shitty game last week, but he's allowed one of those on occasion. I think Craig Nall is a sleeper, like Billy Volek (who looks good but doesn't always win games), and would do fine if Favre went down or retired. Certainly better than Tim Couch! Point is, we need to bring in maybe one Vet who can lead the team on D, and rethink the defensive strategy, probably starting with canning Slowik and Kurt Schottenheimer.

As for the rest of the playoffs, I'm gonna call it Indy v. Philly with Indy taking it. Pittsburgh looks tough, New England looks a little gimpy. The AFC championship game is where it's at this year. As for the NFC, I'm going with Philly as the safe choice (wouldn't it be ironic with T.O. out), but I'm very tentative in that choice. This has all the makings of an 80's superbowl, where the 49ers or one of the other dominant NFC teams would end up facing a Cinderella story in the AFC. Watch out for the Rams. Forget about the Vikes. Philly's gonna tear up that secondary and porous run defense. I predict Philly will beat them as badly as they did to the Pack a few weeks back. I'm thinking Atlanta can be contained by checking the receivers and putting pressure on Vick.

By the way, the mooning thing is much ado about nothing. The Vikings just existing is more offensive than anything Randy Moss could pull.

That's all!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

First was the code, next I've been taking stock of what I've been putting in. Lots of repetitive stuff. I've talked about the book, about the company situation, about the limbo in the housing department, about feeling disengaged from politics and dejected since the election, about too much beer, inactivity, sulking, quasi-depression...numerous times, seemingly in a row. Why am I logging on and doing this, exactly? Right, exorcism. Writing is exorcism. Say it fifteen times...

One thing I haven't talked about is the ringtone of a quote by Dick Cheney I've downloaded to my Kyocera KX2 phone, which is triggered whenever I get a call from someone who's not in my phonebook (customers, in other words):

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. And he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

Today, the reports, slyly tucked deep under the headlines, is that it's official: There are no weapons of mass destruction. I looked here, here and here. Nothing. But I heard it here and even here! What up? And what was that about feeling disengaged again? Fuck it, I'm back...thanks to the kind folks at Modtones.
There. Now that I've edited my site code, maybe I should pick up the trumpet once in a while. My wife, Netflix and some IPA or another have been my focus since my band's last gig at the beginning of August last year. Since the election I've just felt a little depressed. Seems the things inside and outside of my life are lacking a little direction. K & I had a plan, thanks to her mom's help, that materialized in July, but the actual beginning keeps getting pushed back. So there is this limbo situation at our Oakland apartment, where we're forced (after numerous hearings) to pay more than we can afford, but it hasn't made sense for us to move knowing we'll be moving to a permanent, and essentially rent free place. Had we known they would still not have ground broken on the place at this late a date, we would have moved to temporary housing at the end of September.

This is so boring, isn't it? I'm saving the fun and wit for the book I've been perfecting.
Come to think of it....the choice of new templates is much better these days than when I looked the last time. Rather than try and customize it, fuck it. Here's the new template. I'm bored at the moment, what can I say?
Bored with the layout of my site, I decided to change a few of the colors, but it's still a little blah. One of these days I'll get better at the aesthetics of design. In the mean time, it is what it is.

I imagine I'll be learning a thing or two about networks and servers in the coming months, as well as accounting. Well, hopefully the latter part won't be one of my main duties, as I could do without it. But think of all the things I'll be able to put on my resume.

K & I have not quite entered into our resolution phase yet with respect to curbing heavy foods, inactivity, excessive drinking and the like, but the plan's in place. The move to Santa Clara has been in perpetual limbo due to issues with permits, blueprints and god knows what else. So the two of us continue to maintain our present course, adrift. There do not seem to be any rocky shores in the vicinity, so we're lucky there.

I have an abundance of books to read, piled up as gifts from the holidays. The first was Brett Favre in his own words, an easy read that I finished on Christmas day. I have a book that surveys ancient Greek and Roman Historians, a book on string theory called The Elegant Universe, one called Doubt, which seems to be a humorous take on how human history was shaped by doubters like Aristotle, Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, etc. That's for starters.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Odd times. I've survived yet another round of cost cutting and layoffs, and will be doled out some extra responsibilities, among them being responsible for the accounting of the company, paying bills, etc., answering the general phone line (did that for a month beating back solicitors when we were in the process of moving offices and I worked from home), then also doing network maintenance. I'm supposed to learn that from our IT guru before he leaves. How in the hell am I going to do all that? As best I can, I guess, until someone beats me out the door and tells me I'm not doing a good job. When I started, there were 17 people at my company, already the smallest I'd worked for. Then it went to 10, then 8, and now, apparently, 5. Well, besides the 25 engineers the new owner has supposedly hired over in India. They're keeping me because I don't get paid all that much and have apparently demonstrated that I can learn anything that's thrown at me. We shall see. In any case, from my perspective, I'm just trying to maintain a good salary until the debts are paid off in two years. The money I make now is more than I've ever made, and I have more freedom in my role. Still, it's......weird.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

More talk. I've spent the past two months hard at work on my book. It's about my life in rock bands, from age 17 until age 34. It begins with a passage I'm writing from a gray cubicle at work, then dives right into the comic subplots that were my early attempts at putting a band together. I suppose it's an autobiography, but mostly it's geared toward fans of my last band, giving an insider's look at the process of making our records, some of the dumb tour stories and the like without getting too personal about the other members, but personal enough to describe the evolution of the interpersonal relationships. Getting along and finding one's place is half the battle in a band, and I suppose it's a bit of a primer for those who would want to try it for themselves. In that way it's also about the struggle to continue on once you've reached a level of "potential" success, opening for bigger bands, yet still having to navigate through being hired for, and then quitting, day jobs to make ends meet in an area as expensive as the Bay Area. I waver back and forth whether or not it's too self aggrandizing, but I've sent it out to some people I trust to proofread it. As I gather that feedback, I'll have a clearer idea about how close to done I feel I am, and then submit it for publication. It will probably be a year or so yet before any of this sees the light of day. But just finishing the draft is a big enough accomplishment.
There are times when words are not necessary. I haven't written in here for a while because the Tsunami defies anything that any written language can do justice with. The pictures and descriptions of events say it all. This is not a time for punditry, for politics. My wife and I plan on sending money after the 15th (when we have some).

An old bandmate of mine happened to be over in Thailand when it all happened, and I emailed in a panic, knowing he had been in Phuket the last I'd heard from him. Luckily, he responded that evening saying he was okay, up in the mountains to the north in Chaing Mai/Pai. Another friend had called me the next day in a similar panic, saying he had a dream about our mutual friend, and I told him he had already emailed back confirming that he felt the tremor, but had no idea what was happening along the coasts. He didn't find out until watching CNN.

You can rule that out

One thing we can now be certain of - any issues you may have with my communication, or just anything to do with me really - are not the resu...