Thursday, August 30, 2007


in the bathtub, I hold my breath and go under the water for a long time. It feels good for some reason.


it’s damn good to be me.


I dream that I’m flying. It hasn’t happened in quite some time though.


I like to stay up until I’m so tired I could just fall down. I’ve done that for years.


I’m a bit disorganized.

[And everyone I know snickers loudly]


it hurts.


I like to think of my life in fast motion, like I can look at a globe and see a sped-up illustration of all the places I’ve gone, just darting to and fro from birth until now. I’d like to see that.

And if you could see that in one continuous line for 39 years plus one day, you’d see that it started in a delivery room in Freeport in 1968, as I was delivered by a man whose name was on a bumper sticker I passed in a grocery store parking lot today: Ron Paul.

[Yes, I was delivered by the very same presidential hopeful.]


I learn interesting things. Like in this message from Nadine, who is traveling the world yet again: “your blog is blocked in china.”

Wow. I’m kinda flattered. MOBB’s reaction: “All right!”


bedtime comes. Good night.

Post Birthday Wrapup

At 5:15 this morning I should have been sleeping. Instead, I was lying in bed, wondering whether Sal Fasano is still in baseball.


Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had a lot on my plate. Had to act like a grown, professional man for a bit and give a brief presentation to our board of directors. It went well. Our CEO even patted me on the back, literally, and told me "great job."



Had lunch from some place called the Ham Store. I cracked up when a coworker referred to them as "The Hamster."


I also saw my first client last night! Yes, on my 39th birthday I officially got my feet wet. It went well.


So I read this morning in the paper that a couple Louisiana cities, including Shreveport, are trying to outlaw baggy pants. I'm curious to see if they can get that passed.

I'm also curious to see how fans of the baggy pants will get around that. And they will.


After seeing my client I picked up MOBB and the kids and headed over to my favorite pho place, Miss Saigon. For some reason MOBB thought I might want to do something different from usual to celebrate. No way, Jose!

So we had a good meal. The kids mostly behaved, I pigged out... life was good.

And they gave me a really cool bracelet (stainless steel! am I tough now?) and the Stax Records 50th Anniversary Celebration two-CD set.


Thank you all for your kind wishes. Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Every Child

Had a pretty good day at the office. Seems that some of my closest coworkers will be away tomorrow, my actual birthday, so they decorated my office with a bunch of red balloons. "Happy Birthday Precioso" read the three on my desk. Cool!

I was fed well, got some thoughtful gifts... everyone should feel special on their birthday, and I already do.


My MIA client showed up about seven minutes after I left last night.


Gerald Laird just knocked a homer and tied it up. This White Sox pitcher, Floyd, has been good through four innings, displaying a good curve. But two mistake pitches, one to Laird and one to Kinsler, have resulted in homers. That's professional hitting right there.


Still trying to figure out what to do for my 1000th blog post, which will happen in... 35 more postings? I forget exactly which number this is.


I wore an earring in the 80s. Didn't every guy? It lasted until the early 90s. I remember wearing it at KLRU here and there. I kinda figured I outgrew it.

What do you think of earrings on guys?


So tomorrow is also the second anniversary of Katrina. I'm glad my birthday isn't associated with the date of the tragedy like 9/11 is, but... I'll always remember.


There are a lot of anniversaries this month.


I went to Kohl's this evening to buy some new shorts. I thought I wanted some of those camo shorts the kids are wearing these days.

[I'm 39 now... I can say crazy stuff like that. You kids get off of my lawn!]

I tried some on, and... not me. First, even the ones that fit looked like I could fit a friend in there with me. No dice.

Second, the whole camo thing just wasn't working for me.


I'd noticed three boys shopping near me. I'd guess their ages at seven, eleven, and seventeen. I heard a scuffle behind me, and heard the eleven-year-old say, "I'm not your brother!"

I looked up, and the littlest guy was in tears.

When you are a parent, every child is your child.

He looked like my son crying there. The seventeen-year-old said, "Go to your mother" with a sneer.

The little guy walked off. I couldn't do or say anything except glare at them.


Might go to Angleton and see my family over Labor Day. Wolfboy is excited already, especially since I told him we may stay in a hotel. I think he's just excited at the prospect of having access to another hot tub.

Can't blame the kid.

I guess the acorn doesn't fall that far from the tree.


Ya'll have a good evening.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Wolfboy started first grade today! He went in with no fear.

I tried to ask him how he was feeling about it: "Happy, sad? Excited, scared?"

He thought for a minute.

"I feel okay."

The counselor in me wanted to say, "Really? Let's process that..."

I didn't though.

He said the day went well. He was pleased that some of his best friends are in there with him.


Speaking of counseling, my first client was schedule for tonight... and didn't show. Dang.


How about Randy Couture whupping Gabriel Gonzaga over the weekend? What is Couture, 43 or 44? I wouldn't mess with that guy if he'd just turned 90.


I'm turning 39 on Wednesday, but you know, I still feel like I've got some junior high kid in me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

i am lost in the sound

It's 1984, and I'm driving my Dad's late 70s Chevy pickup. I'm stopped at the damn train track, listening to Who's Next on the eight-track player. The speakers are behind the seat.

And as the synth part in "We Won't Get Fooled Again" plays, something strange happens: I cannot tell where the music is coming from. I'm listening to the lowest-fi setup I can imagine, and suddenly I'm surrounded by crystal clear sound. I don't even want to turn my head for fear of losing this acoustic anomaly. There is no localization.


It's the 80s. Just pick a year. It's raining, and I open my bedroom windows, placing microphones at opposite corners of the room. I record the ambient sound of the rain for a while, then play it back, listening intently on the speakers or on headphones. I don't know why, yet I do it time and time again.


It's 1987, and I'm dancing--dancing!--on a tightly-packed floor at some all-ages club. I'm loaded on Southern Comfort, which is my heartbreak drink. I threw up in the weeds in the parking lot just from sheer nerves before going into the place, again. But in this dark, packed club I am anonymous, feeling the overwhelming bass as the DJ spins "Brass Monkey" and "World Destruction."


It's 1989, and I'm driving from the Armadillo Ballroom back to Angleton at 2:30am or 3:00. I've been running monitors for the band all night, having arrived at the club around 5:00pm for setup. After hours of loud music the silence is startling, and I've got the echoes from the amplifiers ringing in my head. I'm wired, and won't get to sleep for hours, not that I care. It's a shame the sun ever has to rise.


It's 1990, and I'm at the Cannibal Club in Austin, watching a Course of Empire show with a girl named Lisa. She's the first person with a pierced nose I've ever seen. She roughly bumped some random woman on the street as we walked in, giving her a few curse words as a parting shot. We are at this show on some sort of date. We're friendly but not that interested in each other, and really just had no one else to go with.

I've brought no earplugs, and the guitarist's solid-state Roland amp is piercing my brain all night. Pure pain. The drums are louder than angry gods, and I just go with it.


It's 1997, and I am at the Meyerson in Dallas. My employer gave me tickets to an organ performance at this prestigious concert hall. By this time my ears aren't what they once were, yet I still find what I'm listening for. The sound is everywhere in that grand auditorium. The organ seems to surround me. I'm reminded of listening to the Who in 1984.


It's 2002, and I am in Houston for two weeks, sent there by my company for training. I do not like my company, I do not like the training, and I do not like Houston.

By day I sit in a conference room, listening a presenter as he tries to pound into our heads the specifics of operating the new traffic software. By night I use my generous per diem on Cajun food, and do what I can to avoid my empty hotel suite off of South Main. I get in the car and drive, just drive.

This bit of pop electronica catches my ear. It's just the sort of thing I never listen to, but "Days Go By" by Dirty Vegas captures this miserable loneliness. As it plays, I drive this way and that, following the curve of the road, feeling the bass in my rental car's sound system. The song ends and I am quite accidentally back where I started.


It's 2006, and I'm jogging in total darkness at the LD Bell track at 10:30pm. I'm blaring "Stay Clean" by Motorhead on my iPod, and I can barely see where to put one foot after the other. The lights from the car dealership across the street make star shapes in my eyes, and the whole run has a dimensionless feel as I go, mile after mile, all but invisible.


It's tonight, and I'm driving back from north Dallas, having seen a movie with a friend. The radio is playing electronic dance music, some of which I recognize, some of which I don't. I turn it up loud as the stripes zip by. The traffic flows, and some cars pass me while I pass others. The drive is smooth and long, and I hate for it to end.


A stack of 45s I play before sunrise in my house as an eight-year-old.

Glorious distortion, from my various guitar amps, or maybe from the cassette recorder I overload with my microphone, pleased at how beefy and synth-like it sounds.

Feedback from my amp as I'm blasting the Smashing Pumpkins, my Strat squealing and wailing along to "Drown." I don't dare do this for long or the neighbors will surely send cops.

Any given morning on my way to work, when the stereo in the van simply won't get loud enough as I play Wolfmother or Porcupine Tree.

I am lost in the sound.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


This image was taken on campus this morning. More than anything, when I take photos I find myself really taken with what the light is doing.


As a child and teen I used to hang out just a bit with this kid I'll call Stu. I always thought he was a bit of a weenie, but he was part of my group, and yeah, once in a while we'd end up hanging out. I could live with it.

I remember going to his house. You had to take off your shoes upon entering. Fine, fine. We'd get sent to his room, where his meticulously made bed took up about 85% of the space, yet we were expressly forbidden from sitting on it. So we'd all stand around awkwardly in that gap between the bed and the walls or furniture. We were teenagers; we didn't need extra awkward stimuli.

And Stu's mother disliked me from the get-go. Thought I was some sort of Eddie Haskall (spelling?). You know, that creepy guy from Leave It to Beaver. Okay, so I took a flask of booze with me that time Stu's mom drove us to see Jaws 3-D . Maybe she smelled it on my breath or something. I was about 14.

The movie wasn't a bit better when tipsy, by the way.


Or there was a guy I'll call Oscar. See, I worked with his wife, whom I'll call, uh, Glenn Close. For whatever reason, she got a mad crush on me. MOBB knew all about this and wasn't threatened in the least.

But at a staff holiday party, MOBB and I sat with Oscar and Glenn Close. Oscar was silent until the women left to do something, when he turned to me and almost spat, "SO, you speak to MY wife in Spanish?"

"Hey hey hey, well yes, a little, but uh, hey, here come the girls!"

And that was all he said.

I gather Glenn Close just mentioned me a few too many hundred times at home.


In fact, for about six years after I left that organization she'd pop up once in a while, finding my new office phone number or email. The last time, in '05 sometime, she even said, "You can never hide from me."


She'd be all cheerful and happy for a while, then try to get naughty. I'd shoot her down, she'd get pissed off and disappear. She was seeking me out every 18 months for a while, but she's gone an extra year now. Maybe I'm off the hook.


My skin's not so thick that ending up in situations like that has no effect. Gotta say, though, that I feel pretty comfortable that I'm generally considered to be a pretty good guy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fights, Three Ways

I make 39 this week.

I feel old. I work hard, physically and mentally, but I feel old.

When I was 20 years old, I was in the unusual position of supervising a 40-year-old man. He was a good guy, and always did what he could to maintain protocol. He was a guitarist, and at some point he began to have problems with tendinitis. Soon we were discussing a few other nagging ailments of his, which he summed up quite seriously as "my body preparing itself to die."

I thought it was a bit macabre, a bit over-serious. Still do. But... I come closer to understanding now, all these years later.


Wolfboy got in a scrap at Chick-fil-A today. I'm told that in the playground area, a Spanish-speaking kid punched Wolfboy in the eye. My son didn't understand what he was saying, though he guessed the kid thought he was blocking the slide.

Wolfboy shoved the kid, who came back at him with several more punches, all of which my son blocked. The other kid gave up and left.

My son was upset, but not overly so. His eye is fine.


So MOBB and I were proud of him for defending himself without escalating, even using a little of the training I've given him. And as much as I wanted to, I didn't harp--much--on how he'd have been fully justified in letting that other kid have it.


Not all stories can be shared.

I spoke again today to the mother of the young soldier in Iraq. I mentioned him about a month ago I believe, how she'd just received her first message from him in two weeks.

He's coming home soon, and in fact is in Turkey or some more stable place for a stretch before being discharged in December.

She shared some of the stories that he told her, and I simply cannot put them here. Too shocking, too awful.

I can say that he told her, "I don't know if God will forgive me for what I've done."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick Hits from BB

    73.2/100Rate My - Find out if you suck at life


Quick notes...

Wolfboy is home!

Got some pretty good news today. Really.

Been trying to learn Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road." It's not awfully hard, save for one part of the main lick. Seems it's really meant for mandolin, so playing it on guitar is difficult. I tuned one to open D and had some luck.

Ya'll take care.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Zippity Doo Dah

Time to lighten up a bit. August has been rather difficult.


But okay, life is still good. And I've scheduled my first client! I'm scared to death but eager nevertheless. This is where I really start to piece together what I've learned and seen and what clicked and be empathetic and a good listener and build on client strengths and... do it all in Spanish. Wish me luck.


Something I posted over at Toland's Myspace site:

What I'm listening to:

Wolfmother - S/T-- It's derivative as hell, but it just ROCKS ASS.

Sarah McLachlan - Anything I can get my hands on at this point. I'm mesmerized by her voice.

Audioslave - S/T--I'm doing this because I love Chris Cornell. But... man, I'm a Soundgarden fan, so I'm used to layers, you know? I still can't get past the fact that almost every Audioslave song is built on some half-realized riff with so much SPACE in it. Everyone says Tom Morello's this great guitarist, but I just hear him building entire songs on effects that my old Fender Vibro Champ could reproduce. The band just leaves Cornell's voice hanging so much that it drives me nuts, but I'm trying to wrap my mind around it.

The Allman Brothers - Dreams (box set) -- I can absolutely live without the 22 minute extended jams, but when they hit the studio and kept it under 5 minutes they could really bust out a good Southern rock song.

Merle Haggard - Down Every Road (box set) -- Like Patsy Cline, the man rarely recorded a stinker. It's really quite stunning just how many damn good songs he did. I still loathe "Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star" though. (And now I'm dying to check out Lefty Frizzell)

Gotta say, I foresee digging out my Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan again soon. Cover your ears.



Yeah, I worked out tonight. I keep walking away from these classes thinking, THAT was one of the five hardest workouts of my life.

But... I'm running out of slots. Oh my gosh is this hard work.

I try to stay in shape. I do. I work hard, and it's barely enough to get me through class. Our instructor makes us dig down deep. DEEP. The warmup alone is a bear. You do round after round of drills that just wear you out. Try kneeing or kicking a pad for four two-minute rounds. And when I was clearly gassed after one drill, he told us to rest... "Except Paul and Brian." For some reason we got to spend our rest period doubling up on our kicks to the bag. I honestly got to the point where I started putting my hands on my knees between some of the last kicks.

You could have wrung a pool of sweat out of my clothes. Well, you could have if you wanted to be gross. Double dog dare you.

I separated my toenail from my toe a bit. I gave blood yesterday and suspected they'd taken ALL of it, but no, I was still able to bleed.

And we did a drill where you and your partner alternate kicking each other in the gut over and over. "Isn't this what killed Houdini?" I asked my partner. It stopped hurting after a while.

That was 75 minutes of miserable fun.


MSNBC recently ran a really good piece on Krav Maga. I am occasionally asked what the HECK this is I'm learning. Well, their video, though it's got a bit of a business bent, is a good introduction. Just go to this page and scroll down to "Krav Maga Mania." I'd link more directly if I could figure out how. They interview Darren Levine and John Whitman, two top dogs in the organization.


Wolfboy returns from his grandparents' house tomorrow. Hooray! I think he's been eating grilled cheese sandwiches three times a day and watching endless television. Might take a few days to de-program him.


I feel better. Ya'll have a terrific night, weekend, life, all that. I suggest you turn to your lover and bite them on the neck.


I am tired of the habits that destroy us.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chicago Day 3/Jiggety Jig

I'm home. Know how I can tell? I'm sitting here in the glider rocker, wondering why the arm is sticky. Ah yes, that's what life in a house with kids is like.

Why is this sticky? What's that smell? Why is this wet? What did I just step in? WHAT is that on the wall?


As of yesterday, August 18, I have been alcohol-free for 12 years.


Chicago was good! We actually slept in a bit yesterday, which we deserved. Like me, Hood's not sleeping much these days, and his eyes often pop open at workday times. But not yesterday. We both managed to crash 'til nearly 9am.

We took it easy for a while, then headed over to a little town called Park Ridge for a fine breakfast at the Pancake House. After that we were off to Chicago proper, with nothing more than a vague idea that we'd wander around down by the lake.

A good attitude was necessary, as a light rain followed us most of the time as we walked and walked. We ended up on the Navy Pier for a while. It was a great vantage point to take in some more of the air show, which was going on somewhere close by. We saw helicopters, a B-1 bomber, lots of fighters... it was awesome.

(And "awesome" is a word I try to limit my usage of; when I use it, I really do mean that something was awe-inspiring).

We still had to stop down here and there to get out of heavier rain. The worst really didn't start until after we'd left though.


We'd decided that morning to take in some baseball. I was of a mind to head over to Beloit and see the Snappers, a Minnesota Twins low A farm club. Beloit, Wisconsin, is also the home of J. Prowse, whom I hoped to get a chance to see. Thing is, their website said they were away, playing at KC.

(Sorry JP... but this wasn't my last trip to Chicago, I promise).

I dutifully informed Hood that dang, the Snappers were playing at Kansas City.

Okay, so I hadn't had my coffee yet. KC is actually Kane County, aka where Geneva, Il. is located, aka the home of the Kane County Cougars, an Oakland A's affiliate. It was 38 miles from the hotel. Road trip!


Thing is, driving in Chicago sucks. Really. Any direction you go, at any time, is likely to be bumper to bumper. We thought we had plenty of time, so we mapped a route that didn't call for freeways. Now, I'm not sure being on the freeway would have helped, but really, it took hours to get there. Game time was 6pm, and our 3:30pm departure for the park almost wasn't enough.

Here's a shot from one of the not-so-great neighborhoods we drove through on our way to Geneva. Look in the second floor window: Some sort of creepy mannequin is peering down.


Not only was the drive long, but the skies opened up. We kept thinking that surely we two baseball boys, on a mission from God, would fulfill our manifest destiny and get all the way out there just in time for the skies to clear up and baseball to be played.

It looked bad. Bad bad bad.

We found the park, nestled among cornfields, and parked with everyone else. It was cold and wet, but we headed in.

The tarp was on the field, and water was pooled on the warning track. Still, with eight games left in their season, the Cougars and Snappers seemed determined to get some ball in.

And yes, the rain stopped, it really did. Heck, the game even started on time. Amazing.

They even had five parachuters land in the park. I gather it was even intentional.

But seriously, it was pretty damn nifty, especially since one was wearing a helmet-cam, so we could see the descent, as it was broadcast on the jumbo-ton at the park. Okay, the jumbo-tron wasn't exactly jumbo, but what the heck else does one call one of those big video gizmos?


The teams were pretty good, gotta say. The Snappers' Henry Rodriguez was DEALING, often setting the side down in order. Only when he tried to field a come-backer with his bare hand did things change. He was clearly hurt, and was taken out of the game only a few pitches later.

There were some baserunning blunders, and not many of the hitters could really rake, but it was still a good ballgame, tied at 5 going into the 11th when a bases-loaded walk won it for the Cougars.

We even got to see a genuine skipper meltdown, as the KC manager was tossed for arguing a close (but muffed) call at first base. He yanked first base out of the ground and tossed it at the ump's feet aka Lou Piniella. It was great!

The park was kind of cool, with kid-friendly activities after every half-inning. I was most stunned to hear them play snippets of Drivin' 'n' Cryin's "Honeysuckle Blue" here and there. I bet the sound guy and I were the only folks in the venue who knew THAT song.


Random Chicago observation: We saw about six white guys (and one black guy) with dreadlocks. Here in Texas I usually only see one every couple years.


So good trip, good trip. I slept a bit on the flight back, dreaming I was a passenger in a Cessna my father was piloting.


Some random words and phrases that recurred during the trip. If there are any you're not familiar with, uh... don't look them up.

Mojito? Mahalo? Mojado?
"I'm here with six of my friends, and they're all named 'Bud'!"


I came back to an empty house, as MOBB and the kids are in Corsicana. Restless sort that I am, I grabbed some lunch, then spent all day at the mall.

Perhaps I should have napped or something, but you know me... I'm...


It's terrific to be home though. This was exactly what I needed. I'm ready to face the new semester, to get back to work, to get back in gear.


Ya'll take care.

Run Rabbit, Run/Chicago Interlude

Flavors, bits, moments... that didn't fit anywhere else...

It's late, and though we had a good day here in Chicago, I don't have time to do a full-blown post about it. I'll set that up once I'm back in Texas tomorrow.


Thursday morning a man on our airport shuttle was in the throes of delirium tremens, aka the DTs.
Familiar with this? Here's his description, which is pretty textbook:

Visibly shaking
Reeked of alcohol at 9:00am
Sweat was pouring down his face


Hood and I saw a rabbit during one of our many forays-into-Chicago-neighborhoods-just-to-turn-around.


Hood and I dropped off my daughter at the daycare Thursday morning on our way to the airport.

A day later my wife tells me the daycare folks asked if Hood's my son.

...BB grumbles, considers purchasing Grecian


I tried to compare the Wrigley Field experience to the Yankee Stadium experience for Hood.

Like at Wrigley, the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium is electric and exciting. The difference is that there's
a genuinely sinister undercurrent in the Bronx, and it always feels like a riot could erupt.

Can I get an amen from someone who's been there?


BB's current therapy: "I Get Along Without You Very Well" by Diana Krall.


Good night. Tomorrow BB is GTT: Gone to Texas.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Chicago Day 2

It was a damn good day here in the city.

We headed to the Sears Tower this morning, and were among the first groups to go up when it opened at 10am. There we were, 103 stories up, checking out the view.

It was incredible, even on a slightly hazy day.

I was a bit surprised to find that the viewing platform is actually enclosed. Hood and I were both sort of hoping it would be open air.


Then we caught the train to Wrigley. Hood was having some allergy issues, and at one point the medicine started to knock him out. So I took his photo and stole his wallet.

The last leg (after the transfer) was packed! Now, we were supposed to find a Stubhub office over there to pick up the tix we bought online last night. That's the kind of thing that lends itself to quite a bit of anxiety until one has the tix in hand. But we had almost no trouble finding the office, so our dispositions improved in a hurry.

See Hood's reflection in the subway glass?

It was a gorgeous, mild, sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Our seats were terrific, even better than we expected. We were a few dozen rows behind home plate. Wrigley Field isn't exactly huge, and the whole place feels downright intimate.

The Cubs were hosting the Cardinals. Card pitcher Braden Looper didn't give up a hit until the fourth inning, and Cubs pitcher Rich Hill was dealing too. Looper had particularly good offspeed stuff working.

When Albert Pujols came up to bat in the top of the sixth, I must admit that though I was pulling for the Cubs, I told Hood I wouldn't mind seeing Al give one a ride. Two pitches later he did just that, sending one about 375 feet into the left field bleachers. That made it 1-0.

But in the bottom of that same inning Jacques Jones knocked one out with a man on, making it 2-1 Cubs.

And that was the final score. It was a terrific, old-school NL-style game with good pitching and defense. Pujols came up again in the 8th to face Bobby Howry, and the crowd hummed with excitement. He flew out.


Everything went just perfectly, gotta say. Our seats were in the shade. I had this fine hot dog for lunch, and the drunk beside me tried three times to spill his beers on my foot and missed each time.


There was also an air show going on nearby, and we had a couple hours of jet fly-bys (how IS that spelled?) and such. A couple times the jets flew over and spelled a big letter "C" in smoke over the park. The crowd was electric, really lively and fun to be in.

Afterwards the pilots came to the game, and they were popular for sure. They didn't look old enough to DRIVE, let alone pilot those amazing machines.


So after the game we really didn't feel like leaving. We just hung out for a while, soaking in the atmosphere, trying to remember as much as we could.

Do we look happy?

I'd been there about a decade ago, back when Sammy Sosa patrolled right field. That was a terrific experience, the best baseball day of my life.

This was better.


Tomorrow we've got a few options we're exploring. Might to take a boat tour, or maybe head over to Beloit if the minor league team's in town. And we may go see Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater tomorrow night.

Damn good trip. Ya'll take care.


And though this has nothing to do with Chicago, I just thought I had to post this video of Lonnie Mack and Stevie Ray Vaughan doing "Oreo Cookie Blues." I had no idea this footage existed. And SRV plays slide! Bitchin'.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chicago Day 1

We're about to turn in here in Chicago.

It's been a good trip so far.

Our flight was smooth, though the landing at Midway was rough enough to provoke some gasps and start some sort of on-board alarm.

But we made it.

Thing is... our hotel is actually at O'Hare. Seems Hood and I didn't exactly iron out all the details beforehand.


We were starving as we cruised around the Hyde Park area. A buddy of his recommended a pizza place that was right there. Gotta say, that might have been the best pizza I've ever had.


The hotel's nice enough. We took it easy for much of the evening. We did get our Cubs tickets, and even for not quite as much money as I expected.

We also aim to go up the Sears Tower and take the river cruise while here.

Will try to check in tomorrow. Good night.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Daddies and Daughters

THEGIRL is so sweet when I pick her up from the daycare. She’s quick to tell everyone, “This is my Daddy.”


MOBB is working late this evening. I got such an early start on the day, and fatigue is such a factor at this point, that I felt fully justified in taking the kids out to eat.

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much justification sometimes.

The kids were so good, saying “please” and “thank you” to the waitress. They shared food, didn’t bicker, didn’t try to run around the place. I was proud when the waitress commented on how mature Wolfboy has become.


At a table across from us I watched a white-haired man and his grown daughter having dinner. He was serious, though he wore bright colors that belied an eccentric disposition.

She was beautiful in that studious way, like she’s some college professor whose husband loves her very much.

They spoke softly, though in earnest tones. The sense of history between them was palpable. There was respect, love, and some discomfort.


Daughters are supposed to be special to their daddies. Mine is.

Sometimes things don’t turn out like they should. I’ve seen it a lot.


And after those two left, another daddy-daughter duo came and sat in the same place. Again, she was beautiful, a dark-haired woman with Amer-Asian features. Her father was another quiet type. Their mood was a bit less serious as I speculated to myself about their relationship. They smiled a bit and spoke softly.


Not every story can be shared. I know many daughters who have had difficult or nearly-impossible relationships with their fathers. I happen to be the son of one.

It won’t be like that with my daughter and me. Not nearly.


I leave in the morning for Chicago, going on a short vacation.

And it’s wrong. It’s the wrong thing to do. I shouldn’t be on vacation this week, shouldn’t be in Chicago. I should be on bereavement leave, heading to my grandfather’s funeral.

I have no choice.

I have no choice.

I have no choice.

I have no choice.


And I do need this trip. It’s between semesters, and my last breather before another semester starts, a semester filled with classes and clients. This is when it all starts to take shape.

So I’m going to Chicago to lose myself, so to speak. I want to forget, to blow off some steam, to enjoy myself, to enjoy Hood’s company and just be a boy for a while.

A good boy, but a boy nevertheless.

I want to forget school and textbooks and downtrodden clients and sadness and guns and bullies and fevers and television and the things we say that we wish we could really take back and the things that sometimes mess things up for daddies and daughters.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My maternal grandfather passed away last night.

It's been a difficult day. I loved the man and am sorry to see him pass.

Rest in peace, Papaw.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Words which I have used that got me made fun of

I passed a Truegreen/Chemlawn truck this morning that was apparently on fire. Smoke was just pouring out of the underside. Maybe it was mechanical, maybe something else... but I was pretty uneasy when I thought about having to drive past a burning truck full of fertilizer.

The smoke was everywhere as he pulled onto the shoulder. And sure enough, as I drove past--BANG! Something exploded or popped.

I specifically thought, I don't want to die like THIS.


BB's current therapy: "May This Be Love" by Jimi Hendrix


Words which I have used that got me made fun of, part #1:


Yep. Described a dessert as decadent once, and the woman I was with laughed and said, "No one says 'decaden'."

Well I do.


Looking forward to the Chicago trip with Hood later this week. We still don't happen to have any TICKETS to see the ballgame. So our first day could be an adventure of just trying to scare up tickets. I can only imagine what they'll cost this late.


Words which I have used that got me made fun of, #2:


Yeah, I was mid-teens maybe, trying to pull one of those scams where I was supposed to sleep over at a buddy's house and he was supposed to sleep at mine, and instead we'd go to some unchaperoned third guy's house and drink beer all night. Only something happened and it was falling apart, and we couldn't do it. I called him, told him it was imperative that we do something or another to cover our tracks. I was freaking out, and he could only laugh: "Imperative! You said it's IMPERATIVE!"


Had a fine Krav workout tonight. Got home and the kids were having a grand time playing with new Legos and princess shoes.

I'm happy to report that Wolfboy played with Legos but did not opt to wear the shoes.

I'm just sayin'.


THEGIRL, on the other hand, is sleeping in some of the shoes right now.


Words which I have used that got me made fun of, #3:


This was in the late 80s, when playing Scrabble with a couple of folks, one of whom was my stepfather at that point. I played "kendo" and he laughed. I explained that it's Japanese fencing, and that he could look it up if he wanted. He called bullshit and refused to look it up.


Called Whit today after he'd just worked out. I believe he meant to drop an F bomb in my direction for disturbing his rest, though it came out something like, "Jarboofie."


This is one of those nights I'd like to just lie on my back and look at the stars.


Good night.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Mood Continuum

This is probably going to be a mixed bag.

It was a mixed bag sort of day.


I woke up tired, out of sorts. I go to bed too late and get up too early. I may now be cursed as one whose eyes pop open at workday hours even when I have every right to sleep in.

So, up I was, well before seven a.m.

I spent all morning battling fatigue and the tricky guts and surly dispostion that go with it. But I made it, and the kids didn't push their luck too much.

But mostly I sat here all day, just trying to gather myself. I move so much, just always. Work, school, family...

I'm rambling.

I did eventually get my butt up and go work out, and that was perfect. It was exactly the therapy I needed. I held up okay, and even late in the workout had just a bit of a second wind, somehow.


The highlight of my day, I think, was watching THEGIRL at the piano. She's taken to sitting on the bench, banging on random keys and singing nonsensical word pieces and sounds in that crazy-high little girl range. We applaud her when she's done, and she bows, saying "thank you!"

And tonight's performance, which I got on video, included a the final lyric, "And I'm a PRINCESS!"

Classic, just classic.


I hit Wal Mart for groceries tonight. Good prices, but man that place makes my skin crawl sometimes.

I put 101 Merle Haggard songs on the iPod and set out. Merle got me through just fine.

There is a distinctive smell that someone who drinks a lot of beer puts off. Are you familiar with it? Yeah, I bumped into two separate guys in the Wal Mart tonight who smelled like that. One of them was stumbling pretty badly.


Oh, and Wal Mart now sells this, a Steven Seagal energy drink called "Lightning Bolt." It's only a dollar. I didn't buy one. I think it'd interfere with my ninja mind control skills.


Take a look around sometime. At Wal Mart, church, a city street... take a look around.

Just pause and cast a glance over a big group of people. You know, there's a wide array of experiences out there. Most folks don't just jump out at you in any way. But at any given time you could be looking at someone who has loved and lost, been abused, been ecstatically happy, been robbed, been rich, been appreciated, been slandered, been promoted, been cheated, been blessed, been given no choice, been cured, been given a raw deal... they're out there, folks.

They count, they all do.


So stop, or pause at least. Take time to tell someone it's going to be okay, or that you're going to do your damnedest to help them make it okay. Tell someone you value their friendship and or cherish and or love them.


Good night. Sleep peacefully.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


BB's current therapy: "Let's Get Lost" by Chet Baker. Love that song, just love it.


It's been a good weekend so far. Reading that book almost cover to cover last night was a very welcome sort of release. It had been way too long since I'd done that. Maybe not even in this century.


Had to work today in one of our fine little outlying communities. Four of us loaded up and headed north to a tiny town in Denton County.

We unloaded our gear, got everything set and... waited.

Let's just say turnout wasn't exactly stellar. BUT, we had hours to put in, especially yours truly, having missed time to care for Wolfboy this week. So we sat there and waited.


The company was good though, and we got through it.


The scenery around that whole area was really nice though, with rolling pastures, trees, a lake, and an occasional guy on a tractor just out there doing his work. Something very pleasant about being out in the country, checking out the landscape, gotta say.


I came home to see THEGIRL in her princess dress, of course. I felt relaxed for the first time in quite a while, so I just hung out and played paper airplanes with the kids for a while.

We hit Double Dave's for supper, then headed over to Barnes and Noble. Everyone got a book but me.

And I tried, I did. I even buzzed the mighty Michael Toland for input. His must-read books were all, of course, not to be found in our local store. Drat. I carried a Nick Hornby book around for a while but decided against it. It's just... you know, after last night it just didn't seem like anything else would measure up somehow.

I did poke around in the martial arts books for a while, and was disappointed to see that there was nothing on Muay Thai. Man, they might have made a sale if they had.

They did have this though. Tempting though it was, I feel my ninja skills are developed to the point that no mere book would be worth my time.


Okay, I just saw this commercial for a Mitsubishi Eclipse. This guy and this girl are hotrodding around, having fun. They stop and the passenger, the girl, suddenly climbs into the guy's lap--whoa!. She leans over as if to kiss him, then shoves him aside to take her turn driving.

Let me just say, that ain't right.


I feel good. No, scratch that. I feel great. I feel like running. I feel like strapping on the iPod, putting on my running shoes, and hitting the trail. Just the ground and me, one step at a time, mile after mile, sweat pouring off of me, stars shining down at me, rabbits scurrying in my peripheral vision. I just want to fly. No. I want to gliiiiiiiiide.


Have a good weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flight; The Anti-Lover

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, and it's not because the cleaning lady used a barge full of bleach today.

And she did.

It's because I've just finished Flight by Sherman Alexie.

I knew he could do it, I just did.

In my opinion he's been on the verge of emerging as one of the nation's preeminent writers. The books of his I've read have been good to great. One of my favorite lines ever, "A father with a sick child is an angry god," came from his Ten Little Indians.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven was damn good.

But I always had this nagging suspicion that, like Larry Brown, his greatest work was ahead of him. Unfortunately, Brown died before he reached the peak of his skills.

For Alexie, it's here.

I was 30 pages into the book when I cracked it again this evening, fully intending to hit the sheets early. It's been a long day.

But I just couldn't stop. The novel reads like some fever dream, with main character Zits, who can't exactly be called a protagonist, experiencing a series of altered realities just as he's about to commit a random act of violence.

It's gut-wrenching and beautiful.


I finished this thing tearful and slack-jawed, saying "thank you" to someone or something.

Heartily recommended.


I wish I could write like that. I do. I tried. I really did.


Wolfboy went to his summer camp/daycare today. Yahoo! Made it all day long. He came home and didn't react so well to the bleach fumes in this place, but a quick breathing treatment settled him down.


My neck's so-so. I took a hot bath tonight that loosened it up a bit. I'll live.


I'm the anti-lover, that's what I am. My whole life, I'm the guy who was never smooth enough, never fast-moving enough for whomever I was technically with at the time. It was a recurring pattern for me. I was the guy who was happy just to have some little girl's attention and "go steady." The girls who dumped or chastised me for moving too slowly were so many...

Debbie, in the 8th grade. I'd pined away for her since kindergarten, when she'd been my neighbor. We exchanged notes in junior high, and finally I asked her to go steady. She said yes. Yes! All those years of wondering about that little girl and she ended up saying yes, only to dump me at a football game when I couldn't work up the nerve to do more than sit beside her and chat like a buddy.

Jimmie, a little blonde cutey who rode my bus. Freshman year. We chatted, we flirted, we exchanged notes... she said yes too, but didn't last long. Phone calls and notes weren't enough to sustain a girl. I missed the starting gun with her.

Angela, sophomore year, who pinned me against her daddy's wrecker and asked "do they hurt?" about my braces before kissing me. I had no idea, and I told her so. My first kiss! She was a "bad" girl making a stab at straightening up, with a heart tattoo on her breast that I saw when she fetched pills from her bra. I was the good boy, and her mother loved me. I spent too much time fueled by that one kiss I guess. And we had another, in the back of her mother's huge Caddy, but it was too late. After staying by my side all year long, one day she left our seat on the bus without a word and sat somewhere else. It was done.

Sandy, after high school, with whom I felt I was being bold and forward, putting my hands exactly where I wanted even as she complained to herself aloud, "Okay, I guess it's okay that this is moving so slowly." She was sexy but insane.

Jesse, who would show up unannounced at my home and sit on my bed for hours while I made giddy small talk without doing a damn thing. A decade later I bumped into her and tried to chat, even making passing reference to how much I enjoyed her visits. She didn't say one word to me. She just glared, and I walked off.

Vanessa, who tried desperately to seduce me. Shit, I just wanted to be friends.

Laura, who on the second date suddenly found a hot game of quarters far more interesting than spending time with yours truly and kicked me to the curb instantly. I guess she found a ride home.


This isn't meant to be a litany of my romantic failures, okay. I've figured it out here and there. But you know, given the stereotype of the guy as the sexual animal, the one who only wants one thing and won't take no for an answer, I've got to say that it's mostly worked the other way around for me.

I am all guy, and always have been. Some comedian once said something like, "If women knew what we were really thinking they would never stop slapping us." An exaggeration perhaps, but it makes my point.

But just looking back, you know... was there anything so wrong with being innocent?


Take care.

Good Night, Good Morning

I'm awake, I'm awake. Ugh.

Been so since 3:30 am.

Man, I almost typed 4:30.

But no, at 3:30 I was awakened. Let's just leave it at that.

I came out to crash on the couch, but my mind's racing and my neck's really sore. I hope that melatonin and ibuprofen don't create some bad reaction when taken together. Guess I'm about to find out.


Wolfboy is still sick, dang it. This fever of his just will not give up. It knocks back easily with Advil, but 6-7 hours later it returns, and he coughs pretty badly. Poor kid. He's on antibiotics now.


I'm reading Flight, the new Sherman Alexie book (thank you again, Toland). I'm a couple chapters in, and I must say the man is in good form. In fact, my new tagline up there at the top is from it, though I must admit I don't fully grasp what it means.

It's so damn nice to get to do some pleasure reading.


I also always liked "the sky is a poisonous garden" from the Concrete Blonde song of the same name, though I never knew what that meant either.

Know that song of theirs, "Joey" by chance? When that song came out I pretty much was Joey.


What's a ganache? I think I ate one last night. It didn't struggle much.


Oh, and I'm awake because I was hungry. And no Pop Tarts in the house!



Couple big trips coming up: Chicago with Hood next week, then a work trip to Cincinnati next month.

I've been to Cleveland, but I know next to nothing about Cincinnati. Maybe Jerry Narron and I can hang out.


I hear there is a "strong lead" in the George Smith case. The man lived and died on the beach. Poetic, tragic.


I am happy to report, however, that no one else in the house has managed to catch Wolfboy's bug.


Back to the couch. Good night, good morning.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I am extremely sad to report that George Smith, former owner of Burgersmith on Surfside Beach, was found dead on the beach today.

He was my first boss, though only for one weekend. He was a family friend, and when I was about 14 my stepbrother Steven and I spent a weekend at Burgersmith, slinging burgers all day long for beach folks. We busted our butts. George was very appreciative and paid us reasonably well.

Using the toilet cost a quarter, and he ended up chasing a few folks down the beach to collect his quarters.

George was a character. I remember going to some beach gathering once and he showed up in a woman's one-piece swimsuit. He was an eccentric individual.

Somebody in the family help me out here: Didn't he end up with Grandma Laura's old house, hauling it to the beach and putting it up on stilts? Do I remember this correctly?

Foul play is suspected.

I knew his daughter Stormy just a bit, and I feel awful for the family. Rest in peace, George.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Purse

As we returned from picking up THEGIRL at the daycare tonight, I spotted a purse in the road.

Uh oh. I’d better stop and get that. Maybe some little old lady had it on top of her car as she drove. Gotta do the right thing, show the kids how we handle this.

I hoped there was some I.D. inside. I pulled into a driveway to turn around and go back for it.

Walking briskly up the road was, in fact, a little old lady.

“Ma’am, is that your purse?” I asked as she quickly closed in.

“Yes,” she said.

“Oh okay, we just wanted to come back and check on it,” I said.

And just as she reached for it—


It skidded off down a side street. In fact, only with the setting sun right there could I now see that about 50 yards of fishing line were tied to the purse. Two teenage boys were pulling the line, and just hauling ass up the road.

“The wind blew the purse, the wind blew the purse!” said Wolfboy.

For a fraction of a second I was indignant.

But then I just doubled over with laughter.

THAT was funny!


And that wasn’t her purse after all.


Wolfboy is better. He is most likely going back to the school tomorrow. He briefly had a 99.4 degree fever today, and that got him his only dose of Advil. He wants to return to school. “I want to learn about France!” he said.


I am having a bit of difficulty with this post, as my neck, an important part of my body, isn’t working right.


I went to Muay Thai tonight. I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s physical, it’s new, it’s different… I think it dovetails with my Krav Maga training pretty well.

And before I get into the neck bit, let me just say that this was one of the top 10 hardest workouts I’ve had in my life. I’ve been busting my butt for two years to stay in shape, so that’s saying a lot.

We worked on the Thai clinch tonight, something I’ve always liked but never got a chance to DO much. As I go along and learn techniques, I find myself making note of what I do well and what I don’t do well. In my brief experience with the clinch, I felt like I did it well.

SO after a brutal 10 minute “warmup,” followed by a few rounds of kicks, we devoted the last half of the class to the clinch.

It was eight rounds of me and a kid of about 17 pummeling for position to get into the clinch. He was strong and he was good, and for a lot of that time I felt like I was supporting much of his weight with my neck. I got genuinely tied up a few times.

But in the last couple rounds something clicked. Elbows in, quick hands, base of the skull and pull him in… I tossed him around like a rag doll. Once I sunk it in he had almost nothing to counter. For those first six rounds he had an advantage, but after I figured out what I was doing it was all over.

You know me. I’m no Bruce Lee. I get my butt kicked plenty, and I admit it. Tonight, for once, I finally got the upper hand over an opponent.

But after all that, my neck muscles are worn out. If I don’t hold my head straight up it wants to flop forward like I’m made of rubber. Nothing popped, nothing’s tingling… this is just extreme muscle fatigue. I’ll be sore tomorrow, but I’d like to think this won’t be a heinous injury.

And I called Whit to remind him that again, somehow this is all his fault.


Drag out your favorite CD and give it a spin, folks. Enjoy life.


Good night.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

When SRV Came to Town

I've had the good fortune to meet a lot of folks who were very important to me here and there. I never meant to be an autograph hound or anything like that, but again and again I'd find myself lugging gear or rubbing shoulders with folks I idolized. BB King, Ray Charles, Kris Kristofferson, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, and on and on.

On November 24, 1989, it happened to be Stevie Ray Vaughan.


I'd seen SRV before, at some huge concert at the Astrodome in Houston. My seats were so far back that for all I knew he was actually the Screaming Texas Blues Flea. Good, but... not exactly gripping.


But my then-girlfriend and I went to the Coliseum that night in '89, eager to see a sober SRV on the bill with Jeff Beck, another of my idols. They were co-headlining, meaning that each night they'd swap slots. On this night, SRV was playing first.

And he was on fire, really in good form, tearing it up. Our seats weren't bad, and it was a much better experience than the previous show.

As Jeff Beck took the stage, a young man stood up at the end of our row and asked, "Who here wants to go backstage?"

That'd be ME.

He explained that he was on the crew, and was selling his two backstage passes because he had a family emergency and had to leave right away for San Antonio. For a modest fee, he'd sell me the passes.

My common sense started tingling. I figured he'd take my cash, scoot, and leave me waving bogus passes at unsympathetic security guys. I started to ask him exactly how I knew the passes were legit.

He said, "Let's go down there now."


So Girlfriend and I followed him down. He flashed the passes at the security guy on the floor, and suddenly we had access to killer seats. He told us we could use the passes to even sit in any open seats.

I was sold, and so were the passes.


Jeff Beck, touring for his terrific Guitar Shop album, was burning it up onstage. And at the end, SRV joined him for a titanic cover of Freddie King's "Goin' Down." I swear it seemed like being in an earthquake. It was terrific.

Afterwards we headed backstage. After a couple security goons told us we had to go in via one particular entrance, we found our way.

And there we were, mingling with members of the bands. It wasn't a wild scene at all. Just lots of hangers-on and musicians, eating from the fruit trays.

Soon SRV and Beck emerged. We approached SRV to sign our ticket stubs. Seeing as how he'd just come off stage, he had some difficulty understanding my name.

Him: "Brad?"

Me: "Brian!"

Him: "Brent?"

Me: "Brian!"

Him: "Bruce?"

Me: "Brian!"

And so on. He finally got it right, and signed my stub. He was just a regular guy, albeit an incredibly talented one. He was friendly, approachable, down to earth.

I approached Jeff Beck: "Howdy!"

His response: "'Ello, mate!"

Quick autograph on the pass and we were done.

Stevie hadn't been sober all that long. I don't think it'd had even been two years at that point. And less than a year later he was dead.


I was managing a guitar shop when he passed. You can only imagine how the phones lit up that day.


Today was a good day. I went to Krav Maga tonight and felt strong, motivated, just ready to go.

My kicks were poppin' tonight, though maybe too much so, as I've got a sore ankle now. I hope it's just a passing thing.


Wolfboy is still under the weather, and I may have to stay home with him again tomorrow.


Paid $6 to wash the van today and it still doesn't look clean, dang it. SO, better try again, right?


Good night.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Who Will Control the Robot?

Took an online final tonight. Got an 80. I'm so burned out, frazzled, and just generally DONE with this semester that I'm fine with it. All my other grades in there were As anyway.


Wolfboy is still sick, though not awfully so. Keep him on regular doses of ibuprofen and he bops along okay. Still, the fever recurs long about the time he's due for more medicine. The doc chose not to go with antibiotics, saying she thought it'd go away in a few days. He's on decongestants.


And I had to take him out a bit today, which I didn't want to do, but I had a paper to turn in on campus.

As we left, I pointed out the building on campus where I'll soon be doing some practicum work.

Me: "I'll be working there in a couple weeks as a counselor. I'll be talking to people who have problems and trying to help them."

Him: "Oh. Who will control the robot if we go on Robot Wars?


Yeah. I've got a six-hour DVD of Robot Wars that's just terrific for killing time with a sickly kid. And we watched every minute of it today.

In fact, he's now decided that we need to build a robot, despite my protests ("But... but... I don't know anything about building robots...")


THEGIRL got a lot of new clothes over the weekend, courtesy of her grandmother. I'm told THEGIRL refused anything but dresses. When offered pants or shorts, she'd just say, "Princesses don't wear that."


Recurring words in my life right now:



Good night.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday's Musings

I am, for the most part, over myself. Thank you for bearing with me. I just had to vent a bit last night. I know that was a bit raw and aggressive.


Wolfboy has a bug, dang it. The poor kid had a fever and just a little bit of a rattly cough. He acted sick for all of about 20 minutes today, then wanted snacks and was again his usual self. I'm not sure if that was the miraculous effects of ibuprofen or an indicator that maybe it was one of those freaky, passing childhood things. I remember having a few of those.


It was a pretty good day here. MOBB works Sundays, so the kids and I were left to our own devices. First I hauled them to the school and did a good workout. (This was hours before Wolfboy turned up with the fever).

Some days I can just launch into a workout, the same way I hop out of bed in the mornings. Just BOOM, right into it.

Others, like today, I take my time stretching, pace on the mat a bit, sort of get my head straight, you know? The kids were cute when they came over next to me and mimicked my combinations and tried to do pushups with me.


So yeah, today I fed the kids (guess that kind of goes without saying), mowed the yard, wrote a five page paper, vacuumed, and bought groceries. At 9:30 I still felt good enough that I briefly considered working out again. I'm just feeling especially motivated I guess.


I listened to a bunch of my old demos today for the first time in quite a while. I had a decent little setup at one time, with a good four-track recorder, a decent drum machine, guitars, bass, keyboard, and an accordion.

Some of the stuff was just embarrassingly bad. I turned a Toland-penned song called "Miracle Man" into a half-rocker, half sloppy disco/jam bizarro tune. It was so bad it deserves a spanking.

I liked the blues number, "I'm Giving Up My Electric Guitar," though unfortunately I SANG on the bloody thing. Sheesh. I sunk quite a few decent to good songs by thinking I could cut vocals on them.

"You Paralyze Me," by Toland, was pretty doggone decent, if not for the... you know... vocals.

"Valentine's Day" was pretty good. Really captured this haunting, lovesick sound. That's a Toland song. And his "50 Years" was a good little number too. I still remember bringing in the fiddle player to record the solo like that was yesterday.

I still like my instrumental, "Possibilities," quite a bit. It's got some minor flubs (like misfrets), but I wrote that one right out of my heart and mind, finding the melody that I was hearing and making the fingers figure out how to make it work. And my acoustic song "If There Was a Way" is really quite a lovely little ballad. It's got a catchy accordion line, and my vocals don't muck it up too much for a change.

Then, of course, are my two "greatest hits." Sigh.

Twice in my life I wrote songs in about 10 minutes. One was the Ramones-meet-ZZ Top boogie tune "I Want a Dog." I was literally making it up on the spot, singing (and barking) into a microphone in my closet. Heck, I was still in my bathrobe.

The other, again written in about 10 minutes, was "You Broke the Shit Outta My Heart." It's a stumbling little country song that came from who knows where.

They're both puerile and dumb and in unbelievably bad taste... yet they've got a couple decent gags in them. And apparently, every time Toland meets someone new he says, "I know this guy named Brian, and you've gotta hear these two crazy songs he recorded..."


I'm off tomorrow. I may end up caring for Wolfboy, unless he wakes up feeling miraculously better. I've gotta take an online final. I had some other stuff I really wanted to do, but it may have to wait.


I called my grandmother today, as it's her 86th birthday. Babbi always keeps it short and sweet on the phone with me, just assuring me that she's doing well and that she had a good day. We had a good trip out to Ponchatoula to see her earlier this year, and I hope we get a chance to do it again relatively soon.


Headed to Chicago with Hood in a couple weeks, and I'm looking forward to that. If you happen to have a connection to get us Cubbies/Cards tickets, I'm all ears...


You know, though I hop straight out of bed in the mornings like I mentioned earlier, I'm not a morning person.

I'm a night owl.

This... this is my time. My time. There's only the sound of the ceiling fan as I sit here, doing one of my favorite things in the world. You're an active participant in my therapy--did you realize that? Who should be billing whom here?

But the silence practically hums, and time seems to stand still. I wish I could bottle this, let me tell you.


Walk in peace. Sleep well. Be thankful that you have someone to cherish. I am.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

There's a buzz in my head, like some hornet locked inside a car.

Bear with me.


Why do people just randomly do or say mean things to me? Why can't we be nice? Did some sort of memo come out that it's okay to pick on me?

Kindergarten, first day... it's all new, I'm checking things out, and two kids chase me down and punch me in the ear. I was younger than Wolfboy, and I'd been in my first scrap. I didn't fare well.

And that's how it so often went with bullies. So often I'd think, Do you think I'm someone else? Why are you being mean to ME?

Second grade, some older kid who looked like the redheaded bully in A Christmas Story kept finding it amusing to jump out at me from nowhere and yell "Rabies!" at me. I had no idea what the hell that was all about. One day between buildings he picked up a rock, threw it, and hit me in the head. It cut me, and he got busted, bigtime. I never saw him again after that.

Later in elementary school... some kid name Paul from down the street decides he wants to run me off the road as I ride my bike. He's swerving at me, saying belligerent crap to me, and I'm just overwhelmed with how... random it seems.

We built up a full head of steam that school year, talking some trash. Finally one day after school we both ended up at the playground, with a circle of older kids around us, goading us on. We were supposed to fight. We exchanged punches, and I popped him one that sent him to the ground. In my mind, I'd whipped his ass. I turned to walk home and the tears just burst out of me.

The rumor at the school the next day was that I'd lost the fight.

Or later... fifth grade? Again, some random, big older kid found it amusing to chase me around as I rode my bike. He was a real gorilla, and I had no idea what he'd do if he caught me. He chased me one day, and I was almost home, almost home... I looked behind me, and when I looked back, something happened and I went headfirst over the handlebars, onto the asphalt. I split open my eyebrow, scraped the skin off of my cheek, shoulder, elbow, arm and knee. That took a trip to the ER, and stitches. I have that scar under my eyebrow to this day. IT HURT LIKE HELL.

I never saw him again either.

I could go on and on like this, naming the bullies. I fought with that kid Paul a few times, and I won every time. Why wouldn't he leave me the hell alone?

On into junior high... a shoving match in the locker room early in 7th grade, me and some kid whose last name was Hunt (Bruiser probably knows who I mean). He had that crazy look in his eyes, and later he very calmy produced a throwing star and told me that if I didn't watch it he'd bury the thing in my back one day.

Or Chizer, same year... that sumbitch tossed me around like a rag doll. They put a handful of terrified advanced class students in a gym class with several students who were clearly bound for prison. Don't laugh, it's not a joke.

Chizer was a beast, claimed he drove to the junior high. All I could do was go into passive resistance and hope to survive.

Run-ins in high school, like with that kid Van, or that kid Hebert, who put a wooden knife he'd made in shop class up to my throat one day. The art teacher didn't do shit as he held me there like some hostage, and I thought, I hope this idiot realizes that thing might really cut me if he runs it across my throat..

I saw Hebert some years back. That crazy Cajun was hanging off the back of a garbage truck. Serves you right, I thought. Then I realized he probably made more than I.

And on and on. Muggers at a Foreigner concert. A pistol-wielding redneck in Danbury, Texas. A homeless guy in 1990 in downtown Austin who wanted to fight me for my last quarter as I waited for the bus.

Or how about last year? A kid at Blockbuster wants to scream at me for not leaving my parking spot on his schedule. Or a strangely buff homeless kid terrorizes a park full of families, mine being one of them, here in Hurst? Or the stranger who burst into the daycare and wouldn't leave?

Or even little stuff... yesterday, at a snack bar, I asked the gal behind the counter if they take plastic. She snickered a "no" and rolled her eyes at me. I snapped, "You have a credit card machine RIGHT THERE. It's a reasonable question."


I mean to walk in peace. I think it's the way our creator wants it. In every situation that's become ugly, I've been reacting. Reacting.

I desire peace. I do.

I don't think I'm tough, but I've gotta say I get tired of being a target. For every time the average person has watched American Idol or Everybody Loves Raymond in the last 18 months, I probably went to the gym and sweated and improved and generally got one more inkling of an idea of how to handle myself.

Tool number one to get out of a pinch is intelligence, and it's served me okay so far.

But you know, as often as I get backed into a corner, it just makes me wonder sometimes.

And this is a shameful post in a way, and I apologize. I don't mean this to be foreshadowing, or to mean that I intend to pop someone one day soon. Those things get you sent to jail.

Heck, a couple days ago someone screamed at Whit's wife, and suddenly he got to be the Angry Sifu. The old fool may have had no idea that he was dealing with someone who could break his neck two dozen different ways.

But this is Whit, and he said: "This is modern day; we settled it with words."

I have every intention of doing the same.

And you know, I'd like to hear some kind words once in a while.


And now, a random image of a sweaty, post-workout me tonight. Because everybody loves BB.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Of Health Fairs and Unicycles

It’s an exhausted BB who comes to you tonight, dear reader. Not even sure where I’m going with this one, but let’s find out together, shall we?


I’ve been up since 5:33. I’ve got this crazy internal alarm clock going right now, and whatever time I set it for doesn’t matter; I wake up a few minutes early.

Yeah, so I had to set out for a health fair in one of our outlying counties today. Personally, I like health fairs. If they’re well-attended they hum along at a good clip, and I get to interact with lots of folks.

And for once, the “you can’t miss it” instructions were darn accurate. The expo center is the biggest building in town.


And even before I finished setting up I found myself in an odd kinship with a maintenance man. He just kept hanging around the table and chatting, and before long he wanted to take me into the bigger parts of the venue, to show me where they’re setting up for barrel races and the “little pony” show.


The health fair itself was six hours long, and I paced for five. Been a little anxious lately. It’s a funny habit, the sort of thing you’re only semi-aware that you’re doing.


Got another health fair tomorrow. Just realized I’ve got to find a map to get there. Hmm.


The semester is almost over… the semester is almost over… the semester is almost over…


BB’s current therapy: “When Somebody Loved Me” by Sarah McLachlan.


At the health fair we were provided entertainment in the form of a unicyclist who did a choreographed routine to some fiddle tunes. Can you see a little of him zipping past?

I love me some small Texas towns.


Bedtime should be upon me, and I’m so damn tired, but I don’t want to go. I want to stop time, if just for a bit.


Wolfboy, tonight, asked us how to tell if someone’s “all powerful.”

He explained that you have to instruct them to create a rock that’s so heavy that they cannot lift it.

Circular reasoning… I told him that was a symptom of schizo-affective disorder.

MOBB wasn’t amused. “He’s only six!”

I wasn’t very serious.


So hey, this modest little blog is now at entry 936 or so... I suppose later this year I'll hit post number 1000. I imagine I should do something special for that, but... what? Any ideas?

I do think I'll humbly solicit opinions about good/bad/memorable/forgettable entries. I've got a few favorites, and a few stinkers I wish had never left my fingertips. And of course, lots of entries about coffee and scones.


Ya'll have a terrific evening, a good weekend, all that.