1-31-05: Boy, I'm really depressed about canceling Showtime last Fall; I checked the current line-up, and they're offering-up some really great family entertainment. Let's start with "Reefer Madness". To start airing in April, it's billed as: "...Showtime's first movie musical... is a tongue-in-cheek raucous musical comedy about clean-cut kids who fall into a twisted, hilarious downward spiral of reefer, sex and mayhem...." Sounds inspiring! After that debut, mid '05 will bring us "Weeds", ..."a single-camera comedy from Lions Gate Television about a single mother who makes ends meet by selling marijuana in suburban L.A..." Don't forget about the other wholesome shows, such as "The L. Word", "Queer as Folk" or "Family Business" (a reality-based show about a family operated porn company), and Kirstie Alley staring in "Fat Actress". Brilliant television! (brilliant for those of you who've fried half your brain cells getting stoned--for medicinal purposes, of course.)

I know, I know, "...if ya don't like it, turn off the TV!!" Well, I did, but millions of others haven't...And we wonder why 9/11 happened. Hmmm, let's see: For starters, we're fat, high as a kite, porn-and-Prozac-addicted, spoiled and lazy. Not to mention the continuing rise in divorce, adult and teen abortions, death of the traditional family, and bad music (sorry--the Grammy's are coming, so I threw that in for good measure). In all honesty, I don't blame the terrorists who attacked us; I don't blame Clinton, Bush or Saddam. I blame myself--and the millions of others like myself who sit silently, going along with the almighty programs of tolerance and diversity. 

Understand history, and you'll see that the similarities are scary: The ghosts of Rome's past are calling...

1-30-05: How could I have left her out?! A few posts down, I was rambling about who's the next 'big thing', and I completely forgot about Rachael Yamagata. Jen and I saw her open for David Gray (our generation's greatest songwriter) in Chicago in '03; thought she was pretty good--even covered a Black Crow's song...now her CD is out, and she looks to be on the cusp of stardom. This girl is amazing, and so easy to relate to, unlike the singers she's compared to, i.e. Fiona Apple or Norah Jones. Anyway, she's going to perform on "The O C" this Thursday, Feb.3 on Fox. Never seen the show, but I'll tune in for this episode.

1-25-05: Ahhh, yes, yes, YES...", as the great Inspector Clouseau might say after being embarrassed, and trying to cover it up. I'm not trying to cover anything up, but it feels like a Clouseau moment after reading 2 out of 4 recent submissions were forwarded. Yep, that makes #'s 13 and 14. The good thing about this one is who it's being sent to; a "Grammy-winning producer...needing composers to help fill the daily onslaught of TV and film music..." Sounds right up my alley. The two songs were "Dead Can Dance" and "Exotic Air" (3rd time for that tune). 

Good way to (almost) start the week. Now I'm working on a sound clip for the Young Film Composers contest for TMC. I don't have a chance in hell of winning, so I figured, 'what the hell!'nose.jpg (12819 bytes)

1-19-05: "Tension" makes forward # 12; kinda weird...I submitted 4 pieces to this listing, and this was the worst of the bunch...and I wish the one that made it was on CD with my bio on the inside of the jewel case ('Tension' was finished at the last moment, and was uploaded via Broadjam, meaning the publisher will get an mp3 of the tune). Oh well, time to finish up the next piece (for the same movie trailer listing, with a February deadline).

1-17-05: Ended up watching a few quarters of football yesterday; I guess I was hoping to see Randy Moss get carted off the field in an ambulance; that didn't happen, but at least the Vikings lost. Now I hope that someone from the Falcons defense will smash Terrell Owens and his big mouth, and that the Patriots destroy the Steelers (Ravens fans are to the Steelers, as the Chiefs fans are to the Raiders). I shouldn't hope that people get injured, but these jokers are 1st class jerks; kids look up to them, and NFL players are setting horrible examples of how professionals behave (and I'm not a hypocrite--I hate what Ray Lewis does, too.) Trying to stay happy, but ya just have to vent from time to time.

1-15-05: Had to do a quick entry; returned home from Kansas City tonight and found out that Exotic Air got forwarded again; I really, REALLY hope it actually gets used this time (it was for a 'dispatch' listing needing music for a film or something...so I'll know sooner than normal if it will be used or not). Please, everyone: say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed...that feeling I had last Sunday may have been in reference to this gig.

1-14-05: Major score at the Food Fair this week; they had a grocery cart full of discount Christmas candy, including M&M's...yeah, I stocked-up. I mentioned this week as being 'big', and by Tuesday, I already felt 10 miles high; I spoke to my friend from years past, Ben...it made my day, to say the least. It turns out, he lives behind where Elliott Smith used to (and where his girlfriend currently lives). How amazing is that?! Finished another demo; Going to write one more before deadline on Monday; since the Ravens are out of the play-offs, there should be no Sunday afternoon distractions (except for Patty, who's still insanely hyper).  It's been a pretty good week, and there are still 2 days left...

1-9-05: The new HomePage photo is Heaven (in my mind, anyway); esp. now that we're in the heart of Winter, those fields look so inviting. I see a very similar layout as I make the Sunday drive to Montrose, MO, or when I cruise the same 2-lane highway heading to KC. I realize that some of you aren't exactly God-fearing, but when you see these places in person, it's hard to imagine that those beautiful blades of grass, trees, animals, etc., came out of an accidental explosion...add a gorgeous sunset (or sunrise) to it and,..I have to say that it's just too perfect to exist any other way. And now, with the fields lightly covered in snow, I'm in my element (but will be sure to welcome Spring's arrival --and warmer temps-- with open arms).

As I end another week out here in God's Country, I prepare for a more successful one to come. My New Year's resolution this year was simple, yet one I've never contemplated: I resolve to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today. With this in mind, I won't have to wait until 'tomorrow', 'next week', 'next month', or 'next year' to make a difference.

This week, something big is going to happen. Do you ever get that feeling? Something's in the air...better go record some more music...

1-5-05: My new cat is insane. I thought he was the 'mellow' one, but is now acting like he's on kitty speed or something, bouncing off the walls, meowing, killing all Skippy's toys. Man, I have a new respect for parents of newborns--I'm not sure I could do it! Speaking of someone on speed, here's a pretty funny piece my friend Daniel e-mailed to me:

Messiahorganistoncrack

2-27-05: Proof that God exists (there are far too many examples, but here are a few of mine): Beethoven's 9th; Rachmaninoff--2nd Piano Concerto; Barber--Piano Concerto;  Michelangelo/Cistine Chapel; Leonardo da Vinci;  William Chill; Plato; Isaac Newton; Mother Theresa; Shakespeare; Abe Lincoln; the writings of Pope John Paul II; Einstein; Stephen Hawking; David Gray--"Shine"; Jimmy Webb--"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"; Jimi Hendrix; Joe DiMaggio's grace in the outfield; George Brett's 'Moon Shot'; Buggs Bunny, Peter Sellers, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Chaplin; XM-Radio;  A Bosendorfer piano, Guild 12-String jumbo,.. Klausner playing a Stradivarius; a U.S. soldier's bravery; Mike D.'s laugh, Kate's voice, Jen's wit (and hair)--sorry: had to throw that in!, Felix's smile, Angela's face, Ben's compassion, Jason's forgiveness, Scott's dedication,  Paul's loyalty, Steve's honesty, Linda's generosity, Robert's kindness, Miko's intelligence; my Mom, Dad and 3 sisters.

...and all the evil in the world, so that we might appreciate all that is beautiful. 

2-24-05: 2 more forwards on Tuesday; "Silhouette" and "Dead Can Dance" are up for license consideration. 31 forwards and counting...I think my yellow cab has a flat.

2-17-05: Just received another postcard with 3 forwards on it: "Contemplative", "Power from Above", and "Resurrection"... these were for an overseas documentary about civil rights struggles. Whatever. So now we're up to 29. How many before one of these publishers calls? 30, 50,... 100? One would think my odds should improve. (By the way, the publisher who offered a deal is a company I sent through FilmMusic.Net--not Taxi).

2-17-05: Yep, it's good to have friends that make the day go by a little easier. And if you leave me a voice mail, I may make your day brighter, too.

2-15-05: Well everybody, it finally happened: I've just been offered my first publishing contract!!! This was based on my demos of "Outfoxed", "Dark Highlights", "Tension" and "Speed Kills". The names will be changed at the publisher's office, but who cares about that. All I hope for now is that we get to hear these pieces in some commercials--and sooner than later. Yessir,...I'm happy.

2-14-04: Oh boy,... the Grammy's. I love the joke the sound engineer played on the singers, esp. J.Lo. (man, she was horrible, and of course I was laughing 'til my side hurt). With the miracle box AutoTune being disabled, nobody stood a chance of sounding good, unless they really were. The best/worst moment was the Janis Joplin tribute. Melissa Etheridge rocked like a true veteran, but Joss Stone?! This girl was strutting around, doing her best Mariah Carry impression (cliched, one hand-in-the-air-Diva pose), singing every note in the scale in between the notes she was suppose to sing, and wearing a dress fit for an Oscar red carpet appearance...so convincing as Janis Joplin. And she wouldn't let Melissa get one whole line in without interrupting. What a puke. Good things: Los Lonely Boys won, as did Velvet Revolver, Wilco and Loretta Lynn/Jack White. And Prince won, but didn't show up! and I don't blame him; the whole thing is getting ridiculous (but I still want one someday).

2-11-05: Patty is a girl; Last time I had a female cat was when I was a kid. "Trashy" was my first cat.

Thinking about adding a Bonnie Consolo page. I've had some good suggestions: She can't hitchhike; couldn't be a traffic cop; can't play the accordion.

2-9-05: Trying to finish one last movie-trailer-type demo for a listing due on the 15th, so I thought I'd steal some ideas from an actual movie. So after I had a Taco pizza at the Espresso Cafe (got 50% off cuz it was 'Baldy Tuesday'), I went to their little video dept. and rented "The Grudge". Oh man...I gots 3 words about that flick: Ree Tar Dead. What a let down; at least it had Sarah Michelle Geller in it--and the music score was good.   Going to take Patty O'Paddy in for his first check up tomorrow. I really hope they can give him a shot or pill--anything--to get rid of his gas problem. And tonight when I was watching the movie, he snuck up on the kitchen counter and got into a bag of Chex Mix I didn't close all the way. It was all over the place, and crumbs were on his whiskers. I guess I asked for it!

2-6-05: Sunday. 3:30am. Wrapping-up the latest 'audio resume' for a Taxi client. I think it's MTV (based on their description). Regardless of who it is for, everything I'm doing hangs onto high hopes. The sky is the limit...

2-3-05: Blue Merle. THE band you'll be hearing about over the next few months. Man, with bands this good out there.., I have no chance!

2-2-05: Wow. I just got 4 postcards from Taxi today--3 songs on each card-- and all of them were forwarded to the Grammy-winning dude. Some of those pieces are up on the Taxi Music page; some were Opus 1 pieces (It'll be my luck that the guy will want to use one of the Opus 1 tunes in a major movie, and I'll get the buy-out fee of $35, instead of making $350,000 in royalties! I'll worry about that when the time comes. Anyway, this makes 14 out of 16 for that listing, bringing the grand total of forwards to: 26

3-30-05:  This evening I received a "Congratulation, blah blah, blah..." and a "..unfortunately, blah, blah, blah.." e-mail. 43 forwards total.

3-22-05: TCM piece removed until after 1st round of competition

3-16-05: 9 more forwards; I had to call to find out, though....the dumb asses didn't even send the e-mail notification this time. 8 more to reach Sick50... my paint brushes are calling out to me.

3-14-05: Is it wrong to have the Bonnie page? Maybe. Is it wrong to lust after the girl in the leather jacket who spent a really long time in the confessional at last night's Reconciliation service? Probably. Was it really stupid for me to ask the spokesperson for Catholic Charities if volunteering at the women's shelter would be a good way to meet girls? Definitely. 

Okay, now for some fun. Below are links to an insane girl at a club. Start with the first, original pic, then move on down the line. This guy is amazing at PhotoShop. warning: I was in tears the first time I saw these. Enjoy!

Original  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14

3-11-05: Forward # 33 today.

3-10-05: Went to Wal-Mart today; changed the oil on the truck..... YYYep.

3-9-05: XTASY will soon be in the hands of the music supervisor for an indie film. I wanted this forward as badly as the very first one, since I made the piece specifically for this listing. (this makes #32 for those of you playing along)

3-8-05: It's becoming a twisted, 'wicked' game; I'm trying to see if I can land my 50th forward in the next couple weeks. Taxi claims that the forwards from the latest Dispatch listings will be screened directly by the owners of the music library. Oh REEEally....Gee, I thought all the forwards went to the guy who placed the ad. I'm so naive... So, do I get screened by the 'industry pros' at Taxi, then by the 'pros' working under the publishing company? (a Taxi screener who, like any other normal human being, has good and bad days which inevitably cloud judgment...I don't care how good you are at your job, if the machine just ran out of Diet Coke, you got a ticket on the way in to work, or if your ex girlfriend just called to tell you she wants your f**kin stuff out of her apt. 2 minutes before you listen to my CD, it won't sound as good had your ex-girlfriend just called to say she wants you back...know what I mean? Why else do some pieces get rejected, while others make it through--on similar listings? Then there are the publishers screeners, who are no doubt fresh out of film school, working as some sort of intern, subjecting their interpretation of what's good and bad to the CEO of the company....and thru the little interns eyes, everything's kinda lame compared to their own stuff...hey, that's what I thought when I was 22). 

Sounds like pretty good odds to me!! Really, it would be a whole lot easier if I hadn't got one single forward or license deal; have someone like Simon call me to say unapologetically, "give it up, dude". At least, it'd be obvious that I should get a 'real' job, and join the human race. Well, I'm a certified nut-job, so I guess it makes sense that I don't have sense to get out of this whole rat race. Sometimes, ya just gotta laugh at how ridiculous everything is, and I've been laughing a lot lately. I don't know what I'd do without my friends calling me to make me laugh, the Bonnie page, or movies like 'Kingpin', 'The Jerk' or '10' to help me forget about the struggle. Meanwhile, the silent film contest awaits my attention, so after this latest batch of 15 Taxi dispatches goes out tomorrow, I'll force myself to forget about the ride Taxi is taking me on.

3-4-05: Finished the latest version of "Xtasy"; blah blah blah

4-26-05:  my newest favorite candy bar is the new Butterfinger Crisp, but the most perfect candy bar is still the classic Hershey Bar. What does this have to do with the contest I just lost? Absolutely nothing. Speaking of the contest, here's the losing clip:

4-20-05: tick-tock...tick-tock....still no word on the winners.

4-19-05: Got #'s 44 and 45 yesterday. 

4-18-05: 49hrs, 5min. 

4-14-05: The most annoying sound on the face of the planet: 3-way Tie: a yappy dog, wigga/ghetto car stereos and Randi Rhodes' voice.

4-6-05: 14 days and counting....this could mark the beginning or the end.

5-25-05: 'Seraph': forwarded. 'My Little Buddy': yep. 'Hope Springs Eternal (piano solo version)' uh-huh. 'October': no. No on October?! I even used my new Steinway grand sample...and I think it's better by far than (or at least equal to) 'Hope Springs...' I'm sorry, but this is bulls**t. 

Up to 56 now.

 Sorry: I forgot I wasn't counting anymore

5-22-05: I forgot to tell y'all about the 51st forward I received last Monday; and this weekend I got (to my surprise) a postcard with 2 forwards on it. I suppose the fact that I had forgotten about a listing I submitted to 3 weeks ago is the kind of attitude I need to have. A professor in college once told me about contests: "Send 'em and forget 'em..." I realize now what he meant by that: don't obsess over something that's out of your control. Good advice to be applied towards a number of things we deal with in life. So I'm reaching the end of my first year in Appleton City, and after the recent batch of submissions gets processed, could have as many as 57 forwards in 1 year....But who's counting? Not me: I don't think about these things anymore!

P.S. The music/Taxi/FilmMsic.Net samples will be returning soon. As some of you know, I'm starting a new 'Tommy' CD, and will want to include audio updates of the project. But this current site seems a bit dated, and I'd like to give it a complete overhaul...I promised Felix some new music to take with him to Ecuador in July, so expect to see some changes sooner than later. 

Hey Mike D.: Did ya take care of dat ding for me? Y'know, da T-Bird title? (and don't even think about calling tomorrow between 7 - 9pm--it's the season finale of '24') Jason: When will you have some free time to catch-up? (Don't kill me--I'm painting a barn this week--sorry, but it's a job that ='s $$$)  Ben: Thanks for sending the link to the David Crosby interview...my hope, optimism and enthusiasm for the future of music has been fully restored. Everyone should read this: (it's kinda long, but worth it..and Jen: I know you will especially enjoy reading this)  Here's the interview

5-15-05: Man, what a weekend; I decided to move the piano into the house. I love that piano, but hate moving it--it weighs a ton (well actually like 450 lbs), and I only had a 28" doorway (the piano was 27" wide...not much room for error) So I lifted, pushed, and pulled the beast up into the rec room area to begin writing songs again. After a good dusting, I took off the front cover and gave it a quick tuning. Kinda sad to discover the soundboard is now cracked enough to cause a horrible buzzzzzing in the mid to lower register--I guess a whole Winter in the garage will do that (duh). It's still a great feeling to play a real piano over a keyboard. This thing is seriously beat-up, though, and sounds awful; the action is all jacked up, and some of the notes just don't work anymore. I'd forgotten just how bad it was, and it's gotten worse. But, I figure that if a song can sound good on this thing, it will sound great on a keyboard in tune. That's the whole strategy. I mean, Elton John tunes sound good on a bad piano. On top of everything, it's obviously a challenge to play. It really shows when your timing is off, since most of the hammers strike twice when you hit it just once (technicians hate that, but I see it as a good way to correct your errors--the playing has to be EXACT, or it really starts to sound bad).  Anyway, I wrote a ton of songs on it. "Tell Me" was the first one I wrote on it back in '95. Then I wrote "See You Around" and "Hymn For Her" in '96, and a year later penned "Beautiful" and "One Like You". I'll never forget playing/singing the first verse and chorus of "One like you" to Kate, when I had it set up in the kitchen of the Ruskin house. "...okay, it goes something like this...", I told her, then I tried to rhythmically simulate the guitar pattern and just sang away. Great times I'll treasure forever. 

(By the way, the other tracks from the first CD were written as follows: "Trial" was written on my 6-string acoustic, "Seraph" on my keyboard, "October" on my old O/1w back in December/January of '92/'93, and the music for "In the Night" (originally called "Somewhere in the Night") was written on the family piano when I was 15 and home sick from school ...Ahhh, 1985.

Wow. 10 years ago--first song on the red piano. 20 years ago, first song. 30 years ago, first time I struck a note on a piano. This is going to be a great year.

5-8-05: Finally got a digital camera; how I've lived this long without one is killing me--this thing is sooo cool! I'm going to take some pics of the town, my house and of course Patty; actually, she was my first subject--pictures on the 'Photos' page.

Watched about as much as I could of SNL last night; the band, 'System of a Down' was appropriate--the show sucked, and the band was even worse. It's sad--the show used to be pretty good, esp. in the early 90's. The last several episodes I've seen (over the last year or so) have all been painful to watch...really, really bad skits. Too many negative things to say about it all. What a shame. Now I'm worried about the upcoming Pink Panther movie staring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau. You know those are two of my favorite characters, but the previews I've seen made me squirm a bit. I'll probably see it anyway.

Went 5 for 6 on the latest Taxi batch (Thanks to the 'lucky cheeseburger' at Margie's Dari-Burg....That makes 50!!

5-2-05: The Atlanta convention just got cancelled. I spent almost a whole week printing 150 CD's for nothing. My deposit is gone. I lost the contest last week. I have 2 pieces of frozen fish and a can of beans left. Could God be telling me something? Hey, that sounds like a country song!

6-25-05: Posted a bunch of pictures from the big parade yesterday on the photographs page.

6-17-05: Working on the new updates....So far everything seems to be working, and the header turned out just as I had envisioned it. Still trying to figure out how to get things formatted properly, mainly the background .gif; (I hope I won't have to bug Mike much more!) The home page picture is looking East from my front yard after a storm came through. It wasn't that red outside. but it was eerie, and very inspiring. My first night down here, it was like this; I'll never forget sitting under the front porch roof, with the rain softly coming down, and looking down the street, seeing what is now the home page picture. Come to think of it, the picture was taken a few weeks ago--about 1 year to the day after I spent my first night in the big A.C., as my sister Suzy likes to call it. Anyway, sometimes the things I see around leave me speechless. That picture is what sold me on moving here.

Starting to build web sites for some extra cash. Today I got the Appleton City Manor (elderly care giving facility) to sign up with me, and last week I completed the Espresso Cafe's web site (www.acEspressoCafe.com) Hope to land the rest of the businesses in town.

6-8-05: David Poe; watch out for this guy... incredible song called 'So Beautiful'...gonna be huge. Another David Gray on the horizon.

6-1-05: Happy June!

7-25-05: Starting a tile-laying job tomorrow (hey, whatever it takes to pays the bills) (oh, and the girl at the carpet and tile store was pretty cute, so I may be making several trips ("....I think I only need one more tile..." next day "...forgot about the closet..." Yep. I'll probably say something retarded and be forever banned from that store.

Felix is back (Hey buddy! Looks like you had a good trip with your family; thanks for sending the link to your photos...your son's getting big--what is he, 2 or 3 now? You'll have to look into Ravens training camp in a few years).

It's been pretty hot; I saw the bank temp. read-out on Friday...108. Saturday was 109. My poor sister and her family came to visit me on the hottest day of the year so far--sorry! Yesterday and today I think it was only 100 or 102. I guess it doesn't really matter whether it's 90 or 109, when the A/C is broken on the truck-- it's stinko hot. Trying to finish my first piece in almost 3 months, and the second piece since March. Man, it's been a while. Patty is getting big (must be all the tuna). And I have a new pet...kinda. It's Fred the wasp, and it hangs around the birdbath every morning waiting for me to rinse it out and refill it. I'm not kidding, the first time I saw this thing, it was facing down in the B-bath drinking (not the first time I've seen a wasp doing that--guess they get hot and thirsty, too). What was funny was after I walked past it on the way to water the flowers in front and came back, it was floating--no, swimming-- back and forth in the bath. At first I thought is fell in and was drowning, but when I got closer, it flew up-and-around, then came back. Next day, same thing...wasp swimming in the bath; I rinsed it out, and started to refill it, the wasp sat on the rim, waiting for me to move the hose. Pretty cool. I'll get a picture of Fred... and George the squirrel eating the birdseed. Go on: tell me I'm nuts--you wouldn't be the first!

7-18-05: Finally an update! I've been so depressed lately for not getting any new music done that I've neglected anything to do with the site...there's been very little Music of Tommy to speak of, but as always, I still get hopeful and think that "...if I can just get through this week, then, ahhh yes...THEN I can start recording again..." 'Someday soon' has to come, or I'll go nuts--again. It's tough--staying committed to your goals, and if it weren't for a few people out there --literally a number I can count on one hand-- I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

New band for y'all to check out: Over the Rhine. They're not new, actually; have been around since 1993, but have a loyal following that started in their hometown of Cincinnati, OH. What a beautiful sounding group, very similar to HEM. The lead singer has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard. Check out the CD, 'Ohio'.

8-17-05: Uhh ohh...I just might make this whole dream work after all. As I was explaining to Mike D. the other night, the stage I'm at right now is probably the hardest; most artists cave at this point (and I've considered giving-up on an almost daily basis); but after getting another license deal today, I'm starting to get a strong feeling that if I can make it though the next 6 - 12 months, I'll start to see some rewarding test results. I was offered a deal for 8 of my songs this afternoon, and one of those was Exotic Air, which has been licensed to another publisher already. I never thought I'd have 2 publishers interested in the same tune, but I suppose this is the way it happens. You work hard, struggle, and pray --a lot-- for something to happen, and just when you think you can't go on anymore, the clouds part, the sun comes out, and all looks positive, hopeful and promising again. I remember how it started when I bought my first house. I was soooo worried I wouldn't get enough painting jobs to pay the mortgage, let alone buy any new studio gear. Within a year, I had more work than I could handle, and soon started to record my first CD.

I don't want to get ahead of myself with today's good news, but I really have a strong feeling that things will work out just as they have before. I may not get rich or famous (or maybe I will!), but I think I can survive in one of the toughest businesses out there. In the words of the great Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never quit". (I know he said this cuz it's printed on the mug my mom got for me to put on my desk and contemplate everyday... Thanks mom!)

8-15-05: It only took 4 weeks to finish (actually, it took 3 1/2 weeks to get to it again, then spent this weekend and today finishing it). Now it's time to get back to work, and go spray some more furniture in the garage.

8-7-05: What the world needs now, is more dogs. I hope you're catching the sarcasm. My white trash neighbors are turning out to be either dog breeders, or dog thieves. There's a new one chained-up outside every couple weeks, and they loooove to bark. I'm sure the neighbors didn't count on the quite guy next door to have a 300 watt keyboard amp and a 20k Hz test-tone running on a loop. Man, dogs hate sine waves that high. I'm sure it hurts them a little, but I can't hear it, and the dogs don't bark. Besides, it's not like the dogs have a happy existence being hooked-up to a 10' chain all day and night. Call me cruel, but there should be a law, and as long as there isn't, I know I shouldn't have to suffer.

Now, how to get the kids here to stop playing gansta rap. I don't understand it. Some of the jokers around here are walkin', talkin' contradictions, wearing oversized Confederate Flag shirts, their pants are more ghetto than my old Ruskin neighbors, they hate black people, but will cruise around playing 'kill whitey' music. I don't get it.

8-6-05: Just about fully recovered from the tile job I did for the school down the road. Have a look: My hands and feet are pretty beaten-up...I'll survive. I'm more worried about the spider bite I just got on my left leg; things could be worse I suppose.

Thanks Jason for the microphone! I guess that's a pretty major hint; I'm very appreciative, and hope to make some good tracks with it. Actually, I hope to make some tracks--good or bad.

Last week I went to Paul Blum's retirement party at Yia Yia's (pronounced Ya-Ya's); I overheard him say it cost $2,500 for all of to have dinner there. Man, that amount could feed a LOT of families in China, but only 50 of us fat-ass Americans at a posh restaurant; anyway,....it was a nice dinner party for a well-deserved man. I've often thought of Paul as a father-figure at times, esp. when I didn't feel too good about life and had no one else to talk to about things.

Hey, anyone catch the Free-View concert series on Direct TV in July? Dave Mathews Band (yawn), Stripes 25th Anniversary special (bigger yawn), and Garbage! (no yawn there). Shirley Manson is still the ultimate rock-n-roll babe, and looks even better now than she did 5 years ago. Shirley, Shirley, Shirley (Homer Simpson drool effect). And yes--she has THE hair. What's 'the hair', you ask? Another story for another time.

9-29-05: I can't believe how realistic sampled orchestras are getting, and how affordable they are. I put together a nice track the other night using EastWest's Silver Orchestra (now under $160.00!)

I wish I had more time to tweak it; every time I hear it, an improvement comes to mind, but when you've painted for 10 hours, the brain is already tired. Thank God for Paul sending the bag of M&M's! Get this: I knew I would be up half the night getting a demo put together, and was considering just letting this Taxi listing slip by like so many others have lately, but when I got home from work, there was a package on my door step containing the new biggie-sized M&M's--just what I needed! And he sent them for no other reason than just being a nice friend...how cool is that?! I suppose pumping Diet Coke and SoBe energy drink into my system all day made it possible to work until 4am, but going to bed at 5 then getting up at 6:30 made Wed. really drag............

Oh, I just got my 3rd Taxi forward since the start of my 3rd year with them in July. Yippee! Ravens back in action this weekend hosting the "J-E-T-S Jets"; Mike D. to arrive next weekend; Taxes due the following weekend; Tons of Taxi and Film Music.Net listings to get to; Lots of work via paint jobs lined up; my music is currently being aired all over Asia and South America; Outlook is good...it's so nice to be alive again.

9-22-05: Man how time flies...it's almost the end of September, I'm late on my 'weekly' update, and today was the first day of Autumn, but it still got into the 90's. You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard about Rita, but I bet you haven't heard about the projected gas prices. Everyone knows gas will potentially soar after Rita hits, and it may high for a while depending on what's damaged in Houston and along the TX LA coast, BUT I heard today that by this time next year, crude oil will be around $46 a barrel. Searioulsy. I obviously can't predict NFL scores very well, but trust me on this one: gas WILL be around $1.50/gal after Labor Day 2006.

Tommy Records is almost finished (well, not really, but at least there are songs to preview); remixed another version of Hepnotic, calling is Hepnotica (quite a stretch, I know); mowed the yard today, got the final bunch of breakfast and lunch grub for my upcoming 8 - 10 day stretch of painting hell. Still feelin' good about things, esp. the TommyRecords project...lots of good ideas that may actually pay off.

I still miss Becky. I miss you, Kate! Jen, you're always missed, and can't wait to see you for Mike's wedding. One more miss: I missed seeing Mike and Jason last weekend..sorry--didn't hear from you guys, but I had to play a wedding that Sat. anyway, so it probably wouldn't have worked out time-wise. And I absolutely do NOT miss that materialistic bi-atch Carloyn (whatcha think about that, Fella?!)

9-14-05: Yeah, yeah...I know: the Ravens got their butts kicked. But since I'm a true fan, not the bandwagon-type, I'll stick with them; they'll get better as the season progresses. As long as they beat Cleveland and Pittsburg, I'll be happy.

She has the hair...

9-11-05: It's Ravens time! The NFL season for Baltimore starts tonight, and it couldn't come soon enough. It may not come as a surprise, but I'm predicting the Ravens to go all the way this year; the team is solid from top to bottom; their running backs are unstoppable (they have this killer rookie that's 5' 11", 250lbs, and 3% body fat--unbelievable!), Todd Heap is healthy, and the defense will be as potent as the 2000 championship team. Yes, this is the year, starting tonight against the Colts.

How will the Chiefs do? Who cares! Okay, some experts are predicting them in the Super Bowl against the Packers....could be because it will be a rematch of Super Bowl 1, and this year is super Bowl 40, and analysts get nostalgic about these things. Anyway, the Chiefs season depends on whether or not Trent stays healthy; if he goes down, it's over.

Looks like an exciting year for all the teams, though, as parity has come to fruition. Anything could happen, but I'm bias about my Ravens, so I'll be expecting to see them with another ring in February.

10-18-05: Went to the City yesterday and picked up a few supplies, including the new David Gray CD, "Life in Slow Motion" and David Poe's debut release. Haven't listened to the Poe CD yet, but man oh man, I'm listening to David Gray's CD now and am just as stunned with this as when I first heard "White Ladder". This guy really is one of the most talented musicians living among us. The Nick Drake of our time. Simply brilliant.

So Kerri, you haven't responded yet... What's going on in your life these days?

10-4-05: Have you been hearing all the stories about flood damaged cars potentially showing up in used car lots? I know I'm not the sharpest light bulb in the bunch, but I'm guessing that if you find gumbo shrimp in the ashtray, it's probably a good idea to keep looking. Pretty interesting situation, though. I mean, the car dealer buys the car at an auction; the previous owner has to reveal any previous damage. So if the original owner cleans it up and lies about the history, is the dealer responsible? Or the auctioneer? Obviously, the original owner is guilty, but will you ever be able to find him...

One more day left on the big paint job; got my 4th Taxi forward this evening (the late night, almost-all-nighter-with Paul's M&M's paid-off!). Here's a shocker for ya'll: A thought came to mind while at Mass this weekend: Is the whole Bonnie page necessary? I'll always share the actual story of how the paper came about, but the new, updated list from today? As I was in church, I sat behind this family that always comes on Saturdays. Super nice bunch: 2 girls, a boy and mom and dad (and the mom is the singer when I play). Anyway, one of the girls is probably 9 or 10, and has Downs Syndrome; watching how she's always smiling, and how she clings to her mom is just one of the sweetest things you'd ever see, and even though I usually see them every Saturday evening, this week in particular it just hit me: what the hell am I doing laughing at other people? I can handle people making fun of me; the nuns in grade school, the teachers in high school, and the profs in college all telling me how stupid I was; it never really, fully set in (although I kinda believe it now--when you're told something often enough, you start to believe it). So, honestly, I don't think I'm terribly bright, and think I'm pretty freaky looking too, but that doesn't give me the right to pass judgment on someone else, does it? Don't look for any major shifts towards political correctness, but hopefully a bit more compassion and tolerance is in my future.  And less discussion/ranting of politics.

 

11-22-05: Happy Birthday to me (well, tomorrow, actually)  ~Hey, Mike D's wedding was Saturday; here are a couple photos from right before the Mass: Of course, the highlight for me was the waiting room in the back of the church before the ceremony.

11-12-05: Anyone out there ever drop acid? Just curious--I won't pass judgment on ya; I was told if I ever did it my brain would partially explode since it's so chaotic in it's natural state. ~New band prediction:  Coldplay's X&Y may have represented the zenith of this genre mainly due to it's over-hyped pre-release--it's a great record, and for any band to put out a CD of that caliber would receive the highest of praises, but Coldplay's expectations were set soooo high, we were all left kinda scratching out heads. Anyway, we see it happen every 2-4 years, give or take...genres are replaced not because they were 'bad' (maybe overplayed), but we're ready for something new and fresh. How do you think the Beatles and U2 stayed on top? (and you can't add the Stones, for they haven't done anything innovative since Some Girls (and even that's questionable)--they've amassed a cult-following not unlike Deadheads; their devoted fan-base, currently researching nursing homes, are what has kept that bands popularity afloat all these years) ANYWAY, compare the first Beatles record with their last (same with U2) and you'll discover how adaptable these bands were/are to change. ~The modern Singer-Songwriter era is slowly drawing to a close (at least to the mainstream), no thanks in part to David Gray's recent release only getting a 2-out-of-5 star rating from Uncut Magazine. I'm kinda torn on this prediction, since I'm a big Howie Day fan, and look forward to his next release, but just as Nirvana's 'Unplugged' performance ushered in a new generation of lo-fi, non-conforming conformists-type indie bands that made sloppy playing acceptable because it was more 'real' (most of the bands from 1994 - 1999 just sucked as musicians, though were pretty okay writers), David Gray has spawned countless imitators, but very few equals (Howie Day, Over the Rhine, HEM and Rachel Yamagata? an emphatic yes--very talented; Damien Rice, David Mead, Rufus Wainwright--maybe; Mission to the Sea, Ben Folds, David Poe...I like these bands a lot, but can't place them in the same league as the above mentioned). Actually, (and you had to see this coming!) we can trace the modern Singer-Songwriter movement back to Nick Drake. Though his music got lost in the haze of poor management and early forms of payola (not to mention 70's disco, 80's synth pop and 90's grunge), it eventually found it's way into the hearts of all those who wanted to know what a real song is, and esp. how a song is to be performed. ~I'm aware that I've left out countless other artists that would further back-up my point, but felt the urge to opine a bit on the current state of the industry. Here endeth my attempt at music journalism.

Again, the question is put forth: What's next?

~Yo MD: your wedding is next week; here are a few versions of Musetta's Waltz I found...let me know what you want:

Brass   Piano and Violin   Cheeze

11-4-05: Welcome to November! What a beautiful day it was today; 77 and virtually no wind. I've had the windows back open again for a few days, enjoyed some time back out on the deck-- under the spell of a breathtaking Western skyline at dusk--, and started thinking I might survive the high heating bills this Winter if global warming stays on our side.  ~Mike D's wedding is in 2 weeks; Miko and Natti are driving to Arkansas afterwards and will stop and stay here on their way down, so they'll be my excuse to have a shake at Margie's Dari-burg.  ~I always suspected Donald Trump to be kind of an a**hole, but after last night's 'Apprentice', I no longer think that--I know that.  ~Painting has stopped for a few days, so I'm finally getting a chance to discover how incredible (and complex) the Stylus RMX plug-in is (virtual drum machine type-deal)  ~Am now using the squiggle line to indicate a new thought, instead of the dotdotdot...  ~I'm working on creating the ultimate candy bar; after years of research, and almost being completely satisfied with the release of the Fastbreak a few years ago, I'm still not 100% satisfied, so I'm developing a peanut butter-like snickers cup, using some of the ingredients in my famous peanut clusters in addition to the techniques I asked Reese's to use--but fell on deaf ears. The goal is to make it so addictive that you'll have to eat several a day. I think I'll call my new treat 'Xtasy', (after the techno song I recorded, plus it sounds and flow better than 'Heroine Bar')  ~"Life Beautiful" is the title for the new Tommy CD ("...includes the hit song, 'Strange Days'..."). "Revelation" is the new Opus 1 CD due out in February.

This is it, I swear. These 2 CD's are it. So please, family, friends-- everyone: stay with me a little longer, and pray a little harder. I need that more than anything right now.

In the meantime, it's back to work tomorrow, Sunday, Monday... 

 

12-28-05: Addicts. Frickin' addicts. There are times when I boil with hatred over addicts. Drug addicts, alcoholics (liquid drug addicts)...control freaks. I've recently had discussions about this with a few people close to me, and the conclusion I've come to is this: Addicts need to control others, because they have no control over their own actions, which might also explain their desperation, and at times, utter brilliance in convincing you that you're the reason for their problem. Alcoholics, for instance, love to make others feel worthless in an attempt to justify their own emptiness. I think we're all a little guilty of putting others down to boost our egos, but addicts take it to the extreme, practicing this behavior on a daily basis. The desire to reach out and help someone with this problem is prevalent, but here's the catch: you'll put yourself at greater risk if the addict senses you as a 'giver'; they act like a dog, sniffing-out your emotions; they'll play you, then exploit your vulnerabilities to the fullest. if you let them, that is.

Man I hate addicts.

12-21-05: One thing I really miss about friends coming to visit is the excuse for turning up the heat to a normal setting; you know it's cold when you can see your breath inside. But I'm saving money. ~ Hey, those Ravens looked pretty good (I know the Packers are terrible, but hey: the Ravens won, and in a big way.).

12-11-05: Life can be everyday, if you want it to

12-10-05: Welcome to December! Went to my first big Appleton City school event: the 'Holiday Festival'. Now all you libs who say us hicks ain't all-inclusive, choke on this: there were several songs celebrating Hanukah and Kwanzaa; 2 songs contained a rap, and while 100% of the audience were white Christians, we all applauded politely. The ACLU would be so proud. ~Ben came to visit last week, and I can't tell you how nice it was to see him; I haven't seen him since 1989, so it was a real treat to say the least. (BTW: Ben, I asked a gal at the festival last night about the Manger scene and all the Bible passages posted in the public park, and she told me it was actually privately owned, and went on to explain how anything that was placed on display in the park was off-limits to ACLU-types). Anyway, I've had quite a rush of smiles and laughs over the last few weeks, and feel pretty lucky.

Now it's back to work.

Music of Tommy  No longer across from the school in Appleton City, MO

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