Friday, November 30, 2007

New laptop, hold the Vista

I ordered a new laptop last week and it arrived Tuesday. It's a very nice PC and I had them load Vista. I knew I would use the PC primarily for recording music. A laptop will make my little studio portable which opens up a lot of different opportunities.
When the unit arrived, I loaded my recording software and it immediately crashed Vista with the old Blue Screen of Death. I tried it several times to no avail.

Last night, I contacted Dell support and they began to work with me on my problem. I kept asking if I could get XP software and drivers so that I could reload the laptop to use with my recording software. The tech really didn't want that to happen. Part of his reasoning was that "XP will be going away in a few months." I had to stop him there - "here's the deal Shehnaz, I work with EDS and we have almost 130,000 employees most of which have PC's running XP. It ain't going away in a few months."
He then collected himself and after a few more minutes, I told him that if I could not get XP on the laptop that I would return it.
I thought I would be looking elsewhere for a new laptop but he said if XP would make me happy, then they would send me a new laptop with XP loaded. I told him I was very happy and also recommended that his boss double his salary. I think he was happy too.
I'm waiting to see if they stand by his decision but I'm betting they will. I am encouraged that that will replace the PC at their expense even thought the problem was not actually caused by their product.
If you are new to PC's and you do just basic stuff, I think Vista would probably be fine, but if you've invested money in software for XP, don't count on it working with Vista.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Tomorrow will be the last day at work for all those who took early retirement. Several of our close friends will be walking out of our lives. Everybody says "oh, well come back to see you .... or we'll stay in touch," but the truth is that rarely happens. I expect that most of them will close the door on this life and open one on their new lives. I'm happy for them, but I'm sad for the loss of their companionship.
I wrapped up a project today that has taken up most of my time at work for the last few weeks. With the holidays coming and the end of the year in sight, things have slowed down significantly as most work will be shifted to the new year.
I'll be working on my goals and commitments for the coming year. That will be a challenge because there is still a lot of stuff up in the air. I have faith that things will work our as they should.
Having issues with the new laptop. Y'all pray for me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Home Recording

I bought some new recording equipment this week and I'm trying to put it all together so that we can improve our home recordings. Learning home recording has been harder than learning how to play the guitar.
The problem is, I know of no one who lives nearby that can explain this stuff in terms that ordinary humans can grasp. So I'm forced to read technical documents that were not intended for human consumption. Do you remember those guys in high school that walked around with calculators that you had to plug in and slide rules in there pockets? They traded those big 5 1/2 inch floppy disk drives that contained source code and computer hacks. They could read these documents with no sweat - "oh, I see the problem. It says right here you have to have the drivers for the flux capacitor re-compiled and the gain adjusted with an oscilloscope. " What's an oscilloscope? I stammer. "Never mind that, just plug your USB cable in here, twist this knob until the lights dim in your house and then right click on this icon here. You might consider wearing safety glasses," he suggests helpfully.
Anyhow, I'm going IN. If you don't hear from me for a few days, there's a very good chance I'm in the loony bin, jabbering incessantly about midi, quantizing, Aux Sends and Receives..............

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Sun is Back

The sun came back today and I was a happy man. When I walked outside at lunch there was a breeze out of the northwest, but the sun overhead was warm and I could almost feel my batteries recharging.
I got a haircut which took all of about three minutes and cost thirteen buck. I think I really need to invest in a set of hair clippers with a number three guard. I could pay for it in less than three months.
We've been talking with our new friends we met at the Taxi conference. James Leonard who lives in San Francisco is trying to talk us into going to the songwriter festival this coming July in Hawaii. The event is limited to 100 songwriter so every participant gets quality face time with the elite
in the music industry. Having the festival at one of the most beautiful places on the planet is not bad either. I've been told that one of the best sunrises on earth can be viewed from the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii.
I've almost talked myself into registering for this event now and figuring out how to pay for it later. Maybe I'll hit the 200 million dollar lottery tomorrow night and financing the trip won't be a issue :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Home Recording

I decided to take a vacation day today and I'm so glad I did. The rain moved back in yesterday and it rained all night. This morning I awoke to the sound of raindrops ticking off the Rose-a-Sharon bush outside our bedroom window. I'm hoping our weather patterns have changed and the drought is over.
I spent part of the day re-recording some of our songs. One thing we learned at the Taxi conference is that we have to do a better job at presentation. Recording, for me, is a slow process because when you are musician and the engineer, each time you mess up you have to start from the top. When you have an engineer, they can usually punch-in, and so fixing mistakes is simple.
I managed to get through the guitar parts of one song. Jilda will come in later and do the vocals. I think the more recording I do, the better I will get at engineering or at least that is my hope.
This week I plan to tackle more songs. I think I'll post a few and seek feedback. That's one of the best ways to know if you're on track or out in the high weeds in right field.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Off Center

I've been a few shingles shy a roof today...a little off center. I had weird dreams last night and today it has been very hard to concentrate. When I tried to read the paper, it seemed to be written in Sanskrit or perhaps Swahili. I'm not sure what causes it, but I've come to understand that you can't really fight it. The best thing to do is take a long nap or listen to music without words.
When I went down for the paper this morning, a fine mist draped our community. A young squirrel ran up a pine tree near by, positioned himself on a low limb and began to curse at me. I could tell he was cursing because of the rhythm and inflections of his bark. He seemed to be saying something like "you sorry sack of moose dung, can't you find some other critter to harass? I hope you slip on some loose straw and bust your behind." or something like that. I tried to imitate his barking but that seemed only to escalate the encounter. "Don't make me come down there mister!!!!, you have never been bitten until you've been bitten by and agitated quadruped." I decided it was time to head inside before Rockie called for reinforcements.
So tonight, we are going to munch down on warmed over turkey and watch an old movie on the boobtube. Maybe my biorhythms will be better tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Iron Bowl

The rain and wind that blew through earlier this week stripped a lot of the color off the trees here. The big oaks and hickory which are slow to turn were spared but the maples, dogwood and sweet gum are mostly bare.
I'll need to start raking leaves when the rain stops. I'm going to put them on my garden spot to help fortify the soil for next year's planting.
Tonight's the big night for football in Alabama. It's the Iron Bowl which is the annual showdown between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. The Tide has lost five straight against Auburn and all the pundits are saying this will be the sixth, but I've got a gut feeling that will not be the case. If I'm wrong, I know all my Auburn friends will point out that I was wrong, but my gut feelings are right more times than they are wrong.
One way or the other, it should be a fun game and the winners will have bragging rights for the coming year.
UPDATE: My gut was wrong. Bama Lost :(

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bad Moon Rising

I've been listing to starboard today. I'm not sure if it's the full moon or if my biorhythms are 180 degrees out but things have not gone smoothly. I've been trying to work with our piano keyboard in our Protools recording software and I've come within minutes of throwing my pc, keyboard, and computer desk out the back door. Nothing can be more frustrating than a small computer glitch.
About noon I decided to forget about the computer and focus on getting my lawnmower fixed. I hitched up the trailer, loaded the lawnmower, threw Ol' Buddy in the truck, and went looking for someone to work on it, but on the Friday after Thanksgiving, that's easier said than done.
The first place I went to, which was highly recommended, had a sign that said labor is $75 an hour. I thought to myself - crap, I work on million dollar computers and I don't make $75 an hour. So I went to a few other places in search of a mechanic that would not want my right arm. Most places were closed but I did fine one mechanic that came out and looked closely at my mower. After a long while, he scratched his chin and said, "I might be able to fix that thang, how soon would you need it back?" I made a hasty retreat and took the mower back home. I got online, ordered the part and I'll fix it myself sometime next week.
Anyhow, we had left-over turkey for supper and it was even better tonight than it was last night. I'm hitting the bed early in hopes that my stars will be better aligned tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Slug

We've had a good day today. We spent some time with family and friends and ate way too much. Jilda is a sadist because tonight she made gingerbread and we ate it warm with a scoop of Briar's French Vanilla ice cream on top. Now I really feel like a slug.
I hope you all had a great day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank You

I worked from home today and got an early start before the rooster crowed. It's amazing how much you can get done when there are no distraction - well, I was distracted a little when I smelled the coffee brewing. We grind the coffee beans at night before we go to bed and it kicks on every morning at 5 a.m.
I slipped from the office and into the kitchen trying not to wake the spousal unit. She remains snippy until the sun comes up and the caffeine makes it's way through her system. I know this and I give her a wide berth at those times. She reminds me of our old Buick we had when I was a kid. It was really slow off the line when it was cold and early but once you got that baby moving, you better hold on because she would fly. I'm not convinced when she reads this, she will appreciate this analogy and that I was paying her a complement, because the old Buick was big and ugly. I loved the smell of the leather seats and it did have a great ride.....wait, I'm digging myself deeper and deeper....perhaps I've said too much.
Anyhow, I knocked off work this evening and went for a walk down behind the barn. The dogs were sitting on ready and when I opened the gate, it was off to the races. When we walk they experience pure joy and so do I. As we made our way down through the field a breeze came out of the west and autumn leaves fell like psychedelic snowflakes. A gentle rain began to fall and I looked up into the sky and said a silent THANK YOU.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Miss Them Already

Today was a little sad. The folks at work that took the early retirement have to be off the payroll by December 1st and many of them had vacation left so they are leaving. Some of these folks have been around as long as I have.
I started to work in the building where I now work in the spring of 1983. I started with the phone company in January of 77 installing phones but I got surplussed and was about to be laid off when the job at the data center came open. Since I was fond of eating, I decided driving 48 miles one way was not that bad. I knew nothing about computers but I caught on quickly and realized I had a knack. Looking back it seems like only yesterday.
I've seen people come and go. Some got laid off and some quit of their own accord. One of my friends dropped dead of a heart attack a few cubes away from me.
When you spend eight our ten hours a day with people, you tend to get close to some and it is very difficult to see them go. My friend Susan who sits nearby struggled with the early retirement offer but in the end, she decided to go with the sure thing. She took the money and today we said a teary goodbye.
I know my buddies will be fine, but some of them I miss already.

Monday, November 19, 2007


One think we learned in LA at the music conference is the need to have your music catalog organized. Jilda and I have written so many songs over the years that it's hard to keep up with them all. When I looked back at the directories of the lyrics, I came across tons of songs that I did not remember we had written. I can't remember the melodies of some of them. I'm sure I have recordings somewhere but putting all that together has been a challenge. It is my intention to remedy that this coming weekend.
Another thing I realized is that the instrumentation on most of our demos/cuts sound dated. In fact one of the critiques we got back said that very thing. So another initiative is to update the recordings and get them ready to pitch. One Taxi member we talked to last weekend told us that a big part of his success was having his stuff organized so that when movie and TV producers sent out dispatches through Taxi, he could respond quickly.
One thing I have learned is that if you want to be successful, talk to people who are having success doing what you want to do.
I also bought a lottery ticket while I was in California. A few million dollars would just about put me in a position to retire :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I've worn the backspace key on my keyboard out. I've had about ten false starts with this entry. Not sure why, but every thing I've started has sounded shallow and trite.
Writing daily is a significant commitment but I want to write things that are engaging, poignant, and sometimes humorous. Sometimes I hit the mark and sometimes I'm lost out there in right field in the tall weeds. It would be easy to simply blow it off and say that I'll catch tomorrow, but my personality is such that if I let a day slide by, it would not be long before I would not be writing at all.
I went by to see my mom today and she looked so frail. She will be 83 her birthday next month. She doesn't get out much these days. She used to go to church each Sunday but it got to where she was exhausted for a couple days afterwards so now she sits in her chair and watches soap opera's and games shows on TV. Her eyes do light up when the great grand kids come to visit.
You want your parents to live forever but you know that won't happen. I lost my dad in 1986 when he was just 62 and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him.
I can't imagine my life without my mom but deep inside I know that there will come a time when she will move on and leave us all with an empty feeling that will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Synchronized Screaming

Darkness was closing in on us last night as we headed out the Lynchburg. We decided to go up early and spend the night at the Best Western in Fayetteville, Tennessee so we would be fresh for the show this morning.
We rolled in about 8:30 and unloaded our stuff. My sister-in-law and my niece decided to ride up with us and we sat in the room unwinding from the drive up. The third Overall came up early too and he brought his guitar over to our room so that we could run over our set in preparation for the show today. After practice, were sitting around sipping wine out of plastic cups when out of the corner of my eye I saw a small mouse run from the bathroom into the room where we were sitting. Steve saw the critter too and when I said did you see that mouse YEEEKKKKKEEEEEESSSS came a synchronized scream from Jilda, Pat and Jayna. Steve didn't scream but he put his feet up on the bed to keep them out of harms way. I think the girls thought we were pulling their chain but then the little mouse scurried the length of the wall and under the heating/ac unit and everyone saw it.
Again YEEEKKKKKEEEEEESSSS. It was like I was hearing it in stereo.
I got up and opened the door and raked my shoe under the unit trying to shoo the critter out the door but he was having none of that so he wheeled around and headed under the bed - YEEEKKKKKEEEEEESSSS. Jayna was the first to put her shoes and travel bag on top of the dresser. The Jilda and Pat quickly followed suit.
I obviously took advantage of the situation and employed a great deal of rat-scare tactics which won me a lot of points with the girls.
This morning when I went to get a receipt for the room I mentioned the mouse to the lady behind the desk and she instinctively looked around her chair I almost expected - YEEEKKKKKEEEEEESSSS. The cleaning lady who happened to be standing nearby said without shame or hesitation - "who's gonna clean that room today? You might as well call somebody in that can TAKE CARE of this problem - you know what I mean? Cause I ain't never going in that room again till that beast is GONE!" The inflections in her voice left no doubt that she meant business. They apologised profusely for the inconvenience but I told her it really was not a problem.
The Old Time Radio Show went well and we played to a packed room there at the BBQ Caboose.
After the show we walked around the small town square and did a little early Christmas shopping. I scored some points when I bought the girls some chocolate truffles laced with Jack Daniels.
The leaves in lower Tennessee are a few weeks ahead of the foliage here in Alabama. The color was absolutely stunning.
My niece Jayna snapped this photo of Jilda and I sitting on a bench on the square.
The first Saturday in December will be the Christmas Festival in Lynchburg and if you've never been to this little town, I recommend you do yourself a favor and make the short trip up and see just how beautiful it is there.

Friday, November 16, 2007


The clouds above the western horizon turned the color of my mother's ambrosia as the evening sun set. The color is my favorite thing about the fall. I did not expect much color because of the lack of rain but apparently what little rain we did get came at a good time because it is beautiful around here.
We are headed up to Lynchburg, Tennessee to play at the Old Time Radio Show there at the BBQ Caboose. My sister-in-law and niece are riding up with us so we may take the Jack Daniels tour before heading home tomorrow afternoon. It is my intention to shoot some pictures there in Lynchburg. The ones I shot a few years ago were really good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Maybe Tomorrow

I had good intentions of writing a killer entry this evening but as I sat down at the computer my phone rang and we have a problem at work. Looks like I'll have to save my update until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The weather is changing with the leaves. The forecast calls for a much needed rain tonight and the temps will drop about 20 degrees. On the way to work this morning a lite mist was coming off of Bagwell Lake and the trees on the south bank were highlighted by the morning sun. The color was stunning. I wheeled over to shoot a photograph and realized that I had left my camera packed in another bag from the trip. RATS!!! The first thing I did this evening when I got home was to retrieve the camera and put it in my backpack.
I was still buzzing from the trip when I got to work this morning but the bad vibes from the coming layoffs etc. put negative energy in the air that was palpable. I had lunch in the lunchroom but the topic kept going back to - "what are we going to do?" or "I heard that the mainframe group will be gone by New Years."
I finished my sandwich and escaped back to my desk early to listen to music on my headphones to try and salvage the rest of the day.
I'm not making light of the situation because I know it's very difficult to stay focused and have a good attitude when things seem to be headed south but there comes a time when you have to say - hey, hit me with your best shot and lets get on with our lives.
I bought a lottery ticket in California and I'm about to log off and go check my numbers. Who knows, I might not have to go to work tomorrow. "Yes, just take my stuff to Goodwill, I won't be needing it any more."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jet Lag

I took another day of vacation today. When I woke up this morning I was on LA time. I called my boss and he agreed that a vacation day would be best because I would most likely have been ineffective all day.
I spent a little time on our website. It will be some time before it is where it needs to be but I recorded some of the sessions in LA and a bunch of our new friends wanted to have copies.
We spent a lot of time listening to music given to us by other songwriters at the conference and I am blown away by the caliber of talent. Just being there has raised the bar for us.
Tonight will be an early night for us because I WILL have to go back to work tomorrow because the number of vacation days I have left is dwindling fast.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Terror Girl

I did not have a clue that my wife could be a terrorist. Apparently the groundwork was laid at birth because her mom named her Jilda but Gilda got written on her birth certificate....not sure if the doctor was hard of hearing or if her mom was in a stupor from the birthing drugs but the wrong name was written on her "permanent record".
She has always gone by Jilda and that was rarely a problem until 9/11. Now every time we board an aircraft, it has been a hassle.
Today as we arrived at the LA airport at 4 a.m., the pre-security screener caught the discrepancy between Gilda on her photo ID and Jilda on her airline boarding pass. She immediately jabbed a big honkin' RED STAMP on her boarding pass and said "they can help you at the security checkpoint." As we approached they sent me down the normal line and they sent Jilda down the terrorist line. She was in this glass tunnel-like enclosure along with a guy that looked like he was a member of the IRA, a guy that looked like one of those weird Japanese cult members, and a middle eastern woman that was menacing the hired help. "You are singling us out," she hissed. I could not hear everything from my vantage point outside the aquarium, but Jilda was looking around as if to say what is this "we stuff" lady?
I thought things were about to get ugly when the lady security officer started snapping on rubber gloves. I can think of few occasions involving rubber gloves that turned out well.
I guess Jilda thought I was going to bail out on her to save my own skin because she was hollering through the thick glass trying to tell me not to leave her to the wolves. The rubber gloved screener whacked the glass with a stick and told her to look straight ahead.
There was a very nice screener guy standing there with me and I asked if they were going to do a canal search. He grinned and said that they had to do a really thorough search whenever there is any kind of discrepancy in the travelers documentation.
After that, the situation became much lighter for me, but Jilda was still freaked. They searched her purse, her shoes, checked her for explosives, and did the magic wand that checks for firearms. When the set her free, she was visibly shaken and when she saw me laughing she was one mad gentile.
Things went smoothly after that and it's actually comforting to know that these security folks are taking their job very seriously. As we boarded the plane for home I poked her in the ribs and said "look on the bright side, you are now probably on the Department of Homeland Security's Terrorist Watch List."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Into The Night

We played music until late into the night last night. During the course of the evening we solved all the problems in the music business and we were just about to start hacking away on world peace when we decided to disband.
We've met a ton of new friends this weekend. I have a sack full of CD's and business cards and a head full of ideas. There is so much work to be done. What's interesting is that a lot of what I learned this weekend dealt with marketing. What's interesting is that what I learned can easily translate into marketing not only music but also my other writing.
One very cool class was on staying with the hook. The instructor teaches at Berkley. He taught us to us a metronome when we are considering hooks to see if the words flow at different speeds. What was fascinating was the different ideas that flowed from the same hook when you sound out the hook at different tempos. I had never considered this.
I also learned that there are some very talented people in the world that are unheard. I also heard a lot of medeocre songs....songs that were written by people who have not quite learned the craft just yet. We still have a lot to learn but after listening to the pros here, we are a lot further down the road the a lot of folks.
We've made some connections with industry people that I believe can give us a boost up.
I'll end by saying this We are cranked.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In a Jam

Today has been a blur. We have had some really great classes and meetings and it will take weeks to journal all this stuff.
I've just been challenged to a guitar pull. It's a songwriter showdown kind of thing....a matter of pride you see.
Thing about it is this guy is not that old and I'm betting that he don't have as many songs in his guitar case as us. I guess that remains to be seen. So we're headed for a jam.
More tomorrow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Rode Hard

I feel like I've been rode hard, spurred deep, and put up wet. It's been an exhilarating day. The classes have been incredible. One session by ASCAP VP Ralph Murphy was in itself worth the trip. His insight on what makes music appeal to the audience filled in a lot of gaps for me. The technology demonstrations of all the musical instruments and software now on the market boggles my mind. For a few thousand dollars you can buy work stations capable of producing broadcast quality recording. I also learned that there's a lot of money in the music between the time when a TV show goes into commercials until it goes back to the program.
The best part for us has been the other members we have met the last two days. People are into so many different things. It's very inspiring. In the lobby there are people on every sitting surface playing their music for anyone willing to slow down for a moment to listen. The more I listen the more I realize that there are a lot of dreams here in America. Very cool.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Place is Buzzin

We landed last night jut before 10 p.m. We started our decent a few hundred miles away and the sky was clear. The lights from the city visible even from that distance. Once closer to the airport few flew above a cloud bank which muffled the view of the city. We were about a mile high and you could still see the stars above and the clouds below. The only time I ever get spooked flying is when the plane drops down into the cloud bank headed for the runway. You can't see squat and you figure the pilot can't either. You really hope that he paid attention during that portion of his training where he learns how to fly by instruments.
We made the mistake of getting the breakfast bar this morning. When I looked at the offering they had hash browns, eggs, meat and fruit. "Any chance of getting grits," I asked hopefully. I always do that when I travel even though I know there's not a chance in Hades that they have grits. "No senior, we do not have grits." The fruit was excellent but the little biscuits they had were pitiful. They need to hire a cook from Hardees to whip them up a batch of real biscuits. It would change the life of these bean-sprout eaters.
We almost had a cardiac arrest when the check came - $40.00 not counting tip. I had to put that one on plastic so I can pay it off on the installment plan.
Jilda looked at the card that had the prices for the minibar. "Dang, we need to make a run to the liquor store, buy up a bunch of booze and bootleg out of our room," she said. I thought to myself, that's a great idea, if we didn't get busted, we could probably finance the trip.
Anyhow, things crank up at 5 p.m. and this place is buzzin'. There must be a thousand guitars in this lobby alone.
I'll give an update tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Heading Out

We are making last minute preparations and checking our bags before heading out after lunch. Ol' Buddy knows somethings up. Every time we go out of town, we pack those big black bags and he sits and looks at you while you're packing as if to say "I hope you are planning to take me with you." Sometimes he can go but this time he will not be able to. Leaving Ol' Buddy for several days is the hard part about leaving. I really wish hotels, airlines and others in the travel industry would get a clue and make it easier for you to take your beloved pets when you travel.
This may be my only entry today. I'll know more once we are on the ground in LA.
Wish us luck.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Today has been a fun day. I got up early and wrote the columns for next Sunday. We've been planning which sessions at the Taxi conference work best for us and trying to decide what we will attend and what we will skip. Since we are not trying to get a record deal we can skip those sessions but we are acutely interested in the sessions dealing with music for movies and TV. We both love movies and we buy a lot of music from movies. When we hear a good song in a movie, we often download it from iTunes. We have found so many great writers and performers that way. We both are visual/musical people. We have been putting music with pictures for many years.
My good friend Dale Short taught me how to synchronize music with slide shows and it's something that comes naturally to me now. We are really excited about the next few days.
However, I'm a little apprehensive about the blog entries for the next few days. I'm not sure if the hotel will have Internet access thought it is California. or if I will have time to write something. I'm not wimping out, but it is a concern. I'll know more when I get to the hotel tomorrow night.
Hope I can sleep tonight.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bringing the Old Back to Life

During my cleaning binge last week I came across my first guitar. It was a Tesco Del Ray electric guitar that my folks bought me in 1962. The electronics were shot and it looks as thought it was used dig a basement but the old guitar is still solid and the neck is still true.
We have a friend that builds cigar box guitars and I asked him to have a look to see if he could coax the old Tesco back to life. We had lunch today at the Chipotle Grill. It's a Tex/Mex restaurant in Hoover near where I work and I had a burrito in a bowl. They start off with rice with green stuff mixed in (I think it was jalapeno peppers and something else). Next they put on black beans, steak, salsa, sour cream, cheese and other stuff. It was really good. Phillip Eggers, Steve Norris and I sat on the veranda and ate. The sun was warm but the wind was brisk. I had to anchor down my napkins with my burrito to keep them from sailing off like a kite.
After lunch Phillip took a look at the Tesco and pronounced it in pretty good shape. He thinks he can rebuild the electronics and get the neck back in shape so that it will play and sound good.
I'm excited. Phillip is a remarkable craftsman. Have a look at his website and see what you think about his cigar box guitars.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day here in Empire. The day seems to be dragging though since we turned back the clocks last night. This afternoon Jilda whipped up some homemade vegetable soup and cornbread and we ate it on the desk. The sunlight through the autumn leaves was stunning.
We spent most of the day today getting ready to head out to the music conference this week. We are both excited and apprehensive. We know what we want to accomplish but it's hard to know if well get answers to our questions. One thing I've learned is that the most remarkable things happen when you least expect them.
I now know how to install a doggie door so I can ad that to my resume if I wind up without a job. I'm taking orders now.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wimping Out

Alabama dropped a heart-breaker to LSU tonight. I can't muster up a decent entry tonight. I'll get some sleep and do better tomorrow.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Book Stores

I love book stores. I could go in and browse for hours and I often do. I like the smell of books, and the aroma of designer coffee brewing. I like watching kids looking through the huge selection of picture and pop-up books. A book store gift card is a perfect gift for me. The only gift card that would be better would be a thousand dollar gift card to BestBuy. What I'd really like to do is walk into BestBuy one day and say "yes, I'd like one of each of these items in this area over here," gesturing towards the computer and camera areas.
Books-a-Million opened a new store yesterday in Fultondale. Fultondale is a good twenty miles from here but that still makes it the closest bookstore to Empire. I stopped by today for a few minutes to browse the selections. I picked up a Writer's Market 2008 and a book on trees. A well known writer told me as the "Writer's Today" conference that if you wanted to become a better writer, learn the names of trees and other plants in your area and instead of saying "the tree" say "the southern Bayberry tree."
I look forward to passing away many hours in my new book store.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Senior Moment

I had a senior moment tonight. I've been sitting here for a couple hours doing routine updates on websites, filing old pictures, and cleaning out my inbox. It just occurred to me that I had not written in the blog. So here goes.
I picked up another publication today. Senior Living which is a paper published in Birmingham, has agreed to start running my column beginning in November. I pitched the column to The Birmingham News but the note I got back was not encouraging. I almost let myself become discouraged but then I got a call from one of the Senior Living editors and he said it was a done deal. So there.
I've collected some quotes and I'm in the process of putting together a cover letter to blast out to newspaper editors all over the south.
I'll let y'all know how this thang goes.

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