3.30.2010

Damn You Bryan Adams



So...I've heard a few guitarist talking about playing until your fingers bleed..and then taping them up and playing some more (I'm sure Ian or Darrin can fill in a name...it's one of those metal guys I think)...but because my Metal Dictionary is severely abridged, my only reference to 'playing until my fingers bled' was 'The Summer of '69' by Bryan Adams. Yeah...stuff it...I know, ok?

(the top picture is more 'rock and roll'...the picture immediately above is more 'reality TV'...either way...the isht is sore.

I didn't notice it bleeding (didn't even notice that it split) until well after we were done practicing. I have 3 songs to work on and pretty much the same chords in all 3. The Journey song we're doing is down a key (to D) instead of the key was learning it in. And all the meedly bits I thought I would have to learn...I didn't have to. So...yeah...but at least that helped get the callouses back (Which had to happen anyway)...so that's cool.

Not sure how it's going to go on Sunday. The person that's going to be playing Sunday is not the same person I practiced with. So, it could be weird-we'll see.

It's funny. I didn't realize how much I really missed jamming. It's kinda like this blog. I didn't realize how much I missed posting crap on here on a mostly daily basis for all 4 of you to read. That is, until I started doing it again. It's funny-things that I really liked (playing (whether in a band or not), taking photos, writing)...I just kinda stopped doing them for a while. I guess it was probably a depression of sorts. The reasons are varied and none that I'd like to go in to here. But what's funny is that I just stopped them. And how easy it was. I guess that's the scary part...how easy it was to convince myself that I really wasn't happy doing those things and I just haven't found the one thing I was truly meant to do.

And that's true....I haven't actually found the ONE thing I feel that I've been put on the earth to do.

Nope. So far I think I'm to like 4 or 5 gifts that I'm supposed to cultivate. The prevailing theme, though, is creativity. I'm pretty sure God put me on this planet to be creative. To what end, I'm not entirely sure (but I have a few ideas about that). All I know is that I need to engage those creative juices as often as possible.

The rest will come over time as long as I'm true to myself.

Now I need to go get some tape for my fingertips.

Peace out, yo!

3.28.2010

Weekend at Thrifty's & an Answer to an Age-Old Question

Alright, first off, I want to just say that the new blogger editor is kind of annoying. There's a rant in the making, but it's really nothing that matters other than to me...when I can't find the cursor. Or the pictures upload wonky.

Now that that's out of the way....
This weekend was bananas (insert Gwen Stefani here if you must). Friday I was slated to hit my local-within-walking-distance-brewpub with some friends. That didn't happen. I'm on call this weekend, and lets just say I got called....put in the equivalent of an additional workday Friday night, came home, slept for 4 hours then went right back in at 6AM the next morning for a couple more hours and leave it at that, shall we?

Saturday afternoon, though, THAT was the event. Darrin was slated to hit Casa Del Skaggs at about 1 and we were gonna head up to Waldo for the World's BEST Bologna Sammich. But he was out and about already so he landed here earlier and we hit the road.

And we hit Waldo. And had bologna sammiches. And Darrin saw that they were good. And they were good.

There are pix here on the Facebook Album (although you may have to be one of my FB friends to see them, not sure how I have them shared). There was also some video taken, including an 11 minute 'as we're driving' kind of thang. I don't dislike any of you enough to post THAT. It was...in a word....not fit for public consumption. Darrin and I would laugh at it (because we were there). There were some other high points.

One in particular that comes to mind was the debate...actual struggle that was had trying to decide which bottom of the barrel pilsner Darrin was going to order.

And thanks to Blogger's new (not so helpful) interface, I can't post them.

**UPDATE** I got the OLD editor back. MUCH better!

Here's the initial though process behind which one to go with....
video

And then The struggle....
video

Finally...the decision is made..and the pour...
video

And then the food arrived. Darrin has his first bite of the world's best bologna sandwich (notice the little dance...this is NOT unique. I have seen this multiple times and have myself done this 'Damn This Sammish Is GREAT' dance).
video

After the sammich....and the curly fries (for me, Regular Fries for Darrin)....and the Munchers (think Jalapeno Poppers with potatoes in them)....and the Chocolate Creme Pie...we were pretty much done with the G&R Tavern that day and headed back on the road.

On the way out we passed a sign for a sports bar (also in Waldo) with Ribs....so, we put that one the list. Coming down 23 we hit the Goodwill Thriftstore just outside of Delaware. I miss thrifting. And I miss taking pictures of stuff that strikes me funny.

So, I did both :-)

The only pix I took, though, were of the albums I got (only 3, but oh boy...serious sample fodder, me thinks)...

That's Romania to the rest of you...




This will be good for sampling and laying down sound beds on the tracks that have lately been floating around in my head. Who doesn't like a good Gregorian Chant? And hey... from St. Thomas...I used to know some folks that lived on St. Thomas.


The catch, though, was this little gem. It's been QUITE a long time since any album has made me just stop and go WTF??? Thank you, Paul Hogan, for re-affirming my belief that no matter how much I've seen in my 38 short years on this planet, there will always be something that makes me pause and say...'Wow, man....that's effed up.' For 50cents how could I possibly pass it up?


And then we came home. It was a very good day. I chilled Saturday afternoon, watched Butler give a clinic to Kansas State (I know the world calls them K-State, but I've become partial to calling them KansasS).

And...somehow, somewhere in the evening (after I finished the 2nd half of the pie that kicked my arse in Waldo), I got in to NCIS...Dude. I knew when I saw Mark Harmon cap some pre-op tranny right between the eyes that I had found yet another impossibly cool crime drama to start watching. Word.

Today was pretty chill. Church in the morning (where I found out they 'need' me to play guitar next Sunday...yeah...Easter Sunday....no pressure there! But it's cool. I'm gonna have fun with it...and it's Journey, afterall...yeah...we're playing a Journey song at praise and worship...yeah-I know. It IS pretty cool!)

And that brings us to now.

The 'writing' goal for today has been fulfilled. Now I'm gonna hit publish...and then work on that 'riding' goal for today.

Hope your weekend rocked applesauce, too! In fact-tell me all about it!

-AT

3.25.2010

My Legs Hate Me Right Now

Hit the bike again tonight. 15minutes this time. Didn't even make it up to the 20 minutes I hit last night. I was a little disappointed, but my legs were like, 'guess what dude, we're done.'

I was hoping for a longer ride. But it's cool. Worked out to be about 3 miles. Got about 25 pages in to "The Portable Film School."


Jen needed tissues for school (extra credit to help bring up the Algebra grade which seems to have hit the obligatory 3rd quarter slump), so I let my legs off the hook with the bike...but they wanted VitaminWater (as did the rest of me...) so I said 'fine..you want it, we're walking to Kroger.' They didn't like it (and the rest of me really didn't like it when we found out it was rainy and windy. But I pressed on).

It's all about motion these days. It's about saying I'm gonna do something then doing it. It's a good feeling for me to be able to cross things off of a list as I finish them.

Ride...check.
Write...check.

Now I'm gonna chill for a few before I go to bed. Gonna wait for my legs to get past that noodle stage before making the trek up the stairs.

ESL

So...this morning the alarm did NOT go off (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!). I think I only threw the rest of the house schedule off by 10 minutes-not TOO bad.

Got ready, dropped Jen off at the bus stop and swung back around to pick up the work recycling (I'm on the green team, don't ask).

Took it to the Kroger near work, only to find that they did Newspaper and Magazine recycling only. Suxorz!  So to console myself I hit the McDonald's drive-thru where the following exchange took place:


FEMALE CAUCASIAN VOICE (shut up, I can TOO tell): Welcome to McDonald's, would you like to try a hot something something mocha?

ME: Nope. I want a number 10 with a diet Coke and an Egg McMuffin, please.

MALE LATINO VOICE: melmome mica donna, ma'i hep you?

ME (slightly confused as I just GAVE my order): Yes, I'd like a number 10 with a diet Coke and an Egg Mc Muffin, please.


MALE LATINO VOICE: you juan nummer ten? Will there anything else?

ME: Yes, an Egg McMuffin.


MALE LATINO VOICE: you juan memmagmuffin?

ME: Egg McMuffin? Yes please.

MALE LATINO VOICE: ok. thas six fitty (mumble mumble) firss winnow.




ME: Um....thanks?


Somehow it seemed funnier at the time. But it got me thinking....(a)I REALLY need to just stop going to McDonalds (especially after getting to work only to find that the hash brown they gave me was closer to a charcoal briquette)...and (b) is it SO hard to staff the drive-thru that we can't find people that actually take the time to care about the language?  I don't know. Perhaps my world view is more limited than I'd like to think, but I'm just getting sick of pressing '1' for English.  Shouldn't that be the default in America?

I don't know, I don't want to go TOO far down that rant or else they might give me my own talk show (hahaha).

Alright. I'm done with this for now...I'm not really sure where it was going, I was just trying to figure out how Egg Mc Muffin devolved to memmagmuffin. And if that's enough of a warning sign to steer me off that fast food highway for a while.

You may now continue with your regularly scheduled day.

-AT

3.24.2010

Fly Fat-a$$ Fly

If you're on my FB friends list, this first bit will be a bit of a re-tread (can't be helped, didn't feel like limiting this to 420 characters AND it fills my other daily goal of writing...something).

So, if you've been following along, you'll know that in May I'm going to Mexico to help a friend make a documentary. I'm super excited about it.

I turned in all the stuff for the passport card on Tuesday. So that's all cool.

And starting on Monday I had down 2 new things on my daily planner; "WRITE" and "RIDE:30-45min."  I don't normally finish all the things on my planner, but I figure if it's on there, I'll at least think about it.  And yesterday I wrote a new blog post. Not a chapter of a novel or screenplay or anything, but it was writing (more than my flurry of FB status updates that spew forth like a freshman at their first intergalactic kegger).

Tonight, after folding the laundry (also on the list), I threw on my sneakers and grabbed Ghost Rider (which I was almost finished with--excellent book by Neil Peart, yes THAT Neil Peart), my Sansa and headed over to the stationary bike (which had been moved in 4 months ago in anticipation of this very night).

Got on, opened the book, hit play on Dabears mix ("That's Tasty") and started to pedal. It was just like...well..yeah. You know.

I finished the book at about 22minutes. Good thing too, because I don't think the noodles that used to be my legs could take much more. I cooled down, changed, and then came down here (and have been tinkering with my Blog template for like an hour, word).

And here we are. Riding AND Writing can be crossed off of tonight's list. Yay.

So, the thing about the riding. I know I'm not going to drop a TON of weight between now and May 9th, but something in the back of my head is telling me that I need to be working on my endurance and overall fitness before the trip. Traveling through 3 time zones is tough. Going to a foreign country is tough. Shooting a movie is tough. Doing all three at the same time could quite possibly be brutal and I have a feeling I'm gonna need some endurance and SOME level of 'fitness' to fall back on after all the adrenaline rush has come and gone that week. So, that's about where we are.

Getting back in shape.

Getting ready for the trip.

And getting back in the groove of stringing together more than 420 characters that aren't bookended by LOL and :-)

Thanks for coming along.

It's going to be an interesting ride, yo.


-AT

3.23.2010

Mexico-A-Go-Go

So, things are falling in to place.
I got my travel itinerary. What I thought was going to be a Monday-Thursday trip is in actuality a Sunday through  Saturday jaunt south of the border. We fly out the evening of Mother's Day and are back the following Saturday evening.

In addition to the filming of the surgery (the actual point of the documentary), we will also have some time in San Diego and we will also have a day or so at the Mission in Tijuana. This is the mission that ICC is going to be partnering with this summer when we send people down there for ICC's first ever out of the country missions trip.

I have been getting mixed reactions when people learn why I am going down there. The first is "Do you KNOW what's going on in Mexico right now?!?!" Followed by "Why's he going down there to get surgery?!?!" The short answer is-wait for the documentary-that's one of the reasons we're making it. (well it answers the second question, not so much the first...which, yes, I know what's going on down there and I'll keep my ass out of jail and bullet-free....I promise!).

What's cool is that in addition to the strange looks (varying from 'WTF, mate?' to 'WTF, dude?!') is that I've been getting a plethora of sage advice for my trip.  I thought I'd share some here:

  • Don't get thrown in jail.
  • Don't get caught in cross-fire.
  • Don't go down side streets at night.
  • Carry cash to pay off the cops instead of spending ANY amount of time in a Tijuana jail
  • Go to Puerto Nuevo for some good authentic lobster (I hate seafood, don't see this happening)
  • Know where the US Embassy is and always have a good exit strategy
  • Have a taco with meat 'of questionable origin and pedigree' as you walk across the border
  • Watch out for the white Russian with the bloody forehead at the border-he's a scam artist
  • Never put the wallet in a loose pocket (money belt is best)
  • Don't drink the water (how could I forget this one)
  • Don't open my mouth in the shower.
  • Don't eat salad
  • Eat salad
  • Drink bottled beverages
  • Teen hoodlums come out at night
  • NEVER ask about a 'Donkey Show'...EVER.

That's about all I've got for now. I'm sure I'll gather more along the way before the trip (roughly 8 weeks away).

I took my passport (card) application to the Post-Office today and got that ball rolling. The last time I had a passport I was 12.  That was 27 years ago. But STILL the lady at the post-office made me fill out a 'lost passport' form. "It's not lost." I said. Doesn't matter, apparently. Even though the State Department web site said that if I was under 16 and something like 15 years had passed, then it's basically like starting over, like I never had a passport.  On the form when they asked 'Did you report it stolen?' (no) 'If not, why not?' (because it's not lost, it's in a box at my parents).  Hope that doesn't slow things up. But anyway, that's done.

Another piece to confirm the reality of the trip.

It truly is going to be exiting! 

I can't hardly wait!!

-A.T.

3.19.2010

OLE!

So, if you've hit this page from my Facebook page, you may have seen a status update about 'the center buying the movie' and about me going to Mexico to make a documentary.

And yeah, I'm pretty jazzed about that. So here's the skinny on it (so to speak).

One of my friends from church is a larger dude (as am I, but that's a story for a different time). He's gone through all the tests, poking, prodding, medical hoops that his insurance has asked him to go through before they authorize the bariatric surgery (or one of those stomach surgeries) on him. And all his isht looks to be in order. But they still denied it. (Think we don't need health care reform?? Think again). So, they're denying this surgery that pretty much everyone EXCEPT the insurance company thinks he has to have. Which means it'd be paid for out of pocket. And I don't know if you've priced that stuff....but it's about the price of a nice car...on up to a small house. My man's a family man...travels for work, works hard makes an honest days wages. So that kind of scratch just isn't available.

So, he's been researching other options. And if you've done the same, you know that Mexico is a hotbed for this kind of surgery. Don't know why, but it is.  So he's made the commitment to get the surgery done in Mexico for a fraction of the cost of what it would be here.

And this is where I come in. He had the idea of filming the whole process...from the time he made the decision all the way up to post-op and coming home and after.  And, obviously there are parts he CAN'T film and be in at the same time. 

That's where I come in. He knows my movies...my passion. He saw (I think) the documentary I did about my family farm in KY, "My Father's Eyes" and asked me to be on the crew. My duties are going to include camera, director, editor, sound dude, and whatever else comes up.

I think since we're down there for a few days (in San Diego for one day and Tijuana for the next 3), we're gonna try to film some other stuff, too. Short films, webisodes and whatever else we can come up with.

I know what you might be thinking...Mexico?? Dude! That's nuts. Yeah. Maybe. And I know that the thought of surgery in Tijuana can conjure up some raunchy images. Trust me, I went through all the same thoughts.

But here's what it comes down to for me.
  • I want to make movies
  • The expenses for this trip are mostly covered (travel and lodging are covered, just paying food)
  • I'd be making a movie AND helping a friend
  • I've never been to Mexico
  • I'd be making a movie
  • I'm gonna get some killer photographs, too, I'm guessing
  • Did I mention that it's 1 week dedicated to making at least one movie (with several potential shorts).
And yes, I know the dangers. I have talked to several people who have spent time in Mexico (and specifically Tijuana)...and I know to avoid the water...and the ice cubes...and mixed drinks. It's gonna be bottled drinks for me for the duration of the trip. 


I appreciate the concern, but I don't plan on doing anything stupid. I don't plan on being a target. I'm not going to let anyone shove a balloon up my butt as I cross the border. I'll be fine. Really. :-)


I know the concern comes out of love...and I appreciate it.

The trip is planned for the 2nd week of May. I'll keep you all posted as this thing unfolds.

-AT

3.01.2010

Bleeding

I bought a notebook and a couple of new pens Saturday night before the Pub Crawl (I don't like to be ill-prepared if inspiration strikes.) I'm on the fence about the pens, but the notebook will suffice. Composition book format with quadrilled ruling. Works for me.

Been a long time since I just carried a paper journal. I have notebooks all over the house...dozens of writing files on jump drives....but the pen and the paper feels like...

home.

Just feels right for some reason. At this point I have no f**king clue what I'm going to write-lyrics, movies, stories? Who knows? The point of it all, though, is just to write.

write.

Bleed out on to the page. Whether the words are poetry or prose...lyrics or scripts. They must be bled. The writer must bleed.  Those words may seem beautiful to anyone else that reads them, but to the writer they are poison.

The longer the writer keeps those words inside, the more he dies...a little bit each day...until  the unbled words kill him.

Words that are meant to heal someone else must first be bled from the pen of the writer. And...by doing so, the writer winds up being saved, too. Everybody wins. The words find the people they were meant to find. The author has excised that demon....temporarily at least. Some writers only have one batch of poison they need to bleed on to the page. Some must bleed almost constantly it seems. It has been a long time since I have let the pen just go where it will. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't the least little bit anxious about it.

The truth is, though, I have to get some of these words out of my head, before it's too late. Melodramatic? Perhaps. It's no secret that I'm prone to theatrics and eccentricities. Either way....through the blog...through status updates or tweets, or through ink on paper...more words will be bled this year.

Hopefully that will be a good thing for everybody.

 A.T

In The Bag

There are a few common threads throughout this blog if you read it long enough. One of these threads has to do with my obsession...er...ques...