Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hello, Nashville...it's been a long time.

Day 1
Today I flew to Nashville, TN where I will begin my training. The company's yard is actually located in Lebanon, TN (about 30 minutes east of Nashville) and I am booked at a hotel not far from there. There's a strange coincidence about where I am staying though. Nine years ago when I was on the road with the religous rock group Plankeye I stayed for about a week at the hotel across the street from where I am now during the 1998 Gospel Music Awards and again later on during the tour. I ate at the same restraunts and everything. I distinctly remember my experiance at the Waffle House right next door. It's kinda crazy. Of all the places I could end up I land right next to the place I spent the most time during my touring years.
So here I am in this clean little room at the Best Value Inn just off Interstate 40. It's clean, it's quiet, it's not home, and I am trying to get myself to go to bed. I guess the most unsettling thing about places like this is that there's no one around. There is a noticable absense of human bodies anywhere near my room. When I cannot see, hear, or otherwise sense other people around me, I get a little uneasy. It's like the opposite of that phobia of crowds (can't remember the name). It makes the silence in this room somewhat oppressive. I hate leaving things like music or TV on just for the sake of noise, but I may resort to that just so I can sleep. Tomorrow is a big day. My first day employed by a truck driving company.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good Idea / Bad Idea #001

Good Idea.
Me using a toy truck to demonstrate how to back up.


Bad Idea.
My mom using a real truck to demonstrate how not to back up.
My mom. She likes living on the edge.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Big Change


How many clean slates is this now? It seems like I end up with a clean slate every few years. I dunno. Maybe it's a syndrome. Either way here I am with my worldly posessions back down to what I can fit in my luggage. Everything else has been either sold, given away, or just left behind. But the future holds some hope. Truck driving. A new life. A new job. A chance to pay off my debt, maybe even save up some money and start over. I am still doing music whenever I can. I still have that dream about buying a house in Fullerton someday. Who knows. Life seldom gives us what we want (or think we want), but it is what it is. Striving is good so long as you recognize the reward once you get it, and let yourself enjoy it even in all it's inperfections. And then sometimes you don't get a reward. It it what it is. Try to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don Marquis - "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

Friday, October 19, 2007

North to the Future

It's official. I have now (after struggling through truck driving school for 3 months) acquired my class A Commercial Driver's License, and secured a job with Interstate Distributers as an Over The Road (OTR) truck driver. I leave in one week (Sunday, October 28th) and will be flying to Nashville, TN for orientation and to begin my training. It has been a hard already and it's about to get harder but now at least I will be getting paid and will have the satisfaction of being out on the open road.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oswald Chambers - "The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Latest Music Picks

I've been hearing so much new music lately it's been hard to make a good top 10 list. This is more of a sampling than a a true top 10 favorite songs list - plus it is only taking recent acquisitions into account. So here they are in no particular order:

1. Punkrocker - The Teddybears (featuring Iggy Pop)
Even though this is a great song, the Teddybears have been pretty much hit and miss and obviously the appearance of Iggy Pop on this track is half the appeal.

2. Cool Kids Keep - American Analog Set
This song appears on the Electronic Acoustic (Electracoustic)compilation and is a great example of the great sound and songcraft of American Analog Set.

3. The Plot That Weaves - The Brothers Martin
All the best of Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) and Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric) in one great pop song. For fans of either or both this is a must hear.

4. Mistaken For Strangers - The National
I was a little late hearing this, it's been out for a while. Good stuff.

5. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
This guy is taking over. I heard this song in Carl's Jr. a week ago. I couldn't believe it. Why am I surprised? It's a brilliant song. I have to remember to add this to my "Anthems" playlist.

6. Homecoming - The Teenagers
An ode to "Summer Nights" from the musical Grease, this is probably the best pop song that will never be played on the radio and not because The Teenagers' music is so hard to get ahold of. This song's lyrics, set in a perfect blend of hooks, beat, and color, are some of the raunchiest lyrics of any song in my collection - and yet, they are brilliant.

7. Melody Day - Caribou
This song, from the album Andorra, stands out on first listen as one of the most readily likable songs while most of the rest of the album is better appreciated on the second listen. The whole album is really brilliant and separating one song from the whole is almost an injustice as the songs flow together so well.

8. Golden Skans - Klaxons
Another group I was late hearing, Klaxons demonstrate good pop sensibilities as well as a sense for musical drama without "over-doing it."

9. The Cold, The Dark, and The Silence - Sea Wolf
This song comes from Get To the River Before It Runs Too Low which is definitely one of the best albums released this year. Sea Wolf is leading the pack when it comes to Silverlake-brand Americana melancholy folk rock.

10. Astronaut - Luna
This is from Close Cover Before Striking - another album I was late picking up. I can see this fitting in nicely with both my "post-new-wave" collection and my "Americana melancholy folk rock" collection.

Laurence J. Peter - "Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

So, in case you haven't heard, I am in the process of becoming a long haul truck driver. It's been a long road already; I am in my second month of what was advertised as a six week commercial driver's licensing program since my entire class failed the DMV test the first time around. I have pretty much liquidated my assets selling off what home furnishings I had, moving out of my apartment, and putting my toyota on "Non-Operative" status at the DMV. At the moment, all my time is dedicated to passing the DMV test and getting on the road. Many have asked why I have chosen truck driving. Well, I think it's the same reason anyone choses what they do. Part necessity, part opportunity, part novelty, and maybe part insanity as well. Seriousl though, I am excited about it. The daily change of scenery, the sense of freedom (whether real or imagined), the ability to do my job well regardless of my mood (the importance of this is often under-rated), and of coarse the money. No doubt the novelty of the idea is a great part of the appeal but that will wear off in time, so I have to make sure there is something to enjoy beyond sheer novelty.
There certainly will be alot of challenges as well. First and foremost, being gone two weeks at a time, back for three days and gone again, tends to reek havock on one's social life. Thank god for myspace (yes I am actually thanking a deity for myspace), as well as cell phones and other modern conveniences for staying in touch (like postcards). True, they're a poor excuse for the real thing but I don't intend to be a long haul driver for ever either. I guess we'll see what really happens. Either way a Class A Commercial Driver's License is very valuable in the working world and opens up a whole new catagory of job opportunites almost any industry I want to work in (including the music industry). I will also have alot of time to write while on the road (not to mention a good deal of inspiration) and I intend to make some headway on some of those projects, not the least of which is one I started recently tentatively titled, "The Bridge." It looks to be a novel that's part fantasy, part reality, part philosophy, psychology, biography, etc. We'll just have to see where it goes.
As always, this whole adventure is just one more chapter in the journey. I really don't know how it will go, but I am hoping for the best as I tend to prefer happy endings. Until then, I am sure I will have more stories to come some triumphant, some not-so-much, but even when one must prepare for the worst, still, hope for the best.