November 30, 2008

Nobody Knew Me When I Wasn't There!

I Surprised Myself! Well, I finally did it. I went back to playing live. Next time there might be a little better lighting or something, but here's picture evidence -- me playing "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out". Its real folks, I've finally made my music leap. Yay for that.

Next Tuesday, I'll be going back to Clancy's Pub on the corner of East 10th and East Avenue in Erie for my next shot at getting famous.

Pipe dreams, yeah, but its a heck of a lot more fun that I've had in a while.

Cold As Wet Snow: This morning, Amanda, Townsend and I went to Edinboro to go sled riding on Culbertson Hill. Good times...wet and cold but good times. Here's a pic of the three of us:

November 25, 2008


No More Sitting In Park: I'm online this morning messing around, doing my normal email check in thing, and I find a photo gallery on Sports Illustrated featuring "Most Notable Retirees of 2008." Inside are pictures of guys like Warren Sapp, Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Dale Jarrett, Dominik Hasek...people that I remember how much of a big deal it was when they were DRAFTED. I don't know if I've ever noticed a set of retired athletes before that had their careers during my lifetimes that I knew front to back.
I realize that I'm getting a little older day by day and I can't be sitting in park anymore. If I am going to do something with my life, I have to do it NOW. I think I have some sort of feeling on people that have six months to live and know it. I'm scared of the possibility of looking back ten years from now and thinking "why the hell didn't I do that then?"
Quality, Assured: The hotel is having their inspection as we speak. Apparently we are not off to a good start; already been assured we can't finish higher than a 90%. The management are all really nervous. I don't know if they should be. After all its their first inspection as a team and the first one of a new term is always a learning experience. But its easier said than done. At least I'm assured we're all going to have a beer tonight. Haha!
Economical Conundrum: Isn't it wonderful that I can finally afford to go "driving" again for basically no reason? I really missed doing that...the open road, the missing knowledge of where you're going....wait, whats that? Oh, higher grocery prices? higher gas bill? electric bill?
Eh, it was a thought. It'll get better. Gotta have faith.

November 22, 2008

Snow Panda

Happy Winter!

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Snow (Hey Oh)

Welcome Back, Mr. Winter: No, the famous albino guitarist isn't back in town. This is the other older man with the last name of Winter. Wasn't a huge surprise, but the fact that its snowed almost every day in the last week has been interesting.
This time of year is very bittersweet for me. I like the Christmas season (for as much as the retail industry tried to beat that out of me), but I don't like the fact it is dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. Last night, Amanda and I went out to a club and we didn't really go out til about 10:30 and it felt like it was 2 in the morning. We played Scrabble (congrats on beating me again, Panda) around 8 pm and it just felt like the right time to go into bed. But we (and by we I mean "I") decided to tough it out and go out to the club. Weather wasn't too bad, and it was good to see our deejay friend Lori again.
A Great White North Story Too Good To Not Pass On: Last weekend, Amanda and I decided to do the big weekender again with the Erie Otters hockey games, both against the Owen Sound Attack.
On Friday, we had Townsend with us. I picked up tickets in section 19 and we headed to our seats. Outside the entrance to our section, I noticed a lot of fans with the other team's jerseys on. Inside, I noticed more folks. We got up to our seats and I realized that we (and be we I mean, "I" again) were sitting right in the middle of a sea of Owen Sound fans.
The "Attack Pack" as they called themselves, had lots to celebrate over, as they beat the Otters pretty badly 3-1. What was great about it was the collision of my patience and their fans. I stewed the entire time. There was a girl sitting beside me that had an oldfashioned wooden noisemaker...every time they made a good pass or had a big body check or their goalie made a good save, she would ring this friggin' noisemaker right next to my head.

Best part of all of it was when Towns was sort of acting upset that we didn't buy him cotton candy early on. The women behind us had a little conversation with him...
Canadians: Hey little man, would you like some candy? (Townsend looks at Amanda real coy) I'm sure it'd be alright.
Me: No, I think he's alright.
Canadians: I can't imagine how upset he must feel, considering your team is down 3-1.
Townsend is not my son. But I still wanted to punch the woman for being so stupid to him.
On Saturday night, we went again, just Amanda and I, and the Otters won 6-2. Big time adjustments had to have been made at practice after that Friday night game because the Otters played 500% better than they had on Friday night.
I got a chance to talk to the Otters general manager and he said that the team had to bench about seven guys due to a nasty cold that had been going around. And the guy actually APOLOGIZED for the game. Talk about humble, eh?
Ick, now I'm even typing like a Canadian.
Editing Note: The next entry that will be posted to the blog will be a picture of Amanda in front of a snowbank that I took yesterday with my camera phone. Please email me if it is not showing up in your mail.
If it doesn't show up, you can always go to and check out the main site.

November 14, 2008

Friday Randomness

Yesterday I passed a threshold in my career; I finally got a name tag with my first and last name on it! I was going to take a picture and upload it to the blog but I decided I didn't feel like blacking out the name of the hotel. Feeling pretty accomplished, and I think I might finally be starting to truly feel like I'm on the right career path...Took a long walk last night through the streets of my neighborhood. I found it very therapeutic and I'm looking forward to doing it again. Hopefully under other circumstances...Looking forward to another Otters weekend with Townsend. I think we're going to go to the home game tonight against Owen Sound; always a fun rivalry. Working 7-3 all "week" so we'll have plenty of time to do the hockey thing. I'm surprised he's been so for it...Hillary Clinton as secretary of state? Huh. Its an idea...

November 13, 2008

Chinese Democracy Has Nothin' On Me

So I think I've come to the realization that I need to stop putting so much damn pressure on myself to record new music. I don't have a record deal. I don't even have people calling me ASKING for new music or anything. Amanda is very supportive; listens to me every time I change direction in my brain with my music. So thats great...I just wish I had the patience and time to get these songs right.
They sound so cool, I mean, I can't wait for all of you to hear "Put Your Hands On Me" like I intend it. I also have a pretty cool Beatles type chord progression going on that I have been working on. I intend on playing a little bit of blues guitar this next time...but then again, who knows.
One day I wanna be John Mayer, next day I wanna be the Stones, next day I wanna be the Greatful Dead, the next day I wanna be Eric Clapton, next day I want to be the first Tony Kellogg, next day is the day I have time off work and can do it and I end up putting it off because I listened to Hendrix and have myself convinced I can never be that good.
I need to realize that most of these people spend six months or more in the studio, most likely eight hours a day, perfecting these songs. I have a few hours each evening AFTER I've spent eight hours standing in one place (okay, more like six and half standing, one and a half running my butt off) and I just don't feel musical.
The first CD I ever made was "Coming Home" back in 2003, and I was sleeping five hours a night and addicted to the internet. I was dating Jessica but she wasn't living with me yet, so I had some time. The next CD I did was "Kelso Drive" in 2004; I recorded all nine songs over a three day weekend as a whim to have it done before Jess got back from some vacation she had in the Carolinas.
You can hear the sound qualities in those and you can tell they're just banged out.
"I'm Nobody Without Myself" I took about four months to finish; I recorded and re-recorded and threw tracks away and thought I was on the right track. The songs sound better but they are limited to the technology I had then which was basically a mic and a computer with a bad sound card. (I won't get too technical)
"The Kitchen Sessions" I finally finished in March or April (can't remember) of 2007 and the songs came out really well because they're mostly acoustic. But there's nothing poppy or catchy on them, so I really don't have much recollection of them.
So I've been trying to record new music here for almost a year and I just can't bring myself to really push into it. I've had a full time job this entire time I've recorded songs so its not work...I've had serious relationships almost the entire time as well. So what is it?
I wish I knew. I guess I keep bitching about it maybe I'll get going one of these days. I spent last afternoon recording "Hands" and I really got some good things out of it -- first off I realized that I am a pretty freakin good guitar player. I'm not the most technical person but I have a style all my own. I play blues how I like to. I play rock in my own little style. I'm not an over the top rock star soloist but I like to think that my solos have an emotional feel to them. I'm happy with my guitar. No problems there. I've been pretty happy with my solos for years.
But its my voice. I don't know what it is, but there is only about one day out of the week that I feel confident in my voice. I have the talent, I know when I'm singing out of tune, I know when its right on, and I know when I am barely hanging on. But for some reason, I'm missing that dynamic. My voice is like the guy who just goes to work, finishes his job, and goes home. Has nothing to offer except punching in and punching out. I know its there. I know it has potential.
Anyway, Axl Rose is finally releasing "Chinese Democracy" as a Guns N Roses CD on November 23...seventeen years after first starting it.
I kinda feel like its been that long for me. I know it hasn't, but thats how I work best--under pressure.
We'll see. Maybe I won't listen to Hendrix this time.

November 05, 2008

President Barack Obama

Its hard to believe, isn't it?

I sat on the couch in my old home on Route 99 in McKean eight years ago after casting my very first vote for President. I voted for Al Gore; and somehow, that night, something seriously changed in my head. I couldn't believe I was seeing Fox call the election for Bush. No matter the legal stuff that followed, that election was really over in my mind that very same night that I saw Fox News call the election for him. I remembered how prosperous things seemed to have been during the Clinton administration; how could anyone not vote in Al Gore?

It was hard to believe.

Four years later, I voted again, this time in downtown Erie. First time hitting the polls with a computer, as most of us were, and once again, I voted for the guy who lost. Looking back, I can understand why John Kerry lost; the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Bush seemed like he was screwing things up and didn't care. He got voted back in by even more votes this time.

It was hard to believe.

Nearly two years ago, I met a woman who would completely change my life; give me the strength and the hope that I could really truly be something without resting on my laurels of being a "smart kid in high school". She is everything to me, everything I wish I could be, everything that I wish everyone could be. Someone that I always have fun with, and someone that I knew from the very first moments together that I would never ever stray from. I never thought I'd meet someone who was truly great.

It was hard to believe.

This morning, I woke up at 7 am and walked to the polls with her, this time four blocks away at a Methodist Church. Only person in front of me was Amanda. And I cast my vote for a man that people very close to me refused to take seriously because of various reasons that I am ashamed to even re-type (so I won't, even though I really want to). I never felt more enlightened about a person that I felt so strongly could lead our country, not in the RIGHT direction, but in a BETTER direction than its gone.

Tonight, I watched this man speak for the first time as the President-Elect of this great country. His speeches sticky with beautiful patriotic goodness; the camera catching Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, along with lots of 'ordinary Joes', crying. To think that someone of minority descent could bring so many people together; that he could win over voters in states that haven't elected a Democratic candidate since before the "I Have A Dream" speech.

It was hard to believe.

But tonight, more than ever in my life, I believe that things are finally going to be set in the right direction. I have faith in my fellow people that want this change. I, quite honestly, have bounced the idea around about politics before personally...and who knows. Makes you wonder what you can really do.

The man is incredibly inspiring.

President Barack Obama.

It is hard to believe.

But its true.

November 03, 2008

Is It November 5th Yet?

Long Time Gone: So its been a while since I've said anything politically in my blog. So here goes. Hope I don't sound like a moron.

Election Day is tomorrow, November 4th. And not a day too soon. I'm really sick and tired of hearing all these political ads. I'm actually sick of feeling the need to listen to talk radio as well. All its doing is pissing me off and wishing that it was all over soon.

Just yesterday, I turned on WJET AM 1400. Mostly just to hear what the conservative guys are saying, because I like to be "entertained" and to figure out what I'll hear next about how bad of a person I apparently am.

So this guy, Mike Gallagher, was ranting on about this man in Hollywood who had decorated his house up for Halloween and had included a hanging effigy of Sarah Palin. Gallagher claimed that this man had gone on the "coward" route by not hanging an effigy of "BuhROCK-oh-BUHMA" because it had racial overtones. He then went on to complain about this man and his "life partner" who had obvious problems with Governor Palin.

My take? Of course its not right to do something like that. Hanging any effigy is no good.

If Pedro Sanchez couldn't hang a pinata of Summer Wheatley in "Napoleon Dynamite", then noone can do it in real life either.

That being said, Gallagher went on a rant about "coward liberals" destroying the fabric of our country by doing things like hanging effigys of Governor Palin. He then challenged any listener to call in and defend these guys.

A call came in after the commercial from a guy named "Jody" who went on to explain that back in 2004, someone did something just like that in his neighborhood for Halloween. A neighbor had made two scarecrows; one stabbing the other one in the back numerous times. The stabber was George W. Bush, the victim, John Kerry.

So "Jody" then said that if thats not proof that this stuff is all baloney about it "damaging the moral fabric", then he didn't know what was. So Gallagher said, "You're calling in and defending this two gay men from Hollywood, this gay couple that decided to take on a political star like Sarah Palin, and decorate their house so spooky, that their gay neighbors would think it was 'fun and twisted.' Now, Jody, this gay couple--"

The caller cut him off and said, "Mike, why do you have to label them as gay? I didn't hear you say 'heterosexual vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin'."

Gallagher retorted, "Oh, you have a problem with me calling them what they are? They're GAY. Thats what they choose to be? Are you homophobic? Your homophobia is BLEEDING through the airwaves."

Jody tried to get a word in edgewise but couldn't. Gallagher went spouting on about "liberal cowards like you" and he has "no problem with gay people at all, and thats what liberals, deep down, can't take. Most conservatives like me and 'my guy' John McCain, have no problem with gays, but for some reason, liberal cowards like you and 'your man', BuhROCKohBUHMA can't take these people for what they are." I missing something? I don't know. I tell Amanda about this stuff and she has this great internal power to say she doesn't care and it doesn't really matter. I wish I had that. Its really strange, but I feel this overwhelming desire to just scream when I hear people like this. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Gallagher. They just sound like they're skirting every issue by sweeping it under the rug. Like they're all trying their best not to just come out and say "don't vote for Obama because he's black" or something.

I don't know. Maybe I'm too passionate about all this.

The lingering problem I feel is really hurting this country though is this huge emphasis on the four year cycle of "elections" as if there's only one election every four years. Thats not democracy.


School Board, Tax Collector, Mayor, City Council, County Council. These people have the powers of changing your local and your property taxes. Does anyone know who their reps are? I have a fair shot at answering no.

State Representative, State Senator, US Congressman, US Senator. These people are the ones effecting state laws like drinking ages, polling places, district redistribution, state taxes, matters of the Constitution like abortion and military drafts. Some people would be okay to know these folks, because most of them float by for years unopposed.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but because of "checks and balances", the President is only a figurehead that apparently has the power of vetoing any bill that passes through the House and the Senate, and has the power to appoint Supreme Court Judges.

Yeah, a radical person who is against a big issue could effectively bring in enough judges to overthrow a major issue (like abortion), but the government would never allow this to happen. Thats why our political system works. No radicals will get into power and stay there.

Heck, we almost threw out Bill Clinton because he lied about having sex with an intern. Imagine if we got wind of a President wanting to eliminate the drinking age.

Anyway, I hope I haven't confused any of you. I hope all of you go vote tomorrow. I don't care who for, as long as you go vote. People that don't bother are at the mercy of groups like the NRA and AFSCME. Do you want 'groups' to change what you have to say? No, of course you don't.

Your vote counts because it shows your choice. Anyone that has ever said "my vote doesn't count for President" just proved everything I was writing about today.

Your vote DOES count when its only one of a couple thousand that vote for the county executive who decides to bring in a casino. Your vote DOES count for the school board members that want to enforce dress codes in elementary schools.