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24 Mar 05
Yesterday, I started reading Kite Runner, a novel written by Khaled Hosseini, a doctor and author now living in the bay area. He is originally from Afghanistan, and writes in fiction, much of what he'd actually seen in his early years, growing up in Kabul. This time in Kabul is of the early 70's, the same time we were stationed there. So my point of reference in reading this book so far, is unique and haunting. I stayed up much of the night reading, and then only attempted to get to sleep, playing many old memories that were stirred up. We were there on 17 Jul 73 when Zahir Shah was deposed. It was a very well planned and executed coup, and I remember my father coming home from the embassy that morning, after he'd been called out in the wee hours when the coup started. He and Mom had been to a diplomatic function the night before that many Afghan government officials attended. He later learned that a couple of people had hoped to tip him off that night on ensuing events, but these folks didn't quite manage to accomplish that. But early that morning, my dad and much of the embassy staff watched from the rooftop, the endeavors of the Afghan army (who were in on this) as they proceeded around town to round up various government officials. The Kabul jail soon ran out of room, so the overflow went across the street, into the Kabul Zoo. It was a great insult to those incarcerated, but even as a kid I could appreciate the humor. There's much more I can delve into on the coup but I'll try to wrap this for blog brevity purposes. I will say that contrary to Amir's account of the coup in Kite Runner, I wasn't awakened by artillery fire that morning (guess we were further away from it in Shari Nau). But I did hear machine gun fire later that day. I was crazy enough to venture up on the roof of the house, but I didn't see much, other than to note that the park behind our compound was completely empty. The reason I remember much of this was because I was reciting notes into a cassette recorder that day, sort of like a reporter. I still have the recordings. Definite piece of history. It wasn't until after we left that the Russians invaded, and things really went to hell. Kite Runner proceeds to describe the Afghan people's horror with the Russian invasion and how Amir and his father managed to escape to the states. Their arrival in Freemont, CA had to be a culture shock (it would be a culture shock to most of us dwelling in other parts of USA) but there was an Afghan community in place. I've read a little more than half of Kite Runner so far. I'll be back with a blog on the rest of it soon. Incidentally, I'm still looking around for a new vehicle, but may have one picked out. The salvage company came by and got the car from the apartment parking lot, without ever calling me. I called them a day later, asking if they wanted the key. Stay tuned.
13 Mar 05
I got in a little while ago from doing another gig with Frank Treviņo's band. It has been about a year since the last time I sat in with them. I was a bit surprised to be invited back. That was because I was a little daunted with obscure things to try to read for bass and some older songs not exactly familiar to me at the time. I felt a little more confident this evening and also had Manual (with Old Hat Band) sitting in on drums. The night was more of a country western music direction, and the formal attire was not needed this time. The gig was at the same place out at Goodfellow for this resident dance club. The crowd enjoyed our music. This is stuff the parents would enjoy if I could ever drag them out there. Well, I need to drag myself off to bed before the wee hours further increment. Good night and sweet dreams to all.
12 Mar 05
Well, it's time to catch up the blogs again. A bunch has happened, so this one may be a bit long. I made it up NM direction and got in a couple great days of skiing. However I didn't get too brave on the slopes since I was by myself and had nobody else to drive back in case I broke something. Also, I'm a bit out of shape. Took the gondola up to the top of the mountain, where the view over this part of NM is incredible. White sands (where they popped the test nuke during WWII) to the southwest, another mountain range to the west, the Captians back to the northeast, and Sierra Blanca just to the south. A good mountaintop experience. Reality hit somewhat literally the following weekend in the form of an 8 point buck, totaling the car near Menard. I've been in a few wrecks, but this one had to be the loudest impact when this idiot deer found the left front corner of the car. Bashed out headlight, crumpled hood, door, quarter panel, and many cracks in the windshield. Kind of ironic after driving nearly 800 miles to NM and back without a scratch a few days before. I found the corpus delicti in the grass nearly 40 ft away from where busted pieces of headlight had landed on the pavement. I called the sheriff's office on the cell phone and told them I probably had a couple thousand dollars damage and asked if they need to do an accident report. I was told by a deputy that it wouldn't be necessary for them to do one, but I was invited to come on by and pick up a 'blue form' to complete. So I retrieved the right antler from the middle of the road and drove off with what was left of the car to the Sheriff's office. The damage to the car was enough to impress the deputy who gave me the form. The car was still quite drivable and I opted to press on back to San Angelo. The deputy told me that if I was pulled over for a headlight out that I could show the law officer the antler. To shorten the rest of this story, USAA has deemed that the car is totaled, It now sits in the apartment parking lot awaiting the eventual removal by a hired salvage company. So I'm now in the market for a new car. If those of you reading have something decent to sell that I may be interested in, please E-mail. Thanks!!
13 Feb 05
I finally finished mixing down stuff to a CD from that jam session a few weeks ago in the park in Menard. Now to work up the CD inserts & get credits where they may be due, along with info on how to support the cause we all were doing this for. EdRush, our band is in a momentary hiatus, with our lead singer having fallen off the edge of the earth again, and some personnel changes. Fortunately there are no immediate gigs in the schedule to inspire state of panic on Ed's part. Inamongst all this and other things going on, I'm still hoping to head NM direction for some skiing attempts while there's still snow. I just turned the TV on for a moment to check the 10 o'clock news, but as is oft the case on Sunday evening, things are running late. Tonight is because of the Grammies, rather than some bad ongoing movie. Still I don't think I'm going to sit and watch. But I did watch the announcement for record of the year, and was sorry to note that it did not go to Los Lonely Boys. At least Usher didn't get it (but he should get one for most annoying synthesizer riff of the year), and I understand that Los Lonely Boys has already received one Grammy. It's good to get some San Angelo musicians on the map. These guys have earned it.
27 Jan 05
Looks like I need to update the links in my main web page. Just found a couple of dead ones. Nahhh, I'll write this blog instead. It's been a busy week and doesn't seem to be over any time soon. I spent last Saturday helping out on a jam session in the park under the bridge in Menard. Last week, I got a call from Kent Edwards, a fellow musician from times past and long time friend. He asked if I'd be interested in playing in said jam session to help raise some money for someone to pay a hospital bill. I said sure and in the continued conversation it was determined that I may need to help with PA system. So I loaded my whole monster in the truck early Saturday morning and headed that direction. I also brought along the digital 8 track machine. Took awhile to get the whole beast set up and the large array of Menard musicians arranged. With seven mostly old country musicians crowded on the funky chamber of commerce stage, we ventured into many of the favorites that we sort of knew, if not had ever played together before. Kent and I hadn't played together much since the Clear Creek Combo days some 20+ years ago. Fortunately, pedal steel adds a lot to the sound. Folks put a bunch of work into BBQ and fixin's too, plates of which were available for a donation. After we finished playing, they auctioned a bunch of donated items. I bid on a German chocolate pecan pie, knowing that Nancy would like one, but the price rapidly shot above $30 and I discreetly bowed out. Darn, but it was good seeing folks coming together to help out. Finally we tore down; I loaded out the monster, drove it back and stashed it. Mostly beat, I gave the tape a listen that night and was amazed at how good we sounded, given all the confusion and lack of polish in our musical attempts that day. I'm going to mix this all down to a CD and give folks copies for a donation. Hope to get that accomplished real soon. Sunday was spent in somewhat a recovery mode. I was then saddened the beginning of this week with the passing of Johnny Carson. I relied on his monologues many a night to fix the news that broke during the day. Carson was an innovator, now much imitated. He gave a class and dignity to late night television. Although he bid his "heartfelt goodnight" some 12+ years ago, I still miss him. At least Jay Leno had his 'headlines' already going at the time and I have enjoyed them since. Leno claims to be one of the folks imitating what Carson had pioneered, but I think Leno even with his admitted imitations, has done a good job with carrying on the show. But, Mr Carson, wherever you are now, I'm sure you'll be offering up monologues for all us who've already passed on. I expect as well as per a recent cartoon, that you will be interviewing many famous folks who've made it to the other side. Say hello to Johnny Cash if you get a chance. I raise my glass (okay maybe it's a styrofoam cup). Not sure how to segway into my next topic from that, but I'll suffice it to say that despite my choir experience in church and with symphony orchestras, I'd never sang the national anthem before in a choir. So to resolve that, this morning a volunteer group of us from the med group offered up "The Star Spangled Banner" to folks beginning a farewell luncheon to our departing commander. Even with me being the sole tenor section, I think we rendered the national anthem due respect and appropriate rendition. I understand that we get to do it again for the change of command ceremony next week too. So, continuing with things about choir, this coming weekend is the church choir conference for Methodist churches in this part of the state, and several of us from St Luke UMC will be headed to Austin for this. Stay tuned (no pun intended) for how this goes and other odds and ends in my next blog. Hasta la taco.
16 Jan 05
So here we go with another "Night of Yanuary 16th". No 100.9 FM broadcast tonight, but I figured this should at least be good for a blog. Something about this time of year does involve various types of respiratory crud, so staying with that tradition, I spent much of last night coughing all over the place. I therefore gave church a miss this morning, as I didn't think coughing and hoarse voice would be very welcomed by the choir (besides I was signed out anyway, anticipating the now postponed foray into NM for ski attempts). So far no extensive coughing this evening. So we venture into another topic, about snow and lack thereof. The snow has favored northern NM, CO and points west (maybe a bit too much for points west) but left Ski Apache with barely a flurry. Since that place was the planned ski destination, this weekend's trip was scratched. Gives me a little longer to get myself in shape if this one still stands a chance of happening. Not sure I want to venture to a beach sometime soon after seeing the results of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. One web site recently E-mailed to me was this one with before and after pictures of shorelines: http://homepage.mac.com/demark/tsunami/2.html. Once again, I cannot fathom the depths of what these fpeople are going through (the ones left at least). There is a link off that website for sending contributions. I'm not sure that what I could send would amount to much other than a drop in a bucket (not to mention the waste of contributions due to problems getting help to those needing it). I'm still going to send something soon. Kind of hard to digress to something else after that one, so I'll say so long until my next blog.
10 Jan 05
Took a few days before I got around to archiving last quarter's blogs, but that chore is now accomplished. Fortunately, this year didn't start with a skunk either (see my 7 Jan blog from last year). It is a geek joke when someone claims to edit his web page with Notepad, but what you are reading right here has in fact, been edited with Notepad. Okay I do run the text of the blog through MS Word first, to get rid of the more offending spelling errors (thereby replacing misspelled words with ones that are completely wrong). Then it is copy and paste time. Whee. For the few of you out there that missed our gig last Saturday at The Oasis, you missed out on some wholesome rock and funk. We started with a few token jazz and blues songs, but progressed to the more classic rock stuff. It was a bit unpolished, but I'm not sure we've ever been known for otherwise and those of you out there that night didn't seem too concerned. Thanks so much for your support. Not bad for getting into a New Year. I spent a skunkless New Year's day and day after jamming with DCB, this time at Dan's farm, south of Brady, TX. One thing I missed last year was a trip to the ski slopes, so I hope to render that soon. Am trying to drag a friend up there too. May need to snow first at the place I'm looking at. Ah, details. Stay tuned.
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