Happy Birthday TOM!

It was also Tom Richardson's (John's dad) birthday on Saturday.



Rollie's B-day surprise party.

Saturday night, John and I were invited to a surprise birthday party for our friend Rollie Mains. It was held at Hadley Music Group over on Music Row where he works along with our friend Donna Stanley. We had a blast...in fact...we had so much fun I was still recovering last night. There were probably 40 - 50 people there. Everyone brought food and sweets and wine. Good food. Good people. Good stuff.

JTC surprises BB!

Saturday morning, from 8 - Noon or so, I had a CLC Council meeting. John let me know that he was going to practice and then run a few errands while I was gone. Not so unusual. Happens all the time.

Then, my council meeting ended early. So, I went home. John was already gone so I gave him a shout to let him know I was home. He told me he'd be another 45 minutes or so.

Great! That meant I had time to lay "The Forgotten One" down on tape and give Denice a ring.

At around Noon, John arrived home and asked me if I could help him carry some stuff in from the Element. Sure. No problem...I could help.

I had just gotten off the phone with Nicie and had all kinds of things to tell him about. So, of course, I was talking non-stop as we walked out to the garage. "Blah...blah...blah...blaaaaaah..."

As I rambled on, JTC opened the back of the Element to reveal a big rectangular box. It took a couple seconds for me to register what it was...and then I just started crying.

John had found out that the keyboard I've been pining over for a while was being discontinued...which meant music stores were selling them for less than half the retail price. So, there in the back of the Element, was a Korg SP200.

And, I must say, it is perfect. It plays and feels like a real piano...I'd swear there are little hammers somewhere in there! And, it hooks right up to the multi-track digital recorder so i can now record songs w/ the keyboard as I am working on them. No more tape player in front of the upright. Whoohoooo. Very cool.

THANK YOU Johnny the Clock!

Anchorman...not so funny.

After our Greek adventure at the House of Kabob, we went home and watched "Anchorman," a Netflix movie we had rented. As much as I dig the guy in other things, this happens to be a Will Ferrel movie I didn't like. It was a stupid movie punctuated by occasional hilarious moments. John fell asleep and I kept watching...hoping it would get better. It's two hours I'll never get back. HA.

DISCLAIMER: Now...for all of you who saw the movie and loved it (as did many reviewers of the flick) it's possible that my 7ish years working in the local TV news realm may have poisoned me on this one.

House of Kabob rules AGAIN!

John and I went out to eat Friday night at the House of Kabob on Thompson Lane...again. LOVE IT and recommend it to anyone when enjoys yummy Mediterranean food. (Anatolia's on White Creek Road is another favorite.)


NSAI Workshop / Jason Blume

I went to a GREAT NSAI workshop last night.
Featured speaker: Jason Blume.
It was sooooo informative. I'm not sure I can explain it.
From a songwriting perspective...it helped me feel like I'm on the right track.

The topic of his workshop was writing good melodies. Jason gave us several "tools" to writing a "hit" song.

Interestingly enough, Jason (a platinum selling songwriter) isn't good at writing with an instrument. (Just like me.) He sings into a tape recorder. JB recommended that you don't limit your writing to your limitations on any instrument. That is how songs start sounding alike and uninteresting. (For the record, my friend Donna who is a full-time songwriter told me this very thing a year or so ago. It is just nice to hear it from another writer as well.)

He also said the key to creating a song that people will sing as they walk down the street is repetition. Repetition in the phrasing, the rhythm and the melody.

And, the kicker...don't try to write a hit song. If you write songs from the heart and have something to say, while applying the tools of course, you'll have success. Jason said that if he is trying to write a hit song, he can't do it. While he may end up with a song that is structurally perfect, the song has no soul.

Because of the workshop, I've been thinking about rewrites on songs I thought were done.


It's been a whirlwind lately...

Well...I just realized I haven't posted anything since last week.
Thought my faithful BB's Blog readers might want a BB & JTC update.

BB's Update:
Writer's rounds / Songwriting:
I've had a couple rounds over the past two weeks. One at the Bluebird on 1/9 and the other at the French Quarter on 1/14 with Tre Burnham and Ricky / Micol from BMT. Both went really well. We had a blast. And, I debuted two new songs at each. One is called "I Don't Love You Anymore"... it is a sad song that made people cry. Then, I followed that up with a song I co-wrote with my friend Eric called, "Quit Your Bitchin." This one is an audience participation song. By the end of the song the entire, packed place was screaming the title line back at me. It was GREAT. (Probably not a radio cut, but I think people can relate to it!) And, I just finished a song called "The Forgotten Ones." It's about living in a nursing home...another tear jerker...but I just had to get it out. I've got several songs in the works, too...there are three in priority list right now. One called "Excuses" that is about making excuses for everything and not taking responsibility for your own destiny (a continuing theme with me...hmmmm) that I'm trying to finish with the help of our friend JC. I wrote out the lyrics and know how I want it to feel (Delbert McClinton-ish / Gary Nicholson-ish). JC is going to help me make that happen. Another one called "Drama" is about the drama we all seem to create in our lives and somehow end up constantly having other people create in our lives. This one is going to be a bluesy / ballsy song. I'm thinking it will sound Etta James-ish once it is all said and done. The third is a song about being true to yourself that I started over the weekend. It is about having something driving you inside, something you don't really understand, but that you are glad is there to keep you moving forward. Don't have a title for this one yet, but am hoping I get closer to finishing it this weekend.

Church happenings:
On 1/9 I was elected to Christ Lutheran Church's council. In two short weeks, the choir director resigned, we've elected to let him out of his obligatory month notice and we're now pushing through a "music program" proposal from our very capable organist. To make this happen I've attended two council meetings, a finance committee meeting, a vision team meeting and two worship committee meetings about it. And those are just the meetings...several hours have been spent meeting outside of the meetings with people to help move the whole thing forward. Overall, it is going very smooth and I've been able to stick to the "no drama" rule I implemented for myself when elected. I actually feel really good about what is going on with CLC because of it. While I'll miss our choir director, the proposal we've got on the table right now, I think, will propel the church forward in many ways. It looks like I'll be attending a council retreat this weekend to vote on the music situation and to go over the 2005 goals of the church. We're off to a running start...and I actually feel good about it. I'll keep you posted on the progress and how the council thing is going as I get into it more. (Serenity now...serenity now....)

NFIB craziness:
Work is going well for the most part. Got a modest raise and had an excellent review in December. NFIB has been very good to me over the past year. While I sometimes feel restless...I think this is where I'm supposed to be right now. The organization itself is not perfect (as with any place) but it is one of the best places I've worked in the past 18 years. The people here are really good at what they do and dedicated to making things happen. Lately, people, resources and circumstances beyond my control are trippin' me up, but, I'm trying really hard to keep a good attitude, put myself in other's shoes and be a part of the solution. I really miss managing a team, having the authority to make things happen and being a decision maker. I just have to be patient and keep on smilin'. It is what it is...It's a good place to be and I think eventually there is potential for me to assume more leadership roles if I stick it out. I'll keep you posted.

JTC Update:
Blue Mother Tupelo:
John had a gig with BMT at The Five Spot over the weekend. We all worked together to invite enough people to pack the joint. Some of John's Grassmere co-workers came and tons of music / songwriting friends came. It was a blast. Micol and JTC were really in sync that night. A rep from Big Tractor Music was there to check them out. Sounds like she loved the band and her interest was peaked. Not sure if anything will come of it...but we are hopeful that it will. We'd really love to see something happen for Micol and Ricky...and, well...John would hopefully be included in that, too.

On another note, BMT is quickly filling up JTC's schedule for the next few months. In March they are doing another tour of Florida and in June they're doing a Chicago and surrounding area tour. Should be some great exposure and help them build their audience outside of the Southeast. We'll keep you posted in case there is a chance you can go see them when they come to the area!

Session work:
Dale Herr has hooked JTC up with some studio sessions on Monday morning. They're doing some commercial work...knock-offs of old blues tunes to use for TV spots, radio spots, etc. Hopefully, the gig will lead to more studio gigs. Fingers crossed.

Oldies acts:
Still getting a steady stream of oldies work from Dale Herr as well. He really likes John (his extensive experience with these guys is a BIG plus). JTC played in Paducah, KY a couple weeks ago. As per usual, the bands really loved working with him (of course! HA.)...and the rest of the band for that matter. It's a good thing and it keeps the music money rollin' in!

Grassmere Animal Hospital:
John's working everyday from 7 - 3 and an occasional...and I mean occasional...Saturday. He really enjoys it. It's nice that he has a PT gig that he likes...but still hopes to someday (in the near future) get so many gigs that he can musically work himself out of a job there. Until then, the people are great and he loves working with animals. Everyday he has a story about something that happened to him or happened to an animal. It's wild.

I think that is everything for now. Just the highlights for a while. We still haven't gotten that new monitor at home, but we will eventually. I'll post some pics when we do.

Have a GREAT rest of the week.



Translating the Untranslatable

Listened to this story on NPR the other day on the way to work. It was really cool. I'm going to try to work some of these words/expressions into my everyday vocabulary. Check it out!

Morning Edition January 19, 2005 -- Linguist Christopher J. Moore has made a career of searching out some of the world's most "untranslatable" expressions -- words from around the globe that defy an easy translation into English. Moore shares a few of his linguistic favorites from his new book In Other Words: A Language Lover's Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World with Renee Montagne.

My favorites:

meraki - [may-rah-kee] (adjective): This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love -- when you put "something of yourself" into what you're doing, whatever it may be. Meraki is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal, but it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table.

litost - [lee-tosht] (noun): This is an untranslatable emotion that only a Czech person would suffer from, defined by Milan Kundera as "a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one's own misery." Devices for coping with extreme stress, suffering, and change are often special and unique to cultures and born out of the meeting of despair with a keen sense of survival.

ilunga - [ee-Iun-ga] (noun): This word from the Tshiluba language of the Republic of Congo has topped a list drawn up with the help of one thousand translators as the most untranslatable word in the world. It describes a person who is ready to forgive any transgression a first time and then to tolerate it for a second time, but never for a third time.

tatemae - [tah-tay-mye] (noun): A term often translated as "form," but it also has the specific cultural meaning of "the reality that everyone professes to be true, even though they may not privately believe it." For privately held views, the Japanese have a different term, honne, meaning, "the reality that you hold inwardly to be true, even though you would never admit it publicly." The British civil servant muttering the reproach "bad form, old boy" over a drink in the club, may be expressing something very close to the quality of tatamae.

Have You Seen An Ugly Car Lately?

The Car Talk guys need your help in trying to identify the ugliest new car on the market. They are under the impression that there is an entirely new generation of exceptionally disfigured vehicles out there. What do you think? Email them your nomination for ugliest new car.


The Death Clock

OK...this is creepy...but if you're like me you'll have to check it out:
The Death Clock

In my current condition, I'll die on September 19, 2036.
However, if I kick it in gear and make a few health / body changes in 2005, I'll live through July 8, 2048.
12 extra years...now there's an incentive!

I am Autumn

Per the quiz I took (see link at the bottom of this post), I am most like the season autumn.

Here's what it said:
"You're warm, and the most approachable. You have that gentle presence about you. People can relate to you, and find you easy company. However it's likely you've been hurt in the past and it has left you scarred so things can become rather chilly with you at times. Being the third Season in, you're mature, trustworthy and loyal to your friends but prone to depression and negative thinking."

According to the test, I'm the shy and sensitive season :)
AND...I'm not buyin' it. Shy is DEFINITELY not a word I would use to describe myself. The depression and negative thinking thing isn't really working for me either. I think I may need to take this test again. What do you think?

?? Which Season Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla


Sans computer weekend...

OK...I lied. I wasn't able to update the blog with holiday fun this weekend. Not because I didn't try, though! Twice I went up to the office work on it. But, alas, I think our main home computer's monitor is finally kicking the preverbial bucket. It's lasted a long time. We've had it since 1997...so it is probably time to bite the bullet and get a new one.

(Not to mention that JTC has yet to play his new Zoo Tycoon because neither his laptop or the home computer has a video card that can handle it.)

Needless to say...we'll probably be looking for a good, cheap new monitor in the near future. (OR, maybe we'll splurge a little and get a flat screen.) Either way, have no fear...when that happens...you'll finally get a glimpse of the infamous holiday trip!



Holiday Travels


Hey...I was just sitting here thinking about what a great time we had on our holiday travels through Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

AND THEN...I realized I haven't even posted pics or told you all about everything we did.

Watch for an updates this week. I'll try to post a couple tidbits each day.



UPDATE: Okay...well...still working on those tidbits of holiday updates. Good news is that I finally got the photos uploaded to the computer yesterday morning. Bad news is that I haven't had time to add them to the blog. Something about needing to be home to get it done is messin' me up! Anyway...worst case scenario...you'll see something Saturday! XO, BB


BB Played the Bluebird Cafe

For the second time in a year, I performed the Sunday Night Writer's Night at the Bluebird. It was soooo much fun. Johnny the Clock (percussion) and Kiwamu Stewart (guitar) backed me up.

It was a RIOT.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support me.
Hope you had as much fun as I did!

Elected to CLC council

We had our annual meeting at Christ Lutheran Church on Sunday. As part of the annual meeting, they held elections for open church council positions. And...not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing yet...but I'm now a CLC council member. It's a two year term. My goal is to steer clear of the "politics" of it all as much as possible. I'll keep you posted on how I do with that. HA.



A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards. Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc. were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do this.):

3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away. This weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc. has been stolen:

1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Thought everyone would be able to use this advice. Pass it on if you'd like!

BB Plays the Bluebird Sunday!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm playing the Sunday Night Writer's Night at the Bluebird Cafe this coming Sunday, January 9, at 8 p.m.

If you can swing it, I'd love to see you there!

Here's the official line-up:
6:00 Sunday Spotlight: Stephen Simmons, no cover;
8:00 Writers Night hosted by Jeff Pearson with special guest Jack Sundrud , no cover

RECOMMENDATION: The Bluebird does not take reservations on Sunday night. So, if you go, you may want to be there for the early show to ensure you get a seat. It is usually a pretty full house...and fun!

Hope you see you there.