(If you would prefer "A" rather than "An", then you are probably much younger than me. This link will explain why I prefer "An")
At the end of last year's page, I said this year will undoubtedly prove to be very exciting for us political junkies. I had no idea just how exciting it would be. Once I've updated you on what's going on in my life, I'll get into the 2008 Presidential Election. If you want to go there now, click on "Faith Trumps Fear."
Last year, I experienced many changes in my life. This year proved to be "steadier," but not without its share of surprises.
My Day Gig
My work at American Commerce Insurance Company (ACIC) is going well. I am involved in many different departments, handling everything from taking minutes in executive meetings to creating video and PowerPoint presentations for seminars, to setting up audio and video for conferences. I am also learning new skills in Microsoft Excel, a program that I've used for many years in my own business, but not at the depth that it is used in the insurance industry. It's actually quite an amazing program and, along with Microsoft Access, seems to be the business standard for creating rating systems. Both programs are incredibly powerful tools for algorithmic calculation and other mathematical applications, with the ability to do 70,000 to 80,000 calculations and more, with one click. Now, the operating systems need to catch up.
Our company stayed away from Windows Vista after testing it and realizing the incompatibility with many software applications. It is my understanding that Windows 7 is coming out soon, which should be a HUGE improvement over Vista. It better be, or someone else will build a better "mousetrap" and Microsoft could slowly start losing some of its share of the market.
My "Weekend" Gig
With great sadness, I had to make the very difficult choice to pull back on my responsibilities at Inspirational Gatherings. This was the small church that was started after our wonderful minister was ousted by the church board at Unity Church of Christianity. (I was removed as well, being the Administrative Assistant.) She started Inspirational Gatherings and I said I would do all could to help her get the ministry going. I handled the administrative duties, the bookkeeping, the keyboards and some vocals every Sunday morning and the website. It took 20-25 hours per week. Add my work at ACIC and I was working 7 days and 70 hours every week.
It was time to make the break. I was exhausted, sleep deprived, and not enjoying life very much. When I approached the minister in mid-June, she understood completely. I continued to carry out my duties until the end of July. As difficult as the decision was to make and carry out, I now know it was the correct decision. I want to extend many thanks to all who have stepped up to help since my departure.
For the next few months, I didn't attend services. I didn't realize how burned out I was until I started to reconstruct my life and allow for a little "me" time. This was a big lesson learned and I'm trying hard not to fall back into this pattern going forward. I don't like saying "no" to people when I'm asked to help them with this or that, and the next thing you know, I've committed myself to something way beyond just "helping out."
20 Inches
It had been many years since we saw this kind of snowfall in March. Rather than write about it , I decided a video would be better.
A New Book That Mentions a Couple of My Bands in the 1960s
I was honored to be included in the first-of-its-kind publication on the history of music in Columbus, Ohio. I was contacted by one of the book's researchers early in the year about some of the bands I was a member of back in the 1960s. He found my website and was impressed by all of the history on these pages.
I re-scanned some band photos for him and along with what we discussed over the phone and by e-mail, he was able to dedicate a small part of the book to "The Dubonnets" and "Phantom Duck." When I received my copy of the book, I was overwhelmed.
To be recognized as a part of Columbus' musical history is truly an honor. I highly recommend purchasing the publication.
There was a good article written about the book in the Columbus Dispatch. You can buy it Borders and Barnes & Noble. More on the publisher: www.arcadiapublishing.com
Back to the Future
As I started to regain some balance in my life, I found myself desiring to make good old rock 'n roll a part of it, again. (A promise that I made to myself on the day that Tim Russert died.) No sooner than I started working on some ideas, I received a call from a drummer who heard about me from the sister of the bassist in Reflection, the group I was in during the 70s! (Get all that?) His name is David Show, and he now lives in Nashville.
His sister's name is Becky. Ron Plumley, the drummer who contacted me, knew Becky and asked her if she knew any keyboard players. The only one she could think of was me. I have to admit that if someone would have asked me what David Show's sister's name is, I would not have remembered. For her to remember me is quite flattering.
Ron, along with a lead guitarist named Kenny Neff came over one night, late this year. Both are very talented and have great personalities. We decided to start looking for additional members.
Ron took the lead on setting up auditions. We definitely needed two additional members with lead vocal experience, or at the least, one with strong lead vocal experience and the other with great range and experience for background vocals. (I had no desire to be the only lead vocalist in the group.) One had to be a bassist and the other, a lead vocalist or, if the bassist was a lead vocalist, then a rhythm guitarist with at least strong background vocal range and experience.
Auditioning people for specific roles in a band always lends itself to some interesting situations. You get the people who feel they should be the center of attention and say things like, "…well, I can give you an hour but no longer..." and "…please have such-and-such song ready for me to sing…" After you've worked out the tune, and arranged for a time to have them join you, they're a no-show. And, more often than not, they don't bother to call to let you know they aren't coming.
The coup-de-grâce of auditions - there's always one - is when 2 or 3 "musicians" and/or "vocalists" show up promising to be the be-all and end-all of talent. Ten minutes into the audition, your teeth begin to hurt. After an evening like that, you go back to the drawing board, re-write your ad for talent and get very specific and experience.
As the Christmas Holidays approached, we continued to rehearse as much as we could without a bassist and only my lead vocals. We were using some internet tools that have made finding the right talent much easier.
When It Rains…
During this time, I received an e-mail from the Willie Carr, the drummer of my previous group, FOG (Four Old Guys) who asked Lonna and me to come to a small club to see what he was doing now. During my conversations with him, he mentioned that they were looking into restructuring their group in 2009. He said they might consider adding a keyboardist, especially if he or she could sing. I have to say that the idea intrigued me. I enjoyed working with Willie in the past. Although I was currently involved in putting a group together, we had not completed the process. I am one who doesn't usually limit my options, but I knew that I had to make a decision soon. I did not want to cause any ill feelings with either group of musicians with the decision that I would make. After extensive conversations with the other groups' drummer and their lead guitarist, I decided to stay with what I had started with Ron and Kenny. I felt that the direction we were moving in was better suited to my personal preferences.
My Family
My youngest son, Kenny, is now a diesel mechanic for a beer and wine distribution company. He helps maintain their truck fleet. He also helps them with other mechanical needs such as maintaining the equipment they need for large festivals, fairs and outdoor concerts. He loves the job. He is the youngest union member in Ohio. He's also dating a great girl named Amy.
Lonna continues to work at Greenleaf JTS. Her duties have expanded and she is optimistic about the future. She is also helping her parents (who are in their 80s) with their needs, in Marysville, OH. To say her plate is full is an understatement.
My oldest son, Adam, is still in L.A. He's had an interesting year that includes Thanksgiving dinner with Jerry Adler, who played Hesh on "The Sopranos" and
being recognized as the FIRST VIDEO BLOGGER in the WORLD from at least 7 different websites including WiseGeek.com and Wikipedia.com.
He also plans to go to the inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama in January. All that there is to know about Adam (and more), you can learn on his website: 4tvs.com.
I plan to go out next year, hopefully in early spring. He has a 10 foot projection TV system (1080p for all you techies) with surround sound that even he says is unbelievable, and he is not easily impressed. He tells me we'll be glued to the TV the whole time, regardless of what we're watching. I'm sure after a few days, I will be completely jealous of him. (Juuuusssst kidding. No really, I'm just kidding. Okay... I may be a little jealous.)
My Dad, Bill, is doing better.
Mom's passing was over two years ago and he seems to have adjusted fairly well. Although he doesn't show it, I'm sure he's lonely. I spent nearly every OSU football game in his living room. It was something we both enjoyed. Other family members joined us from time to time, and of course, as is always the case when you go to his house, there was plenty of food.
Here's Dad between two of his all-time football heros: Jim Tressel and Archie Griffin
Thanks for taking the time to read my 2008 page.
As promised, my thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Race.