Friday, May 20, 2016

Blue Clover TV

So . . . I didn't sleep much at all last night, thinking about the possibilities with a potential project I'm considering.  Blue Clover TV.

It would be my own on-demand, subscription channel, with several 'series' - basically different categories of videos (a bi-weekly 'taped live' type show, several featuring different styles of music that I do, a series of fan-created videos - got your attention with that one? - and several others.)

It would be what they call an 'add-on' subscrpition of $2.99 a month for Amazon Prime Subscribers.  To get everything that I would be producing. 

I would have to pour my heart and soul into this, and while the concept is VERY exciting . . . I woke up from what was just a short nap this morning with my doubts and worries in full force.  In my experience, I could work my ass off and create something really cool . . . and then . . . nobody gives a crap or even notices.  We live in a media world full of what we call 'polished turds'.  In other words, what most people pay attention to is high production cost, highly advertised crap. 

What I'd be offering is pretty much the opposite of that.  I would make it the best quality I could, but it would most certainly be 'lo-fi', but the songs are great.

What I have to figure out now is . . . would anyone give a crap? And/or, should I do it anyway!?

If you've read all this, THANK YOU!  And I'm very curious if anyone has any thoughts . . . ?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Turning Points / Mac Davis

At this point in my life, I have gathered plenty of stories and experiences.  Enough so, that I sometimes suddenly remember an event that I had almost lost.

That happened yesterday when I saw Garth Brooks on the Today show . . . But this is not about Garth.  He mentioned (on Elvis's birthday) that one of his all-time favorite songs is "In The Ghetto" - recorded by Elvis amongst others . . . But this is not about Elvis.

The man who wrote that great song is Mac Davis.  For you young ones who may not know (and old ones who may have forgotten), Mac Davis is a hugely talented man. A singer, songwriter, actor .  . . He wrote and had hits with several songs ("Don't Get Hooked On Me", "Texas In My Rear View Mirror", and "Hard To Be Humble" just to name a few). And he had his own variety show, tv series, and appeared in movies. I admire him greatly.

One day, in the late 90's, when I was living in Nashville and visiting my hometown of  Ventura as often as I could, I was in the baggage claim area of LAX, sitting on my guitar case, when none other than Mac Davis walked up to me and started talking to me!  

What I remember about the conversation is . . .  one, I did NOT whip out my guitar and share a song or two (and I had a feeling that he WANTED me to!) And, two, I asked him what he had been doing lately.  He grinned a little, but also looked a little like he had been punched in the gut maybe . . . As if I had said, "What have you done for me LATELY . . . ?" As opposed to trying to find out what project I could be looking forward to enjoying.

The one of the two that I regret the most is not explaining right away what I meant by  that question.  In fact, I don't recall if I even told him that I was a big fan, or thanked him for his music.  I don't recall if I told him that I had spent hours playing his hits out of his songbook.  Or that I had performed "Texas In My Rear View Mirror" and "Hard To Be Humble" as part of my repertoire back at Tony Roma's in Newport Beach.  We just had a short, simple conversation.

But this is not about Mac Davis.  Not really.

This is about me.  I always thought that I would BE Mac Davis (or  'Mac Davis-like'), instead of some schmuck who would write about a brief encounter years after the fact.   This is about 'turning points' - which sometimes end up more like off-ramps not taken.

I should mention that I don't get particularly flustered around stars, since I always thought that I would BE one, I'm very aware of the obvious - they're just human.  So what might have happened if I would have shared a tune with Mac Davis and if he had loved it? Maybe nothing . . .  Maybe a lot.

I'll never know.  That's what this is about, but that's not the interesting part.  The interesting part is Mac Davis.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stewart's Restaurant and Fountain / the liquor store

It was before my time, yet it's still a source of pride.  The attached photos are of menus I had framed years ago. Get a load of those prices, and the overall style of design.  This now hangs in my studio/office.

"Stewart's Restaurant and Fountain" ('57-'62) right across the street from Loop's (in the log-cabin structure) in Montalvo, California. My grandparents, William "Mitch" Stewart and Thelma Inez Stewart owned it. In '62 they changed it to a liquor store (because that was more profitable). I'm not sure what the official name of it was, because we just called it "the liquor store". They sold it, to retire,  in the seventies. Last time I was in that area it was still Montalvo Liquor.

I don't remember the restaurant, as I was born in '61.  I DID have a chance to talk to an older gentleman who I worked with in the oilfields years ago who was a regular customer of the restaurant.  He told me that they had great food and very friendly service.  (That would be mostly my grandma and her sister Minnie and others?) I wasn't surprised.

I'm wondering if anybody has pictures of the restaurant?  I personally don't have any pictures (although I do have those menus) Anybody else recall the restaurant? I don't think I myself have pictures of the liquor store either.

I DO recall the liquor store . . . In the sixties, we would go there and get some candy. It was 10 cents for a candy bar then, and we would use our allowance or grandpa would 'buy' it for us. Also in the sixties, my dad worked there part-time . . . One night they were robbed at gunpoint . . . My father was held on the ground with a shotgun to the back of his head. Scary stuff!

Very fond memories overall!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Follow-Up: Still Kickin'

At just over a week out of the hospital, I feel good.  My only 'issues' are actually very small.  I remain a little stiff - mainly first thing in the morning - because of the bruising from the procedure (which saved my life, so no complaint there!), it's a slight bother to deal with wearing the oxygen (for another week, and only because it's supposed to help me heal faster), my lungs are weaker than I had realized (I tried to practice and needed to stop after a half hour). On the other hand, I've been walking up and down the street, and I feel fine.

People are suggesting that I should expect at least a month before I'm ready to perform again, and I'm aiming for two weeks! (Though I admit to being rather surprised by that attempt to practice.  . . . My breathing is all good . . . Oxygen level is great . . . Singing is another thing!)

I saw my hematologist today, and she said she will do testing at six months and discuss it then, but it seems that the decision will almost certainly be to keep me on Xarelto for life (at least as can be foreseen), because the risk of going off of it will likely be greater than staying on it. Especially because they can't actually say WHY this happened.  Apparently they usually cannot say why, just sometimes the blood goes haywire and starts coagulating in a bad way.  She even commented today that the huge clot in my leg "could disappear, could get smaller, or could stay the same" (????). The point was that the treatment would remain the same regardless.  (She also said that right now "I'm 100% sure it's still there")

So, I think the bottom line is that, aside from being on blood thinner the rest of my life and having this history, I will have a full recovery - it's just a matter of time.

Thanks again for caring . . .

Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/8/14 - The day I almost died

So . . . I'm on 'vacation' at St. Luke's . . . Unfortunately, this isn't an island in the Carribean. Instead, it's perhaps the best heart hospital in the world (where the first heart transplant was done).  The staff here is great, but I've told my wife that I don't think we should book this 'resort' next year!

But there's a good reason I'm here. Saturday morning, I was in bed, trying to recover from the flu, when suddenly my wife alerted me that one of our cats - the adventurous Japanese bobtail, Priscilla - had escaped through the bathroom window.  So, of course I jumped up, and ran outside to catch her.  It was a quick and easy retrieval, and in no time, I had her back in our bedroom .  . .

But as soon as I did, my heart suddenly felt 'out of control' I was big-time panicked . .  . I couldn' t breathe right and I was light headed.  I tried to focus my mind on getting my heart back to normal.  I didn't know it at the time, but the right side of my heart was desparately trying to push blood past a major 'saddle' pulmonary embolism.

Thankfully, my heart eventually won this little battle, and instead of failing (heart attack), it finally managed to push the blood through the blockage.  So, at that point, being a stupid, stubborn man, I thought, It's over, I'm okay.

My wife, being a brilliant and protective woman, suggested that we go to the ER. But of course, I said, "It's over now, I'm okay". But I'm curious by nature, and I kinda wondered what the hell had happened to me. So after thinking about it a little longer, I said, "Let's go ahead and go to the hospital so they can run tests and maybe tell us what the heck that was . . . "

Came to St. Luke's ER and they were great, took me right in . . . This the hospital where the first heart transplant was done . . . THE place to be in my situation. They asked a bunch of questions and did tests. As soon as I got back fron the CT Scan, the ER Doc came running into my little room and said, "I don't want to scare you, but the radiologist just called me and said,"is he still breathing?"  ER doc said, "You have multiple pulmonary embellisms . . . In both lungs and a major one in the 'saddle' (the split between right and left lungs).  You're lucky to be alive! A lot of people die from just one embollism and your lungs are full of them!" The attention level went up right away, and I got a 'free room upgrade' (to ICU) . . .

Since then we've found out that I have a "very long" blood clot in my left thigh that apparently broke off a piece, which ended up lodging in the 'saddle' between lungs, and then pieces broke off into each lung.

The current plan is that at about 6:00 tonight, they will operate  and infuse TPA, which should dissolve the clots.  Vitals are good, outlook is good. I will be receiving TPA for 24-48 hrs, and blood thinner for 6 months to the rest of my life.

I know the headline was a little dramatic . . . Believe me, when an ER doctor says, "You're lucky to be alive", it FEELS a little dramatic!

So, wish me luck . . . If you've actually read this far, thanks for caring, and I love you all!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Been a LONG while . . .

It's been a LONG while since I posted anything on my blog here . . .  Facebook makes it seem like MAYBE it's not 'beneficial' to have a blog . . . After all, I could post something to my Facebook page and viola! . . . my nearly 4,000 Facebook friends see my post, right?

Um, well . . . no, not really . . . not anymore . . . Facebook uses their 'special' algorithm to limit who actually can see posts.

With that in mind, maybe a blog makes sense again?

I'm not sure yet how often I'll use this blog vs. Facebook, but I AM sure that IF my actual family, friends, and fans subscribe to my blog, they (you?) will actually SEE what I say, instead of it being shown to only a Facebook-selected few!  THAT seems to make sense . . .

Most all of you will find this through the Facebook page - for now . . . But if you want to be sure not to miss something "Totally Historically Important" that I have to share . . .

Do us both a favor . . . Subscribe to this Blog!

We'll both be glad you did . . .

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crime Does Pay!

Well, apparently, in some cases, crime does pay!

I played a gig at a 'Cafe' in Houston [name removed - see below] the other night and when I finished, the owner refused to pay me what he owed me.  He offered half of what he owed instead, "Take it or leave it".  (He had asked me to book through one of his employees and once I'd done the gig, denied ever speaking with me.)  Of course, he was extremely nasty about the whole thing also, calling me a liar etc. (I, admittedly, had some harsh words for him also - deservedly so!).  

I said I needed to make a phone call (to get a second opinion on whether I should accept the lesser pay, or refuse partial payment so that I could try to legally pursue the full payment - which I realize would have been a waste.)  He said, "I'll give you a few minutes and then you need to get out!".  Within a minute, he was in my face, threw down the cash he'd offered on a table and said, "You gotta leave!".  He was holding an IRON SPEAR!  (About a four or five foot long iron bar with an arrow, or spearhead, on one end!)  I took the money, started leaving, called him an asshole . . . he started swinging the iron spear like a baseball bat toward my head!  "Say it again, say it again . . ." as he was threatening to hit me in the head with this iron spear!  I kept backing out of the place and he started jabbing the iron spear toward my face!  All the way out and when I was out on the sidewalk, he was still jabbing the iron spear toward my face, with a psycho look on his face . . . I thought he might actually stab me in the face with a damn iron spear!

Finally, he put the spear down and I told him I was going to report that . . . I called the police . . . when he saw them arrive, he slipped out the back (I could see him through the front windows).  The police took a report.  (They went into the place to find him, but  as I said, he was gone.).

A few days later, I got a letter telling me to go to speak with a Houston city prosecutor about pressing charges against him.  When I did go into that office, the 'receptionist' was rude and nasty right away, then when she asked me to tell her what happened, as I told her, she actually rolled her eyes, belittled me, tried to discourage me from doing anything about it. ("You know, this is a long process, and the only thing that can happen is that he'll pay a fine, like a ticket.") Finally she gave me a form to fill out. When I turned the form over to her, she looked at it and said, "Well, this doesn't rise to the level of a crime . . ." .  Threatening me with a deadly weapon isn't a crime? "Well, there weren't any witnesses, we can't really prosecute without witnesses. . . ." (which is a different issue actually than whether or not it's a crime to threaten someone with a deadly weapon).  This woman then claimed to BE a city prosecutor!  She wasn't even qualified to be a receptionist, so either there's a horrible receptionist in the Houston city prosecutor's office pretending to BE a city prosecutor OR there's a horrible Houston city prosecutor who is not even professional enough to be a decent receptionist!  Either way is SCARY!

Bottom line, the law won't do a thing about someone threatening with a deadly weapon unless they actually HIT YOU, AND there's a neutral WITNESS, WILLING TO TESTIFY.  I explained that my whole purpose in reporting his crime was that I suspect that he's probably done it before, and will probably do it again, unless he faces consequences.  "Well, if he ever does actually hit someone, then we can build a case against him".

Wow!  A lousy experience all around . . . 

BTW, I deleted the name of the venue, because at one point he suspiciously took a picture of my license plate!  I can only surmise that he has some way of finding out my home address or something, so I fear that if he finds out that I'm letting people know about his actions, he'll come after me!  Without a weapon in his hands, I wouldn't fear this guy at all, but I am afraid what he could do to my property when I'm not around.  Not to mention that I already know he is willing to bring a weapon into the mix!

And, no, it's not about the money, but apparently, crime does pay!