May 24 Day 24

May 24 Day 24

One more week to go before I finish off this challenge!

The “big thing” everyone is discussing right now is that a bunch of knuckle-dragging idiots in dirty bedsheets are holding a rally downtown. Of course, everyone is telling everyone not to go confront them. Fine… I get that. They want attention. They want another Charlottesville. These people want for everything to blow up. I’m all okay with not giving them what they want.

What utterly disgusts me is how the rest of this conversation is shaping up: from those who want to equate these assholes to Black Lives Matter – not even in the same ballpark – to others who want to get everyone around this idea that “The answer to Hate is LOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEE.” Most of the people doing the talking don’t have a clue and don’t want to know what white supremacy is, why it is dangerous, how it affects the lives of people of color, and completely dismiss the dynamics at play because it fits a bullshit worldview where everyone gets along and all is peaches and cream and these people are just outliers.

Well… They aren’t. There’s a reason they wear dirty pillowcases on their heads. There’s a reason they don’t want anyone to know who they are. Even more, there are people that agree with their ideology that are in positions of power over the lives of people of color – politicians, policemen, teachers, bureaucrats, etc. – who won’t be standing up there with them and will do a lot more damage than any number of drunk idiots dancing around with swastikas.

People are so focused on the “hate” that they completely ignore the power that uses and directs the hate often in channels where people can’t see. People are so focused on the “hate” that they utterly ignore how the system blindly oppresses and disenfranchises people of color.

Marvel Trivia: Robert Bruce Banner was born in Dayton, Ohio.

Sure. Keep an eye on the Klan and yet completely ignore how the GOP openly and eagerly targets voting rights and accessibility for urban centers and people of color as nothing more than an electoral strategy. It’s far easier to make sure Black people don’t vote than to – I don’t know – actually go to their communities and make a case for how your candidates will actually fight for their needs… especially when you use them primarily useful as boogeymen “who your (White) tax dollars are supporting.”

Sure… ignore the Klan and preach love and unity today when on Monday you’re going to return to ignoring how the systems of power in academia and corporate America willfully discriminate against people of color. “Oh… We want people of color in our organizations, but we can’t find any who are qualified… (unless they are white).” “Oh… we want to reach out to all people, despite all the people at the table being whiter than an albino squirrel.”

Unless you are willing to be proactive against the various and multifrontal systemic barriers that are put in place to target and screen out people of color, YOU ARE NOT CONFRONTING RACISM. You won’t be doing it if you go there and shout down those repugnant assholes. You won’t be doing it if you go attend one of these alternative functions. You won’t be doing it by sitting on your asses at home.

Most of the people that are going to be hanging around downtown Dayton Saturday afternoon are going to pat themselves on the back for “taking a stand” and then go back to their homes and promptly forget that the people they “stood up for” will be followed around department stores, harassed via 911 phone call for breathing, denied interviews for positions they are qualified for based on their names or addresses, and disproportionately have their children educated in poorly-managed and financially-strained school systems headed by administrators in it for the sole purpose of seeking state-level offices.

Yes. Good job. Thank you for your fake display of support “speaking out against hate.” You’ve now earned the right to live your life like I don’t exist except for when you need some diversity in your life as long as I don’t mention anything about my unalienable rights as an American citizen.

Do you really mean well or do you just want to be seen as meaning well?

Until I see what happens on Monday, I’m just assuming everyone there is just a bunch of people wanting to be seen.

Angry Black Man signing out.

TKP
5/24/2019

May 23 Day 23

May 23 Day 23

So… Started off the day working on this website for a little bit. Mostly, it was correcting the formatting on all of the blog posts. I actually managed to knock out most of them today. I didn’t get much else done, though. My biggest concern was just being able to wean myself away from the “old” website as quickly as possible.

The website is still not where I want it. I’d like to have something static on my “landing” page with previews of the recent blog posts up beneath it, but I guess it’s a start for right now. It’s not like I’m really getting much in the way of traffic or that I am overflowing with content no one can find. It took me a while to get the last one straightened out. I’ll be fine messing around with this one.

First world problems, I guess.

Took me a while, but I finally named him Marty. (Yes… It was the beads.)

On another note… Today is my oldest brothers’ birthday. They would have turned 46. Instead they are chilling with Dad and Jesus. I don’t talk about them much these days, but their lives – and though I hate to admit it, their deaths – tremendously influenced the course of my life. I would not be the man I am today without them. The story has been told already. Happy Birthday, Guys.

Other than that… Just trying to get things set and get caught up. It seems just about the only constant these days is being behind.

I had a kind of unexpected challenge dropped in my lap today. All right… It’s an offer I made that became something slightly different on the other person’s end, but I see too much possible good in it to outright say “No, but…” So… I’m trying to figure out how to solve this challenge. We’ll see.

Night!

TKP
5/23/2019

May 22 Day 22

May 22 Day 22

Kind of having one of those times where there is a lot to get done and I’m just not feeling it. Granted, my biggest pain the neck (currently) is that I wrecked my website and am in the process of pulling it back together. Most of the important things are back up, thankfully. I’m just going through and fixing the formatting and other whatchamacallits in the blog posts. As of this writing, I have 41 blog posts total (not including this one). Two of them I wrote after the website changed hosts, so I don’t have to touch them. Out of the 39 remaining posts, I fixed 14 of them, which means I have 25 more to do. 19 of them were written this month.

Once I get those 25 out of the way, I will be more than overjoyed to say “Adios” to Microsoft Edge. Working with two browsers to copy/paste and alter formatting between two versions of the website is deceptively tedious. What’s particularly annoying – because of the difference in WordPress versions as well as the blog interface – is when I have to switch to HTML to get the embedded YouTube videos to present how I want them to. The blog interface in the ionos customized WordPress version – which I have to use on the already-annoying Microsoft Edge – is particularly aggravating to work with. Planning to change that as soon as I can.

(I hope I can, anyway…)

Stray cat I have dubbed “Reese” running around our yard.

Took Mom to get her Popeye’s. All I can think of is how the Hardened Gardener blabbed to one of our committees about how I refused to take her to Popeye’s one Sunday and nearly got me killed. I thought I was going to have to seek out protective custody, because I knew I’d never make it anywhere. Mom was born in KY and grew up in WV, which means going through those states are out. Got a sister living in Detroit which means I’m not escaping into Canada that way. I know too many people in PA and all of them are armed. That leaves Indiana.

Although I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my beloved Indiana University, there’s the whole matter of that state giving us the current vice president. Really, Dudes? You didn’t learn the last time you gave us a vice president that you should have stopped?

Whatever.Don’t pretend y’all didn’t know my liberal leanings before you got here.

Peace out.

TKP
5/22/2019

MAY 21 DAY 21

May 21 Day 21

Today, today, today, today, TO – DAY!

So… If you have ever looked at my website before, then you know that there are a few things that are… off. Well, if you had looked at it earlier today, it would have been WAAAAAY off. Like… There was nothing on it. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilcho. NOT A THING. My website – THIS SITE RIGHT HERE – was deader than Daenerys.

Too soon for the “Game of Thrones” spoiler? Though my brother WP raves about the show, I’ve never watched it. The extent of my splurging is paying for Spotify and enjoying that I get Hulu with it, even though I rarely watch television. In fact, I should probably dig up my power strip to plug the television and Roku back in. (I took the power strip with me on a gig.)

Yeah… I know… I digressed. So… Back to my website.

It’s no one’s fault but mine. This isn’t the first, second, or even the third time I’ve nuked my website. I’m trying to remember, but I am pretty sure it’s not my fourth either. I’ll have to ask CP or Gorzek how many times each one of them have saved my ass. Could I in time figure out how not to ruin my website? Yes, I probably could. I have no desire to spend the time doing it. There’s only so much room in my head for anything. The website usually doesn’t even rank on the list of priorities. This month of May is actually the most I’ve ever used it. This post will be – I think – the forty-first post I’ve published in the 12 years I have had the website. What’s the title of this post again?

So… I mentioned last week that my sight had run afoul of the space allotment on my previous host. SO… I looked into it and realized I should just change hosts, especially since I was already paying for space at this particular host that I wasn’t coming close to using. This was the first time I’ve ever changed a domain, much less moved a website. With some Google-Fu and some touching base with knowledgeable people – PS the Canadian Rock Star and Gorzek the Mighty – I had a game plan.

The logical thing would be to set the new website up and have it ready to go when the domain switched. Well… I ddn’t even see that option with ionos during the week I was waiting. It may have been there, but I will straight out say that intuitiveness is not it’s strong suit. That’s a common problem with tech companies, particularly that rely on knowledge bases that are written for people WHO ALREADY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING rather than the rest of us. Still… My Google-Fu had gotten me to where I had figured out how to back up the old website and the database. I thought all I had to do was restore on the new host once the WordPress installation was up and I’d be good to go.

WHY THE FUCK DID I EVEN THINK THAT WAS A POSSIBLITY??!! Given my previous history with websites, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

As I mentioned for May 20, once the domain switched and it looked like I could access the space, nothing I did worked at all. As Gorzek would say when he took a look-see, the reason was because I was dealing with a customized WordPress installation from ionos that wouldn’t recognize either my backups or the database. There was an extension I could have used to back it up that would have worked, but it cost $100. Anyone who has followed this knows I’m a church musician. I don’t have $100. Not to mention that my electric piano is in the shop… AND I JUST REMEMBERED WHILE TYPING THIS that I forgot to touch base with IB to see what is going on with it.

My mind is all sorts of out of whack now…

My brother SFP’s cat Gabriel further foments chaos in my office space.

After a bit of messing around, I called PS the Canadian Rock Star and figured out a way to get back to the old site. Dude gave me a lecture and I’ll admit that I deserved every word of it. I’m actually a little scared that CP aka Mr. Anti-Foolishness may see this post and be reminded yet again just how much of a damn fool I am. Gorzek was the kindest to me, to which I certainly appreciate. After figuring out that it was the way, I went through and started copying over each of my posts.

Go figure… This is probably the one and only time where chronically neglecting a website actually pays off, since I’ve only had 41 posts on it over the last 12 years. Of course, in order to pull it off, I had to use two different browsers. I used Chrome to access the old website – using a Virtual Host for Chrome – and then Microsoft Edge in order to access the new website.

Just gotta say… MICROSOFT EDGE IS SHIT. No access to the clipboard? COME ON. So, I’m copying all this stuff an completely losing all the formatting when I paste it into your interface. What the HELL, Microsoft? STUFF LIKE THIS IS WHY I STOPPED USING INTERNET EXPLORER. Even now, I’m going to copy this post THAT I TYPED IN MICROSOFT OFFICE 365 into the website on Microsoft Edge and I’ll lose ALL the formatting.

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Yeah… I know… I gotta be careful with that mouth of mine. I was gritting my teeth even while typing this.

Anyway, I copied all my posts over – sans formatting and all the photos and videos put in – and then just went ahead and published them as-is rather than wait until I’ve gone back through and corrected them. The photos I was able to just pull out of the backup files from the old website. The videos will take a bit more doing because those were YouTube links. The biggest pain is going to be going through and redoing the formatting.

For right now… My content is all saved. That was the important thing. I hurried to get caught up on my May posts. It’s not convenient and I’m already cringing while knowing I’m going to have to go through my social media posts and correct the links on the pictures. It’s just a lot of fixing I’m going to have to do. I’ll deal.

I’m also seeing that much of this interface is different from what I’m used to. It will probably be a while before the website looks okayish. We’ll see.

That said… This post has gone on long enough.

All the best

TKP
5/21/2019

MAY 20 DAY 20

May 20 Day 20

Obviously, this is not getting posted on May 20 or even close. I’ll be doing good to get this up before May 21 is out. Typical Mondays are part recovery from crazy Sunday with a dose of staff meetings in the evening. I try to get some practice in. Given the lack of sleep Saturday followed by more lack of sleep on Sunday, I really tried to get the rest. It didn’t quite work out. (Does it ever?)

The car my younger brother drives has this ongoing intermittent problem where it will just shut off – while driving – and then not turn over for about 10-15 minutes. It has happened twice while I was driving it, one time in the left turn lane of the LAST intersection I’d want to be stuck in. Battery and alternator have both been checked. He checked spark plugs. We aren’t mechanics. Dude should take it in, but admittedly that car is barely limping. Another car should be on the table.

My sandals may be made for walking, but my brother is NOT.

Anyway… I got up and took him to work, which messed with my plan to catch up on sleep. Mom wanted some Mexican, so I took her to one of her places that just relocated. Lunch was great. I checked my new host to see if my domain was switching or at the very least I could start setting up the website. Saw no sign. Having never moved a website before, there probably was some way to set it up before the domain moved, but I sure as hell didn’t know it.

About the time I was originally writing this post – which was about 12:30 AM on May 21 – the domain switched. I checked it out and then started restoring the website and database like these online places said. NOPE. Didn’t work. I put it in the wrong place the first time. Then I put it in the right place and it still wouldn’t work. At that point, I set that aside because I remembered “Shit! I need to set my GSuite back up!”

Now… I used to love Google, but they destroyed that love when Google Wallet held $200 my sister gave me to help cover the cost of our father’s memorial expenses. FOR OVER TWO MONTHS. So… As far as I’m concerned, Google can do unmentionable things to itself with objects you can imagine. Unfortunately, I use GSuite for my website email. (Well… and Google for my personal email and my work email, too.) I had to go and set that up all over again and convince Google to look for it. As quickly as possible.

One of my sisters uses one of my domain emails for her Google music cloud. For the love of God, do not get in between DS and her music. I don’t know about you, but I like being alive.

Speaking of that… May 20 marked two years to the day that we held my father’s memorial service. Three church communities came together to help us pull that together. It ran way too long, but it was a great service and probably the best thing to come out of that time period. In a way, it was also a preview of what it was going to be like working with the Brother Rudy and the Terrible Twosome. Dad’s sendoff did him justice and it was fitting for it to be in the town he loved with his friends and family.

Back to my website… Well… Meh. I hope I develop a great relationship with ionos.com, because I don’t ever want to do this again!

TKP
5/20/2019

MAY 19 DAY 19

May 19 Day 19

As I mentioned in previous entries, Sundays tend to be my crazy days. 4:30 AM wake. 5:30 get Mom ready. 6:30 out the door. 7:00 set up at The Greene. 8 rehearsal. 9 Service 1. 10:20 Service 2. Scramble to tear everything down by 12 noon. Lunch with Mom afterwards. Go home. Post-church coma about 3:30. Get up 5:30 and go rehearse with the Dayton Salsa Project (DSP) at 6:30. Get home at about 10 PM. Usually on about 3 hours of sleep the previous night. So… If I’m lucky, my post-church coma will be about two hours. Doesn’t usually work out that way.

Mosaic worship celebrations went pretty well this morning. There were some challenges to work around, but it went fine. I caved in and brought my 100-lb, 21-year-old electric piano with the floppy disk drive. It worked fine with the exception of twice where someone touched the power cord and it came right on out. During the first service, I had to scramble around and flop right around on my back during the first song to put it back in. (I can’t see the insert from above.)

It went okay… but I will probably not be bringing that particular instrument back out in the future. Simply finding a way to get the stand (which is screwed together) inside of the car with Mom’s wheelchair and ramp added about 10 minutes to packing and unpacking. And don’t get me started on the extra time with screwing the top of it on the stand. I used to gig with that keyboard all the time – and it looks like it – but these days, I don’t need to be hauling stuff like that around and balancing with it over my head while I screw it in.

Okay… So it may have been dinged around a few times in its 21 years…

Nope. I can’t wait until I get my (much lighter and newer) keyboard back from my guy IB!

My post-church coma ended up getting cut short today. Our International Pastor Ayad Attia graduated from United Theological Seminary yesterday with his doctorate and the graduation party was held today. Crash course on Ayad: He’s Egyptian and grew up as a Christian in a predominantly-Muslim country. He knows the Bible and the history better than just about anyone I know. Much of his work involves Christian outreach to Muslims. Ayad has a huge heart and a warm spirit. I was honored to celebrate this milestone with him.

Dr. Habibi Meister – I mean – Dr. Ayad Attia!

I left the party early to make a mad dash to Dayton to rehearse with DSP. I already bragged about them last week, so I’ll avoid rehashing history and becoming a basket case.

One of the things I have noticed from the past week is how sometimes the smallest thing can be an enormous help to the people around you. I won’t get into the details, but while working on one of my own projects, I realized there were resources I wasn’t using and people that could use them. So… I offered. They accepted. I’m curious to see what they do with them. The additional cost to me was basically negligible, but the dividend is well worth it. Glad I could be a part of it.

Someone gave my Mom this basket today in church.

All right… Time to back up the website. Pretty sure I can get it done before the website moves!

Thanks all!

TKP
5/19/2019

MAY 17 DAY 17

May 17 Day 17

Not much to report today… except that the temperature is starting to creep upward. This is about the time of year where I start keeping an eye on the forecast. The heat pump in my garage is pretty efficient and gets the job done, though it is past time for me to clean it. As long as it keeps my piano in what I call the “acceptable temperature area” I’m good. I should probably check the bottom seal of my garage door to make sure it hasn’t dried out and got brittle.

As for the house, I’m trying to go as long as I can before turning on the central air. Obvious reason: Dayton Plunder & Loot. June through September tend to be expensive months. July gives me anxiety anyway with house insurance, real estate taxes, and three family birthdays all in the same week. Throw in an electric bill double what it is in April and I’ll probably be figuring out what other bills I can kick down the road.

The heat is particularly hard on Mom. I should know; I pick her up over 10 times a day and there are times I’m getting little to no leg strength from her. If I even get a whiff of it starting to affect her, that air conditioner is going on. I have to acknowledge that my brothers are also pretty good about that. I can tough out sweating like a mofo at night, but I’m not having Mom do it.

Ludwig and Assad aren’t impressed.

Today was a hodge-podge of errands and cleaning with a dash of “I better do this right now while I am thinking about it.” Certain things tend to collect in my office that actually belong in other places in the house. There’s one particular item that really needs to go because it is no longer used and is taking up valuable space. That’s kind of low on my list of priorities. I just want to get to – what is the word… – functional.

Tomorrow is looking like it is going to be a pretty long day. Just gotta roll.

TKP
5/17/19

MAY 16 DAY 16

May 16 Day 16

Again… Not a super-eventful day. I took Mom out a little earlier than usual because I had a mid-day booking. Of course, I knew exactly what she was going to pick. Waffle House. I tend to associate Waffle House more with a late-night run or a stop on a road trip, but that was where Mom wanted to go. So I took her. And of course, we get greeted by who I call Evil Angie.

All right. She’s not evil. She gives some sass and I give it back. She loves Mom and she takes good care of us every time we go, even if she’s not our server. Despite my best attempts, Mom appears to have adopted her as well… as if I didn’t have enough trouble-making sisters. (If I mysteriously disappear after this post is published, the primary suspect lives just a few miles from the Cumberland River. Love you, DS!) I told Evil Angie about how my church has declared Momma Jane their Momma too. Mosaic Church, Evil Angie has a few choice words for you!

After I got Mom back home and settled, I headed up to my 1:30 “office.” Over the years, I’ve had the honor of playing with a number of amazing musicians. One of the first people I worked with after moving home from Bloomington – in 2001 – is Brenda Brookshire who played trombone and sings. Her husband Eddie (the best bass player in town) contacted and booked me for that first gig, but she was the one I first played with. Twice a year I’ve gone to the elementary school where she teaches to play as part of a jazz combo for her Christmas and end-of-the-school-year concerts. Always a good time and I consider it one of the best uses of my time.

My office this afternoon. Not my keyboard, though.

One thing I also enjoyed about this was that I saw three of the kids I had been picking up in the church van for Tuesday nights for ESL. The first two I saw, I ran up and gave fist bumps. I turned and met their teacher and explained how I knew the kids and she says “Oh! You’re with Mosaic!” Her husband KK is one of our trouble-making regulars. He mentioned that she worked there and of course, I see her today!

(Also a shout-out for my friend DM who I saw in the hallway. Overdue to hang out with her family. I’m overdue to hang out with everyone it seems. Pretty sure I’m the worst friend ever.)

After that, it’s a matter of hitting my checklist. I have a number of things coming up and honestly don’t feel like I’m on top of any of them right now. Speaking of which… I should probably hit some of them.

Peace out!

TKP
5/16/2019

MAY 15 DAY 15

May 15 Day 15

Out of order. I hesitate to even use that phrase because it is so loaded. It implies chaos, which is actually on the mark. The flip side of it is that it implies order once existed and that there was some point in which things just started to go wrong. I’m not so sure I can even agree with the “flip” side. There was always a certain degree of chaos and uncertainty in my life. Depending on who you ask, some might argue that I am the chaos.

No, I’m not asking for advice. If you are inclined to offer your opinion, feel free to stuff it back inside whatever orifice it was about to leak out from. If you haven’t lived my life or walked in my shoes, then you really don’t have a clue what I am dealing with or where I am coming from, which means your “opinion” of the state of my life is diarrheic. Unsolicited “opinions” made without context aren’t and can never be about love and are even more rarely about genuine concern. If I there is anything I have learned over the years, it is that people “find” what they are looking for. No amount of explanation or context will satisfy a person on quest to validate their own preconceived notions about their presumed superiority to you. All you are doing at that point is feeding them ammunition.

I’ve seen it time and time and time again. I’ve been there time and time and time again. Right there in front of the firing squad. I’m tired of it. If I even hear the opening, I’m out. There’s only so many times I’m going to pick the bullets out.

And so… I try to approach things from a different standpoint. Do I succeed all the time? No, I do not. I recognize that a lot of my brothers from the recovery community are coming from situations I have never been in and will never truly understand. I accept that and I acknowledge they are on their own spiritual journeys that intersect with mine… and I am thankful. No… not that I don’t understand, but that I get to share this part with them.

The X-Man Bishop and his Ugandan Guard Lion.

My friend MM was sharing this story tonight of a close friend from his native country AC who is extremely sick with respiratory problems. We can’t help him directly. This man is in need of a miracle. I watched this video MM sent me about this guy and thought back to my father’s health problems the last ten years of his life. At least Dad had family to help him. AC is 35 and fighting for his life.

Nearby, I saw HH out of the corner of my eye and sat him down with us. MM speaks primarily Spanish and is learning English, like the two teenagers at our table. HH is from the recovery crew and doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish. I asked him to pray for MM’s friends AC. I know I’m a worship leader, but I don’t lead prayer. It’s just not me. I go away by myself so I can actually think. HH has a certainty and focused intensity when he prays, which is exactly what I felt we needed. HH asked if we were going to translate; I just told him to go for it and not to sweat the language barrier. MM may not have understood everything HH was saying, but he understood exactly what HH was doing and that was the second most important part.

What I saw at the table tonight was a brother coming to the aid of another brother he doesn’t even know. When I tapped HH, he wasn’t offering his unsolicited opinion of AC’s life choices. He wasn’t trying to be “better” than MM. HH approached the situation as a man living into his calling, praying over MM because MM needed it, and speaking life – not death… not condescension… not judgment… LIFE – every step of the way. HH’s final words before we left was that the only time Jesus was ever surprised by anything was at the disbelief of others.

In my own despair, I’m reminded that I am looking for life… for hope. Not a rescue. Not a condemnation. Not judgment. Hope.

Well. Five days or so until my website moves hosts. Hopefully, I’ll do everything right when I back up the site and the database and restore it on the new host. This is a bit over my head, especially now that I’m talking about multiple domains on one host. There are a couple of logistical issues – that are probably really simple for someone who knows what they are doing – that I need to figure out, but I feel good about the direction.

Peace y’all,

TKP
5/15/2019