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In The Oh Three
posted: 03/27/07

The way I've always played, vomiting is an individual event, not combined, not a team sport. It has forever puzzled me when I've seen some movie where there's a scene of sickness, and you have some poor soul hunched over a toilet, giving back, giving back... and there's a second someone in there with the puker, and the pukee is doing something comforting, something consoling, like wiping the puker's forehead with a wet rag, or holding hair out of the way of the fount of reemerging evil.

I suppose if I had hair things might be different. But when I puke, I puke alone. I stumble (or gallop, depending) into the bathroom, I lock the door, I turn on the water to drown out the unpleasantness for anyone who might be within earshot, and I suffer. Usually noisily, sometimes violently. But I suffer alone. Don't knock on the door. Don't ask if I'm all right. I'm clearly not. If it sounds like I'm coughing up a lung, I probably am. Do I want you in the room while I'm losing my innards? No, I don't. Because I need that lung that just skittered across the tile and bumped up against the door. You might step on it. I'll be putting it back in presently. Leave me. Let me suffer in peace.

How's that coffee going down, by the way?

So yeah, I got sick recently. Real Wrath of God stuff. I feel compelled to state that this had nothing to do with what I may or may not have consumed on New Year's Eve. My grave illness did, I suspect highly, have to do with what I ate late in the afternoon on New Year's Day. Calamari and chicken fettucini with alfredo. About four hours later my stomach made an audible whooomp, like the sound of snow settling, with a half-second delay, a bit of tremelo and a generous helping of chorus. I drank some Alka Seltzer (I've developed a real dependency for the taste) and went to bed. At 3am: internal earthquake. Every 15 minutes for six hours I made the trip and did the ritual outlined above. I finally got out of bed around 2pm and managed to drink a glass of water, then basically lazed the rest of the day. On Friday I got up and it felt as if I had my head in a vise. Dehydration led to white-hot blindness and excruciating pain. Lots of water, a growing addiction to Tagamet. The usual.

I spent the weekend at Scott's studio. Things are moving along. I really had no idea what to expect going into the mixing process, and I felt and continue to feel completely inarticulate regarding the whole thing. Scott and I nudge one another in various directions and I think we're getting close to what's in my head in terms of sound and overall presentation. The man is talented. The man got skills.

I have played my tunes hundreds and hundreds of times. I have now listened to them a similar number of times. It's enough to make my entire being go absolutely numb. I have no ability whatsoever to be objective at this point. There was a period of time during the first day where I felt really, really dejected about the whole thing. I finally figured out - after some space away from the monitors and control room - that the reason I was getting down was that I was hearing all of the bad stuff on the record, at very high volume levels, over and over and over and over. Because that's what you do. You don't listen to the good stuff, because it's good. You listen to the bad stuff and try to do something about it. The process of working with the bad stuff is somewhat like sitting in a room with someone you don't get on with to begin with, and having them say:
"You know that thing you do that we both hate, and it's at the core of your being? Let's talk about it. Specifically the part of you that we both hate and that you have no hope of fixing, and how it might be nice to take a branding iron to that part of you. I think so, anyway. Thoughts? ... Nevermind. Just listen..."

Over and over and over and over.

But it's going well. We're getting close. Scott is doing a great job. I'm really liking working with him. I am enthused about the thing. It's just way more than I can take in, is all. I'm a little burnt. I can't imagine how anyone does a record and comes out the other side invigorated after all that's involved. At least I'm only two tracks...

One thing I'll tell you about Scott's studio: It's on top of a mountain. When Scott tells you: "It's snowing here. My place has its own weather system. Use your best judgement on whether to come out." You should stay home.

I had the most emasculating experience of my driving life descending the slalom run which serves as a driveway to Scott's place in my Jeep after only a couple of hours at the studio yesterday. It was sheer terror: six inches of powder on a 12% grade, and in the end, I've never felt so small.

Thanks for the ride, Scott. Sorry... about... the landscaping... And the forced sightseeing.

As a number, I can't get excited about: 2003. It's a wimpy number. Oh three. Oh? Three? Oh.

It's an odd number. It's not '04, for sure. It's not 2002, which is a palindrome, as we all know, and at least cool for that reason. 2005 is also odd, but it's halfway to 2010, which is all, like, space odyssey and stuff. And every year after '05 is one step closer.

2003 is simply a placeholder for 2004, when we'll all get on with it.

I'm still working on my plans for the Oh Three. I could scribble a few things here, in the now, but I think I'll take a little more time on it.

For now, I'll recover and get a little sleep. In the early days of the Oh Three.

Happy New Year.

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Last updated, fixified, or otherwise jiggered: 03/27/07.