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Entry date: 2-2-2022 - random thoughts and a thought about Boston in 1995 - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Deuces are wild, right? They are today.


I think I lost my mind a bit yesterday. I had to raise my voice twice in ten-minute period. Why can’t eight-year-olds focus? The second time was when I was lecturing my students on the need to focus because they were talking so much, and this cute little button of girl turned to talk to her friend. She knows she is cute, too, and milks it to no end.

Children are the best manipulators, and it scares me.


The recording we did on Sunday turned out pretty cool through the first rough mix. I can’t make it to the mix down on Sunday, but I’m sure it will be fine. I’d love to do something similar again. Just go in the studio with dudes I’ve never played music with before, write a song, record it, and move on to the next thing.


I’m starting to get a few requests to write more about certain subjects and I love it. No worries, friends, I will get to it all. I love taking requests. It is part of my nature, I guess, to serve others. Lucky me.

Seriously, though, I appreciate all the feedback so far and look forward to writing more about the topics that have been requested.


I am especially touched by the response I have gotten so far regarding the blog about meeting Ryan. As I think about those days even more, I wish I would have written it all down then. It was such an interesting way to become a parent, but I would not wish it upon anyone. I wonder what would have happened if I would have not been willing to be Ryan’s dad?

Would Shannon have really been cool about that? How could she not have ended up resenting me? I would have resented me, that’s for sure, although looking back, there is so much I would have done differently. Hell, what I would have done differently would take thousands of words to get through. I’m going to have to tackle that at some point.

Not today.

Today I will say that I would love to have the opportunity to sit down with my 25-year-old self and talk about priorities as mine were way the fuck off in 1995. At 25, I didn’t know shit about being a dad and I definitely didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship with anyone. I think some of my friendships were pretty healthy, but maybe not. I was a mess, and I wasn’t even drinking or doing any drugs then.

At the time when Shannon contacted me, I was gearing up to make a big decision.

At that time in 1995 I was coming to a bit of a crossroads. I was going to ASU, sort of, but not fully committed to it in those days. Getting my Bachelor of Arts was seeming like an impossible task. ASU discontinued the program I was in, which was part of the college of education, and I switched over to liberal arts. What the hell was I going to do with a BA in Humanities from the liberal arts college?

I wasn’t sure what the plan for finishing school was at that point and I was still working at Easy Street. During the early part of 1995, I had no idea that my days at Easy Street were numbered. There was a part of me that had thought about working something out with Brian and Steve to eventually buy it from them and just do that forever, but I knew deep down that wouldn’t be fulfilling to me.

I was also pretty excited about the music I was making. Hillbilly Devilspeak was still in its infancy, but we had a record out in the UK and that was something. My friend Alex had hooked that up with his bandmate, Dave, who ran a label called BGR Records out of Nottingham where their band, Fudge Tunnel, was from. It had come out in 1994 and made me think we could do something as a band, maybe. We wanted to play more and possibly tour and, and, and…

In those days, Hillbilly practiced every other day. I didn’t have much of a life outside of work and school and playing music. I wasn’t going out to bars or anything as I was sober. I stopped drinking and doing any kind of drug in 1992 and hadn’t really looked back at that point. We just played our weird, noisy, angry music and that was that.

I had been living with my girlfriend at the time, Alexa, since I moved back from California in 1991. Our relationship was uncomplicated but in a very complicated way. By 1995, we were more friends that romantically involved and I’m pretty sure each of us were looking for a way out even though it was a comfortable situation.

My ex-girlfriend, Julie, was living in Boston in those days and had asked me to consider moving out there and becoming her roommate. I had nothing tying me to Phoenix, really, except the band and my family and when I got the call from Shannon about Ryan, I was heavily leaning toward moving to Boston. I cared for Julie a great deal, even though we were not romantically involved anymore, and was interested in what being her roommate might lead to even though I had been down that path once before in 1991 with another friend.

I distinctly remember sitting there one day in the bathroom at the condo Alexa and I shared on 19th Avenue thinking, “I’m moving to Boston.” I had made up my mind and Julie and were talking about the logistics and such when I got the call about Ryan and my plans changed immediately.

There was no way I was going to move out of state, and I realized I would have to move out of the condo. I couldn’t bring Ryan into a relationship that was not going to be a permanent one. It would not have been fair to Ryan or Alexa or me. I needed to be on my own, I figured, to get my head around what it meant to be a dad.

Obviously, things changed a lot over those first six or seven months of 1995.

See you tomorrow.

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