Another year of MLB in the books. For the first time in 56 years of west coast baseball, the Giants have won the pennant. My baseball year was over after the Braves lost in the first round of the playoffs. It was a good send-off for the bog #6, Bobby Cox.

Now that the NFL near or around the halfway mark, and the NBA is completing its first week in the 2010-11 season, my thoughts turn to my fantasy NBA and NFL teams.

I’m running two NFL fantasy teams and one NBA team. Only one for money, therefore, only one matters (ha!). I’m number one in the money league, but I’ve let a lead like that slip away before so I’ll have to keep you updated. That lead could’ve slipped away this week had I not faced a guy the matchup who forgot to set his roster. I’ve had two straight weeks of typically high-scoring players who have barely crossed the 5 point mark. Rough, i tell ya.

Right now I’m finishing the Colts game out of mere addiction. I switched to ESPN Fantasy this year, and the free, live FantasyCast has me glued to the computer screen with brief stints watching the actual TV screen. I say addiction because I won my matchup yesterday, but I still have Schaub and Garcon in play (neither of whom have come close to the analysts point predictions).

Life’s been hectic of late. Work’s forever unspeakable because of regulations, so let’s just say it’s been good. Now I just have to live up to the standards I’ve set myself. Church has been fun because of several leading and praise team appearances. Touring has been light of late, but we’ve added personal travel to make up for it.

This past weekend I had outdoor show in west Tennessee. The weather has been a bit strange, and to prove it, I got a sun burn in October! I drove myself out there so I could get back to the house in time to pass out candy for Halloween. I tried my best to break the speed laws, but it didn’t work. I guess it could have, but we bought a fire pit just before I left for the shows. Our neighbors have a tradition of passing the candy out from the driveways while gathered around fire pits. I love that because I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy one. When I got back to the house I had to put it together, and by the time I did that, it was too late. Karen and I lit a fire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows together on the back porch. While Karen wishes we could have been together for the trick-or-treaters, the time she and I got to share on the back porch made the speed demonic trip home worth every mile!

This weekend we get to visit family in Indiana. My great-grandparents are celebrating 70 years of marriage together. Not many people have or will be able to enjoy something like that, so I consider myself almost as blessed as my Nina and Grandpa. I hope Karen and I live long enough to share that with our families.

Next shows will be weekend after this coming one. We’ll be in the Chicago area, so you who can come, I’d love to see ya!

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Well, we decided to rejoin the Facebook world a little while ago.  We tried to simply start from scratch and build it from the ground up, but to no avail.  Of all the shifting things in our lives, one of the few constants has been our e-mail address (same one since 2003).  Since we didn’t have another one to turn to, I attempted to log-in using the old account.  It worked, and I was face to face with an online time capsule.

1,200-1,300 “friends” were sitting there having gone on with their online world, and I’m not sure that many of them even noticed I was gone, or at least I hope they didn’t notice.  Karen and I took about an hour or more shaving down the list to essentials–people we know now and don’t mind reading what new recipe they’re trying out or how big a mess their kid or dog left in the living room.  When we finished there were only 192 left.

A week or two later, we’re approaching 500 friends, and even though we didn’t necessarily want it to get that big, I’m proud that we can at least say we know them all.

There’s no real set criteria for who we’ll add.  We didn’t set out with a formula or anything.  But here are a few trends I’ve noticed in our “adds”:

  1. Do we go to church with you?
  2. If we go to church with you, would we hang out with you outside church?
  3. Are we related to you?
  4. Did we go to school with you?
  5. If we went to school with you, do we want to know how you’re doing now (which mostly has to do with whether or not we liked you then)?
  6. Are you a part of good memories?
  7. Do we wish we could spend more time with you, but simply do not have time to call you regularly?
  8. Do we work with you?
  9. If we work with you, do we like you? (after looking at the friend list, I think a couple may have slipped through that crack)
  10. Are you more concerned with getting that beer in your hand in the pic than your face?
  11. Would I hire you if your Facebook page were your resume?
  12. Do you dress like a whore?
  13. Do you let your daughters dress like whores?
  14. Does your online representation make us want to beg Facebook for a “dislike” button?

(If the answer to any one of 10, 12, 13, or 14 is “yes,” you will not be confirmed as a friend)

Again, those questions are not a formula, they’re merely a result of observation.

On another note, I enjoyed an evening of whole wheat pasta at Macaroni Grille with my wife.  She’d had a hard day at work, and just wanted to chill a bit.  I don’t mind a $50 meal at all when I know we can sit across the table and talk without the television stealing our attention.  It’s not her fault this time of year.  It’s too hard to pay attention to anyone when the ALCS and NLCS are both running.

The only real distraction was that stupid waiter who sings Happy Birthday in Italian.  I have no idea how we do it, but it seems like every time we go there someone is celebrating a birthday.  I’d rather hear the Mexicans manage a yelling mumble of their version of the song than hear these MG goofballs.

I do, however, love looking at Karen during that nut-job’s song and being able to make fun of it together without ever saying a word!

It’s a good life.

Off the road for the next two weekends!  I’m pretty stoked about some good Saturday time with Karen for two straight weekends. 

Actually, it’s a bit difficult to step away from music for that long.  Thank God for Ken Young and the Fourth Avenue church, though.  Ken asked me to lead worship again while he’s in Alaska this Sunday, and next week is fourth Sunday so Karen and I will be on the praise team.  The last time I led, he was in Texas, and man it’s easy to see why he loves what he does.  He’s put something quite special together with that team and Hallal.  Karen and I will get to sing on the praise team the following week, as well.  A thirty-minute drive to church (where we’d be anyway) to do some singing is hardly a taxing task.

The last Vocal Union show nearly wiped me out.  The ironic part is that we barely sang (two 30 minute sets at Silver Dollar City).  We didn’t take the bus to Missouri because so many of us brought our families along.  From Friday night to Monday night I threw a little over 1,000 miles on the old Accord.  Love that gas mileage!  Karen’s parents and brother came with us, and we tore that town to bits.  Between the rides, the mini-golf, the TWO country fried steaks I ate, and all manner of other goods, I drove and laughed myself into a week-long weariness.  I wouldn’t change a thing! 

We’ve added a few dates to the schedule.  Of course, the Paris and Illinois dates stand, but we’ve added three shows in North Alabama–Karen’s home region.  The weekend before Thanksgiving we’ll be in Florence, Athens, and Joppa, Alabama.  Florence is Saturday and the other two are on Sunday.  Not sure what any of them are, I just know I’d love to see any of you if you can make it!

AND let me tell you just how much I’d love to see you there: I got a call this morning from one of my best friends in the world, Paul David Kennamer (PD, for short).  He needed me to do a show with them, but because of the bookings in Alabama I had to turn it down.  The kicker of the deal (here’s the bitter part) is that show he needed me for is in . . . (wait for it) . . . Bermuda.  Yes, freakin’ Bermuda.  I turned down an island gig to do a North Alabama gig, so you’d better be there!!! Ha!

 . . . to the day I return to my very first dot com.  I don’t think I could have been more excited–in a techno nerd kind of way–than I was when I saw my name in “bytes,” but alas, I left the garden untended.  Luckily there are no weeds to fix upon my return (unlike my flower bed–even though we have the best coleus in the state!).

In the time that’s passed we’ve been to Texas, the Poconos, Indiana, South Carolina, The Great Lakes, Cincy, and various other ports of call.  It’s been no small task to maintain my marriage, my business, and my music, but the busy lifestyle has been worth it!  Even as I type this I sit the lobby of a hotel in Saint Louis, MO, waiting on a zip file of the latest VU photoshoot to download.  Friday night I land at BNA and go to the house long enough to switch out for clean clothing and concert digs, and jump on the tour-bus for Raleigh, NC.

But let me tell you what I love.

I love providing for my wife (not that she really needs it, little miss Vandy), and I love being on the road singing with my friends. 

If I can find some pictures of the concert we did in the Poconos I’ll try to post a couple so you can see how beautiful it is!

Nothing much else to speak of here.  Check out vocalunion.com and stop in at a show near you!  I’d love to see you!

So much has happened since my last post here.  Not only have I barely blogged of our vacation in South Carolina, but I’ve neglected the business trip to Huntsville, Alabama, the huge benefit concert for Nashville Flood Relief, and my first VU show in Kentucky!  Whew!

This weekend, I should have more time to do all of those things while on the bus to Snyder, Texas.

If you’re able, tonight VU will be in concert at Allen Arena on Lipscomb’s campus.  Keith Lancaster is going to join us on stage for a special song, so come see the surprise!

After the show, Karen and I are heading back to Murfreesboro to the 9:15 p.m. showing of Eclipse.  I’m not a big fan of the books (they didn’t pass my 50 page rule), but the movies aren’t that bad.

Tomorrow, we’re heading to Florence, Alabama, because I have some business there.  Friday morning I have to be in town in time for a Chiropractic appointment, a business appointment, and our departure for West Texas.

On another note, last night the wife and I cooked at home for the first time in a long time.  We called one of our best friends in the world, Derek, who came down and joined us for some Angus steak burgers I grilled, and Karen’s home made spicy sweet potato fries.  It felt good to set out the citronella and watch my dogs from the back deck while the smell of the grill toyed with the neighbors.

Thanks for reading!

Just listed more upcoming appearances in the iWillbe section of this ‘blog.  Listed are new dates in KY & Ohio, and new dates in IN & OH.  If you’re near Harned, KY, this weekend, I’d love to see ya!

Take note that the second Acafest appearance has been canceled.  One is enough, and I need the time at home and work before heading to west Texas that weekend.

Also, I don’t have the exact details yet, but I do know we’ve firmed up a date in Chicago on the same weekend as the Marshall, IL, date.

Keep watching joeymustain.com and vocalunion.com for more details as they arise.  Thanks for following me!

My dad reminded me yesterday of something I’d forgotten I said about soccer: “it’s the only sport you can be good at and never score.”  True.  I wish I’d not made that statement, but alas, I did.  I’ve made way too many just like it.

At times I can have a rather overbearing personality. 

“‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”

“Tennyson?”

“No.  Keating.”

(Can anyone call that movie quote?  No prize.  Just the satisfaction.)

That personality flaw has led to many such premature statements as the soccer one that re-visit me for the purpose of biting my arse.  It’s probably because I used to have some pretty significant confidence issues.  And while I still have them, they’re certainly not to the scale they once were.  As I learned to quit those issues, I began to “confidently” make statements using phrases that made it sound like I had everything figured out.  “This IS what I say it is because I say it is, and anyone who thinks differently can kiss it.” 

I don’t know that I’ve fully grown out of that, but I’ve certainly wanted to kick my own tail a time or two for not recognizing the other 6,697,254,040 people in the world (July 2008 CIA estimate).  Nothing is what you think it is.  Ever.

When I made the soccer statement, I was apparently in the middle of ignoring my own bildungsroman.  My evolution is no different than the vast majority of humans.  I knew it all when I knew nothing, and I know so little now that I may know more.

I’ve tried for years to get in to soccer.  It really hit me when Karen and I were in Germany during when they hosted the World Cup.  I hated thinking that the world could love something so much, and I couldn’t understand it.  So, like I successfully did with salsa, guacamole, tomatoes, beer, and pickled okra, I have been working to acquire the soccer taste.

The soccer attempts bore no fruit until this year.  And I really don’t think there was any other way for it to have happened.  Up until the events that have occurred in my life of late, I was less than thrilled about accepting that I couldn’t know everything.  If I couldn’t know everything about something, I was determined to know nothing.  When I’d try to watch the sport, I didn’t know the positions, the rules, the mechanics.  I couldn’t see plays, strategy, skill.  Basically, I saw a load of dudes running around kicking a ball like mad, and I’d determined that none of them were any good at it (with my only proof being the low-scoring games).

Wanna guess how much I know about the sport now? 

Yup.  Nothing. 

I guess I know a little more than I once knew, but really I know nothing. 

The big difference?

I’m a whole lot more okay with knowing nothing now than I used to be.  Now, I just want to enjoy something that’s larger than life.  Now, I am at ease being a world citizen enjoying moments of happiness with the rest of the world.  Now, I am thrilled to see the world come together when the news tells me that the world is distant and church leaders tell me that we are unable to stop the descent into chaos and God is orchestrating the whole thing.

I love watching another country tear up at their anthem.  I love pulling for another country in their match (unless they’re playing the USA).  I love watching an underdog country (a country which, according to history teachers in America, is supposed to be valueless and 3rd world) being excellent in its passions.

Best of all, I love learning to love something about whuch I have no clue. 

I’m probably going to make more stubborn statements.  I’ll probably accidentally alienate myself by lacking control of my words.  I’ll probably annoy myself with know-it-all attitudes that I wish I could eliminate.  But I’ll sleep better knowing that I’m at least trying. 

This is my current wish-list: I really hope to learn to understand all types of people.  I want to quit my obsession with being correct.  I want to stop compulsively correcting others.  I hope to eliminate alienating comments.  And most of all, I want to learn to shut my mouth and stopping giving a rip whether or not I can teach someone else something (I’ve learned that those who I think I’m “teaching” and those at whom I chuckle when they don’t know something are typically not willingly accepting anything coming from an “all-knowing” one). 

I don’t have to be the center of attention.  I don’t have to be the funny one.  I don’t have to be the one everyone loves to see coming.  I don’t have to be famous.  I don’t have to be depressed if someone calls me out.  I don’t have to take offense at correction.  I don’t have to tell someone I know more than they, even if I do.  I can be a happy part of the room without being the hub of conversation or the main source of it.  People will like me even if I don’t introduce myself by trying to act like I know about what they do by spitting out technical terms that are specific to what they do (especially since what I spit out probably exhausts my arsenal).  My conversation doesn’t need to be comprised of the latest thing I’ve learned.  My time is not as valuable as I think it is.  I am not as important as I think I am.  It does not have to be all, and it does not have to be nothing.  I can be at ease with something.  I can be interrupted.  No one hates me just because they laugh at me.  I do not have to prove myself my making fun, and then calling it “the way I relate” or saying “if I’m not making fun of you, then I don’t like you.”  No has to KNOW anything.  There are truly no stupid questions.  If someone doesn’t know what I know or what I think they should know, I am not better. 

Kindness wins.  We are valuable without listing a single reason why.

Soccer’s cool.  Whether I like it or not.