adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, March 31, 2005

STUDIO EQUIPMENT

My studio is equipped with two special stress-relief units, always readily at hand (and frequently underfoot). This is Lisa, installed dead-center on my desk. Pretty Mama is lurking somewhere near.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I'm using my 'studio' computer this morning because the one in the office -- my utilty PC -- is on the blink. I don't normally get on line with this machine because it's somewhat optimized for recording. It looks like I need to replace the memory card so maybe I'll upgrade while I'm at it. After all, the computer is less than three years old; it should have plenty of life in it yet.

Not going to be online much anyway the next few days. Tomorrow, up to Thomasville to record my friend Karen's performance at a bluegrass festival. Among the tunes she is doing is Lousiana Saturday Night...or as her daughter's friend asked, 'who is Lucy on a Saturday Night?' Then off to Alabama on the weekend for another recording gig, three choirs and a marching band in a basketball stadium. Oh boy, how I look forward to working out the logistics of setting up for that!

Other stuff in my life...working on adding The Tennessee Stud to my repertoire. In Bb, I think. Capoed from A, of course -- don't ask me to actually play in that key! Been burning-printing-packaging CDs for clients. I have all the stuff to do that here. Maybe not all that efficiently and I wouldn't want to do big runs, but when someone asks for 20 or 30 disks, I'm willing to oblige. And yes, I need to get onto recording my own stuff. Soon, I hope, soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

IM and Steve--

just wanted to let anyone out there who wanted to instant message me, add me to their buddies, chat, etc, that I don't do Messenger. Don't like it. Don't have it installed. Okay, so I'm a curmudgeon and jealous of my privacy.

Or, more honestly, I prefer the control I have with a carefully worded email. I'm a letter writer. Always have been.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

BOTTOM LINE

Bottom line, baby, it always
comes down to the bottom line.
No profit here for me
with your hands in my pockets,
looking for what I ain't got.

Nothing in there -- nothing at all.
I gave it away long before
you showed up, with your 'give me'
and your 'love me?' Shoot, I can love
you, baby. Just can't afford you.

I've spent my heart; all that's left
is the loose change no one thought
was worth the taking. Aw, go ahead
and fish in my pockets one more time.
Maybe you'll find you a lucky penny.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In the wee hours of this morning, a major chunk of oak tree went through my folks' roof next door. I suspect that dealing with that is going to keep me busy for a few days! Fortunately, no one was harmed. I don't know if that old trailer is worth repairing once again...I'll tell you, I'm ready to move somewhere else and have been for a long, long time.

Now for the really important news! After a 16 year hiatus, Dr Who returns to the BBC! I'd love to see the series -- with any or all of the Doctors -- back on television here in the States. Info, you ask? Why, go here.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

WHAT’S THE POINT?

verse
What’s the point? You’ll make me sad again;
I never want to feel that bad again.
Never want to love and lose again;
I don’t need to have the blues again.
What’s the point, when love must fade away?
My heart says I should have stayed away;
But my heart hopes that you won’t throw away
All I give to you, and go away.

refrain 1
It would be easy to turn my back on love,
Go and blame romance for all my woes.
Say it’s written in the stars above;
Say love is a book that I should close.

refrain 2
Ah, but fate is funny, don’t you know?
Those expectations go awry.
Let the curtain rise on a new show;
Let me give love another try.

bridge
It’s not destiny, nor meant to be,
But life has carried you to me.
Time and tide won't be denied,
So lets just ride, side by side.

refrain 3
What’s the point? Must we run and fall?
Fall in love, time and time again?
I’ll never understand at all,
But I will try to love again.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

I've been reading a book called Listening to Classic American Popular Songs which is essentially a textbook on the way pop songs were written in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Decided to give the 'classic' form a try here (it's still very first draft-ish), complete with the introductory 'verse.' Verse and refrain had a bit different connotations in pop songs back then than in the second half of the Twentieth Century. I'll keep working on it...the tune too, of course. Cole Porter, I'm not!

Friday, March 18, 2005

"In the end, men hit nothing greater than they aim at.
Therefore, though they fail at first,
they had best aim at something high."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 14, 2005

JOKES

God laughed. I couldn’t say
which Person started first
but I’ll bet it was the Spirit.
She has a sense of humor.

Naturally, the angels joined
in, though they weren’t
sure just what the joke was.
Folks on earth looked up

and smiled and way down deep
Ol’ Scratch was puzzled.
‘Are they laughing at me?’
he wondered, ever the suspicious sort.

That’s what got him in trouble,
you know, always thinking
he should be on top of whatever
was going on. No matter how bright

he shone, he couldn’t cast a light
on God’s mind. Oh, no, some things
are beyond even an archangel.
And God’s jokes are among them,

at least for those too busy
measuring their own world
to see any other. Count the stars,
friend; count until you fall asleep.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

I spent the weekend down near Dade City at the Will McLean music festival. While I was talking to friend/songwriter Joey Errigo, I mentioned that I was 'still stuck in Steinhatchee.' To which she replied, 'That sounds like a song.' She was right:

STILL STUCK IN STEINHATCHEE (a blues)

Still stuck in Steinhatchee – never thought I would be here;
Yeah, I’m stuck in Steinhatchee – never thought I’d still be here;
Sittin’ by the Steinhatchee River, drinkin’ my Steinhatchee beer.

Still stuck in Steinhatchee, where the sandspurs and the sandgnats grow
Still stuck here in Steinhatchee, where the sandspurs and the sandgnats grow
Scratchin’ all the time – they’re every where I go.

The pulp plant up in Perry sends its stench our way;
That pulp plant up in Perry, it sends a bad stench our way;
Yes, it’s stinky in Steinhatchee – stinky every day!

There’s a lot of places better, like Mims or Apalachee
A whole lot of places better, like Mims or Apalachee
But here I am a-sittin’, still stuck in Steinhatchee.

Still stuck in Steinhatchee – never thought I would be here;
Yeah, I’m stuck in Steinhatchee – never thought I’d still be here;
Sittin’ in my Steinhatchee trailer, same as I was all last year.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

THE EFFORT

The jilted lover,
the defeated politician –
they know what it means
to lose all that matters.


To be needed,
that’s what counts;
To fill the holes
in another’s life


with all you are.
That’s what makes
it worth the effort.
That’s what makes life.


Stephen Brooke ©2005

This weekend, off to the Will McLean Festival near Dade City FL. One of the bigger folk events in the state, sort of a prelude to the Florida Folk Festival in May. I'm going to attempt camping this year -- always a bit of a problem fitting that sort of thing in with my caretaker role here. I'll be taking off Friday; my friend/musical partner Karen will join me on Saturday.

Friend...yeah, we're still friends. Till last weekend, a little more than that. Maybe a lot more than that. Well, that's life and assorted other cliches.

our voices
rise in harmony~
none in my heart

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Wishin’ I Was Dead Blues

Woke up this mornin’ wishin’ I was dead.
Woke up this mornin’ an’ wished that I was dead.
Had me a gun, I’d put a bullet through my head.


Look around and see the things you left behind.
Look and everywhere are things you left behind.
Look into the mirror, that’s all I can find.


Don’t do no cookin’, food stays on the shelf.
Don’t eat at all, food stays on the shelf.
No joy in sittin’ at the table by myself.


No point in livin’, can’t go on no more.
No point in livin’, can’t go on no more.
I keep on lookin’ toward that distant shore.


From first thing in the mornin’ till I lay myself in bed,
From the time I rise in the mornin’ till I lay myself in bed,
Spend the whole damn day wishin’ I was dead.


Stephen Brooke ©2005

The blues...probably in A. Don't ask me to sing in E. Can't do it! :D

Monday, March 07, 2005

WITHOUT

I did love. I wanted
to be in love, too,
but I shouldn’t ask
for so much, should I?

I’m much too old
to go through this
again. And so,
I let you go

without a scene,
without objection,
with a blase whatever,
and I won’t be hurt.

At least not that anyone
would notice. But someday
I know you will read
this poem and wonder,

did he mean me?

Stephen Brooke ©2005

BOWLING BALL

Tomorrow is a bowling ball...
no, no, that’s ridiculous.
Surely I could come up
with better imagery, something
that really pulls you
into this poem. Then I’d say
something else, something
kind of profound, y’know?
Something to make sense
of a statement like
tomorrow is a bowling ball.

Well, maybe it is.

After all, it can be hard
and knock you off your feet.
After all, it often finds
its way to the gutter.
Oh, I’m forcing this, aren’t I?
Tomorrow isn’t a bowling ball
and I’ve nothing profound to say.

Perhaps I will in the next poem.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

after posting the first half of this poem this morning, thinking any more would be reduntant, I found myself adding a second stanza -- so this is now the revised version!

Friday, March 04, 2005

I don't watch much television. I only have cable because my dad needs to be entertained...he likes to tell the folks on HGTV what they're doing wrong.

What do I watch on those rare occasions I turn the set on? Well, I do enjoy baseball and saw my first game of the season yesterday. I don't watch any other sports, to speak of. Oh, if I happened on some surfing footage I'd look at it. Maybe boxing, having been a boxer myself in my misspent youth. I can be entertained by pro rasslin' in small quantities (not that it's a sport, mind you).

And of course bodybuilding, having been seriously into that for a good portion of my adult life.

Mostly it's movies. Turner Classic gets turned on more than any other channel. Anything with Fred Astaire is good with me.

Reality shows leave me cold. Dramas? Comedies? Not a great deal to catch my attention these days. Shoot, there was never that much. Some sci-fi is okay. A lot of it sucks. Stargate (SG1, not Atlantis), the various Star Trek incarnations...they're not bad. Detective shows -- can't say anything out there really catches my interest right now. Monk, maybe. My all-time favorite was Miami Vice. I go for continuing stories with some depth.

Right now, I'm getting HBO free for a while (I wouldn't think of paying for it!) and I've discovered Deadwood. Now there's a show that has pulled me in. Some of the nastiest -- but surprisingly sympathetic -- characters I've come across. If one doesn't mind every other word starting with F and ending with K, it's a great watch.

BALLOON

One day, you stopped being mine.
There were a thousand-and-one reasons
why and none of them mattered.

A child lets loose his balloon,
the string slipping through his fingers.
Tears will not bring it back.

Each day, I loved you more
and you loved less. My heart could not
hold you tightly enough.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

No, not my normal thing, exactly. More 'modern' in its feel...more straight-forward...more earnest. I'll be getting back to my usual obscurity now...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I, Entrepreneur ~

yep, that's me...it's not something I'd ever thought much about but I'm entrepreneurial to the bone. I've been self-employed most of my life; haven't worked for anyone else full-time since the early 80s. Of course, I make the world's worst employee because I have very strong ideas about how things should be done and definitely do not suffer fools...even ones that sign the pay check. By the same token, I also make a terrible boss!

I suppose that's why I slipped into a solitary night-time sort of business during the 80s; started up a janitor business and built it into a pretty good thing over a couple years. Even hired part-time help. But that mid-life crisis hit at age 40 and I knew it was time for a change. Sold the biz, moved from South Florida to my current locale, and painted. And did the substitute teacher thing to help ends meet, though I'm not well-suited to a teaching career (see terrible boss comment above).

My interests did drift back eventually to music once I got out of the night work thing. I've always enjoyed performing. Though I am -- or was -- a terribly shy guy by nature, I never had a problem with getting up and putting on my performer persona. Yes, Steve is a ham.

About that 'was' shy thing -- I had/have a problem with SAD. It goes hand in hand with the depression. Now that is being treated fairly effectively, I am decidedly more outgoing. Which certainly helps the business and entrepreneur thing with which I started this meander.

So, here I am, trying to sell whatever I can create, getting the recording business onto firmer footing (doing more and more remote work), and with big, big plans for the future! Why, at this rate, I might even turn into a Republican! :)