adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

APPLE

You handed me my first Braeburn
that evening, while Jim Billie played,
and maybe that is why it tasted
better than any apple I'd bit
into before, with all the flavor
of our love and a warm May night.
Each since tastes of those memories,
grown sweeter with the ripening
of six seasons' insistent passage:
you and May and the music of apples
and fireflies dancing among the pines.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

It's true, I was eating a Braeburn when I started writing this. One takes inspiration where and when one finds it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

LISA

Last night I dreamed
an alligator attacked Lisa.
Lisa being my cat.
What an alligator was doing

in my back yard, I do not know.
Well, yes, attacking cats --
I mean besides that.
It wasn't even my current back yard

but the place I used to live
and the swamp harboring the gator
was my old fire pit there.
By the way, Lisa died.

I kept forgetting I put her
in the car to take her to the vet
and would get distracted.
I don't need to be Freud

(nor even Jung) to get it.
This was about me taking on
the responsibility of aging relatives
and the stray cat in the yard yesterday

and the gator I saw on line last night
and just maybe those antihistmines
that kept me from sniffling in church.
I think I'll let my nose run, next time.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

STEVE sticks his head out of the studio long enough to wish all a HAPPY HOLIDAY. Don't overdo the cookies and eggnog! Back to work now....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MORE ODD BITS: I was shocked -- yes, shocked -- to learn that Kraft had stopped making Postum. My great-grandfather would be turning over in his grave, except he didn't drink caffeine and is probably still resting comfortably. He did like his cup of Postum every evening after dinner and I sometimes do of a chilly evening myself. And we're not even Mormons nor Seventh Day Adventist!

Oh well, it doesn't have enough flavor for present day palettes, I suppose. But I'd take it over decaf coffee most of the time. Btw, I've nothing against caffeine and love good coffee.

On a slightly similar note (like D and Eb?), I read once again that they are planning to prohibit us from buying incandescent light bulbs in a few years. I'm all for saving energy and money, and use the florescent bulbs myself, but I hate the idea of banning something that is not, in and of itself, dangerous. If incandescents are no longer the best way of lighting, folks will stop buying them.

And I can use the warmth -- seen as wasted energy by the experts -- of the standard light bulb. I've kept plants and chickens and car engines, for that matter, warm with them on a cold night. Not to mention, powering my lava light. You can't do that with a florescent!

Of course, I could also point out that these florescent bulbs do contain dangerous chemicals that are not found in incandescent bulbs, like mercury. And that they are mostly made overseas (China e.g) whereas many of the regular bulbs come from this country. Chalk up another win for the multi-national corporations and another loss for labor.

On a very different note, this past Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Lady of Guadalupe at our church, with a mariachi band in addition to the usual choir. There's a big Latin population around the area -- mostly of Mexican background -- but they tend not to mingle at the same services as we gringos. It was good to see them there, even if the bi-lingual mass took rather a long time, as our priest had to repeat everything twice! Which is slightly boring if one understands both English and Espanol.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DEAR CAM GIRL

Though I read the spam
about your web cam,
I'm not going to visit your page;
thanks for the invite,
not to mention the sight,
of a scantly clad girl your age.

I doubt that you're lonely
and that you are only
waiting for me to call;
so I'll save some money
and just imagine you, honey,
there in your nothing-at-all.

Oh, I don't have the time
and I can't spare a dime
that I earn with my labors;
why should I take a peep
as you eat and sleep,
when I can watch the neighbors?

So, the next time you write,
I think that you might
skip over old misers like me;
I won't pay that amount,
want my senior discount,
or, better yet, to get it free!

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I WAS on the road most of today, and the mind does wander on a long drive. This is what it wandered to (sung to the familiar tune of 'She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain):

HE'LL BE COMIN' ROUND THE ROOFTOPS

He'll be comin' round the rooftops, when he comes (when he comes!)
He'll be comin' round the rooftops, when he comes (when he comes!)
He'll be comin' round the rooftops, he'll be comin' round the rooftops
He'll be comin' round the rooftops, when he comes (when he comes!)

He'll be drivin' tiny reindeer, when he comes (on, Dancer!)
He'll be drivin' tiny reindeer, when he comes (on, Prancer!)
He'll be drivin' tiny reindeer, he'll be drivin' tiny reindeer
He'll be drivin' tiny reindeer, when he comes (when he comes!)

He'll come slidin' down the chimney, when he comes (ho, ho, ho!)
He'll come slidin' down the chimney, when he comes (ho, ho, ho!)
He'll come slidin' down the chimney, he'll come slidin' down the chimney
He'll come slidin' down the chimney, when he comes (when he comes!)

He'll bring toys for all good children, when he comes (oh, boy!)
He'll bring toys for all good children, when he comes (oh, boy!)
He'll bring toys for all good children, he'll bring toys for all good children
He'll bring toys for all good children, when he comes (when he comes!)

We'll leave him milk and cookies, when he comes (yum, yum!)
We'll leave him milk and cookies, when he comes (yum, yum!)
We'll leave him milk and cookies, we'll leave him milk and cookies
We'll leave him milk and cookies, when he comes (when he comes!)

We'll all shout 'Merry Christmas!', when he comes (Merry Christmas!)
We'll all shout 'Merry Christmas!', when he comes (Merry Christmas!)
We'll all shout 'Merry Christmas!', we'll all shout 'Merry Christmas!'
We'll all shout 'Merry Christmas!', when he comes (when he comes!)

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Feel free to sing it all you want! Or more than you want...

Monday, December 10, 2007

BOUND

To watch the stars one must first find
firm footing, lest they spin, unfixed,
in heaven, all their purpose lost.

For understanding has its cost
and even freedom is defined
in closed and well-bound dictionaries.

Yet I have been the fool who tarries
to sort the gifts, when they seem mixed;
unsure, unguided, misaligned,

I've sought the stars as one who's blind.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

MUSIC'S CHILD is the name of the James family's publishing company -- that is, the name Mary, Frank, and their mom (my sister Jeanne) use for the music they write (registered with BMI, for any who care). It was also the name of little Mean Mary's first album of music, recorded when she was six years old. Not a commercial release, by most standards, but a good start!

Here's a picture -- somewhat PhotoShopped -- of a Miniscule Mean Mary learning to play guitar from her mother. Must have all of three or four at the time. They have this pic on one of their sites, so I guess Mary doesn't mind it being public. Unless, of course, Jeanne snuck it on there without her knowing!

I suppose I should register a publishing company name with BMI one of these days. Been with them quite some time as a writer, not that I ever saw any money from the relationship. At this point, it may not be worth the fee.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

RABBIT

Time is an illusion:
God's little slight-of-hand
to keep our eyes turned elsewhere
while he pulls a rabbit
from forever.

After the show, we'll look
at each other and say
'Ah, I get it now!'

Stephen Brooke ©2007

But will we?

STUDIO B

(This could've gone in my Peanut Road blog, being recording/music related, but since it's just about my own fooling around, I'll put it here.)

I was recording in 'Studio B' last night. The 'B' standing for 'bedroom.' :) I don't actually have two different control rooms! But I did carry my portable recorder into there and set up a mike to experiment a little on some 'voice over' work (i.e. spoken word recording). I should be working on some songs, but I'll get to them soon. Really!

Anyway, the microphone I put up was a Cad M177. That's a well-regarded-but-inexpensive large condenser mike. I don't plug dynamic microphones into the Fostex recorder, as a rule, because the built-in mike preamps don't do them justice. (I can use an external preamp, but was keeping things simple this time around.) So, how did it sound?

Not bad, but not right for my voice. I could certainly see using this microphone in a number of other roles, on other voices, on instruments. It's nice and clear, accurate...too accurate, maybe. Brought out too much sibilance, exaggerated some of the flaws in my delivery (e.g. my tendency to lisp). I'll pull out a 'darker' mike the next time I try this. Most likely my trusty Oktava 319.

Well, I must be off to Alabama. Another thrilling installment later!

Friday, December 07, 2007

MARBLES

I'm going crazy
and I'm not coming back;
I have too much
of everything I lack.

I've lost all my marbles,
the entire bag;
I'm 'it' in my own
private game of tag.

I need some time off
but got caught in a recess;
I'd write myself a letter
but I forgot the address.

I'm my best friend,
we talk every day,
But I can't get myself
to come out and play.

I can't remember losing
the things I've found;
At the end of my rope,
I've come unwound.

I'm going crazy
and you can come, too;
My imaginary friends
will make room for you!

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Another piece that sat, half-finished, in my notes for a while. I guess I got myself to come out and play after all.

CURRENTLY READING John Culshaw's Ring Resounding, a bit of a classic book for classical music fans, audiophiles, recordists. Culshaw was a pioneer producer/engineer in the field of stereo classical music recordings. The narrative of Ring travels the road to the first complete recording of Wagner's complete Ring Cycle, but there's plenty else of interest along the way. Even though the book is from the mid-60s (and therefore somewhat obsolete as technical information), I'd recommend it to anyone who (like me) has both a bit of recording geek and opera buff in them. :)

Assuming one can find a copy, of course. It's long out of print; this one came from my late aunt's library.

I regret that I was just unable to get into reading Moby Dick as an e-book. I need hard copy that I can read of an evening, preferably in the comfort of my bed! I don't think I could take that much time sitting in front of a computer screen.

MOVIN' ON BLUES

Looked around this mornin' and you were gone
Looked all around this mornin' and you were gone
Why is everybody but me movin' on?

You know, babe, you know how much I tried
Yeah, I tried and I tried and I tried and I tried
But it ain’t enough, enough to keep you satisfied

Gave you all I got, gave it all for free
Gave it just to you, gave it all for free
How do I get by, ain’t nothin’ left for me

Used to have sunshine, now there's nothin' but rain
Where I had sunshine, ain't nothin' but rain
Looks like we're both goin' down the drain

Looked around this mornin' and you were gone
Looked all around and you were gone
Why is everybody but me movin' on?

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Yeah, one of those generic twelve-bar blues songs. Y'all know the chords already, right? Much of this was written some time back, just waiting to be finished. And now it is, I reckon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

another of those quinzaine poems....

My life keeps coming apart.
Maybe I shouldn't
use duct tape ?

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Speaking of duct tape, do not buy the generic stuff at Wal-mart. I tried to use it to hold my extension cords down while on location this past weekend and it wouldn't stay stuck worth a darn.

I WANT to apologize to all out there that I have been ignoring by not answering correspondence or updating blogs -- haven't been in a very good place the last few days. Still not, for that matter.

But on to other stuff: I have a video up at YouTube from my shoot at Panama Beach a while back. It's at Mean Mary's account (now) but can be accessed via my own page at http://uk.youtube.com/peanutroad . It might move over to my account later, perhaps to be joined by another one or two. Please excuse the sound quality, the wind was really bad that day! (Okay, maybe my voice wasn't that great either....)