Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Storms and Spaces

The hurricane pretty much passed us by, no loss of power, not even enough cloud cover to mess with my satellite internet reception. I would have welcomed a little more rain, actually. Perhaps some precipitation will drift back this direction as the storm churns its way inland.

* * *

I’ve been playing around a bit with my Electro-Harmonix MicroSynth, which is a cool little effects box with filters and octave generation and such goodies. It’s intended for use with a guitar – to make it sound like a synthesizer, essentially – but I like to plug a high-impedance mike into it and use my voice instead. It can be followed with other effects to further shape the sound, chorusing, ring modulation, whatever! Maybe I’ll actually put together some compositions utilizing it when I find more time.

Speaking of guitars, my left hand is all messed up from over-use or something (work in the yard, I assume) and playing is difficult at the moment. The whole hand is sort of numb and the ring and pinkie have minimal feeling and control. And the pinkie is also rather sore in the joints – I use it a LOT when I play so this is a major inconvenience.

So I’ve been mostly strumming the four-string instruments recently, the uke, the plectrum banjo. It’s not quite as satisfying however.

* * *

Well, it’s been like a month since I left FaceBook and there are both goods and bads involved with that decision. The ‘good’ is more time – I’m way too O/C not to end up spending too much time at a place like FB once I get started. The bad, of course, is not keeping up with a handful of friends I actually would care about.

If and when I get out and about, making music (it should happen eventually...), having pages there may be useful. They did not prove very useful for the art and writing stuff I’m doing now, though I suppose if I were doing readings or such I could announce them there. Anyway, I may reactivate the account someday. But not for a while yet.

That makes me think about MySpace. I have five accounts there still, all of them more-or-less music oriented. Will they be worth my time, later on? I do see some advantages to them over, say, having pages at Reverbnation or SoundClick (though one should probably have those as well), but nothing quite equals having material on ones own site, with ones own domain. I won’t delete them but I don’t know if I’ll ever find the need to use them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Regurgitation, a song parody

REGURGITATION (to the tune of ‘Abracadabra’)

I eat up, I can’t keep it down
I spew it out all over the ground
All over the ground and on my shoes
Until I have no more to lose
Every time you feed me too much
I lose my cookies, I lose my lunch
I lose it all in one big heave
Get the bucket, baby, before you leave

Regurgitation, I’m gonna lose all of my rations
Regurgitation, regurgitation

It makes me gag, it makes me barf
It leaves me empty like I’m gonna starve
My stomach’s aching and my head is dismal
Keep on spooning in the Pepto-Bismol

Regurgitation, I’m gonna lose all of my rations
Regurgitation, regurgitation

I feel upset and I feel crummy,
I feel the turmoil in my tummy
Upchucked all night and part of today
Feel like I’m puking myself away
Each retch is worse than the one before
Wonder how I could vomit any more
Just when I think I might be done
The nausea comes back and I need to run

Regurgitation, I’m gonna lose all of my rations
Regurgitation, regurgitation

Every time I eat too much
I lose my cookies, I lose my lunch
Just lose it all in one big heave
Get the bucket, baby, before you leave

I eat up, I can’t keep it down
I keep spewing on the ground

Stephen Brooke ©2012

Yeah, a parody of the Steve Miller song. Just a rough quick idea that came and may never go any further than this because, to be honest, it's not really that funny. But I had the thought and had to get it out of my system. I could possibly come up with a better word than 'regurgitation'  but it had the right length even if it doesn't sound anything like 'abracadabra.' Think of it as a place holder in case something better comes to mind down the road.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jack, a poem of sorts


The neighbors’ Jack Russell
bounces like Tigger
and thinks he’s much bigger
and fuller of muscle

than a mere terrier.
That’s been no barrier

to sniffing after
each bitch in heat;
yet it ends in defeat
and much human laughter,

for he’s just too short
to engage in such sport

with a lab or a collie,
try as he might.
He may lack in height
but he’s not melancholy;

he is a Jack Russell —
he knows only hustle!

Stephen Brooke ©2012

A bit of dog-gerel and very much a silly throw-away. There is indeed such a dog living next door.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A couple low-rez pix of hibiscus in my yard. Nothing special but I've never had any bloom for me before so I had to snap these. Moscheutos on the left (the more tropical variety) and syriacus (aka Rose of Sharon) on the right.

Naturally, I also took some pictures with the good 35mm camera, to be developed at a later date. These cheap digital cams are far from being satisfactory but they are immediate!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Right Hank, not the Hank on the Right

In contrast to his father's idiocy -- of which we've just had yet another example -- I've liked Hank III's attitude (not to mention much preferring his music) for some time. Here he gives me yet another reason to do so, as he talks about rescuing dogs:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mean Mary Video

The Mean Mary video of her rather rapid rendition of 'Cripple Creek' that I mentioned here has just gone over the one million viewers mark. That's a pretty fair amount, even if it was spread over nearly four years. Mary is an excellent example of someone who has used YouTube to build a following -- having those sort of playing skills translates well to promotion via video.

She and brother Frank will be in their old stomping grounds (well, Frank stomps some anyway) of Long Beach California this week, before heading north to the wine country (now there's a tour I wouldn't mind being on) and San Francisco before returning to Nashville.

Hmm...when she plays in Long Beach, will it be Mean Mary by the Queen Mary?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Long Stories, a poem

Long Stories

The roof is leaking again,
I tell myself and the dog.

She’ll listen to me ramble
if I say her name

now and again.
Where’s my treat? she wonders

as I ramble further,
ramble from room to room, looking

for whatever I lost there.
Shouldn’t I know it when I see it?

I could rearrange that shelf,
I tell myself, or sort the laundry.

I do talk to myself,
and the rain and the dog

tolerate the long stories
with no need to understand.

Stephen Brooke ©2012

It's been a while but I do still write poems now and again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Arachis Press Catalog

A new version of our current catalog of books at the Arachis Press is now available at:

Nothing major here, just an update with all five of the titles now available.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Yesterday’s mention of Mr Ryan shows how useful it is to toss out a name or keyword of that sort every now and again to attract viewers. Big jump in visits! That, of course, is a cheap trick and I generally don’t comment much on current affairs, preferring to be more general in my expressed opinions.

As well as more poetic (for want of a better word). I am not one to be very wordy, most of the time, and try to go with a pithier turn of phrase. I do realize that not all readers will get what I’m saying when I express myself in that manner but, to be honest, I don’t much care. I’m not here to debate. I am, first and foremost, for better or worse, and sundry other cliches, an artist.

Speaking of which, I’ve got my art studio pretty much into order and hope to get some work done in there. At last!

That work will probably be on illustrations for the moment. I do need to get the drawings done for the next children’s book. Eventually, I hope to return to painting. I’ve been sorting through the tubes of acrylics (I don’t use oils and only rarely mess with watercolor) and throwing out the ones that have gone solid on me – about a quarter of them. I’ll order some new paint soon; my favorite brand is Golden heavy body but any will do.

Could go for some canvases too, while I’m at it. Good cheap nubby cotton is fine with me; I like a lot of tooth. If I had the time to fool with it, I would glue up my own panels with canvas and hardboard as I prefer its less springy surface and durability over stretched canvas. That’s not a big deal, though.

So, what shall I paint? It’s been so long I’m not sure where to begin!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Memo to Paul Ryan

Claiming to follow

both Thomas Aquinas and Ayn Rand

is much like saying one loves God

but thinks Satan had some good ideas.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I just put up a sample chapter of 'The Contrary Fairy' at our sister blog for the Arachis Press. It can be read here:

TCF is a chapter book for younger children. I do promise to get more books published but other stuff in my life requires my attention. Probably the picture book 'Awful Alvin' will be next.

I'm also finally buckling down and getting my websites updated and revamped. I do have more time since I quite Face Book cold turkey! ;)

Friday, August 10, 2012


I mentioned this on FaceBook, shortly before deciding to suspend my account there: I have had my landline telephone turned off and gone to an inexpensive pre-paid cellphone. With satellite internet, I really had no more need of a noisy wired telephone.

For me a cell is two things and no more. It is an emergency phone if I need one; that will be more important  to me if I ever start traveling again. It is also a business number, if I need to give one. I don't do much business over the phone but having a number is a necessary evil, at least for credit card accounts and such.

It is unlikely I shall ever use this phone for anything else. Texting? Why? I can write people online if I need. Camera or recorder or music player? I have better. Even if traveling, I very much doubt I would use it to get online. So don't text me, I'll probably ignore it. Shoot, I probably won't even bother to set up voice mail.

There are a few people out there who might want or need my number. Although I have given it out to a small number, if I neglected you and you feel you need it, send me an email or whatever.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Home-Grown Font

This is just something I've fooled around with when I felt like wasting a few minutes. It's a typeface of sorts I modeled after the font on an old sign I have here. I do not intend to get into the intricacies of creating an actual font usable for printing; these letters are the sort I would simply copy one at a time and use to create some titling or a logo or such.

I made these in Corel Draw. There are alternative forms of some of them, by the way, to allow me more variety. Now what the heck should I use 'em for?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


The dwarf pomegranates I planted this spring are covered with flowers:

I planted a couple full-sized poms last year but they couldn't make it through the heat and drought that lasted through late summer and into autumn. Perhaps I'll attempt them again next year. This dwarf variety is doing great, however. They should get about half the size of a normal pomegranate, around four foot high by four foot wide, and have smaller, darker and slightly more acidic (but still yummy) fruit. We'll see how that turns out!

Molly Mugs

Molly had to check out the camera. I was playing around with my new Alesis VideoTrack, which is a fairly cheesy little hand-held audio and video recorder. They debuted at around 200 to 250 'street' price but when I saw them selling out at thirty dollars, I couldn't resist. Pretty mediocre as a still camera -- not as good as my old cheapy digital but it doesn't eat batteries either.

I'll try messing with video eventually.

Good and Evil

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


And since I'm going to post more stuff here, a graphic I messed about with earlier today.

Farewell to Facebook

Just a quick note here to tell folks that I have closed down my account at FaceBook (which would include the 'pages' I was maintaining). It was never a very good place to promote myself and has become even worse as they have made their changes.

Yes, it was nice to be able to keep up with a few folks but I don't really need FB for that. And I suppose if I do feel left out I could restore my account. Don't count on that, though.

The fact is, I can do much better for myself by concentrating on my blogs and website -- places that show up in search engines and actually bring interested people to me. I doubt I have ever sold anything -- book, art, tee shirt, whatever -- via folks finding me on FaceBook. This blog, on the other hand, is far more effective. So expect me to post more here to make up for not doing so at FB.