Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I’m An Idiot—Episode 748

So I went to a library and three beautiful young women beat me up and took all my money!


Okay, actually that didn’t happen. But that’s the Hollywood version of what happened. It makes for a much better story than what really happened.

The real story doesn’t have much of a plot and doesn’t have much exciting action. But since it really happened and it really bugs me and this is my blog I’m going to waste a post on this little sequence of events.

This does involve beautiful young women and money, so if you’re at all interested in those two elements, this trivial little story might be of at least passing interest to you.

So today I went to two different libraries. I returned books at both libraries. Nothing bad happened. The librarians at both libraries were nice to me, even talkative, and the books got checked-in and cleared from my record properly.

On the way home I stopped at a convenience store (for Redbull and cookies) and I bought one of those instant winner scratch-off tickets for $2.

When I got home I ate the cookies, drank the Redbull and scratched-off the instant winner. It was, in fact, a winner, but only a $2 winner. So I just put it aside.

At some point late this evening I was sitting around, bored, and I decided to take a walk to a convenience store and cash-in the $2 winner. So I did.

When I walked into the convenience store, there were three beautiful young women standing at the counter. I don’t know how old they were, but one of them was trying to buy a pack of cigarettes, so they must have been whatever the legal age is for cigarettes.

But they were about a dollar short.

The three beautiful young women were searching through their pockets, pulling out pennies and nickels and dimes, trying to get enough money for the cigarettes, but they were about a dollar short.

So I’m standing there and soon a line forms behind me and everyone is waiting for these beautiful young women to find change to add up to a dollar.

Finally I said, “Are you girls only a dollar short?”

One of them said, “Just about a dollar, yeah.”

I took a dollar out of my pocket and handed it to them. “It’s the Christmas season,” I said. “I’ll do a good deed. Merry Christmas.”

So one of the beautiful young women took my dollar and handed it to the clerk. The clerk sorted through the change on the counter and gave that beautiful young woman something like six cents back and handed her the pack of cigarettes.

The beautiful young women smiled at me and said “Thank you” and left.

The clerk watched them leave, then shook her head at me. “I’m sorry about that,” she said.

I shrugged. “I got to do a good deed. And just imagine what it must be like to be their parents.”

The clerk made a face. “The awful part is the girl buying the cigarettes wasn’t short of money. She had a fifty dollar bill in her purse. She just didn’t want to cash the big bill.”

I stared at her. I said, slowly, “She had fifty dollars, and I gave her a dollar?”

The clerk nodded. “Yep.”

I stared at her, then turned around and stared at the woman in line behind me. “I’m such an idiot,” I said.

The woman behind me smiled. “You’re not an idiot,” she said. “You’re just a nice guy.”

“She had fifty dollars,” I said, to everyone in line behind me, “and I gave her a dollar. This is what women do to guys.”

The other people in line smiled.

“Sorry,” I said, to the women in line behind me. “I don’t mean to blame all women for me being an idiot and giving those particular three women a dollar when one of them had a fifty dollar bill in her purse.”

Everyone was pretty understanding and the general consensus was that I shouldn’t feel too bad and I shouldn’t regard those three beautiful young women as representative of all women.

One of the women in line behind me said, “You meet women who take advantage of you and you meet men who take advantage of you. It’s just the world. You’re lucky you’re only out a dollar.”

So I’m an idiot, and I’m an idiot who has one less dollar in his pocket than when the day began.

I gambled on the instant winner ticket and I got back the two dollars I spent for the ticket.

I stood in line behind three beautiful young women and I lost a dollar.

Gambling is safer than women!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dinosaurs And Robots And Vicki’s Smile

I can imagine these images of Vicki
smiling in a world gone mad a world of robots
a world where dinosaurs hunt among the robots
to eat humans and the robots don’t interfere
with the dinosaurs chasing down humans for food
the robots don’t help humans plant crops or catch fish
the robots work away at something no one knows
and Vicki knows people who try to be hunters
and Vicki knows people who try to be farmers
and Vicki knows people who try to live on fish
and everyone who knows Vicki loves when she smiles
because her smile is gentle in a world gone mad
and some people wonder if Vicki smiles that way
because she knows what the robots are working on
but I don’t care I just enjoy drawing Vicki
and painting her trying to get her smile just right
because if I can draw or paint her gentle smile
what the dinosaurs and robots do won’t matter.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Repurposing Vicki

The Best Reason To Study Astrophysics

The Craft Of Wreckage

The Built World Redux—Art And Souvenir

Blows Against The (Expensive) Empire

Dinosaurs And Hippie Girls Is A World

Hey Juli look— It’s 162 words
metafiction as in I never met a comma
I really liked

Monday, November 28, 2011

Song As Eternal Monster Inside Sound

(Update note at bottom of post -- Mark)

It’s just sound
It’s machinery
But it’s you and me
And now we’re playing it forever

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“It’s just two people playing a song together,” she said. “But you think it’s more, don’t you?”

He didn’t say anything.

“We have the video files,” she said. “And the audio files. And the lead sheets. But you think there’s more, don’t you?”

He didn’t say anything.

“We have our memories,” she said. “What more could there be?”

He didn’t say anything.

“Molecules vibrate then stop,” she said. “Are atoms cascading, still changing state? Are entangled particles spraying out across the galaxy? Are imaginary morphic fields resonating with each other? You think there is an eternity and we can touch it?”

“In the morning when you look out across the water,” he said, “do you check to see if the monster is out there?”

“That’s me,” she said, “checking to see what the weather is like.”

“This is me,” he said, “still playing that song with you.”

She tried to look away before he could see her smile but either her head turned too slowly or her lips moved too quickly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Loch Ness Monster Vs. Los Angeles

A Flute Playing And Fog Hides The Shore

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday Update:

I don’t like to make changes to a post after I post it.

Sometimes I correct typos, but I almost never even change a word, unless add a note explaining why I’m making the change.

I’m going to make a reasonably big change to this post because it’s part of a series and I want it to be consistent.

Here’s the deal. When I write a post, I’m focused, almost always, on the words. I try to get what I’m saying to sound correct to me, and to convey what I want it to convey in a style I’m happy with. Even if it’s a video or a song, I look first at the words involved.

Then I try to make everything else at least reasonably adequate to support the words.

I like, very much, including little snippets of music notation but I’m not very good at it. I’m trying to get better, and I will. But sometimes I do stuff that I’m sure would make a real musician cringe.

I try to double check things, verify my music notation with automated players and such, but, still, music notation is a world that I am not that practiced with or relaxed with.

Anyway, so, this post has a little melody that I like a lot and the music notation captures the the melody reasonably well. But what I posted Monday was in 4/4 time and the first two posts in the series were in 3/4 time.

It’s just that I have only a certain amount of time to do these posts, and I have only a certain amount of experience with music notation. When I’m making up a melody or capturing a melody on keyboard or trying to notate a melody directly into a music program, it is more natural for me to use 4/4 time rather than 3/4, although, I’m sure, to any real musician the difference probably just makes them laugh.

Anyway, I should have taken the time to re-write the melody from yesterday from 4/4 time into 3/4 time to be consistent with the earlier posts. I did, later, and then I thought I’d just ignore it, but it bothered me and I decided to update this post.

So I changed the melody at the top of the post to be consistent with the earlier posts in this series. Here is the original 4/4 version of the melody. Played slowly, they both express the melody I was trying to capture. (To my ears the 3/4 version sounds slightly better somehow but I’m probably just nuts.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gadget Bliss

Before meeting Pam for lunch, I spent time
talking about music technology
with a recording studio owner.

He told me he’d be willing to sell me
his Yamaha Motif synthesizer.

“It’s in perfect shape,” he said. “Nobody
ever uses it. All of my clients
either just play real instruments and hate
the technology stuff, or they’re experts
at the virtual studio programs
running on computers so they don’t need
the fancy keyboard workstations at all.”

I’m reasonably good with computers
myself and I’m trying to get better
at playing what he called ‘real’ instruments.

So I didn’t buy his fancy keyboard.

That story is completely true. A guy that owns a studio did offer to sell me a Yamaha Motif. I declined.

Now look at this picture:

That’s a current ad running for one of the newest models of the Yamaha Motif series.

Oh boy. Now, people who have read this blog for a while know that I once wrote a post called Hypnotized By Advertising. I bought one of those Tascam devices just because of that ad I wrote about in that post. I can’t really see down into my deepest, secret soul, but I suspect my thinking is something like, “Well, if I buy one of those gadgets and learn to use it really well, then if I meet a girl such as the girl who appears in the ad we’ll have a lot to talk about and maybe she’ll like me.” I don’t know. But I know I am a sucker for advertising and I’m a sucker for advertising that features beautiful women.

So look at that new Motif ad. Look how beautiful the woman is on the left playing the 61 key version of the MOX. And doesn’t she look all blissed out playing the gadget?

If I bought one of those gadgets and learned to use it really well, then if I met a woman such as the woman who appears in that ad we’d have a lot to talk about and maybe she’d like me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an idiot. (Well, not completely.) I know advertising is all fake and manipulative and designed to do to people exactly what the ad does to me. But, you know, nonetheless, the ad does it to me even with me being aware of all that.

And I’m not even in the market for a synthesizer workstation. I’m very happy with my Yamaha arranger workstation.

But there are two things that nag at me about this.

One is that this new Yamaha Motif has sounds that are a couple of generations updated from my Yamaha. On my keyboard not only can I play a synthesized guitar sound, but I can choose a “strummed” synthesized guitar sound. And I can split my keyboard and play a polyphonic strummed guitar with my left hand, and with my right hand play a monophonic flute sound that even gets some of the breathing dynamics correct in the flute sound. That’s a lot of fun, to say the least. And the new Motif would be able to do all that a lot better with updated hardware and software.

The second thing is, again: Look how beautiful the woman is on the left playing the 61 key version of the MOX. And doesn’t she look all blissed out playing the gadget?

Oh boy. Remember a long time ago there was a movie called “Transformers”? The first one. Look at this picture from that movie:

Okay. I didn’t like that movie at all, but I sometimes watch it and pretend it is the story of that girl on the right. It is actress Rachael Taylor playing the character “Maggie Madsen.” Maggie is a brilliant computer wiz and she’s energetic and, oh yeah, she’s my pick for one of the sexiest characters I’ve seen in modern films. Let’s look more closely at her costume.

So this Maggie character is smart and beautiful and energetic and she wears clothes you can see through!

Now look back at that ad for the new Motif. (If you click on the ad, the picture gets larger and more detailed.) Look at the beautiful blissed out woman. She’s wearing a see-through shirt, too!

It’s a look that short-circuits my brain. And my brain circuitry is kind of leaky to begin with!

So, here I am. I’m very happy with my Yamaha arranger workstation and I’m really proud of the two posts I did comparing arranger workstations to synthesizer workstations.

On Not Playing A Synth Workstation #1

On Not Playing A Synth Workstation #2

So I’m not in the market for a synthesizer workstation. But I can’t get that ad out of my brain.

And because I enjoy doing music posts here at the blog, my brain also nags at me saying the new Motif has much better computer integration than my current keyboard.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. My brain is just looking at the woman in the see-through shirt.

Anyway, this is something that’s on my mind now. Instead of my brain worrying about poetry or fiction or drawing or painting or writing songs or the metaphysics of monsters, some big chunk of my gray matter is sparking away at these images of women in see-through shirts and the insane notion that if I bought a new keyboard somehow I would be closer to snuggling up with one of these women.

And, you know, I’ve bought a lot of gadgets in the past. Secret Gadgets And Gadget Secrets They’ve been fun, but I don’t think I’ve ever achieved anything like gadget bliss.

[As I’ve typed today’s post, I’ve been sitting here, frowning, shaking my head the whole time.]

Dreaming of gadgets
taking me to gadget bliss
and see-through women.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Flute Playing And Fog Hides The Shore

Lost in the fog
There’s a shape
I can barely see
But it sees me

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“So what’s the deal with you and flutes?” she asked.

He said, “If a woman is blowing into a flute, she can’t be asking me dumb questions.”

“Shut up!” she said, laughing.


He said, “I’ve been a few dozen yards off shore in a small boat on a Wisconsin lake. Fog comes in and the shore becomes invisible. Could be any distance away. I’ve been a couple of miles off shore from some coastline blue water cruising in a sailboat. Fog comes in and the shore becomes invisible. Could be any distance away. The size of the body of water doesn’t change the effect the fog has on a person trying to see the shore. People see monsters in Loch Ness, and people see monsters in lots of other lakes. Some of the lakes people see monsters in are too small to imagine any kind of large animal living in them. But if monsters are something like fog—something that gets between us and something else, something that we see because we see it set off against something else—then the size of the body of water wouldn’t matter at all.”

She said, “You think monsters are like fog? Something like weather?”

He said, “I’m not saying monsters aren’t living things. Whatever they are. But I’m not sure we’ll ever see monsters if we go out looking for them. If we see them because they get between us and something else, then we’ll only see monsters when we’re trying to look at something else.”

She asked, “Have you ever seen a monster?”

He said, “I’ve never seen, you know, something like a bigfoot hairy ape or a sea monster plesiosaur. But I’ve been looking at something and then somehow realized that I was seeing something completely different from what I thought I was looking at. I’m not sure monsters always look like monsters.”

She asked, “How far away is Los Angeles from Loch Ness?”

He said, “About five thousand miles. As the crow flies.”

She said, “Of course, a monster crow could fly that distance in no time at all.”

He kissed her.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Fons Et Origo Of Mad Laughter

This is all pretend of course. It’s actress Kristin Kreuk pretending to be Lana Lang and actor Michael Rosenbaum pretending to be Lex Luthor. And “Lana Lang” and “Lex Luthor” are cartoon characters anyway. It’s pretend pretend.

I don’t remember where I was walking
but today I saw a woman whose face
looked like the face of the actress who played
“Lana Lang” on the TV show Smallville.

For a second, for a quantum instant,
somewhere in my head I said, “It’s Lana.”

For a second, for that fleeting instant,
it was as if I left reality
and for whatever’s the smallest unit
that can be used to measure time’s passing,
for whatever is a quantum instant,
I felt like I was living in Smallville
walking somewhere and Lana Lang walked past.

As small as that quantum instant might be
my hand is shaking remembering it
because I also remember clearly
being happy with Lana walking past
in Smallville and wanting to not come back.

I spend so much time lost in fantasy
that it feels strange to feel so terrified
at having slipped away for an instant
but I ask myself what if this woman
had a voice that sounded like the actress
who played “Lana Lang” and had noticed me
looking at her and had smiled and said, “Hi.”

I don’t think I’d be here typing these words.

It’s like a LuthorCorp experiment
is going on around me in real life.

And Chloe says these things never end well!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

LuthorCorp Experiments: The Hero’s Commitment

“the fons et origo of mad laughter”

Freedom From The Wild/Lost In Metonymy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Being ‘The Girl’

A fast course in insect pathology
And you
That’s all a monster asks for
When he’s living in a hole
Without you

She said, “Why would the monster want a fast course in insect pathology? I understand why the monster would want the girl. The monster always wants the girl. But the monster is already a monster, right? So why would the monster want a fast course in insect pathology?”

He said, “You’re assuming the monster starts out with an existential, material form. A giant ant. A giant spider. Something like that. I’m assuming the monster starts out as something more ethereal, a kind of energy field, or, as I’d put it, a kind of morphic resonance potential. When the possibility of monster behavior comes into existence around that monster potential, the monster takes shape, becomes an existential, material reality, and acts out monster events. That’s why the monster needs a course in insect pathology—to properly manifest an appropriate monster appearance.”

She said, “Did you think of that when you wrote the song? Or did you make that up just now when I asked you the question?”

He said, “You know, a monster might not want you.”

She gasped, putting one hand over her mouth. She pointed at him with her other hand and spoke through her fingers over her mouth.

She said, “That’s the most awful thing you’ve ever said to me!”

He said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

She said, “If you didn’t mean it then take it back.”

He said, “I take it back.”

She said, “Do you really take it back or are you just saying that because I asked you to?”

He said, “You know, a monster might not want you.”

She said, “You said it again! Stop saying that! Oh my God!”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Street Lights And Slutty Bluetits

Monday, November 21, 2011

Footsteps Like Mad Paint Marks

On the train from Paris to Berlin
I watched a waiter fold a paper napkin
He creased each side then spread them wide
To tuck each corner in
On the train from Paris to Berlin

A crumpled napkin
in an asphalt parking lot
under the first snow

under the footsteps
of people walking to cars
and walking from cars

becoming pressed flat
a two dimensional shape
a shape that was white

with defined edges
but then is smeared glazed over
lost but visible

under snow and grime
and footsteps like mad paint marks
designed by no one

almost no one sees
a crumpled napkin goodbye
like a lost painter.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Loch Ness Monster Vs. Los Angeles

A singer-songwriter, I’ll call her “K,”
flew out of Los Angeles to Loch Ness
to spend some time writing material
for an album about Los Angeles.

Her producer stayed in town. When someone
asked him where K went, he said, “She’s over
in England trying to write some new crap.”

A would-be novelist who plays guitar,
I’ll call him “M,” exchanged e-mails with K.

K asked, “Are you sure the Loch Ness monster
never has been rumored to eat someone?”

M said, “If it would make you feel better,
if I were the monster I would eat you.”

K said, “If the monster doesn’t eat me
I’ll have to go back to Los Angeles.”

M said, “Catch the monster and take it home
with you. You know, for the publicity.”

K said, “Are you kidding? Los Angeles
would eat that thing alive. Monster sushi.”

Come to Los Angeles and die
Everyone’s pretty here
It’s the world you see on TV

Come to Los Angeles and die
You won’t get in the way
No one will even notice you

Come to Los Angeles and die
There’s no admission fee
To this thrill ride by the ocean

Come to Los Angeles and die
Feel the love, share the joy
Leaving here is a dream come true

Come to Los Angeles and die
Come to Los Angeles
Come to Los Angeles and die

An unreleased song from
an unreleased album, both
of which may someday be called,

“Come To Los Angeles And Die”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anal Sex And Death In Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Nonetheless, Is

Dead Monkeys. Swimming Pools. Movie Stars.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clean Shaven And Ready For Movie Talk

This morning I was a little late getting the day started, so instead of shaving and then showering I combined the two and shaved in the shower.

It happens now and then. I’ve known people who always shave in the shower. The theory is the hot water and steam open pores and extend hairs so when you shave the razor gets at the very bottom of the hair and you get the very closest shave possible.

I usually shave first. My hair grows so fast it hardly matters how close my morning shave is. Four hours into the day I always look like I’m starting to change into a werewolf.

So because I was late today I shaved in the shower and since I don’t have a shower mirror when I shave in the shower it’s all done by touch. Later, after I dry off and dress I have to look in a mirror and check the hairline by my ears to make sure the left looks reasonably level with the right. Sometimes it looks like I shaved while standing on the side of a hill. Then I have to spend a final moment with the razor making my left hairline match my right.

After shaving in the shower today and working just by touch my left hairline and my right hairline matched almost exactly.

This is the kind of thing that make me happy.


Stuff like this makes me happy, too:

“This is November,” I said. I pointed. “You’re still wearing pumpkin-colored pajamas.”

“What color pajamas should I wear?” she asked.

“Well, it’s Thanksgiving,” I said. “You should be wearing turkey-colored pajamas.”

“What color is that?” she asked. “What color are turkeys?”

“I think turkeys would be blue,” I said.

“Why would turkeys be blue?” she asked.

“They’re blue because they’re sad,” I said. “They know they only have a couple of weeks to live.”

She grimaced. It’s a face I’ve seen before. She shook her head. “I can’t believe I walked into that,” she said.

“No, it’s great!” I said. “It’s banter. It’s like in movies. We were exchanging banter. We’re like movie stars. People in movies say stuff like that, then the scene ends.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Why Don’t Turkeys Wear Bras?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Angle Of Repose Of Corpses Redux

“The angle of repose or, more precisely, the critical angle of repose, of a granular material is the steepest angle of descent or dip of the slope relative to the horizontal plane when material on the slope face is on the verge of sliding. This angle is in the range 0°–90°.”

Books and DVDs aren’t granular
at least not exactly but they do share
the same angle of repose more or less
ninety degrees for both media types.

I own four Michael Crichton books and six
DVDs of Wes Craven movies and
nine DVDs by Ray Harryhausen.

Ninety degrees is not a gentle slope
and if I were going to tumble down
from one of these three piles I’d pick the pile
of Crichton books. They don’t have teenage girls
fighting for their life against a slasher
and they don’t have beautifully designed
stop-motion animation of puppets
but I have spent more time inside those books
than all the DVDs put together.

But books aren’t what they used to be and
movie analysts are afraid movies
are losing regular audiences.

Books and DVDs aren’t granular
and we’re not at least not exactly but
everything can get tossed into a pile.

Everything does get tossed into a pile
for a special occasion photograph
or when nobody wants it anymore.

Libraries are throwing away their books.

Movie studios are selling their films
for five dollars on convenience store shelves.

Work sets us free. Free to settle into
the what-we’re-made-of angle of repose.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Ray Harryhausen:

Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger
It Came From Beneath The Sea
Earth Vs The Flying Saucers
20 Million Miles To Earth
Mysterious Island
First Men In The Moon

Wes Craven:

Nightmare On Elm Street
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
Scream 2
Scream 3
Scream 4

Michael Crichton:

The Lost World

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Susan Didn’t Take Anyone With Her

She rested on a log and tossed
The fresh chips,
With a song only to herself
On her lips.

from “The Hill Wife”
by Robert Frost
quoted in Why I Almost
Never Use Rhyme

“Where’s Susan?” Jeremy asked, coming in.
Chelsea laughed. She pointed. “Susan’s right there.”
Chelsea stopped laughing. She could only stare.
“Where’s Susan?” Chelsea asked. She tried to grin.

Trish hemmed a long skirt, sticking in a pin.
“Practical jokers,” Trish said, “what a pair.”
Jeremy and Chelsea would only glare.
“Where’s Susan?” Trish asked by her mannequin.

Susan sat at the piano playing
and the music she played took her away
and only her like a thoughtful filter.

Jeremy, Chelsea and Trish were staying,
lost, confused—“Where’s Susan?” all they could say.
Susan didn’t take anyone with her.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Secret Gadgets And Gadget Secrets

The woman came in
To switch off the monster’s film
But stayed
To watch
With him

Old Instamatic cameras used a cartridge
that held film so there was no loading procedure
other than dropping in the cartridge and closing
the back of the camera and winding the film
until the number “1” appeared in a window.

When you used up a cartridge you just took it out
and delivered the whole cartridge as a unit
to whatever store you used to process your film.

The 35mm film that pros used
was considered difficult for people taking
holiday or vacation or random snapshots.

The cartridge didn’t need threading or rewinding.

Old Instamatic cameras were cool gadgets.

The camera called an X-45 even
featured a built-in spring winding mechanism
that you would twist until tight then the camera
automatically wound the film in the cartridge
after each snapshot just like a pro’s motor drive.

Old Instamatic cameras were cool gadgets.

I processed my own film so I learned a secret.

When you cracked open an Instamatic cartridge
inside it was 35mm film,
the same film stock pros used in their pro cameras.

Part of the cool part of being a cool gadget
is to have a secret. And cool gadget secrets
are always the kind of secrets that make you smile.

The gadget part of a gadget is the desire
for somebody to hold you and use you and smile.

Another cool part of being a cool gadget
is the desire for someone to look more deeply
and figure out your secret and smile even more.

I think my old Instamatic X-45
held deeper secrets than the film in its cartridge.

Old Instamatic cameras were cool gadgets.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Kodak Instamatic” at Wikipedia


Little Complicated Things And Stuff

Gadget Angst

A Fun Offering To The World Gadget

Friday, November 11, 2011

Song For Leviathan — An Impossible Ode

No yacht not even a submarine or spaceship
can sail from here where I’m at to there where she’s at.

No passage between the many worlds around us
can connect this world with me to that world with her.

Distance is the space between us. And vehicles
travel between places. The wars of gods and men
are just passages to battlegrounds just places.

Maybe I could fall off a boat and get swallowed
by a whale or a creature something like a whale
people can live in and she could get swallowed too
if she happened to fall into the water too
say tripping on a stone while walking on a bridge.

Nobody knows what the word “Leviathan” means.

Is Leviathan an impossible monster
ripping apart the world to keep us together?

Can an impossible monster sometimes succeed
where steam engines and thunderbolts of the gods fail?

I’d sing, “Oh, Leviathan, you are the magic.”

And, “Oh, Leviathan, you are the magician.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dream Lover Fantasy Update

I’m dreaming of parrots in Ecuador
instead of sailing off from the East Coast
into the sea’s Bermuda Triangle

That post, “Dream Birds,” has one of my favorite YouTube embeds. It’s some strange group playing the Bobby Darin song, “Dream Lover”:

I’ve always liked that song. A few days ago I learned to play it on guitar. It’s pretty straightforward, and I can struggle through it on keyboard, too.

Just in case I’m ever in a dingy cellar with light bulbs dangling from the ceiling and three girls in sexy polka dot dresses need someone to play guitar for them, I’m ready.

I like that fantasy but it’s not my favorite fantasy.

My favorite dream lover fantasy isn’t “Dream Lover,” but rather it’s still my “Year Of The Cat” fantasy—My “Year Of The Cat” Fantasy—with me playing guitar and singing, and a woman playing keyboards and singing along with me.

This “Year Of The Cat” fantasy is getting pretty old and I’m open to the thought of getting a new favorite fantasy, but I’m a little unsure how to swap out a fantasy.

That fantasy was old back in 2008, but, to be absolutely honest here, I still sometimes drift off into that other even older fantasy I talk about in that old post, the one where I play and sing Bread’s “Diary” with Alyson Michalka.

So this is something that’s on my mind right now.

I don’t want to be like, well, Rubber Lizard singing to a picture of Taylor Swift. That’s [coughs] kind of silly. But I think fantasies are good—in general—because they create a solid mental image that a person’s subconscious can then work toward actualizing, making real.

It’s a way of focusing energy to get things done.

I haven’t met Tori Amos or Alyson Michalka or, for that matter, any girls who feel comfortable wearing sexy polka dot dresses, but these fantasies have helped me get up the energy to learn some cool songs. That’s better than nothing. (Well— Maybe.)

But I’m on the look out, now, for a better fantasy. Or at least a newer fantasy.

Dream birds untangle
dream knots. I need a dream yacht
to sail to new dreams.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Notes On This Notebook Odyssey

I always have liked the idea of a notebook
as an extension of the past into the present,
as a record of a reality that is lost
as a mechanism another person can use
to recover some little piece of everything gone.

I’ve never been able to make that idea real.

I always have one notebook with me, and often two,
and around the house I have maybe half a dozen.

But I always end up using notebooks for sketching—
I mean literally sketching, drawing quick pictures,
or writing first drafts or plotting out a video—
but then I use good paper for a “correct” drawing
or word processing to type up a careful version
or this or that non-linear media software
to put together a working video or song.

And once I have that version, the more “thoughtful” version,
it kind of bugs me to see the rough scribbles and notes
and I get a lot of satisfaction from ripping
those pages of rough scribbles and notes from my notebooks
and tearing them to pieces and throwing them away.

I have folders full of the final versions of things
but my notebooks just keep getting thinner and thinner.

I’m afraid this procedure violates some basic
notebook principle and somewhere the gods of notebooks
are unhappy with me and say bad things about me
when they talk shop about humans with the other gods.

But I get stuff done and I can’t bring myself to change
work habits that in their own little way get stuff done.

I have folders full of the final versions of things.

But I’m afraid, now, I’ll never be able to get
help from the gods on my trip home from—so to speak—Troy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Headphones (The Good And The Bad)

B: “How come your headphones have a fancy blue indicator on them and mine don’t? Your headphones have a fancy blue indicator showing which side is for the right ear. My headphones have nothing. I have to try to squint to try to read the little L or the little R. You’re just listening. I’m singing. Why are your headphones better than mine? Shouldn’t I have the good headphones?”

M: “Your headphones are exactly the same as mine, sweetheart. I just put a little piece of blue masking tape on mine because I have trouble seeing the little letters. But the headphones are exactly the same. Same make, same model. You do have good headphones.”

B: “Do you hate me? Is that why you treat me this way? Do you want to see me cry? Have I hurt you? Why doesn’t anybody love me?”

The question whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed to Einstein's early work, and to the Annus Mirabilis Papers in particular, has been the subject of some debate. However, the overwhelming consensus among professional historians of physics is that she did not. A few academics, outside the consensus among historians, have argued that she may have played some role.

I used to like headphones. I used to love
playing my guitar through a practice amp
output to headphones with fluid-filled ear-cups
that blocked me off from the room around me
and immersed me in the sounds I performed,
the music, the tone, sustain and echo.

At some point for some reason I don’t know
I stopped liking headphones and I wear them
now only when I practice late at night.
I’ve wondered if one world could slip away
from another when you’re immersed in sound.
Do you remove headphones in a new world?

If I could ask somebody about this
I think I’d like to ask Einstein’s first wife
but she is many worlds away from here
but every time I put on my headphones
and play a melody and harmony
I hope I’ll finish playing in her world.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Headphones And Crucibles

A Beard Tangled With Headphones

Pamela At The Doorway To Atlantis

Ancient Cities Of The Moon

Monday, November 07, 2011

Carnage Candy

If you’re a scraggly-looking tree in an empty lot
and a workman comes along and sprays an orange “X
on you, you’ve got to think it’s not a decoration
for Halloween but rather it’s an indication
that soon another workman will come with a chainsaw
and you’re going to be the victim of a slasher,
and you’re going to be the tree-in-an-empty-lot
equivalent of the babysitter who drinks beer
and takes the kids next door so she can have sex upstairs
and the actress who plays you won’t be in the sequel.

“Number two: The death scenes are always much more elaborate. More blood. More gore. Carnage candy. Your core audience just expects it.”

from Randy’s Sequel Rules
“Scream 2”

After Halloween people put down the candy jars
and store away their costumes, and work crews cut down trees
and haul away the logs. Sequels are never as good
as the original. Or maybe we remember
the candy and costumes and first things just seem better
because they’ve had a chance to grow in our memory,
to put down roots—so to speak—to spread branches upward
and become shapes that shape the landscape of our thinking.
(We think of Halloween as being for children but
maybe monsters are the way old people clear their minds.)

Young people are the sequel to old people and kids
have a very slick, high-tech landscape in their young heads
and the image is sharp and the colors are brilliant.
After Halloween there is only next Halloween.
For really young kids it will be their first Halloween.
Laughing, all dressed up, swinging bags of candy, they’ll run
through the spaces where trees used to grow without knowing
trees used to grow there and laughing, all dressed up, swinging
bags of candy, they’ll say, “This is the best Halloween
ever! No way next year will be as good as this year!”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Kite Flying In America (With Trout)

Friday, November 04, 2011

See Monsters?

I saw a hairy monster
in the empty lot behind my house.
Among the bushes and trees and fallen logs
the creature moved slowly,
disappearing into evening shadows.
The overgrown empty lot
takes up only a city block.
Just bushes and trees and fallen logs.
Hardly an ecosystem.
Hardly a niche where a sasquatch might live.
But I saw this hairy monster,
tall, bent, man-like,
slouching through evening shadows.
The next day, in sunlight,
I walked through the empty lot.
I saw footprints in some soft dirt.
The big footprints led nowhere.

Footprints to nowhere in an empty lot
left by a creature something like a man
living somewhere no such creature could live
doing things nobody can understand
turn into monster stories, things like myths.

Sea monsters—see monsters?—like little fish
in an aquarium that’s exactly
like an aquarium that has real fish
turn into monster stories, too, like myths
people use for purposes of their own.

Everything’s happening in empty lots
and parking lots, and acoustic guitars
these days come with electronics built-in
that capture string sounds and string vibrations
before they both fade away to nothing.

String sounds and string vibrations are the same
but pickups get the story from magnets
and mics get the story from moving air
and something like a man can leave footprints
and something like a fish can swim away.

Everything’s happening in empty lots
and parking lots, and I’m still here writing,
writing about impossible kisses
and everything I write is electric
except the words—they’re something like a dream.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sasquatch And Anime Girl, #6

Hold me tighter
Hold me all night
Hold me forever

Hold me until my phone rings
Forever is until my phone rings

Anime Girl

Oh, Sasquatch, I don’t want to leave, because when I go I’ll have to turn my phone back on.


Don’t be afraid of the world, Anime Girl. I could crush that phone between my teeth easier than a cat breaks the back of a mouse. The world is nothing compared to us, Anime Girl.

Anime Girl

Oh, Sasquatch, your jaws could crush any piece of technology. But when you say my name, your voice is like a song. I love you, Sasquatch!


When I say your name, Anime Girl, that is me singing. Because I love you, too, Anime Girl. I love you, too.

See the market place in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember when a dream appears
You belong to me

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

An Expedition Through Photography

I don’t think the Loch Ness monster is invisible
like the invisible stars in an urban night sky
because binoculars make those stars easy to see
and monster hunters are always looking at Loch Ness
through cameras and binoculars and telescopes.

But I often take photographs and people ask me
where I took this or that picture and when I tell them
they say they just drove or walked past that very spot but
they didn’t see whatever it was I photographed
and then the next day they’ll tell me they went by the spot
and sure enough there it was just like in my picture.

Sometimes something is there to be seen, but it’s not seen.

A photograph is a composition, it’s framing.

I think the Loch Ness monster is always there except
it can only be seen when the framing is just right.

I think monsters are an issue of composition.

This expedition, I think, goes through photography
to the wilds on the other side of photography.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Skirts Like The Sound Of Dirigibles

I said, “I really like that shirt.
Did you buy it at the Gap?”

The young woman’s employee name tag
displayed the name, ‘Lisa.’

Lisa smiled.
She said, inevitably, “This old thing?” Then she

surprised me. “I made this myself.
I like it, too.” She turned from

the stacks of paperbacks and faced me.
“Do you really like it?

Or did you compliment my shirt
just to start talking to me?”

I smiled, too, and gave myself
one hot second to come up with

some mid-ground between sounding gay,
saying I did like her shirt,

or sounding like
a jackass pickup artist tossing a line.

“I can’t introspect
that deeply off the cuff,” I said, shrugging.

“Off the cuff,” Lisa repeated,
making a lemon-taste face.

I learned recently that there are women
who can convert a shirt into a skirt.

It isn’t important how I learned this.

I don’t have a real life photograph but
there are pictures of these things on the net:

So a guy learns he’s missing a shirt then
he sees his girl wearing it like a pelt.

Shirt skirts—I’d like to hear what the shirts think.