Posted on September 25, 2021
What is it
That's so exquisite
Just once a year
You're finally here
The daylight fades
Colors on parade
Air is toasted oak
Chimney fire smoke
Wish it was all year
Instead it disappears
As fast as it came
It leaves us just the same
Enjoy it while you can
We're just mortal man
The Autumn of our years
This time we hold so dear
Posted on September 25, 2021
It’s now been 1 1/2 years since I started playing music. I did play guitar and keyboards in the 80’s, but that was maybe 6 years out of that decade. I did have some piano and song writing classes and I was in a rock band that played at The Hotel Utah in San Francisco. Amateur, but serious amateur I suppose.
Back then, because I didn’t push myself to play more than a handful of chords (bad pun intended) I very quickly ran into a total writers block. I just didn’t understand how much work it takes to become a decent musician and song writer. Plus, my “day job” and career paid the bills and took off very nicely. Away went music.
A tear stained eye
A ghost in the machine
Every time I walk by
Her face in a dream
Her beautiful face
The ships it set sail
Falling from grace
Dead men tell no tale
New age Medusa
Writhing with snakes
Men are reduced
To deathly heartache
Don't touch that dial
Her siren song sings
Like death in a vial
Your end it will bring
Walk by her fast
That haunted machine
If you don't pass
Let out a scream
This time around I’m much more of a very serious student and use fantastic Cubase to record myself – daily. Recording is like a quiz – you have to be on time and be ready. Its not as casual as sitting on the sofa noodling and goofing around. I’m also pushing how many instruments I’m playing – guitar, bass, mandolin, lap steel, violin and theremin. Making the attempt to arrange all of these parts is great practice, but I need to draw a line where playing is more like noodling and it ruins a decent song structure. The best example is 70’s jam band rock – especially The Grateful Dead – I just never have understood why people like them. Some of their songs could be good, and Jerry Garcia was best when he did bluegrass with David Grisman, but his incessant jam noodling just got boring. Many like it though ….
From now on, I’ll put more effort in the instrument I’m writing a song with and be a lot more sparse with the accompanying instruments. This is because when I play too much it gets muddy, and my song idea and intent gets washed out. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a guideline I’ll remember to at least consider. For me, incessant noodling just ruins it.
Sometimes (in very few cases) playing a lot is what is needed, sometimes not. I think in most cases less is more.
One phrase that I love is a Buddhist phrase “Do Nothing Extra”.
Posted on September 24, 2021
Today I have a song experiment – this is a version where I played guitar, bass, piano, lap steel and mandolin:
And here is just the guitar – which is the instrument I used to write the song:
Wow – adding the other instruments changed the song to a point where it sounds just like another song I wrote a while back. Verrrry interesting – and something I just learned about writing, playing and arranging. Basically, I clobbered the main intent of the song by laying down three tracks – bass, mandolin and lap steel that pushed the chord progression and melody so far down in the mix that it became way too similar to another recent song. If I just used the guitar and piano it would have been fine – in fact, if I just had piano only in the bridge, and guitar everywhere else it would be plenty enough of a song idea.
LESS IS MORE!
It also reminds me why taking a really roughed in song to a band to arrange could be the better way to go – at least in some cases, (and depending on how good the players are). The different approaches and experience of each player would create something far more interesting.
Cool beans . . .
In other Art News, I have everything ready for #4 in the 666 Halloween Series. Today I finished the bookshelves and I built a small table to go next to Ol’ Chrome Domes high back chair.
Designing and building sets is such a soothing and fun hobby. Living in an Art Bubble sure is healthier than a political, social media or TV bubble.
Posted on September 23, 2021
What does Sussex County, Spectral Orb and Ikea have in common? That’s right, nothing.
Today I did upholster “ol’ Chrome Domes” high back chair and also finished the two bookshelves.
His Chromium Dome
Reflects the moonlight
Like a Spectral Orb
In the middle of the night
A ghastly site
His hairless head
Scares many a child
You'd think he was Dead
He's not a clown
But something far worse
His old beat up car
Is a dusty old Hearse
He offers the children
A one way ride
To the cemetery
Where they can't hide
Its only a nightmare
Puppets aren't real
Who grift, lie and steal
Stay tuned for this weekends fourth installment of the 666 Halloween series.
Posted on September 21, 2021
Well, today is the first day of my favorite season. Last year was a total disaster and write off. Autumn was all but ruined by both the smoke from the fires, Covid, and the biggest asshole I’ve ever experienced – Dirtbag Trump. That year of politics running up to and even past the election was a total dumpster fire.
This year we were spared all of last years woe, and its been replaced by great weather, nice fall colors (already) and fun with my art and photography. My new job is better than the last .
Besides having big Halloween fun, I’ll be sure to celebrate Thanksgiving big time. I guess there is one thing about bad times, things can only get better, and man, what a difference a year makes.
Go look at that big Harvest Moon. Its beautiful.
Posted on September 20, 2021
Today was great for a Monday. I was lamenting the end of the weekend late yesterday (my weekends are as close to perfect as you can get). But work was great today. Crazy how I still like work after 40 years in I.T. Guess I chose the right career!
OK, ol’ “Floppy Disk” needs a spine so he can sit in this chair (well, start of what will become a chair).
He will be the star of the next installment of the 666 Series. Stay in tune, er tubed, er tuned…..
Posted on September 19, 2021
When I thought about The Raven and quite a few poems and stories that Poe wrote where he suffers the loss of his young wife, I asked myself if I have lamented anything like that in my life. The answer is luckily, no. My relatives who passed lived a good life and a full life – so while sad, it felt natural and normal. I know from experience – when a young persons life is cut short that that is a much different story.
On a much lesser scale, there are era’s in my life that are over – which caused a wee bit of mourning on my part. The Era of Radio is one of them. Sure, it’s only a thing, and only technology I suppose – but it’s kind of interesting how important radio was in my life. It had serious social component that some young people have never or will ever experience. So – I guess I am lucky I got to experience radio as I did.
Today’s Imaginary Puppet Theater show highlights the death of radio coupled with Raoul Hausmanns 1918 Dada work, “The Spirit of Our Age”. He lamented post WWI technology and that senseless war. He lamented how the killing machines (tanks and mustard gas) plus war sparked by greedy capitalism seemed to dehumanize making people just a number.
I’d argue that Social Media is our eras “Soft Killing Machine”. It didn’t cause the Idiocracy we are experiencing in the US, but it sure enabled losers to have a voice and make a continued concerted effort to ruin the (arguably) greatest democracy the earth has seen.
Posted on September 19, 2021
Tomorrow will be an exciting day in the Imaginary Puppet Theatre. Photo shoot number three in the 666 series will go down. Be There or be square.
Ghostorola (shown above) will be a central character in the “show”. She’s a real beauty.
The theme will be The Death of Radio. I’ve recently come around to the thought that like a human, things also have a planned obsolescence. While my love of radio surpasses almost any thing (emphasis on thing), there are some parallels to changes I’ve made in my hobbies. With a surprise!
While I got out of Ham Radio for good over a year ago, I got back into music, and have been loving my lap steel. Full circle happened – the Lap Steel and pickups were invented by a Ham Radio Operator. The Lap Steel was the predecessor to the electric guitar. One of many interesting characters was Alvino Rey. Google him. There are several others. Electro magnetic experimenters.
Commercial Radio was proceeded by Hams goofing around on the air, some playing music. KDKA in Pittsburgh was supposedly the first commercial radio station, and it fired up in 1922, the year my father was born.
I’m feeling the connections between the Dada artists in 1918 – post WWI and their pandemic and ours. My grandparents immigrated from Stuttgart to Newark, NJ in 1926. Radio started in 1922, and the Dada sentiment that the mechanization led to a depersonalization of the community. In our time, we mirror that with Reality TV (The Apprentice) who spawned the worst president ever. Virtual Communities. Now how bizarre is that? Fake news – even worse “Fake Reality”. Irony nested in layers like a Russian Doll.
But Social Media is our Age of Mechanization in a way. That and Drones killing civilians and geez, its a LOT more like 100 Years Ago than I had expected. Social Media seems like the death of human interaction in the flesh.
Twitter and Facebook are Mustard Gas.
Posted on September 17, 2021
The movie “Contact” was both good – and bad, but most of it was good. I especially liked the opening scene where Radio and TV signals were travelling out into outer space – to be heard by aliens I suppose. They were from every decade since radio was invented – but more so commercial radio.
When I was a kid there still was music even on AM radio, but FM was where the cool kids hung out. AM had local news and I remember listening to WHO from Des Moines and “The Farm Report” and WSM and The Grande Ol’ Opry. FM had “album rock” which was great.
I know FM was still good through the 80’s, but with syndication, talk radio and then even MTV switching to “reality shows”, that was it. Radio, and even TV as we knew it was strangled and left for dead. I think in the 90’s.
Luckily, College and some PBS stations kept a very thin candle burning.
From 2001 – 2016 I relived what was the absolute last gasp of my personal radio romance. It was fun and I’m so thankful I squeezed every last drop out of my Ham Radio hobby.
YouTube and Satellite Radio is excellent for finding new music and internet “radio” has way more selection than AM or FM, but there was that indescribable “charm”.
Anyway, tomorrow – or Sunday – I have another photo shoot lined up – the third in the 666 series. The theme is a Halloween inspired theme, where the spooky headstone is for Radio.
Posted on September 17, 2021
This balsa wood beauty arrived today and while it was kind of cool, it didn’t have enough contour and the painted on eyes and eyebrows were lackluster. My enhanced photo above makes it way more interesting than reality.
So, out came the Dremel tool, and 10 minutes later:
On the heels of my last photo shoot, (which featured Lenore, my Assemblage paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe and The Raven), I enjoyed it so much, I want to do another similar one.
You’ll see the colors and textures of my favorite Dada art pieces …
The color and texture of these assemblages really speak to me. Also, the time they were done was right after WWI, and in or around the pandemic. My grandparents, aunt, uncle and father would immigrate from Stuttgart to the US just a few years later.
Electricity in every home was new, radio was new, even automobiles were new. Tanks and chemical weapons were used during WWI, and the world was changing in ways that truly set the stage for rapid industrialization of the modern era.
Raoul Hausmann, Spirit of the Age: Mechanical Head
Right after the 1918 pandemic, the world rebounded with an age of prosperity. The Roaring 20’s must have been something.
Ok, a little stain in just the right few spots, and my new wooden head guy will be ready for adornment. I have a few items on the way, but a happy accident happened when I grabbed the gold frame, headsets and Morse Code Telegraph Key. It feels like a nice homage and I do have a title in mind and concept that is a reflection of Hausmann, 100 years later and one pandemic later.
I’ll write about it when this Assemblage is done.