Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just more Google-hit inflation. Move along.

An image, and a phrase, captures my imagination (my dumb, child-like, easily fascinated by common rhymes imagination) that I just want to be known to the world as someone who once wrote the phrase in a blog post: A hail of snails.

Maybe it was breeding season for a certain gastropod species, and the slimy dears were teeming over their ancestral ditch banks, darting in and out of one another with their fabled love darts, when a stiff wind came up and scooped the lot of them--a whole tribe and neighborhood of whorl-shelled slime-gobs--carried them aloft in zephryal ecstasy, a transport so much greater than the workaday breeding they showed up for, and strewed them in the lap of a picnicking couple just a country mile from the erstwhile Kansas (as in, 'we're not there anymore') of their irrigation canal homeland, dropped them off in Oz. A hail of snails.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Space is Big, but it's not THAT Big

Umm. Apparently our galaxy is only 100,000 light years wide, so my Bearded Octopus is 10 times wider that the place he's supposed to be at the center of.

What's a couple orders of magnitude between friends, huh?

You might think Milky Way is a funny name for a galaxy, but don't forget that galaxy itself comes from Greek galact- which means 'milk.' That's why there's a galaxy in the middle of androgalactazemia a word that I thought was the name for the condition of male lactation, but I guess I made it up, since it gets zero Google hits. Until now, that is.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Bearded Octopus Has Something to Say to You

At the center of our galaxy sits a bearded octopus a million light-years wide. His diet is dying stars.

At 15, curious about jazz, I found in my dad's record cabinet a compilation record (which I realize now he probably picked up as part of his study of percussion education at college) featuring a song by someone called Red Norvo, "Honeysuckle Rose." I loved it but haven't heard it since. I didn't know until today that Red Norvo was a mallet player, and I don't recall the presence of mallet percussion factoring in to my love of the song, though xylophones and glockenspiels have seduced me on numerous other songs, FZ's "Wowie Zowie" chief among them.

My new glockenspiel arrived today and, pursuing my curiosity again, a few clicks through Wikipedia to a site dedicated to mallet percussion led me to an ad for a Red Norvo record: The Dance of the Octopus.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I shoulda listened to my dad

He told me once, oh, it's getting to be 20 years ago now, "If it ain't in time, it's nothing."

He was talking about playing drums, but it's good advice for lots of things--of course, I thought it was outrageous nonsense at the time. And most of the time, playing music, close enough is good enough (or so I think--perhaps those who've heard me play think different. . .) When you're playing with a group, the time you play is the time, so it can be flexible--and sloppy, yes--but it's about playing together, not (necessarily) making the time between each beat uniform.

Or my timing is completely fucked.

That's what it seemed like last night, in the shed, trying to play along with the click track. I don't even know if I was dragging or rushing. Who knew that all it would take to make this natty skinsman go from thinking he was Hot Shit to feeling like he doesn't know how to play music at all was a couple dozen half-beats.

Shoulda taken my dad's advice and learned to practice with a metronome.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Drummer

Note the studied snoot:

I'm twirling a dress cane. Just take my word for it. What ya want?

So it's proven: you can dress him up in lavender and gold but he's still a big dork.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Possible first sentence of my autobiography, no.2

Ha! I'll bet you were expecting the second sentence. Or not, since I numbered the first one 'No. 1'

I'm not writing my autobiography, in case you're worried you'll have to read it. I have never done anything, so there's nothing to write about. Maybe if I wrote something, then people who liked it might want to know about the life that led to writing such a thing, and then I could write it. But no. I'm just writing exercisey sentences. Like this one:

Though I never caught a thing, not even a splay-tongued leather boot with a hole on the sole or a tin can with its saw-edged lid not cut all the way from its sides--you know, those things--the only things--you find on the end of a cartoon fishing line (because the cartoons were made in the '40s, though that would mean nothing to a three-year-old in the '70s), and though it doubtless dulled the hook and made some fish's last moments even more torturous than they would have been already, I learned, following my father's instructions, how to cast a line with a hand-cranked reel, and how it was different from an auto-spooling reel, by practicing--playing at--throwing the hook into the black lake-shaped asphalt of the cul-de-sac drive of the trailer park behind Veterans' Park.

In the '70s.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Possible first sentence of my autobiography, no.1

When women had feathered hair and men moustaches, when photographs came back from the lab already color-faded and with rounded corners, when the president of the world's richest democracy--though it was at the time suffering a hideous economic disease called stagflation--was known as a peanut farmer, and his brother Billy was famous for putting his name on a brand of beer, a woman of only 22, in labor with her first child, was being driven eastward on West State St. in Boise, being driven straight to nauseation by her husband (and his black moustache) who swerved his blue Volkswagen van around the traffic-free early-morning street to avoid the intermittent pockmarks of unrepaired potholes.