Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nike+ and the Sellout Narratives

fifty miles in
two months
cuz winter's
bangin' on
ears at a.m.
and arms
gone soft
in long-sleeves.


fifty miles in
two months
cuz autumn
leaves dreams
drifting by
shadows faded
on whites draped
in waking.

branch cracks
sky tracks
shades of
sidewalks match
shapes in sky,
ghost ride
the whip
in wool.


lapse on
last laps...
shapes in waking
drifting by
ghosts gone
at a.m.

fifty miles in
two months


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Piece Book Ch. 1: On Layaway

This is the first of a new series of posts called Piece Book. For the uninitiated, a piece book is simply a sketchbook; "piece" as in graffiti-art piece. (Suprised this isn't on Urban Dictionary.) As home-buying continues to inch closer to reality, I've found myself rummaging through old items deciding what goes and what stays. Finding little gems that never saw the light of day.

First entry is a simple beat I started three years ago during a long Christmas weekend. It's just some drum patterns, bassline, and a keyboard loop. I'd always meant to come back to this, but soon after discovered Propellerhead's Reason and pretty much gave up the old gear. The tracks are mixed (very roughly) in Acid, but sequenced with an MPC synced to a Proteus2000 and Planet Earth. I used an old janky MIDI controller to play the parts.

Since it's officially the holidays, I'll name it "On Layaway".

Oh! I was also very impressed that Acid was able to maintain all parts of the song file even though all the individual pieces where moved to a network filesystem. I tell you, the song file traveled three computers and two network hardrives from the last time I opened it. That was another reason I never went back to the track; always thought I'd have to re-construct the file structure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not That It Really Matters

So I don't lose track...

We Might as Well Win, Johan Bruyneel
All Over Coffee, Paul Madonna
A Writer's San Francisco, Eric Maisel
The Rider, Tim Krabbe
Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Code, Charles Petzold
Karel The Robot, Richard E. Pattis
Making Beats, Joseph Schloss
People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
The Lightening Thief, Rick Riordan
Love Is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield

All Day, Aesop Rock
The Record, Spaceheater
Noumena, The Drift
Everyone Alive Wants Answers, Colleen
Partie Traumatic, Black Kids
Deeds Not Words, Max Roach
Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods, Dizzy Gillespie & Machito
Shine, Estelle
Alone in San Francisco, Thelonious Monk
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Fate, Dr. Dog
Naturally, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
In Rainbows, Radiohead
Third, Portishead
Jukebox, Cat Power
Out of the Shadow, Rogue Wave
Back to Black: The B-Sides, Amy Winehouse
As Iron Sharpens Iron, The Procussions
The Reminder, Feist
The Impulse Story: Alice Coltrane, Alice Coltrane
Greatest Hits, Guns N' Roses
The Heart of Saturday Night, Tom Waits

The Dark Night
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Refugee Nation, Theater Performance

Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries

Michael Clayton

The Last King of Scotland

No Country for Old Men

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Wake Up Show

She usually reacts with a frown. Then quickly turns to her side, away from me, and goes right back to sleep.

But this morning, she smiled when I turned on the bedroom light at 5 a.m. to start the day.

"Is Obama still the president?" she asked, still smiling, eyes closed.

Yes, baby. Obama is still the president.

Sweet dreams.

Obama rally March 2007, Downtown Oakland.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Like Jazz on Rainy Days

If you have to lose something
the best way to keep it
is to keep it in your memory.
--Ashes of Time Redux

It was the same station agent from last year. Some crackhead rider spat at him then yelled "n--r c--t" before storming off.

I'm trying to tell the same agent that I forgot something on the train.

"What'd you lose, again?" he asks me.

It was a box.

"What kind of box?"

A UPS package. I mean, a USPS package.

"Do you remember where you were sitting?"

Second to last train. ... Oh, wait. No. I switched cars. I was in the last car.

"A USPS box on the last car," he relays over the phone from inside the station booth. He's talking with the station agent at the next train stop. He hangs up. "They'll hold the train to have someone do a walk-through."

I thank him profusely and spend the next couple minutes looking at the surveillance camera feeds inside the booth. He helps other riders with their questions. The phone rings. It's a short conversation.

"Okay, I'll let him know." He turns to me. "They didn't find anything. The train will be at the end of the line in 20 minutes. If they find anything when they clean the train, they'll call me."

Can I leave my phone number?

"Yeah. But if you don't hear from me in the next hour, that means they didn't find it at the end of the line. The best thing to do is contact BART lost and found. " He hands me an info sheet.

I picture the lost and found office as a dark and cold underground converted closet in a government building in downtown Oakland. Right when I get home, though, I fill out BART's on-line lost-and-found form. Item description: "USPS box containing a pencil drawing of a hill and houses." It's an All Over Coffee print by Paul Madonna. He'd once included my old apartment in a drawing of Bernal Hill, where Lisa and I celebrated our wedding reception two years ago. I'd ordered the print for our anniversary.

For several days after the incident on BART, I try to kick the sensation and memory from my head: I was exiting through the turn-style and something didn't feel right. I'd forgotten something. What? The package. Damn. The blood seemed to drain out suddenly at my ankles. If I were 5-years-old, I'd probably start crying right on the spot.

I try to re-imagine the incident, but with Micky Mouse there instead to hand me a chocolate bar wrapped in a gold ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, where I watch the San Diego Chargers win their first Super Bowl. Me and my buddies at the 50 yard line.

It isn't working, though. The memory of the incident still sucks.

The lost-and-found information suggests that after three weeks, consider your item lost for good. I wait two weeks. I want to order another print ASAP to get the it out of my head.

And then, I get an email from BART. My box is at the 12th Street station. The print is perfectly safe and sound.

From All Over Coffee #314 by Paul Madonna.