One Night in Texas

Down the wide street
The Texan strode
He walked like thunder
While lesser men rode.

From his long view
To the fair field
He could see mighty clear:
“What a burger!” he squealed.

How could a sub
Commandeer his eye?
Or a mangled chicken
Mask hunger so high?

No, only one meal
Could satisfy him–
A late-night repast
That wasn’t too slim!

This king in raw wrapping
Was ready to eat
A barbeque cheddar
With plenty of meat.

As he neared the joint
He picked up speed
Trying to outrun
His rumbling need.

Now, pal, a din could be heard
From out of the gravel
As he leaped for the curb
And gunned it to travel.

But he thudded against
A door, strenuously leaning,
And gasped as he read,
“Sorry, closed for cleaning!”

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14 thoughts on “One Night in Texas

  1. I think you’re the real deal, despite your modest claims in the past. It’s even got a “feel good” feel to it. Negativity is essential in analyzing a world in which evil exists, but I get tired of it more than I used to.

    If there’s a problem, it’s that there’s no market for verse of the poetry type. The market is in so-called street poetry, also known as rap.

    You might try that, though you would likely be perceived as Joachim What’s His Name, after falling prey to his unfulfilled ambitions to be a white rapper, and prior to supposedly confessing it was all an act. Though for you, you would at least only be perceived as a fool by a few people at the local Christian coffee house, rather than by millions because you were a famous movie star.

    Myself, I can rap, and it’s not that I wouldn’t act on unfulfilled ambitions to be a rapper, regardless of people’s opinions, though it would probably be of the metal-rap style, since that hip-hop rap sound is plain stupid, it’s that the unfulfilled ambitions were eliminated by the awareness of my mortality, and so consequently, other unfulfilled ambitions took the place of “rap ambitions”, which is fortunate, given that I have the awareness to know what people’s perceptions would be.

    But it is
    my own neurosis
    not someone else’s imposition
    and that is all that matters

    That is the hook. That is the catch phrase. Everything else would be forgotten, if they could even understand the other stuff you said. But you would say that so many times, it would be burned in their brain. But that’s speaking of a hypothetical world of “would and could”.

  2. Here’s the whole history pertaining to your implications:

    1979: Spent nine months, against my will, immersed in the world of proto-rap music when it overwhelmed my school after the release of “Rapper’s Delight”, Never bought any albums in the “rap” or “hip-hop” style. Never listened to any radio stations playing this style after this time.
    1980: I decided I wanted to be a poet, a decision apparently unrelated to the prior item.
    1980: Co-editor of school literary magazine.
    1981: Three poems published in school literary magazine. Everyone baffled by abstruse meanings in these poems.
    1982: Honorable mention in statewide poetry contest. Everyone totally perplexed by abstruse meanings of winning poem. My family wonders about my possible alien origins.
    1988: Barely passed undergraduate poetry class. Teacher and other students unanimous that my poetry stinks, mostly because it rhymes (“decadent”) and it uses too many big words (“not concrete enough”). Poetry ambitions abandoned. I take my second permanent full-time job, in a machine shop.
    1991: I discover a semi-legal local TV repeater broadcasting rap videos from a satellite feed. I become unaccountably addicted to Digital Underground for a short period of time.
    1993: Local metal/hardcore radio station starts up. I listen to it for a couple of years until it is bought by the local classic rock station. First time I ever listened to rapping in metal or rock, such as Whale and Beck.
    2005: I start listening to Christian college radio stations and discover Christian rap and hardcore, as well as Christian metal that doesn’t sound like Stryper. I listened for awhile but got tired of screamo. I still occasionally listen to Air1, though.

    That’s about it. I still write poetry for fun, but don’t usually admit to being a poet. I’ve added certain hip-hop rhythms to the wide range of music that I can groove to, but I rarely choose to listen to it. I avoid rap but feel “white guilt” for doing so, especially when I read academics gushing about its profundity. I listen sometimes to metal, such as Disciple. Right now I’m getting into contemporary Bollywood music. May start playing bass again next month, just for fun.

  3. We are now conversing in the past. You have moved on to more serous topics.

    Tangents, there are so many that could be chosen.

    I could speak of getting fooled by those three Schach-D impersonators, and how you were only willing to listen to about 30 seconds of one of those wannabes, them being wannabe funny guys at best, or worse, Weird Al Yankovics, or worse, Weird Al Yankovics with no built in weird meter to measure their weirdness.

    That would lead into me telling you how I have almost zero interest in indulging in other people’s pure humor or comedy. I’ll occasionally use a small slot of my time to give people about 30 seconds each to be funny on Youtube, and that’s enough for me, for months and month. I’d rather think, unless I’m involved.

    This ties into this bass thing. But, first, my history in so-called poetry is less sophisticated than yours.

    I got turned on to wanting to be a musician. Music needs lyrics, so I wrote lyrics, but I never considered that a strong point of mine, not that I didn’t consider some of my lyrics good.

    I then set music aside for a long time, and had to get an English minor to get my math degree, so I took a course in American literature and English literature, where both had a heavy does of poetry in them.

    Not having any creative outlet in music for myself, I went back and broke up some of my lyrics so they were less dependent on needing a tune to carry them. Then, little philosophical phrases I would come up with, I would put them into verse form, but I didn’t consider most of that poetry. So, rhythmic prose, with an occasional poem, was my creative outlet in the absence of trying to produce some music.

    Now I’m back on the verge of getting serious with trying to produce some music, but not just music. The market for free music on the web is glutted, similar to how the blogging scene is glutted.

    Another aside. The metal part of metal rap actually tends to get on my nerves. I kind of prefer a trance sound, but guitars are a big part of what I want in a sound. As to exactly how, I’m not sure.

    There’s a huge problem in all of this. The problem is that producing music can never be enjoyable until it comes easy, and nothing comes easy until you’ve done it for years.

    I could say, “Dave, don’t put your energy into playing the bass, put it into the technical skills that are an investment, and that over a period of years will build and build and increase the chances of leaving something musical behind.”

    But it’s complicated. What I’m talking about is partnering, but it’s complicated, from all sorts of aspects, at least half of them practical.

    Analogies, there are plenty to make. I will make a blogging analogy. You blog for many reasons, but if it wasn’t practical for you to blog, you wouldn’t do it. It would simply be a matter of priorities in your life.

  4. I already put my energy into learning the basic bass skills, then I put a total of 18 months into rehearsing four songs a week and performing them, so now I’m at the point where I can perform pretty well with a few hours of practice. But all that was with church worship teams that were trying hard to appeal to young CCM listeners every week. Now I’m going to be with a more laid-back group about once a month. I will probably put some extra effort into learning new grooves on my own, since I’m practicing anyway. Really, with bass I just want to be in a group playing, learning how to play in time and all that, because that’s the only reason I started in the first place.

    On a more ambitious level, I want to develop technical skills on acoustic guitar, banjo, dulcimer, and harmonica, because someone died and left me some instruments, so I want to learn to play them well. But who knows if I would ever perform with those.

    It really isn’t practical for me to blog. Whenever I’m blogging, I should be sleeping or working. I started it because I had taken these journalism classes, and then I tried to get some work as a freelance writer, and then an editor posted one of my pieces online and I thought I was going to do a regular column, but then he took a job as a marketing copywriter, and so I decided to start blogging instead. That was nearly eight years ago; around the same time I had two opportunities to start doing academic writing. But I blew off both of those by not really trying hard enough, arguably self-sabotage due to a “fear of success.”

    So, now it’s back to just editing, in a slow, grinding kind of way peculiar to my niche field, not even with the variety or pace of commercial publishing. I’m trying to spice it up by learning UI development and listening to lectures in theology and ancient Greek, but for some reason I keep wanting to distract myself by blogging.

  5. I guess I’m projecting. The technical stuff I’m talking about is just sitting in front of a computer. The musicianship is technical, and takes work to get good, but my goal is to not touch an instrument anymore.

    I’ve been collecting software for about 5 years. My setup is complex, and that’s after I’ve culled out lots of plugins. But it’s easy to talk about setups. I’ve been collecting a ton videos to learn it all.

    I gave much of my recording gear to my brother-in-law, and after about a year, he gave it all back. There’s nothing that enjoyable about recording and producing music.

    Production, that’s work. My goal is to spend enough time doing it so that it would be like spending an afternoon writing an essay length blog post.

    If you want the software, I can get it to you, but then, I’m projecting here. Archived, it’s about 185 gigabytes. There are other software instruments that I’m trying not to use that would add about another 100 gigabytes. Actually, there’s probably nothing to talk about until I have something to show you.

    But you know how art type things work. What thrills one person, another person may think is stupid.

  6. There’s nothing that enjoyable about recording and producing music.

    Well, when you talk about musicians, there’s Ace Frehley, then there’s Stevie Ray Vaughan, and then there’s Tom Scholz. Most guys want to be Ace Frehley, because they think they will look good in spandex and makeup, or something like that. Some guys want to be Stevie Ray Vaughan, and that’s where I was for awhile, but now I’d settle for being Skip James in about ten years. For most of my life, though, I’ve been closer to the Tom Scholz model, insofar as I’ve been more technical than musical (not that Tom Scholz isn’t musical–I’m just talking about the way of approaching music).

    The technical production of music is something I’ve only occasionally dealt with. I’ve run a sound board a few times, and I did some editing with Audacity and Audio Maestro. It’s one of those technical things I’ve dabbled in but never dove into, like Linux, Drupal, XML, Python, etc. I’m interested in it as a technical problem-solving exercise, and because it’s an area of expertise I’ve always wanted to claim I had experience in, so that I could compare myself in my own mind to Tom Scholz.

    As an entrepreneurial venture, I’m interested in letting it take up a small slice of time–it would take over the five hours a week that I steal from sleep to blog or learn UI. I could see combining it with HCI work in the future, so that I would get some kind of synergistic benefit that would impress other informatics nerds. That’s pretty much the only way I can justify new projects, if I can free-associate them with something else I’m already doing. So, do you want me to send you a portable hard drive or something? Because I’ve got no room on any of my computers for that much stuff.

  7. I need to do some more “proof of concept” before I give you anything. By doing that, I’ll make it “possibly” practical for you to use and learn the stuff.

    Basically, I got the software partially installed, and I was working on creating templates, while at the same time sorting through the 60 or 70 VST plugins to try find the best ones, to cut down on the complexity, and get rid of the duplication, while not throwing anything out that would come in useful in the future.

    Part of it is getting the VST plugins and the DAW to not constantly crash. REAPER is the DAW I want to use: http://reaper.fm/

    I was using the 32-bit version, because not all VSTs come in 64-bit versions, and I thought I had to use 64-bit VSTs with the 64-bit DAW, which is not the case.

    But, I had installed most of the VSTs, but REAPER kept crashing bad, like “have to reboot bad”, because it’s tied into the device driver level.

    Anyway, I read on the web that running the 64-bit version with 32-bit VSTs would get rid of the hard crashes, and it’s true because the 64-bit REAPER runs the 32-bit VSTs through a bridge, so when the VST crashes, the REAPER process is independent enough from the VST process that it doesn’t mess up the REAPER process. But then there are user interface disadvantages to running 32-bit VSTs with the 64-bit DAW, so I’ll have to do lots of experimentation to see if, after elminating the VSTs that crash, I can end up using the 32-bit version of REAPER, and whether it’s significantly slower.

    That’s a wordy way of saying, “Dave, let me shelter you from as much of the pain as possible.”

    We’ll have to talk about this more in the future, if you’re interested. To just give you a hard drive full of software wouldn’t be that helpful to you. We would need to communicate with phone, Skype, and email. That’s part of the “practical problems” I was talking about previously.

    If I create a little music first, and it’s decent, and you think I’m playing the guitar and bass, but I’m just doing it with Kontakt instruments like,

    http://www.orangetreesamples.com/strawberry-electric-guitar

    http://www.prominy.com/V_METAL.htm

    And the drums don’t sound fake because I’m using something like:

    http://www.toontrack.com/products.asp?item=56

    http://www.toontrack.com/products.asp?item=73

    http://www.toontrack.com/products.asp#SUPERIORLine

    Then it will give you “proof of concept” so that you have an idea of what can be done, which might help you decide if you want to do it.

    Tying into “Tom Scholz”, the production side of music has always been a big part of professional sounding music, but electronic, rap, and hip hop are basically “production only” music. For those, the only real instrument usually used is the human voice, and with trance and electronic, they don’t even have much vocals in it.

    What’s happened is that software instruments have gotten better and better at reproducing the sound of guitar and drums, so now a person can do “production only” for a rock type sound, though a person having played the guitar and drums is probably important to be able to do it.

    I’ve been trying to do some math related stuff, which is equally demanding. If I gave that up, it would be ten years of aspirations down the drain, but there are worse things.

    I say the last sentence because if I started today back on learning the music tools, and devoted myself to it for about 3 months, I might have something to show.

    In the past, I’ve already went through the exercise of recording some of my songs, where I tried to get a professional sound, both technically and artistically. It wasn’t ever an enjoyable thing. To mess around with chord progressions, that’s enjoyable. To do the work to turn an idea into a finished, quality product, there was nothing ever enjoyable about that. Most of the time, it depressed me.

    This time, the software and speed of computers has greatly improved, and I know more what to do technically to get a decent mix and mastered song. But, I don’t care to put out something that’s not semi-professional.

    One last thing. Music by itself is nothing. There are so many musicians out there putting out really good music for free, there’s no reason for most people to listen to anyone but the big players. If you only have a limited amount of time, why not listen to the pros?

    My idea is that the music has to be secondary; it has to support something else. The something else, I think, is audio or video commentary of some type, put out on a regular, frequent basis.

    By making the music secondary, I never present myself as a musician. If I never present myself as a musician, then I don’t give people a chance to make artistic judgments about what I’m doing. If I call myself a musician, then they have a certain set of expectations of what I’m supposed to be based on “art”.

    If you don’t hear from me on this, it’s because I haven’t made enough progress to show you anything.

    I could have picked a much easier fake email address to use. That face icon comes in handy. I keep correcting the email address spelling until the right face comes up.

  8. OK, I trust your judgment. I’m not quite sure where I fit into this, but you can let me know whenever you’re ready.

    I’m trying to use a little imagination here, putting together different things you’ve written recently and free-associating with my own experiences. The only picture I get is this: self-hypnosis personal development tapes. About thirty years ago I had this one, where the psychologist tries to get you to relax and then visualize your objective, basically using his monotonous voice and gentle affirmations to guide you, saying things like, “Everyone is challenged…by their life…” It was good for going to sleep, not so much for changing habits. Coincidentally, I naturally speak in a way that puts people to sleep.

    More recently I found a CD at Goodwill of some classical guitar and piano that had all these warnings about how dangerous it was to listen to it without proper guidance. After enjoying the music, I went to the developer’s website and found that it was part of a complicated system of psychotherapy that is integrated with specially produced music. The guy who developed the system claims that the music literally alters the listener’s brain wave patterns, and when used by a trained coach in a personalized, structured course of therapy, helps the listener improve learning and do other awesome stuff.

    I’m also thinking of Beck, and maybe Frank Zappa. I’ve only heard a couple of Beck’s songs, but I read an interview about how he makes them. I don’t know any of Zappa’s songs, but his artistic vision seems to have some things in common with yours.

    Finally, I’ve used ambient, electronica, trance, jazz, and symphonic music while working, so I can imagine how certain kinds of music are compatible with concentration and coherent thought.

    So, without trying to trivialize what you’re doing, at this point, with limited information, that’s what comes to mind. If you want to continue this on email instead of blog comments, feel free.

  9. Even a blog comment can be a small, work of art, of sorts, so to make this comment by private email would be to deprive the public of a small, very small, miniature, microscopic size work of art.

    Being the perceptive person you are, you are very close. In general, think infomercials disguised as engaging, provocative, political and social commentary. Think Ann Coulter. For many people, she appears to be a concerned citizen seeking to bring about change through provocative, political commentary, when actually, she’s primarily concerned with selling books and getting fees for speaking.

    Seriously (where the Ann Coulter part was serious), the use of the music can support anything you or I want it to support, where you can be as independent of me as you want, once I give you the software, and the 200 Gbytes or so of videos to learn about it.

    You want to use it to support something that has commercial value? You could do it. You want to destroy your commercial value by alienating the two main parties that make up the mainstream? You could do it.

    I’ve come up with an idea that might have commercial value, so then the challenge becomes, “How do I put out this thing that might have commercial value, without destroying its commercial value and mainstream appeal by producing other things, and not end up prostituting myself?”

    The real temptation then becomes to not even put out the other stuff to “protect my hypothetical brand”, which probably means I would end up prostituting myself and still not make any money, which would still be a lot better than prostituting myself and making money, since failure is more likely to lead to reevaluation.

    Trivializing what I do is fine, as long as I think you’re joking:

    Dave: …this and that..trivial…

    GC44: Ha, ha. That’s funny, Dave, really funny.

    Dave: No, The GC44, I don’t think you understand. I’m serious. You don’t have to tell me a single thing more about what you’re trying to do. It’s obvious. It’s one of the most trivial pursuits on the face of the Earth. The only thing more trivial would be to label yourself as a Christian libertarian and Christian author, run a blog giving out sex advice to drunks and male losers, and write trashy, fantasy novels about elves.

    GC44: Oh. So you’re not joking, and I can’t just say, “Ha, ha”?

    Dave: No, think trivial, as in stupid.

    GC44: I will now go and unplug my Internet connection. I must shelter myself from criticism which suppresses my artistic genius.

    Dave: Okay, but make sure you send me the software and videos. Good tools in the right hands can be very effective.

    I’ll take it offline for any other technical discussion, but there’s nothing to take offline for now.

    • For many people, she appears to be a concerned citizen seeking to bring about change through provocative, political commentary, when actually, she’s primarily concerned with selling books and getting fees for speaking.

      This pretty much describes the paradigm for most psychologists and personal development gurus: They use the content to sell themselves as experts and make a living by performing and selling artifacts. Isn’t that that the same as every professional musician, at least the ones who become widely known? Academics, too, as well as the professional politicians who don’t have lifetime appointments. And all the well-known journalists and commentators, of course. And just about every preacher who gets on TV or publishes a self-help book.

      What about those executives who talk their way into a job making millions of dollars a year, then leave after a couple years and get another job making more, even though every time they’re in charge, a company’s stock prices fall, its market share decreases, and lots of employees get laid off? They’re getting paid to show up and perform, not because of some objective value or specific product or tangible service they provide. Many lower-level managers also get paid just to show up and look good.

      Once you think about it, it’s a pretty popular way to make a living, by showing off and then showing up to perform on cue, which I think you are calling prostitution.

      But you’re just using that as an analogy. Really, you want to be more like Google or Pandora, the infrastructure provider who doesn’t care about the content; but their revenue models are mostly dependent on advertising. Or maybe you’re more like those work-from-home schemes in the 1990s, who sold a bunch of revenue-generating plans for a couple thousand dollars and gave the buyer a “free” computer built from spare parts. Or maybe a service franchise that leases all the equipment and software to the franchisee and lets them run their own business selling whatever they want.

      • There are lots of ways to prostitute one’s self, but the Google paradigm would be getting very close to representing how most people prostitute themselves, and the hardest thing to not do to get some chance of getting some exposure, as a beginning point for “possible” success. It’s exactly what I don’t want to do.

        This is the way it works. You affiliate yourself with those who are successful as a means to becoming successful. Doing that is a tool that’s neither good nor bad in and of itself. It happens to be, because of life in general, that it’s used more for bad than good.

        Business wise, the best thing to do is to get as unpicky as possible with what content you’re willing to be connected with, either through advertisement, or what content your business associates are pushing.

        I don’t want to be the dope dealer distributor who’s willing to distribute for dope suppliers whatever it is that the dopeheads want.

        This dope dealer analogy could get very involved. I wouldn’t really fit in the category of being a dopehead who’s not willing to be a dope pusher. It would be more like I’m not willing to be a dope distributor, but there’s a need for me to let the dope distributor, Youtube, plaster advertisement for dope, paid for by the dope suppliers, on my storefront.

        In this analogy, I would also have a need to climb the ladder by riding on the coattails of dopeheads, who were openly dopeheads, but who were successful dopeheads.

        I don’t want to be that person.

        What I do is try to figure out if I can work in the system and end up “just paying taxes that I have to pay because I don’t have any choice in the matter”.

        Maybe you can see the problem with where that last “figuring out” can lead.

        So the point won’t be lost, it’s easy to decide “I have to pay certain taxes” when I really don’t.

        I changed the fake email address to one easier to remember, and as to the technical discussion about music, my forthcoming reply to your reply below is more important.

  10. Hey, you’re not too far away there with your characterization. But you missed the nuance about triviality. Technical details are “trivial”, yet essential to actually accomplishing anything, just like individual steps in math can be trivial solutions that lead to a complicated proof. Also, real life is full of trivia and most of its activities are trivial in and of themselves, even if important goals are being sought. To “trivialize” an objective, priority, or ideal, though, is to suggest that it is vain or unreachable or unimportant.

    I would not want to trivialize an ideal objective, because sometimes it is a person’s sole motivation. It may be unreachable, but that doesn’t really matter, unless the person makes a claim to absolute knowledge or perfect rationality, in which case it is appropriate to undermine their pretensions. Also, it would be appropriate to critique their rationale in order to help them achieve their objective, or simply to help them be honest about whether their ideal is a rational end or more like a state of being.

    And then there are people who I feel like I get to know well enough that I can see the limitations of their ideal, and I can see that when I interact with them I get angry or nauseous or irrational or bored, and I realize that I’m better off if I stay away from them. VD is like that, and if you want me to admit you were right about him, then I will. Ed and PZ and ZK are also like that. (It’s just as well that ZK guy stopped blogging; he was pretty incoherent.)

    For about four years now I’ve been accumulating software tools and playing with them yet hardly producing anything useful, because I don’t spend enough time learning and using them before I move on to something else. So, good tools aren’t necessarily in the right hands if I have them. They are like the nonfiction paperbacks and cheap hardcovers from the 1940s to 1960s that I collect: sure, I’ll probably never read all of them, because I have dozens and dozens of them unread, but they were all cheap or free and they all look interesting, so whenever I get bored I can try one out. That approach is not likely to be very productive, I know.

  11. “Trivialize” is a good example that you can’t really exploit the nuance of a word if there’s five choices in the dictionary for the meaning of the word, and the sophisticated, nuanced meaning is one of its minor usages. For me, the meaning of “trivialize” would be the unnuanced “unimportant”.

    I’m not looking for any admissions. At a certain point, I simply decide to take actions based on a what a person does. After everyone has had their say, It ceases to be my goal to influence someone who maybe I consciously or unconsciously was trying to influence. At some point, it’s like working for the CIA, where everyone is supposed to understand that it’s the mission that’s important, and if someone does a certain thing, they’ll get abandoned.

    The diss was for any lurkers that may be out there who may be ambivalent about that.

    ZK is no more, though his dronings live on, and may be posthumously added to.

    But your last paragraph and the comment about ZK ceasing to blog reemphasize to me what you missed because I didn’t belabor the point enough. The point is, I was projecting by tempting you in any way to choose not to play the bass for fun, and instead, put your energy into something that would suck a lot of your time to only find out that you don’t have the time for it.

    Much about success and accomplishment, and the limitations in achieving success can all be boiled down to time and mortality. We’re mortal, and we don’t have time to do all the things that we’re capable of doing.

    Why am I not blogging? It’s because I think that I can get more exposure by doing Audio/Video stuff.

    My goal is to have my say, but I’m a realist, and once I come to the realization that certain things are not realistic, then I can be content. It doesn’t bother me when things are beyond my control. But if I think I can do something, and I’m interested in doing it, then that changes my thinking.

    Analysis of all this becomes huge, but purpose also plays a huge role, along with being possibly capable, and along with personal interest.

    What big contribution could you make? Lyrics that are meaningful. The thing that takes the most time to do is not necessarily the most valuable contribution.

    But my interest in math keeps me from giving all my time and energy to AV content. There’s a carrot on a stick. I’m running into some difficulties that might be enough to convince me I should give it up for a long time. If I would devote myself to AV stuff for 5 years, I would get good at it. Real good. Most people could. But most people don’t, if they have to work for a living, because it’s hard to slave away for years for something that doesn’t pay money, when you don’t know what the final outcome will be.

  12. I’m running into some difficulties that might be enough to convince me I should give it up for a long time.

    I identify with that with regards to taking formal courses in UI development. But it seems like it’s going to be a part of my paying job no matter what, so I’ll either be doing it on my own or for credit.

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