Thursday, August 30, 2007

"i wear the black for the poor & beaten down..."

i thought our grandpa, a retired kern county sheriff's deputy, was johnny cash (& that muhammed ali & elvis were the same person). this seeming dumbness has puzzled me a little. then in today's paper, they announced a new dvd set from cash's tv show, which my family used to watch, & i realized that i was an infant & toddler when it was on!
our grandpa did look like j.c. i wish i had a picture. 6'4," large-framed, curled lip, weary, wary, but kind eyes, square jaw, solemnly handsome. grandpa just LOOKED like a 1950s detective, the "good cop" who'd bust up the bad guy in the last reel cause he had to, or a hero, or... johnny cash.
"man in black" & "sunday morning coming down" always make me cry. cash's dignified gravitas, gentle humor, bravery, & social conscience touched many (tho i guess with friends he was a real prankster!). he was a "unifier of opposites" more than any public figure before or since. reds & blues loved him equally. if more like him existed, people would realize that their separations are surfaces! an army of johnny cashes could bring the world together, tho "army" is the wrong metaphor, & there was & only ever will be one j.c.
i hope i can go out & get that box set.
man in black video:
man in black lyrics:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the well or mountain or the man with the plan speaks glissfully

glissando update, for you piano players: "For the UP, you might just release the thumb and use which ever combo of index, mid, or ring-fing nails & upper-digit flesh that feels more comfy. I JUST found out I tend to use the mid & ring nails as a combo. This DOES require toughening the skin area, just below the nail. Also, I try to keep everything else outta the way. For DOWN, it's basically the same, but using the thumbnail instead of the fingernail. You may need to hold the index finger behind the thumb to get the index-nail outta the way. My nails are very hard but I keep them short anyway. I know this is sometimes difficult for women, from an aesthetic point of view, but unless you have Howard Hughes nails, you just need to keep all unused 'surfaces' out of the path. I'm assuming you use your own electric piano most of the time? If you use others (especially acoustics), you should always give them a pre-gig test. If I have trouble with a hard-glissing piano, I either shorten the gliss, forgo it entirely, OR bite the bullet. :-( I'll try some different glisses on my acoustic later today and report back... [2nd dispatch]
"...The DOWN should definitely be the thumbnail, supported by the index finger... Hope this helps? -----taylor 00"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

blooody fingers!!!!!! "you got to go to de-well to get to de-water"

i'm practicing wine spo-dee-o-dee, the JLL version, & ripping my fingernails off on the glissandos, so i went to the mountain & emailed gene taylor just now for pianny advise... i'd email carl sonny leyland, too, cept he already gave me his suggestions ("everyone's fingers are different"), so i'd be embarrassed to ask for more specific help than he already offered... the time has come for me to put in serious hours PRACTICING, not just playing for fun, like learning to hammer on & watch that right hand, as carl said to do. the buck owens songs we're doing, otherwise, have lotsa nice singing but little drive. i know i can be better than i've been, & w/o brian paxton's wall of shredding rockabilly guitar, i'm left naked to actually have to play!
i guess it's good i'm having to learn to play better. heck knows i got the exhilarated slouch thing down pretty well. re that, i think i will bill myself for Tammy's Birthday/Wake at Narducci's as "jenny angel & her four appendages"... she requested "funnel of love" & "mean mean man," so yessir, i've gottem down -- bloodshot bill emailed encouragement & said "ain't nothin' punker than a piano-pumping chick stompin' her foot!"
i am blessed to be in such company, even cyberly. :) and i really like my new job!! :) even the stinkers - they just need some kind attention & firm direction, i think. i really like middle-schoolers, too. :) maybe i'm crazy... but actually, i think it's just the fool bone-deep teacher talking. it's in my blood, like love & music & words. :) the lovely lunch lady is dutch, reminding me of my old friend femke from putten, & she's reviewing with me many dutch phrases in her cute accent, so i say to all, "goedenacht," and may you have all the green m&m's.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

prof longhair, i now definitely ain't... long live the king

since my thesis involved rites of passage, in addition to the sf marathon, i marked the end of the masters program & my return to teaching (plus bd) by losing a ft of hair for locks of love (it was a ritual! i grew my hair out for the whole non-working lovely now-gone yr! - all my hair looked pitiful, cut off in a measy ponytail. they said it takes 10 of them to make one cancer patient's wig.)... i don't know if i like it, but i know it'll grow back, plus i know it's more "appropriate," esp starting at a new school, where i know kids always extra-scrutinize the new teacher... in the pix, i'm wearing my 2nd elvis shirt of the day (went to gym today). i went into my 2nd teacher inservice this a.m. & a colleague questioned me on the 1st elvis shirt of the day. "well, you know, he died today," i said, then caught a meaningful & sympathetic glower from the saturnine rsp teacher, who used to teach in the prisons, & who nodded & uttered, "one-sixteen."
i believe i have a friend. :)
actually, these teachers & administrators in general are upright & inspired folks, hard-working, generally humble, organized & purposeful. i'm cautiously optimistic my work will become again more like prayer, like music, like work should be. we seem to all want to help, & i don't smell any drama. i am cautious, but i am happy. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

elvis has left the building, but elvisianity lives

good heavens - was there any human more perfect-looking than elvis? death week's started in memphis - it's been 30 yrs since the king left this planet! elvisiana or elvisosophy or maybe elvisianity is everywhere - i don't doubt in 300 yrs, he'll be a diety (tho he would've strongly disapproved!) ... last night in gilroy motel en route home from school (the last session!), i was raised from my pillow & struck dumb by big big elvis on tv, pouring sweat, chipmunk-cheeked but greek-god beautiful, maybe even more beautiful because the lard made him effable, maybe more a little like the rest of us shlubs. he sat at the piano & pounded & belted out "unchained melody" in a voice powerful in all registers as an operatic tenor's, as great as orbison's! snobs say elvis was corny & laughable at the end: no way!! vocal wonder combined w/unearthly beauty - even when he was sad, puffy, near his end - the longer he's gone, the easier it'll be to see elvis as near-divine. his ignorances, problems, & addictions: tragic flaws we know all classical heroes possess - too great for this world, they must perish... anyways, rob got sick & no music practice this eve, so i spent 2 hrs in the music rm playing elvis, gershwin, boogie-woogie, jerry lee, platters, & also the one-gal band prep for tammy's bd party in september at narducci's (i'll get to open for surely the most provocatively-named twofer in the central valley that night!: 3 chord whore & black fag!)... i can't get over how draining it is to play piano, drums, & sing. but what a rush when it all comes together!! i pour sweat after just a few minutes, more wind-up monkey than elvis ... oh well. maybe i'll add an elvis tune to my set, brush up against a little cool. we all gotta little elvis in us, anyways, those elvis moments of stardust & wonder & something unnameable, mysterious, everywhere. tcb

Friday, August 03, 2007

"OOH! MAH SOUUUL!!" ... the meaning of life

Little Richard - Ooh! My Soul / True, Fine Mama
Learning with Soul <- cleek here... if that doesn't work, try clicking the link at right, reaching it from google, or clearing your browsing history under "internet options" (on a pc, that is)!
...and now back to music! and movies! and funfunfun! wail baby wail!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"well, my hometown's a-comin in sight / if you think i'm happy, you're right / 6 days on the road & i'm gonna make it home tonight"

last wk i once & for all finished the thesis (now 240 pgs) while our friend dan's crew redid the backyard... fri practiced w/old 99, learning new buck owens & other honky-tonk songs w/friends who remind me of a quote i just read about the simpsons: whimsical yet irreverently moral. then drove even further out west of town for late-night dinner w/oldest family friends... sat left 4 am for sf for school at new college (drawing to an end so now, of course, tho it's driven me crazy up til now, i'm missing it something awful! boohoo!!!), picked up marathon gear, did school all day, dinner at tommasso's... sun got up at 5 am & did the san francisco (1/2) marathon to celebrate several life-markers: completion of masters-school-thesis, return to work, & birthday! never done a long-distance run - what a kick! if you haven't, you oughta try one! (bakersfield's is in november.) beautiful highlights: the starting line city of runners cheered on by bell-ringing spectators in the pre-dawn dark of the embarcadero; running thru pier 39 area, 1st water stop, 1st murmurs of dawn; the uphill route behind ft mason hostel, w/fragrant trees on left & ocean on the right; getting into a nice tempo along the fog-enshrouded golden gate bridge & looking into faces of other runners as they pounded from the opposite direction; saying hi to clean-&-sober pathfinders who helped the cops & remembered san jose jack (r.i.p.); staying hydrated w/cytomax & gel & never getting cramps or sick, as a result; hitting mile 10 after long uphill & realizing I'M GONNA FINISH!! then the gorgeous gray-misty crest & wide downhiill view, opening out over the amazing city: exhilarating!; hitting golden gate pk to roaring crowds (not for me, but still! i was part of it! what a rush!), then seeing the finish line & finally full-out running for it, finishing the thing in a tremendous swell of endorphin-happiness & gratitude, grateful that my lungs, muscles, shoes & feet held out & already looking forward to doing another one! what a wonderful, wonderful experience... happy bd to me (& laurel, too)!... after that, my folks & i (it was mom's bd, too!) lunched w/my stepson & then the day receded into fatigue-blur... mon, really stiff & sore, got home @ 4 pm to call from hubby: he & his motorcycle had broke down -- in st george, utah! so grabbed a shower, hobbled to truck & went & got him thru wind & desert cloud-bursts & storm patches & glimmery black night, got into st geo about 1 am (2 am ut-time), came home to pick up "the boys" (doggies), who turns out trashed our friend's yard, so that was a whole other jobber getting that all cleaned up, & BOY IS IT GOOD TO BE HOME NOW! - tho i'm sad we won't see friends & family & all the gorgeous mysterious southwest beauty of the summer motorcycle trip, i know also it obviously wasn't meant to be this time around... and at this point, i'm DONE WITH EVERYTHING except going back to work!! whoopee!!! :) like the old cajun-hot sauce commercial used to sing, "a hot chili mama... hot chili mama, ma-ma-ma, hot chili maa-maaa... life is goooood." :)