:: Kudzu ::    A tangle of green thoughts taking over the landscape of my mind.

» 1.31.2003

sucker punch drunk...

So near the end, the rope is looking rather frayed.

How weak we are that we so quickly lose faith and become frustrated...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.30.2003

they called it "the gadget"...

July 16, 1945
At the Trinity test site, a plutonium implosion device goes off at 5:29:45 AM mountain time near Alamogordo, New Mexico. It is the world's first atomic detonation. The device has a yield of 19 kilotons, which is equivalent to 19,000 tons of TNT. Project leader J. Robert Oppenheimer recalls a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu text:
'I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.'

Ever since I first watched the movie Fat Man and Little Boy, I've been fascinated by the story. It may be because my father works in nuclear power and I grew up with an different understanding, but I don't fear atomic war or nuclear fallout, and I'm not so sure they were wrong to build it. It did stop a war that would have cost many more people their lives. I recently found out that my grandfather was one of the men who helped clean up one of those 2 Japanese cities.

Late last summer it came on TV and I sat, once again mesmerized by the whole thing. I went out on the front steps and started writing this song. I've never played live. Not even sure I'd call it finished...

the manhattan project

[verse 1]
hey robert where you going to go?
going to run off to new mexico

hey robert what you going to do?
wish i could but i can't tell you

hey robert where will you lead these men?
deep in the heart of the dragon's den

[chorus 1]
doc opp and his atomic boys
uncle sam he wants a brand new toy
build it quick and we could win this war

[verse 2]
playing God down at Trinity
flipped the switch and caused the blind to see

half an hour before the sun would rise
you painted rainbows on the mountain sides

lit every ridge in technicolor hues
golden, purple, violet, grey, and blue

[chorus 2]
doc opp and the atomic boys
gave uncle sam his brand new toy
thought they'd bring a final end to war

hey robert now it's too late
hey robert now the dragon is awake

[chorus 3]
doc opp and the atomic boys
they built themselves a brand new toy
now it's too late to ever close that door

“i am death, the destroyer of worlds.”

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

the daddy voice...

James Lileks had this to say about putting his daughter down for her nap:

I told her that it was bed time, and she had to sleep in her crib now, and that I was right down the hall working on my puter. I used the kind-but-implacable voice, the one that means you can kick dents into the woodwork but no lollipop will be forthcoming.
Hey... I know that voice... It's the same one God uses to say "Not right now."

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.29.2003

can you hear me now? good...

Sometimes we want something and we pray and beg and plead and God says "I'm down with that" and we're overjoyed.

Sometimes we want something and we pray and beg and plead and God says "Dude, no way" and we're bummed, but we get over it.

Sometimes we want something and we pray and beg and plead and God says "Not right now. I'll let you have it later." This is the hardest answer to take because we know it means we're going to have to pay attention and listen for God to say "Ok. Now."

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

» 1.28.2003

I saw it coming...

I like watching TV a lot. I watch a lot of TV I even put a TV in my computer. I watch too much TV.

My addiction to the idiot box aside, the best part about watching a drama is figuring out how it will end before the final commercial break. Jen hates it when I do this, or at least when I'm right. "How did you know that?" is a phrase she often uses. It's not hard, really. Every writer learns early on in their education about a little thing called "foreshadowing." Most never develop this skill beyond a rudimentary level. Usually the foreshadowing gives away the ending long before that last dramatic moment. Foreshadowing is effective only when used sparingly, like the use of the color red in The Sixth Sense.

The best use of foreshadowing is to lead the viewer down the wrong path. Make the wrong person look guilty early on, give a second suspect after the 30 min mark, then drop the hammer on the true perpetrator in the last 10. One show that has use foreshadowing about as good as anyone can is Smallville. Sure, it's X-Files meets Dawson's Creek, but it works. There's so much there that we already know about Clark and Lex, that the foreshadowing is thick and heavy, but each and every episode catches me completely off guard. Call me geeky if you want, but I'm a fan.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

» 1.27.2003

you got a fast car...

Guess it started somewhere around the age of seven. Our family moved from the southeastern U.S. to southeastern Canada for a short stint. In the six short months we lived there, there are only a few things I can vividly remember: being told my accent was funny, walking across an empty field to school, seeing a picture of a naked woman for the first time, waking up early and watching my dad's car disappear into the fog, being in the hospital for three different overnight stays because the cold, humid New Brunswick climate didn't set so well with my underdeveloped, asthmatic lungs. (Guess why we were only there six months...)

No, it's that trip we took into Maine that I remember best. I remember dad diving a little too fast, on a winding two-lane road, through those deep Maine woods. We felt like we were flying down the tracks of a roller coaster. I remember my brother and I yelling in delight at the crest of every hill, holding our breath around every turn, and muttering in disgust every time a big truck cut in front and slowed us down. I'm sure the danger of careening into the trees was slight, just as I'm sure my mother's constant reminders to my father of his first name kept the speeds from inching higher. At seven, it doesn't matter. Daddy's in control and you're flying. That's joy.

Not too many years later, our father purchased the coolest car ever. I remember riding home from swim team practice, Journey in the 8-track, standing up through the T-tops yelling "make the turbo lights come on!" That was the first car I ever remember driving, sitting in Dad's lap driving up the street to the house, too small to even reach the pedals. It didn't matter much, the car had enough power while idling to pull it's self up the hill and into the driveway. But I was driving, and I liked it. That car didn't stay in the family long, though. I think it had something to do with the cost of speeding tickets gasoline.

In fifth grade, we moved to Zachary, La. Our house was on a long road that had once been a pecan orchard. Dad bought Corey and I brand new Honda 3-wheelers, a 110 for me and a little 70 for Corey. Lord only knows how many dirt-road miles were logged on those machines. I've got a few scares to remind me just how bumpy those roads where. One day, Andy moved in next door. Andy was my age and had a trail bike. From that day until the day we moved, I rode his bike, he road my 3-wheeler, and Corey followed as closely behind as that little blue Honda would go.

I don't pretend to think that I'm anything resembling an adrenaline junkie, but at 30, I still love the feeling of driving fast. I've finally own a car that matches my desire to overstep the bounds of the posted speed limit. There's nothing better than pushing all 6 cylinders past that magic mark 10 mph greater than the little white signs allow, especially during the early spring months, when it's just warm enough to roll down the windows and pull back the sun roof, yet still cool enough to need the gentle warmth of the heater blowing in around your ankles. I love being the first in line at red-light and jumping through all five gears. I'm rather glad the onboard computer is programmed to turn off the fuel injectors when the speedometer spins up around 100mph. Don't ask how I know.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.25.2003

Of Life, Alarms, and Snooze Buttons

While driving on vacation
I saw the other 4:00
the one on the wrong side of dawn
The one, sometimes, even
Angels sleep through
I'm not a morning person
I stumble out of slumber
hours before stumbling from bed.

I've always been this way
Ask Mother
I stole two extra weeks of prenatal slumber
before leaving the comfort
of my amniotic mattress.

My second birth was much the same
God shook my shoulder gently
in the early dawn
Only twelve, I looked at Grace
with a crusty eye
"Five more minutes..."

Sleep was gone, a good thing
Night was over and dreams need
conscious reasons to come true
Still, with father sitting
on the edge of the bed
I roll up fetal and pull covers
tight to my chin
"Five more minutes..."

Twice those tender years
and Father's steady reminders
shows covers flung back
Night clothes on the floor
The cascade of a low-flow shower head
pushes blood from scalp to toe and back
Breakfast waits cooling on the table
Father calls
the shower muffles my reply
"Five more minutes..."

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.23.2003

things that suck...

  1. Feeling sick

  2. Snow

  3. Driving to work on icy roads while feeling sick

  4. IBM Deskstar hard drives

  5. Feeling sick during a long weekend

  6. Joe Millionaire

  7. Watching your guitar fall out of its case onto a monitor and crack the top

  8. Taking drugs

  9. Having side effects from drugs that are worse than the illness

  10. Having your favorite SciFi show cancelled

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.21.2003

fables of the reconstruction...

Still working on rebuilding the computer. I could say I was losing my religion over it (just to keep with the weak R.E.M. references), but since I've not felt well since Saturday afternoon, I pretty much lost all my patience days ago.

The good news is, while waiting for a particular bloated microsoft app to install, I put the finishing touches to a new song. Soon as Cubase and the Tascam are back up and running, I'll make a quick recording and post it here.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

rebuilding rome...

Sure, for most people my age the words "Death Star" conjure up memories of being 5 and having your father take you to see the 4:00 showing of Star Wars. You'd remember how scared you were of the green thing in the trash compactor, how pretty a woman can look w/ giant cinnamon rolls taped to the side of her head, how badly you wanted to move things with your mind, and how dad's favorite golf club would make a quick substitute for a lightsaber in a pinch.

My brother and I had a butt-load of those Star Wars toys, too. We'd spend hours staging battles between Luke and Vader, Han vs. Fett, R2 vs. Snaggeltooth. I even had the Death Star play set, complete with less-than-scary green plastic monster among the tiny pieces of foam trash in the trash compactor. I bet we didn't lose more than a handful of the little plastic guns, either. Shame mother sold them all in a yard sale.

Sure. You'd think this is what Death Star would mean to me, but you'd be wrong. Now it means I purchased an IBM Deskstar hard drive last year and I just spent the bulk of today replacing it. Turns out there's even a class-action lawsuit against them.

Grind. Grind. Grind. Click.


[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 1.20.2003

thought of the day...

Failed reasoning, even when supported with passion and integrity, is still failed reasoning.
- this guy

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

if at first you don't...

Failure is certainly not a word that people enjoy hearing. It's harsh even when it's truthful. Failure carries with it a load of baggage that lasts long after the evidence of it's meaning has faded into vague memory. Failure haunts our dreams, sometimes ending them abruptly, sometimes twisting them into nightmares. It can even haunt our daydreams, dulling the clarity of our vision. It clouds our judgment and forces us off the road. Like black ice, it steals our traction and sends us spinning off into the ditch of compromised goals.

No one likes Failure, not even those who seem to heap it upon themselves like ashes, or those who pull the word around their shoulders like your old security blanket. The one you had when you were young, with the satin edge you worn so thin it had to be replaced. The one your parents "accidentally" forgot to bring home from grandma's house.

Being Failure is easy. It takes absolutely no work to prove it. Actually, Failure hates work. Work might prove it wrong. Work might prove the opposite. Work always shows up with his buddy Effort and ruins Failure's day, pisses in Failure's Cherrios, gangs up on the bully and beats him down.

Nothing ever shut up the loud mouth like the little kid when he'd had enough. Eventually, he stood up from his brown vinyl seat and punched that jerk square in the mouth, sending those too-cool mirrored sunglasses flying down the aisle to shatter against the dirty floor of the school bus.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.17.2003

I540 in the snow...

Took me nearly 45 minutes to make the 30 mile trip home from a gig last night. By the time I left, there was an inch and a half of snow on the car. White was everywhere and still falling. Large powder-white snowflakes make driving down the highway feel like warp factor 9. Black ice, hiding in wait just beyond my visibility, makes driving feel like an episode of Fear Factor, makes it feel like Joe Rogan is just out side the car window screaming "Don't give up! You can beat them! You can win the $50,000!"

I wonder if that's the same voice the drivers of the 12 cars I passed heard just before they slid off into the ditch?

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.16.2003

two, to, too...

I've been told, on more than one occasion and not just by my wife, that I laugh too easily. So this is a bad thing? Doesn't laughter promote good health?

Speaking unfavorably of the Bush Administration and it's policies, this guy wrote the following quote in an article yesterday " shameless favouring of the already-too-rich" Times Online Ok... explain the concept of "already-too-rich" to me? This is much like "too happy" or "laughs too easy."

Personally, after reading the article, I think Mr. LeCarre is a bit touched in the head, but I think I figured out what his definition of too rich is... anyone who made more money last year than he did.

When you have less than you want, blame the guy that's got more than you. It'll make you feel better.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.15.2003

the play's the thing...

Got to talking about an old sketch that I wrote with a friend of mine.

Thought I'd share it with you.

That Day

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.13.2003

what are you looking at?...

There are several avenues to my house from the interstate, but the easiest one to give people unfamiliar with the area is "go north on Capital Blvd and turn right at the CVS onto Buffaloe Rd." While being the slightly longer and forcing visitors to drive through some rather rough roads due to endless construction, it certainly is the easiest path to follow without getting lost.

Not far from the shortcut at Old Buffaloe Rd, is a red light I get caught at quite a bit, and it never fails to entertain. You see, right next door to the Cook Out! is a little "lingerie" store called Priscilla's. It's the sort of place where "dancers" and "private entertainers" and "Victoria's slutty little sister" might find their everyday wear.

The funny part is watching the people in the cars in front of me when I get stopped at the light. Watching the men miss the green light while lost in some quick fantasy. Watching women looking for a familiar car in the lot or a face through the glass. Watching men try to glance over without really looking because there's someone in the car with them.

I watch their actions intently. It keeps my own eyes from wandering off to the right...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 1.12.2003

beginning to question reality...

What do you get when you take a bunch of former A-list celebrities (oh... and the bitc tart from Survivor 2) and stuff them in a Hollywood mansion for 10 days?

Well... it ain't Salvador Dali but it sure is Surreal.

Hi. Larry. Us.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.11.2003

where's my minority report...

I just finished watching Minority Report on DVD. I saw this when it came out in the theaters and loved it. It has all the elements of a good sci-fi story: action, drama, the real, the not-so-real. (Yet?) The best, and most necessary, element for good sci-fi is the taking of some current ethical dilemma, usually brought up by a new or emerging technology, and thowing it some distance into the future. In doing so, the writer gets to image how the technology will advance and how one or more of the "answers" to the ethical dilemma might play out. In the case of Minority Report, we see how current survelance methods and face recognition technologies might effect us in the future. In the movie, the billboards recognize John Anderton and actually tailor their messages to him. This already happens to us now. When I log into my Yahoo! mail, I get completely different ads than my wife when she logs in to hers. They track where you go so they can try and seel you what they think you might like. Sometimes they're wrong (I don't need a diet pill, thank you) and sometimes they're right (yes, I do think those x10 micro cameras are cool... though I don't think I'd use it in the way the half dressed ladies in the ad are suggesting.)

This is why Gattaca was such a great movie. Gene mapping might tell us a lot about how our bodies will develop (or not), but that technology will never be able to map the human spirit. And through the miracle that is DVD, we find in the deleted scenes of Gattaca even more of the ethical controversies such technology dig up (though I'm glad for the movie's sake they were left out. Too much controversy can kill a film.) By the way, there are 4 nucleotide bases that make up the proteins in a strand of DNA, and they're typically represented by the letters G A T & C. Now you know where the title came from...

Guess I should throw in a example of bad sci-fi, just to round things out. Here is an example of Hollywood taking one of the best sci-fi movies ever, ripping the heart out of it, stomping it into the ground, and trying to gloss over the deed with spectacular cinematography and digital magic...

Too bad the precogs didn't spit out a red ball on that one...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

» 1.8.2003


Last drop of coffee
swirls in the mug
Too much sugar.
Too many grounds.
Enough to pool in the bottom,
not enough to bother drinking.
Grease covered shoes,
food stained clothes
worn and tattered past comfort.
Nicky comes to fill my cup,
fill the air with attitude,
load the counter with the
weight of reckless joy,
fill every ear with stories of her kids.
Day in. Day out. Day over again.
Calling out my scattered smothered chunked
A strong black coffee
with a spoon of sugar
teaches me a song
and doesn’t even know it.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 1.7.2003

it ain't always better...

Cell phones. I love mine and wonder how I ever got along without it. There's no doubt that the technology has made it easier for us to communicate with one another, but there is one thing you could communicate through a land-line phone that you just can not express with a cell phone: the utter frustration and anger of slamming the headset into the base with enough force to jar the teeth of the person on the other end. You just can't press the little red "end" button with that much force

I was wondering earlier today just why it is that some of the friendships I've made over the internet are so important to me. These are people whom I've generally never met, never shared coffee with... I've never even heard their voice in most instances. They range in age, height, race, sex, political affiliation, theological beliefs, yet I spend most of my daily allotment of words (and being a guy, that's not many) in inane conversation with them. Why are they so important to me if I don't really know them? Do I know them? Do they know me? One of these friends said this:

There's a strange, disembodied quality to your online friends. Like you're interacting with characters out of some book you enjoy reading. This is the 21st Century.

Maybe Jason is right. Truthfully, I tend to be more optimistic about these things. I think the technology has helped. I think the technology lets us find the people, outside the limited circle of people we interact with face-to-face, with whom we have more in common. I think I care so much about these people, because like any good friend, we share the same interests, the same likes/dislikes, the same goals and desires. I think this is a positive thing.

At the same time, I've got a neighbor next door I've only talked to twice in 4 months. Maybe it's time to invite his family over for dinner...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]

» 1.6.2003

writer's tool...

Every writer should have a thesaurus on his desk.

Here's one for the digital age.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

say what?!?...

Well... I got the comments section "working". Feel free to leave a note or three...

While you're here, check out my honorable mention in the next-to-last song.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

» 1.5.2003

things you see if you look...

Last tuesday, I was sitting in my truck at the drive through of my default fast food lunch vendor waiting my turn to have the following conversation:

voice from the box: welcometomcdonaldscanihelpyou?
me: I'd like a number 3 with a sprite please...
vox: wouldyouliketotryanapplepiewiththat?
me: What was that?
vox: wouldyouliketotryanapplepiewiththat?
me: Could you speak up, please...
vox: Thatllbethreeseventyfive. Please Drive Around.

So as I waited for the verbal dance to begin again, I noticed a large hawk (or some other big raptor-type bird) fly up into the tree just past the edge of the parking lot. I love hawks, falcons, eagles, etc. I love to watch them ride the thermals, air currents just holding them there looking a lot like model airplanes God built and tied to the ceiling with fishing line.

Not everyone was so enthralled by the hawk landing in that tree, however. A small sparrow looking thing (really, I now nothing about avion taxonomy) was rather upset, in fact. I gather that it must have been his tree and he didn't like unwelcome visitors. Really... who does? Unlike most of us who were raised on large helpings of southern hospitality, this little fellow wasn't being the least bit polite about asking the much larger hawk to vacate.

As I waited and watched, that sparrow repeatedly flew up to the back of that hawk and pecked at his tail feathers. Left, right, dart, peck... over and over. The hawk never moved. The whole scene looked a lot like a child stomping his feet and telling God to send away the rain so he can go outside and play.

Just like the rains eventually end, the hawk, never having acknowledged the constant assault on his posterior and not looking the least be hurried, spread his three majestic feet of feathers back into the sky. And just like the child with his tantrum, I'm sure that little sparrow felt a great satisfaction that his protests were finally rewarded. When you're weak, you take your victories where you can.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [6]   ]

» 1.1.2003

first song of the year...

(words/music: S. Blake)

Grandad tell me stories of your time up in Alaska
Did the daylight last for months on end?
Did the nights seem twice as long?
Did you ever talk to Eskimos or see a polar bear?
How’d you build a pipeline out on the permafrost?
Here’s a photo of you with Jamie Farr.
Was he wearing a bra under that thick heavy coat?

I’m lost here in these pictures,
in these postcards of the past.
I guess I’m trying to find out who I am.

Grandma tell me stories of Papa in Japan;
how he loved you long before he left
and how you never wrote him once.
Could he speak a word of Japanese?
Did he ever fire his gun?
Did he visit the towns where the bombs were dropped?
What made you change your mind when he came home?
Was Papa so much different after seeing so much war?

I’m lost here in these pictures,
in these postcards of the past.
I guess I’m trying to find out who I am.

Mama tell me all about the day that you met dad.
Did he sweep you up right off your feet?
Was it love at first sight?

I’m lost here in these pictures,
in these postcards of the past.
I guess I’m trying to find out who I am.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

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