Sunday Sessions – Song 1

Sunday Sessions A series of lo-fi recordings that I will be doing on Sundays. I will try to post a song every week. These are rough demos and should be heard as sketches for what the actual finished, produced songs might be. I will also be using these as a way to play around with using my Thinkpad R31 and Adobe Audition as a digital studio. Recording Session: July 30, 2006 / 7:00pm – 9:30pm Song: NameTag, written sometime between July 2003 – March 2004 Lyrics:

rented out a smile today spent all my spare change pretending watched a black sun eclipse your eyes didn’t know where else to hide so I kept on being there pass the bottle and past surprise a simple mistake, I misrecognized the sunset for sunrise violent episode of cherry lip gloss half smile unconscious hair toss picking up laundry, off the floor watching tv and counting time in coffee rings and ashtray crimes waiting, waiting for jesus came and jesus wept in the dark space while you slept but chaplin, he knew the score to everything they say there is a time and place but the memories of your face must have missed, that particular memo which me did you love which me did you betray cause I lost my nametag somewhere… along the way lost my lines to a sidewalk glance the neon rain just danced.

Obviously, all the songs posted in this series are copyright protected and owned by me. You are more than welcome to download and share any song I post for personal use. If, for some reason you want to use any of my work for commercial reasons, please email me and we will come to an arrangement.

Enjoy!

Seeing Death on the N Train

I saw a man this past Saturday as I was heading into the city to see a production of Pig Farm and he was dying. Not right then, but death had imprinted itself so heavily on him that it was coming soon. I think he had AIDS – his frame was gaunt, arms covered in purple bruises. His face seemed to be collapsing in on itself, one eye kept rolling down to reveal only white. He had birds tattoed on his arms. Red birds caught in flight. I could feel compassion and sadness well up within me, matched by a deep and instinctual fear, a biological imperative to disavow what I was seeing. His gaze was distant, like he was seeing something that I couldn’t–and don’t want to–understand. I realized that I have been lucky in my life, as this was the closest I have come in thirty-six years to a dying person.

When I was a toddler, my great-grandfather died–we called him Nampa–and my parents decided I was too young to attend the funeral. According to family lore, I was angry for weeks after that my parents hadn’t let me go. I don’t really remember any of this, but I still own one my Nampa’s hats and I means something to me that I have it, something inchoate and forgotten, but there nonetheless.

Then there was his wife, my Nana, who lived for a long time after her husband died and who was in a hospital for the last few years of her life, but the last time I saw here was months from her death and she was so tired and hungry for peace that it didn’t strike like this.

Also, my grandparents from my Dad’s side of the family have died, as well as my uncle Rick. I really didn’t know them though, and my sadness and loss was more for my father’s sake than my own.

The only other experience I have had personally was Mari Killilea who died in a car crash my senior year of high school. I remember hearing the news and the stunned disorientation that followed. We weren’t close, but we worked on our high school literary magazine together and I hung out a bit with her older brother. Mari was one of those people who radiated gentleness and compassion and kindness. The sharp reminder of mortality and the world was–is–poorer for her loss.

Recently, a young man who I knew as a boy died from a drug overdose. His parents are very close to my family, his father having been friends with my dad since they were teens. I hadn’t seen J. since he was 7. I remember one night, we were looking up at the stars and he asked me if I thought there were people out there. I said I did. Another time, I read a childrens story to him and his sister. I never saw him haunted and hunted by drugs. For me, he will always be a seven year old boy, a bit afraid of the world, but sweet and kind.

Seeing this man on the N train reminded me of just how lucky I have been in my life and how few losses I have had to bear. There is no real moral to this story. No true insights into the nature of life and death. Simply an encounter, a foreshadowing.

Geneva Conventions: The Drinking Game

Materials:

To play “Geneva Conventions: The Drinking Game” you need copies of the conventions as ratified by nearly every country in the world (including the US), your favorite alcoholic beverages (because you are sure-as-shit going to need some drinking), and a group of your friends. Preferably bi-partisan.

The Peace Pledge Union provides a good and quick overview of the conventions.

Wikipedia goes somewhat more in depth on the history and elements of the conventions.

The Red Cross has the full text of the Conventions, along with commentary:

Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Rules:

Everyone takes turns reading the articles from the conventions. The reader must do a shot when she reads an article that the US has broken since signing. Everyone must do a shot for each article broken or flagrently ignored by any living President.

The reader and one person of her choosing must do an Irish Car Bomb if there is obvious religious hypocracy attached to the breaking of an article.

If the reader is rich and powerful, than he can say “fuck-all” to the rules and do whatever the hell he wants.

For those advanced enough in drinking or international law, the group might also consider playing Twister at the same time, thereby physically enacting the unnatural twists and turns of logic that our current government uses to nullify the moral and ethical imperatives behind the conventions.

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Anyone else have rules you would like to suggest? Or variations on the game that might prove a useful diversion from the coming apocalypse? Comment them down and let’s get this party started!

A Good Reminder

Ze Frank offers some good advice on ideas and creativity on his 07-11-06 show. How many of us are addicted to “brain-crack?” “Hi. My name is Peter and I’m a “brain-crack” addict.”

“Hi, Peter.”

Anyone want to start a 12-Step program with me?

Subway musing

So I’ve taking a temp job for a couple of months at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, which is in the Upper West Side at 168th Street. I live in Brooklyn. So that’s about 2 hours, everyday, on the subway.

Remind me, the next time I take a job, to stay below 42nd Street.

An interesting observation, however: after 59th Street, the car becomes relatively empty and I find that I literally start thinking again. Before, when the cars are crowded, I can listen to music or drink coffee and stare into space, or read the advertisements over and over again, but as for real thought and concentration… it just doesn’t happen. After the car emptied out a decent amount, it was like a light switch went on in my brain and I started thinking creatively about one of my theatre projects (the ambitious, multi-episode, multi-authored epic Tales of the Frumush, Series 1).

I wonder how I might get beyond this interesting limitation, especially since for half my ride, both to and from work, I am in rather crowded, quite loud NYC subway cars. Any ideas on how I can use my time. Oh, and before you say read, I’ve tried that already and find that reading from a book (at least a hardcover, I guess I haven’t tried paperbacks) hurts my back and shoulders.

I would like to make my commute at least somewhat productive and if you have any thoughts on how, I would love to hear them. Thanks.