May 24th, 2008

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You know you grew up in Arkansas when your aunt's e mail bears the title "Marvene's e-mail address".

I think that one of my favorite things about my small town south Arkansas childhood is the the matter of names and nicknames. "Tiger" was a couple of years ahead of me in school, while several "Dubs" were old men.
"Cloud" was a true given name, as were Bobby John and Wanda Faye. "Stony" on the other hand was a nickname,
and I always puzzled why someone on the north side of thirty with the name "James" would encourage everyone to call him "Hamburger".

There are so many delicious memories of childhood that I cannot qualify as real or imagined. The piano teacher from whom I took lessons when I was roughly 13-ish, for example. Was it Memorex or was it my imagination that he played vigorous jazz when I would first approach his doorway, but switch to a meditative classical piece the moment I rang the bell?

I have, too, a palpable memory during my law school days of seeing a tarantula migration, on a country road.
I have read since that it was possible--but it seems so much like the fabric of a dream--lovely spiders washing across the road like a pack of serene eight-legged lemmings, a black rug of living wonder. Did I live vividly, or, contrary to my usual, merely have dreamt vividly?

I know I did not dream the talk in rural barbershops about advertisements for earthworm farms in the back of Field and Stream Magazine, nor the ambient hum of discussion about trucks and special hound dogs. I remember, too, in elementary school saying the pledge of allegiance with hand over heart, just like in a Norman Rockwell painting. I remember songs I learned in 4th grade, and the taste of the leather stitching on a baseball fielder's glove. One of our Great Danes got ahold of that particular fancy glove, and chewed it up extravagantly. A kind of leather patch was sewn on, and I do not believe I ever loved a fielder's glove so well. Baseball is a memory well for me--the sounding "thung" of an aluminum bat in its "sweet spot", the sweat beading around a baseball cap, the feel of a line drive thudding, triumphantly, into one's glove, the joy of throwing from right field to get a man out at third base.

"Truth or dare", hayrides, the smell of the thick haze of other peoples' clove cigarettes. I've never smoke a cigarette, pipe or cigar yet, but I have a fond recollection of the smell of Dutch Master cigars, and cherry-inflected pipe tobacco. Watching Natalie Merchant bowl badly at the Bronco Bowl just before 10,000 Maniacs opened for REM, a small, white snake submerged in a shallow stream in King's Canyon National Park.

The reverie of reading "The Lord of the Rings" for the first time. Ordering a "mix-in" of candy into ice cream at long-gone Steve's Ice Cream, a Boston chain with a Dallas outlet. Spoonfuls of scrambled eggs at the Mesquite breakfast buffet by the motel. A Thanksgiving meal at an aging Holiday Inn, as simple as any, and yet surprisingly good.

A chocolate malt ascending a straw. A willow tree filled with tens of thousands of yelling crows. Yellow blooms on a prickly pear cactus. The smell of brownies, nearly finished baking.

A whirl of sensations, images, ideas.
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Little Ball

One reason I like to release my music into the Creative Commons is that I am so delighted when my music soundtracks a fun youtube video.

Here my "Freedom (Techno Plano mix)" remix leaves Texas and goes on an Avian journey to Asia:

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trinity wildflowers

Spring fields in Texas, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

This afternoon I walked on Trinity Trail, which winds along Lake Lavon. I saw thousands upon thousands of wildflowers, and hear a tuneful myriad of birdsong. I cannot recall a time when so many small flowers were present at once on the trail--Indian blanket, showy evening primrose, an dozens of other varities.

The walk was on a day in the 90s, with the air uncharacteristically muggy for Texas. When I stopped near "Hiker's Point" to have a seat by the lake, I spent several minutes reading the book "Discord", about the anatomy of an ominous financial reverse and collapse of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra sone years ago. This book interests me, because the nuts and bolts of how business enterprises function always catches my attention. So often the best intentions cloud judgment.

It's not just the dollars and cents thing,though that's interesting about how business works--I'd also love to tour the Ocean Spray cranberry factory in Sulphur Springs, Texas, just to understand how it works.

Lately I discovered Open Clip Art, a public domain resource for downloading free public domain clip art. I began to read up on the .SVG format, a format hitherto unfamilar to me, but which provides an open source way to save vector graphics.

I also got a request to write 7 seconds of "surf music", so I promptly worked out 9 rapid-fire seconds of a stringed cross between Dick Dale and the Ventures, only to have the request modified to instead seek something more in the Beach Boys ballad division.

I bought seedless grapes from the new fruit vendor, which were just lovely. For dinner, we dined on seafood--and my salmon was "just right".

I got a haircut at the local franchise place, and the nice woman who cut my hair said I have "nice hair". I find that I have "wavy hair", which must be either trimmed very short or, as in the late 1970s/early 1980s, be feather-cut and then blown dry for an hour each morning.
In those days "short hair" was actually pretty long, as pictures of the era now reveal. I told her that I had been to Trinity Trail, and asked if she'd ever visited there. She said she lives just down the road from it, but takes it for granted because it's local. I urged her to go see the wildflowers there.

A nice woman from Spain wrote a series of complimentary comments about some of my youtube videos. A little unlooked-for praise can brighten up a day.