Yesterday morning I drove to my office. I wanted to stop by the little pet shop in the Vikon Village Flea Market in Garland, so I took side streets into work rather than the freeway. I wanted to purchase an inexpensive aquarium hood for the used ten gallon aquarium I bought at a yard sale a month or two ago. On the way, though, the wonderful June morning meant that the way to work featured dozens upon dozens of rummage sales and yard sales. I took in a few. I stopped at a church rummage sale I'd attended last year. I bought a 1937 book on "Art" with a capital "A", in which the writer gives chatty discourses on his opinion on artists and musicians, in a fireside chat format. I think that this type of writing, with heavy editorial voice, had a real purpose. One might not agree with the writer's conclusions, but it certainly makes the book more fun to read. At another place, I picked up a rollodex for fifty cents (I now use my computer, but I'm beginning to wonder if technology really makes this easier than index cards) and a cassette of Spike Jones' raucous, jokey comic music. Sadly, though, the Vikon Village pet shop, located in the back of one of those "permanent flea market" type of buildings, had not yet opened at 10:30 a.m. When I peered through the glass, I did not see what I was looking for, anyway.
I went to my office, where the fellow who helps us with computers helped me try to migrate some e mail filing cabinets from one computer to another, after a recent upgrade of my computer at work.
We didn't quite fully succeed, but the end is in sight. Then I went to lunch at Cici's pizza, an all-one-can-eat pizza place, so that I could eat both quickly and cheaply. I think I overdid it a bit, but the pizza was good.
I drove to my brother's house, to get my friend Scott's CD finished. My brother does a great deal of computer stuff, including his own software releases, so he has better CD publishing software than I do. Scott had designed a really stunning cover for his, based on his idiosyncratic sketches he'd put in marginalia years ago in college or some such, and it formatted into something really nice. I finished printing out several jewel case inserts, and then played my 11 year old nephew in some games of chess. I dislike trash talking in any competitive pursuit, particularly in chess, but I found myself bantering with my nephew about how although his skills were markedly improving, he would be well into his twenties before he defeated me in a game. I then proceeded to mop up the board with his young ego for two games. Pride goeth and all that, though, because in the third game, I sacrificed a rook for a knight for what I thought was a mating attack. When my attack fizzled, my nephew showed how much he had really improved by mopping my soul across the board in the endgame like a handi-wipe on a cheap diner counter. He exulted in his win, which, frankly, seemed appropriate to me. When Scott and his wife came over to our house for an evening out, I was able to present him with copies of "Meet...The Scott_M Experience".
Scott, his wife, my wife and I went out to dinner at the Mexican chain restaurant Mario Chiquita, recently opened (in place of the Hoffbrau steakhouse) in the curious upscale commercial farmer's market Fairview Farms, just off the freeway in Plano. Mario Chiquita is better than the usual chain Mexican, because the platos are marginally tipico, but whoever said "dollop bottled salsa onto the soft flour tacos to look authentic" apparently went to the Patio TV Dinners seminar on "real" Mexican food. Of course, I like Patio TV dinners, so maybe I should be less snippy.
After dinner, we went to see the Plano Civic Chorus perform. I had never been to the new performance hall in Richardson, which is wonderful. If ever I get all my two-bit current projects done, I must look into trying to be an improvisario (impressario? merely impressionable?) for an ambient music concert. I wonder what it would take to book Bill Nelson and Jeff Pearce into a single night of ambient music.
Our seats were in something called the "loge", which was kinda like little separate seating way up high. The ticket folks kept saying "the loge" as if we had been sentenced to the pillory, but it was a very nice place to sit.
The chorus started with some traditional songs. The arrangement of "Shenandoah" was particularly nice--that song is well suited to a harmonizing chorus (there must be 12,000 arrangements of Shenandoah), but the "new gospel song", did not succeed. This song, rather unfortunately titled with a nod at "dialect" that even Stephen Foster would have found patronizing, seemed to me to prove the premise that when a largely anglo chorus tries to sing a spiritual, it should wear jeans and not have its vocalists bob and weave like a room of drunken madrigals in a marathon boxing match. After the initial songs, the chorus took a long intermission, which seemed nice to me, because deep down, I have a Sesame Street attention span.
After the break, the chorus performed Orff's Carmina Burana. I like this work, in large part because it influenced the Residents, a band I find quite intriguing. For those unfamiliar with the work, it's a 30s musical setting of a set of bawdy medieval poems. It's got great percussion-drenched songs done in spare arrangements with twin pianos. There's something about somber people in tuxedos singing wenching songs in Latin that brings out my inner Ralph Records' smile. The performance was very well done, and the soprano, though perhaps filled with more of what I think of as formal, operatic "coloratura" (but I may have my terms wrong) than a few of the innuendos she sang required, really impressed me.
Last night I worried that I had said something untoward to someone on-line, so I wrote an e mail of apology this morning, but fortunately I had not offended after all. But I worry that I will offend in the future, because I have discovered the rhymer.com rhyming search engine. I have for decades now written only free verse, because I believe that rhymed verse to be much more difficult to do with any credibility. But last night, my friend Scott followed up on our earlier discussion that I should write lyrics to which he would generate three chord rock songs. So today I googled to find a rhyming search engine, and found that rhymer.com meets the job perfectly. It's true, sadly, that many of the rhymes are imperfect, but if imperfect rhyme was good enough for Emily Dickinson, it's more than good enough for me.
I wrote two song lyrics for imagined songs and posted them in gurdonpoems, which makes me think I will need a patch that removes rhymed poetry from my system as if it were nicotine. On second thought, I seem to recall that the nicotine patch feeds one nicotine in lieu of cigarettes, so maybe what I need is just endless doses of other people's rhymed poetry. Ogden Nash may be my salvation.
My chess poems book sold again! That's two auctions in a row. It seems to sell at 2 dollars a pop, which is only a razor-thin profit, but I'm glad to be a capitalist poetry mogul again.
I got verian's poetry 'zine Comrades in the mail from the UK today. I see many people I know as LJ friends, such as anoisblue, ghostsandrobots and mattcallow among the participants. The 'zine is excellent. Although it's facile to cite other people's hard work for one's own silly theories, I do believe this shows that self-publishing and small press effort is the way to go with this type of creative expression. I know some folks get frustrated when they don't get published in magazines run by others, which I have experienced as well, and know as frustrating as well. But, really, I believe that one must count on oneself to connect, picking oneself up and dusting oneself off, but never doubting the importance of the effort.
I'm also glad that verian made a submission to my Mail Poetry call, "Infinite Space, Tiny Apartment". I have had some participation in this call, but I hope to get much more before its August 1 close.
Dallas has a lot of mail art events at the Bath House Cultural Center later this month. I wish I had submitted something to that mail art call. Maybe I can at least go see it, and maybe hear the speakers that are planned. I got the documentation for the call about the sacred garden, which had a lot of participants. Maybe I can send those folks a postcard about my Mail Poetry Call. Maybe someone on ebay does custom postcards the way that they do custom business cards. If not, I'm in index card mailing central.
I want to take a walk in the cool morning air this morning. I'm starting to feel good about myself again, in spite of feeling as silly about my pretentious and tactless ways as if I were someone singing Carmina Burana in a tuxedo.