Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 Holiday Single

Just in time for the holiday of your choice (well, the holiday of my choice, perhaps), it's the 2011 Holiday Single.  Now available at Bandcamp, it's got the rockin' A-side Judah and the Maccabees and the traditional song Sevivon as the B-side. 

I'd've done We Are Santa's Elves or the weird psychedelic song Jessica sang as she was falling in love with Santa, but I didn't feel like starting 2012 by being sued.

Still available at my Bandcamp site are November 2011's Local Technique EP and the reissue of 2000's The Red Album.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Down On Vesta on 5 Song Set Podcast!

I'm pleased, flattered, and a bit surprised to report that Down on Vesta from the Local Technique EP has appeared on a weekly music podcaast, 5 Song SetThe episode with the song focuses on geek/nerd/science songs, which I suppose isn't surprising.  Go listen!  And thanks, Felicia!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Local Technique Released!

The four-song EP Local Technique is now available for download at my Bandcamp site.  The songs include a new, gimmicky one (Down on Vesta), a new, not-gimmicky one (Middle of May), a 20-year-old, rearranged one (Pastoral #2), and an even-older, instrumental one (Katrina and the Zen Master). 

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Pre-Thanksgiving Cover

So, I think I'll post the EP on Bandcamp next week. I'll put a link here, too.  It's looking like it'll be four songs. 

Meanwhile, I heard (I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence by Blondie and was moved to whip out a quick cover version.  One take, wobbly tempo, at least one flub. Take it or leave it. :)

Here's my version: (I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Further Coming Attractions

January marks 19 years since I finished In-Jokes With Myself, my second effort at a DIY album. I'm planning to post the whole thing at Bandcamp in January to mark the anniversary, but for now I'm posting a 35-second teaser, a breccia if you will, composed of short snippets of the songs on the album.  I made it years ago while playing around with some program or another, so I figured I'd put it up on my Bandcamp site here.  Click on the "In-Jokes Teaser" on the right when you get to that page, or, heck, just click here if you're that lazy about it.

Download is free since it's, you know, 35 seconds long and composed of other songs.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Katrina and Coming Attractions

I've been planning on getting a new album put together for a while, but it's clearly not going to be done in 2011.  Probably sometime in 2012, hopefully in spring.  To fill the much-anticipated gap (or something), I'm thinking I'll put an EP/mini-album out in late November/early December.  I'm planning on putting it on Bandcamp, as I recently did with The Red Album (and as I'll eventually do with the other albums).

So consider this something of a coming attractions post.  The track list isn't totally set but will almost certainly include:

Middle of May (the "single")
Katrina and the Zen Master

and will likely include two of the following:
Pastoral #1  (available in demo form here)
Dear Kate Bush (available in instrumental form here)
Down on Vesta

To get the one or two of you who'll read this psyched up (or "psyched up"), here's a rehearsal version of Katrina and the Zen Master.  The real version is recorded better and is a bit more produced.  It was originally written in 1988 or so and called Fomalhaut, then I wrote lyrics and it gained its current name, which it kept even after I ditched the words.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Live from Minneapolis!

Song at the bottom of the post today!

Following up on the Hawaii, Seattle, and LA posts, here's one from my current location: Minneapolis, Minnesota (I also had two weeks in France in the interim, but no guitar with me and too little familiarity with Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel). I'm here for the Geological Society of America meeting and gave my talk earlier today.  Lots of great bands from Minneapolis:  Hüsker Dü, The Replacements (this Replacements song has been in my head the whole trip), The Jayhawks (this cover by the Jayhawks was nearly the one recorded for this post).  But in the end, there was no denying His Purple Majesty.

Since I'm in a good mood I banged this one out (this is actually a second take for once) and am slapping it on up now, just before I go purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka (NSFW!!!):

I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Little Grass Shack

Quick post.  I'm in Hawaii, and in the spirit of  two recent posts I thought I'd put up something relevant to the location.  I didn't record this here (and in fact recorded it for a different reason than posting), but it is definitely relevant.  The song was originally from the 30s, though it's been recorded often since then.

Enjoy or "enjoy" as the case may be.  Mahalo nui loa!

My Little Grass Shack

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Red Album, Reissued

The Red Album is now available at Bandcamp.   I've made it available on a "name your own price" basis (where that price can include "Free"), and both individual tracks and the whole shebang are download options.

In 2000 as we were getting set to leave Tucson I decided to put an album of music together to give out to friends.  While I'd recorded myself playing guitar on and off since starting college, and had a four-track recorder since 1994 or so, I was now using our Windows 95 machine and was able to put together that sounded much better than before.  Not that it sounded perfect, of course, as some of the low-level electronic noise can attest.  It was fun to put together, if a learning process.  I spent a lot more time on doing multiple takes and backing vocals than I have since, though some of that time and effort was just figuring out what was going on.

The set of songs was largely drawn from Science Diet songs, and all the members of Science Diet appear on two of the entries (To All The Girls and Taking Matters Into My Own Hands).  Get Out of My Life (aka Psychopath) was another crowd favorite and the original closing song, but after deciding that was a bit too harsh as a closer I quickly recorded Any Other Way.  The non-Science Diet songs tended to be those for which I both had a soft spot and felt like I could do well.  The day before we left we had a friend burn some CDs from the files (it was still a big hassle back then) and we stuck them in mailboxes.

Depending on how this goes I may post the other albums (and future "real" releases) there as well; the Bandcamp setup looks like it supports album covers and extra stuff pretty easily.  They require the poster to hold all rights to songs, so any cover songs (or near-covers like We Didn't Start The Science) will continue to be posted here, as will the random oddities and early versions that are of even more limited interest than my music in general...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another stop, another song

So, I'm in the Los Angeles basin.  Pasadena to be exact.  While I was in Seattle, just after recording the previous post, I thought maybe I'd commemorate my upcoming travels by recording a song in each location by a band from that location.  I may not schlep the guitar to France, but I'll see if I can work around that anyhow.

There are a great many bands from LA.  However, I loathe one of the most obvious ones.  Other songs I considered are a bit hard to play on acoustic guitar.  Still other songs I'd like to take some time to do more properly.  And who knew that this obvious choice was by a band from New York?*

So I turn to covering a song by hair band from LA (Motley Crüe), with a song that was popular during my college years.   Here you go:

Girl Don't Go Away Mad

*OK, put your hands down.  I probably should have realized it with a little thought.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Emerald City, Pennyroyal Tea

First, as usual, the song:  a cover version of Nirvana's Pennyroyal Tea.

Next, a disclaimer:  The vocals are mixed kind of loud.  The arrangement is pretty sparse.  If you're not already a relatively big fan of my singing voice, or of questionable Nirvana covers, this might not be for you. :)

I'm attending a workshop in Eastern Washington this coming week, and have a free day in Seattle before heading there.  I've done a little poking around and am hitting the Mariners game tonight, but I haven't made any music-related tourism stops yet (whether Viretta Park, the Sound Garden, or even the Aurora Bridge).  Yes, I've also been doing some work.  I decided to bring my brand-new travel guitar (a Washburn Rover) and figured as long as I was here I should commemorate it somehow.

So I banged out a quick version of the Nirvana song Pennyroyal Tea here in my hotel room.  I liked In Utero a lot (better than Nevermind, actually), in particular this song. I never did get to see them, my best chance (in many ways) being when they played the dorm across the street during junior year at college.  The guitar's not necessarily great for this sort of thing-- it's not deep so there's not a lot of bass.  But it's the thought that counts, right?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pastoral #1

First, the song:  The pretentiously-named Pastoral #1.

I was in Japan twenty years ago, during the summer of 1991, and didn't know anyone when I got there.  I made some good friends there, some of whom I'm still in touch with, but since they were grad students and I wasn't I had a lot of time on my own.  It was wonderful to spend some time exploring Kyoto, where I was living and working, but still somewhat lonely.  I had enough foresight to bring my guitar with me, even though I wasn't terribly good at it.  Still, between all the sensory input of being in such a foreign place and spending so much time alone with my guitar, I wrote a ton of songs.  The best song of that summer has already appeared in a "real" recording (as real as they get for me, anyhow).  But there were many others.

This one was inspired by one of my favored spots, a little park at the spot where the Takano and the Kano River meet, near Imadegawa Street.  Kyoto summers are hot and sticky, with the constant hum of cicadas.  Looking back, this clearly evokes some of the aimless, languid quality of my weekends there.  I never really came up with a good title for this song, with "Pastoral #1" something of a placeholder until something else came along.  It is, at least, better than "The Simile Song", which was the first thing I thought of.

Since the weather today in Maryland is a reminder of how it was in Kyoto, and since I've had a bit of an aimless day, I figured I'd do a quick Garageband recording of Pastoral #1.  Guitar was recorded first, then the voice.  No effects were used, as is probably obvious. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Let Her Go

It's been a bit of a mentally exhausting day, for no obvious reason.  I was up early for an observing run after staying up too late the night before, and I'm in the process of repeating the experience. Current events have been very disheartening.  So I picked up my guitar for a bit.  I recorded a version of "Love Is A Losing Game" as a weak tribute, but it felt self-indulgent so I'm going to bury it.  I've got a new song just about ready to be posted here, but it's too upbeat and bouncy to match my mood so I'm going to wait on it.

Instead, I'll post an old recording of an old song:  Let Her Go

This is an old one, as these things go for me.  It probably dates back to 1988 (certainly it was written by the middle of 1989) and is really simple.  You can tell I was learning to play guitar when I wrote it.  I wrote it for a female friend who was having trouble with her boyfriend, but changed the gender (in part so it wouldn't sound self-serving, like I was trying to encourage a breakup so I could pounce).  It was pretty popular as these things went, perhaps one of the most popular songs of mine that I never played in a band, if that makes sense, and a few other folks on the hall asked me to teach it to them.  This version was recorded on my old four-track, probably at Hawthorne House but plausibly at Cloverland. It's high on the list of rerecording possibilities for the next album, though the arrangement will probably stay as-is.

Anyway, this one kind of matches my mood reasonably well right now, though the specific message is pretty irrelevant to me right now.  So here it is. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Knight In Faded Denim

As usual, here's the song first: Knight In Faded Denim.

This one took a long time to write.  I first had title back in college, but mostly wrote it c. 1994.  I was messing around with it recently (after having spent a bit of time with the original college-era inspiration) and decided it was a bit too short, so I wrote an extra verse and a half.  Of course, now it's probably too repetitive...

I hadn't been thinking of it for inclusion on the next "album" (working title: Rhymes Against Humanity), but now that it's done I'm starting to consider it.  I'll certainly re-do the vocals and tweak the rhythm section bits.  I might lose the mandolin sample. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feeling Nostalgic

First, the song:  Someone Who Looks Like You

I had my 20th college reunion a couple of weeks ago, and wandered around the old dorm for the first time in ages.  Since then I've been listening to music I liked back then, and while nostalgia is the claptrap of small imaginations (or something like that), I recorded one of the old Dr. Lüst songs to post here.  Unlike all the other ones I've recorded, though, this is an original I didn't write.
Someone Who Looks Like You was written by Dan Schmidt, the keyboard player and resident pointy-headed musician.  I always liked this one a lot, and so present it here in a one-take live version (well, OK: 5-6 takes until I got it right) with the best of intentions and warmest of feelings.  Despite that, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if it'll need to come down. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Another Geeky Parody: "I Get The Grants"

I seem to be on a bit of a parody/re-write roll on the blog of late with the posting of the LPSC Blues and We Didn't Start The Science.  So maybe I shouldn't be surprised that this post is in the same vein, but I'm surprised anyway.  Those of you who aren't scientists (or grant writers) might find this even less enjoyable than usual:  "I Get The Grants"

The idea for this song has been percolating for a little while, maybe a year or so.  I don't exactly remember but I think someone made a comment about writing computer code and we were joking about "I write the code that makes the users cry" and that it'd be a fine idea for a song.  This is not that song, though. Aspiring songwriters--that idea is still out there!   Instead I went to a subject I know too well, that of writing proposals to NASA.  With various deadlines about our ears, I dedicate it to all those PIs, Co-Is, Collaborators, and reviewers out there. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

End of NaPoWriMo!

With May comes the end of National Poetry Writing Month.  So it's probably back to sporadically-posted music here.  I don't know that any of the poetry was better than what the Vogons write, but at least I had some fun. :) 

Maybe constellations next year? 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 30: Quintessence

In ancient times it was taught
There was air and water, fire and earth
Some thought there was a fifth
 to make it all complete.

Democritus and Galilei
Mendeleev and Lavoisier
Said all was atoms
Nothing more or less.
Ether proved ethereal.

Now learned astronomers
track the motions of the stars
and find there must be
more under the sun. 

One hundred eighteen elements
are known to us
and yet
five-sixths of the universe
must be made of
something else.

Chemical Elements Poems 29: If We Grant That Love Is Like Oxygen

If we grant
that love is like oxygen,
does that mean
lust is like ozone:
perhaps related
to love
but not something
your body can use
to live on?

Or perhaps lust
is like carbon monoxide,
binding to the blood
and fooling it
into thinking
it's getting oxygen?

And what, then, is water?
Too much won't get you high
but it will cause
bloating and  discomfort.

Perhaps the lesson
is that chemical compounds
are not easily mapped
onto feelings and sensations
after all.

Chemical Elements Poems 28: Object of Alchemists' Desire

Object of alchemists' desire,
metal of medals,
of fleece and fleecing.

As a rule it does
like no other,
leaving aside
calves or laying geese.

All that has been
dug from the Earth
in thousands of years
would fit in a few
swimming pools.
If all sold it could buy up
all of Manhattan
and all of Florida
a couple of times over.

Midas would tell you
other things glitter
more brightly. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 27: Alpha Noble


made in the Big Bang
fused in the Sun
ejected from
radioactive nuclei

one-quarter of normal matter,
abundant through
the universe.
we fill balloons
and let them soar
to meet their alpha siblings.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 26: Village Quarry, Baltic Isle

Village quarry,
Baltic isle.
In the form of a black rock,
fate visits.

Mother lode in
discarded slag;
another's treasure.
Chemists delight
in discovery's glow, 
before the period.

Four elements named
for the village, 
another three
with roots in the 
same ground.
Rare earth, indeed.

Chemical Elements Poems 25: Lucky Thirteen

Lucky thirteen.
Sapphire and ruby,
foil and can,
rock and dirt.
Its decay heated
the planets.

Once deemed
for the banquets
of an emperor,
now it's used
to carry Fresca.

I'm a couple of poems behind.  I'm coming back from vacation today, hope to catch the rest of the way back up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 24: Three Isotopes, Twelve Lines

Two thirty eight has a half-life of most of a century.
It powers spacecraft distant from the Sun. 
Congress won't approve making more of the stuff, 
NASA will be up a tree when stockpile's done. 

Two thirty nine is fissile so it's been used a lot,
its history in reactors is sometimes rocky. 
It sustains chain reactions that are either fast or slow, 
to the lasting detriment of Nagasaki. 

Two forty four has been around since the world began
though the last of it will decay before long.  
It has no use in weapons, it has no use for heat.
It has no use at all, for right or wrong. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 23: Heartbreaker

Shield maker, 
alpha protector.
Even kryptonite cannot

Time keeper,
atoms flee to you 
for stability,
shedding protons and neutrons 
to reach you

your sweet taste 
on the walls 
tempts Maids
til they Live and Love
no more. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 22: Argent Pure, Vert Exposed

Argent pure, vert exposed,

sable when burned.
Mixed in Misch.

Used to make
ersatz olivine
when you need 
to copy 
the most abundant mineral
on Earth.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 21: Rusty Irony

It gave its name to an age
and though humanity
has turned the page
to other materials
it still has a place.

Members of the human race
use it to fortify
foods and forts 
and signify
strong wills and artificial lungs.

But more than simply on our tongues,
though most of it is in the core
enough remains in the crust
for banded rocks in days of yore
though most now simply turns to rust.
Isn't that ironic?

Chemical Elements Poems 20: Davy Weeps

They ruled the waves and developed geology.
Their engineers tamed machines
and made them work to 
enhance the treasury.
Their explorers found Hawaii,
founded Singapore,
floundered on the Southern Continent.

Their pre-eminence coincided 
with the end of alchemy,
the triumph of science.

Was it unexpected
that left them
no place 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 19: U before O

One short of
perfect ten,
its disposition can be rather 

Fittingly born in
(and borne on)
stellar flows,
it made martyrs of many
as it found their
precious bodily fluids.

We worried
it would steal our ozone,
but it helps 
coat our pans and our teeth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 18: Ointments and Amalgams

Eternal life did not come
to Qin Shi Huang Di.
The first matter was his last,
and messengers of silver water
would only bring company in misery,
not alchemy.

Ointments and amalgams,
you don't need a thermometer
to know how mad the hatter is.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 17: Doubly Magical

Iron-loving, core-dwelling.
Born of silicon and iron,
blamed on the devil and
doubly magical.

Hitchhiking here
in the scattered remains
of violence,
If all Earth's supply were a dollar
less than a penny
would be in the crust,
much less five cents.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 16: Bituminous and Emerald Cut

Carbon does not
deserve a poem
but a book of poetry
bituminous and emerald cut
by standard #2. 

Black and white,
animal and vegetable,
virus and fungus.
Life as we know it
and life we have yet to know.

The redwoods are made
of the carbon we exhale,
breath becomes wood
before leaf becomes muscle.

It has helped make
Venus' hell
and it coats the
poles of Mars
Not just a girl's
best friend
but all of ours.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 15: I Have a Degree in Science

I have a degree in science
and I like to think
I'm educated,
but damn
if I could
tell you anything
about scandium.

If I said
it turns blue on exposure
to water
or it's used as an alloy
in baseball bats
or that it's interchangeable
with yttrium
in the mineral thortveitite
would you know better?

If you'd asked me before
I just looked it up
I wouldn't even have
it's actually an element and not
something made up
to sound like an element.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 14: None has higher density

Metals have a propensity
toward quite high density
but none has higher density than this.
And if you ever get the yen
you'll find it in the nib of your pen
(where it is quite easy to miss).

Toxic and named for its smell,
perhaps it is just as well
it's only parts per trillion in the crust.
You may or may not be surprised
to find it octup'ly ionized,
but try to avoid it if it's ground to dust.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 13: Dominating Lesser Airs

Noxious air, and lifeless
Yet it abides us here,
content to dominate lesser airs
and put bubbles in our stouts,
one part in fifty of our
lively bodies.

Liquid, it removes our warts,
enables our superconductors,
and cools our cameras
so our telescopes can see it,
on the surfaces of Triton and Pluto.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 12: Named for the Eighth Planet

It was named for the eight planet,
or what was the eighth planet
at the time.

Rare earth most common.
Still, six cents a gram
is more filet mignon
than cereal.

One hundred billion tons
waits on its namesake,
easier to retrieve than any
neptunium on Neptune.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 11: A Tale from the Niobium Rush

In the tiny town of Snowflake
before the train made it to town,
there was a righteous group of miners
who hoped to spread some wealth around.

Niobium was their ambition,
niobium was what they sought
to build their palaces and gardens
and pay for all the things they bought.

Nowadays it's used in welding
or sometimes alloyed into steel
but in the days we now consider
there was universal appeal.

So when the miners hit a gusher
and pure niobium appeared
they thanked the heavens for their fortune
and rolled out their kegs of beer.

A grand hotel came in to Snowflake
so did the track and Jenny Lind,
the river rats and carpetbaggers,
houses of worship and of sin.

But all too soon the rush was ended,
rare earth barons all but done,
they packed their things and followed fashion
and went in search of tantalum

If you go today to Snowflake,
book a room and do behold
the glory of the bygone ages
when niobium was gold.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 10: Green Paris and Blue Agents

King of Poisons, Poison of Kings.
Garlic when struck you sneak,
in our water and wood it lurks.
Alien life may thrive on it,
but here it is
hints of green Paris
and blue agents
for striving, chalk-eating commoners.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 9: Three haiku for Kimberly

Like bismuth except
it's completely unstable,

Curie discovered,
named it after her homeland.
It makes air glow blue.

Workers in Russia
used it to heat lunar craft
and kill dissidents.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 8: other teeth, other bones

born from sulfur and helium and argon
on the day an alien sun died,
it found its way here.
in white specks it wandered
the gaseous seas
before the first water droplets,
before the first sand grains.

did it come via other teeth, other bones?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 7: Fourteen Atoms, Twenty Seconds

It is out there, apparently
if just for seconds at a time.
All of our accelerators' prime
technicians have contrived
fourteen atoms worth
to study.

Lucky number one-thirteen
in the lucky thirteenth group.
From a high energy soup
of californium and neptunium
it forms
before it will decay.

Perhaps one day
they'll name it,
Japonium or Rikenium,
Sic transit gloria,
twenty seconds worth of atom.

Chemical Elements Poems 6: 27 Lines About Molybdenum

I like the way molybdenum
sounds and looks.
The word, I mean. 
I've not seen molybdenum in person
nor heard it.
Not that I know what it would
sound like.
It's a metal, so I'd guess it'd
go clang or something
if you whacked it against a desk
or hit it with a hammer.

Since it's harder than iron or steel,
you might want to use
someone else's hammer
if you do hit it.

Molybdenum means lead
which is a bit confusing since
it's not lead.  Lead is something else.
It was also confused with graphite
though nobody made pencils out of it
that I know of. 
I admit I haven't researched that part much.

Too much molybdenum causes gout,
infertility, and diarrhea.
It is, however better than too much lead.
it is unlikely you'll get too much molybdenum.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 5: Nirvana at Sixes and Sevens

Big Bang created, destroyed in starry hearts,
as salts, in batteries, some reach for you
to conquer the poles
while we listen for nirvana at sixes and sevens.

Big Bang created, destroyed in fusion bombs,
your crimson flame is not easily extinguished
though the biologists say we can live without you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 4: Metal and Metaphor

It was called little silver and white gold
and the only metal fit for a king
or a queen mother.
It was the only metal fit for SI,
measuring meters and masses.

In a pile of rock the weight of the Titanic
you may expect an ounce of platinum.

You may think it more metaphor than metal:
shades of blonde and best-sellers,
and high-limit credit cards,
but most of it ends up in junkyards
inside rusting-out beaters.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 3: Morning Star Echoes

Black and red, violet and white,
morning star echoes bone and apatite.
Willie Peter traces with urine's remains,
Arsenic replaces but community complains
Smoke bombs and toothpaste, lucifer in match head
Black and white, violet and red.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 2: Noble Most Common

Noble most common,
cheap as the air
and found dating rocks.

Though lazily
willing to mix with
the reactive crowd
it will still protect the Constitution.

Perhaps she remembers
earthier beginnings
birthed from plant ash
and feldspar.


Perhaps I should make readers guess the relevant elements? :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chemical Elements Poems 1: hydrogen or nothing

let me begin at the beginning.

it was once hydrogen or nothing,
and it is still pretty much hydrogen 
or nothing.

simple but no bohr, 
this one is not lonely
water-former giving light
sun to enewetak
balmy atoll become balmer.

National Poetry Writing Month 2011

Last year I took part in National Poetry Writing Month right here on this blog, writing 30 poems about baseball (one for each team).  It's come up again (as it does every April) and after some waffling I've decided to do it again.  This year's theme is apparently going to be The Periodic Table of the Elements, much to my surprise.  So, the idea is to do one poem per day.  Given travel and other stuff we'll see how it goes.  But be warned-- for the next month there's not likely to be much bad music, instead it'll be bad poetry. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

LPSC Blues

OK, here's the other song I played at the Goose's Acre party that people asked me to post:  LPSC Blues.

This one has a bit of a long history. Jury Rig used to play it straight (as Summertime Blues with the arrangement by The Who), then we adapted it to be the LPL Blues, which Science Diet inherited.  When Science Diet started playing at LPSC we changed around some of the words again and all took a verse.  We never could get Joe Spitale to sing his verse, but that's another story.  I wasn't originally intending to sing this one at the party but a day or two before playing I decided it'd be a crowd pleaser (plus I came up with the second verse and realized I had to do it). 

I just kind of slapped this down quickly tonight, a couple of guitars (and my hands were killing me with the barre chords-- I'm out of practice).  The effect on the punchlines is true-ish to The Who and the original Eddie Cochran, though not so much for the way we played it, exactly.

You're probably here for the words, so here goes:
I'm gonna raise a fuss, I'm gonna raise a holler
I've been working the whole fiscal year to try to earn a dollar
I wrote off to NASA to try and get a grant, they said
"We'd like to help you son, but Congress says we can't."
I don't know what I'm gonna do but there ain't no cure for the LPSC Blues

I've been working on a mission and I'd love to see it flying
We've been studying it for twenty years, I'm kind of sick of trying
Went to the Decadal Survey to try to get it famous they said
"I guess it's kind of interesting, but we'd rather probe Uranus."
I don't know what I'm gonna do but there ain't no cure for the LPSC Blues

As long as I'm in Houston I must make a confession
I'm supposed to give my talk tomorrow in the morning session
Went to my coauthors, here's what they said to me:
"Go ahead and blow it off, it's just LPSC."
I don't know what I'm gonna do but there ain't no cure for the LPSC Blues

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We Didn't Start The Science (lyrics)

I had the pleasure of performing a 3-song set at Barbara's birthday party at LPSC with the inimitable Pat McGovern joining me for this song.  I'm going to try and get a version of the LPSC Blues recorded, but also was asked to post the lyrics to We Didn't Start the Science.  I first wrote the words (but, you know, not the music) c. 2000 with a version posted here.  I did an update a couple of years ago (found here), but mostly just tweaked the words.  Since the real song ends in the 80s and devotes something like a half of a verse to the 1970s and 1980s I figured it was keeping closer to that spirit to remain 10 years out of date... 


armstrong aldrin alan bean and apollo 17
taurus-littrow hadley rille  megaregolith
magma ocean ree giant impact theory
kreep tio2 kubrik's monolith

venus swingby mariner 10 caloris basin
chryse plains viking 2 and the sky on mars is blue
utopia and big joe carbon dioxide snow
jim pollack dry valleys ansmet que

we didn't start the science--we've always been learning since the world's been turning
we didn't start the science, if it weren't for newton we'd all be out looting

carl sagan cosmos mission lost at phobos
bow shock bart bok velikovsky
magellan sar side looking radar
aphrodite terra high emissivity
io sulfur volcanoes europa grooves callisto
ring spokes shepherd moons giant storms on neptune
halley vega giotto craf iue eso
pluto mutual events near earth asteroid defense

we didn't start the science--we've always been learning since the world's been turning
we didn't start the science, kepler's equation amazed all the nations

small comet grl lafos apl
arecibo and seti nicmos 55 cancri
sl9 string of pearls hga will not unfurl
posters still at lpi jovian atmosphere's too dry...

stable polar barchan dunes ida has a tiny moon
ulysses studies the sun pioneer 11
hyakutake hale bopp iras araki alcock
spacewatch linear armegeddon impact fear

we didn't start the science--we've always been learning since the world's been turning
we didn't start the science, galileo did it, the pope won't admit it

clementine dod geographos not to be
lpsc chili bash lunar observer crash
sample return aerobot venus is so freaking hot
window through all titan's haze hst is all the rage
chixculub h2so3 iridium kt boundary
martian bugs alha what else do i have to say?

we didn't start the science--we've always been learning since the world's been turning
we didn't start the science, there was gerard kuiper when we were in diapers

deep space 1 cassini exobiology
mountains found in io metric stuff on mco
superrotating atmosphere mathilde visited by near
europa subsurface ocean leonids back again
yogi airbags monster pan versailles for the acm
jgr ads moc mola and tes
mars observer blown to shards iss still in the cards
nasa's budget a tough sell better faster cheaper hell!

we didn't start the science--we've always been learning since the world's been turning
we didn't start the science, and we'd like to do some though it may be gruesome...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lost In The Artifacts

First, here's the song:  Lost In The Artifacts.

Next, a happy 2011 to you (and us) all.  While the blog's been quiet I have actually been doing some recording and writing.  I'm not sure how much will end up on the next album, though--it's been a few rough run-throughs so I don't forget things and/or songs that might or might not fit when all told.

The song I'm posting today is one of the latter.  It started from a discussion on Twitter of results from the Stardust encounter with Comet Tempel 1 (of all things).  Emily said that some of the details were "almost lost in JPEG artifacts."  Barbara said that sounded like an album title of mine, followed by Luke asking if I could release it in time for LPSC.

I wrote the words pretty quickly (as might be obvious) and came up with the general musical idea pretty quickly too (as might also be obvious).  At first I thought I might be ripping off Elvis Costello too much but then I realized I was also ripping off Collective Soul, so it probably would work itself out. The song's pretty short and I've thought of ways to lengthen it a bit (I have a whole other verse written, but I don't particularly like it much), but on the other hand I don't think it gains anything by being longer and I'd rather have it be too short than be tediously long.  For this song, it might hit tediously long by 2 and a half minutes...