Posts Tagged ‘ukulele’

So.

This week, I’m taking a break from Allosaurus. Doing this for a couple of reasons. Allosaurus is about outsiders, misfits, loners, others, who have been granted abilities to act out their powers in larger-than-life ways. Some of these ways are quite violent, or dark; and the story actually gets darker as it goes on. Because of that, I felt that it was too early to return to that world so soon after the tragedy this past Friday morning in Colorado. I don’t want to talk about the person who did the killing – the focus should be on the people who died, the families, the ones who lived, the ones who sacrificed so that someone else in the theater could live. Point is, the general infotainment sphere can do without blood and terror for a little bit.

The other reason, strangely enough, was that I had planned to take a break this week regardless, because I had planned on seeing The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. While I’ve got a great deal of Allosaurus written in my head, I was concerned that, subconsciously, Christopher Nolan’s world would exert an undue influence on my own. I didn’t go Friday like I planned; that seemed to me at the time to be a bit disrespectful. But I did end up going later on, like a good little dork.

Strangely, I detected in the film a sort of meditation on the futility of violence, of war. Not something you generally expect in a summer blockbuster, and  definitely not what one expects from a superhero flick. Fitting, perhaps.

As I write this, I’m listening to Pandora. Ukulele Lady radio station. Some of the most peaceful music you can listen to, full of ukuleles and slide guitars, slack key tuning and blissed – out yodeling in a language that’s almost all vowels. Playing a lot of uke this weekend. Here’s a picture of Elaine, my tenor:

When I was in rehab, I was able to build up my coordination and finger strength by playing this puppy. In fact, the doctors told me that playing music actually allowed me to get well enough to leave a lot faster than I normally would have, so, yay Elaine.

 

This is Gertie: Gertie's stringsGertie's head stock.The first real uke I got my hands on. Lovely little soprano with a mellow voice. I’m afraid I can’t play either of these things as well as I would like, but the fun of it is in practicing.

As this week progresses, I would urge you to think on those peaceful things in your own life. I like to think about this:

 

 

 

 

 

words  and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

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“Marcy”, my best friend (whom you may remember from such posts as “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: Grown and/or Sexy”  or “Superheroes”) has this trick where she will assign different activities to the various days of the week. She gives them catchy names, like “Workplace Violence Wednesday”, or plays her ukulele on days with a “u” in them, that sort of thing.  So, I stole the idea for naming “Cane Free Friday” from her: Every Friday, I will walk without the cane. We’ll see how that works out.

“So,” she began, “what made you decide to start walking around without the stick?”

I shrugged. Then, I realized that we were talking on the phone, and she couldn’t see that. “I dunno. Guess I’m getting tired of not being able to wear sunglasses without people thinking I’m blind all the time.”

“You sure it’s the cane?” Marcy snickered. “Because, in their defense, it could be the clothes you wear. They probably think that nobody who could see themselves would leave the house dressed the way you do.”

“Ha ha. Cute. Somebody’s in the mood for jokes, I see.”

“I’m just sayin’,” she added with a chuckle. “I still remember that puke green bowling shirt you used to wear.”

“The one with ‘Schoenling’ on the back and ‘Ward’ stitched over the front pocket? That shirt was classy!” I protested.

Marcy laughed. “Yeah, well, your ‘classy’ shirt haunts my nightmares sometimes. It. Was. Puke. Green.” I don’t know how someone can create punctuation just with their voice, but Marcy does it regularly. “Your wife should’ve been glad I buried it someplace.”

“THAT’S what happened to it? Where? Where’d you bury it?”

“Oh, no,” Marcy grinned. “Not telling. That shirt was like the One Ring. It was evil. Evil, I tells ya.”

 

Well, any way, Cane – Free Friday was a success. Hopefully, it will get to expand throughout the rest of the week.

Also, I got this:

Not puke green but an awesome bowling shirt, nonetheless.

So there.

 

 words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

Okay, close your eyes. Imagine a gently strummed acoustic guitar and a ukulele with finger-snaps as the accompaniment to this. Mostly major chords and a lullaby-type feel and softness. Maybe birds tweeting, a la “Loving You” By Minnie Ripperton. Shh. Peaceful. So serene.

NOW OPEN YOUR EYES.

This is what you see upon awaking.

Industrial Protocols Temporarily Suspended

I’m gonna let my mind wander where it wants to go

Just one time

I’m gonna think about the yes when it should really be no

Just one time

There ain’t no reason you and I could ever be

Just one time

But I’m gonna pretend you’re saying yes to being here with me

Just one time

And when I’m finished with my dreaming, non-productive inefficiency away from the machine

Imagine sunsets, holding hands, growing old, raindrops and playing under shady trees

I’ll step back into this colorless world

I’ll wake myself up to this empty land

I’ll keep a tight grip on my emotions like I should

I’ll put this mask back on and promise I’ll be good.

I’m gonna clear my head and think about those satin ties

Just one time

Roped together in a holy union of Earth and the Skies

Just one time

There’s a bond that we share and you know that it can’t be denied

Just one time

But we shouldn’t have to be the ones ashamed and terrified

Just one time

And when we wake up in the cold gray light of unlit day and pretend it never was

We’ll go right back to work in the straitjacket uniform and punch the clock like everybody else does

We’ll step back into this colorless world

We’ll wake ourselves up to this empty land

We’ll keep a tight grip on our emotions like we should

We’ll put the mask back on and promise we’ll be good.

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

From 1998 to 2011

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Today has not been so good. I could barely walk around my apartment without the aid of Sticky, the Marvelous Walking Stick(tm). My fingers seem to work just fine, though. Playing guitar isn’t as hard as it is on some days. I should have been playing a ukulele. It’s hard to be depressed when you’re playing a uke. Probably why I’m not playing it. Ahem.

One's a stick. The other one folds. Guess which is which?

Sticky and Foldy!

 

I read a post on FB from somebody asking me if I’d ever taught in the public schools (friend of a friend). Realized that I’ve been teaching since 1998, with a few breaks off here and there, never amounting to more than a year or so. Thus, it seems, I’ve been A Teacher. I never was much of the “stand in front of the class and lecture” person, due to the fact that I bore easy. I would dance around, do the bunny hop, practice my stand-up routines, beat on stuff, crack jokes, and just generally have a good old time. And now, now, I … can’t. I tried to go back after the first stroke. Tried to keep up with the little people. To hop around, crack jokes, be the teacher I was once. I couldn’t do it, and I think that the stress from trying to do that led me to the second stroke. I see the kids playing in the parking lot around the complex, hear them laughing and squealing (and swearing like sailors? What the fuck?) around the lake. Didn’t think I would miss the classroom so much.

Rita the reggae ukulele.

A Ukulele called Rita.

 

A season has ended. It’s fall, now, and I am not a teacher any more.

 

I don’t rightfully know what I am now.

 

 

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

>     Yes, we do. As far as I know, there are no Black Daytonians transplanted to Tampa, Florida, who play ukulele and write bad sci-fi, writing a blog these days. It’s a demographic I feel has been under-served for far too long. So, rather than bitch about it and blame The Man for keeping down the black uke-playing sci-fi underclass, I decided to be proactive.
     “But, Topher,” I hear you saying, “I’m not a Black Daytonian transplanted to Tampa, Florida, who plays ukulele and writes bad sci-fi. In fact, I’m a White Hawaiian Goth living in Kentucky with a crochet club. What could I possibly get out of reading your blog?” Well, not to worry. I won’t focus on Black Daytonians transplanted to Tampa, Florida, who play ukulele and write bad sci-fi (from now on referred to as BDTTTFWPUAWBSF) issues exclusively. While that viewpoint will color some of my posts, it’s not like that’s all I can write about. Parenthetically, this is a problem I have with a lot of Black filmmakers and authors, but I digress. I write. A  lot. Even when I’m not writing, I write in my head. Same thing with music. So, what I will probably do with this blog, is post some of my mutterings and songs and stupid opinions.
     “Okay,” you admit, begrudgingly. “So this won’t be all BDTTTFWPUAWBSF stuff all the time. What else you got?”
      Well, I got… THIS!

 On a perfect afternoon

Sun is blazing
Limbs too stiff to skip along like they used to
Hiding in the air conditioned solace from the summer storm
Not many words need to be spoken
Just a quick glance
A nod
A flash of a smile
An intimacy missed for far too long
Is it too late? No;
Time is all we have
Time and love enough
A music a tingle a spark
A fragrance
A new memory

     Meh. It’s a beginning, I guess.

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.