Happy, happy Halloween (Silver Shamrock)!

It’s Monday morning, and I’m writing this on my phone rather than on my laptop, because I didn’t feel like bringing my laptop back to the house from work on Saturday.  Those of you who have read my very long post from Saturday will probably be happy that I’m using my phone, since my writing tends to be much slower (and therefore shorter) when I use it, rather than my laptop keyboard.  Though I’ve never formally taken any typing courses, and I don’t know what my actual typing speed is, I have been typing since I was quite young (I think I was 11), since my maternal grandmother gave me her electric typewriter and I started writing the first of many fantasy novels, so basically, I can type pretty darn fast.

Of course, today is the 31st of October, and that means it is Halloween, my favorite holiday.  I personally think this should be a “bank holiday” as they say in the UK: a day most people take off work.  But I guess most other people don’t think so.

I’m afraid I haven’t posted the video that I mentioned on Friday and Saturday.  I left it at the office, so to speak.  I also didn’t record myself performing The Haunted Palace yet, but that was just due to a lack of motivation.  I’ll probably do it soon, if I do it at all.  I will attach the audio for my “video” from last week into the bottom of this post, so those who are interested in listening among my readers will get earliest access to it.  I’ll try to remember to post the video on YouTube later today.

I did another impromptu audio recording last night, as some thoughts occurred to me while I was watching a lecture on the nature of time by Sean Carroll, one of my favorite teachers of physics.  They weren’t brand new thoughts; I might even have written something along their lines once before in my other blog, Iterations of Zero.  I haven’t done anything on that blog in quite a while now, since I stopped sequestering my darker brain drippings from this one.  Maybe I should turn that into the place I share my audio stuff before turning it into a video or anything else.  I’m not sure.  It seems a shame to leave it fallow, but most things in life come to naught, anyway, and if it’s appropriate for any blog, then that might well be the one for which it’s most appropriate, given its name.

If anyone out there reads both blogs and has any thoughts about that one, please let me know.

As like as not I’ll never do anything with it, one way or another.  As like as not, even this one will peter out or abruptly terminate sometime soon.  Of course, depending on your time scale, any time could be soon.  And on the Planck time scale, it’s been a nearly immeasurable eternity just since I started writing this post.

There, those are some thoughts about time that didn’t make it into my recording from last night.

Regarding the earlier nocturnal recording, which I’m posting here, today, I need to warn you that the first portion has less than ideal quality, though that might not be obvious until you reach the second portion and compare.  You see, I did the first portion in the middle of the night, as I think I’ve told you before, and I wasn’t really paying much attention to where I was or what was around me.  It was dark, for one thing.  Also, I was sitting up on the floor* very close to the air conditioner, which was active at the time.  I’ve done my best to remove all that racket, and largely succeeded, but the noise reduction does affect the reproduction of my voice.

So, I’ll be editing the vocal thoughts I had last night/this morning, soon, and I’ll post the “video” of my previous thoughts on YouTube soon.  I guess I’ll probably post the audio of last night’s musings here before I turn them into a video and share them on YouTube.  And who knows, maybe I’ll recite The Haunted Palace soon and share a video about that.

If I’m lucky, though, maybe I’ll get hit by lightning, or a truck, or a meteorite, or a V-fib arrest, and that’ll be that.  I’d say that I look forward to oblivion, but of course, that doesn’t quite make sense, since one can’t really imagine oblivion‒if one is doing any imagining, then one is not simulating a state of oblivion.

Still, oblivion has much to recommend it.  There’s no pain, no sorrow, no fear, no regret.  Of course, there are no positive experiences, either, but if the curve of one’s life enjoyment is consistently below the x-axis, then a reversion to zero is a net gain**.  It’s where we’re all headed eventually, anyway.  And Halloween wouldn’t be such a bad day to die, would it?

Knowing my luck, that’s probably not going to happen.

To finish, here’s the audio of my thoughts on the fact that perception is not reality, followed by a few Halloween-appropriate pictures of mine.

Happy Halloween.

Welcome Home Medium in prog (2)

headless horseman croppedpumpkin demon cropped

9734_1044064641361_1817998561_91048_2300407_n

Mark Red

Vagabond pose pic on highway 3 posterized

1427235137816

full-12 (1)

skull drawing


*I sleep on the floor.  Beds take up too much space, and they tend to make my back pain worse.

**This is related to the fact that the lesser of two evils is, by simple mathematical logic, the greater of two goods.

A brief reminder of my “audio stories”

Well, I’m working today—as I will also be doing Monday—so, obviously, I’m writing a blog post.  Aren’t you excited?

When I arrived at the train station this morning, I thought the whole system was shut down somehow, because the “garage-door” style barriers were closed, blocking the stairs, the elevators, and the payment machines, like they do when there’s a hurricane coming (there isn’t…I check frequently).  However, it turns out that the guy who opens them just hadn’t arrived yet.  He only arrived after I had gone all the way down to the end of the station to the road to cross the tracks and had come all the way back up on the side on which I need to be.

Ah, well, it’s a little bit of extra exercise, and that can’t be too bad, can it?

I planned yesterday to mention the subject of some of my reading-aloud “videos” of my fiction, but the post got to be too long, and it would have been a very abrupt change of topic, considering I was writing about my difficulties seeking and finding and begging for help when one is circling the drain, as I am.  I haven’t gotten any useful answers, other than a commiserating one to the effect, “Whataya gonna do?  You just gotta keep on moving.”  I can respect that attitude.  It’s far better than someone pretending to have answers when they don’t.  But it doesn’t help me figure out why one should bother to keep moving.  I can’t see any reason, honestly, and the effort has long outweighed the reward for me.  I’m frankly skeptical that there is any reward at all, or that there has been one for some time.

Anyway.

Quite a while ago, I did some recordings of me reading some of my stories, and I turned them into videos, though the “video” portion is nothing but the cover of the story in question.  I think they came out reasonably well; I’ve always been decent at reading stories out loud.  But they didn’t and don’t get much play, even though they are a free way to listen to my (already cheap) short stories, which is why I stopped doing them.

I also recorded and uploaded onto YouTube the first nine chapters of my book The Chasm and the Collision.  This is my most family friendly story, since I wrote it with my kids—who were in fifth and fourth grades when I started it, I think—in mind.  It a story about three middle-school students who become caught up in a trans-universal “fantasy”* adventure.

Thanks to the very wise advice of my father, there’s not even a single curse word in the whole book, though there are scary bits, since there is real danger in the story.  Real danger to the characters, I mean.  I don’t mean to say that reading the story is dangerous.  It’s not.  My sister has read the book several times, now, and she says it’s her favorite of my stories.  As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the fact that she fell and hit her head earlier this week.

I recorded the first nine chapters, but I finally stopped doing it, because, as I said, no one seemed to be listening.  I thought it was a shame, but it was a lot of work to do the reading and then the editing of the audio (though it helped me learn Audacity, which was definitely worthwhile).  Since then, at various times, I’ve thought that maybe I would like to pick up on reading the chapters and uploading them, and then maybe even start to record and upload my other books, a bit at a time**.  I’ve also got a few more short stories and novellas that I haven’t recorded and uploaded, and they could be stand-alone “videos”.  But, again, it’s a lot of work, and it would be doubly frustrating if no one ever listens.

I’m embedding here, below, the YouTube video of the first chapter of The Chasm and the Collision, so that people can get a sample of it.  I’m also going to see if it’s possible to embed the YouTube playlist that is all the “videos” that I’ve done so far from that book, and maybe even the playlist that has the “short” stories that I’ve read aloud and posted.  Again, it’s a good way for people to get exposed to the stories*** for free.

If you listen and like them, I obviously would be delighted if you’d decide to buy them.  All my stories are available for Kindle, and my novels and collections are available in paperback as well.  My last collection, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities is even available in hardback.  Here’s a link to my Amazon author’s page, so you can peruse them:  The Link.

If there’s more than one person out there who would be interested in hearing more of me reading my stories, please let me know in the comments below.  You can also leave story-related comments on YouTube.

Nowadays one can self-publish for Audible, which is kind of neat, but I think I’m going to stick with the YouTube format, because it’s more informal, and it’s free for listeners so they can introduce themselves to the stories, as read by the author.  I’m very self-hating in general, and that hasn’t changed, but I think my stories are pretty good, and I’m especially proud of The Chasm and the Collision, because I wrote it with my kids in mind—though I don’t think either of them has ever read it, and they probably never will.

That’s about all I have for today.  Nothing has really changed since yesterday, so there’s no other real news to give.  Have a good holiday weekend, for those of you in the United States.  And everyone else, I hope you just have a good weekend.

Here’s the embedding of those videos and playlists, if I can successfully do the latter:


*I put that in “scare quotes” because if you pay attention when you read it, you’ll notice it’s actually a science fiction story.  But the character of the tale is definitely more like fantasy than sci-fi.

**Boy howdy, wouldn’t Unanimity end up taking up a looooooong time?

***That makes them sound radioactive, somehow.  As far as I know, they are not.

Some Practice Recordings

Last Friday (the 10th) I was feeling pretty under the weather, and in the morning, before work, I could barely get any writing done.  So I decided to record myself playing several songs that I like to mess around on, so I could listen to myself afterward for presumed self-improvement.  It’s good to be able to hear when the chords don’t sound good, and of course, when one’s singing is off-key or just doesn’t sound very good.  It’s most irritating to when it’s just a little off, by like an eighth of a step, and I think, “How did I not hear myself doing that?”

Anyway, I thought I’d share the recordings here, flubs, pitchiness, and all, as a curiosity, and to see if anyone has any recommendations about ones of which I should work on doing a video/cover.  I did some cleaning up of background noise, added some reverb, and did a bit of compression, just to make it all a little easier to listen for those who are interested.

Only two of them (Julia and Here Comes the Sun) were played from memory, though I know Fake Plastic Trees by heart, and I screwed up more by following the chords in the book than I probably would have if I’d just trusted myself.  Go figure.

Julia (I needed to increase to gain on the guitar for this one):


Fake Plastic Trees (by Radiohead):


Desperado (by Eagles):


Here Comes the Sun:


Here, There, and Everywhere (by the Beatles):


Just the Way You Are (by Billy Joel, but with no piano here):


Karma Police (by Radiohead):


Lucky (by Radiohead…NOT to be confused with “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk…two VERY different songs!):


and last but not least,

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (by the Beatles):


That’s all for now.  I don’t know why I didn’t do “One Headlight” which I also know by heart.  Maybe I’ll save that for another time or just do it as a video.

I hope you enjoy, at least a little, if you listen.  At the very least, it’s probably slightly amusing to hear me get ticked when I make a mistake.

Street Spirit (Fade Out) baddish cover

Okay, here is the “video” of the cover I made to atone for the horrible “live” video version that I tried to sing without even warming up my voice.  Or trimming my hair uniformly.  Or being in any way photogenic.

I hope you like it.  It’s really me doing the music, including the double-tracked guitar arpeggios and of course the singing (though the drums are done electronically, because I don’t have a drum set).

Bad Cover – You Never Give Me Your Money

Okay, here it is at last*, my bad cover of “You Never Give Me Your Money”, which is probably my favorite Beatles song**.

I apologize for the opening keyboards; they would have sounded better with a real piano (I did them over and over again trying to get a better sound), but I no longer have or have access to one of those, and I certainly can’t afford a really good simulated one.

I had to fudge on the percussion, using an automatic drum part, since I simply don’t have any drums of my own, nor am I at all trained in drumming such as would be necessary to play Ringo’s sophisticated part.

Everything else, though, is me:  Guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals.  Obviously, it was done, as Khan says, “Not all at once, and not instantly, to be sure.”  Putting it all together is in many ways the hardest part (other than practicing the parts, etc., but that’s fun to do).  I used Audacity, which is a free sound editing/mixing program, and it is amazing.  If you get the chance to throw them some money, please do so.

Of course, as should be obvious, I own none of this, and I am making no money from it, nor should I.  It’s just my labor of love/homage.  Words and music officially are by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, though the latter was the main composer of this song, and of course, the whole group and George Martin, etc. gave their creative bits to it, as with most of the Beatles works.

*It feels like it took a very long time to me, anyway, though I guess it’s only been about two weeks, not counting practice.

*I can’t quite explain why.  Maybe it’s because it opens up the long medley on the second side of Abbey Road, my favorite Beatles album, and is even reprised with a third verse in “Carry That Weight”, but that’s just speculation.  And at any given moment, of course, I may want to hear some other Beatles song more, since there are so many great and good ones, but this one always holds a special place in my faux-heart.

“Like and Share” – a song

© 2020 by Robert Elessar All rights reserved

 

Words and music by Robert Elessar

Performed by Robert Elessar

Produced by Robert Elessar

 

Can you be what I can be?

Could you be as cool as me?

Commonness is misery.

Like and Share if you agree.

 

Do you think you’re special, too?

Am I as unique as you?

Every other point of view

Seems to be the same.  Could that be true?

 

Look at all my pretty pictures.

Don’t you wish that you were me?

You don’t know the half of it.

You don’t know what you can’t see.

 

Do you believe what you can see?

Pictures of a life so free,

Edited for quality,

Empty of reality.

 

You can’t feel what you don’t know;

You see only what I show.

Just that superficial glow,

Not the darkness that lies below.

 

Look how perfect my world must seem.

Don’t you wish that this was you?

Don’t you wish your life was so fine?

God know, God knows, God knows

I do too.

 

You can’t like what you can’t see.

You can’t see the actual me.

This is all illusory,

Even if you don’t agree.

 

Do I see what you can see?

Are you dead inside like me?

Every flaw is agony.

Like and Share

Like and Share

Like and Share

If you agree.

Come Back Again (a new song)

Words and Music by Robert Elessar

(c) copyright 2019.  All rights reserved.

Performed by Robert Elessar

Produced by Robert Elessar


Sky blue
Sky gray
Dark and stormy night
Sunny day
Only meeting strangers
Always losing friends
Every new beginning
Always ends.

And if your travels bring you to a place
Where you’re afraid to show your face
remember
All you’ll be is all you’ve been,
So turn around, come back again.

Walking down the street
I saw a car go by with no one driving
I watched it pass and wondered what the hell was going on.
There’s something not quite right, I thought
and hopped a bus that was just arriving
I got it and I sat down fine, but suddenly
I was gone.

Sky blue
Sky black
Creeping slowly forward
Falling back
Nothing ever stops
But nothing really goes
Is there any reason?
No one knows.

But I’d stay by you until the end
In times of darkness I’m your friend
So maybe
If you need
A helping hand
Just turn around
Come back again.

Come back again.

Come back again.

Come back again.

Breaking Me Down (rebuilt)

 

(c) 2019 by Robert Elessar

Words and Music by Robert Elessar

Produced and performed by Robert Elessar

I sit alone at home sometimes and want to go berserk
But doing that just never seems to work
The shelves are stacked with books but I don’t feel that I could read
While all around a thousand phantoms lurk

I drink a little wine; I eat a little meat
I wonder why I’m shivering in such infernal heat
I feel a little tired; my head’s a little light
I wish that I could close my eyes and block my inner sight.

If you could see me now, you’d probably wonder where I’ve been
But I stand and I fall
And I listen for your call
While hiding out inside the dragon’s den.

I wander ‘round through my internal night
I travel back and forth throughout the town
But if you ask, I’ll tell you I’m all right
My nervousness is just breaking me down.

I listen to the sounds of everybody having fun
I can’t join in ‘cause I don’t have a gun,
They’re scattering their ashes all along the motorway
Then scampering like rabbits on the run

I bounce off all the walls; I turn out all the lights
I always want to hit someone, but I never get in fights
I feel a bit confused; my thoughts are incomplete
There’s tingling in my fingers and there’s swelling in my feet

If you could hear what I hear you would deafen both your ears
But I can’t, and I know
That no matter where I go
I’m followed by the grinding of my gears.

I stare around in paranoiac fright
While grinning at my heartbreak like a clown
So don’t come in, and don’t turn on the light
It’s just my past mistakes breaking me down

I look at all the colors of the pictures in my mind
They’re all so dark, I might as well be blind
The path laid out ahead of me is so filled up with smoke
I think that I’d prefer to just rewind

I roam around the house; I drive around the town
I don’t know if I’m back and forth or if I’m up and down
I dive into the sea; I look into the sky
I try to understand them, but we can’t see eye to eye

If you could see inside my head, your own head would explode
But I nod, and I grin
At the end where I begin
And I smile, and I wave
When I pass an open grave
And I slump, and I sigh
When we have to say goodbye
I’ll see you at the ending of the road

I wander through the wasteland struck with blight
I make my Hell to wear an earthly crown
I smash all mirrors, I can’t stand the sight
Of everything that is breaking me down.