Family Vacation Videos (sort of)

Took a trip with some good friends to the Grand Canyon... and wrote a song. The exceptionally talented Ali-Marie was gracious enough to record the song and make it available to me. Thanks Ali-Marie!

Went on a Grand Canyon vacation some years ago..

Dragon Boat

Some of my best memories outside of family were made while on a dragon boat team.


Led By the Nose

I wanted to write an educational film short to help teach children about chemistry. Though I don't necessarily feel that educators should be entertainers, I do feel that "stealth learning" has its benefits. One approach is to use film and modern media to instruct:

In this screenplay, the Starship Voyager is critically low on dilithium crystals. They discover an arctic planet with Tundra-like conditions. Seven-of-Nine is dispatched to fix the extractor in an old mine near an acidic beach that contains tons of dilithium (thought to be a waste product from a previous civilization). There is an explosion and the mine collapses. Racing against time, they rush a small tunnel to Seven-of-Nine to provide air. The soils are highly acidic, however and poses a threat. The good doctor proposes that they use calcium hydroxide to counteract the dangerous acidity in the soils. Janeway demands that, as the Captain, she should do this task. They race against time because the advance welcoming party is starting to fall victim to the frozen conditions. The captain transports down to the surface to begin. One could say that Captain Janeway's on shore, all the greeters are cold, and she's liming the airway to Seven.

Rock and Roll

Anyway, there was a shop back in the 1980s called Yesterday & Today Records. It was not uncommon for local and popular punk bands (if there is such a thing) to show up there. On one occasion I saw Henry Rollins. Like Nickelback, many hear some of his more popular tunes and think that was his entire work. Not so. Rollins was hardcore as you could get. As some may know, I'm still a big fan of punk and alternative. Rollins rocks.

I remember Rollins doing some really experimental shit back then. There was one time he plugged in some messed up looking Peavey into the audio feed and just held this wicked power chord for something like 30 seconds. Doesn't sound like much but it was like a banshee playing. Frickin' eeeeerie.

I went back to Y&T last year. Still there of course.

Not the case in other 80s venues. Near a place a called Victory Park in North Miami Beach, I went looking for some of the old punk hangouts. Back in the day there was a public pool there and it was odd to see a bunch of misfit punk kids and punk wannabes hanging around a swimming pool. Kind of sad but punk was nowhere to be found. Instead there was some electronic stuff.

Hey I get it. Punk accepts all kinds, even non-punks. Anyhoo, the kids hanging around the pool were cool. There were all sorts, as is common in Florida and not just the USA born-and-raised that many associate with punk. I was surprised that many of them were Jamaicans and Cubans and Wisconsin transplants. But mostly Cubans. Who'd a thunk it? But I guess any society with wealth imbalance naturally leads to punk. All roads lead to punk.

They were listening to some electronic stuff, a little Matrix-ish sounding. They called it Gabber. I had to check it out on Wikipedia (check it out before reading further):

Here's a quote:

"Although a house variant from Detroit, gabber music reached Amsterdam in the late 1980s, and it was the producers and DJs from Rotterdam in the early 1990s who evolved it into a harder house variant which is today known as "gabber".

I found it interesting as hell. The kids called themselves "Gabbers". Weird, right?

The Gods of Music must have been smiling down on me that day, sitting around the pool, because one of the girls there had brought along a guitar. An electric one, even. She didn't speak much English as far as I could tell but I got through with my Hialeah Spanish and managed to get her to let me borrow her guitar. On a side note, I spent about a year learning classical guitar. I never was any good but it was a fun way to pass time in college.

"Oye, Chino, you play?" asked one of the taller, older looking kids.

"Si, si," I replied.

Watching these Gabbers listen to their house and tronic, those memories of Henry Rollins belting out his experimental shrieking harmonic just came rushing back. My memory is amazing for these sorts of things and I remember exactly the fingerings. I took the guitar, cranked up the volume to "11" and let that Rollins harmonic scream out.

The kids were *AMAZED*.

"Chino! Coño!" they shouted. "What the fuck was that?"

I put the guitar down in reverence. I wanted to say, "It was a Rollins' harmonic, Gabbers. Nothing more." But in my fractured Spanish it came out as:

"A Rollins' tone, Gabbers. No mas."