Tuesday, November 29, 2016

TheMikeDuBose X-mas single!

A few years ago, I found myself playing a singer-songwriter showcase which was to be filmed for later television broadcast. We were also invited to do a Christmas song for an additional Christmas Special. Well, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do, so I wrote my own holiday song: "X-Mas in the Drunk Tank."

I don't know if the Christmas special ever aired. I found out after the fact that the singer-songwriter episode aired. I never saw it, because I never actually heard about it until later. And none of these have ever turned up on YouTube or the show's website, so I just like to think of my television career as an unsubstantiated rumor.

But, as a result, I had a Christmas song. I liked the song, which made the fact I could only ever play the song one month out of the year just a little bit aggravating. But dealing with aggravation is just a fact of life for us non-famous musician types.

Last year, I had plans to record an album with a friend of mine. For whatever reason, we were very slow to get the record off the ground. I suggested we record "X-Mas in the Drunk Tank" as a way to jump-start the recording process...and shortly thereafter, I found myself with another original holiday song, this one entitled "I Don't Wanna Be Depressed (This X-mas)."

The album never actually happened. The Christmas single which was supposed to jump-start the recording process also never happened. But now I had the bug, and I really wanted to get all these recordings done. So I did what I've always done when dealing with frustrating circumstances: I've become self-sufficient.

So I'm deep into recording the album (and I actually should be done and ready to release in January). And somewhere in the process, I remembered the Christmas single idea.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the fruit of my labors. I call it The War on X-Mas. This contains both "I Don't Wanna Be Depressed (This X-mas)" and "X-Mas in the Drunk Tank." I'm responsible for every lick of it, every sound, every action. And it turned out better than I would've ever hoped.

I sincerely hope you check it out. I like these songs more than I should, and I think they sound amazing. It is now life at my Bandcamp page as a "pay what you want" download. Please do check it out. I will also have CD copies soon, which I will pair with a custom TheMikeDuBose Christmas ornament. More details on those when the physical CDs come in.

I'll be playing one or both of these songs this Wednesday at Stone's Throw for Hump Day Revue and this Saturday at Howard's Club H for the annual Toy Drive show (I go on at 9), Come see me and say hello,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

television, hearing loss, and...something else

As a long-time musician, I count myself lucky to have pretty solid hearing. One doesn't do this, though, and escape with perfect hearing. So every so often, I will catch a little bit of the whining sound fading in and out. It's not enough to really bother me, but it is there just enough to be annoying. The desire to avoid more of this is why I carry ear plugs with me wherever I go.

Of course, this brings me to television. Over the last year, I've become a devotee of the show Archer. I could go off on how the show can be just awesome, but time is limited (I can only justify avoiding grading for so long). One of my favorite elements of the show is their use of the tinnitus sound effect. Yeah, they bring up the ringing sound when there's an explosion or something, but they also bring it up when Archer goes through some emotional trauma of some sort. It's clever, particularly in how it subtly makes explicit the connection between the violence of his job and his emotional barriers.

So how does this relate to me? Well, I was just taking a second away from grading, and I had a minor tinnitus flare-up...only this time, instead of the mono-pitch whine, it sounded like an old school dial-up modem.

What this means, though, I really have no clue.

Monday, November 21, 2016

news of my importance

I just got a wrong number phone call from Mexico. You know what this means? I am now an international mistake!

nutbar mornings

My daughter just came into the kitchen while I was making coffee. She opened up the fridge, peered in for a split second, slammed the door, ran into the living room, and immediately started running around in circles, screaming, "we have too many juice boxes!" over and over, for an honest full minute. She then went back to playing as if nothing happened.

Me? I finished making my coffee... although by that point, I really didn't need it anymore.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

unexpected science

Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that, while playing with my daughter, we will suddenly veer into hard science. Earlier today, we were playing with Octonauts. The girl Octonauts were doing ballet. When their ballet instructor (a toy from another playset) had to leave, she summoned a black hole to travel back home.

This puzzles me. On the bright side, though, I now have a good answer if she ever asks where babies come from.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

realities and politics

When I was in grad school, we read a certain amount of postmodern theory. I found it fascinating, particularly in its explanation of how representation starts altering how people perceive and process reality. In our age, saturated by media, representation tends to stack up. This obscures reality to the point where the representation starts to be seen as more real than reality.

It's an interesting theory. While it's nothing that anyone would hold up as an ideal, it does explain an awful lot of how image, reality, and opinion converge. But, as one reads more and more of it,  one starts to feel about it the same way one would that style of art which consists of large color squares on canvas. The thought is that someone is playing a con on someone...but who's playing whom is a matter of opinion.

I've been out of the scholarship game for a while, though, and postmodernism isn't really the kind of thing one reads for giggles. But lately, it's been washing back into my consciousness. I blame politics.

My country has taken some weird turns over the last week. Quite often, those changes seem to be relatively contrary to reality. People voted against their own interests. But they also voted for a businessman because they thought he would be less money-hungry than a politician. This has, for a while, made very little sense to me.

I think that the postmodernism is starting to help make sense, though. But it's not, I'm beginning to suspect, because people are too tied to the media representations of reality as postmodernism would argue. Reality, as a concept, is not really all that definite of a concept anymore for a lot of people. And in the absence of reality, people don't settle on a mediated reality. It's not like there's only one of them. It's a verifiable buffet of competing realities, a potpourri dish of reality options.

If there's no real anymore, then why not chose the alternative that helps you sleep better at night? No matter what the consequences?

The fault with this logic is also the fault with postmodernism. There actually is a Real in there. Even in the absence of narratives, there is a right, and there is a wrong. There is help, and there is harm. Stories are just stories, no matter how seductive they might be. And there is a way back to sanity

I just hope the path is easier to grasp than postmodernism.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

my daughter, while hair is being brushed

"I want to keep my bangs for a long, long time, because they're part of my style that I like."

Heart melt.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

evil technology and robotic flies

I used to love my office computer. Then, when I was on my fatherhood leave, they replaced it with an all-in-one. From minute one, it sucked. I have never been able to get through a day without my browser crashing or my computer freezing. I hate this machine with a passion usually reserved for steamed rutabaga.

As of a few weeks ago, though, it got worse. It started to make weird electronic disco sounds. If a computer could clear its throat of excess mucus, that's what it would sound like. Actually (and it took me a while to name this), it really sounds like an attack sound from Yar's Revenge...and as cool as that is in theory, I don't think it bodes well for the machine.

I put in a message to our IT guys. Their recommendation? Turn down the volume. Thanks, guys, but I don't think that will do it.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


Due to horrific job-related situations beyond my control, I have been much busier than normal. I have (for reasons I won't go into here) had to redo every single thing about every one of my classes. This means that, in addition to grading, my time spent planning lessons, assembling powerpoints, and the like has gone through the roof. I don't seemingly have time to get much of anything done. This taxes me.

Moreover, it's become clear after years of life and therapy that I have to have a come-down period. I have to interact with people...or worst-case scenario, with stories. If I don't do this, then I can't stop thinking...which leads me to getting less and less sleep...which eggs on my depression...which makes me grumpier...which causes me to think black thoughts...which leads to even less sleep...and so on, and so forth.

The problem as of late is that my increasing business and my need for decompression don't exactly play well together. I'm doing everything I can, but come the end of most days, I inevitably have to force stop myself from dwelling on all that's undone. It's become clear to me that I'm living in a self-perpetuating existence. I'm not 100% fond of it, but there it is. All one can do is fight through it.

When I do get the time to decompress before bed, I don't have the energy to really challenge myself in any way. As a result, I've been rewatching a lot of stuff. For about a month off-and-on, I've found myself watching West Wing. I'm now on my second or third re-do. I like it because quite often I can just lose myself in the beauty of the dialog...and that's nice.

I'm currently on season four. This is when (for all those who don't watch the show) the president is running for reelection. His opponent is a vehement and proud anti-intellectual, so the president's advisors worry that their boss will come off arrogant by comparison. Quite often, I find myself similarly thinking about how everybody usually feels about the smartest kid in the classroom. And trust me...it's not good.

Not that I claim such a position for myself, mind you. Doctoral school quickly disabused me of any notions of my own intelligence. But I'm unnerved by the amount of people who think that thinking about things in general is a bad thing. I made the mistake of looking at some internet comments a while ago, and I even saw someone implying that thinking was unpatriotic.

What does this say about our world? That's another reason why I need to decompress.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

late night shenanigans

My daughter came into the living room well after her bedtime.

"Daddy, I can't sleep."

"Did you try?"

"Yes! I tried really hard, I promise."

"Did you try being still, being quiet, and closing your eyes?"

"I did...but I could only hold it for a blink."

Yup. That's my girl.

songs still to come

Music update!

While not as publicly as I would like, things are still progressing in TheMikeDuBose music land.

The album: I only have one more bass track to record. Then I have to mix and master, and then the next TheMikeDuBose album will be out. I'm shooting for the end of the year, and details will be forthcoming. Really, I hoped to have it done over a year ago, but things have, for a multitude of reasons, gone slowly. More news forthcoming as soon as I get the album finished.

The next album: it will go much more quickly. Basic work is already underway.

My current recording project:  my X-mas single. I only have a little more recording to do, then mixing. It will be "X-mas in the Drunk Tank" and "I Don't Wanna Be Depressed (This X-mas)." The tracks will go up on Bandcamp, but I will also have some physical cds. I will package the cds with a custom TheMikeDuBose tree ornaments. These will go on sale after Thanksgiving is over...because of course, it's a crime to celebrate Christmas when there are still other holidays to go.

I will be much more active booking shows once I finish the album. In the meantime, you can catch me with my cover band The Unmedicated. We're playing Blondies BG this Friday.

try to remember she's only five

Yesterday, while I was at home with my daughter, we somehow got into a craft-centric mode. I showed her how to make paper snowflakes, paper dolls, and such. She enjoyed it, yes, but the notable moment was when she held up one of our creations and asked me, "is this symmetrical?"

Once again, that girl astounds me.

both sides

On one hand, Facebook this morning told me to wish a friend a happy birthday. I would've done so, but said friend had someone I know introduce him to heroin, and said friend shortly thereafter died via an overdose. Then, after reading this, I get my daughter up and discover that she's transmogrified into a coughing machine.

On the other hand, it's a staggeringly beautiful day. All of a sudden, we have the random "you can wear shorts and sandals in November" weather. I'm at work, but I have very little to do...and since no one had signed up for conferences, I get to leave early and go home to my wife and daughter.

Sometimes life is like this.