543> Whorl, e + fractalian flicker noise (SC/Bay Area, Q2 1989)

25 AUG 2017 | DC> ...continuing our 80s archiving, 1989 was the year of cassettes. We had 3 releases dated 1989, tho The Ethereal Aether (posted in the previous entry) was probably recorded in 1988. We quickly followed that with Whorl (why "whorl" will get to when we talk about our math fhesis, what we were supposed to be doing... this music-making was a form of procrastination). We got even more melodic + mellow, hardly using drums. We had been going through a pretty deep depression for the few years leading up to this + this was our way to work thru it. That + we were amidst a prolonged breakup process w/ S, our girlfriend of 5+ yrs.

+ again, w/in the cassette we included the lyrics (click to view larger so you can actually read it):


Here are the tracks from Side A (+ again, back then we stuck the (c) on the tape out of expected habit, but any1 is free to do whatever u want w/ these tunes (if some1 w/ better pipes wants to redo them, knock yourself out)):

1. Silent Movies

2. Ice Age

3. Skin

4. Eyelids

5. Kiss of Your Eye

6. Mirrored Moon

7. Waking Up With You

8. After

9. 2000 Miles

(+ again, in retrospect as self-editor, we omitted a few tracks).

Side B (click to view larger):

1. Silence In Between

2. Young and Hadn't Been Told

3. Shadow to the Wind

4. Branching On

5. Six Year Snow

6. Colon

7. Storm

8. City Flowers

9. Morning Stars

10. Never Too Late [omitted cuz the file is corrupted]

Our written "journals" from these times consist mostly of lyrics + math problems, w/ occasional dream entries. Here's the cover of one of them:

page from above notebook

Note the chewed edges... we mentioned before how our x use to horde animals... well, when she graduated from high school + went to college she couldn't bring all her animals, so i adopted this little parrot named Nestor that lived w/ me in the camper. He was a friendly little guy that i let fly around as long as the door was shut. He took an interest in whatever i was doing, if i was eating he would hop onto the edge of my bowl + eat too. And if i was writing he got jealous + started chewing on my pen, or methodically chewing all the edges of my notebooks or any piece of paper that i left out he would shrew to pieces. I also had a mouse that lived in my camper. I caught her once in one of those havahart traps + let her go like a mile off in the woods, but the next day she was back in my camper. I caught her again + put her in my neighbor's camper, but the next day, she again was back in my camper so i let her stay. She would stash food all over the place... i would go to pour cereal + out would come rice. Or she would chew up my socks to make a nest in my drawers. It got to the point where she would sit out in the open without even running away like she was a pet.

[UPDATE 09/2020: we found some journal pages from March—April of 1990 that we have since transcribed in post #784]

We had other journals we'd start + keep for a few weeks + then forget about them, or filled them with math stuff. We had one whole notebook dedicated to "facts about e (the exponential)":

We do have a draft of a paper we wrote in the spring of 1989, for a Fractal Geometry class we were taking. We wrote it on fractal music + "flicker noise" + even wrote a program that made fractal music to go w/ it (code in the appendix for anyone that wants to try it). The reason some pages are gray is because our computer lab would sometimes use this yellow paper that photocopies didn't pick up (sort of like using a bluescreen in film... anyone remember that yellow paper?). But our scanner now picks it up, even in gray scale.

We did start a journal that we kept off an on thru that summer. For the rest of this post we'll transcribe some of that journal here, starting w/ a scan of the first page:

[... how to get these numbers...] into binary code. Out of a computer, 0s & 1s. Electrical digital signal converted to analog voltage. Send it thru a coil. Changing currents induces magnetic field, drives magnetic coil attached to cone pulsing a pressure wave in the air... causes a "sound" wave that hits eardrum, hammer transmits to anvil, then the stirrup which vibrates millions of little hairs that convert this back to an electrical signal corresponding to that frequency, w/ amplitude, transmitted thru auditory nerves, across synapses firing in succession, to yield what we hear as sound... and then to make "music" of it?

May 19 [1989]
I was walking a lot. I stopped at Rebirtha's [our old landlady] and walked into her house and ate two bowls of cereal. I was afraid she would hear me wash the bowl, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave any evidence that i'd been there. I stole an egg and snuck out. It was cracked but I kept it from spilling out. Someone stole a car and another guy ran out to chase him. A cop came the wrong way and smashed into a telephone pole. I witnessed it all, but didn’t want to be a witness. I kept walking, looking down at the ground. I felt suspect as I walked through nice neighborhoods, like I was the guy the police were after. I accidentally wandered down this guys driveway that looked like a street. I was still carrying the cracked egg. A guy that looked like Bob Hope pulled up in an El Dorado. He locked up the car behind a fence. He was wearing white gloves and seemed like a celebrity. It was his girlfriends house. He didn’t treat me like a vagrant (like i feared) but he did tell me to leave. I felt a need to get rid of the egg. I wandered into a friends house. Right as I was about to throw the egg away, he emptied the garbage and took the bag out, so if i put the egg in the garbage can then it would've made a big mess. So i threw it down the drain. Somebody was washing dishes and got mad at me.

Now i wake for the 2nd time, 9:00 friday, who's the asshole that called at 7:00 then hung up?  [S] said she would call me today at 7, but i'm sure she meant 7 at night. Was i dreaming? The telephone just rang again as i'm writing this, someone asking to speak to John Sumner. Oh well... it's a sunny day, i'm gonna clean up this wreck of a camper. Wash the sheets, air it out. I feel slightly pressured and apprehensive about this endeavor. 3 weeks to go til summer, don't want to let the sun get too high. I just took a shit. If i was a good writer i'd be able to describe a shit so well it would be more interesting than a travel log around the world. A feeling shared by all. Your day doesn't begin until you take one. Why do people say "take" a shit? It should be leave a shit. "Take a shit" doesn't describe the feeling (have i been subliminally seeing news headlines about emperor Takeshita from Japan?) That's why people drink coffee, to enhance that leave-a-dump behind one-wiper feeling of relief. I'll have some coffee now to entice brown bear out. Wish i could give some to Wally [my camper] to self-purge without me having to lift a finger.

May 20, Dream:
Dad and [our x-stepmom] came over to S’s house. Very vivid. He didn’t give me a hug or even say hello. I tried to talk to him but he was very nervous, reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Kevin was there and had a Playboy magazine. We just sat across a table and i sat directly across from Dad. Somebody asked him a question and he answered, cant remember what he said but felt very vivid.

Anyways, i'm back ---> May 20, Sunday, 1:30 A.M. Oh, dream 2: Eddie Brickell wrote "what i am" about getting into a UC School, but then she only got into UC Davis so she quit her band.

I forget my other dreams this week because I didn't wake up here. S came over friday night. Actually, i drove up to cloud nine [summit of highway 17] at 10:30 PM and [T, her gay friend] handed her off, sort of late night swap. We tried to find Chinese food but everything was closed. Ended up at Saturn Cafe with all the trendy people. Then went back to my camper and slept on the roof looking at the moon [i used to sleep on the roof of my camper by crawling out the skylight]. Sat morning we went to the Capitola flea market. Nada. Then downtown... i hate shopping. Got a Big City Orchestra cassette [damn, forgot all about them] Bag of Tricks, interesting packaging. Then to Natural Bridges, very windy, blew sand in our face. Then to the boardwalk... testosterone filled the air. That and Kresge hippies on acid. Went to play basketball and happened upon Spring Fling, whatever it's called, tons of people at the soccer fields. S ran into more people than i know in all of UCSC. Ecotour were very good, some other bands i forget the names of. Got cold. Had Thai food at Bangkok West. Then saw the moon over the ocean and went back to Palo Alto.

I think that Sunday morning blah feeling might be related to ivory soap [that S used]. Makes my skin allergic. Stalled for time, cleaned S's fish tank, almost got electrocuted and flooded her room in the process. Ate at Hobbees, got S a stereo, played B-ball at Mtn View high. Anything to avoid homework. Oh yah, [J] called and now i'm uncle Derek! Let's see, that means ...

... i just fell asleep, now it's 9 hours later. What was i saying, uncle Derek! I was thinking about the genetics of the situation... a sibling is ½ of me, so a baby of sibling is ½ x ½ = ¼ of me. I don't remember my dreams last night. I'm sending Kevin a bunch of art mail and my tape so he can make a cover [i think i was referring to the above cover for "Whorl," which he made]. And J is coming over in an hour to look at houses in Santa Cruz. These are all details of what's happening, the reality is i'm lazy and avoiding doing anything.

When he looked at his own tires, they seemed to roll to a stop as they went across the broken white line. He knew to look up at the truck he was passing, though in a haphazard way. The slow, wide truck made them feel light and fast. The loud noise of the truck also made him aware of the efficient drone of his own car.
     "When do you think we'll get there," she asked.
     "Depends on where we stop," he answered.

1:45 A.M. May 24
I finished the above into a short story, "Trip Through the Zoo." [Vaguely remember seeing this somewhere in our stuff, but can't find it now, sure it's awful anyway] Also printed up all my lyrics... in other words, not doing what i'm supposed to be doing. "Supposed to" says whom? Got a tape from "Nick".. weird science fiction fuzzy folk dirges. Strange lyrics... "behold" this, behold that. He said he liked my tape a lot. Then went on about how he worked night shift at a public library, but quit after a day. Anyways, back to this story. Geo and Olana are on a sight-seeing trip, end up at a zoo, but find out they're the ones being observed. It goes deeper into the symbolism of the windshield and also a poster of the zoo that got them to go there in the first place. Geo always imagines a place before he gets there. For a second he imagines his hometown and it was foreign to him. The cows, apes, dogs, fish, the zoo. Finally, the realization of things with time, things not being what they seem until reality "sets in" and ages it. I'm sure nobody will like it, but whatever. I feel slightly insane. I forget the word for when you naively imagine things to be better than they are. Denial?

Went to my physics thesis meeting. Am i what they call a burnout? What could i do my thesis on anyway. I've never been this disillusioned with school before. I'd feel better if i had some sort of acknowledgment that i was "good" at something else. I could die today and be a nobody. Just ideas... too lazy and flaky to carry them out. Or i lose interest with details. If i made music and people liked it, i would be happy doing it. But who am i fooling. Off to read Jonathon Swift.

May 30
Been a while. Doesn't feel like i have much to say, but i'll write anyway. I should get a Macintosh, then i could type this. Type everything. So, Memorial day weekend... friday went to record my tape at S's. It was giving me a headache so i recorded over it. Went downtown and saw Indiana Jones. Then met S at her site [on the baylands, some ecology project]. Had to stay up til 3 AM to take soil tests, O2, CO2, etc. To bide the time we sat around bowling alley parking lots, AM/PMs, gas stations... a man tried to pee on S at one of them. Millions of prom people converged at another. When we got to the site, a limo of cokeheads pulled up, seemed very sketchy.... they wanted to know what we were doing. Bigger question is what were they doing out on the baylands at 3 AM? Burying a body?

Saturday went to Berkeley, S got mad because i was hungry and irritated and i hate shopping for clothes and all that shit. So we split ways and i went to all the record stores, then got a frisbee and we met back up played in a UC park. Then met J + a pregnant [Ñ]. Ate Australian pies, S finally got to try her vegemite. Talked about names for their baby, Maya seems to be the front-runner, if it's a girl.

Sunday got up and hung around Berkeley cuz we thought we might go see SRL [Survival Research Laboratories] but ended up falling asleep in the park and then attempted to study in the library. Then drove back to S's house with food and they all attacked us cuz they were hungry and had nothing in the cupboards. Then walked down the back trail [...+ more boring stuff about eating and shopping... ] Then S wanted  to go to the beach.... she never wants to be alone, maybe she's afraid of herself. People should go to places like the beach sometimes by themselves. She got all mad at me for saying this. Not such a great weekend because of such annoying bickerings. Makes me want to be alone more than ever [we had broken up by this point, we were only hanging out "as friends"]. I came back and finished my tape and worked on my project a bit. Wow, it's tuesday. I'm restless to get up so i wont write anymore even though all i wrote was facts, not what i thought of anything.

Mon June 5
This may turn into a monday journal... except mondays i feel a need to get up and do my damn project. 11 days to go. Chinga. I'll just write a paper + skip the program. I'm sore and restless, i'll hang from the bridge. Friday got conned into going to Bronski Beat. T's idea, S & i met him & J there. It was awful. A man in white nylon bulging tights and tennis shoes comes out with a sub-moronic finger-pecking keyboard player and a chubby woman wearing only a bra and a skirt, revealing folds of flesh that jiggled along with her missile tits as she tried to psyche up the crowd with aerobic exercise. No one actually played instruments, all prerecorded. Their voices were so high that they were out of human listening range. It was like a Richard Simmons video. And the guy told awful gay jokes, trying very hard to play the part of the queen. Nevertheless we stuck around and danced after... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Saturday we went to Moss beach, looked around in tidepools and had clam chowder. Sunday went to "De Anza day". Walked around identifying plants at the ESA area. S was part of the organizing committee so we got to meet Chris Isaak while they went over logistics. Seems like a complete dick. Then we ate shitty BBQ food. Then saw Chris Isaak from back stage but the sound was terrible and all these slutty wanna-be groupies were dancing in front of us. We ate Chinese food after, we all took separate cars and for about an hour drove around trying to find eachother cuz no one was where they were supposed to be [ahh, the days before cell phones!]. Last night reduced copies to make a lyric sheet... i don't have the patience to write. Buenas noches.

[postscript: some of these tracks have since been compiled + rereleased on the unheard tapes.]

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