Meat or Manna

Today’s contemplation…

“If only we had meat to eat! … But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” ~Numbers 11:4,6

Discontentment. Ingratitude. If we’re truly honest, we’ll admit we all have these in us to some degree. They can be elusive, invisible or incognito even. A bit hard to spot at times. I don’t know about you but I struggle against it just about everyday. Even when I try not to show it, I can be a grouch deep inside.

Sometimes, our choice between meat or manna can be a matter of life and death. It’s a tough battle. Choose wisely.

@2002 Chris Alma Jose

Someday

Heaven.

It seems distant, yet it’s near. It feels far away, yet it’s here.

It’s a promise. It’s my hope.

And hope does not disappoint.

It will come.

Windows Section Panaorama

Someday.


Change these colors of blue and grey
I can’t stand it anymore
The sun keeps rising on the wrong side of town
Don’t you walk out that door
I can’t breath, I can’t see
I call out your name
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
I will be home someday

Have you been there, my friend
Searching high and low
Imagine closely a painless world
How can you say no

Don’t you run, don’t you hide
Don’t turn your back away
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
Oh please come home someday

Let me take you to a land
With no castles in the sand
While there is still time
Won’t we do it today
Let me carry you away
From the scene of the crime

Take this rainbow away from the dark
Clear these clouds away
Let me smell your roses again
Send forth the light of day
I can’t breath, I can’t see
I call out your name
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
I will be home someday

©2000 Chris Alma Jose

Songs about Heaven, part 5 (Someday)

agua!There comes a time when all there is left to feel is sorrow.

Have you been there, my friend?

I mean, the kind that never ceases. Or so it seems. I know it may sound cliche but it’s true. It happens. And if it hasn’t yet, it’s just a matter of time, I’m afraid.

It’s quite ironic too, sometimes, that the discomfort can, in fact, make you feel numb. And lost, too. You forget who you are. The real you. And worse, the people you know and care about, you forget who they are, as well. Yet, there seems to be no way out. You have wandered away from where you belong and your eyes have failed to show you the way back.

Though, a glimmer of hope never fails to reveal itself, in due time. Yes… always in due time. Ready to offer some comfort like an oasis in the desert, it leaves a reminder that all will be well, one day. You may not know when this will be, but the gift of hope carries you through your journey in the hot desert sands of life. The cruel sun may pound on your restless soul like hammer on a nail, but you keep walking as you stare into the horizon. Every step, taking the pain. Accepting the pain. You keep pushing through. With your dream, in tow. A dream that someday… someday, you’ll be home.

Someday

Change these colors of blue and grey
I can’t stand it anymore
The sun keeps rising on the wrong side of town
Ooh, don’t you walk out that door
I can’t breath, I can’t, I can’t see
I call out your name
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
I will be home someday

Have you been there ooh my friend
Searching high and low
Imagine closely a painless world
How can you say no

Don’t you run, don’t you, don’t you hide
Don’t turn your back away
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
Oh please come home someday

Let me take you to a land
With no castles in the sand
While there is still time
Oh won’t we do it today
Let me carry you away
From the scene of the crime

Take this rainbow away from the dark
Clear these clouds away
Let me smell your roses again
Send forth the light of day, yeah
Cuz I can’t breath, I can’t… I can’t see
And I call out your name, yeah
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
I will be home
I will be home
Yes, I will be home
I will be home someday

©2000 Chris Alma Jose

There’s more than one way to skin a blog

… but it sure is tough to find the right way. Especially, when you have limited choices.

Well, that last skin didn’t work too well, did it? Thanks to my friend, Lissa, who pointed out that a dark template does not suit me. I am actaully flattered with that statement, as I usually see myself drawn to the daaahhk side (artistically speaking, that is) even when my personality does not reflect it, at all. What a paradox I am, sometimes! Sigh!

Okay, so let’s do this again. Since I’ve been trying (and trying is the keyword here) to live somewhat green for about a year now, I think it’s time to reflect some of that on my page. And it’s kinda fun that I get to switch headers too. Something I haven’t had a chance to do before. This one I have right now is a photo I took a couple of years ago at the Denver Zoo. I have so may photos that I took but hardly any fits on here. I should go out and shoot some more, eh?

And what now? Oh, that’s right! The title A Dark in the Light is now replaced by the more affirmative sounding A Brighter Touch of Haze. I just thought it’s time to move on from gloomy to hopeful. I am in no way completely detached from the ghost of the past but I am getting there, slowly but surely. I hope my friends get to know the real me from this point forward.

Actually, A Brighter Touch of Haze is an old song of mine. A song of hope with somewhat abstract lyrics. Here it is…

The server’s down temporarily, I think. If the song doesn’t play, try again in a few.

Meanwhile, on to writing a new song…

(Don’t) Wait For Me

This week’s SES prompt was a bit easier than the last one. Heck, I even got done writing and producing the song in under seven hours. That’s a first for me. Moreover, I like this one a little better than the first song, Standing in the Rain. I think I’m getting better at this. Well, I hope so.

Here’s my offering. By the way, I had to go the opposite direction as the phrase “Wait For Me” reminds me too much of the old Hall & Oates song. Love the tune but didn’t want mine to sound like it. Anyhow, without further ado…

Don’t Wait For Me

Don’t wait for me
Ain’t coming back to you now
Don’t wait to see
Where this may lead us somehow
I don’t believe it’s wrong
I’ve just been waiting so long
I hang my head low
As I try to find myself again, so

Don’t wait for me
I’ve given all I’ve got
It’s just not in me
To try to be the man I’m not
Can’t we be fair
Seems like we’re going nowhere
Go ahead and keep the door shut
And keep the good ol’ memories, but

Don’t wait for me
Please let me be on my own
Oh can’t you see
Right now I just need to be alone
Nothing else to say
Well then, I’ll be on my way
Nothing else to do
But just one last thing to remind you

Don’t wait for me…

© 2008 Chris Alma Jose

Funny Rich Man

I seem to not have a reason to post this at all. The SES prompt for this week was a wee bit tricky for me. Believe me, I tried. But since I’m writing a song and not a story or a poem, it has to be presented in a recorded performance format. I think I got distracted by The Donald’s mugshot and couldn’t get the image out of my head. You really could do other things with the “Funny Rich Man” theme… it could even be a sad story, I think. But I was stuck with having to come up with something of a comedic nature. Something I’m not very good at. And when you attempt to write lyrics with a funny tone, it gets even harder when you have to put melody on top of it and sing it in a convincing manner. I just don’t have the stomach to go on with it without feeling silly or stupid. I couldn’t get away with it like Weird Al can.

So, here’s my incomplete offering. Just words. It’s suppose to be sung in a campy, novelty, over-the-top, rap rhyming style. Whatever that means. I’m sorry, I really just couldn’t pull it off. So again, for what it’s worth, here’s my chicken scratch…

Funny Rich Man

I got money, lots of money
I got humor and a Maserati
The top comes down, it’s cool, you dig
But I keep it up ’cause wind blows my……. papers

Now I’m boss ’round here, thought you should know
You don’t ask question, I run the show
Stick with me and you’ll go places
Do as I say and you’ll get your wishes

‘Cause I’m a funny rich man
That’s what I am
I’m a funny rich man
Rich and funny

You say you feel tired, it’s all in your head
We got work to do, take a break when you’re dead
‘Cause if you wanna work for my company
Better know our Mission… “It’s all about me Me ME!”

Now it ain’t so bad as you might think
We’re all laid back here (and I go wink wink wink)
They all like me here, and I like them folks
But when I try to act smart they better laugh at my jokes

‘Cause I’m a funny rich man
That’s what I am
I’m a funny rich man
Rich and funny

That’s right… Uhhh!!! Now, take it to the bridge!

© 2008 Chris Alma Jose

Oh, by the way, I wanted the music and groove to sound a bit like 70’s funk. With a James Brown feel (btw, the band didn’t take it to the bridge, and they all got fired in the end). Unfortunately, it ended up sounding more like David Bowie, I think. So, I had to stop. Here’s a sample clip. Please, don’t laugh!

I ran… but the 80’s won’t leave me alone!

In respect for my good friend, Mike from the land of Tejas… I am now puttin’ on the Ritz, as well as my A Flock of Seagulls wig, in his honor, and rock back down to Electric Avenue, if you will. If only for a quick second.

This guy now a psychic on TVYes, yes, yes! As much as I now want to cover my head with a brown paper bag, I must admit that I, too, was a child of the dreaded 80’s and have shamelessly hopped in the Rubik’s Cube bandwagon on the way to the premiere of St. Elmo’s Fire. Though back then, my life was a bit more centered around music (Gee, what else is new?). When I’m not playing in a rock band, jamming on (cringes) Every Breath You Take, or worse, Rock You Like A Hurricane (takes knife and slits wrist), I’m spinning Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark records at a dance party thrown by Iceman and Maverick wannabes. And when I really, really, really had to sell (ok, pawn) my soul to the devil just to get some respect, I sang What A Fool Believes at the dingiest karaoke bars you’ll ever find. (Trivia.. I can do Michael McDonald better than Michael McDonald can do a Michael McDonald impersonation of Michael McDonald.)

So, there… I’ve come clean. I believe there is redemption through confession.

But for one last time, I am going back to the future to indulge my stuck-in-the-eighties friend by reliving some of my own memorable songs of the eighties. So, hop into my DeLorian as we cruise on down highway to the danger zone (somebody shoot me now).

Lords of the New Church Method to our Madness
The Dead Boys introduced me to punk music. Since then, I’ve been a big fan of Steve Bators and everything he did. And hearing this supegroup of sorts for the first time was kind of a happy moment for me. Their version of Madonna’s Like a Virgin was also a riot.

China Crisis You Did Cut Me
A lot of New Wave music kind of became what hair metal eventually ended up being… a fad. But there were a few that made me continue to listen. Aztec Camera, Tears For Fears, to name a couple… and these guys, of course. If Neil Peart of Rush thought China Crisis’ drummer was good, I just had to put the band on my favorite list. Besides, no wonder the musicianship is so good, Steely Dan had to interfere in the studio.

Slayer Raining Blood
As much as I enjoyed hair metal, it was all for entertainment. But when I wanted to be inspired by technicians, I listened to Slayer. If I could sing like Tom does, or play guitar as fast as Jeff, I wouldn’t be blogging right now ’cause, pardon me, I’d be away on a world tour.

XTC Respectable Street
I was slowly getting schooled on punk. Having been already soaked in 70’s rock, XTC’s Black Sea album spoke to me in an already familiar language as they seem to have the musicality of Led Zeppelin.

The Go Go’s Vacation
I’ve always been a fan of girl rock. Not only do they diversify the genre, I thought they also give what seems to be a masculine form of music such a kick in the freakin’ orchestra!

Thomas Dolby She Blinded Me With Science
I never thought how influential this song was on me until I saw him perform at a downtown warehouse club in San Francisco back in ’87. Simply brilliant.

Metallica The Thing That Should Not Be
In the 80’s, it was all about taking to extreme whatever was already there. In 1985, this was probably the heaviest song I’ve heard since Black Sabbath. You can’t just forget little moments like that.

The Stray Cats Rev It Up And Go
With all of the extreme changes in music that’s been happening, it was such a breath of fresh air to hear something that seemed to have come out of the fifties.

The Polecats Make a Circuit with Me
Another one of those New Wave-era rockabilly groups that had nice catchy tunes that I never forgot about.

The Specials A Message To You Rudy
My introduction to Ska. This song actually came out in ’79 but I was all over it during the early 80’s.

U2 I Will Follow
One of those songs I jammed with my brother in our living room. It stuck with me ever since.

Echo & the Bunnymen The Killing Moon
I like dark music with melody. That’s why I like Sabbath. And The Cure. And Echo.

Def Leppard Let it Go
These guys were fifteen and sixteen back then. On hearing High n’ Dry for the first time, I couldn’t believe little cubs could rock like lions.

REM Radio Free Europe
One of those songs they played on the radio every fifteen minutes until you’re like… Ok, ok, I like that song already. It’s great. No really, it is though.

The Police Oh My God
While everyone was humming King of Pain, I was humming this one. And everyone thought I had weird taste since they’ve never heard Casey Kasem play it once on his show.

New Order True Faith
I’m not much into dance music but New Order was one of those exceptions. Plus the video cracks me up to this day.

Umm… what else? Surely, there’s more. But, but… I don’t want my MTV no more.

So, there you go, Mike. Now, go watch Raising Arizona for the umpteenth time. I’ll forgive you. 🙂

Standing in the Rain

I’ve got two things going against me here.

First, I’m not a story writer. However, I’ve written a few songs in my day. Songwriting is much easier for me. You don’t have to go through extreme details to convey a vivid message. Couple stanzas and you’re done. Haven’t you heard the great Joey Ramone proverb… Second Verse, Same as the First…? How much more vivid can you be?

happy boy Second, it’s naturally difficult for me to focus on the negative (an artistic limitation, you might say). And Selma’s writing prompt for this week seems to have that depressing connotation. At least, that’s what you normally think when you hear the line… You left me standing in the rain… isn’t it? So then, the challenge is to approach it in a positive light. And I did.

Turns out, that was the easy part. You can say, there’s a third concern that may have cost me my “quiet boy” reputation in the neighborhood. You see, my tools required more than just pen and paper. It also commanded the stark presence of my loud instruments and not-so-confident voice to create the song. And when you live in a flat and all the people next door ever hear is oohs and aahs and thumping of the drums, there’s a chance they might pass you off as being a nutcase. Or, worse!

Anyhow, onto the song… I wish I still have my basement and can sing as loud as I can without fear of being intrusive. But alas, I have to resort to quieting my voice for the time being. This means I couldn’t be as emotive as I want to, lest I get glared at the next time I say hello to the Pleasantville residents.

Well, enough said… I say, hey ho, let’s go!

Standing In The Rain

Never thought I’d be alone
Never thought I’d make it on my own
In the pouring rain
And the years they passed me by
Seems the thunder of your voice have faded
In the pouring rain

Though you, you left me standing in the rain
You, you saw me through my bitter pain

When the clouds embrace the sky
And the lightning strikes inside my mind
I’ll make it through
And when I try to touch your face
Just to find some comfort and some safety
I know you’ll find me, guide me

Though you, you left me standing in the rain
You, you saw me through my bitter pain
You, you left me standing in the rain
You, you saw me strengthened by the pain

As the sun begins to shine
And the birds begin to sing their song
And the waves of the ocean calms
I run to you

© 2008 Chris Alma Jose

Mo Freddie

I’ve just been passing time listening to Queen tonight and watching some Queen-related videos when I happened on this funny little bit. If you’re a Queen fanatic like I am, and knows a bit about Freddie Mercury and the band members, you’ll appreciate this. Not to mention… die laughing, too. The Lemmy part nearly took all the air out of my lungs. And Steve Riks is insanely hilarious with his Freddie impersonation.

Enjoy, Queen fans.