Monthly Archives: April 2013

You and I

Here’s a song I wrote a couple years ago, or so. I still consider it a new song because only a few people have heard it yet.
I included the lyrics in a piece of flash fiction I wrote a couple months ago of the same name. You can find that post here…https://jcmarckx.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/you-and-i/
Anyway, I hope you like it. There are plenty of videos up on my YouTube page, so please feel free to browse around.
As always, all comments are welcome.

Thanks for listening!

http://youtu.be/ZcUmbOGZBkU

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The Raven

The Internet is defunct! Jesus, he was a handsome man.
Yes, I am still without proper Internet for my home computer, so I cannot post my usual stuff for a while yet.
I can bring you another song of mine, however, and tonight I bring you one of my most recent creations: “The Raven.”
I am proud to say that I am the only person ever to come up with that original title. Don’t bother–I checked.
Anyway, it’s another super Lo-Fi video taken off my iPhone, but it sounds decent enough.
I have posted several new songs on my YouTube page, so please feel free to peruse them all.
As always, all comments are welcome.
Thanks for listening!!

Joel

http://youtu.be/QRXUMCxB9i8

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Rusty Nail

Well, I kinda fell off the face of the Earth there for a bit. Hard times have fallen upon the Marckx household and I could not pay the Internet bill. Now all I have is my 3G with limited data, so I won’t be blogging much, but I’ll post something from time to time.
It’s been kinda liberating, actually. Instead of stressing over what I would post each day, I actually read a book (Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver), and made a bunch if progress on my own novel.
But today I bring you something a little different. Here is a video I made of myself playing one of my own songs. Recorded on my iPhone and uploaded to YouTube, this is my first attempt at such a thing. I hope you like it. If it doesn’t totally suck, I’ll do more in the future.
So, here goes. Thanks for stopping by. And candid and honest comments are most welcome, please!

Joel Marckx – Rusty Nail

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Wednesday Morning Earworm – “Optimistic”, by Radiohead

In keeping with the A to Z Challenge this month, today’s earworm is “Optimistic” by Radiohead.  Again, I did not want to change my regular Wednesday theme of posting the song that pops into my head the moment that I woke up, but I put a little forethought into this earworm for the sake of the challenge.

After 1997s OK Computer, I never would have believed that Radiohead could have topped themselves.  However, they did.  2000s Kid A, and 2001s Amnesiac (which I still consider 1 album that got split in two), broke new ground both musically and sonically.  I could write a lengthy post about it, but it has already been done several thousands of times.  Let’s just enjoy the song.

“Optimistic” is one of the few guitar-driven songs from Kid A, and has a jungle rhythm and a haunting melody that borders on discordance.  The lyrics are cynical (my favorite) and sort of explain that however hard you try in the world, the world will continue to evolve without you anyway, so guess what: it’s all kind of pointless.

       The big fish eat the little ones, the big fish eat the little ones

       Not my problem, give me some.

Oh, and hey!  remember when dinosaurs were the biggest, baddest creatures in the world?  Well, where are they now?  The same place that humans will be in a million years or so.

        If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough

       If you try the best you can, dinosaurs roaming the Earth

Love it!

Anyway, here you go.  Happy Wednesday!

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I Don’t Always…

In keeping with today’s earlier post.

psychedelics

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No Change Thing

This is one of my oldest lyrics.  In fact, it is the oldest one that I am willing to share with anyone anymore.  I have older ones; I have been writing songs since I was six years old, but most of those are too…I’m not sure what the word is for them.  Maybe “embarrassing”, or “naïve”, or “underdeveloped.”

Besides, I threw away most of my really old lyrics.  Twice, actually.

Seriously!

Seriously!

I started writing songs and poetry when I was six, as I just mentioned, and by the time I was a teenager, I decided that I would rather die than to let my friends see those old lyrics.  And so, in a panic that I cannot explain to this day, I tossed them all away.  Such a shame, really, considering that there was no reason to believe that any of my friends would ever find a binder of lyrics hidden at the bottom of one of my dresser drawers, and then read them, then share them with the entire school, then laugh at me, and then mock me as I literally died.

The second time was more tragic.  I have talked before about my love/hate relationship with my Muse.  I write and write and write, and for what?  No one ever hears my songs, so why do I keep writing?  My Muse pushes me, that is why.  And some days I love her for it, and some days I hate her.

About 7 or 8 years ago, I resigned myself to the sad fact that I would never play music in front of people again, and therefore, songwriting was a stupid waste of time.  To seal the deal, I threw away an old briefcase filled with lyrics dating back to about 1983, and everything else up to 2005.  That includes various drafts, notes, and completed lyrics that I never used.

All thrown away.

Seriously!!!

Seriously!!!

There is nothing that I can do about it now, but I sure regret those impetuous moments.  I wish that I could have them back.

I have continued to write songs, and I have even gone to perform at a couple open mics.

I’m telling you; love/hate.

I should have that tattooed on my knuckles.  Or my forehead.

That's so me.

That’s so me.

Anyway, a few older lyrics survived—even some that I do not like very much—but this is the oldest that I still like.

I, of course, have grown quite a bit as a writer since this song was written, but I am still proud of the playful lyric that I managed to construct.  I hope the imagery strikes something in you as you read it.  I’ll let your imaginations try to figure out the meaning.

The music is pretty cool too, but I’ll have to wait until I have a useful computer before I can share that with you.

Anyway, all the way from 1988, here is “No Change Thing.”

No Change Thing

By: Joel C. Marckx

1988/01/06

We did pretty good with the tools we had

Trying to have fun, but it’s going bad

Everybody smiled when I was feeling sad…but it’s okay

‘Coz I really didn’t change a thing

You cannot go to Hell and walk out smiling

Just prove to yourself that you weren’t lying

You may not get to talk because you think that you’re dying…but it’s okay

‘Coz it wouldn’t even change a thing

       Everybody’s just cheering me on

       Like for some game show prize

       But there’s lights flashing on the coroner’s car

       And spirits spinning from the sky

       And it didn’t really change a thing

When I could walk, I could hardly speak

When I could talk, I couldn’t stay on my feet

Friends just ignored me to try to keep their peace…but it’s okay

‘Coz I could never change a thing

And when I finally came back from the ends of the Earth

I really didn’t think that I should say a word

So, I tried to pass it off as my greatest work…and it’s okay

How could I have changed a thing

       It must have happened a thousand times

       It was a first time for me

       I didn’t know if I could live with it

       And I’ll never feel so safe

       But it will never, ever change a thing

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Masters of Arts Degrees

I have two unfinished Masters Degrees.  The first, in International Relations (IR) with a specialization in US Foreign Policy, is incomplete because of not writing my Thesis after completing my coursework back in 2009. The second, an MA in Teaching, is incomplete due to simply running out of money.  I have a lot of education, but no paperwork to make it worth a crap.

The IR degree was a bad idea from the start.  I got my BA in History back in 2005, and the whole time I was working on that BA, I was waffling between getting a straight BA, with the intention of getting a PhD, or to go the pre-teaching credential route, so that I could teach high school History.  Eventually, my ego won out, and I planned to get a PhD so that I could become one of the great academics in American History.

What a dumbass!

Where it all went wrong was when I decided to switch over to the Political Science department so that I could focus my studies in US Foreign Policy.  I wanted to remain a Historian in name, but I wanted the Poly Sci credentials to give me a better understanding of how US Foreign Policy works.

What I did not know at the time was that Politcal Science is a fucking science!  History focuses on the narrative, and science deals with hard data.  It was like starting a new semester in classes all spoken in Russian—I had no idea what the hell anyone was talking about.

So, my head spun around constantly for the first two semesters until I finally got the hang of it all.  I had no Poly Sci background, and so when I had to do quantitative studies, I did not know what that meant.  They were using Algebraic expressions to explain their theories.  Fucking. Algebra.

I kept telling them that I knew how to use my words, but they insisted that I learned this useless way of explaining things.

I really did get the hang of things, even if I violently resisted using quantitative reasoning.  I insisted that my Thesis would be 100% qualitative, no matter how hard they pushed me otherwise.  Dammit!  I was a Historian.  I had scruples.  I also wanted my readers to know what the hell I was saying.

I do believe that is the entire purpose of quantitative data in Poly Sci; to confuse people into not wanting to question your logic.

In addition, the Government/Poly Sci department at my University was shifting its focus away from academic work toward practical field work—the business side of IR–so my entire body of work was getting more and more useless.

I did try to whore myself out to other Universities, but here is the rub; Universities in Northern California, at least in my neighborhood, do not care about political history anymore.  In the UC system, at least back in 2006, History departments were focusing more on Social, Public, and Cultural Histories.  I talked to a PhD candidate at UC Davis who was writing about the various grasses across the United States and how they influenced the trails of the settlers across the prairies.

Who the fuck cares?

Clearly, graduate level History programs in my back yard were not meant for my studies.  I am bound to the Sacramento area in California because of joint custody of my son.  It is not as if I could just take off to Cornell or Yale, where their History programs would have suited me better.

But that is not why my MA is incomplete.

I finished the coursework for the IR program and prepared to write my Thesis.  I was interested in International Relations theory—specifically, Constructivism—and I wanted to contribute to the nascent body of literature in Constructivist Theory in IR.  In keeping with my historical focus in IR, my Thesis topic was to be something about a Constructivist Theory of Justice, particularly in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  “What does Justice look like when both sides of a conflict are sure they are just?”  Sounds good, right?

Well, my Thesis Chairperson did not like it very much, and he continually blocked every prospectus submission.  He kept saying things like, “You have no stated Thesis”, or “Your Theory makes no sense”, or “Your prospectus is not formatted correctly.”

Excuse me?  I got A’s in all of your classes throughout the program, and suddenly I cannot write a simple prospectus?  I got A’s in your theory classes, and suddenly I have no grasp on Constructivism?

Personally, I think that my topic was too hot for him to want to touch.  Nothing starts a war (literally and figuratively) like discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I eventually begged him to give me anything that I could work with.  Just give me a friggin’ topic, and I’ll write the damned Thesis he wants.  But, we just couldn’t work anything out together.

I was disappointed, but I eventually came to realize that what I really wanted to do was teach high school History.  I would have liked a PhD, but I never really wanted to be an academic.  I should have gotten the teaching credential.

And that is what I did. I essentially told my Chairperson that he could have yet another non-graduate from his department to add to his stats chart.  I needed to move on!

Therefore, I went and got my Single Subject Teaching Credential…at a different school.

Part of this credential included a MA in Teaching, but I had spent so much money and student loans wrangling with the other school, that I ran out of funding before I could finish my MA.  I got the credential last September, but the MA will have to wait…for a miracle.

Getting my credential in September meant that I missed out on the hiring year, and so I work only as a sub right now.  Hopefully next year things will be different.  I certainly have been making connection whilst subbing, but the hiring process does not look encouraging right now.

And that is why I share a one-bedroom apartment with my son and sleep on the couch.

Stay in school kids.

And stay focused!

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