It’s been too long…

Wow, time flies when you realize that your last post was 60 days ago!  Man, I gotta stop working.  {Head held between hands as if trying to figure out a way to pay the bills otherwise.}

So, I wrote a post-Thanksgiving note to my sister-in-law who is more family to me than the man she divorced over a decade ago, my brother.  It went something like this:

Hi, Sweetie!
And a happy one to you!  I didn’t have a second to call as I cooked my first Turkey and stuffing alone and had friends over to my new place so I was like a whirling Dervish all morning and afternoon. Thank Jesus for my friend Janice who took control of the turkey out of the oven and who made the gravy too.  I keep forgetting that I’m not a cook!  I collapsed at 8:30p in a post-tryptophan glazed haze of a long day doing something that I forget until the next Thanksgiving comes:  I hate to cook this crap and I’m stuck on Mom’s favorite holiday.  I swear to Buddha, I’m going OUT-OF-TOWN next year and skipping these shenanigans. NOT TO SAY that I didn’t have a great time and everyone brought something DELISH to add to the food extravaganza especially the aforementioned friend Janice who brought KILLER mashed pots.  YUM!  (crap, it’s 5:30a and I wanna go heat up some more to eat. I ate at 3:30p yesterday fer the Lord’s Sake!).  I had bought a Diestel organic Heidi Turkey to cook.  It’s quite something to buy these humanely-treated animals to eat.  She came in a box with a story about how well she was raised on land free to roam about and fed non-pesticide, No GMO foods and could just hop, skip, and gobble wherever she pleased.  It even came with a video of her roaming the land with her other Heidi mates…(OK, that last part I made up…haha!)
Phew! It’s 6:09a and I’m back.  I had to run off to the kitchen just now and heat up some corn bread to have with my coffee I just made.  One thing led to another – first the water to boil, then the cornbread warming in the micro real quick, then the first taste…Oh my god!  I swallowed the Sahara desert in one fell swoop!   What tasted awesome yesterday under a cloud of wine and gravy now needed a 1/2 stick of butter to enjoy.  Dammit!  I was going to start the diet today (not really, who am I kidding?) and now I have a 2-inch by 4-inch slice of cornbread inside me with 1/2 stick of melted butter making it’s way through my gutlet.  Woof.
Alas, I found my comic side again.  I haven’t been this funny in months.  Something changed today when I awoke at 4:45a. I was tired of feeling sorry for everyone and mostly my nephew and my brother.  I tire of feeling badly for people who do bad things and end up in bad places because of their bad choices in life.  I have made some small bad choices here and there, but NOTHING like this.  And I think that after talking to one of my cousins on the phone yesterday morning, these words she said struck me over and over all day and I was mumbling them before I went to bed even…
“You know, Dana, we have a pretty decent family and it’s a huge family with all of us cousins and our parents, uncles, aunts – pretty huge.  And though we have some weirdos and a few creeps, I used to say to myself:  ‘Well, at least none of us has ever killed anyone…’ and now that has happened.”
Then I started to realize that truly the lowest-common-denominator elements in the “huge family” are my closest blood relatives:  My eldest brother, Bob, is a lying, conniving cheat; my sweet, in-the-final-stages-of-MS, reformed, ex-junkie brother, Bill, lives completely off of the government yet votes for Tea Party candidates – go figure; Bill has one son who has never held a job in his life (he’s 34) and no one on the planet (including the government) knows he’s alive because he’s akin to an amoeba; and his other son is now in jail, a murderer.
I went to bed sad.  Even though I had a great day with friends and ate a killer meal, I couldn’t help but think about Chris and how he must feel after this many days in a cell and on a family holiday like Thanksgiving.  We know he’s never been a bad guy or an evil person. (Until now?)  I don’t think he’s ever thought about killing people, though I question where this road rage has come from in the past 8 years of his life since he wrecked his boss’ truck – when was that? about 8 years ago, right?  Anyway, I felt for him not having anything but a cold cell to be in.  I know he’s going to prison, Wendy, and even though I’m angry as hell that he has taken another human’s life and so sad for that man and  his family, I’m going to devote myself to writing to Chris in an effort to keep his spirits up somehow.  He’s going to have an awful time in prison since it’s filled with understandably angry African-Americans and men of color, many of whom have never seen the light of the  justice represented by the torch in Lady Liberty’s palm who stands at the entry to New York on Liberty Island.  And Chris shot an African-American. Now that we regularly see our own police forces brutally murdering unarmed black civilians claiming they “thought the other person had a gun” just as Chris is attempting to do to save himself in court, he’s going to take the heat from the anger that blacks feel.  And that will lead him, undoubtedly, to the white supremacist freakshow in prison who will bring him into their clique to protect him and alas he’ll grow to become even more f’ed up.   Poof – in one moment of one’s life, everything flips completely upside down and suddenly, you live  in hell.  I just keep shaking my head as I write this because I still can’t believe it.  It’s so hard for me to shake off the feeling of: what could I have done to change this? But, of course, I couldn’t have done anything as his aunt living another state over and shouldn’t feel badly about myself.  It’s just hard.  I’m sure you feel that guilt ping too.
So, anyway, when I woke up and started going through the motions of writing, I let go of the sadness and was funny for a minute or two at the start of composing this to you and I haven’t felt funny in a very long time.  What with work pounding down on me, Wen, the 100+ hours-a-week I devote to the college and all of the politics that we are wrapped up in…it’s really just not been fun for a very long time.
OK, more to come and I promise I’ll try to find my funny again.

About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I started teaching full-time in 2009 and am tenured. My career as an audio engineer spans 32-years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassette 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991 leaving a regular shift there in 2010 due to the teaching schedule. The club and its staff are like family. I owned and operated a live sound production company since 1989 (ending officially in 2017) called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST141). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. In addition to teaching, I am a writer. I have several blogs and have written many screenplays since 2007 producing a few of them into short films. In 2020, the craziest year and decade of any of our lives, I am starting a book project titled, "Abra, the Imaginarian." Outside Affiliations: - former Co-Director of SoundGirls - current member of Audio Engineering Society and on the SF Chapter Planning Committee - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - past Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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