Going Postal

The signs filled my inbox of life all week, spritzed here and there peppering what was otherwise a lovely and eventful Spring Break week remaining at home to clear, cleanse, and create. I socialized with different friends sharing our fidgets and widgets while enjoying various gaieties like swimming, chatting, sangria-drinking, reading, binge-watching someone’s new favorite show…

The first drip began as a gush of information about the Russian connection with the Whitehouse as myriad journalists tried to make sense of the farce governing our country. Then a blip on my radar about Thucydides and a U.S. – China warning of potential conflict titled “Destined for war? China, America and the Thucydides Trap” in the March 30, 2017 Financial Times by Gideon Rachman.  It took me a minute to remember the analogy as I read the title and decided to click on it. “The phrase, a reference to the ancient Greek historian’s observations about the war between Sparta and Athens in the fifth century BC…”  A couple of days later, I was sorting some papers when I found little piece of black paper I had written on with gold ink back in November, the first weekend after the election. I had pulled out my Political Map of World History to make note of the times when a major conflict came about somewhere in the world. It seems that about every 300 years, a major regime change occurs on at least one continent and it includes a bloody war. The piece of paper I found had the words:  “431 – 404  Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens” inscribed upon it.

Hmmm. Interesting that out of all of the historical notes I wrote, this is the one I found.

Another more personal drip came about from a strange dream that included my ex-wife who seemed as though she were still in love with me in the vision of her. I felt the “being taken care of” vibe in my sleep as we walked through a forest together. I’ve been quite pleased with my solo life for these past several years as the alone time allows me all I need to write and do as I please in my daily routine. As I hear the familiar phrase “let me check with my partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife first” when planning events, I smile while thanking the stars that I don’t have that particular albatross to impede my decision-making. But the morning I awoke from that dream, I felt a yearning that I lost long ago. I wondered what my life would be like right now if we had made it to year 18 together. After a few hours to allow myself to soak in the melancholy, I popped back into happy solo me and went about my day. A couple of days later, I decided to bask in the sun out back in the yard behind the apartment building I live in. I took down a book and a glass of iced tea to place on the one piece of furniture I have outside — a colorful,  small, round outdoor table. When I stepped out back, I couldn’t find it at first. Then, I noticed the top of the table leaning against the back wall of the patio. I found the base being used to prop up a large potted plant of my neighbor’s in the garden. They must have thought I don’t use it much. It was one of the cherished wedding presents that I had decided to keep from a group of my friends. We split up our gifts according to whose friends/family gave to us. There it was, separated. One part propping up new life, growing in the sun; the colorful circular top cast aside against a wall.

Continuing in the personal realm, I took out my favorite fountain pen and some thick paper to write a letter to my nephew who has been in jail since November 2014. He killed a man. He has yet to go to trial. I keep up with him through writing frequent letters and filling his commissary account every couple of months. He writes me regularly. He’s a good writer. I’m impressed with his grammar, syntax, punctuation, and creative commentary about life behind bars. I have sent him a few books on screenwriting to help him pass the time. I try to inspire him to write about the characters he meets who come and go, and some who stay, like him, with liberty and justice evading them. It’s called pre-trial detention and it can go on for years.

Since I couldn’t sit in the back yard with my tea on my table, I decided to walk to the post office to drop the letter to my nephew while absorbing some Vitamin D from the sun along the way. I had just dropped the letter into the box when a phone call from my brother buzzed in my back pocket…


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. Outside Affiliations: - 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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