Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oil Beast

                Piping hot, jet-black oil was spewing out of the plastic vein. The plastic vein of the hydraulic arm, lifeblood of a mammoth yellow beast. A beast pushed to the edge and over, straining it’s cast iron limbs to the bursting point.  With a shuttering groan of pressure released, the bucket of the tractor settled a few inches closer towards earth.
                It’s workmen and operators stood around, lazily fanning their faces against the heat or cocking a hip and leaning against the low brick wall. Each of their dirty expressions was calm, with almost humorous indifference. But none looked away as the dark liquid stained more and more of the light brown dust. Their unexpected break was uneasy and unsure.
                55 tons of weight rendered useless and lame by the strain of lifting the load of bricks. 250 thousand dollar invested in this great tool, which had so eagerly conquered the earth it rolled over as it tore up grass, sod, scrub brush and reeds. Loyally it hauled the supplies to build whatever it’s foremen imagined and designed.
                Now, with a heaving lurch, it’s arms gave way completely. No resistance slowed them as they thudded to the ground. A puff of dust and a dull thump was their final say. Now silent the tractor stood, and the men sat silent too, watching the black oil spread.

Cameron Miller releases new album (via Sergio Wolfberry production)

Attn: For immediate release-

I have the immense honour of presenting my newest production, an album by Cameron Miller called Greetings From Hastings. Hours wiled away with my latest day-trading ventures have seldom left the time for a musical project of my own (though the inspiration, I assure you; still limitless, and still there).
Never do I lack the time to help an auld acquaintance finish a project though, even when he is removed by many miles. Mr. Miller's album is a series of guitar vignettes, showcasing tasteful playing, and a stoic songcraft. A tribute to a new town, Hastings Nebraska, and a throwback to the grand home of Santa Cruz.
I encourage any reader to have a listen. It isn't a truly full, flourishing Wolfberry work by any case, but the work I put in as producer, mixdown engineer, project manager, and overall tonal director/grand inspirator may well be enough to keep the appetite whetted.
Until next time,
-Sergie R. Wolfberries

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hastings Bastings

He breathed deep. Deep, warm, humid air, rich with the musk of a thousand heads (of cattle). Life giving, life changing, money on hooves, change jangling on their belled collars. A town where cattle outnumbered cowboys four to one: Hastings, NE. A sleepy cul de sac of Americana, as forgettable as a kernel on a cab. A fortune ready for the making.
And all it needed was this man, lets call him Jeb Whidycker. A man who saw potential in the mundane. You saw a diamond in the ruff, he took the ruff and turned it into a line of fine ruff-based menswares. Unorthodox businessman, the kind who they say will never make it. The kind of man who does anyways, then spends his retirement years pontificating on how men much like himself will never make it.
The first 3 herds had come quick. Everyone wants to move to Lincoln. The men who talk about land in terms of "My father, my father's father" all seem to secretly want work that will put a bit less sweat on the brow. A little less strain on the back. They'd have plenty of time to regret uprooting their family to become a man-page-boy at 45 years old. Already, his sweet herd was all Jed's.
But McGregorson was a pain in the ass. McGregorson prided himself on being a pain in the ass. Farmer swearing up and down that his crops grew better because of his measly group of heifers grazing the soil between plantings. Unequably false, Jeb knew this. Agribusiness 101 students knew this. McGregorson did too, he was playing it for the sheer hell of the jab, leering gaptooth smile on his fache from years of brushing with corn syrup.
The simplest businessmen think money will get them anything. Throw enough of out and any man has his price. Or he might think incentivizing is his golden tool, irresistable to all. Jeb was not simple, unless it was in his benefit to be. There was no rule that McGregorson had to say yes.
No rules at all in business, save those written by the victor. Jeb knew there was no rules, nothing to stop him from pulling his high polished 54 caliber deasert eagle from under the remnants of him Jimmy John lunch and *click*ing the safety off. Nothing save good taste stopping him from pointing that deagle at the temple of Mcgregorson's nearest sow and giving a look that spoke volumes. Volumes of dramatic ultimatums that many an unlucky farmer had heard leveled at him. By the banks. By his help. By his wife. And now by this stranger from out east.
Another heard, another dozen cattle loading slowly into the offwhite trailer. Oh, the things a man can do when holds a cattleopoly. Every last one of the lumering Bessies, Bo's and Peggy Sues, milk cows by the hundred.  Methane odor hit his nose, and Jeb turned away and smiled. There are fortunes to be made everywhere (even here) he thought, you just have to know where to look.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Farewell my Friend-Os

I don't mind drinking cheap beer. When funds get tough for your business and your paycheck is what they choose to squeeze, I don't mind downgrading to Fostums from Murphles's. What's really important to me is to keep the quality of the food I cook with my girlfriend up. I'll swill PBM in a nonironic fashion to keep from buying the miracle genome-spliced mushrooms Slaveway stocks. It's easy for me to sacrifice a bit for the ones I care about, I'm trying to make it second nature. Feels better than splurging on my own indulgences, then trying to cover the ugly things that does to your karma.
    But really, tonight I am not writing simply about the amazing evening I will soon be having with the girl of my dreams. No, tonight I am thinking back to (not so) faraway times. Way back when I didn't just have a wildstreak, something I now keep under wraps to show off only on ceremonial occasions. No, back when this streak had me, wrapped around my cerebral cortex like some boredom crazed Anaconda weened on miracle-mushrooms. I had a leather jacket and terrible mutton chops, and I hit the streets with two of my closest mates. In truth, we were all upstanding gentlemen, or at least did our best impressions (except for Nay-Go, who blurred the line closer to authenticity than any of us was ready to admit at the time). Point is, on this night we were prowling the streets of our pointless, directionless home town in a pointless, directionless manner, actually looking for trouble. Not the kind that ends with you missing your wallet, shoes, and mutton chops in the heart of the Nip at four am on a horrid tuesday morning. No, we were looking for the kind of conflict that could be easily solved be our endless wit and charm, by the bevy of beer we were ready to drink, and above all, the sheer strength of our camaraderie.
    We all shared a long, loping history that had led us to this night by very much the same means. So much so that our own personal takes on the circumstances showed off not our own unique quirks so much as a mutual trust (not to mention twisted humour) that could not be denied. Even if we wanted to. Lucky that we didn't. K-Billions had a cool, deep rooted understanding of right and wrong and common sense that kept everything from going completely off the cliff, while at the same time could be goaded to legendary feats of rash madness that still get retold. Nay-Go was as pure a conduit of emotion as I have ever seen, so deeply involved with his heart and soul that his uncompromising genuiness was his greatest asset, and usual downfall. And me, I tried to park myself somewhere in between, tilling my artistic impulsiveness while holding up, more often than not, the brain-numbing mask of a "well-adjusted" young man.
    Three Planets of various hues, ranging from dark, to light, to all the shades in between; rotating in orbit of the life we all lived in this valley. Never colliding, somehow destined to be the three parts of a whole soul. And as we roamed every dark sidestreet and old haunt in search of the seedy goals we were doomed never to find, we felt complete. We sang songs made up on the spot, gulped Powers whiskey from a silver flask, told tales that grew bolder and more authentic as the night wore on. In truth, the most we found that night in the way of adventure was a couple of close friends who welcomed us in freely, but were ultimately overwhelmed by the singular trip we were cruising on.
    Those midnight strolls from a to b were where the true memories were made. And godamnit, this cheap beer foams up too easily, overflows all over my precious handmade deck. But I guess you get what you pay for. So I write this on my porch, in the January "cold" of this California nowhere town that these memories played out in. And in this present, our orbits have drifted apart. I face life here without my two comrades, these two who so bravely accompanied me into a night not unlike tonight in search of not a destination, but a solid adventure along the way to wherever we ended up.
    And I do not fear facing this future. I know I share it with a woman who is everything I could ask for and more. Enough like me to understand my common shortcomings, but unique and wonderful enough to keep me enamored to infinity. A true keeper, and a partner in a brave new future. Together. I do not despair.
    When that feeling hits me to dive into the night with nothing but two of your best friends, the finest liquor, and no direction beyond where your like minds will take you, I can't help myself. I miss them both, off on their own strange and wonderful orbits elsewhere. I cannot, and will not, cry into my two-dollar beer in self pity. Nor drift into the pointless pursuits of nostalgia. I know that what I have gained from these two is not as simple as memories and reminiscence. It is the future we are all three building now. The future I understand that much more clearly know that I have had the privilege to know them both. And the nights we will someday face together again.
    I only wish I had a better beer to raise.
    -Wolfberry Out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In The Moment-Spitting in the Face of the Mossman/This Line Goes One Way

    A stopsign is nothing but a red blur reading "ZzzzzzstopaNG" when you blow through it at 55 mph. I jump from 4th to 5th with a thunderous kick. The gear usually reserved for lazy coasting on a doublewide freeway is now putting my 83 Dachshund ZX-Zee through it's murderous, mind numbing paces down a backroad on the edge of our county.
    The moon peeks through the trees every now and again, gazing through it's fingers at this lost-soul bound full speed ahead with no game plan except to let those six cylinders open up wide. Let the roar of the injection and barely-muffled exhaust drown out any thoughts. It's all about clutching those shifts right, keeping your velocity above 65, juicing into those turns perfectly to punch on through them. Scanning with the hi-beams, checking the rearview for a shire-reif looking to drag you on his terms.
    My face is a mask of remarkable calm. I puff my pipe, scan oncoming headlights for the shape of cv beams. Scope the road ahead for any curve dangerous enough to leave my Zee wrapped around a Eucalyptus tree. Beyond that, nothing. I let my thoughts and feelings float out the window with the smoke into the wind.
    Sliding behind the wheel of your ride, pointing yourself south and deciding-Ok, I've got half a tank left, that gives me 220-odd miles of range, let's get going. That's simple. Mindless. A bit of brazen, high-stakes driving leaves no room for you to remember the hours before. It's dangerous, at this speed, to lose concentration like that. Start thinking about that evening. The look in her eyes. The tone of her voice. The truth written plainly there. The depth and expanse of your mistake setting in with a feeling like a punch to the soft guts. The flash bulb illuminating the basic fact: you aren't as innocent as you thought. An accidental cut bleeds just the same. You can hurt the one you care about most, the one thing you said you would not do.
    The crumbling of that one promise threatens to do you in. The foundation shift, the walls have buckled, and to understand truly the compromise you made to yourself would bring the whole thing down into the void. Swimming in black, lacking the basic anchor of integrity even to yourself.
    No, jam the throttle down, push it harder. The road opens up. 70. 80. Push it to 85. You're close to speed that offers transcendence. The wheels lift from the road, the wind makes you deaf with shrill whistling. Scenery blows by so quick that it loses all detail. A new world. No sound, only a blur to the eyes. Everything rooted to the wheel in your hands, a slight tap of your foot and 1.2 seconds of reaction time.
    My turn blows by in a flash on the right. Shit. It's half a mile behind in seconds. The cardinal rule at speeds this fast is never, ever, double back on your trail. It's the easiest favour you can do to any foes you've picked up in the last twenty miles, and it hasn't fooled anyone who has seen the blues brothers at least once. No choice though, further on is just more strawberry fields and moonlit marshland.
    I come up to a crossroads and kick down in preparation for the ol' four point turn. Suddenly-lights. Lights blinding me from the right. 3 sets, shooting onto, into, right over my low slung Zee. It's a goddamned semi, a big one. Far too large to be out here on a coincidence at 11 on a Thursday night. It's got to be one of the dozens of roadhawks hired by the Mossland chamber of commerce to hunt down any yahoo due south from the City of Surf.
    To hell with the idea of surrendering. Not with a 2.8 liter, six in line under my foot. I won't be surrendering to a speeding ticket from someone who picks his teeth with swamp reeds. Swinging around hard with every shock lurching, I top out third and tear up the road behind me. The mercenary never has a chance. His headlights are disappearing into the darkness behind like the eyes of a sad panda into the mist.

    Time to make my exit, and you could not ask for a better road than this one for it. Desolate on both sides, only brown earth and the humble homes of farm workers lining it. Not another soul to be seen, and I am a ghost with lights low and throttle silenced. I come upon a ranger station with a harsh florescent doing all it can to project authority onto a sign demanding I pay a park fee or stay the hell away. It is impotent without a brownshirt or steel gate to enforce.
    As my eyes adjust to the darkness, the expanse below me opens up. I am parked atop a bluff, about half a mile below me is the beach. I am elevated, but my height cannot stand for a moment against the power I view below me. Waves roll in, I watch their crest and peak, and follow the break as it travels up the coast. Their goliath rumblings humble the purr of the Zee's motor instantly. In the pale light of the moon the shiloettes of the trees play tricks on my eyes.
    Part of me is saying I need to stay frosty, keep an ear cocked for a ranger or the neighbors approach. A greater part is feeling the weight of everything I ran from catch up to me.
    Back in town is a girl who took the chance on me, who saw more in me than I could, and drew it out to bloom. It is easy, effortless to be someone I am proud of whenever I am around her. With everyday I feel more of what she is doing to me, I realize more what a gift she is. And everyday I ask myself... how did I get lucky enough, worthy enough to deserve this? When did that happen? I could wonder forever, but what I know is someone like this, a person so rare and wonderful, someone like this deserves the best you can give. Never, ever does she deserve to be hurt by you.
    I light up my pipe again, and sit here in the dark with the knowledge that I hurt my lady. It twists in my guts, screws my brian into an ugly tangle of regrets mixing with the desperation to make it right. But my Zee is not a time machine, nothing can undo my mistake. The realization of this rolls over me in a panic. How easy to fix, if you could just go back and just think, think for a minute! How much pain you could avoid, for her and yourself. The future, yes: plot as quick a course as possible to it, without a fear or doubt in the world. But what I wouldn't do to undo this ugly bit of past.
    Words are swirling in my brain like angry Bolivian wasps, so loud in their condemnation I can hear their wings in my ears. The crescendo comes in a wave of helpless understanding. You can't go back, only forward. The line goes one way.
    Then, they're gone. Just like that. But there is not silence. Something is as loud as those buggers. Louder, even. But it is not buzzing, or the drone of a semi truck approaching. It is the rhythm of the waves. Crashing one after another, endless and unnotticing. Unaware of their limitless power, and just as unaware of me cursing my inability. The edge of the horrizon touches the sky and stars, one infinity meeting another. Power incomprehensable. Expanses limitless. Out there in the depths of the ocean currents shape and change the world in ways I could never hope to. Up in the sky, where spaces and possibilities limitless leave enough room for anything to be done or redone.
    I am looking right at all the power and ability I would pray to have now. To undo the wrongs I have inflicted upon someone I would do anything to show just an once of my true feelings for. Undo the ugly mistakes that mask my true intentions. As they have always been, these powers are out of my hands. I stare out at that horrizon, and I try to hope, but I understand. The line goes one way, and it is what lies ahead on it that matters. I have hurt my dearest, but I have been blessed by her. The fact that she ever gave you that chance, doesn't that make you want to live up to it? Now how can you show her what your soul really is? You will never have all that you can see here, those mystic powers you ponder so feebly. So use what you do have. And deep down in that doubting soul, you know that you have enough. Enough true feeling that no matter how you scuff or smudge it as you try to give it, it will shine through.

      Back on 1, taking it easy in the slow land at 65. I have me some work to do back home, that is for sure. No rush though. I have never felt more ready for it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In The Moment-Santa Barbara

    It all comes down to this, my fate in another's hand. I have never been big into deities, but here we are-the day after christmas: a son with The Father at the wheel, his brother in the passenger seat, asleep with my Pendleton flannel on his face like Ali Baba's assassin sibling.
    I am all for multi hour road trips, preferably those heading onwards to some bizarre destination, where a meriad of uncouth locals might plunge us into an adventure that even someone like me is not insightful enough to foresee. But here we are, on a straight shot right back to where we came from-Santa Cruz. And I am nowhere near the pilot's seat. I'm sitting right behind it, and the only control I have over this journey is exercised when my thumb pounds the shuffle button on my pocket stereo, looking for the right tune that will remedy the general bad vibes this trip has imparted on me from it's first mile.
    It is sweet, no doubt, watching my family bond over what can only be called road rage of the ages. My brother, awake, now eerily resembles my father as he challenges, goads on these other half-stoned post holiday travelers burning rubber home. All of us so eager just to be back where we belong. My brother, my father, they guard this mersaddles' place on the road; staked in the fast lane at a steady 85 mph. Anyone who tails us too close, or blows by on the right is going to be cursed down in a flurry of mad laughter and slurs, then avenged in kind. We blow by a red toyodel not so mini van, heckling and screaming "Do you need my glasses? Do you think they'd help you drive? Hey. Hey!"
    This is where I come from, my family is all around. This hyper awareness of your past severely affects your future. A brother is a version, a 2.0 of you, and when he lines up better with what your father is thinking, some anxiety is natural. It gives you a sense of just how far out you are. Maybe you really are a unique commodity in this family, is that a release? No, now the pressure is on you. Redefine the last name following your first. And here you are, sunglasses and pocket stereo, in a mersaddle that has the family stamp of approval, unlike your funky non-starter Dachshund. Yes, it is a stressful position to be in. But in the same time, where else would you belong? You are the cutting edge of your name, you have alot to live up to, but only you truly understand how important, or what exactly, that is.
    This realization is important, but not much is available to you in this surprisingly roomy backseat to realize this new vision. Keep on shuffling, trying to figure what that great new move will be. But shit, there is no wifi cruising through Ventura, and I love my brother and father, but my thought-process is quite removed from theirs at this point. No doubt, it is fun to taunt these clueless roadhawks in cars so big they will never know their own corners, packed with children and gifts and possessions that will never come close to answering that big auld why. But everything we throw out just seems to turn back in, and the picture it paints leaves me ugly, the half-finished afterthought. Just pencil sketches and errant strokes. Unfinished family portrait.
    It all beomes quite difficult, coming to terms with all this. Heckling with equal parts introversion? What a tough drink to take. I ponder. They taunt. We round the sheer cliff of a fire-scarred mountain and slip unnoticed into Santa Barbara, as surprised by our sudden entrance as the town is to find these Santa Cruz roadhawks blazing on at a cool 97 mph.
    Rounding the corner, my existential meanderings on my place in this family jerk to a halt as quick as the Mercedes hitting holiday traffic. We grind to a crawl, the windows go down, and my father and brother quickly begin cursing this new delay on our trip.
    I, however, am finding it harder and harder to worry about traffic or my familial obligations. Or anything at all, for that matter. As the cedes prowls along, the Pacific blue is unfolding on my right. Through my window the deep scent of this salty colossus comes, stirring my nose. It awakens something in me, it's putting me in my place. Waves pound the shores as we roll past. Set upon set of waves in constant bombardment of these perilous acres of land we so carelessly drive over. On such an ernest, hurried run. I can run, I can strive. Thrive. Survive. Or falter. Die. And the waves keep rolling on, in endless assault.
    It's getting harder and harder to be worried about what I'm not or what I could be when the realization hits: nothing I build could ever withstand this eternal assault. I lack even an iota of the time needed to mount a defense against such force. A more egotistical man could be driven raving mad by this realization, confined to the back room of a treatment facility, flailing in tears and lamentation every time an orderly turns on the tap. Stop! Silence the sound of that infernal water!
    I gain only empowerment from it. Knowing exactly what I am, the not-so-grand ceiling of the upside and potential of my being makes me giddy with possibility. Anything I can dream is as full and complete as anything anyone else could want or expect of me. Zero divided by zero means sweet fuck all, over and over again.
    The traffic is clearing, and this silver mersaddles, insulated against gunfire, prying eyes or any threat imaginable, is back up to it's prime speed. I am no longer the enigma in the back seat, eyes glazed over with brooding. No, my head is out of the window, drinking in the breath of the pacific. The wind is hitting me at a merciless speed, trying to steal my hat, my glasses, my breath. My smile is so wide my teeth are drying in a cast. My comrades look back occasionally, laughing and shaking their heads at this enigma of a blood relation. Life makes sense. Life is what it should be.
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------    Limitless potential. Limitless potential is hitting me at 110 mph of wind resistance, square in the face. And nary a bug in the teeth to knock me off my cloud-car. But this ethos is always hard to maintain when you start to recognize familiar territory. The ocean is something else. I have visited the same beaches dozens (hundreds?) of times and never seen the same tides, waves and sets. The ocean will always be changing, never the same. An infinite realization of limitless potential.
    But around the time I hit Salinas, I am going to hit the wall. The wall that has written all over it: I am not all that I could be, but the reality of what I am. I have driven this road, passed that fruit stand, beaten this path before. And I am headed back to the life that lead me to today. I am not the sea. I am a line that has been drawn, with the current point heading back to where it started, my home town.
    Ain't nothing like your home town to bring you down, a wise man (Steve Earle, ahem) once said. And it does tend to bring me down when I return from a class-A adventure to the same city. Same house. Same dreary job, or lack there-of. Same well worn streets.
    Where is it? Any second, any mile now, it should hit. Those home town blues, even harder to take without an instrument or stiff drink. Castroville. Here we go. Moss Landing. Any minute now. Watsonville. Hmm, still I float on carelessly. Right about now I should be not so delicately soaring down from dream world into real world, with a sickening thud as my head hits the bottom.
    Yet here I am. This giddy smile has not left my face. Not even quivered. The OCMS on my pocket radio still sounds just right. I am still just as happy in my skin. But why? Happiness? Totally irrational!
    It's about the time we hit the big curve that whips 1 onto 17 that the memories float back. That night at the Del Mar. A midday drive up to Davenport, the muffin-massacre. Bookshopping in Santa Cruz. Any number of sunny strolls as the waves broke, and I was too distracted by someone else to notice my old friend Blue.
    Jesus-Allah man! Could it really be? Could this be it? Your first time coming back into town, knowing that this person you have waited four days to see, that she is just as excited to see you as you are to see her? That it's that simple? Are you that lucky?
    Too many questions to answer, or to ask for that manner. The only thing that matters is that you'll see her later tonight, one of the first as you step through that door home. Maybe you don't have to be infinite, or ever-changing. Maybe you just have to be who you are, and Jesus man, maybe that truly is good enough for her?
    Too many questions to answer indeed, but this windsweep hair and bug stained smile speak volumes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumkin Coconut Soup (!!!@!#!#!!!!!)

Turning the corner to winter, I see so many glorious people around me struck down by the indignity of illness. My god, a soup is in order. Not just any plain old warmed over gut-filler, a brew that will nourish the body and warm the spirit. I came up with this:

As opposed to the last squash soup I made, I really dig both the texture and subtle pumkin flavor of this one. I did cheat and use canned pumkin though, in addition to my secret weapon; a certain special, way-fantastic type of imported coconut milk (not telling bout that). You can see the variant of Sriracha sauce I tried on a whim today. It's sweeter than the one most of us are used to, and works great with the milk. The trick here was adding a good amount of fish sauce. Mixing that with the coconut milk and hot sauce seems to be the one-two-three flavor punch that makes Thai food so damn good.
So c'mon sickies, come and be SAVED!
More to say? Oh my friends, you would not believe. That's for later though.