Monday, February 27, 2006

Today at the Museum, my co-worker Jeri found this picture in a scrapbook from 1979, when I lived in Dunn Center. That's me in the cowboy hat. My own bike must've been broken.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I received emails in the last two days from two musician friends I've toured with on separate occasions in the last two years: Ivan Okay and Jack Norton. These dudes are true blue indie song soldiers. Both commented on (return to) . . . the blackhole (of outerspace), the new rap CD created by me (lyrics) and Timezone La Fontaine (beats):

From JN:
first of all, "blackhole" is the best thing you've done, by far, the production is really, really good. and the raps all flow well. its a concept album but not over the top or annoying at all. it just stands up as being really, really good. "gateway" is brilliant - one of those, "wish i thought of that idea" type of songs that drive songwriters crazy. it's hilarious! if you had the proper contacts i think this album could do really well. the video possibilities to most of the songs are endless. "pony" is such a natural that you should kill whoever wrote it and claim it as yer own.

From IOK:
I need to tell you how much I've been enjoying "Return to the Black Hole of Outer Space" these last couple days. It's really something special, and I'm so happy that you've created it. It's fun! I would pick "GALAHAD" as the first single. So unique and lots of energy and catchy. Your lyrics throughout the CD are your best yet (in my opinion). The production is great, and amazingly, it's just as I imagined it would be: really colorful, soulfully textured, kinda strange and a little psychadelic. I just wanna say, "AWESOME JOB!". Your star continues to steadily rise...
For anybody interested in hearing this hot-off-the-press Sandman *CD, send $12 to:

C. Sand
PO Box 7
Dunn Center, ND 58626

*PARENTAL ADVISORY WARNING: Raunchy lyrical content on a few songs.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Random memories of Grandpa Nick Herak:

All my grandparents are still alive except my mom's dad, who died when I was 16. Today would have been Grandpa H.'s 94th birthday. He was a wheat farmer, then cattle rancher in western Montana. His brand was H Lazy H. I grew up four miles from his and Grandma Vi's farm, and thus got to be part of football Sundays, brandings, and regular Catholic church services. He was an avid sports fan, and he loved to gamble, too. He'd practice his golfing in a cow pasture, then pay me a nickel a piece to retrieve them. He was generous to a fault with me; maybe because I was his first grandkid. I'd always overdose on the candy that he'd fill my pockets with. He loved to look for four-leaf clovers in the back yard, and he usually found one. He flood irrigated his pastures--never used sprinklers as far as I knew--which meant he'd always have a shovel with him. Sometimes I'd join him while he irrigated. He was very religious and made rosaries in his spare time. He devoutly loved the Virgin Mary. I've never seen someone pray so passionately at church, head bowed, eyes tightly closed. He was a passionate Democrat, too, and he railed against "greedy Republican politicians" every chance he got. His skin was dark brown, especially on his lower arms. There are two reasons for this: a) he was Croation/Slovenian, and b) he was always working outside, usually with sleeves rolled up. Some said Grandpa was a good enough baseball player to have gone professional in his younger days. He and my grandma raised nine children: five boys, four girls. He smoked a lot of cigarettes until his mid-sixties, when he quit cold turkey after my mom asked him to please smoke outdoors when at our house. He was one of the nicest people I've ever known. He died of a rare cancer at age 75. Happy 94th birthday, Grandpa!

Monday, February 20, 2006

I'm going to take a break from journaling for a few days.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here is a nonfiction short story/romance mystery I just wrote. I call it Leggo My Ego:

Last week I asked a woman in a neighboring town out on a date (it was nerve-wracking). In so many words, she said 'no,' but didn't explain why. Today I learned she is married, which might explain it. Ego resolved.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It ain't easy bein' green . . .

p.s. I'm collecting gifts; I'll send them out to you all sometime next week.

Monday, February 13, 2006

May your wildest dreams . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~be realized.

Happy Valentine's Eve, m'love.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The answer to one of these questions is "uh . . . no":

Did the Seattle Seahawks really just go to the Super Bowl?

Did Peter Gabriel really just sing "Imagine" during the Olympics XL opening ceremonies?

Did Vice President Cheney really just accidentally tenderize a 78-yr-old man in the face and chest with a shotgun?

Did I really just make out with the hottest 31-year-old in North Dakota?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

If anybody wants me to send them something, put your address in the comment section. I can't guarantee what you'll get, or how soon I'll mail it, but the first 15 people to write their address will get something.

Maybe just a postcard. Maybe a live baby antelope.

No one knows for sure.
Today was a hard, wintery, lonely day. I dedicate today's journal entry to myself with these soothing sentiments by the Grandfather of American Poetry, Whitman:

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

[poem by walt whitman; it's the first few lines in "song of myself"]

[photo by eden batki, big sur, ca, 1.21.06.]

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A wicked wind hails from the stormy west.
Angels call, but none for to caress!
Perhaps 'tis now to cast a sportsman's line
And hook a bonny lass, and make her mine . . .

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Yesterday's journal entry was only a Norwegian joke disguised as a blog.

Ok, then . . .

Does anybody want to order some Valentine CDs or pillow cases? Good to Be Awake is full of love songs! So is (return to) . . . the blackhole (of outerspace) come to think of it.

Valentine's Day Special: $11.11 postage paid for Good to Be Awake. Thirteen songs about love. . . and sometimes loss. I'll include a Valentine's Day card.

Send to: C. Sand / PO Box 7 / Dunn Center, ND 58626, if interested.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A 3rd cousin of mine, Elva, from Grand Forks, ND, just made it into the finals for Miss Swimsuit USA. Here's the photo. See if you can guess which one she is? She's never been out of the state so she's really excited about this.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I just got invited, by the legendary Bill Lowman himself, to perform both nights at Medora's 20th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This is a great honor for me, and might catalyze me to write more cowboy poems this winter. The dates are May 27th and 28th. Minutes after I hung up the phone with Mr. Lowman, I got a call from a Mrs. Nelson in Dickinson who offered me $200 to play a community show there. In two weeks I have a gig in Killdeer with Beni Paulson's country band, Rough N Ready, and the next night I'll drive to Cross Ranch State Park for a WinterFest performance (see calendar for dates).

I've been wanting to play shows in western North Dakota. The only one I've done recently was for the Dunn County Farm Bureau's annual meeting last year.
Today was a day of leisure: shooting hoops, eating shrimp, playing poker, watching Super Bowl XL. Tomorrow begins a new year of work as curator of the Dunn County Historical Museum. Sleep beckons . . .

Before I forget, though: I've decided that I need a laptop computer. Does anyone have any buying tips? I want something that is fast but doesn't cost too much. Is the iMac or the PC better? Do you want to sell me yours perhaps?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

While I was on tour last month my great-aunt Mary Herak Zagst passed away at age 93. She was my late Grandpa Herak's sister, and one of the sweetest, prettiest, and kindest women I ever knew. Here's a photo:

She worked on flight simulators in WWII, and later became an elementary school teacher in rural Montana and then Arizona.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Excalibur is a fine automobile. The circle is complete. The snake has swallowed her tail.

I'm home.

In Alpine, Texas, at Railroad Blues, Excalibur got crucified. At midnight, after the show, Bill and I stepped out into the glow of a small nearby bonfire and saw this rustic wooden cross fastened firmly to the Blue Stallion's grill.

Pranksters or missionaries?, we wondered.

On the rear bumper was a Railroad Blues sticker. Both remain. The cross, like the cowboy, like the constitution, like the coathanger, is a symbol that means many different things to different people, so its intended meaning is often puzzling.

My brain might be too small to wrap around matters like these, but somehow I felt safer driving those long stretches of drunken highway with the cross in front. In the moonlight la cruz glowed like a skull. (Unfortunately it didn't ward off the Oregon werecop.) A gas station attendant in Yuma, AZ, saw the wooden thing and made this comment to Bill and me: "Always travel with God in front. Not behind. Vaya con Dios, amigos."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The last week has been about buying used pillow cases, shirts, belts, cowboy boots, and random trinkets. Rappin' cowpunchers cannot live on CD sales alone, I've found. I've mainly been buying dozens of pillowcases in thrift stores across the NW and Montana. While I'm at it I tend to see other doodads that I can't help purchasing. I bought a few cassette tapes: The Clash (Combat Rock); Stevie Nicks' Greatest Hits; U2 (War); Van Halen (1984); Gil Scott-Heron's Greatest Hits; The Rolling Stones (Some Girls); Led Zeppelin IV; etc. I love tapes for their low price and small size. I also bought a gun holster for a .22 pistol, a Zorro hat, and a stack of old postcards.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Grandma Herak again. She's been sifting through old pictures and newspaper clippings. She wants to compile a comprehensive scrapbook of Charlo history. She seemed slightly depressed, though, and was lamenting the loss of her muscle tone. She went so far as to say that she may not be around much longer--she doesn't want to be bedridden for years to come. I wish I could afford to get her a top-of-the-line physical therapist.

After eating supper with Grandma and her elderly posse, I met up with two old high school pals, Shane Andersen and Shane Shima. We watched Charlo play another varsity basketball game (Charlo lost this time). Then we went to Shane Andersen's ranch and drank clamato juice and beer and looked through old yearbooks. Shandersen is a crane operator now and has two kids. Shima runs Ronan Power Products and has three kids. It was a treat to see how good both these guys are doing in their lives. May we all grow old together.

After reminiscing w/ the Shanes, I drove 60 miles to Missoula and stayed at my Aunt Theresa and Uncle Dan's house. This morning Theresa filled Excalibur's tank up with green dinosaur wine, and off we trotted eastbound on the I-90.