Thursday, August 25, 2011

Banjo. Star Wars. Together.

In which I attempt to perform the Star Wars theme on my banjo.

Banjo Star Wars from Neil Shurley on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rocket Ships are Exciting

            “Rocket ships are exciting,” writes Leonard Nimoy, “but so are flowers on a birthday.”
            Turns out Spock is a poet.
            After thumbing through the whole book, Warmed By Love, looking for something, anything, the Rocket Ships poem remains the only one that sticks.
            “Logic will never replace love.”
            Yeah, right.
            The lights go out in the bookstore. The lady behind the counter nods at me as she opens the door to watch me pass, my hands shoved deep into my pockets.

            That night, my dream centers on a video conference call, a sort of skype-looking interface that involves closed-circuit TV cameras. Darren stares at me from the center rectangle, two additional shapes around him, each one containing the smiling visage of a gorgeous woman.
            The green camera light atop my monitor blinks on, but my face never appears on screen. The conversation erupts into laughter.
            Darren just smirks, his eyes somehow boring into mine.

             “Why won’t you ever answer?” My shout is just a bit too loud.
            “You okay?”
            The waitress, a chubby but attractive blonde, has appeared beside me.
            “Yeah,” I lie, flipping closed my battered phone. “Fine.”
            She smiles. She’s got really great teeth. “You want another beer?”
            I grab my nearly empty mug and drain it, effectively concealing my inability to smile back at her.  
“Sure,” I say, looking straight into her hazel eyes. “Thanks.”
            She heads off to the bar. My fingers tap on the phone. Tap. Tap. Flip open the lid. Press redial.
            Leave me a message!”
            The waitress returns, smiling, slides a full mug in front of me.
            “Thanks,” I say, then drop the phone into the mug, watching as bubbles erupt around it.

            The lights are off at Darren’s house. 
            A streetlight illuminates Janet’s car, a VW beetle, parked in Darren’s driveway. In her dashboard vase sits a green plastic daisy, a curling Spiderman Valentine sticker still clinging to one leaf. It resembles little more than a dusty bug in the darkness. But I don’t need to read it to know what it says.
            “Be my AMAZING Valentine!”
            I let the rock drop to the ground, step away from her car. Walk toward Darren’s house. Shake the spray can.
Shake it.
Shake it.
Begin painting letters, as large as my arms will reach. Push past bushes. Avoid trampling flowers. Only the words.
Back on the street, pausing before getting back into my car, I smile at the glowing orange letters now emblazoned across Darren’s front wall.
“Live long and prosper.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wild Thing

My first attempt to play Wild Thing on the banjo.

By the way, I do not own a left-handed banjo. This video was done in Photo Booth and it didn't get "flipped" so it's a mirror image. Which, I suppose, makes this the evil me. Except without the requisite goatee.