Friday, February 2, 2018

Future Daughter

I stand there in the dark corridor not able to see fully with the few dim lights present, dotting a path further down. No doors on either side. Just blank walls. Suddenly a young woman approaches me out of the dark on the other end of the hallway. Her countenance is faint from where I stand – not able to discern any of her features just yet.  
               “Hey, how are you??” The young woman says as she finally gets close enough to me. Her features are familiar as if I knew her from somewhere. So strange that I remember her, but from where? It’s like the answer is at the tip of my tongue and I can’t spell it out.
               “Good, I suppose.” I scratch my head for a moment, “Do I know you?” I ask now more anxious than ever to solve this. She laughs, “Oh I think you know the answer to that question, c’mon, think harder.” At this point, her face appears more recognizable as that of my own. “You look like someone I know, but I can’t remember. What is your name?”
               “Are you?”
               “That’s right, I’m your daughter.”
So many questions flood in, where do I begin. She is so much older now. What is this?
               “Wait a minute, how old are you now? Where did all the time go? Where are we by the way? What are you doing with your life?” I find myself slowly growing sadder. Overwhelmed with moments of imagining the years of neglecting her, as a parent. And that maybe I botched or was the cause of any possible ‘mishaps’ of missed opportunities of crucial quality moments with her all because I might’ve been distracted of my daily busy life with driving my ambitions to nowhere.
               “Relax and breath deep for me,” She coaches me with a smile. “You don’t need to worry about me.” She finishes calmly as if a doctor were reassuring a worried patient. “I am almost 30 and am working on my doctorate and have already received several civic awards and recognitions in my field of study. I have traveled around the world helping so many.” After she speaks on her accomplishments, I start to tremble uncontrollably,
“But did I mess you up? I know that you were like my first pancake. I’m so sorry if I missed out on trying to help you as a child. I know that I brushed you off countless times with work or just life in general?” I kneel down in shame and start to breakdown feeling a thick layer of regret sink into me. And suddenly she lifts me up and goes in for a warm embrace and looks up to me,
“You did everything you could, it’s not fair to beat yourself up. I love you and I don’t want to feel this way anymore.”
I wake up finding myself in my bed. Aimlessly, I reach over for the clock which reads three in the morning. I quickly get out of bed and rush downstairs and stand outside six-year-old Natalie’s room marveling at her sleeping in her little bed in the stillness of the early morning. ‘What a dream’ I think to myself with great relief.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Mar-Queso Feature: Ice Choir

Hello Readers, Fellow Writers, Friends and Visitors!

Today, you are in for a real treat! I recently had the privilege of interviewing a very talented artist, Kurt Feldman and his current music project Ice Choir. Through a search on Soundcloud, I found his music by accident and it has been a blessed journey ever since. With being such a huge fan of his music, I am excited to share with you some insight into the creativity that went into developing the works that you can listen to below. Kurt has used various instruments and experimented heavily with sounds inspired from the earlier 8-bit days of video gaming. He previously helped formed the band The Depreciation Guild and occasionally has made music advertisement for various medias. Kurt currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

MQ: How did you get into making music? Did you have any projects prior to Ice Choir that you were involved in? What was your inspiration?

KF: I started taking guitar lessons when I was 8. From middle school onward, I played in a bunch of angsty-teenager-rock bands, nothing of note there. Also played in some bands after college and toured around for a few years. When I was on tour, I started writing some songs out of admiration for the music I was listening to at the time, basically as a creative exercise to keep my brain form turning into oatmeal. That's where I wrote the first Ice Choir album.

MQ: Who would be your muse? If any?

KF: "Muse" is overly romantic for what I do... I get inspired by music that exists already and then I create a more warped facsimile of it.

MQ: Where there any challenges that occured during production with either the Afar album or the Designs in Rhythm album? Any doubts? If so, how did you overcome them?

KF: The main thing that sucks about doing everything yourself is that it's impossible to remain objective about your decisions. There's never anyone to sense-check whether your mix is totally f****d or if something is missing from the arrangement, etc. Also, recording and compiling your own vocals is the worst because 'every take is terrible'. You learn to live with the ones that bum you out the least.

MQ: What inspired you for creating the songs Visions of Hell 1996, Afar, or I Want You Now and Always? (By the way, your collaboration with Caroline Polachek for Everything is Spoilt by Use is incredible). 

KF: Columbine, Whimsy, and Obsession (Respectively)

MQ: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that you do music scores for marketing and advertisement as well. What is that process like? How do you draw in music for a product?

KF: Yeah, I work for an audio branding company called Listen in Manhattan. Sometimes I make music for advertisements / web / TV / etc. but most of the time I make audio logos (sounds you associate with a brand) and design sounds for apps, etc. We have specific approaches for how we create sounds that are expressions of a brand but I'll spare you those details.

MQ: On the track Peacock in the Tall Grass, did you by chance find synthesizer keyboard sounds from the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) Pilotwings video game (the Rocket Belt score) to help create the score for that particular track?

KF: Yeah, I didn't get it from there, although I do love all the sounds and music from that game. On the first Ice Choir album, I was really trying to channel my own sad-boy version of 'wistful hanglider sesh'.

MQ: If there were any changes, how did the production for your second album Designs in Rhythm differ from your debut album?

KF: I had 3+ more years experience when I finished Designs in Rhythm, so by then I was using a lot of different tools and approaches to songwriting.

MQ: How did you even begin to create the works of Variant, Amorous in Your Absence, Unprepared, and Windsurf??

KF: I start with a vibe/feel/tempo from some pre-existing song that I want to reference or ripoff  and then I just start dicking around on the computer with different chord changes, dressing it up with a bunch of shiny trash until it amuses me.

MQ: What do you hope your listeners get from your music? Aside from sales?

KF: I've always described Ice Choir as a very low-stakes venture; it's something I do as a fun brain puzzle and for my own professional edification (figuring out new recording / mixing technique, etc.). Writing the song is the valuable aspect for me, and then it goes out into the world where it becomes a useless souvenir. At that point, if someone discovers that bauble and it's charming or funny to them, great...I just don't have a specific audience in mind when I'm writing. Sales? lol.

MQ: Any plans for the rest of this year and 2018?

KF: I did a game soundtrack a couple years ago...I think it might actually be coming out in 2018.

For more information on Ice Choir, check out the official website at or check out the other following links


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Additional Fees

“Hi, are you checking out?” The young woman asks the man standing in line. “Uh, yes. Yes I am.” He replies while rummaging through his coat for his wallet. The woman types away on her keyboard behind the front desk. The man stealthily places his room keys on the counter.

“Okay, that will be $244 sir.”

The man goes pale while taking a step back, “Excuse me?? Are you serious. I already paid for this room, and on top of that it should be no more than…”

“I understand your complaint sir, but the maids just updated the status of your room.”

 “STATUS OF MY ROOM? What do you mean?” The man rest both his forearms on the counter with a look of disgust.

“It says her that they suspected you bringing a dog into your room, when it clearly states that we carry a no-pet policy, sir.”

He looks up with a silly laugh, “Look, I never brought a dog to my room – hell, I don’t even have a dog to put in my room. What is giving the maids the idea that I brought a dog into the room?”

“They smelt urine in the bathroom, sir.”
The man mouths the words ‘urine-in-the-bathroom’ to himself silently. “It’s a bathroom…”

“They found it in the shower, sir.”

The man stops himself from continuing with his rage speech and thinks to himself while the woman at the front desk continues typing.

“Well…there might have been…”

“Sir, are you saying that you did or did not have a dog?”

The man suddenly looks behind sees just how much the line has grown. Someone catches his glance and yells out, “C’mon man, hurry up! Just fess up. We’ve all done it before. I got a plane to catch.”

He turns back around and leans in while speaking under his breath, “…I uhh….did it.”

“I’m sorry sir, what was that?”

“There was no dog, please waive the charges because….I did it.”

“Sir, you’re going to have to….”

“I DID IT! I WENT IN THE SHOWER, ALRIGHT?” The man abruptly shouts out to the line behind him. The woman at the desk behind him leans in, “Sir, are you alright? You don’t need to yell.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


“Sir, we found him over by the fences.” One of the droids calls out to the commander.

“Oh no, not again…did you take his down his vitals and sent up the report?” 

“Not yet sir, this time he has really taken a hit.”

“You mean?..”

“Yes sir, relapse…for the worst.” The droid nods with despair even though it is programmed to react that way. The commander runs out of the command tower and a few other droids join him outside in the rain near the perimeter fence. “Quickly, quickly, get him up!” Shouts the man in charge to the others. The victim’s body slinks down as one of the droids carries him in it’s arms. They then hoist him up to the tower’s medical floor. His unconscious body doesn’t respond to the thick rain and windy lift swaying lightly midair.

“How could you let this happen?” The commander shouts at his second in command while standing in the rain fixated on the gurney flying up the tower.

“I don’t know, sir. We had all our bases covered and thought all possible threats were eliminated.”

“Obviously not,” The commander responds with a motion towards the air lift.

“Sir? What it be possible to suspect the cause of this was due to lack of…”

“No, not that again, I already know where you’re going with this and that is not what happened. He was sabotaged and hacked by the enemy. He is one of my best machines and he wasn’t strong enough to resist the tampers of the opposing force, now he is worthless right when we are about to invade.”

The commander turns around and heads back into the command tower with the droid following him.

“Get up there and report back his stats, I need to know if we can recover him for when we get back into…” The ground shifts from underneath them. Immense tremors send thousands to the ground with thick fogs of ash clouding the interiors of the command posts. “Hurry up and man the turrets!” Shouts the commander with the droids scrambling to obey orders. The squeals of machinery are heard outside approaching louder and louder. Multiple shots are heard with scrapes of metal underneath the tractors.
Silhouettes of taller droids are seen through the dense fogs grabbing the smaller ones by the heads and crushing them. The commander’s droids runs back, “Sir, we have lost more than 53% of our forces. Do you wish to continue?”

“What is the status of the main droid in the medical bay?”

“88% recovered, sir.”

“Release him, that’s good enough!”

“Authorizing orders, sir.”

The droid’s eyes glow green followed by the sound of typed buttons in the shadows. Instantly rays of light from above – outside, dice through the invading enemies trailing behind bright rays with black smoke sending tanks and war machines into oblivion. White flashes of light illuminate the commander’s face as he looks down and is shocked to find that he is buried in rubble and is stained in his own blood. Not able to move he shouts out at the depleting enemy, “THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO TAMPER WITH MY DROIDS!!!” The command tower collapses in on itself after receiving several shots to the tower’s support. Hours pass, everything is crushed and all die except for the nearly-recovered cyborg fighter standing there alone in the rubble fog. He kneels to see his dismantled fallen fighters. With his artificial emotion processor starts to mourn for their loss. After feeling their loss, a side screen slides out of his chest with a timer. He sets it to auto-destruct.

From the distance, a female soldier runs out to the cyborg. “Hey I found him! Come quick!” She calls out to the others in the distant, “It’s okay, you don’t have to do this…” Her hand types at the droids’ keyboard disabling the timer. “We need you, come with us.”



Friday, April 14, 2017

Dude, Where's my Bike?

“Hello this is Jake?”

“Hi Jake, I was calling about your RC-51? The one on the ad?” I sound a little hesitant. There is a pause on the other end.

“Oh yeah, are you interested in it?”

“Well that’s just the thing, honestly I’m not interested in buying it – mostly because I can’t afford it…”

We both start to laugh abruptly, “…well anyways was more interested in just test driving – that’s all. Would that be cool if I took it around the block a few times?”

“Oh yeah, sure, sure. I should ask you, have you ridden these types of bikes before? They’re pretty advanced.” His tone changes while waiting to judge my response.

“Oh yeah, no problem, what are they six speed?” I ask with faux-confidence.

“Yep, one down, five up.”

We figured out a time later that afternoon. After work, I swung over to his address and there she was, the Honda RC-51. This one had a black coating with the red wing sprawled diagonally across the side body. They made this bike specifically for contesting in the Superbike World Championship and tops out at 180 mph!! The dual headlights just adds to my eagerness to grip the handles and pull in the clutch.

“Can I help you?” Jake calls out while coming out to the street. His question makes me jump as if I were awakened from a trance.

“Yes, I was the one who called earlier about test driving the bike?”

“Oh yeah, no problem.” He reaches over the tank and inserts the key. Following the turn of the key, the RPM and Speedometer needles sweep over the gauges as the green neutral light flashes on. And just like that, he clicks on the switch and presses the ignition. A high rev shoots up then falls to low hum. Jake motions for me to mount up. All I had were my sunglasses.

“So, you’ve ridden one of these before, right?” Jake yells over the motor. “Yes, of course I have.”


The bike snaps into first and as I creep forward, he yells out, “Have fun,”

From there I went up to the first stop light and decided to take it to the highway at the foothills of the nearby mountain range. The bike handled smooth and got straight to the point with exact reactions to the throttle. Once on the highway, I was free and could suddenly explain the beauties of life simply by doing 130 down the straightway. The sun was setting to the west and not another car in sight. It was giving out a distinct roar as though I were releasing it from captivity. Truly this was paradise.

After driving back to Jake’s house, I noticed none of the lights were on. I turn off the motor and pocket the key while heading into their house. I tap on the screen door with a quick “hello?”.

“Who is it!” An angry lady shouts.

“I was the one who test drove the bike.” I feebly answer.

“We thought you stole the bike!”

“I’m sorry, what do you mean? I was only gone for maybe 20 minutes tops.” I answer back confidently.

“More like two hours, guy!” She replies and then continues, “I’m calling Jake right now. He’s at the police station about to fill out a report. Leave the key and get out of here.”

I kneel over and place the keys on the nearest table in deep reverence while quickly getting out of dodge. Who would’ve thought that I was gone that long?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Waiting Room

“So how did you leave Earth?”

The white air brightens the waiting room as Jessica is sitting patiently until it is her turn to be called into the interview room. Sitting next to her is a man of an advanced age. Jessica stays fixated on the older man waiting for his response, “Heart attack. How about you?”

“Well I don’t really remember how I got here to be honest. I mean there was this car on the road speeding towards me as I was walking on the sidewalk. It was night and cold.” Jessica says while looking away from the man. She appears lost in her thoughts and observes the room they are sitting in and sees the shelving of several books and white vaulted ceilings with dazzling crystal chandeliers reflecting beads of light throughout the room.

Someone else from across the aisle leans over, “Did you have that rushed feeling like when you’re in a jet taking off? Like thousands of invisible beings catching your spirit out of your body?”

“Actually yes I did!” Jessica agrees. “Like I didn’t feel anything, in fact, I remember hearing my favorite song play too,” Jessica smiles.

“I am told there is no sense of time here,” Says the man next to her. Everyone stops mid-conversation as a woman exits the interview room.

“Well? What did they ask you?”

“Yes tell us,” Another voice pleads.

The woman looks at them with peace in her eyes, “I can’t tell you but they did mention that I am to learn about everything and to roam the earth helping others figure things out…until it is time,”

“Figure what out? Until it is time for what?” Someone asks abruptly.

The woman simply smiles and replies, “Don’t worry. They’ll explain everything, they are very lovely people.”

She goes on her way through the white pair of sliding doors. The man next to Jessica gets called into the interview room. As Jessica is left to herself, she notices for the first time that she can see through her hands and just now realized how awake she has ever been. No sickness, no fatigue. She noticed that the pain in her joints and neck are no more and that her vision and hearing have improved dramatically. She feels as though she could run for miles and not lose her breath. Sleep is no more as she feels as though she could take a drive from North to South America without a single yawn. She wasn’t cold either. In her life, she would always have to crank up the heat wherever she was. She was troubled a little as she wondered about what the other woman mentioned after leaving the interview room. What did she mean by roaming the Earth helping others figure things out? And if there was supposedly no concept of time here, why would it eventually conclude? What was to happen once it was over?

A hand gently rests on her shoulder, “You’re next,” The man who sat next to her says as he leaves the waiting room through the sliding white doors.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Don't Push that Button!

“Listen you don’t have to do this. Just take a step back and we can talk about this.” The reporter takes a step towards the man at the end of the catwalk. A small console is at his waist level with a series of buttons, however one in particular has been the man’s focus for some time now. “Why don’t we step away from this? Huh? C’mon, we can talk about this.” The reporter creeps forward with his hand extended out towards the troubled man.

               “Stay away from me! Don’t come any closer!” Shouts the man.

               “Okay! Okay! I don’t want any trouble!”

               “You come any closer and I’ll push this button and it’ll all be over! Real fast!”

The reporter moves back with his hands up, “I just don’t want you to push that button!”

               “Don’t push me!”

               “Just don’t push that button!”

               “You’re pushing my buttons!”

The disturbed man’s finger hovers over the large red button. Beads of sweat form at the crown of his head.

               “There’s too many mistakes that we’ve made as individuals, governments, businesses, parents – the world! I can reverse it all if I just push the…”

               “NO NO NO don’t do that! Stay with me!” The reporter holds out his hand while slowly crouching to not startle the deranged man any more than he already is.

               “Don’t you see how many things have gone wrong? After several years of research, and most of my family’s fortune has been spent and exhausted into making this possible, I have finally created the science to reset everything!! Everyone can have a second chance now!”

The reporter continues slowly towards him, “Look, I know you initially tried to think of some kind of solution to erase mistakes, but this is so much more than you or I or anyone could ever control. Think about the aftereffects of this, this machine? Is there a reset button for this reset button? Don’t do it!”

The man starts to cry aloud, “How did you find me anyway!”

               “I was able to get a lead on your whereabouts. Originally I was assigned your story, but as a human being, I felt morally obligated to step in and talk you out of this.” The reporter steps even closer now, “Did you ever stop to think that it’s the mistakes that make us better? So what if we forgot something, or miscommunicated a message, or heck even a bad first impression – who cares? The point is we need those things to stay with us to help us out the next time.”

               “What next time?”

               “The next time we get back up and try again! If you delete everything, we will only be repeating ourselves – never growing or learning from our mistakes! Trust me this will never help us – at all! Take my hand and step away from the reset button.”

The deranged man gets on his knees and cries into his hands, “It’s just that I’ve made far too many mistakes and I want to give back and help others who have the same problems!”

The light from the reset button continues to flash as the reporter walks up to the man. “Look, I feel your pain, but I am…”

“THERE HE IS! GET HIM!” A team of police officials storm in and point their weapons at the man.

“I KNEW IT! IT WAS A TRAP!” The deranged man wipes his eyes and quickly gets up to hit the button.

“NO DON’T…” The reporter yells out only nano-seconds before everything goes dark.