frederick Hurst

frederick Hurst

15 years ago I came to the bay area to undertake a Ph.D in psycology. I am pleased to say I was able to complete the degree, and along the way developed a practice as a singer, actor and writer.

How does it work?
  • frederick Hurst
    Published about a month ago
    Carpet Plots

    Carpet Plots

    Those unsure of the official commencement of the lunch hour at Sam's diner could always rely on Brian Nickels to mark the beginning of the lunch hour. The waiting staff saw Brian as a patron whose daily attendance rivaled the post office in punctuality and consistency. Its design resembled a traditional diner. A row chairs at the counter allowed patrons to see the diner's cooks feverishly working to keep up with the pace of orders that the wait staff wrote up and placed a revolving order stand. Brian admired the stamina of the diner's cooks. He noted how they effortlessly transitioned from the morning breakfast to lunch and dinner menu. Omelets on the grill became transformed into well-done burgers or pasta dishes. Out of deference to the cooks, Brian had chosen a booth in which to eat his meal. Aware of his tendency to engage in impromptu conversations with strangers, Brian had too much respect for the cooks to risk interrupting the work of the two Hispanic cooks who labored at the grill. He was determined not to re-experience the mortification he had felt when he had earned that a favorite server no longer worked at the dinner—fired for spending to much time talking with his customers. That's what Brian had overheard. He remembered hearing it from one of the busboys who thought he had whispered it softly enough to be only heard by the line cook who was working that day. But the busboys had not compensated for Brian's acute hearing. Those at the diner accepted him as Brian, the law student. Unlike his college acquaintances, his friends had bestowed a nickname that reflected their respect and fondness for him. Over time they had started to call him Brian Perry Mason. An attractive waitress with a penchant for nicknames had assigned the name of the fictional lawyer to Brian on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. The warmth of her tone in bestowing his new moniker had carried none of the vindictiveness he heard when his classmates addressed him. The top that he left that day conveyed how much he appreciated his new nickname. From that day on, he saw himself not as a lawyer, student, but as a diner patron who happened to study. His devotion would become evident in ways that were both subtle and overt. To bolster the diner's income, he gave up eating at the school cafeteria. Meetings with school advisors now took place at the dinner. Subtle changes in his curriculum choices indicated his psychological commitment to the diner. Where environmental law had once been his central focus, the vagaries of contract law and its application in settling small business suits now became his focus. The more he engrossed himself in the life of his favorite diner, the happier Brian became. Changes in Brian's mood did not go unnoticed. His peers at the law school noted with frustration that the hurling of demeaning nicknames no longer had the effect of debilitating Brian. During heated classroom debates, his breathing was even and relaxed. Should doubts arise, he would merely focus on the image of his beloved diner, and like a finely French onion soup would melt away.
  • frederick Hurst
    Published about a month ago
    Carpet plots

    Carpet plots

    Those unsure of the official commencement of the lunch hour at Sam's diner could always rely on Brian Nickels to mark the beginning of the lunch hour. The waiting staff saw Brian as a patron whose daily attendance rivaled the post office in punctuality and consistency. Its design resembled a traditional diner. A row chairs at the counter allowed patrons to see the diner's cooks feverishly working to keep up with the pace of orders that the wait staff wrote up and placed a revolving order stand. Brian admired the stamina of the diner's cooks. He noted how they effortlessly transitioned from the morning breakfast to lunch and dinner menu. Omelets on the grill became transformed into well-done burgers or pasta dishes. Out of deference to the cooks, Brian had chosen a booth in which to eat his meal. Aware of his tendency to engage in impromptu conversations with strangers, Brian had too much respect for the cooks to risk interrupting the work of the two Hispanic cooks who labored at the grill. He was determined not to re-experience the mortification he had felt when he had earned that a favorite server no longer worked at the dinner—fired for spending to much time talking with his customers. That's what Brian had overheard. He remembered hearing it from one of the busboys who thought he had whispered it softly enough to be only heard by the line cook who was working that day. But the busboys had not compensated for Brian's acute hearing. Those at the diner accepted him as Brian, the law student. Unlike his college acquaintances, his friends had bestowed a nickname that reflected their respect and fondness for him. Over time they had started to call him Brian Perry Mason. An attractive waitress with a penchant for nicknames had assigned the name of the fictional lawyer to Brian on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. The warmth of her tone in bestowing his new moniker had carried none of the vindictiveness he heard when his classmates addressed him. The top that he left that day conveyed how much he appreciated his new nickname. From that day on, he saw himself not as a lawyer, student, but as a diner patron who happened to study. His devotion would become evident in ways that were both subtle and overt. To bolster the diner's income, he gave up eating at the school cafeteria. Meetings with school advisors now took place at the dinner. Subtle changes in his curriculum choices indicated his psychological commitment to the diner. Where environmental law had once been his central focus, the vagaries of contract law and its application in settling small business suits now became his focus. The more he engrossed himself in the life of his favorite diner, the happier Brian became. Changes in Brian's mood did not go unnoticed. His peers at the law school noted with frustration that the hurling of demeaning nicknames no longer had the effect of debilitating Brian. During heated classroom debates, his breathing was even and relaxed. Should doubts arise, he would merely focus on the image of his beloved diner, and like a finely French onion soup would melt away.
  • frederick Hurst
    Published 3 months ago
    Why the Araia "Kennst du das land" has come to mean so much to me.

    Why the Araia "Kennst du das land" has come to mean so much to me.

    Artists often record pieces without appraising listeners of what a song may mean to them. This oversight usually occurs because of production demands that preclude verbal descriptions of what a given song may mean to an artist. Producing a polished CD or video is considerable, and producers are reluctant to spend their precious dollars on verbal tributes that can be made by recording artists during a concert. Once in the studio, artists are expected to record their music as quickly and efficiently. Reminiscing about the composition of a particular song is discouraged. Fortunately, the recording of this specific song did require the use of an expensive recording studio. When I recorded the piece, I had no neurotic producer hanging over my shoulder. I am therefore free to reflect on what the relatively unknown aria "kennst du das land." Those unfamiliar with opera are unlikely to recognize the piece. I first became familiar with the Aria after attending a performance of "Little Woman." An original operatic work, the production allowed me to hear a breath-taking musical score and the Aria "Kennst du das Land". I became determined to master the Aria in question. My years of training had provided me with the technical tools needed to sing a variety of styles, but I had always reframed from singing pieces written in German. The sheer beauty of the piece overwhelmed my reservation and set to work on it with passion and zeal. The experience has been transformative, allowing me to connect with a part of my German heritage that had always felt peripheral. Having to master German required that I steep myself in a language that members of the Hurst family line had practiced for generations. Learning "Kennst du das land" became a transformative experience, allowing me to reintegrate a disowned aspect of my family heritage. I am not the first, or only, singer to have had such an experience. Singing is an inherently personal process. Few performers become successful by relying solely upon their technical prowess. Acclaim rarely occurs unless a performer has found a way to merge technique and emotional resonance. For this singer at least, mastering the complexities of the Aria Kennst du das land became an example of such a process. It is why this previously unfamiliar piece now feels profoundly connected to my body and soul.
  • frederick Hurst
    Published 3 months ago
    "Kennst due das land"

    "Kennst due das land"

    Artists often record pieces without appraising listeners of what a song may mean to them. This oversight usually occurs because of production demands that preclude verbal descriptions of what a given song may mean to an artist. Producing a polished CD or video is considerable, and producers are reluctant to spend their precious dollars on verbal tributes that can be made by recording artists during a concert. Once in the studio, artists are expected to record their music as quickly and efficiently. Reminiscing about the composition of a particular song is discouraged. Fortunately, the recording of this specific song did require the use of an expensive recording studio. When I recorded the piece, I had no neurotic producer hanging over my shoulder. I am therefore free to reflect on what the relatively unknown aria "kennst du das land." Those unfamiliar with opera are unlikely to recognize the piece. I first became familiar with the Aria after attending a performance of "Little Woman." An original operatic work, the production allowed me to hear a breath-taking musical score and the Aria Kennst du das Land. I became determined to master the Aria in question. My years of training had provided me with the technical tools needed to sing a variety of styles, but I had always reframed from singing pieces written in German. The sheer beauty of the piece overwhelmed my reservation and set to work on it with passion and zeal. The experience has been transformative, allowing me to connect with a part of my German heritage that had always felt peripheral. Having to master German required that I steep myself in a language that members of the Hurst family line had practiced for generations. Learning "Kennst du das land" became a transformative experience, allowing me to reintegrate a disowned aspect of my family heritage. I am not the first, or only, singer to have had such an experience. Singing is an inherently personal process. Few performers become successful by relying solely upon their technical prowess. Acclaim rarely occurs unless a performer has found a way to merge technique and emotional resonance. For this singer at least, mastering the complexities of the Aria Kennst du das land became an example of such a process. It is why this previously unfamiliar piece now feels profoundly connected to my body and soul.
  • frederick Hurst
    Published 3 months ago
    Taking a bullet for a President

    Taking a bullet for a President

    There are jobs in the world that I am thankful that I do not have. Lion tamer. Plummer. Dentist. A postal worker. These are all professions that I am glad are carried out by other people. My gratitude is based in part on my understanding of my relative strengths and weaknesses. This understanding has allowed me to understand why the job of taming lions and repairing other people's pluming belongs in the hands of other people. If forced though to identify one professional position that I would be profoundly ill suited too, particularly at this juncture in our nation's development, it would be that of a secret service agent, tasked with overseeing the protection of our current protection.
  • frederick Hurst
    Published 3 months ago
    A poetry recital

    A poetry recital

    The story behind the reading of my poems represents an age challenge that I am not alone in trying to solve. I refer to the existential challenge embodied in the experience of angst that periodically plagues every individual. The composition of existential angst varies from person to person. No two individuals experience angst in the same manner and their manner of discharging their psychological frustration is as varied. My version of this has generally revolved around the collective state of America's body politic and it subsequent spiritual deterioration.Those who have read my blogs will understand that when I use the term I am not referring to organized religion. I have been a lifelong atheist. Recent events involving attempts by evangelical fundamentalist to replace our democracy with a form of theocracy that is only slightly more liberal than the Taliban has only reinforced my suspicion of orgnized religion. The view that organized religion represented a political struggle, involving unregistered political bodies has become a fixed belief that is unlikely change during my life time. I give credit to the authors of the original bible for crafting a piece of polical propaganda whose content is not without merit, but its intent has been political nature, ensuring as it does that those who follow it embrace codified forms of behavior.