2023 RPM Challenge – Day 1 of 28

I just posted this on the stupid little tumblr page I sometimes use to keep daily updates for internet based music writing and recording challenges.

It’s February 1st again and it’s time for another round of the RPM Challenge. There is a ton of stuff going on in the real world right now so finding time/energy/motivation is going to be difficult at best. I’m off to a respectable start though. There are two songs underway. They are just midi tracks, but there are guides for guitar parts, a melody, and sketches for bass, drums, and percussion. Not bad for a hectic and stressful day one.

Ah, the Weekend

Saturday… at last. Actually, I was convinced that Thursday was Saturday, and then further convinced that Friday was Monday. Man, Thanksgiving is the best but it messes up my internal calendar like crazy.

We need to buy a christmas tree today. The kids will be here tomorrow to do some decorating before they go back to school. I want to have a tree up in the living room before they get here, and I want to give it a little time to shake itself out too. Ideally I would have put it up a few days ago but say no to pre-Thanksgiving christmas stuff.

I also need to go out and buy myself a warm jacket that actually fits me, unlike the warm jacket I own now. Our Saturday in New York plan is still on for now. We haven’t chickened out yet. Jen actually booked a hotel room yesterday. It’s outside of the city but near a commuter train station. It’s going to be cold out there in the big city and I need to stay warm. You see, one unexpected side effect of losing a shit load of weight is that I am cold all the time. All of that built in insulation I used to have is gone and now I find that the world is a very cold place. Jen was teasing me about it yesterday. I was teasing myself too. Brrr, babie.

I’m down to five days left in November, including today. How’s the album in a month project going? Well, it’s going to fail, but other than that it’s going well. Eight songs, about 33 minutes. The goal for this project is 29:09. None of the songs have vocals yet and only two have melody and lyrics. See? I’m going to fail. I want to do car music tomorrow morning and get some singin’ in. I’m not sure what the forecast looks like so I don’t know if I’ll be singin’ in the rain or not (hardy har har). That means I have to crank out melodies and lyrics today. Once the lyrics are done (which will likely take two or three car music attempts) I will have to do leads. That should be terrible. First, I am grossly out of of practice and brutally drowning in rusty. Also, I have no calluses on my finger tips so the playing will also be painful. It’s sort of a lose lose, right? I might not get it done by December 1st, but I’ll finish these eight songs (and maybe add a couple of minutes of instrumental noodling to get myself over 35 minutes).

Okay, folks. It’s 7:08am. My exercise is done for the day. I’ve watched an episode of Pennyworth and a couple of youtube videos on photography. Now it’s time to get my shite together and start my day. Happy Saturday, everyone.

Busy Holiday Morning

It’s been a busy morning so far. Since my last post I showered and shaved and had a Covid scare and visited both of my parents and played a little guitar to relieve the stress from the Covid scare and from my mother being in a less than wonderful state. Ugh.

No more amp sims for NaSoAlMo. All eight songs have rhythm guitars played through a mic’d up amp. Good.


Amp Fun

The guitar was played tonight. It was played through an amplifier, not through a digital amplifier simulation. It was glorious, as always.

I redid the rhythm guitar parts for three of the five NaSoAlMo songs that I did with sims over the weekend. In all honesty, the sims probably sound better than what I can get with my meager skills, but the real thing feels better when I am playing and that’s what really matters for me.


Busy Morning

Sunday has been eventful so far and it’s not even 10:00am yet.

I got out of bed around 5:30, went to the cellar and took care of my exercise ring while watching the second to last episode of The Midnight Club. I still haven’t decided whether or not I like that show, but it looks like I am going to finish it. I then ate breakfast. Just a protein bar. When that was done the clock told me it was 6:30 and the Google told me the sunrise was at 6:42 so I put on a coat (it was 26 degrees out, yikes!), grabbed Dad’s camera and out the door I went. I took a few pics at the Walnut Grove Cemetery and the camera didn’t have any issues. Curse broken? I then went to Greycourt Park and took a few pics of the castle ruins. I was thinking of getting a couple of downtown pics too but it was so cold out I decided not to. I went to Market Basket instead. I walked in the door at 7:20 and it was mobbed. What? 20 minutes after opening on a Sunday morning and it’s mobbed? I guess everyone is doing Thanksgiving today? Crazy. After the shopping was home and put away I washed some dishes in preparation for our faux Thanksgiving and then retired to the cellar where I put rhythm guitars (with amp sims, sadly) onto two songs and then came up with a third song. That brings the NaSoAlMo pipeline up to eight songs, all of which have rhythm guitars (though only three used a real amp).

Now I’m sitting at my desk typing this masterpiece, waiting for Jen to call me upstairs to start cooking the five-day-early-feast.

It’s been a pretty decent morning so far, wouldn’t you say? I might need a nap today.

Oh, I’d post some guitar pictures, and a couple of quick point-and-shoot snaps I took at my two photo shoot destinations this morning, but both my DSLR and my point-and-shoot are on the charger. The DSLR was about to die and the point and shoot did die. I could use my iPhone but… aw, hell, I’ll take one with my iPhone…

The pedals are on, but the amp is not. Sad face.

Direct Input

I said in a post from earlier today that I was thinking about just saying screw it and recording some guitar tracks via direct input into Garageband so that I could play while people were sleeping… and then I did it. I added guitars to two NaSoAlMo songs. They sound okay. I am so rusty that the playing was just bad. Who knows, if I get a burst of energy at a time when I can make noise I might redo the tracks from today through the glory that is my Deluxe Reverb. Until then, this will do.



Tomorrow is November 1st and November is National Solo Album Month.

Should I do it? I should, but will I? I’m undecided. I haven’t had the energy for music lately. I want to get myself back on the ball but I’m having a tough time with motivation.

I’m going to tell myself I’m going to do it this November, but I’m not sure if I will stick to my guns.

Stay tuned.

Crappy Song Alert

Here’s one of the four awful songs written and recorded in September 2022. It’s probably the best of the four, but that’s not saying much. Maybe I’ll redo it someday in the future when I have an actually functional home recording setup and when I’ve actually been playing the guitar for a while and not on a five month break.

Pain Pain and More Pain

I put leads on four songs before work this morning. It was a bad experience in three ways. First, I am so rusty it’s embarrassing. Second, the interface problems left me on the verge of screaming in fury and frustration the whole time. Third, I have no callusses on my finger tips anymore and I am in searing, burning agony right now. I played for about 45 minutes and oh my god the finger tip pain.


I have four songs to mix by the end of the day. I don’t have an album-in-a-month for September, but maybe I have an EP in a month? At the very least I’ll have my first RPM Challenge Record Every Month song since RPM ended in February. That’s nice. The four songs I have to pick from are AWFUL and the guitar playing is AWFUL and the singing is AWFULAWFULAWFUL, but at least they exist. I guess.

My iPad has a USB C input. I am thinking of trying to use one of my USB interfaces with the iPad to see if the same problems with lagging will happen on that machine. If not, then I can keep writing and recording without wanting to punch holes in the wall in furious angry anger as the input signal drops out for a fraction of a second and fucks up a solid take… again and again and again and again. That would be nice. If the iPad work around doesn’t work… I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll need to upgrade to a faster USB interface but I most definitely do not have any money for that. Two kids in college, you know? Urgh.