HomePod Mini

I have an old Sonos speaker in my bedroom/office. I’m listening to an episode of the StarTalk Radio podcast through it as I type this. It’s too old to support Apple’s AirPlay so I have to use the Sonos App. It’s fine for the most part. I can run AppleMusic through it, but not Apple Podcasts. I had to setup Stitcher in order to play podcasts through the speaker.

The lack of AirPlay has meant that I have always wanted to upgrade to something newer so that I could just play my iPhone or my iPad directly through the speaker.

Along with the old Sonos speaker in the bedroom, we have additional Sonos speakers in the living room, and in the office proper. Our home theater system is all Sonos. Those are all newer models that support AirPlay.

We also have an Apple HomePod in the living room. It’s a great speaker, but more often than not the Sonos is the go-to when we want to play music through a speaker.

Yesterday Apple had their media event for the new iPhones. The iPhone 12 Pro Max looks awesome. That’s not what really caught my attention though. The standout to me was the new HomePod Mini. Not because of anything it does, but because of the price.

Given my interest in upgrading the speaker in the bedroom/office.. the original HomePod sells for about $300. The Sonos One runs for about $180, and the Move costs about $400.

The new HomePod Mini costs $99. That’s interesting. It does exactly what I want it to do, and it ties into my existing system, and it’s a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

Interesting………

Good News

A small piece of happy news during these dark, annoying, assholy times.

I just visited the Track My Ballot page I posted a few days ago. My ballot for the 11/3 election is in “accepted” status. Meaning it’s been received and is ready to be counted.

That’s one vote closer to the end of fascism in my country’s government. Up your ass, trump/pence.

Quarantine Tunes Volume 2 is Happening

The first song from Quarantine Tunes Volume 2 is done! Hooray, babie!

Back in 2016 I wrote a bunch of songs for the RPM Challenge that questioned the mental abilities of flat Earthers. Someone listening commented that I was being closed minded. Really. This song was my subtle response.

I’m not sure I have the mix just right. There are four tracks of rhythm guitar and I was worried I’d get carried away and overpower everything else. I wonder if I over compensated by backing them off too much. I’ll listen back in a couple of days and decide.

One down, eight to go.

Accidental Photo a Day

Remember that stretch from September 2019 through August 2020 when I was always mentioning how I was doing a photo a day thing on Flickr? Weren’t you happy when I finished that up on the last day of August with post number 366/365? Remember all that stupidity?

I wasn’t planning it… I didn’t even realize I was doing it… but I never stopped. I’ve posted a new photo* to Flickr each day since I “stopped” the 365. The picture I put in the previous post is day #43. Am I doing this again? I don’t think so… but I’ve gone this far, right?

*One day, September 7th to be exact, I posted a short video of Patches rolling around with catnip. I didn’t post a still photo that day, just the video, but in my mind it totally counts.

The Answer to the String Question

Prior to the Covid-19 screwing everything up I had posted a couple of things about trying to find a new brand of guitar strings. There were a few that I was looking at but I wasn’t sure if any would be better than the strings I’ve been using since the 80’s.

I think we have a winner….

I promise that the decision has nothing to do with the fact that they send me thank you notes when I buy from them. I promise.

“Happy” Seven Months

It’s October 13th. Happy (I mean that sarcastically) Seventh Covid-Quarantine Monthiversary.

This fucking sucks.

Last night one of the guys in the band floated the idea of having a mask-wearing, spread out all over the room band practice. Another guy immediately said yes. The third guy commented but didn’t say yes or no. Then I was the asshole. I’m really tired of being the asshole. Like… really tired of it.

I was going to mix one of the songs last night. I replaced all the bass and drum parts and made sure everything lined up correctly. There was one spot toward the end of the song where the vocals sounded weird. I had two tracks singing the same thing. I’m not sure why I did that, but I did it for the first three songs I recorded. In this particular instance there was a drop out that cut a whole word out of one of the takes. How did I miss that?

I listened to just the vocal tracks, one at a time, and there were little drop outs all over the place. What the hell? I was mostly able to comp together one full track out of the two that I had, but there was one line where both tracks had a drop out. Fortunately it was in a chorus so I was able to fly in that line from another part of the song.

It really pissed me off though. How did I miss that when I was in the car? I knew I was having signal loss issues that day but I thought I was catching them as they happened. I’m so mad at myself. I did the same thing with the two other songs I recorded that day and they both had a drop out or two, but they weren’t nearly as bad. I comped together a full take pretty easily. I then did the same for the four songs I recorded yesterday, when I wasn’t doubling tracks, and everything was fine. I don’t have to redo anything, but it still pissed me off like crazy.

I also had my first bad news on the exercise front, though it wasn’t unexpected. When I started this I said I was going to do the intermittent fasting and 30 minutes of exercise each day and see what happens. I explicitly said I was not going to screw with what I ate, just when I ate it. I have been weighing myself every Tuesday morning and I was losing weight. Today was the first weigh in where I was up. Only a pound and a half, but I was not happy. Not even a little bit. I told myself that weight loss wasn’t my primary goal, but now that I’m up a pound and a half I think I have to face the reality that maybe it actually is my primary goal. Crap. I thought I was more evolved than that (that’s a joke, I didn’t really think that).

The good news is, last time I cut the grass I would do about 10 minutes of mowing and then have to sit for half an hour to recover. After a month’s worth of multiple little “work outs” each day, when I cut the grass this weekend it was more like 20-30 minutes of mowing with little 5-10 minute breaks to recover. That was my original goal for all of this shit. I consider that a small success in an otherwise garbage universe.

Kiss my ass, Covid-19.

Two Days Worth of Music

Lots of progress on the second round of The Great 2015 Re-Recording Project.

Yesterday I finished the rhythm guitars for the last three songs and added lead guitar to one. Today I added vocals to four songs. That makes nine with rhythm guitar, seven with vocals, and one with leads. I actually want to re-do most of the MIDI tracks, bass guitar and drums. A couple of songs have keyboard parts and those are more or less finished too.

My first car singing session was odd in that everything was much harder than I remembered it from the first time I recorded the three songs I worked on. Today it wasn’t so much the songs that were the problem, it was me. I did four songs but I probably should have stopped after two. My voice got tired really fast today. I brought up the first song and cranked most of the sections out in one or two tries. By the time I was wrapping it up though my voice was starting to crack and get a little froggie. The second song was more challenging, but by the end I was croaking on at least a few words on every other take. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.

I was hoping to get through three songs but I forced myself to do four. I’m guessing when it’s all said and done you’ll be able to pick that fourth song out without me hinting. I was at it for more than an hour and a half or so, not quite two hours, and my throat is sore from yelling. Do real singers go through shit like this, or are they just trained to avoid it.

Ribbit.