12/30 Random

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. I have to work. We never get NYE off. We get Christmas Eve off, but never NYE. Why don’t I ever put in for that day? I don’t know… I guess I’m just responsible. Idiot.

Speaking of work, late next week I am going to be issued a new computer. A laptop this time. 16+ years as a desktop user and I’m making the switch. Actually, we’re all making the switch. At least that’s the rumor. The company is going laptop across the board. I’m actually the last of my group to get one. No more trying to find an open desk when I travel between buildings.

Traveling between buildings is actually the issue here. I actually have to do it in order to pick up the lappy. I have to go to the building in Canton. I don’t want to. Not even a little bit. I haven’t been in a work building since March 13th and I was really hoping to stay out until I got that second dose of one of the vaccines. I have to do all sorts of health checks before I can walk into the building, and I have to wear a mask the whole time. It’s safe, I just don’t like it. I’ll only be in there for 15 minutes or so. Still… I’m freaking a little. Just a little.

Speaking of work things that don’t have anything to do with work, I’m sitting at my desk finishing up lunch, typing this little postie and listening to music. My iPad is streaming to our new pair of HomePod Minis. It’s a really sweet little setup. I set my entire iTunes library to shuffle. It’s been running since a bit before 9:00. If I leave it on for a few days it still won’t have repeated a file. It just played a song from a Boston music compilation CD (Pipeline!) by a great band called Christmas. I thought to myself, I wonder if they are on Apple Music. I brought it up and searched and… yeah, shoulda known better. Naming your band Christmas back in the ’80’s might have been a cool move. Naming your band Christmas in the ’20’s when no one goes to record stores anymore and everyone finds your music by searching in one app or another… not a good move.

The kids are coming over tonight. That makes me happy. The kids are spending New Years Eve at their dad’s. That makes me sad. It’s the price we pay for having them at our house Christmas morning, but it still makes me sad.

Okay, it’s 2:00 so I need to get back to work. Lunch time is over. Back to it, red head.

Gone Forever

It’s zombie night on the AMC network. Jen’s not a fan so I set myself up in the bedroom, watching live TV on my iPad. I’m listening through my Apple AirPods.

When Fear the Walking Dead* ended I moved from the desk to the bed. As I was putting stuff down I dropped the AirPod case. It bounced off my leg, bounced off a guitar case, and flew at great speed…

….under the bed.

Well, it was nice knowing ya AirPods case. Gone forever but never forgotten. RIP.

*Season five of Fear was the worst season of TV I’ve ever watched. How did season six episode two compare? It was better than season five, but it wasn’t good.

50/90 Day 12 Update

I suppose it’s time for a 50/90 update. Let’s do some math, shall we?

July 4th through October 1st. 90 days over three months.

90 songs in three months means 16.67 songs per month. Thanks for coming out even, stupid math. So at the minimum, two of the three months need 17 songs and one needs 16. Since July starts on the 4th instead of the 1st, July is the shortest month, therefore logically July should be the month that only needs 16 songs.

Math is hard.

As of bed time last night I have 16 songs in progress. All of them have the song form set, half of them have very badly performed guitar parts recorded, none of them have lyrics or melody yet, and all of them pretty much suck so far.

But….

I am on the minimum pace.

I want to record some guitars tonight, and I’m hoping that by the time the weekend is over there will be some vocals down too. We’ll see. That might be a tall order.

I also feel that I should warn you, faithful readers (he said like he was Stephen freakin’ King or something) that a few minutes ago I started on what could be the nerdiest project I have ever undertaken… and that’s saying something.

Jen and I have become a little weirdly obsessed with candles during our four month lock down. All through our work days we both have a candle or two (or three) burning near our desk. I don’t really know why, and I don’t think she does either, but we do.

This morning when I lit my desk candles I started taking a time lapse video of one of them. I pointed my iPad at a candle, started recording, and lit the bastard. I was planning to let it run for an hour or so out of fear that the battery wouldn’t last for much longer than that. As I was writing this though, I found a lightning cable long enough to plug my iPad in without moving it from it’s video-ing location.

It is possible that I could take a full 8-9 hour long time lapse video of this candle. Oh. My. Nerd. Hopefully I don’t accidentally knock over the iPad or something. Knowing me like I do, I’ll probably do something stupid to screw this up and spare you, faithful readers, from my epic nerdness.

We shall see.

One Day Behind

I feel so out of touch. There was an Apple Event yesterday and I was not able to follow along with any live blogs or anything. I missed almost all of the new gadget revelations.

I know there’s a new iPad that I want.
I know there’s a new WatchOS.
I know there’s a new iPhone.

I know these things, but I know nothing about them.

My step kids’ father loaded a release candidate of the new iOS onto their phones. Last night my step son loaded a release candidate of the new WatchOS onto his watch. I’m not going to do either of those things. When it comes to software releases, I prefer to play it safe(er) and wait for the actual release. Still… they have stuff on their devices that I don’t have! I am so far behind the curve right now. I have actual gadget envy over gadgets that I actually have!

No Added Distortion

This is a little better than the last one. No unwanted distortion.

I didn’t use the GarageBand drummer on this one. I kept the iPad drum part but changed the sound. Same with the vocals. The guitars are all the same between the two mixes except for the signal processing. I added a slap back delay onto the lead and toned down the reverb and delay on the two rhythm parts.

The real question though is when did everything this month turn into either 3/4 or 6/8 time? Is this what it’s like to play in a swing band?


——–

Here’s the iPad mix for comparison. Again, not too different.


——–

As far as the iOS mixes are concerned, I can call the June Music project successfully complete (under RPM Challenge rules). I have written and recorded 10 songs this month. There are two additional songs that don’t have vocals/lyrics/melodies yet. I don’t believe I will have time this weekend to finish them. I think I’ll do them next week in the first three days in July before 50/90 starts on the 4th. Then I’ll have 12 “June” songs and one left over from May, with two different mixes of each song. That will make a nice bandcamp.com playlist.

As of right now I am in for 50/90. I have not been writing at a fast enough pace to feel confident, but at least I’ve been building up to it. We’ll see how it goes.

A Sort of Almost New Song… Sort Of

I had a neat idea for a riff but I was busy doing other things and couldn’t record it for future reference. When I did get a chance to sit down with a guitar later that night I couldn’t quite remember it. I came up with something that was in the ball park and that became the verse in the song I posted last night. The next night the forgotten riff came back to me and it became the chorus on this song. Hence the reason why the two little suckers sound so similar.


——–

And here is the iPad mix. I used the drummer function when I mixed on the Mac, which is why the drums will sound seriously different on this mix. Everything else is similar, although all of the processing is different.

The First Mac Mix

Duck and cover kids, here come the Mac Mixes.

This that song that I couldn’t play the riff for, yet again. While working on the Mac I reserve the right to change the drum sounds and the bass sounds, and to change all the signal processing on the guitars and vocals. Also, I reserve the right to replace the drum parts with the GarageBand Drummer function, although I didn’t do that on this song.

I did change the drum sound and the bass sound, although I just ended up using the Mac version of the same bass sound I used on the iPad. They are close to the same, but the Mac version just sounded a little fatter. The only change I made to the guitar was to swap the panning. The rhythm guitar is doubled with each one panned most of the way to either left or right. One of the tracks used the neck pick up on the Strat, the other used the middle pick up. On the iPad version the neck pick up was to the left. On the Mac version it is to the right. For the vocals I changed the preset and the EQ. I also added compression to the drums, the bass, and both vocal tracks, and to the full mix. Just a little on the mix.

Here is the new mix…

———————-

For comparison, here is the iPad mix (again)…

Overdoing It

I’ve got three songs left to finish. Almost there. I might even have time on Tuesday morning to finish up the vocals. Nice, right?

Well…

I felt like playing the guitar today and I didn’t have any parts to record so I… Well… I added another song. Urgh.

Even worse, it’s a cover. Urgh indeed.

Question for guitarists and guitar playing aficionados. When you think of Fender Stratocasters, who do you think of? Jimi Hendrix, post 1970 Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ritchie Blackmore, David Gilmour, about 100 others. All good choices.

Me? Despite a lifetime of being obsessed with both Clapton and Beck, to me the first name that comes to mind when I think of Strats is Robin Trower. Not the biggest name, and probably not the best player, but something about his style always spoke to me. There is soul, there is passion, there is class, there is fire. Lots of slow bends, legato phrasing, well… Just a lot of things I have always tried to do. The difference being that he does it all while I futz around like a wannabe.

Back in high school I had heard of him without ever actually hearing him. One night I listened to a recording of a Procol Harem concert on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The host was singing Trower’s praises and rightly so. The guitar playing in the show was fantastic. First chance I got I went out and bought a couple of records. BLT and Bridge of Sighs. I didn’t find out until later that despite the commentary, it wasn’t actually Robin Trower playing in that Procol Harem show. That was okay though, Bridge of Sighs won me over big time.

There is a song on his first record that I’ve always loved. “I Can’t Wait Much Longer.” Great song. Back in high school I tried to get my band to play it, but no one else was feeling it the way I was. The first time I ever borrowed a 4-track recorder I recorded that song. I used the cheesy little drum sounds on my dinky little Casio keyboard. It was basically the same goofiness I’ve been boring the universe with lately, it just didn’t sound as clean.

Anyway, I recorded a cover of “I Can’t Wait Much Longer” today. It’s all done except for the vocals. Once I bought a Strat it was pretty much inevitable. The whole thing is on my iPad right now. After I finish the vocal I’ll port it to the MacBook. I’ll have to clean up a little bass here and there, but other than that I’ll just mix it as is.

I’ll leave it until the last three March songs are done though.

Maybe.

More Tablet Fun

I mentioned yesterday that my wife wanted to shake up her tablet using ways. This directly affected me in two ways. First, as mentioned yesterday, I inherited a Nexus 7. The second, much more important way, is that I just inherited her iPad Air. Ah, retina display! I was using the second iPad 3. The one with the lightning connector. This one is newer, lighter, and smaller but with the same size screen. Jen, my love, has switched to an iPad Mini. So far we are both pleased.

I restored the Air with a back up of the 3 I made this morning. I’ve had some trouble restoring in app purchases. I hate those things. The big issue is that iTunes is telling me I can’t access iTunes Match for 42 days. Whatwhatwhat???

In unrelated news, while cooking lunch on the grill outside, I think I found the hawks’ nest. It’s really close to the yard. I’ll be camping outside with my camera soon.