It’s Monday

It’s Monday, and Monday sucks.

I mowed the entire lawn yesterday, front and back. My body will likely never forgive me. I just vacuumed up the lake in the cellar. It wasn’t as bad as it was last week, and there was a whole extra day worth of build up so I think there is improvement. I had to empty the wet vac and carrying that out of the bulkhead is painful. Carrying the dehumidifier tank is painful too, but not nearly as much.

Suffice to say, I’m a hurtin’ red head today.

It’s a nana sitting night tonight, and tomorrow’s nana sitting work day will also be a papa sitting day too as we’re expecting him to come home. The last time he came home we were all so happy, right up until the moment when we realized how much nursing care he still needed and from there it was awful. Not to imply that we weren’t happy he was home, just to say that none of us are trained health care workers and it was incredibly difficult. I am seriously hoping it’s better this time. Fingers crossed.

I wanted to do car music this morning but had too many other things to do. I have one song ready to mix and I’ll probably do it at my mother’s house tonight. It’s a 12-bar blues and it’s not good. Not good at all. It’s a song though and it counts.

Okay, going to work now. Mondays suck.

Welcome to August

Happy August 1st, everyone! August doesn’t have a national holiday so this year I am going to try and make it feel better by acting like every day is an extra big deal. No I’m not. I’m just so happy that July and its constant rain is over. Granted, August might get constant rain too, likely will thanks to climate change, but for this one, sweet, shining morning, August is dry and I am happy about it.

I wore a mask at my mother’s house yesterday. Not all the time, just when I knew she was near me. We are both vaccinated, but she ain’t catching jack shit from me. The MA department of public health is recommending vaccinated people wear masks when they are indoors with other people around because we can’t tell who the morons who aren’t vaccinated are and if they aren’t going to do anything to protect their own health, then we the vaccinated have to do it for them. Because they are stupid. Because they are morons.

Thanks to the never ending pandemic of the unvaccinated we are still using instacart for groceries and they screwed up big time today. We had to go back for a second round. All in all I am happy for the service, they are right a crazy high percentage of the time, but every once in a while… We asked for hamburger patties and got pumpernickel bread. Riiiiight.

What else is going on on this fine Sunday morning in August that hasn’t seen any rain yet? I broke the music mold a smidgen today. We slept kinda late. Not super late, I was up at about 8:15, but for me that’s pretty late. I wanted to do some car music but the aforementioned instacart delivery was on its way, and I had some things I wanted to do before I left so I didn’t get into the car until almost 10:00. I do my car music in a movie theater parking lot, and due to the idiotic decision to re-open the state despite the never ending pandemic mentioned in the previous paragraph, the movie theater was going to be open at 10:00. I rolled the dice. I park in the back parking lot so hopefully anyone going in early to catch the delta variant and a movie would probably park in the front. My risk paid off.

August 1st

I did park in a different area of the lot though. I recorded four songs. There were two technical problems but neither stopped me. First, I use Trello to track my progress. The songs I needed to work on are on a list called Complete Lyrics/Melody on a board called 2021 50/90. My normal workflow is to bring up the Trello app on my iPhone and use that to let me know which songs to work on. The last couple of times I’ve done this though, the iOS app wouldn’t refresh. It’s showing me the board from about two weeks ago. Nothing is up to date. I had to turn my iPhone hot spot on and bring it up on the Mac. That is annoying as all hell.

The second technical problem wasn’t a problem but I would have had I kept going. The temperature outside was in the mid-70’s but the sun was out and shining bright and damn if it didn’t get roasting hot in that car. I’d open the windows but then people would be able to hear me “singing” and ain’t no way that’s happening. About halfway through my little “session” the Mac’s fan kicked on and it never shut off. I don’t know how much longer I would have been able to go before it started to overheat but “fortunately” my voice ran out of gas after about an hour and I had to stop.

I did manage to finish four songs. That’s one more than I had planned. I had three songs with the guitars finished and I wanted to pick those off. I also had six songs with lyrics and melodies already written that don’t have guitars yet. A couple of those have MIDI guitar tracks acting as place holders. I did one of those.

So the plans for the rest of today include, but are not limited to, cutting some grass, recording some guitar parts, having a cookout for dinner (weather permitting, of course, though July is over so the weather will be glorious), and hanging out with my step son who only has a few weeks left before he moves to college.

Of course, as I type out that to do list I am sitting at my computer reading twitter, making fun of creationists, and thinking that it would be really nice to just sit and watch movies with Harry and Jen all day. That might be the better to do list.

Welcome to August, may it stay sunny and dry. Good luck, folks!

50/90 Update as July Ends

Harry is out of the house right now. I’m exhausted like you wouldn’t believe but I really want to be awake when he gets in so I am trying to do stuff to keep my brain functioning.

July is going to end in 90 minutes. That seems like a good time to give a quick summary of the 50/90 project. Today is day 27. How am I doing?

I have 13 songs finished and listed on my account page. There are another 12 songs in progress. Three are ready for vocal tracking, and I am hoping to do some car music in the morning. Of the other nine, the only recording that has been done so far is bass and drums, which are done on the computer. Based on that you could make the argument that no actual recording has been done at all. Whatever. Six of those nine songs do have lyrics and a melody already written out. I usually don’t start working on that until the rhythm guitars are down, but with all of the trips to my parents house, I haven’t had as much guitar time as I would like and I have had to do things out of the normal order.

50/3=16.66666667. Fifty songs, three calendar months, that means 16 and 2/3 songs per month, right? I like to break it down to 16 in July (because the challenge starts on July 4th so it misses out on three days and is therefore shorter than the other two months), 17 in August, and 17 in September. I’m at 25 right now. I would say that I am ahead of the pace.

Not bad, Robert. Not bad at all. The question is, can I keep it up? We shall see, Robert. We shall see.

Car music in the morning. It’s a moral imperative.

Music… kinda stalled

I haven’t had a lot of time for music over the last few days. I’ve snuck in two new song ideas but that’s all. I have three songs ready for vocals so maybe if I get that done in the morning it will kick start things a bit.

I have 13 songs mixed and another 12 in progress. I’m so far ahead of the minimum pace that it’s nuts.

Rock and roll, eh?

Dusty Hill

Dusty Hill, the bass player from ZZ Top died. I cannot say that I was ever a ZZ Top fan, but I can say that I have been thinking about them a bit lately.

ZZ Top to me was the awful cartoonish characters from the ’80s. The beards, the terrible videos, the over produced synthed up crappy songs. I had no interest at all. The small number of earlier song that I knew were okay. Tush (which Lizardfish was playing when I joined), and Cheap Sunglasses were good songs. There were a couple of others that I liked too. They were really just a blues band, which might be why I was so put off in the 80s, but I think maybe they were a little too Texas and not enough Chicago for me. I never really thought of it that way before, but that might be exactly it.

Over the last few months I have been wondering to myself if I should go and give their first few records a try. The main reason being my recent obsession with cool guitar gear. That’s kind of embarrassing to say out loud, but there it is. ZZ Top’s guitar player, Billy Gibbons, is a Les Paul guy. He’s known for playing a 1959 Standard that he named Pearly Gates (apparently after the car he was driving when he went to pick it up? Is that true?). Seymour Duncan sells a set of pick ups called Pearly Gates that are supposed to be cloned from the PAFs in Gibbons’ Les Paul. Hearing other people talk about his guitar and the gear based on his guitar, and knowing that they weren’t absurd comic characters in the 70’s, and also knowing that the band existed for over 50 years without ever having a line up change (which is pretty amazing), has been making me think that their first 2-3 records might be worth a listen.

And then yesterday it was announced that Dusty Hill died. I gave Cheap Sunglasses a spin in the car on the way to work today in his memory. There was a quote from Billy Gibbons saying that Hill wanted the band to continue without him and they will honor that request. So I guess they will finally have that line up change after all. Maybe I’ll give Tres Hombres a spin today too. Maybe it’s worth it for this Chicago (albeit via London) blues fan to dip his toe into some Texas for a bit.

Rest in Peace, Dusty Hill. Someday when my band gets back together I’ll see if they want to play Cheap Sunglasses.

Don’t Wanna

I don’t want to go to my parents house tonight. I don’t wanna go I don’t wanna go I don’t wanna go.

*sigh*

My brother was there last night and he had a rough time. Not for the usual reasons though. There was a power line down just a little way down the road from the house. I heard it actually caused a fire. Power was out for hours. That means no air conditioner. No fan. No wifi. Hell, in other words. Mom’s pain went bad right after the power outage started too, just to make things worse.

Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease don’t let things go that bad for me tonight.

I got six hours of sleep last night, which is okay, but there was a full hour of being awake stuck into the middle of it all. That means I’m tired today. I’m feeling all the stress. Even the stress that I normally manage to keep at bay. It’s all hitting me right now and I haven’t even left the house yet. Shit.

I don’t have any 50/90 music ready to be worked on tonight. I can’t play guitar there, and everything that has guitar and needs vocals already has the vocal parts written. If I’m to get any work done it’s going to have to be new bass lines. Oh well.

I’m tired and I’m stressed and I just want to go to bed for 18 hours or so.

Lunch Break

I’m in the office today. I need to come in four times this month and today makes three. I have Thursday penciled in as the fourth visit.

Last time I came in everything on my desk had been moved around. I assume it was the cleaning staff. This time everything was where I left it. That’s nice to see. I told myself that I had to get a mouse pad before I came back and then completely forgot. The desk is arranged in such a way that there is a seam right where my mouse wants to be. It’s annoying. A mouse pad will fix it… if I can just not forget to grab a mouse pad. I ordered one on Amazon today. Read the first paragraph and then try to guess what day it’s scheduled for delivery… go on… guess. (Thursday)

I had no traffic this morning. Well, almost no traffic. There was a slow down at the junction between routes 93 and 128. Other than that, and one lady who was tailgating me at 70 miles per hour (asshole), the commute was easy as can be. Here’s hoping the same thing happens on the way home. Fingers crossed.

I didn’t forget my lunch today! Will wonders never cease? I did buy a bag of Peanut M&M’s from the vending machine though. Not my finest hour.

Last week my sister was unable to cover shifts at my parents house, so my brother and I just alternated days. There was a whole week where I slept at my house one day and at theirs the next. Today is the first day since that started that I won’t appear at the house in Tewksbury at all. I love my parents. I really do. I’m also very happy to have a day where I am not there. It’s such a stress relief. I’ll be there tomorrow night and all day Wednesday though, so let’s not get all kumbaya and shit.

This morning, before work, I looked at posts on this page made on July 26ths in past years. Last year there was a post talking about my progress in the 50/90 challenge. I had six songs finished and 17 songs in the pipeline. I am crushing that pace right now. Today I have 13 songs finished and 23 in the pipeline. Winning. I wonder how far along I was in 2014 (the other year I completed the full 50 songs)? Who cares.

This weekend is a Harry weekend. This is a good thing. That is a happy thing.

Okay, back to work.

Headphones

Why did I put two pairs of headphones into the bag of stuff I took to my parents house for my nana sitting shift?

On the left we have a pair of AirPods Max that Harry loaned to me. They sound awesome and are great for everything I use headphones for on my computer, iPad, or iPhone… with one glaring exception.

They are bluetooth and bluetooth has one huge drawback. It is slow. Incredibly slow. The lag is ridiculous. Watching video or listening to music is fine but actually recording music… no way. Too much lag. As the track is recording you are hearing and playing as much as a full beat after where the computer is actually playing. When you listen back everything is grotesquely out of time. Bluethooth headphones are absolutely useless for recording purposes. Hence the second pair, which actually plugs in.

So when I watch a video (like the episode of The Flash I just watched… Covid protocols are doing season seven no favors), or when I mix a song (like the one I posted last night) or when I’m listening to music or a podcast, I’m using Harry’s AirPods Max. When I am recording something, like the guide track for the melodies I added to two songs earlier, or the bass and drums I added to a new song idea, I am using the cheap little Sony things that I bought at the Orlando Airport a couple of years ago.

How’s that for a fascinating blog post, huh? You learn so much when you read my brain farts. You’re welcome.