I Broke My Voice

I am not sure what I did, but my voice is definitely broken. I worked through half of one song this morning but there weren’t any real high notes so I was able to reach everything, it was just a little off key and I felt like I was struggling. I stopped for the day the first time I hit a part that was even a little bit high and I could not physically get to it.

Was I just tired? Was there something wrong? Does it matter? Back at it tomorrow, right?

Then I was driving to my mothers for a visit and I put some U2* up on the ol’ iTunes and as I tried singing along to Sunday Bloody Sunday it became clear that it wasn’t just a bad morning. It’s like the top of my range was reduced by 75%. I was fine if I stayed low, but as soon as something high came on… toast.

So in summation, there will be no car music for a couple of days while my pitch pipes rest up.


*Harry was watching an episode of Friends the other day and a U2 song was playing in the background and it just sent me straight down the rabbit hole. I know Joshua Tree is one of the biggest albums in history but I am still really disappointed by it. I loved the four records they made before it, but I just didn’t like Joshua Tree. War and The Unforgettable Fire might be among the best albums I’ve ever heard, I listened to my cassette copy of Live Under a Blood Red Sky so many times back in the early 80s that it was stretched and mangled, and Actung Baby is a friggin masterwork… but Joshua Tree? Not for me.

Despite that, I almost never find myself listening to U2. I think this might be the first deep dive I’ve taken in the music streaming age. I was happy to see deluxe editions of all of my favorite records, and thrilled to finally hear the original studio version of 11 O’Clock Tick Tock.

Thankfully Europe is Big

I spent my lunch hour reading up on the situation in Ukraine. Once again it’s really hard to tell which reports are real and which reports are propaganda or misinformation. It sounds like “Russian warship, go fuck yourself” is real. I don’t think the ghost of Kyiv is real though. Despite how much I want it to be real.

I was a good student in Junior High and High School Geography classes. The map of Europe looked massively different back then, but even if it didn’t I never saw a map that was drawn to scale so distances are all hypothetical, know what I mean?

There’s a war going on in Eastern Europe. Bellana is in Western Europe. She’s not anywhere close to the conflict, is she? How far is it from The Netherlands to the Ukraine?

Google Maps. I searched for a route from her school to Kyiv. It’s a 21 hour drive. I wasn’t nervous about it at all, and yet I am still feeling a serious sense of relief. Irrational, yes, but when is anything to do with war rational?

Western Europe needs to keep my step daughter safe. Good work so far. Keep it up.

Absent Minded Doof

Two things.

First. On Wednesday the dietician told me to wait an hour after eating before having anything to drink. Three hours later I am sitting at my desk having lunch and the minute I was done eating I was guzzling a water bottle. I was still gulping water when I realized what I was doing. Like… dude… she just told me! Yeah, that one is going to take some getting used to. I managed to do it right all day yesterday, but come on. The first day!

Second. I’ve been using the CPAP machine every night since, what… early 2019? Years. Literally years, plural. Like… multiple years! Every night! The only exceptions being nights where I was sleeping in a room that the CPAP machine wasn’t in. I can probably count them on one hand. Last night at 11:00ish, I put down my iPad and curled up in bed and went to sleep. I woke up an hour and a half later and thought that it was weird to wake up that quickly. I woke up again at a little before 3:00am and realized I never put the damn CPAP machine on. It was sitting on the table next to the bed looking all lonely and dejected and ignored. Years! I’ve been doing it for years and I just plain forgot last night. I even woke up without it on and it didn’t register! What the hell, Robert? Years!

In other news, February is continuing its theme of being a dick. I think we’re up to three instances where a super warm day was followed a day or two later by a legitimate snow storm. It was in the mid 60’s on Wednesday and today, two days later, we’re getting a foot of snow. Nice. Way to be a dick, February.

In other news that is actually important to the future of human civilization, I am sad to realize how little I know about Ukraine. They were a Soviet Republic and an American fascist tried to use them to rig the 2020 election and got off scot free because the United States government is broken and getting close to the point where it’s not worth saving anymore. I thought they were to the South of Russia but when I looked at a map I realized everything I thought I knew about Ukraine was probably actually about Georgia. Wikipedia just confirmed that. I thought Eduard Shevardnadze was the first post-Soviet president of Ukraine, but he was president of Georgia. Shit.

I keep reading stories about heroic stands by the Ukrainian army. They took back a city, they took back the airport in Kyiv. Things like that. Every time I read something good I try to find reports to back it up and I always find one report confirming and one report confirming the opposite. In the age of instant knowledge, I really hate not knowing what’s going on.

I have a huge confirmation bias regarding this war. It’s Russia. The superpower that stood against us for all of those years. The only nation that could match our massive military machine. How can Ukraine fight them off? It’s impossible, right? Then I try to convince myself otherwise. The Soviet Union I was so afraid of is gone. Sure, Russia retains most of that might, but Ukraine was a Soviet state too. They were part of that military. Who knows, maybe they were a bigger part of it than I realize. I’m wrong about everything else so why not that too? Then I read that the US government expects that Ukraine will fall within days. Damn it. Sometimes, not often, I hate being right.

Ukraine

I haven’t had much chance to keep an eye on what’s going on in Ukraine today. It’s almost all bad news. Russia hit them from three directions and attacked a handful of major cities. As usual, it’s impossible to tell what is real information and what is propaganda from one side or the other.

I know the West put some serious economic sanctions on Russia and apparently their markets have had a seriously bad day. I know there have been major anti war protests in Russia even though I believe it’s illegal. How much of that is real and how much is misdirection? I don’t know. I saw a few headlines about Ukrainian forces driving Russian forces out of a couple of towns. I really like the sound of that but at the same time, that reeks of propaganda.

This is literally my worst fears of my early teens coming to life in front of us. Russia invading their neighbors. Granted back then Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union so now Russia is just trying to get back to the good old days? Didn’t Putin used to work for the KGB? Or was it GRU? something like that.

I like to think of myself as a pacifist. I don’t know if I qualify, or if maybe I have too much of a temper. Who knows. I am against war in general and the last thing I would want is to see us pulled into something that gets my fellow Americans hurt. Having said that though… have we considered inviting Ukraine to join NATO today? That’s what this is about, right? One of Putin’s demands was that NATO agree to never offer membership to Ukraine? What would happen if the entire might of the Western world showed up in Ukraine tomorrow? I actually know the answer to that question. The answer would probably be Russian nukes.

Fucking Russia.

Distract Me

I want to be able to set up my guitar rig to run two amplifiers at once.  I need an A/B/Y switch with a phase inverter and a ground loop lift.  This looks perfect.

I want to be able to record one of the band’s upcoming shows.  I had a method in place to record rehearsals on two tracks for stereo.  One mic on the bass amp, one on the guitar amp, two on the drums.  We already had three vocal mics, but at practice I was just taking the mono out of the PA head to cover all three voices.  I don’t want to record a gig that way.  I want to record each mic onto it’s own track so that I can mix it later.  That means I need to find a way to get seven separate audio tracks into GarageBand (or maybe Logic?) simultaneously.  That means I need a new USB interface that can handle more than two inputs.  This looks perfect.

I want to learn a new programming language.  My wife and I are thinking that Ruby would be a lot of fun to learn.  I am going to set up Ruby school a couple of nights a week and we are going to learn it together.  Before we start though, we need a text book to work through.  O’Reilly usually publishes great programming books.  This might be perfect.

There are good, healthy reasons for me to want to do all of these things, as well as many more.  I want to better myself.  I want to learn new things.  All good reasons.

There’s one other reason though…

If I am working on projects like this, I won’t be thinking about how our fascist president has attacked two countries during his three months in office, and now he’s threatening to attack a third, and moving troops to face off with a fourth.

If I’m mixing a recording of the band, I won’t be thinking about how the world is about to end.