Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Even Relaxing is a WIP

No, not a whip.  It's that.  But it's a Work In Progress.  Got the sound stuff nailed down, and got a track down, so I continued to the next song.  So I thought I had a formula or a way to get the bones down so I could do the details after.  But then the mixer started acting up and every recording I did after that had audio issues.

Recording stuff to a tape recorder was so much easier.  Get the room situated, do a couple sound checks, then BOOM you're off to make an album.  Not anymore.  This mixer I have is good, but the software is confusing, and there is something wrong somewhere between the mic and the recording.  When it's being recorded it sounds good, but then there are a lot of illogical issues. 

So, I've gotten the techie part down for the most part, but until this troubleshooting gets done, that's it for the songs.  And at 4 in the afternoon, I'm not going to go down that rabbit hole.  I have something to cook and a movie to watch with the gals.  Tomorrow morning it'll be time to tackle this beast again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Little Time Off

I took some planned time off for the next few days.  It's the first planned time off since last June, and it feels really good to just let go.  As of late, I've been on a bit of a mission to do things differently.  It's partially a Lent thing, and partially a personal thing.  I've dealt with minor health issues all year, which make me cautious to try and conquer the challenges I've set personally.  Last year I permanently lost 10 pounds. Give or take the day-by-day stuff, I'm averaging 172 instead of 182.

This year I'm going to try losing 5 more as an average weight.  That's just one goal I have among many. 

But back to having time off.  It's always been nice to take some time off to recharge, and it doesn't always turn out to be a recharging time.  But the last one was, and this one is turning out to be the same.  Today I did some casual errands, and it felt like i was 21 again, just casually driving around and getting little things done.  It was healthy and fun.  I got a haircut yesterday and went out into the world and put a smile on this morning.  It's refreshing to not be in a hurry, and be nice to random people. 

On weekends I do a little house cleaning because I find it relaxing.  I am doing laundry and dishes today, and later on I'm going to make my chili dog recipe.  (That'll be a future post for sure, if anyone wants to know how to make the perfect chili dog.) After that, I'm going to do something I heard Robert Jordan did one time while writing a novel.  To prepare for this recording session, I'm going to nail down the details of recording it well. Rumor has it Robert Jordan got a hotel room years ago, and closed everything off so he could concentrate on his work.  With a few days off, I am going to spend some time getting the sound right and preparing everything, so that the recording part is fun and easy.

The type of music I do requires a lot of spontaneity and randomness, and so long as the technical stuff is nailed down, everything else should be a breeze.  In years past, it was as simple as getting a tape in a tape recorder and getting the room right.  To make it sound professional is another thing entirely.  Beck once remarked that recording an album meant that everything has to be perfect.  Anything that sounds a bit off had to be redone. 

Another idea I have about recording a full album and making it sound good comes from none other than Abraham Lincoln. "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." 

So, preparation first, recording later.  I'm not promising Celine Dion quality recording, just plenty of goofy fun that sort of sounds acceptable.  We'll see what happens.

I just want to have some fun musically and go on a creative adventure, in the goofiest, silliest way possible. 

For now, I'm just enjoying the first planned time off I've had in nine months.  And it sure is a relief.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dr. Tissue - New Album

I'm currently working up a new Dr. Tissue album.  It's been awhile since The Plaid Album, and I've come up with a few new ideas since then, as well as a surprising change in style.  10,000 Lakes to me is a bit formulaic musically, and creatively right now I'm all about doing things different.  The Dr. Tissue thing has always been something where I can shift gears and try new stuff, so that's where I'm going musically.  It's looking like April or May for this album release, and I'll share more details as they become available.  All I can say is it's going to be different, and plenty weird and goofy as always.  Till then... expect the unexpected.  Or don't expect the expected. Or play chess with your refrigerator and then get someone to dress up like Millard Fillmore or a Stormtrooper. Then play basketball and do some calculus. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Beginning To This Bloggy Thing

So here goes the first full blog post on my page.  It's a freewrite of life right now, and it's stuff I'm willing to share with you, the reader.  My goal is to write something that is personal, but not too personal, something I can share with anyone and feel comfortable doing so.  Apologies if it seems like I'm inching into a cold swimming pool.  I will probably have like three people or so ever read this, but I'm treating it in such a way that the whole world can see if it so chooses. So...

March 5, 2014

I'm currently experiencing a great deal of changes, disappointments, and uncertainty in life at the moment.  On New Year's Day, I resolved to have a better year this year than in 2013.  I remember experiencing the same feelings in 2007.  In 2006, I quit a job I had no heart for in order to find my place in a more stable career.  Within a two week period in '06, I landed a menial job in an industry I would become successful in, one of my old friends lost his wife, and I found out my wife was pregnant.  So, for 2007, I hoped for smoother times.  In that year, there was growth for me as a person, but there were costs - my stepsister passed away in her 20s, and I was laid off my newfound job in a newfound career during Jamie's pregnancy (in the hospital room I read up on how to be successful in an interview... I still had a job but it had an end date.) Three weeks after my last day I came back as a temp and got on full time until a layoff later that year.  Then there were family issues over the next year, which to me were unnecessary and unfortunate.

I suppose my prayer and desire for this year is to get past 2013.  '13 was a really tough year for me and for Jamie.  Early in the year, our neighbor across the street passed away from cancer.  In his younger days he lived in West Texas and actually went to school with my dad.  He always had a story to tell, and at times he would walk his grandson to school while I walked Grace to school, and we would talk about life.

2013 brought a great deal of death to the forefront in my own life.  My aunt Carolyn passed away from cancer not too long after my neighbor passed.  On the morning of Grace's Kindergarten graduation, she got a call from her mom with the news her aunt Katie passed away.  Katie was a very wonderful person.  She had endured years of mental illness after suffering abuse. But she was always kind and uplifting and very forward about life.  She wasn't afraid of anything and her presence was always a good experience.

Another thing that happened in 2013 was the fire.  Jamie's parents lost their home in a fire last year, and to this day they're still recovering and putting the pieces together.  That is another story altogether, and all I can say is I hate that it happened.  Before the fire, Jamie's dad and I spent almost two months repairing my truck, while I borrowed my mom's car which she wasn't using much of at the time, so it worked out.

I had a chance to go to a family reunion last June, which was a pleasant time, and an escape from things, but Jamie and Grace didn't go with me so it wasn't a family trip.  I was kind of sad about that. I took a lot of pictures though.. the reunion was pretty good, and the time in Arkansas was good too.  But it was also a reminder of the fragility of life.  I went to the bookstore in Mountain View, and had a couple of great conversations with the bookstore owner.  We talked about spirituality, and hemp, and deep thoughts about our place in this universe. 

I also visited Grandma... her memory was going and I could tell it.  Several visits to the nursing home there in town, I could tell.  I always love visiting her in the summer, and loved living there way back when.  But this time was different, her hearing wasn't so good, but what really disoriented her was that she couldn't see.  She got shingles a few years back and it affected her vision tremendously.  So in her nursing home room, there was this teddy bear connected to a string that when she pulled it, got the attention of the nurses and caretakers.   Imagine four bare walls, not being able to hear good or see good, and a teddy bear lightswitch.

It was disheartening, and a reminder that all this is temporary, but it was to me personally, a shocking lesson in the fragility of life, similar to many other hints and lessons I've learned before.

At the end of the year, I realized that life has a funny way of taking things out of a person, dashing dreams and hopes, and shaking down a person to a point where only the important and deep things matter.  Small things, small desires and wants are simply that.  And happiness doesn't always have to come from achievement or reaching goals or blazing trails.

So my New Years' resolutions had a lot of those elements, but what I really wanted from the new year was a better understanding of how to accomplish them.

Two months and some change into it, I'm humbled to a place where all that matters is love and peace and hope for others.  My boss's boss has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is an excellent and kind person, and someone you hope would never have to face something like this. 

An old friend of ours (Jamie's and mine) recently found out she has an advanced stage of Hodgkins' Lymphoma.  She is someone who is the picture of health, she's a personal trainer and has completed over fifty marathons. 

2014 hasn't been friendly either. It is really disheartening to know that two wonderful people in my life have been handed out such a shitty hand of cards.  I just found out today my dad's knees are both shot and he's due for a knee replacement or two.  What is it with honorable people getting knocked down? 

It frustrates me to experience this, and there are so many other good people I know that have been faced up to some sort of life-threatening challenge, if not deadly, at least disabling.  I have so many examples of this, I can't possibly list them all here. 

Life is challenging, and I've learned it's a little disingenuous to expect a "good year," in the sense that many more good things happen than bad things.  A good year to me now means learning something, getting ahead of the bad things that can be managed, and doing something that benefits others and is kind of fun.  There is no fantasy world on this earth that allows for an uninterrupted series of positive events.

So it seems to me that a better year consists of being there for people when you're needed.  Being an ear when you don't have any advice (like with the recent layoffs,) being the comedy relief in a world that's way too serious, and loving those we still have, because there are so many people facing their own mortality. Young or old, those are the ones that need our time. 

If this is what 2014 expects, then I hope I get it right.  There's so much uncertainty all around, so all that matters is doing the right thing.
Well, here I am!  Let's see where this thing goes, k?


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