K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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Wed, July 1, 2020

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THERE'S "ASTROTERPH" ON THE FIELD:
My Music
Song number 5 finished
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON

Last night I started and finished the mixed-master of the instrumental "Astroterph," as far as I can tell at the moment. I had forgotten that when I digitized the recording I had done so in mono as opposed to the rather limited stereo that the 1983 rehearsal was recorded in on the bombox that sat in that bedroom. Thus my mission last night was to first, enhance the overall sound, give it some dynamics, and, second, make it into simulated stereo.

To get the mock stereo I duplicated the one mono track several times then cut different spectrums from each individual track to limit each to one of just the low bass frequencies, the treble frequencies, or the mid-range frequencies. I then assigned each track to it's own spot on the stereo pan: all the way left, mostly left, middle, etc. One track which is the full frequency dynamic is all the way right, a little lower in volume, and has reverb added. The end result doesn't make for great stereo seperation, but there is a more vital sound and feel to it than what we started with.

And I'm 99% sure I am not going to go back in and tweak anything......

.....Well.... 90% sure, 75% at the lowest.

And, yes, I DO know that it's really spelled "AstroTurf." It's called: Poetic license.

July 2, 2020 addendum: I failed to mention that I used an earlier remaster of "Astroterph" as background music for a promotional trailer for a DV movie for a 2007 DTG production of the one-act, The Sandstorm, by Sean Huze.



WORKING ON SITE icon
WORKING FROM HOME icon
COVID-19
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In the circulation area in the main lobby of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library

No change in the work days for the rent-payer. Still working two days a week on-site at the library and usually three days off-site -- usually at home, and usually on the front terrace at my apartment. This week I'll only log two days working from home, Monday and today, since the University is observing Independence Day this Friday, so I have the day off as a paid holiday. Worked yesterday on site and will again tomorrow. Monday and today, I again suffered on that terrace.

As I look at the national and local developments with the pandemic, I don't think it's unreasonable to anticipate that I might be still working at home a considerable amount of my workweek into the cold weather that won't as easily permit my cozy little outside office space.
The same ol' same ol' at the work-from-home office space. But, today, some slightly different POVs for the camera angles.
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DOMESTICITY:
etectera

Some photography -- an attempt at "artsy photography," very certainly of an amateur class.
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Thu, July 2, 2020

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My Music
Song number ? in progress
Last night I sat down with the Yamaha keyboard and began to figure out the chords to that song I wrote in my head last year. The song is in G major, for anyone who is interested. I thought about putting it in G♯ (or, A♭, I'm never sure which key designation takes precedence). I may still put it in that key, whichever identifier is correct.

I'm also contemplating modulating (i.e.: changing) the key for a section of the song. I'm going to at least give that a try and see how I like it. Most likely I'll use a key transition chord (one that is in tune in both keys). The song could use a few extra chords between vocal phrases, too.

The name of the song, by the way, is "You Don't Know What You Want." Note that I have designated it here as Song #?, rather than Song #5. That's because this one will need guitars -- at least one acoustic guitar, if not more, and a player who can lay a decent electric guitar solo. This one will have to wait to be recorded when I can use other musicians more easily. So, I don't know the chronology of when this one gets recorded.

Sitting at my Yamaha PSR-180, finding the chords for "You Don't Know What You Want." I didn't bother to drag out the Williams Legato III keyboard since all I was doing was identifying the chords in the progression that I heard in my head last year when I was composing the song.
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JEFFERSON & ADAMS, by Howard Ginsberg -- at X*ACT: Xenia Area Community Theatre
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Amy Taint as Abigail Adams
-- also, our director
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Mike Taint as Thomas Jefferson
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K.L.Storer as John Adams

A few photographs were taken of the X*ACT staged reading of Howard Ginsberg's Jefferson & Adams, last Friday evening at Caesar Creek Vineyards.

Here are three, each featuring one of us three cast members.

The quality of the photos, especially of us two men, is not amazing, but, here are the photos, in any case.



Fri, July 3, 2020

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Sketch of Thmoas Jefferson, standing next to a desk, with the words: "'Crap, that's due tomorrow?' -- Thomnas Jefferson, July 3, 1776."



Big Heart emblem HEALTHWISE ICON HIKING ICON

After I was done working on-site yesterday at the rent-payer, I did a little hiking right there on campus at the Wright State University Biological Preserve, which is a little more than 200 acres of forestry, on the northeast side of campus, between the university and the Nutter Center.

There is a young meandering stream in that wooded area, and honestly, I was surprised to find many parts of it with low levels, considering that we've recently had a lot of rain.

Regardless, I got a nice hike in, and then when I got home to take my blood pressure, which I always do after any exercising, looking at my records of my BP, etc., I realized I had not hiked, or done any real exercise for two weeks! I also have realized that I haven't done any sort of weight lifting since early March. Boy do I need to eliminate these lapses!

Well, here are some photos from yesterday's hike:

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It's difficult, if not impossible, to tell, but the large green area in the lower left of this photo is the meandering stream reflecting the green from the tree leaves overhead.
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One of the paths out of the preserve that opens toward the Nutter Center.
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I hiked through the preserve and exited on the Nutter Center side, then walked around the forest, back to campus. ere is the preserve as seen from the side of the campus that Colonel Glenn Highway.
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View of the preserve from the nearest parking lot to it.
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The WSU Creative Arts Center (CAC), as I walked back around to my car. Some really great theatre instructors do and have taught within those walls, some of them being: Bruce Cromer, Jennifer Joplin, Joe Deer, Jake Lockwood, to name just a few that I know and all who greatly impress me.
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There's that place known as my rent-payer.



INDEPENDENCE DAY

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244 -- If we are to make 245 there's much to do -- November 3 is paramount'


Sun, July 5, 2020

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HOW I SPENT THE FOURTH OF JULY:
HIKING ICON
COVID-19

The plan was to hike at The Narrows Reserve in Beavercreek, a little over fifteen miles south of my place. I haven't hiked there in something like twenty-five or thirty years. However, when I got there, the parking lot was full. Even before COVID-19 that would have been my cue to abort, but there was no way I was going to risk hiking in a park that was packed so. Plus, there was literally no place to park legally.

I decided to try Sugarcreek Metropark in Bellbrook, another eight miles south. It's been even longer since I've been there; my last visit there was a family outing in the mid-70s. Where Sugarcreek wasn't a ghost-town by any means, yesterday, it wasn't packed either. I did cross paths with other hikers but the distancing was mostly followed.

I say "mostly followed" because there were a few times that distancing was challenging. I had a couple times when younger folk, twenty-somethings, did not keep the distance. Both times it was a guy and a gal, and both times it was the guy who ignored the protocol. I made sure to swiftly pass them both times. Another incident involved a small group of folk, perhaps family, who were gathered in a group at a turn in a path, blocking the pathway. When I approached they made no attempt to give me a safe distancing for passage. They didn't even in fact acknowledge that I was there. Fortunately, there was a small path right before the turn that bypassed it to the other side of the group. It was a little overgrown and there were a couple small branches laying across it but it was usable. As I emerged on the other side there was at least one member of the group who recognized what had just happened and apologized to me. The rest of the group still seemed oblivious. I think this says a lot about why this country is in the current dilemma concerning COVID-19.

Otherwise, the park was worth the visit and will be worth the future visits I'll make there. I hiked for at least two hours and did not cover all the trails. I think I may have covered about half, or maybe not even that much. I don't remember it being as elaborate or as developed in the 70s. Either I missed a lot of what there was to offer back then, or the park has been greatly developed in the last four decades, the latter not at all out of the question.

Later in the day, after the hike and then dinner, I hopped over to Young's Jersey Dairy, in my own "neck of the woods," for a vacation ice-cream cone. There, the coronavirus compliance problem was that almost no customers wore masks. There was myself, one other customer that I saw, and the Young's staff wearing masks. Again, I see this as pointing to why the U.S., and my particular area of Ohio, are not controlling COVID-19.

But I kept myself safe from these unwise people. And, here are some photos from my Fourth of July hiking day:

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When I left my apartment to drive to The Narrows I could have taken a direct route, primarily on a major highway. But, nah, I decided that a nice rural drive seemed the better way to go. Then the subsequent drive from The Narrows to Sugarcreek Metropark was just as much a country-roads drive.
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It may be kind of hard to tell here, but this is a very sharp turn in a path.
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As I trekked the slate shale creek banks I thought to myself that it'd be cool to run across a snake. Then I did. It was an aquatic snake of some sort. I think it's a Common Watersnake (aka: Nerodia sipedon).
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Not too terribly long after the snake encounter I came across several tadpoles that looked to be just on the brink of sprouting their legs. They were probably each about two to three inches long. Honestly, I would have thought that by July they'd have been frogs already. If you look closely, I think the third one indeed has its legs sprouting.
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My vacation ice-cream cone at Young's: a scoop of coffee on top, butter-pecan in the middle, and chocolate on the bottom, in a waffle cone.



Tue, July 7, 2020

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Picture of Ringo Starr in cncert, holding a mic to his moiyth as he sings, with the words surrounding him -- "Happy 8TH RINGO"


Wed, July 8, 2020

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PLAYWRIGHT WORK:
The Writer icon
Final Draft 11 icon

As I gear up to delve into draft number 5 of the stage play manuscript, I decided I needed to add some things to the story bible up to at least the point in time when the play takes place, the early 80s. It's really simply so that I, or rather, the characters, can make a couple small, almost vague references, but I want there to feeling of depth for me as the writer as well as for there to be the safeguard of continuity for other works that will take place in this universe -- if there's ever a reference to these same things, or if they end up a part of a relevant plotline.

Of course, adding these entries, these facts, to the bible led to me seeing other things in the bible that needed attention -- several of those things being the addition of some minor characters who may, or may never, be a part of anything, or even mentioned. But, as I've argued before, it makes the universe more concrete, more real, to me, the author, the lord of that universe.

Actual opening of Final Draft and revising will be happening soon. Later today would be good, although it has occurred to me that I probably need to get on that damn 2019 tax return stuff, since the deadline is a week from today.

click here to go to the index of the "Playwright Work" blog entries


THE DIRECTOR CHANGED SOME SOUND NEEDS:
FutureFest 2020 at The Dayton PlayHouse.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
In REHEARSAL icon
COVID-19

Last night I attended another of the virtual rehearsals, on Zoom, for Kevin Cirone's The Good Deli, one of the three FutureFest 2020 plays that will be presented via streaming, and, of course, for which I have done the soundwork.

I was able to play the sound cues for the cast, when they came up in the script. We mostly didn't play them as cues but stopped when we got to where they belonged and said, Okay, here's the sound of the audience laughing, or whatever the sound effect was. The sound will actually be added into the recorded performances after the fact, like with film or television productions.

As the title of this entry indicates, there were a couple changes made. A sound was cut, a sound was added. Really, since it's the self-same sound effect, what can really be said is that the sound was moved, from the middle of Act 1 to toward the end of Act 2. Director Debra Kent also slight tweaked the timing of a couple cues, as well. All of this is far more relevant to Jason Sheldon, who will edit together the DV movie that will stream.

My work for the show is over. There is another rehearsal tonight, again on Zoom. Then tomorrow night and Friday night the Zoom performances will be recorded. Then Jason will edit a final product from those performances, editing in the sound cues. The next time I see the work, ßit will be the final cut.

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The Zoom rehearsal on my screen. My sound cues, screen left, each opened in Quicktime. That is Ms. Kayla Graham in the Zoom screen on the right.
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If you're going to throw in sound cues, you gotta have the script open....
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....and you gotta follow along.



DUDE, YOU ONLY GOT A WEEK LEFT!:
Tax Time skull and bones ICON
COVID-19

Like mentioned above, that extension of the 2019 tax filing deadline that we were all given is just about to hit us. And as much as I'd like to work on either my play manuscript or on music tonight, I probably ought to start attacking that damend tax return.

July 15 is one week from today. I won't get onto the topic of how I have procrastinated despite the THREE-MONTH extension. But, hey, we know I am not alone, now am I?

I'm a little sad that I won't be filing as an actor for 2019, but, that's the way it goes.



Thu, July 9, 2020

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ODDS & SODS IN A CORNONAVIRUS WORLD:
On a Personal Note icon
COVID-19

WORKING FROM HOME icon
WORKING ON SITE icon
It's difficult to fathom but this is the 17th week that I have been mostly telecommuting into work. That's more than four months. I, the rest of my coworkers at the library, virtually everyone else from the WSU campus, and the significant population of the U.S., not to mention the rest of the world, has been working totally, or mostly from home for now more than one-third of 2020 -- those of us who have been lucky enough to stay gainfully employed.

There has been no change. As the rule, my workweek, now reduced to a 75% workweek, is three days at home, two days on campus. Occasionally that has to be changed up for one reason or another. Next week, for instance, I'll have to be on site, perhaps on a different day than my usual Tuesday or Thursday because a vendor will be stopping in to pick up a shipment of material I have ready for them. When the driver will be there is dependent on his schedule, not mine.

But as a general rule, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I am suffering at my home office on the front terrace of my apartment -- or torturously enduring the outdoors even more intensely in some horrible state park or like location surrounded by hideous forestry. Tuesdays and Thursdays I am roaming an empty, or an almost empty, library.

The university will be opening to some extent in late August. I suspect that I will still be logging work-from-home hours during the week until at least the end of 2020. For a few reasons, the most important being my desire to stay healthy, I am okay with that.


My Civic Duty, My VOTE
It was a little toasty and muggy out yesterday. Still I decided to not work inside. I took that portable desk out onto the terrace and worked from home in my usual "home office." I did, however, take care of one piece of business unrelated to my employment. I addressed an envelope that I then mailed. Inside that envelope was a request form for an absentee ballot for the November 3 general election.

Of course, I can't vote until closer to the election, but I wanted to request the ballot now. The main reason is to ensure I get the ballot in due time. If most people request close to Election Day there will be an overload that could cause some folk to not get their ballot in time. The more who do it earlier the better the chance that a backlog won't interfere with "voter turnout." Even if lots of people requested now, there is plenty of time for any backlog to be dealt with before election deadlines are looming.

And let's face it, with the amount of people who are resisting expert medical opinion about COVID-19, including many in government and even law enforcement, this pandemic is still going to be big-time current news in November. Keeping as many people as possible from having to vote in person on November 3 is probably going to be important.


My Music
I have to say I'm please that I've been actively into music again, maybe not up to my neck, but still, since last November, I've been in there. It feels good to be an active songwriter again, after mostly a long hiatus. I've written three new pieces in the last several months. As recent blog posts have revealed, I finally worked out the chords to one from last year, the one that I composed in my head. For the record, don't be too impressed about this "composing it in my head" stuff, what I composed in my head is not Mozart or Bach or anything. Also, I have a couple ideas bubbling up in my head. Plus, I've arranged and added to the composition of "The Death of the..." and "Memories of the Times Before" from all those years ago.

I believe I've already said this, but, I would not presume that I'm doing anything brilliant with the music, or any of my other artistic endeavors for that part. I'll just adopt the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. philosophy, which I'm also sure I've shared here before:

Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

The only thing is that I would love to be working with other musicians rather than doing it all by myself. I'd love to be working with an actual drummer, rather than using programmed drums from GarageBand. More importantly, a lot the music I want to get to needs guitar players. But right now, we are where we are.


      
also
      

Further on the "My Music" front -- I once heard a public speaker say, "If it's after midnight and it seems like a good idea, it isn't." Whether or not this was a good idea, or not, early, early early this morning, long after I should have gone to bed, I went on-line to Sweetwater and bought another bass guitar. I was really going for a Höfner violin body bass, now commonly called a "Beatle bass" since they were made so famous by McCartney. But the Höfner models in my price range aren't up to snuff. I'll get one when I can afford one worth having.

In the meantime, the bass I just ordered is a good buy. It's an Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst. Epiphone makes great quality guitars at a reasonable price. You five regulars may remember that the bass I bought at the end of last autum is an Epiphone Embassy Pro -- the modern remake of my Embassy Pro from my youth. I guess this makes me an "Epiphone guy." But I digress. Back to reasonable pricing, I got the bass, the hardshell case, a stand, and a strap, all for less than 600 bucks.

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A slightly different angle of me at my horrible home office.
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Addressing the envelope for my absentee ballot request form
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Ready for the mailbox.
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The Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst



Tax Time skull and bones ICON

NOPE ICON Animated Gif Clock from https://www.gifandgif.eu

Hard as it may be to believe, I did not get started on my 2019 tax filing last night as I had planned.

T-minus 6 days, and counting....



Fri, July 10, 2020

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MORE ON THE NEW BASS -- FLATWOUND STRINGS & FOOT PEDALS:
My Music
Portriat oriented photo of the Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst

Here is more regarding the Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst I ordered early in the morning, yesterday.

I believe I mentioned a while back in a blog entry that I wanted another bass so that I could have one with a much different, mellower sound to it. The biggest way to achieve that is by having a bass with flatwound strings rather than roundwound strings. The Embassy Pro came with roundwound strings, which is the standard for electric basses bought from the factory.

Roundwound strings have a brighter, more stinging tone to them. The best example of the roundwound sound is the sound that Yes's late Chris Squire got in his bass. Think of the heavy, prevalent sound of the bass work in "Roundabout," with that almost metallic clang in the notes. Squire, and most other progressive and heavy rock bassists, enhanced the bright, clangy attack of their sound further by using a pick rather than plucking the strings with their fingers, though even using one's fingers, the tone is brighter.

Flatwound bass strings produce a mellower, more "boomy" sound, even when the player uses a pick, though the click of the pick is often audible. Naturally, I'll use Paul McCartney as the quintessential example of the flatwound bass string sound. You can hear it in pretty much the entire Beatles catalogue, as well as most all of Paul's post-Beatle work. One recording that comes to mind as a strong example is "Come Together" off The Beatles' Abbey Road album, but I could also point to "I've Got a Feeling," "Hey Bulldog," or "Get on the Right Thing," to name just three more, and the latter song by Wings. Also, of course, I could point to any random ballad from the Beatles and post-Beatle eras of Paul's carrier. And if you want an example of Paul using roundwounds there's the Wings cut "Let Me Roll It."

The following article at Sweetwater.com elaborates on this issue: "Flatwound vs. Roundwound Bass Strings."

As I wrote in the blog yesterday, I was on the hunt for a Höfner violin bass, made so iconic by McCartney. Thusly, that would be the one I would use with flatwounds, for the obvious reason. My Epiphone Viola Bass is clearly the second-cousin in this concept, and actually the bass I had originally thought about buying, in the first place. So, after I verified that they would fit properly, later yesterday I also ordered a set of La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings. The issue was that the Viola bass scale length at 30.5 inches and the scale length of the 760FHBB strings is 30 inches. The scale length of a guitar is calculated by measuring the distance from the front edge of the nut, where it butts against the end of the fingerboard, to the center of the twelfth fret (aka: the octave fret, the one with the two dots), then doubling that measurement. I wanted to be absolutely sure that the half-inch difference in the scale length would not present a problem. I didn't think it would but I wanted to be sure, so I talked with a Sweetwater sales rep and then put in the order. The strings are on backorder and will not make it to me until probably almost a week after the bass arrives. So we know I'll play with my new toy before it is at its optimum intended musical use.

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The recently recovered bass guitar foot pedals from the 1980s.
Top row (L-R): Boss BF-2 flanger, DOD Bi-FET preamp FX10, & DOD compressor FX80
Bottom row (L-R): DOD direct box 260 & DOD six-band graphic equalizer 660
On another, related "My Music" topic, some of you five who have been to this blog before may know that recently I at least began the task of finally completing the move into my apartment, which started in early 2012, *see June 10, 2020 blog entry. I can't say the task is complete, but the major bulk of the work is finished. A lot of "stuff" was pitched, but, also a lot of stuff that had been packed away in who-knows-what-box was found. In that found category are my foot pedals from my youthful days in a band. They're all over thirty years old now, clearly not state-of-the-art, and I haven't yet tried them out, but I suspect they still work and will be useful. The inventory of the pedals is:

Providing that the pedals function well, which I am reasonably confident they will, between having these out in the air and on the floor, and having a new bass out of the box and in my hands, it's pretty much guaranteed I'll be back to the music project soon. It was already on the front burner, anyway. And, really, the recent working out of the chords for "You Don't Know What You Want" points to me already being back on the project, despite that "You Don't Know What You Want" isn't likely to be recorded anytime soon because I want guitarists involved in recording that one.


Tax Time skull and bones ICON

Animated Gif Clock from https://www.gifandgif.eu NOPE ICON

T-minus 5 days, and counting....



Sun, July 12, 2020

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THE NEW BASS AND ACCOUTREMENT ARE ALMOST HOME:
My Music
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The Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst

Since this pandemic has had me mostly at home, I've changed the shipping address for any Fedex or UPS deliveries to me, from my work address to my home address. My standard practice had been to have them sent to work because I am guaranteed that they will be signed for, since I live alone and was not home most of the time. It kept away from the situation where something expensive was potentially left on my front door for hours, inviting the risk of theft. But since late March, I, like pretty much everyone else in America, have been home most of the time to receive packages.

But I have a weird workweek coming up where I will have some times that I have to be on-site, other than when I usually am, but when will be a play-it-by-ear call. I know I have to be on-site Monday morning, just in case, but as for the rest of the day and then the next couple days, it is up in the air. So I had the bass guitar and the other things I ordered along with it, shipped to work to assure I didn't have big shipping boxes with expansive stuff in them sitting on my front door stoop, calling attention to themselves.

Yesterday I discovered that FedEx had attempted to deliver them at work in the early afternoon (Saturday), but since the dock was closed for the weekend, they will deliver them on Monday. And I'll be on site to go grab the stuff from the dock.

So Monday I'll have the new Epiphone Viola bass, the Epiphone hardshell case for it, a new guitar stand, and a guitar strap. The only thing left for this ensemble are the flatwound bass strings, which will be coming by U.S. mail to my apartment in maybe about a week.


Tax Time skull and bones ICON

DONE


Wed, July 15, 2020

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PLAYWRIGHT WORK:
The Writer icon
Final Draft 11 icon

Monday I waded back into the shallow end of revision, starting draft #5 by cleaning up some language thus making it more concise and beginning to tackle some of the exposition moments. I reworded some things and I cut some information on the decision that the audience doesn't need those details. But I've only just begun.

click here to go to the index of the "Playwright Work" blog entries


THE NEW BASS AND ACCOUTREMENT ARE HOME:
My Music
YaY!
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The Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst

The guitar case, the guitar stand, and the guitar strap were delivered on Monday. For some reason, the bass guitar itself didn't arrive until yesterday. It was kind of odd. All were shipped from the same place and all had the same delivery address, yet for some reason the package with the actual instrument in it got the status of "could not locate recipient" on Monday, when the other two were successfully received.

But it came yesterday. I had the entire order shipped to the rent-payer for the reasons I stated in the July 12 entry above. I have to say that when I got the text from FedEx that the guitar had been delivered, I took a little break from my desk in the office and headed to the dock. When I got the package back to my cubicle, you'd better believe that I opened it up to meet my latest girlfriend.

Thus far I haven't played with it a lot, but I did tune it up and play it some last night. It feels good, the neck and frets are a good fit for me, as has been the case with all my Epiphone basses. I am quite pleased. I can't wait for the flatwound bass strings to arrive so I can get them on the guitar and get it to its planned role as my more McCartney-esque bass.

BUMMER icon
Remember those vintage guitar foot pedals of mine that I found? Remember when I wrote this?: "They're all over thirty years old now, clearly not state-of-the-art, and I haven't yet tried them out, but I suspect they still work and will be useful. "Unfortunately, three of them are not functional. The Boss BF-2 flanger the DOD Bi-FET preamp FX10 and the DOD six-band graphic equalizer 660 are all a bust. I think one big mistake I made, all those years ago, was when I packed them. I didn't remove the 9-volt batteries, but instead left them connected. The male connection on the battery connector heads on all three devices came off, staying locked into the female connections on each battery.

They all have AC/DC current inputs so it seems logical that I can get some AC adapters. The interesting thing is that though the Boss flanger takes a 9-volt battery, the adaptor needs to be 12-volt. The design of the old Boss foot pedals had a buffer that took the 12Vs down to 9V. I tried using the 12V adaptors from both of my Yamaha keyboards, but I could get no power. It may be because they are not the correct type for the pedal -- and there are a lot of nuances to types of power adaptors, and I am woefully unfamiliar with them (read: "ignorant of").

Yeah, for anyone who actually knows me who may read this post, I'm not the one who fosters my image as a "tech guru." Believe me, I am far from it.

I have no 9V adopters so I could not check either DOD pedal that has the battery connector problem. The other powered DOD pedal, the compressor FX80 didn't have this battery connector issue and I was able to get power with a new battery. And the DOD direct box 260 doesn't take power, it's simply an audio impedance converter, so, though I haven't given it a drive around the track, I assume that it still functions. Although we can see how successful my last assumption about the pedals was.

I've done a little shopping on-line for AC adaptors but I haven't made my mind up about whether I want to bother. I've also gone to Sweetwater and window-shopped a few new pedals, mostly digital, of course. I'm finding some interesting things, including the newest model of the Boss flanger, replacements or the other two dead -- or at least coma-stricken -- pedals, and even a newer compressor, despite that the old one functions. Plus, I found a few other pedals that pique my interest, including a guitar synthesizer pedal that works with basses. So, my next move, in terms of the pedals, is up in the air.

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The stand, the strap, the case
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My Epiphone Viola Bass embraced by its case
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My Epiphone Viola Bass embraced by me
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And earlier in the day: When the package arrives, you really just can’t wait until you get it home to open it up. I mean, come on now!
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The family of K.L.Storer bass guitar siblings: setting in guitar stands are the Giannini acoustic/electric bass, the Epiphone Embassy Pro bass, and the newest addition to the family, the Epiphone Viola bass. On the far left, leaning against the lower shelves is my old Epiphone Embassy (1968) -- it needs a lot of work.
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This is what happens to a 9-volt battery connector head when it has had a battery attached to it for more than thirty years



Thu, July 16, 2020

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My Music
After a little consideration I decided I am going to try to salvage the three guitar foot pedals that are currently not functioning. I haven't ordered AC adaptors, however. I went on-line to Radio Shack* and ordered a packet of 9V battery snap connectors (the actual name for what I called "battery connector heads") as well as a packet of butt splice connectors, and we'll see if I can get the pedals up-and-running on 9V battery power.

I don't know that, even if I'm successful, it will preclude me from buying newer models of any or all of the pedals. However, I am keeping in mind that replacing all three with contemporary models would cost between $400 and $500, or more, as opposed to the $15.57 (including tax and shipping) that I spent at Radio Shack to mend the ailing pedals.

*) Yep, Radio Shack is still alive, both on-line and in brick-and-morter. However the closest store to me is in Eaton, Ohio, a good forty-five minute drive. The next closest is in Cincinnati, a good hour's drive. I ain't driving to Eaton or Cincy unless I'm more interested in the scenic route than saving the $5 shipping fee for the $9.50 purchase.



WORKING FROM HOME icon
COVID-19
I was "at work" out on that patio in front of my apartment yesterday, though I was having connectivity problems with my ISP so it wasn't the most productive day at the "home office." Been having this problem for a couple days. They need to get themselves together. Slowdowns and dropped connections just won't due. Probably is not isolated to my ISP, though. There are a lot of people out there telecomuting to work, shopping on line, streaming TV and movies, watching cat videos on YouTube, yadda, yadda, yadda. I still got some work done but the constant interruptions were cumbersome and frustrating.

No selfies of me from yesterday as I bore the sunshine and pleasant rural-ish setting that is my patio home office. But here are a few pics still relevant to my work day, or, well, more-or-less relevant:
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While I was outside, dealing with that familiar horrible nice weather and terrible pleasant setting, just behind me, in my bedroom, my new playmate, my viola bass guitar, was calling me to chuck work and come frolic with it.
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Yesterday there was this butterfly that was attracted to something in my space. I could not shoo it away. Every time I would swipe at it, it would take off then shortly flutter back and land on my laptop, or the desk, or my water bottle, or my arm. Weird.
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The squirrel is not from yesterday but from last Friday. It was in the tree in front of my apartment, which is only about six feet away from my patio. That squirrel, though clearly aware of me, and a bit wary, was not exactly timid, either. A few moments after I took this photo it had come within just a few feet of me. When I went for my phone to get another photo, I spooked it.



Mon, July 20, 2020

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ONCE AGAIN, WORKING EVEN MORE REMOTELY THAN "AT HOME":
WORKING FROM HOME icon
HIKING ICON
COVID-19

For the rent-payer, on Friday, I decided to work on a procedures document for the days work, which meant I didn't need to have access to the internet. That made it possible to go to a place where connectivity was spotty, at the very best, and mostly nonexistent. I went back to work remotely at John Bryan State Park as I did a few weeks ago.

And as I did those few weeks back, I really wanted to get some sun, put a little more of a tan on my arms and legs. But, the sun beating down on my MacBook Pro was overheating it to the point that the fan came on hard and stayed on. It seemed smart to move my picnic table back into the shade from where I had moved it.

Then later, of course, if I was at one of my favorite parks to hike, then when the workday was done there was only one clear course of action. I have to admit it was what I'd call a moderate hike, but still a decent bout of excercise.

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Not a much different set of pictures of me working in a remote office space at John Bryan than the last set at JB on June 19. Different part of the park, however.
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That spot in the shade to where I moved back my picnic table.
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Now begins the scenes from the after-work hike.
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As I've written before, I seem to always run across at least one person lazing in a hammock when I hike beside the Little Miami River at John Bryan.
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In the tradition of the Icelanders, someone has built aa abode for the woodland fairies.
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Another fairy home.
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Might as well stop by Young's Jersey Dairy on the way home. This time, a Brownie Monster. But, never again. The sugar intake was waaaay to rich.



Tue, July 21, 2020

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NEW EQUIPMENT AND NEW SOUNDS ON THE WAY:
My Music

I am still waiting for the La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings I ordered from Sweetwater for my Viola bass. I haven't yet been notified that they have shipped and my credit card has yet to be charged, so I have no idea when they will finally arrive. The impatience to get that McCartney sound on the Viola bass in mounting. But I have other maintenance to do on that guitar along with changing the strings.

A few days back when I was running some practice exercises on the Viola bass, I was getting fret buzz on the eleventh fret of the D string. Fret buzz is, as it sounds, a buzzing when playing a note while fretting a string (i.e.: pushing it down in a fret area on the neck). It usually means that the bass guitar bridge, (well, any string instrument's bridge), is not properly adjusted and the string is setting down too close to the neck. Subsequently at least one fret gives you an unwanted buzzing from the string when fingering the fret space. I've researched exactly how to adjust the bridge, but I am going to hold off doing that until the flatwound strings arrive and I have replaced the current roundwounds with them. I might as well wait.

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Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal
Tools of the Trade icon
Meanwhile, I have ordered a new foot pedal from Sweetwater, a Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal, which I am excited about. I'm looking forward to the direction in sound that this will enable me to move, for the rest of this current music project, as well as future ones.

This pedal is specifically for guitars and bass guitars but you bet your life I'll be hooking that bad boy up to my keyboards to see what can happen. I have a feeling there will be results that I utilize. I'm going to do some experiments with vocals, too. However, I'm not looking for some sort of auto-tune effect. I'm not interested in that. But there may be some cool sounds that can be found using the voice ran through the synthesizer pedal. There may be some great sounds generated that barely sound like a voice, or don't at all, and that possibility interests me a lot.

I also ordered two twin packs of D'Addario angled six-inch patch cords to daisy-chain my several foot pedals together. Any returning readers may remember I have some 9V battery snap connectors and some butt splice connectors on their way from Radio Shack, to replace the damaged snap connectors in my Boss BF-2 flanger pedal, DOD Bi-FET preamp FX10 pedal, and DOD six-band graphic equalizer pedal, all three being legacy equipment from my younger days in the late-70s into the 80s. I'm going the route of attempting repair before the option of replacement.

I'm also homing in on what will be Song #6. It's either going to be a new one that I have yet to write but that I have the bare beginnings of a concept for, or it will be a particular mid-tempo rock song I wrote in the mid-80s. I also realized that when I sweetened the sonics of my instrumental, "Astroterph," that was Song #5. So, now we are on to Song #6. Be prepared for me to report that the synthesizer pedal was used on this next one cool smile icon.



Wed, July 22, 2020

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DAYTON THEATRE GUILD AND THE DAYTON "VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY" EVENT:
COVID-19 VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY
The Guild is participating in a facebook event on August 8, entitled Virtual Art in the City. I'll be producing a couple prerecorded videos for the event, including a tour of the DTG building. On August 8, we will do some live video of performances on facebook. I am not sure if it will be on the Dayton Theatre Guild facebook page or somewhere else, but that will be defined for me in the next few days. I am pretty sure we'll be going live using my iPhone, mostly because I am the DTG facebook administrator so I can easily log on as DTG.

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My "Kevin Smith" dolly truck
For the live stream on the 8th, I've rigged up a camera dolly, ala Kevin Smith, using a wheel chair on-site at the Guild. With some bungy cords, I mounted a solid platform on the seat of the chair, then one of my tripods on that, with my mount-clip for my phone attached to the tripod. The shots are not going to be as smooth as they would be were I using an actual dolly truck with hydraulic stabilizers, there will be a few slight jitter bumps as I move the dolly, but I'll not be getting the sort of shake and jitter that I would from simply doing hand-held shots.

I'll be using one of my HD DV movie cameras to shoot the prerecorded stuff. I also have a treasure trove of footage from when we first moved into the new building, and some footage of us leaving the old building, along with a big collection of stills of both. So we should be able to come up with something interesting.

Here is the event info:

A signature event of the Dayton Power & Light - DP&L Summer in the City, the Virtual Art in the City, a celebration of downtown Dayton’s great collection of visual and performing art, will be held online this year. Join us for the Virtual Art in the City, beginning Saturday, August 8, at noon.

*STAY TUNED FOR MORE DETAILS*

Enjoy downtown Dayton’s VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS scene from your own home!

Featuring
  • Art Demos, Music, & Performances
  • Behind The Scenes with Dayton Artists
  • Interactive, At-Home Activities
  • Juried Art Show
  • Live-streamed Performances & Demos

Check out videos, photos, online galleries and markets, and live-streamed content on downtowndayton.org. Join us as we explore new and innovative ways to be creative together, while apart.

Thanks to our sponsors: Dayton Power & Light - DP&L and Dayton.com

Here's the Save the Date poster:

VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY - SAVE THE DATE


Thu, July 23, 2020

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THE NEW EQUIPMENT AND THE NEW SOUNDS -- TONIGHT!:
My Music

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Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal
Still waiting for the La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings I ordered from Sweetwater for my Viola bass. The package is still on order. The 9V battery snap connectors and butt splice connectors, coming from Radio Shack, also have not shown up yet. But, in other, better news, my order of the Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal, as well as the two twin packs of D'Addario angled six-inch patch cords were delivered to the rent-payer yesterday. I just arrived on-site in the office, about to go on the clock. I'll have the goods in my hands, soon. I do have an appointment this evening, some business that needs attended to, but, I guarantee you I will be playing with the SY-1 this evening, before and after that appointment.

K.L. on Bass
K.L. on Keys
Song number 6 in progress
Last night I started working on the composition of Song #6. So now we know it's going to be the new one for which I've had a concept going on in my head for a little while, just a wisp of a concept, but enough to get me started.

After I had done some woodshed exercises on my bass, using the Viola bass last night, I came up with a bass riff, a run, to set under the verse sections. Then I sat down at the Williams Legato III keyboard to lay some chords over that riff. I don't have any other sections, yet, no chorus, no bridges, or any other changes. Those will come. The rest of the chords will not be matches to a bass riff, from this point forward the bass line will match the further chord progressions. But the bass line under the verses is essentially the foundation of the song.

I have the beginnings of the lyrics, just a few lines. Who knows if what has been written so far will even end up in the song. Some of you five regulars may remember that "Into the Blue Dawn," which I know that none of you have heard yet, had several sets of lyrics before I locked a set in.

Song #6 has the workshop title of "Identity," which I hope will still fit when I am finished writing the song, because I like that title, a lot.


Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
Tonight I will attend a production meeting, via Zoom, concerning the principal photography coming up this weekend, and shooting the streaming performances on August 8th, for the Virtual Art in the City event.



Fri, July 24, 2020

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THE NEW EQUIPMENT AND THE NEW SOUNDS HAD TO WAIT:
My Music
Tools of the Trade icon
DELAYED
BUMMER icon
When I uploaded yesterday's blog post I was most excited and anticipated getting my new Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal into my possession when I got to work on campus yesterday. I was looking greatly forward to getting the SY-1 home, hooking it up and playing around.

Unfortunately, that didn't happened.

Shipping and Receiving was temporarily closed and it looked like I would not be able to get the synthesizer pedal, nor the two twin packs of D'Addario angled six-inch patch cords, into my hands until at least next week. Alas, there was no playtime for me with the SY-1 last night. I called S&R on campus and left a voice message asking when I might be able to get the package. Also yesterday, I spoke to a rep from Sweetwater about my order of La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings, for my Viola bass, and they are still waiting for the order to be fulfilled at their plant.

I am happy to report that campus S&R called me this morning to say that the facility was now open and I could retrieve my package. Despite that today is a "work from home" day, I drove in to campus to get my goods! I'm also happy to report that the 9V battery snap connectors and butt splice connectors, ordered from Radio Shack also arrived in the U.S. mail today at the homestead. Foot pedals are about to enter my musical universe.

It be great to say that I've played with my new toy, but I need some ethical, adult responsibility from time to time in my life. As soon as this post is uploaded, I spend the rest of day, until late this afternoon, actually working from home for the rent-payer.

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My latest: the Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal, and the six-inch patch cords.
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The repair kit: 9V battery snap connectors and butt splice connectors.
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But it all has to be on hold for most of the rest of the day as I work for the rent-payer in my oppressive home office space.

Song number 6 in progress
Maybe I couldn't play with my new SY-1 last night, but I could work on the writing of Song #6, aka: "Identity." I got a really nice, funked-up drum beat going in GarageBand, which is going to work well and drive the song. I actually had a different, a really different, drum beat concept, but when this one materialized in my programming, I recognized it as taking the music where I wanted with a much stronger and more appropriate force.

I had to tweak that key bass line slightly, because of the drumming. I had to add a couple notes to the run, especially since I upped the tempo a little bit, taking it to 120 meters. I also wrote a chord progression for a musical bridge and chords for a chorus section. I may add another section, too.

I don't have the exact structure, yet. I want a whole set of lyrics first, but I have a reasonable idea of the structure. And this one has some key modulations. There are no augmented or diminished chords in it, at least not yet, but there is still a jazzy feel to the chord progressions, especially because of the key changes, but not solely because of them.

The direction this on is going pleases me and I am excited to work on it. Right now I am targeting this as the opening cut on the album. That was the concept I began with, that I wanted a song that both sonically and in terms of lyrical theme would be a strong opener. I am on the right track, I believe.


GETTING READY FOR THE ON-LINE ARTS EVENT:
Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON

Last night I attended the Zoom production meeting for the August 8 Virtual Art in the City on-line event. We'll be meeting in the theatre tomorrow morning for the principal photography of both the introduction video and a tour of the building video. Because of the current COVID-19 sitation and the current Ohio face mask mandate, the committee has made the decision to live stream the August 8th performances via Zoom, with all the actors remote in their own homes, rather than have the actors in the mainstage area at the theatre being shot with an iPhone for a live facebook stream. So the Kevin-Smith rigged camera dolly won't be quit as necessary. I might utilize it tomorrow for something, maybe, maybe not. No worries though, now that I've figured it out, it's added to the arsenal for the future if not for this weekend.



Wed, July 29, 2020

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THE BASS GUITAR SYNTHESIZER, SOME GUITAR REPAIRS, AND SONG #6:
My Music
Tools of the Trade icon
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My first session playing with the SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal

I've had the Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal since Friday, but I haven't sat down with it a whole lot just yet. Over the weekend, then Monday, I had DTG business to attend to that occupied pretty much my entire days -- see the entry below.

Friday evening I did play around with it for a couple hours and I have begun to get a handle on the potential it holds, but just barely have I. I haven't hooked it up to any of my keyboards yet, but I will do that, as I said I would. Also, as I said before, I'm going to see what I can do running vocals through it.

The only bass I ran it through on Friday was the Embassy Pro, I haven't tried it yet with the Viola Bass nor the Giannini. I want to wait before I do such with either, for different but more or less related reasons.

With the Viola bass I want to hold off until I have the La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings on it as well having adjusted the bass guitar bridge. On that subject, I am happy to report that yesterday I got an email from Sweetwater informing me that the strings have finally shipped. The strings are coming through the U.S. Postal Service and the estimated delivery is Friday. The stuff is coming from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, which is a good 135 miles away, and with the current sabotage of the USPS being perpetrated by the current corrupt Postmaster General, I am skeptical I'll get the stuff any earlier than Monday, and I bet later in next week. But, as I like to say, I'll be just fine with being proved wrong about that.

As for the Giannini acoustic/electric bass, as I believe I've written here before, there are some pick-up problems that need addressed. There is an electrical ground hum when a sound chord is plugged in, and I have never been able to get volume on one of the two pick-ups. Fortunately, I have a nephew, Dave, (Dave, or David, Bernard, if you're interested) who is a guitarist and also both repairs and rebuilds guitars. I think it's possible he's built a couple almost from scratch, as well. I'll be dropping the Giannini off sometime soon for him to look at.

I did use the Giannini when I recorded "Icebergs," but I miked it rather than using the pick-ups. Fourteen years back, when I'd had it about a year or two, I also miked it for the closing theme, "Candice Leaves Corinth," for my short movie The Chorus for Candice.

So, once I have both the Viola and the Giannini in proper working order, I'll give them a try in the SY-1. I suspect that ultimately the pedal will be utilized with the Embassy as the rule, anyway.

I also haven't had time yet to repair the 9V battery snap clips on my Boss BF-2 flanger pedal, DOD Bi-FET preamp FX10 pedal, and DOD six-band graphic equalizer pedal. May be something that happens later today. Along with me getting in some woodshed time on my instruments and probably more play time with the SY-1.

Song number 6 in progress
There hasn't been much more done on the new song, "Identity" (aka: Song #6), except for mental work addressing structure, possible arrangement ideas, and other thoughts on where I might go with the further composition of the song. I've done nothing to further the lyrics, there are only two lines of the fist verse and a note with an idea for the next line or lines. Again, perhaps tonight as I am involved in all that other musical stuff, work on the song, musically or lyrically, or both, will be in the mix.


Above I mention that my nephew Dave is a guitarist. I have also approached him about laying some tracks for the current project. There's a strong chance that we'll start with "Identity."

PLAYWRIGHT WORK:
The Writer icon
Final Draft 11 icon
There's been one pass through the whole manuscript for Draft #5. The bulk of the revising has been in Act 1:Scene 2. That is where I am most concerned about awkward exposition. I think I cleaned quite a bit up there but I would not feel confident that I am done. I also tightened up dialogue all through the play. I've just sent a copy of this first pass of Draft 5 to a couple people, unfortunately with a couple typos that weren't fixed until after the copies were sent. Isn't that always the way? Actually, they weren't typos; what they were. were legacy language from before the revision, where, in my haste to move on I missed changing or cutting particular words.

Along with again revisiting that part of A1:S2, I am sure to look more closely at Act 2 in the next pass. I'm sure "Draft #5" is good for a few more passes before I up the draft number.

click here to go to the index of the "Playwright Work" blog entries


THE GUILD IS GOOD TO GO:
Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
Saturday, fellow boardmember Sarah Saunders and I shot the principal photography for the virtual tour for the Virtual Art in the City event. We also recorded the voice-overs for both the introduction, about-us DV movie and the virtual tour DV movie. Both VOs being Sarah. And, for the record, I was able to utilize my Kevin-Smith rigged camera dolly for the shoot.

The two of us then began the editing process on Sunday. First was the arduous task of sifting though all the footage I shot back when we first moved into the Wayne Avenus building through changing it from a gym club into a theatre space. There are also a lot of still photos of that, which I had taken as well. And we had a lot of archival Guild photos to also sift through, those mostly for the introduction DV movie.

We got a start on editing, at the theatre, at least getting the audio (the VO and the underscore music) for the introduction assembled. I finished that one at home Sunday evening. There's no footage in it, it's all a still photo slide show.

My Monday was all about putting together the virtual tour video. It was something like 14 hours for a six-minute DV movie. But now it's all done and uploaded to the Virtual Art in the City server. The next step will be the streaming Zoom performances on August 8, those for which I am not directly involved.

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My best imitation of Kevin Smith.
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Sarah in the greenroom, from the virtual tour DV movie.
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The virtual tour, open in Final Cut Pro X.



Thu, July 30, 2020

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AT LEAST SOMETHING MUSIC-RELATED WAS DONE LAST NIGHT:
My Music
Song number X in progress
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Last night, working a little more on the first draft of lyrics for "Identity."

Of all the possible music related action that might have been taken last night, the only one that was, was writing more of the song, "Identity." I finished the lyrics for the first stanza of the first verse and then wrote the second stanza. All, of course, of the first draft.

I also decided to add a musical bridge that goes into the verse sections, based on some of the verse chords. I think, too, I’m going to significantly alter the bass line under the verses. Originally the chords for the verses were written to lay over the bass run that was the impetus of the song. But for a couple reasons, I think I’ll compose a different bass line under the verse chords, at least when the lyrics are sung. First, it’ll add variety (which will be musically interesting), and just as importantly, if I ever have to sing this thing live, it would be a real bitch to attempt to sing the vocal melody while playing that original bass run. There are many musicians who could do it. If I ever will be one of those musicians, one of those performers, it won’t be any time soon.



Fri, July 31, 2020

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NEW STRINGS, NEW SOUND, NEW EXPERIENCES:
My Music
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So, with the flatwound strings, my Viola bass sounds like McCartney; now if only the player could sound like him!
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The "sliding" bridge on the Ep Viola bass.
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The Ep Viola bass tailpiece.

When I got home from work yesterday, the package containing my La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings for my Epiphone Viola Bass was setting at my front door. The strings are now on the axe. They sound nice and have a good feel on the neck.

I did need to adjust the bass intonation, that action which, believe it or not, I didn't really know much about how to do. I'd looked up some articles and watched some videos on-line already, some that addressed this, but that was in search of how to deal with fret buzz. I had never adjusted intonation before. In the olden days, I always took my bass to a music store and had a tech do it.

One of the things I'd learned from these recent past readings was that with an Ep Viola bass, you want to change the strings one at a time because the bass guitar bridge isn't set into the guitar. It's loose on the guitar and held in place by the tension of the strings. If you take all the strings off, it's possible and quite likely you'll lose the location of the bridge on the face of the guitar, and unless there's a wear spot, it might be a real chore to find that spot again. So, at least I got that right.

One error, though a pretty slight one, that I made was that when I changed the first string, which was the G string, the highest pitch string but the one on the bottom of the neck, also identified as "string #1," I inadvertently grabbed the D (#2) flatwound string and used that to replace the old roundwound G string. Got it all tensioned up and tuned to G. Then I switched out the E (#4) string; all went well. Then I went back to switch out the D string and discovered my error. The use of the D as a G wasn't a problem; it hadn't been on the neck long enough for damage because of too much tension. The possible problem would be that I'd cut the excess length from the top of the string, where it goes into the machine head tuner at the top of the neck -- the knobs the musician turns to tune the strings. As the D string's tuner sets further up the neck than the G string's does, the D string needs to be a little bit longer. My new D string now was at the length for the G string. Fortunately there was still enough length at the top of the D string and it still fit.

Another error, again, minor, occurred when I adjusted the intonation. After changing the strings the guitar was slightly sharp at the twelfth frets (the octave) from the open strings. I remembered that I'd read in a thread at a knowledge-base group that one user suggested to adjust the tailpiece on an Ep Viola first. That might be all that was needed. I had no success doing that. I'd get one string into the proper intonation then when I got another into such, the first one would be off again.

I turned to adjusting the bridge. But I wasn't sure exactly how that would work. I went on-line and found a few articles again, and quite a few YouTube videos, but the videos were not dealing with this loose, "sliding" bridge on the Ep Viola bass. Then I remembered that I'd seen a video, titled "Epiphone Viola Bass Guitar" at the YouTube channel, Dave's World of Fun Stuff, where the dude, Dave, was setting up said bass for someone. I viewed it again and sure enough, Dave showed how to adjust the bridge. It is just as simple as nudging the bridge up or down on the guitar, while there is enough tension on the strings to keep it snug. I was very okay discovering it was that DOH!-obvious rather than to have found, after the fact, that I'd done something detrimental. I am happy to report that I was able to get the intonation set for the Viola! It plays well and sounds great. I am getting both the sound and the feel that I'd hoped for and expected.

Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
K.L. on Bass
As I wrote in an earlier post that I would, now that I had the Ep Viola bass up-and-running, I hooked it into the Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal and played around some. I'm still getting a feel for the pedal. There's a lot to master, a lot to learn, to familiarize one's self with. I'm trying to find a way to use it in "Identity" (aka: Song #6), but I haven't yet discovered how to utilize it in the song. I also, of course, still will try the pedal with my Williams piano as well as both the Yamaha keyboards. Still plan to run a vocal mic though it, too.

What's next? Several things. As for those pedals that need the new 9V battery snap clips, I hope to get to those this weekend. Also this weekend, I'll drop off the Giannini hollow-body acoustic/electric bass with my nephew for him to work on the ground hum and the pick-up volume problems. Plus, there's still finishing the composition of "Identity," and then, of course, recording it. Then it's what song from the past to I reach back and pull up (I have a few titles in mind). Then what new ideas for songs get attention first?

New roundwound strings for my Epiphone Viola bass guitar
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The La Bella 760FHBB Beatle Bass Flatwound Bass Strings.
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Removing the roundwound A string.
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Installing the flatwound A string.
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Checking the intonation.
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Gettin' tips from Dave's World of Fun Stuff on YouTube.
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Adjusting the bridge on the Viola bass.
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Playing around with the Viola bass and the SY-1 guitar synthesizer.
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And when you're done, you wipe down the instrument to rid the body and strings of the oils from your hands.


BACK TO 100% FTE:
WORKING ON SITE icon
COVID-19
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Back in the library stacks, and wearing the mask because now there's a chance of running into others in the building.

This week marks my first week back at 100% full-time employment, though, I took Monday off as a vacation day, then was off sick on Tuesday, when I was scheduled to be on-site on campus -- I was in my bed, instead. Yesterday, though, I was in the building for a full day. One difference lately is that now there are more other people on-site than there have been, though not significantly more. But I am not all alone in my on-site work spaces as much as I have been in the past during these weird times we are in.

Also as I expected it would be, even after the university opens up for the fall semester, and correspondingly, the library opens back up to the public, I will still work remotely from home three days a week. I wager this will be the case through the end of the calendar year, or close to it.

Today is a work-on-the-apartment-patio day. Monday I plan a work-in-a-park day. I'll use the hotspot on my iPhone to be on-line.



Sun, Aug 2, 2020

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GETTIN' A FUNKY GROOVE ON:
My Music
K.L. on Bass
K.L. on Keys
Song number 6 in progress

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Recording the proof of concept demo.

Friday evening I recorded a "proof of concept" demo, (for lack of a better term), of the part of "Identity" that is musically formed around my initial bass riff. It was to find if the chord progression I've composed to be over that riff will work. It does. The demo track consists of the drum kit part, (played by "Darcy," via GarageBand), the bass run, and those piano chords.

I have to say that listening to this little 1:56 demo, I do believe I have a great groove going with a bass run that I am ecstatic about. It's really a mostly a scale, but I think it's clever and catchy, and married with "Darcy's" funky, upbeat cadence, I got a jam going on. I also have to say that it took a bit of practice for me to play the riff in repeats for almost two minutes -- the length for which I have thus far programed "Darcy's" drums. I will absolutely have to practice that run. a lot. Actually, it serves as a pretty good practice piece anyway.

It's also clear that unless I improve greatly as a player —- perhaps decades'-worth of improvement -- I won't be able to sing anything interesting while playing the run. So I either simple-up the bass line during the vocal sections, or, if I ever happen to perform this song live, (who knows?), someone else will have to be on bass.

The piano section, the chords, is not difficult at all. I haven't added any left-hand action to the piano part yet, and I admit that I am greatly out of practice at utilizing my left hand, as well. I never really was exceptionally good at it, anyway. I have not one moment of formal training on the keyboard -- my mother did try to talk me into lessons as a child but I didn't think it was cool...(regrets). But, the chord progression works quite well. I may be wrong about this, but I am 99% sure that the bass run is in the key of C major and the chord progression is in the relative key of A minor, which gives the song a really funky jazz feel. I haven't sat down to figure it out, but I think one other section, which is not on the demo, is in E major, and the chorus section, also not on the demo, is in another key. I'd like to say that this one is strongly in the vein of Steely Dan, but I would never be so presumptuous. Perhaps it's vaguely in the vein of Steely Dan, but that would be about as close I could ever get.

Currently, I am in love with what I have so far for Song #6 and I really want to put this little demo of that riff out into the world, 'cause I think it's such a great little groove. However, you five regulars may remember that I’ve decided to hold off putting any more music out publically until the project is done. so I will resist the temptation with the "Identity" proof of concept demo. But 
I will probably send it to a few close friends. I have thus shared some of the other stuff that I haven’t made public.

There's nothing new on the lyrics except that I may take what I'd written as verse stanzas and make them lyrics for the chorus. Listening to the demo has given me new ideas for the verse lyrics, in all of meter, cadence, and content.

This one is still the number one contender to open the album.


MORE OF THE NEW ("TEMPORARY"*) NORM:
WORKING FROM HOME icon
COVID-19

Friday was a nice, breezy, mostly-sunny day. I sat in the shade of the tree infront of my apartment and spent the day verifying that the students at my university had proper access to the on-line journals too which the library spends a significant amount of money for subscriptions. Sunny, with a nice breeze. Pretty good day at work. As long as the weather will permit it, this will be my home-office environment, when it's not in a park somewhere. This aspect is the one thing I'll miss when this crap is finally behind us.

*I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT IT'S NOT TEMPORARY!

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Back to the home office on my apartment's front patio.
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My "Big Party Mix" iTunes playlist.
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A little lunch "at the office."



ONE WEEK FROM YESTERDAY:
Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY

The Dayton Virtual Art in the City event is six days away.

Just want to remind that The Guild has a couple DV movies that will be a part of this as well as four live streaming Zoom performances throughout the day.

The login information will be available through a facebook event at our facebook page.

The videos will be available at: www.downtowndayton.org/2020aitc/.



Mon, Aug 3, 2020

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A MORE FORMED "IDENTITY":
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My Music
Song number 6 in progress

Yesterday was super-productive for my work on the new song, "Identity." I wrote the words for four verses of a potential six verses and I reassigned what had originally been the first two verses as the chorus lyrics.

I also sat down and constructed the structure, the order of each musical section, then programmed the changes for our drummer "Darcy" in GarageBand. Then I sat at the Williams Legato III keyboard, accompanied by Darcy on my laptop, and ran through the song quite a few times. It works quite well. There's a nice flow to the song and Darcy's drumming is spot on what is needed.

On the other side of the coin is a dilemma. Obviously, the drum part is covering the whole song from the start to the end. With all the sections assembled in the correct order, the song currently comes in at 9:30. That length is not an absolute deal-breaker, but I am also not 100% on board with it. I may think about cutting verses number five and six, since those words aren't yet written. That would likely mean revising the fourth verse since I'm not sure it has the feel of a concluding verse. There are two separate bridge sections, both that repeat a few times during the song; some of those instances may get cut. It's easy to trim a good two minutes off the song, and that may happen. I'll record another demo at the current 9:30, just to get a sense of it at this length and see if it feels too long.

Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
No time was logged, yesterday, on either Epiphone bass, neither the Embassy Pro nor the Viola -- (I'd dropped the Giannini off for some repair work). But, along with working on "Identity" on the Legato III, I also later ran it through the Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal to see if I'd get a decent result. I got some interesting effects out of this setup. I'll have to explore it more, just like with the basses, but there's a lot of intriguing potential.

In fact, I came across a setting that will work well for "Identity." It's a subtle use of the effects pedal, rather than something outlandish, and it'll most likely be in the finished recording. The question right now is will it be a second piano part or will it be the main one. The effects on it are subtle enough for this piano sound to be the only piano on the song. We shall see. I'll probably use it for this 9:30 demo I'll record soon.

And, no, I still have not repaired the 9V battery snap clips on my Boss BF-2 flanger pedal, DOD Bi-FET preamp FX10 pedal, and DOD six-band graphic equalizer pedal. Don't rush me!
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Sitting under the roof hang, watching the drizzling rain, feeling the cool day, writing lyrics: not a bad Sunday afternoon.
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Running the chord progressions for the whole song, playing along with the programmed drum part that's on my laptop.
The notation of the song's structure.



Tue, Aug 4, 2020

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IN MEMORIUM -- Megan Betts (22), Monica Brickhouse (39), Nicholas  Cummer (25), Beatrice Warren Curtis (36), Derrick Fudge (57), Thomas McNichols (25), Lois Ogelsby (27), Siad Seleh (38), Logan Turner (30) -- AUGUST 4, 2019, 8:04 pm, The Oregon District, dayton, Ohio

DAYTON STRONG



Wed, Aug 5, 2020

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NO 9:30 DEMO:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress

I changed my mind about doing a demo at the 9:30 time length for "Identity." 9:30 was just too long for the song. Monday night I trimmed off almost exactly the two minutes I'd guessed I would. I nixed writing verses 5 or 6, and I cut those several bridges, as I said I was considering. I also found that I needed to cut half the chorus stanza. I'm using the first half. The words are better in the first half. I actually now have "chorus a" and "chorus b" lyrics, with a slight alteration the lyrics for each. They both show up twice in the song, *(see below).

After I figured out the new structure, with the cuts, I went into GarageBand and deleted the unnecessary sections of "Darcy's" drumming, and added some where they were now needed. The song comes in now at almost exactly 7:30, 7:44 if you count the die-off of the last cymbal crash, which I guess we should. The new section structure is:

"Identity" sections structure -- *{number of measures}

  • drum intro {2}
  • bass intro {4}
  • chord intro (verse chords) {8}
  • verse 1 {16}
  • verse bridge {8}
  • verse 2 {16}
  • bridge {12}
  • chorus a {12}
  • rest {1}
  • verse 3 {16}
  • verse bridge {8}
  • verse 4 {16}
  • bridge {12}
  • chorus b {12}
  • rest {1}
  • solo section (verse chords) {16}
  • chorus a {12}
  • chorus b {12}
  • rest {1}
  • solo drums {2}
  • bass & drums {4}
  • chord finale (verse chords) {16}
  • ending (1st 4 chords of bridge) {2 + sustained trail-off}
Though Monday evening I did record the new drum arrangement on the Tascam DP-03 8 track digital portastudio recorder, I didn't lay anything else. I need to practice the piano part, and I've only began to work out what I'll do with my left hand. I'd like to work out something that I have to really woodshed. In rehearsing last night, I started to work in better use of the left hand, but it's on the easy, simple side of rudimentary right now, and I intend to make it more elaborate, at least relative to what it is right now. I'm not looking to emulate Elton John, Keith Emerson, or some such, but I want something better, more interesting than what it is at this moment.

It was difficult to practice the piano chords on the Legato III with the drum recording on the Tascam, because I am not yet familiar enough with the new structure of the sections. Just because I arranged that structure does not mean it's committed to memory as of yet. For the moment it's easier to play the drum track in GarageBand on the laptop because I can see each section labelled if I keep an eye on the GB program, so I know where I'm at in the song. Though I will say, that last night, I was depending on this guidance a little less.

As for a bass line, save for the the original bass run, I haven't written anything else yet. That will wait until I have laid the piano track and have it to play against.

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Rehearsing "Identity" on the Legato III, working in some left-hand action.

K.L. on Bass
Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
I did log time on the basses both Monday night and last night, the Embassy Pro Monday, the Viola last night. I practiced the "Identity" bass riff as well as some other exercises and some bass work from songs from way back when. Some of that work from "way back when" is certainly fodder to be resurrected for this project, one of them is pretty much a lock, in fact.

More than half the time I was running the basses through the SY-1 synth pedal, still exploring my latest tool and discovering potential. Of course, I've been looking for sound that will complement "Identity", and I'm zeroing in on some settings. I'm trying out effects for these other songs from the past, as well.


On another note, concerning the whole project: as I've listen lately to the five "finished" recordings, I'm leaning toward going back in at some point and making another pass at remastering most of them, at least three of them, maybe all of them.



Fri, Aug 7, 2020

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PRACTICE MAKES(?) PERFECT:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress
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Playing along with the drum track (aka: "Darcy's drumming") in GarageBand.

K.L. on Keys
Boy, am I seriously out of practice on the piano! I've been rehearsing the whole chord progression for "Identity," playing along with "Darcy's drumming" in GarageBand, and I have only played the complete 7:30 once without at least one serious error, usually more -- except for the times when I let out a groan at the first screwup and started the song over.

Even that one time with no major blunders, there still were a couple gaffes. Last night I got more than a little impatient with myself. Yeah, okay, I got pissed at myself. The Perfectionist in me verbally beat the living crap out of me, and I'm not inclined to think he was being too harsh.

It's not like what I've worked out is exceptionally difficult keyboard work. It's essentially, or, really, exactly what I deem as the "rhythm piano," 'cause, as I recently wrote here, you're not going to get Elton John, Keith Emerson, et al, out of me. But, one would at least expect I could get through a #@¢|<!|\| song, where almost all that I'm doing is playing chords on the #@¢|<!|\| quarter beats, without playing clunkers!

K.L. on Bass
Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
Last night my bass woodshedding was with the Viola, running basic fingering exercises as well as practicing the "Identity" bass riff. I also tried out some possible bass lines for the verse sections of "Identity." To be sure, I spent time with the SY-1 engaged, a lot of that time looking for settings that might be good for "Identity." Though I'm not feeling like McCartney, Chris Squire, or Jaco Pastorius, I at least was not frustrated to the point of enmity directed at myself over my bass work last night.

Don't misunderstand, I have a strong want to be about a thousand times better on bass than I am. I just didn't feel like punching myself out last night as I did earlier in the evening while sitting at my Legato III.


WORKING FROM HOME icon
COVID-19

No Report
Just another Wednesday on the job, working remotely at home for the rent-payer. Nothing really to say, but, here are some more selfies. Guess I'm gonna try to see how many different versions of basically the same photographs I can manage to take.
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WORKING ON SITE icon
COVID-19
No Report
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The tedium of paperwork....

Same deal on Thursday while at the office.


VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY
Dayton Theatre Guild
Last night I attended, as an observer, a Zoom rehearsal for the two pieces that DTG will be live-streaming (again, via Zoom) tomorrow as part of the Virtual Art in the City festival.

The two pieces are both by playwright Wendy MacLeod. One is a ten-minute play titled, Bare Stage, the other is an excerpt from Ms. MacLeod's play, Slow Food.



Sat, Aug 8, 2020

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WHEN TO START RECORDING?:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress

K.L. on Keys
There was improvement last night on the piano work for "Identity" on the Legato III, but I still didn't get through the damned song even once without some clunker. I certainly have not reached a performance of this that I can record. Yes, I could piecemeal the performance when recording it, but I am absolutely determined to accomplish playing the whole song all the way through. As I wrote yesterday, it's not exactly difficult keyboard work. So, until I get my chops up to the place where I can play the damn song through from start to end successfully, I will not be laying the piano track down. I will say that I at least didn't feel like self-flagellating last night; I was just a bit frustrated.

K.L. on Bass
Though my plan has been to worry about working out the bulk of the bass line for "Identity" after I've laid the piano track, I think I've come up with some pretty solid ideas for the bass line while I was practicing on the Embassy Pro. At least I have the basic foundation of the bass line. It's likely to get some flourishes -- whatever I can work out that won;t be too elaborate as to be a pain in the ass to play while singing the song. Remember that I am absolutely sure that I could not play the initial bass riff and sing at the same time. Tb be honest, I'd want to change up the bass work a bit anyway. That bass riff is interesting, but to play through most of the 7:30 with it would render it a bit boring.

K.L. on Vocals
On the subject of singing "Identity," I haven't actually wholly composed the melody line for the vocal yet. I've had an overall concept since I first sat down and sussed out the chord progression for the verses, but until last night it's been a vague mental idea, where I don't even think I was hearing the fuzzy, unfocused vocal in with right musical temperament. What I heard was based on, and in response to, the original, calmer attack of the chords The chord progression during the verse sections is now rocks more than at first and the vocal now need to answer that. Last night I tried several different melodies, with the more aggressive delivery, and I am not committed to any of them. Like the bass line, as a whole, the melody of the vocal may be worked out while I am recording.

Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
Of course, while practicing the bass I spent more time experimenting with the SY-1 guitar synth, and again with an ear for use in "Identity."

One thing I learned during the week is that it is important to unplug the quarter-inch sound cord's male jack from the SY-1 input. Even though the pedal may be technically off, if you leave the cord plugged in, you will drain the 9-volt battery.


      
also
      

My assumption was wrong that my old DOD compressor FX80 from my 20s was operative. I'd assumed it was functional because the 9V battery clip connector wasn't damaged, as with the other old pedals, and because the on/off light lite up when I attached a new battery. Last night I put it in the daisy chain with the SY-1 between my guitar and the amp, and I discovered that it does not function. Though the light is on I am getting no effects from the pedal. I'm likely to get a new compressor sometime soon. Still have to do my little repairs on the other old pedals and then hope they then function.


PARK YOUR CAR AT GEORGE R. CLARK PARK:
WORKING FROM HOME icon
COVID-19
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Settling down at the satellite office at George Rogers Clark Park.

Yesterday was another Friday of working even more remotely than at home. This time I was at George Rogers Clark Park just outside of Springfield. This time I was able to actually be on-line to access the server at work by using my iPhone as a hotspot. When at John Bryan State Park I have no cell service so I can't do this. But I had a good three bars at George R. Clark. So, I put in my time, then, you know, went on a hike.

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I could have been in that a-frame shelter you can see in the background, but, I wanted the sun.
My view from this office.
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And, again, my view from this office.
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One of the screens I was on during my work day, a search page at OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). Just in case my boss happens to see this blog entry -- which is not really at all terribly likely.
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I was going to take a photograph of my iPhone plugged into my PowerBook (for hotspot access), but my digital camera battery was dead, so I had to take a photo with the iPhone where you can see the cable reaching up to the phone.
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Those whether people forecasted a partly cloudy afternoon, and though, as the afternoon progressed such was realized, the "partly cloudy" was in the most reasonable manner. I was good with it.
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I brought my patio chair and a small folding table just in case none of the picnic tables were open -- they weren;t last time I was at this park. After a little while I elected to haul them put of the car because I was getting a little stiff sitting at the picnic table.
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The set-up was successful enough that I will use it again, regardless of availability of picnic tables. For one thing, it will open up my location option.
HIKING ICON

And then the work day was over....:
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VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY ON-LINE FESTIVAL TODAY!:
Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY

Today The Guild joins many Dayton area visual and performing artists and visual and performing arts organizations in this on-line venture.

We are live-streaming two pieces are both by playwright Wendy MacLeod. One is a ten-minute play titled, Bare Stage, the other is an excerpt from Ms. MacLeod's play, Slow Food.


Virtual Art in the City 2020 & The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG at Virtual Art in the City

Join us Saturday as we participate with many other Dayton area visual and performing arts organizations and individuals for the Virtual Art in the City event.

We have prepared some digital video movies for the event and will also stream four separate live performances, via Zoom, throughout the day. Each live presentation will feature the short play, Bare Stage, by Wendy MacLeod, and an excerpt from the play, Slow Food, also by Ms. MacLeod, at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30, and 6:30.

Virtual Art in the City runs from noon until 8:00 pm, this Saturday, August 8.

= = = = = = = =

www.downtowndayton.org/



Sun, Aug 9, 2020

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REALLY! WHEN THE £µ¢# CAN I START RECORDING?:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress
K.L. on Keys

The rehearsal to get my piano part for "Identity" into good shape to record is on going. Actually, the piano part is just fine, it's still the damned player that's the trouble. There's been improvement, but that I still cannot make it through the entire song without making at least one glaring mistake is driving me to a monstrously frustrating distraction. It's a focus problem. I don't truly believe myself to suffer from A.D.D., but it's an A.D.D.-like syndrome. The better term is most probably "seriously lacking in discipline."

What I know is this: I feel pretty positive about my song writing skills. As for the musicianship to execute said songs: um, less so, at least on the keyboard, at least in the present. I used to execute songs with structures as elaborate as what this one has, some even more complex, and more difficult to play. But then, I was playing music for several hours at a time at least three to five times a week over the course of more than a decade. So, I was a bit more in practice with my chops in much better shape.

Songwriter icon
Yep! Another new icon graphic!
K.L. on Vocals
I did a little bit of honing on the melody for the "Identity" vocal line last night, but only just a little bit. As I've already indicated, the bulk of the creating of the vocal melody, will probably happen after the rhythm tracks are laid, and possibly other instrumental tracks, and it's time to lay the vocal. I actually may render an instrumental sound file to work with and rehearse with. On a more "song arranger" rather than "songwriter" note, I did change the style and attack of a portion of the chord progression at the end of the song last night. It will make for a diffrent feel at the very end of the song than I'd originally conceived, but this feels better to me.

K.L. on Bass
Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
Last night was Viola Bass night for practice. I am leaning toward the viola as the bass for "Identity." I think I'm going to get the sound I want from the Viola over the Embassy Pro. In fiddling with the SY-1, which, of course, I spent some time with while practicing bass, I found a great sound to use for the song's arrangement, probably even for some solo work. I do want the main solo to be a guitar solo, played by an actual guitarist, and I have a potential candidate in mind. But "Identity" has plenty of spots for other solo work beyond the official solo section, which you can see, in the song's section structure list in the August 5 post, comes later.

Back on the main bass line for the song. I will be rendering a sound file of just the drums and the piano, (when I've managed to be able to play the frickin' piano part all the way through with no dumbass errors!). With that sound file, I'll work out and rehearse the bass before recording it -- just as I will likely later do for the vocal.


VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY ON-LINE FESTIVAL YESTERDAY:
Dayton Theatre Guild
VIRTUAL ART IN THE CITY

The streaming performances, via Zoom, of playwright Wendy MacLeod's work went well enough, yesterday. I experienced technical problems that I don't know if were a problem on my end or more systemic. Occasionally various of the actors were breaking up and a few times I think there was a delay on some actors that caused inadvertent overlaps. But, it's impossible to tell if that was just my reception or if it was a more universal technical thing. The pitfall of live stream performance.

We also had a few trolls. With one exception, none of the jerks did anything hateful or obscene, just turned on their audio a few times to say weird, silly crap, and one obnoxiously sang. A couple turned on their cameras a few times, one to act like a fool on screen. One idiot put a crude, 4th-grader-type drawing on the screen for a few seconds, but, fortunately all the other troll intrusions were just stupid adolescent buffoonery rather than anything patently offensive.

In the end, streaming performances are okay, especially in times like the present. Still even when the technology is uber-high tech and there are no technical glitches (or trolls), presenting material, meant for a live stage experiences, on a streaming platform just simply pales against the intended format. It's good to have the option when live performance is such a dangerous choice, but, I'm not a major fan.

Yet, I am so glad that we were able to present for this on-line festival and look forward to when we can give them an actual, in-person presentation at a future Art on the City event.



Mon, Aug 10, 2020

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My Music
Song number 6 in progress
AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
K.L. on Keys
NOPE ICON

Well..... last night, in all my vainglory..... no, not "vainglory"..... "delusional futility."

In all my delusional futility I thought, Eh, what the heck! Let's try to lay that "Identity" piano track down.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

I didn't keep count of the takes. I'm sure it was a dozen. It might have been two dozen, or more. It felt like twelve-hundred. I don't think I ever made it to the second chorus section. It's hard to remember, because I did rehearse a few times first and played all the way through. Now, I didn't play all the way through without those £µ¢#1∏₲ clunkers, but I would just grimace, usually shake my head, and move on when I did. I'm pretty sure that when the record light was on, I never made it to that second verse section. After what seemed like take number 1201, I finally called it a night.

Interesting is that next I watched a couple episodes of Off Camera with Sam Jones on Netflix, before I went to sleep. Dave Grohl was the guest on one of the episodes. He talked about how he doesn't like the concept of absolutely perfect recordings or absolutely perfect live performances. It's the imperfections that make either compelling to him.

The example he used was when he worked with John Paul Jones on the Them Crooked Vultures project. Grohl said they were listening to the playback of a take and he could hear some pick scratches from John Paul's bass, as well as maybe a couple times when a note was slightly off the beat. He said when the playback was done John Paul said, "Yeah, that's good," and was ready to move on. To me, what Dave was saying was that it was a great lesson in recognizing how the passion of the performance takes gargantuan precedence over any minor imperfections.

Honestly, I embrace that philosophy, despite having perfectionist tendencies. To any small minority of people who have any familiarity with the first piece recorded for this project, "Icebergs," I point to a few glaring imperfections that I chose to leave. I had not yet come to the better way I now have of getting the programmed drum tracks from GarageBand onto the digital eight-track recorder. I was running the drum parts through the external speakers on my laptop and recording them onto the 8-track with a mic. I coughed a couple times while laying that track. I assumed I was far enough away from the mic and speakers -- with the mic right upon the two speakers, both angled in tightly. But both coughs are clearly audible. The first one is more prominent. If you listen to it on the YouTube video linked earlier in this paragraph you'll hear it quite distinctively during the first bridge at 1:30. The second one, not so prominent is a 2:56. You can also hear a bit of a beat skip at 1:16 due to a bad edit.

The other songs have little imperfections, most slight performance flaws but stuff that isn't as important as the overall perfomance and don't, in my estimation, detract from the performance or the overall effect of the recording. Grohl might even argue they add to it, and I think I'd agree with him.

The "Identity" keyboard problems are not simply "imperfections," however. These aren't hitting the keys with a little less force than I really should, or hitting a chord that's a 16th (or 32nd) of beat off. The errors driving me batty are things like, hitting the low F key with my left hand while my right is playing the G chord. It's inadvertently pressing the E, along with the D when I am chording a D major chord. It's hitting several wrong notes in a chord. It's forgetting where I am and playing the wrong chord. With these, I can't say, "Yeah, that's good," and be ready to move on. I have to reject these errors as too imperfect. It's lack of focus. It's lack of discipline. It's bad playing and it won't do.

Another little annoyance I was having last night, more than I remember in the past, was that the Williams sustain pedal was sliding forward a lot and I was having some further difficulties successfully pressing it for sustain at the appropriate times during the song. Some of the bad takes were because of this. I pulled out a dumbbell weight to anchor it and that helped considerably.

I definitely will log time woodshedding the song on piano tonight. As to whether I push the record button is up in the air. By the way, I didn't pull a bass out last night. By the time I gave up laying the piano track I was done with music for the evening.

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Looks like I'm killing it? What was really happening was I was killing myself with all the fucking errors!
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The damn sustain pedal kept sliding away, so I grabbed a dumbell then an ankle weight to anchor it.





Wed, Aug 12, 2020

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RECORDING HAS KINDA, SORTA STARTED:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress
K.L. on Keys
Yesterday evening I rehearsed the piano part for "Identity" on the Legato III with some great improvement in the performance. I decided to record it, with the assumption that this was not the locked take, that I would be re-recording it later. The main goal was to get the whole song down on piano so I could start working out the rest of the bass line, beyond the original riff. So, I would settle for a piano track that wasn't quite good enough, so long as there were no bad clunkers in it.

The lack of pressure must have been magic because after a coupe false starts I got a good "rehearsal take," almost good enough to keep. It is almost good enough, but it will not be the officially locked version of the piano for the song. When running the bass line I found one section, at the end, where I want to change the style of the piano work. I want to use that original bass riff there, and what I am doing on the recorded piano part does not gell with that riff. I will play a variation of the way the chords are played during the intro of the song, because that intro chording does work with the bass riff.

A couple other things I discovered last night while rehearsing on the keys: 1) an irritating, burning itch on the nose can cause you to forget where the hell you are in the song; and, 2) gym shoes work better than sandals for the finicky sustain pedal that you are pretty sure you'll be replacing soon with a better model. I looked at the manual for the piano and found that it can adapt to a good range of sustain pedal models, even from different manufacturers, so I will go shopping in the near future.

K.L. on Bass
I used the Viola Bass to work out the whole of the bass line for the song, as I plan to use it as the main bass for the recording. At the moment I have the basic template of the bass line, but I will be working out flourishes along the run of the song.

The SY-1 bass synth stayed off last night. My focus was on working out the main bass line. The SY-1 will be used for another instrument part in the song, as I wrote before, probably one that throws a bit of solo work in -- but not the main solo during the official solo section; that will be guitar work. The bass synth will probably be used with the Embassy Pro, which I believe I stated before.

K.L. on Vocals
What I really need to do now is memorize the lyrics and fully work out the vocal medley so I can marry singing the song with playing its bass line, and, as well, with playing the piano part. Though, over the last few days I have tweaked a line of lyric here and there. But it would be nice to be playing and really singing the words instead of "Da da da da da."

Yes, yes, I wrote the words. That doesn't mean they are committed to memory. Anybody who would expect that a writer's words are automatically engrained in them the moment they set them down on paper hasn't done much or probably any creative writing. Poets and singers have to memorize their own words in order to perform them. There may be a few who don't, but those, my friends, are a small minority, and they are what I would label "Freaks." And really, most poets have their work on paper (or on a device) in front of them when they do a reading. Singers on the other hand.... Ever been to a concert and had a big-time recording artist mis-sing his or her own lyrics? So, I need to memorize the lyrics to "Identity" so I can sing them while playing the instruments and not be burdened with having to read them. At this point I have no great asperations to ever play live, but I don't want to be totally unprepared should it come to be.

TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
Over the last several days I've delved a little bit more into better mastering the operation of my Tascam Dp-03 8-Track Digital Recorder, which I've only owned now for six years. I've only now looked closely enough at the manual to learn that I can save individual songs and have the ability to have multiple songs in progress on the machine at the same time. I can move on from an unfinished recording and work on a new one, or new ones, without losing the tracks on the first one. This means I can pick up the pace of working on songs when some of them will need a guitarist that I'm not in the position to record yet. I can move on, then come back to finish a song up later.

The other thing I am going to do, starting with "Identity," is export the individual tracks to my laptop rather than record them in real-time to GarageBand on the laptop. This, I hope, will simplify the track synchronization issue. My expectation is that since each track will have the precise amount of dead space before the performance begins the tracks will synch up perfectly. I have yet to verify that, but it seems likely to be true.

Of course, a whole stereo mix can be exported, as well. That has it's uses to me, but I will ultimately be using other software for the mixing and mastering of my music, so transferring individual tracks onto my computer for that purpose will be the thing, whether exporting files or sending sound signals that are recorded in GarageBand.

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The Tascam RC-3F 3-pedal foot switch, which should be in my hands tomorrow.
Yes, it pays to actually read the road map! I'd already known that I am able to do punch recording, with the use of a punch pedal, but I did not know I had another punch option. For the uninitiated that means the ability to insert a new recorded section into a previously recorded track, seamlessly (i.e.: no clicks or pump sounds, going in or coming out of the inserted newly recorded part). What I had not known, in the over a half decade I've had the recorder, is that the machine has the facility to program in a start and stop of such punch recording, a punch-in and a punch-out spot. The instructions are not yet 100% clear to me as my experimental try at programming such didn't work, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

There's also the RC-3F 3-pedal foot switch which allows you to punch in and out at will with the push of a foot. It was a less-than $60 investment, therefor mine is expected to arrive tomorrow.

Whereas, punch recording has its great benefit, my intention is not to use it to, as I would see it, cheat. For instance, I'm not going to surrender and never get to the point where I can play the piano part for the entirety of "Identity" without any unacceptable flaws. It's main justification to me is the ability to go in and change a part of a performance, that is already acceptable, to change that section for aesthetic reasons that don't have to do with fixing an error. Though I will admit, in a pinch, using a punch-in to fix a mistake is not absolutely out of the question -- it'd be a lie to say otherwise.

I sort of did what we could call a "work-around" punch-in/out for the bass solo in "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas." I was ultimately unhappy with the original second half of that bass solo, which, at first, I found a good take. So, I recorded a new second half of the solo on a separate track and then edited that into the master recording. This being at the same time I re-recorded the lead vocal and added the backing vocals.

I could have as easily used punch recording to insert that new bass work. Either way, I wasn't really "fixing a mistake." I was replacing something that had fallen out of favor. Remember that I wrote above that I want to change the way I'm playing the chords at the end of "Identity." If that was the only thing about that rehearsal track that I had issue with, I might leave the rest then just punch in a new performance at the end of the song. Then the rehearsal track might be reclassified as a good take. But, there are a lot of little things, which aren't big goofs, but just are not as on target as I'd like. So no punching there.



Sat, Aug 15, 2020

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THE IDENTITY IS COMING ALONG:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress
K.L. on Bass
Songwriter icon
K.L. on Vocals

The last two nights I've not practiced on any instruments. I've been playing back the rehearsal demo of the drums, bass, and piano mix to attack putting the vocal melody together. It took me a little while to find a melody and a vocal that works for both the lyrics and the chords to which they are attached. It was coming to the point that I was going to discard the set of lyrics from this one and use them for another set of music, yet to be composed. But I went on a nice little sojourn to find a place where the words would work for this song, and I believe I have discovered it. What is shaping up now is a strong union of the chord progression, the vocal melody, and my vocal phrasing for the song. It's not perfected, but I am pleased with where I'm at with it all and where it is all going.

Of course, during this venture, I have also tweaked the lyrics a bit, changing a couple lines, making a few more concise, and moving some lines around. I've also made a few more decisions about changes and alterations of how I play both the piano and bass when I record the official takes.

Also, in scrutinizing the demo recording of the whole song, one thing is clear: I have to get better at deadening strings that aren't in play on the bass. During the song's bass run I'm getting noise from strings not being played as well as a sort of, what I would call, remnant-harmonics on the high notes in the run. Before I commit to a locked recorded version of the bass track I have to get the whole bass work on it much cleaner than it is right now.

AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
In the Aug 5 blogpost I wrote that I was leaning toward making another pass at remastering at least three of the first five songs from the project. I've listened to the recordings more, and I am absolutely going to go back and remaster them. They can sound better than they do. And I do want audio fidelity that is acceptable for marketing on iTunes -- so I can make it onto the top 1,500,000 downloads list.


      
also
      
JUST ARRIVED Tools of the Trade icon My Music
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My Tascam RC-3F 3-pedal foot switch hooked up to the DP-03 recorder.
My new RC-3F 3-pedal foot switch arrived Thursday. It has a multitude of functions, but you five who read this blog thingy will know that my purpose for it is primarily for the punch in/out function. The DP-03 8-track recorder manual gives some directions about assigning all sorts of commands to the three pedals. The defaults are: Cue (left pedal), Record (center pedal), and Play/Stop (right pedal). That's pretty much what I need so I can't see reprogramming it. I also haven't yet really worked it. I'll likely give it a test run sometime today.


JENNIFER JOPLIN'S FEAST:
In the virtual audience icon

Last night I watched a live stream of one of my favorite Southwest Ohio actors, Jennifer Joplin, in the one-person show, Feast, by Megan Gogerty, produced by Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

All I can say is that it's a strong, smart, insightful script performed by an excellent actor who is perfect for the role. And, though it's a streaming performance, it looks and feels as much like a live theatre performance as is possible on a screen, with some video elements that do not detract from that, and in fact, they enhance the experience.

It's running through September 20, and you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home (or wherever). I highly recommend it. Just click on the Know Theatre hot link above to get to the reasonably priced ticket passes.



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SOME PROGRESS THEN A LITTLE HIATUS:
My Music
Song number 6 in progress
K.L. on Vocals
Songwriter icon
A couple weeks back, shortly after my last blog post, I recorded the vocal for "Identity" and mixed down the rehearsal demo, with that track added. I now have a new audio file titled, "Identity - Rhythm-Vocal Track Rehearsal Demo."

It's a decent vocal but I have some tweaking left to do on both the melody and the vocal itself. I could have rerecorded the vocal, but I wanted to sound time kistening to what I consider melodic spots that need work as well as several serious flaws in the vocal phrasing and a few places where I just plain did some less-than-par singing. I especially want the problems with the vocal in my mind when I get to the actual vocal for the recording. There are parts that need serious perfecting. I also want to tweak the melody of the vocal part as well.

You should understand there is a lot about both my melody and my singing choices that I am happy with and that will stay. But, there is room for improvement for both elements. Plus, there are a few performance errors in the vocal that absolutely need addressed and cannot be allowed in the final recording.

I've been off the music project for a couple weeks. In fact, I haven't played any of my instruments. I'll likely cycle back into that, probably before today is done.


ANOTHER TRIP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE:
The Writer icon
Story Bible icon

Last week, at least in the evenings, Monday through Thursday, my attention was pulled away from the music project by the 2020 Democratic National Convention. But mostly, overall, I've lately been back into another obsessive bout of adding material to the story bible for the universe that both my unpublished (unfinished) novel and my play manuscript are from. To be honest, I was working on it often while I had the convention on the TV.

It started out innocently enough, as is usually the case, with me deciding to add just a little bit to a supplementary document: a critical analysis of artists endeavors by the main character in this universe and some of his colleagues. I found that I needed to shore up some background information, and some cases come to create that background information. And then from there, of course, I saw some other things that could be enhanced or added.

I actually added some event arcs for one character who is not directly relevant to the play, and all the added material to the story bible timeline are long after the last day in the novel. And I added material for two other characters who are in neither the novel nor the play, but are most relevant to the supplemental document.

I am just about to delve into the complexities of the main character's 1986 financial world. There are more than a dozen excel spreadsheet books (some of them linked to each other) and a couple word documents that are involved. It will take me a couple weeks to determine what the guy's financial picture ofr 1986 is. Thta's mostly because I am going to have to pull myself out of the rabbit hole, at least a little bit, to give other things some attention, such as the music project.



Tue, Sep 1, 2020

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THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD & RED ALERT RESTART:
Dayton Theatre Guild and Red Alert RESTART

The Dayton Theatre Guild has joined thousands of organizations, from fellow theatres to concert halls, wedding halls, and other live event facilities and organizations across the continent, in lighting our building in red. The goal is to raise public awareness that the Live Events Industry is on Red Alert for its very survival, with the hope this will help contribute to pressure on congress to act now.

A few statistics:

  • Live events employ over 12 million people.
  • Live events contributes over $1 trillion annually to the US economy.
  • 95% of live events have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • 96% of companies have cut staff and/or wages.
  • 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of 1099 workers.

Roughly 12 million Live Event people are currently unemployed, furloughed, or have lost as much as 90% of their income. The world’s largest concert promoters report a 98% loss of revenue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This goes far beyond the loss of income for high-profile performers and producers who can financially last out this situation. Those privileged few are a significantly low percentage of the Live Event world. Most affected are middle class, working class people who are facing financial ruin.

As wedding halls, corporate events, theaters, concert tours, festivals, opera houses, trade shows, and other live events, as well as film and television production, remain closed (or open on a very limited basis), the entire industry is impacted, from performers, production staff, designers, technicians, programmers, and stagehands, to rental shops, manufacturers, and distributors of entertainment technology, and more.

A robust $35 billion industry, pre-pandemic, the Live Events business was the first to close and will be the last to re-open, forever changing the lives of those involved. Many Live Event organizations, commercial and non-profit* (*such as community theatres) are threatened with permanent shut down, and thousands, perhaps millions face permanent loss of their positions.

#WeMakeEvents #RedAlertRESTART and #ExtendPUA represent a major call to action, imploring the US Congress to pass the RESTART Act (S.3814) as quickly as possible, offering economic relief to the Live Events Industry which has been shuttered since March, 2020.

Additionally, the movement is to support ExtendPUA.org in their efforts towards continuation and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to provide relief to those without work due to COVID-19.

The North American event comes on the heels of the August 11 event #WeMakeEvents Red Alert Day Of Action when over 700 buildings were lit in red across the UK. That event called attention to the same plight facing the Live Events Industry there.

For more information: wemakeevents.org/



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My Music
Song number 6 in progress
No Report

Posting this mostly for myself as a means to motivate me to get my ass back to work!


TUESDAY'S RED ALERT RESTART EVENT:

Photo of the front of the Dayton Theatre Guild bathed in red light

Dayton Theatre Guild
Dayton Theatre Guild and Red Alert RESTART
xxxx

Just as planned, Tuesday evening DTG joined thousands of organizations and institutions across the U.S. and Canada in the Red Alert RESTART event. I haven't seen official numbers but I've seen a couple people report about 5,000 buildings were lit up. Quite a few other local arts groups also were in the game.

I can't say this is an exhaustive list, but here are most the local organizations that went red, if not all of them:

  • Dayton Arcade
  • The Dayton Art Institute
  • Dayton Live
  • Hobart Arena
  • Levitt Pavilion Dayton
  • The Grande Hall
  • Dayton Masonic Center
  • The Rose Music Center At The Heights
  • University of Dayton Arena
  • Wright State Nutter Center
  • Wright State University Department of Theatre, Dance & Motion Pictures
  • Scenic Solutions, LLC.
  • BLC Entertainment
  • The Light Fantastic Inc.
  • A few photographs of the building and the marquee panels that we did up for the event:
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    There were a lot of photos shared on social media of the local and the continental scenes. There's some chance that I'll grab a few and post in future posts, soon.


          
    also
          

    A PERSONAL RESPONSE TO A COMMENT ABOUT DTG'S INVOLVEMENT WITH RED ALERT RESTART:

    Last Saturday, as the DTG social media person and the admin for the DTG facebook page, I posted a note on facebook with the same text as the promotion you'll find in the September 1 post above about that day's Red Alert RESTART event. One follower of The Guild's facebook page commented that they had a difficult time seeing how this event was at all relevant to community theatres since "MOST of the talent volunteer their time...." There is a certain legitimacy to that point, and even though the commenter went on to write, "as a gesture of solidarity, kudos," I firmly believe the writer missed something incredibly important. So I replied, and I must stress that I did so not as a representative of The Dayton Theatre Guild, but as my own self, a person deeply involved with theatre and the arts, and as someone who straddles the border between the non-professional and the professional art worlds. This was my personal response:

    Many, many community theatres are in danger of closing for good. And not all community theatre operations are "all volunteer." Many have paid staff. And a significant percentage of community theatres pay freelance designers, especially scenic designers. Such designers are not getting the same paycheck as they would from an Equity house, but it is still income. So the support is more than simply a gesture of solidarity. It comes from an economic impact on certain members and it comes from the recognition that not only are the professional arts in danger, the arts in general are in danger, especially any sort of performing arts organizations, professional or otherwise.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2020

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    LABOR DAY 2020, In honor of the American workers who have had a challenging year


    Today would have been my father's one-hundred-first birthday.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD
    My Dad, George Storer, at my college graduation, 1994
    George A. Storer
    1919-1995



    Fri, Sep 11, 2020

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    91101 Emblem

    NOT JUST
    poems and essays on
    September 11, 2001






    Sun, Sep 13, 2020

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    WOULD BUT IF I COULD ONLY TELL YOU OF GREAT STRIDES FORWARD:
    My Music

    Song number 6 in progress
    No Report
    Beyond listening to the rehearsal demo a few times, I've taken no action toward "Identity." I am determined to, at the very least, lay the official piano track today, if I get nothing elsed done. If I am ambitious enough, I might lay the official bass line, too. I'm not concerned with the vocal track at the moment; there's still a lot of tweaking on the composition of the vocal melody to accomplish. All I have at the moment is what I could equate to a "rough draft" of the vocal line, both in terms of melody and of the actual vocal work. I would be chagrined for anyone to hear the vocal on the rehearsal demo; it's awkward and frequently way off any acceptable mark.

    Songwriter icon
    Then, to complicate things, I have some ideas floating around for a new song that I'm itching to at least get a compositional sketch going on. It's a strong enough itch that I am almost tempted to sit down and have a go at this new idea first today before I work on "Identity."

    Damn that goddess muse and her capricious sense of timing. Or, is it her mischievous sense of humor? I can't tell the difference. Maybe there is no difference to distinguish between.

    Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
    K.L. on Bass
    At least I have recently pulled the basses out, mostly the viola bass, for a little bit of practice, though not nearly enough. As I've been woodshedding I have also been playing more with the SY-1 guitar synth pedal. As I;ve experimented with the pedal, one of the things that has become imminently clear is that it needs to be run with the AC adapter. The pedal just simply eats a lot of battery power quickly. I don;t think I've been able to go much more then two sessions, without havingto change the battery. So, I will shortly order the Roland AC adaptor. It's not unlikely I'll order one today.


    STILL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE:
    The Writer icon
    Story Bible icon

    Though I think I'm about done with this bout, I've continued that recent return to obsessive-compulsive work on the story bible for the universe of the characters from my play manuscript, as well as the novel manuscript that's been sitting on a shelf for well over a decade.

    For the record the "story bible" is not one document. It's more than several documents. It's A LOT of documents, more than one hundred, maybe more than two hundred, many of them dynamic in nature, being added to whenever I fall down this bible-story rabbit hole, and at other times, often with just a little addition here or there when I think of it or something arrises to instigate it.

    The most updating is done to timeline Word docs, several of the Excel books that deal with professional sales and earnings, and Excel books that have to do with chart positions for albums and single. But I also add to many of the media documents and file folders. Several of the media documents are interviews and reviews that are not completed. I also add news items, all of business related, news related, and pop culture related. There are some other categories that get added to, as well. As one of the actors who was a reader for the one private reading of the play said of this gothic bible labyrinth, "You have created a whole world."

    There is a whole world there. As I write actual prose, these documents are in my mind as historical. I rarely alter items in the timeline documents or in any other bible documents. My usual stance is to restrict the prose to adhering to the history and facts that the bible has laid out. I have on a few occasions changed some things but it's rare and usually nothing significant. Usually it's because there was an error in logic that needed to be fixed.

    Here are some screen shots of some of the document directories and some of the documents:

    Some things are blurred. This is because these screenshots might possibly be seen by local theatre people who could then identify me as the playwright who wrote my current play manuscript, and for the moment, I need to maintain general anonymity in the local theatre world as the author of the play. Of course, this blog is not visited by as many people as my ego has me write it as if it was, but, still I should play it cautiously.
    xxxx
    Timeline docs past present time are mostly birthdays and deaths. Many deaths are subject to change -- some, not. Much of the last couple decades have big holes that will be filled. True historical events usually have entries connecting the story bible with our world.
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    A page from the "1985-1986.doc" timeline bible document.
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx

    All totaled, I'd estimate there are a few hundred documents. This is why I use such a term as "obsessive-compulsive."


    BACK TO DRAMATIC READING OF PLAYWRIGHTS' NEW WORK FOR OPC:
    ACTING ICON
    ZOOM ICON
    Ohio Playwrights Circle

    Starting at the end of this month, I will once again be a reader for an Ohio Playwrights Circle play writing class. It's probably not going to be a shock that the class is being held remotely, via Zoom.

    I'll read for five of the six class sessions. I have to miss one of the sessions, coincidentally to attend another Zoom session, that being the October meeting of the Dayton Theatre Guild board of directors.


          
    also
          

    Final Draft 11 icon
    Note Addendum PS icon
    As a somewhat related aside, I am seriously considering doing a Zoom session for the next private reading of my own play manuscript, that which was going to happen in late April, you know, with everyone in the same room, before all pandemic hell broke out. Of course, the pedantic perfectionist in me will likely take a pass or two through this latest draft before any Zoom session would happen.


    THE GUILD RESTARTS IN EARLY 2021:
    Dayton Theatre Guild
    Dayton Theatre Guild -- "See you in FEBRURARY 2021"

    We at The Guild are pleased to announce our current plans to return to production for a truncated season this coming February.

    The plan is to kick the season off with what was to be our next show before we were shuttered, Paul Osborn's Morning's at Seven.

    Details on tickets will be forthcoming.

    Here is our Dayton Theatre Guild early 2021 season:

    Morning's at Seven
    by Paul Osborn
    Feb 5-21

    Women in Jeopardy
    by Wendy MacLeod
    Mar 26-Apr 11

    The Norwegians
    By C. Denby Swanson
    May 21-June 6

    Stay tuned for more information.



    Tue, Sep 15, 2020

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    BACK "IN THE STUDIO":
    My Music
    Song number 6 in progress

    K.L. on Keys
    Sunday night I laid the permanent piano track for "Identity." I wrote in the last blog entry that "If I [was] ambitious enough, I might lay the official bass line, too," but that didn't happen. It wasn't that I was not ambitious enough, I just took a little longer to get a take of the piano that satisfied me.

    There were probably only one or two major blunders in my performance, a clunker chord error here, and movement into the wrong section there. Mostly it was just little nuanced things that were not exactly the attack or the finess that I wanted in a moment here or there.

    TASCAM RC-3F 3-PEDAL FOOT SWITCH ICON
    Sunday night, I tried to fix a clunker chord in the bridge into the first chorus section by using the Tascam foot pedal to punch in/out, but the command executions were not working as I had determined they would. I had the same experience last night while recording the bass line. I clearly have some learning to do. Sunday, I tried using the auto punch in/out on the 8 track recorder, but I had a volume inconsistency between the new recorded section and what was already on the track. Turns out I had unknowingly changed a setting on my piano and didn't catch it until after I had cleaned the track out to start over. Minor obstacles aside, the piano track has been laid.

    K.L. on Bass
    Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
    Last night, as mentioned above, I attempted to add the main bass line, using the viola bass, but I didn't get a take that I liked, and it was getting late, so I will try again tonight. At one point I had most of a good take then fumbled close to the end of the song. That was when I tried punching in, just before the fumble, but it didn't work correctly.

    I should note that I also plan to add other bass work, running the Embassy Pro through the synth pedal. However, though I haven't settle on exactly what voice settings on the SY-1 I'll use, it's likely that what gets recorded will not really sound much like "bass work."

    So now I have the drum kit and the piano locked into the master multi-track.

    K.L. on Vocals
    The rehearsal vocal is still there. It may take a while and a lot of takes to get both the finished melody and the vocal performance that I want. There may actually be other instruments laid in between takes on the vocal. As I've stated before, what I have now for the vocal part does not satisfy me whatsoever. I have a rough matrix of the melody but it needs a lot of adjustments. I need to find a better approach to the performance, too.


    Songwriter icon
    Song number ? in progress
    ?
    That plan I wrote of, to start playing around with some ideas for a new song, hasn't come off much. I tinkered for a little while, Sunday evening, but nothing came of it. I got nothing that sparked further exploration.

    One thing is that over the course of the last several weeks, as I've heard a variety of different music from quite diverse artists, I've thought how something in each of those veins might be the direction to go. Sunday evening it was an attempt at what can best be described as my LOW grade, (very low grade), attempt at a Donald Fagen-like piano piece. It didn't work. There might be another try or two at this particular Steel Dan-ish musical bid, or, next time I sit down to make a go of it, I might go a completely different direction. Whatever direction, it is probable that I am going to start working on a new composition before "Identity" makes it to a final mixed-master.


    Tools of the Trade icon
    Late Sunday night, or, more accurately, early yesterday morning, I went on-line to Sweetwater and ordered the Roland PSA-120S 9v 500mA Power Supply, aka: the AC power adaptor for the Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal. It arrived today. On a related subject, I have never gotten around to fixing my old foot pedals by replacing the bad 9V battery snap connectors with the new ones that I've had for a couple months now. Maybe oughta get to that sometime soon.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    Above: Laying the piano track, Sunday evening.
    Below: last night, recording the bass line, but not getting a good take.
    xxxx
    Tuning the viola bass
    xxxx
    Recording the bass line, but on one of the many bad takes that made up the evening.
    xxxx
    The viola sits, waiting for tonight's session



    XXXXX
    WORKING ON SITE icon
    WORKING FROM HOME icon
    COVID-19

    A few weeks back the Wright State University campus opened back up for the fall semester, though the amount of in-person classes are outflanked by those conducted on-line. Though a lot of staff have returned to working on-site, including where I work in the library, many have not, and most who are working on-site are also working remotely. That's me. My work schedule is the same as it's been for the last several month: two days on-site; three days working from home.

    There really aren't any new sorts of photographs here. It's pretty much the same old same old that I've been posting for months about working on-site and working from home. But, hey, why not post some more?
    xxxx
    Another POV from my "home office."
    xxxx
    A library all-staff meeting last month, via Zoom.
    xxxx
    That home office roof, again.
    xxxx
    On the clock, I often check to be sure our on-line journal subscriptions are up and running.
    xxxx
    For the record, that's hot chocolate.
    xxxx
    And another look at the vista at the "home office."
    xxxx
    It's still as rough in the ol' home office as it's been all summer!
    xxxx
    The elevators on campus currently are restricted to one passenger.
    xxxx
    A floor mat in the library.



    Wed, Sep 16, 2020

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    A LITTLE BIT STRONGER "IDENTITY":
    My Music
    K.L. on Bass
    Song number 6 in progress
    The main bass line for "Identity," performed on the Epiphone Viola Bass, was successfully recorded last night. It took a few takes and I have to admit, for whatever reason, I'm not counting takes. I think I don't count them mostly because I'm not preserving the bad takes, so I don't need to catalogue takes to get to the good one. I simply clean out the track with the bad performance and start over. I do know that there were fewer takes than there were to get the main piano track.

    TASCAM RC-3F 3-PEDAL FOOT SWITCH ICON
    The good news, at least in the I-haven't-wasted-my-money sense, is that I was able to successfully use the Tascam foot switch to do some punch in recording. I had a mostly good take with a blunder late in the performance, as was the case Monday evening, but I have figured out how to correctly use the foot switch and successfully came in on the track where the error was and then go on from there. I actually had to then do it again later in the track, because my fix eventually had an error that needed to be replaced.

    It would be great if I had done a good take in one follow-through performance from start to finish. That would make me feel much better about my musicianship. There's no doubt, I know, that some of my inequities were only minor errors, such that even veteren professional players, who rightfully belong on the Playboy Jass & Pop Poll, could easily be guilty of committing live, or even in the studio -- because even great musicians do multiple takes in the studio. Still, it would have been nice to have gotten through the entire 7:30+ without some unacceptable flub, minor or otherwise.

    Songwriter icon
    Even though I haven't gotten back to working on the vocal melody or the vocal performance that melody will sit on, I have tweaked the lyrics a bit. I changed some lines in the first verse. I didn't alter the meaning but I changed some words and most of some lines to give the stanza more punch. And, actually, "punch" is one of the words I switched in for a less visceral word. For poetic purposes, I switch two words between the first and the second chorus stanzas, as well.

    Some words I replaced because, as I listen to the demo vocal, I don't like how they sound. I also don't like how they impact the performance of the vocal, because, believe it or not, the sound, the phonetics, of words can absolutely influence the vocal performance. I think the new words, pretty much all synonyms for the original words, are better poetry and will perform better as part of the vocal phrasing.

    xxxx
    The guitar synth with the AC power adaptor plugged in.
    Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
    K.L. on Bass
    NEXT icon
    Rather than attacking the vocal melody and it's performance, I think that my next move for "Identity" is to add a chorded bass part.

    That's on the agenda to start working on tonight. I know I will use the Embassy Pro and I'm leaning heavily on running it through the guitar synthesizer. Unlike the plans for the Embassy Pro/guitar synth work I discussed yesterday, the use of the synth here will not be as heavy, but only as augmentation.

    That is if the SY-1 is used at all for this part, though I doubt I don't use it. Yesterday the Roland DC adaptor, for the guitar synth, arrived and it's a guarantee that when I pull out the Embassy tonight, the SY-1 gets used with its new power supply. I'm likely to find a setting that works for the bass chords, and that is likely to end up in the recording.

    Probably next after this will be the Embassy/SY-1 work that I previously referred to, that which will be more fill and counter melodic work, and that which will not really be identifiable as a bass guitar. The vocal melody and performance improvement work will probably start happening, too.

    When this project is over, whenever the hell that will be, I could call the resulting, so-called album, The Bedroom Tapes, save for several things: 1) the amazing Carly Simon already has an album by that name, and a damn good one, too; 2) though most of mine has been recorded in my bedroom, some has not, and will not be; 3) technically, there's no tape involved. However, last night, I was in my bedroom:
    xxxx xxxx
    Laying the bass line for "Identity" on the viola bass.
    xxxx
    Listening to playback.



    Thu, Sep 17, 2020

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    BUILDING "IDENTITY":
    xxxx

    My Music
    K.L. on Bass
    Song number 6 in progress

    Keeping on schedule, I pulled out the Epiphone Embassy Pro Bass last night to find the chords of "Identity," for the secondary bass part, which will literally be a rhythm guitar part. I've found all the chords, all the spellings, for all the musical sections. Now I need to rehearse them to get to the point of laying the track.

    Boss Sy-1 Guitar Synthesizer icon
    The guitar synthesizer did come into play, as predicted. I used it last night on my virgin flight with the AC adaptor. I'd have had a picture taken of the setup, but I didn't think about it. Just as I figured it would be, the effects settings for this chorded-bass, rhythm guitar part are not steep, but rather fairly subtle. I suspect that if I had already successfully fixed the 9V battery connector on my old flanger pedal, (under the assumption that it can be fixed), I might be running the bass through that pedal instead of the synth pedal. I like the sound the bass gets from a flanger. That artistic nostalgia aside, I have a setting that works with the SY-1 and, again, the next step is to rehearse the part up to snuff, get it polished for the recording session.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    Working out those Embassy Pro bass chords to be added to "Identity" to help fill out the sound.



    Sat, Sep 19, 2020

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    "IDENTITY" PROBLEMS:
    My Music
    K.L. on Bass
    Song number 6 in progress

    Thursday was a non-productive evening for the song, "Identity." I did nothing on it. But last night I sat down again with the Epiphone Embassy Pro Bass running through the SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer, and worked on and rehearsed the chorded bass part for the song. Then I played along with what has already been recorded: the drum kit, the piano, the bass line, and the guide vocal. What I discovered then was that although the bass chord spellings are technically in tune, in key, still, harmonically, many of the chords are not blending well into the arrangement. What I had worked out was not working out.

    After a bit of experimenting while playing along with the recording, and not having success, I decided to turn to my Williams piano and go about finding better harmonic spellings that way. Eventually while at the piano, I pulled out the Giannini acoustic bass to audition the new spellings I was figuring out on the keyboard. I have not tried these spellings yet on the Embassy and with the recording, that is planned for later today.


    Songwriter icon
    Song number 6 in progress
    ?
    Song number ? in progress
    The first verse stanza of "Identity" has been rewritten some, again. It's just more punching up to give it more impact, more energy, more weight. Thus far, I have not felt the need to rewrite any subsequent verses, but that doesn't mean they are not fair game, because they are.

    I haven't sat down to think upon more words for the new lyrics I recently started, but I have further contemplated music approaches for the song. I don't think I'll settle on what will happen musically with this one until I sit down to start composing. I do know that I am leaning toward composing it on the piano -- but I don't know exactly what that means -- musically -- as of yet.

    xxxx
    Running the original bass chords I'd worked out, and discovering they do not "work out."
    xxxx
    The SY-1 guitar synthesizer in the background, on the metal box, with the foot pedal tuner setting next to it.
    xxxx
    The SY-1 guitar synthesizer, closer up.
    xxxx
    Reasoning out the workable spelling of the bass chords on the piano
    xxxx
    Using the piano and the acoustic bass to work on the new bass chord spellings.
    xxxx
    You can't see in these two photos, but the phones are off my right ear, so I can hear the Giannini with that ear, as well as the piano in the phones on my left ear.
    You'll notice in the pictures here, I am still wearing the headphones. In the first one, it's because I was running the bass through the eight-track recorder, playing the chords I'd worked out on the bass along with what has already been recorded for the song. In the others, it's because I live in an apartment and I rarely play my electronic instruments at full amplification. I almost always run the audio through headphones, especially later at night, which is usually when I play. Like the Paul Simon song says: "One man's ceiling is another man's floor." Or, in this case, since I live in a ranch apartment: one man's wall is another man's wall.



    WORKING FROM HOME icon
    COVID-19
    More photos of me at the home office space I occupy as long as the weather invites it. There's nothing novel to report, but, I thought I would try a new approach so that I won't be posting simply more versions of the same photographs of myself, working from home, that I have posted before, over and over for the past six months. So, these, from Wednesday, were taken during lunch -- lunchtime at the home office desk.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    On another note, and as I have seen others point out with their own photos the last half of this past week, here is a photo of the southern Ohio sky on Wednesday: it was sunny out, but still there was a very pale blue sky above. It was due to wildfire ash from the west coast. I hear the plumes have reached Europe.



    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio
    Camping
    HIKING ICON

    Cabin Vacation
    Thursday I had a thought. My thought was that it was about time to take a bit of vacation time. I decided that the vacation time should be at least a few days in a rented cabin. I'd done that two summers ago in Hocking Hills and it was a wonderful experience. So, why not try for there again? I did. There are a lot of cabins in the Hocking Hills region, I'll bet more than a thousand. When I went looking for vacancies, I found there were not many. I had to split my time between two, actually three, locations, which, in the end, is actually better. A little bit of mixing it up over the course of a little more than a week is going to be a good thing.

    Within 24 hours I had booked time in two separate cabins in the Hocking Hills region. Three nights in a cabin close to Clear Creek Metro Park, then three nights in a cabin in between Hocking Hills State Park and Lake Hope State Park, about 30 minutes from the latter. But, before the cabins, I'm doing two nights camping at Burr Oak State Park. It'll be eight nights and nine days in south-eastern Ohio forestry. I can't wait.

    Thus far, this upcoming vacation is already costing just shy of $1000.00, and I am sure before it's over I'll have spent a few more hundred, but, guess what? I am more than okay with that. I also have had to cancel being a reader for a couple sessions of the upcoming, on-line Ohio Playwrights Circle playwriting class, and, as much as I like doing that, I'm also okay with bowing out of a couple classes for this.



    Mon, Sep 21, 2020

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    A LITTLE STRONGER "IDENTITY":
    My Music
    K.L. on Bass
    Song number 6 in progress

    I worked out the final chord spellings for the chorded bass for "Identity," yesterday. What I finally settled on is slightly altered from what I worked out Friday evening on the Williams piano and the Giannini acoustic bass. I also adjusted the setting on the SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer, pushing the effect balance virtually to 100%, and set the reverb in the eight-track recorder to half for the track.

    Although I laid the chorded bass track last night, I'm not keeping that take. I did listen to playback to hear overall how it works in the arrangement and was happy with that. The bass chord spellings blend harmonically with the piano part and with the settings on the guitar synth it all works well as underpinning for the piano chords, which was my goal. But my performance can be better, so I'm going to re-record the part tonight.

    Here I am last night rehearsing the "Identity" chorded bass part on the Epiphone Embassy Pro Bass.
    xxxx
    xxxx
    Hot chocolate break.
    xxxx
    xxxx
    Dinner break.
    xxxx
    xxxx
    The revised setting on the SY-1 guitar synth for the chorded bass part.



    GETTIN' READY FOR NEXT WEEK'S VACATION:
    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio

    Camping
    Cabin Vacation
    I'm camping this coming Saturday. I might want to be sure my tent is still in good shape. It should be in good shape, but I haven't had it out for a couple decades. It's a little one-person tent. I had a six-person that wore out. The smaller one is made better, and I expect it will be good, but I probably should make sure, perhaps later today, so if I need a new one I'll know early this week.

    Over the weekend, one cabin rental was confirmed and I have no reason to expect that I won't get confirmation today on the other one.



    Tue, Sep 22, 2020

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    STILL PREPPING FOR VACATION:
    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio

    xxxx
    My tent, pitched in the yard in front of my apartment. And, no, I did not sleep in it.
    Camping
    Until last night, my little two-person tent hadn't been out of its storage bag for well over fifteen years, quite possibly more than twenty years. I pitched it last night, as planned, in the yard in front of my apartment, just to be sure it is in good shape. It is.

    I contemplated buying a cot but decided that the 8-foot by 4-foot space is a little tight for a cot. Of course, I'll have my sleeping bag, but I've also ordered a sleeping pad from Dick's, which I'll pick up after work today. While I'm there, I'll shop around for a few other things. I have a florescent lantern but it's being finicky, so I might pick up another one. I want a good heavy-duty flashlight, too. There might be other things I see in the camping department, too, a nice portable chair, for instance.

    On another camping-related topic, the extended forecast for this weekend down in south eastern Ohio is a mixed bag. The weekend high, when I'll be camping in a the tent, is 80° on Saturday with the lowest overnight low at 55°, Sunday night. There's also a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms on Sunday. So, besides bringing the rain tarp for the tent*, and my own rain gear, I also am bringing warmer clothing in case the highs are not as predicted -- it is the end of September in Ohio, so, the daily weather is a capricious thing, and a forecast, over a couple days out is often tenuous.
    *Need to remember to pick up some spikes, at Dick's, for the rain tarp.


    Cabin Vacation
    HIKING ICON
    My Music
    Then, next week while I'm in the cabins, the average high will be in the mid-sixties, with the peak forecasted as 71° on Monday. The lows will average mid-forties. As for rain, we're currently looking at a 40% chance of showers Tuesday morning and we're looking at a 20% chance every other day next week. I will be in the cabin, but I also plan on some hiking.

    I'm also considering the idea of bringing a bass and a keyboard with me, as well as the eight track recorder and other musical equipment. I haven't made up my mind, yet. There is a great opportunity for some music making. The original thought was to just bring the acoustic bass, but then I thought, Hey, those cabins have electricity.... But, we'll see.


    My Music
    Song number 6 in progress

    No Report

    Or, very little to report. I had planned to re-record the chorded bass work for "Identity" last night, but that didn't happen. It'll probably happen tonight. Not sure what comes next. It'll probably be the bass line ran through the SY-1 pedal, and very likely played on the Embassy Pro. I also have been thinking more about the changes to the vocal melody, though, as I've written before, I'll probably be working on that while laying other parts of the song's arrangement.



    Thu, Sep 24, 2020

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    A STURDIER "IDENTITY":
    My Music
    K.L. on Bass
    Song number 6 in progress

    The chorded bass part, on the Embassy Pro, was laid last night, this take being a lock. It only took three takes to get one I am satisfied with. I think it often comes in at around ten to fifteen, maybe more.

    If it hadn't been so late in the evening I would have done a stereo mix of the recording as it is right now, with the drum kit, the piano, the chorded bass, the main bass line, and the guide vocal. But, as today is one of my "working on-site" days at the rent-payer, and I had to be in the office by a certain time, I needed to go to bed.

    I will probably mix down the song as it right now, just to have a nice little session outtake. I may try doing an import of the individual tracks for a mixdown in Final Cut Pro X, GarageBand, or if I'm feeling really adventurous, Logic Pro, which I've barely endeavored within.


    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio
    I am also starting to lean heavily toward that idea I wrote about in the last blog entry of taking music equipment with me on this upcoming vacation, for when I'm in the cabins. Who knows, "Identity" could get closer to a wrapped track. I might also start on that idea for a new song that's been floating around in my head.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    Last night I laid the locked track of the chorded bass part for "Identity."


    K.L. on Bass
    I don't think I ever reported on the final result of the attempted repairs on my Giannini acoustic/electric bass, (the one actually pictured in the "KL on Bass" icon, to the left). Some of you five regulars may remember that in August I had my nephew, a guitarist and "guitar mechanic," if you will, look at the Giannini, because I've had a pickup problem with the lower toned strings, especially the E string. He did some monir maintenance on the axe but had to take it to a pro he knows to diagnose/repair the pickup issue. The prognosis is that there is an inherent problem with that pickup and that it's going to be a major hassle to replace it. The advice I've been given is to get an acoustic guitar mounted pickup, and that a sound hole type might be the best choice. So, for the moment, if I use the Giannini for recording, it'll have to be mic'd.


    T-MINUS APPROXIMATELY 48 HOURS 'TILL VACATION:
    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio
    Animated Gif Clock from https://www.gifandgif.eu

    The plan is to head out toward the Burr Oak State Park camp grounds by mid-morning Saturday. If I have my ducks in a row I'll have all shopping and packing done by bedtime Friday, except for things like ice, etc., that need to be last-minute.

    When I went to Dick's Tuesday to pick up the camping pad I also grabbed six tent stakes for my rain tarp and a flashlight. At the moment I'm going to gamble on the battery operated lantern, though I might change my mind between now and leaving Saturday morning.


    My Music
    You saw above about my lean toward taking music equipment with me. I'm thinking about one of the Epiphone basses, if not both, the guitar synthesizer, the Giannini bass, the Legato piano, one of the Yamaha keyboards, the eight-track recorder, the auxiliary recording equipment and paraphernalia (including microphones), and all the other supplemental equipment. That would pretty much be the back seat of my car. The thing about the electric basses is that any recording would be direct into the recorder, I would not bring the bass amp.



    WORKING FROM HOME icon
    COVID-19

    Damn right!
    All the way until
    the weather is prohibitive.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx


    Fri, Sep 25, 2020

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    "IDENTITY" ON VACATION:
    My Music
    Song number 6 in progress
    TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON K.L. on Keys
    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio
    K.L. on Bass
    K.L. on Vocals

    There's a strong chance that I'll give "Identity" attention while I'm on my vacation. I have decided to bring two basses with me, the Embassy Pro and Giannini acoustic. I'm also bringing the eight-track recorder kit, which will include the microphones. Laying the secondary bass line, heavily processed through the SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer, (which obviously, I'm also bringing) is a strong likelihood. This will be the bass part that really won't be a "bass line," but will be a synth line. I may work on the vocal line as well. I'm bringing the Giannini just because.

    The Williams Legato III piano as well as either Yamaha keyboard are all staying home. If I happen to start any new music whilst in one of those cabins, it'll be done on a bass -- probably the acoustic.


    T-MINUS LESS THAN ONE DAY!:
    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio
    Animated Gif Clock from https://www.gifandgif.eu
    My Music
    We've already discussed the potential musical activities on this vacation, and the fact that I will not be bringing any keyboards with me. Here's why: I can't get the Legato into the trunk. It would have to rest on the back seat. There are some times during the week that it would be there, quite visible, even in the gig bag, and I just don't want it to be so conspicuos. There would be the two nights and three days I am camping, and any time I am stopped to eat in a restaurant, at least in between my vacation destinations. The two basses will be much easier to hide from public view. I haven't tried yet, But I might be able to get them both in the trunk, even with the things that will already occupy the trunk, such as the two bundles of firewood I bought last night. I'm not bringing either Yamaha keyboard because I don't have that much interest in doing so.


    Final Draft 11 icon
    It wouldn't be out of the question that the play manuscript gets some attention during the vacation. And since I have the Final Draft mobile app I could work on it on my iPhone while I'm camping at the start of the trip -- my laptop will be locked in the car trunk while I'm camping. I'm not really too sure there's a lot to be worked on at this point. I won't have ideas about any sort of major, or lesser but significant, changes until after I've had another private reading, which I hope will happen within the next couple of months. That reading is 99.9999999% assured to be via Zoom.


    In further preparation for "Autumn Vacation 2020," I did some more shopping last night. Along with the bundles of firewood, mentioned above, I also bought a new compass (even though my iPhone has one), a campfire butane lighter, a nice little pocket camper's knife, and the smallest bag of charcoal bricks I could find. That last one is still way more than I'm going to need; it's a 12 lb bag; I'll be lucky if I use up half of that. I also wanted to get a small canister of lighter fluid, but where I was, the smallest was a 2-quart bottle. I was not about to get that much. Also bought a few straps, some for my sleeping bag, which needs them, some for just general use if it comes up. I bought some cans of tuna, too. There'll be a container of tuna salad in the cooler for the trip.

    I'll be doing some more shopping this evening, including getting a rain tarp for the tent. I had thought there was one in the trunk of my car. When I unfolded it last night to check its size, I found that it was a rain poncho.


    Weather icon
    Meanwhile the latest weather forecast for the relevant areas has a high of 80° for both tomorrow and Sunday, for my camping trip, with upper 70s for Monday morning. The lowest low is 59° tomorrow night. It's partly cloudy all weekend, but the chance of rain is only 10%. It's only 20% Monday morning. It forecasted to be a little cooler through the week, while I'm at the cabins, but still the lowest high is 60° and the some nights the lows will fet into the upper 30s. And there's a 50% chance of rain on Tuesday; all the other days it's a 20% chance.



    Sat, Sep 26, 2020

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    AND WE'RE OFF!
    ROADTRIP!
    Autumn Vacation 2020 in South East Ohio

    Spent the morning doing the final packing for the trip. Shortly after I post this, I will be on the road for Burr Oak State Park.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx
    The car is packed and ready to take flight!



    WORKING FROM HOME icon
    COVID-19
    Three more photos of me at the home office space I occupy as long as the weather invites it. Again, there's nothing novel to report, but, I'm again posting another variety of the photographs of myself, working from home, that I have posted before.

    xxxx
    xxxx
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    xxxx
    The southern Ohio sky yesterday. The blue has come back to deeper from the pale blue we had last week due to the wildfire ash from the west coast.



    Tue, Sep 29, 2020

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    38 Years Sober
    On this date, in 1982, I came to a crossroad. It was a defining moment that in the world of Twelve-Step Recovering is known as "taking the first step of recovery." I knew, with every fiber of my being, that I had no control over my drinking (or pot use) and that I had no power to stop either addiction without some serious help. I decided in that moment that if I wanted to live, I must seek that help. I did seek that help and I have neither drank a drop of alcohol nor smoked a toke of dope since that moment of revelation.

    I don't know if I can explain what it means that I have now been sober for thirty-eight years. It's absolutely amazing to me. It would be amazing to you if you knew the guy that finally, FINALLY, FINALLY made the decision that maybe, just maybe, his life might go a whole lot better if he weren't drunk all the time. This is the same guy who in those final days asked himself, on a terribly frequent bases, this question: "Do I go out drinking tonight or do I go to work tomorrow?" Because at the end of my drinking days only one of those things was likely to happen.

    I'd love to say that I did it all by myself, but, that is HARDLY the case. It took an army of sober people and some other spiritual warriors to help me out of the abyss. But you better believe that I played a major role in my own recovery. Those who don't, do not recover. Anybody who believes otherwise is missing a vital piece of the puzzle. Anybody in recovery who thinks so has not been fully paying attention. Anyone in recovery who downplays their own active participation in their own recovery or does so to others and those others' recovery, are not doing themselves or anyone else any good service.

    That particular soapbox aside, I am an alcoholic who can't imagine taking a drink for any sort of occasion, bad or good, despite that almost four decades later I still remember full well what a cold Heineken or a strong Bacardi's Rum & Coke tastes like. I can taste them both right now as I write this, as if I'd drank them both just an hour ago. Yet, that's just a alcoholic's mental-muscle memory with no craving for either attached. And that, my friends, is also an amazing thing.

    A lot sucks about the world today, especially in this country I love, which has, in the past several years, disappointed and disillusioned me more than I would have ever imagined. But by god, I am a sober man living a most sober life, and I have been such a man, living such a life, for a very long time now. For that, you may not be able to comprehend how grateful I am and how blessed I feel about it.

    This was actually posted after the fact. I was still on my Autumn vacation 2020 and was not often able to get decent internet reception. I posted some things to facebook, etc., but didn't bother with the blog until I had good bandwidth to work with.



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