The Mockingbird cabin -- though I'd really call it a
cottage -- at
Best Nest Cabins.
By a pond on the Best Nest property.
Doing the hot tub on the Mockingbird deck.
A week ago today, I achieved thirty-eight years of sobriety. I have
scribbled out some words that I've posted, though after-the-fact,
on the actual date of the anniversary. The post didn't appear
until the same time as this post.
Click here to read it,
if you're interested, that is.
If you've been here before you may know that I took both the
Embassy Pro bass
Giannini acoustic bass
with me on Autumn
2020. I'm happy to say I utilized them both. I started a new song on the
acoustic and I worked out the synthesized bass line for "Identity"
on the Embassy.
I sat on the porch of the Wolf's Den cabin at
Thunder Ridge Cabins
to start the new song, which has the workship title of "Chilled October
Morning." I stuck the
on the fifth fret of the Giannini and created the chord structure, which is
not finalized yet. I started the lyrics Thursday morning, on the deck of the
cabin, which happened to be a chilled October morning.
A big goal was to at least get a big chunk of the synthesized bass line for
"Identity" worked out, and I accomplished that. It's not perfected,
there are still some things to finess before I'm ready to record. But a lot
of progress was made.
I'll write more on these in the official account ot the
Meanwhile here are some pictures from those moments:
On the Wolf's Den porch composing the new
"Chilled October Morning."
MORE ON THAT MUSIC I WORKED ON DURING MY
Since returning home from
2020 I haven't worked on music, at least not directly. What I have
done is edit together a DV movie that I shot last Saturday while I was at
Mockingbird Cabin at
Best Nest Cabins.
I'd shot myself playing a little sampler of the new song (Song
#7; workshop title: "Chilled October Morning"), and I shot
myself playing a bit of the synthesized bass line that I worked out for
"Identity" while on the same
I performed that bass line for the camera -- (iPhone,
actually) -- accompanied by playback of the tracks already laid for the song.
Well, honestly, it's sans the vocal track, which as I have expressed before,
I really don't want anyone to hear; it's only value is as a
Monday night and last night I sat down at
Final Cut Pro X
with the footage, along with a collection of relevant still photography shots,
and edited together the following video. It probably has too much auxiliary
business included, but, here it is, anyway:
TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO:
It's very odd to think that today is the twenty-third anniversary of the
passing of my mother. Just like one day you turn around and some kid
you've known is a full-blown adult, whether they are your child, another
relative, or a friend's little one. It's the same with our loved ones who
have died. The next thing you know the decades have multiplied. And in both
these scenarios, how often do we catch ourselves saying, "It seems
like just yesterday."
Since I've been back from
2020, until last night I had not done any music stuff, except to edit
together the DV movie I recently posted. I keep getting down to close to
the end of the evening and I don;t feel like unpacking everything and
setting it up. So I kept saying to myself, "Tomorrow. I'll do something
Yesterday I decided to short-circuit that bullshit. Before I "went to
the office" (you know, set my work stuff up out on my apartment patio),
I set everything up in the little "music corner" of my bedroom to
work on music in the evening.
So, last night, after an eleven-day break, I finally sat back down with the
SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal
and further rehearsed the synthesized bass line for
Song #6/"Identity." I still don't
have it worked out to the point that it's ready to record, but I have
come much closer. I made some further little tweaks to the arrangement of
the part last night. There are still some places where I'd like to, I
don't know, I guess "liven it up" might be the right term.
When I was done last night, I left pretty much everything set up to work on
it some more, so that it's readily available and setting there as a
strong taunt for me when I'm home tonight. It would be more than grand if
I was able to have a finished, locked take of this part recorded before the
end of the weekend. Actually, before the weekend would be good, too.
Yeah, before the weekend would definitely be better. Then maybe I could
start working on that troublesome vocal melody.
The little "corner of the bedroom"
recording studio set-up, all set up, early in the
day for later in the night.
It's time to rehearse!
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN:
Just because I haven't recently posted any photos of me at my home office
in no way meant that I was finished doing so. As I wrote before, I will be
working out there until the weather no longer permits it. So, there I was
yesterday. Might have been dressed a little warmer, but, no problem.
TAKIN' THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME THEATRE MAKE0VER:
New DTG board member Michael Welly
While we have been on this unfortunate, extended intermission from
productions we have been taking advantage of the down time to do a lot of
different sort of work at the theatre. There's been some clean up and
clean out, some organizing, and lately, a lot of painting.
I missed a bit of the painting, once because I felt sick, and then I missed
several sessions that took place while I was on
But, this past Saturday, I was able to be there to pitch in. I actually
had been scheduled to be a reader
for the current
Ohio Playwrights Circle
play writing class, which is meeting on-line, but I canceled my participation
in that in order to be free to do work at The Guild during the same times.
There was a good turnout Saturday, in these COVID-19 days, anyway. You kind
of don't want too many people, but too few isn't great, either. Some of the
stalwart regulars were there and two of our new members for 2020/2021 were
there. Michael Welly and Edward Hill.
We only were there for a few hours, but a lot was done. A lot has been done
prior, and I'm kind of jealous that I didn't play a part on a lot of it.
The new look for the lobby wall.
DTG board members Kathy Mola (bending over) &
Sarah Saunders (on ladder) paint the board room.
Me (K.L.) touching up some spots outside the men's
Board members Jeff Sams & Edward Hill (new)
Edward, again, doing to fine-touch work.
Veteran board members Barbara Jorgensen (back) &
Carol Finley (foreground)
Yep, lately, all of my instrumental practice has been on the
running through the
SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal,
trying to perfect (or some approximation of "perfecting")
that synth bass line for Song #6/"Identity."
The synth bass is taking the solos during both the bridges between verses.
It's simple stuff, but, really, ought to be. I like what I've
worked out, but it's not singling me out as the new
Jaco Pastorius, or anything. But,
again, the lead work in those spots really feels like it should be simple
stuff -- which is a good thing.
There is a lead guitar section later in the song, which I hope whoever
the guitarist is does not keep simple. I do have someone I've approached
about laying the electric guitar for this. At some point I'll pursue that.
I'd like to get the rest of the tracks laid first, get that vocal line and
performance where I want it, especially. Also, I plan to add "horns,"
which will be on one or both of my Yamaha keyboards. I'm not sure if I'll
add the organ voice from my Williams piano
or not. I'm also not sure yet whether background vocals are necessary.
After I have this other stuff laid I make those decisions.
Rehearsing, once again, the synthesized bass line for
"Identity," last night/early this morning.
WELL, IT IS MID-OCTOBER IN OHIO:
So, damn, it was just a little too nippy out Friday for the usual
home-office set-up. I had to work from my actual office set-up inside my
By the way, you can't tell but on the screen in that first photo is the
Biden/Harris election website, where I was just about to make a donation.
BOWING TO THE INEVITABLE:
We regret that due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic we
are postponing our live performances until August of 2021,
when we plan to kick off our 2021/2022 season.
Your health and safety, and that of our volunteers, casts,
and production crews is of the utmost concern. We have come
to this difficult decision as so many of our fellow arts
organizations, both local and around the world, have done.
We look forward to offering you a robust season when we open.
Please stay tuned for information on upcoming productions
and ticket information.
During the pandemic, and as we approach the end of the year,
the Dayton Theatre Guild would appreciate any monetary
donation, in any amount you are able to make. All donations
will be used to help keep the Guild viable until we are able
to reopen to the public.
We have been fortunate to have your loyal patronage for
all these years, and we are impatient to get back to the
business of "Giving You Good Theatre, Done Well!"
Be well and stay safe!
At our DTG board meeting yesterday morning we made the painful decision
to cancel the truncated season we were going to launch this February. The
coronavirus pandemic is simply not calmed down enough for it to be a safe
and sane proposition to open our doors then.
Plus, in practical terms, the current Ohio mandates on inside theatres does
not allow us to have a "full house" of a size that would have a
ticket gross that would even cover the royalty fee for that performance.
There's just not a pro side to the February opening, and there are many
cons -- of course, risk to health and safety being the biggest con. That
would be the risk to health and safety of our audience members, to the
cast members and production staff of the shows, and to the boardmembers
and other volunteers.
All the board members were in agreement. It was not difficult for us to
realize that postponement was the only action to take. I think we've all
known for a while now, as we have been watching the news of new cases of
COVID-19 surging in our state. In fact, our region of the state has been
one of those seeing bigger surges.
It was a difficult decision to make, however, in that it certainly is not
at all how we want it to be. But, this is how it is, and we have to act in
accordance with the reality of the situation.
Still spending all my music time on the
SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal,
working on the synth bass line for "Identity." I spent time on
it last night and I was getting a little irritated with myself. As I
commented to a friend, who commented on the facebook post above:
J.K. Simmons and
Miles Teller in
that's what having a perfectionist's mentality does for me. Or is that
Self-castigation aside, at least I can point to the fact that I am at the
point of finetuning, and it's the missing the mark of a perfomance of a
instrumental part that is challenging, at least for a musician of my ilk.
And I can look to the point that when I am playing the part to my
satisfaction I will have improved as a musician.
I've also pretty much honed down the arrangement of the part to what I want.
So the arranger/composer part of the synth bass line is essentially done.
There may be some minor adjustments, but ultimately I know what I want to
play. Now it's just a question of executing the performance.
When I was rehearsing last night I didn't use the headphones for most of
time, instead running the mix through monitor speakers. I usually don't do
that at the apartment for a couple reasons. First, the obvious reason
that I don't wish to disturb my neighbors. Also, however, I'm not keen to
draw too much attention to the fact that music equipment lives in the
apartment. But I wasn't exactly blasting the music last night, and as it
got later, I did switch to monitoring with my headphones.
The rehearsal started with the TV on. I gave it a try, watching TV while
rehearsing. Had I been just doing exercises it would have worked. I've done
that before. But I was working on a specific part, so it did not
work. I was either concentrating too much on the part to be at all paying
attention to the TV, or, frankly, the music out of the monitors drawned the
TV out. I don't even know why I imagined it would work. By the way, that's
My Boys on the
screen, one of my personal favorite sit-coms, starring one of my major
celebrity crushes, Jordana Spiro.
Ultimately, TV aside, regardless of my critical verbal assaults on myself
as I was working to perfect the arrangement and the performance of this
synth bass line, there was progress. Whether that was because of, or in spite
of, my harsh attitude toward myself, I can't answer. That wish I expressed
in the Oct 15 post to have the synth bass line laid by the end of this past
weekend, clearly was not realized. I've also just figured out that I've been
actively working on "Identity" for over three months, and it's
been two months since I first laid official tracks on the multi-track master.
Yeah, this project isn't going to be on the home stretch any time soon.
Watching TV while I worked on the part didn't really work
And, of course, the standard second and third photos from
Of late I am seriously considering hosting an on-line, virtual
private reading, probably
via Zoom of the play manuscript. All three
of my original readers are on board,
contigent, of course, on their schedules. A cursory look at things makes it
seem like the early November period is a good candidate range for a date.
I have a new revision of draft #5
that I polished off Sunday. Only one of the actors has seen any rendition
of draft 5. For her, the changes will be subtle. The other two will see a
significantly different starting and ending of the play. We know, naturally,
that there's no guarantee that there won't be more revision before any
reading takes place. It would all be minor, I think, but certainly not off
Last night I continued rehearsing the bass synth line for "Identity."
on my Embassy Pro
and my SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal.
I'm getting closer to the performance I want, but I still ain't there! I've
yet to exactly perfect the arrangement of that instrument during the
chorus section, though I came to several decisions last night. And I have
some performance finesses to master. There are a few places where I need to
hit the execution consistently with the dynamics I want in those spots.
There's also still a little run during the bridge between verses three and
four that I am not playing to my satisfaction. It needs to be cleaner and
it needs to be faster.
Meanwhile, I'm not getting the sustain for a note (high B) that I want on
the string I'd rather play it on (D). I've had to adjust for at least the
early part of the song and play that B on the A string. The reason is simple:
my strings need to be cleaned. There are several ways to clean them. In the
past I've boiled them, but I don't want to take them off. That's also why
I don't plan to soak them in either rubbing alchohol or white vinegar, both
which are options. So, Tuesday I went to Sweetwater
and ordered several guitar cleaning items:
Beyond cleaning fluid for the strings, there are also two microfiber brushes
of different widths for cleaning the strings and other parts of the guitar.
There's guitar polish and fretboard conditioner. For good measure, I bought
some extra microfiber cloths, though one comes with the Lizard kit. The
stuff arrived today, so one of my first orders of business when I get home
is to clean all three basses.
I'm also in the process of looking for a good pickup for my
Giannini acoustic bass. It
has a built-in electric pickup, but the signal is weak on the E string.
It's been recommended by one guitar tech that it's more cost-efficient and
practical to add a soundhole pickup rather than to replace the built-in
pickup. However, the sales rep at Sweetwater thinks I might be better off
with what is called a piezo pickup.
The difference between the two is essentially that a soundhole pickup
is a standard guitar pickup that is fixed, literally, in the acoustic
guitar's soundhole, right under the strings. It picks up the sound vibrations
from the strings. A piezo is usually installed under the guitar bridge and
it picks up and translates the vibration from the body. There are pros and
cons to both. This blog article,
"Acoustic Piezo vs. Soundhole Pickups – What's the Difference?,"
touches on most of them.
By the time I get to the point of recording
Song #7/(workshop title: "Chilled October Morning"),
I want a new pickup on my Giannini. I don't want to have to mic it. That is,
whenever I get to the point of recording it. I'm not done writing it yet,
and I haven't done anything with it since I got back from Autumn
Continuing to "Perfect"(?) the synthesized
bass on "Identity," last night.
As I write this post, I'm at lunch, sitting outside, on-site, under the
overhang, at the rent-payer.
I'll probably go on to do a little bit of HTML work on the
"soon"-to-come post about
2020. That's what I did at lunch, on-site, Tuesday, only at my desk.
Lunch time Tuesday at work, working on the eventual
2020 recounting that will be posted here.
If you have HBO Max or would be
inclined to get it, even temporarily, and if you are a fan of the TV show,
The West Wing,
I highly recommend the special reunion re-staging of one of the show's
(S3:E15). The re-staging was shot quite recently and is a beautiful
marriage of theatre staging and television production. It was done in
When We All Vote a bipartisan
movement to get out the vote for this upcoming U.S. general election.
In late 1969 and early 1970, Paul McCartney
recorded his first solo album,
playing all the instruments himself. It was made during a bad period for
Paul. The Beatles were in the
downward spiral that was going to soon result in their disbanding.
Ten years later, Paul again recorded an album all on his own --
Again, crap had hit the fan. He'd been busted in Japan for possession of
marijuana and had to spend, two weeks, I believe, in jail -- yeah, it
absolutely could have been worse. His new band,
had been scheduled to tour Japan, but the bust ended that. And the band
split at that point.
Forty years after that, Paul was sequestered on his farm in Sussex, due to
this COVID-19 insanity, and he has created McCartney III, which
will release this coming December 11. Again, all Paul and only Paul.
"IDENTITY," CLEANING STUFF, AND A NEW ELECTRIC KEYBOARD:
I am still rehearsing the synthesized bass part for "Identity."
There are still spots where I am absolutely not happy yet with what I'm
doing. I have the arrangement finalized now, but I am not executing some
things to my satisfaction.
There some spots that need a pretty precise finess to the attack of the
notes, and I am not hitting them consistently. I am also still working to
perfect that run, I have written of, for the bridge section after verse three.
I've actually devised a new fingering for it, using the G and the D string,
as opposed to just the G string. I haven't perfected it, but, once I have
woodshedded this new fretting, I think I will get the performance both
cleaner and faster, both which are needed. I spent a bit of time last night
just rehearsing this new approach to the run.
There will be no moving on in the song until I have a performance of this
synth bass line I can record and that I have recorded. Next rehearsal
may focus on that bridge run. Plus, I need to clean up the execution of the
runs during the chorus sections. That arrangement, too, is finished, but
sometimes the performance just doesen't cut it.
I don't know if this helped or hurt my resolve, but I watched a
documentary about Rush, Saturday night.
You know, that Geddy Lee,
he's, um, well, pretty damn good on that bass of his.
Thursday, when I got home from the rent-payer,
I has all my new guitar cleaning gear in hand and I pulled out all three
and the Giannini acoustic
and cleaned all the strings and bodies. I used the Lizard Spit string
conditioner fluid on the strings then further scrubbed them with the
MusicNomad microfiber cleaning tools. I used those tools to clean off other
spots on the guitars, and I wiped the guitars down, in general, with the
microfiber cleaning cloths.
I've always made a habit of wiping down the strings and the body with a
cloth after each time I play. Now the ritual will be with the cleaning tool
on the strings and other nooks and crannies, and the wipe down with the
I haven't used the Lizard Spit fretboard conditioner, nor their guitar
polish yet. That'll come soon. The big thing is to keep the body oils and
dead skin from my hands and fingers off the strings, as well as dust,
etc. Cleaner strings: better sound and more note sustain. I already heard
a difference when rehearsing "Identity."
Yamaha Portable Grand DGX-230
I hadn't planned on this, but, later today I will be going to look at a
Yamaha Portable Grand DGX-230
being sold at about a 60% discount from the list price, by a private seller.
I almost bought one of these the day I instead bought the
Williams Legato III,
just because of price range. When I saw this Yamaha DGX-230 at such a steal
of a price....
Last year, I played the showroom model at
Guitar Center and
the grand piano sound is pretty impressive. It has several hundred voices,
as well. As I said, the only reason I did not leave with one back a year
ago was the price. So this one, allegedly barely out of the box, is most
attractive to me.
I'm going to go look at it before committing, but, I am thinking it's
very likely I'll be loading it in my car. The real bitch is that now I'll
have to buy a case for it, and that is going to cost about as much money as
I'll probably shell out today.
Using the tools from my new guitar cleaning kit to clean
the strings, etc., on all three of my basses, Thursday
Back to the grind, Friday night, once again rehearsing the
synth bass line for "Identity."
Grinding on, last night, still rehearsing that synth bass
I certainly do post an awful lot of photographs that are
similar, don't I? Not just in this music section, but
WORKING FROM ONE OF THEM "SATELLITE" OFFICES:
Young equestrian at George Rogers Clark Park
Last Friday was a nice day with a pleasant temperature, in the 60s, partly
sunny, with a bit of wind on occasion. Clearly I could be on the clock for
the rent-payer, outdoors. I
decided to head over to
George Rogers Clark Park
and use the hotspot function on my iPhone
to telecommute. I ended up parking myself at a picnic table facing
Hosterman Lake, there in the park. I get good enough cell service at this
park that I could easily access the library catalogue and other databases I
needed to do the project I have been focused on the last few work days.
My plan had been to hike the park after I was done with the work day,
but as the afternoon progressed some grayer clouds started rolling in, the
sun disappeared, the wind picked up a bit, and the temperature dropped. All
the signs of an incoming rain, if not a storm, were manifesting. So, I
packed up and went back to the apartment to finish my day. When I got back
home, however, the sun was out, most of the sky was clear; it seemed
the threat was thwarted. I decided to still work outside, in my usual
outside home office on the patio at my apartment. Just about the time I
was ready to quit work for the day, it was suddenly darker again, the wind
picked up, and there was thunder in the distance. The rain did come, just
a bit later, but it clearly would have still hit at hiking time.
But hey, I spent a good portion of the day by a lake. Can't really
complain, now can I?
Six photos of me, last Friday, on the clock in my satellite
office space, close to the banks of Hosterman Lake at George
Rogers Clark Park.
Later in the day, after I relocated back to my usual home
office due to what had looked like a serious threat of rain.
BEAUTIFICATION OF THE THEATRE CONTINUES
Saturday was another work day at the theatre. A few of us boardmembers
again gathered together for some more painting and other tasks.Of course,
the deadline for needing to be finished is now extended by a half of a year,
at least. But, still, getting the spruce up out of the way can't be a bad
thing. And getting this stuff done will leave room for other refurbishing.
The big hope is, of course, that August of 2021 will actually be a good
time for us to reopen to the public. There's nothing unique about that
from us. The other live theatre venues in the area are in the same boat as
us. Other arts organizations are, too: museums, art galleries, night clubs,
concert halls. Of course, it's not just us in the Dayton area, or just Ohio,
it's the nation, it's a lot of the world.
It would be good if our nation had taken a different approach to this
pandemic. We would very likely be on the other side of it by now. That
February open date we had hoped for might have come to be. But here we are.
We do what we can do and wait for when we can do more.
Some pics of the work done this past Saturday at the theatre.
In the crew, in order of appearance, below, were Michael
Welly, Brian Buttrey, Carol Finley, Kathy Mola, and myself.
BACK TO GEORGE ROGERS CLARK PARK ON SATURDAY:
After we wrapped the work day at The Guild,
I headed back to George Rogers Clark Park
to get that hike in I couldn't take the day before. I like hiking in the
autumn. I like spring and summer hikes better, but I like autumn hikes. The
multicolored fallen leaves are pretty. They do cause a situation from time
to time, those red, tan, brown, leaves covering the floor of the forestry:
sometimes it's difficult, sometimes it's impossible, to discern where the
hiking trail is. I am certain that there were a few times on Saturday I
was not following the "stay on the trail" rules of the park.
It was a good hiking day. One thing happen that was a little funny, even
at the time -- okay, after a few moments it was funny. Toward the end of
the hike I was now on a trail right by the banks of Hosterman Lake. At one
point I saw a particular photo op. I stepped in a little closer to the
lake only to end up in a swampy area where my feet sunk a good foot, or
more, into the mud. It was startling at first. And for that first instant
I was absolutely not amused. But, then you know, after the visceral,
lizard-brain reaction was tempered down, after I realized that, no, in
fact, I was not going to die, it was not quicksand, well. than, I had to
laugh. I also have to be thankful that when I go hiking I am smart enough,
at least, to actually wear hiking boots. I am going to need some new tennis
shoes soon, but, they still have some life left in, especially since I
switched them out for the boots when I got to the park.
Some of the photos from the day's hike. Note the pic of
my muddy boots, and pant legs, after my near brush with
The battle scarred boots!
The photo I was trying to get, only it would have been closer
to the water.
Man am I unhappy with my level of musicianship. There may be a time when I
am pretty good, maybe a time when I reach, or at least approach, excellence.
Right now, I am barely adequate, in my judgement. As I may have written
before, I think I'm a pretty good "music maker." I think I create
some pleasant tracks. But no one with credible judgement is anywhere close
to amazed with my skill on bass or keyboards.
As I work on this synthesized bass line for "Identity," I do
recognize that there is improvement, that I am edging closer to well
executing what really isn't all that exceptional of a part. Yet, it's
frustrating that I have yet to master what ultimately should be fairly easy
Yesterday I went to check out that
Yamaha Portable Grand DGX-230
that was for sale, at the steal-of-a-price of $200. However, as sure as I
was that I would purchase it, I did not do so. I'd even dropped by the
bank first to withdraw cash from my savings to pay for it, because the
seller preferred cash over a cheque.
Unfortunately, as it turns out, I clearly mistook this for another electric
grand piano, perhaps not even a Yamaha, but with a similar look. I know I
looked at something similar last year at
Guitar Center, but
with a couple important differences. First, and most importantly, what I
looked at had touch-sensitive keys, i.e.: the action of an acoustic
piano. I also remember much better additional voices. The voices I played
yesterday on the DGX-230 were either not terribly impressive, or were much
the same as voices I already have on my other two Yamaha keyboards.
So, I didn't buy. On my way home I stopped back at the bank to re-deposit
The music corner, prepped for another rehearsal.
I'm workin' on the damn part!!!
But, am I ever going to get it right!?!?
Well, I have a clean bass, even if getting to a clean bass
line is taking longer than I have the patience to accept
I worked for a short period last night on that synth bass line for
"Identity," concentrating on that problem run in the bridge
between verses three and four. I tried a slightly different fretting, which
may work better. It's still a less precise execution than what I want. I
also feel a bit like I'm backing down from the fretting I'd worked out the
other day. There was a bit of finger coordination that I had not yet mastered
that I really ought to master, just to progress my musicianship. What I
really ought to do is dead-heat all three frettings of this run so that I
am proficient in all of them.
It was a pretty short rehearsal last night and I only went through the
whole song a few times. I'm still screwing up several spots in the song.
The rule is, until I have made it all the way through with no errors
enough times to prove I have mastered the part, recording does not happen.
You will note that there are no pics this time. How many version of that
same photo can I post? I'm sure I will take more, but last night I wasn't
in the mood.
I haven't pulled out the Giannini
acoustic bass to work on "Chilled October Morning" since I've been
2020. Either I need to start extending rehearsals to include both
current songs on the docket, or I ought to take a break from
"Identity" every now and then.
I did some more tweaking to the manuscript, and I have now what I am
calling draft 5b. Again, it was just some minor clean up and making a very
few lines a little more concise.
In terms of the virtual reading,
I am mulling over the idea that rather than a live Zoom
performance, it could be a DV movie that the invited viewers could watch
at their own convenience, during a set window of time. For one thing, there
are some specific pace and timing issues that are easily sabotaged by technical
problems in Zoom -- stalls and lags, based on connection problems, being the
big things. I have some idea about a safe way to bring the readers together
to shoot it. I just have plot it all out then propose the idea to them. I
also need to get reader number 4,
Okay, here we go again with me explaining that, yes, this is a blog with the
subtitle "a diary of artful things," and a longish -- okay, a long
-- blog post about my
is strayed a bit from the intended topic. But, it's a part of the artist's
life, and I do work on music on the trip. And once again I remind
you, with this question: Whose blog is this? So, here's my online
version of Uncle Ben and Aunt Sally's slide show of their trip to Busch
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26:
When I posted to the blog on this date, just before I walked out of the door
of my apartment to begin this lovely
2020, I failed to mention that I was actually on schedule, a pretty much
unprecedented phenomenon. I don't know what that was about but who's to
Not only did I leave home on time, I arrived at
Burr Oak State Park
on time, early afternoon, about 1:00 or so. The Burr Oak campgrounds do
not exactly offer remote camping, but maybe for my first camping excursion
in more than twenty years, this is not a bad thing. Of course, as I was
setting up camp, I started to realize the reasons for that "Aren't
you forgetting something?" feeling I had as I was heading out of
town on schedule. You know that voice? The one we all tell to simmer down
as we head out, only to humbly apologize to later?
The crap you forget. Little things. The lighter fluid you bought too much
of. A spatula. Bread. Trash bags. The bread and the trash bags actually
dawned on me before I got to the park. I stopped into a grocery store in
a little berg, for which I have forgotten the name, and picked those items
up. But the lighter fluid didn't occur to me until I opened the trunk of my
car and looked at the bag of charcoal bricks. The spatula came to mind when
I was getting ready to cook my very first meal on an open fire pit -- more
on that later -- I made due without the spatula.
When I got to Burr Oak I pulled into the wrong part of the park, where
there the Burr Oak Lodge is. The lodge has nothing to do with checking
people into the camp site and the young woman working the desk had absolutely
no cluse about where I was to go to check in. Actually there were two young
ladies working the desk, both as uninformed as the other. One would think
that as often as this happens, and let's not pretend like it doesn't
happen a lot, that the people working that desk would at least be able to
direct someone to the right place. They gave me a map, but it was not a
terribly helpful piece of literature. It did get me to the right part of the
park but I had to discover where the office was. And the office was closed
for the weekend. So, I was never officially checked in to my camp site lot.
My tent as first pitched at Burr Oak. You can see that the
chair rests on the beginning of the slope toward the lake.
I can't say that this camping leg was a bad experience, it wasn't. But I
did have some other complaints. The side of the campsite road my lot was on
slopes down to the lake (Burr Oak Lake), and the ground was a bit riddled with
tree roots surfing the surface. Where I would have liked to have set up camp,
closer to the fire pit, was lower, and on the root-infested slope. I first
pitched my tent up close to where my car was parked, where the ground was
higher, far more level, and had it rained, I wasn't in danger of having my
tent flooded. There ground was also relatively smooth up there, too. I
eventually moved it because I realized the next day that I'd pitched it on
the wrong lot. The people next to me, whose lot I was on, were ok with it,
but I still moved it though. This family was leaving on Sunday and new people
might come in later that day. I wanted to be out of the new campers' way.
Two lots over there was a bigger family group, as well, which is not
unexpected. They were a bit noisier so I didn't get that sense of solitude
I was hoping for. My first thought was that I was going to be annoyed but
I decided to embrace it as a part of the experience, let the people enjoy
themselves and enjoy them enjoying themselves when I couldn't help be aware
of them. It mostly worked.
On my hike, Day 1 at Burr Oak.
At first, hiking looked like it would be a dude at Burr Oak, but, as I
alluded to above, the map I received at the lodge was crappy, much less than
comprehensive. It made it appear as if all the hiking trails were on the
other side of the lake. Fortunately that was wrong.
After setting up camp and otherwise getting a bit settled in, I took a hike
of around 90 minutes. I only walked the first arm of the trail as it fed
into the woods from the camp site. I came to a cross-trail, and on this day
I turned left and ended up running into an archery range where two men were
shooting (pictures in the photo album).
It was a nice hike through some lovely forestry. The plan was to take the
right turn the next day, which is what I did.
Cooking over an open campfire for the first time in my life
When I got back from that first hike it was time for dinner, and for the
first time in my life, I cooked a meal over an open campfire. Actually, I
cooked a meal over an open fire, period, for the first time in my life. I
brought a couple strips of chicken breasts with me, just for this occasion.
Now, I've eaten meals cooked over an open campfire before. My dad used to
cook fish he'd caught, and also hamburger we brought, when the family
went camping when I was kid -- usually at
Lake St. Mary's
up near Celina, Ohio, about 70 miles north of Dayton. This day, however,
was the very first time I cooked that open campfire meal, myself. Also, as
I was pulling out my camping cooking gear, it's when I realized about the
spatula that I had forgotten to bring; and the kit I'd bought years ago, and
never before utilized, did not have such apparatus. I did alright, by the
way. I had myself a nice, well-cooked chicken sandwich, topped with a slice
of sharp cheddar cheese and a thick slice of tomato, with some veggies on
After dinner was done, I contemplated pulling the
bass out of the car and fiddling with it but then thought better of that.
Both the basses I brought, the Giannini and the
were reasonably well hidden in the back seat of the car and I decided that
I did not want to call attention to having either one on me while at the
camp site. I'd have plenty of time to play both later in the
when I was in the cabins and they were in a less vulnerable position.
First fire pit of the trip, even if I was not able to
maintain a Zen-like attitude about the surrounding chaos.
I decided to continue feeding the fire and sit around the fire pit, one of
my definite favorite things to do while on such a
as this. This is when my decision to embrace the noisy family group, two
lots over, was challenged. I must admit, I failed the challenge pretty
much. As I was sitting there, attempting to zone into the fire pit, the
chatter was bugging me a little, but I put on my best Zen hat and was
dealing with it. Then someone turned on a music player. That got annoying
quickly. As it got later, as the music continued, though admittedly turned
down by then, as the talking, especially from one member of the group who
was especially chatty, went on, I came to the opinion that it was past time
for these folk to go to sleep. Seriously, it got to the point where I was
more than sure it was not just me. The next day he father of the family in
between me and the noise-nicks assured me he and his were as annoyed as me.
The noisy neighbors had crossed over into thoughtless, rude, selfish, and
Finally, I gave up and went to bed -- or, went to "sleeping bag,"
as it were. Chatty Kathy, especially, as still at it. So I grabbed my
and my headphones and listened to an ambient playlist I have on the phone.
It runs about 70 minutes. I did fall asleep listening to it, but when it
was over I awoke, which happens a lot when I do this. Chatty Kathy was
still at it. It was something like midnight. I listen to the thing again.
When it was done, she was not. So, third time -- I did not wake up this
time, so I don't know if she had shut up and gone to her tent by the end
of the third play or not. But I do know she did neither of those things
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27:
Resting during the Day-2 hike.
The next morning I awoke about 7:30-ish. It was overcast and looking
seriously like rain. I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that I was going
to have to head to
Dick's Sporting Goods
for a rain tarp to cover my tent. I did go to Dick's before the trip
commenced to get a tarp, but they didn't have one, so I didn't have one
with me at Burr Oak. So I was hoping furiously for no rain.
Holding off on a hike until I saw what the weather was going to turn out
like seemed a good idea. I made a decision to drive into Glouster and buy
a couple more bundles of fore wood. I used both that brought with me, the
night before. When I got back from town, that's when I realized my error
of pitching my tent on the lot next to mine and moved my tent.
In afternoon the sun was out at least half the time though it certainly was
not the 80° out that had been forecasted. But I didn't look like it
was assured to rain, so I took that hike. This was a much longer hike. I was
gone a good five hours. My goal had been to hike around the
lake, but about two hours in, I realized I wasn't even a quarter of the way
around. I'd hiked something like five miles, maybe a little more.
After stopping to eat my BP&J lunch, I turned around and hiked back. I
found out later that it's a 25-mile hike around the lake, from a fellow
camper who'd done that hike the day before. It took him eight hours, one
way. He was about my age, too, and clearly in better physical
condition than I am. Because I can tell you this: I'm not in horrible shape,
but I ain't making a 25-mile hike in one session without collapsing!
The vision I saw as I returned from the Day-2 hike -- a
virtually empty campgrounds. Those are my car and tent in
the distance. Notice that every other lot in the frame is
Before I left on my Sunday hike I chatted with an older couple who were
strolling the campgrounds, it was as I was moving my tent onto the lot I
had actually reserved. In our conversation I mentioned the noisy folk, who
hid pulled up camp that morning. I also said why I was moving my tent: to
nopt encroach on whomever might be setting up camp on that lot, later in
the day. The couple said it was probably going to be pretty empty and
quiet Sunday evening, that there wasn't likely to be many new campers, if
any, and that most people were not staying past the weekend.
The couple was, of course, correct. When I got back from my hike, the camp
site was virtually empty. There were a few camp sites set up, none close by.
Some had been there the whole time I was there, but I think there was only
one new camp site set up.
Ahh, fire pit serenity
My second, ever, camp-fire-cooked meal.
On night-2 at the campgrounds, I got my quiet evening of solitude. I got
to have that truly serene fire pit time that was so challenged the night
before -- see the short DV movie to the right. I also cooked my
second meal on an open camp fire, this time pasta in tomato sauce with
spiced, ground turkey, which is a common staple of my diet. You can in the
photo on the right that there's a pretty good helping in that pan. I did
eat it all. That probably explains the flab you see in pics of me in the
It probably explains why I'm still some 20+ lbs above my target weight! I
brought a lot with me, and later in the week the pasta meals were heated in
microwaves. But, Sunday night it was the open flame.
Again, the camping at Burr Oak was not some kind of awful experience, but
it wasn't something that would have me highly recommending the park for
camping. If I were asked to rate it on a scale of one to ten, I'd give it
an overall 5.75. The campgrounds would get a firm 4, at best, for the
reasons I stated above: little level ground for camping, at least for the
lots closer to the lake, and all the tree roots skimming the surface. The
hiking gets a 7.5, mostly due to no trails right by the water, at least on
the side of the lake the camping is on.
The trails were nice though. South West Ohio is a pretty hilly terrain, so
there are some steep inclines on the hike. I don't count the inclines
against the trail's rating, myself. I hike, in part, for fitness, so the
hills work for that. I do have to admit, though, that at the mid-point of
my Sunday hike, when I was about to turn around, I was glad that I knew that
I would be traveling down more steep inclines that I would traverse
I also would have loved to have been closer to the lake during the hike
than I was most of the time. There were only a few times when I was able
to get right to a bank. That, again, is mostly due to the terrain. The
lake sits low and most of the banks are steep inclines into it, so it's
not easy to blaze the trails very close to the water, save for in a few
spots. That's at least the case on the part of the trails I was on. The
next Morning, after I had struck camp and was departing, I drove by the
Burr Oak beach and the marina on the way to next destination to at least
check it out and grab a few photos --
(pictures in the photo album).
So, yeah, the camping leg of
2020 wasn't "Amazing!" but it was still enjoyable. At least I've
stepped my foot back into such ventures. Next summer........
Next up was the hour's drive back westward way to the Wolf's Den cabin at
the Thunder Ridge Cabins B&B
in Hocking Hills.
I gotta say that upon arrival I had a good first impression of the place,
and that held up. The property was nice, the owners (Micah & Susan) were
nice, the Wolf's Den cabin was a nice little one-room with a bath and shower,
plus microwave, a mini-fridge, a porch, and a back deck with a hut tub.
This time, the basses and music equipment were unpacked.
After I unpacked the car, including the basses and the music equipment,
which this time were going to be used, I had a late lunch at the picnic
table in yard behind the big house where the owners live. For the record,
tuna salad on wheat bread, with another slice of sharp cheddar and another
thick slice of tomato, and again with veggies on the side. Then I took a nap.
I woke from the nap at about 4:00 to rain. It had managed to hold off
raining the whole time I was camping, which I am glad about, obviously. It
waited until I was under a roof to rain, and it rained the rest of day,
past midnight. I spent a lot of evening processing vacation pics I'd
already taken. Plus I listened to all the songs already recorded for the
project, and the mixed demo of "Identity." No other action was
taken on music that day.
If you're wondering, nuked pasta was dinner that night.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29:
On this day, I celebrated 38 years of continuous sobriety. See my
little essay about it here,
then hit your back button on your browser to come back here. That
is, if you're so inclined toward either action.
BTW: if you spy what appears to be a beer bottle in
any of the photographs, it's rootbeer -- one of my new vises.
Even the plaque on the wall told me there was breakfast at
On the back deck at Wolf's Den, updating the pages of my
blog for the Oct-Dec blog period.
Tuesday morning, a bit of a mini-mystery began. Breakfast was supposed to
be at 8:30 at the big house, but no one appeared to be stirring there, so
apparently there was no second "B" in the "B&B" that
day. I walked the property for about 30-45 minutes. There's a cool little
meditation hut not far in the woods
(see pictures in the photo album).
I would have hung out there a little while but it was all wet from the rain
the night before, so I continued walking the grounds. There weren't any
real hiking trails but I followed deer trails when I spotted them.
Rather than head to any of the Hocking Hills attractions that day I elected
to stay at the cabin, mostly to work on "Identity," the current
song I'm working on for the music project, which I did later in the day. In
the morning into the afternoon I did some blog work (including during lunch).
Some of what you are reading and seeing now were part of that, at least
notes and sketches of the final prose. Plus, I did some global page updates
to reflect the addition of this Oct-Dec 2020 blog page.
I sat on the deck to do most of it. It was cool out but not cold, very
Autumnal, and the view into the forestry was lovely. I did have my external
drive, that holds my music library, plugged in, but I kept the music app
off on the deck and opted for listening to the bird and tree frog songs. The
road was a little too close for my liking, so there was the occasional
automobile driving by, but it's not like it was a major thoroughfare.
Thunder Ridge is on a rural road that was, I learned before I left, all
gravel just a little over a year earlier. Despite how lovely the view and
sounds were, after a while, I did get a little intolerant of the
cooler/borderline cold temperature that was coming in so I took my laptop
and external harddrive, and my hot chocolate, inside.
Working on the synthesized bass part for "Identity"
at Wolf's Den.
It rain again in the afternoon, mostly while I took another nap -- Hey: I
was on vacation!
Ah, hell, even when I'm home, if I can get away with an afternoon nap, I go
for it. After my nap I started working out the synthesized bass part of
"identit.y" That was the first session for that so I certainly
didn't get it polished but I did compose the bulk of the part of it. I
worked on it for about four hours, using the Bose speaker to monitor what
I was playing rather than wearing headphones. The
was plugged directly into the
Tascam eight-track digital recorder.
There was no way I was lugging my bass amp on
There were folk staying in the next cabin, about 50 yards away, and I was
a little concerned that my playing might be disturbing them, especially since
it was the same music, over and over again. But I went over during a break
and was assured that they could hardly hear it, so they were cool with it.
The owner Susan later told me they are musicians, too, so that may have
helped temper things.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30:
Again, no "Breakfast" in the "B&B," thus the
mini-mystery continued. Now, I have to include here that Susan was dropping
fresh baked muffins off every day on my porch, that becomes and important
fact later, when the mystery is solved -- otherwise known as another of my
frequent, personal DOH! moments.
Writing a new song on the Wolf's Den porch on my
I went back to the cabin, pulled out the
acoustic bass, sat on the cabin porch in the cool morning and started a new
composition. It was bass chords on the acoustic, with the
on the fifth fret. I initially used a pick but then, at the time, decided
I like the sound of the chords better when plucked with my fingers. I
would switch back to using a pick later when I would change the attack on
the chords, but, that morning, the finger plucks won out.
As for lyrics, I had no idea about any for the song except that it was
not going to be about staying in a cabin; that was just going to be
a little too cliché and way too obvious. That would, in some sense,
in some loose sense, change later, as well. That morning, however, that was
the idea, but beyond that, the muse had whispered nothing in my ears about
a subject matter for lyrics.
The entrance to The Rock House
Wednesday I was hoping the weather would break a little so I could
proper and do some hiking and site seeing. It was cool out but sunny out as
the morning progressed, so I went to
which I had missed on my
last trip to Hocking Hills in 2018. It was a nice place to hike and the
Rock House itself is awesome. As the
Nature has hewn out of [the] cliff the Rock House complete with
seven Gothic-arched windows and great sandstone columns which bear
its massive roof. As one might imagine, Rock house was used for
shelter by past visitors. Hominy holes, small recesses in the rear
wall of Rock House, served as baking ovens for Native Americans
using the cave. By building a fire in the small recesses, the rock
became heated on all sides, and food could be bakes in this crude
manner. Further evidence of past use is the presence of chiseled
out troughs or holding tanks found in the stone floor. When rainfall
is abundant, springs of water permeate through the porous sandstone
and flow into these troughs fashioned by man and, when full,
continue across the floor and out of the windows. In this way,
residents were able to maintain a small water supply in Rock House.
According to local folklore, other not so welcome visitors frequented
Rock House. Robbers, horse thieves, murderers and even bootleggers
earned Rock House its reputation as Robbers Roost.
Looking out from one of the rock enclosures at Cantwell
Next I went to
which is only a little over seven miles from Rock House. I suspect that a
lot of visitors take both in consecutively on the same day since they are
in such close proximity to each other. I spoke to several people that day
who had done just that, like I did.
This was another fascinating place and another nice hike for the day. About
the cliffs, the
Its remote location discourages visitation, but those who travel
the extra distance will not be disappointed. Many visitors proclaim
the Cantwell area as the most picturesque in Hocking County. The
erosion caused by Buck Run accounts for the deep valley, steep
cliffs and rock shelter under the cliff. Approaching the rock
shelter, the trail winds its way through narrow passageways caused
by large slump blocks that have fallen away from the main cliff.
The most narrow passage has been sarcastically named Fat Woman's
Squeeze. Unique to the Cantwell region is the limited amount of
cross-bedding in the middle zone of the Blackhand. Usually the
middle zone is extremely cross-bedded but only slightly in the
Cantwell area. Another feature is the number of concretions that
occur on the cliff face.
Rehearsing the "Identity" synthesized bass line.
And because by God it's my right, I took a nap again when I got back to the
cabin -- I mean, I had just hiked at two different locations, ya
know. It rained again in the late afternoon/early evening, not too long
after I got home, and before I drifted off into my nap.
When I got up from my nap, I fixed dinner, then rehearsed/worked on the
synthesized bass line for "Identity." I took most of the lines
up an octave to the their current, and I'm confident, permanent position on
I finished the night sweetening more of my
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1:
More work on the new song, now with the workshop title,
"Chilled October Morning," on the Wolf's Den
On my last morning at Wolf's Den I played around with the new song on the
Giannini on the back deck. During this session the song got the workshop
title "Chilled October Morning," based pretty much on the fact
that it was such a morning in all respects. I also moved into the new
approach to playing the chords, where the pick is back in. I added more
chord progressions to the song, i.e.: more sections. I wrote only a couple
lines of lyric. More would follow at the next cabin.
In my mind this song reminds me of something that the great
whom I would guess hardly anyone reading this will have any idea who he is.
He is this brilliant, unfortunately obscure, and greatly under-rated
British recording artist with his very own unique and quite interesting
once introduced him, in one of Richard's rare appearances on American TV,
as "one of rock-&-roll;s best kept secrets."
Most of his music is very dark and even the humor, when there is humor, is
dark. But I think he's brilliant, and I like that I can now point to some
music by me and say that it's influenced by him -- at least I hear it, of
no one else will.
Here's a link to the music video for my favorite Richard Thompson song,
The muffins that awaited me when I checked into Wolf's Den.
It was checkout day at Thunder Ridge. Again, there was no "Breakfast"
in the "B&B" and I finally had the mystery solved for me. It's
because of Covid-19. Due to the pandemic, breakfast was suspended and the
daily muffins were instituted as a substitute. In fact, apparently it says
such at the web site and I didn't notice it. But, to be honest, it would
have been a novelty to have the breakfast, and I was sort of looking forward
to it, but, ultimately, I didn't really miss the second B in B&B. I
really didn't even notice that it was a B&B until after I booked the
cabin. And the muffins were delicious! I took what was left with me and
ate them over the course of the rest of my
Me at Clear Creek Metro Park, on the silt bank of a clearly
After leaving Wolf's Den I stopped at the nearby
Clear Creek Metro Park,
literally just down the road from Thunder Ridge Cabins, for a little hike.
It's a decent park. However, the first trail I took did not excite me at
all. I wanted one that took me to the creek. I always want the hiking trail
that is by the body of water. That first trail seemed pointless to me. It
was just a wide swath of mowed down foliage. But then I hit a trail more to
my liking and where I was able to get to the flowing waterway. That was
worth the stop.
There also is a trail there called the Cemetery Ridge Trail that promised
to be a good one, but the sign said it was over an hour to hike the whole
thing and I had an agenda for the afternoon from which I did not want to
get waylaid. I knew that if I hit that trail and liked it, I would be
compelled to hike the whole thing, for which I didn't want to allow time.
Maybe some time in the future I'll hike the Cemetery Ridge Trail.
My delicious, loaded veggie pizza at Pizza crossing. As one
of my friends asked when I posted this pic to
"Is there crust under there?"'
You'll note in the photo above of the plaque on the wall in Wolf's Den that
my checkout time from Thunder Ridge Cabins was 11:00. My check-in time for
the next cabin, at
Best Nest Cabins,
was not until 4:00. I had a few hours in between. My agenda, that I mentioned
above, was to go into Logan and have lunch at the
This was the first place I made plans to come to on my
part of this
I made this plan before I left my apartment. Hell, I made it the moment I
knew I was coming to the region. I had the time and the ambition. I had
eaton at Pizza Crossing the last time I was in Hocking Hills, back in 2018.
This time I got to speak with the propriety and compliment him on his
Here's my comment to you out there, however many or few of you there are,
about this restaurant:
When one is in the Hocking Hills area, one must go into Logan and
have some Pizza Crossing. You have slightly mis-spent your trip if
you haven't done this!
My brief encounter with a Great Blue Heron at Lake Logon.
While at Pizza Crossing I spoke on the phone with the wife half of the
young married couple (Aisha* and David) who manage
Best Nest Cabins
and we confirmed the 4:00 check-in time. So, after pizza I killed some time
at Lake Logan .
There I had a brief encounter with a Logan local -- a Great Blue Heron. I
stumbled upon it as I was taking photos of the lake. I got a nice little
DV movie of the bird. The movie is embedded on the right. The bird let me
get pretty close before it got skittish and finally took flight.
*For the record, I'm not sure I've spelled her name correctly. I
saw it once, spelled on something, but cannot find whatever document
it was and I'm going by memory. I only point this out because I HATE
getting anything about a person's name wrong -- spelling,
After pizza, and Lake Logan, and the Great Blue Heron, and sitting in a
parking lot in Logan, where I had strong cell reception so could post a
few pics, as well as the heron DV movie to social media, I arrived at
Best Nest just a little after 4:00. David met me at the Mockingbird cabin
-- if you want to call it a "cabin," I'd call it a
"cottage"; that's really what it is. In fact, there are two
other "cabins" on the property, and they both look to be the same
as Mockingbird, they look to really be what can be called "cottages."
The Mockingbird "cabin."
The transformer is positioned right next to the fire pit
I could live in this place! The property, I would discover the next day, is
spacious and strikingly beautiful. Mockingbird has a nice deck with a big
hot tub. Inside there's a nice kitchen with a full-size stove and full size
refrigerator, a dining area, a nice living room and a cozy bedroom. The
bathroom is good, though I must say, one minor drawback, and it is minor,
is that the shower is pretty tight. But, you know, that's a minor complaint.
My only other complaint, again, minor, is that the power transformer is
right by where the grill and the fire pit are, so there is the small
intrusion of the transformer's humming. But, on the other hand, there's
excellent power for the "cabin."
One might be able to guess that after I settled in, I took a nap. Then I
nuked some pasta. Then I sweetened some more
photos. There was not much done with music that first night at Mockingbird.
I did some fiddling around on "Chilled October Morning," which
has officially become Song #7 in the music
project. I really only messed around for a little while and can't say
anything productive was done.
I tried to start a fire pit but the wood bundles I bought at a gas station
in Glouster just did not want to burn. I believe they were too green and
full of sap. So no fire pit on night-1 at the Mockingbird cabin. While I
was fighting with an ever-reluctant fire, there were some Coyotes calling
out there. I, being from an ara where they are much rarer, was thrilled, as
thrilled as I was last time I did a cabin in
two years back, and had some that were pretty damned close to me. But, I
was a tourist there, and not a farmer with chickens or other small live
stock, or other residents with small dogs to worry about.
I eventually went in and, again, worked on sweetening
photos. At some point, late night, about 1:30, I thought I heard a noise
outside. I opened the kitchen door and saw an animal in the dark. I couldn't
tell what it was because the inside lights were on. I just saw a vague,
shadowy figure. It was probably twenty yards away. It ran a little to my
right, stopped, then took off. It was probably a deer, but who knows? it
might have been a coyote.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2:
At one of the two absolutely beautiful ponds on the Best
My first full day there, I didn't leave the Best Nest property all day. It
was a mostly-sunny day, and pretty warm out, so I took David's advice when
he checked me in, and I hiked the property.
I hate to again invoke the word "awesome" but it's the right word
to use. The Best Nest property is beautiful, spacious, open. It has a couple
lovely, picturesque ponds and a nice hiking trail through its wooded area.
I came across one of the alluring ponds first, then I found a trail into
forestry. It is a nice little trail. I kept hearing deer hoof clumps as the
animals retreated from my approach, but I never actually saw the deer.
Occasionally there were gun shots in the distance, not from hunters but
from a nearby firing range. I eventually came across the second pond, which
is as gorgeous as the first. There's also a lot of august open, rolling-hill
space on the property. Did I mention that I could live there, easily?
A little afternoon hot tub action
It was good, real hike. I was probably gone about two hours, give or take.
When I was done I decided to get in the hot tub -- that would be the first
time in a long time, and the first time ever sone my heart attack. In fact,
I have to be very cautious about hot tubs due to my heart condition. Being
a hot tub too long or in one with too high a temperature to the water can
cause dangerously low blood pressure. Conversely, it can actually induce a
heart attack. But, if one is careful, one can benefit. I stayed in for
about 20-30 minutes, until I started to feel my face flush and a got a
little light-headed. That seemed a clear indication it was time to get out.
I closely monitor my blood pressure, at least once a day, only occasionally
skipping such. Usually if I hike or do any other physical activities, I
take it again, afterward. I also monitor my pulse and my blood-oxygen level,
as well as a daily weigh-in and one reading of my body temperature. I
expected, after the hit tub for my BP to either be exceptionally high or low,
but it was only 100/85, just up from 94/55 when I was done with the hike.
Believe it or not, those are both within the norm for me on physically active
days. I asked my cardiologist about the readings like 94/55. His response
was that as long as I wasn't dizzy or light-headed, that was not a
dangerous reading. My regular doctor said the same thing.
My heart rate, however, was up to 79 from 66 -- still not really high, but
clearly an increase from the earlier reading. Yet, quite common for right
after I've done something physical. The hot tub event clearly had not
endangered me, so, I did it again the next day.
The next thing I did was take a nap.
Working on "Chilled October Morning" at the fire
While I was wrapping up my hike, earlier, I texted david and ordered fire
wood. He was going to give me ten pieces free because of the length of my
stay. I replied that if he doubled that to twenty pieces they could
charge it to my card. After my nap and dinner I built another fire pit,
this time one that actually burned and I incorporated some of my crap wood
into the fire after it was going.
At the evening fire pit I sat with the acoustic bass and played around some
more with "Chilled October morning" I had to use my fluorescent
lantern because I needed enough light to see the neck and the frets. I
worked on the chord progression. Then, after putting the bass away, I sat
around the fire and worked on more lyrics beyond the couple original lines.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3:
With the Giannini on the Mockingbird deck, about to shoot
a DV movie of "Chilled October Morning," in its
Rehearsing the synthesized bass line for "Identity,"
at Mockingbird, before shooting a DV movie playing it.
Friday night, late -- Saturday morning, really -- I fell asleep on the
Mockingbird couch while backing files on the laptop . I'd also bbeen
working more on the on the "Chilled October Morning" lyrics. I
woke up just before 7:00, but drifted back to sleep for about an hour.
Later in the morning I shot an iPhone DV movie of me doing a demo-sample of "Chilled October Morning"
After that I went into Logan and ate lunch at
I had the pulled chicken BBQ sandwich, though I gave up trying to eat it as
a sandwich, surrendered and used the knife and fork to finish it. It was
go-o-o-o-d! Back at the cabin (cottage) I did another 30 minutes or
so in the hot tub.
Then I took a nap.
Later, I set up the
pulled out the
guitar synthesizer Pedal
and rehearsed the synthesized bass for "Identity." Again, I shot
iPhone DV movie footage of a demo-sample of that. During that demo, I might
add, I killed the vocal track. As I've written before, that particular
vocal performance is lousy. Plus, the lyrics have changed and the melody is
not what the song will end up with, at least not completely. Going back to
the vocal: I simply don;t want to subject other's ears to that travesty.
When I got home from the illustrious
2020, I edited together the footage of both songs, adding in a few relevant
still photography shots -- which are part of this post, as well. I've
already included as part of an earlier post, on October 7. As I wrote then,
it's probably a little too long, with too much auxiliary business included.
To elaborate: yes, really, it is. As a friend whom I've already
shared it with pointed out, most people will find that "busniess,"
such as tuning, and some of the background information talk to be
I can't really argue with my friend's observation. Honestly, I actually
already knew that, mostly, this DV movie is for almost no one else but
myself and few others, like him -- he, by the way, found the whole video
intersting, but he's not the average audience member. I actually kept the
business and such in because I was happy with the DV movie editing. It's not
at all as spontaneous as it appears. I planned all that out to get smooth
cuts. As one of my production professors said in college: "All TV is
manufactured." This DV movie isn't TV, but it's close enough.
I have no expectations that the DV movie will get any sort of serious hits,
and I am skeptical that more than a few people will ever watch through to
the actual performance of the synthesized bass. It's kind of actually just
a movie for me, and a few other people, that happens to sit on a public
If I were ever to become a known recording artist -- which, let's be honest,
is not at all likely to happen (and that's probably a gross understatement)
-- then this would be a great gem for someone to eventually discover. But
that's all highly likely to pretty much be fantasy-land material.
Regardless of these harsh realities, here is the DV movie again, anyway:
During my "glorious, peaceful, relaxing, serene,"
final, five-hour fire pit.
That last evening at Best Nest was closed out by burning the rest of my fire
wood in a glorious, peaceful, relaxing, serene final fire pit. It was about
five hours of such fire pit serenity and I am not at all ashamed about that.
It was not time wasted.
I did a little bit more work on the developing lyrics for "Chilled
October Morning," but mostly I sat sat there, watching the fire,
studying the serendipity of how the fire consumed the pieces of wood --
contemplating whether the pattern of the burning was arbitrary or following
some systematic rule of physics. I meditated a bit. Again, the coyotes called.
An owl hooted a few times. And crickets chirped.
The night before, Mars and the moon had moved across the sky together. I
looked for that again but there were clouds in the way, so Saturday night I
didn't see that. I actually think the two celestial objects moving in
tandem was only the night before, and I did see that. In fact, that event
makes it into the lyrics for "Chilled October Morning." I can't
remember if I write that part Friday night or Saturday night.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4:
The sad sight of my trunk packed to leave
You always hear it said that all good things must come to an end. Must they?
Yeah, I guess they must. Packing my car up that Sunday morning was not
filled with the joy, anticipation, and excitement that packing the car
for the trip, eight days earlier, had been.
This definitely was the case of me not at all wanting to come back home.
Could I have afforded it, I'd have spent a month over there. I think it is
pretty much guaranteed that this was not my last visit to
and its environs. But, I think discovering other similar places is will be
Just need to wait out this current health-risk insanity. Let's hope that
the pandemic climate has somehow changed for the good at some point by
next summer -- spring is probably too hopeful of a goal.
I guess the hopeful but realistic goal will be
Last night's rehearsal set up, in the "livingroom."
Too many loves! I have too many loves. The big problem with this undesirable
level of musicianship I am at is that I don't dedicate enough time to practice
on my instruments. I give more time to the bass than the keyboard, but I
don't give the bass enough time. At one point I'd told myself I was going
to give each at least a little time each day, but then other projects are
up and the next thing you know, I look up from whatever I'm doing, usually
on the computer, and it's way passed time for me to get some sleep.
This, all a way of leading into how I practiced the bass guitar synthesizer
part for "Identity" last night for a couple hours, I think maybe
for three hours, and I still ended the rehearsal with an unsatisfactory
performance. It's most frustrating because what I'm trying to play should
not be that difficult. That I haven't mastered certain sections is humbling,
and more than a little infuriating. I think I need to be ruthlessly
disciplined about working on this damn part until it's mastered. Playing
the whole once or twice ain't enough, either; it's n ot mastered until I
can play it repeatedly.
Yeah, okay, I need to be ruthlessly disciplined about practicing on the
instruments, period. Since we're on a related topic, I ought to be doing
vocal exercises every day, as well: at least five minutes. I'm pretty sure
I've written shit like this before on this blog, more than once.
As you can see from the photos, I changed up my rehearsal space. I moved
to my livingroom which I haven't yet, as you see, completely rejuvenated
from the storage facility it was for a few years. It's not really fully a
living room just yet. I need to get rid of the crap furniture and get some
new stuff -- that doesn't include the office chair I'm sitting in, which I
bought earlier this year. But, right now, the room s a pretty good rehearsal
space, and a recoding space, too. It's where I worked out, rehearsed and
recorded the piano track for "Identity." That seems like a year
ago, which isn't true, but it was months ago.
Here I am last night, humbling myself by still not mastering
that damned synthesized bass part for "Identity."
At some point I will be able to record this @#$%$#@ part
and move on. Let's see how long that will take!
I have slated either the first or the second week of December to shoot the
dramatic reading of the
latest draft of the manuscript. This year might be different than most, but
keeping it away from the Christmas holiday seems better. I've presented the
participants with a proposal of three rehearsals: one for each act then a
full run rehearsal. Then the shoot is currently scheduled for the day after
the full run.
Of course, in both rehearsal and the shoot, everyone will be a safe distance
from each other. I really want masks off for the shoot but if anyone feels
better wearing them during rehearsal that is their call. Of course, all the
safety protocols that are in place in businesses should be adhered to.
anyone who is symptomatic or is aware of any contact exposure
should bow out
everyone will bring their own beverages and/or snacks
I'll be in there ahead of everyone, cleaning and sanitizing
I've had someone come on board as the narrator, but the male actor who read
last time can't do it this time. I am currently looking for an actor for
I've posted a casting call and I've had a few actors express interest, but
I haven't yet set up any sort of audition. This is a reading but I still
would rather have an actor that meets type, a male who can reasonably sell
being a 24 year-old, and can give me a version of the character that
satisfies my vision. Also, in this case I don't want to be race-blind,
though as a director I'd like such ßto be the general rule save for when the
script dictates otherwise. In this case the script does so. I hope to have
the part cast soon.
Clearly I am going to direct this time. Last time it was simply a raw
table reading. This will be
a sort of hybrid directing. It will mostly be directing a stage reading,
but, since it will be shot, it'll be a bit of a movie shoot, too. It's
been a long while since I've done any directing focused on the actors'
performances. When I direct the DTGpromocasts I don't overstep and
deal with actors' performances. The only thing I might do is have them
bring a performance down for the camera, but I have never done that. This
time, performance, interpretation, etc., will be a part of my focus. For
the first time in over a decade.
When I was ready to "go to work" today it was 53° in my neck
of the woods, and the sun was out. It was easy to make the decision to be
outside for the rent-payer
hours today. And it warmed up bit as time went on, though in the shade it
was a few degrees nippier. But, hell, I had a sweater and my maroon hoodie,
and both hot cider and hot chocolate, so I was good. I do admit that I
ended the office hours after sundown inside, but, still, most of the day
was out in a pleasant autumnal day.
Brisk but nice out with some sun and hot apple cider, and
the first time I have ever managed to get the right amount
of cinnamon powder into the mug of cider -- actually the
first few times, since I had a few cups, along with a few
cups of hot chocolate.
The view from the home office this lovely autumn day.
I've been rehearsing the synth bass line and I am getting closer to
mastering it -- closer, but that's a relative term. Doesn't mean that I'm
terribly close. Here's a hint: I'm not.
My plan is to work the hell out of it today. If I can record the damned
track tonight, or at least before the weekend is up, I'll be happy. If I
could get at least a good start on redoing that vocal melody and the
performance of the vocal before the weekend is over, that'd be just fine.
The male role in the play has been cast. The production of the
reading shoot will be
the first week of December. Due to some actor scheduling conflicts I've
had to adjust my rehearsal and shoot plan a little. Rather than three
rehearsals, Wednesday through Friday, and the shoot on Saturday, it's
going to be two rehearsals, Wednesday and Thursday, and the shooting on
Friday. That means I'll be nixing my idea of a dedicated rehearsal night
for each act, then a full run
rehearsal. Thursday will definitely be a full run rehearsal. I'm not sure
about Wednesday. My next step is to prep some
dramaturgy for the actors, a
task I have already begun.
Well, so, Yesterday was one of those repeatedly restart the
modem kind of work-from-home days. But, then, since I was
again on the patio, it's hard to bitch too much.
Trying to mixup the photos of me outside working from home
with some kind of different perspective.
A little lunch break on the patio. A sodium-free recipe
for chile that, by the way, I got from the relative of a
celebrity, for whom I'm going to not reveal the name (of
either the celebrity or the relative).
Sunday, I decided it was time to get off the fence and record that damned
synthesized bass part for "Identity." I recorded, but as you
might be able to discern from the capture of my Sunday night facebook post,
I was not successful. After twenty-one crap attempts I gave up for the
evening. I was, perhaps, a little upset.
My nephew, a musician himself, commented on the post you see to the left
with this: "I lost my mind one night, years ago, for this reason. Had
to stop, and nailed it first time a couple nights later." A couple
others basically told me to stop beating myself up. I really wasn't beating
myself up; I was expressing my frustration.
It seems that often you're kind of not allowed to express your frustrations
with your work without some well-meaning person chiming in with well-intentioned
but invariably irrelevent, missing-the-target comments about "thinking
positive" or "not being too self-critical." The worst are
those who assert that if I share how I am upset with my performance, if I
express that I'm frustrated with or or angry about it, that I am making
myself miserable -- somehow I guess that if I get upset that must mean I'm
going to stay that way and wear that negative feeling like an albatros
around my neck.
Apparently, it's not possible that I can feel my feelings of frustration,
claim those feelings, then regroup and move on. Seemingly that concept is
beyond these people. They are often the same people who talk about how
others -- especially men -- need to feel and express their feelings. The
irony of them denying that with their "helpfulness" is beyond
them. I used to push back directly when confronted with such "helpfulness."
Now I simply shift my attention to those who have something of actual
constructive value to share. But, as you can see, I am still annoyed
somewhat by the first group of responders, despite their truly good intentions.
Oh well. Back to the actual topic.
Buoyed by my nephew's comment, which was the direction I was already
heading, I did not go back the next night, Monday, to give takes 22+ a
shot. I waited until Tuesday. It was another nineteen takes for a total of
forty by the end of that session. But, I had almost the take. At the end
of the evening there were a couple spots that were troublesome. I decided
to attack them the next night with the
Tascam foot switch
and some punching in/out.
I'd already pulled the switch out and used it Tuesday evening, so the track
at the end of the night was patchwork of several takes -- three, if I remember
Wednesday. I punched in & out of two spots. One, part of that damn run
in the bridge before verse four that has been especially problematic for
me, and a run during one of the chorus sections. I will say that there is
still a slight imperfection in that bridge run, but, I am willing to accept
it and move on.
My practice has been to run sound from the recorder to my laptop and
re-record that tracks into GarageBand
on the Mac. But there is an slight issue of EQ fidelity as well the challenge
of the synchronization of each individual track bassed on virtually
impossible task of started the garageband recording of each track in
precisely the same spot for every track. Thus each track is a little off
in synchronization, or is highly likely to be. So I have to then synch them
up in the mixing process.
After I had a the synth bass track in acceptable shape I exported each of
the tracks I have thus far for the song: drums left, drums right, piano,
bass guitar, chorded bass guitar, synth bass guitar, and
Then I dropped all the tracks into
Final Cut Pro X, because
that's currently where I know what the heck I'm doing as far as sound mixing
is concerned -- I really do need to get some
Logic Pro X training!
Regardless of that last fact, what I found when I worked with the tracks
in FCPX is that, since they were all imported in, in prestine, whole
condition -- everything is perfectly synchronized (as I was sure it would
be) and the tone and EQ is exactly what was recorded. This is good news
for the rest of the project. It also means that there is going to be some
lack of audio continuity across the cannon of the project, but, to be
honest, I actually like that idea.
The next step for "Identity" is to revisit the vocal melody and
performance. You five regulars may remember that the vocal track currently
laid, the guide vocal, is nowhere near satisfactory. The melody is not
what it can be and the performance has a lot of flaws. Some of the flaws
are vocal phrasing,
others are simply some weak spots in the singing, running out of breath,
voice cracking, not hitting the note fully, that sort of thing. So, next
is fixing the melodic composition and crafting a vocal that is worthy.
I began a bit of this Wednesday, at least, addressing the revamping of the
melody, but nothing was really accomplished. It was more of a starting of
the process. Last night, I left it alone only because my throat is on the
borderline of sore and I did not want to exasperate the condition. I'll
probably do some work tonight.
It's time to revisit the song I started on my Autumn
2020, Song #7, "Brisk October Morning."
Whether that is pulling out the Giannini
acoustic bass and the capo,
or just working on finishing the lyrics, or both, is up in the air.
I also keep hearing different songs, bu different artists, in all sorts of
different styles that are beckoning me to be inspired to compose a song
influenced by them. There are a lot of different ways to go that all
intrigue me. I guess it will depend on where I am at when get with whichever
instrument to begin Song #?.
I put "Song #?" because I
can't say that whatever the next song I start writing is, that it will be
attended to in the project after I work on "Brisk October Morning."
There are still some songs from the olden days that I want to resurrect,
a particular pop ballad that is the front runner. There are a couple others
from way back when, some rockers, that I want to do, but, I really need to
have a live drummer for them, just because of the percussion attacks in a
couple spots. The performance really needs to have at least two living
musicians (the drummer and the bassist), in the same room, playing off each
other, something that it seems won't be practical for a while. When it is
practical, I have a strong suspicion the drummer will be my old music
partner, Rich Hisey.
And now, some photos:
More photos of me rehearsing that damned synthesized bass
line, these from last Saturday
We all know that there is another wave, another surge, of the coronavirus
hitting everywhere across the country, as well as other parts of the world
-- and why our country and these other hot spots can't heed the example of
the countries who have the virus pretty much contained and under control,
is beyond me.
Not to seem like a broken record from last spring, when I was planning a
reading of my play manuscript
that had to be cancelled, but the currently planned rehearsals and
of the reading, the first week of December, are still on. Again, with such
a small cast, I believe that we can safely do this with plenty of distancing
and the other crucial safety measures. But I guess we need to see how the
Meanwhile, I'm still in the process of preparing some focused
dramaturgy for each actor who
is playing a character. Trying to find a balance between inundating them
with too much, but still give them a rich amount of material.
Meanwhile (part 2), I have the beginnings of an idea for the next play, this
one not being in that universe I have created where the current play resides.
In the new one I'll borrow a concept from a sci-fi short story I read years
ago by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro,
in a collection I just rediscovered is called Cautionary Tales.
Yarbro did something in that story, as part of the story-telling device,
that intrigued and impressed the shit out of me. For reasons that I will
discuss very far into the future, I am going to follow her lead. I suspect
I may not be the firat to do so, though I have not seen another example of
this particular element. I also intend to expand on this element a particular
way. I still have my current play manuscript to deal with and focus on, but
I'm going to give some attention to this new idea.
I'm not going to comment on each photo below except to say about that
second-to-the-last one that, once again my thesis stays in tact, that one
cannot hike John Bryan for any real distance without coming across at least
one hammock strung up with a college student in repose -- unless it's
really cold out.
The specific video below targets Ohio, but the message is universal
to the whole nation and other parts of the world, really. I wept
when I first saw this. I wept because of the truth in it. I wept
because there are those who will blow it off as nonsense. I wept
because we didn't have to be where we are now.
But, find the hope in what is being said here, because there is
hope in it.
Monday night I started the recording sessions for the "Identity"
lead vocal. There were eleven takes that night, none were the good take,
though there were some parts that were progress toward what I want.
Last night I was going to go back "into the studio" to give the
lead vocal session a second try, but I had a bit of a sore throat so I
put off singing. At the moment my throat feels good enough that I'll probably
give it a try tonight. Last night I could have, I suppose, set up the
one Yamaha keyboard and started working out the faux horn chart for the song
-- because there is going to be one; I pretty much hear it in my head,
Instead, I pulled out the Giannini
acoustic bass to revisit the newest song, "Chilled October Morning,"
which I haven't touched since I've been back from Autumn
I added nothing to the song, music-wise or lyric-wise; I really didn't deal
with lyrics at all, not even bothering to look at what I've written already
to sing as I "rehearsed" the chords. What I really did was
refresh myself with the chords and the chord progressions, because literally,
the last time I think I played the song was when I shot the
preview video during Autumn
I also have an idea for a new song. Basically, at this point it's only that
song title and some ideas about what it'll be about. Whether it's
Song #8 or not remains to be seen, at least in
terms of recording it for the project. The project, by-the-way, has a new
working title, which I am not sharing here. It's highly likely it will be
the name of the "album*," but, then, I thought the previous
working title was a lock as the album title, before this one came to me.
*I feel so pretentious calling this project "an album,"
even though that is what it is. I need to get over that, start
taking myself a little more seriously, here.
Hey! Where's his hat?:
During the first attempts, Monday, to lay the lead vocal
track for "Identity."
Listening to playback of take 11.
Last night, just before bed, working on "Chilled
Again, like last spring, I've had to decide it's best to postpone the
reading, this time being the
shoot of the
reading, due to the current pandemic situation. It's postponed until
after the new year has begun; whether that means January, February, or later,
remains to be seen.
It's very frustrating that so many of our fellow Americans and local
neighbors are being so idiotic that we have coronavirus surges accelerating
when it's quite clear that we could have been on the other side of the final
peak by now, not just locally but nationwide.
Even with all the safety measures we would have put in place for the
rehearsals and the shoot, really, at this point, when there are now mounting
accounts of people who are being careful who are testing positive, I'm
worried about the risk to all of us involved and those in each of our bubbles,
even if it would have been a small risk.
I'm gratified that everyone wants to read my words, and I can't wait for it
to happen. When I had to cancel last spring I was really bummed about it. I
am again. I still don't want to go the zoom route with this for the reasons
I've already stated.
As I said, I think we could have done it quite safely but the risk at this
point just seems to much of a gamble for us to gather together to do
something that is not absolutely vital to do. I mean we are all cancelling
our family Thanksgiving gatherings this year, so it seemed silly and a
contradiction for the five of us to gather together for this venture when
we were sacrificing our family gatherings.
Well, the traditional mid-west late autumn weather is settling in. But
last Friday it was warm enough that I could still work on the patio.
Last Monday and Wednesday we were, I believe, in the 30s, so I was inside.
Earlier today, however, it was edging toward warmer, just a little below
60°. But a cold front began sneaking in with its cold breeze and I
ended up inside before my workday was finished, mostly because my damn hands
were getting too cold.
But, as I've written before, I will persist in giving the patio, or the
occasional picnic table in a park, a go as my home office until winter
fully sets upon us.
Working for the rent-payer
at the patio home office, last Friday, with a bit of a chill.
Earlier today before I buckled and came inside because the
chill go a little too chill.
Next week is a short workweek due to the Thanksgiving holiday, with only
Monday through Wednesday being workdays. I have taken those as
days. Same with the Mon-Wed of Christmas week. In fact that one will have
me off work for two whole workweeks (16 total days) since the offices are
closed from December 24 until the first Monday of 2021.
These are windows for the creative stuff, the stuff that matters the most
to me. Certainly, I will work on music -- "Identity" might get
mostly done, save for the guitar, which will be farmed out. But, I could
have the rest of it done. The composition of "Chilled October Morning"
might be finished, as well, and perhaps the recording sessions begun.
Maybe other music might be started as well, such as the new one I recently
got the idea for.
Playwright work might be done, too. More tweaking of my current manuscript
could likely be done and I might start work on that new idea for a play.
There's some DV movie editing that needs to be done, too. For one thing,
quite a while ago I gathered together material to make an
actor's reel, and it's all been
sitting in a folder, waiting for me to attend to it. It won't be the
greatest reel ever -- I don't have a lot of stellar material for such --
but it would be a reel.
Just as importantly, maybe much more so, I don't get to spend the holidays
with anyone this year. Christmas hasn't been decided yet by the family, but,
let's be honest, it's not looking like a good idea to have a family
gathering with a mixture of households. Thanksgiving is out for sure. If I
haven't stated this already somewhere on here, this will be the first time
in my life that I won't be with my family on Thanksgiving. I did not realize
how important it was to me until this year. It's not about the nonsense
propaganda of the holiday as it was founded. This was an annual traditional
family gathering for me, a special day for familial commensality, as I think
it really is for many others. Christmas, is, of course, much the same.
If I'm going to be alone for these holidays this year, then it's going to
be on my terms, and I'm going to be removed from employee responsibilities,
and give myself the opportunity to indulge in the arts. I'm halfway
thinking about a cabin somewhere for Christmas -- maybe, maybe not.
I abandoned the traditional celebration of Thanksgiving a long time
ago. That purified, propaganda fairytale of the commensality between
the settlers and the indigenous people, that denial of manifest
destiny intent, of the genocide and attempted genocide: screw all
that. Screw celebrating some of worst in the American legacy.
But I have kept hold of the "Thanks" part, the ideal of
embracing gratitude. And more importantly, like, you know, almost
everyone, it's one of those annual family gatherings full of
camaraderie and of a commensality that I more than just tolerate,
But, like millions of others, this year I will not be with my
family today. This is the first time in my six-plus decades on the
planet that I will not be sharing a Thanksgiving meal with my
family. When the family made the difficult, but we believe wise
and necessary, decision to cancel the dinner this year, I was
suddenly aware of how much it means to me.
In my youth, the annual festivities bounced back and forth between
my two sisters, I think at least once, my brother's, and I think
when I was much younger, my mom hosted it on occasion. Disclosure
here, I am much younger than my siblings -- my oldest sister and my
brother were both married when I was born, my younger sister was
fifteen when I was born and was married by the time I was six.
I have a lot of nieces and nephews that are quite close to my age,
they're really more like cousins. And there were a lot more family
gatherings: picnics, the occasional swimming party, kids spending
the weekend at one of the other households. There was way more of
an extended family feel to the clan.
As time moved on that all fell away. The feeling of unity of the
whole family dissipated. For the last couple decades I have been at
my youngest sister's every Thanksgiving, and every Christmas --
Easter, too, but, of course, not this last Easter, which was after
the pandemic had descended on us. My oldest sister, who passed away
earlier this year, stopped hosting anything a long time ago, back
in the 90's before my parents passed (Christmas had been floating
each year, too). The extended family gatherings ceased three
But the coming together at the home of my younger sister and her
family, on holidays, and especially this one, is a now the
long-standing staple of holiday gatherings for me. It is a part of
my annual traditions, a closely held part. But, like so many of
you, in 2020 this staple has been thwarted by the coronavirus. I
am sure that will include Christmas; that's only a month away and
the COVID-19 numbers are not going to be getting any better between
now and then. In fact, let's be realistic, because of the number of
people who are ignoring the warnings about today's holiday, who are
scorning the prudence of not intermingling separate households,
about not sitting in airplanes with complete strangers, there's going
to be a surge, that on top of the mammoth surge we already have going.
Well, a few minutes ago, I ordered a Thanksgiving turkey dinner
from Bob Evans.
Yesterday, I bought two pies, an apple pie and a cherry pie. I even
had to actually bake the cherry pie -- granted, it was a frozen pie,
and my only contribution to making it was pre-heating the oven to
400° then baking the pie for 55 minutes, but, as I posted a
couple times on social media yesterday: for me, that's like
being Julia Childs' long-lost son.
So, yes, I am unhappy and borderline sad that I won't be going to
my sister's today, to see her and my brother-in-law (who's a really
great guy), or my two nephews and my niece (all virtual cousins to
me), or their spouses. But, I'm thankful that none of them have
contracted COVID-19. I'm also thankful that I have something to
miss being a part of today. This could be my every year, you know,
how grateful am I that this is not the case!
Today, I'll watch Thanksgiving episodes of
The West Wing,
among other TV shows. Oh, yes, we can't forget the infamous
Thanksgiving episode of
WKRP in Cincinnati!
I'll probably try to land on at least one cheesy
Thanksgiving movie. I'll spend some time working on my current
music project, too. And in a month, when I'm on my extended
I'll pretty much do the same thing for that holiday.
Nineteen years ago today,
George Harrison (The Quiet Beatle)
passed away, succumbing to cancer. The main guitarist for the band
that is arguably the most influential in pop and rock history,
George was not insignificant to that influence. Probably one of his
biggest contributions to western pop music was introducing
eastern instruments and musical modes into it. His post-Beatles
All Things Must Pass, put out just after
The Beatles disbanded,
is widely considered his best solo effort. He also was one of the
founding members and driving artistic forces behind
The Traveling Wilburys
which also consisted of Bob Dylan,
Roy Orbison, and
Harrison was often philosophical in the lyrics of his songs, and
often infused his spiritual ideas and journey into his lyrics,
starting as early as 1966 with the Beatles.
Just below is a newly mastered version of the title cut from his
most celebrated solo album, which turned 50 years old this year.
Here I am at my isolated Thanksgiving Day dinner. If I
remember correctly, the
"The One with the Football,"
was on the livingroom TV durring dinner. *The pics below
where I have a beard are earlier in the
Friday night, November 20, the "Identity" lead vocal was locked,
with take #18. It's my practice to number even a re-recording of a portion
of a song as a new take, so I didn't actually perform the whole song eighteen
times. I did several punch ins
of sections that could be done better and that all added up to #18. The
official take 18 works for me.
To be honest, I did not change the vocal melody as much I thought I was
going to. I did change a couple key spots which improves it greatly. And
the performance is much better.
As a side note, I slightly altered the lyrics as I was recording the vocal.
I cut a couple words from the last verse.
Really this should be called "K.L. on Virtual Horn Section." I
started working on the arrangement for the horn trio on the Yamaha PSR-180,
Sunday night. Tuesday night, November 24, I laid the track for the first
horn part, the low harmonic part. I started composing the second part, the
middle harmonic part. By the end of the holiday weekend I had arranged and
recorded the entire horn trio: horn 1 is a trombone voice, and horns 2 &
3 are the trumpet voice. I am not sure that all of the "horn chart"
will make it into the final mix.
I'm contemplating pulling it from a large portion of the ending of the song.
Of course, I can always not use what I have recorded, but I can't use what
I have not recorded.
Though this was technically past the
period, last night I worked out and recorded the "Identity"
backing vocals. There are, again, three parts: a harmony vocal of the chorus
section (singing the lyrics), and two harmony parts for the chorus (singing
"oohs"). Again, I am not 100% sure all of the recorded back vocals
will end up in the final mix, but. I have them if I want them. I actually
had not planned on a harmonic vocal with lyrics until last night as I was
starting to work out what I would do. When the idea hit me, I tried a few
harmony parts and came up with something that I liked quite a lot. It was
originally going to be three-part harmony on those oohs.
The next step for "Identity" is to do a mix I can send off to the
guitarist, who happens to be my nephew, so he can lay a rhythm guitar track
and a lead guitar track.
While "Identity" is farmed out for the six-string electric
guitar work, I'll start concentrating more on finishing "Chilled
October Morning," and getting to the arrangement and recording of
There's also that new idea for a song I've been tossing around. I've done
the very barest of starting some lyrics for it. At this point there are a
few diverse ideas about the musical approach, none on which I have settled.
Since I've learned that I can record and save more than one song at a time
on my Tascam eight-track recorder,
I could actually have at least some demos of both of these going sometime
soon, even before I'm done with "Identity" on the Tascam.
Let's do some singin'!
Doing some singin'. Yeah, I have to have the lyric sheet
because this is pretty much a new song and I don't have the
lyrics anywhere close to memorized -- and remember, I
revised some of them.
Click on the far right photo for an enlarged version and
let's play a game:
How many theatre productions on magnets are in the shot?
How many theatres are represented?
Who's holding the kitten: -- a) Pagliacci, b) Puddles Pity Party, c) Bozo
Can you spot the Lewis Black autograph?
How many references to recording artists are visible? (not counting the dork at the mic)
Do you see any evidence of the COVID-19 pandemic situation?
*I will be profoundly surprised if anyone bothers with this, ever.
Working out the first of the "horn" trio for
The "horn chart" recording session Tuesday evening.
Horn #1 part down. With a clean-shaved musician on the
Working on the horn #2 part for the "Identity"
virtual horn chart.
Saturday, the 21st, for the ninth month in a row, we held our
DTG board of directors
meeting, on-line, via Zoom. Who knows how
many more months of this there will be. I'm betting it will be at least
the next four months, and maybe another six or more months.
Me, attending the November Board of Directors meeting,
from the comfort of my apartment.
Sunday I spent a couple hours at
The Narrows Reserve
in Beavercreek. I hadn't hiked there in probably twenty-five or thirty
years. I attempted a hike there a few months back but the parking lot was
full and I have this self-preserving need to not be around a whole bunch
of people right now, even in the open spaces of a park. There were people
there Sunday but it wasn't packed. The fellow hikers I came across were all
also quite sane and careful when we were close. Everyone kept their distance
and most put their masks on if we were in really close proximity.
Last night I did the major amount of mixing
"Identity," (and partially mastering
it), to send off to my nephew, one David Bernard, btw, so he can learn
the song and then lay the six-string electric guitar tracks (one rhythm
guitar track, one lead guitar track). I hope to finish that off tonight and
get the mixed sound file to him. Once those tracks are laid and incorporated
into the multitrack master, I can get the final mix and fully move on in
Technically, I'll move on before that. While he's working with
"Identity," I'll be working on "Chilled October Morning."
Tonight was the scheduled shoot of the small cast of actors, cautiously
gathered in the same place, safely distanced from each other, to do the
dramatic reading of the
play manuscript. Theoretically it would have been a safe procedure, with
distancing and other precautions taken. But, most, if not all of us, now
know at least one person who has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously,
has been mindfully careful in all their actions and activities, and still
has been infected.
Last night, or, more accurately, very early this morning, I finished the
of "Identity," minus the electric guitar tracks. I'll get this
mix into the possession of my nephew, David Bernard, who I've asked to add
said electric guitar, both rhythm and lead tracks.
I am thinking I'll boost the reverb on a trumpet voice at the end
of the song. But, other than that, this intermediate mix is ready.
I discussed in an earlier post about my plan to get either a soundhole or
piezo pickup for my
Giannini acoustic/electric bass.
If you've read this blog before you may remember that the current pickup
from the factory, clearly piezo, is weak at picking up my first string, or
the E string, the low tone string. I haven't yet procured the pickup,
whatever it may be, and I was hoping to have it before I started to record
"Chilled October Morning," that on which I use the Giannini.
I really wanted to try plugging into a pickup to record the acoustic
bass chords rather than using a mic. I used a mic to record the Giannini
bass chord for the instrumental,
"Icebergs," and it
worked well enough. That was a supporting, background part, however, met to
fill out the overall sound and not be noticed as an individual instrument.
In "Chilled October Morning" it's the featured melodic instrument.
My thought is that I can get a more solid sound with a pickup. Also, since
I don't have an actual soundproof room, anytime I can avoid recording with
a mic is good. I can't do it with the vocals, but, I want to at least hear
what recording the Giannini with a pickup sounds like. I've been holding off
until I get a substitute for the factory pickup.
then it dawned on me -- I only use strings 3 and 4 for "Chilled October
Morning," the D and the G string. Of course, with the
capo affixed on the fifth
fret, strings 3 and 4 are now tuned to G and C, respectively. The original
pickup picks up the third and fourth string with no problems. In fact, that
detail escaped me when I recorded "Icebergs." I was only using
the third and fourth strings for that chorded bass part, too, so I
could have used the pickup. I don't know why that escaped me then, or this
time, as well. Regardless, this means that
Song #7/"Chilled October Morning" is
likely to be started on the Tascam
as soon as tomorrow. At least a demo version will be started.
of "Identity" is now with the guitarist, my nephew, David Bernard,
who is now taking some time to get acquainted with the song -- there are
a lot of moving parts.
I told him I was not expecting a quick turn around. His plan is to do some
recording then send tracks back for me to accept or not. He's predicting a
couple days. I'm betting it'll be longer, and that's not really a problem.
Oh Yeah! Now I
Remember! -- Yesterday evening I recorded an early demo of
"Chilled October Morning" and found that the plan to plug into
my Giannini acoustic bass to
use the built-in pickup will not work. There is a ground hum that I'd
forgotten about. In fact, I now have a vague memory of discovering this
when I was prepping to add the Giannini to
"Icebergs" a little
over a year ago. Bottom line, I had to mic the acoustic bass for this
"Chilled October Morning" demo.
I set up two mics, one for the bass and one to sing with. But I ran into
problems with this set up, not technical problems, but execution problems.
This is a really new song, the composition isn't even finished. I found
myself mentally stumbling over what chords were next while trying to read
and sing the lyrics. I also have not come anywhere close to solidifying
the vocal phrasing. Trying to play the chords and sing the lyrics, neither
anywhere close to engrained in me, was a train wreck. I ended up tracking
each separately, laying the chords first then going back to add the vocal.
This was also another painful demonstration to me of how far I still have
to go as a musician. Quite frequently I was getting fret buzz while changing
chords. I think, to some extent, this might be attributed to the
action of the fret board and strings needing adjustment. The problem with
that theory is that the fret buzz wasn't consistent, which points to the
player not fretting his chords well. My fingers are getting stronger, back
a little closer to what they were in my younger days when I played a few
hours almost every day. But, I'm not there yet, and I think that much of
the problem here is that I'm not pressing down strongly enough all the
time. Finger placement on the frets is probably a factor, too, still, it's
probably time to pull out my
D'Addario hand exerciser.
Yeah, yeah, okay! Maybe significantly more actual practice on the basses is
in order, too!
I also added a little bit more to the still-incomplete lyrics. Based on
length of the demo performance at the moment, just under three minutes, I
can probably add perhaps two more verses without the song getting too long.
My goal is 3:30, 4:00 tops. Whether it stays that short remains to be seen,
but I definitely hope it doesn't top 4:30. This project currently has three
songs close to, or more than, 8:00. I'd like a few shorter cuts.
It's not simply that I am rusty as a bass player and not playing at the
proficiency I did in my younger days, back when I played at least an hour
or two almost every day for quite a few years. Though that is true. I was
more proficient at one time than I am now. But, I also have come face to
face with this truth, as well: I never was really all that good, even at my
peak. I was an adequate bass player, perhaps on the borderline of being good,
but not really at the level of "good," at least not consistently.
Now that I'm back with basses in my hands, I want to become good. I want
to become better than good. I want to get "good," then move on to
"very good," and continue moving on until I get as close to
"excellent" as I can, if not surpass it. Yes, I am past my
sixtieth birthday, that is true, too. But I've never bought into this
"you can't teach an old dog new tricks" bullshit, though it's
likely usually more difficult than it is with a young dog.
Now, I'm not saying I don't think I've come up with some good bass lines,
both in that distant past and more recently. I have been happy with a lot
of my work, at least in that I think was I being musically creative. The
bass line to "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas"
is satisfying to me. What I can do, and thus, do, is make the best of my
level of skill. But there's so much more out there, and if I had a higher
level of skill, I'd be doing more with more. I need for that to be my goal,
to apply my creativity with a better skill set.
Though I have not yet gone the route of formal, in-person lessons -- and,
really, now would not be the time for that -- I have judiciously gathered
together some decent YouTube videos
of both lessons and exercises. There are couple good websites out there,
too, Studybass.com being one that
I have found useful.
I know I have a lot of bad habits that I ingrained back in the old days,
when I was first a bass player. I had no sort of training, I just worked out
my technique, or lack thereof, all on my own. I developed some habits that
are obstacles to improvement. For one thing, I never practiced the habit
of using both my index and middle finger to pluck the strings. My ingrained
habit of only using my index finger now makes it difficult to use both
fingers. My instinct is to only use the one. This really keeps me from a
speed that sometimes is necessary. I am now working to break that habit, but
it's like someone who taught themselves to use a typewriter (or keyboard
for you youngin's), then after years, tries to learn the formal way. It can
be damn near impossible to redirect that muscle memory. Also, I have never
really mastered the art of mutting strings not being played, at least not
as well as I should have. You want to mut the strings not being played to
keep them from ringing, adding unwanted tones, So, I'm now working on that,
too, to get better at it.
There are a few practical things that are touched on at Studybass.com, such
as how to position one's hands and how to better hold the bass in as
comfortable of manners as possible to make playing both easier and safer.
Some I had managed to intuitively do correctly, but other minor adjustments
are now being implemented. Also, the bass guru at Studybass.com, Andrew
Pouska, advises that a player not sit in a chair with arms when playing,
something that I have done, and that I had already found uncomfortable and
inhibiting, the two things he said the player would experience. So, Thursday,
after leaving the rent-payer,
I dropped by a discount furniture outlet store and picked up a bar stool
with back support.
In the end, what has to happen is I need to get into the habit of living
as a musician, meaning it has to always be at least some part of my day.
That goes for being a vocalist, too. I should be at least warming up every
day, and I'm not at in that habit.
More "tools of the trade" were added in a late night, on-line
shopping episode last night: two pedals I've contemplated getting for
several months. I ordered a
Boss OC-3 Dual Super Octave Pedal
Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal
I also got two more
AC Power supplies,
one for each pedal. My hope is that, with this being the week before
Christmas, I get the delivery before I'm off on the
discussed below, because I really want those pedals with me on that trip.
I've been rehearsing the chords to "Chilled October Morning"
simply to get smoother at the changes. Big in this is mastering placing my
fingers in the right spot, which is right behind the fret bars, in order to
get a clear ring from the note and not fret buzz, which I am getting
frequently. This is something that needs to happen all the time, anyway.
Honestly, I seem mostly to avoid fret buzz, especially on the two
Epiphone electric basses,
but not always. When I'm chording on this song on the
Giannini I'm getting a lot of
fret buzz. So I'm working on that, especially. Clearly it'll translate to
my playing in general, to the habit of always fingering the right spot on
the fret board.
Working on "Chilled October Morning," sitting at
my new music stool.
You five regulars may remember that in my
ThanksGiving Day blog entry I said
it was pretty likely that the family would also not be gathering to
celebrate Christmas, as we didn't this year for ThanksGiving, or Easter
beforehand. I was right. I knew even then that the chances were not good,
not with the pandemic running so rampant, thanks mostly to the unfathomably
high number of careless, thoughtless, selfish assholes we folks with some
measure of sense have to share this country with.
I debated back and forth about how I was going to spend this upcoming
which I already had planned to take, knowing how probable it was I would not
be with my family. There's no question that I will spend time focused on the
music project, I hope, a lot of time. But, was I going to be in the homestead
or elsewhere? That "elsewhere" was almost certainly going to be
a cabin somewhere. I actually contemplate seriously trying to snag the
Best Nest Mockingbird cottage
I stayed in during the last portion of my Autumn
2020, or the Wolf's Den Cabin at
Thunder Ridge Cabins B&B
A concern is what the weather will be like that last week of December,
especially concerning the Mockingbird cottage. If there's a bad snow,
driving up those narrow, winding, gravel roads might not be much of a
picnic. Wolf's Den would be a little easier, but I can't speak for the
rural roads in the area. This sort of concern will be high for much of the
cabins I could rent in the Hocking Hills
region, or down closer to Lake Hope
as well. Cabins or cottages were the only things I contemplated. Some friends
just spent a few days staying in some train cars turned into hotel rooms in
Indianapolis. I considered that, except that I don't want something quite
so urban. I also thought beyond the concerns of possible inclement weather,
that I also wouldn't mind a change from the Hocking Hills area. I love it
there, but maybe a change of pace is in order. Especially since it will be
December so there may or may not be a desire to do a lot of hiking --
depending on the weather.
I still wanted something more rural, less urban. So, the other night I
googled and found a few choices. I opted for a cottage that sleeps four,
up near Dover, Ohio, basically the other side of Columbus from me. Yeah,
well, not exactly just the other side of Columbus. It's a good 90
minutes past Columbus, only about 65 miles from the Pennsylvania border.
It's up and over near Ohio's Amish Country,
where I might just indulge in some shoppes. I'm in the cottage for a week.
I'm not sure my bank account appreciates the expenditure, but I'm doing it
By the way, I'll be taking much more music equipment with me this time than
I did for Autumn
2020. I have every intention of recording during Winter
And as a side, I have discovered there is a Bob Evans
less than ten minutes from where I am staying, so pickup from there will
be my Christmas diner. More about that in a later blog post.
I'm off in just a little while, headin' to Winter
2020. The car is packed tight, with most of my musical equipment: all my
basses, my Legato piano,
my Yamaha PSR-180 keyboard, all the foot pedals, the
Tascam eight-track recorder
and its Tascam foot switch,
my microphones, and all the assorted cables, etc., and, let's not forget
There's a fire pit at the cabin so yesterday I bought thirty pieces of
firewood from a local farmer, 50¢ for each. It's right off the road at
the end of his long gravel driveway, a whole trailer of it, with a sign.
It's ripe for theft. But, I'm betting few people take wood without paying.
Just a feeling I have. Of course, the trunk of my car is half loaded with
firewood, meanwhile there is rain predicted where I'll be for most of the
time that I'm there. If it were a little bit of snow, that'd be cool. Well,
I've bought the wood, so it's going with me. Last time I looked there was
only a 25% chance of rain on Tuesday, and it was down to 5% for Wednesday.
Unfortunately, it was 75% for
Eve, when I really wanted to doi the fire pit. Saturday night was 5% again,
so maybe that will be the night -- my last night there.
I also bought myself a little
tree to set up at the cabin. My confession is I haven't decorated for
in decades, but this year.....
I don't get to be with my family. I always go to my sister's. There is
always a tree -- a big fuckin' tree. I'm going to be spending
without my family, alone....
....It ain't gonna be a big tree, but I'm gonna have a fucking tree!
My little car, packed to the hilt for my week of Winter
2020. The back seat full of pretty much my entire inventory
of music related equipment. The trunk taking some music
overflow as well as those thirty pieces of firewood I may
or not get to use this week.
ZEN AND THE ART OF NEW SOUND PEDALS:
The two latest members of the family.
The daisy-chain setup for my explorations with these pedals.
My two new guitar pedals from Sweetwater,
the Boss OC-3 Dual Super Octave Pedal
Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal,
arrived Thursday. I was worried that they would not be delivered until
after I was out of town, because the Overdrive/Distortion Pedal was
out-of-stock, when I placed the order, though I didn't notice at the time.
It apparently was back in inventory shortly since the shipment arrived,
To be honest, the Super Octave pedal does not do exactly what I had
anticipated. I was wanting something that would throw the pitch up an
octave, and that's not what it does. It throws octave undertones which can
be blended subtly underneath or can be mixed prevalently. It doesn't do
what I wanted, but it's still a tool I can use. Then, wait, it occurs to me
as I write this that I ought to try the regular guitar input and see what
that does. It might give me something interesting.
Thursday night and last night I played around with both pedals a bit, using
Embassy Pro bass
experimenting independently with each pedal, then with both on, and
sometimes also with the
SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal
running in the daisy chain. I've barely begun my excursions but have
already come across a lot of really nice sounds, giving me a lot of ideas.
I pulled two songs out from way back there in the 1980's. One is a song
that may make it into the project, or, "onto the album" -- I
don't know why it seems so silly to me to say that, "on the album."
That song is a little rocker, some would call it "power pop," but
I hate that term. The song is called "Rock & Roll Fever." I
wrote it somewhere between 1977 and 1980, probably 1978 or '79. Back then,
I tuned the D string up to an A, which is pretty much stretching the hell
out of the string. Now I stick the capo
on the D string up at the A, a kinder method. Then I play the chords* on
the "A" and the G string. I got a good setting on the
Overdrive/Distortion pedal that works. I played this one first on the
Embassy, but, actually, later when I did it on the Viola, I liked that
sound better, so whenever this one gets recorded, I'll use that one.
there's also another one from that same time period, titled
"Rocket-Go_Round," also chorded on the D and G string (no capo),
that I played around with combinations of both new pedal, individually
*)Yes, yes, we've already discussed how, technically, there must be
three notes played simultaneously for it to be a "chord,"
that when there are only two notes, it's technically "harmonic
notes," but I call them chords for simplicity's sake.
In a more direct, producer/arranger aspect, I have come up with the sound
for Viola bass rhythm chords for "Chilled October Morning": a
paired use of both the Super Octave and the Overdrive/Distortion pedals.
The other chorded rhythm bass will be the Embassy, also using one or both
of those pedals, maybe with the SY-1 Synthesizer pedal thrown in, who knows.
Of course, the Giannini will
be there, too. Though this work didn't get me any closer to finishing the
lyrics to the song, I did formulate a little more of the structure of the
Experimenting, exploring the two new pedals with the
and getting some settings for one of them songs from the
Playing around some more and getting a setting and some
ideas for "Chilled October Morning" on the
My remote office for Monday, not in a park, not by a lake,
but in the lobby of a theatre.
In the booth, getting ready to install the sound
design software upgrade.
Last Monday, we were waiting for an important delivery at
new sinks for our bathrooms, and needed people there to
receive the shipment. I took the late morning/early
afternoon shift. It being a remote work day for me for the
it was easy enough for me. So, I did record maintenance and
other related library catalogue work from the DTG box office
I needed to come in to add the "Season's Greetings"
message panel to the marquée anyway. Plus, I had an
upgrade to the Show Cue Systems
sound design software that needed to be installed on the
tech booth sound
The sinks did not show up during my shift, but, I got work
done, both for a paycheck and for one of my personal
Pardon the mess in the DTG lobby. We ARE in the midst of
a remodel, you know.
Friday, Paul's McCartney III officially released, and, naturally, I
picked it up. I've given it quite a few listens, though I'm not ready with
any sort of definitive response.
But I do like the album quite a lot. I like it much better than I did his
previous release, last year's
which I think would have been a strong EP, consisting of about half the
song list from the album. I'm not in love with absolutely ever track on
M3, but I don't dislike any thing. My biggest criticism, at least at
this stage, is the lyrics to the cut "Pretty Boys," not being at
the calibre of an "Eleanor Rigby,"
but I do like the music the song.
These last few years, Paul's singing voice has deteriorated a little bit,
now infused with a hoarseness, a baritone-ish essence, a bit less of a range,
and a little less control than before. But, as did the great
Harry Nilsson, once one of the
greatest voices in pop music, before he blew out his voice with excessive
drinking, Paul is adapting to his new vocal condition, tailoring his vocal
arrangements to this new reality.
The songs that I absolutely love:
"Long Tailed Winter Bird"
"Women And Wives"
"Deep Deep Feeling"
"Seize The Day"
I've read at least one review where the author's opinion is that "Deep
Deep Feeling" is too long -- it comes in at 8:21. The writer found it
a bit indulgent. I, on the other hand, love it when a track hits a groove
and it goes on and on. If you are the rare bird who's familiar with this
blog, you may know that one of the songs in the process of being finished
for my project, "Identity," clocks in at more than eight minutes,
as well, as does the first thing recorded for the project, my instrumental,
"The Death of the..../Memories of the Times Before" is at 10:11.
Thus, I and that reviewer come from a totally different perspective.
Yeah, I am happy with Paul's 18th solo album. And as I head off for a cabin
with most of my music equipment in tow, I am pumped and inspired for the
Paul on NPR's All Things Considered
talking about the new album.
I arrived at my cottage, the "Cozy Little Red Cottage,"
mid-afternoon Sunday. It's most certainly a "cozy little red cottage"
that I easily settled into. I looked for the fire pit and didn't see one
anywhere. It turns out there is a gas fire pit on the front porch, which
did not register for me, as I've never seen one before. However, the
property owner brought over a fire ring for me to use with my wood. I
was really looking forward to burning the wood I brought, watching the fire.
And I really don't want to leave here with that wood still in my trunk; I
have no place to store it. The only worry is: will there be a rainless
night for me to do the fire pit? I'm hoping for
Eve, for sure, except that right now the forecast is for 100% precipitation
on the 24th --
You five regulars might recall that I bought a small
tree to set up here in the cottage. It's up. It's only just 30.5 inches
tall, but it's up. Only thing is, I forgot to bring one of my
mugs. I looked for a one at a local Dollar General store, but they had none.
Went for a hike at
Boone Hollow Wildlife Preserve.
It actually turned out to be a little bit of a bust, not because of the
preserve, itself, but just because of the nature of the preserve and the
time of year. The bland sameness of the snow-covered terrain with no unique
site to come upon, such as a waterfall as an example, even a frozen one, did
not lend to a compelling hike. After I was about thirty or forty minutes
in, having come across nothing enticing, I retraced my path back to my car.
There are few other places close by to hike. I am likely to make more
Last night, after a lo-o-o-o-ong nap, I sat at the piano and started
fiddling around. I have come up with the beginnings of a new song, this one
going quite the jazz route. I'm actually composing music that is a challenge
for me to play on the keyboard. If I am less than as proficient on the bass
as I would like to be, I am an absolute novice on the keyboard, as I believe
I have related before.
It's good that I compose beyond my musicianship; but it can get frustrating
and seduce me toward depression at times. Coming up with stuff that is
difficult for me to execute can be a little maddening at first. Of course,
at some point I will be able to play it, and will thus have gotten better.
But the impatience for that can get tasking.
I started working on this new one, maybe about 7:00 last night. Then I fixed
dinner, watched some TV on the cottage's satellite system and promptly fell
asleep, again. A little before midnight last night I returned to the song.
I worked until about 2:30 this morning. I got up about 1:30 today. To be
honest, I'm hoping I can still get to bed before midnight, or not much later,
so I have a lot of wide-awake time tomorrow during the daylight.
Shortly here today I'm going to program a
to further work on this new one. I am thinking I'm going to go outside the
comfort zone of a standard 4/4 or 3/4. I may start with 12/8 and see if that
works for me. I also have some concepts for lyrics, already started. Whether
any will fit this one remains to be seen. Also, today I've been listening to
to get me into the proper groove. Not that I want this new song to reside
on the Steely Dan property, but, I do want it in the same neighborhood.
I'm going to be stingy about posting pics from Winter
2020 in these little on-going posts. I'm going to save most of the photos
for the recounting, and its photo album, those which will probably take a
few weeks to get up -- right?
Not only do I wish those of us from the Christian tradition a Merry
Christmas, also to my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah, and to my
African American Friends, Happy Kwanzaa, also, to those who observe
it, Happy Winter Solstice, and then Happy what-ever-else to whomever
Be well and stay safe. Go into 2021, gangbusters!!
Got home early yesterday afternoon from Winter
2020. The plan is to later do a more detailed accounting of the week,
especially the "things artistic" aspect of the week (i.E.: music
stuff). For now, here's some brief notes and a few photos.
My first musical work during the week was on the
Legato III piano.
I've started two songs on the piano with the workshop titles "Winter
Vacation Ballad" and "Cozy Cottage Jazz." There are a few
lyrics sitting around that might work with either of these. I have not
pulled them out yet to see if any will fit, but, who knows.
I also programed the drums for "Chilled October Morning" into
So now I have the chord progression structured for the whole song. It will
come in at about 4:20, depending on the atrophy of the dying last chord. I
rehearsed it a few times on the
acoustic bass. I didn't record anything, mostly because I would have had
to mic the bass and the cottage just had too much ambient noise for a
clean recording -- though I suppose I could have just done a demo. I did
demo it in an
DV movie, which I am not sure what I'm going to do with.
I started a third new song, chorded on the
on the seventh fret. This one has the workshop title, "Winter Vacation
Rocker." I started running some ideas for a bone fide bass line on the
but I've noticed that the Viola's intonations is seriously off. I was not
able to keep the axe in tune. It's the weather change. I'm going to need
to spend some serious time adjusting it. Again, no set lyrics for this new
one, either -- at least yet.
Well, I only got to hike twice during the
because of the weather. But I did get to hike. The first hike was at
Boone Hollow Wildlife Preserve
on Monday. The second was at
Canal Lands Park
on Wednesday. There was a bit more snow at Boone Hollow than in the
surrounding area, which sort of made it a bit of a bust, mostly because of
the nature of the land. Wednesday at Canal Lands the temperature was up. I
left my winter coat in the car.
It was a white
with something like three inches of snow on the ground
morning. The snow began Thursday afternoon, not long before I headed to
to pick up my
dinner: turkey dinner with two orders of mashed potatoes, with apple pie
ala mode. During dinner I observed one of my annual
traditions -- a watching of
day I cooked dinner: grilled chicken (spiced with garlic powder, onion
powder, white pepper snd black pepper), a baked potato, and steamed
veggies, with cherry pie ala mode. My traditional
was the dinner entertainment.
So, I brought a trunk-full of firewood, which I purchased specifically for
this trip, and I was able to use it all in two separate fire pits. The first
was on an unseasonably warm night on Tuesday. The second was a snow-covered,
15° night, the night after
It took a little while to get the second fire going. There was ice in the
bottom of the fire pit, plus the wood was pretty cold, coming from the
trunk of my car. It took a bit of newpapers and lighter fluid, but eventually
a good fire pit burned for my last night of my Winter
Working on one of the new piano songs.
Working on "Chilled October Morning."
Is it breakfast if it's at 2 p.m.?
At Bone Hollow Wildlife Preserve.
At Canal Lands Park.
First fire pit of the
Eve dinner with Love Actually.
out the cottage window.
dinner with Scrooged.
Working on "Winter Vacation Rocker" on
Working on "Winter Vacation Rocker" on
The fire pit in the snow.
FIVE YEARS PAST MY HEART ATTACK!:
Five years ago yesterday, I woke up to terrible cramps in my back, which
I tried unsuccessfully to stretch out. When they began pulsating, then
radiating to my shoulders then my left arm, it became clear I needed to
call 911. Because I was having a heart attack. Five years ago today, I went
under the amazing skilled scalpel of
Dr. Surender R. Neravetla
who performed quadruple bypass heart surgery on me.
This current year has, in many ways, sucked. But I've been here to make that