Monday, October 22, 2018

Busy With The Nobs

The "virtual" amplifier and effects rack that I installed for the heck of it actually processes the sound of my guitar in myriad ways.

If I put on headphones I can apply all kinds of effects to my acoustic guitar.

I have even figured out how to send the output to Audacity, so I can record it.

A lot of times it helps to be able to hear whatever effects you are playing through. If you are getting a lot of sustain, for example, you might tailor your playing style to this and do a lot of long and sustained notes like that Pink Floyd guy with his long slow bending notes. He was most likely inspired by the sound and what he could do with it.

I have been burdened with having to imagine what my guitar will sound like after I record it, plain vanilla, no ambiance at all, and then doctor the file up by applying an effect.

My Newest Facebook Friend, Jacob's Mother...

If I am going to sound like I am in a cathedral after I add "cathedral reverb," then I have to pretend I am in one as I am recording the track...Don't worry, I might tell myself, it's going to sound full and spacious and like a wall of sound; and hitting these little few notes and letting them ring, even though they sound moronic and simple in the light of day, is going to sound cool, like you are playing in a cathedral!
Kevin Bape, drummer

So, with the Guitarix effect (shown) I can at least put my headphones on and hear what the result is going to be after running my guitar through all kinds of simulations of amplifiers and squash boxes and filters.

This at least helps me write a part that optimizes whatever flange or phaser I'm going through. I still can't hear the effect after I hit the record button on Audacity, but I am working on that problem, reading more manuals and help screens and tutorials.

So, an acoustic guitar sounding like a cranked up electric one might be coming soon..


Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Podcasting Wannabe

The Uxi Duxi is closing in seconds...
I promise more music made using the cries of herons as samples, soon.

There is a certain frequency to the cries of the bird; this would allow the sound to carry a certain distance, I assume, to the nearest other heron, I am also guessing.

The black caped night heron would emit a loud "Waauuk!!" sound upon taking flight.

I think this is to frighten any flying thing that might be airborne to get out of its way, so as to avert "bird strikes;" kind of like a horn. How else to explain it?

The above idea came from the fact that Zen, my friend, whom I recently saw for the first time in almost a year, does a "podcast" and, I see him sitting at one of the tables outside the place, squawking into the screen of his tablet upon which it seems is a mirror-like image of his own face.
But, he seems to do it in "real time" and people actually comment and these appear in real time and conversations are held, people ask questions and he answers them and he is usually drinking beer and kratom as he does this.

My first topic has to do with people who smoke half a cigarette and then, after dropping the remaining tobacco on the sidewalk, make sure it is out by grinding the thing so as to rend open the paper and render the cigarette un-smokable by any skeezer who might come along and have his hopes of getting a free half a cigarette dashed by the brutal realization that there are people cruel enough to do such a thing.

Perhaps the people have 11 diseases and are doing a public service by destroying the cigarettes. No, if that were the case, they would crush the butts in their hands and throw them deep into a trash can, insuring public safety.

No, they are left out there so as to entice a skeezer from a distance (from whence the term "snipe" comes from with regard to long distance targeting) into thinking he has scored himself a half a cigarette and then to communicate to the skeezer that whomever left it there has no mercy, nor love in his heart, for the skeezer.

I almost don't blame them...

Friday, October 19, 2018

My '67 Camaro

This blog is like a Camaro that I'm building from scratch in my garage, which I just take a ride around the block in each morning to test the latest improvements upon.

Once it is a killer machine, street legal and all pimped out then I'll take it downtown, i.e. apply the "five secrets to generating blog traffic" that I have read about and which I don't currently do any of.

Except for an attempt at number five, which is (duh) to create great posts.

I am thinking of "pivoting" away from the mundane and might reserve a bunch of stories, essays and artwork for the days when I can think no further than the boiled egg I ate for breakfast, for material.

  • Thursday Night Off
  • Another Week Without A Blood Plasma Sale

It's the recipe for financial disaster; most of the ingredients are simmering away. But, whatever...


When I woke up and saw that it was 6 PM (Friday evening, October 19th) It hit home that I wouldn't be able to make it in time to the blood plasma place. No $15 for 3 hours spent today; no opportunity to go Sunday and get $45 to go with it. There's a sixty dollar "swing" in my fortunes...or not.

I had lain back down in the early afternoon to cap off the "night's sleep" with a couple more intended hours that turned into four...again.

I learned that there is indeed kind of a kratom "crash" that results from doing a second dose after the first kind of wears off.

I worked on another piece of music, using the cries of a heron as a sample, set to the beat of Kevin Bape in one of his lucid moments on the drum kit from our jam in Jacob's back yard, and then used a 2 second note held by a female vocalist out of a set of free downloadable samples from the web.

The samples are free because they come with no rights to use them commercially.

I looked at it all as a learning experience, knowing that I would probably file the finished song away in my "music made using bird samples" folder where it would reside as a curiosity.
A half-chicken in every pot; and a pound of kratom...
But, as often happens when I idly begin a pencil sketch only to determine at some point that it is coming out better than I might have expected and then go on to spend the next 4 hours on it, I spent the next 4 hours on it.

It still sucks, but there was something about how Harold the cat parked himself right in front of my floor speakers as if not wanting to miss one bird cry that made me feel like I was making progress, having captured the imagination of one of my harshest critics.

I feel like I am making music now that might be listened to retrospectively after I manage to crack the nut of success and have something go viral, by people who then have an interest in hearing my "formative" pieces. ...and the herons cry...

Heron rhymes with Erin, the name of the girl who is a barista at Uxi Duxi, and almost sounds like heroin, the drug that people use kratom to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal from, and their cries is a sound that reminds me of my roots, since I heard a lot of them when living under a wharf with a black caped night heron, so I can see some kind of cosmic connection.
Of course he was arrested, those former NFL running backs are bad apples...

It has nothing to do with Mack Herron, the running back who played for the Patriots in the early seventies, I don't think...but the other-than-conscious mind might be up to its tricks...

Shortly, I might find myself down to my last everything...last bite of food, last cigarette, last energy drink, the last of my coffee, the last of my one pound bag of kratom, the "last" list goes on. But is not fodder for a blog post.

Pivoting Away, Now...

Or I can go out in a couple hours with a fresh perspective, fresh batteries in my spotlight and a renewed determination to get a new harmonica the next time I have the money for one. The 45 dollars I could have gotten on Sunday was to be used for this.

I can just go on Monday, and then Wednesday, setting my plans back only 3 days.

I continue to, perhaps fool myself, into thinking that the projects that I work on at home, when glances at the clock cause pangs of guilt over my not being out busking have some kind of value.

Equivalent in some way to the cold hard cash that I might have come by at the Lilly Pad.

Why is money referred to using the same terms used to describe cadavers..? But, I digress...


"If you're not living with a certain amount of dread each day, perhaps you're not working hard enough" might have been the philosophy that I am re-examining.

Tanya Huang said that her father, a doctor in China, saw "a hundred patients a day."

(Hey, my traffic from China has slumped, so I am going back to utilizing a proven strategy)

This revealed that one of her primary values is "productivity," hard-wired into her brain, and congruent with her playing until her violin shoulder is black and blue, after 14 hour Mardi Gras season gigs.

Maybe some amount of dread over going out to busk to "get 'er done," "make the doughnuts;" "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go," type of things, is fitting.

But, maybe it isn't. Isn't "dread" one of those self-corrosive, negative states of mind, spawned by fear and insecurity and feeling inadequate?