mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was very busy, and very productive, and, for the first time in many weeks, something close to normal. 
 
Technical Matters
 
Saturday we went out as a family. I had some electronics from work to drop off at The Surplus Exchange for e-cycling, ultimately deciding to keep the two PCs - I'll convert one of them for my own personal use. Nothing wrong with them that a little TLC (read: not being used by DataGuy) wouldn't cure. I've been pointed to Zorin as a possible alternative OS to Windows, and I'm going to give it a shot. Frank pointed me to a DAW* called Reaper - if I can make a go of that on the new OS, then I'll be able to jettison Windows on the downstairs (shop/studio) PC.
 
Family and Health
 
That done, I took my family out for a late lunch/early dinner to Ghengis Khan, the original mongolian barbecue. Miraculously, the kids both ate well: they loved the flavors, and watching the guys cook their food on the large (large? gigantic) flat-top grill was just too cool. (Ironically, I can make the same sort of food with the same flavor profiles at home and they turn their noses up at it.) Jami flirted shamelessly with our waitress, a curvy, pretty blonde girl with some beautiful tattoo work. Apple don't fall far from the tree, I guess.
 
That was all fun, but the best part was just being out. Michelle didn't have a migraine and we were able to function normally - or close enough that it doesn't matter - for the first time in a long time. It was wonderful. She is making progress every week, and while some days are better than others the trend is toward the good.
 
She has expressed an interest in walking/exercising again, so to that end I moved the treadmill from the garage to the dining room, a job that I should probably have had help with but just did anyway. It's a pro-sumer levelI'm guessing the thing weighs about 150 pounds and is large and unwieldy to boot. My hand-cart is one of the small variety, good for moving the odd stack of boxes, and I pushed it and my thigh muscles to the limit of their operational specs, but by god I got the thing done. 
 
It was a stupid thing to do. Had I lost control of it I could have easily destroyed the treadmill, or a nearby piece or furniture, one or all of the pets, or me, or some combination of all of that. My back and legs are both reminding me of the folly of pride.
 
Music
 
My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 46, and I'm trying not to do the mental countdown to 54 (the age at which my dad died). We don't have anything planned, and I'm totally okay with that. (It's amazing how one's priorities change when one's health - or the health of one's spouse - goes to shit.) I did splurge for a birthday present for myself, though.
 
I've always wanted a phrase recorder/looper. It's a device that goes between your guitar and amp, about the size of a kid's lunchbox with two foot pedals on the face, one for "record/playback", one for "stop." It records what you play and plays it back: the performer just taps the appropriate button with his foot as he goes (I've heard it called a "stomp box" for that reason.) Because it's foot controlled, you can create and use phrases on the fly, and add a lot of depth to your performance. I've experimented some already, and the results are encouraging.
 
Michelle's grandmother Ruby actually made it possible. I'd gotten a small amount of money from her mom that I figured to use as seed money for the "looper fund". It was the check from Ruby that made it immediately possible, and, cannily, she sent two checks. I'm just guessing here, but I think she knew with just one, my birthday money would probably just go to pay bills, and she didn't want that, so she sent a second, larger check for the household. ...aaaaaand off to Guitar Center I went.
 
I've wanted one of these things for a long time, at least two years, when we saw Tim Thompson use one. Using his (same model as mine, I think - it's not like there's twenty different brands) he was able to deliver a really complex performance, just him alone on stage. It was impressive as hell and I decided then I wanted one. Just took me this long to do it. You can read about it here if you care to.
 
Home Improvement
 
With the treadmill out of the way (it had been in the garage) I suddenly had enough free space to do something toward the house. A month or so ago I purchased a cabinet for the kitchen to complete what I call the "coffee wall" - the length of counter space where I keep my coffee maker. Tossing on another 30" (plus a planned foot of additional counter) will complete the "L" of cabinets, and I've started forming a plan as to how to make the countertop. 
 
I pulled the cabinet out of mothballs, so to speak, and started the finishing process. First: 75/25 mineral spirits/polyurethane as a grain sealer, then Golden Oak stain. It was completely dry this morning, but I didn't get up early enough to put on the first coat of poly. I'll do that this evening. In doing the finishing, I found the cabinet was more damaged than I thought (I knew it was damaged, but failed to note how badly...the discount was worth it, though). A back corner at the bottom is completely gone so I'll have to put a new bottom in it, possibly a portion of the back.

So, that was my weekend. Long, busy, tiring, productive. Mostly normal. 
 
* digital audio workstation. 

 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I've been working with a young woman to get a musical booking in the Downtown Lee's Summit Music in the Park.  I think this is maybe only her first or second time doing it, and she's having to really juggle. I appreciate her effort: it boils down to not booking me, a solo, acoustic Celtic act, on the same stage as a four member AC/DC tribute band.

There are only three dates left available, and, reasonably, known acts get priority. There may not be a spot for me this year, but I'm hopeful.


mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I got a phone call from Dave, the new owner at Stone Bridge, asking if I had any CDs I could drop off. He keeps the CD on pretty much all the time at the coffee house and he's apparently been selling it, in spite of having no physical copies of it. I dropped off five on Friday night as the family and I were out running around.

Saturday morning, I realized I needed at least one of them back for an online order (I have them up on the Seamlyne site), so I went up. He had the CD playing in the shop's boom box - Maid on the Shore - and, quite without thinking about it, I started singing along.

I grabbed a couple of discs from behind the counter, let Dave know why I was stealing inventory, and started out. A woman at one of the tables stopped me with, "Is that you on the CD player?"

"Yep, me all over."

"Well, I was sitting here listening to it from over there," she pointed over her shoulder, "And suddenly it was coming from two places at once!"

I smiled. I kinda hoped for that. "Yeah, instant Surround Sound."

"I like it! Where can I get a copy?" 

Score. I extended one of the copies I had in my hand. "Right here." 

I'm not ashamed to say that made my morning. I've gotten a lot more comfortable in my musical skin, so to speak, but the validation is always nice.

------------------------------------------------------------

I've started work on a new song. In June 1832, a group of Irish immigrants arrived in America and went to work in Pennsylvania on a railroad project called "Duffy's Cut", leveling a hill and using the removed earth to fill the adjacent valley. Within six weeks or their arrival they were all dead of cholera, subsequently buried anonymously in the fill under the railroad bed. If there was ever a story begging to be sung, it's that one, I figure.

As I've been working on it, I made a discovery about myself and how I work. I've started half a dozen songs over the last couple of years - Prairie Departure and Where You're From are the only two that have gone beyond a few scribblings in a notebook. 

I've been trying to write the lyrics out and then set them to music, but it isn't working that way. Prairie Departure really didn't gel until I picked up my guitar and tried to sing what I'd written - and though it came together more or less as it was on the paper, I needed the music to get it past the paper stage. Where You're From (which you wouldn't have heard unless you've come to see me perform the last few times) is very different: the music gave it it's final shape and ultimately it's last verse, and the song behind the microphone is very different rhythmically than it's paper origins.

So, I've learned that if I want to write songs - and I do, I'd like the next CD to be 80% original material - I can't do it without a guitar ready to hand. I can't separate one from the other.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I got a phone call from Dave, the new owner at Stone Bridge, asking if I had any CDs I could drop off. He keeps the CD on pretty much all the time at the coffee house and he's apparently been selling it, in spite of having no physical copies of it. I dropped off five on Friday night as the family and I were out running around.

Saturday morning, I realized I needed at least one of them back for an online order (I have them up on the Seamlyne site), so I went up. He had the CD playing in the shop's boom box - Maid on the Shore - and, quite without thinking about it, I started singing along.

I grabbed a couple of discs from behind the counter, let Dave know why I was stealing inventory, and started out. A woman at one of the tables stopped me with, "Is that you on the CD player?"

"Yep, me all over."

"Well, I was sitting here listening to it from over there," she pointed over her shoulder, "And suddenly it was coming from two places at once!"

I smiled. I kinda hoped for that. "Yeah, instant Surround Sound."

"I like it! Where can I get a copy?" 

Score. I extended one of the copies I had in my hand. "Right here." 

I'm not ashamed to say that made my morning. I've gotten a lot more comfortable in my musical skin, so to speak, but the validation is always nice.

------------------------------------------------------------

I've started work on a new song. In June 1832, a group of Irish immigrants arrived in America and went to work in Pennsylvania on a railroad project called "Duffy's Cut", leveling a hill and using the removed earth to fill the adjacent valley. Within six weeks or their arrival they were all dead of cholera, subsequently buried anonymously in the fill under the railroad bed. If there was ever a story begging to be sung, it's that one, I figure.

As I've been working on it, I made a discovery about myself and how I work. I've started half a dozen songs over the last couple of years - Prairie Departure and Where You're From are the only two that have gone beyond a few scribblings in a notebook. 

I've been trying to write the lyrics out and then set them to music, but it isn't working that way. Prairie Departure really didn't gel until I picked up my guitar and tried to sing what I'd written - and though it came together more or less as it was on the paper, I needed the music to get it past the paper stage. Where You're From (which you wouldn't have heard unless you've come to see me perform the last few times) is very different: the music gave it it's final shape and ultimately it's last verse, and the song behind the microphone is very different rhythmically than it's paper origins.

So, I've learned that if I want to write songs - and I do, I'd like the next CD to be 80% original material - I can't do it without a guitar ready to hand. I can't separate one from the other.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Titanic)
Let us begin with Saturday, October 2nd and Michelle's CENSOREDth birthday. New Autumn mugs, a new Autumn travel cup and scones from Starbucks were my contribution. At Jami's request to "buy mommy a present", we left Michelle to nap and I took him to the mall (a rare father-son outing) and thence to Yankee Candle for some autumn candles and a new decorative plate. He and I bounced around the mall, shared a pretzel and a Sprite for lunch, and took in the sights. We went to PetCo and bought fish for the aquarium. We had a good time. When he's not fighting with his sister, he's a lot of fun to hang out with. (The same goes for Katie, if you were wondering, autism and all.)

You must be as tall as this sign to ride this ride... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Titanic)
Let us begin with Saturday, October 2nd and Michelle's CENSOREDth birthday. New Autumn mugs, a new Autumn travel cup and scones from Starbucks were my contribution. At Jami's request to "buy mommy a present", we left Michelle to nap and I took him to the mall (a rare father-son outing) and thence to Yankee Candle for some autumn candles and a new decorative plate. He and I bounced around the mall, shared a pretzel and a Sprite for lunch, and took in the sights. We went to PetCo and bought fish for the aquarium. We had a good time. When he's not fighting with his sister, he's a lot of fun to hang out with. (The same goes for Katie, if you were wondering, autism and all.)

You must be as tall as this sign to ride this ride... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Walkin' There is finally available. I just got the review copy in and it sounds great. The link to order is on my music blog, http://www.billMorrisMusic.net, right on the homepage.

Hard to believe. Took seventeen years. If we follow this pattern, the next CD will be available when I'm 61. Hopefully, we won't have to wait THAT long.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Walkin' There is finally available. I just got the review copy in and it sounds great. The link to order is on my music blog, http://www.billMorrisMusic.net, right on the homepage.

Hard to believe. Took seventeen years. If we follow this pattern, the next CD will be available when I'm 61. Hopefully, we won't have to wait THAT long.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I posted a rather negative review of my experience at the coffee house last night. I stand my it: my experience as a performer was made less than positive by the staff. From a reply to a comment on the previous post,

I don't mind playing for free. Let's face it, Independence isn't the coffee house capital of anything, [the coffee houses are] all struggling for cash. I don't object to "tips and drinks" when there are actually drinks made available and, perhaps more importantly, I'm made to feel welcome, neither of which was the case last night. Given the economics of a latté, I could not have consumed enough espresso and milk to make a discernible dent in my usual fee, but it would have softened my attitude greatly.
 
However...

I was pretty wiped by 1:00pm yesterday after a trip to the zoo with lots of walking among other things, and that could have colored my experience. If they treat their customers well - and the coffee, to their credit, is very good - then it's your call. I'm not asking for a boycott or anything, or even for you to be angry on my behalf. I was just kvetching, and I'm done now.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I posted a rather negative review of my experience at the coffee house last night. I stand my it: my experience as a performer was made less than positive by the staff. From a reply to a comment on the previous post,

I don't mind playing for free. Let's face it, Independence isn't the coffee house capital of anything, [the coffee houses are] all struggling for cash. I don't object to "tips and drinks" when there are actually drinks made available and, perhaps more importantly, I'm made to feel welcome, neither of which was the case last night. Given the economics of a latté, I could not have consumed enough espresso and milk to make a discernible dent in my usual fee, but it would have softened my attitude greatly.
 
However...

I was pretty wiped by 1:00pm yesterday after a trip to the zoo with lots of walking among other things, and that could have colored my experience. If they treat their customers well - and the coffee, to their credit, is very good - then it's your call. I'm not asking for a boycott or anything, or even for you to be angry on my behalf. I was just kvetching, and I'm done now.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
My audience was sparse but kind, most of them friends or acquaintances, which is just fine. Always good to see friendly faces. The venue itself, though...

I don't mind playing gratis now and again, but I'd like some consideration from the venue: a latté, or a sandwich. Not so, tonight: drip coffee only, anything else I was a paying customer. It also helps if the person booking the act doesn't treat the act as an inconvenience. You asked me, honey, not the other way around, but you made me feel like a trespasser. Fu-u-u-ck you.

I considered packing my gear and walking out when She said, over Her shoulder no less and without breaking stride, "Drip coffee only," but I said I'd do it without ever specifying terms, so I did it. Never again, though. Not for free, anyway.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
My audience was sparse but kind, most of them friends or acquaintances, which is just fine. Always good to see friendly faces. The venue itself, though...

I don't mind playing gratis now and again, but I'd like some consideration from the venue: a latté, or a sandwich. Not so, tonight: drip coffee only, anything else I was a paying customer. It also helps if the person booking the act doesn't treat the act as an inconvenience. You asked me, honey, not the other way around, but you made me feel like a trespasser. Fu-u-u-ck you.

I considered packing my gear and walking out when She said, over Her shoulder no less and without breaking stride, "Drip coffee only," but I said I'd do it without ever specifying terms, so I did it. Never again, though. Not for free, anyway.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Hey all! I'll be performing at the Main Street Coffee House on the Square in Independence from 7:00 to 9:00pm. There's good coffee, good food, and plenty of room, and I would love to pack the place!

http://mstreetcoffeehouse.com for more information.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Hey all! I'll be performing at the Main Street Coffee House on the Square in Independence from 7:00 to 9:00pm. There's good coffee, good food, and plenty of room, and I would love to pack the place!

http://mstreetcoffeehouse.com for more information.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (guitar)
Spent some time over the weekend in the studio, laying tracks. We (by which I mean, Michelle) have set a fairly aggressive schedule for completing the CD, with a tentative (by which I mean, "get it done, William, or else") release date in May.

You hear that? MAY.

Given our budget (just under zero dollars) and that kind of speed, I'll have to go completely public domain. As a result, I'll be recording several songs that I would otherwise pass over, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I don't want the CD to sound like Emerald Skye's Greatest Hits.

I have to remember, though, and keep reminding myself, that my audience Now is not the same audience as Then, and thus doesn't have the same memories and baggage. My hang-ups are my hang-ups.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (guitar)
Spent some time over the weekend in the studio, laying tracks. We (by which I mean, Michelle) have set a fairly aggressive schedule for completing the CD, with a tentative (by which I mean, "get it done, William, or else") release date in May.

You hear that? MAY.

Given our budget (just under zero dollars) and that kind of speed, I'll have to go completely public domain. As a result, I'll be recording several songs that I would otherwise pass over, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I don't want the CD to sound like Emerald Skye's Greatest Hits.

I have to remember, though, and keep reminding myself, that my audience Now is not the same audience as Then, and thus doesn't have the same memories and baggage. My hang-ups are my hang-ups.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
 With a sore throat firmly in place, I slept without my CPAP mask: the constant inflow of cool air just makes the throat even scratchier and I don't want to spend the night coughing into my mask. I'm really feeling a difference today, sort of all-over, unpleasantly tired.

Saturday's performance, and misc musings about Englewood... )

In any event, I have another performance at SBCH this Friday night, at 8:00, assuming my throat is better by then. We'll know by Wednesday, I think.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
 With a sore throat firmly in place, I slept without my CPAP mask: the constant inflow of cool air just makes the throat even scratchier and I don't want to spend the night coughing into my mask. I'm really feeling a difference today, sort of all-over, unpleasantly tired.

Saturday's performance, and misc musings about Englewood... )

In any event, I have another performance at SBCH this Friday night, at 8:00, assuming my throat is better by then. We'll know by Wednesday, I think.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
 
Yep, my kids get in on the act sometimes. Proof positive you don't need to know the words to sing along:

Listen to the first verse of South Australia: click here.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
 
Yep, my kids get in on the act sometimes. Proof positive you don't need to know the words to sing along:

Listen to the first verse of South Australia: click here.

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