Friday, March 19, 2010

Unplugged

No, I'm not talking about wall outlets or playing accoustic versions of all my hits, I'm talking about earbuds, speakers, etc...

I just came back from an errand to the local store. Like always, I had my iPod in my pocket and earbuds ready to stick in my ears. I was tempted to pop the little things in my ears and scroll through the music and podcasts to listen to while I walk.

This time, I hesitated...

Don't know whether it was a result of listener fatigue or the fact that it's a beautiful sunny day here in Vancouver with the birds chirping, cherry blossoms in bloom and signs of Spring everywhere. Regardless, something convinced me to just walk down the sidewalk without any artificial auditory stimulus to entertain me on the way.

I live with music or some sort of audio soundtrack playing at anytime. I live and breath audio pretty well every waking hour of my days. It's either me playing/writing music, listening to music, interacting with my family, etc... There's always something auditory going on.

I found the few blocks to and from the store "au naturelle' to be invigorating and refreshing. I found myself listening to the sounds in the neighbourhood - really listening to what's going on in the world immediately around me.

Instead of being bored, I quite enjoyed the randomness and unexpected things that reached my ears. I also found myself creating and revising music snippets in my head based on the sounds and rhythms from around me. If I could have somehow recorded all that ... well that would have been cool.

Anyway, I thought it was this kind of thing ... taking away the "conveniences" we have grown to rely on to entertain ourselves that turns into a touchstone for breaking out of the mold and seeing things in a fresh perspective:

Getting out of my normal routine, watching the breeze in the trees, smelling the flowers and listening to the birds sing...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Rejection - doesn't have to be all that bad does it?


Thought I'd share something that got me thinking.

I know, I know, it's yet another infrequent post by me. I dunno, but blogging is this fickle thing for me for some reason - feast or famine...

Anyhoo, just got a message from a client that I submitted a demo for that they are deciding to pass on me for the bigger project. I mentioned it to someone, and got the response:

"Oh, that just sucks - you must feel dejected!"

...

To tell you the truthI didn't feel that bad - I got to do something that I quite enjoy, got some experience under my belt and learned some lessons.


I didn't quite agree with the feedback, but hey, that's what music is all about - it all hinges on personal expectations and taste. Sometimes two peoples' visions don't align, and that's cool

I took the "rejection" with some grace - thanked them for the opportunity, told them I had fun doing it (and I did), and mentioned that I had ideas on other parts of the project and offered any help if they were open to it.

On to other stuff - turns out they're open to other ideas and wouldn't mind hearing them.

All in all, not too shabby. Sure, it would have been good to land the gig, but who knows? By taking it all in stride and looking to the positives, the door is still open for something down the road, which may even be a cooler gig...

We'lll see!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Making Possibilities

I doubt you'll ever be able to accuse me of wasting too much time keeping my blog up to date. Geez! December 1st of last year was the last time I was in here?

The impetus for this post you ask?

I'd like to think that it was all the things going on in my life at this point in time, but I think it's just the fact that I'm proctoring a mid-term exam and I'm bored...

Well, there are actually a lot of changes going on. Catherine's got a new position at the University, the house is going through some major renovations, and the boys are about to celebrate their birthdays. Chris is turning 10 tomorrow (big double digits) and Alex will be 7 on Friday.

All that, and with the new year starting not too long ago, there's been a lot going on in my mind - mulling over choices I've made in the past and what might unfold in the future - results of the choices I make.

Here's an abridged list of some of the values I and Catherine have worked to instill in the kids:
  • do and try your best at whatever you do
  • if you feel wronged by someone, at first, assume they had good intentions
  • talk nice, be nice
  • don't come to breakfast in a bad mood
  • ...

... the list goes on. With all these "lessons" I also find that I sometimes have to remind myself of the values I'm trying to teach the kids.

I've been mulling over one of these "wisdoms" lately ... taking charge of your own destiny.

Not to preclude asking for help or assistance when you need it, but in order to make things happen, you've got to ... make things happen. Think of the "butterfly effect" if you will. Over the years, I've gotten more comfortable at being (respectfully) tenacious, but there are times where I have found that maintaining the status quo can get ... comfortable.

Over the past couple of months, it's been a mini-renaissance for me ... re-energizing, getting the word out, picking up the phone, pounding the pavement, re-connecting with people. Generally, trying to make more possibilities for myself.

It's not that I don't enjoy the work and clients that I've been dealing with - quite the opposite! I've absolutely love working with the folks I'm lucky enough to have on my client roster. I'm just looking for even more - more cool gigs, more cool people to work with, more cool sounds to make ...

Dividends from the efforts are starting to appear ... back to making some more ripples in the pond.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Canadian Audio Hardware Tech Support

Some of you may recall that I started tweeting about my Presonus audio interface deciding to quit a couple of weeks ago.

Well, it's still sitting in my studio waiting to get fixed. I was thinking of replacing it, but then started entertaining repair options.

Of course, I contacted the Presonus customer service option on their site and got a fairly prompt response from them on procedures to start the repair process via a return authorization procedure. After a couple of emails, they discovered that I was from Canada.

I got directed to the Presonus distributor in Montreal... People down the street could probably hear my groan.

That was a week and a half ago...

I had a futile run-around experience with the Canadian distributor of M-Audio when my Delta 1010 interface on my PC started humming a few years back. I gave up and jumped to Presonus... {sigh}

If there's one thing that I find absolutely infuriating about moving back to Canada (after 9 years in the US), is that the very concept of customer service is seriously lacking! That's not a blanket statement by any means - there are companies that adopt good practices and treat their customers well up here, but there are a lot more companies I've run into that don't seem to willing to adopt any practices that might promote customer loyalty.

Now, jury is still out on whether the Presonus distributor will come through, but I've been sent to Long and McQuade with the assurance that they'll take the unit for me (they didn't) and numerous emails which each seem to have progressively more names added to the "CC" line have been flying back and forth.

My last two emails have fallen into black e-holes - and we don't have the American Thanksgiving to blame up here.

I just want a place to send the unit and get it fixed! I don't care who's supposed to do what nor who has an agreement with who ...

Why does a (up to a week ago) happy customer have to endure complicated and lengthy processes, explanations and delays to get a routine support task completed?

I have a couple more days of patience left I think, then I guess I'm going to have to postpone my monitor speaker purchase and put that budget towards a competitor's product.

... a product that doesn't require you to interface with their Canadian distributor!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Seriously Appropriate Blog Title

Just pulled up my news reader this morning and saw a post by my pal and co-host on Inside Home Recording entitled:


I've known Derek for almost 2 years and listened to him on IHR for more than a year before I was invited to be a host on the show. He's got to be one of the most positive and clear-thinking people I know. The fact that he has some pretty severe cancer - you'd hardly know it to talk to him - makes everything about the world seem totally out of whack.

He's an avid blogger (at penmachine.com) and has been interviewed by the CBC TV and CBC Radio for his efforts to document his life online and preserve that record for future generations.

This is all so infuriating as I'm beginning to think that this is an extremely bad and poor taste re-run. A close friend of my family - someone for whom I had the utmost respect while growing up - passed away after his fight with cancer a while back. He had such a magnetic, happy personality about him. There was always a twinkle in his eye and you would never leave his presence without a laugh and a smile. It was a very, very sad day for me when I learned that he wasn't with us anymore.

Why does this disease always seem to affect those who make positive impacts on lives? Not that I'd wish to inflict pain on anyone at all, but when it comes down to "emotional analysis" ... it all seems so unfair!

Derek has been fighting this for a long time, with some successes and some drawbacks as well. I wish there was something I could do to erase his burden or at least shoulder a bit of it. He's been going through many different treatments and operations that have thrown his body out of whack. I can't even begin to imagine what he, and his family are going through

What I do know is that he's still got a positive attitude while fighting this damned disease with everything he's got.

If I were a bettin' man, I'd be all in on Derek.