Monday, April 28, 2008

Week Three...

It's 6:00 in the morning and I've been up for one and a half hours already... another early start to the week with Catherine leaving at 5:30 to catch the early morning flight to Vancouver...

Start of week three with me and the kids!

Going to Try out a New Approach

After listening to the Fountains of Wayne last evening, I got this "Ah-HA" moment. I'd posted previously about my aversion to writing lyrics a couple weeks ago. I've been labouring over writing lyrics to music I've been playing around with in my head. Things haven't been flowing very well - writing about these "lofty" kinds of things.

The guys in FOW are phenomenal songwriters - catchy tunes, great hooks, lyrics... - songs that I enjoy to listen to. I started listening to the lyrics (since that's been one thing I have been trying to actively do these days) and found them to not necessarily be these heavy-handed things in terms of subject matter. I mean, there are songs about a relationship being likened to "Traffic and Weather" another one about a Subaru car... pretty quirky, funny things.

I then started to think, well, why do I have to try and do something heavy handed? I don't necessarily have any expertise in that, plus, I'm not enjoying writing about that, so why not something that's close to my life? Quirky, funny... something I actually know about? Duh...

Now, to cull down the subject matter... :)

Online Presence

I'm listening to an interview of Derek K. Miller - the co-host of the podcast I've been part of "Inside Home Recording". He's talking with Nora Young on CBC's "Spark" program. They're talking about Derek's digital legacy.

He has been undergoing treatment for cancer and is facing the possibility of his life being cut short by the disease. He's been a self-described "geek" for a long time and has been blogging since the start of the century.

What I found quite revealing in the interview was the concept of what he and Nora were terming as his "digital legacy" - what happens to all the stuff that he did online when he's not around anymore. People concentrate on a lot of different things in writing their wills - mostly on material and monetary items, but what happens in this day and age to their lives they've lead in the digital realm?

Unlike "reality", a lot of what you do online can be kept and maintained ... if you keep up with it. It makes for a very interesting "what if" scenario. What if your ancestors had access to the technology we had these days and you could go through their online records, peruse their blogs, look at their IM chats, find other records about them? I'd think it'd be quite interesting. I never knew two of my grandparents, I just have odd tidbits my parents told me of them - beyond that level of my family tree, there are a few photos and official records that my dad has collected in his genealogy research, but that's it.

I don't really know what they were like as people. What'd they think of? What was their life like?

Besides using this as a communication tool and jotting down my (seemingly) random thoughts, I'd like to think that sometime in the future, someone may find it interesting or helpful to read through and get a bit of an insight into who I was, what I was thinking, what made me "tick".

I truly doubt it'll be some best selling memoir or what have you, but I'm thinking one of my future relatives may look at the branch/limb on the family tree with my name and wonder - who was that? ... and then be able to find out with a quick search.

Things that make you go hmmm...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Two Down ... Eight to Go

I'm at the end of the second week as Mr. Mom.

I just responded to a friend about how it's going. I told her that it's not going too badly at all...

Refereeing three kids by myself isn't really too much of a stretch to tell you the truth as with me working at home, I've been doing a lot of the daily herding duties. It's just takes a little longer than when Catherine's around.

We chatted a bit about that last weekend - we concluded that the kids really see us, in terms of parental unit functions, as interchangeable, so having me do it all by myself isn't that much of a stretch for them...

Now, I think I'll fix myself a Mojito now that the kids are finished dinner and happily playing together.

Bad Influence?

I dunno if I should be concerned about this, but it seems as though our middle child is quite smitten by songs with ... questionable subject matter.

I have a fairly large music collection (over 60 Gb on my hard disks so far) and music is pretty well ALWAYS playing when I'm home. I also have Guitar Hero and Rockband for the PS2 my brother-in-law "donated" to us ... he didn't expect us to actually buy new games for it. Silly...

So, I've noticed that Alex seems to really like songs like: "Rock and Roll All Nite" (from Guitar Hero III), "Bang Your Head", "Balls to the Wall" (from Rockband) and now, "Stacy's Mom" (a song about a pubescent boy lusting after a classmates' mom) by Fountains of Wayne which I was playing this evening...
Stacy's Mom Lyrics - by Fountains of Wayne

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on

Stacy, can I come over after school? (after school)
We can hang around by the pool (hang by the pool)
Did your mom get back from her business trip? (business trip)
Is she there, or is she trying to give me the slip? (give me the slip)

You know, I'm not the little boy that I used to be
I'm all grown up now, baby can't you see

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want and I've waited for so long
Stacy, can't you see you're just not the girl for me
I know it might be wrong but I'm in love with Stacy's mom

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on

Stacy, do you remember when I mowed your lawn? (mowed your lawn)
Your mom came out with just a towel on (towel on)
I could tell she liked me from the way she stared (the way she stared)
And the way she said, "You missed a spot over there" (a spot over there)

And I know that you think it's just a fantasy
But since your dad walked out, your mom could use a guy like me

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want, and I've waited so long
Stacy, can't you see you're just not the girl for me
I know it might be wrong,
but I'm in love with Stacy's mom

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want and I've waited for so long,
Stacy can't you see your just not the girl for me,
I know it might be wrong but oh oh
(I know it might be wrong)
I'm in love with (Stacy's mom oh oh)
(Stacys mom oh oh)
I'm in love with Stacy's mom
There are other songs he likes, but he seems to gravitate to these ones - it seems to be for the actual music and grooves rather than the lyrics, but I'm wondering when he's actually going to connect the lyrics and their meaning together.

I'll just have to wait and cross that bridge when we come to it. ;)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What do Jedi's Eat for Breakfast?

Catherine bought the kids toy lightsabers. I went and picked them up from the Purolator depot yesterday and surprised the little dudes and dudette when they got home...

They've been THE ONLY thing they'll play with since last night - had to be a bit firm with Alex as we wanted to sleep with his last night - it was definitely a little closer to his bed this morning. ;)

Sammie has a purple lightsaber - Alex is calling her Mace Windu - he's such a Star Wars geek a little dude after my own heart! She's been designated as the Padawan (Jedi in training) by Alex and Chris.

Apparently, Jedi's like to eat the same thing that my kids like to eat for breakfast - Fruity Cheerios. There, mystery solved....

I'm still the breakfast garbarator finishing anything that doesn't get done by the young "masters".

New Tunes

Just downloaded a new album by the "
Flight of the Conchords". They're a parody band from New Zealand - sort of a cross between They Might Be Giants and Ugly Duckling. Very cool and funny stuff - they cover a lot of different styles and genres and man, their lyrics are a hoot!!!

A Kiss is Not a Contract - Flight of the Conchords

A kiss is not a contract
but it's very nice
yes it's very nice

Just because you've been exploring my mouth
Doesn't mean you get to take an expedition to the south

A kiss is not a contract
but it's very nice
yes it's very very nice

Just because we've been playing tonsil hockey
Doesn't mean you get to score the goal in my jockeys
Just because I'm in an acoustic folk band,
It doesn't mean I only want poon-tang
I can't go around loving everyone
I just wouldn't get anything done
Oh because...

I'm only one man
We're only two men, Ladies
Baby, oh pretty babies

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Technology Sometimes REALLY SUCKS!

I gotta go and get my eldest for lunch in about 10 minutes.

And, I'm in the middle of technology hell. I'm recovering files from my dead drive - most of them are coming through... I'm getting a replacement drive coming in the mail pretty soon, which is some comfort, but I still have a bunch o' stuff that's not coming off the old one. It's taken over 16 hours to try and go through the 4Gb I'm trying to eek out...

I'm going to go out after lunch and get yet another drive - I'm thinking I'll do the RAID thing with my data drives.

Grrrr... is all I can say. This is NOT conducive to all the cool creative things I was hoping to do this week...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

To Pirate or not to Pirate...

Last week, I posted on my Facebook status that I "was right pissed that my iPod disk had crashed". I found later that it wasn't dead as I was able to update it using Catherine's iBook. I concluded that there was something fishy with the front USB port on my Mac Pro as the data was coming from the same place (a disk on the Mac Pro).

Everything's hunky-dorry...

Fast forward to yesterday morning. Fire up the machine
and I'm face-to-face with the gray Apple Logo on my screen for minutes on end. hmmmm....

not good.

Finally, the machine wakes up and my familiar desktop appears MINUS the "Music" drive (which is a partition on one of the 500Gb drives I put in the box).

not good.

I boot up Disk Utility, find the partition in the list and click on the trusty "Repair Disk" button. chug-a-chug-chug.

d errors ...

Fixing errors ...

Your drive is good to go now!

Great! I open up iTunes and try out some of the tracks. Looks good... whoops, one doesn't play, then another, one more plays, oops, another one doesn't...

not good.

Fast forward through more trouble-shooting through the morning and afternoon trying to rebuild and transfer files to a "safe" location. I'm not entirely panicking as I have been exercising safe disk practices using protection and backups ... well most of the time.

That's what led me to downloading a demo version of a
data recovery tool on the 'net. "How awesome!" I think. I can try this out and see if it can salvage the disk. If this actually works, I'll buy it, 'cause I know with all the hard drives I have, it's bound to happen again.

Well, it was a bit too much to expect - the demo version of the product WAS actually crippled and didn't let me do everything I wanted to see it do ... unless I forked out a pile o' cash ... which is non-refundable of course.

Now, here's the dilemma - what to do? I don't want to shell out some clams for the chance that this product might work the way it says it will. I have MOST of the data on a backup, but I'd like to at least try and get it all.

Well, as it turns out a simple search on Google containing the product name and "serial" comes up with a bunch o' hits to sites that publish serial numbers to software.

Wow! Should I? I DO intend to purchase the product if it actually works, but I can't really see if it works to my satisfaction unless I "crack" it which technically isn't ... playing by the rules.

Well, if I use the serial and it works, I'll definitely buy it, and then the company gets my money. If it doesn't work, well, I don't have a piece of software that has been put into the "Write-off" expense category.

So, I guess I'll let you know whether or not I bought a new software product or not later...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Man I SUCK at Lyrics

I've lately been getting the urge to write songs again.

I go through these cycles when I'm in between projects.
  • Do I do some major maintenance on my systems?
  • Do I do some more acoustic treatment in the studio?
  • Do I learn how to use that new app I bought?
  • Do I play a video game?
A lot of the time, I still want to write music. I guess that's a good thing since that's ... what I like to tell people I do. :)

I've got a lot of ideas floating around - a lot of aspirations to tackle different things (write that symphony), try my hand at X genre of music...

The past week, I've been toying around with what's turning out to be a couple of songs that I'm simmering on the front burner.

AND, I'm trying to get them to be precisely 2:42 - found a link to this blog on IHR leading to a guy arguing that 2 minutes and 42 seconds is the perfect length for a pop song... {ahem}
So far, it's going great, at least that's what I keep saying. What I'm really doing is trying to put off the inevitable - writing lyrics.

I absolutely think that I suck at writing words to music. Mainly, I find it tedious and simply not enjoyable. That just is a death spiral for anything positive.

First off, I hardly listen to lyrics in songs - couldn't really give a hoot what the lyricist was writing about. Maybe on the 10th, 20th or xth listen, I'll try to catch a few phrases of what's being "said" and that'll be about it.

I get going with the arrangement, the harmonies, the instrumentation, the production, the melody ... all that stuff. I find that I like to pay attention to everything BUT the lyrics. And that's where I think part of my problem lies. I have no inspiration or drive to write words to music...

I started a couple of pages for one of the songs I'm crafting - it's got sort of a Coldplay vibe to it. I've been listening to the last three albums from the band and I'm REALLY trying to pay attention to what Chris Martin is singing about and see if I can some how absorb some sort of pattern and method to his lyrics, but, on the page, they seem just ... well, lame.

We'll see if the writing muse strikes next week...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Me and the Kidz

Well, here I am - all alone with the kids still asleep upstairs.

Catherine left almost an hour ago (it's 6:21 according to the Rogers Cable box...). Thought I'd get up and make she and I a cup o' coffee before the cab arrived this morning. I just emailed her - she's at the airport already.

I should be hearing little footfalls upstairs sometime soon - watch this be the one day that they all decide to want to sleep in...


Can't believe it - we didn't even go to market. Claire-Anne, the agent we went with, came into our place a week ago, was about to do the whole staging thing and all, then suggested she bring in some buyers she'd been dealing with before she listed. They were here on Monday, and worked to get their financing in order all week. Friday, they presented us with a super clean offer (no inspection even!) and we signed it then...

{whoosh of a tornado and then silence...}

Now, I've gotta coordinate movers and what else? Oh yeah, Catherine's gotta find a place in Vancouver. Details, shmetails...

Work Schtuff...

Well, this week, it's going to be a review of Reaper - suggested by a listener on the IHR forum. I've heard a lot about this app, but never really looked at it since it didn't support video, but this should be pretty fun to do - it's small (3.2 Mb), and launches damn quick!

My friend Reek Havok, emailed me yesterday asking for a couple of tracks for he and Alan White of Yes to use in a demo at a drum/percussion conference at the end of the month. They're going to be using sections of "Perpetual Change" off of the "Yes Album" to demonstrate something to do with odd time signatures (15/8 going to 7/4) and need to have the instrumental tracks covered so that they can trigger them from samplers. At least that's what he told me.

Billy Sherwood is apparently going to be emailing me some of the tracks he's done, but Reek asked me to just start recording what I can get from the original recordings ... just in case. ;)

Other than that, it's continuing on the song I started last week - turning into some stadium anthem - if I can just write lyrics that don't suck, then it'd be killer! :O

More later...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Last Few Days of "Normality"...

Lots 'n lots o' changes are coming down the pipe...

Of course, it all is on account of the fact that we're moving to Vancouver. Catherine's last day of work is today, and she's got four days to go until she's out west, then it's me and the kids for the weekdays!

I'm not thinking it's going to be too much of a hassle - barring that we get the house sold today. If not, I'm NOT looking forward to having to deal with having to get the place staged, and then open for folks to look at on the open market... (sigh). Our agent seems to be top notch, but has a reputation of being ... demanding of her clients. ;)

Anyway, besides that, it'll be odd to have to be without Catherine during the week. I'm thinking of getting her a webcam so that we can do the iChat thing during the week. The weird thing is that I can't seem to find many third party ones that will work with Macs. Odd, I'd have thought they'd be pretty ubiquitous.

Now, to prepare for two 8-year-olds to come home for lunch and actually eat instead of hovering over their DS's.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Recording Audio Interfaces

Well, just finished a draft of my next segment for IHR.

This one's on selecting audio interfaces. Man, I knew it was a pretty big topic, but geeze, didn't realize how big. I've been researching and composing the copy for two days now.

It's getting uploaded to Paul's iDisk folder right now - dunno if it's going to be too big or what.

Also got a lead for a kids show being produced in Vancouver. I googled the name of the show and got the site of one of the guys who works on the show. He has a personal site and a blog, so I emailed him and he got back to me in a few minutes with the name of the director. Gonna call him in a few minutes to see if I get anywhere!