Four decades later, these two bottles of hopefully-still-alive wine are not long for this world. To help cling to relative youth, I’m going to photograph this evening’s events with a 46 year old Leica. So it might be a few days until I have photos developed and scanned. But in just a few hours, we indulge!
My two juiciest documentary projects (including the one I false-started a few months ago) can’t swing into production until late summer. Meanwhile I’ve met some cool folks who are just getting off the ground doing docs on interesting local angles. Hopefully I’m going to join up with them, probably starting as the audio guy since I have more experience with mics and recording than the rest of the crew. Boom Operator is not my dream role, but getting off my ass and into doc production will be great in and of itself. And if these people are really cool to work with, who knows, a production company might materialize. Have to insert a plug for the Northwest Film Forum for providing the classes that are helping me jumpstart progress on this long-held goal. Last month’s Videography workshop with Erik Vilinskas kicked ass.
All of the sudden, I’m hanging a show at a friend’s bar next Monday. I have seven days to throw together my very first photography show. Holy wow.
My first sixteen-track recording went off successfully last night. The Mac Mini handled it gracefully with Logic Pro recording to a firewire hard drive. The closest thing to a problem was that, when stopping the takes between songs and then starting again, there was sometimes a five to ten second lag before the tracking resumed. I was doing a “pretend I’m not here” recording of a band rehearsal, and if they started up a new tune too suddenly, I’d lose the first few bars. In a real session I’d cue them or just keep rolling the whole time, so it’s not a major concern, but definitely a lesson learned.
I was amazed at how wildly the channel volumes veered and how fundamentally different the rough mixes needed to be to make each song sound okay during playback. It gave me a newfound respect for people who do live sound and manage to make a cohesive good sound for any band with a dynamic range.
My housemate is the after-hours jam session type of musician. That’s normally just fun, but it’s also a stroke of good luck for me because it’s resulted in her band’s rapid growth, which helps me to test the limits of my recording setup. I just upgraded from 8 to 24 mic inputs over the last couple weeks. Laziness drove me to go with 24 instead of 16; I wanted to have all the inputs from the 16-channel studio snake permanently attached and routed into Logic while leaving the other 8 set up and routed for my own solo recording. Less plugging and unplugging and resetting levels and rerouting through the mixer and so forth. But it looks like 24 was the right call anyway. Tonight I’m doing a test session on her band’s rehearsal and even with a bandmate missing, it’ll take 16 channels: 8 drum mics, 4 instruments, 3 singers, and a room mic. Since I’m new to Logic, I’ll be a little on edge about the Mac Mini handling that many simultaneous tracks and it all sounding okay for playback to the band afterward, but that’s why I’m practicing on their practices for a while. Go Mini go!
After six years living in a house with a big, bright studio built into it, I am finally putting all the pieces in place to open it up for friends and talented strangers. The pieces are: at least 16 tracks of audio recording capability, basic studio lighting knowledge, a non-embarrassing bathroom easily accessible from the space, and the removal of the clutter and pure junk that occupied the room for five years. Decluttering done, remodel scheduled, studio lights on the wishlist, and list of musicians being compiled. It’s going to be so strange to have fully realized the possibilities of the space, I can’t wait. Can you say “all of a sudden” when it took five or six years to deliver on a grand plan? Guess not, but it seems like this summer it will all come together all at once.
Having a bit of analysis paralysis writing my first solo album. I can’t force songwriting and I’m too afraid of failing to really get started, even after participating in NaSoAlMo four times. So I’m going to adopt this habit: every Monday evening I’ll record something. It doesn’t have to be anything new or finished, it can just be a ten second snippet fleshed out into a thirty second song idea. Or even a simple transfer of an idea from my phone to my computer. But it has to be something, every week. I’m expecting that good ideas will flow only once I’m inside the project, and realizing that I don’t have to dive to get in.
This year I’m planning to rewrite Major White from the ground up, including for-pay options (with more dynamic designs in JS and/or Flash) in addition to free accounts. Since I’ll be charging people cash money, I don’t want to be flailing around in the codebase like, um…a bull in a Ruby shop? I want to be careful and very deliberate with the code design. I’ve been researching Test-Driven and Story-Driven Development principles lately and I especially like the ideas behind SDD. Stories have made TDD really resonate with me in ways it hasn’t before, but I have to build out a site with them before I consider myself committed. “Major White Pro” will be that site.
Well, instead of founding a collective, I think I found one in the form of Ballard Woodworks. It’s a big shop space where a few professionals and several non-professionals do their work, and where they also offer classes. I just took the Japanese Tansu workshop and thought it was a really excellent primer to get back into the hobby.
It’s not a tightly run joint so I wouldn’t call it a co-op or collective. And I don’t want to suggest that it’s “open for membership” because I don’t think it runs that way. But from what I gather, if you put in the time to get to know folks, you build up trust and have access to more machines, then eventually work out a deal with the management for the kind of shop use you need. So, that’s my plan.
Wow, it’s over, and double-wow, I made it. To summarize: I lost eight pounds and discovered that even if you eat plants all the friggin’ time, they’re still good.
Health month continues to be somewhat less challenging than I thought. But there’s a weird cost/benefit thing happening where the “cost” is less than I’d imagined, but so is the benefit. I’m not sick of the healthy foods I’ve been eating, which is great. And I’m not having intense cravings for unhealthy stuff, even booze. That’s great too.
But…I honestly thought a drastic change in lifestyle and diet would do more. I’ve experienced no noticable increase in energy or productivity, no lasting uptick in mood. I have lost four pounds, but considering the increase in exercise and decrease in calorie intake, I honestly expected more than that by now. I mean, at least FIVE.
Having said all that, we’re half-way through now and I think the residual effect of better food habits and more exercise will last for quite some time, if not for good.
First session ever tomorrow afternoon. I’m terrified that I’ll be exposed as an East Coast atheistic non-stretchy person. But I’m going anyway.
So far it hasn’t been difficult at all. I’m a meat and potatoes guy, but also a part-time foodie, so eating a steady stream of fruit and veggies and other good stuff has been like a culinary adventure. Like I’m on vacation from my regular diet. I haven’t experienced caffeine withdrawal headaches like a lot of people do, or fallen asleep at my desk. I expected cravings for coffee at the very least, but haven’t had any. So, no worries. But it’s only the fourth day. I’m pretty sure it’s going to get tough during this entirely-sober weekend and then during the second or third week, when I’m sick of eating the same damn healthy things all the time. In case that happens, I wanted to document that HM at least started out on a high note. There, it is documented.
It starts with Health Month and ends with skiing again next winter. Which is to say, I’ve skied only once in the last six or seven years, it was Christmas 2007. By the first run I’d badly sprained my lower back and by a week later it had morphed into sciatica which kept me from walking normally for over a month. Which is to say, I is a decrepit old bastard. Took me another year of sloth before I decided to start, but now I’m starting. The path leads through learning yoga, losing weight, hiking and biking a lot this summer, and eating better. What I like about this plan is that I’m not trying to give anything up (except during health month), but rather to resume activities the less lazy me loves. What I also like about this plan is there are all sorts of iPhone health and diet apps to help make progress tracking easy and fun. Thank you, nerds of Apple. Nerds are awesome, even if they can’t ski to save their lives.
December’s loan went to a Nicaraguan family hoping to buy basic building materials in order to add a room onto their home. This month’s is my twelfth loan, meaning I’ve completed the goal. But I’m recycling cash with paid-off loans now, and the value of individual international microloans for the truly needy is all the more relevant now. So I’m going to keep doing this under a differently phrased goal.
This life goal got completed in the best possible way, through almost no work on my part. My housemate booked the show and all I had to do was help wrap the concert in a party. She even made the stage look all vaudeville for the evening. As expected, despite the freely flowing booze, the audience was silent and attentive during the songs and loud and appreciative between them. The way a concert ought to be. Hopefully we’ll be hosting plenty more.
I finally landed on an idea, and I’m going to start shooting next week. That is, as long as I can get my hands on a camera and learn how to operate it by then.
Anyway, I removed the subject description posted here because I’d rather keep the idea to myself until the project is further along. But it’s a specific angle on live music in Seattle. Sort of a counterpoint to Hype. I’m excited. And nervous.
November’s loan goes to a Nicaraguan rice grower who’d like to join a cooperative of farmers planning to share ownership and maintenance of a threshing machine.
This month’s loan goes to a Cambodian father of three who for years has taken a taxi 20 km to work in a Phnom Penh hotel, and would like to get a motorcycle for the commute instead.
September’s (overdue) loan goes to a noodle restaurant owner in Cambodia whose house is in need of repairs. At this point I’m safely into the mode of recycling repaid money back into the system. You know, just like a bank if banks didn’t gamble. I’ve also joined the newly created 43Things team so future loans will get tallied into that area on Kiva, safely away from the cheer goblin.