My Sweetie

I found this picture of my sweet one. It’s one of my favorites.IMG_0913

She is a wonder.

Surfacing

Every once in a while it’s probably good to come up for air. I’ve been underwater, swimming with my friends, and spending less time in my own territory. I am a secret. Really most all of us are secrets we tell to ourselves when we think we are alone. If I am left too long by myself, I get more than a little weird. It becomes harder to interact with the occasional human, to the point of embarrassment. Tongue tied brain cells tripping over each other.

Malleable Memory

I finally got a power cord for the KX88. And I hooked it up to the old Proteus.

I had avoided playing on it because I didn’t want to torture myself. There is something grossly unsatisfying about playing a silent keyboard. So with everything hooked up I started plunking, but there was no sound. Which I’m going to call a good thing. Why? Because I learned something about myself. I remember magically. I improve on reality more the further I am away from it.

Without sound, the KX88 keys felt heavy and mushy. Like those on the Akai MPK88, a keyboard which I had rejected when I had first played it. After correcting the Midi channel communication the sound came out beautifully and the keys suddenly felt more responsive. This was a bit of a shock and a joke on me. I have been longing for the return of my KX88, and now I find that my hands may have moved on. I played on a Roland RD-700NX and it felt like a piano, with a very similar resistance and response; reminiscent of a dry Steinway, like one in a practice hall where humidity and temperature are controlled. The Roland action was lustworthy, but I’m not sure if I would find it  a fuller experience or if Yamaha has somehow balanced the essential synergy between tactile feedback and sound response. And, I’ve decided not to worry about it.

The KX88 takes a heavier hand and will help me develop strength and technique that will hopefully translate the a quicker, lighter board in the future. Next I’m going to try out the Kurzweil 2500/2600/PC3K8 series and the Korg KronosX.

Candy, Candy.

A List

I rebuilt an old Macbook. SSD,  maxed Ram, and gave it away.

Installed Minecraft. Thanks Notch.

Modded out my Fernandes Strat. Red on Red on Red. New duds make it look good. Shiny

Felled, cut, split and transported pick-up loads of firewood. Cozy.

Got my re-UP from Jawbone. Ordered in December.

Finally got the power cord for the KX88.

Started experimenting with Open-G tuning on my acoustic.

Received a Martin backpacker guitar from a friend. Sweet. Curiously balanced.

Got some work done; un pocito.

Coy Karma Whore

Today I shared a song with Reddit, that was written for Reddit, and gleamed (for the most part) from Reddit. At times during the process of writing and recording the song I felt alternately brilliant/incompetent. Once it was recorded I tinkered with it endlessly to hide its inadequacies and elevate its finer points, until it all blended into something that I love on Tuesday and wish to hide by Thursday. Fuck that shit. I put it up anyway.

Being me I envisioned various video options, and being me there was no money, no time. So this morning when I woke up there was no video. Strictly speaking there still is no video, but I did manage to photoshop a “Psycho”esque image and roll the lyrics over the scene.

So today I put together a “video” to go on YouTube. Started a YouTube account/channel, uploaded the video/song. Posted on Reddit, tweeted the post, went and had Valentine’s dinner with my mom, and now I’m telling you about it. Since it’s already been over nine hours, and as you can see I am not yet a household celebrity – known to all but a few luddite aboriginal folk in the deep far away, I have failed in my quest to gain support in an unreasonable time frame.

What did I do wrong? Nothing. This has been a great experiment, and just because I let my delusions drive the expectation buggy, that doesn’t reduce the value. The light that shines through the cracks tells you where to pay attention. And as Reddit says, you get your answer while the coin is in the air, not when it comes up heads or tails.

There is a cognitive dissonance that arises in seeking your communities support while exploring strategies for exploiting its perceived openness. Today I learned, we can trust the communities we call our own, and we can’t own the communities we trust. This is more fun than it seems.

Oh, here’s a link to the song. It’s NSFW.

Ubuhutu

Spent another few days trying to get Ubuntu fully functional on a Chromebook. The Chromebook is sleek and cool, not quite the spare austerity of a Mac, but not as pretentious either. The Ubuntu installation was frustrating and byzantine; full of Developer Modes and arcane key clusters. By my third time through the install process I was starting to remember “sudo … 34v87 /dev/mmcblk1”. But did it work? Yes, if you didn’t care about sound, or a stable implementation of Java; first 7 then 6, but still with the error messages, and third party disclaimers on bug reports.

At the end of the second day I threw in the towel. I learned a lot, but mostly that the idea of Ubuntu on Chromebook is in its infancy, and not likely to mature anytime soon, if ever.

Why not just use Chrome on the Chromebook? Well, mainly because it’s invasive, and takes the concept of vertical integration another step deeper into the lives of the users. This is of course Google’s holy grail. To move the population into, if not forced trust, at least subservient acquiesence, born of the necessities inherent in the new communication forms. Relevance requires Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Gmail, etc. Ubuntu was to be a layer between me and the data mining industry.

Let me take a breath and tighten down my tinfoil hat.

In order to use Chrome the user apparently has to register a membership (free) with Google. And this membership gives the user access to a suite of integrated communications options; each connected to, and enmeshed with the others. But that’s a good thing, right?

That’s a great thing as long as you are aware of the price you are paying for all this “free”, and are willing to pay it. Your personal data paints a pretty clear picture of who you are and what you are likely to do. And that might be okay too, except that there is a reinforcing pattern of information filtering that is quietly closing down options for the user. You should know that this is a feature. It’s meant to remove the clutter and move you toward the information you really want, not those distractive undirected shards of information but rather the clear well worn neural pathways that lead to comforting consumption.

In the end I found the Chromebook experience shallow. It’s an appliance meant to connect one to the infrastructure of narcissistic self reference. I still hold out hope that I will be able to create rather than talk about what I would create if I weren’t just talking about it.

It was a fascinating roller-coaster ride of successes and failures, and I did learn things I might not have learned if I hadn’t made the effort. Thank you Chromebook and good-bye.

Past Lives

Every once in a while I find a box or some sort of container holding evidence of a former life. Was I ever that small? Was I ever that big? Did I sing that? Did I write that? Was I in Love with her? Was she in Love with me? I used to like those colors. Will this harmonica still work? Hmm, look as these pictures, we were limber.

I find projects that I have forgotten, but not given up on. I drag them through my life like Marley’s chains. I pack them away like memory landmines; I hear them rattle and clank.

Today I found a box of clothes. I’ve missed them. I promised them that I would visit them, and maybe one day wear them, but today was not the day. I wasn’t supposed to be looking in boxes anyway.

KX88

Today I took delivery of my (new to me) midi keyboard controller.

KX88

I had one before, but lost it in a fire. This one is so clean and unblemished, like it just came off the showroom floor. Of course there’s dust in the crevices, but the keys are aligned, the button membrane is free of gouges, and I can’t test it out because it came with the wrong power cord.

This last detail would detract from my day, except that I just found my favorite midi controller, that I have been searching for since the day I lost my other one, and it’s in my studio awaiting sonic adventure.

More later…

Dubba Kick

There I was lying in bed. It was late and I was only just able to talk myself into going to bed. Right then, an idea occurred to me. What if I could re-voice the hi-hat pedal to become a second kick drum pedal on the SD9K. Then I triumphantly went to sleep.

Years ago I would have gotten up as soon as the idea struck me and started testing the hypothesis, but some quiet wisdom (exhaustion) counselled me to get my sleep. Impulse drive disengaged.

This morning I got up and started pushing buttons on the SD9K controller box. I chose a User Kit to edit. Called up the edit function, set my kick to ‘maple 24’. Called up the hi-hat pedal and edited it to trigger the ‘maple 24’. And Boom, or perhaps I should say Boom Boom.

Boom Boom, Boom BaDoom, Boom BaDoom BaDoom, Boom BaDoom BaDoom BaDoom, BaDoom Dooma Dooma Doom, Doom Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma Dooma…

Guess I got carried away. But it worked. And the hi-hat pedal still closes the hi-hat, so with a bit of finess I don’t have to change patches to play an open/closed hi-hat pattern. I just use a calmer foot to do it, because my big foot goes Boom.