Thursday, February 28, 2013

"MuFoOFu" is Coming Right Along

There are many chords and changes in this one and it's taking a little bit to decide which parts I want to loop and which parts play straight through.  The biggest problem and also one of the biggest reasons for using the looper is that playing chords is quite a good reminder that breaking your thumb is a really stupid thing to do!

Would that this were a spectacular ski story but it isn't.  There was a Union general in the American Civil War who said to one of his soldiers, "Son, they couldn't hit a barn at this distance," and the next shot that came in shot him dead, right off his horse.

So, when you think you're safe cruising up to the ski lift, you ain't.  I tripped on something and took a fall.  That happens all the time in skiing but I put my hand out to stop myself and, pop, my thumb broke.  I didn't know it was broken, I just knew it hurt and said to Lotho, hey, I think something might be messed up here.  He said, dude, stop being such a pussy so we kept on skiing.  Sure as hell, it was busted (laughs).

The doctor remarked when he set it up that he would have pinned it if I were a concert pianist.  That line has brought a smile many times as I know I'm no Van Cliburn but a guitarist pushes one hell of a lot harder on the back of the neck of the guitar than a pianist ever hits the keys!  If I play chords for very long then you'll hear whining that will make you want to take me out and shoot me like a dog (laughs).

(Ed:  you're whining right now!)

Yah, I know.  Roll with it (laughs).  I thought it was worth it for the story as it amuses me that the most dumb-ass things can end up haunting you for decades!

Silas Scarborough - Live Poetic Reading on Saturday Night

It just dawned on me that suddenly March 2nd is quite close, Saturday night, in fact.  In the U.S. it will be early afternoon but that's the magic of world time zones.  Here it will be close to midnight!

Whether this is poetic or narcissistic claptrap remains to be heard but I will give it a good shot on delivering this stuff and I will certainly make it as 'live' as I can.  I have no intention of simply reading my poems as that ain't live.  It's remotely possible to do something musical but the object is to remove any musical 'disguise' and feature the poetry, such as it is, but it still might be fun to try that.  Julie has suggested that but I believe she may be thinking the audio quality would be rather better than the actuality.  Since this is using Second Life Voice rather than a dedicated audio stream, any music would be threadbare at best.

So, Saturday is on!

Second Life London Jam 2013

Musicians from Second Life have been gathering in multiple places in the world for jams and real world performances which are also simulcast into Second Life.  Such an event has been staged previously in London and another one is scheduled for June 14-16, 2013.  A number of performers have already indicated they are interested in attending but I won't list a roster at this time as the list will almost certainly change, at a minimum it will grow, between now and the time of the London Jam.

My immediate interest in the London Jam is because Michi Renoir has said he would like to play there and I'm interested in jamming with him.  The event is two and a half months from now so it might even be feasible to do it.  I need to get to the UK in any case and this is yet another good reason for it.  In case you missed it, here is a link to an article I wrote some days ago on Michi Renoir's most recent performance at Cool Cat's Art MusikCircus:  Utter Musical Magic at Cat's Art MusikCircus Last Night.

Eva Moon will be there also and that's quite an effort for her as she lives in Seattle, WA.  That's not quite as long a haul as the flight from Texas to Greece (it went through London) but it's still quite a long time in the air,  I suspect about ten hours solid.

Sonya Jevette has been talking about going to the UK and possibly this would be a place to meet her as well.

There is a Facebook group specific to the jam and this link will take you there:  London Jam 2013.

I have some thinking that perhaps there is the possibility to fund such a jaunt through Kickstarter.  It's probably not realistic as why should anyone support me gadding about Europe shooting videos, etc, when I do that for free anyway (laughs).

It wouldn't be my interest to buy cameras and whatnot, much as I would dearly love to use gear like I used previously but there isn't room on the scooter to carry anything else and doing it on a scooter is part of the adventure.  Doing it in an SUV or some such wouldn't be sexy at all. There's some cat in Sweden (Sven Yrvind) who plans to sail a six-meter boat around the world ... by himself!  That's rather more bold than my objective but it's the same kind of thing.

So, we shall see!

Bilder mit Berge und Meer in Griechenland (pictures)

Diese sind Bergen vielleicht drei Stunden von hier in Katakolo, Greece.  Ich weiss nicht wie viele Höhenmeter aber viele Schnee und gute Ski.

Und näher.  Sehr schön!

Heute, sehen wir eine schöne blau im Wasser!

Und hier sind einige nette Welpen!

What's Hot on the Podcast

Here's the report for what people played from the Ride the Dragon podcast for February:

Top 10 of 85 Total URLs By KBytes
(All of the links in the table are live)

The first column shows the sequence of the songs sorted by the number of bytes downloaded.  This doesn't tell you what's hot as a song that isn't played much but is big will sort higher than one played a lot but is short.  The second column shows how many times they were played and I'm most pleased to see "I Love Rats (2013)" doing just fine!  All of the ones with twenty or more hits were personal favorites already but the "Celebration of Circe Broom" is also, I just uploaded it a long time ago.

All a Kid Needs is ... Not Much of Anything

Here's a kid, Richard Turere, who was tending his family's cattle when he was nine years old.  He hated lions because they would take some of his family's animals during the night and he couldn't stop them.  By age 13 he had devised a system that would scare off the lions and his family hasn't lost a single head of cattle since.  There are now seventy-five other families using his system to keep the lions away and he has been invited to speak at the TED 2013 conference in California.  (CNN:  Boy scares off lions with a flashy invention)

Oh yeah, so how did he do it.  He had almost nothing as he's a member of a Maasai tribe out in the middle of nowhere.  He connected some LEDs on some poles to an old car battery and a solar panel.  The LEDs flicker and this gives the impression of someone walking with a light and this scares off the lions.

It's amazing what a kid can do when he's not frittering away his time on video games, cellphones, or any of the other mindrotting gimcrackery of the developed nations.  Kids are supposed to get bored.  This is what makes them think!  All they need is a chance!

Marian Anderson Sings at the Lincoln Memorial

I knew this one would make me cry before I ever started the video.  Marian Anderson is one of the most famous American singers ever and she was to play at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C, in 1939 but she was barred because she is black and the kicker is who barred her:  the Daughters of the American Revolution.

So long as people believe The Holocaust could only happen in Germany then I absolutely believe it is still possible for another one to happen anywhere.  It shouldn't be harder to make people love than it is to make them hate but we know it is just that way.  All that means is we have to work harder.  I do my bit in what I write and I ask you to do the same in your own way.

That Marian Anderson could sing of her country and obviously with love is an extraordinary measure of the character of a great lady who had been mistreated all her life and yet she sang "My Country, Tis of Thee."  And just look at her smile at the end of it!

She would not be stopped.  In 1955, Marian Anderson was the first black singer to performer at the Met in NYC.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reverend Sasquatch Speaks on the Pope's Retirement (audio podcast)

It has been some while since the good Reverend Silas T Sasquatch spoke to us and, fortunately, his latest thoughts have been recorded.  There was a time when he got into all kinds of trouble for voicing his opinions on things but he didn't learn very much from that and now he is speaking again.  The retirement of the Pope has been amusing him and he just couldn't contain his thoughts on the subject.

You can hear the good Reverend Sasquatch on the Ride the Dragon podcast or you can link directly to the audio file.

With a Quite Satisfying Boom the Three Hundred Limit is Smashed!

I knew this baby could do it and, yahoo, she bursts through 300 and hits 349.  So now the trick is to break 400 (laughs).  It's like Miles said, tho:  "I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life."

So, stuff I want to do:

  • Go back to Olympia and this time ask that Guide to go with me through the ruins.  No, I won't be trying to hit on her as I would like to shoot a video again, this time in English, with descriptions of what we are seeing.  The Guide will just have to understand that kids aren't the only ones with invisible friends as Cat will be right there with me.  It was important to me that the first video be in relative silence as there's only one first time.
  • Go to other sites of ruins here in Ilias (i.e. Greek state in which Pyrgos and Katakolo are located).
  • Make a jam video with the iPad.  Now that I've started using Final Cut Pro again, that may not be such a big deal as syncing audio in iMovie is a flaming nuisance.
  • Shoot a video at the Melrose Rock Bar and bring you Greek rock.  This may not work out as I wouldn't be able to use an independent soundtrack (i.e. audio drawn from the mixer rather than captured by the iPad).
  • Shoot a video of people playing bouzoukis for the music people seem to love the most here.  This may well be feasible as audio levels probably would not overwhelm the iPad's ability to record sound.
  • Stuff I haven't even considered yet!

Here are the articles people were reading the most yesterday:

Feb 12, 2013, 2 comments
Feb 28, 2013, 1 comment

There Is Only One Mistake You Can Make

Well, there is one mistake you can make and that is to stop.  That's true in a jam and especially true in life.  As soon as you stop and start looking backward, it's over.  It doesn't matter if you're still breathing as there is no way you can go forward when you're always looking back.

Cool stuff Miles Davis said:

"Don't play what's there, play what's not there."

"I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life."

“When you’re creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”

“It's not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

“Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery”

If I take only one sentence out of that, it would be that my future starts when I wake up every morning. Make it so!

Don't Compare Nights at the MusikCircus!

Comparing one night to another at the MusikCircus is like comparing motorcycle riding to scuba diving as the comparison makes no sense.  Comparing a guitar to a synthesizer makes no more sense than comparing a tuba to a bass drum.  They're different instruments so there's no logic to comparison.

A synthesizer can't do what a guitar does in that a the harmonics that will fly off a string will vary depending on how you touch it.  This isn't a comparison, it's a fact.  It's a fundamental difference as the note won't change on a synth with how hard you strike it, only the intensity will.  However, the touch on a guitar will make a huge difference to the intensity and the fundamental qualities of the note.

I don't like comparing performers and I never have.  I think it's hugely insulting to say to a guitarist, man, you sound like Jimi Hendrix as the reaction when I hear something like that is, well, I just wasted forty years of my fookin' life, didn't I!  I don't mean at all to denigrate what Hendrix played as the regulars know how much his music moves me but I'm not trying to sound like Hendrix, I want to sound like myself and I would bet everything I own (what little that is!) that every performer feels that way.

All your life you search for your signature in your sound and that's why some will play a guitar and some will play a synthesizer.  The characteristics of each one and particularly their differences give one the choices as to what paints your portrait the best.

So, don't fookin' do it!  (laughs)

Transformation of a Rock God

Now You See 'Em

(Ed:  You need sunglasses indoors?)

Dude, you never can tell when a stray sunbeam will sneak in here!

and Now You Don't

The Rock God mystique ain't quite the same without the whiskers and the RayBans but there are some fundamental problems with whiskers:

  • I enjoy my lunch but I don't much like to wear it, particular on a mustache for a meal that keeps on giving
  • Cat doesn't like whiskers
  • There are some fundamental things for which wasting time during a short day is an egregious extravagance and high on that list is looking at myself in a mirror while I trim my whiskers
  • Cat doesn't like whiskers
  • People look at you, quite rightly, as if you are seriously damaged if you inform them the cut on your ear came from a pair of scissors
  • Cat doesn't like whiskers
  • If I'm going to get vain about something I would rather it be my music than some odd stuff that hangs off my face
  • Cat doesn't like whiskers
  • Even after all these years there is still the risk of being found the U.S. Hippie Killer Death Squads!

And, oh yeah, Cat doesn't like whiskers!

Trying to Break Three Hundred on the Blog

Each day the blog count runs up to three hundred hits, sweetly kisses the target, and then waits for the next day (laughs).  It comes so close but can't quite get over the top.  It will, I just have to write better stuff.

I enjoyed yesterday "On the Nature of Pigeons" as I watched a flock of them do exactly what I described and I thought to myself, hmmm, if pigeons can settle their differences so easily then why can't we.  Of course I understand the financial imperative that drives the need to keep the differences alive as you can't sell many weapons to people who love each other but the weapons don't create the differences, they only make them more difficult to resolve.

I was surprised that "Ein Tour in Olympia in Griechenland (Video und Bilder)" (the video and pictures of a walking tour of Olympia) didn't get more hits as I thought it had all the vital ingredients:  it's written in German for appeal to German tourists, lots of pictures of the ruins and even video of the tour!  I plug it again as I thought it was a cool thing and it took a ton of work to do it.  I told Cat I may yet do another English language version only with a tour guide this time and she said don't you let that pretty tour guide take you home!  (laughs)  I guess I must be pretty thick as it didn't even occur to me that she might last time!  But that ain't happening as there's only one lady who rides on my scooter with me and she's not in Greece (laughs).

Hopefully later today we will see if a new song gives a boost to things as I have one I call "MuFoOFu" and I didn't have the second part until last night and that yielded a third part as well.  There is no show tonight so I will either try recording it this morning or during the evening.  I would like to see "I Love Rats (2013)" continue climbing as I liked the lead guitar on that one so I will shamelessly plug it again! (laughs)

There will also be an article on shaving the whiskers as there comes a point when whiskers are more of a hassle than shaving and the vanity in trimming them is just a wee bit more than I want to endure.  It requires looking at myself a whole lot more than I need as that normally is limited to combing my remaining hair after a shower and then I'm done with that vision for the day.

So, going again for three hundred today and we shall see!

Utter Musical Magic at Cat's Art MusikCircus Last Night

After well over six years in Second Life, I have played hundreds of gigs of my own and attended a great many more than that.  Last night was the most astounding musical performance I have ever had the pleasure to experience in the virtual world.  The shows at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus showed everything that Second Life music aspires to be and it wasn't secondary at all to anything one might hear in the physical world.

Michi Renoir played a romantic set last week.  I didn't much like it and I said so.  He said, dude, stand back for this week.  He wasn't kidding as he started out his set with all his guns firing and he didn't let up for a second for the entire hour.  It was one blazing improv jam for the entire set with excellent dynamics, beautifully rich and diverse sound, and fascinatingly powerful music the entire time.

While an improvised jam can sometimes be so technical that it is unapproachable, Michi came back when he needed to a central theme with a deep, driving, hammering beat that was knocking the walls down in flames.  His music was exciting and captivating, powerful yet not overwhelming, and marvelously intriguing so your mind does not wander away.

The romantic music from last week was beautiful but that is something you play for your woman when you're alone together.  The music Michi Renoir was playing last night was the stuff for kids who hear it and to think, man, I want to play synthesizers when I grow up.  His music was entirely improvisation which was powerful, magical, and inspiring.  This was an excellent performance!

This wasn't a night of one show opening for another but rather it was a continuous experience of magical musicianship from brilliant performers.  Reis and Aldo play everywhere in the world, from Second Life to Carnival in Brazil to Montreux Jazz in Switzerland.  They do it all and they came back last night for another marvelous show at Cat's Art MusikCircus.  I believe a large part of why they keep coming back to the MusikCircus is of course they love Cat, everyone does, but it's also because they know everyone really listens to the music and isn't just screaming YOU RAWK every time someone does a cheesy cover from fifty years ago!

Their music varies from aggressive to gentle but it's always sensual, mysterious, and fascinating.  Aldo Brizzi's percussion behind his synthesizer work is intricate, powerful, sometimes demanding, and always wonderful while his music overall is endlessly intriguing.  Reis Alter's sensual, ethereal, and alluring voice flies through this as a colorful jungle bird through a magical landscape where we have never been but Reis and Aldo can take us.  (You can learn more about Aldo Brizzi's music on his Web site.)

Through it all, Reis goes through an extraordinary and beautiful array of colors both through the sound of the music and her portrayal of it on the stage.

This was a night that was every wonderful thing music can be.  It was inspiring, unforgettable, brilliant and captivating.

While I love to play a guitar, it cannot hope to match the diversity of musical expression possible with a synthesizer.  I use a Roland GR-20 guitar synthesizer sometimes but even that doesn't permit the performance of multiple voices at the same time as one can with a keyboard synthesizer.  The colors in the performances this night were from every part of the spectrum giving such a beautiful rainbow of sound.  Utter musical magic!

And Cat and I danced!

This isn't the best shot of us dancing but it shows Reis exploding in color on the stage and this was one more part of a musical kaleidoscope.  Absolutely marvelous!

Cat and I danced for long after the show was over and everyone went home.  We hadn't said much to each other during the performance as we know the love for each other and didn't need to say anything.  Both of us were awestruck by the performances and we danced and we danced.  I told her the report would be such a pleasure to write and it has been.  Thank you to Cat for staging it and to Michi Renoir and Reis and Aldo for performing it.  This really was a night to remember!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walk Softly and Be a Big Stick

Yah, I know it goes you should carry a big stick but I don't figure you need one if you are a big stick already.  What surprised me in the video of the walking tour of Olympia was to hear my footfalls as my right foot was obviously coming down much heavier than the other.  I remarked about it to Cat and she said she had been meaning to ask me about that.

Back in '95, I went with the Mystery Lady to a nursery as we wanted a big maple to shade the front of the house as that works much better than air conditioning.  We ordered it and the tree was delivered on a truck but it was some really old guy who was driving it and they didn't send anyone to help him.  He asked me if I would do it and I was in fairly decent shape from all the laboring to build the gardens and, make no mistake, that was a LOT of heavy work.

The old guy rode the lift gate up to the bed of the truck and I rode with him.  We rolled the tree onto the lift gate and he stood next to it so it seemed appropriate that I would stand on the lift gate on the other side of the tree.  That wasn't my best move as the supports on my side of the gate broke as soon as he started lowering it.  My side fell the fastest and I lost my footing such that one slipped under the gate and the whole mess landed on top of it.

The tree was really huge plus the weight of the lift gate and the two of us so I figure it must have been 400-500 kilos that came down on it.  The moment was extremely painful but my response to Big Pain is always total silence until it stops echoing in my head but, meanwhile, the Mystery Lady and the old guy were dancing around going, what do we do, what do we do!

I was thinking at the moment, could we start by getting this stuff off my foot!

So, some years, multiple surgeries and bone grafts later, my foot was more or less serviceable again and it wasn't until I heard the footsteps on the video that I realised how much I compensate for it.  I don't think I walk with much of a limp and you can't really tell the damage in the foot without looking closely.  Obviously it hurts but I didn't think it was noticeable.  Well....   (laughs)

Big Synthesizer Show at Cat's Art MusikCircus Tonight!

Two weeks ago, Michi Renoir played some quite exciting music and last week he played a set that was more oriented toward romantic material.  I wrote in my report that I didn't think the romantic stuff was his best work and he said, ok, stand back.  This week I will blow it down.  Cool!  I want to hear this!  I want to hear risks.  I want to hear danger!  It's exciting when musicians take chances and not just for me but for anyone!

Reis and Aldo will play the second show tonight and they returned to play last week.  That concert was in the same report and, as always, they gave a tremendous show.  I have no doubt they will give another tremendous show tonight.

So, we know Michi is all pumped-up for this and we know Reis and Aldo are as well so tonight should give us two hours of quite exciting music.  This will be in Second Life at Cat's Art MusikCircus and, make no mistake, this is definitely not Music for Old Rummies but rather this is the real deal.  All have extensive real world performance experience.

On the Nature of Pigeons (poem)

The pigeons stood about on the roof they all shared
But some of them were squawking that this is not fair.
The call was getting louder as more got upset
I shouldn't be here, I should be standing over there.

The King of the Birds asked can't we stand in peace
but more started squawking, "No, not with these.
How can I be happy when I stand in this low place
a bird of my demeanour needs to move up in the race."

The King listened long but didn't make a sound
until he said to all, "We will take wing and fly around.
We will circle the building, not once but three times,
so all can find the place you think matches your style."

"After we have circled, we will all set down to land
and everyone will go to the place we want to stand.
We will all land as one as a flock needs to do
Make sure when you land that your friends are next to you."

And so it was they flew and then came back to ground
And from that moment on, no bird made a sound.
All of them had landed in the place they needed to be
and they were quietly thankful the King had set them free.

Shooting Video in Pyrgos and Writing for Money

There was another shot at playing in the traffic in Pyrgos but, rats, my jacket flipped up in front of the lens and most of it was blocked out.  Maybe my first idea was right and I should have got a bra to hold the iPad!  You all told me that bras are really expensive and, considering what they carry, they're worth it as we want that cargo well-protected.  A bra may yet be the solution and it would so damn funny in the summer time to be riding and wearing a bra!  I might need to improve my skills in Greek before playing that stunt!

I do need a solution for summer time video as wearing my heaviest jacket when it's 41C outside is probably not a good idea unless I'm looking for a heatstroke.  I tried that last summer and scared the bejeebers out of Lotho.  I don't know if I was scared so much as I was wondering if I was dying.  I guess I probably would have if he hadn't been able to cool my body back down again.  That's about as close to death as I want to get without a whole bunch of singing angels and some killer music.

So, busted on the video and that was the third or fourth try.  There will be another!

As to writing for money, the advice I saw from Robert Heinlein was to develop a thick skin and to keep submitting whatever you have written until someone finally buys it.  I don't see any point in a writer's workshop as life is the workshop, your job is just to right it down.

The market seems obvious as the unbelievable crap they write on CNN appears to have been crafted by people with minimal skill with the language and their view of the pinnacle of English expression is the number of times one can use iconic, draconian, and/or awesome in the same paragraph.  These are writers who could make a cliche out of the return of Christ.

So, there is minimal serious competition but it's unknown if there is any significant jingle or if this is just vanity stuff.  Music is a flaming loser as I know multiple really talented musicians who don't make much of anything and yet there are others who are total crap merchants (i.e. do nothing but strum chords for covers of The Beatles and other nostalgic swill) and make all kinds of money.  That's not music but rather prostitution and the only saving grace is that it doesn't carry any communicable diseases.  Mother, mother, I dreamed that someday I would be an elevator musician.  May I?  May I?

It's unknown what happened to the potential gig here in Pyrgos but it was a vanity gig anyway.  It could have been fun but I won't lose any blood if it doesn't happen.  The situation is much too severe to be doing anything for ego.  If it don't pay the freight, it's got to get off the fookin' train.

The really insane idea is to write for publication in Germany and it's not so farfetched as there is considerable interest in Greece within Germany and likely Austria as well.  This is a summer playground for them as it's beautiful, inexpensive and relatively close.  The beaches are gorgeous and the islands are magnificent.  So it's not at all a silly idea to do it.  The interest in the articles I've written in German should give some evidence that this isn't stoner fantasy as the biggest ones have received well over a thousand hits and they keep coming.  (No, I don't have any reefer but the regulars know I'm well familiar with stoner fantasies.)

So, we shall see!

No Music Report This Morning

There won't be a report this morning as I will only post positive ones even if some I have posted lately weren't regarded by some as all that positive (laughs).  I thought they were and there won't ever be any malice in what I write about them as I like to spend my time in front of a microphone too and I don't need the mindless juvenile backbiting in Second Life any more than anyone else.

Cat hatte Gewittern in Deutschland / Cat had thunderstorms in Germany ... but she did arrive and we danced:

However, last evening I did work up some stuff of my own as I have one part of "MuFOFu" in the looper and I like the chords.  It needs a second part and I hope to play with that today but I need to go into Pyrgos this morning for some victuals and maybe some video in traffic.

Here's what's been hot on the blog in the last twenty-four hours:

Feb 12, 2013, 2 comments
Feb 25, 2013

Evolution of Eohippus (Horse) - Smackdown of Creationist 'science' but not a smackdown of spirituality.

Thrill Riding at Night in Greece (video) - This is the one that got me busted with Cat for reckless driving and rightly so.  It's still fun to watch, tho (laughs).

The Hazard in Feeding the Cats (video) - This one is funny and features Simon's Cat.

Demon Cat (picture) - Yah, a cat picture of one of the ones outside.  I run cat pics too!  Ha!

"X Japan" - Yoshiki (video) - This one has been out there for a while and X Japan is only one of the best rock bands in the world.