This episode of BoingBoing TV, recorded this year at Consonance, features not only a great cover shot of my CD, Coffee, Computers, and Song, but a discussion of one of the songs on it (Vampire Mega-Byte), and people singing a filk of Rocket Rider's Prayer. So I'm a very happy filker.
The other major accomplishment this weekend was clearing the boxes of debris off Colleen's old cedar chest in the garage attic, and clearing enough of a path that Kat and I will be able to get it down. As older daughter, Kat will be inheriting it. I believe Colleen got it from her grandmother... It's been in the attic for well over a decade. Of course, it will still have to be passed down over the edge into the stairwell; the "footpath" between the boxes is too narrow, winding, and cluttered to be usable.
A number of things didn't get done, including data-entry for taxes and scratch tracks for the next album. Hopefully I'll get started on those this evening rather than letting them go until the weekend: that's likely to be busy. Not as insanely busy as the weekend after that, though.
Gradually getting ready to go; spent altogether too much time last night
and this morning on lingering household computer issues, and not enough on
taxes. Hopefully I'll have time to deal with them today
supposed to be working during lunch. Makes sense anyway, since I
ought to copy the forms before I send them.
Did a preliminary test-pack -- I'm going to need a second carry-on for things -- mostly gifts -- that are light but bulky. I'm using the flower_cat's new purple suitcase that we got at Costco last year; the second carry-on will be an ancient Hartman duffel that my parents bought in Japan 30-odd years ago for a similar purpose. It'll squish down into the suitcase for the trip home.
I'll be taking up 50 or so copies of Coffee, Computers, and Song -- hopefully there will be some dealers to take some of them off my hands when I get there.
As of a visit to the post office tomorrow morning I'll have most of the pre-orders of Coffee, Computers, and Song in pre-addressed envelopes shipped off. The rest will require another round of signing and packaging, not to mention another round of minor hacking to pull together a mail-merge file from the various transaction files.( That's my project for the weekend )
Whether I can get all that done over the weekend is a matter for conjecture.
Just verified that
k3b, the program I used to burn the master
for CC&S, doesn't put in pregaps by default. In fact, it basically
doesn't know about them at all: you have to (explicitly, manually) add 2
seconds of silence at the end of every damned track. IDIOTS!!
My own damned fault for not listening to the master carefully enough. Too late now.
As it turns out, ConChord is shaping up to be a very small con, with nothing scheduled before 6pm on Friday. Just as well; that let us spend Friday recovering from the drive down, meeting old friends, handing out pre-order packages, and not getting very much done.
The original plan had been for the flower_cat to connect with tibicina and cflute in the morning for a trip to Penzey's spices in Torrence, but they didn't arrive until noonish. The theme of this weekend appears to be real-time scheduling.
We'd originally thought of holding a CC&S release party, but between a late start and the fact that there was a "New Stuff Listening Party" on the schedule kicking off the con at 6pm, we sensibly decided to bag it. In past years the listening party was normally held at the reception, which was cheese and veggies on the poolside patio. But since the acoustics were so terrible two years ago, they decided to put the listening in the concert hall on the second floor, and let people drift between them. I have no idea how many people were there to hear my album.
The con was kicked off properly by a concert by Joe Bethancourt. The schedule is very much a work in progress; more so than at most cons I've been to. The short concerts on Sunday are especially flexible, so after cflute mentioned that 11:30 Sunday morning was a bad time for a concert, and signed herself up for a slot at 3pm, I talked to Rod O'Riley (who's doing the schedule) and moved mine. It'll probably end up at 3:30, so we'll do a combined sound check.
So far I've distributed somewhere between 15 and 20 pre-order packages, and sold 50 to the two dealers. The main feedback so far has been a comment from R.O'R that there didn't appear to be the usual 2 seconds of silence between the songs.( Where did my pregaps go? )
If that's the only problem I'm not going to worry about it too much. Next time I'm going to schedule at least a week to live with the actual master and make sure it's exactly the way it's supposed to be.
I'm writing this in the lobby, waiting for ConChord to start (or, alternatively, for somebody interesting to show up and be snared by the flower_cat, who is sitting next to me being even more bored.
Last night I built another 16 pre-order bundles -- I'm probably going to need more eventually. This morning I put the final touches on the Interfilk package: pre-order bundles 2B and D4. Before we left I printed up the songbook and the short fiction, and stuffed them into an old Zilog binder. It was big enough that I could keep the uLisp and Whitesmiths C manuals in. Surely somebody will want a piece of Silicon Valley history.
I brought two laptops this trip - the old Thinkpad doesn't do wireless particularly well, but it has a useable keyboard and runs Linux, so it's set up in the room. I'm roaming with the Mac, which has a crappy keyboard and weird key bindings, but it seems to have a better time running Audacity with my USB interface, which I'll need later.
The net connection in the hotel sucks; it's about the same speed as my DSL line was before I upgraded, and of course it wants you to authenticate every time you open a new browser session. Speedtest.net says the closest server is in Oklahoma, which may explain some things. Doesn't excuse not saving MAC addresses. Or charging for new in the first place. Come on, folks -- block port 25, open it up, and make your guests happy.
LinuxWorld Conference and Expo speaker Matt Domsch explains how Dell uses vendors' free drivers at kernel.org to help pick the hardware that goes into the next generation of Dell products. Plus: How well did Michael Dell do with getting his Ubuntu laptop configured and on the company network? And, in honor of the SCO court's decision Friday, a SCO song from hacker/songwriter Steve Savitzky.
Yesterday's schedule turned out to be a little too tight. By the time I'd finished with my doctor's appointment (my shoulder problem appears to be tendinitis in the biceps tendon; I also gave him a signed copy of CC&S) and the associated pharmacy visit (prescription-strength naproxin and a change of statins from lovastatin to simvastatin) I had to fly low to have any chance of getting to my group meeting at 10am. Figured I'd go to the post office at lunchtime, but forgot to factor in the fact that we were having our Service Awards Lunch.
Lunch was delicious -- Il Fornaio in Palo Alto. I had salad, salmon, and tiramisu for desert. I also got my 15-year service award, which came with a lovely (and very heavy) stainless-steel-cased clock from Tiffany & Co. Do you have any idea how many engraved clocks and pen-and-pencil sets one accumulates in 30-odd years at a small number of jobs?
Never did make it to the Post Awful, because my OpenMoko phone arrived mere minutes before lunch, and by the time I looked up from playing with it, it was after 6pm. Still definitely a work in progress -- I'm not even sure it's a phone at this point. Nice little linux box, though, with a VGA display, USB, and BlueTooth. Twice the pixels of an iPhone at half the price, and unlocked as well. Sweet. The consumer version, due in October (which may be optimistic) will have Wi-Fi and accelerometers.
I will get to the Post Awful today. In about 15 minutes. Really. (Most pre-orders will nevertheless have to wait until after ConChord to get mailed. We're driving down tomorrow.)
Yesterday morning was spent signing CDs and stuffing envelopes in preparation for the Casa de Chaos Bash. Even so, I missed a couple of people: I should have had the sense to just load the entire box of envelopes into the car, and number disks as needed. (Note: remember this for the next one!)
Finally left about 9:30 and got home to find a slightly upset flower_cat, who had misconstrued a remark I made as she left to mean that I was following almost immediately. Sorry about that, Love! I'll try to be more explicit next time. Some good conversations. My apologies to the folks whose disks I forgot to bring -- I'll have them in the mail tomorrow.
The schedule for tomorrow morning looks a little tight:
- 8:30 Doctor. I was able to snag an appointment with my own doctor on short notice: mainly to discuss my shoulder pain, but he did want to be told when my CD was ready...
- 9ish Post office. A handful of disks for people who I don't expect to see Wednesday or at ConChord, plus the all-important shipment to CD Baby.
- 10:00 Work: group meeting (rescheduled from today at 2pm).
- 12:00 Walkies. I haven't had a proper walk since Saturday morning.
I might actually get some work done in the afternoon. And I need to stop at Staples on the way home and get some "Fragile" stickers and lables the right size for return addresses, and eventually practice for my concert at ConChord. Which is looking like sometime around mid-day on Sunday.
Today being the day of the annual Linux Anniversary Picnic, my plan was to go equipped to distribute a couple of pre-orders, and hopefully sell a few as well. The difficulty was in determining whose CDs I needed to bring with me.( the gory details )
So far the effort required to catch up has been manageable: I've been using a simple paper-and-pen list to keep track of the names and numbers of the copies I've handed out. It will get harder presently, but I think I'll be ok as long as I can get the rest of the necessary data-entry done by Wednesday. We leave for ConChord on Thursday.
So far I've delivered two pre-orders today at the Picnic, plus a review copy and three direct sales. The flower_cat delivered two at the Baycon picnic; and there have been a little over a dozen pre-orders and direct sales at work. I expect there to be a lot more at the Casa de Chaos Bash tomorrow; I'm going to have to get busy stuffing envelopes and checking off names. That's my task for tonight and tomorrow morning.
Anyone local who's not going to the Bash tomorrow is welcome to come by Grand Central Starport on Wednesday, and I will of course have them at ConChord. I'll be mailing a few on Monday, but the bulk of the mailing will wait until after ConChord.
Just got done entering my album info for CD Baby. Took a lot longer than I expected, but it's done. Would have taken less time if I'd had a suitable bio and album description ready; instead I had to cobble it together from scattered pieces. A good exercise anyway.( Let me preface this by saying that the rational part of my mind -- what little is left of it after six decades of neglect and under-use -- has a pretty good idea of what constitutes a genuine health problem. The irrational part, however, is stupid, stubborn, quick to jump to conclusions, and difficult to convince. )
OK, so I'm a stupid old bear. I already knew that.
Went out with the flower_cat for a delightful dinner at California Cafe in Los Gatos Old Town. Cups of gazpacho, a plate of baked brie (with apricot jam and a bulb of roasted garlic), and the Fruits de Mer platter for two (lobster tail, oysters, shrimp cocktail [with dry ice smoking under the bowl], and snow crab legs. Finished up with a cheese platter and café mocha for desert. (Actually, the Cat had the "Marvelous Mocha", which was alcoholic and yummy. But since I'd already had a Guinness with dinner...
I'd brought home the rest of the CDs mere minutes before we left for
dinner, so we came home to a pile of boxes with a
retail value of $15K. Mind-boggling.
(The Y.D. is still out for burger-and-a-movie, by the way, which is why the Cat and I were able to go out for dinner at a comparatively elegant restaurant that the kid wouldn't have been happy at.)
Came back from my walk about 1:30 this afternoon and found a big pile of boxes blocking the door to my office. We have disks. Gave it a quick preliminary listen: first track, last track, start of every track. Sounded OK -- nice and clean -- so I distributed the eight pre-orders already purchased at work, and sold three more. I'll take half of the boxes home tonight, I think.
... and want a concert slot, or think you've already been promised one, you need to send email to Rod O'Riley <rodso64 @ hotmail.com> -- he apparently doesn't have as many email addresses as he should have.
At this very moment a dozen boxes are on a plane en route from Philadelphia to South San Francisco.
Meanwhile, I've been cooking on two burners making copies of the bonus disk. It makes a good background task, except that there's a noticable risk of doing something in the browser that screws it up. Of course, there are other things I ought to be working on...
Even as I type, a thousand copies of Coffee, Computers, and Song! are on a loading dock in New Jersey
waiting for a UPS truck to bring them to my
mountain stronghold employer's office. They are scheduled to
arrive on Thursday.
I will have them in time for the Linux Picnic Saturday and the Chaos Castle Bash on Sunday. I am also frantically burning copies of About Bleeding Time for the pre-order packages, a few of which are still available. (It takes about 10 minutes to burn a copy at 8x, which I'm using because burning at full speed gives me too many errors on the audio.)
The deed is done:
CDs in Jewel Case with 4 panel folder Finished Prepress 2007-07-31 Finished Screen Prep 2007-08-02 Finished On-Disc Printing 2007-08-05 Finished CD/DVD Replication 2007-08-04 Finished Make Stamper 2007-08-02 Finished CTP Computer-To-Plate 2007-08-01 Finished Press 2007-08-03 Finished Packaging 2007-08-06 Finished
So, coming soon to a loading dock somewhere in New Jersey, ...
Woke up with my shoulder feeling considerably better: down from pain all over to pain that was pretty localized and felt like a muscle spasm. It's been getting gradually better all day, though it still hurts to shrug or to raise my left arm more than 45o above horizontal. Even that's an improvement: last night horizontal was as far as I could go. Hooray for gin and Flexoril.
Took a 2.5 mile walk at lunchtime. Went much better than yesterday, when I only went 2 miles and was feeling distinctly shaky by the time I was done.
The equivalence of
lambda in LISP
makes me feel all warm and comfortable inside.
For the last couple of days I've been trying to work through the exercises in my old recorder book. I've taken to practicing in the car before heading home from work, so as to avoid driving my family crazy. (Some might argue that it's more of a short walk, but I digress.) The book, Enjoy Your Recorder by the Trapp Family Singers, has been in my possession for roughly half a century, and I have not been practicing in all that time, but the fingerings seem oddly familiar.
The album is progressing through the fab line at Oasis; the press run has
started and the CD replication is scheduled. Their tracking web page
leaves a lot to be desired: refreshing the job status page puts you back
two clicks away. Weird. I'm not sure how you would get that effect in
the first place; it may be a side-effect of whatever weird Microsoft crud
they're using on the server side. (It's all
.aspx pages, and
some of what they claim are links aren't.)
I've been plagued by doubts about just how thoroughly I QA'ed the master.
I really wish one could simply upload
.wav files and a table
of contents, and let them put it together.
The proofs for the album artwork arrived (in the form of links to monster JPEG and PDF files) early this evening, shortly before I left work. Apparently it takes several hours for it to work its way through the upload queue to their proof server.
Their prepress artist found about a dozen nits to pick, but they were all things artbeco and I had discussed, and many of which we did on purpose. One comment strongly implied that said prepress artist wasn't old enough to have seen a punched card in the wild; the rest were almost certainly boilerplate.
So I told 'em to go anead and, as we say at the copier company where I work my day job, push the big green button. Fasten your seatbelts!
Our house-guest is gone for a couple of days, our older daughter is off on an extended visit to her fiance, and for the first time in months I don't have mixing or editing to do. I'm done, too, with the seemingly endless succession of test disks to listen to. There are still tasks left: I have to burn bonus disks, pull together the customer list, and let's not forget practice, all before ConChord, less than three weeks away.
But it's the quiet that strikes me. I'm not used to it anymore.
No word from Oasis today, but my call this morning verified that the artwork has been received and is being scrutinized. Proofs are expected tomorrow, so my working hypothesis is that they haven't found any problems requiring attention from me or artbeco. But still...
Showed the packaging mock-up to a couple of people at work today. It's
very cool. Not clear how many people are going to read it carefully, but
hopefully they'll at least find the link to the lyrics and other stuff on
the web. If not, well, they'll always have
Paris the album.
Godot proofs. The artwork has been received and is being
scrutinized. Hopefully all is in order; I'll be getting proofs (as links
to PDFs) tomorrow if all goes well.
proofs a dishwasher. When I got home from OSCon I was
immediately greeted by a sink and dishwasher full of dirty dishes. This
isn't too unusual. But after running the dishwasher, the
situation was essentially unchanged. This is unusual;
fortunately we've been expecting it, and the flower_cat has
been closely following the Western Appliance ads in the paper. Our Bosch
dishwasher is due to arrive this morning. The only color they had in
stock was black, so it'll match our oven but not the cabinets or the
fridge. But it'll make our Goth-girl daughters happy.
09:25 the dishwasher is here. The old one has been leaking; some cleanup will be required. Work will have to wait.
Even as I type, an 80MB zip file with the artwork for Coffee, Computers, and Song is sitting on a server in New Jersey. The length matches, anyway; unfortunately they don't supply an MD5 hash. It took an hour and a half to upload over artbeco's admittedly rather slow DSL line, so we had a good conversation and didn't really notice the time. We did it from her place so we could take care of any last-minute changes; there were a few of them, but not too many.
We'll find out tomorrow morning whether it came through OK; I'm not going to say it's done until I get the proofs back.
The Portland airport is a good place for walkies. I'll have to remember that the two sides of the terminal are connected; the security-check lines were considerably shorter on the D/E side. It's not as if I mind walking.
The backpack is a lot easier to get around with than the rolly, but it's less accessible for getting stuff in and out, and it gets hard on my back after a while. I may look for a folding cart.
With the Tux Droid taking up nearly half the suitcase, things were a little tighter than I like. Wound up wearing my fleece jacket, which worked great on the way to the airport but was less convenient after I got there.
A luggage strap with a plastic quick-connect buckle makes a great temporary belt for going through security. I basically just sailed through, except for nearly forgetting to pull my computer out of the backpack.
One of these days I may just have to design the perfect travel backpack and folding cart, and get somebody to manufacture them.
We're uploading artwork today, hooray!
I still haven't quite gotten the hang of selling
soul my stuff; I only sold one physical preorder pack, plus a couple
of nibbles that may lead to web sales. A dozen or so people found the
cards I put out on the flier table. I should also have been handing them
out more freely at the breakfast and lunch tables; I had a tendency to do
it only when the subject came up in the course of the conversation.
Talked briefly with Therese Michaud, who was playing piano in the airport, and her daughter who was manning the table selling a 5-song demo CD. Only realized later that I should have just swapped for a preorder pack. Did I mention that I'm a slow learner?
A good dinner (halibut, Dead Guy ale, and a glass of Dalwhinnie in lieu of desert), a bit of a walk, enough water... My feet are still a little annoyed at me, but at least I'm not dragging around like a wet noodle.
I may have gotten a bit dehydrated this afternoon. Ya think?
Things are a little lonely here in Portland without cflute, who was here the last two times I was up here, but...
The bear will be OK. A business trip is all very well, but I miss my snuggles.
OSCon's final session and wrapup is only ten minutes away; sometime after 2pm or so they'll take down their network and I'll be left hungry and disconnected. The hunger I'll be able to do something about, but I'll have a lot of catching up to do on LJ when I get back.
Last night's music BOF only had 4 or 5 people including me; the only interesting thing was a folding travel banjo (made by Goldtone, IIRC) that somebody brought.
Few conferences are as well-connected as OSCon - basically you just attach to the open WiFi network, and you're in. Access in the hotel completely sucks; I probably won't even be able to print my boarding pass in their business center.
I've exchanged email with my project manager at Oasis; as long as we get the artwork files uploaded by 4pm (presumably EDT, so 1pm my time) Monday we're good to go. That's tighter than I'd like, but OK. I'll aim for Sunday evening.
On the whole it's been a good conference, but I'll be glad to get home.
(I really need a travel icon, don't I?)
I'm travelling lighter than usual this week. Decided to go back to a backpack as my carry-on after finding out the hard way that a TravelPro rolling briefcase is remarkably easy to overstuff to the point where it won't fit under an airplane seat. Ended up with a pretty nice backpack with the Rick Steves brand, but actually made by somebody else. It's enough larger than my old Jansport that it comfortably holds a modern 15.4" laptop, and the front flap hangs in front of the zippered back section rather than over the zipper. So you can get out the laptop without unsnapping the flap.
The flap is also asymmetrical, covering a sizeable zippered pocket (which I'm not using at the moment) but not the mesh bag that holds a water bottle. Yay! There's a back compartment that the straps stash into, and enough room over the front pocket and under the flap for me to put my shoulder bag in order to convince the airline that I only have one bag. That's less important this trip because I decided not to take Plink, my little Vagabond travel guitar.
Instead of Plink I took my new Yamaha recorder and my (very) old recorder book; I'll either re-learn recorder or get dragged out of my hotel room by my neighbors and drowned in the pool. To give you some idea of how long I've been out of practice, let me just say that the book is only a few years younger than my wife.
This is being written at around 11am in the San Jose airport -- they have nice desks where you can sit and plug in a laptop, but they don't have free WiFi. So it'll get posted sometime after I get to Portland.
I note in passing that the master for CC&S has been dropped off at work for UPS to pick up this afternoon.
4:20pm: Portland Convention Center
I'm here. Nothing much going on, and it seems to be difficult to connect
with LJ here. Hopefully that's temporary. Doesn't matter much, since I'm
ssh'ed in to home. I just love the net!
The Mac is its usual hatefull self. Should've brought a real keyboard. Think I'll go out and look for something to eat before the Meet and Geek at 7:30.
6:34pm: Convention Center
Seems LJ is totally hosed due to a power outage in San Francisco. So it goes. Dinner at a Red Robin's. Fried shrinp and fish and chips. Tasty, and not terribly expensive. They have several local brews on tap; I had a porter from a brewery whose name I don't remember.
The new backpack is definitely more manoeverable than Rolly, and holds at least as much stuff. Turns out, from having stuffed it under an airplane seat, that it's almost exactly the same dimensions. But because it doesn't have the wheels and so on it's lighter and holds more (though arranged differently and not necessarily more accessibly. Not quite as handy if you just want to toss something into it and move on (for example in a dealer's room or trade show). I'll probably keep using Rolly for SF cons, for example; you also can't easily use a backpack as an impromptu music stand.
6:30 am: Red Lion Hotel at the Convention Center
LJ may be back, and my master is "out for delivery". Web access here at the hotel is unuseably slow, but I can ssh ok, for the moment. Here goes!
I am currently listening to the master for Coffee, Computers, and Song! "Little Computing Machine" needed one last tweak, so I had to burn a couple more (on the good media, thank you -- next time I'll buy the really good stuff; recommendations gladly accepted). I burned one on the Samsung drive in Trantor, and another on the Plextor on Harmony. The Plextor won, which was a little surprising. Both wanted to run at 8x; that may be a media thing.
Tomorrow I'll run it up to work -- we get a discount from UPS, and they pick up every afternoon. Then I hop on a plane to Portland. This time tomorrow I'll be at OSCon, and my master will be on a plane to Oasis in New Jersey. Hopefully by this time next week my artwork will be on a server somewhere at Oasis, and on its way to an offset press.
There are flaws. Unlike some folks on my flist, I'm not really in a position to say it's entirely made of awesome, but it's all pretty good, and parts of it are excellent. cflute's vocals on "Silk and Steel" are heartbreakingly beautiful, "Vampire Mega-Byte" has some cool special effects (if I may say so), my kids (who appear to have inherited my inability to sing consistently on key) come together so sweetly at the end of "Daddy's World" that any earlier flaws are entirely forgiven.
If I were starting now, it would be much better and take a lot less time.
But it wouldn't be on its way to a date with
we hope ConChord? the duplicators. Tomorrow.
It's still available for pre-order. For a little less than a month.
Why do I feel like I just jumped off a cliff? Am I really crazy enough to get started on the next one? Where am I going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?
I have an ostensible master ready to ship to Oasis, and have put a sizeable but not excessive payment on my Amex card. The sensation is surprisingly familiar from having been in at the birth of my kids. It's mostly fear.
I don't have any really good way of verifying my disks; the only program I
know of on Linux is
qpxtool, and it only seems to know about
Plextor drives. If anyone knows of something better, or knows whether
something free that runs on a Macbook Pro or a Windows XP machine will do
the job, I'd appreciate a link. I do get a little feedback from
cdrdao read-toc; found out that the Fuji
inkjet-printable disks I have a spindle of have a lot more CRC errors than
the Memorex disks.
I did determine that
cdrdao wasn't writing the CD
text correctly, so I ended up falling back on
just fscking works. If only it could take project info from a
text file... Especially if it were the same
cdrdao uses. Grump. Also discovered that my drive won't go
any slower than 8x. Should be OK, but...
Things are going to be a little tight tomorrow, since I'm flying up to Portland for OSCon around noon. I'm going to give the disk one more listen in the car on my way to and from work today, and live with it on headphones for a while.
Tweaked the guitar up a little on "Programmer's Alphabet". The last tweak? Maybe. I'm about 2/3 (12/18) of the way through the third listen in its present state.
If I hadn't stupidly procrastinated on the graphics, I could ship it all off on Monday. In any case, I'm pretty sure I'll have a master to put in the mail. Guess I'd better start filling out the paperwork...
Today was all about tweaking. I'm feeling lazy, so I'll just show the raw track notes with a little formatting cleanup.
[steve 732] grep 0721 */notes alphabet (0721) guitar up bugs (0721) reverb down 2dB on me lcm (0721) me up 2dB (env) -> 1dB mushroom (0721) joyce down net (0721) guitar up silk (0721) me down 2; flute down 1; callie up 1; flip guitar, flute teotw (0721) guitar up 2 (env); me down 1; shaker down 1 wannabe (0721) guitar up ~2dB. Normalize down 2dB
"Programmer's Alphabet" needs a little more guitar, I think. And I'm
still of two minds about "High Barratry" -- the performance I have on the
disk at the moment (from Baycon) is a better performance; the older one
(from Consonance) had better audience reaction and better voice/instrument
balance. Both have serious problems with with the sound, but they're
different problems. I'll probably stay put, but just for
reference you'll find the old one here: [ogg] [mp3] and the current favorite here: [ogg] [mp3]. You'll find the complete set of current rips in
Comments, as usual, are very welcome. We are very close.
By coincidence, July 20 was the original due date for our first child, which is why chaoswolf's middle name is Diana. She decided to arrive early, though, which is why she celebrates her birthday during Westercon.
This year, I'm celebrating by burning a disk which I hope is epsilon away from a master for Coffee, Computers, and Song! (It's still available for preorder for the next few weeks. After it's real I'll have to start charging sales tax and shipping.)
Update: I had to dash to get to a meeting at work, but about 1/2 hour after posting this I put a call in to Oasis and set the wheels in motion. I'm feeling much better about the schedule since discovering that I can get the project fast-tracked for only an extra $200. Disks at ConChord are looking at least possible, if not inevitable.
Touched more than half of the tracks today -- 10 out of 18. Mostly comparatively minor tweaks. "Guilty Pleasures" needed to be taken down 2dB; haven't quite figured out how to do that automagically yet, so I have to remember to do it whenever I update. Added some bass boost to my vocals on "Cicero", which makes it match its neighbors a little better.
"Someplace in the Net" was more problematic. I was singing three parts on the choruses: two in unison, and one (a lame attempt at) low harmony. Trouble was, the unison parts weren't quite in sync. Took out the extra one, and it seems considerably cleaner.
The comments on this
post have been very helpful. Keep 'em coming. To repeat,
you'll find the whole darned album, at least through Monday, at
Especially on some of my older tracks, I would have problems clicking my fingernails against the pick-guard when I strum. In most cases it's minor, and I've left it in, since there doesn't seem to be any good way to filter it out. But a pair of multiple clicks in the intro to "Programmer's Alphabet" have been bothering me for a couple of weeks now.
On the other hand, the prospect of recording a new intro, then trying to match levels and eq with a track that's been in the system and messed with Gods-know-how for a couple of years, was totally daunting. Not going to happen. On the gripping hand, I used to have a lot of trouble keeping the number of beats in the instrumental breaks between verses consistent, and I realized this morning that I could take advantage of that: there were a couple of breaks that were long enough to cover the clicks in the intro.
So by leaving in the first chord of the original intro, and fading in to the first verse, I was able to splice it in pretty well. I think I might be able to notice something odd if I listened to it repeatedly and didn't go violently mad first, but it's no more than a couple of milliseconds off.
I lucked out on this one -- there aren't many, if any, other tracks where I could have pulled off this particular hack. Fortunately it was the worst of them by far. I think the only other one with noticable clicks in the intro is "Cicero", and it's not as bad. Good thing, because I don't think I could fix that one.( limited-time poofheading preview )
Added short-form track credits to some of the various listing formats. In general, this replaces timings (which mostly aren't all that useful except on places like the tray card) with the name of the songwriter, or lyricist/composer if they're different. You can see the results here, for example.
Did the final edits on "Little Computing Machine" this morning. Might have just a trifle too much reverb, but it'll take another listen or two to be sure. And it may need a bit of auto-duck on the choruses. But that was the last piece of the puzzle.
From here on it's all tweaking.
7:10 -- edited out the last second or so of "Cicero" -- there were some odd clicks in the guitar track. No big deal, but I'm glad I caught them. I gave the complete set of oggs a listen at work.
8:00 -- last tweaks on "LCM" and a full listen on headphones. Sounding good. If the graphics were done (stupid Bear!) I'd be tempted to ship it tomorrow. Probably just as well I can't.
(The mood is accurate: I have a long history of not finishing projects, and I've been sort of ok with that. Commitment is, in its way, frightening. The fact that I'm about a week away from shipping off a stack of disks, paperwork, and a substantial check to a duplicating house is, frankly, scary.)
9:38 -- more like a week and a half before the artwork is done. Hopefully not as long as two weeks, but we'll see.
Cleanup on "Daddy's World" and "High Barratry" (made an audacity project out of the live wav file, and trimmed off a little applause). Gave another listen to my vocals in "Bugs", "Daddy's World", and "TEOTW" and decided that bass boost wasn't necessary. (This included actually trying it on "TEOTW" -- barely noticable -- and doing A/B comparisons with "World Inside the Crystal" which is one of my gold standards.)
The only tracks still needing cleanup are "Little Computing Machine" and "Someplace in the Net"; EQ wants to be checked on those plus "I Wanna Be a Webmaster", "Guilty Pleasures", and "Mushrooms".
(later:) EQ on "Net" is OK. "Guilty"'s OK. "Mushrooms" is OK. "Wannabe"'s OK. So that leaves cleanup on "Net" and cleanup with possible bass boost on "LCM". OTOH it may just need a little more reverb.
18:45: "Net" done. There's one spot in the second verse where which version to use is really too close to call; I'm going to go with what I have.
19:35: Cleanup done on "LCM"; EQ and part selection close. Audacity's "acoustic" curve seems to help a fraction. I'm going to sit on it for a while and have some dinner.
Just after Baycon cflute and I listened to the album on my livingroom stereo and Callie noticed that the bass was exceptionally boomy. The effect largely went away on my high-quality headphones or my studio monitors (which, admittedly, don't have a whole lot of bass).
Giving it another listen in the livingroom, I finally realized why: It's not that my speakers are particularly bass-heavy, it's all the junk piled in front of them. In particular, piled right in front of the tweeters. It's not that they have a lot of bass, it's that the treble is being attenuated. A lot.
I feel much better now that I understand it.
I listened to the album twice today -- once in the car, and once on my computer at work (through both headphones and a set of cheap earbuds). It's sounding ok. Levels are pretty good. Nothing that sends me out of the room screaming. I'll do a couple more checks tomorrow.
The artwork's going slower than I'd like, but it's my own damned stupid fault. It should be heading out to Oasis by the end of the month, I think. With luck, I might have some disks in hand by ConChord.( Depressed whining. Don't bother. )
Cleanup on 6 more tracks: "Cicero", "Silk and Steel", "Demon Lover", "TEOTW", "Vampire Megabyte", "World Inside the Crystal". That leaves only the four tracks that might still need a little actual work: "High Barratry", which needs to have the .wav file copied out of the concert directory; "Daddy's World", where I still feel there's some work to be done; and "Little Computing Machine" and "Someplace in the Net", both of where I want to go back and compare the last two of my vocal parts to see which is better on which verse. "Daddy's World" has a lot of clicks where my fingernails hit the pick-guard when I strum; not clear whether to try again or leave them in. I've never managed to play that one without clicks, so it might be a lot of frustrating work for nothing.
There are some developments in the non-audio status, too. I've been making notes on the graphics, and decided to ship them off to artbeco to be turned into real Photoshop files by a real artist. The other possibility was to download a trial copy of CS3, struggle through the layout on my own, and come up with something that looks like it was done by a programmer pretending to be a graphic designer. Or throw money at Oasis; their designers are good and professional, but they don't know me and don't have a history with the project.
The remaining tasks are to give the cleaned-up tracks another couple of rounds of listen-and-tweak, get some additional text and logo graphics to artbeco, and to cook up a permission-to-publish form for the performers to sign.( I could use some advice on that... )
I've started the cleanup process: this consists of copying the most
recent version of each track to a fresh Audacity project called
to-ccs, and removing all the tracks that are muted out. This
should result in a cleaner final track, even if the difference isn't
audible in most cases. I know there's some audible
bleed-through. So far I've done "guilty", "alphabet", "mushroom",
"stuck", and "wannabe", so that's a one less than 1/3 done. It goes
quickly, though; there are only a couple of tracks that will need more
tweaking before I can clean them up.
I also have a preliminary version of a summary of the graphics and layout work still needed. Still needs some work.
Well, I think I have a pretty good idea now of what I want in the way of graphics for the album. What I don't have is any way of getting from vague ideas to something Oasis can actually, like, print. I have absolutely no talent for graphic design, and no experience with the tools I'd need. Spent about an hour playing with The Gimp and Inkscape (comparable in capability and complexity to Photoshop and Illustrator, respectively) and discovered that it would probably take me several days to get to the point where I could even do an approximation of what I want.
I may have one or two coworkers I can turn to. Not clear; it's a very busy couple of weeks at work. I will probably end up throwing more money at Oasis -- their rates are actually pretty reasonable.
Meanwhile, I think the main thing I have to do to the tracks is cleanup. Audacity doesn't seem to have a way to leave a track in the project but not in the mix -- you can mute them on playback, but they still get added in when you export. Reducing the volume sort of works, but they're still in there adding to the noise floor, and although I suppose you could expand the scale to the point where you really could reduce them down to zero, it'll be simpler to just copy the projects and delete the tracks I don't want. Not rocket science -- I think I can do it pretty quickly, then re-tweak the mixes if necessary.
Next week sometime? It's not totally impossible, if I can just keep focussed on -- Oooh! Shiny!
Took my new little UP3 ogg player out for my walk this morning. Five miles again (might actually be a little longer, or I may just be walking more slowly than I used to). Nice and clear. There was a nasty moment when I heard childrens' voices over "Paper Pings", but it wasn't there when I checked again on the way home. Not on the CD, which I was playing in the car, nor on the player when I pulled over by the Rose Garden and gave it a careful listen. Must have been in the background when I was walking.
Came home (after looking for whistles at Guitar Center and coming up empty, as expected) and looked online. Turns out A whistles are generally considered "low whistles" and are somewhat scarce, though I turned them up at Susato who seem to have a very complete and not terribly expensive line-up.
The best website I've found so far appears to be Chiff & Fipple: The Tinwhistle Internet Experience. From the FAQ:
Q: What is a tinwhistle?
A: Ok. The tinwhistle, also called a pennywhistle, a tin whistle, a penny whistle, or just plain "whistle," is an end-blown fipple flute which utilizes the 6-hole, "simple" flute fingering system. This is an old system that predates modern "Boehm" flutes. In popular usage, the word "fipple" often refers to the sound generating system in which air is blown through a channel, split by a blade--which causes turbulence in the area--which produces vibration--which produces sound. And so on. The 6-hole system consists of open, unkeyed holes, normally covered by your fingers and uncovered in various patterns to produce notes. The 6-hole system also appears on instruments such as fifes, bamboo flutes, 10-speed bicycles and many Tex-Mex chili dishes.
I started looking for an A whistle because I've been hearing a countermelody for "Someplace in the Net" that I think would work well on a whistle. But even if I'd found one, and even if I could play it straight off without practicing (HAH!), I don't think there's time to get it onto the CD, which is close enough to done that I'm actively looking for things not to fix. For example, the drum parts on "Guilty Pleasures" and "Wannabe" would benefit from fixing a couple of missed beats. Worthwhile? Probably not. If I started tweaking those I might not come up for air until next week sometime. That would be bad.
After the album is in the can, I'm going to get back to flute, recorder, and whistle. Really. Meanwhile, I have verified that my Yamaha recorder can be tuned a quarter-tone flat. Evil is possible. OK, it's not as potentially evil as what you could do with a 12-string.
Tracks worked on this afternoon: "Little Computing Machine": pulled up the guitar part a little. "Vampire Megabyte": pulled up a too-quiet word at the start of the last verse. Decided that "Daddy's World" is just fine without a percussion part. So I can stick a fork in that one, too.