mdlbear: (ccs)

In 1985 I wrote a song called: "The World Inside the Crystal". At the time there didn't seem to be any songs about computers, or programming, that weren't meant to be funny. (I think there might have been a few about AI or robots that were meant to be scary. It's entirely possible that this was the first serious computer song ever written.)

I also wanted to explore the notion that inside of computers is an alternate universe where magic works. I don't remember whether I came up with that, or somebody else mentioned it to me; it was definitely an idea that I was kicking around at that time. Kick it far enough, and it winds up someplace like this:

Beside the world we live in Apart from day and night Is a world ablaze with wonder Of magic and delight Like a magic crystal mirror, My computer lets me know Of the other world within it Where my body cannot go. chorus: You can only see the shadows Of electrons on a screen From the world inside the crystal That no human eye has seen. The computer is a gateway To a world where magic rules Where the only law is logic Webs of words the only tools Where we play with words and symbols And creation is the game For our symbols have the power To become the things they name. chorus Now you who do not know this world Its dangers or its joys You take the things we build there And you use them as your toys. You trust them with your fortunes, Or let them guard your lives. From the chaos of creation Just their final form survives. chorus Call us hackers, call us wizards, With derision or respect, Still our souls are marked by something That your labels can't affect. Though our words are touched by strangeness There is little we can say. You would only hear the echo Of a music far away. chorus

I can always tell the programmers in the audience -- they've been there. It won a Pegasus Award for "Best Science Song" in 1997, possibly because I mentioned it on Usenet.

There are several different recordings. The one to start with is Kathy Mar's cover here, off of her tape Plus &csedilla;a Change, with an awesome synth track by Chrys Thorsen. The one on my CD is okay, although I'm not all that happy with it now. It's way too fast, for one thing, and there isn't an instrumental break before the last verse. It's on YouTube courtesy of my distributor, CD Baby.

There have been some good ones in concerts. The one at Consonance 2009, with Tres Gique, is one of the better ones. Here's another, at Baycon 2009. Consonance 2012 appears to be my best (recorded) solo performance. Audio players don't come off all that well on DW, but I'll close with one anyway.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

It's a bit of a grab-bag today. I found myself needing to finally learn the melody to a couple of songs that I'd so far only played guitar on, because I want to do them in my upcoming concert at Consonance. You know that thing about dominos? That.

So the only recordings I could find were back in 2009. And, for some unaccountable reason, I hadn't put up the audio for that concert. It soon became clear that one reason I hadn't was that the performer tags in the audio files were wrong...

... and once I'd fixed that, I decided to put my concert index into a sensible, most-recent-first format. (It had been most recent year first, but most recent last within each year.) So that's done now. And Baycon 2008 didn't have an index.html file. It does now.

So here you go:

... and if you're still with me, there's a somewhat off-the-wall bonus. You see, this week the R&D lab I work for publicly announced a subsidiary in India called Ricoh Innovations Private Limited (RIPL)

So what was the first song that popped into my head when first I heard about it? Right. The Grateful Dead - Ripple. I've been waiting five months to post that one...

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

The morning was pretty productive -- I got Tres Gique's Baycon concert indexed and shifted around the links under to reflect the new directory organization. It all still needs to be automated, but that's a different matter. In the evening I wrote index files for the Consonance concerts, so one can now navigate around without running into errors.

Had an intensely frustrating time with Kaiser, involving five phone calls and an in-person visit to find out that their caregiver support group is more general than the blurb on the website suggests. Another visit to find out that, no, there's simply no way I could have found this out on the web or with email. Phone or nothing.

I did a little meditation scattered around in odd moments, and I've started using a new "to.done" flag, "|", to mark body sensations, much the same way I use "!" to mark emotions.

A delightful phone call from [ profile] cflute in the evening led me to order Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn; since I also had a recommendation from two weeks ago for Wherever You Go, There You Are by the same author, I ordered that too, and found a used copy of the Caregiver Helpbook from Legacy Caregiver Services, which I'd seen earlier while looking for caregiver support groups.

We went to bed at 10pm, and I didn't get up until 9:30 this morning. That's at least 5 hours out of what I think of as a "normal" day that I didn't have. This is annoying.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

The biggest thing I accomplished yesterday was splitting up my recording of Tres Gique's concert at Baycon. But by far the best thing that happened was Colleen taking a shower. Getting her up the two small steps and into her walk-in tub was a bit of a project, but it was the first time she'd had any kind of real bath since the middle of February, and we were both ecstatic over it.

No walk, though, very little actual work, and no luck finding a caregiver support group. I'm going to simply walk in to Kaiser this morning if I can't connect by phone. Communities, if they have them, mostly don't appear to put listings on their websites. You'd think that a website with the name California Caregiver Resource Centers would have something more useful. So, you might think, would the Family Caregiver Alliance with which they're associated. The latter does appear to have a listserv that may be useful.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth, though I sometimes feel as though it might be a welcome vacation. This is just a quick note from Baycon -- I haven't even had time to update my list with completed items. No, I will not tweet them.

High order bits:

The Tres Gique concert kicked serious ass -- probably our best yet. In spite of (or perhaps because of) our having to vamp for half an hour or so while the next act got unstuck from traffic. And we were afraid we were running a little long...

The Tempered Glass concert kicked ass, in spite of Callie losing her voice mid-song toward the beginning of the set. And Naomi having a blood-sugar crash, and my voice flagging a little. We adjusted, moved on, would have had to drop a song anyway, and made it through.

Filk tonight was great fun, though I wish we could have stayed longer.

Caring for Colleen took up a good chunk of time and energy. So did caring for a five-year-old, even a fun, articulate, well-behaved five-year-old.

And finally, an Announcement: Colleen and I are fan guests of honor at next year's Baycon!!!

More if I ever have time.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

It was a pretty good day, with glimmerings of hope.

I went to the site to check on my order for Colleen's scooter, only to find that it had actually shipped Wednesday morning, and was due to be delivered today!

Kat said "I loves you, mdlbear" in an IM, for no particular reason except that she was thinking about me. Wow.

Colleen surprised her PT with how well she's doing, and had an appointment with her gastroenterologist where she got prescriptions that will, hopefully, take care of the diarrhea. He said by Tuesday. She's already revising plans for Saturday, but I remain skeptical.

Naomi and I settled on a tentative set list for Tempered Glass's Baycon concert, and Joyce and Jordan came over for a Tres Gique rehearsal where we firmed up that setlist.

Yeah, a pretty good day. I think I was mostly happy and guardedly hopeful, though too busy to really think about it much.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Apart from a trip out to Cosentino's with Colleen, the day had more discouragement than otherwise: Colleen's diarrhea still wasn't under control (that may be changing with new meds today, but we'll see), we still hadn't gotten tracking information for her scooter (it arrives tomorrow!) and we decided to cancel Saturday's trip to her cousin's party (also back under consideration). That last was sad, but also something of a relief, and laid the groundwork for a calm, pleasant evening.

For me, that started off with a totally unexpected call from [ profile] cflute -- I'm delighted that she feels free to call me when she's not feeling cheerful. (Though of course I'd rather have her too happy to call me.) I also got a delightful backrub, and worked on Tres Gique's setlist for Baycon with Joyce.

Several people mentioned that I appeared to be much more relaxed than the last time they saw me. I'd noticed too, which is unusual in the first place. It's even more unusual for me to have my self-assessment validated by other people's observations.

I must be making progress, even though it seems slow at times.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090309 )

After a frantic morning, including checking out of the hotel, re-arranging sets at the last minute so Joyce (Tres Gique's bass player) wouldn't have to come back on stage for one song with Tempered Glass and filling the gap with something I had to learn the chords to in 20 minutes, I got on stage with minutes to spare and played and sang for two consecutive 50-minute concerts. Tres Gique sounded as good as they ever have. And the new group, Tempered Glass, kicked ass. Or was that glass.

I spent the rest of the day in a happy, bemused daze wondering how in blazes we'd managed to pull it all off.

And in the evening, after taking [ profile] pocketnaomi and [ profile] cflute to a well-earned dinner, we went up to Colleen's room at Kaiser and reprised the whole TGl set for her. We win.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090306 )

It was a long, very busy, very productive day. Between talking to a lot of people at Kaiser, fielding more on the phone, and making an inquiry for N., I was well past my usual limits for interacting with strangers without much strain. I seem to be getting a lot better at that. Friends are still a problem when I don't have much to say; [ profile] cflute suggested saying "I was just thinking of you".

There was a lot of good, and occasionally deep, conversation in between the musical work. That went really well: Callie, Naomi and I really clicked as a group. The fact that I'm good friends with both of them is part of it, but there's also the fact that our working styles seem to mesh almost perfectly.

As an aside, I'm very proud of Kat for working as our roadie and gofer during the day. She placed the order with a local Chinese joint, and when we found out that they weren't delivering today walked the couple of blocks to fetch it. Colleen was proud, too, when I told her last night.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

With Consonance coming up, it seems only reasonable to mention that my band, Tres Gique, will have a 45-minute concert slot on Saturday Sunday, at 1pm. I just got a look at the program grid and there it is. My apologies for the temporary confusion to all the people I told it was Sunday; it got changed quite a while ago (I had the choice between 1/2 hour on Sunday and 45 minutes on Saturday), but I neglected to update my calendar. Sorry about that.

I will be performing on Sunday at 1:45, as well, with [ profile] pocketnaomi and [ profile] cflute.

mdlbear: (audacity)

Many projects and subtasks have been stalled for a long time. Two of them got done this morning.

First, I hooked up my new printer (Epson Workforce 600) to Dorsai, downloaded the latest version of Gutenprint, and it worked. No such luck with Nova, which is still running Etch: the latest version of Gutenprint available for it is too old. I have the choice of either trying to backport, or upgrading to Lenny. I'll choose the latter, later.

Second, I dragged in a music stand, headset mic, and Flame; hooked them up, and recorded a couple of test tracks of [ profile] pocketnaomi's Riverheart. Oh. My. [ogg] [mp3]

A couple of minor vocal/wording glitches, and a few mic position/level tweaks still needed, but nice and clean; not bad for the second take of the day. The headset mic is close enough to my mouth that there's almost no guitar crosstalk. We likes it.

Waves to [ profile] pocketnaomi.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

When I woke up this morning I discovered that Colleen had been up most of the night thinking about re-arranging the house; essentially swapping the "media alcove", where we did music all weekend, and the sewing/guest room. More on the weekend later, in at least three posts; this post is just about the proposed re-arrangement.

It would work. It would put music out of the traffic pattern and toward the quiet end of the house, and put sewing out where Colleen and Marty could work together and socialize.

The sewing room is 9' by 10'6". The door is on one of the short walls, opposite the window; the closet is on the door side of a long wall.

The part of the living room we were actually using is about 9' square, but with the ability to spill out a couple of feet into the living room and behind the media tower; 11' square would be more like it.

We would put the "stage" on the long wall. It would mean taking most of the shelves out, but that's easy. Sleeping... if we used folding chairs there'd probably be room for the airbed, but it would be very tight. A better solution might be a comfortable chair, for example the new recliner, that folds out into a single bed. That would probably mean wrapping the musicians around the corner; there isn't room next to the door. Tricky. Another solution would be a long couch, provided it gave enough back support.

Moving back to the living room, it's already possible to curtain it off. A conventional couch or, better, love seat that folds out into a bed would be ideal; we've thought about that option already. In the shorter term we could use the airbed there.

Another thing that needs to be done is replacing Colleen's computer desk in the bedroom with a love seat. That, plus decluttering my side of the bed by getting all the music stuff out, would open up the bedroom for conversation and comfortable sit-up snuggle (not to mention leaving enough room to expand the bed to king sized, in the form of a pair of hospital beds).

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090213 )
mdlbear: (audacity)

Yesterday I ordered an SM Pro Audio PR8E 8 Channel Mic Preamp from AMS. Got the last one in stock, and free shipping. It'll go perfectly with the line mixer I got a couple of weeks ago, and one of the 8-channel soundcards. Has combination XLR/phone jacks, so it'll work for an arbitrary mix of either mics or instruments.

It's unlikely to be here in time for Tres Gique's rehearsal session next weekend (!!), but that's OK because nothing else is ready, either. We are, however, pretty far along on getting the entertainment corner of the living room cleared out enough to practice in.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I didn't notice the zombies, but they appear to have snuck in and eaten my brain anyway. Or maybe it was little fuzzy telepaths.

I looked up my recent mood shift: I appear to have been mostly happy between September 24th and October 17th. For some reason it seems like much longer ago.

Things still aren't getting done -- realized this morning that I hadn't even put "splitting up concert recordings from Conflikt" on my list. It really ought to get done before the next practice session, which is next weekend! That and splitting the last practice session, which was a month ago. And OVFF. And...

I've had some breakfast. I'll try going out for a walk soon, if it hasn't started raining. I don't think that will help get stuff done, but it might help a little with my mood. Maybe.

I've been awake since about 5am. Some good snuggle, but Colleen's back asleep now. Feeling lonely and discouraged and bored and restless. Yeah, I know -- all symptoms of depression. The happy pills can kick in any damned time now. And cold; I can fix that. Except I want to go out for a walk. Where it's even colder.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Joyce, Dave and Jordan came over briefly last night; neither of us was in particularly good voice but we got in a couple of songs: "Martian Love Song", "Big Italian Rose", "Paper Wings", "Ship of Stone", and "Millennium's Dawn". [ profile] hvideo came over just as the Ugglas were leaving, unfortunately.

The post-nasal drip that's been plaguing me for the last month seems to be abating -- that either means that I'm recovering from the cold, the allergen has stopped blooming, or the damned thing's finally been drugged into submission. I don't seem to need the time-release phenylephrine anymore, but loperamide is going to stay in my evening pill salad for a while.

mdlbear: (audacity)

On the way back from an appointment at Kaiser Campbell on Tuesday I stopped at Guitar Showcase and found a Peavy 8-channel line-level mixer in their consignment shop for $50. Score.

That, spliced in on a Y connection between an 8-channel preamp (which I have yet to acquire) and one of my 8-channel soundcards, will give me a monitor mix. It's a 2U rack mount; at some point I'm going to want a rolling rack for this stuff.

Did I mention the plan to set up a permanent rehearsal space in the small arm of the L-shaped living room? (Yes, briefly.) This would, of course, be part of it.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Spent some time last night with [ profile] cflute working on a harmony part for Mike Richards' "Will Ye Come Back Home?" (since there are a couple of lines in the chorus that are way too high for me to sing, and it needs a low harmony anyway), followed by several hours tunesmithing "A Talk With the Middle-Sized Bear". Which, if you're paying attention, now has Callie as co-composer. Don't have a recording of the new melody, but there's a MIDI file if you can handle one of those. It crashed my ancient Iceweasel, but plays fine in timidity.

We finally crashed a little before 1am.

As far as process goes, it was me on guitar and vocals, with Callie transcribing into Concertware and me revising the lead sheet in Emacs. It would be good to have a note editor on Linux that imports Concertware files, though I suppose I can get by with something that can import MIDI files.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

I see that I haven't posted anything substantial about Tres Gique's rehearsal "weekend" (which actually started Friday evening and will end tomorrow about 5pm). And I haven't unpacked and labeled the recordings, so I don't have a list of everything we've done. This is, therefore, basically an overview.

Friday [ profile] cflute ended up getting in late and worn out due to airport stupidity. Fortunately I'd already decided that the day was likely to be mostly a write-off as far as actual rehearsal was concerned, and invited the Ugglas to come down for dinner, socializing, and planning. That worked well, and we got in a few songs into the bargain. The band's eminence grise, [ profile] pocketnaomi, joined via Skype (on my Macbook) and IM (to [ profile] cflute's laptop).

Saturday was our day for socializing, while the Ugglas were out of town. Fun, if a little tiring. But I've already posted about that.

Yesterday we went in to $COMPANY's office and set up in a conference room, in hopes of being able to rehearse there the next two days. It was a good session, but we spent about an hour in setup. The best part, by far, was having Naomi on the projector where we could all see what she was typing. Big win. Good session; ended about 5pm and left things mostly set up except for Callie's instruments.

I got a call this morning from $COMPANY asking us not to play in the conference room during business hours -- apparently the walls are paper-thin, which is something I hadn't known and hadn't bothered to check. So Dave and I trundled up a little before noon, packed up the remaining gear and put the room back pretty much the way we found it. Setup at the Starport didn't take nearly as long as yesterday, largely because my gear and Callie's were already in place, and we didn't have to figure out what to do with the conference table. We did have to move a few chairs and so on; most of them ended up in the office, where I no longer have room to swing a cat. That's OK; the Cat hasn't been able to square-dance in years.

I put my Macbook where it could be more-or-less seen; it wasn't perfect but it was halfway decent. With a bigger monitor (or younger eyes) it would have worked. The set-up will work out wonderfully tomorrow, since it's half an hour closer to the airport, Callie's luggage is already there, and I won't be needed to mind the door for packing up. We'll gain at least an hour on that one. It's also better because Callie and I won't have to spend half an hour commuting each way. (It's about a wash for the Ugglas.)

After the [ profile] chaoswolf moves out, presumably taking her wedding presents and some of the furniture, we'll have a media room again. The wall where the couch is currently located is about the same length as a stage, and I'll be able to set up my guitar, a music stand, monitor speakers and a mixer and leave them there. That'll be a huge win logistically. We should also have a newer and bigger TV by then; it'll work for Naomi's backchannel and perhaps the occasional bit of whiteboard space.

With liberal amounts of Throat Coat and Emergen-C (which I find palatable only in hot water), my voice seems to be coming back; it was nearly gone yesterday, but I was able to sing lead on a couple of songs today.

It's not exactly logistics, but I also spent some time writing Emacs commands for adding chords to lead sheets: they make the job go much faster, and since most songs need chords on all the lines, that's a big win. I also need to write a transposer; that'll be pretty easy in Perl.


2008-12-28 06:59 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Naturally, I would pick Tres Gique's rehearsal weekend to get a sore throat. At least I'm not coughing my head off the way Selkit and Colleen have been. Looks like I'll be concentrating on guitar work, and letting Joyce and Callie take lead. They need to do that more anyway.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

We have a [ profile] cflute! She arrived around noon yesterday, having missed her 9am flight due to airport stupidity. The Ugglas (Joyce, Dave, and Jordan) arrived while she was still napping; then we had dinner and talked about what songs we wanted to add to our repertoire.

The Ugglas were out of town today, so this was our day for socializing with the Owl. We went up Highway 9 to Roaring Camp. Having gotten a late start we didn't expect to catch the steam train, which left at noon, but we found when we got there that they'd added another train at 2:00pm. So we did that. Fun trip, though we ended up separated after we found only room for one on the first car we climbed into, with Colleen unwilling to move. Good trip anyway, and we had a couple of hours in the car together in any case.

Dinner at Chicago Steak and Seafood, in Los Gatos. Yum; although I ended up letting Callie drive home -- their idea of a Tanqueray 10 up appears to involve at least two ounces of gin. I don't object, really, but...

We've been spending a quiet evening working on the occasional lead sheet and swapping songs with [ profile] hvideo.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

This is a follow-up to my upstream posts Tres Gique: Weekend of Win and Tres Gique: Weekend Wrap-up, this time from the point of view of the River posts.

A weekend is barely enough time for catching up with a friend. Fill it with 8 hours of rehearsal, a couple hours of commute time, lunch and snack breaks, and add the fact that [ profile] cflute is not only my good friend but Colleen's. I got plenty of time with Callie, but most of that time was busy and tightly focussed. All the one-on-one time was spent in my car, and while I can talk and drive, I can't concentrate as much as I like to do when I'm talking with a friend.

Colleen, of course, got even less time -- she'd wanted to at least do a little recreational shopping. Schedules permitting, we'll have to try tacking an extra day onto the next visit.


Colleen ended up feeling excluded, even though she excluded herself because she knows that listening to us rehearse would drive her crazy. And because she knows that if she's around we'll be trying to entertain her -- perform for her -- rather than working on the hard parts in a way that would be excruciating for someone who listens to music purely for pleasure.

Next time we'll have streaming audio, probably using icecast, with a text backchannel probably using either IRC or Jabber. That will mean that remote participants like Colleen and [ profile] pocketnaomi can be flies on the wall if they want to, and drop out quietly if they're bored.

Having Colleen cater lunch on Saturday was highly successful. Next time we'll have her come in with a snack on Sunday as well, which will hopefully make her feel even more connected and give her a chance to say goodbye to Callie, and sit in on our last session if she wants to.


We had a different set of problems with [ profile] pocketnaomi, who wanted to be included even though she was stuck up in Seattle. Our initial attempt on Saturday, using a cell phone, was disastrous: Callie interpreted N's saying that the sound quality was barely tolerable as meaning that she didn't want to continue listening. The result was a very upset PocketPerson on the other end of the line, especially since Callie and I turned our cell phones off at that point.

Sunday we set up Skype on my laptop, which was much better, especially after we turned off the video. We used IM (to Callie's laptop) as the backchannel. Naomi told me the next day that

I'm quite happy communicating to you in text while being able to hear you but not be heard. It means if I need to deal with the kids or ask someone a question or rustle the pages of my book, I'm not interfering.

The only glitch came when we took a break, and both of our laptops timed out and dropped the connections. Leaving an upset PocketPerson on the other end of the line again. This time, fortunately, we were able to recover quickly and almost gracefully.

The lessons for next time )
mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

This is the second or third (depending on whether you count this one) post about last weekend's Tres Gique rehearsal session. The first was titled Weekend of Win, which sort of gives you the general idea. There will be one more, on the River aspects. You'll find the links for the weekend's music here. (There's also a technical report on issues of interest to some of my coworkers; I probably won't post it on LJ.)

[ profile] cflute got in late Friday night, after nearly missing her flight because she believed the airline when they said it would be leaving two hours late. If I hadn't already had a flight tracker up when N. called from the car, ...

Saturday we went up to our secret mountain hide-out $COMPANY to use one of their conference rooms; ended up in a lobby/lounge area in the administrative half of the suite that offered a little more convenience, comfort, and space without having to move tables around.

We started out with a couple of songs that we all agreed we wanted to work up: "Gilda and the Dragon", and Fred Small's "Big Italian Rose" and "Everything Possible". Then a couple of older ones that we're all pretty familiar with: "Cicero" and "The Owl and the Pussycat". At which point I realized that I ought to have been recording, and hauled out the Zoom H2. We did "The River", "The Toolmakers", and "The Stuff That Dreams are Made Of".

The final chords of "Stuff" were interruped around 12:30 by Colleen and [ profile] chaoswolf arriving with lunch, in the form of a big pot of chicken curry. Yum. Kat stayed for the afternoon, though I think she was mostly bored.

In the afternoon we did another run-through of "Stuff", worked pretty hard on "Millennium's Dawn", and finished on a high note with "Quiet Victories". That's the point where Joyce decided it was worth investing in a bass, which she'd been thinking of for a while.

Sunday we gathered at Joyce's place, which meant that Dave didn't have to schlep the sound equipment. The room is wonderful for sound; the four-footed denizens less so, between interruptions and allergies.

Sunday was awesome. It was clear from the first song ("Cicero" again) that Joyce has found her instrument of choice, and that the band is clearly a band and not just a bunch of random filkers getting together the Friday before a con.

OK, there's undoubtedly a lot of New {Instrument, Group} Energy involved, but we can put that to good use. There's still a little doubt about whether we can sustain a once-a-month practice schedule both logistically and financially, and whether we can do enough work, separately or in small groups, between sessions to make it work. But at this point it looks hopeful.

[ profile] cflute left Sunday evening. The weekend was intense, highly productive, and way too short.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I said in this post that I would be trying to carve out an hour a day for music and/or writing. I haven't been keeping careful track, but given that Tres Gique put in 7 or 8 hours' worth of practice time over the weekend, I've been doing ok on average.

Most of this week has been spent splitting up the recordings of the practice sessions -- not too creative, I'm afraid -- and writing up summaries and a technical report. I've gotten a little writing done on drafts in the River; I'll try to get at least one of those posted tomorrow.

I'm still finding it deeply weird that I seem to have slipped into the role of relationship consultant ("counselor" is too strong, I think) for geeks and people in love with geeks.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

From now on, I'll be using the short tag tg on posts that refer to Tres Gique in its current configuration (Tres Gique 2.0). I'll leave the older tag, tres-gique, to refer to the old version of the group. (Added: I may also use the long tag for things like gig and album announcements.)

One reason for doing this is to make it clearer when I use "tg-" as a prefix on subtopic tags, like tg-weekend.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

I mentioned a while ago in this post that Tres Gique, the band I started back in 2007, is in the process of re-inventing itself and would be getting together every month or so for regular practice sessions. We had the first one this last weekend.


I'm going to skip right to the bottom line. As of Saturday things were still a bit iffy: we sounded like our usual selves: a bunch of filkers who get together the day before a con to practice. But we had fun, and were together enough by Saturday evening that Joyce decided to hit Starving Musician on the way home and get an electric bass. From the first song on Sunday, we sounded like a band. Awesome and win.

Like, wow.

You'll find the links for the weekend here. Start with Sunday. Heck with that; start at the end with Millennium's Dawn[mp3] [ogg].

(More detail to follow, later today and tomorrow.)

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

I never do NaNoWriMo; between Loscon and a full pre-holiday schedule November is just too full to attempt any such thing. Besides, I have a lot of trouble with plot.

Instead, my plan is to carve out at least an hour a day for either music or writing, preferably an hour of each. I'll be blogging about my progress, if any, under the nono tag.

I can't say that I've been entirely successful so far: Saturday was the household party and yesterday was Lamplighters. But I did do at least an hour's worth of singing and noodling on Saturday, and yesterday I tracked down a couple of songs and got chords, lyrics and rips into the filesystem in preparation for the Tres Gique practice session this coming weekend.

I'm not going to count ordinary blogging (e.g. links, memes, fluff, and so on), only the kind of one-subject post that merits a tag in the subject line (e.g. "River:" or "Travels with Plink and Cthulhu"). I will count work on drafts, software, web pages, and so on. Hopefully I can clear out some of my River backlog in the process. The probability that I will get 50K words done is low, however.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

(Takes deep breath. Jumps off cliff.)

"My" Toastmaster concert at ConChord this year was actually a Tres Gique concert, and it went off remarkably well considering that we really only had two rehearsals together as a group since last May, and that the set included three songs we'd never done as a group before.

It wasn't awesome. Parts of it came close, though. Quiet Victories, even with a couple of flubs and my flagging voice, was very close to awesome. I don't usually tear up listening to recordings.

Callie's partner, Naomi, pointed out that we could be awesome, consistently, if we got together every 4-6 weeks for a weekend of intensive practice. So that's what we're going to do. Or at least try to do -- we'll get together sometime in mid-November and see how it goes.

This is going to mean some big changes.

The biggest change for me is that we're not going to be "Steve Savitzky and his occasional backup group" anymore. We'll be doing a mix of my songs and other people's songs -- we won't even stick to filk; Joyce has been singing folk since forever. We'll try writing stuff jointly -- I have some ideas about that. I won't always be lead singer (I can hear the cheers from the audience already). I won't get nearly as many concerts as just me -- that's part of the price. But I'll learn to be a better performer, and my concerts, with or without TG, will sound a lot better -- that's the payoff.

For Callie and Joyce, the big change will be that they'll have equal billing as performers in the group, not just as part of some singer-songwriter's backup group. That's what happened to Callie with Echo's Children: she was many people thought of her as just Cat's backup and never became known as the fantastic performer she is.

Jordan, our drummer, will stay in that role at least for a couple of years; eventually he may move out, go into impoverished college student mode, and we'll have to worry about what to do next. Kat, who's performed with us a couple of times, won't be able to make it down from Canada for rehearsals; she can sit in via streaming audio if she wants, but mostly will become our Webmistress. Things will sort themselves out.

Joyce's husband Dave, who has been doing live sound for her and others for years at folk dance camps, will be the official Sound Guy. Colleen is, of course, Catering and Hospitality, and possibly logistics.

Now, about that version number. Back around the end of last year Kat and I came up with a version-numbering scheme: I was 1.0, Callie and Joyce were 0.1 and 0.2 respectively; Jordan and Kat were 0.0.1 and 0.0.2 respectively. Add 'em up. Wwll, we're not playing mix-and-match anymore, and I'm not the main performer anymore. So, Tres Gique 2.0.

If this comes off, we'll have our first concert at Consonance or Baycon.


2008-10-03 07:01 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I didn't think I could get this drunk on one goddamned glass of gin.

The Cat is still seriously under the weather. I'm glad I went to work today (after an impromptu meeting I have considerably less to do for an impending demo). But she's doing a lot worse than she was this morning, and I don't like the look of it.

Meanwhile, the kids are off at Silicon. It seems I have one panel to give tomorrow afternoon, but apart from that I'm off the hook.

Mostly I'll be spending the weekend at home, taking care of my Cat and working on music and the Tres Gique website, which needs it. More precisely, I'll be working on our collaboration environment. More on that soon, I hope.

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