Tuesday, September 25, 2007

getting closer to the norm

The wife and I are finally getting things put back together downstairs. The family room no longer has shelves upon shelves of stuff and actually has even less since we moved the 'scrapbooking desk' downstairs since the little one liked pulling open the drawers and generally wrecking havoc on its contents.

The studio is finally back to its old self. The drums are set up so they can collect more dust on them. I moved a couple of things around but overall, it's still crowded. Ha!

The my parents came up this weekend which allow me and the wife to finally get some alone time in. We went to the Olive Garden and had some tasty food. I do find it almost insulting that they do have lunch portions for a cheaper price, but they don't list it anywhere on the menu they give you when you sit down.

Then, instead of seeing a movie, we pretty much just dorked around. We went to WalMart and got a new vacuum cleaner since the old one downstairs bit the dust after using it for 12 years (and I got that one used in the first place... so it's life span is probably closer to 20) and the one upstairs wasn't cleaning as well as it could have (it's one of the older bagless one) and it wouldn't stand up on its own (the little mechanism that allows it to do so was not happy). Then we dorked around at Odd Lots. And then we headed back.

On Sunday, I gots a bunch of crap done that needed to be done. One thing was putting down a protective strip of wood in front of the sliding door. The new one that we had put in a few years ago was a little less deep than the previous one, so there was a spot where the carpet didn't cover the subfloor which was a great place for pebbles and fur and crud to get into. Of course, when you are a little person, like my toddler, that's the perfect place to put your fingers and pull stuff out. However, that era has thankfully come to an end.

I also put together the new vacuum cleaner and swept the house. It's much quieter than the old bagless and cleans about twice as good and rolls very nicely. After putting the new one together, I took part the old one and gave it a good cleaning and fixed the stand up thing-a-ma-jig. Turns out the only problem was that a screw had come loose, much like its owner.

I also 'fixed' the kitchen table. Once of the legs had a split going, so I screwed in a couple of, um, screws in hopes that it will make the table last a little longer at least until we figure out what they hell were going to do in the future with making the family room into the dining room or something. Words.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something important here. Oh well. If I remember, I'll write it down.

I've updated The Music Counter to have the latest totals.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New stuff, Music stuff

* New Stuff *
Ok... not much really that new.

In blogger land, I switched from templates over to the layout format. I think in the long run it'll make more sense. I did this 'cause I wanted the 'Older Posts' link at the bottom of the page. After fiddling with it for the past 2 or 3 hours, I think I have everything back to normal. The only real difference is that the 'Stupid Things' now encompasses all of the archive. Blogger finally got their heads out of their bums and you can now sort newest to oldest by default so you don't have to hack the page. I lost the 'recent posts' section (which used to be the 'Stupid Things...' section) but that's not that big of a loss since by default the page shows you the posts for the current month which is good enough for me.

In other new news, the basement is almost finished with being sealed and stuff. They missed a few small spots so they need to come back and complete that. I just wish the whole thing was done with, but alas it is not. But hopefully by the end of the week, all will be done and back in place in the basement. Kudos to the wife for helping me get a good hunk of stuff back downstairs. I don't tell her 'thank you' enough, so I'll do so publicly. Again. :-p I really am a b@stard sometimes.

* Music Stuff *
For those of you who were hoping that I had finally written and composed 'V: The Musical', you will be sorely disappointed. Since I failed to mention it in the music ideas post a few weeks ago, V: The Musical is, as you may have guessed, a musical version of the V mini-series. I dubbed the two V mini-series from the library about 3 years ago I think. This stemmed from a conversation me and the wife had late one night while both suffering from a bout of insomnia. It will be very Rodger's and Hammerstein-ish. The only lyrics I have thus far are: "Drats! Rats! That's all we can eat for now. Drats! Rats! So hungry I could eat a cow!" This would take place during the scene where some dude sneaks a peek into the spacecraft to see the Visitors woofing down rats instead of normal human food. Honestly, while I may have dubbed off the movie, I haven't sat down and watched it. The rats scene is the only thing I remember. But I digress.

The actual reason for the Music Stuff section is to announce a new counter on the side bar over here. ------------------------>

Basically since I've gotten hired at my new job, I've been listening to all the music I have on MP3. This is something like 100 discs or so. Way too many. But since I am a completist and have continued to stand by the notion that if I buy a record (or download in this case) that I will listen to it, I decided to listen through all these CDs (and in some cases DVDs). That's alot of music. As you can see, I've listened to 2326 songs which has taken approximately 304 hours 49 minutes 46 seconds. I'm sure that the song count and the time are within 1% if not a little less.

When calculating, I had to go back though all the CDs I had listened to already (which was probably around 30 or 40) and put them into WinAmp to get a total time. It would have been nice if I could have just used Windows to search for *.mp3 (since there are txt, m3u and other misc files on the discs as well), but when you do a search, you can't use the 'Enqueue in WinAmp' r-click function because windows does some sort of short hand. If you select _1_ file from the search results, it enqueques it just fine and dandy. But if you select more than one, WinAmp has no idea what you are talking about. I blame Microsoft for this one. I may have been able to use Windows MediaPlayer, it makes you play the song before trying to figure out how long the song is, whereas on WinAmp, if it's visible on the playlist, it looked up the time and displays the time (as well as calculates the total time for the playlist).

Um... not sure where else to go with this. I've listened to a crap load of music and have a crap load more to listen to.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What To Eat - Part II

In the first of the 'What To Eat' series, the husband was left to his own devices for lunch when his wife and kiddo were away. He chose to eat a Spam burger. And it was tasty.

Now, continuing the series, I give you 'What To Eat - Part II'. This part is my directorial debut. Nothing fancy. So, enjoy!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Two Triple Cheese, Side Order Of Fries

A long long long time ago, I used to watch Nickelodeon when I got home from school. One of the shows I used to watch was Turkey TV. Now, over they ears, I've talked to many different people who had Nick as a kid, but people only remember You Can't Do That On Television and Mr. Wizard's World. Not Turkey Television (or Turkey TV for short). Well, here is the intro to that show to prove I'm not nuts.

So how does that tie into my title? Well, on occasion they would show music videos for crazy songs. One of those songs was titled "Two Triple Cheese, Side Order of Fries" by Commander Cody. I attempted to locate this song but because I didn't have the title right, I was unsuccessful... until today.

This is a great song and pretty much anytime I am eating a big honking burger, I hear this song in my head. No lie. So without further ado, the video for 'Two Triple Cheese". I love how low budget and 80's this video is.

On a side note, Commander Cody was most famous for covering the song "Hot Rod Lincoln" in the 1970s, which you might know. It's also a great song as well.
If you care to watch. I'm not embedding this one.

That's all I got.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Musical Ideas I've Had That I May Or May Not Get To

Below is a list of musical ideas that I've thought about doing. Who knows when I'll get to them, but the thought is there. Enjoy (or not)!

Duke Amethyst
I've discussed this idea to people before. That was 4 1/2 years ago when I was in a King Diamond / Mercyful Fate musical phase. The idea was remaking songs from the 1970s in the style of King Diamond. Get it? King Diamond. Duke Amethyst. I had briefly researched which songs might work. Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" was the first one I picked. In fact, it was while singing the song in the car and straining to hit the high note when I thought to myself 'I bet King Diamond could hit that note'. The rest is history. The only other song that I had picked out was "Chevy Van" and that was simply because the guitar tab seemed simple enough for me to play.

I learned some interesting facts surrounding the Duke Amethyst name when looking up the wiki's on Duke and Amethyst.
1) A duke is historically of highest rank below the King. That's very fitting. There is only one King Diamond.
2) The amethyst crystal is typically 6-sided prism ending in 6-sided pyramid. The sixes are very appropriate given the satanic nature of Mercyful Fates music.
3) But most importantly, the reason I picked Duke Amethyst is because it matches my initials (DA).

Gertrude's Lemon Giraffe
Probably on my wife knows about this one. Gertrude's Lemon Giraffe is to be music in the vein of 1960's psychedelic music. The name came to me during the drive home from work one day when I was listening to alot of psychedelic music. The band names were always a bit on the odd side. Strawberry Alarm Clock. Chocolate Watch Band. Et cetera. Some also involved names (like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ala the Beatles psychedelic album). Others involved animals... and I have no examples there. So I figured I'd write a computer app that would mix and match all these types of things... namely names, flavors and animals. While running through what types of things would be generated by this app, Gertrude's Lemon Giraffe popped into my head and that was that.

I figured if I ever get to recording anything, the main focus of the music will be a guitar that is being run through the Drunken Sailor Flanger, which is a flanger guitar pedal that I circuit bent a few years back. Psychedelic bands occationally had weird sounding instruments so that would be my 'signature' sound.

A yet unnamed garage band
I never got to naming this one, but the music sound like a typical 1960's garage band. This one stems from my interest in, duh, garage band music like that found on the Nuggets boxset as well as the Pebbles compilations.

The lines between 1960's psychedelic rock and 1960's garage rock sometimes blur quite a bit and at times I have wondered if Gertrude's Lemon Giraffe should be the same as the garage band. In opinion, GLG is not a very 'garage' sounding name, though, there were bands like Sir Douglas Quintet and The Lollipop Shoppe and the aforementioned Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Chocolate Watchband that were on the Nuggets boxset. Usually garage bands have a 'the' in the title like The Leaves and The Shadows of Knight and The Outsiders and The Sonics.

Musically, I figured I could create a nice trashy sound using my circuit-bent Oxidizer Distortion Pedal. One of the settings on it is a nice buzzy fuzz sound that I think would work perfectly for the garage band sound.

There would also be lots of tambourine. I discovered that many of the bands used a tambourine to accent the down beat. I guess it gave the singer something else to take out his aggressions on besides the typically snarly vocals. I looked around for a while looking for a cheep tambourine. But I quickly found out there was no such thing. At least not in the typical circular tambourine model. Even used ones were 15 bucks and I'm not about to pay that much. So one day I was in the dollar store and saw this cheep-o plastic tambourine (which also came with some horrible maracas). But the jingles were of cheep aluminum and didn't have that nice 'ching' to them. But then I rounded the corner and there were these little sticks with jingles on them. And they had a nice ring to them, so I bought two of them for a dollar each. At the moment, I'm not really sure where in the house they are, but I do have them. So I have a tambourine for the album, just not in the traditional tambourine sense.

Another idea I had was that the album, when recorded, should have a 'live' feel to it. Meaning that in the background there will be lots of screaming of 'fans'. Back in the day, some studio execs created 'live' albums in the studio in order to create the image that the band had a big following and to also mask that the players were, well, not that talented. I figure I can loop some screaming from the Kiss Alive and Kiss Alive II albums (which, quite honestly, with the number of overdubs and redubs were techincally not live either) or grab some bootlegs from archive.org and steal the 'audience' from there. On top of the live feeling, I figured I'd have banter between the musicians. I thought I might even have one of the band members quit halfway through the show only to rejoin a couple songs later. I think the 'quitting' thing might be a bit much, but regular on stage banter might be okay. I guess it will depend on what mood I'm in when I record the 'dialogue'.

Yet unnamed progressive rock / avant garde band
This might possibly be two different bands quite honestly. Part of me wants to get my 'odd time signature' rocks off and part of me wants to utilize all the stupid toys and gizmos that I've circuit bent. Seems like good reason to start a Frank Zappa-ish band. I mean, Frank Zappa had songs that featured people playing bicycles and vacuum cleaners and whatnot.

But part of me wants a 'serious' progressive band on top of that. Not that Frank Zappa is not serious, but what music of his I've been exposed to is definitely not progressive in the way that Yes or King Crimson or early Genesis was, if you get my drift. But, there is only so much time in the world and if I ever get to this project, I just might have to find a 'musical' way to integrate my circuit bend stuff into my 'serious' prog rock band.

This pretty much feeds off of the progressive rock phase I've been on for a while. Lots of Dream Theater and Yes and Rush, in that order. I was reading the latest Modern Drummer magazine which was dedicated to prog rock drummers like Mike Portnoy. Bill Bruford, Neil Peart, Chris Pennie, etc etc etc and that got me thinking about odd time signatures and some experiments I had been meaning try like 5/4 phrases playing over 4/4 phrases or different ways to phrase things in 7/4 time (you can do 2-2-3, 3-2-2, 2-3-2, 3-2-2, 4-3, 3-4, 5-2, 2-5, 6-1, etc etc etc) or coming up with something in 11/8 time. That one kept me up last night. All I could think about was counting 1-2-3-4-5-61-2-3-4-5-61-2-3-4-5-61..., which is basically counting 6/4 except chopping off the second eighth note (1 and 2... and 5 and 6 1 and 2 ... ). I think it would take me a while to learn to 'groove' to that time signature. Course, I thought the same thing about 5/4 and 7/4 and I can do those a little easier now thanks to Dave Brubeck, Dream Theater and a song called 'Shit Chips' by Devilcake ;).

V: The Musical
V: The Musical is, as you may have guessed, a musical version of the V mini-series. I dubbed the two V mini-series from the library about 3 years ago I think. This stemmed from a conversation me and the wife had late one night while both suffering from a bout of insomnia. It will be very Rodger's and Hammerstein-ish. The only lyrics I have thus far are: "Drats! Rats! That's all we can eat for now. Drats! Rats! So hungry I could eat a cow!" This would take place during the scene where some dude sneaks a peek into the spacecraft to see the Visitors woofing down rats instead of normal human food. Honestly, while I may have dubbed off the movie, I haven't sat down and watched it. The rats scene is the only thing I remember.

(update 10-18-07) I had an idea for some lyrics for the love ballad in V: The Musical.
Some people may call it beastiality
But, me, I call it reality
I love my little lizard... yes, I do

My blood runs hot; Her blood runs cold
But her hand is the one that I want to hold.
(I may have to alter this since I can't remember if the lizard in love was a man or a woman. I think it was a man, so that means I'll have to alter them slightly.)