August 25th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

This post is about doing some good things in the world along with an update. It’s not going to be preachy -0 just some interesting things I have come across.

Today I came across a short interview with Chef José Andrés that I found very interesting. He is doing some great work to help feed people and keep restaurants in business in disaster areas all over the world with his incredible organization World Central Kitchen.

I first saw him on the travel shows hosted by my favorite travel host Anthony Bourdain. Chef Andrés is so passionate about food – good, simple food – that he makes you want to try it all. WCK helps out so not just people in disaster areas can eat, but he outsources much of the cooking to local restaurants to help keep their doors open and keep their staff employed. It is a pretty impressive organization.

In the last paragraph of the article the interviewer asks “Talk to me about the power of travel to open hearts and minds.

Chef Andrés: “It is important for us to travel, to meet people who seem different from us. You realize that they aren’t that different. We are all together on this planet, and we need to be working together more. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we have an amazing opportunity to get to know who we are and where we live. To look at things through another lens and appreciate the beauty of the planet we have.”

This takes what I have previously said about travel and elevates it to a whole other level…an important level. A level we need to think about more.

Be sure to read the whole article I linked to and check out the link to WCK as well; it is a short article and will only take a few minutes. There are opportunities all over; one opportunity is they are looking for volunteers to help feed firefighters battling the wildfires in California. Of course you can donate money as well as time.

I really didn’t go to a lot of concerts in the days before the T-virus (last one was Riverside in Seattle in June 2019) but I know how important it is for bands to tour to make money and that is not happening right now. The music I listen to is not very commercially popular as opposed to mainstream radio-play music so these bands live hand-to-mouth constantly, and some even have regular jobs to supplement their incomes to just be able to play and create their music. This means that all but the biggest acts are struggling along with the venues they play in – from Irish pubs to your local bar and theater.

I have been trying to support some of my favorite bands by buying CDs and DVDs directly from them (and not through Apple Music, Amazon, etc.). I want the bands I enjoy listening to to get as much of the money as possible from my purchases. I have received CDs and DVDs from bands in England (IQ, Marillion) and Norway (Green Carnation) so far and plan to do more to support them and other acts I enjoy listening to. And, since I cannot see them live (which I do buy tickets to these tours when possible) having a concert DVD gives me a chance to see them “live”. Many of the bands I listen to never even make it here to the US so it’s either a DVD or I schedule my next Europe trip to see them…we almost did on our first trip over!

Another way to support your favorite acts is on the Bandcamp website. The website was giving up their revenue share portion on Fridays so it would go straight to the artists (not sure if they are still doing that or not). That’s a fantastic gesture to help support indie artists and I have taken advantage of that to help even more. Stop by and check it out and you might discover some new music by some new artists. I have seen free music, music for set prices, and even name your own price on some artist pages as well as some great deals buying collections (Porcupine Tree, Silent Island, Black Hill, Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster). Just support them directly however you can! And yes…I know you may not have heard of any of these bands or probably think they have weird names.

I have seen articles where many of the museums around the world are in trouble and many may close or never reopen. That is so sad to hear as our history is so important for future generations to see where we have been. I purchased an annual museum pass to help out museums in Ireland. I will be going back soon (hopefully) so I can use it to get in to places, plus it supports my ancestral castle as well.

My Interagency Pass – some mistakenly call it the National Parks Pass – is a great deal and it supports all Federal Lands. If you want to support a particular National Wildlife Refuge, National Park or National Forest then purchase one at that particular place they get to keep 80% of the money on that Refuge, Park or Forest! Pick your favorite place and buy it there and not at an outdoor retailer (not to mention any names); that money all goes into a general fund.

Free admission to all Federal lands for a year…not a bad deal at all. And a Senior Pass is $80 for a lifetime card with 50% discounts for campgrounds on top of free entry with the card if you are over 62. A little hint – buy it early in the month and it expires at the end of the same month the following year; it’s basically a free month! Just remember the pass has to stay with the owner – you loan it you can lose it.

There are so many small things we can do that help. You don’t have to be a philanthropist to donate (I’m certainly not wealthy) but even just a few dollars here and there to support something near and dear to you makes a difference!

I get bronchitis just looking at this sunrise…

Earlier I mentioned wildfires but some relief is here!

Rain!!! We are finally getting some rain as I type this post. It has been months since we had any real rain here and this will do wonders to clear the air up some and help put out some of the fires in the area. Before the rains we had some hellacious winds – probably 50+ mph – and I am sure those did not help firefighter efforts, but there is rain falling and that will. I had to park my truck next to my trailer to keep the trailer from getting blown over and the wind ripped the top of the chicken coop off. Then Auntie Em flew by…

I’m thinking that, along with helping get some of the fires under control, this rain might help open up some other possibilities for my upcoming adventure. I guess I need to look at some fire info to see what is open and closed before I decide to go someplace and even see if I can get anywhere. I have been checking the pandemic outbreak maps and some places I wanted to go I will certainly be avoiding.

I started working on a new song for my ongoing opus called The Neverending Suite (which is currently just shy of 19 minutes long). I got the lyrics completed a few days ago (well, for now as far as I know). I have had a lot on my mind and it came flying out through my fingertips; most of it in about 30 minutes, and I decided to add another verse two days later when it wandered into my thoughts. Next step is to take a few music ideas I have and put the two together. It’s never an easy task as I tend to want to add a lot of layers for texturing, but I am getting a little more disciplined about doing that. It’s been a while since I have put a song together but when it’s time to write it just happens, not to mention there has been a lot of time to think about a lot of things.

Earlier this year I started reworking the last section I recorded last year but got sidetracked with life, Europe, a pandemic, and moving. It’s not like I have not had the time; I just have not been in the songwriting frame of mind lately. The reworking ended up being a bit more complicated than I thought it would be but I will probably be getting back on it soon so I can get this new part of the song to tie in after it. It’s good therapy too.

It’s been some time since I have heard the song so I think I will have a listen to it and close out this post.

September 13th, 2017

Adventure, Just things, Music, Uncategorized

I am working on another new song finally.

It’s been a drought for songwriting but I have gotten some inspiration and an idea has come to me for one of the next parts of my opus “The Neverending Suite”. I am constantly writing and adding to this piece of music that, in theory, will never really be done – hence the name. It is still currently at 13:38 in duration since I have not added to it in a while.

I am working on the lyrics right now and it is probably the darkest song I have ever written lyrically. It will be a challenge to come up with music to match it but I have been coming up with a few ideas I have recorded as notes and not in the computer yet. Living the drifter life drastically cuts back on the ability to set up a rig for recording so I have to figure out how I’m going to get around that easily. Just one reason I haven’t added to it.

Laying down the track will require some creativity. Recording the guitars and keys can be done easily – just go right into the computer. I don’t have a good solid-body electric guitar yet, no amplifier, no microphone, and I no longer have a mixer either. I will get it figured out but it will mean making a few more purchases. Cash donations gladly accepted! Or, if you’d like to send me a Shure SM58 with stand, a Les Paul, a small guitar amp, a powered mixer, and the necessary cables I would be oh so appreciative!

Not sure how the neighbors will take to recording though. It will sound strange outside these walls – just my voice basically since the rest will be recorded and playing through the headphones – so I have to really do some work figuring that part out. One thought is hanging blankets in the bathroom to deaden the echo. It is the only room not on the hallway and the easiest to fix acoustically so it is probably the best location.

I say one of the “next parts” because “The Neverending Suite” is somewhat biographical and adding this new part skips a few other things that I may or may not want to be reflected in the main work; that is another reason I haven’t added anything else yet. I have been considering adding a few instrumental passages after what is currently done to break it up a bit. After looking at what I have written tonight in the last few minutes I think catching your breath ahead of listening to a song so dark may be a good idea. I’ll see when I get it figured out!

Writing is very therapeutic. Some write poetry, some write books, some paint, but I chose to write songs.

New Song I Am Working On

Music

For those who might be interested, I have posted a new song on my SoundCloud account that I have been working on for quite some time. It is called “The Neverending Suite”.

I won’t be leaving the song up on there very long since I need to do a few more things to it. It’s mainly just put it out there to let everybody have a listen. If you like it then that’s great. If you don’t well that’s fine too. I realize it may not be everyone’s idea of good music but that’s okay.

New Song Project

Just things, Music, Uncategorized

Well, this new song project – as yet untitled – is coming along. For now I call it a “song project” as this first part I am working on is really several songs and bits put together into one song as a sort of “concept album” that I have had the idea of doing for a while now. It is an ambitious project and it is pretty involved doing it since it is quite complicated to assemble it like I want. It is far from perfect, but right now I am just experimenting to see how it is going to turn out without putting in even more work on it. I am also having to figure out how to do some things in my software that have changed with the last update and using some other things in it that I have not used before.

I am also somewhat pushing myself and my skills more technically on everything – software usage, production ideas, playing of instruments, different vocal style, etc. It is really interesting to see how this is all coming together and I think it may possibly surprise listeners. It is MUCH different than the other songs I have posted on my SoundCloud page.

Just looking at the songs I have done both with John and by myself, I count at about 20 songs that I have recordings of. Many (probably most) are complete, and I have many others that I have ideas recorded by not finished; I just record ideas and save for a rainy day.

I may post some of it when I get a sense of completion of it. I will just have to see how it turns out and go from there.

Updates – 11/27/13

Just things, Music, Outdoors, Uncategorized

I know… it has been a while since I posted so I thought I would post an update with my glass of wine. Tonight’s choice is a 2011 merlot-cab blend from Two Vines. Quite delicious.

It has been cold here lately, and some colder weather is on tap next week. The weatherman has already issued a “Brass Monkey Warning”, which means cold weather is probable so be on standby to bring in the brass monkey.

We have gotten a lot done around here lately. We did a trail reroute and closed the old entrance and did a rehab on it to restore it back to nature. It really came out nice. Signs had to be put up along with a couple of sections of split rail fence. We also worked on a couple of fences and the finished products look very nice. One was a repair/replacement from last year’s car fire in the parking lot. The other one was to block off an area to protect the vegetation.

We are out doing some bird surveys on the Spit, checking out what has migrated in and getting counts on the different species here on the refuge. It is pretty interesting to see thousands of birds at once. It really shows you the importance of places like this when you see vast numbers of a variety of wildlife species.

I am going out birding with a friend next week. He is going to show me some local birding spots and maybe see a few new birds I have not seen yet.

My training in Hawaii is back on for next year so I will be posting pics when I get them taken! I am pretty damn excited to go!

I re-upped my rec center membership and have been working out nearly every night (except for the night I had a pissed off hamstring… I think it just wanted to get in the whirlpool and took me with it). I took off last night since I forgot my gym shorts but did some walking today to make up for it. Tomorrow is just going to be written off being Thanksgiving and all, plus the rec center is closed. I may try to get out and do some walking to atone for my food sins. Friday I will be back at it again.

I might have some more music posted soon… if I would just get my ass in gear and get it done. I just wrote lyrics for one song I had already recorded a rough demo of and had some ideas for. I just started lyrics for another as soon as that one was done. I do not have the music for it yet, but I have some ideas for what to do with it. I think it might be interesting if this all comes together like I plan. What I want to do is pretty ambitious to do and it will take some time to get it put together. I do have individual bits and pieces that I have already recorded so it is just a matter of a few more lyrics, organizing, recording, and more organizing.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!