Thursday, August 17, 2006

OF NAKED TRAVELERS AND THE TIME CONUNDRUM

LONG day of teaching guitar Monday. But I do love that. I never fail to learn something when I teach. I think that's always been the appeal of it for me. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are long days of workout, yoga and trip preparations.

I'm keeping my eye on the ever changing airline regulations to see if I'll be able to bring any baggage at all by Saturday. My guitar is packed in a custom built airline trunk with my name on it in huge white letters. Watch them "lose" it. I decided to take the portable recording equipment in a carry-on. Watch them dismantle it. I think air travel will only be safe for nudists eventually. Which means that more people will hit the gym and pass on the fast food. Or more will all buy sleep masks.

My studio addition limps along at the mercy of subcontractors who religiously apply the principals of relativity when they schedule their work. I used to routinely ask which "Tuesday" they were referring to when they said they'd be here Tuesday. There are over fifty of them in a year after all. The scariest phrase of all is, "I'll be there the beginning part of the week." Besides wondering which week, we have to wrangle with the definition of "beginning part." Time has no beginning or end.

So most of the electrical wiring is in. The audio wiring is next. There is still no tar on the roof. It's been raining here a lot. My studio is leaking. Actually both are. The present and the future. My general contractor just left here and sounded pretty upbeat about getting stuff done. When I come back I should see a tiled roof and possibly stucco on the exterior. This is Florida, ya know. It's stucco, not siding around here.

I'm frantically trying to work on some songs so I don't go into my arranging sessions with Helen Avakian with no ideas of my own. I've finished the first draft of a new one I'm doing with Kathy Feeney and I'm plugging away on two others so we have plenty to fill our few hours together next week. I'm stressing over how I'm going to get everything I need on that plane Saturday. More importantly, will it meet me in NY when I get there? How funny would it be if I brought a dozen of those cute little lizards that populate every garden around here? They are actually anoles, not geckos as my neighbors insist on calling them. But somehow Anoles On A Plane doesn't quite have a Hollywood ring to it, does it?

I have some quality friend and family time planned for this trip too. Lots of time with my daughter and son-in-law and a day and a half with my Mom, brother and sister.

One more gig and some mad bookings to arrange Friday. Preparing lessons for for when I get back.

I'll try to look at some blogs while I'm gone but I'll be at the mercy of somebody else's connection and time. I owe all my faithful readers some time. And when I get some, I'll give it all to you. See you when I see you.

posted by Bud @ 6:38 AM
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ins and Outs

Friday's coming up and I'm writing today to report that I'll be too busy to post. I'm on a liquid diet today for an embarrASSing medical test tomorrow. I hate Jell-O, I hate chicken broth. I need cream in my coffee. I'm gonna be empty of humor tomorrow as well as everything else that normally sloshes around in my intestines. After I become fully conscious I have three guitar lessons to teach. Then I'll crash before a gigless but party filled weekend.

Next week I have to empty my studio so they can rip a wall down and make it bigger. My new studio is being built as an adjoining room to this one. This place is crawling with construction guys these days. A lot of them turn out to be musicians. How they can abuse their hands all day and play at night is a wonder.

Dawn mentioned yesterday how I sent her some instructional material to help her play guitar. Specifically barre chords. She found it most useful. Michael Manning is also getting that package but I'm editing it. A few others have received my chord wheel that I use for writing and transposing and teaching. I've been tinkering with guitar teaching aids for several months now. Kind of a leftover compulsion from my classroom teaching days and my masters degree in Educational Media. But that was LONG ago. We were using big fat video tape and super 8 film. Comical to think about. But I mention this in case there are others out there who think they could benefit from my lessons on how to play barre chords without straining the brain.

My approach to teaching guitar has always been to meet the learning style of the student. And if you're coming to me instead of majoring in music, you're not wired like a music major and therefore you need to have it all presented in a different way. So I've been developing tools and lessons for the rest of us. I learned all this stuff before I ever even considered learning to read music. I read music now but note by painful note. So for a limited time and a limited time only, I'll send you what I have for the price of postage and handling. Dawn and Michael are my testers so they get it for free. Sounds fair enough to me. Better let me know fast because I'm gonna be out of touch for about three weeks as of next Friday, August 18.

And with that, have a splendid weekend.

posted by Bud @ 2:18 PM
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Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Space, the Final Frontier?

Saturday night I filled in at It's A Grind Coffee House for Ed Coleman of the GunnRunners. It was a most excellent gig and a profitable night. Kevin, the owner pretty much guaranteed I could play twice a month. He liked my sound a lot. The house was packed all evening. I love playing to some people I know too. Loosens me up. I have more fun and try stuff I ordinarily don't do.

The NY trip is creeping up fast. I have some major things to put together in two weeks. Some major packing decisions to make too. My good guitar goes into a customized flight trunk. My soft gig bag gets filled with underwear. Dressing for NY in late summer is tricky. Wonder how many days I can wear two pairs of jeans and a couple pairs of shorts? Which shirts? How about a jacket? Do I really need long pants up there? And socks? I have to wear socks? How many pairs for 17 days? Maybe I'll do laundry every day and a half.

It may come between clothes and a laptop recording station. I wanted to record the arrangements that Helen Avakian and I work on and the songs that Kathy Feeney and I hammer out. No way I'll remember anything without a recording. The choice is between using the laptop which requires two other pieces of equipment, giving me high quality tracks (in case some of it is usable for the final mix) or just a little digital four track with an on-board mic. Read that "tinny and ineffective." I'm leaning toward the later. That means another trip north to record any usable tracks with Helen and whoever else I can get involved up there. Hey, I'm retired. Life wasn't supposed to involve this many decisions!

I know I have railed on and on about My Space. I was on. I never used it. I got about three IM propositions from semi naked teenagers a week. I got off. Many of my musician friends have prevailed upon me to get involved again. So I figured out that if I don't list my IM, I won't have jailbait contacting all the time. Or at least not a much. Kids don't use e-mail. It's IM or nothing. So I'm back on but I'm not at all set up yet. I bought a book aimed at taking advantage of the musician angle on My Space. It'll be months before I get that organized, the way things are going. Any quick hints you can give me will be appreciated. I have to tell you, it is one stinking annoying site to navigate. I don't want to write another blog just for IT. Why can't I just link everybody over here? I still can't look at it without ads for singles. I made it clear that I'm married. And I'm old. I also question its effectiveness if every 14 year old with a guitar lists himself as a rock star. But I'll give it a fair shot before I quit again.

Have a splendid week, everybody. If I have a new lyric, it's gonna be called:

Raped by My Space.

They said you gotta get in it, if you want to be with it
They said you can't win it, if you don't sift it
I tried but I really hate this pace
All I get is raped by My Space

Just a thought. I'm not really gonna do rap.

posted by Bud @ 4:52 PM
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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Spaced Out and Preoccupied

I've been a bad blogger. And now everybody in the universe probably knows it. Or could know it. If they wanted to look. Or if they were there to begin with. This blog was beamed into outer space one again. Probably when I had squat to say. Like that time I was their featured blog and they used a screen shot of one of my throw out (or throw up) blogs. That's what I get for polluting the blogosphere just to post something. Ah, karma, you cruel teacher. I lived through years of Sister Mary Confusing, don't I deserve a break?





Not gonna waste your time complaining about how busy I've been. And listing every guitar lesson and gig and recording problem. Oops, I almost did.

I think there are a number of songs about the process of writing a song. It's what we do when we can't come up with something under pressure. Unless you're John Lennon and Paul McCartney. If both of you were alive and speaking to each other. Then you could write a platinum classic on a matchbook on your way dinner on the back of a motor cycle. Because somebody needed it fast. Which is how A Hard Day's Night was done. Okay, I made up the part about the motor cycle.

Here's what I've been mulling over. One of my best students, whose name I have not gotten permission to use, has written six books on Hindu Astrology. He is very cool and so is his wife to whom I teach classical guitar. Recently he did a preliminary atrological chart on me that told some things about my past he knew nothing about. He had no possible way to find that stuff out. So naturally I paid attention when he mentioned what my immediate future was shaping up to be. He feels strongly that the next three years are a huge turning point for me in either creativity or financially or both. It's hard not to pay attention to that. I'm kind of scrambling around trying to find myself. Looking at the kind of effort I've put in so far in this business and how to take advantage as my time may be coming.

Don't want to miss the bus, you know? Even if it is the short bus.

So I'm more preoccupied than usual with two gigs coming up and my NY trip to work on the CD. I'll do my best to drop in and visit you in Blogland.

I've put back the Blogger comments because I have heard that Haloscan does not always cooperate with your various servers. I will NOT use that annoying typing test filter they offer. Damn, I hate those things. Did I ever tell you about the nun who taught me typing? Never mind, no song there.

posted by Bud @ 8:01 AM
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