Thursday, December 4, 2008

the return

i finally have some time to write on here. what with thanksgiving weekend last weekend i was never able to steal away much hardcore sit-down time and that's generally what this blog seems to be for- to occupy my hardcore sit-down time. thanksgiving was fun. i had a good time. my parents came up from kansas city and we split the cooking duties amongst ourselves. i did the stuffing and stefanie did the cranberry sauce and made some miso gravy. lauren bought the turkey and made sweet potatoes and my parents brought up some mashed potatoes and rolls. all in all it made for a nice time.
i endured the gold coast on black friday. yikes. we also saw 'four christmases' which wasn't very good (big surprise, i know). it's not like i was expecting it to be fantastic- i went in with pretty low expectations, but nevertheless it just wasn't quite what it was trying to be. i like stupid holiday movies too- it's one of my weaknesses. there hasn't been a good one in a long time. i'd say 'just friends' is the most recent and best example of the stupid holiday movie. 'just friends' is good though. not just stupid.
as was our thanksgiving tradition we watched 'home for the holidays.' 'home for the holidays' always kicks off the holiday movie festival. from there we usually watch 'love actually' (which is a really stupid movie that's only saving grace is the fantastic ensemble cast- if 'four christmases' had been as decent as 'love actually' i would've been a bit more satisfied), 'just friends,' a few others i'm forgetting and then as it gets closer we'll probably watch 'it's a wonderful life' and 'white christmas.' i kind of wish we had 'holiday inn' on dvd- bing crosby in blackface singing a song about abraham lincoln for president's day is gloriously cringe-inducing. it's always interesting to me to watch an old movie where some of the acceptable material to put in a movie back when it was made doesn't translate so well to what's considered acceptable these days. it actually makes you realise that progress has indeed been made (even if there is still a ridiculously long way to go- which there is).
so much recording going on right now. i did some recording with another violinist named andrew who i found through craigslist and he did two parts for 'christmas song revisited' and the last part for 'glasslands.' 'christmas song...' just needs a glockenspiel part, as does 'sleep now...' and then those two tracks will be done and the 'dandelions' ep will be finished. it's pretty much entirely mixed as well- i think there might be something done to 'sleep now...' just to see if i can alleviate all of the tape hiss at the beginning of it- it's all coming from the cello tracks, but it is very bad. the original mixes are so good i don't see any reason to change them- which never happens. ever. they are even impervious to the ipod test. yes, i mix songs and then listen to them on my ipod- i've found it's the only way to tell if they are truly finished and the way that i want them to sound. if i like the way they sound through crappy earbud headphones on an ipod then they are going to sound good anywhere.
the christmas-time strings show is also coming together. i have cello, viola and violin now. i finished renotating all of the parts last night and i scanned them into the computer and converted them to pdfs and sent them out to everyone. the whereabouts of my old sheet music book are still unknown. i am a bit shattered about that. there really is only one song that had two parts that i wrote in the sheet music (i normally write it out in tab in one of my pocket notebooks) but that was the only time i did it. so those parts are kind of gone. i think i rewrote it out correctly, but i'll never be 100% certain. it was recorded and if i wanted to get real industrious i could listen to the parts on the 8-track and figure them out that way. at the moment they were better served to be rewritten for the acoustic show. i even wrote a few full arrangements for songs that don't normally have the full three-part treatment and i'm pretty excited to hear how those sound. on saturday i have a violinist named katelyn coming by our apartment to finish the parts that i did with billy back over halloween weekend. she responded to the craigslist ad after i'd already set up some recording with andrew. basically i figured i should go ahead and work with her since knowing three different string players here in town couldn't possibly be a bad thing- especially with the prospect of doing a full strings show here in town looms. i still want to get that put together for spring time or something. i suspect that billy will no longer be able to come up for that. i would pay for his gas if he would- what with gas prices being ridiculously low again. i think with his job and school he probably wouldn't be able to get the time off.
no shows on the horizon besides this small christmas time one. i think i might start trying to get something set up for us in february just to get us back into the mindset so that we don't sound rusty when we get to playing again. i am indeed hoping that we can go down for sxsw this year, although i am really not holding out much hope.
as far as how i'm doing i think i'm officially burned out at my job. familiarity breeds contempt. the timing is just about right- i get sick of every job i've ever had within a year. a lot of it's to do with how ridiculously type a my boss can be. he saw me cutting onions yesterday, didn't like the way i was doing it, showed me a different way to do it, insisted i do it that way and then as i was trying to cut the onions the way that he showed me to i cut my finger. it was a very small cut, but just the teensiest bit annoying. had i not been trying to cut them the way that he insisted i do and just done it the way that i've been doing it on my own for almost a year (i've never cut myself cutting anything there either) then it wouldn't have happened. irritating. he also now likes to complain to me about what he doesn't like about other employees- a few of whom he knows that i like. he spent a good five minutes telling me about how someone i work with insists on cutting onions with a serated bread knife just to annoy him. i kept saying 'he doesn't do that on purpose- he does it that way when you're not around.' this is sort of a holdover from when liz was working there. she spent a bit of time insisting that this same employee had left the cheese unwrapped when he'd closed purely to piss her off. when i get stuck in these kinds of conversations in my working life at this point in my life i am always reminded never to underestimate how petty and childish people can be no matter how old they are. like anyone would sit around going 'i know what i'll do to piss liz off- i'll not wrap the cheese in plastic wrap ON PURPOSE- bwahahahahahaha she'll be so mad it will be glorious!' that's just the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard in my life.
i just got some bad news- my tape machine that i ordered off of ebay arrived at beans and bagels packed really crappily- the likelihood that it works seems to be very low. i would be more upset if i had paid more money- you do get what you pay for i suppose. i'm going to see for myself how it is today. i suppose what i'm going to do is take a look at it and try to figure out what i should do. it is actually possible that i could get it fixed up- i don't know how much that would cost, but i suppose it could be worth a try. i am going to take some digital pictures of it and send it to them and then ask that they give my money back and if they want the item back they'll have to arrange for fed ex to pick it up at beans and bagels. if they don't want to do that then i guess i'll just send the pictures to ebay and figure out what to do from then- open a dispute. kind of a shame as there was this spectrum double 7" i wanted to buy up for auction right now. stefanie thinks i've been having some bad ebay luck lately. i'm not sure i agree 100%- i got a few good mics off of there. plus i only paid under $200 for this thing and it did come from a pawn shop. my hopes weren't really all that high. i knew that at the very least i would probably have to calibrate it. i dunno.
stefanie just told me on the phone and i wasn't really that upset. i think that it might be because i'm here in the coffee shop, but really the more i think about it the less of a big deal it seems to be. i know a website where i can buy revamped tape machines for reasonable prices (more than $200) that comes very highly recommended. if i still want to do the analog tape mixdowns i'll just save up my money and do it through this website. if it doesn't work out then that's most likely okay too because i still have my dat recorder that i'm perfectly happy with doing mixdowns- i like the way it sounds and it's pretty compatible with the kind of recording work i'm doing. every time i put 'down to sleep' on i am very happy with the way that it sounds and that is mainly because i mixed down to the dat recorder. i have plenty of dat tape to last me for a long time. also i realise that it's entirely possible that i could get my money back (or at least some of it) and then that i'll probably be able to keep the thing and get it fixed up. if they want it back and give me back all of my money then that would probably fine as well. i'll just save toward the goal of owning one of those tape machines and buying it from the aforementioned website. i also have the option of doing the mixdown at jim licka's- he has a really nice 2-track tape machine. i also would like to get less unglued about small things. this is a constant process and i think i'm getting better at it. the last few times i overdrew my account i didn't get as angry about it as i have in the past. i used to just get raging mad. i'd imagine most people do as well.
i could definitely use the money right now as well. it's the period of the month where i have the most expenses. when i get one of my checks i have to pay for rent, my transit card and my car insurance all within about a week so i have to pull from my tips to make it happen in time. the good thing about this arrangement though is that when my next paycheck comes i have extra money and i am able to save my tips.
anyway i should probably get going about now. i have a lot of stuff to do today- i have to burn a screen because my photo emulsion's going to go bad in a few days and i finally made the film yesterday and i got all of the sheet music sorted out last night so that i could devote some time today to getting the screen for the ep made. i am going to be able to start printing them immediately as well- i found some material at paper source that i wanted to use and it is very cheap even in small quantities- so if it looks nice i'm just going to do the printing the way that i originally wanted to and it won't be a problem to do it ahead because it isn't a massive upfront charge to meet all at once.

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