It’s February, and that means it’s time once again for the RPM Challenge! As I’ve mentioned in past years, the Challenge is an annual event for writing abd recording an album during the month of February. I’ve done it twice, in 2008 and 2009, and now that I’ve actually writing songs with lyrics, and playing keyboards and guitar well enough to at least record in pieces, I’m doing it again this year.
In case you’re not familiar, here’s the latest video:
You may recall that in 2008 and 2009, I participated in the RPM Challenge, the challenge to write and record 10 songs (or 35 minutes of music) during the month of February. My two previous projects were all instrumental, and were composed entirely in my computer on Cakewalk software.
This year is going to radically different: I’m actually writing lyrics, and — you’d better sit down for this — I’m actually going to sing them. I know, scary thought.
Almost as frightening is the fact that I’m actually going to be playing the guitar this time around.
But enough explanation. I just checked in to announce my progress, which is that I just completed the (very) rough draft of my first song, Little Pink Flash Drive.
Yes, this new approach might actually work.
But I need to get back to work now, so further chatting on the subject will have to wait.
Check out this cool technology blog, Underdog of Perfection, by Room34, one of my RPM challenge friends. The latest is No Design is Good Design, a list of sites that make the best of minimalist design — and includes a shout to my Twitter persona regarding an obscure Simpsons onomatopoeia joke.
My wife says I need to post, but there’s not really any one thing worth posting. So here’s bunches:
1. Since the job I interviewed for is so contingent on my web networking skills, I’ve been spending even more time on those types of sites, including Second Life. If you’ve never experienced Second Life (and I’m really shocked at the number of friends of mine who have never heard of it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s free, and surprisingly it’s not very hardware intensive. He’s a screenshot of one of my favorite hangouts:
2. The new Iron Man movie looks cool, but we’re waiting until Monday (5/19) to go see it.
3. Since I still can’t get my Creative Zen up and running, I got a temporary solution of a 2 GB Sansa Clip (that was on sale) for my evening power walks … except that the music I’m loading on it doesn’t show up. The troubleshooting guide suggests that it might be some DRM crap stopping the files from showing up.
So that’s still up in the air.
4. Lately I’ve gotten hooked on the Discovery Channel’s taxicab quiz show, Cash Cab. It’s amazing how little knowledge New Yorkers can get away with having and still survive in the big city …
Still though, it’s nice to see a game show where the contestants weren’t hand-picked by some control freak producers who thought they would look appropriate on the show. These are just ordinary people who needed a cab ride, and happened to pick the one with the rolling quiz show on board. Bonus points: On today’s show, they had two Nixon related questions. One was about who replaced Agnew as Vice President (duh!), and the other was the name of the cocker spaniel (again: duh!) that Nixon talked about in a televised 1952 speech to try to get public support for his place on the Republican ballot.
5. Oh, and speaking of Nixon’s historically significant dog, I’ll probably be finally giving the links to my RPM Challenge songs very soon. (What does one have to do with the other? Some of you already know, the rest of you will soon see.
Anyway, go to the Cash Cab link above and try your knowledge against some sample questions.
6. My friends will be tested in the next week. I can’t say what the test is, because that would defeat the purpose, but I dropped a subtle hint somewhere above. (I’m hereby exempting Kim, Pam and RennyBA from this test, because they’ve already proven their loyalty by posting comments here on a regular basis. I’m also exempting my wife, of course. But the rest of you are walking a thin line …)
7. And finally: Here’s something new you can try, just in case you haven’t already seen it: When you’re reading a message board, or you’re in a chatroom, and somebody says something incredibly stupid, all you have to say in response is:
People who know what it means will know that you’re hip and smart, and those who don’t can just Google it.
I had saved this video some time ago, but YouTube is on the fritz tonight, so it might or might not be visible when you’re reading this. At any rate, it’s pretty funny, and cleverly illustrates the facepalm phenomenom:
I’m so thrilled to be able to blog again that I’m at it again after just five hours.
First of all I’d like to thank my friends Kim and Pam for already noticing I’m back without me even telling them, and to Renny, who didn’t know I was having problems, but who kept checking back anyway, and left two comments during the month while I couldn’t post anything.
And also a big thanks to Joni of WordPress forums for helping me troubleshoot and get back online.
I had more to post, but I have to go get ready for a job interview tomorrow (did I mention that?), so here’s what I don’t have time to talk about tonight: My adventures in Second Life, my music getting circulated around (I have my own ringtones! Woo-hoo!), developments in various shows, and my job interview tomorrow.
(Click the picture to view the large size for full effect.)
Well, I finally did it: I finally broke down and checked into Second Life. I heard about it a couple of years ago, but never really got motivated to check it out, and lately I’ve been hearing that it’s over the hump, and was never really all it was cracked up to be.
Besides, I’ve done the Everquest thing, so I know how involving those virtual worlds can be, and I needed to put my time into other projects..
And I’ve done the There.com thing, so I also know how UN-involving virtual worlds can be. So I blew it off.
But now, Second Life happens to be intersecting with one of my other projects — and it’s free, and I’m unemployed, and on Friday it was an alternative to driving an 80 mile round trip — so I finally took the plunge.
As it turns out, it was a great time, both Friday night and all day Saturday, with several RPMers and even a few civilians gathering their avatars in a virtual nightclub and having those avatars boogie down, as shown in the above picture, to music that WE wrote and recorded.
A great feeling it is, to see people (virtual in this case) dancing to your music.
The dancer in this case is not one of the fellow musicians, but rather a lady named Mazzie from Australia. (I’m posting this particular picture because she didn’t believe that her normally silver outfit was giving off a distinctly green hue for an hour or so.)
I also promised several people a shout-out, including Mazzie, Gwenette Writer (another non-RPMer, but something of a mover-and-shaker within Second Life), Fence Flatley (our DJ for the evening and an RPM musician in Omaha, whose artist name is One Inch From Midget), Ruby’s Cannon (who wrote me a very complimentary email about my music), Jigjaw from London, England, Sister Savage from Bristol, England (I told her, “We have a dog named Bristol!”)
and … well, I can’t remember the others right now, but there were lots of us, and lots of strangers getting exposed to our music.
Oh, and Domestic Science wasn’t there at the party, but she also gave me a nice compliment about my music in an email, so I’m giving her a mention and a link as well …
Go to the RPM Jukebox, click Library, and check out these artists and others. You’ll be glad you did.
(Note to old college buddy Terry: Find Ruby’s Cannon in the Jukebox and listen to their stuff, especially 442, and see if it reminds you to Pat Travers.)
I still don’t feel like posting anything today — I’ve had the out-of-work blahs this week — and I’m not posting a direct link yet to my own RPM Challenge album, so here’s a link to the new 2008 Challenge Jukebox.
But if you really want to hear my songs, you can look in the jukebox for a song called “Ferriswheel”; that and the other songs on that album are mine.
But you’ll have to earn it.
While you’re at it, search for Dogs Are Weird, by Emergency Pizza Party. It’s a funny little nerdcore group rap (and no, it’s not about dogs at all, it’s about food; long story).
And just generally browse the jukebox and listen around. The amount of creativity and great material that came out of this one month is staggering.
The worldwide listening parties were today, but the one for the DFW area wasn’t centrally located (i.e., an 80-mile round trip for me), so I blew it off and watched the live webcast from New Hampshire. It was fun chatting with other RPMer’s in the chat room (a lot of whom I knew from the message boards) and watching as the guys in NH moved the camera over the table with all of our CDs.
The NH guys asked us to tell them where we were, and they were amazed at the varied locations: Texas (3 of us in the chat room), Pennsylvania, and several from Ireland and England.
There’s another live listening party later tonight in Second Life, so I finally bit the bullet and signed up for that after all these years of resisting.
Anyway, check out the songs; I’m going to get back to it now …
Hmm … looks like I posted something after all … oh well …
We’ve been a very musical family lately, my wife having been reviving her interest in singing in the last couple of years, and with me having the RPM Challenge last month, her own work has increased in pace as well.
So now comes MySong, a program from Microsoft Research that supposedly puts instrumental music to your singing — seriously, you sing, and the program sings along.
That sounds nice, in theory, for those who can actually sing. For the rest of us, I don’t know, I haven’t watched the video yet.
(The actual demos start at about 2:45, so skip forward if that’s all you’re interested in.)
Some quick things before I have to get back to the music (just 1 more day to go!):
I’m using the clover bullet point in anticipation of the Irish Festival this weekend!
I promised a shout to the fine folks at Hurricane Glass and Mirror, with whom I had an interview today. It probably won’t amount to anything, since I’m vastly overqualified for this particular job (I’m hearing that a lot), but on the other hand, they’ll be expanding their operations soon, and my skills can come in handy.
Anyway, it was a good interview, and the main reason I tried out is because the office is 2.5 miles from my house.
After almost 13 years of driving 27 miles to toil on the corporate minefield, it would feel like a paid vacation to work in a small office right here in my own town, even if I would be vastly underemployed.
Here’s how caught up I’ve been in the RPM Challenge: It’s only 3 days until the North Texas Irish Festival, and this is the first time I’ve mentioned it!
I had started to not go to it this year, since I’m still out of a job, but my wife insisted that I go, because it’s the only thing I look forward to all year, and I had to miss it year before last because I was freshly missing half a lung.
Isn’t she wonderful? (As if we needed further proof …)
I’ll probably go on Sunday this year, since I still haven’t finished my 10 songs (and since I’m not smart like Yay Kim, pacing herself last November when she did a similar musical project). I have to get my album postmarked by noon on Saturday, so Friday could be a late night for me if I don’t progress remarkably in the next couple of days.
Plus, there’s alot of peer pressure on the RPM message boards to do cover art for our albums.
Yes, I know I should resist, but it’s going to be bad enough that playing instruments and writing lyrics and singing on their albums (and some have even recorded in professional studios!), and now many of them have professionally designed album covers.
I had no idea the standards would be so high.
Anyway, I’m going to go back to working on the music thing now and try to leave some time for my usual psyching-up for the festival …