Some Practice Recordings

Last Friday (the 10th) I was feeling pretty under the weather, and in the morning, before work, I could barely get any writing done.  So I decided to record myself playing several songs that I like to mess around on, so I could listen to myself afterward for presumed self-improvement.  It’s good to be able to hear when the chords don’t sound good, and of course, when one’s singing is off-key or just doesn’t sound very good.  It’s most irritating to when it’s just a little off, by like an eighth of a step, and I think, “How did I not hear myself doing that?”

Anyway, I thought I’d share the recordings here, flubs, pitchiness, and all, as a curiosity, and to see if anyone has any recommendations about ones of which I should work on doing a video/cover.  I did some cleaning up of background noise, added some reverb, and did a bit of compression, just to make it all a little easier to listen for those who are interested.

Only two of them (Julia and Here Comes the Sun) were played from memory, though I know Fake Plastic Trees by heart, and I screwed up more by following the chords in the book than I probably would have if I’d just trusted myself.  Go figure.

Julia (I needed to increase to gain on the guitar for this one):


Fake Plastic Trees (by Radiohead):


Desperado (by Eagles):


Here Comes the Sun:


Here, There, and Everywhere (by the Beatles):


Just the Way You Are (by Billy Joel, but with no piano here):


Karma Police (by Radiohead):


Lucky (by Radiohead…NOT to be confused with “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk…two VERY different songs!):


and last but not least,

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (by the Beatles):


That’s all for now.  I don’t know why I didn’t do “One Headlight” which I also know by heart.  Maybe I’ll save that for another time or just do it as a video.

I hope you enjoy, at least a little, if you listen.  At the very least, it’s probably slightly amusing to hear me get ticked when I make a mistake.

Trust not my reading, nor my observations, which with experimental seal do warrant the tenor of my blog.

Hello.  Good morning.  Today is Thursday, and so of course it’s time for the most recent edition of my weekly blog post.

I’m writing this post on my phone, using the Google Docs app, because unfortunately, even my petite, eleven-inch-hypotenuse laptop seems to be too much to carry around in my backpack, given how badly my back and hips and ankle have been behaving.  I don’t think it’s so much the weight of the thing that’s the issue as where it tends to rest‒right up against my lumbar spine.  It may not truly be triggering any problems, because my back and hips and my right knee and ankle are in pretty severe pain no matter what, even though I’ve lost two belt notches worth of weight recently.  However, reducing the load in that area seems to decrease my pain, or at least to cause less of an exacerbation, so for now I’m writing on my phone, so to speak.

I keep trying to find things to do that decrease my pain, but all my attempts have so far been quite unsatisfying.  Perhaps the Dread Pirate Roberts was right after all, and life is pain.  Or was that the Buddha?  Anyway, one or more of those great philosophers said something about life and pain being inextricable.

I’ve been writing The Dark Fairy and the Desperado on my phone this week as well.  The two main characters have finally met!  Of course, the Dark Fairy immediately tried to kill the Desperado, but that’s to be expected.  It’s slightly slower writing on the phone than it is with the laptop, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but as I’ve also mentioned, that may be good for keeping my writing more concise.  On the other hand, my verbosity may not be something any device known to humanity can curtail.

I posted the most recent section of Outlaw’s Mind here this week.  There’s still quite a bit to go before we reach the point where I’ve stopped writing it, and I hope those of you who read it are enjoying the story.

In other news, yesterday I recorded, overdubbed, edited, and posted a video of me playing and singing the Beatles song And I Love Her, and I’ll embed it here.  I’ve been half-heartedly working on getting it into playable shape for a while, and I decided I needed to have a rhythm track (which I had to create the new-fashioned way, beat by beat, on Audacity, since I have no drums), and that it also would be much better with the little accompanying arpeggios* during the second, third, and last verses in the background.  I wanted to be able to do those at speed when I played them.  To pat myself on the back (which doesn’t help my back pain), I only got the basic chords from a guitar book, but did the (admittedly simple) key changing and worked out the solo and stuff for myself.  I’m reasonably pleased with the results, though it’s far from perfect.  I’ve gotten pretty good at throwing these videos together at least, including sound editing and backing tracks and the like; I did these things literally in my spare time yesterday morning.

There’s no need to feel obligated to watch the video of me playing, though; I certainly take no joy in looking at myself and it’s hard to imagine anyone else would.  It’s basically there to prove that, yes, except for backup/overdubs, I really did play and sing it all at once, myself…and because the milling masses mostly only seem to respond to video** anymore‒but here it is in case you want to listen:

I’m not sure what else there is to talk about today.  Of course, there are always subjects that could be raised, but I’ve not really done any discussion or commentary, either here or on Iterations of Zero, for quite a while.  The whole process seems utterly pointless (not least because of the aforementioned predilection of the populace for video***); my energy level is steadily deteriorating, and my motivation is doing so even more.  I’m not convinced that anything I write or say or do will make any difference, even for me.  I continue this blog mainly out of stubbornness.

I did do a slightly curious thing this week.  There’s a horror novel that I used to read and reread a lot back when I was a teenager:  Floating Dragon, by Peter Straub.  The events of the story begin on May 17, 1980.  Indeed, there’s a line in the book that goes, “On May 17th, 1980, the Dragon came to Patchin County.”  That line is always bouncing around my head at this time of year, so on Tuesday (which was the 17th) I decided to buy the Kindle version of the book, though I haven’t started reading it yet.  I miss my old, battered paperback copy, lost now with all my other possessions from before 2013.  It had the amusing characteristic that the way the title and author were written on the spine, if one read them in ordinary left-to-right fashion, seemed to say, “Floating Peter/Dragon Straub”.  I wonder if the publishers realized that after the fact and were duly embarrassed.  Anyway, it was a good, albeit very weird horror story, and I still can recite parts of it from memory, such as:

“You were dreaming for a long time, and then you were not.  You were asleep in a place you did not know, and when you awakened you were someone else.  You had a drink in your hand, and a woman was looking at you, and Dragon, the world was yours again.”

With that, I’ll call things to a close today.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this atypically written blog post, and that you’re all as well as you can possibly be.

TTFN

dragon


*Is it supposed to be “arpeggi”?  That’s how Radiohead spelled it in the title of their song Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, and they’re Cambridge-educated, albeit probably not in linguistics.  Then again, I studied English at Cornell.  Not that such a thing matters much anyway, since the word in question is Italian…but it’s not being used as Italian, but rather as a term of musical jargon.  I should probably just look it up, but where’s the fun in that?

**Angels and ministers of grace defend us from anyone who might think to ask most people to read.

***Perhaps we should retire the term vox populi and replace it with visus populi.

For grief is proud, and makes his blogger stoop.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the second Thursday in May of 2022, and it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  Tomorrow will be Friday the 13th! Unlike many people, I like Friday the 13th both because I like being a bit contrary and because I like prime numbers.  I used to always put thirteen gallons of gas in my car when I filled it up, just because I like prime numbers, and I particularly like thirteen because so many people dislike it.  Maybe I thought it deserved to get some positive attention for a change.

I haven’t been quite as productive this week as last week, but I did write a good five thousand words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I’ve been a little worn out because my recent travails have exacerbated my chronic back and leg pain, and yet I’m walking about two and half miles a day as part of my commute.  So, my concentration—nay, even my very will to live*—has been detrimentally affected.  Nevertheless, I have continued to write; being on the train is nice for doing that, at the very least.

I posted the next section of Outlaw’s Mind this Tuesday, but it was a short one.  I didn’t want to add the subsequent section to beef it up any, because that section is already rather long, and adding them together would have made it too much, I think.  I don’t know if anyone is actually reading the story—I don’t know if anyone is actually reading this, for that matter—and if they are, I don’t know whether they like it.  I suppose it’s possible that some masochist might hate the whole thing but read it for that very reason.  That seems unlikely, though.

I mentioned last week, with my tongue in my cheek, that I tend to play guitar and sing as a way to punish the world.  Well, I’ve done a bit of such punishing recently; I’ve embedded below two videos of me amateurishly playing guitar and singing, for anyone who feels the need to scold themselves, perhaps for falling off a diet, or not getting enough exercise, or committing adultery…stuff like that.  In all seriousness, however, I like both of these songs a lot, and so I did my amateurish best to play and sing them.

The first is If You Could Read My Mind, by Gordon Lightfoot, a song I’ve known and liked since I was a little boy.  I’ve always loved the melody, and Gordon Lightfoot was a very good singer.

The second is No Surprises, by Radiohead, which I only came to be aware of perhaps fifteen years ago, but which very quickly became one of my favorite songs (and bands).  It’s harder to play than IYCRMM, as you can probably tell, but I really love it.  In many ways, it is the song of my soul, if there is such a thing.

As for anything else…well, there really isn’t much else.  There was a death in my family late last week, about which I’m quite sad.  This was my uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while, but who had been, along with his son—my cousin—one of the only people in my family to attend my wedding.  That’s part of a long and dreary story that I won’t go into, but it is a shame that I hadn’t seen him in so long, and now I won’t be able to do so.  Such is the story of life, unfortunately.  I wish I could have told him how much that meant at the time, and even though that marriage has since failed, that gesture still means a great deal to me.  At least I can hereby tell my cousin the same for his part!

I fear quite honestly that I am on the verge of a real and serious mental (and physical) breakdown, and I don’t know what to do about it.  I also fear that, even if I did know what to do about it, I would not have the will to do it.  I wish I did.  I would like to be optimistic and upbeat; I have been so in the past.  No one who suffers from chronic depression and/or other, related difficulties would wish to suffer from it/them. They might well believe, however, that they richly deserve their own suffering for being the awful, evil, rotten person that they see, that they “know”, themselves to be.  I don’t know how to escape that trap.  I have tried, many times and in many ways, but I don’t think I have the strength or the resources to do it on my own.  And on my own is what I am.

I hope, nevertheless, that all of you reading are feeling and doing as well as you possibly can, and that you are with those you love, or at least in communication with them, and that you find a great deal of joy in that.  Please take care of yourselves, and of each other.

TTFN

wallpapersden.com_dark-sky-tree-purple-sky-nature_1920x1200


*It’s an interesting notion, this concept of “will to live”.  It’s misguided and misleading, because it’s not as though one can simply stop having some “will to live” and consequently just die.  Trust me, I know.  The body and brain have been shaped by millions upon millions of years of evolution to try to stay alive, and one’s will, at the human level, has almost nothing to do with it.  Ditto with eating and drinking and breathing.  Just try not doing those things.  The machine keeps cranking along until it falls apart, or until something breaks it.  Believe me, if not having the “will to live” mattered at all, there are many times—several in any given week, I’d say—in which I would already have died.  Alas, it’s the will to die that’s more a real kind of will, and it is set against gargantuan, Lovecraftian powers of nature that force living beings to stay alive whether they really want to or not.  I’m working on it, though.

Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust? And, blog we how we can, yet die we must.

Hello.  Good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so, whether anyone asked for it or not—whether anyone wants it or not—it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I can only apologize.

So far, this week has been marginally better than last week for me, which may not be saying very much, but at least it is better by some measures.  I got quite a bit of writing done this Monday through Wednesday on the train; I’ve been using my laptop, not my phone to do it, despite my thoughts that I just might stick with the former device.  Still, on each of those three days, I wrote roughly 2100 words in the morning, which is more than twice as many as I wrote last Friday, which was a very difficult day, continuing the pattern of the days that had preceded it.

Anyway, The Dark Fairy and the Desperado is moving along well.  Though we have not met the Dark Fairy yet, we have met the Desperado.  He is the first person we encounter, and he is soon to be sent to meet his fellow title character.  It won’t be a friendly encounter, I’m afraid, but if things all went easily, where would be the fun?  A story without the exchange of fireballs and bullets between protagonists can hardly be called a story at all.

I also remembered to post the next part of Outlaw’s Mind here this week, unlike last week, so to those of you who were pining for it, you’re welcome.  I tried to put in a “continue reading” tab, so that it wouldn’t take up as much screen space for scrolling purposes if you’re trying to go back to further entries, but I’m not sure I succeeded.  I didn’t try very hard to check, and I haven’t yet gone back to insert any in earlier posts.  Have I but world enough and time, I mean to do so.

I’ve considered perhaps interspersing some posting of parts of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado here, perhaps alternating with Outlaw’s Mind, perhaps posting them on another day of the week.  Let me know what you think, if you have any interest in the question at all.  It’s not a horror story, but is instead a trans-universal fantasy adventure, so be prepared.  I want to (and so I hereby do) remind everyone that these are stories in early draft form*, so they won’t be as polished and streamlined as something that’s been formally published would be.

In this, unfortunately, they may bear all too much resemblance to all too many of at least the online versions of publications from Scientific American to the various major newspapers, all of which seem to have fallen into the editorial hands of the pointy-haired boss from Dilbert, and many of the writers of which seem to have learned their trade via Twitter-mediated coursework.  Honestly, the state of much of the publishing industry is terribly dispiriting to note.

More than once within the last few months, in mainstream-published books about arguably serious subject matter, I’ve encountered the words “free reign” used instead of “free rein”.  That latter is an expression related to horseback riding, in which one essentially releases control of the horse to allow it to go where it will, presumably at high speed, but with outcomes that may be difficult to predict, and this is the source of the metaphor.  The former is…I don’t know, perhaps a reference to some form of particularly liberal monarchial regime**.

But, as they say, I digress.  I’m prone to do so often and grievously.  The point I meant to make was simply that I wouldn’t want you to mistake the form in which I might share parts of a story here for the way they might appear in “officially” published form, in case anyone were to consider buying one of my books.

One other thing I did at the end of last week was to record a video of me playing guitar and singing the David Bowie song, A Space Oddity.  I had downloaded the chords to the song from a site of which I am a member, and they sounded so good to me when I played them, even though they weren’t particularly difficult chords, that I couldn’t resist making a video.  I’ll embed it here, for anyone who is interested.  I make no promises regarding the quality of the playing or the singing; I just liked singing and playing the song.

And I think that’s pretty much what I have to share this week.  I hope you’ve all been feeling and doing better than I have been, and I do mean “all”.  I’ve been having a truly rough time, though at least I’ve kept on writing, and I don’t want any of you to feel like I do, no matter what Peter Frampton might say.  I would seriously like you to share (in the comments here, not on Facebook or Twitter, which I tend not to spend much time on for the sake of my already alarmingly tenuous mental health) whether you would be interested in reading sections of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and if so whether you would mind if I alternated them with Outlaw’s Mind, or if you would prefer to have me share them in another slot during the week.

Otherwise, as always, please try to be kind to each other and to yourselves, because goodness knows I’m not likely to do it.

TTFN

Theoden king


*It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that they are first drafts, because I always reread what I’ve written the previous day before starting on any new writing, and I edit as I do so.  Often, I’ll have reread a portion and edited it more than once in this process, depending on how much I wrote the preceding day.

**A regime, by the way, is related to the rule of a person or dynasty over a nation, or something analogous.  A regimen is a “prescribed course of medical treatment, way of life, or diet for the promotion or restoration of health”, and related usages.  The words are obviously related, so it’s not such a big deal to conflate them***, but it is a bit sloppy, and—of course—it irritates me far beyond its level of importance.  One follows an exercise regimen, not an exercise regime, unless one is ruled over/governed by one’s workout routine in a more or less literal sense****.

*** “Reign”, on the other hand, comes from Latin via Old French and Middle English and so on, while “rein” is apparently derived from Old Norse, so though they are homophones, they are not closely related words.

****A “diet” is more complicated, since it can refer to a legislative body, thus making things ever more confusing, though I doubt that many people confuse regime with regimen for that specific reason.  There’s even a famous historical “Diet of Worms”, which had nothing to do with the eating habits of annelids, but instead referred to a body convened to address the heresy of Martin Luther.  Though I love it dearly, English is often muddled and can be confusing.  It’s both a technically “degenerate” code and also often not a very specific one.  Maybe I shouldn’t get so worked up by people mistaking a horseback metaphor for one related to monarchy and similar governmental situations.

Full fathom five thy blogger lies; of his bones are coral made

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, March 10th, 2022, the second Thursday in March, and it’s time again for my weekly blog post.

As those who follow this blog know, I posted the 4th part of Outlaw’s Mind earlier this week.  If you haven’t seen it, you can feel free to go and read it here.  If you haven’t read any of it, and you’re interested, the first part is here, and you can see the listing of all the “parts” here.

I call them “parts” because they really aren’t chapters.  As I break them up, chapters tend to be longer in most cases, but I haven’t assigned chapters yet in this story.  I often don’t do that until the story is finished, after I’ve trimmed and adjusted things.  This story is being posted in very raw form, and if it’s rough and not as good as it might be because of that, I apologize.  I do appreciate those of you who read it, and I hope you enjoy it.

I’ve done a decent amount of writing on it this week—about 6500 words—the single biggest chunk last Saturday morning, when I cranked out a ridiculous two thousand words in under an hour.  I have no idea how to explain that.  It may very well be crap because of it, I’m not sure.

I don’t honestly know whether any of my writing is anything other than crap from anyone’s point of view but mine.  I’m not fishing for compliments; nor am I fishing for insults*.  I just honestly don’t know.  I don’t know very well how people react to anything I do, frankly.  People in general are confusing to me, sometimes even people I’ve known my whole life.  I do know that, for the most part, they don’t like having me around much.  Can’t blame them; I feel the same way about myself.

I haven’t done anything new, musically, but I did re-figure out the chords and specific melodies of my song Come Back Again (which is available to listen on YouTube if anyone is interested).  I hadn’t written down the chords except the basic opening ones originally, and when I happened upon a sheet with a few of those the other day, I figured I’d write out the melodies as they are and refigure those chords—maybe even change them some from the original, though I don’t think I did.  I’ve never been completely happy with how the song turned out as I arranged and “mixed” it before, but there are things about it that I like**.  It’s maybe too slow, and it’s certainly a bit gloomy, but then again, I’m a bit gloomy…in the same sense that the Pacific Ocean is a bit damp.

I’ve been trying to get into somewhat better walking condition, trying to work through calluses and blisters to get ready for a near-epic undertaking that I have tentatively planned.  I’ve been going slightly farther each day (with a few days off to let blisters settle out), and last night I walked about three and a half miles after work.  Once I’ve gotten up to about six miles at a pop without new blisters (no pun intended) or soreness, I think I’ll be pretty much physically ready for my undertaking, though there will be other preparations needed beyond that.

I’ll be saying/writing more about it as time goes on, and when it happens, I mean to make YouTube videos and will of course share them here and via my few anti-social media channels.  I don’t know whether anyone will even notice, but I hope to make it a useful process, perhaps calling attention to some charities or other.  My favorite one so far, and the one linked to my Amazon Smile account, is Reading Is Fundamental.  I remember their public service messages from when I was kid, and I agree entirely with their title.

I’ve said it over and over again, in various places and times:  I think written language is the lifeblood of civilization.  Almost everything good that we’ve done on any kind of scale, and any durable progress we’ve made, has depended on written language in one form or another.  As Carl Sagan put it, “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs.  Books break the shackles of time.  A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

We watch videos of people all over the internet and web, and see stories told in movies and TV shows, but with a book, we can hear the words and thoughts of other people speaking directly in our minds, even ones who lived a very long time ago, in a galaxy that was then far, far away…certainly on any human scale***.  Through writing we can store memory and experience and understanding that can endure and build over the course of millennia.  We can step outside our parochial concerns—and all of our daily concerns are, finally, parochial, as is all politics, and social movements, and fashion trends, and all else that seems to grab people’s attention so very strongly.

That’s about all I have for this week, I suppose.  It’s probably actually more than I have, frankly, since I haven’t really said anything of substance, and I’ve probably wasted your time.  Apologies for that.  I hope you’re doing well otherwise, though.

TTFN

sunken-ships-5


*Hopefully that’s obvious, at least.

**I’m fond of the lines, “Only meeting strangers; always losing friends.  Every new beginning always ends”, because it is self-evidently and logically true when you think about it.

***After all, the Earth orbits the sun, the sun orbits the center of our galaxy, and our galaxy is moving even relative to the cosmic microwave background, towards the Andromeda galaxy, and of course, the universe itself is expanding.  The Galaxy Song, by Eric Idle/Monty Python gives a nice rundown of just how much motion that is, over how great a scale.  The last bit about the expansion of the universe being limited by the speed of light isn’t quite correct, but it’s not a substantive error as far as the song goes.

Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word – cover on guitar and voice

Yesterday in my weekly blog post, I threatened you all with the possibility that I might upload some more videos of me singing and playing.  Well, I did just that, with my amateur version of the Elton John song, Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word.  It’s far from perfect, but I’m reasonably proud of my arrangement of the opening solo and the middle solo, which were of course originally for piano, this being Elton John.  I even arranged the middle one from memory, since it’s very memorable.  I was getting the opening wrong, though, I could tell, but wasn’t sure in what way, so I did re-listen to the song’s opening by Sir Elton to fix that.

Anyway, here it is.  I hope you like it.

And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill, and simple blog miscalled simplicity

Hey, everybody.  I’m really feeling tired and worn out today, so I’m not going to say very much in this post.  This time, I think I really mean it.  There’s not much to report, anyway.  I’m not sure there ever is.

I’ve written about 3000 words on Outlaw’s Mind this week so far, but I had to go back to the computer to do it; the longhand project was encountering some problems.  I’m afraid my handwriting has degenerated beyond even its former, maddeningly messy form, hard though that may be to believe for those who have seen my curse-ive before.  Also, it’s become more difficult and slower for me to do.  Some of this may just be due to lack of recent practice, but it was very frustrating, and so I abandoned that noble idea.

I did some recording (on video) of myself playing some songs on guitar, and singing along, for practice and self-evaluation purposes, and one of them—the Beatles song Help—turned out reasonably well, so I decided to share it on YouTube.  I’ve embedded it here:

I also am taking a break from my antidepressant.  It doesn’t seem to be doing much good, and it’s been having some irritating side-effects.  I know it’s not usually a good idea to change one’s medical regimen without consulting one’s doctor, but since I am the one who “prescribed” it, and since I am the only doctor I’m seeing anymore, I guess that criterion is met.  We’ll see how it goes.

Other than that, there’s not much to say.  Life, as John Mellencamp said*, goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

I hope you’re all doing much better than I am, and that you’re staying warm, staying safe, and staying healthy.  Maybe next week I’ll write more.  Maybe not.  I don’t know.

TTFN

empty man


*I’ve probably even quoted the line many times before, but I don’t feel like checking.

Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may blog the fool no where but in’s own house.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again.  I thought for a moment that it was 1/12/2022, but that was yesterday.  I liked it because it was a date full of 2s (even though there were 1s, there were 2 of them, so that added to a 2 in my book) and of course, today is the second Thursday of the year and of the month, and thus this is my second blog post of the year.  It would have been nice to have that match up, but alas, it was not to be.

Tuesday was an interesting date if you write it in a European order:  11/01/2022.  It’s an almost palindrome, but with the right side of the mirror having doubled the values on the left side.  This makes me imagine some quantum mechanical system or some higher-dimensional theory in which there are two versions of certain particles or forces, but with all things reflected in some variant of CPT, with one always having some quantity twice that of the other.  I have no idea if this could apply to anything in reality.  Maybe it’ll explain the whole neutrino question, or the muon anomaly, or the nature of dark matter or dark energy.

I highly doubt it.

I forgot to mention last week that I had done a sort of video* of me playing American Pie (and singing) and had posted it on YouTube.  Here it is.

I don’t quite like how the audio turned out (except at the end).  I was trying to combine multiple simultaneous recording sources, and that was a nice idea, but I ended up doing the mixing and reverb in a way that doesn’t sound ideal.  It also creates the illusion that I actually miss an occasional note while singing, and we all know that cannot be accurate**.

I bring this up because yesterday I did another “sort of” video (see previous footnote), but I did a better job with the multiple sound inputs and the reverb and so on, so that audio came out better.  We live and learn, I suppose.

Here’s the other video, of me playing and singing Hallelujah, and I think you’ll agree the sound here is better.  Try not to look at me, at least if you have food in your stomach.

I don’t like to be a “Like and Share” whore, particularly since I wrote a song with that very title in a rather disapproving tone (though it was not so much about liking and sharing per se as the psychologically damaging culture associated with living by one’s “likes”).  Nevertheless, I do ask if you like those videos you might “Like” them, as with this blog.  This is purely to boost my self-esteem, which should be an easy enough task; there’s way more room to go up than down.  Also, if you want to subscribe, certainly feel free to do so, and of course, I welcome comments.  If you want to support my work financially, though, I have no Patreon or Cup of Joe*** set up, but you can always buy my books/stories.  The Kindle editions are not expensive.  Or tell your friends about them, if they like fantasy/sci-fi/horror.

Speaking of books/stories…

I’m nearly done with my reread of Outlaw’s Mind so far and should soon be back to writing more of it.  I’m enjoying the reread, and that should hopefully help my enthusiasm.  The good thing about working on what had started as a short story but has morphed into a novel is that it will probably be a reasonably short novel, which is a novel thing for me.  Ha ha.  It will have significant tie-ins to my eventual novel Changeling in a Shadow World, which may end up being a series or at least a multi-volume story.  As I think I’ve mentioned previously, that series will have at least a peripheral connection to The Chasm and the Collision, though no characters from CatC will appear in it.

In general, all my works appear within the same Omniverse****, not just because they’re all written by me, and its components can sometimes interact with each other.  In fact, those who are paying attention will notice that Hole for a Heart and Unanimity are literally in the same world, with the latter taking places slightly earlier than the former.  Don’t believe me?  Just read.

Inspired by a few YouTube videos, I bought two fiction books this week.  The first was Revival by Stephen King, which I’d avoided as not seeming like my kind of story.  But a video reviewer rating his favorite books described it briefly (without spoilers) and made me realize that it might be just my kind of Stephen King book after all.  I’ve already finished it*****, and it was quite good—above-average King.

I had mentioned and recommended another book that I’d read a while back to someone at work, as being very unusual, quite creepy, and rather disturbing.  Then, that very lunchtime, as I watched the Stephen King review video, the YouTube algorithm posted a video about that very book.  This isn’t as weird a coincidence as one might think, because I had been following similar videos about similar books.  The book is House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski, and with this reinforcement, I ordered a physical copy, and have already started reading it.  It’s as good, and as weird, as I remember.

By the way, the video I saw was titled, “Is House of Leaves the scariest story ever?”.  My answer is, “No,” but it is scary at many points, and it is disturbing (not in a gross or gory way, but in the sense of giving the reader the urge to quote the 12th Doctor in saying, “Three-dimensional Euclidean geometry has been torn up, thrown in the air, and snogged to death!  My grasp of the universal constants of physical reality has been changed…forever.”), and it does leave one feeling “What the Hell?” quite often, but in a good way (if you like horror).

That’s about it for now.  I expect to restart work on Outlaw’s Mind as early as this weekend, if I can summon the discipline and drive.  In the meantime, I hope you’re all well and enjoying your new year.  I’ll leave you with the very pleasing news that 2/22/2022 is a Tuesday.  How cool is that?

TTFN

house of leaves

This is a sample of the interior of the book House of Leaves


*By “sort of”, I don’t mean that it’s not really a video.  It’s clearly a video.  But the video portion is not worth any attention.

**This is sarcasm, of the self-derogatory sort.  I hadn’t tried playing and singing that whole song in one go before, so I’ll cut myself a tiny amount of slack, but not much.

***Or whatever that thing is.

****My original term was Metaverse, then Mark Fuckerberg stole the term, even though I’d thought of it at least a decade before Facebook even existed.  I could still use it, of course, but it’s tainted now.  Anyway, Omniverse is probably better, I just need to get used to it.

*****My first new fiction read in quite some time.

The canker blogs have full as deep a dye as the perfumed tincture of the roses

Hello and good morning.  It’s the first Thursday of May in 2021, and so, of course, it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  I don’t have any particular topic to write about today, so I’ll just start with some comments about how work has been going on my latest story.

It’s going well.

I won’t leave it just at that, though you might prefer it.  I’ve been writing at a decent clip, but not quite approaching my peak levels from recent weeks, because I had a flat tire, and earlier this week I had to get the repaired tire replaced, and I had to take the train to and from work while that was happening.

I’ve still been writing over a thousand new words—so to speak—a day, even on my worst day of the week, and on Monday I hit two thousand.  Given that I do my writing in the space of roughly an hour in the morning, that’s pretty good.  I’m enjoying being able to write new things instead of simply having to rewrite and edit works that have already been written.  I feel a bit like a kid how is finally able to go outside and play after a long rainy spell; it just feels good to move, or to write as the case may be.  I also tend to get caught up in writing new things more readily than in most other pursuits.  Though it’s often a minor push to get going in the morning, by the time I need to stop, I often don’t really want to do so.

The new story I’m working on, In the Shade, is a horror story, and is rapidly turning towards the Lovecrafty side of things, which was my intent and expectation when I originally started writing it.  Invoking Howard Phillips always seems to energize me.  The story is getting a bit longish, but that is at least tolerable in a Lovecraft-style tale, since his stories were often pretty long.  Still, I think I’m going to set my self a more draconian goal than usual in reducing the word count during the editing process.  Then, of course, I must put together my collection.

In addition to writing (and working at my day job, of course), I’ve been doing some more videos.  For two weeks in a row now I’ve released some as part of my Iterations of Zero blog; they appear on YouTube and in the blog proper.  I also did a few little silly videos, mainly in order to play with video editing programs, to see what they can do and what I can do with them, in a half-hearted kind of way.  I also did a video of a cover of the Beatles song, Blackbird.  I’d posted on YouTube a video among others I’d made of me just practicing the song, but my singing wasn’t great, and the sound quality was also far from ideal.  So, I did a more formal recording/mix of the song—in one morning, after writing, originally, but then I redid the vocals after that.  The whole song is just one guitar and a singer (double-tracked in the middle), so the vocals are very much in your face.  I was reasonably happy with the outcome, and I did a video proper—so to speak, again—with pictures of various blackbirds, with effects pasted onto them using a very basic video editor, in a rather silly fashion.  I’ll embed the video here, just in case you want to watch/listen.

I feel foolishly proud of my guitar playing there, because it’s a rather complicated finger-picking song, and I’m really playing it, and at full speed.  I remember reading about how, when the Beatles were hanging out with the maharishi, Donovan showed Paul and John that finger-picking style, and they each excitedly went on to write and record a finger-picked song for “The White Album”.  Paul did Blackbird, and John did Julia.  I’m also practicing the latter, but it has some additional challenges—the use of a capo, for instance, and more complex chord fingering—that mean it’s going to take a bit longer to get to where I want it to be.  I did do a video of me playing it, on that same morning, and it’s on Iterations of Zero, here, with other videos, but I haven’t put it on YouTube.  Eventually I’ll get it in shape and do a full recording, maybe with a real video of me (you are hereby warned).  This song definitely has at least double-tracked vocals, because John overlaps himself singing it.

Anyway, that’s all really a side thing, though it’s enjoyable working on a new skill.  As mentioned last week, I’m unnoticeably far into the beginning of the ten-thousand hours needed to master playing, but it’s fun.  I have advantages in that I’ve played piano and especially cello since I was quite young and played in orchestras regularly right up until the end of medical school.  I’ve never been a great cellist—my practicing habits were abysmal—but I always enjoyed it, and it definitely provides a leg up for playing the guitar.

That’s about all I have to write about today; it’s probably more than I actually have to write about, or at least more than is worth writing about.  I hope you all have a lovely, lusty month of May, but that you stay safe and healthy in the process.

TTFN

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This is a picture I drew a long time ago. It has nothing much to do with this post, but captures my love for the monstrous “hiding” amidst beauty.

Thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind, for thee, and for my blog no quiet find.

Hello, good morning, and welcome to another Thursday.  It’s time for my weekly blog post.  I’m still comparatively “out of it”, so I had to double-check that, yes, today really is Thursday.  I woke up yesterday feeling that it was Friday, though that might have been wishful thinking; I thought not only that it was Friday, but that I didn’t need to work on Saturday.  Both of these turn out to be wrong.  (Sigh.  Life is so tiring.)

Despite still obviously being reduced from my peak abilities by the aftereffects of Covid, I’ve had a relatively productive week.  First, I recorded and posted an “audio blog” which I guess counts as a sort of mini podcast, on Iterations of Zero.  It was triggered—weirdly enough—when I woke up the other day with the old Genesis song Land of Confusion going through my head, particularly the line about how “my generation will get it right, we’re not just making promises that we know we’ll never keep”.  I find such utterances terribly irritating, even in what could be considered poetry, and I replied in my head that, well, you might not be making promises that you know you’ll never keep, but you are making promises that you’ll never keep.  And indeed, they have not kept them.

Promising, after all, is easy.  Actually doing something takes work, usually a lot of it.

And of course, the remarks in the song about superman, men of steel, men of power, always set me off; there are no supermen, there are no “men of steel”, there are no “men of power”, and there never have been.  There are just other flesh and blood humans, just other bees in the hive or ants in the hill.

Anyway, I went off on those ideas for about seventeen minutes, since I was still fuming when I arrived at the office, and I then edited it (a bit) and posted it.

I did something a little more upbeat also, finally releasing my cover of the Radiohead song Nude, which is on IoZ and on YouTube:

I really like that song, but the process of having to correct for recording issues in the edit and mixing process finally drove me to buy a somewhat better microphone (closing the proverbial barn door after the equine had exited).  Just in playing with that microphone, I realized how much easier it makes things to have a good USB condenser mic.  I was able to record a draft of a cover of the Beatles song Julia in just one morning, which I embed here in present form.

Of course, I mixed it and did some reverb after the recording and whatnot, and it is a simpler song, but still, that’s a total of maybe an hour’s work or so (not counting learning and practicing the guitar part, of course).  And the microphone I used only cost about thirty-five dollars, so it’s definitely not a big expense.  I probably spend more than that every week on bubbly water.

Of course, I’ve continued to work on The Vagabond, but there’s not much new to say other than that I’m one week closer to being finished.  I still enjoy the story, and I look forward to seeing it published and then going on to finish Outlaw’s Mind and then putting together Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities and all that stuff.  After all that, I’m not sure what exactly I’m going to write next.  I’m going to write something, though, since it turns out the novel coronavirus hasn’t killed me*, and as long as I’m alive, I mean to keep writing.  I’ll also probably (to a lesser extent) keep doing music—especially now that I have my new microphone(s)—and I’ll probably keep doing little mini-podcasts that I’ll upload, though I don’t know if anyone likes them or wants to listen to them.  I’d actually appreciate feedback on that question, but I don’t think I’ve ever received any despite asking for it, so I’m not going to hold my breath.

With that, I guess I’m done with my weekly summary of events and thoughts, though I’m sure I could have written more**.  I hope you’re all as well as you can possibly be, and that you stay well and, if you can, even get weller.

TTFN

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*I have mixed and varying feelings about this.  In all honesty, life often does not seem worth the effort to me, which is probably part of why I love Hamlet so much.  And yet, even though people throughout the ages have noted that life is often not a net gain, particularly after a certain point, our culture allows, and even encourages, other people to hold us accountable for staying alive so that they don’t have to feel the pain of our death…even if they are not putting any effort into helping make our life worth living.  I’m not saying that other people should be responsible for making my (or anyone else’s) life pleasant or positive or whatever, but if they aren’t, they sure as fuck shouldn’t then arrogate to themselves the right to try to manipulate and coerce someone into enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune just because their deaths would cause that other person pain.  It’s logically inconsistent if nothing else.  It’s also selfishness and cruelty masquerading as humanitarianism.

Anyway, just to conclude this footnote with a request: if you are worried about someone who’s depressed or has some other disorder and you don’t want them to die, don’t wheedle or berate or manipulate or cajole them not to die just because it would make you upset if they did.  What right do you have to insist upon their continued suffering just so you don’t have to deal with their death?  If you really want them to stay alive, then make it your business to help them have good reasons to want to stay alive.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up!

**I can almost always write more.  In fact, an early pseudonym suggestion for me by my father was “Franklin L. Ritemoore”.  It took me about five minutes to get the joke, but I was only in junior high at the time, so I was less advanced at wordplay than I am now.