Archive for the 'Sha Na Na Na' Category

In which our author switches to hip-hop.

I was just feeling silly tonight – I’m feeling rather good for someone who had a terrible day filled with expenses that I just can’t afford – so I decided to mess around a bit in MIDI loop-making.

Q: Can you guess where this tune comes from?

A: It’s the backbeat for one of the world’s best commercials.

I first discovered this song about two years ago through my wife, and unlike most of the rest of the world, I still can’t get it out of my head.  For one thing, it’s as good-natured as can get; there’s literally nothing about it that is cynical or jaded, even though it is probably making that guy a lot of money now (but this is a good thing).  For another, the song is catchy, a two-bar riff and this guy singing over it with very little regard for the beat.  I love a good accidental masterpiece, and this is a prime example.  Anyway I got bored so I recreated it in Ableton, and had a good time doing so.

Another thing I have had some fun doing lately is discovering the joys of panning.  As in, “my god these vocals are mushy, what can I do to bring them out?”  Well, I found out that in fact you bring them out by separating them to the left and right (with the main melody remaining in the center, most times).  And of course, the same goes for the bass and rhythm parts. It seems so obvious now but I tend to think of my monitors as a monolith, or like a wall of sound, but of course in reality one has from two to seven separate channels to work with.  Now that I know this, I’m going to start working on an a capella piece that I’ve sort of been toying with for the last little bit, as I think it might turn out really well. It’s not pure voice, as there will probably will be some kind of minimalist backbeat to it but still, now that I know this panning trick I’m not afraid to break out the big guns anymore.

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MOST OVERUSED PHRASE OF THE NEW CENTURY (SO FAR)

“Litmus test.”

Can we F’ing lay that one to rest, please?

Mkay, thanks.

And by the way: I don’t know who reads westerns anymore, but I know that even Oprah reads Cormac McCarthy these days, so I have a feeling that I’m not completely out of date with this mention, though I know I’m late to the party: has anyone read Blood Meridian ? So far this is a pretty amazing story.  I’m not sure there’s a scarier antagonist in existence, this Judge Holden character is really something else.  My God what a gruesome book.  I’d like my wife to read some of this stuff, because even this rough prose beats holy hell out of some of the best poetry out there, but I fear that this book at least will never get a fair hearing, because it tests even my own long, looooong tolerance for gruesomeness.  Every other page, some dude’s getting his eye squashed like a grape or having his brain kicked in, sometimes both in gory sequence.  At this stage I’m still wondering, why is this author doing this to me?, but I have faith in the guy, he’s really probably the best author alive today, with the exception of Gene “My mothergrabbin’ hero” Wolfe.

On Wolfe: I found out through the Urth.net mailing list that Gene Wolfe is a conservative, a paleo to be precise.  I always knew he was a hard-liner on the 2nd amendment (& I have no problem with that, though I am not a gun person myself), but it did surprise me a bit to learn that the man who wrote The Knight Wizard duology leans right.  Well, you learn something new every day; that’s not just an empty phrase.

On Politics: Sooooooo, it’s Barry O’s 100th-day anniversary today.  Great job, Barack, if that’s your real name.  Now, if he can just find the time to get his Communist head out of his Socialist ass, I might congratulate him for not giving out the launch codes to Iran while simultaneously giving Hugo Chavez a reacharound.   Oh ho, but no. Barry, you’re no W.

(coming back from Bizarro World)

I can’t even pretend for very long that I’m not an Obama fanboy.  I mean, he may be all wrong economically (not saying he is, just saying that I’m no macro-economist), this ride could get very rough very quickly, but as of right now, I’m fairly happy that we have a extremely literate man in an office that demands thoughts before actions.  I know that some 30-35 percent of the country thinks I’m a doofus for thinking such things, and I can practically feel all the Klan rallys in the works as we speak, but to some extent at least, I no longer feel like a “stranger in a strange land.”  Well, more often than not anyway.  But there is an undercurrent of scorn in the air that I must admit is a bit disconcerting. It’s one thing when one has an argument with a friend about politics – a dear friend of mine feels somewhat ambivalent towards most of the politics that I favor: these kinds of disagreements are okay with me, even when they are harshly stated.  That sort of thing can be fun.  But, as a quick for instance, today I had an appointment to see an older Catholic lady – I know she was Catholic because of all the handmade religious icons she had arranged in neat little rows on her end tables – and naturally, being a Catholic these days means you are hard-right.     Aside: and why the hell is that, anyway?  When I grew up Catholic, it seemed like everybody was as liberal as I was, except on the issue of abortion, and that’s always been okay with me, as I don’t feel as if I have much of a say when it comes to abortion. Anyway, she was there with her little schoolmadam’s bun in her hair, listening to Laura Ingraham talk about how utterly OTHER Barack Obama is, and before I walk out the door, she says, as if it’s a universal truth and she’s just confirming it with me, “God, what did we ever do to deserve Barack Obama? I’ll be glad when he goes back to Kenya or wherever he’s from.”  My eyes got all krinkly, and I forced a smile to back it up and said “Oh, lord.” Then she says, “That man is going to wind up killing us all.”  My reply was just completely as honest as could be: “Oh man, we’re going there, are we?”  I didn’t say it under my breath, but she paid it no mind and just kept her yammering on, and I could have sworn at some point she was actually trying to hint to me that none of it mattered, since he would soon be dead (or at least impeached) anyway.  Not that she was confessing about the wheres and whens of such dark possibilities.  No, it was just a hard fact, as if her faith in America relied on it to properly exist.  Well, I must confess I would have shed no tears had old W taken a bullet train to Permanent Dreamtime, but it would have bothered me to no end that our president was killed, no matter how against him I might be, because dammit, there is no place in a sustained Democracy for violence.  None at all.  So dry those tears, little ‘publicans, I say: you’ll get your turn soon enough – although not too soon, because in case you haven’t noticed, your party is imploding and may actually end up the size of a crushed soda can before you figure it out.

Good News Is No News

Still here.

Still studying for my Server 2003 core exam, coming up five days from now.

Still poor, but damn, it could be worse.

Spent last weekend in Alabammy, paying respects to family who came out to see Gramps after he gave up the ghost the other day.  It was sad as usual to see my extended family, and just to see the overall state of the connections I once had with people who I now only vaguely recognize as being part of the brood.  Time, distance, and wildly different demographics will do that to one’s regard for nearly anybody. It was great to see my Mom’s Mom, our beloved Granny Monk, who at 83 is still up and at ’em, still busy selling herself short but not letting that stop her from busting ass on the family front.  I didn’t realize until spending a couple of nights with her, that lo and behold, my entire clothes-washing technique was completely wrong.  She quickly set me to rights, however, and after a brief penance I may one day try to wash my clothes unaided once more.

My sis also got married (again) in the past week of all these other goings on.  God love her, she doesn’t really stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being happily married but she’s determined to try it again, and I guess in light of recent events, good on her for giving it another shot.  We’ll all still be here – minus one unhappy ex-husband – when it doesn’t work out.  Not to be prophetic, but…….it doesn’t take Nostradamus to see through this particular tunnel of time.

Enough with the family abrasions for today.


December 2017
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Currently Reading:

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame - Charles Bukowski

Currently Listening:

Mr. Bungle - California

Why, yes, I am cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.

You lika de juice????