Tuesday, May 31, 2016


When I was recording my album Skeleton Coast (just buy it already), my producer made cheap drum machine tracks for me to follow when I recorded my basic acoustic guitar, so we would start the recording process with everything in solid timing. One of the songs ("Totally Low Standard Blues") gave him trouble, and he couldn't figure out why. Then we got into a brief argument about timing, because he swore the song was in 4/4. Eventually, I convinced him it was actually in 6/8 time, and we got the track done no problem. He did, however, inform me that I was weird.

Most rock, pop, rap, and a decent amount of country is in 4/4 time (du du DA du, du du DA du). As a result, most musicians who don't have formal training are more or less used to 4/4, and anything else gives them a bit of trouble. If you play country, 3/4 timing slips in the mix (think waltz timing--DUN du du, DUN du du). 6/8, though, is a rarer bird.

Recently, I've had developments in my solo career which have pushed me towards preparing solo rock shows, without a band. I'm going to bring my electric and play with some strange pre-recorded drum/percussion tracks (I test this out tomorrow, so expect a progress report later this week). Of course, this means that I need to pre-record said pre-recorded backing tracks. Last week, I tackled "Totally Low Standard Blues," and even though I wrote the song, the 6/8 time signature still gave me fits. This is one in a long line of hints that I might be a weirdo.

Yesterday, I realized that one of the songs I'm in the middle of writing is also in 6/8 time. Maybe I'll do enough of these that weird time signatures become second nature. Or maybe I just like to make things difficult.

Monday, May 30, 2016


When I still used to think I could somehow become a scholar, I was faced with a quandary: I needed to keep publishing to even have a chance at getting a tenure track job, but since I was in a non-tenured position, the scholarship I did benefited my actual job not at all. In fact, my teaching load was so high, there was no time at all to even think scholarship during the semester.

Summers were the only time I could research and write. And write, I did. I would chain myself to books or to my computer for at least eight hours a day. I did an impressive volume and depth of work during those summers...more (I was told by reliable sources) than some of my tenure-track colleagues. Shame it never actually benefited me, though.

The arrival of my daughter coincided with me realizing I was never going to be a professional scholar, and, in anticipation of my girl coming, I decided I was done spending summers writing articles which never actually yielded tangible benefits. That was in 2011. This summer marks the five year anniversary of no scholarship.

Lest you feel this depressing in some way, I should tell you a little tale. Yesterday, I washed the dishes, made a big batch of burritos for the freezer (bean, mushroom, broccoli, onion, and vegetarian chorizo (the only decent vegetarian sausage)), cleaned the fish tank, and made my weekly batch of oatmeal. At the end of the  day, I felt more of a sense of accomplishment than at the end of one of the writing summers.

Just thought it should be noted. Of course, I did also apply for my third summer job...but you win some, lose some.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

fighting a fit

In spite of everything, today largely centered around a depression fit. Yeah, I know "episode" is the preferred terminology, but let's face it: fit fits better. And it was a doozy, intensity-wise. Hell, my daughter's full-throttled glee at the swimming pool being open (yelling "this is fantastic!" and referring to the pool steps as "the dock") only put a ding in the depression fit.

Ultimately, the most potent weapon in the valiant struggle against depression was (as per usual) music. Getting to go to band practice and blast my guitar through a tube amp did wonders, and I returned home a better person (in spite of my singer telling me, "you are the most obnoxious person I know").

Of course, my mind has been focusing on this marvelous property of music to act as a salve against depression. I even thought about writing a song about it. I started humming a melody, and then the phrase "you gotta see my panacea" came forth.

Luckily, I was wise enough to recognize it for the nonsense it was and switch instead to playing video games.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I first got online in 1994. Yeah, I was an early adopter, but there was a lot of history before that. And although I knew a lot of it, it's never too late to learn more. Thanks to Forty Years of the Internet, I learned the first internet message was "LO"...it was supposed to be "LOGIN," but the one of the computers crashed.

Reminds me of one of my early machines.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

the perils of teaching business writing

I'm teaching an online summer course in Professional and Business Writing. I don't really want to teach over the summer, but I do need the money. Still, I wouldn't mind all that much except for two things:
  1. A lot of this writing is pretty boring. I know this is probably something I shouldn't admit in public, but it's really hard to bring myself to care about how they use columns in their resumes. Still, I could fight this if it weren't for:
  2. I have to comment on their document design. No problem...however, one of the things I have to mention is their use of white space. Again, not really a problem...except I find myself accidentally typing "shite space" instead of "white space." I wonder how many times I have not caught my mistake.
Being a teacher is rough.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

the perils of beauty

I was supposed to have a photoshoot today, so I did effective grooming this morning. Then the photoshoot for cancelled. Now I have to walk around all day with product in my hair.

I wonder if this is how the beautiful people feel.

a good day

I got to my psychiatrist appointment only to find out that I'm somehow running a credit and don't have to give them a co-pay. Woohoo! It's a good day to be crazy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

a good, authentic coffee

On Wednesdays, my daughter goes to soccer lessons, and I have a little under an hour to kill. My refuge is a local coffee shop. It's a cool place, obviously designed and run by someone who really would rather be in the Caribbean than Perrysburg, Ohio. I'm glad he's here, though. Besides the coffee (which is really good...he roasts beans daily in the shop), it's just a cool little shop that doesn't look like it's trying to be anything other than what the owner wants.

Today, though, the owner's sick, and the shop is closed. So I'm instead sitting at another coffee shop across the street. It's locally owned instead of chain (which is something). But it's...well, I hate it. It's decorated in muted shades of blue and gray. The Batista is dressed like she should be in a boutique. They are playing what sounds like contemporary muzak pop out of an iPhone plugged into an iPhone dock. When the kitchen is open, they serve crepes. In short, it's the kind of place where the clientele is more likely to order double shot iced mochas than an actual coffee.

Which I guess is fitting, as this is a pretty well-off, upper class bedroom community. I would, however, much rather be in the beach shack coffee place.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

the Battlestar is coming to save me

After bashing at it for the last two weeks, I've finally put the final bit of prep onto my summer online class. I've only ever taught one class over the summer, and to tell the truth, I really didn't want to do anymore. However, life (and the accompanying poverty) have a habit of wrecking the most carefully laid plans.

When I need to clear my head, I've been binge-watching Battlestar Galactica. There was a good quote in my lunchtime episode that I wanted to share:

It's naive to think that horrible things that we can't understand have simple explanations, because simple explanations make us feel like we have control, when we don't.

This is one on which to ponder over the next few weeks.