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Friday, September 28, 2012

This place is CURSED!

I have finally come to the conclusion that my workplace is cursed.

First, one co-worker has a broken ankle that's not healing so he's in a huge high-teh cast thing and is on crutches.  Then, there's me with my toe amputation.  Last week a co-worker had shoulder surgery and he's in and out this week.  Finally, some poor woman on the factory floor broke a knee and she's on crutches for a couple of months.

I have NEVER worked anywhere that the injury level was this high before.  Not even huge companies.

Therefore, this place is cursed.  Plain and simple.  I'm going to have to get a dead chicken to wave to keep the evil away from my foot, I want to hang on to the rest of it!

Not much else happening.  I'm going to put "Dead Ringer" aside and start on Threshold, figuring that DR needs some fallow time and a complete rewrite.  I have most of my research for Threshold in order and can start writing the moment I feel like I'm not going to have some OTHER idiot disaster drop on me.

Meh, meh, meh.  Friday and I feel like crap.  I had my toes itch yesterday - the missing ones!  Very odd sensation.  I've read about it but obviously never had it happen.  Just weird, weird, weird.

Took my vicodin this morning for a dull ache in the foot.. dang!  Killed my productivity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One toe, two toe, red toe..

GONE toes.

Well, my dang left foot got re-infected - apparently I wasn't really all healed up - and so I ended up back in the E.R., thence into the hospital, and surgery for the removal of my two smallest toes on my left foot.    It was a fast and easy operation, but.. oww!  And now I have "monster foot", not a pretty sight.

Regardless, I'm back at work.  I have a very high-tech shoe that protects the wound and keeps me from putting weight on it, so I'm happy as I can kind of get around on my own.  A 14-day supply of antibiotic (Amox-Clav 875mg) was $100!!!  Suckers must be made of fairy dust and ground unicorn horn!  Damn!  So now I'm close to broke AGAIN due to medical bills.

I should get 18 hours in this week, which is good enough to cover medical bills, food, and transportation.  Next week will be close to a full week and I should be back in the swing of things again.

Not much happening - 110% of my time is going to getting well.  Everything else is secondary right now.

Sigh.  Can't say I miss my traitor toes, but I was kind of fond of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to Work! Meh!

Despite feeling under he weather, I'm back at the office.  Urgh. Nose running, digestive system iffy, brain kind of semi-functional, but far from 100%.  Making progress despite it all, though - just slowly.

Coming in to the office definitely renews my motivation to write for a living!  I could be sitting at home in front of Scyla, working on a new novel/novella/series and sipping nice hot tea in a place where I can listen to music whilst I work {(IT cuts off all access to any kind of multimedia sources, including Web radio).  Not t mention my wheezing and hacking wouldn't bother my co-workers, and hot water is only 3ft away and not a couple of minutes walk to the other side of the freaking building.  And I could be in my pajamas!  Dang it all!

Well, having settled the issue of What I'm Doing To Stay Sane(tm), I can move on to focusing on just writing, reading, and playing music. I've always loved jazz/rock and blues, with some hard rock thrown in, so I'm going to focus my playing on rock and blues for now.  Otherwise, I'll be reading histories and mythologies, and writing fiction!  I feel like I should start a new project and work from there, but I have Clinging Guilt{(tm) about abandoning "Dead Ringer" just yet.  I should push myself just a little harder on it.

I'm also not going to stress about a portable writing or note-taking machine.  Bluntly, I  have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime, so I don't need to capture Every Precious Thought{(tm).. and I write a LOT better when I'm in my Cave.  When I go out, I'll go for the experience, maybe take my camera and/or field recorder, and not stress about anything.  I have plenty of stress in my life already!  My tablet is now my Kindke/Nook-alike and works quite well for that.  If I can get my MP3s on it, and get some earbuds, maybe I can bring my tunes into the office with me.  Take that, Nazi IT Department!

Apropos of nothing: I miss waffles.  Especially blueberry waffles, and peach cobbler.  And ice cream.  Sigh. Pecan pie!  Argh!  Well, I could survive a SMALL serving of any of the above with only a short-term major annoying spike in blood glucose, but I'd feel bad about eating it, almost (if not more) as bad as NOT eating it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Observations on Six String Bass and Guitar

Well, despite feeling like a camel trail in Saudi, I did do a little practice on the six-string bass and my Strat.  Owwww!  Thank heavens for Icy Hot!

The six-string bass is pretty amazing.  If I hang out on the bottom 4, I can get as low a tone as you could ever want, and be fairly quick and accurate.  Moving up to the top 2 give me a real "baritone" feel, I can do 2-note pairs and slide around and it doesn't produce the mud that chords on a 4-string do.  Very nice!

The wide neck is a challenge, especially if I'm playing low (as in F#/Gb) and I really need to reach to hit the notes in a blues scale (or Dorian mode).  It's a fair amount of work!  Not to mention trying to play for longer than 10 minutes at a time right now, I get mild finger cramps (fewer and fewer as time goes on), and my stupid BACK acts up! Again, Icy Hot to the rescue - takes the edge off.

Still,  I wouldn't gie up Shiva (the six-strbng bass) for anything! He's a PERFECT compliment to Shakti (heh).

And on the guitar front, I am speeding up pretty quickly.  I was practicing some blues riffs this evening and I started going faster and faster.. managed to hit the right string almost all of the times - and got carried away (red face here).  Yes, I shredded my fingertips bending the B and high E.. OWW!  But damn, I was doing so well!   I have some hope I can get back to where I was.. and maybe beyond!

Ugh blech, tired now.  I should probably have stopped after my bass session, but.. well.. no can do.  And tomorrow comes too darn early, 5:30AM again!  At least I can sleep until 7:30am on the weekends.. meh.


Well, here it is Monday and I took the day off to rest and recover.

I can't beleive how much my legs hurt and how sore my muscles are!  I went back over things and based on my calculations I walked an average of 4 miles a day all last week,  while only drinking about 3 glasses of water a day - but 2-3 diet sodas and 3-4 cups of coffee.  No woner I feel like crap, I'm dehydrated all to Hell and gone!

Yeserday it all came to a head and I ended up spending almost the entire day in bed, either sleeping or continually drinking glass after glass of water.    I feel marginally better today, to add to it all I had some kind of stupid flu-like thing on Friday and that didn't help at all.  I figure: stay home and don't share this at the office!

Despite getting LESS rest duing my "vacation", much has been accomplished.  I have all the instruments I'm going to need that require me to physically check them out, I have the basics for jamming and practicing, and I know what I'm going to need to finish up the studio.  Past t his point I need a decent standalone multitrack recorder and a drum machine, that will set me up for performing and composing.  I've tried doing it on the laptop but there's a ton of latency and it's unstable, so I'll record into the multitrack then bring it into the laptop for mixing and finalization.

Lordy I'm tired. I ought to do some walking today but nothing extensive, maybe up to the Walgreens and the Japanese store and home. My shoulders are soaked with Icy Hot and that's likely how I'll spend the day, along with sucking down lots of water.  My skin is paper-dry and that's always a real bad sign for me, I'm too dry!  Well, easy but slow to fix.

Not a lot of writing done (sad face).  I've been focusing on getting the studio going, but now I'm at a "resting spot" while I save up  money, so I'll get back into scribbling.  At least typing only hurts a little (oww owwowwwwwwwww)!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dang it's HOT!

Yeah, welcome to Texas, I know.  I grew up in Dallas/Plano/Richardson so I know how it is.

BUT - walking homne 3/4 of a mile in the heat, carrying a pile of studio gear, is NOT fun!!  I did get my RP355, my strap, cable, guitar stand and (whew!) picks but D A Y U M the sun beat dowbn like a baseball bat and  I'm dead tired!  But THE GEAR is HERE!

I was going to check out some basses but by 1:30pm the Guitar Center was full of youngsters playing really bad alt-rock licks and I didn't feel like trying to drown 'em out.  I'll go tomorrow if I don't soend the money on something else!

Blood sugar was 128 when I left home, I ate yellow curry chicken with brown rice, and about 5 minutes ago my BG was 97!  Exercise WORKS.. even if it's painful.  Urgh.

I need to set up the guitar station but it's going to have to wait until I drop down to normal body temperature.  I'd KILL for some sugar-free ice cream!  I wonder if they make it?

Ugh, back to my diet Coke (ice cold) and slumping in my chair. Tttiirreeddd....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mr. Sorefingers

Oh, yeah.  I kind of forgot about THIS part!

While my body remembers the scales and chords and my mind remembers the modes, and how I liked to play my blues/jazz music, one ting is  missing from the equation:  FINGER CALLOUSES.  And, dear friends, metal strings are HELL on soft flesh.

Now, before you go calling me an idiot (justifiably) for not stopping when it hurts, this is how it works: I start playing, and I warm up.  The blood flows, the passion flows, and I start jamming away.. the hours pass and I don't notice, I'm in that special place where musician and instrument become one.  If you don't play you won't understand, it's OK.

When you come down, THEN you feel it.  My body tells me "Ok dude, you jammed out for  2 hours and you don't have callouses, so go clean the blood off the strings and mop your hands down with hydrogen peroxide".  OUCH.  Yeah, the tips of my fingers HURT today, typing is slow and not enjoyable, but I have that Warm Fuzzy Feeling(tm) that I'm doing The Right Thing(tm) despite the short-term ouchies.

My stress level has dropped a LOT since I brought Shakti home.  I figured that would happen.. I'm not a keyboard player, just because I CAN do it doesn't mean I SHOULD.  Like I was born to write code, and born to write fiction, I was born to play guitar.  Eight years of trying to convince myself otherwise DID NOT WORK.  Feh!

Eventually I'll have a small harem of guitars and a bass or two.  If things proceed as expected, I'll end up movin gall the recording off the computer and simply mix and master on the laptop, leaving any DAW-type work until dead last.  I'll end up dropping soundscape/ambient and go back to my first love, blues and jazz, and rock/metal!

My name is Ed.. and I am.. a GUITARIST!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I went and did it!

Well, I didn't get the guitar I wanted as they sold the last one 3 days ago (aarrghhh) but I got myself a lovely Fat Strat FSR-1 , deep red finish, black pickguard, rosewood fretboard.  It plays INCREDIBLY WELL, better than any ae I've owned since my Ibanez Artist EQ, back in the day.

I sprnt more than I really wanted to,  but it was on sale so I got a LOT of guitar for my money.  Of course, I can't afford to go out until Tursday (Payday), but who needs to? I HAVE A GUITAR!

The amazing thing was - I recall how to play.  In fact, I recall the chords and scales.  The guy at Guitar Center said I'd played so long it would come back real quickly, and it did.  My accuracy is shot to hell, but if I slow way down I hit the note, and it sounds right.  My muscles and brain remember, even if they're out of practice!  There is HOPE I can get my chops back, at least a bit.

Payday I get the Digitech RP-355, a stand, a strap, a cord, and picks.  That will get me set to start playing and recording again!  It's all good..

Of course, I need a bass now, and a multitrack, but one thing at a time!  I'm on my way!

Happy Labor Day!

For everyone in the U.S., anyway.  Happy Monday to everyone else, unless it's Tuesday, in wwhich case Happy Tuesday!

All the time zones get soooo confusing sometimes.

Today is chicken wing feast day - I have 24 wings thawed and will be cooking 3 flavors throughout the day.  Should be fun!

I'm also within nches of doing something pretty radical - going and buying an electric guitar.  Yeah, hat Fender Modern Player Tele Plus has been looming large on my mnd,  I know it's going to take years to get back to where I was, if ever.  I know there are 1,000,000 more talented guitar players in Austin and more arrive every day.  I know I'll never make money, or play out.  But I think, for keeping me sane, it's going to be the best thing.  Sculpting isn't as emotional a release.. electronic music production isn't as visceral.. 3D, feh, 2D, feh.  So, I have to choose.. have a lot of fun out for a day or two with the money, or spend it on the axe and start down the road of modifying the sucker into the Ultimate Hobbyist Shred Machine?  You know it's bad when you've already picke dout replacement pickups (lol)!

I get paid Thursday, and that's when I'd get the Digitech RP-355 pedal.  It already has a USB Audio Interface on it, so I can jack it straight into the machine here and track guitar into Acid Pro along with my loops and sequenced synth parts.. although I can see getting a 61-key controller and going the Kerry Livgren route of playing keys AND guitar at the same time.  I  used to be able to do that.. sigh.

I'm going to do it.  Don't know if I'll get that exact guitar once I hit Guitar Center, but I'm not coming home without a new girlfriend (lol)!  That Tele seems most flexible.. can do rock, light metal, and some (gag) country-western.

Time to go catch the bus and go broke!  Well, I  have food and soda, coffee, and tea to last until Thursday.. lol!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday, Fun Day

Sort of.

I ended up doing a LOT of shopping, since I was low on some critical goodies.  I also replaced all the old, scratched-up pots and pans in the place since I hate cooking on crapped-out cookware.  This makes life a LOT easier, things cook better and stick less.

I do a LOT of cooking now since going out is problematic, while I've find "diabetic acceptable" things to eat, it's a pain as I have to explain Why I Don't Want The Potatoes and Why They Can Hold The Bread.  Crikey! JUST DO IT!

Other than that, thinking.  I'm sorely tempted to get a guitar, for nothing other than emotiomal release.  Keys just don't cut it, I'm afraid.  I don't feel anyless stressed after composing (actually, a bit MORE stressed).  Feh.  There's money on Thursday, damn it, I'm must going to hit Guitar Center and get a decent axe and a Digitech pedal and go for it!

Tired tired tired right now.  Cooked ribs, jalapeno beans, oven-roasted corn.  The ribs came out.. meh.  The corn and beans were perfect!  So, not a total loss.  Tomorrow is Chicken Wing Feast Day, I have 24 wings and  I'm going to cook 3 kinds: white pepper, spicy lemon pepper, and HABANERO!  Oh yeah!

I've done NO writing.  Argh!  So, I'm sleepy and I'm going to hit the sack, if I wake up in the middle of the night I have Scrivener running and by Goddess I'M GOING TO WORK ON, AND FINISH, DEAD RINGER!  I'll rewrite AFTERWARDS, but lets FINISH THE <expletive deleted> thing FIRST!

I'l l probably start another project, likely one of my steampunk/horror/erotic stories for my series.  I also want to get some Vicky Chronicles going, I need to do a rewrite pass over what I have, "episode" it, and post it!

Off to fill the electric kettle with fresh water in preparation for a late-night writing run.  No work for a WEEK, so LET'S GO!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Another day dawns brightly

Well, not technnically accurate - it's actually overcast off and on.  But you get the idea!

Plenty getting done!  Orion V8.5 64-bit installed and running, Alchemy 64-bit installed with all sound libraries, Voxengo and Audio Damage plugins installed, downloading and will install Sound Forge Studio next.  Killed the alarm on my Android tablet and updated the Kuindle library on it, then set up my new clock-radio to go off at 7:30AM every day to a classic rock station.  I loe the clock radio, it has seperate weekday and weekend alarms and you can have different stations for the two alarms as well, and it's pretty easy to see at night.

Todays fun will be some running around and shopping, putting money on my Walmart prepaid VISA,  puttering around on the computer and generally relaxing a bit.  no work until the 10th., hooray!  V A C A T I O N!!!

Still thrasing on the music studio thing.  According to my doc there's no teal hardcore nerve damage in my hands and so no reason I couldn't *eventually* re-learn guitar.. ut I was warned it'll take me a LOT longer than when I was a kid.. possibly years and years.  Urgh.  And as I look around my room, I can find maybe 1-2 places to put it.  And of COURSE there's no line-in on this fancy i5 laptop so I'd need a USB audio interface.. meh.  What a bother!  I could find a place for a couple of MIDI keyboards but it'd fill the room up.  Maybe one of those Akai LPK25 laptop keyboards in conjunction with my Korg nanoKontrol?  That seems reasonable AND compact.

Getting up at 7:30am isn't so bad - I was actually up at about 7:18am but lay n bed dozing.  The alarm went off on time, waking me to some Van Halen (that'll get you going)! Get outta bed and ROCK!

Hopefully I can spend enough linear time in the studio/writing cave here to make some solid decisions on what (if anything) I need to accomplish my goals of becomubng a paid writer ANd somehow maintaining my sanity!  Could be tricksy!