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Thursday, December 17, 2015

So tired of all this

Well, investors in the company ended funding them, so tomorrow is my last day here.

I am so sick and tired of this kind of thing.  Out of the blue, and this time I have no real savings as I was paying back loans that got me into town in the first place!

So, I have 3 weeks worth of money, then I'm homeless.  And I refuse to end up homeless.

I do have a Plan B, and no it's not killing myself (too cowardly), but it'll get me 3 hots and a cot instead of living under a bridge and waiting to die from exposure.

During my enforced vacation, I'm going to try working on an EP and getting it up on to SoundCloud and Baboom before it all comes crashing down.  4-5 songs in 2 weeks, when I have nothing else to do but send out resume's?  Should be simple.

So, when not in job search mode I'll work on music, art, and occasionally going out for food and to visit places I might not get a chance to see for a looooong while.

Lets see what new adventure arises..

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What a crock!

Yes, I'm in love with my crock pot!

I ended up getting a small Hamilton Beach 3 quart slow cooker.  There's not a ton of space in my new kitchenette, but the 3 quart cooker fit neatly in between the 2-burner range and the large stainless steel sink.  There was even enough room in front of the crock pot for a cutting board.

I ended up making a stew from stew meat, red and yellow potatoes, yellow onions, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and hickory Liquid Smoke.  12 hours on low and it was perfect!  Tender meat, potatoes still slightly firm, and the broth had turned into an amazing sauce.

Next up - Greek style chicken thighs with olives, potatoes, lemon, pepper, and onions!  Ugh, hungry now...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Austin in Austin

Long time, no blog.  So much has happened it's not even funny.

First, I'm back in Austin, which I have decided is now my adopted home town.  From now on, when someone asks where I'm from, they'll get "Austin" as the answer.  So there!

Second, this weekend I will move out of the "bed and shower" place I've been in to a nice efficiency in an extended stay suite!  My friend Anne was nice enough to rent me a plae to crash while I found better housing, but it's time to move into a place where I can get the m usic studio set up and start cooking again!!

The new job is great, lots to do, smart people to work with, and nearby food - all within 2 blocks - a Starbucks, a Popeye's and a Taco Bell! Nearby is a killer bbq place as well!

Hopefully soon I can start cranking out music again, it's grating on me to NOT be able to sit down and record.

And finally, once I get moved I'm buying a bloody crock pot!  Yes, time to cook chili, chicken, wings, pot roast, ham.. in a crock pot!  I love cooking!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Moving Time!

Well, today is my last day on this job - the project got killed by our parent company, so I found myself a nice job in Austin and I'm moving down on Monday!

I'll be working for a small startup, doing something I can't really say much about.  It's a 2 month contract extendable all the way to going full-time, which I wouldn't mind at all.  The pay is excellent so I should be able to bank a raft of cash in case they fold or it doesn't work out.

Sad to see my had work go unused, but maybe they'll take some of our technology and use it elsewhere.

End of project party tonight, wheeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Game over, man... game over!

Well, the parent company of this company has decided to exit the gate operator business, so we're all out the door at the end of the month!

Lots of scrambling.. I've already had 3 interviews, submitted about 15 resume's and spoken to 5 placement agencies.  Apparently, there's a shortage of talent out there!  Perfect timing!

Pretty much zero chance of staying in Tulsa, and that's a good thing, Tulsa is.. OK.. but I'm not really a good fit.

I have an interview tomorrow morning for a position in Cary, NC., which could be promising.  I was submitted for a job in Pittsburgh, six months, which could be interesting.  No telling where I might end up!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ambient Online Compilation #5 Available For Pre-Order!

AO Compilation #5 is available for pre-order NOW!  105 tracks for less than ten bucks, the best music deal you can find!

And of course this compilation contains two tracks I recorded SPECIFICALLY for this album, not to be found anywhere else!

Visit https://ambientonline.bandcamp.com/album/ambient-online-compilation-volume-5 for more information!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Windows 10 installed!

This was going to be a profanity-laced rant about Windows 10, but I'll try to lose the profanity.

Windows 10 installed in about 45 minutes on my screaming-fast laptop, not bad.  It boots faster than Windows 8.  Works better... ONCE I HACKED INTO MY OWN LAPTOP.

That's right, Win10 locked me out of my own fricking laptop.  It lost my password and I had to go change it on Outlook for my account and EVEN THEN it wouldn't let me in.

I had t use my Android phone and my Android tablet to reset a <deleted>load of password and account info to get into the system.  I was literally screaming invectives at the top of my lungs and beating on the desk, I was so angry.

Right now I would gladly lay a nuke on Microsoft's Redmond campus and dance around the smoking radioactive corpses of every single Deity-damned Microsoft employee and feel not one twinge of conscience or regret.

I want to kick whomever is responsible for this lame upgrade process in the crotch with steel-toed boots! I'd laugh as they screamed in agony! Yeah, that's how it felt to upgrade, moron!

Regretfully, once I beat the crap out of the login process, Win10 is so far happier than Win8, so.. oh well.

Time to save up for a Mac and buy Logic Pro, this upgrade process is bullcrap.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Getting Healthier

You know, as I get older, things get harder to do (lol)!

My last album effort took 4 months of painful, late-night work and I felt dead tired for days after release.  I don't normally feel that tired,  so this was a Bad Sign.

Work is also stupid stressful, and I feel tired almost every evening when I get home.  I feel lethargic, and only by late Saturday, after sleeping most of the day, do I feel perky and creative.

My weight has been creeping up, as well.  It's too hot to go out for a walk during the day, I'm too tired to go out after work,and I sleep all weekend.

SOMETHING needs to change!

So, first move - no more "beer every night".  This will drop my carb intake (and save some money).  Then, change my eating habits.. right now I eat super-carby breakfast foods, now I've switched to Atkins shakes for breakfast, and twice a week I eat an Atkins bar for lunch.  This should really help.

Next up, cross-trainer shoes to make it easier for me to walk longer distances, and a super-lightweight shirt so I can feel better about wandering around in the heat.

There's a small park about 2-3 blocks off.. I need to go investigate it this weekend.

Slowly but surely!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Another insane milestone!!

Well, well.  Just released from Share Ideas, the first ever video using one of my songs as a soundtrack!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqZwnAC9tcA

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/132178996

It's been a long, strange trip and it ain't over yet!  Partying will be done tonight, not TOO heavily as this is a Monday (lol).  There *might* be one more in the works, but no promises!

Been shamelessly self-promoting this all morning, only place not touched is Facebook and that's next!

Need to crank out more tunes!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Phone.. the pain and the pleasure

Well, I finally went and did it.  I coughed up for a brand new HTC Desire 610, with a flip case.  The case is in the mail, but I got the phone.. and she's a beauty.

The screen is about twice as large as my old phone.  It's easier to read, by far.  It feels huge, but it still fits in a shirt pocket - extra bonus!  Tons of apps, the latest Android, and it took my 32GB microSD card without an issue.

But.. and you knew there'd be a BUT, right? .. setting the thing up was a huge pain in the tail!

It REQUIRES a wireless connection.  Where I work, the guest wireless is useless and we all have hardline connections.   I literally had to walk to where my old phone could get at least 2 bars, set it up as a mobile hotspot, and use IT to get online so I could log in and set the phone up!

I wonder what happens if you're in a dead zone?  Ship it back, I guess.

Anyway, after 20 minutes of cursing, my shiny new phone is actually working and seems good so far.  It's just different enough to have some learning curve, so we'll see how I feel in a week or so.

I hope this thing lasts a few years...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I got signed to an online record label!!!

Not rich, but maybe Net-famous someday.

I am now promoted by WEATNU Records - "We Are The New Underground" - and they'll be selling "Thrown Against The Sky", as well as any for-pay singles and my next album "Adrift in Twilight".  Free singles will come out through them as well.

WEATNU Records has a very good collection of eclectic musicians - the owner is great to work with - and they came highly recommended by a friend I trust a lot.  They're a great label and I'm honored they're taking me in.

I'll have links to the Website and radio station up soon. Go check 'em out!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

New laptop, YES!

And finally, after all the hassle with Newegg, I have a laptop waiting for me at the local Best Buy:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-17-3-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i7-16gb-memory-1tb-8gb-hybrid-hard-drive-black/6339015.p?id=1219661389849&skuId=6339015

Going to go pick it up after work (leaving early today hee hee), no shipping hassles, no wait, just BOOM pick it up and take it home!  I'll hook it up and fiddle with it over the weekend, and next weekend I'll start the transfer process in earnest.

Paid a little more than I wanted, but this is a top-end machine and should last for 4-5 years.

Back to hot dogs and noodles for a week...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

No new laptop, no refund!

No new laptop for sure.  Newegg redirected it to some place in California, and I live on Oklahoma!  I'm boycotting Newegg forever, and before you throw down $800 think twice about shopping with them, you may never see what you bought OR your money!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I HATE UPS (rant inside)

So, I ordered a laptop from Newegg.  Payment made it, it shipped fast, and arrived in Tulsa on Tuesday..

..where it sat in the UPS facility all day..

..where it was promptly shipped BACK to NewEgg as "undeliverable"!!!

Now, UPS has delivered six packages to me in the past six weeks, and they pick MY BLOODY LAPTOP to screw up on!  And they didn't TRY to contact the seller, Newegg, who has my phoine number!

Now I understand all those UPS drivers chucking packages and running - UPS hires gene-damaged rejects!!

I contacted NewEgg customer service (which is top-notch, by the way) and they're going to RMA it when it gets back and refund my money.  They offered me a $25 discount if I wanted to re-order but no thanks, Best Buy is a bit more expensive but I can walk out with my bloody laptop and not worry that the incompetent morons at UPS will YET AGAIN screw things up!

I wish NewEgg would use FedEx...

Anyway, once I get my money back, it's off to Best Buy.  GRR! I HATE UPS!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ALBUM RELEASE - "Thrown Against The Sky"

After 5 months of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, cursing, self-doubt, and anxiety, my first full-length [1 hour 11 minutes] Dark Ambient album is DONE!

Priced affordably at $2, the album comes with liner notes and a bonus MP4 audio track of the ENTIRE album, mixed and sequenced the way I meant it to be heard!

https://syntheticaurality.bandcamp.com/album/thrown-against-the-sky-2

Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ambient Online Compilation #4 is RELEASED!

And yes, 2 of my tunes appear on this MASSIVE compilation of 88 tracks!

https://ambientonline.bandcamp.com/

For ten bucks you get HOURS of excellent and diverse ambient music!  Buy it today and support the ambient music community!

Now, back to finishing my album...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Moving, moving movingg.

I'm tired of living in the noisy dump I'm in right now.  The neighbors are loud and weird, the place is coming apart, and since my fave bartender left my fave bar the place has just been no fun at all.

There are a few places closer to work that are near food joints and/or grocery and convenience stores, so while I save up moving money I can start scouting.  I don't want an apartment as I could move at any minute, sigh.

And worst of all, the Internet at the place is getting flakier and flakier.  I know they're too cheap to buy a new router so I can just imagine losing Internet access at home!   The horror!

Plus, now is a good time to start saving for things.. I need a game development laptop and a replacement music laptop.  Argh!

Well, I can play games without having to be online, so I should be good to go.

Until later!

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Game.. developer!

Years ago, when I wrote computer games for a living, my brain hurt 24/7, I had no life, lost 2 gfs due to time demands, and then totally burned out on it.  I swore I'd never write games again!

Funny how life can turn you into a liar.

For the longest time I've been trying to find something I can do that might get beer money into my pocket.  My music is starting to attract some attention, but not enough cash to even afford a Big Mac.  I mostly do the music for the sheer joy of creation, though.

The one thing I can do, rain or shine, sleep or not, is program computers.  So I've been looking at different programming-related things that could earn a nice income.  I looked into Java/C#/SQL stuff, figuring that I could write a nice art asset manager app that might sell pretty well to game developers.. then I started looking at game sales on mobile.. and then into  game engines.. and suddenly it hit me!

"I can do this"!

Many things have changed in the past years since I was coding games.

First, you don't have to write every line of code from scratch.  On every single stupid game project I've worked on, we built the game engine from the ground up.. over and over.. improving the technology.  Now, there are MAJOR game engines that are very affordable, both pay up-front (Unity) or pay royalties (Unreal Engine 4).  So instead of spending a year of min-destroying highly technical coding on an engine, I download, install, learn, and use.  No more having to learn audio programming, 3D programming, how to perform animation, collision detection, physics systems (and more) I can focus on the game logic and user interactions.  Brilliant!

Second, quality tools are either cheap (Github) or free (Microsoft Visual Studio Express).  No saving up for that $2500 optimizing compiler when the free one is more than good enough, no needing to buy/operate a server for source code control and issue tracking..  for seven bucks a month and a download from Microsoft I have every tool I need.

Third, asset creation.  Blender is free and exports to Unity and the Unreal Engine.  MAX or Maya would be better but I don't need to invest five grand just to get rolling.  Beng an ambient musician I already have all the sound design power I need to score the game, so I'm good to go there.  I have Photoshop CS2 which is overkill for texture creation.

Those three main things are why I'm opening up Zombie Slugs Games.  Because I think I can do it!

Here's hoping..

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tearing up roots

I am a nomad.  I prefer to never put down roots, always moving.  Stability is a curse, the dark allure of home is pain.

So, here in Tulsa, this is my nemesis.

I have more friends here than ever, people who actually care and worry. And I hate that.

Why? It's a burden of responsibility to be there for them, to not just pack up and go.  To feel some.. insane.. connection to people whom I've spent time with, face to face.  People as real as breathing.

I will die in not too many years, between the diabetes and the blood pressure and the cumulation of 40 years of bad life choices, like a tall tree in the woods, I will fall. And I don't want to take anyone with me.

This is why I want to be alone.  I can't give my heart to anyone because Sabine took it with her when she passed, and every relationship I've had since is haunted by her memory.  And I know my self-destructive habits will pull me down without love to hold me back, and that's never happening again.

So, as hard as people try to call me in, I drive myself away.  I will move and vanish, again, to keep my course into a dark place where, I hope, I will be reunited with my Lady.

The sidewinder travels the desert alone, complete unto himself.   Call me the Feathered Serpent, for that is who I am.

Take care, be well all.  Be warm and safe!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cold Turkey

I guess it's time to force myself to reduce my time online, I have to much I want to do and I'm throwing a huge amount of my free time down the rat-hole.

The main issue is real-time chat.  It's very addictive for me, I love to jump in and amuse the heck out of folks, and get amused in return.. but I end up spending 2-3 hours A NIGHT in chat, and that's time I could use making music, working on album art, or teaching myself C#/.NET.

Everything else is minor.  Maybe 20 minutes on the DAZ forum, about the same on Ambient Online, 5-10 blogging, 5 on Facebook.. and that's if I didn't do it during dead time at work!

So, I don't need to cut back on chat, that ever work, I get sucked in and it's over.  I just need to flat-out QUIT.

And no more Web-only relationships.  I have plenty of drama in my life, adding to it with unrealistic expectations on my part is stupid beyond words.

With any luck, there'll be more music and art as a result of this.

Wish me luck!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Moving on!

I took a look back over my career as a software dude, and I can't believe it - I've been programming for pay since my senior year in high school, back in 1978!  Holy carp!

I've been doing embedded system work off and on for the past 20 years, and let me tell you, it's getting BORING.  There are only a few things I haven't done in the embedded space, wireless is one of them.. and wireless is getting SUPER popular..

So, in the "career enhancement" frame of mind, I just spent $120 on a bunch of Texas Instruments hardware that will let me attach sensors (light, pressure, temperature, humidity) to a wireless-enabled microcontroller, the microcontroller board itself,. an an additional plug-in board with a 96x96 monochrome LCD display!

During lunch, I'll be programming the board to capture all the sensor data and make it available via WiFi.. this will let me learn networking and wireless communication on the cheap (cheap is good).

But that's just to enhance my embedded marketability.  Because I intend to change specialty!

Evenings, 1-2 days a week, I will take a break from music to tech myself C# and .NET.   My intention is to develop a commercial-grade application, which I will then sell.  I found a very under-served niche, and better, I'm part of that niche so I can "eat my own dog food" and use my app for my own media-based work.

I hope to quit embedded systems work in 2-3 years, become a C#/.NET guy, and then I can work.. pretty much anywhere!

90% of embedded systems work is in tech-hub areas, and while there are some good places (Silicon Valley, Atlanta) I'd rather have more freedom to choose where my next contract will be.

This is how I got into the games business.. prove my skill by making a product.  It's VERY effective, if you can pull it off.

Until later!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Stupor Bowl Sundae!

It's that time of year again!  The time when testosterone calls men everywhere to watch a bunch of dudes grab a ball and run around with it while hitting each other.  What could be more fun?

So here I am, pizza and wings pre-ordered, NFL for Windows 8 running on my Windows 8 tablet (yep, football 24/7), eating leftover Chinese food for breakfast and drinking a nice tall mug of Velton's coffee, hand-ground by me, freshly brewed.  Can't get much better, a few exotic dancers would be nice but distract me from the game.

Before the actual GAME starts, I'm going to try to get the basic tracks down for a new tune, called "Alone With My Demons", for the Ambient Online Compilation #4.  I finished one song yesterday, a light-side tune called "Crystallinear".  Obviously, today is equal time for the Dark Side.

Ugh, the video stream is HD and it hiccups on occasion on the tablet.. but plenty smooth to watch out of the corner of my eye.

Happy Stupor Bowl!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fate can Grate

I'm an incredibly stubborn person.  Even before I knew what a Taurus was (lol) and I still think most astrology is off base.  But.. still.. geesh am I stubborn.

When I get pushed on, I tend to push back.  Especially if it's not ME pushing on ME, if I do it, fine.. but an outside force? FEEL MY HORNS!

What brought this rant on?  There was a woman I met online.. lovely, amazing woman.. super personality.. a smile like the sunrise.  We clicked immediately, and hard.

Of course I felt like this was a real imposition on my life.  Me, free-swimming single nomadic programmer, finding a lady to settle down with? NEVER! Dig in, horns out, and SHOVE LIFE BACK!

This worked out about as badly as you could imagine.  Stress level into the stratosphere, poor sleep, nightmares, reduced productivity (not that anyone noticed), digestive system went to Hell (that's where my stress goes), all kind of lovely misery.

But still, I PUSHED BACK!

This definitely would not have ended well for me.  My foot wounds weren't healing, my blood glucose was up despite my meds.. not a good prognosis.

Then, somehow, I managed to grab myself by the scruff of my own neck (bad visual, I know) and shake myself Real Hard.  I knew that if I kept this up I'd never finish an album, or compose anything that would survive my brief time in the Sun.

So, finally, The Engineer stepped in and told me what I needed to do.  And damn it if He wasn't right.

I quit writing because, while I was good at it, it stressed me out extreme.  I dropped working on an animated short film.  I reduced my artwork to pinup stills and album art.  And I focused only on ambient, light and dark. And I admitted that I needed someone in my life to spark off of.  That was the hardest thing, to admit I wasn't complete in myself.

And now, I have my music on 3 compilations, soon to be four, I'm making great progress on my album, my blood pressure is near normal WITHOUT DRUGS, my blood glucose is stable again.. and I sleep like a brick.

My lady? We are back together, and I've never been happier in my life.  She inspires me to create happy music, and she makes me feel.. well.. needed.

When there is midnight, there is also dawn.

Be well, my friends!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The past is like pain..

Have you ever woken  up in the morning, feeling like you've made a huge mistake but there's no going back?

Welcome to my life.

One of the worst things about getting old is how regrets pile up.  When I was 25, the world was all in the future, what did the present matter but to be  a place for me to run wild?  No regrets, no worries, just flow in the Now, tomorrow will take care of itself..

..except that it didn't.  The Piper waited, because he will always be paid, in blood for that matter.

The memories are nightmares now, the things I have done an Albatross on my neck, the bright flames of Life now dark ashes waiting for me.  And while there are things I might, with immense hardship, fix.. there are places that, with all my power, I cannot reach.  I have done things that I cannot repair, lost people I can never see again.

Some things, my friends, are eternal.  Be careful with your decisions, they will define you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Work Makes My Brain Hurt!

Things at the office have become horrifically complex.  I've had to cobble together, using wires/breadboards/modules and/or discrete components to create a "wire-connected" prototype of the actual hardware so we could get software development going.  My work area looks like I'm a hardware designer! I have an LCD wired into a breadboard wired into a microcontroller prototyping board, with a motor control evaluation board ALSO wired into it through a breadboard, and finally an Ethernet controller I'm wiring up.. it looks like a nightmare and I've had the enginering department manager tell me he can't believe it works at all.

Nor can I, actually.  This is the most complex bread-boarded prototype I've seen in all 35+ years of my life as a software engineer.

I suppose I should shut up about it.  This company has paid me to learn to do basic hardware design, a VERY useful skill.  I'm also the only software guy,so I get to do it all.. drivers, graphics, apps, the works.

It'll look GREAT on a resume', should I survive all this.

I disprove the "Can't teach an old dog new tricks" saying, even if I'm not a dog.  I am old, though.  And having to learn new things quickly, and many new things at once, while actually producing working circuits and code is a real strain on me.  If I had a family, I'd likely have quit this job months ago.

So, my brain hurts again, even as people get all excited that my spit-and-bailing-wire hardware makes a cute little motor spin round and round (and let me tell you, it's NOT easy to make it happen).  hat's a major milestone!  Grabbing a six pack of microbrew tonight, going to put on some metal, get into chat, and finally relax!

Until tomorrow, anyway.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Getting Old Sucks, 2015 Edition

Yep, there seems to be no way around the inevitability of old age.  Well, FEH!

Used to be I could knock down a couple of bowls of chili, tons of spicy queso dip, and beer.. and wake up the next day as perky as ever, no "unwanted side effects".

Apparently, those days are over.

So, here I sit, trapped at home with my body telling me, clearly and in no uncertain terms, to "stop that".  And, as much as I hate to do it, looks like over-indulging in even semi-spicy foods is now off my activity list.

Le Sigh.

Oh well, at least I can work on my music between bouts of, erm, you can guess.  Ouch.

It's mild chili and queso for me.  Blech, BORING! But beats the side-effects!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Miss Ellanious

What a wild New Years.. urgh, still feel tired from it all.

Doing a ton of work on my first full-length album, and it's proceeding well.  I've been cleaning up my computer and optimizing it for audio, all of my art now is 2D for album/track art, the 3D art tools are getting archived for now, and the trimming down of hobbies has improved my optimism that I can pull this off.

Oh, and I got another track on a compilation!  See my music site for details.

Work, argh, ugh!  The electrical engineer (my friend) is out of the hospital after back surgery.. poor dude is in a fair amount of pain.  I'm muddling along as best I'm able, learning very basic electronics and circuit design.  Weirdness abounds, but progress is being made.

Tulsa winters BLOW.  In Austin 30F was as cold  as it got, here we've hit sub-teens several days in a row.  Next contract - FLORIDA!  Tired of freezing already.. meh.

Football all weekend, with bouts of recording.  Way too cold to go out, going to have food delivered.. likely pizza and Chinese, and some sushi.

GO RAVENS! GO PACKERS!