Wednesday, February 27, 2008

RECORDING: Secretive Computer Cajoled


MIDI setup is working with my iMac through MOTU Digital Performer

MOTU 828 digital audio interface drivers are installed and signal is visible in Garage Band, though not audible even though all the settings are correct. Not sure why.

Next step will be a focused effort on getting digital audio I/O between 828 and Digital Performer.

MOTU has great phone tech support!

They have completely avoided using the phone purgatory systems most companies employ. No dealing with automated menus saying, "For blah-blah-blah press 1, for yada-yada press 2, for bippity-boppity press 8." You just dial a phone number given in the front of the users' manual and an actual, knowledgeable person, who speaks English even, picks up the line to answer your questions.

That's the way customer service should always be.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

RECORDING: Secretive Computers

Today I did battle with technology. It won.

Today my computers refused to play nice and make things easy.

Today they kept secrets and snickered behind their shiny screens.

Today I tried a lot of things that didn't work.

Today ended with more questions than answers.

Today I learned a few of the right questions to ask.

That was my one success.

Tomorrow I will ask again and learn a little more.

In plain English: Today I attempted for the first time, unsuccessfully, to get my Mac Mini to send and receive digital audio with the MOTU 828 interface. I spent about 5 hours in failed attempts, while digging through my studio for a missing software disc.

Tomorrow I start again.

Monday, February 18, 2008

SONGWRITING: Binder & Web Work

Today was a day spent working on the administrative side of my creative projects. As a result, I was able to check a couple of longstanding items off my TO-DO list.

I finished printing out lyric/chord sheets for all my songs and put them into a binder organized with tabs by CD project (several underway currently). It felt good to see them all in one place for the first time. I think this will help to focus effort for the next stage--recording.

The tabs are made out of manilla file folders cut along one of the ridges that allows the folder to expand, then three-hole-punched. I do this for flexibility and to save money on office supplies.

The chord sheet shown is for my song "Livin' in the Present", a birthday celebration song for people who've already put more than a few decades worth of birthdays behind them. The chorus starts: "You're livin' in the present and it's a gift, a gift to be opened." Doing my best to practice what I preach. :-)

I also did some editing on my website, finally fixing one tiny little embarassing spelling error that had been there since the site was designed. Much more to do there, but it's not all going to happen in one day.

Our internet connection has gone through a major improvement today with the arrival and installation of a new, more powerful modem. [Thank you, B!] With any luck, web work won't be as much of a hit-or-miss activity as it has been. Nothing like having the wireless internet connection drop right in the middle of a complicated editing or uploading session. I'm hopeful that this is a thing of the past.

Now, I'm off to get my hands dirty working on pottery. Need to shift my focus away from technology for the rest of the evening. And there's nothing more low-tech than a fist full of mud!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Music for Cleaning the Studio

I've spent all day cleaning my studio.

Well, not actually cleaning. That would involve a broom and dustpan, a bucket of warm water and damp rag. Haven't quite gotten to that point yet.

Mostly I've just been putting music books and sheet music back where they go on shelves, making piles into files. At the same time, the copier has been working hard cranking out the "Daily Practice Record" sheets that go in my students binders. The printer has been cranking out another run of my color business cards. Needed to restock on both of these essential items.

In the background, I've been listening to a couple of favorite folk CDs:
Tim Harrison's "Wheatfield With Crows"
Full Frontal Folk's "Storming the Castle"

The Full Frontal Folk CD has a track, "Another Train", done with such beautiful 4-part harmony that I found myself hitting the repeat button on my CD player another 6-7 times, singing along at the top of my voice.

I did a search on the title and writer's name, and located the original "Another Train" by Peter Morton, complete with lyrics and MP3.

This is one of those majorly uplifting songs. Definitely going to go on my own song wishlist of songs I want to learn--words, chords, all of it.

Between picking up in the studio and listening to music, I've done some other web surfing.

In the most recent eNewsletter from some talented musical friends, Mad Agnes, Margo gave a link to the blog of a friend of hers, Lisa Nash, who's been traveling in India and reflecting on living a deeper, more spiritual and intentional life.

Listening to these tunes and reading these thoughtful words has brought a sense of sacredness and centered calm to a very ordinary day.

Just thought I'd share these here and maybe pass on a little of that peacefulness.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

GAIA LUNA: Seed Saving

Last fall I saved seeds from my marigolds, cosmos, nasturtiums, string beans, and a couple of herb plants.

In the photo they are drying in the sunroom after being separated from the flowery parts. Not so difficult to do. Here are enough seeds to grow several gardens full of flowers, the equivalent of a whole rack of seed packets from the nursery from just a few plants.

These are old fashioned varieties that will stay true to type, meaning that plants grown from these seeds will be the same as the parent plants, at least in theory. I got two books on seed saving for Christmas that confirm this.

Right now, the seeds are stored in loosely covered glass canning jars on a the cool shelf of the attic, waiting.

Soon, soon ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Been gone from the blog for about 3 month since my last post.

Just living and doing, and living and not doing.

I've rediscovered the joys of just sitting and thinking, or sitting and not thinking about anything in particular, staring at passing clouds and light on tree branches like I did when I was a kid. I highly recommend it. Thoughts wander in wonderful directions when allowed the space to do so.

Last night I ordered FREE 2008 seed catalogs from the following sources.

Johnny's Select Seeds
Seeds of Change
Kitchen Garden Seeds
White Flower Farm

I'd fallen off their mailing lists because it has been so long since I ordered anything. Had them sent to my PO box so they wouldn't get mixed in with all the other junk mail and accidentally sent to the recycling bin.

Some companies sell organic seeds, others do not.

In anycase, I'm beginning to feel anticipation, looking forward to March planting of early vegetables this year.

Creative intentions are being readied for planting, too.

As always at this stage, they are numerous and unsprouted, like seeds held in the hand before the soil has begun to warm. Those that eventually reach the stage where they can put on leaves and set fruit will be something I'm willing to write about. For now I keep them cradled within my cupped palm and curled fingers.