I'm sorry, Blog

It appears i have been neglecting you these past two weeks. That "Blogger.com" button just kinda sits there on my bookmarks page looking lonely while I pass it up for Facebook and YouTube. I apologize, old friend.

...     [*Blink*]  ....  OH! Hey there! If you're reading this, it means you care about what I have to say. Aww you are all so nice. I thank you all from the heart of my bottom! Ok, just kidding...that's slightly weird. I'll thank you from the bottom of my heart instead. I've had a busy week. I've spent a lot of time working on music, particularly Meant for Me. It's pretty close to done (considering where it was a few weeks ago, that is). There are a few spots I still need to smooth out, but after that, we'll be good. Don't worry, the other ones shouldn't take this long. This is hard because it's my first song I'm actually trying to do a really good job at producing, and I also feel like it's my most important song, so it has to be perfect. I can't help but analyze even the most minute details in this thing. it's starting to drive me crazy. I really don't know how professional audio engineers can do this kind of thing every day and retain their sanity. Then again, I've only met two people who ever do anything with recording and/or mixing. One's a musical genius (and I've never heard of a genius who was in his right mind), and the other is weird and annoying and hated by almost everyone I can think of at school. So I guess there's no sanity to retain in either of them. Now I understand how this works!

Steps to becoming a professional audio engineer:
   1. Lose mind
   2. Develop an excuse for said lost mind, so no one suspects it (i.e. music or nuclear physics)
   3. Get lucky. Win the lottery. Inherit Bill Gates' fortune by mistake, and unethically keep it.
   4. Use the aforementioned fortune to buy the kind of expensive gear you need or just think you need.
   5. Make money and get discovered by producing a song with a heavy enough beat that no one cares how good it is. They just listen to it anyway because it's the coolest thing to listen to when you're walking down the street with your pants down around your ankles, obviously.
   6. After step 5, you can record anything you want, because you're already a famous producer now.

Sounds like i've got a business plan! Let's just hope there are better fads by the time I get to step 5. Ok, just kidding again. I don't plan on working in a studio for a career. I'd actually like to design wireless communication or digital entertainment devices. I'd also like to make sure that whatever career path i embark upon, it consists of big words, so that I can still look smart, even with a retarded grin on my face! =D

So anyway, i hope you're still reading, because I have big news! I registered 5 songs today to be copyrighted! Woohoo! Now I get to wait for "up to 6 months" ( though I've read it could take longer =/ ) for them to mail me a certificate (providing I did everything right). It was kinda nerve-racking doing it all.

The US Copyright Office's site is not the most self-explanatory site in the world, and it was difficult to find sufficient help. I called them, but it took around 15 minutes for me to get in touch with somebody (and every minute, this recorded voice that sounded like it belonged to a guy who wore square coke-bottle lenses and had a pedo-stache would say "Sorry, but due the the very high volume of calls, there is no one available to take your call at this time. Please hold for the next available information specialist" or something close to that) I hope Mr. Recorded Voice Man doesn't read this. It might affect my success in securing that fancy certificate. Nothing against you, Mr. Recorded Voice Man. I was just really bored waiting. So i apologize for whatever offense I might have caused. Some hold music would have been cool. ANYWAY, I asked the lady all the questions i could think of at the time, and she sounded more like she was quoting things from an internet forum. her answers seemed sorta distant, like they only partially applied to me. So for the questions that arose when finally working my way through the confusing details of the site, I just resorted to reading the forums myself. That way i wouldn't have to say "I'm sorry, what did you say?" after everything she said (I'm bad at understanding people on the phone).

But oh well. While I would argue that the site could stand to be slightly more self-explanatory, it's all done now. I submitted Meant for Me, Timeless, Once Again, I Need You More, and Night Sky; all in an EP collection I entitled Actual Size. =D
I know you haven't heard Timeless or I Need You More yet, but you will before too long. I like them both a lot

I'm off now. As the Beatles once sang, "Go dig a pony!"

One small step for man = One giant leap for leprechauns

Yesterday was a good day. I got the violin part recorded for my song, courtesy of Ericka Wright! It went pretty smoothly. We only had about an hour to record anything, so we got about 5 takes done. I told her to ad-lib for the first part of the song. Little did she know that I planned to use the ad-libbing. Muhahaha. I've also been arranging several other songs at the same time. (Ok, not like simultaneously or anything, but you know what I mean, right?) Some are a little intensive, others not so much. I was having a hard time getting my vocals to sound right today, so instead, I recorded a version of me singing with this weird british alternative-rock style accent. Only reason I did that was because my roommates made fun of the way I pronounced "man" in my first recording of it (the low-quality one that's on my youtube channel:
...there are only three uploaded videos...it's not hard to find lol) and sang the whole thing with an accent all the time. There's also my video bar to the right if you don't like clicking your mouse more than once. So anyway, I told him I'd record a weird-accent version just for him. And I did! Woohoo!

Which reminds me! I need to put up another song, so yall don't think I'm just being lazy! I think I decided the next one I upload will be one I named Once Again. Piano is the main instrument (in the video, it will be the only instrument) in this one, as opposed to my oh-so-incredibly-cool Cougar-branded guitar:

(BTW, if you can't make it out, those fancy letters of Greekness are Pi Kappa Delta)

See that awesome-looking shiny new soccer ball next to it? My sister bought me a new one because mine is beat up. Isn't she the best sister in the world? Now I have a fresh ball to practice with as I prepare to have a rockin' season this upcoming semester. Last season wasn't so great, because we lost more than half of our team, and they were all replaced with new freshman. Don't get me wrong, we have some talented players, but the face that they were all newcomers meant that we lacked the chemistry that a team gets when they've played together for a while. But this season will be better, I can feel it. We had all last year to get to know each other and grow as a collegian, which always makes for great chemistry on the field.

Where was I? British leprechauns...wright-handed rock...woo's and hoo's........Oh yeah! You should be able to expect an upcoming video in the next couple days. And by the way, if you remember when I mentioned going to Open Mic Night at Playground Music a few weeks ago...well, it's on Thursdays, and i somehow managed to have something else planned like every Thursday. So i might not get a chance to do that for a while, if at all. If I don't, it's no big deal. It's not like people who participate in it get the musical debut of the century. I'm pretty sure Youtube gets more business than Playground anyway lol, so it doesn't matter much. I'll only go if people write me and beg me to change my mind so they can come watch. Since I don't see that happening, looks like I'm safe to enjoy my Thursdays! (they're the new Tuesdays, you know).

Will all of that...and i mean AAALLLLLLLL of that...being said, I can now bid yall adieu (i refuse to say the word you and all separately in succession. I just won't do it) Do something good this week. Go adopt a penguin, or feed a starving leprechaun. Be a good example to every midget that may be watching you from underneath the couch! (bet that'll make you think twice before you sit down)

--- Me, myself, and John

Recording day

So I got to spend all afternoon recording that duet I had mentioned earlier. If you didn't read that post, now is a good time to go back and read everything I've written! Muhaha! But seriously, it was fun. Had to relearn the song pretty much, because I found out like 10 minutes before the two spiritual attributes got here (I wonder how many of you guys are going to get that? her sister came too, if that gives a decent clue) that I had learned the wrong chords. So i tried to quickly relearn it, and then I had to transpose it down a key, because I just couldn't reach the notes I needed to sing today without sounding pubescent lol. I could reach those notes at midnight when we decided to do that song, but we started recording at 2 in the afternoon. It takes several hours for my higher notes to sound good lol. Needless to say, it took a while to get started. Good thing it's a home studio, so that whole "time is money" thing doesn't apply! We had fun practicing it a bit, then tried with the microphones. Those took a few tries to get set up right. It's not often I record anything for multiple people and an instrument all at the same time, so I'm still learning how to set up all those mics. Eventually we started recording with video too! Until the battery died. Then we just goofed off for a while. But amidst all our fun today, I managed to learn a very valuable lesson. Always check to make SURE a memory card will fit in your memory card reader before just sticking it in. I had to spend quite a while trying to fish the memory card back out of the computer, because it got stuck so deep haha. We almost lost all our video. I ended up taking apart the entire laptop, hoping to maybe get it out from inside, but that didn't do any good. After about half an hour of fiddling with it, we finally got it out with a bobby pin.

Speaking of bobby pins (by the way, if i awkwardly misspell that somewhere, i apologize in advance...spell check doesn't catch it), have you ever noticed how functional those things are? Think about it...there's very few situations where a bobby pin will not come in handy! Need to fix your computer? Get a door unlocked? Hold some papers in place? Find a fish hook? Increase your radio reception? Replace a zipper handle? Poke at something dead? Cause a short circuit in a large power station and take out half a city block? Stab someone who breaks into your house when you don't have a knife handy? (Yes, that was discussed as a serious use) There's virtually nothing these little guys can't do. And to think people actually pay good money for Swiss Army knives! And on top of all that, they can hold hair out of people faces! Ahh...bobby pins.

If you haven't gotten bored yet, I'm helping another friend record some music he wrote. He should be coming over tomorrow. I get to arrange stuff for it! Woohoo!

I watched a movie tonight...about Ramen. I love ramen. Have i ever told you guys how much I love ramen? I'm not sure why, but it's one of the most amazing foods on the planet to me. If I won a lifetime supply of ramen noodles, I would eat it all in a month. I'd be willing to eat it much faster, but I have to spend 3 minutes cooking it, and all those 3 minute waits add up. I sure hope Maruchan never goes out of business. I would probably cry at that sad loss of incredibly cheap ramen. I don't know how much this love of ramen stems from my limited cooking ability, but i just want to shout it out to the world that I love ramen. My roommate and I wrote a song about ramen noodles. It had an organ in it. I don't know why, but it sounded cool. J, if you're reading this, do you still remember that song?

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, so that duet turned out pretty good. I listened to what we had, and I like it. As soon as I get the video (since that whole getting the memory card stuck inside the computer still resulted in not getting anything transferred to the computer), I can start working on it, and if by the Grace of my duet partner, and if the camerawoman has enough Faith in her abilities to show yall, maybe I can put something online for yall to see! (That might be the first time I've said yall on my blog. Now it's there three times.)

Bye yall!
Yall come back now, y'hear?
(To certain possible readers, I add an evil laugh to that. Yall know who yall are)

Ok try this.

So for the past couple days, I've been trying to make a decent video of one of my songs, but I just can't get them to turn out right. It's in a weird key, so it's still not often I can play through it without messing up, since it's a pretty new song lol (if only there was a transpose down button on my guitar). And when I do play it right, the video gets messed up on almost every take anyway. Why? I don't know, but the fact that this camera is about 6 years old, and I have to start my computer in Windows XP just to get it to connect doesn't make it any better. I usually end up with about 10 seconds of my video disappearing from the middle. However, I was playing around with another song I wrote last summer that I have a lot of fun with, mainly because of how upbeat it is. It's still not perfect, but I'm starting to think that there's no way I'm going to get a video just right without just going out and buying a brand new camera. Since a camera isn't on my list of priorities right now, I thought I'd just show you a video with not-so-great quality. My youtube channel is just looking so lonely...I couldn't no put anything up for much longer. Don't worry though, you'll get to hear the other one before long. Anyway, click the word "  PENGUIN!  " to see my video over on youtube. Why? I like penguins. Get over it. And because it's not letting me embed the video like normal. Standard computer weirdness.

Speaking of my list of priorities that got mentioned up there, something just got bumped to the top. I hadn't realized it before, but you can get Star Wars voices for your TomTom GPS. I don't have a GPS, but now I need one, because probably the only thing that could make my car cooler would be if I had Darth Vader telling me how much farther until I turn left. Shoot, I'd even use that thing jut to move my car to the other side of the driveway when I'm blocking somebody in! I'm sure you'll say it would just get old once the 'new" wore off, but all I can think about right now is hearing the phrase while driving, "In 200 yards, turn left you must. mmm?" You can just never go wrong with Star Wars, and I don't care how nerdy that makes me sound lol.

By the way, (actually, considering my last paragraph was about Star Wars and TomToms...this is probably about as far out of the way as I can get) last night, Michael came over to work on a new song he's written. He just wanted me to write out some sheet music to it. It's a pretty cool song. I like it. He's a pretty good songwriter. I won't say too much about it right now, but he's trying to get a CD made as well, and I get to help with some of the songs :D.

Happy Cow Appreciation Day! (Oh yeah, forgot to mention, today is Chick-Fil-A's "Dress-up-like-a-cow-and-we-give-you-free-food-because-anyone-willing-to-go-out-in-public-dressed-like-a-cow-deserves-something-free" Day. Yeah, they were so close to going with my catchy name there, till someone ran in at the last second and said "NO!! Call it Cow Appreciation Day!" Darn. So close. Foiled again by catchy marketers! Guess I'll have to try again later...Anyway, bye! Have a good day! Watch my video! Buy me a steak! (the first one is optional =P )

Hello again, Internet!

Here I am, talking to a box sitting on my desk, so that when I turn around, it can start gossiping to all the other boxes around the world who will in turn secretly tell their owners everything that I've been saying, without me ever knowing anything was said to these people! But to whomever is told this via their fancy big-mouthed boxes, don't worry...my box tells me everything you've done lately too ;) Man...the 21st century doesn't sound very fun when you put it that way. Oh well. Gotta love what words can do.

So I spent much of the day at the church cleaning up the mess I made setting up for Vacation Bible School. I'll be honest...I don't want to see anymore staples for a while lol. We had stapled tons of colored-paper onto the walls all around the Wright Hall building to give an under-sea atmosphere. The theme was Diving for God's Treasure. It took a solid week (many days, 12 straight hours of work were put into a single day) to put everything together, and about 3 hours to clean it all up. But that was a lot of staples to remove.

Anyway, on to the important stuff. I just recently recorded every song I've finished to video, so that I could put it all on a CD and mail it...to myself. I'm just going to let post-office records verify everything until I get everything mastered and have money for the US Copyright Office. It's technically not an official method, but copyright law only requires you have a tangible copy, and it's best if there's a verifiable date on it, so I think this method will do just fine for now lol. I've got 12 songs on the CD -- one more song than I had counted last time, but I can't remember when I last counted, so I'm not sure if i counted wrong, or if I simply wrote my newest song after counting. I won't upload any of those videos because it was a little late, and I don't want to torture the world with recordings that didn't turn out so great. One song did turn out pretty good, and I considered uploading it, until, after watching the video, I realized that I apparently was flipping the camera the bird through the whole song while I was playing guitar. That or it was a weird shadow that just made it look that way. I didn't really care which one it was, it just didn't look right. But I'll try again after I get this whole CD/mail thing finished. The song was called Night Sky, in case you were curious, and it would be part of my Color Series that I mentioned a while back, if I ever write the REST of the series, that is =P.

More important stuff to look forward to. Grace and I plan to do a duet within a couple weeks. We've been considering a duet cover of Hillsong United's "Lead Me to the Cross." Can't wait for that! :D

One last important stuff: I'll be changing my blog's design by the time I release my next post. So don't get thrown off when next time you come back, it's a lot different! Just a head's up!

Okay, everyone say "Bye, John's magic box that tells us everything!"

Tough to top

Well, that was possibly the best fourth of July I've ever experienced. The day started off outstandingly. In the morning church service, We were privileged enough to experience the presence of God all throughout the church building. There was hardly a dry eye in the building. The kids sounded great singing I Have Been Blessed, and their tender hearts reached out to the entire congregation. By the end of the song, so many of the kids were fighting back tears that I was wondering if they would be able to finish. But they did, and it was the most moving thing I have experienced in quite a while. We all sat and thought about the son of a preacher at whose funeral the song was sang, and then proceed to think of Mrs. Jill, and the marvelous work God has done in encouraging and helping her through her trials, and being able to just praise God in the midst of it all. It was incredible. Then, it was like God went and outdid Himself, when Lexi chose to accept Christ immediately afterward. The Lord's message had already been delivered before the sermon even started. All of this before noon. I never again want to take for granted the literally countless blessings God has given me in my life =)

Anyway, after church, I watched Dad's amazement as he realized you could get a Hot-n-Ready pizza in the drivethru in under a minute =P. (By the way, as soon as I figure out where I'm supposed to find real smilies for this thing, I'll use em lol.) Then I had a good friend come to help me with a song (my violinist...she sounds great so far. Hope to record her in one of the upcoming weeks). So this afternoon was a lot of fun. I can't wait to hear the whole thing together when it's all done. I hope you'll all enjoy it.

As if the day needed to be better at all, James brought a great message about choices during the evening service, which really made me stop and think how much every decision I make affects my life and those of others. Thinking about that really makes it difficult for a person not to take the opportunities God gives him in life. I never know when the next person I decide I'm currently too busy to talk to could step out into eternity, and if i could have made a difference and told him about Christ. Every decision we make adds up to something bigger later on down the road. I think we all to an extent realize that, but we definitely need to be reminded more often that good choices will reap good outcomes, and that bad decisions are a lot like Lay's potato chips...because chances are you won't make just one.

So yeah, then to end the day off with a bang (pun intended), a big group of us got together and watched Niceville/Valparaiso put on a terrific fireworks display. It was the most impressive I've seen in quite a while. I can never get enough of exploding smiley faces. I could reword that, but I think I'll just leave the interpretation up to you on this one (big wink)

Got home, watched a movie with the sister (the one that's actually related to me), and ran through a couple new songs in my head. One of them I really like, even though it's pretty simple. Later this week, I'll probably just make a video of it, nothing to fancy -- I just want you to have a good idea of what it is. But until then, Me and Myself bids you all sayounara. I already went to bed.

Well that was fun...ner that being roasted alive

So as most of you know, I've been looking for a summer job. I would really like one in a retail position, since engineering internships don't like like they're going to happen this summer. Electronics retail would be ideal. Well, yesterday, I got an email from RadioShack inviting me to attend a hiring fair on Monday. Pray that goes well! I also went up to Winn-Dixie to ask about an application, and I was told to fill out the online application, and they gave me instructions about which links to click to get there. So i get on the computer and follow those instructions. The link doesn't exist. So I search through every page of the site i can find. Still no luck. I eventually had to google "winn-dixie careers" to find it. Then I started the application. Everything looks normal. Then there's the tax credit questions. About 20 questions asking if I'm white or Latino and if I collect unemployment benefits. After that, they want me to complete a 118-question personality assessment (you know, the kind that ask you the same 8 questions so many times that it's unhealthy). That's right. 118 questions. No, I didn't have the patience to count them all. There were just 24 pages with 5 questions on each page, and only 3 questions on the last one. Anyway, I forgot to answer a couple before clicking next, but it wouldn't let me go to the next page without answering those questions. There was no way out of this assessment. So I spent an hour doing this. I FINALLY get to the last question, and I get a pop-up window that says "This completes the voluntary question portion." I don't want to work for Winn-Dixie anymore.

As always, I was up sorta late last night working on music. Found out that trying to use Finale to score and try out parts on a jazzy piece like Timeless is simply not an option. (Don't worry, you'll get a chance to hear that one when I finish everything.) I saw some of the weirdest music in my life when I tried to input the music files that I had played through my keyboard. I was looking at a measure with 128th notes, dotted 64th notes, and double dotted 32nd notes all in tuplets with each other. I played it back, and it didn't sound like the song at all. I tried just entering the notes, but I don't know how to tell Finale "Play this song with this rhythm," so it sounds all wrong. All that accomplishes is getting me to look stupid by talking to my computer. So I went back to getting the music right for Meant for Me. I think I have everything I need now (minus the violin, but that's coming soon). I'll just have to work with the takes and get the levels right, and with a bit of luck and a lot of prayer, maybe it can actually sound like a professionally done piece! =D

When I finish it, I'll probably be re-releasing the video. I'd like to compare the final product to the original recording that I did with my guitar, Audacity and a $10 headset from Walmart. Let's hope the new one sounds a thousand times better lol. If you haven't heard the song, it's here.

To tie things up with the beginning of this post, I finally found the employment link on Winn-Dixie's website. You have to scroll to the right, which I was unable to do before, and it's way up in the top right corner in size 8 or smaller font. Scroll to the right? Really guys? I'm sporting a dual monitor setup with a screen resolution of 1280x800 pixels on each monitor, and I STILL have to scroll right? REALLY?! Great planning there, guys...

Oh well, on that note (pretty sure it was an A#) I'm off. Don't forget to water the dog!