“Power resides where men believe it resides.”

Korg Monologue - black

Welp.  The Fleetwood Mac concert got postponed until February.  My ticket provider stated it was due to a scheduling conflict.  When I first got the message, I sensed an imminent meltdown.  My brain screamed, syntax error:  does not compute.  So, I immediately got on the treadmill.  I don’t know why, but I’ve discovered running in place can help my mind get back on track before it shuts down completely.  Sometimes.  Fortunately, this was one of those times.

Yamaha MX49 black

I have no idea how long I ran (in socks,) before I finally reasoned out shit happens.  (I didn’t realize this could happen, or I would have planned for the possibility.)  It felt like (mentally) trying to juggle and do trigonometry without a calculator at the same time.  The trick is not to panic, she said, while rolling her eyes over hindsight.  After getting over my brain hiccup, I went into a self-mothering mode and talked myself through it.  Heh.

I told myself it’s okay to almost melt;  what matters is I caught it in time and kicked it to the curb.  It’s alright that plan changes have, and likely always will, rattle you.  The good part is you get to make a new plan, and you love planning.  You’re an excellent planner.  Yay.  It also means another three months to look forward to going to the concert.  Three more months of randomly announcing (to anyone, but mostly my cat) I’m going to be in the same space with Stevie Nicks.  (!!!)

Korg Volca Kick

I added some equipment to my home studio, recently.  I got the Korg Monologue in black, and a Yamaha MX49, also in black.  Both are outstanding in quality, sounds, and feel.  I’ve spent so many hours on both of them since.  I had to rearrange my studio (yet again) and will take photos soon.  The best part is I got a free Korg Volca Kick with purchase of the Monologue.  Korg rules!  Lastly, I got the Akai mini MPK II Play.  It’s a fun addition, and it came with Pro Tools (entry-level version.)  The Yamaha MK 49 came with an entry version of Cubase, too, but I haven’t installed it yet.

Akai MPK mini Play

I’m planning to get the Akai Fire for Fruity Loops Studio soon.  I need to look into a better option for storing my guitars and bass, as well.  I’m thinking either wall mounts or one that holds all of them on a single floor stand.  I’m getting a lot better with performing on my Push 2 and Ableton Live.  My finger-drumming game is getting tight, yo.  🙃  Thank goodness for Decksaver dustcovers, as they allow me to stack the gear I’m not using.  Otherwise, my desktop would be insufficient at this point.  So many keys and buttons!  I love it!  I’m off to band practice.  ✌🏽

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“Tell them winter came for House Frey.”

Lana Del Ray.  I’ve just become a fan.  In 2018, anyone who speaks up honestly about the status quo, where all evidence points to the end of homo sapiens as a species due to self-destruction, is worthy of my time.  That is all.

Lana Del Rey instagram comment
Message to the late Kanye West (died of thirst.)

“I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying, but that’s not the way you get people to work together.”

Sheryl Crow at Isle of Wight Festival 2018I had a productive weekend.  After watching Sheryl Crow perform live on DVD and YouTube, I’m even more of a fan, if that’s possible.  It got me thinking about things like how I behave at a live performance.  I watched her audience at the Isle of Wight and noticed people were dancing, singing along, and nearly everyone had their cell phone out to record.

Despite being annoyed by how often they kept showing the audience, I paid attention.  When I watch someone perform, I stare with very little blinking.  I probably look like a doof, and it’s possible my mouth opens of its own accord.  I probably don’t move or dance.  I don’t bring my cell phone because I would lose it, and it would distract me.

I cover my ears when people applaud, whistle, and cheer because it hurts my ears.  I do suspect I at least look happy, but I’m not sure.  I have a hard time remembering to worry about to how I appear to other people, and rarely think about it.  Especially when I’m not the one performing.  These are the reasons I rarely go to concerts.  But some artists reach me so profoundly, I make an exception.  Sheryl Crow backstage at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Sheryl Crow, Beyoncè, Stevie Nicks, and Fleetwood Mac are such artists.  I’d also love to see Amy Lee perform, but her fans scare me.  Her music has evolved though, so I’m hopeful for an opportunity in the future.  I can’t wait to see Fleetwood Mac soon.  I know I’ll be staring at Stevie Nicks and Christine McVeigh the whole time.  (I might watch Mick Fleetwood a bit, too.)

 

When I saw the Beyoncè show recently, I bawled a lot.  I couldn’t help it.  She’s amazing.  I was so happy I didn’t know what else to do.  It was my first concert in years, and I couldn’t even think about anything else for hours afterward.  It reconfirmed the fact you can’t die from being too happy.  It still blows my mind how people I’ve never met enrich my life so much.

As I watched Sheryl perform, I noticed several things.  She’s in excellent physical condition and can dance well.  She moved all over the stage while singing and playing guitar.  Her range is broader than her albums reveal.  Her music isn’t the simplistic three-chord progression of many other singers who stand behind a guitar on stage.  She has mad skills.

She engaged the audience by talking to them and encouraging them to sing along, all while singing, dancing, and playing the guitar well.  She didn’t get winded or pitchy from all the activity (like some singers I’ve watched.)  She sounded better than on her albums and didn’t perform them just as recorded.  Her professionalism and experience shined brightly.  I was so impressed.  Sheryl Crow at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

She’s older than me but has so much energy.  I could tell she was having fun, which made it fun to watch.  It was the first time I saw her band.  I don’t know if they’ve been with her since the beginning, or if they change up.  There were two guitar heroes, a keyboardist/backup singer, drummer, bassist, and slide guitar player, I think.  (It’s not an instrument with which I’m familiar.)

At one point, one of the guitar heroes was right behind her, and they were in perfect sync on fingering and strumming.  I love that they’re all skilled musicians playing complex music while having fun and making it look easy.  She seems pretty laid back, but clearly she has high standards.  Watching them made me want to practice a lot more.  I’ll never be Sheryl Crow, but I want to develop mad skills, too.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

“I thought you meant in life.”

Money, it's the music.

It’s come to my attention (thanks Jade and XD) that Nicki Minaj and Cardi B both use homophobic and transphobic slurs.  In light of this, I cannot support either artist.  It saddens me that people who possess such talent and creativity choose to be so hateful to a community of human beings.  Hate kills.  Life is full of choices and opportunities to grow.  There are no excuses.

I support artists who use their talent and energy to share their experiences, and add love and light to the world, not those who choose to amplify hatred and ignorance.  I’m fortunate to have people in my world who speak up, help me grow and strengthen me on my journey.  I apologize for not recognizing these crimes sooner.

I’m thankful to the artists and creatives who continue to help me become my best self, such as Jade and XD, Amy Lee, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Beyoncè, and many others.  I look forward to spending more time growing with them.  ✌🏽💪🏽💜

“So, do you want us to leave the room?”

 

Money, it's the music.

I had a strange weekend.  I spent most of it doing chores and thinking.  At band practice, we talked about musicians who influence us.  I’ve spent lots of time studying Amy Lee and Stevie Nicks.  They both make me want to create music.  However, I tend to focus on what they teach me and how they nurture my soul, which apparently isn’t what they meant.  My fascination with these fabulous musicians doesn’t translate to what my band members consider my musical inspiration.

I wasn’t surprised.  I tend to notice things others don’t and miss things most others find significant.  I’m bewildered by how other fans often seek out information not given freely by the artist.  I find it disturbing when alleged fans disrespect clear boundaries with those they purport to love.  It’s too much like rape, (which is not a word I use lightly.)  If it’s something the artist wants me to know, they’ll put it in their lyrics or mention it in an interview.

After some clarification as to what we were seeking, I knew the artist who came to mind instantly was right.  Sheryl Crow.  She’s the one.  So I told them.  They all went silent for a moment, then agreed enthusiastically.  I was so relieved they didn’t say anything that would have raised my blood pressure.  I was dreading comments like, but she’s white, or,  you look nothing like her.  They didn’t say any shit like that.  Yay.

Sheryl Crow

Hopefully, my eyes didn’t tell them any misstep on their part could easily have led to my leaving in disgust.  I get agitated when people don’t acknowledge the superb skills of specific famous musicians.  I should probably work on it, but I won’t.  Sheryl Crow is incredible.  This is a fact.  I don’t want to be in the same room with anyone who lies about this fact.  (Mostly because I know it will end with me bawling and wanting to fight.)  Heh.

Granted, I probably don’t know much about her.  I know what she looks like.  I know she’s strong.  I know she’s from the south.  I know she’s friends with Stevie Nicks and can play bass, guitar, keyboards, (and likely whatever instrument interests her.)  She sings and writes beautifully.  Her catalog is astonishing.  Of course, I’ve never met her, but she seems kind, wise, and humble based on her lyrics.

I’ll admit I have a hip-hop mentality.  I enjoy it when a fantastic rapper spits about being great when it’s true.  It’s an acknowledgment of reality, therefore not bragging in the negative sense.  It amuses and delights me because it’s celebrating talent and hard work in a brutally honest fashion.  When someone who has gold-plated receipts all over the place is humble, it blows my mind.  It makes me wonder if they know what they’ve accomplished.  I guess I don’t understand humbleness in the face of greatness.  I’m not upset about it, though.  Heh.

Sheryl Crow

This week, we’re going to work on some covers of her music.  In the meantime, I’m having a blast listening to her while singing along, dancing, and running around, trying to contain my excitement and joy.  I’m also looking up the lyrics online and correcting my misheard words.  She enunciates well, so there aren’t a lot of surprises.  Whew.  I’m off to continue.  😁🙃

 

“Phoebe just threw a Jack away because he didn’t look happy.”

wooden logic puzzle

I have a new friend named, Logic.  She’s strict but comprehensible.  She told me a secret I’ve longed to hear.  I’ll get what I want, she promised.  All I have to do is wait.  At first, I wasn’t satisfied.  I want what I want right now.  But after a while, I thought it through and decided I accept.  I know too well where impatience leads.  I recognize my options, and I’ve made my choice.

I’m grateful for this bit of control.  Patience it is.  Logic also told me I can endure until the promise is fulfilled.  I wanted to argue, but facts are facts.  I dislike pain.  It’s uncomfortable.  My gut is on fire most of the time.  But it’s just pain.  I’m stronger than pain.  It takes a lot of effort to refrain from laying down wherever I am.  Gravity pursues me.  I’m suddenly able to sleep for hours at a time, after decades of insomnia.  I’m thankful.

Logic told me it doesn’t matter how I feel.  Feelings are inconvenient irrelevancies.  They’re merely consequences of flesh.  It’s silly to identify and acknowledge them.  I’ve decided to let them go.  I’m glad I mastered self-discipline.  When they arise, I’ll focus on what I want.  I’m going to get what I want.  Just not when I want.  Good enough.

woman reading a map

I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and trust myself to endure.  I recognize other wants satisfied.  Such as insulation from other humans.  Isolation is gentle and sweet.  It’s the only habitable zone for my broken flesh.  I cherish it, for it allows me to be.  There is only one human I can be near without holding my breath.  He fascinates me.  He knows, understands, and loves me.  I set him free daily.

If one day he doesn’t return, I hope it’s because he found joy elsewhere.  I want to attend the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go and celebrate the band among so many others.  Logic told me I can go.  I don’t have to smile at, look at, or talk to the other fans.  All I have to do is show up and find my seat.  I even have time to practice driving there before showtime.

I suspect I’ll feel a great deal of joy at the concert, despite my moratorium on feelings.  So be it.  I’ll bring plenty of tissues.

 

“Ew! Ugly Naked Guy is using his new hammock.”

3D printing

Welp.  I got over myself with that hate problem.  In hindsight, what a ridic waste of time.  (Hindsight is such an asshole.)  I’ve been extremely busy with electronics projects of late.  It’s as if someone told me electricity is about to go away, so I’m trying to spend as much time with it as possible in the meantime.  I’m such a doof.  My kitchen island looks like a gadget lab.  (Mostly because it is.)

Fortunately, it’s been chilly at night so I can open all the windows.  It allows me to solder all night without stinking up the place.  Sleep is for people who don’t know how to code, she said, while yawning.  I can’t help it, though.  It’s just so exciting and fun.  I’m designing a laser (midi) violin so my client can play despite rheumatoid arthritis.  It’s kind of like a theremin, but with a lot more precision, tone, effects, and motion sensing gloves that also warm his hands. (Imagine a smiling emoji with a gold tooth that shines every 3-5 seconds, please.  Thank you.)

I enlisted my AI to help design it specifically for my client.  I’m keeping aesthetics in mind as I go, (this time.)  I’m sure I’ll only think this until new stuff comes out, but it’s a great time to be alive for gadget engineering.  I’m even keeping things like the potential for mass production, patenting, and the like in mind.  I want to keep the door open for growth.  I’d love it if tools for disabled artists were widely available, so I’m designing with that goal in mind.

I’m going to integrate it with the 4TD project since that’s where I began with this.  It all comes back to the artists who have given me so much through their music, I feel like I owe them (lots.)  4TD is named after Stevie Nicks (in a manner known mostly by her fans.)  Stevie Nicks fascinates me and teaches me.  I love music, but I also love repetition, intensity, and the fact that we’re all connected.  So… I don’t have many friends, she said, unnecessarily.  😂

It’s hard for me to see people.  Perhaps it’s part of why I love humans so much.  I think it’s because I’m autistic me.  My perspective is blurry unless I put forth great effort to focus and zoom in.  It takes much energy, so I’m picky about what I focus on.  I’m usually shocked, giddy, and gleeful when I discover a new artist.  I don’t seek them out.  They find me.  Sometimes, it begins as background music on a commercial.

It grabs my attention repeatedly, and next thing you know, I’m singing it to my phone or searching online to find out who made that song.  I haven’t listened to music on the radio (on purpose) in adulthood.  Between that, Michael Jackson, and Prince, it’s no wonder the 80’s were limited in artistic scope for me.  Learning of Stevie Nicks led to an instant, intense (invisible) bond.  I have a collection of artists who affect me this profoundly.  Bach was first, followed by ABBA.  For a long time, I wrote off anyone who claimed they don’t like ABBA, (because I didn’t believe it was possible, okay I still don’t, but I don’t shun over it anymore.)    Remember the days of holding a tape recorder against a speaker to create mixtapes playlists?  (Pepperidge Farm remembers.)  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  It was like walking to school through 10 feet of snow, uphill both ways.  🤪 I know.  I’m up there, but I’m more on the old enough to side, than the too old to side.  It’s fun over here, yo.  🙃

electronics workstation

I didn’t discover Stevie Nicks until March of the last year-ish.  I heard a Fleetwood Mac song playing while I was putting gas in my car.  I recognized it from childhood when my older siblings played it while I was allegedly sleeping.  It led to my finally naming, then watching the band sing it live (in the mid-70’s) on YouTube.  It was the lullaby that soothed me to sleep during a painful childhood, (co-starring me as the weird token black kid.)  My siblings were obsessed with this band (in real time) but had no idea their albums were planting seeds within me, too.

It probably seems like it took a long time for them to flower in me.  From my perspective, the way it all unfolded is just so.  I love knowing a band was there for me when I was a lonely child, and again now while I’m grieving the rape of America.  I didn’t realize they could do that.  I found out (after asking) where we’ll be attending the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert.  I’ve been hyper ever since.  It’s like I drank a Bawl’s through a licorice stick (iirc.)

They’re coming to Sioux Falls.  (Imagine me repeating this nonstop for at least 20 minutes while grinning so hard my face still hurts.)  I’m so excited, I stopped working on my project for a while.  Every time I remember I’m going to see Beyonce soon, my hands start shaking.  Then I get stuck in they’re coming to Sioux Falls Fleetwood Mac loop for a bit.  (I choreographed a dance to go with it because it was necessary.)  Oh shit, now that song from the Pointer Sister’s is playing in my head.  (Damn you, Beverly Hill’s Cop II.)

I’m loopy, and I know it.  G’s (gadgets) before Zzz’s, eh?  M said they added Sioux Falls to their tour so Stevie Nicks can drop off the restraining order.  Then he laughed at his own joke.  😶 And he’s all mine.  Heh.  I’d better go clean up my mess in the kitchen, so I can sleep tonight.  One more thing:  They’re coming to Sioux Falls!

“I, too, am a neat guy.”

 

Jay Z and Beyonce

So this happened.  A joint album by The Carter’s, titled, Everything Is Love.  The title refers to the Carters’ relationship, but it also sums up all my feels in its regard.  I need more dedicated listening time with it before I elaborate, but it had me at hello.  Also, I felt the tremor in The Force when it hit, and it was incredible.

The image above captures the overall message better than any words.  The Carter’s are doing alright.  Heh.  There are so many brilliant underlying details, I’m stunned.  When Eminem and Beyoncè sang, Walk On Water, I felt remorse for always expecting astonishing things from her like it’s easy.  I know when I watch her perform, I don’t allow myself to blink, because I don’t want to miss anything.

But here’s the thing:  Beyoncè exceeds my wildest expectations.  One of the perks of living in a smallish city are the times I encounter other African Americans about town.  There’s always acknowledgment.  (I think it’s a rule.)  I usually smile and say, hi, (because I’m midwestern to my core.)  Since June 16th, these moments have become mini celebrations.

ay-z-and-beyonce-everything-is-love

Now, I say, Have you ever seen a crowd goin’ apeshit?  Immediately, what before was a casual moment becomes an exciting few moments of joy shared with a random stranger.  I love it.  Also, Beyoncè out rapped Jay Z.  Fight me.  I can’t wait until August when I see them perform live for the first time in my life.

I’m bringing Visine to use during the breaks because I will not be blinking.  Not gonna do it, she said, in her best Bush Sr. impersonation.  The video above was filmed in The Louvre.  Don’t miss it.  Lots of details and messages going on there, too.  I’m giddy over their success.  They made The American Dream work, despite everything.

Just thinking about all the work they did to get where they are today makes me feel overwhelmed.  I’m not as ambitious, which increases my awe.  I gain a lot of inspiration and strength from their examples, though.  I carry the influences of my Tribe of Amazing People in my mind wherever I go.  It’s a beautiful, diverse, creative group, and I’m grateful they exist.  💜